Friday, 02 December
- South Korea 2-1 Portugal - MATCH REPORT
- Ghana 0-2 Uruguay - MATCH REPORT
- Cameroon 1-0 Brazil - LIVE
- Serbia 2-3 Switzerland - LIVE
Saturday, 3 December
- Netherlands v USA - 17:00
- Argentina v Australia - 21:00
Sunday, 4 December
- France v Poland - 17:00
- England v Senegal - 21:00
Cameroon stun Brazil but go out of World Cup as Switzerland set date with Ronaldo's Portugal
02 December 20:50
Vlahovic starts for Serbia as Swiss lose Sommer to illness
Striker Dusan Vlahovic makes his first start of the World Cup for Serbia in Friday's must-win game against Switzerland following a groin injury that has limited him to just one substitute appearance in Qatar.
Vlahovic takes the place of midfielder Nemanja Maksimovic and joins Aleksandar Mitrovic in attack for Serbia in the only change from the 3-3 draw with Cameroon.
Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer is unavailable due to illness as Borussia Dortmund's Gregor Kobel fills in, with defender Nico Elvedi also missing for the same reason.
Fabian Schaer deputises for Elvedi alongside Manuel Akanji at the back, while Xherdan Shaqiri returns having missed the 1-0 loss to Brazil, reportedly because of a thigh problem.
Switzerland will advance with a draw if Cameroon fail to beat Brazil in the night's other Group G match.
Serbia (3-4-1-2): Vanja Milinkovic-Savic; Nikola Milenkovic, Milos Veljkovic, Strahinja Pavlovic; Andrija Zivkovic, Sasa Lukic, Filip Kostic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic; Dusan Tadic (capt); Aleksandar Mitrovic, Dusan Vlahovic.
Coach: Dragan Stojkovic (SRB)
Switzerland (4-3-3): Gregor Kobel; Silvan Widmer, Manuel Akanji, Fabian Schaer, Ricardo Rodriguez; Remo Freuler, Granit Xhaka (capt), Djibril Sow; Xherdan Shaqiri, Ruben Vargas, Breel Embolo
Coach: Murat Yakin (SUI)
Referee: Fernando Rapallini
02 December 20:46
Alves sets Brazil record as World Cup favourites make nine changes
Dani Alves becomes the oldest player to represent Brazil at the men's World Cup as the 39-year-old captains the tournament favourites in their final group game against Cameroon at Lusail Stadium on Friday.
Alves, who turned 39 in May and has since left Barcelona to play in Mexico, breaks the record that had been set by current teammate Thiago Silva, who is playing in this World Cup at the age of 38.
However, Alves falls short of the overall Brazilian record of Formiga, who played at the 2019 Women's World Cup aged 41.He is also a few months younger than Canada's Atiba Hutchinson and Portugal defender Pepe, two 39-year-olds who have already played at this World Cup.
Coach Tite makes nine changes in total to the Brazil team that beat Switzerland 1-0 on Monday to clinch qualification for the last 16, with Eder Militao and Fred the only players retained.
Neymar is still sidelined with the sprained ankle he suffered in the favourites' opening 2-0 victory against Serbia.
Brazil need a draw to be certain of winning the group and facing South Korea in the last 16.
Cameroon coach Rigobert Song brings in Vincent Aboubakar up front to captain his side, while Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu starts wide on the left and it is all change in central defence as Christopher Wooh and Enzo Ebosse both come in.
Devis Epassy continues in goal after Andre Onana was dropped for unspecified disciplinary reasons for Cameroon's last game, a 3-3 draw with Serbia.
The Indomitable Lions have to win and hope Switzerland do not beat Serbia in the other Group G game being played simultaneously if they are to advance to the last 16.
Cameroon (4-2-3-1): Devis Epassy; Collins Fai, Christopher Wooh, Enzo Ebosse, Nouhou Tolo; Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Pierre Kunde; Bryan Mbeumo, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu; Vincent Aboubakar (capt).
