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FIFA World Cup 2022: Spotlight on Uruguay, Ghana, Portugal & Brazil

FIFA World Cup 2022: After 12 years, Ghana look for revenge against Luis Suarez's Uruguay

Fireworks explode prior to the World Cup group E soccer match between Japan and Spain, at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

World Cup 2022: Even though favourites Brazil are in action on the last day of the group stage matches, the one clash that holds the greater intrigue is when Uruguay take on Ghana in a Group H encounter.  This is the first time the two countries have come face to face since that infamous Luis Suarez handball incident that played a vital part in eliminating Ghana from the 2010 World Cup. Suarez was red carded and Ghana given a penalty which Asamoah Gyan ended up missing. Ultimately, Ghana succumbed to Uruguay in a penalty shootout and were eliminated from  the World Cup.

In a pre-match press c0onference, Suarez was representing Uruguay when a Ghanaian journalist told him that he is considered to be “the devil himself” by many people in Ghana to which Suarez said that he refused to apologize for that 2010 incident. “I don’t apologise. The Ghana player missed a penalty. Not me. I was sent off. If I injured a player I would apologise. Gyan said he would do the same, ” he said.

In the other matches of the day, Brazil, who have already qualified for the Round Of 16, will lock up against Cameroon while Serbia and Switzerland will also play in a match with political undertones. In the 2nd match of Group H, Portugal will face off against a South Korea side who are on the brink of elimination.

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FIFA World Cup 2022: Uruguay will take on Ghana; Brazil will be up against Cameroon, Portugal will face South Korea and Switzerland will lock horns against Serbia.

16:48 (IST)02 Dec 2022
Qatar World Cup 2022 last 16: A detailed look at the teams

The Netherlands secured a place in the last 16 with victories over African champions Senegal and hosts Qatar, topping Group A despite a 1-1 draw with Ecuador.
The Dutch - unbeaten in the last 18 games after their elimination at Euro 2020 - will face the United States on Saturday. The Netherlands have been runners up at three World Cups in 1974, 1978 and 2010. This year marks their return to the international stage after they failed to qualify in 2018.

Group performance:
Senegal 0-2 Netherlands
Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador
Netherlands 2-0 Qatar

Poland clinched a spot in the last 16 as runners up of Group C after a win over Saudi Arabia, a draw with Mexico and a loss to Argentina. Poland closed the group stage tied with Mexico and advanced thanks to goal difference.
Led by captain Robert Lewandowski - reduced to tears after scoring his first World Cup goal against Saudi Arabia - Poland will face France on Sunday. The Polish side had not reached the knockout stage of the tournament since 1986, after finishing third in 1974 and 1982.

Group performance:
Poland 0-0 Mexico
Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia
Argentina 2-0 Poland

A second-half brace from Bruno Fernandes sealed Portugal's qualification with a 2-0 victory over Uruguay, who in 2018 knocked the side out in the last 16. Portugal's best World Cup result is a third place in 1966. Most recently, they won the Euro 2016 in France. Currently a free agent due to a bitter divorce from Manchester United, captain Cristiano Ronaldo became the first male player to score at least one goal in five different World Cups after netting a penalty in the opener against Ghana.

Group performance:
Portugal 3-2 Ghana
Portugal 2-0 Uruguay
South Korea v Portugal (Friday 1500 GMT)

With a decisive 2-1 victory over Ecuador, Senegal qualified to the last 16 and will face England on Sunday.
The reigning African Champions started the World Cup with a loss to the Netherlands, but were able to turn their fortune with a 3-1 win over hosts Qatar. This is the third World Cup appearance for Senegal, who reached the quarter-finals in 2002.

Group performance:
Senegal 0-2 Netherlands
Qatar 1-3 Senegal
Ecuador 1-2 Senegal

One of the favourites to win the tournament, Spain clinched a spot in the last 16 with a blowout against Costa Rica followed by a draw with Germany and a loss to Japan. After an early elimination in the hands of Russia in 2018, a rejuvenated La Roja - with 14 players under the age of 25 - will meet Group F winners Morocco on Tuesday.
Spain claimed the trophy in 2010.

