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The Honest Men put in an honest shift


Burkina Faso, West Africa’s newest sensation, ruled Group A with an iron fist. Solid at the back, the Burkinabe finished the group phase as the only side at the finals not to concede a goal – the first African team to do so in the competition’s history. But they were made to suffer for their supper as Panama came within nine minutes of taking a point off Mart Nooij’s men at the start. But a smashing goal from substitute Aristide Bance settled the score and sent them on their way (1-0). Another goal, this time early on from Ousseni Zongo saw the Africans send flu-ravaged Slovakia sulking off to the showers. Their third with the hosts proved a bit of a damp squib as Nooij tried out a few new men, knowing full well a draw would see them top the group with seven points. “We have a very strong defence,” the Dutch boss said. “We have no grand plan for the competition, just focussing on the next match that comes our way. We want to play as many games here in UAE as we can.”

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