The Brazilian national team seek to secure a seat in the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 when it meets the South Korean national team on Monday at Stadium 974 in the last 16 at the World Cup.The five-time world champion will have to reckon with an event-making competitor in the final round of the group stage when it clinched his place in Round of 16 with a historic victory over the Portuguese national team in stoppage time with two goals to one for Group H, revealing great capabilities and a high fighting spirit that might help them achieve what may be impossible by reaching the quarter-finals at the expense of one of the most prominent candidates for the world title.The Brazilian national team and their coach, Leonardo Bacchi "Tite", are under great pressure during the current stage of the competition due to injuries of a large number of its players, the last of whom was the Brazil duo Gabriel Jesus and Alex Telles. In addition to the suffering of the right-back, Danilo, while the mystery still surrounds the condition of Alex Sandro, as well as the largest absentee, Neymar, who suffered an ankle injury in the first match. They were late in joining group training, which means that they could not catch up with the Korea's match in the hope of playing in the next round, but the team has wide options, which keeps the Brazilian team nominated for victory and qualification.
Lionel Messi made his 1000th career appearance for country and club a memorable one yesterday when he produced a sublime goal in the first half as two-time champions Argentina outplayed Australia 2-1 to reach the quarter-finals at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.Messi found the net in the 35th minute with a classic left-footed drive as Argentina set up a quarter-final date with Netherlands who beat USA 3-1 earlier in the day at the Khalifa International Stadium.Julian Alvarez added Argentina’s second goal in the second half (57) after a defensive gaffe from the Australian ’keeper and defenders in their own box at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.Argentina conceded an own goal through Enzo Fernandez on a shot by Australia’s Craig Goodwin in the 77th minute.It was Messi’s first ever World Cup goal in a knockout match and his third in the tournament after strikes against Saudi Arabia and Mexico.Overall it was Messi’s ninth World Cup goal, just one shy of Gabriel Batistuta’s record tally of 10. Messi yesterday went passed Diego Maradona’s tally of eight World Cup goals.The goal against Australia yesterday was Messi’s 789th in his career.“We controlled this match. Apart from the last save that Dibu (Martínez) made, we didn’t suffer too much,” Messi said yesterday. “We wanted to be here because of how it feels like and what people transmit. We must remain united,” he added. “It was a difficult day. We had very little rest time,” he said.It was Argentina’s third successive win in Qatar after losing to Saudi Arabia in the opening clash of the World Cup.The match got off to a fast start with short passes from both sides dictating the early part of the clash. In the 3th minute, Argentina’s Alejandro Gomez clipped a ball towards the Australian goal but Jackson Irvine got away with a clear handball infringement as the referee and linesman failed to take notice.Irvine, seemingly with a pledge to stop Messi, brought down the Argentine star with an elbow to his chest in the 7th minute. After being floored, Messi got up with apparent discomfort in his chest.Defender Nicolas Otamendi, in the 10th minute, found Alvarez in the Australian box with a long-range lob but the Manchester City forward could not lap the ball which slipped away from him.Despite the miss, Argentines enjoyed most of the ball possession. In the 15th minute, Irvine was penalised with a yellow card for deliberately stomping on Marcus Acuna.Gomez tried to break the deadlock with a long-range shot from the edge of the Australian box but his right-footed drive sailed away seconds later. Shortly afterwards Irvine found Aziz Behich with a neat flick back from close to the flag post.Behich – under pressure from Rodrigo de Paul – showed good anticipation and charged into the Argentine box with the ball. But De Paul threw his body weight to keep Behich from taking a shot at the goal as the ball went away for a goal kick.After the first 30 minutes, Messi had barely broken a sweat or made a move as the ball continued to remain on the flanks. Australia managed two corner kicks in the first half hour but Argentina’s backline remained firm to kill the two moves.Australians were ultra defensive in the first 30 minutes whereas Argentina failed to construct a threatening move of note. Shortly after the half-hour mark, De Paul found his captain but the game’s superstar was quickly dispossessed by Keanu Baccus and Aaron Mooy on the edge of the Australian box.Just when the spectators thought they might doze off, Messi found the back of the Australian net. Messi – from the flank – slipped a ball towards Alexis Mac Allister who was close to the Australian box. Mac Allister tapped the ball to Otamendi positioned inside the Australian box while Messi moved closer to the action himself.Otamendi, the Benfica defender, tapped a short cross back to Messi and backed off. Messi positioned himself and then drilled a low shot between the legs of a defender to the right of keeper Mathew Ryan in the 35th minute.Trailing by a goal, Australia’s tall defender Harry Souttar harshly stomped on Messi’s left foot but the referee once again ignored calls for a free kick near the Australian box.Early in the second half, Gomez was benched with Lisandro Martinez, the Manchester United defender, stepping in. Seconds later, Messi found very little wriggle room for a left-footed drive from the edge of the Australian box but his feeble shot was easily pouched by ’keeper Ryan after the Argentine great slipped while taking the shot.Alvarez doubled the lead in the 57th minute when a schoolboy error from Ryan allowed Argentina to jump to a 2-0 cushion. Kye Rowles flicked the ball to his ’keeper Ryan who was challenged by De Paul inside the box. The Socceroos ’keeper tried to push the ball away as Alvarez charged in. Alvarez managed to send the ball into the net with a feeble shot that Ryan could not stop as thousands of Argentine fans jumped with joy in the stands at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.Messi could have added one more but he was brilliantly blocked by Australia’s Milos Degenek when the Argentine skipper was set to take a shot from the six-yard box in the 66th minute. In the 75th minute, Irvine upended Lautaro Martinez with a rough tackle but the referee surprisingly signalled play on.Seconds later, Australia reduced the deficit when Goodwin unleashed a powerful drive from the edge of the Argentine box. The ball hit the head of Fernandez and went into the Argentine net with ’keeper Emiliano Martinez in no position to make a save.In the 81st minute, Australia’s Behich charged into the Argentina box, hoodwinked four blockers but his shot from close range was tapped away by Lisandro Martinez with a lunge in what could have been the most spectacular goal of the tournament.
