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Beamish Dynamos 'B' »
Riverside South, Ropery Lane, Chester-Le-Street
Adult Male
Birtley Town »
Birtley Sports Centre, Durham Road, Birtley
Adult Male
Castlebeck Astronauts »
Riverside South, Ropery Lane, Chester-Le-Street
Adult Male
Chester Le Street Hilda Park »
Riverside South, Ropery Lane, Chester-Le-Street
Adult Male
Chester Le Street Whitehills Pub »
Lingholme, Chester-Le-Street, Durham
Adult Male
Consett Sheer Class »
University Of Durham, Maiden Castle, Durham
Adult Male
Darlington Gateway 'A' »
Riverside South, Ropery Lane, Chester-Le-Street
Adult Male
Dipton Workingmans Club »
Front Street, Dipston, Stanley
Adult Male
Durham & Hartlepool Soccability »
Riverside South, Ropery Lane, Chester-Le-Street
Adult Male
Durham Collingwood College 'C' »
University Of Durham, Maiden Castle, Durham
Adult Male
Durham Collingwood College 'F' »
University Of Durham, Maiden Castle, Durham
Adult Male
Durham Garden House »
Aykley Heads, Durham, County Durham
Adult Male
Durham Grey College 'A' »
University Of Durham, Maiden Castle, Durham
Adult Male
Durham Grey College 'C' »
University Of Durham, Maiden Castle, Durham
Adult Male
Durham Hatfield 'B' »
University Of Durham, Maiden Castle, Durham
Adult Male
Durham Hatfield 'D' »
University Of Durham, Maiden Castle, Durham
Adult Male
Durham Josephine Butler 'B' »
University Of Durham, Maiden Castle, Durham
Adult Male
Durham St Marys College 'A' F.C. »
University Of Durham, Maiden Castle, Durham
Adult Male
Durham University Castle B »
University Of Durham, Maiden Castle, Durham
Adult Male
Durham Van Mildert College 'E' »
University Of Durham, Maiden Castle, Durham
Adult Male
Easington Lane Three Tuns »
Lyons Road, Hetton-Le-Hole, Tyne And Wear
Adult Male
Fencehouses Dubmire W.M.C. »
Leyburn Grove, Houghton Le Spring, Houghton Le Spring
Adult Male
Hartlepool Breakaways 'A' »
Riverside South, Ropery Lane, Chester-Le-Street
Adult Male
Haswell & District Mencap 'A' »
Riverside South, Ropery Lane, Chester-Le-Street
Adult Male
Hetton Social »
Lyons Road, Hetton-Le-Hole, Tyne And Wear
Adult Male
Houghton Chilton Lodge »
Leyburn Grove, Houghton Le Spring, Houghton Le Spring
Adult Male
Houghton Cricket Club Over 40S »
Leyburn Grove, Houghton Le Spring, Houghton Le Spring
Adult Male
Houghton Swifts O.40S »
Leyburn Grove, Houghton Le Spring, Houghton Le Spring
Adult Male
New Durham W.M.C. »
Gilesgate Moor, Gilesgate, County Durham
Adult Male
Newbottle W.M.C. »
Leyburn Grove, Houghton Le Spring, Houghton Le Spring
Adult Male
Newton Aycliffe Youth Centre As »
Riverside South, Ropery Lane, Chester-Le-Street
Adult Male
Pelton Crown Inn O.40'S »
Station Lane, Pelton Fell, Chester-Le-Street
Adult Male
Penshaw Catholic Club Over 40S »
Houghton Le Springs, Houghton Le Spring, Tyne And Wear
Adult Male
South Shields Sandhaven »
Adult Male
Sunderland The Philadelphia O.40S »
Houghton Le Springs, Houghton Le Spring, Tyne And Wear
Adult Male

