Egypt's squad believe the injury to Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah wrecked their World Cup hopes. Egypt face Saudi Arabia on Monday with both countries already knocked out of this summer's World Cup in Russia. Salah, who missed the first defeat against Uruguay through injury, will be disappointed by how events have unfolded - with international team-mate Amr Gamal admitting the Liverpool superstar's ailing shoulder has “killed" their campaign. “I think if Salah had started the first match things would have been different," Gamal said. “Salah is a world-class player and, when he's fit, he is capable of doing big things, his lack of fitness killed us.Read More
Chelsea ace Eden Hazard stands by his halftime blast for Belgium teammate Romelu Lukaku during their World Cup win over Panama. Hazard admitted in the post-match that he accused the Manchester United striker of "hiding". He told Sky Sports today: "As the captain, even if I am not the captain I can talk, on the pitch I try to give my best, if I can help players to be better - I will. "I just told Romelu we want to win the game we need him, not just as a scorer to score goals, but we want him to be involved in the build-up. "We just talked normally and we won the game in the end so it was fine."Read More
Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne has hit back at his Belgian critics after their win over Panama. De Bruyne is ready to take on a bigger role in Belgium's midfield after facing accusations of being unable to replicate his impressive club form at Premier League champions City for his country. "I didn't do it before because I was young and I didn't have the profile I have now," said De Bruyne, who turns 28 next Thursday. "From now on, I have to shoulder my responsibility."Read More
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino admits he was delighted for Harry Kane after his matchwinning performance in England's World Cup triumph over Tunisia. Pochettino revealed he was caught up in the moment after seeing his star player make his mark on the big stage. He scored twice, I'm so proud. "I watched in my hotel room and when he scored in the last minute I was running around like an England fan. England is my home, I support them the same as Argentina, I want them to win."Read More
Gettin' around - Part OneI've been asked a few times about how the train system is in Moscow. That being said, coming from Melbourne, any city where you don't wait for a train for 40 minutes can hold that mantle. The system has made it easy for fans to attend games and take in such a vast city. There is a lot more about the Metro system to discuss, but I'll wait until I arrive back in the city. It was terrific watching the great man play live, despite his slight addiction to rolling around on the grass.Read More
Countdown Till Start
Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod
Liverpool legend John Aldridge has scoffed at the English media's celebration of their scratchy opening World Cup win over Tunisia. "We have seen it all before from England in a major tournament, with decent players failing to perform at their best and looking like the occasion got to them on a night when they knew they dare not lose. I'd say acceptable would be a better way to describe that performance and just imagine how the English media would have reacted if Kane did not get that goal at the end. They would have savaged Southgate and his players as only they can. "Their own press pack has been the biggest enemy of the England team for as long as I can remember and while they have watered down their expectations for this World Cup, failing to beat Tunisia would have changed their tone in an instant."
Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek admits making England's World Cup squad surprised. Loftus-Cheek admits that just being at the World Cup, let alone starting, is beyond his wildest dreams as he prepares to face Panama. He said: “It didn't go through my thoughts once. "Because obviously not playing for so long, going to Palace was all about fighting for a position. “I wasn't sure I was going to play regularly so I didn't think about the World Cup.
Manchester United legend Bryan Robson says Jesse Lingard deserves his place in the England team. Robson praised Lingard for his performance in England's World Cup win over Tunisia. “Jesse and Dele Alli both started off really well," Robson said. “I thought Jesse covered the pitch really well, worked really hard and got into some great positions. The only downside is that he had two really good chances.
Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal took a swipe at Iran's tactics for Spain's World Cup. He said, "Their players repeatedly went down for no reason, even when they weren't hurt, when they hadn't been fouled. These are the types of games that win World Cups. They're obstacles you have to negotiate; you just have to find a way to get those three points. "We went after the game that bit more in the second half."
Spain coach Fernando Hierro defended their performance for victory over World Cup opponents Iran. Diego Costa's rather fortuitous goal was enough to take Spain to a 1-0 win over a resilient Iran. "Nobody is winning easily at the World Cup, we've had it as hard as we thought," Hierro explained in a post-match interview with Telecinco. At half time we corrected some things and improved after the goal. "Queiroz has been working with them for seven years and they won't make things easy for anyone."
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo was delighted to prove Portugal's matchwinner for their World Cup win over Spain. Ronaldo's early header earned a 1-0 victory and means the Euro 2016 champions are on the verge of qualifying for the knockout rounds. Speaking about the match and the result afterwards, Ronaldo explained that he was thrilled to have earned a tough three points. "We have four points now and we're close to qualifying, which was our primary goal. "Obviously I am happy to have scored the winning goal and we have to keep going."
Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has been branded "pathetic" by former Germany international Mario Basler. Ozil has been bearing the brunt of the criticism as the fall-out following the reigning world champions' 1-0 defeat to Mexico shows no sign of dying down. Former Bayern Munich star Mario Basler made the claims on television about the playmaker, saying: “He's over-rated as a footballer. I have to say it over and over again - he has the body language of a dead frog. Basler, capped 30 times by Die Mannschaft, was speaking in front of a studio audience - and his words were applauded.
