Scorecard: Pakistan vs England, first Test, Rawalpindi


The latest score from Rawalpindi as England begin their first Test series in Pakistan since 2005. Watch live on Sky Sports Cricket.

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Bayern Munich preparing £90m bid for Harry Kane | Man Utd to offer Marcus Rashford new deal – Paper Talk | Transfer Centre News

All the top stories and transfer rumours from Thursday’s newspapers…

​​THE SUN

Bayern Munich are “working on” landing Tottenham striker Harry Kane in a blockbuster £90m transfer.

Manchester United will offer Marcus Rashford a new long-term deal.

Liverpool are reportedly targeting a move for Sofyan Amrabat, who has been impressing at the World Cup for Morocco.

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Bayern Munich are reportedly preparing a bid for England captain and Tottenham striker Harry Kane

Cristiano Ronaldo missed Portugal training on Wednesday ahead of their final group game amid speculation over a record-breaking move to Saudi Arabia.

Gareth Bale must decide by the end of February whether he will return to LAFC for the new season in the US.

England are using a special net for penalty practice every day ahead of the World Cup knockout stages.

England's Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring his side's third goal
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Manchester United are reportedly keen on offering England forward Marcus Rashford a new long-term contract

DAILY MAIL

Manchester United could well have new owners by the end of the season, according to reports.

Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly sensationally agreed a bumper £173m-a-year contract with Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia, which would make him the highest earner in sport.

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has hit back at suggestions of a rift in the team’s camp at the World Cup and appeared to accuse the French media of trying to derail his side’s campaign.

Juventus CEO John Elkann is determined to take the club back to its glory days and that might even include the return of a few club legends as new board members.

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James Allcott and Zac Djellab join Kyle Walker for The Heated Debate where they discuss what could be the next move for Cristiano Ronaldo

DAILY EXPRESS

Chelsea are reportedly in ‘advanced talks’ to sign 18-year-old Brazilian wonderkid Andrey Santos from Vasco da Gama, who could be set to become the second acquisition of the Graham Potter era at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester United and Liverpool target Enzo Fernandez has been tipped for a move to a top club by former Manchester City and Argentina defender Pablo Zabaleta.

Argentina star Lionel Messi has received a grovelling apology from boxer Canelo Alvarez following a bizarre social media outburst.

Pele
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Brazil legend Pele was admitted to hospital on Tuesday

THE GUARDIAN

A Premier League footballer under investigation for two alleged rapes has had his bail extended to a date in early January.

DAILY TELEGRAPH

Eddie Jones’ closest adviser accused Bill Sweeney, the Rugby Football Union chief executive, of leaking stories about the departures of England’s backroom staff and described the Twickenham figurehead as “Slippery Bill”.

England lock Joe Launchbury says the RFU knew of Wasps’ demise for five years.

DAILY MIRROR

FIFA has issued a statement to try and reassure fans of their safety in Qatar after an England supporter was subjected to a lengthy and humiliating strip search while trying to enter a World Cup stadium.

French television viewers were left thinking that Antoine Griezmann had scored an injury-time equaliser against Tunisia when the station TF1 cut to an ad break believing the final whistle had gone.

SCOTTISH SUN

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New Rangers manager Michael Beale speaks to Sky Sports about taking the job, leaving QPR, injury issues, doing things differently to Steven Gerrard and Giovanni van Bronckhorst plus more

New Rangers boss Michael Beale has landed a starring role in the club’s new Christmas advert – just two days after he was unveiled as manager.

Michael Beale says Rangers plan to add a further “one or two” key pieces to their backroom team – and insists he has the backing to add the “right player at the right price” in January.

DAILY RECORD

Al-Ahly have handed Celtic a major boost in their reported pursuit of Egyptian midfielder Mohamed “Afsha” Magdy – with the club reversing their hands off warning and naming their price.

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Australia 1 – 0 Denmark

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vs Denmark. FIFA World Cup Group D.

Al Janoub StadiumAttendance41,232.

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World Darts Championship schedule and order of play: Peter Wright, Michael van Gerwen, Gerwyn Price in action | Darts News

Schedule for rounds one and two of the 2023 World Darts Championship confirmed with Beau Greaves on night two and Lisa Ashton on night three; watch every dart from Alexandra Palace live on Sky Sports from Thursday December 15

Last Updated: 30/11/22 10:00am


Are you ready for the the World Darts Championship? Catch all the action live on Sky Sports

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Are you ready for the the World Darts Championship? Catch all the action live on Sky Sports

Are you ready for the the World Darts Championship? Catch all the action live on Sky Sports

The schedule for the World Darts Championship has been confirmed with Peter Wright headlining the opening night on Thursday December 15, live on Sky Sports.

Wright will take on the winner of the opening match of the tournament, Mickey Mansell vs Ben Robb, in round two, with Adrian Lewis, Alan Soutar and Michael Smith joining the action on day two.

Newly-crowned Grand Slam of Darts champion Smith will take on the winner of Jermaine Wattimena vs Nathan Rafferty, with Beau Greaves also making her highly-anticipated debut in the evening session against William O’Connor on Friday December 16.

Young rising star Josh Rock gets his campaign under way on Saturday December 17 against Jose Justicia. That Saturday night session also sees Lisa Ashton face Ryan Meikle with the winner meeting Raymond van Barneveld on Tuesday December 20.

World No 1 Gerwyn Price joins the action on Monday December 19 against the winner of Luke Woodhouse vs Vladyslav Omelchenko.