Group performance:
Spain 7-0 Costa Rica
Spain 1-1 Germany
Japan 2-1 Spain

The United States qualified as runners up of Group B after a 1-0 victory over Iran in a match overshadowed by political tension, following draws with Wales and England.
They will meet the Netherlands in the first match of the knockout stage on Saturday. The U.S. national team has taken part in 11 World Cups, and never topped their third-place finish of 1930.

Group performance:
United States 1-1 Wales
England 0-0 United States
Iran 0-1 United States

16:47 (IST)02 Dec 2022
World Cup 2022 last 16: which teams qualified for knockout stage?

The World Cup knockout phase kicks off on Saturday in Qatar. Below is an overview of the teams qualified so far:

Argentina clawed back the top spot in Group C with wins over Mexico and Poland after a shocking loss in the opener against Saudi Arabia. They will next face Australia on Saturday. La Seleccion was able to grant a last chance to win the trophy to captain Lionel Messi, who has announced his intention to retire from the national team after the tournament. Argentina won the World Cup in 1978 and 1986, and reached the final on three more occasions, most recently in 2014 when they lost against Germany.

Group performance:
Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia
Argentina 2-0 Mexico
Poland 0-2 Argentina
William Hill odds to win tournament: 11-2
William Hill odds to win against Australia: 2-11

Australia claimed a spot in the last 16 as runners up of Group D with 6 points from wins over Tunisia and Denmark. They go on to face Argentina on Saturday.
This is the sixth World Cup for the Socceroos and their fifth in a row. In 2006 they reached the Round of 16, falling to eventual champions Italy.

Group performance:
France 4-1 Australia
Tunisia 0-1 Australia
Australia 1-0 Denmark

Brazil qualified for the knockout stage after back-to-back wins against Switzerland and Serbia, currently leading Group G before their last match against Cameroon.
The Selecao have claimed the World Cup five times and are pre-tournament favourites to win a record-extending sixth title. Brazil have played in every World Cup since 1930 but have not reached the final since they last won the title in 2002.

Group performance:
Brazil 2-0 Serbia
Brazil 1-0 Switzerland
Cameroon v Brazil (Friday 1900 GMT)

Croatia joined the last 16 after two goalless draws with Morocco and Belgium and a 4-1 victory over Canada. They will next face Japan on Monday as the runners up of Group F. This is the sixth World Cup for Croatia, who were beaten by France in the 2018 final.

Group performance:
Morocco 0-0 Croatia
Croatia 4-1 Canada
Croatia 0-0 Belgium

England punched their ticket to the knockout phase as top of Group B with 7 points, following emphatic victories against Wales and Iran and a goalless draw with the United States.The Three Lions, who reached the Euro 2020 final last year, will face Group A runners up Senegal on Sunday.
England's only World Cup win dates back to 1966. They finished fourth overall in 2018.

Group performance:
England 6-2 Iran
England 0-0 United States
Wales 0-3 England

Another favourite to win the tournament, reigning champions France delivered on expectations and became the first team to qualify for the last 16 with consecutive Group D wins over Australia and Denmark, followed by a 1-0 loss to Tunisia. Led by AC Milan striker Olivier Giroud - who tied Thierry Henry as top scorer for the national side at 51 international goals - Les Blues are set to face Poland on Sunday. France won the World Cup in 1998 and 2018.

Group performance:
France 4-1 Australia
France 2-1 Denmark
Tunisia 1-0 France

Japan surged into the last 16 as the unlikely top of Group E after the Samurai Blue staged two stunning comeback wins over Germany and Spain, losing only to Costa Rica. They will face Croatia on Monday. The four-time Asian Cup winners matched their best World Cup result, after qualifying for knockout stages three times before.

Group performance:
Germany 1-2 Japan
Japan 0-1 Costa Rica
Japan 2-1 Spain

Morocco topped Group F with wins over Canada and Belgium following a goalless draw with Croatia, and is slotted to play against Spain on Tuesday. This ties the country's best World Cup result ever, as they reached the last 16 only once before in 1986. The African side, playing in their fifth World Cup edition, in 2018 failed to qualify for the knockout stage after getting only one point in three matches.