Coach: Rigobert Song (CMR)
Brazil (4-4-2): Ederson; Dani Alves (capt), Bremer, Eder Militao, Alex Telles; Antony, Fabinho, Fred, Rodrygo; Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli
Coach: Tite (BRA)
Referee: Ismail Elfath (USA)
02 December 20:32
02 December 16:47
South Korea (4-2-3-1): Kim Seung-gyu; Kim Jin-su, Kim Young-gwon, Kwon Kyung-won, Kim Moon-hwan; Jung Woo-young, Hwang In-beom; Lee Kang-in, Lee Jae-sung, Son Heung-min (capt); Cho Gue-sung
Coach: Paulo Bento (POR)
Portugal (4-2-3-1): Diogo Costa; Diogo Dalot, Antonio Silva, Pepe, Joao Cancelo; Ruben Neves, Matheus Nunes; Ricardo Horta, Joao Mario, Vitinha; Cristiano Ronaldo (capt)
Coach: Fernando Santos (POR)
Referee: Facundo Tello (ARG)
Kick-off: 17:00 SAST
02 December 16:44
Starting line-ups for the World Cup Group H match between Ghana and Uruguay at Al Janoub Stadium on Friday (kick-off 17:00 SAST):
Ghana (4-2-3-1): Lawrence Ati Zigi; Alidu Seidu, Daniel Amartey, Mohammed Salisu, Baba Rahman; Salis Abdul Samed, Thomas Partey; Mohammed Kudus, Andre Ayew (capt), Jordan Ayew; Inaki Williams
Coach: Otto Addo (GHA)
Uruguay (4-3-3): Sergio Rochet; Guillermo Varela, Jose Maria Gimenez, Sebastian Coates, Mathias Olivera; Federico Valverde, Rodrigo Bentancur, Giorgian De Arrascaeta; Facundo Pellistri, Luis Suarez (capt), Darwin Nunez
Coach: Diego Alonso (URU)
Referee: Daniel Siebert (GER)
02 December 15:55
Van Gaal hits out at Dutch critics before USA World Cup clash
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal hit back on Friday at the "negative" media coverage of his team at the World Cup as they prepare to face the United States in the last 16.
The 71-year-old is unbeaten in a record 10 World Cup matches as a coach, having also led the Dutch to a third-placed finish in 2014 in Brazil, where they lost to Argentina on penalties in the semi-finals.
But the Dutch press have repeatedly criticised his tactics, saying the current team is too pragmatic and does not play the attacking style for which the Netherlands first became known in the 1970s.
"In 2014 it was exactly the same, it was not different. It was very negative," Van Gaal told a pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's game.
"But, exact same thing now, same old, so I'm used to it and I think my players are also used to it.
"So we're going to calmly continue on the path that we've embarked on."
Van Gaal came out of retirement last year to coach the national side for a third time but has hinted he could be open to taking another job after the World Cup, where he has repeatedly said his team are aiming to become world champions.
The Dutch topped Group A with 2-0 victories over Senegal and Qatar and a 1-1 draw against Ecuador.
Roberto Martinez is stepping down as Belgium coach after their shock group-stage exit following a goalless draw against Croatia on Thursday.
Van Gaal would not rule out accepting the Belgium job if offered to him.
"We want to be world champions so we've got four matches ahead of us and then we'll see if there are any offers on the table," he said.
"If we become world champions there will be offers on the table, but we're not world champions (yet). If I believe the Dutch media we'll never be world champions.
"The USA, like the Netherlands, failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup but have impressed in Qatar, drawing with Wales and England before beating Iran.
"They have an excellent team, I would say even one of the best teams," added Van Gaal.
"It'll be a tough match but it's nothing we can't overcome. We also have a good team.
"But I'm not going to downplay the USA. I think they're an example of what a good team is. There are teams who progressed who are not good teams but who have great individual quality."
The match at the Khalifa International Stadium kicks off the knockout phase, with extra time and penalties a possibility
Van Gaal famously brought on reserve goalkeeper Tim Krul for a shootout victory over Costa Rica in 2014, before his side then lost on spot-kicks to Argentina.
"In 2014 we were the best squad on the pitch but lost because of penalties," he said.
"I learned from those lessons. In order to increase those chances, we need the person who has to take the penalty to have all the confidence needed to shoot the penalty, same goes for the goalkeeper."
02 December 15:51
Berhalter 'hopeful' on Pulisic fitness for World Cup last 16
United States coach Gregg Berhalter is "hopeful" Christian Pulisic will be fit to face the Netherlands in Saturday's World Cup last-16 clash but striker Josh Sargent remains a fitness doubt.
Chelsea star Pulisic suffered a pelvic contusion following a heavy collision while scoring the winning goal in Tuesday's 1-0 victory over Iran.
The 24-year-old was subsequently substituted and went to the hospital following the game for tests.
Berhalter said Pulisic was on the mend and would be tested later Friday during training.
"Regarding Christian, we're going to see him on the training field today," Berhalter told a news conference on Friday.
"It looks pretty good, but we'll have to see him on the pitch to get confirmation of that."
However, there remain concerns over Norwich striker Sargent, who also picked up a knock in the win over Iran."
With Christian we're hopeful, with (Josh) a little less so," Berhalter said.
