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FIFA World Cup 2022 Day 7: Argentina, Messi to battle in do-or die clash but France also under pressure

FIFA World Cup 2022 Day 7 November 25: Tunisia vs Australia, Poland vs Saudi Arabia, France vs Denmark and Argentina vs Mexico are the four matches of the day.

By: Sports Desk
Updated: November 26, 2022 16:32 IST
A giant replica of the World Cup trophy is seen before the World Cup group B soccer match between England and The United States, at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

World Cup 2022 Day 7: All eyes will be on Argentina as they take on Mexico in the last match of the day. Argentina suffered one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history, with a 2-1 reverse to low-ranked Saudi Arabia. Mexico’s low-scoring and injury-hit squad bore out pre-tournament pessimism in their first game, drawing 0-0 against Poland and only avoiding defeat thanks to a stunning save from veteran goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

So an already spicy-looking encounter has become even hotter for both teams if they are to avoid the ignominy of early exit.

But before that there are 3 more matches to look forward to. Tunisia will take on Australia in early kick off followed by a buoyant Saudi Arabia locking horns with Poland. After that, France will clash with their recent bane Denmark, who they have lost to twice in the Nations League.

Live Blog

Qatar World Cup 2022: Tunisia face Australia, Saudi Arabia clash against Poland, France to play Denmark and Argentina to close the day against Mexico.

15:42 (IST)26 Nov 2022
15:26 (IST)26 Nov 2022
Fifa World Cup: Stat alert!
15:25 (IST)26 Nov 2022
Fifa World Cup: Tunisia vs Australia Team News

Tunisia XI: Dahmen, Bronn, Meriah, Talbi, Drager, Skhiri, Laidouni, Abdi, Sliti, Jebali, Msakni 


Australia XI: Ryan, Karacic, Souttar, Rowles, Behich, McGree, Mooy, Irvine, Leckie, Duke, Goodwin

14:36 (IST)26 Nov 2022
Fifa World Cup: What makes Tunisia's fighting spirit so different

Tunisia’s spirit is embodied by combative midfielder Aïssa Laïdouni, who earned player of the match honors against Denmark in his first career World Cup match. Laïdouni set the tone in the very first minute when he stripped Denmark playmaker, Christian Eriksen of the ball, with an aggressive sliding tackle — then stood up and pumped his arms menacingly, gesturing to the crowd to get even more fired up.

14:30 (IST)26 Nov 2022
Fifa World Cup: Aussies ready to face hostile crowd

Australia left back Aziz Behich recalled how the Socceroos beat Peru on penalties before a hostile crowd in Qatar in June to qualify. “We’ve been to places where I think a lot of teams would have struggled,” Behich said. “I’m excited to get out onto the pitch and hear the hostile environment. It kind of kind of puts fire in my belly a bit more.” Both teams will have higher expectations, after Australia was beat 4-1 by defending champion France in its Group D opener.

14:20 (IST)26 Nov 2022
Fifa World Cup: Arab fan support key for Tunisia

Expect “TUN-is, TUN-is, TUN-is” chants to reverberete around the Al Janoub stadium as Tunisia enjoys overwhelming home-like support when it takes on Australia in each team’s second match at the World Cup on Saturday. One of the four Arab teams at the first World Cup in the Middle East, Tunisia had arguably the loudest set of fans in the first round of games when it held European Championship semifinalist Denmark to a 0-0 draw. And the support isn’t just from Tunisians. Fans waving Palestinian flags have been following Tunisia, and there are also supporters of the squad from Egypt and Algeria.

13:30 (IST)26 Nov 2022
Fifa World Cup: Tunisia vs Australia in match 1 of the day

Tunisia’s coach insists he’s full of respect for the Socceroos but has ominously suggested he knows the “littlest details” of the Australian team — and the weakness that can be exploited. The North African side, ranked 30th in the world, meets Australia on Saturday night (AEDT) in what looms as a pivotal Group D encounter for both nations. Tunisia opened with an impressive draw against fancied Denmark, raising hopes the nation can reach the last 16 for the first time. Tunisian coach Jalel Kadri continually referenced the physical strengths of the Australian side in Friday’s official pre-match press conference, but also curiously suggested he was “not surprised” by Graham Arnold’s side’s heavy loss to France.