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Football News

» Rio Ferdinand reminds Gary Lineker he's done what Lionel Messi is yet to do at World Cup
Former England defender Rio Ferdinand never reached a World Cup final, but he one-upped seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi in a different way during his playing days
» Kylian Mbappe overlooked by ex-Man Utd star as France's "key player" at World Cup
France made light work of their group to make it into the World Cup knockout stages but Kylian Mbappe has been overlooked for the title of his country's "key player"
» Richard Keys calls out Gary Lineker with sarcastic remark over "luxury" Qatar hotel
Gary Lineker has come under fire from sections of the media over apparent hypocrisy in regards to the Qatar World Cup - and Richard Keys has now jumped on the bandwagon
» Gary Lineker sends USA fans advice after World Cup dream comes to an end
The World Cup has progressed to the knockout stages and USA have become the first team to exit in the last 16, and Gary Lineker has offered some advice to their fans
» Jack Grealish snubs Kevin De Bruyne as he makes bold Bernardo Silva claim
Jack Grealish has played alongside some impressive names since joining Manchester City and has hailed Bernardo Silva as his finest team-mate ahead of the likes of Kevin De Bruyne
» Harry Maguire makes Man Utd vow as he fires warning to team-mates
Harry Maguire has impressed for England at the 2022 World Cup but his poor form for Manchester United saw him drop behind Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Victor Lindelof
» Cristiano Ronaldo's stance on £173m-a-year deal as Man Utd's worst-case scenario emerges
Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United by mutual consent last month after a bridge-burning interview and has captained Portugal to the last 16 of the World Cup
» Frenkie De Jong's overlooked role as Netherlands stun USA with one of goals of World Cup
The Netherlands scored one of the goals of the World Cup as they defeated the United States to progress into the quarter-finals, with Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong playing a key role
» Mikel Arteta handed unlikely Arsenal lifeline after worrying Gabriel Jesus injury update
Gabriel Jesus suffered a knee injury during Brazil's defeat by Cameroon at the Qatar World Cup and he could miss the return of Premier League football with Arsenal
» Senegal manager a doubt for England clash after he misses training and press conference
Senegal boss Aliou Cisse was forced to sit out of training and his media responsibilities on Saturday after coming down with an illness ahead of his nation's last-16 World Cup 2022 match with England
» Arsenal embarrassed in behind closed doors friendly after Mikel Arteta had seen enough
The Gunners were beaten by Watford in a friendly at their London Colney training ground on Saturday, as goals for Marquinhos and Eddie Nketiah were cancelled out
» Memphis Depay celebration explained as Netherlands stake claim for World Cup glory
NETHERLANDS 3-1 UNITED STATES: Memphis Depay scored the opener before Daley Blind and Denzel Dumfries put the Dutch on course for the World Cup 2022 quarter-finals
» Memphis Depay's Man Utd clause and "unfinished business" claim as he stars in World Cup
Memphis Depay starred for Netherlands as they booked their spot in the World Cup quarter-finals - and the former Manchester United ace could soon be poised for another big move
» Virgil van Dijk's reaction spotted as finger of blame pointed firmly at Christian Pulisic
NETHERLANDS 3-1 UNITED STATES: Goals from Memphis Depay, Daley Blind and Denzel Dumfries were enough to send Louis van Gaal's men to the quarter-finals, with Virgil van Dijk playing a key role
» Gary Lineker slams "absurd" Cristiano Ronaldo claim after World Cup 2022 performances
Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo has failed to score from open play at the World Cup, despite Fernando Santos' team qualifying for the last 16 as winners of their group
» Son Heung-min details the tears and hidden fire behind South Korea's World Cup surprise
South Korea will play pre-tournament favourites Brazil in the last 16 of the World Cup on Monday after their 2-1 win over Portugal was enough to knock out Uruguay and qualify
» Fan dies as Bromley vs Yeovil match abandoned after 11 minutes due to medical emergency
Bromley's National League match against Yeovil was abandoned after 11 minutes on Saturday after a medical emergency in the crowd saw a supporter sadly die later in hospital
» Joe Cole explains why he's "surprised" by Man Utd's Fred after Fabinho admission
Joe Cole lauded Fred before Brazil's shock World Cup defeat to Cameroon on Friday night and admitted that he had been "surprised" by the Manchester United man's impressive displays
» Liverpool's Darwin Nunez issues apology after Uruguay chaos following World Cup exit
Darwin Nunez will be back with his Liverpool teammates earlier than he would have hoped after Uruguay suffered a painful elimination from the World Cup in Qatar
» Amad sends Cristiano Ronaldo replacement message to Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag
Winger Amad scored his fourth goal in six matches for loan side Sunderland in front of Manchester United scouts, who will provide glowing reports for manager Erik ten Hag
» Brutal Cristiano Ronaldo prediction sees him send Portugal out of World Cup
Portugal face Switzerland in the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup on Tuesday, with Cristiano Ronaldo expected to start for A Selecao as he looks to finally win the tournament
» Man Utd loanee Amad tells Sunderland fans to "change song" containing racial stereotype
Amad joined Manchester United in a big-money move from Atalanta as a teenager and has been sent on loan to Championship side Sunderland for regular first-team football
» Cristiano Ronaldo's blunt text message sums up exactly what he thinks of Man Utd
Piers Morgan has lifted the lid on a private conversation he had with Cristiano Ronaldo shortly after it had been confirmed that the striker's Manchester United contract had been terminated
» Gary Lineker and Kylian Mbappe lead Pele tributes after move to 'end-of-life' care
Pele is receiving pain-relief medication in an end-of-life ward in Sao Paulo after he was taken to hospital earlier this week, according to reports in his native Brazil

Other sport news:

» Argentina v Australia: World Cup 2022, last 16 – live
  • Updates from the 7pm GMT kick-off at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium
  • You can contact Rob here with your thoughts

The only previous World Cup meeting between these sides was an intercontinental playoff in 1993. Graham Arnold played in it, as did Diego Maradona.

“I think the universe is paying us back for all the hard work we’ve done”

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» Pelé moved to end-of-life care in hospital, reports say

Brazilian football legend is reportedly no longer responding to chemotherapy treatment

The Brazilian football great Pelé is receiving palliative care after he stopped responding to chemotherapy treatment for colon cancer, the Brazilian newspaper Folha de S Paulo has reported.

Pelé, 82, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday to re-evaluate his cancer treatment, according to medical reports.

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» Netherlands into quarter-finals after Dumfries volley caps win against USA

If this is boring football then give Louis van Gaal more of it. The Netherlands’ head coach has bridled at claims he has brought a tedious team to the World Cup but they had the class, nous and killer instinct that the United States lacked to become the first country into the quarter-finals.

A player named after the actor Denzel Washington – the Internazionale defender Denzel Dumfries – was the architect of the USA’s demise with two assists and a fine third goal that extinguished any chance of a comeback by Gregg Berhalter’s young side. The USA rallied strongly after finding themselves two goals down at half-time and the cheekiest of flicks from Haji Wright brought hope.

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» Vivianne Miedema strikes to sink Everton and get Arsenal back on track

It took a stunning strike from Dutch record goalscorer Vivianne Miedema to give the Gunners a narrow win at home to Everton, but the scoreline made the league meeting look far less comfortable than it ultimately was.

“I felt OK until the last five minutes,” said Arsenal’s manager, Jonas Eidevall. “I’m a little disappointed that we didn’t put the game to rest because we had chances to do it.”

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» Serbia fans ‘showed fascist slogans and sang about killing Albanians’ at game
  • Hat associated with war atrocities seen at Switzerland match
  • Fan says he was set upon by Serbia supporters at World Cup

Serbia supporters displayed fascist slogans and aimed racist chants towards ethnic Albanians during their side’s match against Switzerland on Friday night, according to an eyewitness account given to the Observer.

The scenes at Stadium 974 in Doha, where Switzerland won 3-2 to secure a last-16 place in a match that spilled over during the second half, raise questions about Fifa’s stewarding and in particular its apparent tolerance of offensive insignia. Hasan Rrahmani arrived at the match wearing an Albanian flag around his neck but says he had it confiscated at the entrance while derogatory nationalist symbols were allowed through. He says he was shown a WhatsApp message that Fifa had sent to security staff containing pictures of items, pictures and phrases that were not allowed.

