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England sweep history and Germany aside to move into last eight

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Photo: Reuters
(Last Updated On: June 30, 2021)

Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane struck late goals as England reached the Euro 2020 quarter-finals with a 2-0 win over Germany at Wembley on Tuesday, their first knockout victory over their old rivals since the 1966 World Cup final.

England will play either Sweden or Ukraine, who meet later on Tuesday in Glasgow, in the last eight after a victory which sent the home crowd of over 40,000 into wild celebration.

It was England‘s first ever knockout round win at the Euros inside 90 minutes and after a build-up dominated by talk of historic and bitter tournament losses to Germany, their focus will now be on making some history of their own.

The visitors’ defeat marked the end of Joachim Loew’s time as Germany coach after 15 years in charge, during which he guided them to the 2014 World Cup title in Brazil.

Debate will continue about England manager Gareth Southgate’s selections but it was telling that both goals came after midfielder Jack Grealish was introduced from the bench in the 69th minute when the entire tempo and mood of the game changed.

Six minutes after Grealish came on he was involved in a flowing passing move which ended with left wing back Luke Shaw deftly slipping the ball across the face of the goal for Sterling to slide in his third goal in four Euro 2020 games.

Yet shortly after scoring Sterling almost gifted the Germans a leveller when he gave the ball away on the halfway line and Kai Havertz sent Thomas Mueller through on goal.

The experienced World Cup winner had only England keeper Jordan Pickford to beat but dragged his shot wide of his right-hand post, leaving Sterling, who watched in anguish on his knees, to leap to his feet in relief.

After that reprieve, and with the crowd roaring England on, Grealish was the direct provider for the second goal, crossing from the left for captain Kane to beat keeper Manuel Neuer with a stooping header.

It was Kane’s first goal of the tournament and his return to scoring ways will be another positive for Southgate as he looks ahead at a potential route to the final.

Southgate’s decision to play a five-man defence and two holding midfielders was a cautious one, but England did start the game brightly.

Sterling tested Neuer in the 16th minute, cutting in from the left flank and finding room to unleash a drive towards the far corner which the Germany keeper did well to get across to.

Much of England‘s probing was coming from Kieran Trippier down the right and he found Harry Maguire in a promising position with a lofted ball to the back post but the centre half’s header was over the bar.

Germany were enjoying plenty of possession in midfield with England sitting deep but they provided a warning of their threat when Havertz slipped through Timo Werner, although Pickford was out quickly to smother.

Just before the break Mats Hummels had to intervene quickly to clear as Kane looked to pounce after Sterling’s burst into the box had caused chaos.

After the interval Germany sensed England had lost their way and went close when Havertz’s powerful drive was superbly tipped over by Pickford.

The game was in the balance but then came Grealish, whose name had been sung by the England fans throughout the game and who lived up to those hopes and expectations by providing the spark England had been missing.

England will head into their quarter-final in Rome on Saturday knowing victory will set-up a semi and potentially a final on home turf back at Wembley.

“Any team will be looking at us and know that we’re dangerous. We want to go all the way so need to keep it up,” said Kane.

“There isn’t anything bigger than this when the expectation is on and we delivered so we should be proud but we can’t stop here. We have a vision of where we want to go and we can’t stop now. Hopefully we’ll be back here in the semi-finals and the final.”

Southgate, though, is as restrained with his words as he is with tactics and said he had been quick to calm his players down.

“We played extremely well, we deserved the win, but I’ve had to say to them straight away, I’m the party pooper; if we don’t capitalise on that on Saturday, it doesn’t count for anything.”

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Muttaqi calls on international community to recognize IEA government

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(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

Afghanistan’s Foreign acting Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi accused the international community on Friday (October 15) of “violating the rights of Afghan people” by not recognizing the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) government.

Speaking to Reuters on the second day of a two-day visit to Turkey’s capital of Ankara, Muttaqi said he discussed the recognition of the IEA’s government with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as well.

“The fact that all of them are recognized and the new Islamic government of Afghanistan is not recognized is an injustice and oppression of the Afghan people… Afghanistan wants positive relations with the world and the world must respond positively to this message,” he said.

Almost two months after the former Western-backed government collapsed and IEA forces swept into Kabul, the IEA administration has pushed to build relations with other countries to help stave off a catastrophic economic crisis.

But the IEA has so far refused to give ground on allowing girls to return to high school, one of the key demands of the international community after a decision last month that schools above the sixth grade would only reopen for boys.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday he had conveyed Turkey’s recommendations regarding the inclusion of women in the workforce and education of girls.
Meanwhile, Cavusoglu reiterated the importance of government inclusiveness for Afghanistan’s unity.

“We once again explained the importance of including people from all ethnic and religious groups, besides the Taliban (Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan), in the administration. Especially in these difficult times, this is important in terms of establishing unity and solidarity within the country,” Cavusoglu said.

NATO member Turkey maintained its embassy in Kabul after Western countries withdrew following the fall of the U.S.-backed Afghan government and have urged those countries to increase engagement.

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Blast targets mosque in Kandahar

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(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

A large explosion ripped through a mosque in the southern Kandahar province on Friday afternoon.

The blast happened at the Shi’ite Fatimiya mosque during Friday prayers, causing heavy casualties.

Sources said at least 34 people were killed and 69 others wounded in the explosion. Afghan officials have not confirmed the casualties so far.

Qari Saeed Khosti, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, has told Reuters that authorities were collecting details of the explosion.

The blast took place days after a suicide bomb attack claimed by Islamic State on a Shi’ite mosque in the northern city of Kunduz that killed and wounded more than 200 people.

So far, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The blast, coming so soon after the Kunduz attack underlined the increasingly uncertain security in Afghanistan as the Islamic State has stepped up operations following the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan victory over the Western-backed government in Kabul in August.

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Turkey underlines need for inclusive Afghan government

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(Last Updated On: October 15, 2021)

In talks with the delegation of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Turkey on Thursday reiterated the importance of government inclusiveness for Afghanistan’s unity, Reuters reported.

Turkey repeated its advice to the visiting IEA delegation on girls’ education and women’s employment in business life, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a news conference following a meeting with Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in Ankara.

Muttaqi led an IEA delegation for an official visit to Turkey to discuss bilateral issues as well as cooperation on the future of Afghanistan.

The IEA officials have pledged to provide the utmost support to Afghan refugees who want to return to the country from Turkey, added Cavusoglu.

He also underlined that the IEA delegation conveyed requests to Turkey during the meeting, especially on humanitarian aid and continued investment in Afghanistan.

Last month, Cavusoglu said Turkey has contributed to stabilization and development efforts in Afghanistan, including on the education of girls and empowerment of women since the 1920s, adding that Ankara continues providing humanitarian aid through the Turkish Red Crescent.

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