Josh Rock stunned Michael van Gerwen with a nine-darter at the Grand Slam of Darts before Van Gerwen went on to win 10-8 in a classic

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Josh Rock stunned Michael van Gerwen with a nine-darter at the Grand Slam of Darts before Van Gerwen went on to win 10-8 in a classic

Josh Rock stunned Michael van Gerwen with a nine-darter at the Grand Slam of Darts before Van Gerwen went on to win 10-8 in a classic

Michael van Gerwen starts his hunt for a fourth World Darts Championship title on Wednesday December 21 against the winner of Niels Zonneveld vs Lewy Williams, with Joe Cullen the final seed to get his tournament up and running on Friday December 23 with an interesting tie against the winner of Ricky Evans vs Fallon Sherrock.

World Darts Championship Schedule of Play: Rounds One and Two, live on Sky Sports

Thursday December 15 (7pm)

Round One: Mickey Mansell vs Ben Robb
Round One: Keane Barry vs Grant Sampson
Round One: Jermaine Wattimena vs Nathan Rafferty
Round Two: Peter Wright vs Mansell/Robb

Friday December 16

Afternoon Session (12.30pm)

Round One: Alan Soutar vs Mal Cuming
Round One: Boris Krcmar vs Toru Suzuki
Round One: Adrian Lewis vs Daniel Larsson
Round One: Kim Huybrechts vs Barry/Sampson

Evening Session (7pm)

Round One: Rowby-John Rodriguez vs Lourence Ilagan
Round One: William O’Connor vs Beau Greaves
Round One: Keegan Brown vs Florian Hempel
Round Two: Michael Smith vs Wattimena/Rafferty

Saturday December 17

Afternoon Session (11am)

Round One: Martin Lukeman vs Nobuhiro Yamamoto
Round One: Simon Whitlock vs Christian Perez
Round One: Adam Gawlas vs Richie Burnett
Round Two: Daryl Gurney vs Soutar/Cuming

Evening Session (8pm)

Round One: Ryan Meikle vs Lisa Ashton
Round One: Cameron Menzies vs Diogo Portela
Round One: Josh Rock vs Jose Justicia
Round Two: Dimitri Van den Bergh vs Rodriguez/Ilagan

Sunday December 18

Afternoon Session (11am)

Round One: Madars Razma vs Prakash Jiwa
Round One: Karel Sedlacek vs Raymond Smith
Round One: Luke Woodhouse vs Vladyslav Omelchenko
Round Two: Damon Heta vs Lewis/Larsson

Evening Session (8pm)

Round One: Mike De Decker vs Jeff Smith
Round One: Scott Williams vs Ryan Joyce
Round One: Matt Campbell vs Danny Baggish
Round Two: Nathan Aspinall vs Krcmar/Suzuki

Monday December 19

Afternoon Session (12.30pm)

Round One: Andrew Gilding vs Robert Owen
Round One: Danny Jansen vs Paolo Nebrida
Round One: Niels Zonneveld vs Lewy Williams
Round Two: Jose de Sousa vs Whitlock/Perez

Evening Session (7pm)

Round One: Geert Nentjes vs Leonard Gates
Round One: Ritchie Edhouse vs David Cameron
Round One: Steve Beaton vs Danny van Trijp
Round Two: Gerwyn Price vs Woodhouse/Omelchenko

Tuesday December 20 (7pm)

Round One: Jim Williams vs Sebastian Bialecki
Round One: Jamie Hughes vs Jimmy Hendriks
Round One: Ricky Evans vs Fallon Sherrock
Round Two: Raymond van Barneveld vs Meikle/Ashton

Wednesday December 21

Afternoon Session (12.30pm)

Round One: John O’Shea vs Darius Labanauskas
Round One: Martijn Kleermaker vs Xicheng Han
Round Two: Callan Rydz vs Rock/Justicia
Round Two: Dave Chisnall vs Gilding/Owen

Evening Session (7pm)

Round Two: Mervyn King vs Campbell/Baggish
Round Two: Gabriel Clemens vs O’Connor/Greaves
Round Two: Michael van Gerwen vs Zonneveld/L Williams
Round Two: Stephen Bunting vs Nentjes/Gates

Thursday December 22

Afternoon Session (12.30pm)

Round Two: Krzysztof Ratajski vs Jansen/Nebrida
Round Two: Ryan Searle vs Gawlas/Burnett
Round Two: Mensur Suljovic vs De Decker/J Smith
Round Two: Dirk van Duijvenbode vs Sedlacek/R Smith

Evening Session (7pm)

Round Two: Gary Anderson vs Razma/Jiwa
Round Two: James Wade vs J Williams/Bialecki
Round Two: Luke Humphries vs Brown/Hempel
Round Two: Vincent van der Voort vs Menzies/Portela

Friday December 23

Afternoon Session (12.30pm)

Round Two: Brendan Dolan vs Hughes/Hendriks
Round Two: Chris Dobey vs Kleermaker/Han
Round Two: Ross Smith vs O’Shea/Labanauskas
Round Two: Rob Cross vs S Williams/Joyce

Evening Session (7pm)

Round Two: Martin Schindler vs Lukeman/Yamamoto
Round Two: Danny Noppert vs Edhouse/Cameron
Round Two: Jonny Clayton vs Beaton/Van Trijp
Round Two: Joe Cullen vs Evans/Sherrock

Van Gerwen has called himself the “favourite” for the tournament in which he has enjoyed so much success before and claims it will be “tough” for anyone to beat him.

“It’s a bit weird. Because of course Peter Wright, Gerwyn Price, Michael Smith, they are all phenomenal players, who are doing well. Luke Humphries is doing well recently, and then you never know with Jonny Clayton,” Van Gerwen said.

