31 May 2018

Intercontinental Cup 2018: Venue, fixtures and TV guide

May 31, 2018


Intercontinental Cup organised by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) will held at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai from June 01 – June 10. The 2018 Intercontinental Cup will be held with four teams ( India (hosts), Chinese Taipei, Kenya and New Zealand) from three different confederations. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) intends to make the tournament an annual fixture in the Indian footballing calendar.

Fixtures and Venue

All matches are set to kick-off at 8 p.m. IST at  Andheri Sports Complex (Mumbai Football Arena) located at Veer Desai Rd, Azad Nagar, Andheri West, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400053.


TV guide

The Hero Intercontinental Cup will be broadcast on Star Sports 2 SD as well as HD platforms giving fans the opportunity to experience the best of Indian football. The matches will be streamed on Hotstar and Jio TV. For regional fans the games will be broadcasted on Star Sports Hindi 1/HD and Star Sports Tamil 1.

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30 May 2018

USCIRF again places India on its Tier 2 list as religious minorities feel increasingly insecure

May 30, 2018


In 2016, religious tolerance and religious freedom conditions continued to deteriorate in India. Hindu nationalist groups— such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Sangh Parivar, and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP)—and their sympathizers perpetrated numerous incidents of intimidation, harassment, and violence against religious minority communities and Hindu Dalits. These violations were most frequent and severe in 10 of India’s 29 states. National and state laws that restrict religious conversion, cow slaughter, and the foreign funding of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and a constitutional provision deeming Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains to be Hindus helped create the conditions enabling these violations. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke publicly about the importance of communal tolerance and religious freedom, members of the ruling party have ties to Hindu nationalist groups implicated in religious freedom violations, used religiously divisive language to inflame tensions, and called for additional laws that would restrict religious freedom. These issues, combined with longstanding problems of police and judicial bias and inadequacies, have created a pervasive climate of impunity in which religious minorities feel increasingly insecure and have no recourse when religiously motivated crimes occur. Based on these concerns, in 2017 USCIRF again places India on its Tier 2, where it has been since 2009.

India is the world’s largest democracy, with about 1.26 billion people, or about a one-sixth of the total world population. Nearly 80 percent of the population is Hindu; more than 14 percent is Muslim (the third-largest Muslim population in the world); 2.3 percent is Christian; 1.7 percent is Sikh; less than 1 percent is Buddhist; less than 1 percent is Jain; and about 1 percent adheres to other faiths or professes no religion.

India is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic, and multicultural country and a secular democracy. Despite these positive characteristics, the Indian government has struggled to maintain religious and communal harmony, protect minority communities from abuses, and provide justice when crimes occur.

The country has experienced periodic outbreaks of large-scale communal violence against religious minorities, including in Uttar Pradesh in 2013, Odisha in 2007–2008, Gujarat in 2002, and Delhi in 1984. Although the government of India established special structures to investigate and adjudicate crimes stemming from these incidents, the impact has been hindered by limited capacity, an antiquated judiciary system, inconsistent use, political corruption, and religious bias, particularly at the state and local levels. Many cases stemming from these incidents are still pending in the India court system. These large-scale outbreaks of communal violence, as well as smaller-scale Hindu nationalist abuses against religious minorities, tend to occur most frequently in 10 Indian states: Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Odisha, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan. In at least some of these states, religious freedom violations appear to be systematic, ongoing, and egregious and rise to CPC status. Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, other minority communities, and Hindu Dalits recognize that religious freedom issues in India predate the current Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government. However, they attribute the deterioration in conditions since 2014 to the BJP’s Hindu nationalistic political platform and some of its members’ support of and/or membership in Hindu nationalist groups. The BJP was founded in collaboration with the RSS, and the two maintain close ties at the highest levels. The BJP, RSS, Sangh Parivar, and VHP subscribe to the ideology of Hindutva (“Hinduness”), which seeks to make India a Hindu state based on Hinduism and Hindu values. Some individuals and groups adhering to this ideology are known to use violence, discriminatory acts, and religiously motivated rhetoric against religious minorities, creating a climate of fear and making non-Hindus feel unwelcome in the country. The heightened enforcement against religious minorities by BJP government officials and/or Hindu nationalists of existing constitutional and legal provisions restricting religious conversion, cow slaughter, and foreign funding of NGOs also has contributed to the deterioration of religious freedom in the country. While there was no large-scale communal violence in 2016, the Indian government’s Union Ministry of Home Affairs reported in January 2017 that in the first five months of 2016 there were 278 incidents of communal violence. In 2016, the governmental National Commission for Minorities received 1,288 complaints from minorities regarding such incidents, down from nearly 2,000 in 2015. However, religious minority communities, especially Christians and Muslims, reported to USCIRF that incidents had increased but minorities were afraid or believed it to be pointless to report them.

