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Bayern star Neuer's season over after ski accident

Bayern Munich suffered a major blow on Saturday with their iconic goalkeeper Manuel Neuer announcing he will be out for the rest of the season after breaking his leg skiing.Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has signed a contract extension with the club. (Photo: VCG) Neuer had gone for a break to try and get over Germanys first round exit at the World Cup."While I was trying to get my head clear while ski touring, I suffered a lower leg fracture," he wrote on Instagram."It hurts to know that the current season is over for me."

Portugal's manager Santo defends Ronaldo: Leave him alone

Fernando Santos, manager of Portugal football team, attends the press conference at Main Media Center in Doha, Qatar, December 9, 2022. (Photos: CFP) Fernando Santos, manager of the Portugal football team, wanted people to leave Cristiano Ronaldo alone when he was answering questions at the press conference on Friday.Portugal defeated Switzerland with a 6-1 win in the FIFA World Cup Round of 16 game on Tuesday. Ronaldo didnt start in the competition. When he was sent to the field in the 73rd minute, the game was long gone. After that, reports about Ronaldo being frustrated with his position in the team and him threatening to quit the Portuguese national team began to hit headlines of various sports media outlets.Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal looks on during team practice at Al Shahaniya SC Training Site in Doha, Qatar, December 9, 2022. "I spoke to him after lunch on the day of the game and invited him into my office. For obvious reasons, Cristiano was not happy about it, as he has always been the starting player," Santos said. "He told me: Do you really think its a good idea? But we had a normal conversation in which I explained my viewpoints and of course he accepted them. We had a frank and normal conversation.""He has never told me he wanted to leave the national team, and its high time we stopped with the conversation. He decided to warm up with his colleagues and celebrated all the goals we scored. At the end, he was the one who invited his colleagues to thank the fans," Santos added. "Its high time to leave Cristiano Ronaldo alone. In every news conference, 90 percent of the questions are about Cristiano Ronaldo."Goncalo Ramos (#26) of Portugal celebrates after scoring a goal in the FIFA World Cup Round of 16 game against Switzerland at Lusail Stadium in Qatar, December 6, 2022. Portugal will play Morocco in the quarterfinals on Saturday night. Though Goncalo Ramos, who replaced Ronaldo&#3...

Kuang and Wang claim Volvo Junior Match Play crowns

Kuang Yang holds the boy's championship trophy. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn] Shenzhen-based teenager Kuang Yang dominated the final of the boy's Group competition in the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship by beating Wu Yinxuan to claim an impressive 7 and 6 victory on Friday. Kua

France face England at World Cup after Brazil crash out

Reigning champions France take on England in a World Cup knock-out match for the first time on Saturday, after favourites Brazil were dumped out in the quarter-finals to blow the tournament wide open.Morocco will bid to become the first African or Arab nation to ever reach the semi-finals but face a Portugal side who put six goals past Switzerland in the last 16 after dropping Cristiano Ronaldo.France have brushed aside a series of injuries to key players to reach the last eight in their title defence, inspired by Kylian Mbappe, the tournaments leading scorer with five goals."Kylian will always be Kylian, with the ability to be decisive at any moment," said coach Didier Deschamps, who is bidding to become the first coach to win back-to-back World Cups since World War II.England are the joint-highest scorers in the tournament with 12 goals after cruising past African champions Senegal 3-0 in the previous round.They are still waiting for a first major title since the 1966 World Cup, after losing to Croatia in the semi-finals four years ago before a penalty shoot-out loss to Italy in the European Championship final at Wembley last year."Those big matches are important reference points for the team," said England coach Gareth Southgate."There have been some defeats that hurt that prepare you for nights like tomorrow where you have to be the very best version of yourself. We are ready to fight France for that place in the semi-finals."The winners of the France-England clash at Al Bayt Stadium will play either Morocco or Portugal in the last four.Morocco have already gone further than ever before after stunning European heavyweights Spain and Belgium.They are now one match from breaking new ground for African football and will enjoy the backing of the vast majority of the supporters at Al Thumama Stadium."We have a whole people behind us, a continent behind us and the Arab world behind us," said coach Walid Regragui."We ca...