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» Brazil blow as Gabriel Jesus and Alex Telles are ruled out of World Cup
  • Both players picked up injuries against Cameroon
  • Brazil face South Korea in the last 16 on Monday

Brazil’s Arsenal forward Gabriel Jesus and the defender Alex Telles have both been ruled out of the rest of the World Cup after picking up injuries in their final Group G game against Cameroon.

Telles was substituted in the 54th minute of Brazil’s 1-0 defeat by the African side, with Jesus leaving the pitch 10 minutes later. Brazil face South Korea in the last 16 on Monday.

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» Diverse World Cup knockout stage a leap forward for Africa and Asia

Every inhabited continent is represented at the last 16 in Qatar, aided by a crop of tactically smart, quick-thinking coaches

Amid the stultifying debate over whether the ball had crossed the byline before Ao Tanaka’s winner for Japan against Spain, something more important was lost. The goal ultimately ensured that, for the first time, every inhabited continent was represented in a World Cup last 16. Less than a day would pass before South Korea enhanced Asia’s contingent, guaranteeing the most diverse knockout stage in the tournament’s history.

It makes for a mouthwatering set of ties and will also be music to the ears of Qatar, which assiduously posits itself as a unifying force regardless of evidence to the contrary. Hosting a competition with a greater global spread of participants than any other is not hard to spin positively: the mix is a consequence of drama that, after a slow start, gave this group stage a claim to be the best ever on pure footballing terms.

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» Was Aspire project a vehicle to deliver votes to Qatar’s World Cup bid?

Football Dreams was ostensibly about players in developing countries but its story makes for remarkable reading now

Look who we are, we are the dreamers. We make it happen. There is something seductively inane about the soundtrack to Qatar 2022, present in the slogans plastered across its surfaces, the sonic assault of the World Cup PA, the playlist of official anthems, centralised messages, approved corporate machine-feelings.

“Believing is magic” read the words across the back of the T-shirts worn by a column of men filing through the service exit of the vast fibreglass tent that is Al Bayt Stadium in the wee hours of Friday morning. The power of dreams. The power of football. The power of Football Dreams. What could ever be wrong with that?

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» Sunderland cruise past Millwall to climb into top half of Championship
  • Black Cats impress in first game since World Cup shutdown
  • League One: Ipswich and Wednesday miss chance to go top

Sunderland climbed into the top 10 of the Championship as they made a winning return after the World Cup shutdown. Second-half goals from Amad Diallo, Alex Pritchard and Ellis Simms enabled the Black Cats to claim a 3-0 victory over Millwall.

The hosts effectively settled things with a two-goal burst in the space of five minutes at the start of the second half, improving markedly after a slow start to claim what was only a second home win since August. The visitors should have scored in first-half stoppage time, but Zian Flemming put his shot wide after keeper Anthony Patterson had scuffed his clearance.

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» Senegal’s beach ballers aim to cause earthquake by shaking up England

African nation has produced an array of talent in recent years but must overcome key absentees to succeed in last-16 game

There is a daily ritual on Senegal’s beaches that begins just as the sun starts to set at about 5pm. Roughly divided by age, hundreds of young men play football until it gets dark or the tides of the Atlantic Ocean wash away their pitches and the discarded tyres being used as impromptu goalposts.

It only takes a few minutes of watching the dazzling array of skills on show to understand why Teranga Lions have won Africa’s Beach Soccer Cup of Nations on seven of the past nine occasions, although it needed another penalty shootout victory over Egypt to claim their fourth successive title in October.

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» World Cup 2022 Golden Boot: top goalscorers, game by game

The Golden Boot is awarded to the player who scores most goals in the tournament. Ties are settled by assists, then by minutes per goal. Here are the latest standings

The Golden Boot is awarded to the player who scores the most goals in the tournament. If there are multiple players with the same number of goals, the tie is broken by assists, and if those too are equal, by the lowest minutes played.

Own goals do not count, and nor do penalties scored in penalty shoot-outs, but penalties in normal or extra time do.

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» World Cup 2022: complete guide to all 830 players

Everything you need to know (and more) about every squad member in Qatar. Click on the player pictures for a fuller profile and match ratings


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» England are World Cup contenders. Does it matter if they are any good? | Jonathan Wilson

Major tournaments are short and freakish things happen – and England, unlike more illustrious opponents, are still here

Three games into their World Cup campaign, 11 games into 2022, 79 games into Gareth Southgate’s reign, the question remains unanswered: are England actually any good?

To which there are probably two answers. The first is simple: yes, reasonably. They finished top of their group. They were joint top-scorers alongside Spain. They kept two clean sheets. The second is a weary sigh as any discussion of England is immediately submerged by hackneyed debates about arrogance and expectation, set against a backdrop of implausible ideals of breezy attacking perfection. What even is good?

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» Germany must reinvent themselves so that Gary Lineker is right again | Philipp Lahm

Leaving another World Cup early has exposed a lack of strategy and order that means Germany no longer always win in the end

Gary Lineker is no longer right. Football is no longer a game in which Germany win in the end. In Qatar, the big nations have succeeded so far. Only not us; as in the two previous major tournaments, Germany were eliminated early.

A pattern can be discerned in the failures of the past four or five years. Germany have lost defensive stability – the team cannot keep anyone away from their goal. Every opponent creates chances, even Costa Rica and (in the only preparation match) Oman. Germany’s game always suffers a break.

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» Uruguay leave the World Cup the same way they played in it: gracelessly | Jonathan Liew

South Americans blame officials for crashing out despite victory over Ghana but have only themselves to blame

Finally the tears came. For the closing few minutes he had managed to hold them back, as the news came through and his teammates continued to chase. But the final whistle came like a life sentence and suddenly he could hold back no longer. He buried his crumpled face in his jersey. The Ghana fans caught a glimpse on the big screen and let out their largest cheer of the night. For a few seconds the world was watching Luis Suárez crying. And the world was not – shall we say – overly uncomfortable with this state of affairs.

