Belgium's Golden Generation loses its luster


A weekly review of World Cup Qatar 2022 (11/28-12/04)

We are officially at the halfway point of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. With another two weeks to go, the tournament concluded three rounds of group matches on Friday and headed to the knockout stage.For anyone who did not follow the tournament game by game, here are some takeaways from the first half of the tournament that ends on December 18:"A horror movie" for GermanyThe World Cup in Qatar has already delivered plenty of major shocks but the elimination of Germany from a compelling Group E was still unbelievable for many."A horror movie" -- that was German forward Kai Havertzs diction after his national team suffered cruel early elimination from Qatar 2022 on Thursday.Germanys players applaud the fans at the end of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Costa Rica and Germany at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on December 1, 2022. (Photo: AFP)The four-time champions headed to Qatar desperate to bounce back from 2018 disappointment four years after their embarrassing display as defending champions in Russia. But a 2-1 loss against Japan in the opener at Qatar 2022 ultimately proved costly for Germany.Despite a 4-2 win against Costa Rica at Al Bayt Stadium, Japans surprising 2-1 victory against Spain in Doha ended the European sides hopes to secure a spot in the round of 16.Germany defender Antonio Rudiger sits alone on the pitch after his side suffered the ignominy of crashing out of the World Cup at the group stage for the second successive tournament at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar on December 2, 2022. (Photo: CFP)In Group E, Germany and Spain both bagged four points after three rounds of group matches, but Spain advanced to the last 16 on the basis of a better goal difference.Germany is due to host Euro 2024 in just over 18 months. With that tournament looming large, Germany coach Hansi Flick said that big changes will be made to ensure Germany is competitive at Euro 2024."We...

Mbappe fires France into World Cup last 8


Olivier Giroud breaks Henry's French record with 52nd goal

Frances Olivier Giroud celebrates after Kylian Mbappe scored their sides second goal during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between France and Poland, at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022. (Photo: AP)The national team scoring record now checked off his list, Olivier Giroud turned his attention to helping France win a second consecutive World Cup.Giroud broke Thierry Henry’s French record with his 52nd goal for his country on Sunday when he scored the first in a 3-1 victory over Poland that put the reigning champions in the World Cup quarterfinals.“I really wanted to score this goal (against Poland). I was kind of relieved after this goal,” Giroud said. “We can move on and forget about this, because so many people we’re talking about this. Now it is done, that it is a good thing. But most important is to score more goals to help the team to reach our target, which is to go as far as we can.”The 36-year-old Giroud had tied Henry’s record of 51 goals when he scored twice in a 4-1 win over Australia in France’s opening game in Qatar.Against Poland on Sunday, Giroud picked up a pass from Kylian Mbappe in the 44th minute and sent a low shot with his left foot past Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczęsny, his former teammate at Arsenal. Mbappe added two of his own goals.ADVERTISEMENTIt was not too long ago that Giroud had no idea if he’d even have a chance to break the record.He was left off the French squad in May for Nations League games, although France coach Didier Deschamps did not rule out eventually adding the veteran. But when he was chosen, it was supposed to be in a substitute role.

England trio 'buzzing' after beating Senegal 3-0

Photo: Getty ImageDOHA, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- England trio - Harry Kane, Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham - all spoke of their satisfaction in the early hours of Monday morning after helping England reach Qatar World Cup quarters with a comfortable 3-0 win over Senegal.The round of 16 game witnessed the goals from Jordan Henderson, Kane and Bukayo Saka, with Foden and Bellingham having a role in the scoring.England will meet defending champions France in the last eight."Knockout games are never easy. Weve showed great maturity through the tournament. Its 3-0 against a really good side," said Kane, who praised the maturity of the squad."Their mentality was top from the beginning, and we took our chances when they came. We feel good. Three clean sheets in a row is really important," said Kane."Itll be a really tough game (against France) as theyre reigning champions. Itll be a good battle. Well recover nicely and get ready for the game," he concluded.Foden admitted he was "buzzing with the result," but he also said, "its knockout football, so well have to recover tomorrow and think about our next opponent, which is going to be really tough.""Ive always spoken about bringing my club form to international level, and tonight was probably my best England game, so Im really happy," said the Manchester City midfielder."France look the strongest in the competition. Everywhere you look they have talent. But well back ourselves on the day. Were confident," he added.Foden also praised for 19-year-old Bellingham, who had another outstanding display."Hes one of the most gifted players Ive ever seen. I dont see a weakness in his game. Hes got everything, and hes going to be the best midfielder in the world, for sure," said Foden.Speaking higly of Hendersons goal, Bellingham said the "first 35 minutes were tough a...