England coach Gareth Southgate has dislocated his shoulder. It has been confirmed Southgate suffered a dislocated shoulder while out running today. “It is better this is me than one of the players," Southgate said. “They were a bit surprised in the team meeting and were asking 'what have you been doing!?' “I am just a bit gutted because I was on for my record 10k time!"
Germany chief Oliver Bierhoff has jumped to the defence of Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil. Ozil has been bearing the brunt of the criticism as the fall-out following the reigning world champions' 1-0 defeat to Mexico shows no sign of dying down. Bierhoff says the victimization of Ozil was 'unfair.' It is only natural we are criticized after a defeat that's the way things are. But when it gets unfair, it's unfair.
WORLD CUP 2018 - GROUP BA goal early in the second period by Diego Costa was enough for Spain to defeat a battling Iran 1-0 and get their World Cup back on track. Iran began the tournament with victory over Morocco, their first at a World Cup finals since 1998 whilst Spain conceded three in a draw with Portugal. At times the game was almost the attack of Spain against the defence of Iran such was the Spaniards dominance. However Iran's defence was breached in the 54th minute by Diego Costa with his ninth goal in nine international matches. Spain had an opportunity to make the game safe but Gerard Pique and Costa both failed to force the ball over the line during a goalmouth scramble.
Following a heavy defeat to hosts Russia last time out, Saudi Arabia were expected to bow out of the World Cup in their second game against Uruguay with a cricket scoreline. Uruguay went into the game with a 4-4-2 formation which saw Luis Suarez feature alongside Edinson Cavani in attack. Saudi Arabia appeared to be a different side from the team that lost 5-0 to Russia for the majority of the game. Uruguay have shown that they know how to grind out results, but they evidently need to step up their game with the knockout stages on the horizon. WORLD CUP GROUP AUruguay - 1 (Suarez 23')Saudi Arabia - 0
Portugal manager Fernando Santos says his team must improve over the course of the World Cup. The Euro2016 champions came closer to the knockout stages with a 1-0 win over Morocco on Wednesday. Morocco outplayed Portugal for the majority of the encounter, and Santos says his side must look to improve their game. This is a strong team, as were Morocco, but we have to grow. "We did well defensively and we played well, but we need more than that.
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF has agreed a partnership with Twitter for the ongoing Fifa World Cup in Russia, reports, www.sportspromedia.com/. In addition, the partnership will see Canarinho, the official mascot of the Brazilian national team, have its own Twitter emoji, which will appear whenever a user uses the #Canarinho hashtag. "The continuous work of approaching the Brazilian national team allows the fans to follow the daily routine of the delegation during the World Cup," said Rogério Caboclo, executive director of management at the CBF. "The partnership with Twitter ensures that this premium content reaches the public in an agile and modern way." "The opportunity to bring fans exclusive and quality content, showing every step of the Brazilian team in the World Cup, reinforces the role of Twitter as the place where people will accompany, in real time, everything that is relevant about the World Cup."Read More [+]
Portugal have defeated Morocco 1-0 at the 2018 World Cup in Moscow. With both sides failing to win their opening Group B match, there was a tense atmosphere inside Luzhniki Stadium prior to kick-off. Somehow, someway, the Moroccan defence decided not to prioritise marking Cristiano Ronaldo, and the Real Madrid superstar smashed home a header past the helpless Monir El Kajoui. Morocco's best chance at an equaliser came from Yohan Belhanda, but the Galatasaray man's header was saved brilliantly by Rui Patricio. World Cup Group BPortugal - 1 (Ronaldo 4')Morocco - 0Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow - 78,011Read More [+]
Australian public-service broadcaster SBS will continue to simulcast coverage of 2018 Fifa World Cup matches through to the conclusion of the group stage on June 29 after extending an agreement with telco Optus, reports SportBusiness. "SBS looks forward to continuing to simulcast the games, together with Optus over the next ten days," SBS chief executive and managing director Michael Ebeid said. SBS already has free-to-air rights for all of Australia's matches at the tournament, as well as selected games from the group and knockout stages, both semi-finals and the final. A decision has not been made about whether Optus will retain its exclusive rights for two of the four quarter-finals and some of the round-of-16 matches. Optus has also decided to open up its app and streaming services for free through to August 31, with subscribers who have already paid for the service receiving full refunds.Read More [+]
Former Manchester United goalkeeper Mark Bosnich insists David de Gea deserves to be hammered for his clanger in Spain's 3-3 draw with Portugal. The United keeper made one big error as Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in the World Cup clash. "David de Gea is an excellent goalkeeper, he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, but the other night he made a mistake that was a horrible mistake," Bosnich told Omnisport. He rightly got criticism and he has got to come back from it now. What's going on?'.Read More [+]
Lyon ace Nabil Fekir has paid tribute to France captain Hugo Lloris. The Tottenham goalkeeper will play his 100th international in France's World Cup clash with Peru tomorrow night. Fekir is delighted for his France teammate and says Lloris has everyone's support. Hugo is someone who is calm, calm, fairly calm," said the midfielder. "He is there to help us as much as possible and give advice to all of us."Read More [+]