A revenge of sorts, then, even if nobody was much in the mood for celebrating. And for Uruguay, perhaps the final cruel twist of a strategy that seemed to be working perfectly, right up until the moment it didn’t.

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» ‘Let’s play ball’: Poland pray for more in World Cup last-16 tie against France

Despite reaching the knockout rounds for the first time since 1986, Poland’s one-sided defeat by Argentina has attracted criticism

Zagrajmy w pilke” – “Let’s play ball”. That was the headline instruction, front and centre, on the Polish website on Thursday morning after the tense, chaotic conclusion to Group C the night before. Poland had stumbled into the last 16 of the World Cup with a performance so devoid of ambition that the domestic media coverage seemed more like a postmortem than a celebration of reaching the knockout stages for the first time since 1986.

It should have been a day of jubilation. Instead, there seemed to be a wide sense of embarrassment. “We will not tell our grandchildren by the fireplace years later about how the Polish national team progressed from the group at the 2022 World Cup,” wrote Dariusz Tuzimek for “When they ask about it, we’ll try to change the subject.”

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» Football is not about winning all the time – it has a much wider impact | Jason Stockwood

Unrealistic expectations can breed anger – at Grimsby we build relationships through committing to give our best

One of my father-in-law’s favourite aphorisms is “expect nothing and you’ll never be disappointed”. Although not the most positive outlook on life, there is a kernel of truth in his wisdom.

Mo Gawdat, in his book Solve for Happy, discusses why people are happy or unhappy, content or dissatisfied, calm or frustrated in any given situation. He believes the primary factor is how we set our expectations in life, driven partly by the illusion of control against a backdrop of a universe whose natural state is “entropy and chaos”. He states that “happiness is equal or greater than the perception of the events of your life minus your expectations”. In summary, whether “life is going my way”. Importantly he follows on: “It doesn’t really matter what life is, your happiness is defined by whether you are OK with it.”

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» How England ‘pulled it out of the fire’ against Milla’s Cameroon at Italia 90

The only time the Three Lions faced African opposition in a finals knockout match was 32 years ago – and they nearly blew it

Italia 90’s accepted place in football history is that of a poor tournament where the crosswinds of geopolitics coloured a World Cup with a deeper cultural impact than any other. The final appearances of West Germany and Yugoslavia, a post-Ceausescu Romania throwing off the shackles and the Republic of Ireland’s days of heaven under Jack Charlton represent a small sample of myriad narratives.

When England take on Senegal in Al Khor on Sunday, further memories of 32 years ago will be conjured, for that was the first – and last – time England faced African opposition in a World Cup knockout match. Cameroon in Naples on 1 July 1990 in the quarter-finals ended the Indomitable Lions’ thrilling run as a 3-2 win forged English hopes of going all the way.

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» 10 things we learned from the group stages in the Qatar World Cup

The first round of the finals threw up a lot of stoppage time, few red cards and an open contest for the golden boot

With 48 matches and the whole of the group stage in Qatar behind us now, here are some of the things we have learnt so far …

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» ‘Fan culture is changing’: England cheered by diverse crowds in Qatar

Factors including scarcity of alcohol and travel costs have changed the face of England’s support, but will it last?

It was 16-year-old Mohamed Suleiman from Bolton who said it best, as he gazed at a vast panorama of England supporters around him in Doha – and saw so many faces looking like his own. “I think English fan culture is changing,” he said. “It’s becoming more diverse. More welcoming. And you can definitely see it in Qatar.”

Mohamed’s father, Abdul, explained that he had always dreamed of taking his son to a World Cup. Now they were here in England shirts for what they both called a trip of a lifetime. “Over the weekend England and Wales fans were fighting in Spain,” added Abdul. “But there are no issues here. Perhaps the lack of alcohol has something to do with it, but it feels safe and welcoming.”

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» Iliman Ndiaye’s rise from Sunday league to Senegal World Cup ace

Sheffield United’s rising star is preparing to face England in Qatar after a formative spell in the Northern Premier League

Iliman Ndiaye wanted to perfect his skills so much they had to turn off the lights at Hyde United’s Ewen Fields to make sure he got the last train home. Being sent on loan from the Premier League to the seventh tier may not seem like the most attractive proposition for a teenager but the Sheffield United forward embraced his spell in the Northern Premier League.

Ndiaye, 22, who will face England with Senegal in the World Cup on Sunday, had been playing Sunday league football in the months before Sheffield United took him on a week’s trial in 2019 after he was spotted by the scout Steve Holmes. Ndiaye played in two trial matches and impressed the coaches with his fitness, aggression and skill. They offered a contract but he almost did not join because Marseille, where he had spent time in the academy as a young boy, were due compensation. Holmes and the coach Travis Binnion convinced United to pay up.

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» Game of cojones: Serbia suffer and give Granit Xhaka the last word | Barney Ronay

Switzerland’s captain offered a snapshot of the bad blood between Albania, Kosovo and Serbia with one crude gesture

Maybe Fifa does have a sense of humour after all. Certainly there was a note of dark comedy in the news, relayed breathlessly over the PA on the final whistle, that the player of the match in this fraught Group E decider was Granit Xhaka.

Not that Xhaka didn’t deserve it. He played well in deep midfield on a steamy night at Stadium 974. He controlled the tempo at times. More to the point Xhaka also controlled the noises off, directing the dark energy that must always accompany this fixture with the poise of a veteran conductor. Albeit, a veteran conductor with one hand down his shorts.

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» England doesn’t expect much these days: except when it comes to the World Cup | Marina Hyde

The country is riven by political incompetence and economic distress so expectations are low for everyone bar Gareth Southgate and his players

Well. About last night … to describe the conclusion of the group stages of this World Cup as crazy feels a bit like calling the residents of Arkham Asylum merely eccentric. For three minutes on Thursday, Costa Rica’s lead over Germany would have meant Spain were heading home, with the coach Luis Enrique mercifully in the dark about this potential outcome. “If I’d have known,” he reflected mildly afterwards, “I would have had a heart attack.” It was certainly the evening for it.