Group performance:
Morocco 0-0 Croatia
Belgium 0-2 Morocco
Canada 1-2 Morocco

16:31 (IST)02 Dec 2022
Tunisia's Khazri announces retirement from national team

Tunisia striker Wahbi Khazri announced his retirement from international soccer after the national side were eliminated at the group stage of the World Cup in Qatar.
Khazri scored to give Tunisia a 1-0 win over holders France on Wednesday, joining Saudi duo Salem Al-Dawsari and Sami Al-Jaber as the all-time leading Arab scorers at World Cups with three goals each.

"After the Tunisia match, and in a meeting that included all the players and the technical and administrative staff, I told everyone that this moment is appropriate, and I thanked everyone and wished them success," Khazri told Bein Sports French.

"I am proud of what I gave my country over the past years, and I believe that the future for this generation is bright." The 31-year-old Montpellier striker said: "To beat France, to score and be decisive, that is more beautiful."

16:30 (IST)02 Dec 2022
US coach Berhalter to draw on Dutch lessons at World Cup

Gregg Berhalter knows plenty about Dutch soccer — he turned pro in the Netherlands 28 years ago. He will look to draw on the lessons he learned there when he coaches the United States against Oranje on Saturday for a place in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Qatar. The Americans have not reached the quarterfinals since 2002. The U.S. was knocked out in the round of 16 in extra-time losses to Ghana in 2010 and Belgium in 2014, then failed to qualify for the 2018 tournament.

“We deserve to be in the position we’re in and we want to keep going,” Berhalter said. “So for us, it’s about how we recover from this game and prepare to play against a very good Dutch team, very well coached, ton of quality all over the field, and we have to come up with an idea of how to beat them.”

The United States has played the Netherlands five times previously, all in friendlies, losing at home in 1998 and at Amsterdam in 2004 and 2010. The U.S. rallied for a 4-3 win at Amsterdam Arena in 2015 when Danny Williams equalized in the 88th minute and Bobby Wood scored 96 seconds later.

16:29 (IST)02 Dec 2022
Belgium's golden generation is over, where now for Martinez?

His eyes welling up, Roberto Martinez said his goodbyes and left, his next whereabouts unknown.

It is the end of an era for Belgium’s golden generation. But for the man who led it to third place at the 2018 World Cup, it is the beginning of something new.

A return to club soccer is on Martinez’ horizon after his six years in charge of Belgium ended in elimination at the group stage in Qatar with a goalless draw against Croatia on Thursday.

Precisely which club remains to be seen and may be dependent on how the Spanish coach’s time with Belgium’s most celebrated group of players is assessed.

“I know some people only see a legacy by winning a major tournament. I see it in a different way,” said Martinez, who was appointed in 2016. “I’m extremely proud, I love the way the team has played. The real fans in Belgium appreciate it. But it’s the time for me to leave.”

Martinez said he “wanted to give it another go,” at this World Cup, but that ultimately ended in disappointment at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium and likely recrimination in the coming days.

15:07 (IST)02 Dec 2022
‘We are sorry to have to again disappoint them at a world cup’: Kai Havertz apologises to German fans

Kai Havertz, who scored two goals against Costa Rica after coming on from the bench has apologised to the German fans after their back-to-back early exits at the World Cup. The four-time champions were again eliminated from the group stage, four years after their embarrassing display as defending champions in Russia. “We are sorry to have to again disappoint them at a world cup,” Havertz said after the match. “Our fans have been dreaming this for years and we have been dreaming of playing with the support of our fans. [Read More]

14:03 (IST)02 Dec 2022
Neymar’s father believes son will be back from injury for World Cup final

