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Westcott Close, Eggbuckland, Plymouth
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9
Afc Plympton Youth »
Blandford Road, Efford, Plymouth
Male, Female, U18, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8, U7
Biscovey Youth »
Lamellyn Road, Par, Cornwall
Male, Female, U16, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8
Bodmin Town Youth »
Castle Canyke Road, Bodmin, Cornwall
Male, U18, U16
Brixington Blues Youth »
B3179, Exmouth, Devon
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8
Budleigh Salterton Youth »
Greenway Lane, Budleigh Salterton, Devon
Male, U15, U13
Callington Colts »
Launceston Road, Callington, Cornwall
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9
Central Youth »
Countess Wear, Exeter, Devon
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8
Chulmleigh Youth »
Leigh Road, Chulmleigh, Devon
Male, Female, U15, U11
Dawlish Town Youth »
Sandy Lane, Dawlish, Devon
Male, U18, U16, U12
Exeter Panthers Afc »
Male, Female, U14, U8, U7
Exwick Youth »
Western Road, Exeter, Devon
Male, U15, U14, U12
Friary Mill Youth »
Blandford Road, Efford, Plymouth
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8
Horrabridge Rangers Juniors Sa »
Walkhampton Road, Yelverton, Yelverton
Male, Female, U16, U15, U13, U12, U10, U9
Ilfracombe Town Youth »
Ilfracombe, , Devon
Male, Female, U15, U13, U12, U11
Keyham Kolts Youth »
Male, Female, U18, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8
Laira United Kolts »
Bernice Terrace, Lipson Vale, Plymouth
Male, U18
Lifton Youth »
Leat Road, Lifton, Devon
Male, Female, U16, U15, U13, U11, U10
Lipson United Youth »
Bernice Terrace, Lipson Vale, Plymouth
Male, U16, U14, U13, U12
Lostwithiel Youth »
Male, U15, U13, U12, U11
Modbury Rovers Junior F.C »
Chatwell Lane, Modbury, Devon
Male, Female, U13, U12, U10
Morley Rangers Youth »
Plymouth, Devon
Male, Female, U18, U17, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10
Old Suttonians Youth »
Male, U14
Padstow United Youth »
1 Grenville Road, Padstow, Cornwall
Male, Female, U13, U12, U10, U9
Phoenix City Youth »
Male, Female, U18, U16, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10
Plymouth Falcons Youth »
Male, U18
Plymouth Kolts Junior »
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9
Plymouth Trophyman Youth »
Maddon Road, Devonport, Devon
Male, Female, U18, U12, U9
Plymouth Ymca Youth »
Knowle Battery, Sheridan Gardens, Plymouth
Male, U15, U13, U12, U11
Plymstock United Youth »
Dean Cross Road, Plymstock, Plymouth
Male, Female, U18, U13, U10
Seaton Town Youth »
Colyford Road, Seaton, Devon
Male, Female, U14, U12, U11, U10, U9
Sidmouth Town Junior Vikings »
Manstone Lane, Sidmouth, Devon
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9, U8
Southgate Colts »
Landlake Road, Launceston, Cornwall
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10
St Judes United Youth »
Male, U16
Tamarside Kings »
Trevithick Road, St. Budeaux, Plymouth
Male, Female, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9
Tavistock Thistles »
Crowndale
Male, Female, U18, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9
Tintagel Youth »
The Memorial Playing Fields, Tintagel, Tintagel
Male, Female, U15, U10
Torquay Elite Advanced Development Fc »
Male, Female, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9
Weston Mill Oak Villa Junior »
Ferndale Road, Weston Mill, Plymouth
Male, Female, U18, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11
Woodford Colts Youth »
Seymour Road, Plympton, Plymouth
Male, U18, U14
Ymca Kitto Parkway Youth »
Knowle Battery, Sheridan Gardens, Plymouth
Male, Female, U16, U15, U14, U13, U12, U11, U10, U9

