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England’s Kane gang eye last 16, Japan face Senegal

NIZHNIY NOVGOROD, Russia: Harry Kane-inspired England will aim to seal their place in the knockout phase of the World Cup on Sunday while Japan bid to edge closer to a last 16 berth when they take on Senegal.

Victory for the Three Lions against minnows Panama in the heat of Nizhny Novgorod would send England through in Group G alongside free-scoring Belgium, who swatted aside Tunisia 5-2 on Saturday.

Booking their ticket to the second round with a game to spare would be a welcome achievement for England, who were eliminated after only two games in a disastrous 2014 World Cup campaign.

England opened in Russia with a 2-1 victory over Tunisia on Monday, Kane scoring twice including the winner in injury time to give Gareth Southgate’s side a precious three points.

A similarly attritional contest could be on the cards on Sunday against the Central Americas who are making their World Cup debut.

While England are heavily favoured to take all three points, manager Southgate said Saturday there was no chance his team will be guilty of complacency.

“We’ve seen already the difficulty the big countries in terms of ranking have had in breaking down lower-ranked teams,” cautioned Southgate.

England and Panama have a 3:00 pm kick-off (1200 GMT) in Nizhny Novgorod meaning players could struggle in temperatures topping 30°C.

Dele Alli picked up a thigh strain in the 2-1 win against Tunisia and is likely to sit out with either Marcus Rashford or Ruben Loftus-Cheek coming in to a settled line-up led by captain Kane.

A win for England would see them head into a final group game against Belgium to determine who finishes top.

Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku scored twice for the second game in succession Saturday, after the 3-0 win against Panama, to join Cristiano Ronaldo on four goals at the top of the race for the top scorer’s Golden Boot.

Germany not safe yet

World Cup holders Germany were breathing a sigh of relief after Toni Kroos’ 95th minute missile of a free kick secured a last-gasp 2-1 win over Sweden on a dramatic Saturday night in Sochi and meant they avoided a humiliating first-round exit.

But they are not out of the woods yet — to have a chance of becoming the first team to successfully defend the title since Brazil in 1962, Germany must beat South Korea by a two-goal margin in Kazan on Wednesday. If they do not, their fate will be in the hands of the match between Mexico and Sweden.

Defender Mats Hummels said Kroos’ goal could be a turning point.

“Something like this can be a big moment in the tournament.

“But if we lose against South Korea or don’t make it to the next stage, the goal isn’t worth anything.”

Japan ready for Mane

In other games on Sunday, Japan can all but guarantee themselves a place in the second round if they follow up their surprise opening defeat of Colombia by beating Senegal in Group H.

The Asian giants have vowed to take an aggressive approach against Senegal, who are spearheaded by Liverpool forward Sadio Mane.

Japan coach Akira Nishino said his team planned to mark Mane closely in Yekaterinburg.

“I am sure we can deal with him but with the contribution that Mane can make, it might be possible to mark him one on one or even three on one,” Nishino said.

“It is possible to stop him but the trouble is that he has influence too on other players, and that is what we are concerned about.”

Nishino said he had encouraged his team to chase victory in the second half against Colombia in their first game, and would adopt a similar approach against Senegal.

“I always say the second match is the deciding match and we have to win, no matter who we play,” he said.

“We need to earn maximum points. Even if it is slightly risky we want to attack and try to win.”

Poland and Colombia round off the second round of group matches in the late game in Kazan (kick-off 1900 GMT), both knowing they dare not lose if the want to retain any realistic hope of progressing.

Colombia coach Jose Pekerman has hinted that 2014 Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez could start against the Poles, who were beaten by Senegal in their opening game.

Rodriguez has been bothered by a calf injury which meant he started on the bench against Japan, but Pekerman indicated he may be ready to face Poland.

“His appearance off the bench last time out gave him some confidence,” Pekerman said.

“We’ve had to finetune a few little details, but he’s been working hard in recent days and we’re hoping he’ll be 100%.” — AFP

Reconsider locals-only ruling on cooks, say restaurateurs

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has been urged to reconsider its proposal to enforce a local-only ruling for cooks at restaurants.

Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association (Primas) president Muthusamy Thirument said the move should be done in stages, given the cost and time to train locals to maintain the same cooking standards for their customers.

He noted that Human Resource Minister M. Kulasegaran had agreed to discuss the matter further with the ministry’s policy division officers after a meeting with nine other business operators on Thursday.

“This shows that he is willing to hear us. We are only interested in finding a solution,” he said in a news conference held at Primas’ headquarters, here today.

He said the meeting held recently was to submit a memorandum and discuss the shortage of workers in the restaurant sector, together with other stakeholders as well.

“He had agreed to have a roundtable discussion at the ministry with the relevant officers and those from the industry (to discuss) the issue in detail,” he said.

Present with him was Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association president Ayob Khan Muhamad Yakub, who said job fairs could be held to encourage locals to work as cooks.