NBA highlights on Dec 8: Jamal Murray says no to 'Dame Time'

Jamal Murray (#27) of the Denver Nuggets shoots in the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, December 8, 2022. (Photo: CFP)The Denver Nuggets edged the Portland Trail Blazers 121-120 at Moda Center in Portland, Oregon on Thursday, after Jamal Murray ended the crazy night of Damian Lillard with a triple from left corner.The Nuggets came to Portland with three straight losses and Murray had averaged only 17.6 points and five assists. He returned this season from a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on his left knee, but left much his explosive scoring ability elsewhere. That was not good news for the Nuggets, which couldnt afford to overload Nikola Jokic offensively anymore.Murray continued to underperform in the first three quarters, during which he shot 3-for-10 from the field to get only seven points. Its good that he delivered six assists, but the Nuggets needed him to match Lillard in scoring production, especially when Lillard already drained 18 points in the third quarter alone.Nikola Jokic (#15) of the Denver Nuggets shoots in the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, December 8, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Its no secret that Lillard, who shoots off the dribble to kill at the 3-point line by exploiting teammates screen, is the last type of player Jokic wants to guard. However, Lillard managed to lift his game to a even higher level on Thursday night. Having spent the first half focusing on orchestrating and delivering nine assists, Lillard turned on his scoring switch from the third quarter. The scariest part of his performance was that he made triples next to different players.Despite their bottom five defensive rating in the NBA, the Nuggets have several reliable defenders: Aaron Gordon, Bruce Brown and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. However, if none of them could even slow Lillard down, the Nuggets would be look at an unavoidable fourth loss in a row.Damian Lillard (#0) of t...

Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal on playing Argentina: No spoilers

Louis van Gaal, manager of the Netherlands, attends the press conference during the FIFA World Cup at main media center in Doha, Qatar, December 8, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Louis van Gaal, manager of the Netherlands, refused to tell reporters his tactics against Argentina in the coming FIFA World Cup quarterfinals game at the press conference on Thursday."Were not going to reveal our tactics to you as thatd be stupid to reveal," van Gaal said. "You want to block and close the pass lines [to Messi]. I dont think theres too much hoo-hah about this."The Netherlands and Argentina have been long-time rivalries in the World Cup. Argentina beat the Netherlands in the final in 1978 to win the championship at home. Eight years ago in Brazil, they won again in the semifinal on penalties to reach the final.Though the Dutchmen havent ever won a title or reached a final with a victory against Argentina, they have defeated the South American powerhouse multiple times during World Cup knockout stages.Lionel Messi of Argentina trains during team practice at Qatar University training pitch 6 in Doha, Qatar, December 8, 2022. (Photo: CFP)When the two teams play each other at Lusail Stadium on Friday, van Gaal may meet Angel Di Maria, who used to play under him in Manchester United during the 2014-15 season. It was not a pleasant campaign for Di Maria who told TyC Sports that van Gaal is his biggest problem and the "worst" manager in his career."Angel Di Maria is simply a really good football player," van Gaal said when asked about Di Marias remarks about him. "At the time in Manchester, he had a lot of personal issues – there was a break-in at his house – and that affected his fitness that year.""So the fact that hed refer to me as a worst trainer – thats one of the few players who would say that – thats sad, I dont like it that he said it, its a pity, unfortunate. But thats ju...