ITV’s Graeme Souness appeared to be suffering from a number of baroque medical conditions as he “analysed” the notion that the ball did not go out of play before Japan’s crucial second goal against Spain. Graeme’s conniption swiftly tipped over into such deep conspiracy theory that he is expected to follow his stint in Qatar with a secondment to Donald Trump’s stop-the-steal campaign. “Why have we not seen the evidence?” the studio’s Oliver Stone kept demanding rhetorically.

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» Rip things up or keep faith? Germany hit the road and now face gamble

There are two schools of thought developing in Germany over their latest World Cup exit in the group stages

There was to be no melodrama. There were few tears and even fewer words. “Dead silence,” was how Jonas Hofmann described the Germany dressing room in the aftermath of its most pyrrhic victory, a 4-2 win over Costa Rica that still led to their elimination.

“It’s so bitter, I have no words,” said a crestfallen Serge Gnabry. Ilkay Gündogan, his belongings wrapped in a bin bag, dragged himself through the mixed zone mumbling a few things about disappointment. Kai Havertz posed with his unwanted player-of-the-match award like a man clutching his divorce papers.

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» England have a plan to take them to the final but high-quality Senegal are a danger | Karen Carney

Gareth Southgate’s adjusted midfield setup looked strong against Wales but nothing comes easy at a World Cup

We may have got a glimpse of Gareth Southgate’s tactics for the knockout stages in the win over Wales on Tuesday. The England head coach changed the central midfield three, removing the attacking role behind Harry Kane to bring in the experienced Jordan Henderson in a deeper position.

England will have seen what other teams are doing and how they operate, leaving Southgate to create a plan that could take England through to the final. Brazil, for example, go through the middle of teams and an extra man in central midfield will help counteract that. It worked against Wales, who managed a solitary shot.

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» Luis Enrique oblivious to team’s peril during Spain’s ‘collapse’ against Japan

La Roja briefly faced World Cup exit but coach claims he was entirely focused on their struggles at the Khalifa Stadium

Luis Enrique was the last to know, or so he claimed. It was after midnight before he found out just how close he and his team had come to disaster at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, the realisation caught on cameras. How had he felt during those three minutes when Spain were out of the World Cup, he was asked in the press conference after his team’s 2-1 defeat by Japan. What was going through his mind? Instead of an answer, there was an “Eh?!” and another question. “Three minutes out, why?!” he replied.

A conversation followed in which only Luis Enrique’s half could be heard properly, the journalist’s microphone having been handed back. Usefully, it served as proof, evidence of his approach, the single-mindedness that sets him apart. That, at least, was the way he was playing it. “You didn’t know?” he was asked. “No,” the coach said. “I’m not focused on the other game; I’m only concentrating on mine …

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» Luis Suárez: 'I don't apologise' for 2010 goal-saving handball against Ghana – video

Uruguay forward Luis Suárez has said that he does not feel sorry for his handball against Ghana that cost the African nation a place in the 2010 World Cup semi-finals as the two sides prepare to face each other again. Suárez stopped a certain goal with his hand at the end of extra time and received a red card before Asamoah Gyan missed the resulting penalty. "I don't apologise about that. I take the handball – but the Ghana player missed a penalty, not me," Suarez said. "It's not my fault."

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» 'We will fight for this': Argentina fans celebrate as they progress to last 16 – video

Argentina fans in Doha and Buenos Aires celebrated after a comfortable victory over Poland in their final Group C fixture despite their talisman Lionel Messi missing a penalty. Alexis Mac Allister snuck a shot past the Polish keeper shortly after the interval, putting Lionel Scaloni’s side ahead before Julián Álvarez's goal secured the victory and Argentina's place in the knockout stages as winners of their group. 'We were really nervous when we started here, but now we're really happy for the result,' said one fan outside Doha's Stadium 974. 

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» What's next for England after the group stage? – video explainer

Jamie Jackson looks ahead to what's next for England as they progress out of the group stage to the round of 16. The Three Lions finished top of their group by delivering a crushing 3-0 blow to Wales in their final group match, following a 6-2 victory over Iran and a 0-0 draw with USA. Jackson considers the readiness of the players, the attack, the defence as well as Southgate's tactics to see if England are ready to go all the way. 

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» How Iranians protested against country's regime during the World Cup – video report

Iranians have used the World Cup to highlight some of the human rights abuses in their country. Protesters used the slogan "woman, life, freedom" through chants, banners and printed T-shirts but encountered problems with Qatari authorities. This including one man being pinned to the ground after the Iran v USA game and others reporting being watched. Following Iran's exit from the tournament, celebrations took place back home as many see the football team as representing the government and not the people. 

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» 'It hurts': Wales fans react to England defeat ending World Cup hopes – video

Wales fans expressed disappointment but pride in their side after heavy defeat by England in Qatar ended their hopes of progressing to the knockout stages of the World Cup. Of their team's first appearance in the tournament since 1958, one said: "Getting here was a big achievement, so well done." 

England supporters were ecstatic after two goals from Marcus Rashford either side from one from Phil Foden inspired a 3-0 victory to seal top spot in Group B, setting up a last-16 meeting with Senegal on Sunday. "We're the team to beat," said a fan outside the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium. 

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» Iranians celebrate World Cup exit as symbolic victory against country's regime – video

Residents in Iran took to the streets cheering and honking car horns on Tuesday night, celebrating the national team's exit from the World Cup following defeat by the USA in Qatar. Videos acquired by The Associated Press showed cars out on the streets of Saqqez in the Kurdistan province, and some people chanting "death to the dictator" in reference to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader. In Mahabad, people could be seen dancing on the streets. Iran's western, Kurdish-majority areas have seen waves of unrest in recent months amid nationwide protests against the government. The team's loss is viewed by some as a victory against what they see as oppression by the government.