He said a cook’s average salary can reach up to RM7,000 and those who make roti canai can earn between RM1,600 and RM1,800 per month.

He also hoped that a quota of 10 foreign workers in a restaurant would be considered.

Yesterday, Kulasegaran said that no definite decision had been made on employing only local cooks for restaurants.

His reply came following an outcry from restaurant operators, consumer groups and netizens.

He also clarified that the ruling only applies to restaurants that serve local food and stressed that the ruling would not affect restaurants that serve specialty food.

Kulasegaran said coffee shops, Indian-Muslim restaurants and hawker stalls are categorised as local outlets, as such their workforce should consist of Malaysians only.

He said the objective of the proposal was to reduce dependency on foreign labour, in line with Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto.

Ku Li happy with poll results of Umno wings

KUANTAN: The new lineup of Umno wing leaders who were elected at the party delegates meeting yesterday is capable of bringing new breath to the 72-year-old Umno, said the party presidential candidate, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

Although their names had yet to be officially announced, Tengku Razaleigh said he was happy that all the candidates he supported won in the contest.

“Those who won are the candidates that we support. InsyaAllah (God willing), this will give new breath to the party,” he said.

He was met at an event organised by Pahang Umno here today, which was also attended by the State Umno liaison chief Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob.

Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki was reported to have won the party’s Youth leadership post. He defeated seven other contestants.

For the party’s Puteri wing, the leadership post was won by its incumbent vice-chief, Datuk Zahida Zarik Khan. — Bernama

Entries for JCI Malaysia’s development award close on June 30

PETALING JAYA: JCI Malaysia has called for companies to vie for the 2018 JCI Malaysia Sustainable Development Award (JCIM SDA) to promote their efforts in meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG).

JCIM SDA Organising Chairperson Mikasa Chong said the award also aimed to raise the public’s awareness on the UNSDG and inspire the new generation to advance the global goals.

“The UNSDG is a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that everyone can enjoy peace and prosperity,” she said. “Hence, the elements of the five pillars for the JClM SDA trophy is linked to the 5Ps of United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals – People, Planet, Prosperity, Partnership and Peace.”

The award recognised sustainable projects conducted by Malaysian companies and organisations which advanced any of the UNSDG.

Nominations close on June 30. Entries should be submitted online at where 40 finalists would be shortlisted for the awards.

For details, contact Vivian Li, 2018 JCIM SDA Nomination Director at +6017-688 1300 / Mikasa, 2018 JCIM SDA Organising Chairperson at +6017-3134133

Sweden’s Durmaz faces online racial abuse after World Cup loss

STOCKHOLM: Sweden’s Jimmy Durmaz faced a wave of racial hatred and even death threats after he gave away the foul that led to Toni Kroos’s late winner for Germany at the World Cup.

Abusive comments on the 29-year-old substitute’s Instagram account poured in after Germany won 2-1 in the 95th minute in Sochi on Saturday.

The winger’s teammates came quickly to the defence of Durmaz, who was born in Sweden to Assyrian parents who emigrated from Turkey.

“No shadow falls over Jimmy, there is nothing bad to say about him. People can’t blame one person. You win as a team and you lose as a team,” midfielder Albin Ekdal told the daily Aftonbladet.

“He ran and fought the entire time. It’s bad luck. It’s completely idiotic to give him hatred because of it,” striker John Guidetti said.

Durmaz, who shrugged off the comments, said he has “always seen hatred on his social media” accounts.

“If you’ve had this your entire life then it’s not a big deal. I’m proud to represent my country,” he said.

The chain of abuse was met with outrage from observers and Durmaz’s fans.

“Crazy people openly raging with racism against Jimmy Durmaz after a football match unfortunately says too much about the world we live in,” Swedish sports journalist Patrick Ekwall tweeted on Sunday.

“Don’t let them get to you! You’re amazing,” a fan wrote on Durmaz’s Instagram account

Sweden face Mexico in Yekaterinburg on Wednesday, with the chance to progress to the knockout rounds. — AFP

Govt to take action against tourists, tour operator for disrespectful behaviour near mosque

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment strongly condemns the outrageous and disrespectful behavior of two foreign tourists at the City Mosque which went viral on social media recently. Its Assistant Minister Assafal Alian, giving a statement on behalf of the Minister who’s currently in Kuala Lumpur said, the actions of the foreign […]

Police to investigate Batu Caves temple rally

KUALA LUMPUR: Police are investigating a rally participated by about 200 supporters of a Hindu association held outside the Batu Caves temple grounds near here today.

The rally, which started at 8am, was held to voice concerns over the temple’s internal management problems but a small commotion broke out before the crowd dispersed peacefully at around noon.

Gombak police deputy chief Supt Tey Kong Seng said a police report would be lodged by the Selayang police chief and the investigations would be carried out under Section 9(5) of the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.

“The Batu Caves temple committee has taken a preliminary step by blocking and closing the temple’s front gate and only allowed the public to enter for prayers,” he said when contacted by Bernama. — Bernama