Brazil's manager Tite defends dancing: Please respect our culture

Tite, manager of Brazil, attends a press conference during the FIFA World Cup at Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar, December 8, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Tite, manager of Brazil, responded to the criticism against his players for dancing in the FIFA World Cup Round of 16 game against South Korea at the press conference on Thursday, saying that the team will continue to do.Brazil beat South Korea 4-1 in the game on Monday to advance to the quarterfinals. It took "The Little Canary" only 35 minutes in the first half to score four goals and turn the competition into a foregone conclusion. The team danced on the pitch to celebrate their goals.Some, including former Manchester United captain Roy Keane, called the Brazilian players "disrespectful," but Tite disagreed.Brazils players and manager dance to celebrate after scoring a goal in the FIFA World Cup Round of 16 game against South Korea Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, December 5, 2022. (Photo: CFP)"I will not make comments to those who do not know Brazilian history and Brazilian culture the way each and every one of us is, I leave that noise aside," the 61-year-old manager said. "I respect the culture, the way I am and the way this national team is. Lots of other kids will dance because it is Brazilian culture when a goal is scored.""It is not being disrespectful, that is [us] and how we do things... as a culture and [it] will help the education of kids in school. We will continue doing things in our manner," Tite added. He joined Richarlison to do a "pigeon dance" in Mondays game."I think it is a connection that I have with a younger generation," Tite said. "I am 61 years old and I work with players who are 21, 22. They could be my grandchildren. If I have to dance to connect with them, I will continue dancing."Luka Modric of Croatia sprints during team practice at the Al Erssal Training Site 3 in Doha, Qatar, December 8, 202...

Barty awarded Australian sport's highest honor

CANBERRA, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Retired tennis star Ash Barty has been awarded Australian sports highest individual honor for a second time.At the annual Sport Australia Hall of Fame event on Thursday night Barty became the third person to win The Don Award - named after cricket great Don Bradman - multiple times.Ash Barty of Australia celebrates her win over Danielle Collins of the U.S in the womens singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia on Jan. 29, 2022. (Photo: AP)Entering 2022 as the world No. 1, Barty in January became the first homegrown Australian Open singles champion since 1978.Less than two months later, the three-time Grand Slam champion announced her shock retirement from tennis at the age of 25."This year was certainly my most enjoyable Australian Open, result aside, that had nothing to do with it. It felt free. I played without consequence, I played like a little kid," Barty said on Thursday night."In my eyes, there was no pressure. It was just about me trying to redeem myself, in a way, and playing how Id always wanted to play - go out there and play like the kid that fell in love with sport."Barty described the decision to retire as her "perfect ending", shutting down suggestions she could return to the court.The Don is awarded to the athlete or team that most inspired Australia through their performance and example.Barty, who previously won in 2019, joins Olympic gold medalists Steve Hooker and Sally Pearson as multiple winners.Middle and long distance runner Ron Clarke, who set 17 world records in a highly decorated career, and Shane Warne, widely regarded as one of the greatest bowlers in the history of cricket, who died in March aged 52, were posthumously elevated to legend status in the hall of fame.

Chinese shuttlers unbeaten on 2nd day of BWF World Tour Finals

Chen Yufei of China waves to the audience after winning the match against Akane Yamaguchi of Japan (not pictured) during the BWF World Tour Finals in Bangkok, Thailand, December 8, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Chinese shuttlers delivered a convincing performance at the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Finals in Bangkok, Thailand, on Thursday with a perfect record in all matches.In a heavyweight battle of womens singles, Chinas Tokyo Olympic champion Chen Yufei rebounded from a surprising defeat in the previous day with a 2-0 victory against world No.1 Akane Yamaguchi, ending her five-match losing streak against the Japanese shuttler while keeping her chances for qualification alive.Chen fended off a late attempt by Yamaguchi to win the first set 21-19. In the second set, Chen scored six consecutive points while trailing 14-17 to clinch the match point. She went on to take the match 21-18."Our matches are often decided by only a few points, depending on who has the better control of details and mentality," said Chen. "I think I am the calmer one today and I didnt give up, especially in the second set."He Bingjiao of China celebrates her victory over Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand (not pictured) during the BWF World Tour Finals in Bangkok, Thailand, December 8, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Chens teammate He Bingjiao made it to the semifinals after beating home favorite Ratchanok Intanon 21-17, 24-22.In the mens doubles match, Chinese pair Liu Yuchen/Ou Xuanyi also secured their second victory. They overcame world champions Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik of Malaysia in a thrilling three-set battle 23-21, 22-24, 21-16.Chen Qingchen (L) and Jia Yifan in action during the BWF World Tour Finals in Bangkok, Thailand, December 8, 2022. (Photo: CFP)In the womens doubles match, both Chinese pairs, world champions Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan and their teammates Zhang Shuxian/Zheng Yu secured a 2-0 win against opponents, respectively.In mixed doubles, ...