It was a seasoned performance by the Louis van Gaal side, much to the delight of Dutch fans at Khalifa International Stadium yesterday.The Netherlands performance also ended the United States World Cup dream, entering the quarter-finals with a 3-1 win. The USA battled hard but lacked a cutting edge as first-half goals from Memphis Depay and Daley Blind and a late strike from Denzel Dumfries sealed the deal. USA started the game looking positive but since then, the Louis van Gaal boys who have a commanding 2-0 lead at the break, have tactically outsmarted the Americans.The Netherlands, in search of their first World Cup title after losing in three previous finals, will face Argentina in the quarter-finals at Lusail Stadium on Friday.“We always want to improve and, since the start of the tournament, it’s been getting better and better with each game,” Louis van Gaal said.Louis van Gaal has now gone eleven World Cup games in charge without defeat, second only to Brazilian Luiz Felipe Scolari as a coach to never lose on the grand stage. “I was very critical at half-time. We were in the lead 2-0. However we suffered in the first half, we were dispossessed so often and that’s not acceptable at a World Cup. If you play like that against top countries you won’t make it.”The US had the game’s golden chance when Christian Pulisic was denied by the legs of Dutch goalkeeper Andries Noppert in the fourth minute and the failure to take that opportunity proved highly expensive. And after that, the United States did just what the Netherlands wanted them to.In the 10th minute Coady Gakpo, who scored in the first three group games, made space for Depay to blow past the United States midfield to finish the chance created by Denzel Dumfries. Again before the half, a fullback Sergino Dest was caught flat-footed for Daley Blind to finish in a fullback to fullback goal that drove home the Dutch style of play.Changes came at halftime with Gio Reyna entering for Jesus Ferreira but that wasn’t enough to get back into the game. Haji Wright pulled one back from a Netherlands collapse before Dumfries capped his excellent game with an 81st minute goal to put things out of sight.Depay opened the scoring for Netherlands, slotting the ball into the net with a shot from inside the box. Right on the cusp of half-time, Daley Blind swept in Netherlands’ second to put his team 2-0 ahead. Haji Right pulled one back for USA in the second-half to instil some hope in the hearts of fans. Just minutes later, Denzel Dumfries scored his first goal of the tournament to seal the deal.This is the third consecutive exit from the last 16 for the USA. In 2014 and 2010, they were knocked out in the pre-quarter-finals by Belgium and Ghana. “When you look at the difference between the two teams, there was some offensive finishing quality that Holland had that we were lacking,” USA coach Gregg Berhalter said. “We don’t have a Memphis Depay right now who’s scoring in the Champions League, playing for Barcelona, experienced at scoring at this level.”The Americans were without Josh Sargent, who did not dress due to an ankle injury, and they missed his presence with the lack movement and space in attack. The USA, one of the unbeaten teams at the first round, have proven in Qatar they are capable of giving any side a run for their money.In their Group B matches, USA defeated Iran 1-0, played a 1-1 draw with Wales and were involved in a 0-0 stalemate with England. USA played a much more attacking-minded and attractive brand of football compared with how they set up during their last two World Cup campaigns. With an average age of 24, the USA were one of the youngest teams at the World Cup. Many of the players of their squad are likely to remain in the team during the next World Cup cycle.The experience gained could serve them well as they prepare to co-host the 2026 World Cup, alongside Mexico and Canada.
Doctors treating Brazilian football legend Pele said yesterday the 82-year-old remained “stable” after developing a respiratory infection with his condition not having deteriorated over the last 24 hours.Pele, who was hospitalised this week amid ongoing cancer treatments, “has had a good response to care without any worsening in the clinical picture in the last 24 hours,” doctors at Sao Paulo’s Albert Einstein Hospital said in a statement.Doctors made no reference to media reports earlier yesterday that the three-time World Cup winner, widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time, was receiving end-of-life care.Pele was admitted to hospital earlier this week for what doctors said was a “re-evaluation” of the chemotherapy he has been undergoing since surgery to remove a colon tumour in September last year. The latest medical note came after newspaper Folha de S.Paulo earlier in the day reported that the soccer legend had been receiving palliative care after chemotherapy stopped having the expected results.The newspaper also said he had a general swelling and cardiac issues when admitted to hospital earlier this week, as previously reported by ESPN Brasil.His manager, family members and the hospital have not confirmed that information.On Thursday, Pele said in an Instagram post that he was at the hospital for a “monthly visit” and thanked his supporters for the positive messages he had received.The former Brazil, Santos and New York Cosmos forward posted a picture of his face projected on a building in Qatar, where the World Cup is being held, next to a message saying “Get well soon”.A sign with the same message was displayed by Brazilian fans at the Lusail Stadium on Friday ahead of the national team’s 1-0 defeat against Cameroon.Meanwhile, players at the ongoing World Cup in Qatar, expressed their support for Pele.France striker Kylian Mbappe yesterday tweeted: “Pray for the King.”England captain Harry Kane offered his support for Pele at a press conference ahead of his team’s last-16 tie against Senegal.“We send our best wishes to him and obviously all his family as well,” said Kane.“He is an inspiration amongst our game and an incredible footballer and incredible person. We wish him well.”
Most of France’s talk ahead of their last-16 clash with Poland has been about how Les Bleus will handle Robert Lewandowski, but the defending champions are well aware there is much more to the Poles than their big-name striker.Lewandowski is indeed a deadly weapon up front, but Poland are a very compact side with another major asset at the other end of the pitch in keeper Wojciech Szczesny, who has already stopped two penalties.Across his career, Szczesny has saved 26 of 87 penalties and it is safe to say that France will be desperate to avoid a shootout at the Al Thumama stadium today.“They’ve had to defend a lot in the group stage and they defended very well. Actually they love it, but they’re not just a defensive team — just look at who they have up front,” coach Didier Deschamps told a news conference yesterday.“But there’s more. They have a backbone of players with great international experience, with Kamil Glik, Piotr Zielinski, Grzegorz Krychowiak and some youngsters who have shown they were up to the task. They deserve to be here.”Poland have only had five shots on target in three games, but three of them came from Lewandowski, who only needs half a chance to find the back of the net. France’s ideal scenario will be to contain the Barcelona forward and avoid ending the game on penalties, which are certainly not keeper Hugo Lloris’ cup of tea.LLORIS MILESTONELloris, who will equal Lilian Thuram’s France record of 142 caps today, has only stopped 16 of the 108 spot kicks he has faced in his career, a shortcoming that cost France dearly at the European championship last year when they were bundled out in the last 16 by Switzerland on penalties.“We’ve been looking into penalties with the analysts but there is a psychological factor that comes into play, and also how the penalties are taken,” the France captain said.Lloris added, however, that France had what it takes to down Poland in regulation time if they stay focused throughout. “Some keepers are better at (penalties) but if we’re fully focused from start to finish, we have the weapons to win it before we get there,” he said.“We need to have that killer instinct.”
