The midfielder reckons he will probably face a Barcelona team-mate in Sunday’s final but has some bad news for France.Read More
Russia beat Spain in a penalty shoot-out to move into the FIFA World Cup 2018 quarter-finals and knock out the 2010 champions in Moscow on Sunday. Iago Aspas’ penalty was saved by Igor Akinfeev to hand Russia victory after a match that Spain had completely dominated. Earlier, Spain and Russia were locked at 1-1 in regulation time. Four France goals ended Lionel Messi's fourth FIFA World Cup on Saturday and may have brought down the curtain on an international career seemingly destined to end in disappointment.Read More
DisgracefulYesterday, Japan advanced to the last-16 because they received less yellow cards in the group stage than Senegal. But in a short, intense period like the World Cup, the volume of yellow cards is inevitably going to increase. It was a farcical period of the tournament and it must be changed in 2022. Stay bloody calm! The past two weeks have gone too fast so it's nice to have some time to reflect on the experience.Read More
Former Belgium attacker Marc Degryse was impressed by Adnan Januzaj for their World Cup win over England yesterday. The Real Sociedad winger scored the only goal of the 1-0 win. Degryse said of former Manchester United midfielder Januzaj: "Immediately after the break we saw a class flash from Januzaj, who showed that he deserves his selection. "It was a typical Januzaj action: threatening and then looking for the far post. For example, Januzaj has proven that he can decide a game from scratch.Read More
Former Everton captain Phil Neville believes Liverpool attacker Sadio Mane hasn't received the right service from his Senegal teammates at the World Cup. “I don't think they've fed him really that well," Neville said of Mane. “Sarr on the other side has actually been a little bit more impressive. “I actually think they've got to get better support. “I think that's what (Keita) Balde will give them, a little bit more support up there."Read More
England and Belgium squared off in a tie that was meant to decide the winner of Group G given both sides were already through to the Round of 16. Somewhat unsurprisingly Gareth Southgate and Roberto Martinez opted to field what many would consider as weakened teams with the likes of Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens amongst others being left out of their respective sides ahead of the knockout stages. The game's early stages was somewhat boring, but England did well to keep hold of the ball and apply pressure thus reducing Belgium's opportunities to launch attacks, but the Red Devils also did quite well to soak up the pressure and prevent England from finding the back of the net. The second-half was more open as Adnan Januzaj curled the ball into the back of the in the 51st minute which evidently served as a wakeup call for England. Danny Welbeck was brought on for Trent Alexander-Arnoldin the 79th-minute in a bid to introduce a new dynamic to England's attack but it proved unsuccessful as Belgium secured a 1-0 lead over the Three Lions thus finishing top of Group G.WORLD CUP - GROUP GEngland - 0Belgium - 1 (Januzaj 51')Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad
England coach Gareth Southgate has defended resting Tottenham striker Harry Kane for their World Cup defeat to Belgium. Southgate rung the changes for England's final Group G match safe in the knowledge his side were already through to the round of 16. "This was a game we wanted to win but the knockout game is the biggest game for a decade so needed to make sure our key players were reserved," said Southgate. "The players tonight gave everything. I think the supporters understand what the most important thing is."
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford was frustrated with his fluffed chance in England's defeat to Belgium. England finished second in Group G after the loss in Kaliningrad and will now face Colombia in the last-16. Rashford was put through one-on-one with Thibaut Courtois but the Chelsea stopper touched his effort around the post. "I know that he comes out fast and spreads himself very big when he comes out. "It was difficult today but we have an opportunity now to improve in the days of training before the next game."
Atletico Madrid signing Thomas Lemar has hailed the leadership qualities of France teammate Paul Pogba. Lemar insists Manchester United midfielder Pogba is a popular figure amongst the France squad and has hailed the former Juventus man's leadership. “He's leading us all, he's smiling, he's also giving is good advice," Lemar said. “He's a guy who like to take responsibilities and he's doing it well in this tournament. “I hope it will go on like that for him and us in the competition."
Belgium matchwinner Adnan Januzaj had a word for his critics in England after yesterday's World Cup performance. Real Sociedad winger Januzaj toyed with Danny Rose before unleashing a classy finish to hand Belgium a 1-0 win over England on Thursday. I'm very pleased to score a great goal against a good opponent. This year I've been playing in a team at Real Sociedad who have made me grow as a player. I'm very pleased to be going that way."
Real Madrid fullback Dani Carvajal has defended Spain teammate Andres Iniesta over his World Cup form. "With Iniesta, there are too many things to say about him," said Carvajal. "He's our star, our commander." He also had words of praise for Isco, calling him one of the team's "leaders" when the opposition are tough to break down. He's having an incredible World Cup and I hope he continues to play as well going forward."