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Football News

» Loris Karius finally makes Newcastle debut and sends Liverpool Champions League warning
Newcastle signed former Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius on a short-term deal in September and the German finally made his debut for Eddie Howe's side on Thursday
» Patrice Evra predicts outcome of "special" England vs France World Cup clash
Gareth Southgate's England take on defending champions France and their talisman Kylian Mbappe in a World Cup quarter-final at the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar on Saturday night
» Pele responds to Kylian Mbappe message after Brazil icon 'moved to end-of-life care'
Brazil legend Pele, who won three World Cups, was admitted to hospital in November but has urged fans to stay "calm and positive" during his battle against cancer
» Man Utd call 'spotted' on Louis van Gaal's phone amid Cody Gakpo transfer push
Manchester United have been linked with Cody Gakpo - who has been one of the star's of the World Cup - with reports that Erik ten Hag's side could make a bid for the forward
» Ben White left World Cup camp after 'alleged bust-up' in front of England squad
The Three Lions defender sparked huge surprise when he left England's World Cup squad early but it has since emerged his departure may have been due to a disagreement with Steve Holland
» Roy Keane doubles down on Brazil criticism in furious rant at "disrespectful" boss Tite
Brazil manager Tite claimed those who have criticised his team's dancing at the World Cup in Qatar "don't know the history and culture" of the South American country
» Gareth Southgate gets England dressing room response to possible exit after World Cup
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has a contract with the Football Association until 2024 but after a difficult period prior to the World Cup, there had been suggestions he could leave
» Kieran Trippier warns England team-mates about "family" connection in France XI
Kieran Tripper built a close relationship with Antoine Griezmann during his time with Atletico Madrid and knows they cannot ignore the forward in favour of stopping Kylian Mbappe
» England handed Declan Rice boost as Gareth Southgate decides on France approach
England's preparations for the World Cup quarter final vs France were affected on Tuesday when starting midfielder Declan Rice missed the session through illness
» Man Utd snubbed chance to sign "lazy and difficult" star now shining at the World Cup
Manchester United spent big in the summer transfer window, with the likes of Antony, Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez arriving - however Erik ten Hag has hinted he needs more reinforcements
» Man Utd confirm Glazers haven't taken dividend payment for first time in six years
Manchester United's owners, the Glazers, have refused to take a dividend payment from themselves for the first time since the 2016, two weeks after putting the club up for sale
» Ruud Gullit follows Peter Schmeichel in criticising Liverpool star's World Cup "mistakes"
One of Jurgen Klopp's most trusted Liverpool players is being questioned due to the number of players Brazil manager Tite has at his disposal at the ongoing World Cup
» Gary Neville takes fresh swipe at Cristiano Ronaldo and highlights his "biggest problem"
Cristiano Ronaldo was dropped for Portugal's last-16 clash against Switzerland and Gary Neville has delivered a brutal verdict following the forward's latest setback
» Roy Keane claims Cristiano Ronaldo has had 'attitude issue' his whole career
Cristiano Ronaldo has come under criticism in recent months due to his outbursts with Manchester United and Portugal - but former team-mate Roy Keane has defended him
» Marcus Rashford opens up on "unique" England feeling and offers World Cup prediction
Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has been one of the stars of England's World Cup campaign, scoring three times, with hopes he can increase his tally vs France on Saturday night
» France boss Didier Deschamps in dressing room rant ahead of England World Cup clash
Jules Kounde wore a gold chain in France's victory over Poland and Didier Deschamps was far from happy - with the Les Bleus boss ranting at him in the dressing room
» PSG ready to revive Marcus Rashford transfer as chief opens up on failed bid
Paris Saint Germain are ready to revive their pursuit of Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford.
» Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag working on summer transfer - days after World Cup humiliation
It's believed Erik ten Hag wants to revamp Manchester United's goalkeeper department with the futures of David de Gea, Dean Henderson and Martin Dubravka all in doubt
» 5 things spotted in France training as 'lacklustre' Kylian Mbappe returns for England clash
France have been working hard ahead of their World Cup clash with England as a 'lacklustre' Kylian Mbappe got back into the swing of things after missing Tuesday's training session
» England stars urged to "go to bed early" to stand chance of stopping Kylian Mbappe
The Three Lions are preparing for their sternest test to date at the Qatar World Cup when they face off with France - and Kylian Mbappe at the quarter final stage on Saturday
» Cristiano Ronaldo in no doubt as Portugal team-mates react to World Cup walkout response
Cristiano Ronaldo started Portugal's 6-1 win against Switzerland in the last 16 of the World Cup from the bench - with his replacement Goncalo Ramos scoring a hat-trick
» Louis van Gaal hints Brazil have copied his Netherlands blueprint ahead of World Cup game
The Netherlands national team boss has responded to suggestions he has tarnished the proud legacy of Dutch football with his more conservative, defensive-minded tactics
» Psychic who 'predicted 9/11 and Princess Diana's death' claims England will win World Cup
Anthony Carr claims to have predicted a slew of world events, from September 11 to the election of a German pope. He has now used his 'powers' to predict an England win at the World Cup
» Kalvin Phillips backing Yorkshire's finest to get better of Kylian Mbappe at World Cup
Gareth Southgate's England will reach their second successive World Cup semi-final if they beat defending champions France at the Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday night
From

Other sport news:

» Kieran Trippier relishes England’s relaxed life and is excited to face France
  • Defender shares camp’s feeling of going for a Sunday kickaround
  • Trippier: ‘I love every moment and everyone else does’

Kieran Trippier has revealed the sights and sounds of England’s World Cup dressing room before a match, describing a confident and ultra-relaxed atmosphere as the players prepare for Saturday’s quarter-final against France. The defender talked up the team spirit that Gareth Southgate has fostered – a key comfort before the meeting with the world champions – and he illustrated the point by calling out Jordan Pickford for his love of “horrific” rave music.

