Ecuador 1 – Senegal 2
Netherlands 2 – Qatar 0
Iran 0 – USA 1
Wales 0 – England 3
USA STAR CELEBRATES FROM HOSPITAL BED
Christian Pulisic went from World Cup hero to hospital, but it didn’t dampen the USA winger’s spirits.
Pulisic fired the USA to the knockout stages with a crucial first-half goal against Iran, striking in the 38th minute.
But the goal came at a cost for the Chelsea ace, who crashed head-first into Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand after tapping in a headed cross from Sergino Dest. He was assessed by medical staff and subbed off at halftime and taken to hospital.
He soon posted a picture of himself on social media lying in a hospital bed celebrating the win after keeping track of the score on his phone.
USA coach Gregg Berhalter explained: “He was taken to hospital as a precaution. He was feeling some dizziness and suffered an abdominal injury.
The severity of Pulisic’s injury is not yet known, although the Americans will be sweating over his fitness ahead of their clash with the Netherlands on Saturday.
But Pulisic was confident in his social media post, adding “I’ll be ready Saturday don’t worry”.
The Americans finished second in Group B.
FULL GUIDE: STATE OF PLAY IN EVERY WORLD CUP GROUP
HEARTACHE BEHIND RASHFORD CELEBRATION
Gareth Southgate saluted Marcus Rashford after the England forward maintained his renaissance by firing his country into the World Cup last 16 with a double in their 3-0 win against Wales on Tuesday.
Rashford put England on course for a last 16 clash with Senegal as his superb free kick broke the deadlock at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.
Phil Foden doubled England’s lead just seconds later and Rashford netted again to ensure Gareth Southgate’s side finished on top of Group B.
It was an emotional night for Rashford, who celebrated one of his goals by pointing to the sky in tribute to a friend who recently passed away.
“I lost one of my friends a couple of days ago. He had quite a long battle with cancer. I’m pleased I scored for him, he was a big supporter and good friend of mine. He was someone who came into my life,” Rashford said.
Southgate was unaware of the reason behind Rashford’s celebration until after the match, but the heartfelt tribute only added to the England manager’s admiration for the 25-year-old.
Rashford was vilified by a section of England’s fanbase after missing a spot-kick in last year’s penalty shootout defeat against Italy in the European Championship final.
The Manchester United star, one of three England players who failed to score their penalty in that agonising shoot-out, received racist abuse on social media in the immediate aftermath of the Wembley loss.
Rashford’s form for United dipped dramatically last season and for a while it seemed he could be sold.
But United manager Erik ten Hag has revitalised Rashford since taking charge in the close-season and his club form had been impressive heading into the World Cup.
“It’s been a challenge for him. I went and saw him in the summer. I had a long chat with him,” Southgate said.
“He had some clear ideas on things that he needed to think about. You can see with his club there has been happiness in his performances.
“You can see that in training with us. We have got a completely different player than we had at the Euros last year. It’s great for him and great for us.”
FRAPPART ACHIEVES WORLD CUP FIRST
Stephanie Frappart will become the first woman to referee a men’s World Cup match after FIFA announced on Tuesday that she will take charge of Thursday’s Group E match between Germany and Costa Rica.
France’s Frappart is one of three women referees among the 36 selected for the tournament in Qatar, alongside Rwandan official Salima Mukansanga and Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita.
Three other female officials have travelled to the World Cup as assistant referees.
For the 38-year-old Frappart, refereeing her men’s World Cup match is the latest step in a rapid rise to the top level in Europe.
She was the first woman to referee in France’s Ligue 1 in 2019, the same year she took charge of the women’s World Cup final in her home country.
Frappart also officiated the 2019 UEFA Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea, before refereeing the Champions League in 2020 and then the French Cup final last season
THE OTHER ‘WORKERS’ SUFFERING IN QATAR
The World Cup has focused a spotlight on the use of migrant workers in the Middle East, with tournament boss Hassan Al-Thawadi admitted as many 500 died in Qatar during preparations for the event.