When Alexis Mac Allister saw the ball coming in his direction, his eyes glowed. Winking at him was the moment he could become his country’s hero, his idol Lionel Messi’s hero, perhaps even the latter’s redemption. He darted forward and struck the ball as hard as he could. The connection was feeble. Perhaps it was nerves, perhaps it was that his boot got caught in the turf.  But sometimes, destiny smiles at you. Had his connection been sweet, the Polish goalkeeper, Wojciech Szczesny, could have better judged the flight and leapt to palm the ball away. But Mac Allister scuffed it, and the ball rolled onto the far post and kissed it before trickling inside. The unfortunate Szczesny was horribly wrong-footed. Mac Allister’s eyes rolled in disbelief. (READ MORE)

13:11 (IST)02 Dec 2022
In goalless draw, Luka won, Lukaku none

Emotions poured out when the final whistle blew at the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium. The judgment was pronounced — Croatia would sneak through to the last 16 while Belgium would crash out as the match ended in a goalless but vibrant draw. Luka Modric tumbled to the ground and lifted himself to walk around the ground to thank the Croatian supporters. His knackered friends lay sprawled on the ground, with not a sweat more to shed.

He walked towards the half-line, where Romelu Lukaku sat cross-legged in tears, head caved between his knees. He extended his right-hand for support and consolation. Tears still flowed uncontrollably from Lukaku. He had spilled a raft of glorious chances to put his team in front. There was no redemption in sight—the what-ifs would haunt him forever. He pulled the shirt over his head, so that he escapes from thousand sympathetic glares from the stands. Not far from him, lay Kevin De Bruyne, impassively looking up at the skies. In the dug-out, manager Roberto Martinez looked blankly into the distance before he began to commiserate with his players, most of them in tears. (READ MORE)

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12:50 (IST)02 Dec 2022
Morocco’s FIFA World Cup run is a migration success story

In 2018, the Moroccan national football team was in a difficult spot. Under the tutelage of Herve Renard, a well-known face in African football most recently gaining prominence for spearheading Saudi Arabia’s shock upset over Argentina in the ongoing World Cup, they had reached a World Cup finals for the first time in decades. To compete at a tournament of that standing though, Morocco did not boast of much individual talent. Yet, there was one who was begging to represent them. Munir El-Haddadi had been one of the most sought-after talents in Europe in the early 2010s – a Spanish national, with talent honed at La Masia, touted to be one for the future at Barcelona. (READ MORE)

12:25 (IST)02 Dec 2022
Controversy erupts over Japan’s second goal against Spain which knocked Germany out!

Even though Japan defeated Spain and in the process knocked out Germany from the World Cup on Thursday, the victory did not come without its share of controversy. The second goal which saw Kaoru Mitoma crossing the ball to Ao Tanaka, who then bundled it into the Spanish net, had initially been ruled out by the linesman but after a lengthy VAR check, the goal stood. This proved decisive in the outcome of the Group E as Spain losing 1-2 to Japan meant that Germany was knocked out even after winning their match against Costa Rica. (READ MORE)

12:11 (IST)02 Dec 2022
Japanese star Ritsu Doan has his payback for taunts

“It is often called miracle, but I believe it is inevitable” reads the caption on Ritsu Doan’s Instagram post, celebrating what is arguably his biggest moment of his footballing career. When you score a goal to help Japan beat Spain and qualify for the world cup knockouts as group-toppers, it should be THE moment. But it is hard to place it above his goal against Germany in their opening game, which for plenty of reasons was an emotional ride.

After Doan equalised in the 48th minute against Spain, Takumo Asano scored in the 51 minute – a goal that is going to be spoken about for long for the controversy that came with it – to take Japan into the knockouts and in the process send Germany back home. After defeating the four-time champions in the opener, to deny them a place in the knockouts for the second successive time in World Cups would be an icing on the cake for Doan. (READ MORE)

11:58 (IST)02 Dec 2022
Belgium star Romelu Lukaku’s bittersweet journey

Romelu Lukaku is distraught, head buried in his palms, bowed in front of his hero Thierry Henry, who looks glum-eyed into the distance at nothing in particular. A more dreadful night for a striker in a big World Cup game, one can’t recall. Lukaku moves away from Henry, screams loudly, and smashes the dug-out glass with his right fist, staggers away into the shadows. It was some journey for him to reach the starry heights before the lights went out in the desert. Lights literally went out at his home when he was a kid. For nights. One evening, he spotted his mother fiddling with the milk in the kitchen; he saw her mixing water in with the milk. That’s when he knew that his family was broke. He didn’t say a word; just ate his lunch quietly as he didn’t want to stress her out. Soon, unpaid electricity bills piled up, and the house would often plunge into darkness. But that moment and particularly the expression on his mother when she was diluting the milk stirred something in him. He decided he would be a footballer who would take care of his family. He was six. (READ MORE)

11:12 (IST)02 Dec 2022
Neymar's father on his son's injury!