"But we'll see. At this stage of the tournament, it's go time. If you can push through it, you do. I'm sure he'll have that mindset."
The United States advanced to Saturday's second-round meeting at the Al Khalifa Stadium after finishing second behind England in Group B.
Captain Tyler Adams said the American squad had been energised by the support at home, where record numbers of viewers have tuned into the USA's games in Qatar.
"The support from the US has been surreal -- it's really cool to see how much a tournament can change the perspective of people watching soccer," Adams said.
"That was one of our goals coming into the tournament. The further we go, the more support we gather. We want the next generations to come to have that support.
"When we can play an attractive style, and fight and represent the country in the right way, you're going to gather that support."Berhalter said the US squad had "felt a responsibility to use this World Cup to create momentum in the United States for soccer".
"That's why we want to keep going and do well and make the country proud," he added.
02 December 09:21
02 December 07:36
World Cup revenge on Ghanaian minds as Uruguay sweat
Uruguay stalwarts Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez are fighting for their World Cup survival while Ghana will have revenge on their minds on Friday.
With Portugal already qualified from Group H, Uruguay, Ghana and South Korea are battling for the other last 16 place in Qatar.
The key match will be a repeat of the infamous 2010 quarter-final in South Africa where Suarez broke Ghanaian hearts in one of the World Cup's most notorious moments.
Suarez prevented a certain goal with a deliberate handball on the goalline to deny Ghana an extra-time winner.
He was sent off but Asamoah Gyan missed the resulting spot kick and Uruguay then won the penalty shoot-out to prevent Ghana becoming the first ever African nation to reach a World Cup semi-final.
Suarez said on Thursday he had no regrets.
"I don't say I apologise about that because I take the handball but the Ghana player missed the penalty, not me. It's not my fault because I did not miss the penalty," he said.
Ghanaian fans have not forgiven or forgotten.
"They gave us a very powerful defeat. We have never forgiven Suarez," Ghanaian ruling-party lawmaker Collins Adomako-Mensah told AFP in Accra.
"Just as we cried 12 years ago, he will cry on Friday."
But Ghana coach Otto Addo has played down talk of revenge, saying his players would have acted in the same way - and he would want them to.
"This is what I wish from every player, to do all he can to help his team qualify, sacrificing himself with a red card," Addo said.
The permutations are simple for Uruguay - they must win to have any chance of progressing, while Ghana know a draw could be enough, depending on the result between Portugal and South Korea.
Like Uruguay, the Koreans must win and then hope for a favour in the other match.
They will be without Portuguese coach Paulo Bento after his red card in the 3-2 defeat to Ghana when he raged at the referee.
In Group G, already-qualified Brazil play Cameroon, who must win to stand a chance of progressing.
Brazil coach Tite is set to make a raft of changes to rest his first-choice players as he eyes the next round.
"It is a risk, yes, but it is an opportunity for (other players) to show their quality," he said.
Serbia must also beat Switzerland - who could qualify with a draw - to reach the last 16.
Germany crash out again
In a nailbiting night Thursday, Germany suffered a second straight group-stage exit at the World Cup as Japan stunned Spain 2-1, a result which sent both teams through to the last 16.
The Germans were the reigning champions when they crashed out in the first round four years ago in Russia and they were eliminated in repeat fashion in Qatar despite beating Costa Rica 4-2.
Germany fell behind after Serge Gnabry's opener and despite two goals from Kai Havertz and a late strike from Niclas Fuellkrug, the four-time champions finished third in Group E behind Spain on goal difference.
"It is unbelievably bitter for us because our result would have been enough," forward Thomas Mueller said.
"It's a feeling of powerlessness."
Japan surprisingly advanced in first place with six points after coming from behind to topple Spain.
Alvaro Morata headed Spain in front, but Japan dramatically hit back at the start of the second half.
Ritsu Doan and Ao Tanaka's goals saw them mount a sensational comeback, just as they did in a shock opening win over Germany.
Tanaka's goal was highly controversial after the officials relied on VAR to decide Kaoru Mitoma had kept the ball in play by the finest of margins to set him up.
Japan will play Croatia, the beaten finalists in 2018, in the next round while Spain face Morocco.It is the fourth time Japan have reached the last 16 but they have never progressed beyond that stage.
"The players are showing us a different and new view of being able to fight on the world stage," said Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu.
"I would like to set a new record of the last eight or better."Second-ranked Belgium were also sent packing after a goalless draw with Croatia.
Belgium's exit was painful, with their players slumping to the turf after substitute Romelu Lukaku failed to capitalise on a string of chances.
Instead it was Luka Modric's Croatia who celebrated qualifying for the knockout stage as the second-placed team in Group F, with five points.