“Everyone is relaxed, so is Gareth,” Trippier said. “He takes his meeting and then we get in the dressing room and listen to some horrific songs from some of the lads. Whose horrific music is it? Pickford’s. Honestly, he has the worst taste in music.

Continue reading...
» ‘Messi is liberated’: Jorge Valdano on Argentina, politics and his goal in ‘86

Former striker discusses his World Cup triumphs and heartbreaks, and the current Argentina side’s chances against the Netherlands

Jorge Valdano should have been at the Monumental; instead he was standing alone in a bar. He can still remember its name: Rincón de la Victoria. Just him and a group of Dutch fans looking at the screen, wondering what might have been. Mention Argentina and the Netherlands, who face each other on Friday night, and that’s the moment that comes to his mind. The 1978 final. Ticker tape, Mario Kempes and, clearest of all, Rob Rensenbrink hitting the post. “I watched with ‘long teeth’, envy,” he admits.

He was missing out on Argentina winning their first World Cup; he couldn’t know it then, but he wouldn’t miss out on the second. Thirty-six years on from Mexico 86, Valdano would love a third, a spectator again but in the stadium, not some bar. “I asked [the coach César Luis] Menotti. He said if the World Cup started that day, I’d be in the squad. ‘What I can’t promise,’ he said, ‘is that I’ll be coach tomorrow, given this chaos.’

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» Supporters surge to Qatar as Morocco carry hopes of entire Arab world

Atlas Lions’ run reaches across borders, with fans eyeing stays beyond Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against Portugal

It was in mid-air on the final leg to Doha that Hassan realised exactly what lay in store. He was travelling from Paris, via Istanbul, with his friends Manal and Zouhair after hours of searching for a ticket to Morocco against Spain finally paid off. “I didn’t understand what I was seeing and hearing,” he says. “There were Egyptians, Jordanians, Iraqis, Yemenis – all of them had left their families and their jobs, just to come and support Morocco.”

Hassan pulls up a video on his phone: almost every passenger is on their feet, chanting his homeland’s name. It was Monday night and, within 24 hours, they would witness history. Morocco had never reached the last eight of a World Cup before; if they defeat Portugal on Saturday they will do what nobody from their continent has ever managed, breaking Africa’s semi-final duck at last.

Continue reading...
» Qatar World Cup chief says ‘death is a part of life’ after reported worker death
  • Filipino migrant worker reportedly dies at training site
  • Comments condemned by human rights groups

The chief executive of the Qatar World Cup has been condemned by human rights groups for saying “death is a natural part of life – whether it’s at work, whether it’s in your sleep”, when asked about a migrant worker’s death at the tournament.

On Wednesday it was reported that a Filipino national contracted to fix lights in a car park at the Sealine Resort, the training site for the Saudi Arabia national team, had died after he “slipped off a ramp while walking alongside a vehicle and fell headfirst against concrete”.

Continue reading...
» Netherlands v Argentina: their previous World Cup meetings

With the Albiceleste set to take on the Oranje in Qatar, we relive the best (and worst) from their previous showdowns

The first World Cup meeting between the sides is not one Argentina will remember with fondness. They are ruthlessly torn apart in Gelsenkirchen by the brilliant Johan Cruyff-inspired Oranje, whose collective vision, movement and passing patterns are complemented by steely tackling and defensive discipline. Cruyff dances around the goalkeeper, Daniel Carnevali, to roll in the first after latching on to Johan Neeskens’s chipped pass; it is the defender Wim Rijsbergen’s crunching challenge that sets the platform for the attack. Ruud Krol soon rockets in the second from the edge of the area after a corner. In the second half, Cruyff whips an immaculate cross to the far post where Johnny Rep’s bullet header makes it 3-0. On the sidelines, the Netherlands manager, Rinus Michels, laughs, claps and rubs his hands with glee. In the last minute, after yet another fluent passing move, Wim van Hanegem’s close-range shot is beaten out by Carnevali, only for Cruyff to audaciously volley in from an angle. For a proud footballing nation such as Argentina it is particularly painful to be taught a lesson in such emphatic fashion. Total football; total domination.