Brazil must be at best to beat Croatia: Danilo

DOHA, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Brazil must be at their best to beat Croatia when the teams meet in their FIFA World Cup quarterfinal here on Friday, according to defender Danilo.The right-back dismissed suggestions the five-time champions are firm favorites entering the match at Education City stadium."We are only sure of one thing: against Croatia, the best possible Brazil must appear, the best Brazil of this World Cup," Danilo told a news conference.This combination of pictures created on December 7, 2022 shows Croatias midfielder #10 Luka Modric (L) celebrating after 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, and Brazils forward #10 Neymar celebrating after his team won the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between Brazil and South Korea at Stadium 974 in Doha on December 5, 2022. Croatia and Brazil will meet in one of the Qatar 2022 World Cup quarter-finals on December 9. (Photo: AFP)"Croatia was a finalist in the last World Cup, they have an experienced base of good players, with a lot of temperament and ambitions to win. There is only one method to beat them, and that is to reach our best possible version."Danilo said he was hopeful that Juventus teammate Alex Sandro, who suffered a hip problem in Brazils second Group G fixture against Switzerland, would recover in time for Fridays game.In the event Sandro is ruled out, Danilo said he could stand in at left-back."I can play on the left or on the right, a little further forward or a little behind," said the 31-year-old, who returned for Brazils 4-1 win over South Korea in the round of 16 after missing the previous two games with an ankle injury."I have played different positions under different schemes at Manchester City and at Juventus. The coach tries to get the best out of us and looks for that versatility in each one."

De la Fuente to replace Enrique as Spanish national team boss

DOHA, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has named Under-21 coach Luis de la Fuente as the replacement for Luis Enrique on Thursday.Spains coach Jose Luis de la Fuente reacts during the mens final soccer match against Brazil at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 7, 2021, in Yokohama, Japan. (Photo: AP)The announcement came only a couple of hours after the RFEF confirmed that Enrique would be leaving his post as national team coach in the wake of Spains disappointing exit after losing to Morocco in the last-16 of the tournament.Former Athletic Club Bilbao left back De la Fuente has worked for the RFEF since 2013, coaching the Under-19s, the Under-21s and the Spanish team in the Tokyo Olympic Games.The decision to give the position to the 61-year-old to the national team is another sign of the desire for continuity from the RFEF, and follows their decision to make Julen Lopetegui national team coach in 2016 after he had also worked with the Under-21s.De la Fuente has worked with a lot of the current members of the Spanish national side, such as Unai Simon, Ferran Torres, Pedri and Rodrigo Hernandez and, in theory, his appointment should lead to a smooth transition, without a major change in style from Enrique.He will be officially presented to the press on Monday.