Morocco beat Canada 2-1 to top the group with seven points, reaching the last 16 for the first time in 36 years.
The Belgians poured forward in the second half in frantic search of a winner but fell agonisingly short.
With just moments remaining Lukaku seemed certain to score from close range but could only chest the ball into the arms of the Croatia goalkeeper.
The 2018 semi-finalists head home after an embarrassing campaign in which they scored just one goal.In the aftermath, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez announced he was leaving his job.
Morocco made it through thanks to first-half goals from Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech and Youssef En-Nesyri although Canada cut the deficit with an own goal.
02 December 07:20
01 December 22:59
Japan came from behind to beat Spain 2-1 to top Group E, with that result meaning Germany go home in the first round for the second World Cup in a row despite beating Costa Rica 4-2.
Group E results:
Germany 4-2 Costa Rica
Japan 2-1 Spain
Japan and Spain are through to the last 16.
01 December 20:57
'Biggest let down that modern football has seen': Football community reacts as Belgium head home
Belgium have been eliminated from the World Cup following their disappointing 0-0 draw to Croatia on Thursday, which brought out a lot of reaction on social media.
01 December 20:20
01 December 20:19
01 December 20:18
Manuel Neuer (capt); Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Suele, Antonio Ruediger, David Raum; Ilkay Gundogan, Leon Goretzka; Leroy Sane, Thomas Mueller, Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala
Coach: Hansi Flick (GER)
Costa Rica (5-2-3)
Keylor Navas (capt); Keysher Fuller, Oscar Duarte, Juan Pablo Vargas, Bryan Oviedo, Kendall Waston; Celso Borges, Yeltsin Tejeda; Brandon Aguilera, Joel Campbell, Johan Venegas
Coach: Luis Fernando Suarez (COL)
01 December 20:17
Starting line-ups for the World Cup Group E match between Japan and Spain at the Khalifa International Stadium on Thursday.
Shuichi Gonda; Shogo Taniguchi, Kou Itakura, Maya Yoshida (capt), Yuto Nagatomo; Ao Tanaka, Hidemasa Morita; Takefusa Kubo, Daichi Kamada, Junya Ito; Daizen Maeda
Coach: Hajime Moriyasu (JPN)
Unai Simon; Cesar Azpilicueta, Rodri Hernandez, Pau Torres, Alejandro Balde; Gavi, Sergio Busquets (capt), Pedri; Nico Williams, Alvaro Morata, Dani Olmo
Coach: Luis Enrique (ESP)
Referee: Victor Gomes (RSA)
01 December 19:39
Belgium exit World Cup 'with heads held high', says Martinez, who confirms final game in charge
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said his team would leave the World Cup with their "heads held high" despite being dumped out in the group stage after a goalless draw with Croatia on Thursday.
The world's second-ranked side were left to rue a series of missed gilt-edged chances by Romelu Lukaku in the second half as they went out after scoring only one goal in three Group F matches.
"Today we were ready, we created opportunities and today there is no regrets," said Martinez.
"We're out but we can leave with our heads held high.
"You see Youri Tielemans and other young players -- the golden generation is doing something that is bringing the next generation on. It's not what names are on the pitch. The legacy can be left in many ways."
Belgium finished third in their group behind Croatia and Morocco who backed up their surprise 2-0 win over the Red Devils by beating Canada 2-1.
"We wanted to get through but I'm sure the other national teams wanted to get through and that's the tournament," added Martinez.
"In the previous World Cup we won three games in the group stage. We wanted to go all the way."
Lukaku was not fit enough to start any of the games and Belgium were reliant on several ageing stars who could not produce their best form.
But Martinez refused to discuss his future as coach."Now is not the moment," he said.
Martinez confirmed that the defeat was his final game in charge of the Belgium team.
"That was my last game with the national team, I can't carry on," Martinez said at his post-match press conference.
"It's the time for me to accept that this is the last game."
Martinez led Belgium to a third-place finish at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and to the Euro 2020 quarter-finals last year.
But his ageing side could not replicate that form in Qatar, crashing out after scoring just one goal in three games.
The Spaniard said he was always planning to leave after the World Cup.
"That was the end, whatever would happen, whether we were world champions, whether we went out in the group stage," he said.
"It's got nothing to do with being eliminated in the group stage.
"Since 2018 I had many opportunities to leave, take jobs at club level, but I wanted to be loyal. I don't resign, it's the end of my contract."
01 December 19:16
Belgium crash out of World Cup after Croatia draw
Romelu Lukaku missed a string of late chances as Belgium crashed out of the World Cup in the group stage after a 0-0 draw with Croatia on Thursday, which sent the 2018 runners-up into the knockout phase.