Four things to look out for on Monday in Qatar World Cup

(File photo: VCG) DOHA, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Japan face Croatia, while Brazil take on South Korea in the World Cup last 16 on Monday in two fascinating ties. Here are four things to look out for:1. Will injuries cause Brazil problems?Brazil will be clear favorites against South Korea, but coach Tite has got some injury worries that could disrupt his side. It was confirmed on Saturday that forward Gabriel Jesus and defender Alex Telles are both out of the World Cup through injury. Danilo and Alex Sandro are also doubts, while the Brazilians are also continuing to monitor Neymars ankle.It is in defense that Brazil have the most problems, with Dani Alves looking well off the pace against Cameroon and Eder Militao or Marquinhos asked to switch to cover at left back, leaving Brazil short of defensive cover on the bench.2. South Korea to be brave but patientThe South Koreans kept calm to qualify with a nerve-shredding 2-1 win over Portugal, with the winning goal coming in injury time. But even though they needed to score, the South Koreans stayed disciplined, without throwing everything forward haphazardly.Son Heung-min looks to be working himself up to full fitness, while Lee Kang-in gives quality service in attack to striker Cho Gue-sung and the Koreans have shown in this World Cup that they can get into good positions and put the ball into dangerous areas.Their defense could be a weakness, but South Korea should not be underestimated, either for football or discipline.3. Can Japan do it again?Nobody can question the merits of a Japanese side that has reached the last 16 of the World Cup by beating Spain and Germany with impressive displays of counter-attacking football.There is no reason to see why coach Hajime Moriyasu will change his tactics against a Croatian side that also like to control the ball and they will fancy their chance against a rival that isnt exactly fast in midfield.One thing that is certain is that Japans fans will add noise and color to...

Japan look to make history in World Cup last 16 against Croatia

DOHA, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Japan look to make history on Monday as they aim to reach the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time in their history.Japans players take part in a training session at the Al Sadd SC training grounds in Doha on December 3, 2022, during the Qatar 2022 World Cup football tournament. (Photo: AFP)Japanese coach Hajime Moriyasu said following his sides 2-1 win over Spain on Thursday that Asia continues to improve as a footballing force and, along with South Korea, Japans progress in this World Cup continues to show that.A win over Croatia in their round of 16 tie would be another step towards Japans eventual aim of winning the World Cup and the Japanese have to be confident of success after defeating both Spain and Germany in the group stage.Moriyasu has shown his nerve as a coach, being happy to surrender possession for long periods of the game and then looking to up the pace and catch their rivals on the break. They ended the Spain match with just 17 percent of the ball and had less than 30 percent against Germany.The Spanish were stunned by Japans intensity at the start of the second half of their meeting when the introduction of Ritsu Doan and Kaoru Mitoma left them groggy for 20 minutes.Moriyasu will have to decide whether that duo will start against Croatia or if he again uses them as impact players.Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has warned that his players cannot underestimate Japan."Before the group stage, if we could choose an opponent in the next round, some people may have said Japan, but after seeing them beat Germany and Spain, they are anything but an easier opponent.""If you are first in a group with Germany and Spain, it shows your quality and that you are playing at a really high level. What I would say about the Japanese team is that they never quit. They conceded goals at the beginning of the match both against Germany and Spain, but they came back," he highlighted.The 2018 runners-...

Messi, Alvarez fire Argentina into World Cup last 8


Messi celebrates 1,000th game with goal, World Cup quarterfinal tie against Netherlands


Netherlands into World Cup quarterfinals after win over US

A photo shows the Netherlands team. [Photo/Xinhua] DOHA -- Memphis Depay, Daley Blind and Denzel Dumfries all scored as the Netherlands qualified for the quarterfinals of the World Cup with a 3-1 win over the US on Saturday evening. Depay scored the first goal in the 10th minute with a sweet firs

Pele receiving palliative care in hospital

FILE PHOTO: Legendary Brazilian soccer player Pele poses for a portrait during an interview in New York, US, April 26, 2016. [Photo/Agencies] SAO PAULO -- Brazilian football legend Pele is receiving palliative care as he continues to battle colon cancer, according to media reports in the South Am