The sight of a tearful Luis Suarez hiding his face in his shirt and an enraged Edinson Cavani knocking over a VAR monitor encapsulated Uruguay’s sadness and frustration at their World Cup exit. For the two striking greats, both 35, it was a deeply underwhelming and undignified way to leave the biggest stage for the final time.Uruguay beat Ghana 2-0 on Friday but crashed out of the Qatar tournament on goals scored because of South Korea’s last-gasp 2-1 win over Portugal.But the South American side did not go quietly or with dignity.Their players surrounded and harangued German referee Daniel Siebert after the final whistle, with the official dishing out two yellow cards, including to Cavani.There had been similar scenes during an incident-packed match in which Siebert awarded a penalty to Ghana but waved away two Uruguayan appeals.Having hit the woodwork three times in their two previous games and conceded another controversial penalty in their 2-0 defeat to Portugal, Uruguay leave Doha with a lot of regrets and a feeling of what might have been.Suarez and his teammates believe they were the victims of injustice, penalised by refereeing decisions that went against them, even after VAR reviews.“Leaving a World Cup hurts but we have the tranquility that we GAVE EVERYTHING for our country,” Suarez wrote on Twitter.“PROUD to be URUGUAYAN even though THEY DON’T RESPECT US” he added in a barb presumably directed at world football’s governing body FIFA.- Anonymous - The sense of injustice was a common theme in the emotionally charged aftermath of Friday’s match - a member of the Uruguayan delegation berated a journalist in the post-match press conference about the penalty given against the South American side in the Portugal game.In truth, Uruguay’s demise was not a surprise since Suarez and Cavani have had better days.They occupy the top two spots on Uruguay’s all-time record scorers’ list, with Suarez as number one, and were part of the teams that reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2010 before winning the Copa America the following year. Injuries have limited Cavani’s game time in recent years and while he has made an impressive start with his new club Valencia - four goals in seven games - it is more than four years since he played 30 or more league games in a single season.He was a peripheral figure at the World Cup, starting only one game, in which he was substituted off, and hardly having a shot at goal.Suarez, for his part, spent the first part of this season back in his homeland with boyhood club Nacional ahead of an expected move to Major League Soccer after the World Cup.His days on Europe’s biggest stages, playing for Ajax, Liverpool, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, are over.He was anonymous in Uruguay’s first two group games before rolling back the years against Ghana, having a hand in both goals.But he finished the game in tears after Uruguay fell just short, burying his head in his shirt as the realisation of failure sunk in.Cavani lost his cool haranguing the referee, picking up a booking and then angrily knocking over the VAR monitor.Suarez and Cavani were never likely to light up the World Cup in Qatar but nobody expected them to leave it in this way - making headlines for their emotional reactions rather than their goals.It was a sad exit for two of the greats of the modern game.
Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz believes his side can go on to lift the World Cup trophy in Qatar if they get past defending champions France in their last-16 tie today.The Poles reached the knockout rounds of the World Cup for the first time since 1986 after scraping through on goal difference from Group C despite a 2-0 loss to Argentina in their final game.“We were not ready to go home,” said Michniewicz, who only took over the Poland job in January after the departure of Paulo Sousa.“If we win against France we could become the next world champions.“We’re very happy to play the world champions. France are not already guaranteed to advance. Everything’s to play for, you win or go home and the stakes are high.”Michniewicz said he had been unable to pinpoint weak points in France’s “wonderful team”.“We believe we will play a good game but we know it’s a huge challenge ahead of us,” he said. “We want to show the world we can play football.”Robert Lewandowski scored the first World Cup goal of his prolific career in the 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia after he had a penalty saved in Poland’s opening 0-0 draw with Mexico.Michniewicz admitted his team needs to do more to supply the Barcelona striker, with Poland managing just four shots on target in three games so far in Qatar. “We did not create enough opportunities for Robert,” he said. “They (strikers) need to be near the penalty box. Against Argentina the opponent didn’t allow us to do a lot.“We need to improve on that but we need to realise that France will be dictating the game.”Poland must try and subdue a France attack led by Kylian Mbappe, who was left out of the starting line-up for the 1-0 defeat by Tunisia as Didier Deschamps made nine changes with qualification already assured.“How to defend against him (Mbappe)? I think we’d need to have scooters because he’s so fast,” quipped Poland forward Arkadiusz Milik, who has come up against the Paris Saint-Germain star with Marseille.“It’s difficult to play against one of the best players in the world. We need to play collectively as a group. No one is able individually to stop him.”
Four years ago Africa was left without a representative in the World Cup last 16 for the first time since the round was introduced in 1986, but the response has been emphatic in Qatar.The 2022 tournament has seen two teams from the continent reach the knockout phase for only the second time — after Algeria and Nigeria in 2014.African nations have also taken a record-breaking 24 points in the group stage, smashing the previous best of 15 points in 1998. Morocco beat the world’s second-ranked side Belgium and Canada en route to the top of Group F, while Senegal bounced back from an opening defeat by the Netherlands to record wins over Qatar and Ecuador.Brazil were beaten by an African team for the first time with a 1-0 defeat by Cameroon, who exited the tournament in glory.For Morocco, their clash with Spain next Tuesday will be a first appearance in the knockout stage for 36 years.Their fans will turn up in their thousands again to cheer on the only remaining Arab country in the World Cup.“We hope to fly the flag of African football high,” said Morocco coach Walid Regragui.“Often we’ve been described as being sub-par, not as good as elsewhere.“But I think at this World Cup we are showing we can give any other team a run for their money, whether they be European teams or South American teams.“I hope in the future this means we’ll be seeing more African teams do well at the World Cup and why not an African champion?”The 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico will involve more African countries than ever before, with the tournament set to expand from 32 to 48 teams.If it does not happen this year, Africa will be expecting its first World Cup semi-finalists sooner rather than later. Senegal were the closest to getting past the group stage in Russia in 2018, missing out by virtue of having more yellow cards than Japan.But they banished those memories when Kalidou Koulibaly volleyed them to victory against Ecuador, after saying they were inspired by Morocco’s win over Belgium.“We saw what Morocco did. They had a beautiful win over Belgium,” said Senegal coach Aliou Cisse.“Yes, it can be a source of inspiration for us.”CHANGING MINDSETThe sides that went out in the group stage still made a mark on the tournament. Tunisia claimed a famous 1-0 win over holders France and Cameroon ended an eight-match losing streak at the World Cup with a thrilling comeback to draw 3-3 with Serbia before beating five-time winners Brazil.More and more African players are starring at top European clubs.Even with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane absent from this World Cup, the dividends of that are clear to see. European teams have won each of the past four World Cups and no side from outside Europe or South America has ever even reached the final.“You have to be strong for your first match against a European team because European teams are our foes when it comes to these events,” added Regragui.“We have players who play for European clubs...We need to take the European mindset and make it our mindset.”The closest an African team has come to making the semi-finals was Ghana in 2010, when Luis Suarez’s handball and the resulting missed penalty by Asamoah Gyan led to a shootout defeat in South Africa.The Black Stars could not avenge that heartbreak on Friday, as Andre Ayew’s missed penalty at 0-0 was history repeating itself history and proved costly in a 2-0 defeat.But Ghana were at least happy to knock Uruguay out and send South Korea through. “For me, yes (It was good to knock Uruguay out),” said midfielder Daniel Amartey.“It was tough because you can see their centre-back, everybody comes (forward).“Uruguay needed one goal to go through.”There is a long way to go, but for the second time, Africa has two hopeful nations that are three wins away from the final.