The report includes following matters in details

  • Violations against Muslims
  • Violations against Christians
  • Violations against Sikhs
  • Violations against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Dalits)
  • Hindu Nationalist Hate Campaigns against Minorities
  • Redress for Past Violence

Read the full text here: 2017 USCIRF Annual Report

29 May 2018

2018 FIFA World Cup Facts, Fixtures/Schedule and Qualified teams

May 29, 2018
FIFA 2018

The Football fever is here. Let's check who has qualified for this prestigious quadrennial international football tournament. The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be the 21st FIFA World Cup contested by the men's national teams of the member associations of FIFA. It is scheduled to take place from 14 June to 15 July 2018, in Russia.

Qualified Teams

The final tournament will involve 32 national teams, which include 31 teams determined through qualifying competitions and the automatically qualified host team.

From Asia & Australia




  Saudi Arabia

 South Korea

(Really sad India is missing here, someday we will make it watch this space.)

From Africa






From Europe










  Russia (hosts)





From North America

  Costa Rica



From South America







Let’s see some interesting facts about Fifa 2018,

  • Iceland and Panama making their debuts in the competition. Slovakia were the last team to make it past the group stage on their debut in 2010.
  • Brazil has won the World Cup more than any other side, with 25% of the titles (5/20). It is also the only country to have competed in every competition.
  • Senegal have qualified for their second World Cup, reaching the quarter final in 2002.
  • Iceland is the country with the smallest population to ever compete at a World Cup, with 334,000 residents.
  • South Korea have qualified for their 10th World Cup, more than any other Asian country. They haven’t failed to qualify since 1986.
  • No African country has qualified as often as Nigeria since their debut in 1994. 2018 will be their sixth World Cup.
  • Iran have qualified for back to back World Cups for the first time in their history. They’ve never got beyond the group stage, winning just one of their 12 games, drawing three and losing eight. Their win was a 2-1 victory against USA in 1998.
  • Tunisia won their first World Cup game (3-1 vs Mexico June 2 1978) and has not won in any of their 11 games since (four draws, seven defeats). Bulgaria hold the record of 17 games without a win between 1962 and 1994.
  • Germany will hope to be the first national team to win back to back World Cups since Brazil in 1962. Only Brazil (5) have more titles than Germany (4).
  • Italy failed to qualify for the first time since 1958, being the only one of eight teams to have won the competition who won’t compete in Russia.
  • Mexico has qualified without winning the trophy more than any other country (16 times).
    11 of the 62 games England have played in World Cups have ended 0-0, more than any other team.
  • Brazil has had the most red cards in the history of the competition (11), with Argentina (10) and Uruguay (9) not far behind.
  • Peru, who competed in the first World Cup, will play in the competition for the first time since 1982, the longest absence of any side that will be in Russia.