Continue reading...
» PSG reveal interest in signing ‘amazing’ Marcus Rashford for next season
  • PSG president says club could pursue January talks with forward
  • Manchester United deal ends in June but with option to extend

Paris St Germain would be interested in signing Marcus Rashford from Manchester United at the end of the season, according to their president, Nasser al-Khelaifi. The England forward will be out of contract in June, although United have an option to extend for a further year.

Rashford has scored eight goals for United this season and three for England in Qatar to help them reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

Continue reading...
» Study reveals footballers more likely to have worse brain health after age of 65
  • Research compared former players to the general population
  • Repeatedly heading footballs has belated impact on brain

Professional footballers are more likely to have worse brain health after they turn 65 compared with the general population, according to groundbreaking new research.

The study, which compared 75 former male professional footballers, including the former Norwich players Iwan Roberts and Jeremy Goss and the Crystal Palace striker Mark Bright to non-footballers, found that footballers’ brain health was typically better in their 40s.

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» Portugal deny reports that Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to leave World Cup
  • Stories of showdown talks with Fernando Santos rebuffed
  • Portuguese FA praise ‘unquestionable commitment’ to team

The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) has denied reports that Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to walk out on Portugal’s World Cup campaign. The 37-year-old started on the bench for Tuesday’s last-16 win against Switzerland by Fernando Santos, having reacted poorly to being substituted in the final group game against South Korea.

Ronaldo came on as a second-half substitute, but it was the first time since Euro 2008 that he has been left out of a starting lineup at a major tournament, and he held talks with Santos on Wednesday.

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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 for 2022

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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» Chelsea save draw at Real Madrid thanks to Misa Rodríguez own goal

Chelsea rescued a point against Real Madrid but could not get the win needed to confirm the team’s progression to the Champions League knockout stage with two games to play. Guro Reiten’s second-half penalty, which went in off the back of Real’s goalkeeper, Misa Rodríguez, cancelled out a mistake by Chelsea’s goalkeeper, Ann-Katrin Berger, who gifted the ball to the Scotland midfielder Caroline Weir for the opener in the sides’ 1-1 draw.

Emma Hayes called it “a point gained” after a “team performance [that] was as bad as I’ve seen us.” The London side remain top of Group A, three points clear of Paris Saint-Germain and five ahead of Real, with a trip to Albania to face the minnows Vllaznia next before they welcome PSG to Stamford Bridge.

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» Jordan Pickford’s invisible saves are England’s secret World Cup weapon

Three of the goalkeeper’s finest stops in Qatar have gone unnoticed by the match officials

As a measure of how much Jordan Pickford’s performances have flown under the radar during this World Cup, it turns out the England goalkeeper is so underrated that three of his best saves haven’t even been recognised.

Yes, there was plenty of praise for the sharp reflex stop from Iran’s Sardar Azmoun in England’s opener in Qatar. And true, everyone applauded when Pickford kept his side level during their last-16 match against Senegal by pushing away a shot from Boulaye Dia.

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» Brazil and Tite wary of ‘Croatian resilience’ in toughest hurdle yet

Zlatko Dalic’s savvy and seasoned core will offer Brazil’s flair players a different sort of test in World Cup quarter-final

Tite had just pledged to dance along with his Brazil squad, and to hell with the churls, when he alighted upon another form of visual display. “When we paint a painting, the entire painting is the athletes,” he said. “They are the ones who are portrayed in this painting and we are just participants. We just contribute to the painting; the painting is just the players themselves.”

If they are to draw a line under two barren decades, Brazil will have to master all the arts. The choreographed routines that greeted each goal against South Korea were looked upon dimly in some quarters but that is a trifling concern. The more pressing theme is whether Croatia, with their savvy and seasoned core, will allow as many opportunities for festivity when they face Tite’s players in the last eight.

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» 100,000 more girls playing football in England as activity levels rebound

Girls’ participation in football up dramatically in five years, and children now as active as before pandemic

There are now 100,000 more girls playing football than there were five years ago, according to an annual survey of children’s fitness by Sport England, which also found secondary school girls are more active than they have ever been.

Overall, children’s activity levels have recovered to pre-pandemic levels, but the Active Lives survey revealed that not all groups have made the same progress, with children aged seven to nine lagging behind, their activity levels still 4.5% below where they were before Covid.