Draw Bracket

Second Round Seed First Round Game
(1) Gerwyn Price Luke Woodhouse vs Vladyslav Omelchenko
(32) Raymond van Barneveld Ryan Meikle vs Lisa Ashton
(16) Ryan Searle Adam Gawlas vs Richie Burnett
(17) Jose de Sousa Simon Whitlock vs Christian Perez
(8) James Wade Jim Williams vs Sebastian Bialecki
(25) Gabriel Clemens William O’Connor vs Beau Greaves
(9) Danny Noppert Ritchie Edhouse vs David Cameron
(24) Daryl Gurney Alan Soutar vs Mal Cuming
(4) Michael Smith Jermaine Wattimena vs Nathan Rafferty
(29) Martin Schindler Martin Lukeman vs Nobuhiro Yamamoto
(13) Joe Cullen Ricky Evans vs Fallon Sherrock
(20) Damon Heta Adrian Lewis vs Daniel Larsson
(5) Luke Humphries Keegan Brown vs Florian Hempel
(28) Vincent van der Voort Cameron Menzies vs Diogo Portela
(12) Dave Chisnall Andrew Gilding vs Robert Owen
(21) Stephen Bunting Geert Nentjes vs Leonard Gates
(2) Peter Wright Mickey Mansell vs Ben Robb
(31) Kim Huybrechts Keane Barry vs Grant Sampson
(15) Dimitri Van den Bergh Rowby-John Rodriguez vs Lourence Ilagan
(18) Krzysztof Ratajski Danny Jansen vs Paolo Nebrida
(7) Jonny Clayton Steve Beaton vs Danny van Trijp
(26) Brendan Dolan Jamie Hughes vs Jimmy Hendriks
(10) Nathan Aspinall Boris Krcmar vs Toru Suzuki
(23) Callan Rydz Josh Rock vs Jose Justicia
(3) Michael van Gerwen Niels Zonneveld vs Lewy Williams
(30) Mensur Suljovic Mike De Decker vs Jeff Smith
(14) Dirk van Duijvenbode Karel Sedlacek vs Raymond Smith
(19) Ross Smith John O’Shea vs Darius Labanauskas
(6) Rob Cross Scott Williams vs Ryan Joyce
(27) Mervyn King Matt Campbell vs Danny Baggish
(11) Gary Anderson Madars Razma vs Prakash Jiwa
(22) Chris Dobey Martijn Kleermaker vs Xicheng Han

“But there’s not really someone standing up after me on tournaments.

“If I had to say, someone who is on form at the moment is Michael Smith.”

Watch the 2023 PDC World Darts Championship live on Sky Sports from December 15 to January 3.

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Marcus Rashford shines as Gareth Southgate’s England selection headache comes to the fore against Wales – World Cup hits and misses | Football News

England

England’s shuffled pack impress – so who does Southgate pick now?

Gareth Southgate embraces Marcus Rashford as the striker is substituted
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Gareth Southgate embraces Marcus Rashford as the striker is substituted

England don’t have long to revel in their win over Wales – attention must swiftly turn to their last-16 tie with Senegal. And Gareth Southgate has some important selection issues to mull over before that showdown on Sunday evening.

Can he really go back to Raheem Sterling or Bukayo Saka ahead of Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden now? Those two goalscorers against Wales showed the impressive form they’re in after the players they replaced struggled to back up their performances against Iran when they faced USA.

In midfield, Jude Bellingham’s No10 role wasn’t a huge success, although Jordan Henderson added leadership, so does Mason Mount come back into that area of the park?

Kyle Walker’s condition after his first 57 minutes back from groin surgery will presumably dictate his role at the weekend, with the ousted Kieran Trippier itching to get back in. However, if Walker is fit, Trippier’s best hope of a starting spot would depend on Southgate opting to shake it all up again and play wing-backs.

The appearances of Kalvin Phillips – who set up Rashford’s second – and Trent Alexander-Arnold off the bench for their first minutes in Qatar were reminders of the depth Southgate has to call upon at this tournament. With a 26-man squad and quality in the group, there are lots of decisions to make.

He certainly got two of those calls correct against Wales, with Rashford and Foden repaying his decision to include them from the start. But as we saw at the Euros last summer, this is a manager not afraid to change his personnel and systems for different opposition.

Never change a winning team? There will be plenty of debate about whether Southgate should follow that mantra in the coming days – both inside the England camp and among their supporters…
Peter Smith

Ravenous Rashford back with a bang

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England manager Gareth Southgate says they have a ‘different version completely’ of Marcus Rashford after the forward scored two goals against Wales.

“Moments like this, this is what I play football for. The biggest moments, the best moments.”

Those were the words of player-of-the-match Marcus Rashford after England brushed aside Wales to reach the last 16 of the World Cup.

After his goal against Iran in England’s opener, Rashford’s brilliant second-half double on his first start in Qatar moved him joint-top of the World Cup scoring charts. The Manchester United forward is arguably in the form of his life but just over two months ago, he was not even in the international fold.

Back in September, Rashford faced missing the World Cup altogether after being left out of England’s 28-man Nations League squad. Although already a doubt due to what he described as an “untimely injury”, the 25-year-old had been overlooked since November 2021 after struggling for form at club level. His chances of making the plane to Qatar appeared to be fading.

