Switzerland scrape into 2018 FIFA World Cup with 0-0 draw against Northern Ireland

first_imgSwitzerland scraped into next year’s World Cup, their fourth finals in a row, after being held to a goalless draw at home by a valiant and workmanlike Northern Ireland who came desperately close to forcing extra-time on Sunday. The Swiss qualified 1-0 on aggregate, the tie ultimately being decided by the hugely controversial penalty converted by Ricardo Rodriguez in the first leg in Belfast on Thursday.They were again indebted to Rodriguez on Sunday when he cleared a goalbound header from Jonny Evans off the line in stoppage time as Northern Ireland pressed for an equaliser.The Swiss, boasting a much more illustrious and talented line-up, could have done it in style as they dominated the first hour but squandered a hatful of chances. Instead, on a slippery pitch which cut up badly, they relinquished control for the final half hour and were forced onto the back foot, fraying the nerves of the home crowd.”This is a devastating moment but also a very proud moment,” said Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill, who described the manner of their defeat as “cruel”.”We’ve gone toe-to-toe with a very good side and it was decided by a really poor decision, a penalty that should never have been made.”Forward Haris Seferovic was the biggest culprit and was jeered off by the home crowd when he was substituted by Breel Embolo.After failing to muster a shot on target in the first leg, Northern Ireland forced Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer into action after only three minutes when he tipped over a 25-metre shot by Chris Brunt over the bar. Seferovic glanced a free header wide from Xherdan Shaqiri’s cross and shot wide of the near post when he was released by Steven Zuber as the Swiss began to take control.advertisementNumerous other chances went begging and the Swiss lost their swagger as the game wore on.They survived one fright when Conor Washington headed wide from James Ward’s cross at the end of a quick break while another break down the left by Washington ended with George Saville shooting weakly at Sommer.Seferovic should have settled it in the 85th minute but instead shot high and wide — and was substituted almost immediately.”I’m very satisfied with my team and with what they have achieved, not just today because it’s been a long process,” said Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic.Looking forward to the finals, he said: “We want to go as far as possible. We will take it match by match, opponent by opponent and we’re not setting any limits.”last_img read more

Two groups seek intervenor status at former child refugees judicial review

first_imgHALIFAX – Two advocacy groups are seeking to intervene in the judicial review of the case of Abdoul Abdi, a former Somali child refugee fighting to stay in Canada.Lawyers for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Justice for Children and Youth argued in Federal Court on Tuesday that their groups would offer unique perspectives about the issues surrounding Abdi’s case.The Canada Border Services Agency detained Abdi, who was never granted Canadian citizenship while growing up in foster care in Nova Scotia, after he served about five years in prison for multiple offences including aggravated assault.The application for judicial review seeks to challenge the government’s decision to refer his case to a deportation hearing, arguing the decision was unreasonable, unfair and contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international law.Both groups argued before Justice Ann Marie McDonald in Halifax that their positions would assist the court in arriving at a decision in Abdi’s case — one they claim will have wider implications for vulnerable youth in Canada.“Young people who have grown up in the care of various child welfare organizations across the country are often placed in a position where they are not provided with adequate protection, in the sense that they haven’t been provided with an opportunity to apply for Canadian citizenship,” Jane Stewart, a lawyer for the Justice for Children and Youth, said outside court.“They’re then exposed to the jeopardy of deportation as adults in a way that other young people may not be. It’s a situation that affects Mr. Abdi, but unfortunately it’s a case that affects young people across the country. His situation isn’t unique and it’s a situation that plays out over and over again.”Nasha Nijhawan, a lawyer for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said her organization wants to ensure that any time government is making a decision such as this, “it does so in a manner that’s in accordance with Charter values and takes into account any Charter issues that are raised by the facts of that case.”“It raises questions about where the Charter fits into that analysis and how Canadians or permanent residents of Canada might expect the protection of their rights and freedoms in that context,” said Nijhawan.“It’s a question of perpetuating disadvantage against someone who has suffered disadvantage in the past.”But Heidi Collicutt, a lawyer representing the Minister of Public Safety, argued the groups did not meet the criteria to be intervenors in the case.Collicutt argued the groups do not offer a unique perspective, but rather bolster and supplement Abdi’s position.McDonald reserved her decision.Abdi’s lawyer Benjamin Perryman said his client is feeling stressed ahead of the judicial review hearing, scheduled for June 19 in Federal Court in Halifax.“He’s still in this place of limbo,” said Perryman. “When the government of the country you’ve lived your whole life in is seeking to deport you to a warzone, that is obviously stressful, and that uncertainty I think would be crippling to most Canadians.”Abdi, who was born in Saudi Arabia in 1993, lost his mother in a refugee camp when he was four and came to Canada with his sister and aunts two years later. He was taken into provincial care shortly after arriving in Canada.He was moved 31 times between foster homes. He lost his native language and developed behavioural problems that advocates say were not adequately treated. Those issues led to problems with the justice system and his non-citizenship put him at risk of deportation.Abdi’s case has prompted supporters to call on the Nova Scotia government to intervene on his behalf, and sparked protests at events with federal leaders including a town hall earlier this year with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Lower Sackville, N.S.Follow (at)AlyThomson on Twitter.?e?????|last_img read more