Chelsea ace Eden Hazard has revealed he tried to motivate Belgium teammate Romelu Lukaku at halftime of their World Cup win over Panama. "I told Romelu at half time that we needed him," Hazard said after the victory according to The Sun. "Once he got involved in the game, as if by magic, he scored two goals. "But I want him to try to get more involved in the game, especially during the first half - as we know what he can do. "Even though we have good players, it is not easy for us to play with a man short."Read More [+]
England legend Alan Shearer has defended Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah after his performance in Egypt's World Cup defeat to Russia. Salah got his campaign up and running by scoring a penalty in Egypt's 3-1 defeat by Russia in Group A at the World Cup on Tuesday evening. Shearer, who was working as a pundit for the BBC's coverage of the game in St Petersburg, said: "He was really struggling. His touch wasn't there, but once it's on the [penalty] spot you're all thinking you just hope he puts this in the back of the net. He added: "For Salah, we've got to praise his character for him to even give it a go and you have to gamble and he obviously was only about 60 or 70 per cent fit but well done for giving it a go and he got his goal."Read More [+]
Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton is convinced by the quality of Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek. The midfielder made his competitive debut for England on Monday as he came on as a substitute in the 2-1 win over Tunisia. “I was really impressed by Loftus-Cheek when he came on," he told talkSPORT. “He had the number 19 on his back and by the end of the tournament he'd really been taken into the country's hearts. “I just have a feeling that could be Loftus-Cheek for England in Russia.
England coach Gareth Southgate is considering axing Manchester City midfielder Raheem Sterling for their clash with Panama. Southgate has hinted Sterling, who was replaced by the Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford after 68 minutes in Volgograd, may make way for Rashford in Sunday's starting line-up. Southgate said of the last-gasp 2-1 victory over Tunisia: “I was really pleased that we made clear-cut openings and of course the next step for us is to finish them. “I think, for Raheem, I was really pleased with the performance he gave. His movement, his touch... there were a lot of fouls in the game and a lot of them were on him."
Spain coach Fernando Hierro says there's no chance of dropping Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea. Hierro wanted to squash all the talking points surrounding the goalkeeper position following De Gea's clanger against Portugal. "Just so it's clear, De Gea is going to play tomorrow. When I left Real Madrid, Queiroz tried to keep me there (after Hierro had fallen out with Florentino Perez). We have a great relationship, I know him well and he's spent seven great years with Iran."
Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane has called on French fans to get behind Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba. The midfield powerhouse performed well to inspire Les Bleus to a 2-1 victory over Australia on Saturday. Varane hopes Pogba will start receiving some more positive headlines as Didier Deschamps' side prepare to take on Peru. "A lot of negativity is said, it's a reality," the Real Madrid defender said of his team-mate. If you [the media] could be a little more positive, it would be cool."
Vissel Kobe midfielder Andres Iniesta admits Julen Lopetegui's sacking unsettled Spain's players. Fernando Hierro took over the reins of the team ahead of the first match in Russia after Lopetegui was sacked three days before the start of the tournament after deciding to join Real Madrid. "It was a moment that we want to put behind us, it was not comfortable for anyone and we are concentrated on what we have ahead," said former Barcelona captain Iniesta. "Our conviction over what we were doing and what we will do is what we need to concentrate on. The match against Portugal was not easy and the team showed that we know what we are doing.
Fiorentina midfielder Milan Badelj says expelling Nikola Kalinic from the Croatia squad was the right decision. "What happened didn't affect us," the departing Fiorentina midfielder told reporters. “The first thing is the team, you have to put your ego to one side when you talk about your national team. “The same respect is needed at club level, but it's needed even more at international level because it's a more specific situation and we're not here as much. “The important thing that we maintain unity and a good atmosphere in the dressing room."
Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof was in tears after missing his World Cup debut. The 23-year-old was set to make his World Cup debut in the game against South Korea but illness meant he was replaced by Leeds United defender Pontus Jansson. Jansson told Sportbladet he went to Lindelof's room in the team hotel having received the news he would be starting ahead of him. "When I woke up, I was told Vigge (Lindelof) would play, but I got a text before we went to the stadium: 'Get ready. Vigge was very sad.
Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli is carrying a thigh injury suffered in England's World Cup win over Tunisia. The 22-year-old helped Gareth Southgate's men to a 2-1 victory in Volgograd on Monday, when he looked set to come off in the first half after suffering a knock. Fabian Delph was stripped and seemingly ready to come on, but Alli managed 80 minutes before eventually being replaced. The England midfielder went for a scan as his team-mates trained on Tuesday afternoon and the FA has confirmed the assessment showed a minor thigh strain that will need managing over the coming days.