  • The record for most goals in the competition stands at 171 (in 1998 and 2014), while that with least goals from 64 games is 145 (in 2010).
  • Germany has scored the most goals in the last three World Cups (14 in 2006, 16 in 2010, 18 in 2014).
  • The most goals in a single World Cup match occurred on June 26, 1954: Austria beat Switzerland 7-5.
  • Frenchman Just Fontaine still holds the record for the most goals scored in a World Cup (13, in 1958), while Russian forward Oleg Salenko has bagged more than any other in a single World Cup match: five goals against Cameroon, on 28 June 1994.
  • Among the current players, Thomas Muller has the most World Cup goals, with 10 (5 in each of the last two tournaments); He is six goals shy of all-time top scorer Miroslav Klose (16).
  • Thomas Müller also holds the record for assists in World Cups amongst current players (6); only Diego Maradona (8), Grzegorz Lato and Pierre Littbarski (7) can boast more assists than him since 1966.
  • Since qualifying for the World Cup, Saudi Arabia have fired two coaches: Bert van Marwijk and Edgardo Bauza.
  • The last player to reach ten goals in a single World Cup was Gerd Müller, in 1970; since then, the best has been Ronaldo in 2002 (8).
  • Miroslav Klose, Pelé and Uwe Seeler have all scored in four World Cups; the only players who could reach this landmark in Russia are: Tim Cahill, Rafael Marquez, Cristiano Ronaldo and David Villa.
  • Excluding penalties, Costa Rica were one of three unbeaten teams in the 2014 World Cup (alongside Germany and Holland).
  • The Mexican Antonio Carbajal and the German Lothar Matthäus have played in more World Cups (5) than any other footballer; only Rafael Marquez could reach this tally in Russia.
  • Every World Cup has been won by a coach who is the same nationality as his team.
  • Germany were the only UEFA team to win all their qualifiers, and had the best goal difference (+39).
  • England will play their 15th World Cup, this being their sixth straight qualification, matching their best streak in the competition (between 1950 and 1970).
  • France have qualified for their 15th tournament and a sixth participation in a row, their best ever streak.
  • Switzerland reached the quarter-finals of a World Cup for the last time in 1954, when they were the hosts; since then, they have never passed the second round.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo was the player who participated directly in the most goals (18) in the UEFA Qualifiers: 15 goals and three assists.
  • Croatia have lost the first game in their last three World Cups, the two most recent both against Brazil (2006 and 2014).
  • All of Denmark’s 27 goals at World Cups have come from inside the box.
  • Since qualifying for the World Cup, Saudi Arabia have fired two coaches: Bert van Marwijk and Edgardo Bauza.
  • Russia's coach, Stanislav Cherchesov, played in the USA 1994 6-1 victory against Cameroon. In that match, Oleg Salenko scored five goals, a record in a World Cup game.
  • Since 1978, only Germany (5) have reached the final more than Argentina (4).
  • Uruguay were the first World Cup champions in 1930 and won it again in the second running of the tournament in 1950. However, they’ve only got beyond the last 16 once in their last six attempts (4th place in 2010).
  • Mexico have qualified for their 16th World Cup; only Brazil, Germany, Italy and Argentina have qualified for more.