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» Luis Enrique leaves Spain job with Luis de la Fuente set to replace him
  • Spanish FA statement confirms Under-21 manager will take over
  • Luis Enrique departs after World Cup last-16 defeat to Morocco

Luis Enrique has left his post as Spain manager after the side’s World Cup last-16 exit to Morocco, with the national team’s under-21 coach, Luis de la Fuente, to replace him.

The Spanish FA (RFEF) issued a statement on Thursday thanking Luis Enrique for his service and expressing its desire to start “a new project” for the national team. A subsequent statement added: “The RFEF has chosen Luis de la Fuente as the new national coach.

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» Sterling returning to World Cup gives England ‘massive lift’, says Phillips
  • Kalvin Phillips delighted Sterling coming back before France tie
  • Phillips says burglary has led players to worry about security

Kalvin Phillips has said Raheem Sterling’s decision to return to England’s World Cup squad has given the team a massive lift before Saturday’s quarter-final against France.

Sterling, who missed last Sunday’s last-16 victory over Senegal after returning to the United Kingdom because of the robbery at his Surrey home, has flown back to Qatar after spending the week bolstering his security arrangements and is due to train with his teammates on Friday.

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» Start one, bench one, sell one: Phillips on Haaland, Bellingham and Mbappé – video

Kalvin Phillips was asked to choose who he would start, bench and sell out of three star names of the younger generation of football. Phillips laughed at the question and answered very carefully so as not to offend his fellow players. The England midfielder said he would start Jude Bellingham ahead of his Manchester City clubmate, Erling Haaland, as the Norwegian is capable of scoring a hat-trick off the bench. His reasoning for his final answer was entirely financial, as Phillips admitted he would sell Kylian Mbappé as he would make the most money. 

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» Happy returns: will early World Cup exits benefit Premier League clubs?

Welcoming players back from Qatar now may provide a crucial advantage when the hectic domestic schedule restarts

“If they all go out of the competition early and can train with us, that would be absolutely outstanding,” Jürgen Klopp joked of his Liverpool players before the World Cup. The German was lucky that just seven of his squad were called upon to travel to Qatar, although only Darwin Núñez has exited before the quarter-finals. The Uruguayan is one of 73 Premier League players no longer involved in the World Cup, leaving 61 in Qatar for their managers to worry about.

Many clubs have enjoyed warm-weather training and have played or are to play friendlies to prepare for the Premier League’s Boxing Day return. But most of this will be done without their World Cup players, which could make a difference when the competitive action begins.

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» Antoine Griezmann greases the wheels to get best out of France

The reluctant superstar hasn’t scored but has made more key passes than anyone to make his team run more smoothly

“At least he’s not tired,” Didier Deschamps observed sardonically. It was September and Antoine Griezmann was in the latest circle of a recurring nightmare. Back at Atlético Madrid on loan after a gruesome two seasons at Barcelona, Griezmann found himself in the surreal position of being allowed to play only 30 minutes per game, lest an automatic buy clause in his deal be triggered. And so for several weeks, despite being fully fit, Griezmann would watch from the bench, before being wheeled out as a substitute on the hour mark.

Still, you could rely on the France manager to put a positive spin on things. Of all the stalwarts of the Deschamps era, it is Griezmann with whom he seems to have the closest bond of all, an almost paternal connection that has held firm through the toughest of times. Even as Griezmann withered away at Barcelona, even as he languished on the bench in Madrid, even when it seemed as though the peak years of this extraordinary footballer were winnowing away, Deschamps’ faith in his talismanic forward never wavered. Now, in their third World Cup together, we are seeing the results.

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» Lionel Messi is the star but Julián Álvarez has revived Argentina’s attack

Messi needs the best platform to perform and that is exactly what the 22-year-old Manchester City forward provides

By Ciaran McLoughlin for WhoScored

So much of the talk about Argentina at the World Cup has been about Lionel Messi finally getting his hands on the trophy. Argentina had the worst possible start, losing 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in their opening game, but things have improved since with three wins over Mexico, Poland and Australia. If they beat the Netherlands on Friday night, they will reach the semi-finals for just the second time since 1990.

While Messi has grabbed the headlines with his three goals – including the spectacular opener in Argentina’s 2-1 win over Australia in the round of 16 – a lot of credit should go to Julián Álvarez. He is the player who came into the team when Argentina were struggling and helped their attack, including Messi, click.

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» England’s adaptability and squad depth can give them an edge against France | Karen Carney

Gareth Southgate could use a five-man defence to combat Kylian Mbappé and has the advantage of a strong bench

There has been a lot of discussion about how England can try to nullify the threat of Kylian Mbappé in their World Cup quarter-final on Saturday but the important thing for them to think about is how to impose themselves on France.