And Qatar’s camels are also feeling the strain of a deluge of foreign visitors.
One operator told the Associated Press the number of daily camel rides has spiked from the usual 20 on weekdays and 50 on weekends to 500 in the morning and another 500 in the evening during the World Cup, The New York Post reports.
“There’s a lot of money coming in,” Ali Jaber al Ali, a 49-year-old Bedouin camel herder from Sudan, told the AP. “Thank God, but it’s a lot of pressure.”
Al Ali said he had obtained 45 extra camels but the demand was taking its toll on the animals, which regularly take on 15 to 20 rides without a break.
“Whippings, beatings, injuries, and exhaustion are the norm wherever animals are forced to transport tourists, whether it’s camels carrying people in the blistering heat in Qatar or Giza, horses pulling carriages through New York City’s clogged streets, or donkeys hauling people up hundreds of steps on the Greek island of Santorini,” Catie Cryar, Media Relations Manager at PETA, told Fox News Digital.
“PETA reminds visitors to the World Cup and worldwide that there’s no retirement home for these animals, who are sent to slaughter when they’re too broken to be useful, so the best way to help them is to refuse to get taken for a ride.”
ENGLAND PUNISH WALES AT WORLD CUP
Tom Barclay, The Sun
Phil Foden backed up the public’s demand to see him start by inspiring England to victory against Wales and into the last 16. While Marcus Rashford also justified his own first inclusion from the off in the tournament with a fine double.
Fans had urged Gareth Southgate to pick Foden after he was left an unused sub in the bore draw with the USA.
Southgate always said the Manchester City whizz-kid would play a big part in this World Cup.
And the Three Lions boss was as good as his word by putting the 22-year-old in his starting line-up, along with Rashford, here at the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium.
Foden showed he was a good pick by winning the free-kick that Rashford brilliantly smashed in for the opener on 50 minutes.
Then the City boy killed off the Boyos hopes completely by tapping home Harry Kane’s cross just over a minute later.
Rashford hit another, to take his tournament tally to three – level with topscorers Kylian Mbappe, Cody Gakpo and the eliminated Enner Valencia – on 68 minutes.
It set up a knockout clash with Senegal on Sunday, which Foden and Rashford will both be desperate to start, and sent Gareth Bale and Co home early as the wooden-spoon collectors of Group B.
Southgate made four changes from the US stalemate, bringing in Foden, Rashford, Jordan Henderson and Kyle Walker.
It was more of the same though in a dull first half where chances were in short supply.
Rashford came closest when sent through by Kane, but Wales stopper Danny Ward denied the revitalised Manchester United man with a good stop.
Bale has so often been Wales’ hero but offered next to nothing here, having only seven touches, and was surprisingly subbed at the break.
Supporters were treated to a performance by 90s rocker Chesney Hawkes at the break – playing his famous hit ‘The One and Only’.
England proved they were the only ones who were going to win this game as they came out looking fired-up for the second period and scored a rapid double.
Foden’s twinkle-toed dribble was cut short by Joe Rodon’s bruising challenge 23 yards out, and Rashford did the rest by smashing in the resulting free-kick.
Seconds later, Rashford dispossessed Ben Davies, allowing Kane to cross all the way along the six-yard box and there was Foden to tap home.
Wales were done at that point and the only question was how many more they would concede.
A third came along with 22 minutes to go as Rashford cut in from the right, having switched wings with Foden at the break, and beat the weak Ward at his near post.
It may have been a slow start, but England ultimately proved here why they do have the capability to go deep in this tournament. And with Foden and Rashford playing like this, they can be a match against anybody.
USA THROUGH TO KNOCKOUT ROUND
Christian Pulisic fired the United States into the last 16 of the World Cup on Tuesday as the Americans downed Iran 1-0 in their politically charged grudge match.