Rangers reach 5-year, $185 million deal with ace pitcher Jacob deGrom

Pitcher Jacob deGrom competes in Game 2 of the MLB National League Wild Card Series against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field in New York City, October 8, 2022. (Photos: CFP) The Texas Rangers acquired two-time National League (NL) Cy Young Award winner, free agent Jacob deGrom, the team announced on Friday. ESPN revealed that deGrom signed a five-year, $185 million contract, the biggest during the ongoing MLB offseason. The deal includes a full no-trade clause and no deferred money.Having missed the first four months of the 2022 season because of a stress reaction in his shoulder, deGrom threw 64.1 innings for the New York Mets with a 5-4 record and an earned run average (ERA) of 3.08 in 11 starts. He achieved 102 strikeouts while allowing only eight walkouts and nine home runs.The Mets finished the 2022 regular season with a 101-61 record and ranked second in the NL East behind the Atlanta Braves. The Mets lost to the San Diego Padres 2-1 in the NL Wild Card Series in the postseason.Having finished his ninth major league season in the Mets, deGrom opted out his contract with the Mets when there were two years left and hit the free agency. The Rangers, which continued their heavy investments for the second straight offseason, reached out to and reached the blockbuster deal with him.Pitcher Jacob deGrom competes in Game 2 of the MLB National League Wild Card Series against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field in New York City, October 8, 2022. Last year, the Rangers outspent every other team by signing shortstop Corey Seager on a 10-year, $325 million contract, second baseman Marcus Semien for seven years and $175 million, as well as pitcher Jon Gray on a four-year, $56 million contract.The tremendous number of money the Rangers are willing to pay deGrom shows the great expectations on the 34-year-old. He is a four-time All-Star who was selected into the All-MLB First Team twice, but also a pitcher who threw no more than 224.1 innings in the past three seasons due to...

Four things to look out for on Sunday in Qatar World Cup

DOHA, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- The second day of matches in the last-16 sees England play Senegal while France play Poland. Here are some things to look out for on Sunday in Qatar.(File photo: CFP) 1 France back and firing on all cylindersFrance rested almost their entire first choice side for their last group match after having already secured their place in the knockout stage, with their big players such as Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann only coming on in the closing minutes as they chased the game against Tunisia.Coach Didier Deschamps will have his strongest line-up out against Poland on Sunday, with Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele and Olivier Giroud in attack, Griezmann in the hole behind them and Adrien Rabiot in the middle. They should be fresh and they should have few problems in reaching the quarterfinals.2 Poland need a change of attitudeIts not usual to see a side celebrate a defeat, but that is what the Polish side did in the wake of their 2-0 loss to Argentina on Wednesday night that saw them into the last-16.Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz showed an incredible lack of ambition against Argentina, even instructing his players not to commit fouls in the closing stages of the game, to avoid yellow cards when it looked as if qualification could go down to fair play between them and Mexico.Yellow cards wont be a factor against the French, but if the Poles set out to defend, leaving Robert Lewandowski isolated in attack, there is only one way this tie is going to end. And it wont end well for Poland.3 Which England will we see against Senegal?We have seen two England teams in this World Cup: one which tore holes in the Iranian attack to win 6-2 and that produced a destructive 45 minutes to score three times against the Welsh, and another that struggled to break down an energetic and organized USA and failed to score in the first half against the Welsh.England coach Gareth Southgate has to decide whether he keeps Phil Foden and Marcus Rashford in his si...

Mbappe and Lewandowski face off as France take on Poland at World Cup

There is arguably no more thrilling player at this World Cup than Kylian Mbappe, who leads France into their last-16 clash on Sunday with a Poland side whose own hopes of pulling off a famous upset will depend to a large extent on Robert Lewandowski.File photo: AgenciesIt is a sobering thought that Mbappe, not 24 until later this month, may not yet be at the peak of his powers but he has already scored seven goals in 10 appearances at the World Cup.That tally includes one in the 2018 final when he was still a teenager as France beat Croatia in Moscow.His mission now is to help his country become the first to retain the World Cup since Brazil, with an even younger Pele, did so in 1962.Mbappe has already scored three times in Qatar, including a brace in a 2-1 victory against Denmark that secured qualification for the last 16, and there is a belief he is thriving as the undisputed star of Didier Deschamps side.The situation is different to that of Paris Saint-Germain, where he shares the limelight with Lionel Messi and Neymar, and in that sense it may be that Karim Benzemas withdrawal due to injury on the eve of the tournament does no harm to French hopes."Kylian has no ego," insisted Deschamps a few days ago, going against the perception of Mbappe in the context of PSG."He is a decisive player for us and his performances put him in the spotlight. He is not 18 anymore. He has experience now."It wasnt just Mbappe -– who now has as many international goals as Zinedine Zidane -- that France missed as a second-string team lost 1-0 to Tunisia on Wednesday, a result that did not stop them topping their group.He will be back along with the likes of Hugo Lloris, Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud as France and Poland meet at a major tournament for the first time since the 1982 World Cup.- Beyond reproach -"Kylian is not the same player or person as in 2018," said Griezmann on Friday when asked about Mbappes role in ...