12:52 (IST)26 Nov 2022
Tunisia will look to exploit Australia's weaknesses

Tunisia coach Jalel Kadri said he was not surprised Australia lost to France in their World Cup opener but was intrigued by their performance levels against the world champions. Australia are bottom of Group D following their 4-1 loss to France. They next play on Saturday against Tunisia, who drew 0-0 with Denmark, and Kadri said he had spotted weaknesses in Graham Arnold's Australia team.

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12:20 (IST)26 Nov 2022
No risk of France being complacent against ‘underrated’ Denmark

Having lost twice to Denmark recently, France will be taking nothing for granted when they look to secure their qualification for the knockout stages with a game to spare in Group D on Saturday. The defending champions entered the tournament on the back of a dismal Nations League campaign, during which Denmark beat them 2-1 in Paris and 2-0 in Copenhagen. “I’ve said on a number of occasions that they are underrated as a team. We’re talking about just a four-month period, we’re not talking about a long period, it’s between June and September where they beat us twice,” said France captain and keeper Hugo Lloris before the game.

12:06 (IST)26 Nov 2022
Cody Gakpo, courted by Manchester United, enthralls as Netherlands falter against Ecuador

If there was any saving grace for Louis Van Gaal’s Netherlands team after they dropped a lead, and two points, to slump to a 1-1 draw against Ecuador, it is yet another top-draw performance from Cody Gakpo. The 23-year-old winger sealed his place in the team after it was his late header that opened the scoring for Le Oranje against Senegal, and it was his sensational finish from 20 yards, latching on to a Davy Klaasen backheel, that put the side in the lead. Netherlands managed the game poorly from there, and were second best for the majority of it, but Gakpo’s star had risen even more with the goal. Born to a father from Togo with Ghanaian ancestry – a country that attempted to naturalise him and make him play for them – ever since his days as a junior player, Gakpo has shown considerable promise at his home club PSV Eindhoven. Regular supporters of the Dutch Eredivisie, and of PSV, know that these performances are nothing new. (READ MORE)

12:05 (IST)26 Nov 2022
Qatar-Saudi relations back in spotlight after Saudis blocked from watching World Cup matches

Relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia are once again in the spotlight after the Saudi Ministry of Media blocked a Qatar-owned streaming platform from broadcasting FIFA World Cup matches during the opening week of the tournament, reports the Athletic. Qatar firm BeIN Sports which is run by the Paris Saint-Germain chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi, owns the broadcast rights for the World Cup in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The matches in the region are divided up between 22 free-to-air games, while the remaining 42 broadcast on a streaming platform called TOD TV, in all 24 countries in the MENA region.

11:37 (IST)26 Nov 2022
Will it be worth watching sports without the 80s kids Messi, Ronaldo, Kohli, Nadal, Djokovic

Sports fans of a certain vintage wistfully remember the 80s as the best days of their lives. It was a decade of the GOATS – some were conquering new peaks, some were starting their journeys and some were opening their eyes in the world of limitless possibilities. In a few years, the final fragile thread that attached the old-timers to those magical 10 years is likely to be snapped. The stalwarts of that extraordinary era, still considered the greats of the games, have long faded away into the background. Now, even those born in the 80s are well over 30, nearing the end of the road. Tennis, football, cricket are expected to see high-profile retirements. This wouldn’t be another periodic generational shift but a permanent change of sporting skills, psyche, values and goals. A different sports watching experience is on cards as ‘The Millennials’ are about to take over. There is a clear and present danger that those following the sports since the last quarter of the previous century – those old-timers from the 80s – might feel disconnected. (READ MORE)

10:44 (IST)26 Nov 2022
Fifa World Cup: A bicycle kick is a crown of inheritance

The great Pele has a regret. That, for all the three World Cups he had won, for all the 1,283 goals he has stroked, for all the consensus that he is the greatest ever footballer to have walked on the planet, he has never scored a bicycle kick goal in a World Cup. He regrets in his autobiography Pele: “I have just three-four of my 1,283 goals with a bicycle kick. It’s difficult, and my greatest regret is that I have never scored a bicycle kick goal in a World Cup.”

He has scored famous goals, artful ones, and spectacular ones in three World Cups, but the bicycle trick was not one of them. He mourns it like the great painter Rafael regretted that he could never produce the Mona Lisa of his contemporary Leonardo da Vinci. A bicycle kick goal is rare art, in that few manoeuvres in the game combine spontaneity and science, art and acrobatics, physicality and elasticity as much as the bicycle kick.