Chelsea star Pulisic bundled home the do-or-die Group B game’s only goal on 38 minutes to set up a second round clash with Group A winners the Netherlands on Saturday.
The victory was no less than US coach Gregg Berhalter’s youthful side deserved in what was only the third international football clash between the bitter ideological rivals.
The build-up to a pulsating showdown had been marked by steadily escalating tension, with Iran’s Football Federation on Sunday demanding FIFA sanction US Soccer for posting a modified version of their country’s flag on social media.
But despite an electrifying atmosphere at Doha’s Al Thumama Stadium, Tuesday’s game played out without controversy as the US avenged their 1998 World Cup defeat to Iran to send the Asian qualifiers crashing out of the tournament.
Iran’s fans had roared their team onto the field at the start of the game amid a deafening cacophony of air-horns and cheers from the crowd of 42,127.
But despite the intimidating reception it was the Americans who looked more comfortable, quickly establishing their dominance.
US captain Tyler Adams and Juventus’ Weston McKennie controlled proceedings in midfield to leave Iran struggling to gain foothold.
– Attacking ambition –
The US signalled their attacking ambition after only two minutes, Pulisic surging forward menacingly before being dispossessed.
That was a shape of things to come as they laid siege to the Iranian goal. Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah shot over the bar and Pulisic just failed to get enough power on a header after a cross from Antonee Robinson.
Fullback Sergino Dest was a constant threat down the right flank for the Americans, whipping a cross over in the 17th minute that Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand could only parry.
After sustained US pressure, the breakthrough finally came in the 38th minute. A brilliant cross field pass from McKennie picked out Dest down the right. The AC Milan defender headed back across goal and Pulisic was on hand to bravely finish.
There was alarm for US fans with Pulisic needing sustained treatment after a heavy collision with Beiranvand but it was the Iranians and their noisy fans who were left winded by the goal.
The crowd instantly became more subdued and the US twice came close to doubling their lead before halftime.
Josh Sargent and Tim Weah combined well with a dazzling counter-attack but the final ball went astray.
Then in injury time McKennie’s sublime pass found Weah who finished brilliantly past Beiranvand only to be ruled just offside.
Knowing that an equaliser would send them into the second round, the Iranians stepped up the pressure in the second half.
But substitute Saman Ghoddos squandered two gilt-edged chances to get his team into the match, heading over from close range before blazing a shot over the bar on the 65th minute with the whole goal to aim at.
Saeid Ezatolahi curled a long-range shot over the bar soon afterwards as the Americans continued to live dangerously.
Iran threatened again inside the final 10 minutes when Ali Karimi just failed to get on the end of a teasing cross by Ezatolahi.
A diving header from Morteza Pouraliganji whistled just wide in injury time and then Mehdi Taremi had calls for a penalty after a tangle with Cameron Carter Vickers waved away as to leave American nerves jangling before their team hung on for a famous win.
THE SILENCE THAT EXPOSES QATAR’S WORLD CUP FAILURE
Qatar’s dismal World Cup campaign is over – a spectacular $341 billion failure which closed with one final, embarrassing insult.
With a nation that had turned on its team after their 12-year World Cup build was finished inside just six days, and fearing a dismal crowd attendance for their final group match against the Netherlands, officials opened the gates to ensure there were not rows of empty seats.
By kick-off, and for the opening 20 minutes of play, the 68,895-capacity stadium had huge sections of empty seats – only for an influx to arrive after being given entry through the Hayya card, a fan ID that doubles as an international visa and gives free transport for users.
But never before has it granted entry to World Cup matches, until Tuesday night.
Fans were randomly assigned seats upon their arrival at the stadium, causing chaos in the stands before the final crowd of 66,784 was announced.
“Not seen this before at a World Cup. Hayya Card holders were allowed free entry into Qatar Holland if they showed up at the gate,” wrote New York Times journalist Tariq Panja.
“Seats assigned as they arrived. Crowd is much fuller than it was at the start of the game.