*Time mentioned below are in Russian Time





14 June Russia vs Saudi Arabia 18:00 MSK Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
15 June Egypt vs Uruguay 17:00 YEKT Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg
15 June Morocco vs Iran 18:00 MSK Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg
15 June Portugal vs Spain 21:00 MSK Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi
16 June France vs Australia 13:00 MSK Kazan Arena, Kazan
16 June Peru vs Denmark 19:00 MSK Mordovia Arena, Saransk
16 June Argentia vs Iceland 16:00 MSK Otkrytiye Arena, Moscow
16 June Croatia vs Nigeria 21:00 MSK Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad
17 June Costa Rica vs Serbia 16:00 SAMT Cosmos Arena, Samara
17 June
Brazil vs Switzerland 21:00 MSK Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don
17 June Germany vs Mexico 18:00 MSK Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
18 June Sweden vs South Korea 15:00 MSK Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
18 June Belgium vs Panama 18:00 MSK Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi
18 June Tunisia vs England 21:00 MSK Volgograd Arena, Volgograd
19 June Poland vs Senegal 15:00 MSK Otkrytiye Arena, Moscow
19 June
Colombia vs Japan 18:00 MSK Mordovia Arena, Saransk
19 June
Russia vs Egypt 21:00 MSK Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg
20 June
Uruguay vs Saudi Arbaia 18:00 MSK Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don
20 June
Portugal vs Morocco 15:00 MSK Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
20 June
Iran vs Spain 21:00 MSK Kazan Arena, Kazan
21 June
France vs Peru 17:00 YEKT Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg
21 June
Denmark vs Australia 19:00 SAMT Cosmos Arena, Samara
21 June
Argentia vs Croatia 21:00 MSK Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
22 June
Nigeria vs Iceland 18:00 MSK Volgograd Arena, Volgograd
22 June
Brazil vs Costa Rica 15:00 MSK Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg
22 June
Serbia vs Switzerland 20:00 KALT Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad
23 June
Germany vs Sweden 18:00 MSK Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi
23 June
South Korea vs Mexico 21:00 MSK Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don
23 June
Belgium vs Tunisia 15:00 MSK Otkrytiye Arena, Moscow
24 June
England vs Panama 20:00 KALT Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
24 June
Japan vs Senegal 20:00 YEKT Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg
24 June
Poland vs Colombia 21:00 MSK Kazan Arena, Kazan
25 June
Uruguay vs Russia 18:00SAMT Cosmos Arena, Samara
25 June Saudi Arabia vs Egypt 17:00 MSK Volgograd Arena, Volgograd
25 June Iran vs Portugal 21:00 MSK Mordovia Arena, Saransk
25 June
Spain vs Morocco 20:00 KALT Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad
26 June
Denmark vs France 17:00 MSK Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
26 June
Australia vs Peru 17:00 MSK Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi
26 June
Nigeria vs Argentina 21:00 MSK Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg
26 June
Iceland vs Croatia 21:00 MSK Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don
27 June
Serbia vs Brazil 21:00 MSK Otkrytiye Arena, Moscow
27 June
Switzerland vs Costa Rica 21:00 MSK Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
27 June
South Korea vs Germany 17:00 MSK Kazan Arena, Kazan
27 June Mexico vs Sweden 19:00 YEKT Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg
28 June England vs Belgium 20:00 KALT Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad
28 June Panama vs Tunisia 21:00 MSK Mordovia Arena, Saransk
28 June Japan vs Poland 17:00 MSK Volgograd Arena, Volgograd
28 June Senegal vs Colombia 18:00SAMT Cosmos Arena, Samara

Knockout Round of 16

30 June Winner Group A vs Runner-up Group B 17:00 MSK Kazan Arena, Kazan
30 June Winner Group C vs Runner-up Group D 21:00 MSK Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi
1 July Winner Group B vs Runner-up Group A 17:00 MSK Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow
1 July Winner Group D vs Runner-up Group C 21:00 MSK Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
2 July Winner Group E vs Runner-up Group F 18:00 SAMT Cosmos Arena, Samara
2 July Winner Group G vs Runner-up Group H 21:00 MSK Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don
3 July Winner Group F vs Runner-up Group E 17:00 MSK Krestovsky Stadium
3 July Winner Group H vs Runner-up Group G 21:00 MSK Otkrytiye Arena, Moscow


6 July Winner Match 49 vs Winner Match 50 17:00 MSK Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
6 July Winner Match 53 vs Winner Match 54 21:00 MSK Kazan Arena, Kazan
7 July
Winner Match 55 vs Winner Match 56 18:00 SAMT Cosmos Arena, Samara
7 July
Winner Match 51 vs Winner Match 52 21:00 MSK Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi


10 July
Winner Match 57 vs Winner Match 58 21:00 MSK Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg
11 July
Winner Match 59 vs Winner Match 60 21:00 MSK Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

  Third Play Match

14 July
Loser Match 61 vs Loser Match 62 17:00 MSK Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg

Final Match

15 July
Winner Match 61 vs Winner Match 62 18:00 MSK Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

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