World Cup 2022: Croatia draw sees Belgium crash out and Martinez depart, they must now rebuild

Croatia's players and teammembers celebrate at the end of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group F football match between Croatia and Belgium at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on December 1, 2022. (Photo by Chandan KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

As good as Croatia were for sustained periods, Belgium had ample opportunity to punish Zlatko Dalic’s side. Instead, they again rued missed goalscoring chances and a startling lack of urgency at times, with their goalless draw on MD3 meaning the golden generation have failed to qualify from the World Cup group stages. Roberto Martinez’s contract expired at the tournament’s end and well, the inquest into their latest underachievement must be thorough. Continue reading

World Cup 2022: Belgium boss Martinez rubbishes negative news before crunch clash vs. Croatia

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 30: Roberto Martinez, Head Coach of Belgium, speaks during the Belgium Press Conference at the Main Media Center on November 30, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Having laboured to a lacklustre 1-0 win over Canada, then being stunned 2-0 by Morocco on MD2, Roberto Martinez’s Belgium enter today’s group stage encounter with Croatia – the World Cup runners-up four years ago – aware tournament progression remains in their hands. As speculation about dwindling team dynamics and squad division persists, the 49-year-old Spaniard insists critics should enjoy what’s left of this golden generation, not inventing stories. Continue reading

World Cup 2022 – England 0-0 USA: Berhalter’s boys expose Three Lions in anti-climactic stalemate

AL KHOR, QATAR - NOVEMBER 25: Mason Mount of England and Tyler Adams of USA and Jude Bellingham of England during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between England and USA at Al Bayt Stadium on November 25, 2022 in Al Rayyan, Qatar. (Photo by Richard Sellers/Getty Images)

Gareth Southgate insisted afterwards that he’s not unhappy and expected a tight game given the strength of their American opponents. His players were frustrated post-match, but can only blame themselves for a ponderous and unsettling display as they – like the Netherlands three hours earlier – failed to secure the World Cup’s first last-16 berth with a group game to spare.
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France 4-1 Australia: World champions rally from early scare to earn big win in World Cup opener

Adrien RABIOT and Olivier GIROUD of France during the FIFA World Cup 2022, Group D match between France and Australia on November 22, 2022 in Al...]

Four of the last five World Cup winners have gone on to crash out in the group stages at the subsequent tournament, a statistic beginning with France themselves back in 2002. For a 20-minute spell in their Group D opener against Australia, you could be forgiven for thinking history would repeat itself. Now though, they’ll be expecting to build on a display highlighting some strengths while lluminating weaknesses with tougher challenges in the days to come.
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World Cup 2022: Pulisic excited, determined to change the way the world sees US soccer

Christian Pulisic of United States poses during the official FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 portrait session at on November 15, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

Although he’s struggled for regular minutes and consistency at club level with Chelsea, Christian Pulisic still represents the US’ big hope – alongside Gio Reyna and Brenden Aaronson – to surprise their critics and exceed expectations in Qatar, having failed to qualify altogether four years ago. Will they progress from a tough Group B which features England and Wales? Continue reading

Anass Zaroury: Who is Burnley winger replacing Amine Harit in Morocco’s World Cup squad?

Anass Zaroury of Burnley celebrates after scoring their side's second goal during the Sky Bet Championship between Burnley and Blackburn Rovers at...

The 22-year-old, capped by Belgium from under-17 to under-21 level, has settled quickly to life under compatriot Vincent Kompany in Lancashire – six goals and two assists since his August transfer – and French reports today suggest he’ll be the man tasked with replacing Amine Harit in Morocco’s World Cup squad after the Marseille midfielder’s nasty knee injury on Sunday. Continue reading

Guardiola confirms red-hot Haaland will be rested when time is right, after Manchester derby treble

Phil Foden of Manchester City celebrates their sides sixth goal and their hat trick with team mate Erling Haaland during the Premier League match...

Having broken another league record with his third hat-trick of the campaign against Manchester United, Erling Haaland’s formidable form has not gone unnoticed – 14 goals and three assists in his first eight Premier League games. It’s important not to be transfixed by the moment, and is why head coach Pep Guardiola has tonight reaffirmed the fact the Norwegian will be rested when the time is right, with a heavy year-long fixture schedule to consider.
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