The World Cup in Qatar has already delivered plenty of major shocks but as it moves into the knockout phase the top contenders including Brazil and France have plenty to prove.This is the first World Cup since the South Africa tournament in 2010 in which teams from Asia, Africa and North America have all been represented in the last 16.Brazil remain the favourites to claim a sixth World Cup and end Europe’s recent dominance on the global stage.Tite’s side surely need Neymar back from the ankle injury he suffered in the opening win over Serbia but they have a dazzling array of attacking talent beyond the world’s most expensive footballer.They are usually rock-solid defensively, even though a side with nine changes to the starting line-up lost their final group game against Cameroon.Brazil have not yet faced top opposition and will expect to cruise past South Korea tomorrow, with Croatia or Japan then awaiting them in the quarter-finals.A mouthwatering showdown with Argentina in the semi-finals remains a possibility, with Lionel Messi and his teammates recovering from their shock loss to Saudi Arabia to beat Mexico and Poland.If Messi’s team get past Australia, they could find themselves up against the Netherlands in the last eight, although the Dutch must first overcome a tough United States team.Argentina came into the World Cup unbeaten in 36 games and with expectations high that they could win the trophy for a third time but coach Lionel Scaloni has played down their chances.“We are not favourites,” he insisted.“We are a difficult team to beat, a team that will fight, but to think that because we won (against Poland) we are going to be champions would be totally mistaken.”The other side of the draw is weighted towards Europe, despite elimination for Germany and Belgium. Holders France are the team to beat and in Kylian Mbappe they have the most exciting player in the competition. Didier Deschamps’ side eased through their group, even fielding an unrecognisable line-up in their final defeat by Tunisia as regulars were rested.“We fulfilled our objective,” he said.“Now we will recuperate because a second competition is about to begin.”History is not on the side of a France team looking to become the first since 1962 to successfully defend the World Cup, and they are on a possible collision course in the last eight with England.Spain, the joint-top scorers in the group stage with England on nine goals, are also on their side of the draw.Semi-finalists in 2018 and Euro 2020 runners-up, England are quietly growing in confidence.“In Russia, we were just thinking, ‘Can we win a knockout game?’ Now there is more confidence and more experience of knockout matches,” said England manager Gareth Southgate.GLOBAL GAMEIt was German great Jurgen Klinsmann, part of FIFA’s technical study group analysing the tournament, who predicted that Qatar would produce shocks.“If some of the kind of underdogs — maybe if it’s an African nation, if it’s an Asian team — if they are courageous I think you can go far in this tournament,” he said.The last-16 line-up does at least reflect the global nature of football. Japan, who have never gone further than the first knockout stage, stunned Germany and Spain and now have 2018 finalists Croatia in their sights. South Korea have also qualified after a last-gasp winner against Portugal.Qatar has also already been a good World Cup for Africa, with two teams in the last 16, compared with none four years ago.Senegal, who have overcome the loss of Sadio Mane, will face England, while a talented Morocco side are living up to their billing and will have the backing of many across the Arab world when they play Spain.Brazil are still the favourites for most, but there is a sense there are more surprisesin store.
Gareth Southgate insists England’s status as favourites in their World Cup last 16 clash with Senegal means nothing because the African champions will pose a serious threat to his team.Southgate’s side are regarded as title contenders in Qatar after reaching the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and finishing as Euro 2020 runners-up.England are expected to see off Senegal at the Al Bayt Stadium today, but Southgate has no intention of underestimating Aliou Cisse’s men.“We have been very impressed with Senegal. We know they are African champions and are very proud and have great spirit and belief in their team,” Southgate told reporters on Saturday.“They have some excellent individual players who can cause problems, but a good structure as well.“We will be considered the favourites and Senegal the underdogs but that doesn’t really mean anything in a one-off game.”Despite the absence of injured Bayern Munich forward Sadio Mane, Senegal have won as many games as England in the tournament, with both teams earning two victories in the group stage.Senegal are also fresh from winning their maiden African Cup of Nations crown last year.“Sadio is an incredible player and every team would want to have him but Senegal have become very strong in his absence,” Southgate said.“They have shown great spirit through losing him. We have got to be at our very best to win the game. Cisse has done a fantastic job. We know the size of the job ahead of us.”- ‘Expectation levels’ -After coming close to silverware at the last two major tournaments, England are hoping to take the final step in Doha.Southgate believes the experience his players gained during those runs to the latter stages will stand them in good stead as they chase England’s first trophy since the 1966 World Cup.“We learned a lot from playing seven matches at the last two tournaments and the need to keep the players involved emotionally,” he said.“The biggest thing is the expectation levels. In Russia when we qualified from the group stages we were probably more excited than this time.“There was an awful lot of noise after our draw against the United States, but we’ve stayed on track and qualified as well as anyone else.”Southgate must decide whether to retain Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford in England’s attack after both impressed with goal-scoring displays in the win over Wales.Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount were all left out of the Wales game, underlining England’s strength in depth in forward areas.“It is a good position to be in, you want your players to be in a confident mood and our forward players certainly are,” Southgate said.“Of course you want to make the best possible decision but in some respects I am not sure there is a right or wrong. Whichever players we start with we’ll need the bench as well.”England captain Harry Kane remains without a goal at the tournament after finishing as top scorer in the 2018 edition.But Kane said: “I’d love to be sitting here with two or three goals by now.“Going into the knock out stage, I feel really good. I feel as match fit as I’m ever going to feel.“Only time will tell. I can try and come into the best form with these knockout games.”