Spain sack Luis Enrique after World Cup flop

Spain sacked coach Luis Enrique on Thursday after the 2010 champions were dumped out of the World Cup by Morocco at the last-16 stage earlier this week.Spains head coach Luis Enrique reacts to supporters at the end of the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Morocco and Spain, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (Photo: AP)"Both the president, Luis Rubiales, and the sporting director, Jose Francisco Molina, have told the coach their decision," the Spanish FA said in a statement.The federation said they wanted to thank Luis Enrique and his staff for their work, but had decided to start a "new project"."The sporting direction of the RFEF has given the president a report, in which it was determined that a new project should start for the national team, with the objective of continuing the growth achieved in the last few years thanks to Luis Enrique and his colleagues," added the RFEF.Spain hammered Costa Rica 7-0 in their opening game in Qatar but suffered a shock defeat by Japan that resulted in a second-place finish in Group E.Spain were strong favourites to beat Morocco in the first knockout round but lost 3-0 on penalties after the game finished 0-0 following extra-time."We dominated the game but we lacked a goal," lamented Luis Enrique after the game."We could have been more effective in the final third, but I am more than satisfied with what my players did."They represented perfectly what my idea of football is."Spain last lifted a major trophy a decade ago at Euro 2012, while they have not won a single knockout game at the World Cup since triumphing in South Africa in 2010.Luis Enrique took over in 2018 after Spains disappointing Russia World Cup showing, and led La Roja to the semi-finals of Euro 2020, where they were also beaten on penalties by Italy.

Over 765,000 international fans visit Qatar in first 17 days of World Cup

DOHA, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Qatar has received just over 765,000 visitors so far for the World Cup finals, according to a report published by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), which organizes the tournament.Players of Switzerland celebrate after the Group G match between Serbia and Switzerland at the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar, Dec. 2, 2022. (Photo: Xinhua)The report shows that the first 17 days of competition attracted 765,859 international visitors, over half of whom have now departed.It is hoped that supporters of the last eight teams left in the tournament will now arrive to boost numbers for the quarterfinals and semifinal stages, which kick off on Friday.The report also confirms that 3.09 million tickets for games have been sold to 1.33 million ticketholders. 2.65 million fans attended the first 52 matches.The number of visitors is slightly below predictions, but has meant that there has been less pressure on the limited accommodation in the country and has also meant there have not been the anticipated problems of overcrowding or traffic around stadiums or in the center of Doha.

Spain's 'tiki-taka' under attack again after World Cup loss

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The Morocco players fell back on defense and patiently watched as Spain kept passing the ball around midfield during their round of 16 match at the World Cup. Side to side, from one Spanish player to another.Pass after pass, Spain tried to find an opening through the Moroccan defense, but the Moroccans stayed committed, unwavering, patiently waiting with 11 men behind the ball in front of their goal.The traditional “tiki-taka” ball-possession style allowed Spain to keep the ball during most of the match Tuesday, but not to get the goals it needed to keep its World Cup campaign alive, and it lost 3-0 in a penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw in regulation and extra time to end its World Cup campaign.Spains head coach Luis Enrique consoles Aymeric Laporte at the end of the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Morocco and Spain, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022. (Photo: AP)It was the third time Spain failed to make it past the last 16 at the World Cup after winning its lone title in 2010, when Xavi and Andrés Iniesta were the leaders of the ball-possession style that amazed the soccer world.Spains “tiki-taka” clearly has not produced the results it once did, not in the international level or the club level with Barcelona, which was where it all started. Barcelona hasn’t won a Champions League since 2015, and was eliminated in the group stage of the top European club competition that last two seasons after Lionel Messi left and signed with Paris Saint-Germain.The recent failures have led to some to question whether it’s time for a philosophical overhaul of Spanish soccer, or if it’s just a matter of adjusting the style to modern days or finding the right players to make it work again.Its been a while since Spain lost Xavi and Iniesta, key elements that made the “tiki-taka” thrive, and it hasnt had a top-notch striker since Fernando Torres and David Villa, who were key to help transform bal...