Now though, the picture could not be any different. After starring under new Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag this season, Rashford is now impressing on the biggest stage for his country. His magnificent free-kick against Wales – his first for England and the first of this World Cup – demonstrated his unique ability from set-pieces. Moments later, his effective pressing helped England double their lead before his directness and determination made it 3-0 to put the result beyond doubt.

“He’s really been impressive since he came back in with us,” Gareth Southgate told BBC Sport.

After this performance, the England manager has a simple decision to make. Rashford deserves to start against Senegal on Sunday.
Dan Sansom

Foden shines on the left for England

Phil Foden celebrates his goal
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Phil Foden celebrates scoring against Wales

“He is a great option in two or three positions and he will have a big impact,” said Gareth Southgate amid the clamour for Phil Foden’s inclusion. He made that impact in his second position of the night in England’s emphatic 3-0 win over Wales.

After playing on the right side of the forward line in the first half, Foden unlocked the game from the left early in the second. Marcus Rashford deserved the player of the match award for his two goals but this game showed what Foden can bring to the team too.

It was Foden whose driving run earned the free-kick from which Rashford scored. It was Foden who was there to turn in the second goal just moments later, a passage of play that began with him pressing the full-back to pass the ball backwards from the kick-off.

Phil Foden's touch map for England against Wales
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Phil Foden’s touch map for England against Wales

Maybe that should not be a surprise. Foden has been playing on the left regularly for Manchester City this season. Although the focus is on his capabilities as a creator, the statistics show that he is more of a finisher right now. It could be key at this World Cup.
Adam Bate

Read the full feature on why Foden’s best position might be misunderstood

Wales head for home – is Bale’s chapter over?

Gareth Bale
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Gareth Bale looks dejected after Wales crash out of the World Cup

Wales set up in an ultra-defensive shape to try to nullify England and for 50 minutes, it worked. Four at the back proved to be robust and unyielding – their resistance only undone by a moment of pure genius from Marcus Rashford. Then, suddenly, the shackles were off. Gareth Southgate’s charges were here to play. Wales attempted to put the brakes on, but found themselves two behind before the cheers from Rashford’s opener had even dissipated.

England’s mindset shifted. They became purposeful and expressive and Wales were powerless to prevent their unravelling. “The effort the players put in off the ball was exceptional,” Rob Page reflected, which says everything about their ill-fated game plan. Perhaps it was the pragmatic play. But offering one shot on target – Kieffer Moore via the head of Harry Maguire – was never going to be enough to hurt England. This was a knockout tie and Wales headed out with a whimper.

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Wales manager Rob Page says Wales haven’t shown their ‘true colours’ after being knocked out of the World Cup but are hungry to qualify for more major tournaments.

“They have additional motivation to play against England,” Southgate said in the preamble, but that apparent appetite never reared its head on the night. The pre-game chatter was all meaningless noise after all.

The writing was on the wall when talisman Gareth Bale failed to reemerge for the second period. Of all the players to have started three games at the tournament, only Almoez Ali of Qatar (71) has had fewer touches of the ball than Wales’ captain (77). “It just didn’t happen for us this tournament,” Bale summarised. Their 64-year wait for a World Cup appearance has indeed met its disappointing end. It remains to be seen if Bale’s Wales chapter has simultaneously reached its natural conclusion.
Laura Hunter

Christian Pulisic scores for the USA
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Christian Pulisic scores the USA’s winner

On the evidence of the group stage, pre-World Cup reports of the US’ demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated and one thing is for sure – the Netherlands had better not underestimate Gregg Berhalter’s side in their last-16 clash on Saturday.

The US deservedly overcame Iran in their final Group B clash thanks to a second successive World Cup clean sheet and Christian Pulisic’s close-range finish, although the Chelsea forward was injured in the process of scoring and worryingly ahead of the weekend showdown, had to be substituted at half-time.

Christian Pulisic of the USA is helped off the pitch after suffering an injury
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Christian Pulisic is helped off the pitch after suffering an injury

But make no mistake about it, this is a well-drilled outfit, with pace in attack, out wide and in the centre of the park and no shortage of technique to go with that as seen in the impressive displays so far in Qatar from the likes of captain Tyler Adams, Sergino Dest, Yunus Musah, Weston McKennie, Pulisic and Timothy Weah.

But while the Oranje are undoubtedly a step up in class from facing Wales and Iran, the US have already shown in holding England to a goalless draw that they are more than capable of mixing it with the so-called Big Boys of international football.

So do not be surprised were the US to make life very uncomfortable for Louis van Gaal and Co at the Khalifa International Stadium this weekend, much as they did to much-fancied Belgium the last time they made it through to the World Cup knockouts in 2014.
Richard Morgan

Senegal's Ismaila Sarr celebrates with team-mates after scoring a penalty
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Senegal’s Ismaila Sarr celebrates with team-mates after scoring a penalty

Senegal’s presence in the last 16 owes a lot to their wide players. In the absence of the injured Sadio Mane, Ismaila Sarra and Iliman Ndiaye stepped up to help Aliou Cisse’s side overcome Ecuador. Expect them to cause problems for England too.

Sarr was the most impactful of the two, winning the penalty for the opener then scoring it himself. The foul, committed by Piero Hincapie, was one of eight won by Sarr over the course of the game.

Ecuador couldn’t handle the Watford winger, his speed and directness ensuring it was a gruelling evening for right-back Angelo Preciado, mercifully substituted in the closing stages having somehow avoided a booking despite six separate infractions.

Only Neymar has won more fouls than Sarr in a single game at this World Cup and, over on the opposite side, Ndiaye, a Championship rival of Sarr’s with Sheffield United, and another player who surely belongs in the top-flight, was similarly impressive.