In a tournament packed with surprises, Senegal will try to add to the list of stunners in the Round of 16 today when they take on England, who have never lost to an African side.If Senegal are to pull off the shock they might have to do it without their inspirational leader and coach Aliou Cisse, who has been sidelined with an illness.Adding to the challenge the African champions will definitely be without their midfield general Idrissa Gueye, who is suspended for the match at Al Bayt having picked up a second yellow card against Ecuador in their final group match.“He (Cisse) has been sick for a couple of days now and he let us take charge of training yesterday obviously with his instructions,” assistant coach Regis Bogaert told reporters yesterday.“Hopefully tomorrow he will be able to come and be on the bench with the players but we are sure at 10pm he will be there with the team.”England have faced African opposition 20 times, including seven at a World Cup, and have yet to lose.While African nations have lost eight of their nine World Cup knockout round games against European sides, Cisse was there for the one success in 2002 when Senegal beat Sweden to reach the quarter-finals.Senegal burst into that tournament by defeating reigning champions France and the dreadlocked Cisse has shared those memories with his players ahead of their date with England.“When he talks he uses data and his own experiences,” Bogaert said. “He was part of that great team in 2002 and I think the team really trusts him because of that experience he had as player.“Beating England would be a tremendous achievement, I don’t know how important it would rate compared to the victory in 2002, that was important as well. If we can beat a team like England it sends out a very strong message about the progress we have made.”Cisse has been in charge of Senegal since 2015 and guided the Lions of Teranga to several firsts including their maiden Africa Cup of Nations title this year.Bogaert explained that Senegal has done their homework and have paid special attention to set pieces – a part of the game where England have been particularly dangerous in recent years.“We’ve identified some things and the most important thing is set pieces can be decisive in these top matches,” said Bogaert. “We also hope to take advantage of set pieces.“Our strategy is in place.”
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe grabbed plenty of the headlines as their countries sailed through the group stage of the World Cup, but many others have also risen to the occasion in Qatar. AFP Sport looks at five breakout stars from the first round of the tournament. Tyler Adams (USA) The Leeds midfielder exuded calm both on and off the pitch as the United States booked a spot in the last 16 with a tense 1-0 win over Iran in their final match. Named captain just before the World Cup, the 23-year-old led by example at the heart of a youthful midfield - playing alongside Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah - which more than held its own against England and dominated Wales. Adams also demonstrated remarkable maturity and composure as he deftly handled being peppered with questions unrelated to football ahead of the politically charged Iran game. His performances in Qatar have reportedly caught the eye of some of Europe’s biggest clubs. Cody Gakpo (Netherlands) The Dutch forward was the only player to score in all three group games - carrying over his red-hot form for PSV Eindhoven onto the biggest stage. Gakpo’s header in the Netherlands’ opening match against Senegal broke the deadlock late on in a 2-0 victory. He drilled the Dutch ahead with a fierce left-footed drive against Ecuador in a 1-1 draw and again set the Oranje on their way with another tidy finish on his right as they cantered to a 2-0 win over Qatar. “He has everything it takes to become a star,” said Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal. It is surely only a matter of time before he is prised away from his boyhood club, with Manchester United a possible destination. Enzo Fernandez (Argentina) Fernandez had never started a game for Argentina before the World Cup but his performances in Qatar have made him a vital part of Lionel Scaloni’s side. The 21-year-old midfielder came off the bench to score a wonder strike against Mexico, then created his team’s second goal after making his first start in their 2-0 win over Poland. Fernandez joined Benfica from River Plate in the summer and quickly impressed, helping his new club top their group in the Champions League. Fernandez’s goal against Mexico made him Argentina’s second-youngest goalscorer at the World Cup - after Lionel Messi. Jude Bellingham (England) Bellingham is appearing at his second international tournament after playing for England at last year’s European Championship, and it is easy to forget that he is still only 19. The Borussia Dortmund player has become an integral part of Gareth Southgate’s midfield in Qatar and announced himself with a well-taken goal in England’s opening 6-2 win over Iran. Bellingham has racked up plenty of big-game experience with Dortmund and he looked completely at ease alongside Declan Rice as England topped Group B. Josko Gvardiol (Croatia) An emerging defensive star in a Croatia side in need of renewal, Gvardiol’s last-ditch block on Romelu Lukaku saved the 2018 runners-up from going out to Belgium. The 20-year-old fractured his nose and suffered severe swelling around his right eye barely a week before the tournament after colliding with an RB Leipzig teammate but that hasn’t affected his play. He has not only stood out as the masked man but as the bedrock of a Croatia backline breached just once so far. “He’s the best defender in the world,” said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic. “Even if he’s not currently number one, he will become number one.”
Powerhouses Argentina and the Netherlands set up a rollicking FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 quarter-final clash following victories over Australia and the US, respectively, in the Round of 16 Saturday.The two teams will vie for a spot in the last four at Lusail Stadium on December 9.In the second of the two Round of 16 matches Saturday, Lionel Messi scored on his 1,000th career appearance in Argentina's 2-1 win over Australia to surpass his great predecessor Diego Maradona's tournament total.Seeking a first World Cup at his fifth attempt, the mesmerising Messi curled the ball low past goalkeeper Mat Ryan from inside the area in the 35th minute to send the legions of Argentine fans into delirium at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.Julian Alvarez bagged Argentina's second from close range in the 57th minute after fatal hesitation from Ryan with the ball at his feet following a backpass.Australia, who did superbly to reach the last 16 and are ranked 35 places below the double World Cup winners, defended valiantly with the towering Harry Souttar prominent. They set up a nervy end after Craig Goodwin's shot was deflected into the net off Enzo Fernandez for an own goal in the 77th minute.The 35-year-old Messi's goal was his third in the Qatar tournament and his ninth at World Cups, one more than Maradona.Earlier, the Netherlands' full-backs proved the difference as veteran Daley Blind and hard-running Denzel Dumfries turned in decisive performances at Khalifa International Stadium to help secure a 3-1 win over the US in Saturday's opening match of the World Cup knockout stages.Dumfries netted and had two assists while Blind scored, too, as the Dutch saw off a brief spell of US resistance to ensure the victory.Striker Memphis Depay got the first goal as the Netherlands advanced to a seventh World Cup quarter-final.A comfortable 2-0 halftime lead was halved in the 76th minute as the Americans finally made a breakthrough, even if scorer Haji Wright seemed to know little about the ball hitting his heel and then looping into the corner of the net.However, any hopes they had of staging a comeback were ended five minutes later as Dumfries sealed his man-of-the-match performance by ghosting in at the back post and side-footing a volley into the net to restore the two-goal advantage.The Dutch deserved the win but again there will be questions about whether they are serious World Cup contenders - something coach Louis van Gaal keeps insisting they are, although he was quick to admit Saturday's showing could have been a lot better."We also lost a lot of ball possession, and it is not acceptable at a World Cup, especially if you are playing a top-level team,” he said.Van Gaal's side did, though, offer some glimpses of classy potential, no more so than with a series of 20 passes that set up their 10th minute opener - finished off by Depay smartly hitting home a cut-back pass from Dumfries.