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» Socceroos World Cup run has made Australia fall in love with football again but for how long? | John Davidson

The game has been here before and progress has largely been squandered. These seedlings cannot be left to wither once more

Stunned, shocked, amazed, astounded. Throw in any other adjectives you like. Australia’s qualification for the round of 16 at the World Cup, after back-to-back wins over Tunisia and Denmark, has captured the imagination of a nation and surprised a planet.

Not since that thrilling journey in Germany 16 years ago, when Guus Hiddink and the so-called “Golden Generation” pushed Italy all the way in Kaiserslautern, has football been more relevant Down Under. It’s fitting that this current group is led by Hiddink’s assistant during that World Cup campaign, Graham Arnold.

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» NYC FC’s years in wilderness to end with construction of permanent home
  • Club confirms plans to build 25,000-seat stadium in Queens
  • Team had played most home games at Yankee Stadium

New York City FC will finally have a permanent home after the club announced plans for a 25,000-capacity venue in the Willets Point neighborhood in Queens.

The club announced the partnership with New York City mayor Eric Adams and the Queens Development Group at a press conference on Wednesday. The project will be privately funded and will also include 2,500 units of affordable housing, a hotel and retail space.

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» ‘Just gifted’: Stoke City is a distant memory for Choupo-Moting at Bayern | Andy Brassell

‘Super Choupo’ scored again at Schalke but is valued for more than goals as he expertly anchors Julian Nagelsmann’s attack

It wasn’t the sort of goal you’d over-celebrate. The second in an eventual 2-0 win to put away prone opponents, with the best team in the division besting the worst (the former beating the latter for the ninth time in a row), and the goalscorer netting against his former club for good measure.

Yet there was something else which made this not a goal to let off fireworks for. It reminded us that in recent times Bayern Munich have become used to seeing Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting deliver for them. For Schalke – his former club who are in a different dimension to the one which they inhabited back when the Cameroonian striker wore the royal blue – this was the latest, inevitable, familiar boot to the nether regions, their falling short as habitual to a modern-day Bundesliga script as Choupo-Moting emerging triumphant.

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» Matildas’ 2-0 win over Thailand confirms positive signs ahead of World Cup
  • Dominant display continues winning streak under Gustavsson
  • Goals from Sam Kerr and Hayley Raso seal victory in Gosford

The Matildas have defeated Thailand 2-0 to finish the year on the longest winning streak of Tony Gustavsson’s coaching tenure and confirm positive signs ahead of next year’s World Cup on home soil.

The final scoreline did not reflect the Matildas’ dominance of a game characterised by missed opportunities.

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» The Ligue 1 players in great form before the winter World Cup

The World Cup in Qatar has arrived at the perfect time for players such as Jonathan David, Youssouf Fofana and Leo Messi

By Adam White for Get French Football News

Although the timing of this controversial World Cup is unorthodox, it will arrive at the right moment for many players. They have not just experienced the fatigue of a 60-game season and will be helped by the intensity and freshness of recent league fixtures, so the pace and standard at the World Cup in Qatar, heat permitting, could be at their highest for some decades. An energetic, buoyant, on-form Lionel Messi, now 35, will be helped more than most, having struggled with tiredness in the last two tournaments. But he’s not the only Ligue 1 player who may benefit from a winter World Cup.

For France, the timing has aided Monaco midfielder Youssouf Fofana’s late charge into Didier Deschamps’ squad. He has been Ligue 1’s most improved player in 2022. Before Monaco sacked Niko Kovac a year ago, the manager had become frustrated with Fofana’s erratic form and laid-back, class-clown off-field persona, dropping the midfielder. New head coach Philippe Clement, however, has put his faith in Fofana and is helping him become one of France’s best midfielders.

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» Milan late show keeps them in distant contact with Napoli’s ‘Martians’ | Nicky Bandini

The celebrations at San Siro were of relief that runaways Napoli did not enter the World Cup break with a double-digit lead

It was the 91st minute at San Siro when Milan scored the goal that might have rescued the Serie A title race. Technically the Fiorentina defender Nicola Milenkovic scored it for them – deflecting Aster Vranckx’s cross into his own net – but few were dwelling on the fine details as Zombie Nation’s Kernkraft 400, a German dance track older than some players on the pitch, blared out across the public address.

A crowd of 73,000 danced and sighed with relief. Milenkovic’s own goal secured a 2-1 win and kept Milan ‘only’ eight points behind Napoli at the top. The league leaders hold a double-digit advantage over every other side in the division heading into the World Cup break.

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» How the Socceroos’ World Cup hopes are underpinned by ties with Scotland | Paul Williams

Almost half of Graham Arnold’s 26-man squad in Qatar has a Scottish connection in a football tradition that goes back 100 years

Who says Scotland aren’t going to the World Cup? The country’s World Cup drought might have extended to 24 years when they failed to qualify for the 2022 edition, but that doesn’t mean Scotland isn’t being represented at football’s global showpiece in Qatar.

Instead of their navy blue, Scotland’s representation will come with a green and gold hue. The Socceroos’ current squad not only reflects the changing face of Australian society and more recent migration patterns through the likes of Thomas Deng, Garang Kuol, Awer Mabil and Keanu Baccus, it also strongly reflects those of a previous era with a more Anglo-Celtic persuasion.

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» La Liga packs up for World Cup and some need a break more than others | Sid Lowe

There was joy for stars who avoided injury, frustration for in-form teams and relief for strugglers as league went on hiatus

“I’ll be watching it of course, at home, because I like football,” Carlo Ancelotti said. “My teams will be the teams where my players play: Brazil, Spain, France, Uruguay, Croatia, Germany, lots of teams. I’ll follow the World Cup as a fan, and may the best team win it. Unfortunately, Italy can’t.” There was a smile, a goodbye and with that he was gone. They all were. Just before midnight on a Thursday in early November and the Real Madrid coach was the last man to leave. La Liga was finished, everyone out of here for 50 days. Mentally, some had gone already.

