NAIROBI, Kenya- The semi-final line up of the 2016 FIFA World Cup was completed Saturday night when England and Croatia set a last-four date on another dramatic day of the competition that has no shortage of thrills, spills and drama.
Croatia, the 1998 semi finalists who went on to finish third in France brought the spirited run of home nation Russia to a tearful end when they once again imposed themselves from the spot in a 4-3 shootout victory after the teams shared a gripping 2-2 draw after extra time in Sochi deep into Saturday night.
Earlier, the Swedish challenge failed to materialise as England cruised through to their first semi since Italia 90 to keep their improbable charge to a second World Cup alive courtesy of a 2-0 victory over their Scandinavian rivals.
After he was accused of accepting a USD600 (KSh60,000) bribe in a sting investigation aired on BBC Africa that cost him a role in the World Cup, Kenyan top ref, Aden Range Marwa was slapped with a life ban by CAF on Saturday night.
On the local front, Simba XVs recorded their third 2018 Africa Gold Cup win and in the process, retained the Elgon Cup by beating Uganda at the RFUEA as the SportPesa Premier League action continued with Bernard Mwalala claiming victory on his debut as Bandari FC boss.
Here is a wrap of the top five stories on SportPesa News from Saturday to get you into the sporting mood today.
Croatia Bring Tearful End To Russian World Cup Heroics
SOCHI, Russia- Ivan Rakitic scored the winning penalty as Croatia beat Russia 4-3 in a shoot-out after a dramatic 2-2 draw on Saturday to end the World Cup hopes of the host nation and advance to a semi-final against England. Brazilian-born Mario Fernandes had kept Russia’s dream alive when he headed home in the 115th minute to level the scores and force penalties, but he and Fedor Smolov both failed to convert their spot-kicks in Sochi. READ MORE
Alli, Maguire Head England To Semi Final Dreamland
SAMARA, Russia- Harry Maguire and Dele Alli scored as England comfortably defeated Sweden 2-0 in Samara on Saturday evening to reach the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1990. Leicester defender Maguire headed in the opening goal from a corner on 30 minutes, with Alli adding a second just before the hour. READ MORE
CAF Bans Kenya Top Referee Marwa For Life
CAIRO, Egypt- Top Kenyan referee, Aden Range Marwa, who was caught up in a bribery sting operation that ruled him out of 2018 World Cup duty in Russia, has been banned for life by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). Marwa was among match officials named in a documentary aired on BBC Africa last month where it was claimed he received USD600 (KSh60,000) from Ghanaian investigative journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas. READ MORE
NAIROBI, Kenya- Kenya Simbas roared to their third 2018 Africa Gold Cup victory in a row and in the process retained the Elgon Cup when they outclassed neighbours Uganda Cranes 38-22 at the RFUEA Grounds, Nairobi on Saturday. Ian Snook’s side led 28-5 at the break and seemingly cruising past the Cranes before 17 points from Uganda in the second half caused a few nerves among the partisan Kenyan crowd but the home side fended off the fight back to keep their hopes of qualifying for a first Rugby World Cup in Japan next year alive. READ MORE
Mwalala Sails Off To Winning Bandari Start, Zoo Rise
MOMBASA, Kenya- Bernard Mwalala enjoyed a dream debut with Bandari FC when he led his side to a 1-0 victory over Kakamega Homeboyz FC in a SportPesa Premier League (SPL) encounter at Mbaraki Stadium, Mombasa. The other Saturday SPL match-up produced another home victory as Zoo Kericho FC prevailed 1-0 over Chemelil Sugar FC in the battle of the sides hoping to avoid relegation. READ MORE