10:43 (IST)26 Nov 2022
Fifa World Cup: Argentina vs Mexico: Lionel Messi & Co play ‘first final’

Emi Martinez said it the best: “Saturday will be our first World Cup final.” Those eight words captured Argentina’s aspiration as well as desperation. The Albiceleste landed in Doha as firm contender for the title. Now, they risk making a group-stage exit. Their shocking defeat to Saudi Arabia in the World Cup opener means Saturday’s (12.30 am Sunday, IST) match against Mexico becomes – as the goalkeeper put it – a virtual final. Another exit and they might as well be on the first flight back home. (Read More)

10:18 (IST)26 Nov 2022
Fifa World Cup: Lewandowski seeks goals for Poland

Scoring is second nature to Lewandowski, Poland’s record goal-scorer with 76 goals. He netted 312 goals in 384 Bundesliga games before switching to Barcelona in the offseason. He has 13 goals in 14 La Liga games for Barcelona so far. But scoring for Poland is not as easy in coach Czeslaw Michniewicz’ 4-3-2-1 formation. Lewandowski has never made any secret of his preference for playing with a strike partner, and not alone, waiting for service from deep-lying teammates.

09:58 (IST)26 Nov 2022
Fifa World Cup: After Messi comes Lewandowski for Saudi Arabia

First it was Lionel Messi. Next up, it's Robert Lewandowski. The big-name opponents keep coming for Saudi Arabia. After shocking Messi and Argentina in one of the biggest World Cup upsets, the Green Falcons turn their attention to Lewandowski and his Poland team on Saturday. Saudi Arabia, the second lowest-ranked team in the tournament, could even book its place in the second round with a win – a remarkable achievement for a side with no foreign-based players.

09:53 (IST)26 Nov 2022
Fifa World Cup: Maradona’s absence ‘strange’ for Messi, Argentina

For the first time since the 1978 World Cup, Argentina is without Diego Maradona on soccer’s biggest stage. The team could use him more than ever as the South American team is off to a rocky start at the tournament. Friday marked the second anniversary of Maradona’s death, and both Argentina and FIFA commemorated the day in Qatar. It’s already a strange World Cup for Argentina even without Maradona. Lionel Messi is making what is expected to be his final appearance at the World Cup and the team lost 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in one of the tournament’s biggest upsets.

09:34 (IST)26 Nov 2022
Fifa World Cup: Did You Know?

Argentina has only failed to advance out of the group stage twice in the last 60 years, in 1962 and 2002. And in what is likely Lionel Messi's fifth and final appearance on soccer's biggest stage, Argentina has become something of a laughingstock in Qatar.

09:33 (IST)26 Nov 2022
Fifa World Cup: Hello and Welcome

Its day seven of the Qatar World Cup and its probably the most important one so far. Lose and go home. That's the harsh fact facing Argentina as the team heads into its crucial World Cup match against Mexico. Argentina arrived in Qatar as a favorite but suffered one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history with a 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in its opening match. Now Argentina is in danger of elimination Saturday, when anything but a win or draw would mean an early Group C knockout for the Albiceleste. Stay tuned for more

Hosts first to leave party: After Netherlands-Ecuador split points, Qatar out of the World Cup

Ecuador's Enner Valencia, center, celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's first goal during the World Cup group A soccer match between the Netherlands and Ecuador, at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

Two teams locked against each other with a five-man backline is bound to produce a turgid affair, even if both have adequate attacking prowess. So it was only fathomable that the Netherlands and Ecuador produced a colourless, stifled game, in utter contrast to the vibrant colour around the stadium. Several Dutch fans had arrived in their sparkling orange thobes and keffiyeh, Ecuadorians in their flashy yellow t-shirts. Both eked out a point that saw them level with three points, but the result ended all hopes of hosts Qatar progressing to the last 16, after their defeats to Ecuador and Senegal.

Ecuador exceeded their expectations. They were to defend stoutly and counterattack. Instead, they pinned the Dutch on the mat, and but for an unfortunate off-side could have grabbed all three points. But the Dutch, who nurse title ambitions, showed neither adventure nor ambition in the 1-1 draw. The statistics portray a painful picture — the Dutch mustered just a lone shot on goal, and just one off the target. To think that they considered themselves as title-suitors baffles. In contrast, Ecuador had four shots on goal. (READ MORE)

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First published on: 26-11-2022 at 09:00 IST
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