The 22-year-old was making his first start for Senegal having only broken into their squad this year but, having grabbed a late assist as a substitute in the win over Qatar, he picked up where he left off at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Like Sarr against Preciado, Ndiaye caused serious problems for Estupinan.

He completed four dribbles in total – the most by any player in the game – and also popped up in dangerous positions in the Ecuador box, further destabilising their creaking defence.

Senegal have weaknesses. Their play lacks cohesion at times and even Qatar have been able to find a way through their defence at this tournament. But even without Mane, Sarr and Ndiaye ensure there is pace, creativity and goal threat on the flanks.
Nick Wright

Enner Valencia celebrates after equalising for Ecuador
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Enner Valencia’s Ecuador were dumped out of the tournament by Senegal

Oh, what might have been? All Ecuador had to do was avoid defeat, as they had done against the group’s toughest opponents the Netherlands last time out, but they couldn’t see it through to reach the last 16.

For whatever reason, manager Gustavo Alfaro insisted on changing system again from the 4-4-2 that beat Qatar and the 3-4-3 which held the Netherlands to a 4-3-3. Even before kick-off, it was seen as a bold step and proved to be one which backfired spectacularly.

Ecuador’s natural width came from their full-backs, Angelo Preciado and Pervis Estupinan, but their propensity to get forward left them exposed in behind and could’ve seen them 2-0 down inside 10 minutes.

It took 44 minutes for Senegal to breach their backline in the end, but that was enough to force Alfaro into an embarrassing half-time climbdown.

Alan Franco and Carlos Gruezo, who had been named in the Ecuador starting line-up for the first time in the tournament, were both taken off at the interval.

Their withdrawal was accompanied by another change in shape – back to the 4-4-2 they had used against Qatar. Straight away they were sharper, quicker and looked far more comfortable and competent.

But a lot of the damage had already been done. Senegal had the momentum built up from their first-half performance behind them, and a lead to sit on.

Ecuador did get their all-important equaliser, but their opposition were confident after more than an hour on top and hit back instantly, with what would prove the winner.

There is never one reason for tournament failure and Ecuador’s players had enough quality to give Edouard Mendy a much busier night than he endured.

But having masterminded a superb point against the Netherlands to leave their destiny in their own hands, Alfaro’s tinkering played a major part in their early exit on Tuesday night.
Ron Walker

Cody Gakpo of the Netherlands celebrates his goal
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Cody Gakpo of the Netherlands celebrates his goal against Qatar

Header, left foot, right foot. Cody Gakpo is having the perfect tournament.

The Dutch forward has three goals in three consecutive World Cup matches and is the main reason why the Netherlands have cruised through to the knockout stages as group winners.

It’s not just the range of the three separate goals that make him such a great talent at 23 years old. He plays out wide for his club and centre forward for his country. He can be a penalty box presence but, as his goal against Qatar showed, he can come from deep and play further back if required.

Gakpo has three goals at the World Cup in three games - his latest strike came from his right foot
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Gakpo has three goals at the World Cup in three games – his latest strike came from his right foot

Tenacious, aggressive but blessed with flair, the forward joins Kylian Mbappe at the top of the World Cup Golden Boot standings. It’s excellent company, considering this is first World Cup.

He shows he has the full package – and maybe this World Cup, like Mbappe and James Rodriguez did before him, is becoming his own.

It won’t be long until one of the superclubs takes him off PSV Eindhoven’s hands – it could possibly happen in the January window.
Sam Blitz

Frenkie de Jong doubles the Netherlands' lead
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Qatar bowed out of the tournament with three defeats

Already out of the tournament after two games, Tuesday night was a chance for the host nation to avoid some unwanted World Cup history against the Netherlands.

Unfortunately, they failed to do so. They became the first hosts to not pick up a single win or a even a point in the group stage, while they also became the first ever individual host nation to lose three matches at a single World Cup tournament.

They also conceded seven goals, the outright most ever by a single host nation in the same group round of an edition of the tournament. Their plan to begin a training camp in June clearly didn’t work.

Needless to say the show will very much go on without them.

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Phil Foden stars for England against Wales: World Cup goal from the left reflects Man City man’s game right now | Football News

“He is a great option in two or three positions and he will have a big impact,” said Gareth Southgate amid the clamour for Phil Foden’s inclusion. He made that impact in his second position of the night in England’s emphatic 3-0 win over Wales.

After playing on the right side of the forward line in the first half, Foden unlocked the game from the left early in the second. Marcus Rashford deserved the player of the match award for his two goals but this game showed what Foden can bring to the team too.

It was Foden whose driving run earned the free-kick from which Rashford scored. It was Foden who was there to turn in the second goal just moments later, a passage of play that began with him pressing the full-back to pass the ball backwards from the kick-off.

There had been pressure on him going into this game. Southgate was aware of the fuss that followed Foden staying on the bench throughout that stalemate against the United States. Jude Bellingham referenced that pressure in his interview after this win.

There were signs of that tension in the first half. A shot dragged wide of the near post. The next attempt, after some extraordinary skill from Bellingham, blazed beyond the far post. The change in Foden – and in the game – came when he was moved to the left wing.

It was interesting that Southgate explained his reluctance to play Foden in midfield on the basis that he does not play there for Manchester City. Since operating deeper against Hungary last year, the England boss has started him six times on the right wing.

But Foden has had most of his minutes on the left for Pep Guardiola in the Premier League this season. While it has become customary for players to come inside on their stronger foot, this is someone with the pace and the technique to do that even from the left.