England had inner-confidence and focus in their win over Senegal. They have scored 12 goals in their four matches in Qatar, a sign of their attacking prowess and clinical nature. France have shown vulnerability at the back and are missing their first-choice full-backs. Jules Koundé is a central defender but has been moved out to the right due to the paucity of options and the left-back Lucas Hernandez has been ruled out after sustaining a cruciate ligament injury in their opening match. Hugo Lloris and Raphaël Varane are highly experienced but have shown fragility at times.

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» I was well looked after at the Qatar World Cup – and that makes me feel deeply uncomfortable | Emma Kemp

Each time a worker opened a door for me with a subservient smile, I felt a grotesque pang of privilege

Sometimes, during or after a big sporting event, journalists are asked to write a diary-esque piece about their experiences covering said event in whichever country it is being held. It feels like a funny thing to do, to inject yourself into the story when you spend most of your working life deliberately staying out of it. Should you detail your own experiences while visiting and working in that place, or reflect on the actual environment on the ground? In the case of this World Cup, the two options feel discordant.

The reason for the cognitive dissonance is that I had an enjoyable time in Qatar. I felt welcome and looked after, and the tournament was well run. I did not see anything that horrified me. And that, in itself, feels deeply uncomfortable. After 12 years of negative press, there is a new narrative emerging from some visitors to the Gulf state. They are saying it’s not that bad after all. They have seen it with their own eyes now and can confirm it.

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» World Cup 2022 power rankings: how the remaining eight teams shape up

We cast our eye over the quarter-finalists’ key strengths and assess who is most likely to lift the trophy in Qatar

The Seleção are in full flight and, as you may have heard, enjoying themselves in the process. Their first-half evisceration of South Korea felt like a throwback, moments such as Richarlison’s seal impression offering reminders of those days when nobody could rival Brazil for sheer fun. Even without Gabriel Jesus they retain a depth of attacking talent few can match, partly thanks to Neymar’s Lazarus-like recovery from injury. Keep this up and a first World Cup since 2002 should be theirs, although there are caveats: they squeaked past Switzerland, the only practised tournament side they have faced, and Croatia should offer an even sterner test on Friday. Alisson Becker was also worked harder than he may have liked on Monday night, although he demonstrated the value of a top-class keeper in the process. Can anyone stop them?

Sometimes it feels France’s plan is to send possession Kylian Mbappé’s way and say: “You do the rest.” The problem for their opponents is that it tends to work. Anyone who can halt Mbappé may be able to stop Les Bleus but he is in virtually unplayable form and already looks a safe bet for the Golden Boot. Didier Deschamps will also be encouraged that the supporting cast is showing signs of life and France, who have scored nine goals across the three games in which he has selected a first-choice side, may be clicking at the right time. The evergreen Olivier Giroud adds a valuable balance while Aurélien Tchouaméni has taken to life as their midfield linchpin. Further injuries would give Deschamps a headache but the core look in lean shape.

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» Looking ahead to all four World Cup quarter-finals – Football Daily podcast

Max Rushden is joined by Mark Langdon, Robyn Cowen and Lars Sivertsen to preview an intriguing set of last-eight ties in Qatar

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

Today; the panel ask; how can England stop Kylian Mbappé? Will Gareth Southgate stick with the 4-3-3 that’s got him this far or go more conservative at the back?

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» Qatar World Cup chief hits out at media for focus on migrant worker deaths – video

Qatari authorities are investigating the reported death of a Filipino man working at a resort used by the Saudi Arabia national team during the group stage of the soccer World Cup. When asked about the incident, World Cup chief executive Nasser Al Khater expressed disappointment that journalists would ask questions on the matter. 'We're in the middle of a World Cup. And we have a successful World Cup. And this is something you want to talk about right now?' he said to a reporter. 

Qatar has faced intense criticism from human rights groups over its treatment of migrant workers and the number of work-related deaths is in dispute. The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said three work-related deaths and 37 non-work-related deaths have occurred on World Cup related projects. The Guardian previously found through our own investigation that at least 6,500 migrant workers from South Asia – many of them likely to have been working on World Cup preparations – had died in Qatar since it won the right to stage the World Cup.

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» Otávio denies Ronaldo wanted to leave Portugal's World Cup squad – video

Portugal midfielder Otávio denied media reports which suggested Cristiano Ronaldo threatened to leave the national team. 'He never wanted to leave,' said the Porto player, adding 'it's normal a player gets upset when he doesn't play'. Ronaldo, who has scored 118 international goals, started on the bench in Portugal's 6-1 last-16 win against Switzerland after reacting poorly to being substituted in the final group game against South Korea. Otávio insisted the team was 'united' with their captain. 