This weekend is the first round of the Copa del Rey, but none of the Super Cup teams will be in it – no Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia or Betis – and not many of the World Cup players will be either. If they have got this far injury-free, and not all of them have, few will take one last risk against a team they’ve never heard of; in fact, while no one admits it, the calendar was drawn up this way for this reason, to gain a little room, however tiny. Spain’s squad has just been announced and some footballers have already flown, this final midweek round of games is a watershed no one wanted – even if for some teams stopping is the best thing they could do right now.

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» Bayer Leverkusen’s revival under Xabi Alonso continues with derby delight | Andy Brassell

Out of the bottom three after and winning a local derby, Leverkusen can sign off for the Bundesliga’s break with hope

If Leverkusen have spent most of the campaign so far hiding their bright light under a bushel, it was shining high in the grey skies last weekend as they steamrollered long-time league-leaders Union Berlin. The highlight of Englische Woche, though? Don’t be fooled. If Sunday was the main course this, a 15-minute hop behind enemy lines on a fresh Wednesday night, was the dessert.

That half-hour of second-half heaven against Union, where a goalless first half became a 5-0 virtuoso display, felt like a placebo in the context of the midweek derby at Köln, like a little holiday from reality. It had shown Leverkusen could play, but we knew that already. This showed they have the guts as well as the swagger (neither of which have been on display nearly enough this season). The jubilant reaction of Xabi Alonso – a twitchy, tense presence on the touchline all evening – and his staff at the end showed how much this meant.

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» Wales fans feel pride and despair but not anger after swift World Cup exit | Elis James

Wales turned in three of their worst displays of recent times in Qatar but this journey was always about more than football

It felt a little like a bride walking down the aisle on her special day, only for her dearly beloved to be staring at the reams of toilet paper that were stuck to her shoes. After all the hype and expectation, it wasn’t meant to be like this. A must-win game against our next door neighbours, to stand any chance of progression in our first World Cup for 64 years. Wales 0 England 3. Is this the way the future’s meant to feel?

Unlike the writers in some other newspapers, I am able to experience two emotions at once, with neither being anger. Enormous pride that we qualified. Incredible disappointment that we are going home. But it is disappointment with context. It is far better to get knocked out of a World Cup than not to get to one in the first place. What was so frustrating about the great qualification failures of my time as a supporter – Euro 92, USA 94, Euro 2004 and Russia 2018 – was the feeling of unfinished business, a cosmic unfairness that prevented footballers who were good enough to play on the biggest stage from doing so.

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» Marcus Rashford rediscovers the joy of football after tough times

Manchester United forward is smiling again at the World Cup after racist abuse, loss of form and being dropped by England

At half-time on Tuesday night, England had a problem. They were in control of their World Cup Group B fixture against Wales but had not scored. For momentum, for the fans, for keeping critics in the media and online at bay, something needed to change. And so, five minutes after the restart, Marcus Rashford stepped up and smashed a free-kick into the top corner from 25 yards.

The Manchester United forward followed up with the final goal in the 3-0 victory. Taking a long pass on the run, he chopped inside the Welsh left-back Connor Roberts, beat him definitively with a stepover, then drove the ball between the legs of the goalkeeper Danny Ward. It was an exhilarating, exuberant moment and, as he turned towards the crowd and his teammates, Rashford flashed his famous smile. England now face Senegal in the last 16 on Sunday.

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» USA’s Sophia Smith: ‘You won’t get far if you don’t love the game’

The Portland Thorns forward on pushing herself to the limit, learning from Christine Sinclair and the upcoming World Cup

Welcome to Moving the Goalposts, the Guardian’s free women’s football newsletter. Here’s an extract from this week’s edition. To receive the full version once a week, just pop your email in below:

In October Sophia Smith sat in front of the gathered media in Washington DC and calmly outlined her ambition: to become the best player in the world. It is quite a claim but then she had already had a pretty good year: She was the 2022 NWSL MVP (the youngest ever), was awarded the same accolade for the season’s final, which her club Portland Thorns won, and scored in the final.

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» Germany and Belgium out but did Japan keep the ball in play? – Football Daily

Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning, Lars Sivertsen, Jonathan Fadugba and Archie Rhind-Tutt assess the fallout from an extraordinary night of drama

Today: Germany are OUT at the group stage for the second World Cup in a row. Despite a 4-2 win over Costa Rica, Spain’s 2-1 defeat to Japan sees the Samurai Blue top Group E to send Hansi Flick’s side home to face the music.

Belgium’s World Cup campaign is also over after a goalless draw with Croatia saw them dumped out – spelling the end of Roberto Martínez’s time in charge. Meanwhile, Morocco are into the knockout stage for just the second time in their history after their 2-1 win over plucky Canada.

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» David Squires on … the workers’ view of Qatar’s World Cup moments so far

Our cartoonist on how the stories from the second round of group games might look from a migrant worker’s angle

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» Football Daily | Bare footballing facts, plus the deployment of various kitchen sinks

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Absolutely nothing is off the table at these Human Rights World Cup finals. For all Gianni Infantino’s protestations, his “shut up and dribble” pre-tournament message has been about as effective as Serbia’s offside trap against Cameroon striker Vincent “Scoop” Aboubakar. So if HRWC 2022 proves anything, it’s that history is rarely forgotten. And that means you, Ingerlund-supporting berks who think it a wheeze to visit the actual Middle East clad in crusader costumes. Did you not do history at schoo … oh, what’s the use?

The Big Website World Cup guide to all 830 players is a wonderful document (presumably no Football Daily input). However, the Senegalese defender with the No 24 has been included as ‘Moustapha Name’. Perhaps, for the sake of completeness, a bit more work was needed?” – John Lawton.

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» ‘Each player can be a Wonder Woman’: How Tigres UANL grew their fanbase

The Monterrey club won the Mexican title while expanding their brand internationally and plan to become bigger

Welcome to Moving the Goalposts, the Guardian’s free women’s football newsletter. Here’s an extract from this week’s edition. To receive the full version once a week, just pop your email in below:

For many years the United States have been at the very top of women’s football. The USA have won four out of eight World Cups and their domestic game has always been seen as one of the leading women’s leagues in the world.