Crucially, playing on that flank also opens up the possibility of finishing from wide on his favoured foot. That is what happened for his goal. It was his first for England in over two years but the sort of strike that has become a familiar finish for fans of Manchester City.

His Premier League goal map shows that it is a productive zone for him but it is a position that he is less likely to find himself when playing from the right. For all the talk of Foden being a creator, the statistics suggest that finishing is a bigger feature of his game.

Phil Foden's goal map for Manchester City in his Premier League career

He has seven Premier League goals this season, more than any England player in this squad except Harry Kane. He has three assists. That is in keeping with each of the previous four seasons in which he also had more Premier League goals than assists.

Foden has said himself that he sees himself as one of those attacking midfielders in the middle at Manchester City, eventually. But Pep Guardiola does not play him as a midfielder. “His club do not do that so there must be a reason,” said Southgate this week.

“The discussion around just plopping Phil in as a No 10 in every game is not realistic. From the wide areas it is different, the defensive responsibility is different. As a No 10, you have to cover a lot more ground and be more aware of the spaces without the ball.”

Southgate’s reasoning centres on defensive discipline but the argument could be made just as easily by focusing on the player’s strengths rather than his weaknesses. For now, Foden is a finisher. He can create from deep but he is at his best higher up the pitch.

Phil Foden's touch map for England against Wales

Even in what Southgate described as his “quiet” first half, there was a dangerous run through the middle when Foden evaded two opposition players before sliding the ball to Kane. It might have led to the opening goal had Rashford’s cross been better.

It was interesting that Rashford, a player said to favour cutting in from the left, should once again score from the right. Erik ten Hag addressed that earlier this month. “If you see his stats, I think he scores across all the three positions up front almost equally.”

That might make Rashford undroppable against Senegal, but what of Foden? With Jack Grealish seemingly locked as Southgate’s go-to bench option, much will depend on whether the England manager is tempted into recalling Raheem Sterling or Bukayo Saka.

Ultimately, though, this was a game that highlighted the flexibility of Southgate’s wide forwards. It is already apparent that he has depth there. But sometimes the bench is not required. Only a tweak that gets Phil Foden into his most effective position right now.

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Off The Fence: Barry Geraghty ‘buzzing’ after Constitution Hill demolition in Fighting Fifth Hurdle | Racing News

Gold Cup and Grand National winner Barry Geraghty couldn’t hide his excitement when discussing Constitution Hill’s breathtaking victory in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle last weekend.

Geraghty, a former stable jockey to Nicky Henderson, knows the star hurdler better than most having prepared the horse at his home before being sold to owner Michael Buckley.

He famously even allowed his young daughters to ride the horse as a three-year-old, thanks to the horse’s remarkably laidback demeanour, especially given his exploits on the track.

Constitution Hill
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Constitution Hill

But it was Constitution Hill’s devastating performance at Newcastle on Saturday that impressed Geraghty, admitting he was “buzzing” after the 12-length victory over Epatante, with the five-year-old now odds-on to win the Champion Hurdle in March.

“For me, it was a bit like Cheltenham,” Geraghty told Off The Fence. “You’re hoping for a big performance and then, boom, he just delivers.

“I think it was a great decision to roll on with him and keep it straightforward. He schools brilliantly, he’s so relaxed. It’s everything he does.

“It was a big call by Nicky and Nico to let him pop along and just step it up as he went.

Flightline and jockey Flavien Prat after their victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Keenelend
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Flightline and jockey Flavien Prat after their victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keenelend

“Interestingly, Jamie Lynch clocked him from the four furlong pole to the two furlong pole and was 0.8 seconds slower than Flight Line in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“I wouldn’t have used that comparison but Jamie knows what he’s talking about.

“He’s had a bit of work on his back and done a good bit of work that could bring out a bit of improvement.

“The jump he threw at the last, he was rapid quick like a Buveur D’Air, Hurricane Fly or Binocular and through the race he was really good, really professional.

“For me, it was a brilliant buzz to see him roll down the straight like that.”

L'Homme Presse
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L’Homme Presse

Tony Keenan also praised the performance of Rehearsal Chase winner L’Homme Presse, who made a winning seasonal reappearance for the Venetia Williams team at Newcastle, defying top weight in the process.

“It was a very encouraging return from him,” Keenan said. “The only fault really was the bad mistake at the sixth but he was soon back going.

“I was impressed with the way he travelled through the race, the jockey never really had to get serious with him and it’s coming at the time when the yard has been a bit quiet and also a track that might not have suited him.

“Venetia Williams said after Aintree that a flat, left-handed track might not have suited him and Newcastle is similar to that and he coped with that just fine.”

Barry Geraghty

Now retired after a 24-year career in the saddle which yielded 43 Cheltenham Festival successes, Gold Cup and Grand National-winning jockey Barry Geraghty returns to At The Races, with whom he enjoyed a fruitful relationship as ambassador and columnist between 2012 and 2019.

An iconic National Hunt rider still well connected and riding work at some of the sport’s biggest yards, Barry has won all there is to win in jumps racing and is sure to give Off The Fence viewers raw insight each week.

Vanessa Ryle

A popular member of the Sky Sports Racing on-course presenter team who also fronts The Bloodstock Show, host Vanessa is an avid jumps racing fan, and will be tasked each week with steering her analyst colleagues ‘Off The Fence’.

Tony Keenan

attheraces.com’s resident Irish tipster and analyst, Tony Keenan has also played a leading role alongside Barry in ATR’s Cheltenham Preview Nights in Dublin since 2017. As sharp-tongued as he is sharp-minded, Tony’s regular unique takes and no-nonsense delivery will no doubt keep Off The Fence viewers (and Barry and Vanessa!) on their toes.