Most even group stage ever shows there are no football minnows any more at World Cup

DOHA, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- The World Cup finals in Qatar move seamlessly from their group stages into the knockout stage on Saturday, promising more drama and tension, with the prospect of extra time and penalty shootouts to keep spectators on the edge of their seats.(File photo: CFP) The knockout stage of the World Cup usually produces moments of high drama, as the teams are slowly whittled down until only the best remain and that of course tend to produce closer games, decided by the smallest of factors.If the group stages are anything to go by, 2022 is set for some thrillers, because the groups were the closest in history.For a start, no side has made it into the last-16 winning all three of their group games. It is true that some sides, such as France, Portugal and Brazil made a lot of changes to their teams after assuring qualification after two matches, but they all lost their final match, with France falling to Tunisia, while Portugal and Brazil went down to South Korea and Cameroon respectively.While nobody was able to take a 100 percent record: only five teams: England, Netherlands, Morocco, Croatia and the USA remained unbeaten, with the first three qualifying with two wins and a draw, while Croatia and the USA went through with a win and two draws.The other side of the coin saw only two teams, Canada and Qatar, lose their three group matches, with Canada losing two of their matches by a solitary goal. Meanwhile only Serbia, Canada, Qatar, Denmark and Wales failed to win a game, meaning that 27 of the 32 teams in Qatar were able to celebrate at least one victory.All of this seems to point to a much-greater equality in the World game and the group stages saw plenty of surprises to back that up, starting with Saudi Arabias win over Argentina and carrying on with Japans victories over Spain and Germany and Moroccos win against Denmark (if we can call those surprises), South Korea beating Portugal, Cameroon claiming the first ever African success ...

Switzerland, S. Korea through to last 16 on another day of World Cup drama


Registration for Paris 2024 ticket draw starts

Photo: Olympics.comGENEVA, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Registration for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games ticket draw is open now, according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Friday.Fans who join in the draw before the deadline of January 31, 2023 will have the chance to watch their favorite matches if they purchase their ticket packs in the allocated 48-hour timeslots between February 15 to March 15, 2023.Each account on the Paris 2024 website, the only official way to buy tickets, is allowed to purchase a maximum number of 30 tickets, the IOC said.Tickets for the Opening Ceremony and surfing competitions are not included in the first phase of public sales.The IOC announced that of nearly 10 million tickets available for the Olympic Games, one million are priced at just 24 euros (about 25.2 U.S. dollars) and almost half of the total tickets are at 50 euros (about 52.6 U.S. dollars) or less for the general public.Registration for the single ticket lottery will be open from March until May 2023, and in the autumn of 2023, more than three million tickets will go on sale for the Paralympic Games, the IOC said.

Australia don't fear Messi: He's just a human, say Aussie players

Milos Degenek of Australia controls the ball in the FIFA World Cup Qatar game against Denmark at Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar, November 30, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Australia will play Argentina in the Round of 16 game in the FIFA World Cup in Qatar on December 3. For the first time since 2006, the Socceroos will compete in the knockout stage at the tournament.Australias trip in Group D was not all sunshine and rainbows. They lost to France 4-1 in the first game and then defeated both Tunisia and Denmark 1-0 to make it out this group. Offense apparently is not their best weapon. Solid defense from good use of their big and strong bodies is what keeps Australia going forward.Their defense will be tested by seven-time Ballon dOr winner Lionel Messi and his gifted teammates of Argentina. Like Australia, Argentina lost their first game in Group C 2-1 to Saudi Arabia, but managed to top the group in the end by beating Mexico 2-0 and Poland 2-0.Lionel Messi (#10) of Argentina controls the ball in the FIFA World Cup game against Poland at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, November 30, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Though Messi only scored two goals, one assist and missed a penalty kick against Poland, he is still a major threat to Australias defense."I always loved Messi and I think hes the greatest to ever play the game. [But] its not an honor to play against him because hes just a human, as we all are," defender Milos Degenek said. "Its an honor to be in the round of 16 of a World Cup. Thats the honor in itself. Whether we played Argentina or we would have played against Poland, it still would have been an honor to represent Australia in the round of 16 of a World Cup."Mathew Leckie (L) of Australia shoots to score in the FIFA World Cup Qatar game against Denmark at Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar, November 30, 2022. (Photo: CFP)"Its a 90-minute game, maybe 120. And its a knockout game. Because no one expects us to be here, we [...

Female refereeing trio take charge of men's match for the first time(1/8)                8 Photos

Female refereeing trio take charge of men's match for the first time(1/8)

Female refereeing trio take charge of men's match for the first time(1/8)

Draw for Paris 2024 ticket sales starts          2 Photos

Draw for Paris 2024 ticket sales starts

Draw for Paris 2024 ticket sales starts

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