Germany hero Paul Breitner has taken aim at Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos after their World Cup elimination. Breitner told Besoccer that Kroos was to blame for the misfortunes of Joachim Löw's side against South Korea. "I'll be more than happy to go without his 15,000 passes," he snapped. Not once did he try to open up the space in central midfield or try to open up the opposition defence with a simple run or dribble. The defence with practically non-existent in all three games and in midfield they were only able to come up with pretty passes.
Manchester United still have control of the future of Belgium matchwinner Adnan Januzaj. Januzaj scored the only goal of the game as Belgium edged out England to finish top of their World Cup group. The Real Sociedad star delivered a timely reminder of his class, just a year after leaving Manchester United. Pogba left United for Juventus in 2012 but the Red Devils had to pay £89million to bring him back to Old Trafford. Since then, the Red Devils have ensured that, when they sell a player with potential, they insert a clause into the deal.
England coach Gareth Southgate defended their flat performance for defeat to Belgium on Thursday. The Three Lions' B-team lost to an Adnan Januzaj wonder-strike as Belgium topped Group G at the World Cup. His eight-change team was booed for their lack of intensity but boss Southgate admitted: “We are not happy to be beaten, but we had double objectives tonight. “The knockout game is the biggest game for a decade for us. Everyone's seen the level that we've been playing at and we've got to keep improving."
Colombia have claimed a crucial 1-0 win over Senegal to progress to the round of 16 as group winners. What has become something of a trend for Russia 2018 is the deciding of group winners and runners up on the final matchday. Prior to the start of Group H's final matchday, Japan and Senegal were set to progress if the games ended in a draw. Merely 5 shots on target for the whole 90 minutes yielded a solitary goal, but it was enough for Colombia to edge ahead and steal the group win ahead of Senegal to progress. WORLD CUP - GROUP HSenegal - 0Colombia - 1 (Mina 74')Samara Arena, Samara
Poland have secured a consolation 1-0 win over Japan to close out their World Cup campaign, but other results meant that Japan still advanced to the knockout rounds despite the loss. With scores level in the simultaneous Senegal and Colombia clash, the goal saw Japan fall to third spot in the group. In desperate need of a goal, Japan made their first change by bringing on the in form Takashi Inui for Takashi Usami. With 20 minutes to play, Poland launched a quick counter attack and Robert Lewandowski was handed a chance to kill the game off, but blasted his shot over the bar. Japan will go on to face the winner of the Belgium v England match in the Round of 16.
Paulinho has revealed how he changed his career path after leaving Tottenham. The 29-year-old spent two dismal seasons in north London before leaving for Chinese Super League club Guangzhou Evergrande for £10million in 2015. "From four years ago, a lot has changed in my life and career," said Paulinho. I had lost my self confidence, but I've regained it. I've played very well, helped my club to win [La Liga].
New Ajax signing Dusan Tadic has revealed it was an easy decision to leave for Southampton for his "dream club". It was an easy decision because I had a lot of opportunities in the Premier League and other countries but I think Ajax is best for my future. In four years, I was for three [of them] in the top five best assisters in the Premier League and probably in the top ten of creating chances. I'm very proud because Southampton is not the biggest club in the Premier League and the Premier League is the toughest league in the world. I had beautiful years with Southampton - great club, great people, great supporters - and I'm very proud of my four years."Read More [+]
Before the World Cup beganOn Thursday morning newspaper Suddeutsche Zeiting ran the headline "Complacent in the disaster", which pretty accurately summarises the mood in Germany. After the 2-0 defeat to South Korea, Mats Hummels made an even more damning assessment: "The last convincing performance we had was in the autumn of 2017." South Korea: Low fails to learn from his mistakesKroos' late winner against Sweden should have been the turning point, but instead Low - yet again - opted for complacency, for the assumption that things would come good. At half-time Gomez finally came on, but by then the pattern of the game – emotional exhaustion for Germany, self-belief for South Korea – had already been set. The result was chaos, was Low using 20 players and a variety of haphazard formations in just 270 minutes of World Cup football.Read More [+]
Former Tottenham captain Ledley King is delighted for Harry Kane over his England goalscoring success. Kane currently tops the World Cup goalscoring charts after striking five times in England's Group G wins against Tunisia and Panama. And King, speaking at the William Hill Arms, told the Daily Star: “Of course he can [finish as top goalscorer]. “When it comes to scoring goals, nothing's going to surprise you when it comes to Harry. “There's still a long way to go but on form and the way he's started the tournament, that's a big indication of the way it's going to go."Read More [+]
Brazil coach Tite has defended the scratchy form of Manchester City attacker Gabriel Jesus. Gabriel has struggled for Brazil at the World Cup but Selecao manager Tite refused to say whether he will axe the City forward in favour of Liverpool's Roberto Firmino when the knockout phase gets underway. “A team is made up of players who have no greater importance than another, but different characteristics," Tite said after last night's win over Serbia. “Firmino was decisive in the other games, it consumes me, but he has an understanding of his value, that at another time, with or without Gabriel, he can be important. Choices will end up happening."Read More [+]