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has significantly boosted sales of about 400 food and beverage outlets (kiosks) in the areas surrounding the tournament stadiums and fan zones that host cultural and entertainment events, with an expected increase in turnout of 1.2 million fans by the end.Speaking to Qatar News Agency (QNA), several managers of these projects estimated that the turnout during the World Cup first week surged by 80 percent to record levels compared to the days preceding the tournament launch on November 20, with the positive impact and momentum.In August, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy and the Aspire Katara Hospitality company announced the availability of hundreds of food and beverage outlets for rent in many locations in the country, including the areas surrounding the stadiums that host the World Cup matches, the Doha Corniche for a 6 km distance, and other places that witnesses fans' entertainment activities.Entrepreneurs in the food and beverage sectors benefited from these investment opportunities, as they confirmed that the influx of tourists and fans of international teams to Qatar has revived their sales of various types of food and beverages to almost double compared to the pre-tournament period, especially since some visitors have a great passion to know Qatari and Arab cuisines, exploring local food with all its components, in addition to buying handicrafts of the traditional nature of the Qatari people.The outlets are distributed in about 9 areas for fans zones and inside the stadiums, taking into account the size of the area, its breadth, and the density of the fans' presence in it. There are two types of outlets, the first contains food and drinks, while the second contains gifts, souvenirs, and heritage and historical items.In this context, Abdul Ghafoor Mohammed, who runs an outlet for selling drinks and juices on the Doha Corniche, said that turnout levels reached record levels of about 80 percent during the first week of the World Cup, pointing out that they start working from 11 am until 12 am, emphasising that the project is feasible from an economic point of view and that work is proceeding flexibly to meet the needs of visitors.He stated that the shops and commercial outlets are in line with the state's directions and strategy aimed at hosting the first carbon-neutral edition of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, as all shops committed to using paper cups and utensils that can be recycled, which reinforces the country's plans to establish global standards in the field of preserving the environment, to serve as a role model in the major world championships, in addition to building a sustainable legacy that benefits future generations.The outlets offer their services to the guests of the World Cup in many locations; a fan who wants to attend the match can have his meal before entering the stadium or during the events and enjoy the tournament's atmosphere.Mohammed Abdullah, who runs a confectionery shop on the Doha Corniche, highlighted the variety of outlets, including fast food, drinks, juices, sweets and nuts, stressing that the municipality's inspectors do conduct field visits and submit reports twice a day, in order to ensure the cleanliness and quality of services in shops.He expected that the pace of turnout will increase in the coming period with an increase in visitor flows to Qatar.The momentum of the tournament has made a positive impact in Qatar, benefiting more than 3 million food and beverage outlets, according to Qatar Tourism data, which allowed visitors to taste a variety of food and beverages in the country, and Qatari cuisine is the most famous, which derives its characteristics from Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, affected by the great diversity of 100 communities living in the State.Osama Saeed, a visitor to Qatar, said that it is easy to find the original cuisines of most of the countries of the region in the restaurants hosted by Souq Waqif or other commercial centres, pointing to the diversity of restaurants and the availability of oriental, Arabic, Western, Chinese, Japanese and many other cuisines that suit all cultures and tastes.Data from the Planning and Statistics Authority showed that the activities of accommodation and food services amounted to about 5116 businesses, employing about 77,785 workers, 66,754 males and 11,031 females, according to the classification of businesses by sector and main economic activity by the end of December 2020.The World Cup in Qatar has provided the impetus to all sectors of the Qatari economy, including the tourism and hospitality sector, especially with the increase in visitors to the country and the increase in the population of Qatar to more than 3 million people, and in conjunction with the State's plans to triple the number of tourists in the country, to reach 7 million tourists annually by 2030.
Switzerland national team's head coach Murat Yakin said that his team deserved to advance for the knockout round, after winning 3-2 over Serbia, in the last round of the group stage, pointing that Switzerland secured a spot in the last 16 in a difficult group that comprised strong teams, including Brazil who beat Switzerland 1-0.In the post-match press conference, Yakin said that his squad achieved what they sought, adding that they would rest after the difficult victory over Serbia which cost them a lot of effort and energy, and then will think and analyse the past round.He added that his squad prevailed in a difficult encounter against a strong team, asserting that they will strive put their best performance to continue the competition, as they are going to meet great teams.
Head coach of Cameroon Rigobert Song expressed pride in the performance of his players against, who won Brazil 1-0 in the match that was held at Lusail Stadium in the third and final round of Group G competitions in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.At the post-match press conference, coach Song said that his team is leaving the competition with their heads held high."I didn't even realize that this was such a historic victory," Cameroon coach Rigobert Song said. "We are one of the African countries that played the most World Cups, and now we've beaten Brazil."Brazil had won its previous seven matches against African opponents at the World Cup.Meanwhile, "We can be proud of what we've done tonight," Cameroon goalkeeper Devis Epassy said. "We worked very hard. Unfortunately, though, we didn't qualify, and that's why are not too happy."
Australia coach Graham Arnold has promised Argentina a war on Saturday (today) when the Socceroos look to spring an upset for the ages in the last 16 of the World Cup.With a blend of team spirit and dogged determination, Arnold’s unheralded underdogs have already notched up victories over Tunisia and Denmark in Qatar to reach the knockout stages for only the second time.Arnold said they were not finished yet and would be in Argentina’s faces for 90 minutes to try and give the South Americans as little time on the ball as possible.“No disrespect to Argentina or anything at all, but it’s 11 vs 11, and it’s 10 blue shirts against 10 yellow shirts, and it’s a battle,” he told a news conference yesterday. “It’s a war, and we’ve got to fight that and make sure that the boys are in great physical shape, great mental shape, they’ve got great energy, and we go out there and give it all guns blazing.”Arnold, who as a player in 1993 came out on the wrong end of a two-legged World Cup playoff against an Argentina side featuring Maradona, said playing the twice champions was a big plus in terms of motivation. “You’re going to see the best of every player on the pitch for Australia tomorrow night because of who we’re playing against,” he added.“The brains need to be switched on and... be switched on for every second... because they play in two waves. Slow to try to make you relax, but when you relax, that’s when they hit you.”Harry Souttar, who has been outstanding in Australia’s last two games, reflected his coach’s confidence but conceded that shutting down Leo Messi would be a tall order.“We know it’s going to be a difficult task,” said the Scottish-born centre back. “Obviously, we respect the player massively. But I don’t think it’s just an individual thing. It’s going to be a team effort, our team collective, I don’t think it can come down to just one individual trying to stop him.”Having stunned the world with their success in Qatar, the Socceroos will take their country into the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time if they can upset Argentina.“Australia are the underdogs and we love that,” Arnold said. “We love the backs to the wall, and no one giving us a chance, and going out there and fighting the odds, the Aussie spirit way. That’s our strength.”