“Things not going that smoothly. (Fans) were bussed in today and told they had free entry into the Qatar game. They are in the stadium but now they have no seats.
“All construction workers from India. And some families, too.”
With a tournament that cost a reported $229 billion ($A341 billion) to create, through the erection of seven new stadiums and other infrastructure, Qatar’s final return from an on-field perspective makes for grim reading.
Qatar threw everything at delivering results on the field, pulling its players out of the local Qatar Stars League to take part in a six-month training camp to perfect their preparations.
But the 2-0 defeat to the Dutch consigned them to the worst ever performance from a host nation in World Cup history.
Three games, three losses, one goal and last place in Group D.
They’re one of only two nations to fail to secure so much as a draw, the other being Canada who play their final match against Morocco on Thursday night and could yet leave Doha with a result.
Tuesday’s game felt like a perfect representation of their tournament as a whole – on one side of the coin, wealthy VVIPs arrive moments before kick-off by way of a ramp that drops them next to their seats, while at the other, migrant workers are bussed in to fill gaps.
The most vocal fans – the Qatari ‘ultras’ who sit behind the goal – are in fine voice throughout the 90-minute defeat, and for good reason.
They’ve been paid to be here, recruited mostly from Lebanon to provide an atmosphere. But like so much else at this World Cup it is fake.
Watching them proved as entertaining as the match itself – a 1500-strong ball of energy that did not relent despite the worsening scoreline.
In fact the only time they were truly silenced was during the pre-match national anthems, a point which really hammers home that they are ring-ins.
IRAN PLAYERS SUBMIT TO ANTHEM THREATS
– Jared Schwartz, NY Post
The contentious build-up to the USA’s pivotal World Cup 2022 matchup against Iran went without a new controversy.
Most Iranian players sang along as their country’s national anthem played, while others remained stoic.
Prior to the win-or-go-home game (which the Americans need to win to advance to the knockout round), the Iranian government reportedly threatened players and their families if they made any demonstrations in the lead-up to kick-off, according to CNN. The players were told to “behave” and warned of potential imprisonment.
Before their World Cup-opening game against England, the Iranian players notably stood silently without singing along as the national anthem played. Instead, they stared defiantly with their arms around each other’s shoulders.
Iran has been rocked by nationwide protests since Mahsa Amini’s death in September. The 22-year-old died while in police custody after being arrested for improperly wearing a hijab, which violates the country’s dress code for women. At least 326 people have been killed in the protests, according to Human Rights NGO. Following their loss to England, Iranian captain Ehsan Hajsafi said the team “supports” the protesters.
Players were forced to meet with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps after the demonstration against England, according to CNN’s report. It is unclear if that is when they were allegedly threatened about their match against the United States.
SENEGAL DRUM EDUADOR OUT OF THE CUP
Senegal have become just the tenth African team to reach the knockout stages of the World Cup after a 2-1 win over Ecuador, banishing the nightmare of four years ago when they missed out on the last 16 due to too many yellow cards.
In 2018 the west African nation became the first team to go on out the tie-break rule which takes into account disciplinary records, after they were tied in all other aspects (goal difference, goals scored) with Japan.
That scenario was out of the equation at Khalifa International Stadium. Senegal simply needed to win.
And Senegal did just that with a disciplined defensive display sprinkled with attacking flair to the rhythmical drums orchestra of the Senegalese fans that drowned out all other noise at the Khalifa Stadium,
Senegal got a deserved lead towards the end of the first half when Ismaila Sarr converted the penalty he won when barrelled over by Piero Hincapie.
Ecuador, needing just a point to progress to the knockout stages for the second time, only had themselves to blame after wildly celebrating an equaliser on 67 minutes, following Moises Caicedo tap-in from a corner.
With Ecuador’s fans in full voice, almost on par with the drums, Senegal scored just moments after the restart when Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly, who was excellent throughout, stayed alive from a half-cleared free kick to guide in what would be the winner from close range.