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» Morocco fans take to London streets after World Cup win over Spain – video

Elated Morocco supporters celebrate on the streets of London following their team’s triumph over Spain in the last 16 of the World Cup. Crowds of people around Edgware Road, Piccadilly Circus and  Oxford Circus chanted, danced and waved Moroccan flags after the result. Morocco won 3-0 on penalties after 120 goalless minutes in Doha

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» 'Like watching Strictly': Roy Keane criticises Brazil's World Cup goal celebrations – video

Roy Keane criticised Brazil’s dance moves in their World Cup last-16 victory over South Korea on Monday.

Brazil’s players repeatedly danced during the 4-1 win with the coach, Tite, even joining in after Richarlison scored the third goal.

"It's like watching Strictly," said Keane. "I can't believe what I'm watching, I really can't ... I think that's really disrespecting the opposition ... I don't think it's good at all."

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» 'So much joy': Morocco supporters reaching first ever World Cup quarter-final – video

Fans in Casablanca celebrated Morocco beating Spain, to earn a spot in the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.

After their side emerged victorious in the penalty shoout, streets were full of cheering fans, as convoys of cars used their horns and waved flags. "It was a tough match but the boys made up happy," one supporter said.

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» 'Very emotional': Brazil fans celebrate wildly after 4-1 win against South Korea – video

Brazilian fans celebrated their 4-1 victory over South Korea in a match that saw them through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup. Both outside the 974 stadium in Doha and back in Brazil, there was music and dancing and chants for Brazil legend Pelé, who is in hospital with a serious illness. The 82-year-old Pelé said he was going to watch the match on television in hospital. Brazil will take on Croatia next, who eliminated Japan on penalties.

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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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» Samba in the soul: Brazil’s dancing celebrations part of a rich tradition

Samba and football were adopted by country’s working classes in 1930s and have been passed down via Pelé to new generation

“I was afraid of playing football because I had often seen a black player get struck on the pitch for committing a foul,” said Domingos da Guia, a defender who played for Brazil in the 1938 World Cup. “But I was a very good dancer and that helped me on the pitch. I invented the short dribble by imitating the miudinho, a form of samba.”

Roy Keane did not like it but when Brazil’s players – and the coach, Tite – celebrated scoring against South Korea in their last-16 victory on Monday by performing Richarlison’s trademark pigeon dance, they were following a historic tradition that represents the very soul of the Seleção. Samba, which has its roots in Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo via the African slave trade, and football were adopted by Brazil’s working classes just as Da Guia was making his international debut in 1931.

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» Jude Bellingham: England teenager with maverick gifts but a steely focus

Rise from Birmingham City academy to World Cup ace is just the start for midfielder whose talent matches his temperament

The weird thing about Jude Bellingham, the teenage sensation establishing himself as one of the best footballers in the world, is that there was nothing surprising about the way he ran the game for England when they demolished Senegal in the last 16 of the World Cup on Sunday night.

There are no limits to the England midfielder’s prodigious talent. The 19-year-old from Stourbridge has the cockiness of Paul Gascoigne at Italia 90, the audacity of Michael Owen at the 1998 World Cup and the explosiveness of an 18-year-old Wayne Rooney at Euro 2004. Resistance is futile, even for those around the Borussia Dortmund star. “I don’t want to big up Jude Bellingham too much because he’s still young, but he’s one of the most gifted players I’ve ever seen,” Phil Foden said, trying and failing to play it cool as he discussed his teammate after the win against Senegal. “He’s going to be the best midfielder in the world.”

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» Fox Sports’ US World Cup coverage is an unmissable abomination | Aaron Timms

Broadcaster has offered up a feast of gaffes, stupidity, and unconquerable on-air awkwardness for US viewers to enjoy

The World Cup! A tournament of frenzied emotion, spectacular goals, heroic upsets, and grand displays of athletic daring and skill. Or, if you’re watching it in the US: four weeks of shouting, relentless commercial promotion, disorienting cuts and changes of channel to make way for the college football game, and segments in which Alexi Lalas does pump-up speeches for the US team that no one in the US team will ever listen to; a global exhibition of Clint Dempsey’s ongoing quest to assemble vowels and consonants into an order that resembles words; a month-long celebration of the festival that is Landon Donovan’s personality.