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Niclas Fullkrug is Germany’s World Cup cult hero: This gap-toothed throwback of a striker carries a country’s hopes now | Football News

Spain versus Germany was supposed to be the most technical game of the tournament so far. It was gate-crashed by a burly forward who saw no need for such subtlety and thundered in the equaliser. Niclas Fullkrug is a World Cup story to make you smile.

Neither side had selected a natural centre-forward. Alvaro Morata came on for Spain to provide the deft touch for the opening goal but Fullkrug brought something different entirely. He had more shots than anyone else despite coming on in the 69th minute.

A game that needed a striker. A country that needed a striker.

Niclas Fullkrug celebrates after he equalises for Germany
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Niclas Fullkrug celebrates after his dramatic equaliser against Spain

Michael Ballack wants him to start the next game. Lothar Matthaus has been aboard that bandwagon for a while. His Werder Bremen team-mates are leading the campaign. “He is the best German striker we have,” says his club strike-partner Marvin Ducksch.

“If you want to play with a classic No 9 you can’t look past him,” argues Niklas Stark. Another makes a perceptive observation about the modern game. “He is the type of striker you don’t see often anymore, at least not in Germany,” says Leonardo Bittencourt.

For those who have followed the career of Fullkrug even longer than his team-mates, there is delight that he is enjoying this moment. Eleven days after becoming Germany’s oldest debutant in two decades, he has already become a World Cup cult hero.

There are those evoking the name of Salvatore Schillaci, the Italian striker who dominated the 1990 World Cup on home soil. In Germany, there is the sort of media frenzy that would have greeted Rickie Lambert had he gone supernova in South Africa in 2010.

Fullkrug, 29, has not quite come from working in a beetroot factory. He made his Bundesliga debut more than a decade ago. But this popular player with the gap-toothed grin – his nickname is Lucke, that’s gap in German – is exceeding most expectations right now.

But not all.

“It has been an amazing journey,” Gerhard Zuber tells Sky Sports.

Niclas Fullkrug as a young player at Werder Bremen first time around in 2013
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Niclas Fullkrug as a young player at Werder Bremen first time around in 2013

“He is a very good finisher when one-on-one with the goalkeeper and also with his head he is one of the best in Europe, I think. In Germany, we do not have many No 9s. Therefore, it is not a big surprise for me because he is a player who has always worked hard.”

Zuber was the director of football at Hannover 96 during Fullkrug’s time at the club and the pair remain in touch, exchanging messages after his exploits against Spain. Everyone wants a piece of the in-form striker right now but Zuber was a fan when others were not.

Prior to Fullkrug finishing as the third-highest scorer in the Bundesliga in 2018, behind only Robert Lewandowski and Nils Pedersen, Zuber had to persuade his head coach to pick Germany’s new favourite in the promotion-winning season that preceded it.

“He was not playing. I asked the coach about it and he told me there were little problems. I told him that if you want to go to the Bundesliga then he has to play because he is one of the best strikers in the division. If you show confidence in him then he pays it back.

“It was the right decision to count on him. After that, he played more and more, scoring a very important goal in the derby against Braunschweig and we went up. Later on, there were injuries. That was his big problem. He could not play a season without injury.”

Niclas Fullkrug during his time as a striker for Hannover 96
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Niclas Fullkrug pictured during his time as a striker for Hannover 96

It is tempting to see Fullkrug’s extraordinary rise as a freak tale but that scoring season in the Bundesliga with Hannover five years ago shows that the talent was always there. “We had a very good offer from Gladbach for €20m but we did not sell.”

He eventually returned to Werder Bremen after Hannover were relegated from the Bundesliga in 2019, but by that stage, his progress had been curtailed. Knee problems and niggles hampered him. Maybe all that he needed was a run of games.

“This is his main secret. When he is fit, he is one of the best around. Now he is doing that, but in the past, he had small injuries and when you are not playing every game you are not in the best shape. Momentum is the biggest advantage for him now.

“He is feeling good and you can see that with his shooting. That is very helpful. If you score goals then it gives you confidence and if you have confidence then you score goals. He has amazing physicality and he is doing everything he can to be in shape now.

“He is a character who wants to score every time. He does extra training sessions, always shooting. He is emotional but now he is in his late twenties he has become a father and is calmer and more relaxed because of his family. I think that is another secret.”

Niclas Fullkrug's touch map for Germany at the World Cup shows he is a box threat
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Niclas Fullkrug’s touch map for Germany at the World Cup shows he is a box threat

Maturity has taken time. As recently as last year, that emotional side caused controversy. During the early part of last season, with Werder Bremen in the second division, he was suspended from training for three days following an outburst.

“Normally you would kick him out after what he said in the training sessions,” says Zuber. “He was not satisfied with the decisions and he was saying that out loud. Sometimes he is very emotional and he was very close to leaving Bremen because of this.”

His club took a more pragmatic approach and decided not to cut him loose. “It is not a big-money club so you have to think carefully when you take such decisions,” adds Zuber.

“They gave him a second chance and he took it.”

The same can be said of his fledgling international career. Given 45 minutes to impress against Oman, he scored the only goal of the game. Given even less time than that to salvage Germany’s World Cup campaign, he delivered once again.

That pre-tournament ankle injury to Timo Werner has opened a pathway for a player now striding purposefully down it with no limit on where it might lead. “If he scores against Costa Rica, he will be in the team for the rest of the World Cup, I think,” says Zuber.