Ecuador will rue tonight and their previous game, when the energetic South Americans couldn’t capitalise on complete dominance over The Netherlands in a 1-1 draw.
It’s the second time Senegal have reached the last 16. In 2002 they followed up one of the greatest upsets in World Cup history when beating France in the opening game with a run to the quarterfinals. This achievement felt as joyous, and a long way removed from 2018 when the yellow card rule came into effect.
Senegal will now meet the winner of group B, known later this morning AEDST.
BRAZIL’S UGLY TRUTH: DO FANS REALLY LOVE NEYMAR?
Normally, it would be horrible news to football fans anywhere that their team’s star player was injured.
But even as they endured an anguished wait for a Neymar-less Brazil to score in their 1-0 win over Switzerland Monday, some Brazilians found it hard to miss the injured superstar, who has promised to dedicate his first World Cup goal to far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
Watching the match in a packed bar in central Rio de Janeiro, where fans decked out in yellow and green waited nervously for what turned out to be the lone goal – scored in the 83rd minute, by Casemiro – 23-year-old law student Henrique Melo explained his dilemma.
As a football fan, he desperately wanted Neymar back from the ankle injury that sidelined him late in Brazil’s 2-0 win over Serbia Thursday, in which the Paris Saint-Germain star sparkled despite failing to find the goal.
“The team are missing him,” Melo said, proudly sporting the football-mad nation’s jersey.
At the same time, the fact that the world’s most expensive footballer has yet to score in the tournament “is the best result Brazil’s had in the World Cup,” he joked.
“We would have had all these Bolsonaro supporters celebrating,” Melo, a proud supporter of leftist president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, told AFP.
“As a player, Neymar’s incredible — he’s an artist. As a person, he leaves a lot to be desired. Not just his political opinions, but who he is. Instead of just enjoying his bling lifestyle, he could be investing in education, social projects, setting an example for kids … He could be the man.”
On Rio’s iconic Copacabana beach, where a huge crowd watched the match on a giant screen, 29-year-old vendor Tainara Santana was feeling the same quandary.
“I like football, so I want (Neymar) to play because he’s good. But I can’t say I’m sad he hasn’t scored. It’s great to see Neymar fail,” she laughed.
With his lean good looks and huge social media following, Neymar is one of the biggest names in sports.
But his footballing magic has been tarnished at times.
On the pitch, critics accuse the 30-year-old Paris Saint-Germain star of diving and of failing to live up to the hype when it counts. Off the pitch, he has faced accusations of excessive partying, tax fraud and spoiled behaviour.
“He’s a jerk,” Santana said.
“Not just for his politics, but because of his machismo, his ego, his total lack of humility.”
Brazil’s campaign for a record-extending sixth World Cup comes on the heels of its divisive elections last month.
Neymar endorsed Bolsonaro against Lula — and became the target of an army of “Neymar haters” online.
At the weekend, “F*** Neymar” became one of the top trending topics in Brazil on Twitter.
Brazilian football legend Ronaldo rushed to Neymar’s defense Sunday. “You’re f***ing Neymar! Giant!” the two-time World Cup winner wrote on Instagram Sunday.
“That’s why you have to deal with so much envy and evil, to the point of people celebrating your injury. How low have we sunk?” he said, urging Neymar to “use that hate as fuel.” Teammates Casemiro and Raphinha also stuck up for Neymar, saying he didn’t deserve the shade he was getting on social media.
Brazil have struggled in the past without Neymar – notably enduring the shame of their 7-1 elimination by Germany on home soil in the 2014 World Cup semi-finals after their talisman suffered a back injury.
In Copacabana, Lula supporter Charleo Luis just wanted to keep politics and football separate.
Neymar haters “are idiots who know nothing about football,” said the 24-year-old street vendor.
“Who cares if he supports Bolsonaro? He’s a great player. I’m a huge fan, I love him. I’m rooting for him to recover.” The World Cup, he added, “is a time for us to cheer like one big family.”