IOC seeking to allow Russian, Belarusian athletes back to international competitions

LAUSANNE, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is seeking a way to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in international competitions, IOC president Thomas Bach said here on Wednesday.File photo: XinhuaBach said the sanction against Russia and Belarus, which the IOC imposed in February, "must firmly remain in place"."Athletes cannot be punished for acts of their governments as long as they do not contribute to it or support it. Therefore, the question of athletes participation is a protective measure to safeguard integrity of international sports to ensure the safety of athletes from these two countries," Bach continued.Bach said after the sanction, some countries refused to issue visas to athletes from these two countries and some threatened their national athletes to withdraw sponsorship if they competed with Russian or Belarusian athletes."These put us into a big dilemma, that the participation of competitors was not based any more on the sports merits, but purely political decisions," the president added.The IOC Executive Board (EB) debated for four hours on the third day of the meeting here about the issue and the IOC received unanimous support from the EB.Bach said the IOC also received support from the governments attending the G20 Summit for the political neutrality of sports in Indonesia last month and also the recognition from the United Nations General Assembly for the independency and autonomy of sports on December 1."There is no change to our position ... The Olympic Movement must be a unifying force, not a dividing force," Bach said, adding that the Olympic Summit will have further discussion of the issue on Friday.

Guangdong, Liaoning pocket landslide victories

Guangdong Southern Tigers Hu Mingxuan goes up to shoot during the second phase of the 2022-2023 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) regular season in Zhuji, Zhejiang province December 7, 2022. (Photo: VCG)ZHUJI, China - The first day of the second phase of the 2022-2023 Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) regular season saw the Guangdong Southern Tigers beat their old rivals the Beijing Ducks 91-74 on Wednesday in their first clash of this season.Every time that the two sides meet draws much attention with their storied history in the finals and playoffs. This time powerhouse Guangdong was even more in need of a victory as they only ranked the 12th after five wins and four losses in the previous nine rounds.The game started as Guangdong had wished as they led 29-14 in the first quarter. As coach Du Feng sent four substitutes onto the court within four minutes after the game started, Guangdong stormed to a 19-4 run in less than six minutes, extending the advantage to 29-11 before Zeng Fanbo managed to nail a three-pointer for Beijing.The second quarter saw a back-and-forth match as Guangdong trailed 18-15 in the single quarter, but the Tigers took away the game right after getting back from the locker, enlarging the gap to 67-44 before the final quarter which saw no comeback from Beijing.All the 12 players on Guangdongs roster scored, with Marshon Brooks scoring the games highest 19 points.The win also lifted Guangdong to the seventh place just behind Beijing on the table.Defending champions Liaoning Flying Leopards also had an overwhelming victory as they trounced the Beijing Royal Fighters 103-63 despite the absence of star guard Guo Ailun.The game virtually ended after the third quarter when Liaoning led 80-57. They confined their opponents to only six points in the fourth quarter, sealing their fourth victory out of the last five games.Zhang Zhenlin put up a game-high 23 points, while four of his teammates scored double digits.In other games on...

Van Gaal's World Cup with Dutch has hugs, kisses and dancing

  Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal and players during a training session at the FIFA World Cup at Qatar University Training Site 6, Doha, Qatar, December 6, 2022. [Photo/Agencies] DOHA, Qatar — Three wins from the title that has eluded the Netherlands, Louis van Gaal has filled his World C

Infantino hails 'best ever' World Cup group stage

FIFA President Gianni Infantino gives thumbs-up during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Brazil and Switzerland at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 28, 2022. (Photo: AFP)DOHA, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- FIFA president Gianni Infantino has described the FIFA World Cup group stage as the best ever following record-breaking attendances and television audiences.Infantino commended the quality of football displayed by the 32 teams and underlined the passion of fans inside the stadium and at the FIFA Fan Festivals."I have seen all the matches, indeed, and put very simply and very clearly, this has been the best group stage of a FIFA World Cup ever. So, its very promising for the remainder of the [tournament]," he said."The matches have been of great, great quality in beautiful stadiums - we knew that already. However, as well, the public who was there was incredible. Over 51,000 on average."Infantino added: "Record-breaking figures on TV - weve already had over two billion viewers, which is really incredible. Two-and-a-half million people in the streets of Doha and a few hundred thousand every day in the stadiums, all together, cheering together, supporting their teams, fantastic atmosphere, great goals, incredible excitement and surprises."A cornerstone of Infantinos long-term plan has been to work with member associations and confederations to raise global competitiveness."There are no more small teams and no more big teams," the FIFA President said. "The level is very, very equal."The cumulative attendance of matches played during the group stage was 2.45 million, while the round of 16 featured 28 goals over eight games - a tournament record."We hope that the FIFA World Cup continues and concludes as it has started - a fantastic success. I am sure that we will reach five billion viewers around the world," Infantino said."At the end [of the day], we simply want to give some joy ...