A late goal by skipper Vincent Aboubakar ended Cameroon’s 20-year wait for a win at the World Cup as the Indomitable Lions bowed out in style by beating a much-changed Brazil 1-0 at the Lusail Stadium yesterday.With qualification already in the bag after wins over Serbia and Switzerland, Brazil still won Group G, ahead of Switzerland on goal difference, and will face Group H runners-up South Korea, who beat Portugal 2-1, in the next round.Cameroon, whose last win at the World Cup was in 2002 against Saudi Arabia, were on the back foot for most of the match but sprung to life at the death. Aboubakar powered a header past Ederson then was sent off for collecting a second yellow for taking off his jersey in celebration. The match played out in a relatively subdued atmosphere in the cavernous Lusail Stadium, the tournament’s biggest venue, with Brazil’s reserves eager to impress but Tite’s side unable to assert their usual flair. Gabriel Martinelli was Brazil’s livliest player and nearly put the five-time champions ahead in the 14th minute when he was picked out by Fred’s ball over the top, but the Arsenal forward’s header drew a fine reaction save from Devis Epassy.Cameroon offered nearly no attacking threat until the first half injury time, when Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu’s cross was met with a powerful downward header by Bryan Mbeumo that Ederson clawed away one-handed at full stretch. Tite had seen enough and made a triple change soon after the interval, bringing on Marquinho for the injured Alex Telles, and replacing Rodrygo and Fred with Everton Ribeiro and Bruno Guimaraes.The substitutes stirred Brazil into a sudden flurry of chances with Epassy forced into action three times in as many minutes.First, Martinelli stung the Cameroon keeper’s palms with a snap shot in the 56th minute.Next, Eder Militao tried his luck from the ensuing corner coaxing a fumble out of the Cameroon keeper, who recovered to scramble the ball out to safety, before the lively Antony got in on the act, forced Epassy into a diving save to keep out his curling effort.Tite sent on Pedro in the 64th minute and Rafinha in the 79th as Brazil sought to save their perfect record in the group, but Cameroon clung on until Aboubakar arrived in the right place at the right time to seize his moment.Pele has respiratory infection, but doing ‘better’: doctorsSao Paulo: Brazilian football legend Pele, who was hospitalised this week amid ongoing cancer treatments, has developed a respiratory infection, but is in stable condition and “showing general improvement,” his doctors said yesterday.The 82-year-old icon, who has been in fragile health in recent years, was hospitalized on Tuesday in Sao Paulo for what doctors said was a “reevaluation” of the chemotherapy he has been undergoing since surgery to remove a colon tumour in September 2021.“The medical team diagnosed him with a respiratory infection, which is being treated with antibiotics,” the hospital said in a statement.“The patient’s response has been adequate, and he remains in a standard room,” not intensive care, it said.“He is stable and his health is showing general improvement. (He) will remain in the hospital in the coming days to continue treatment.”Pele’s public appearances have grown increasingly rare, but he maintains an active presence on social media.On Thursday, he took to Instagram to thank well-wishers for their messages, posting a photo from World Cup host country Qatar, where his picture was projected in lights on a skyscraper.“It’s always nice to receive positive messages like this. Thanks to Qatar for this tribute, and to everyone who sends me good vibes!” he wrote, describing his hospital stay as a routine visit.Pele got more messages of support ahead of five-time champions Brazil’s World Cup match against Cameroon yesterday.Fans at Lusail stadium held up a giant green-and-yellow banner with a picture of Pele in his iconic number 10 jersey and the message, “Get well soon.”The same message was displayed on the avenue outside the stadium.Considered by many the greatest footballer of all time, Edson Arantes do Nascimento - Pele’s real name - is the only player in history to win three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1970). (AFP))
Uruguay crashed out of the World Cup yesterday despite beating Ghana 2-0 after South Korea scored a late winner in the other Group H match to leapfrog the South American side.Giorgian De Arrascaeta netted twice in quick succession in the first half, with 35-year-old Luis Suarez having a hand in both goals.However, Suarez finished the match on the bench in tears as the news came in of South Korea’s last-gasp victory over Portugal, which meant the Asian side had moved above the Uruguayans into second place in Group H on goals scored.Veteran striker Suarez had been at the centre of the pre-match build-up because of his infamous handball in the 2010 quarter-finals, which helped eliminate Ghana.His name was booed loudly by the Ghana fans when it was read out by the stadium announcers and he got the same treatment every time he touched the ball.He was also leading the protests when Ghana were awarded a penalty in the 19th minute.Mohamed Kudus had initially been ruled offside when he was brought down by Uruguay goalkeeper Sergio Rochet but after that decision was overturned referee Daniel Siebert gave the spot-kick after checking the pitchside monitor.But Andre Ayew’s tame effort was easily saved by Rochet and with Ghana’s fans silent in disbelief, Uruguay made them pay.Darwin Nunez was denied by Mohamed Salisu’s brilliant goalline clearance but in the 26th minute De Arrascaeta nodded in from close range after brilliant work from Suarez.Collecting a poor cross from the right which evaded two Ghana defenders, Suarez cut inside Alidu Seidu and hit a powerful low shot that squirmed through Lawrence Ati Zigi’s hands. It was edging towards the goal when De Arrascaeta pounced.Six minutes later Uruguay gave Ghana a mountain to climb when Arrascaeta hit a sublime volley at the end of superb team move, Suarez providing a first-time assist from Nunez’s knockdown.Ghana were let off the hook by Siebert just before the hour mark when he ruled that Daniel Amartey had touched the ball while tackling Nunez in the area.That decision would turn out to be crucial as another goal would have put Uruguay through.Suarez was booed and cheered in equal measure by the crowd when he was substituted for Edinson Cavani in the 66th minute.Ghana struggled to create anything in response. The closest they came to pulling a goal back came with nine minutes remaining, when Rochet brilliantly tipped away Kudus’s powerful low drive.Uruguay then realised they needed another goal and poured forward but were unable to find make the breakthrough.The match ended with pushing and shoving, with Suarez distraught at his team’s fate.Ghana centre-back Daniel Amartey yesterday admitted that his team were determined that if they could not qualify for the World Cup knockout stage, they would at least prevent Uruguay from doing so.The bad blood between the two nations dates back 12 years to the infamous Suarez handball that prevented a certain goal for Ghana but helped Uruguay go through to the World Cup semi-finals in South Africa.Suarez was sent off but Asamoah Gyan missed the subsequent penalty and Uruguay triumphed in the shoot-out.Ghana were thus prevented from becoming the first African side to reach a World Cup semi-final.And in a drama-filled Group H clash in Qatar yesterday, Uruguay triumphed 2-0 but both sides were eliminated due to South Korea’s 2-1 win over Portugal.Late in the game, with Ghana chasing two goals to go through, Uruguay also realised they needed another one, creating a frantic end-to-end final 20 minutes.“I just told my teammates that we need a goal now but they need a goal now so we have to defend for ourselves so that if we can’t go, they don’t go,” Amartey said.Asked if it was important to deny Uruguay a place in the last 16, Amartey said: “For me, yes.”“It was tough because you can see their centre back, everybody comes (forward). Uruguay needed one goal to go through and you can see we defend four against five or three against two but we managed to defend.” Amartey denied the Ghanaians had revenge on their minds for what happened in 2010, pointing out that no-one in the current squad, except captain Andre Ayew, was even at the South Africa World Cup. And he admitted the team did have some regrets after Ayew missed a penalty minutes before Uruguay opened the scoring in the first half.“It’s football, it happens. If we score that penalty I think we kill them but we miss the penalty and you can see the game changed,” he said.