Niclas Fullkrug is mobbed by his German team-mates after equalising
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Niclas Fullkrug is mobbed by his German team-mates after equalising

“If that happens then you know that the price will start rising. Werder is important for him because he was there in their youth team but sometimes you have to take the next step. If he is performing like this then the good teams are always searching for these players.

“If I were Bayern Munich, I would sign him because he is that target player up front. Every team needs a player like him and Bayern do not have that profile of player. He would cost money but for Bayern or for clubs in the Premier League that is not a problem.”

That is for later. After breathing new life into his country’s campaign, Niclas Fullkrug’s World Cup story has only just begun. The Bundesliga player of the month for September and October has had an even better November. Who knows what December might bring?

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Juventus president Andrea Agnelli and rest of club’s board resign | Football News

The entire board of directors at Juventus, including president Andrea Agnelli, have resigned.

The collective resignation comes after Juventus’ financial statements underwent scrutiny by prosecutors and Italian market regulator Consob in recent months for alleged false accounting and market manipulation. The company has denied any wrongdoing.

Furthermore, Juventus published an annual loss of £220m for last season – a record-breaking fee in the history of the club.

A Juventus statement read: “The Board of Directors, considering the focus and relevance of the pending legal and technical-accounting issues, have deemed it in the best interest to recommend that Juventus adopt a new Board of Directors to deal with these issues.”

Alongside Agnelli, vice-president Pavel Nedved has offered his resignation as has chief executive Maurizio Arrivabene – but Juventus have asked the latter to remain in his position to transition over to the next board of directors.

Andrea Agnelli, Pavel Nedved
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Pavel Nedved (left) has also resigned along with Agnelli

Board members Laurence Debroux, Massimo Della Ragione, Katryn Fink, Daniela Marilungo, Francesco Roncaglio, Giorgio Tacchia and Suzanne Keywood have also stepped down.

President Agnelli has been at the Juventus helm since 2010 and was one of the main figures in setting up the European Super League which failed to take shape last year, acting as vice-chairman of the division.

Juventus, under Agnelli’s stewardship, are still signed up to the breakaway league along with Barcelona and Real Madrid, despite the other nine European clubs quickly stepping away from the project due to backlash from the football community.

To take up the European Super League vice-chairman role, Agnelli had to resign from his executive-level positions in the European Club Association and the UEFA committee.

Andrea Agnelli
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Agnelli was one of the main figures in the breakaway European Super League

In Agnelli’s reign, Juventus became one of the powerhouses of European football by dominating the Italian leagues. Juventus won nine Serie A titles in a row until 2019-20.

However, Juventus have fallen off their perch in recent seasons, with Inter and AC Milan winning the last two Serie A titles respectively.

Juventus are currently third in the Serie A table, 10 points behind leaders Napoli, and are currently managed by Massimiliano Allegri – who Agnelli let go in 2019 only to rehire him 18 months later.

Juventus were also knocked out of the Champions League group stages earlier this month and dropped into the Europa League – a further blow to their financial standing.

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Chelsea close on Christopher Nkunku transfer & David Beckham to bid for Manchester United – Paper Talk | Transfer Centre News

All the top stories and transfer rumours from Monday’s newspapers…

DAILY STAR

Chelsea are reportedly closing in on Christopher Nkunku’s transfer from RB Leipzig – with only a contract needing to be signed.

RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku celebrates scoring to make it 1-0 against Celtic
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RB Leipzig’s Christopher Nkunku

THE SUN

David Beckham will make a bid to buy Manchester United, pal Rio Ferdinand has revealed.

Arsenal and Manchester United fans will reportedly be able to snap up sponsorless shirts from next season.

Juventus are targeting a January switch for Manchester United target Nico Williams, according to reports.

THE TIMES

Gareth Southgate is set to recall Jordan Henderson and Kyle Walker to England’s starting line-up as he looks to add experience to his team in what is expected to be an intense all-British clash with Wales.

Kyle Walker
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Kyle Walker is set to be recalled by Gareth Southgate

Eddie Jones’ future as England head coach remains uncertain with the RFU unable to say whether he will attend a World Cup planning trip next month.

DAILY MAIL

EDeclan Rice has labelled Phil Foden as England’s ‘most technically gifted player,’ while Manchester City and national team-mate Kalvin Phillips has insisted the attacker’s best position is playing as a number 10.

Liverpool have appointed Jonathan Power as their new club doctor and he will begin the role before the Premier League’s resumption.

Teenage sensation Gavi missed training on Monday, a day after Spain’s 1-1 draw with Germany at the World Cup.

Gavi makes a run during Spain's World Cup clash with Costa Rica
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Gavi missed training for Spain on Monday

DAILY EXPRESS

Arsenal legend David Seaman has weighed in on the prospect of Jude Bellingham moving to the Emirates next summer.

Karim Benzema could reportedly still rejoin France’s World Cup squad with the Real Madrid striker believed to be recovering from injury quicker than expected.

DAILY MIRROR

Manchester United will have to fork out over £100m if they want to sign Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez in the January transfer window.

Argentina's Enzo Fernandez celebrates after doubling their lead
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Enzo Fernandez celebrates after scoring for Argentina at the World Cup

Barcelona left-back Alejandro Balde has named Manchester United as another club he would like to play for during a TikTok session.

DAILY TELEGRAPH

Kyle Walker is in line to start his first England game at this World Cup against Wales, but it remains to be seen whether it will be in a back three or a back four.

Shaun Edwards remains hopeful of coaching England at some point in the future.

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