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» Wales wave goodbye as England wrap up first place in Group B – Football Daily

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Troy Townsend, Elis James, Barney Ronay and Nick Ames as England seal their neighbours’ fate

Rate, review, share on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Audioboom, Mixcloud, Acast and Stitcher, and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

Today: England beat Wales 3-0 to secure their place at the top of Group B, setting up a Round of 16 game against Senegal. It’s the end of the road for Wales, and Elis James joins us to offer his perspective.

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» Which lower-league footballers have appeared at the World Cup? | The Knowledge

Plus: worst World Cup showings for flawless qualifiers; wildly successful late call-ups; and an apology to Chris Woods

“What’s the lowest-ranked club side to send a player to the World Cup? Has anyone from the second or third tier popped up in a WC finals?” tweets George Davidson.

Second or third? How about the seventh tier? But first, let’s acknowledge some of the higher-profile players who went to a World Cup while slumming it in the lower leagues. “Some scandals in Italy that resulted in clubs being relegated provide a few examples,” writes Jonathan Bartley. “In 1982, during the fallout from the Totonero scandal, Milan were relegated to Serie B for the second time in three seasons, this time on sporting merit. That summer Franco Baresi and Fulvio Collovati were in Italy’s World Cup-winning squad, with Collovati playing every game, and Joe Jordan scored for Scotland against the USSR.

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» David Squires on … Qatar 2022. We’re really doing this then, are we?

Our cartoonist gets ready for the World Cup’s big kick-off and asks the burning question on so many people’s minds

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» David Squires on … a Qatar World Cup worker’s death by ‘natural causes’

Rupchandra Rumba toiled in extreme heat before dying in the night. His widow says she has never received fair compensation

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» Senegal scouting report before their World Cup last-16 game with England

We look at the strengths, weaknesses, danger men and tactics of England’s next opponents in Qatar

Senegal’s victory against Ecuador on Tuesday ensured the Teranga Lions have reached the knockout stages of a World Cup for the second time after their stunning debut appearance in 2002.

The coach, Aliou Cissé, was captain of the team that made history with their run to the quarter-finals 20 years ago and will fancy his chances of matching that achievement against England in the last 16 on Saturday despite the absence of his injured Sadio Mané and the suspended midfielder Idrissa Gueye. Bristling with self‑belief after a historic first Africa Cup of Nations triumph in February, Senegal will provide England with their stiffest test so far in Qatar.

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» ‘I found out I was going by TV’: inside Andries Noppert’s World Cup dream

The Netherlands’ goalkeeper was uncapped before Qatar – now he is Louis van Gaal’s first choice going into the knockout stage

The story of Andries Noppert’s journey to be the Netherlands first-choice goalkeeper at the Qatar World Cup is a beacon of hope and inspiration. Elite football can be unforgiving and hard-edged, so step forward a genial 6ft 8in 28-year-old whose refusal to believe a serious knee injury had ended his career does, as he suggests, offer “inspiration to children” that dreams should always be chased.

When Noppert was chosen by Louis van Gaal for the Netherlands’ victory over Senegal in their opening Group A match, he was handed an international debut in only his 51st senior match. Noppert might have given up during any of a peripatetic eight years that began when signing for Heerenveen in 2013 and included 12 months out with the knee problem he sustained in October 2019.

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» Roy Keane – bearded, belligerent World Cup football pundit who tells it like it is

ITV’s brooding commentator and former Manchester United player could be stand-out performer of tournament

A few individuals have caught the eye in the World Cup’s first week. Gavi, for instance, the 18-year-old prodigy pulling the strings in Spain’s midfield; Olivier Giroud, at 36, France’s elder statesman of intelligent forward play.

In the eyes of many, though, the stand-out performances have come from Roy Keane, ITV’s brooding, bearded and belligerent pundit. Never previously known for being reluctant to offer his opinion, the former Manchester United midfield general seems, if anything, to be growing ever more trenchant. If something clear and obvious needs saying, Keane is your man.

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» Welcome to Lusail: Lego-city of the gods and one of the strangest places on earth

Andy Warhol would love the venue for the World Cup final, a super-Croydon, a post-modern Milton Keynes of the hyper-rich

It has been overlooked so far in the middle of so many other urgent issues, but the state of Qatar is currently facing a ticklish existential question. Here is another standard-issue jaw-dropping fact about this place. Climate scientists have estimated that by the year 2070 Qatar will no longer be fit for human habitation. Wait. What?

Lodged between two seas, deprived of greenery or waterways, Qatar is warming at an alarming rate. At the same time Qatar produces more carbon per citizen, for export and domestic use, than any nation on earth. Here is a place that is basically sitting on a pile of gold, while simultaneously gnawing its own legs off. The end of the world? It’s on the check-list. The Supreme Committee is aware of your interest.

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» Next Generation 2022: 60 of the best young talents in world football

From Antonio Nusa to Mathys Tel, we pick 60 of the most talented players born in 2005. Check the progress of our classes of 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

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» Next Generation 2022: 20 of the best talents at Premier League clubs

We pick the best youngsters at each club born between 1 September 2005 and 31 August 2006, an age band known as first-year scholars. Check the progress of our classes of 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

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» From Haaland to Gordon: what happened to Next Generation 2017?

Five years ago we picked 80 promising players from around the world and have followed their progress since then.

Premier League Next Gen 2017 | Rest of the world 2017

Talent spotting in football can be a brutal and precarious business. There are so many pitfalls on the way and a player who is outstanding at 16 may not make it for a variety of reasons: loss of form and/or confidence, injuries and a host of personal reasons.

Every now and then, however, a player comes through who is so good that he or she seems destined to make it to the top. Erling Haaland – or Erling Braut Håland as he was known back then – is one of them. Of course, a serious injury could have derailed his career but he was one of those kids who stand out from an early age.

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