There were tears of joy at Education City Stadium for South Korean players and fans while there were tears of dejection at Al Janoub Stadium among the Uruguay supporters and team players.An injury-time goal by Hwang Hee-chan last night helped South Korea to a stunning 2-1 win over Portugal in the last group stage match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The late goal by the Wolverhampton Wanderers’ forward was enough to push out Uruguay who beat Ghana yesterday 2-0 in the other Group H clash as the South Americans fell short in their bid to reach the Round of 16.Luis Suarez sobbed uncontrollably at Al Janoub Stadium whereas South Korea skipper Son Heungmin had tears of joy as his team reached the Round of 16 in the most dramatic of finishes.“I believe these tears are tears of happiness,” he said. “We waited really long for this moment and we as players believed altogether we could do this.“There were moments when I wasn’t able to do my best and I am thankful for my team-mates that they were able to cover me in the moments I wasn’t able to fulfil my duties, and I’m very proud of them.”Already-qualified Portugal, the 2016 Euro champions, finished top of the group with 6 points with Cristiano Ronaldo starting the game yesterday despite a big concern over his injury. South Korea and Uruguay ended with 4 points each but the Asians went ahead by virtue of scoring more goals in the three matches of the group stage.Seconds before the first goal of the match, a fan seated behind banned Paulo Bento, remonstrated with the Portuguese coach for blocking his view. Bento, who picked up a red card during his team’s match against Uruguay for a verbal spat against the referee, could barely restrain himself while arguing with the fan.Ricardo Horta scored for Portugal in the 5th minute in what was the first genuine attempt at goal. Horta charged into the box with a defender in tow but he wasted little time in deflecting from close range to the right of the outstretched hand of keeper Kim Seunggyu.Pepe found Diogo Dalot with a long ball from the Portuguese half line. Dalor picked up the cross and went far to the edge of the Korean box. Dalot found Horta with a low shot which was easily sent into the net by the Braga forward from seven yards.Korea continued to press on in the first 12 minutes of the match with numerous moves but with a goal’s advantage, the Portuguese backline remained firm to every threatening move.In the 17th minute, Kim Jinsu tapped a loose ball into the Portuguese net after keeper Diego Costa had effected a save on an indirect corner kick. Jinsu’s tap from close range was on target but the linesman rightfully correctly called it off-side.In the 23rd minute, Ronaldo was in the right position fora close range deflection - ona long cross from Matheus Nunes - but Korea’s Kim Younggwon outpaced the Portuguese captain with a clearance for a corner.Three minutes from the first half hour, Younggwon was quick to drill home a ball that landed at his feet off Ronaldo’s body who was trying to duck away on a corner kick. Ronaldo turned his back to the ball which bounced off his right shoulder and landed near unguarded Younggwon who produced a left-footed shot.Shortly afterwards, Ronaldo was one-on-one with the Korean keeper but the Portuguese captain - in an attempt to shoot into the right of the net - failed to get the elevation on his shot that was slapped away by Seunggyu. Moments later, Ronaldo charged to receive a long cross but the Korean keeper reached first to catch the ball on the edge of his box.Dalot added to the Portuguese momentum in the 33rd minute when he unleashed a rasping left-footed drive 30 yards out but the shot was blocked by the Korean keeper.Six minutes from the first-half whistle, Korean captain Son Heungmin also rifled in a powerful shot from outside the Portuguese box but keeper Costa collected the ball to kill the move. Seconds later, Ronaldo went midair to head home - after the keeper had fumbled with his collection on a long-range shot by Vitinha, but the ball sailed away as Portugal kept Korea under sustained pressure.Close to the hour-mark, Antonio SIlva blocked a shot of Korean captain Heungmin who was inside the Portuguese box. Moments later, Korean midfielder Lee Kangin and Matheus Nunes rammed into each other causing a stoppage in play. At this point, the camera panned on Bento in the stands talking to one of his assistants.The irritated fan who was infuriated with Bento for blocking his view at the start of the match seemed to have probably swapped his seat with somebody else. Five minutes later, Ronaldo walked off after being benched. Before he took off, Ronaldo handed his captain’s armband to Pepe, 39.Hwang Inbeom, in the 66th minute, unleashed a rasping shot that hit the palms of keeper Costa and trickled away.In a missed opportunity, Jinsu sent a cross to Heungmin who connected with a bullet shot that hit Cancelo on his elbow inside the Portuguese box.South Korea vainly pleaded with the referee for a penalty in the 70th minute.Six minutes later, Dalot found Horta with a neat cross but Portugal’s goal scorer for some strange reason backtracked inside the six yard box.Just as everyone thought the game was over, South Korea turned things around in dramatic fashion in injury time. Korean captain Heungmin ran from his own box to the rival team’s box. He found Hee-chan with a neat cross near the edge before the substitute slotted home on his first attempt.