Brazil will reevaluate Neymar’s condition and decide about his chances of playing again at this year’s World Cup after Friday’s game against Cameroon. However, his father Neymar Santos Sr believes that his son will be back for the final to help his country win the World Cup. “The most important thing is he can come back to the field and be at his best. When he was injured before and he came back again he was at his best. He will do his best,” Neymar Sr told talkSPORT. (READ MORE)

11:02 (IST)02 Dec 2022
Japan stun Spain 2-1, knock Germany out of the World Cup!

Japan had stunned Germany once in this World Cup. They did it again on Friday – this time, also upsetting Spain in the process. And they did it at the same venue as well – the Khalifa International Stadium. In one of the most dramatic evenings in World Cup history, the Asian giants staged an incredible second-half comeback, beat the 2010 world champions Spain 2-1 and, in the process, knockout the 2014 world champions Germany, who exit the World Cup in the group stage for second time in a row. (READ MORE)

10:50 (IST)02 Dec 2022
Group E rollercoaster!

Spain and Germany — which beat Costa Rica 4-2 in a simultaneous match — both had four points in the group. But Spain had a superior goal difference. The group standings bounced back and forth during both matches. Costa Rica was beating Germany at one point. If that result had stood, Costa Rica would have eliminated Spain. (Read More)

10:19 (IST)02 Dec 2022
Just a glimpse of what happened in Group E
10:07 (IST)02 Dec 2022
Ghana vs Uruguay

Luis Suarez was as unremorseful on Thursday as he was 12 years ago. During the pre-match press conference in Doha, a Ghanaian journalist didn’t mince words in describing how the country felt about the Uruguayan striker. “Some Ghana fans feel you are the devil itself,” the journalist began, going on to say how the country was looking forward to his retirement before eventually asking him if he’d apologise. Suarez, rather cheekily, replied: “(sic) I did handball the ball, but the Ghana player missed the penalty, not me. Maybe I would apologise if I did a tackle, injured a player and took a red card. But in this situation… It’s not my fault. I didn’t miss the penalty. The player who missed the penalty, he would do the same. It’s not my responsibility how he shot the penalty.” READ MORE

09:23 (IST)02 Dec 2022
Final day of group stage

Brazil and Portugal already advanced into the knockout round so the focus on the final day of World Cup group play should be on the six other teams trying to avoid elimination.

Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon, South Korea, Ghana and Uruguay all have a chance on Friday to reach the last 16.

Alas, the spotlight will still be on Brazil and Portugal.

Japan stun Spain 2-1, knock Germany out of the World Cup

Japan players celebrate after defeating Spain 2-1 after the World Cup group E soccer match between Japan and Spain, at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

Japan had stunned Germany once in this World Cup. They did it again on Friday – this time, also upsetting Spain in the process. And they did it at the same venue as well – the Khalifa International Stadium.

In one of the most dramatic evenings in World Cup history, the Asian giants staged an incredible second-half comeback, beat the 2010 world champions Spain 2-1 and, in the process, knockout the 2014 world champions Germany, who exit the World Cup in the group stage for second time in a row.

As fortunes of all four teams in Group E swung from one extreme to another, Japan topped the pool with six points ahead of Spain, who were level on points with Germany (4) but sneaked into the last 16 ahead of their European rivals owing to a superior goal difference. Costa Rica, who were in contention to progress for a few minutes when they led Germany but lost 4-2, finished at the bottom of the group with three points.

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First published on: 02-12-2022 at 09:00 IST
  • 2022 FIFA World Cup
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