At a time when things are clicking on the pitch for the US men’s national team and America finally has a generation of footballers with the technical quality to challenge the world’s best, there’s been something faintly reassuring about Fox Sports’ approach to this tournament. Whereas the USMNT is now a cosmopolitan ensemble of feather-fine talents, the Fox team is the equivalent of a farmers’ league XI that hoofs it long and hopes for the best.

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» Managing England expectations and a busy morning for Iberian outlets

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Harry Maguire has only gone and said England believe they can win the Human Rights World Cup, which is not particularly English of our beloved Slabhead. This level of confidence heading into a quarter-final with France will feel uncomfortable for anyone born between Berwick and Penzance. England may be a proud sporting nation, but with a collective pride built on pessimism.

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» Women’s Super League: talking points from the weekend’s action

Arsenal show their grit, Liverpool are on the rise and Chloe Kelly is demonstrating her array of skills at Manchester City

After Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat of Everton the manager, Jonas Eidevall, praised his team for how they have coped during a period of turmoil as injuries threatened to derail their early season momentum. “We see a team here in an adverse moment that we are hopefully on the verge of turning around with players returning,” he said. “I think we have been managing a difficult period so far very, very well; and that’s important if you want to build a winning team.” Last season Arsenal crumbled on either side of the winter break with one win in seven games between 5 December and 23 January. The injuries may be disrupting things in a similar fashion but after a tough 3-2 defeat by Manchester United they returned to form against Everton having also secured an important point away at Juventus in between. With one league game left to play before the break, against Aston Villa, before Arsenal host Chelsea at home to kickstart the new year on 15 January, they could go into 2023 in good shape with bodies rested and returning. SW

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» Five-star Old Trafford show and Chelsea strike eight – Women’s Football Weekly podcast

Faye Carruthers, Suzanne Wrack, Anne-Marie Batson and Sophie Downey wrap up the latest weekend of WSL action

Just another average weekend in the Women’s Super League, hey?!

Eight goals for Chelsea, five for Manchester United, 30,000 plus fans in the stands at Old Trafford – plus a title race that continues to hot up …

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» Which player has scored the most goals in World Cup knockout games? | The Knowledge

Plus: last beating first in the group stage, thrashings in vain and the glory of the one-armed goalscorer

“Lionel Messi finally notched his first goal in a World Cup knockout game on Saturday,” writes Andy Bailey. “This made me wonder: who has scored the most in knockout matches?”

This isn’t the easiest question to answer because of the different ways the World Cup has been structured over the years. In 1934 and 1938, there were nothing but knockout games (albeit with only 16 teams). In 1950, and then from 1974-82, there was a second group stage which replaced some of the knockout rounds. For example, in 1982, Paolo Rossi scored a hat-trick in Italy’s legendary 3-2 win over Brazil – a de facto quarter-final, but not technically a knockout game.

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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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» England are through and France await – Football Daily podcast

Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Mark Langdon and Philippe Auclair as England secure their spot in the Quarter-Finals with a comfortable win over Senegal

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

Today: England eased past Senegal, the panel spend most of part one waxing lyrical about Jude Bellingham. And who could blame them?

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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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» Morocco fans drum out Spain to keep Africa dreaming and draw Doha as one | Ben Fisher

A partisan crowd were thrilled while Cameroonian, Ghanaian, Senegalese and Tunisians united in the Souq for Morocco

A few minutes after Yassine Bounou’s penalty shootout heroics, Morocco’s players knelt in unison to pray before a baying bank of supporters drumming furiously to the sweet sound of victory against Spain. It was a powerful sight that will touch more than the tens of thousands of Moroccans here.

After more than 130 minutes of gripping drama and relentless noise, Morocco are the lone Arab nation and last African team standing. The Argentinian referee, Fernando Rapallini, needed a megaphone to make himself heard.

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» England are this World Cup’s Spurs. Now can they beat its Liverpool? | Barney Ronay

Gareth Southgate’s team have reached par in Qatar – but defeating the world champions will require something different

Towards the end of Gareth Southgate’s post-match press conference, deep in the harshly lit fibreglass bunker that is the Al Bayt Stadium media suite, England’s manager was asked by an Argentinian journalist for his thoughts on the prospect down the track of having to face Lionel Messi. “Well,” Southgate frowned, making a show of giving the question all due consideration. “He’s a good player.” As super-dry wee‑hours press room one‑liners go, it was pretty good.

After that Southgate just kind of shrugged and said something like, yeah, he’s a genius but we’ll worry about that if it happens. England have to play France first in the quarter-final on Saturday. Their only chance of facing Messi at Qatar 2022 would be to reach the final, less than two weeks and three possible games from now.

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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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» 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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» 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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