Auf WiedersehenSo the Germans are out of the World Cup, and so are half of our Tribalfootball writers predictions. Dasvidaniya White NightsWith a hint of sadness, today I left Saint Petersburg for probably the last time at this World Cup. You see, summertime in Saint Petersburg means it virtually never gets completely dark. You'd have to think how this affects the players staying in Saint Petersburg when the sun blares through your window at 4am. Japan are currently top (4 points), with Senegal second (4 points) and Colombia (3 points).Read More [+]
Arsenal legend Ian Wright admits he's happy to see Germany dumped out of the World Cup. “First thing I thought was potential quarter-finalists we don't have to worry about when we're totally honest," he said on ITV. “In respect of Germany and what they do, then yeah it is surprising to see Germany go out like they have. “Coming into the tournament with one win in six or something, poor form, you still feel Germany are going to get it done. “It is surprising to see a Germany side go out like they have."Read More [+]
Former England coach Sam Allardyce believes they should field a shadow XI today against World Cup opponents Belgium. Tottenham striker Harry Kane took his World Cup tally to five goals on Sunday as he netted a hat-trick in a stunning 6-1 win over Panama. But Allardyce told the Daily Star: "Changing the side for Belgium is something he's (Gareth Southgate) probably going to consider. “He's been brave enough to change the system for England and I'd be brave enough to change the team against Belgium and rest up a few players. “It could not just physically drain them but mentally it could fatigue them and that could be very dangerous going forward into the knockout stages."Read More [+]
Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero has spoken out against the insults aimed at him after Argentina's thrashing by Croatia. Caballero took to Instagram after Argentina's dramatic World Cup win over Nigeria. But I received a lot of disrespect, bad wishes and threats towards me and my family, those ugly attitudes did not help me. Once again I accept my mistake, but I never had the desire that my family spend such unpleasant days. "I see the shirt of Argentina with the values that I learned in my home and growing in football.
Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof was proud to be part of Sweden's 3-0 victory over Mexico. The win sees the Swedes reach the World Cup round of 16. Lindelof said: "It is clear that it was very tough (against Germany) and we were very angry and sad after the match there. But then we were all back and ready to upload mentally for the next match, and we are again strong mentally. There was no one who had any idea that we were going home without everyone knowing that we would win this match."
French pundit Pierre Menes has again taken aim at Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante. Menes was again left disappointed by Kante's performance for the 0-0 draw with Denmark in their final group game. He said: "I'll repeat what I said about the first two games: at the level of activity and recovery of the ball, he's excellent. "But the level of participation in the game is much too poor for this level. France will now meet Argentina in the round of 16 this Saturday.
Arsenal hero Sol Campbell believes England should rest Tottenham striker Harry Kane today. Campbell, who played at the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups for his country, believes that Kane should not be risked against Belgium. “I would rather him on the bench and then coming on for the last 20 minutes, half an hour," Campbell said to Sky Sports News. Yes, he wants to win the Golden Boot but then you have got to save the legs. “From your legs to your mental approach, I think it all factors in."
Republic of Ireland coach Martin O'Neill slammed Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic for Serbia's World Cup defeat. Goals from Paulinho and Thiago Silva sent Serbia packing. “I'm surprised at Matic because he usually can pick up players well when he's playing for Manchester United or Chelsea before that," O'Neill said. “But he's far, far too tight to Thiago Silva and then loses him in that little race. “Thiago Silva, or anyone, is always going to beat him in a race here.
Irish pundit Eamon Dunphy has slammed Manchester United legend Roy Keane over his World Cup commentary. "He has become a caricature of himself, he has become a joke," declared Dunphy. "I watched the ITV coverage because he was on it and in terms of insight, he has offered nothing. "At half-time, this is where the analysts do their job, but there is no analysis from Keane. Just smart-a*** remarks saying he wants to rip Carlos Queiroz's head off, having a go at the English…there is no intelligent analysis.
Even Marco Rojo's Mum will take the mick out of the Manchester United defender and his weak right foot! And his mum Carlina was more surprised because he had scored the winning goal with his right foot. It's because the kick was right footed, and he only uses the right foot to support himself, we did not think it was Marcos. "He said that I deserved it all, that it was for me and that he loved me. I said before the game that he was going to score a goal and Messi two, for the people who were talking bad about Leo.
Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has branded Germany "pathetic" after being dumped out of the World Cup by South Korea. Two South Korea goals in added time sent Joachim Low's team packing in one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history and goalkeeper Neuer didn't hold back. It was pathetic," said Neuer. Even if we had gone through, in the next round or the round afterwards, we'd have been knocked out." As the fallout began in earnest, manager Joachim Low also admitted they got precisely what they deserved in their 2-0 defeat in Kazan.