Arab world rejoices over Morocco's history makers

Morocco fans celebrate their countrys World Cup win over Spain in the Moroccan capital Rabat on Tuesday. [Photo/Agencies]RABAT — Exuberant Moroccans poured into the streets of their capital and in cities across Europe on Tuesday, waving flags and honking horns to celebrate their national soccer teams historic victory over Spain at the World Cup.Morocco defeated Spain in a penalty shootout, making the Atlas Lions the only team from outside Europe or South America to make it to the quarterfinals in Qatar — and the first Arab team in World Cup history to make it to the last eight."We are so proud of our Lions, who fought hard to get us into the quarterfinals," said Niama Meddoun, a Rabat resident. "We are delighted to be Moroccans today, since we are the first Arab country that has reached the quarterfinals."Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco, praised the national team and sent his "heartfelt congratulations" to the players, the technical team and administrative personnel, "who gave their all and blazed a trail throughout this great sporting event", according to a statement from the royal palace.The king said the players represented "hopes and dreams of Moroccans in Morocco, Qatar, and all over the world".Morocco is the only Arab — and African — nation left in the tournament, the first World Cup held in the Middle East. Its World Cup success has reverberated across the Arab world and among Moroccan and some other immigrant communities in Europe.In Barcelona, Spains second largest city, a crowd of youths waving Moroccan, Egyptian, Algerian and Palestinian flags gathered in the center, where Barcelona fans traditionally celebrate big victories. People cheered to the sound of drums. Some were lighting flares.In a Barcelona restaurant where viewers had congregated, people jumped on tables and lifted chairs in the air. Outside, cars honked horns and people lit firecrackers and red and green smoke bombs.Youssef...

World Cup: Portugal dismantle Switzerland 6-1, Morocco dump Spain out on penalties

Goncalo Ramos (C) of Portugal scores a goal during the World Cup match with Switzerland at Lusail Stadium in Lusail, Qatar, December 6, 2022. (Photo: CFP)Portugals Goncalo Ramos rose to the occasion on his first World Cup start to net a hat-trick in a 6-1 demolition of Switzerland on Tuesday, sending his side through to the quarterfinals for the first time in 16 years and setting up a clash with Morocco.Portugal coach Fernando Santos had benched the countrys all-time top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo, tasking Benfica forward Ramos with leading the line despite the 21-year-old making his debut just three days before the World Cup in a friendly match.Ramos had played only 10 minutes as a substitute in Qatar, but the youngster looked like he belonged on the big stage with a memorable performance for Portugal. Ronaldo was a late substitute who had a goal ruled out for offside."Cristiano Ronaldo talks to me and everyone in the team. Hes our leader and always tries to help," Ramos said after netting the first hat-trick of the tournament."I dont know if I will start the next game, thats up to the coach, I have to work as hard as I can and then well see."Achraf Hakimi struck the decisive penalty to send Spain crashing out and Morocco into the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time, winning 3-0 in a shoot-out on Tuesday after a 0-0 draw.Spain coach Luis Enrique had claimed his players prepared by taking 1,000 penalties as homework but Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets all missed from the spot and Madrid-born Hakimi dinked his home to the delight of Moroccos raucous support.Spain had been hoping they could repeat their 2010 World Cup triumph after reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2020, where they were also beaten on penalties by Italy.The teams were closely matched through a nail-biting clash, with Spain having more of the ball but Morocco creating the better openings.Luis Enrique trialed his third right-bac...

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