Croatia had a penalty award controversially cancelled by VAR early in a largely uneventful first half.
The introduction of Lukaku at the interval changed the game, but he was guilty of three dreadful misses as Zlatko Dalic's side rode their luck to hold on.
Croatia progressed as runners-up in Group F behind winners Morocco who beat Canada 2-1 to also qualify for the last 16.
Belgium, the world's second-ranked side, saw their run of reaching at least the quarter-finals at four straight major tournaments come to an abrupt end.
Roberto Martinez's men managed just one goal in the tournament in a fortunate opening 1-0 win over Canada.
Martinez dropped captain Eden Hazard to the bench as one of four changes which also saw Leandro Trossard and Dries Mertens start for the first time in Qatar.
The build-up to the match had been dominated by rumours of an altercation between senior Belgian players, involving Eden Hazard, which Martinez described as "fake news".
Croatia almost took the lead inside the first 10 seconds, as the ball was played forward to Ivan Perisic after kick-off and the Tottenham man cut inside and drilled a shot just wide of the far post.
The likelihood of Belgium needing to win was increased when Morocco scored an early goal across Doha. Yannick Carrasco had a chance to open the scoring but his shot was blocked.
Mertens curled over after a trademark Kevin De Bruyne run and pass, before Croatia were awarded a penalty seconds later when Carrasco tripped Andrej Kramaric in the box.
But the decision was overturned following a lengthy VAR check which decided that a tiny fraction of Dejan Lovren's shoulder was offside.
Desperate for a goal after a first half in which neither side mustered a shot on target, Martinez sent on Lukaku, Belgium's record scorer, for Mertens at half-time.
They immediately carried more threat, with Lukaku, who struggled with injury in the build-up to the tournament, heading straight at Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.
Thibaut Courtois was then called into action for the first time, stretching to tip over Mateo Kovacic's curling effort as the game opened up.
That also suited the Croatian attackers though and Courtois had to twice get down to keep out low shots from Marcelo Brozovic and Luka Modric.
Belgium should have taken the lead on the hour mark.
Carrasco almost bundled the ball in but was denied by Livakovic, before Lukaku contrived to hit the post with the goal gaping on the rebound.
Lukaku was guilty of an even worse miss two minutes later, heading over an empty net from six yards out, although replays suggested the ball may have been out of play when De Bruyne crossed it in.
Martinez also threw on Thorgan Hazard, Youri Tielemans and Jeremy Doku as Belgium searched for that all important goal.
Lukaku saw another chance come and go in the 87th minute, deflecting the ball wide from Thomas Meunier's volley.
The striker, on loan at Inter Milan from Chelsea, still had another golden opportunity to be the hero, but he opted to chest the ball towards the open net from three yards out and directed it into the arms of Livakovic.
01 December 18:58
Group F results
Canada 1-2 Morocco
Belgium 0-0 Croatia
Morocco top the group and together with Croatia, advance to the last 16 at the 2022 World Cup.
01 December 17:10
'It's not my fault': Unrepentant Suarez refuses to apologise for Ghana World Cup handball
Uruguay great Luis Suarez refused to apologise on Thursday to Ghanaians over his infamous handball at the World Cup 12 years ago.
01 December 17:00
01 December 16:59
01 December 16:18
Starting line-ups for the World Cup Group F match between Canada and Morocco at the Thumama Stadium on Thursday (kick-off 17:00 SA time).
Canada (3-4-3): Milan Borjan; Alistair Johnston, Kamal Miller, Steven Vitoria; Sam Adekugbe, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Jonathan Osorio, Junior Hoilett; Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Tajon Buchanan
Coach: John Herdman (ENG)
Morocco (4-4-2): Yassine Bounou; Achraf Hakimi, Nayef Aguerd, Romain Saiss (capt), Noussair Mazraoui; Sofyan Amrabat, Azzedine Ounahi, Abdelhamid Sabiri; Youssef En-Nesyri, Sofiane Boufal, Hakim Ziyech.
Coach: Walid Regragui (MAR)
Referee: Raphael Claus (BRA)
01 December 15:52
Starting line-ups for the World Cup Group F match between Croatia and Belgium at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Thursday (kick-off 17:00 SA time).
Croatia (4-3-3): Dominik Livakovic; Josip Juranovic, Dejan Lovren, Josko Gvardiol, Borna Sosa; Mateo Kovacic, Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic; Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric, Marko Livaja
Coach: Zlatko Dalic (CRO)
Belgium (4-3-3): Thibaut Courtois; Thomas Meunier, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Timothy Castagne; Axel Witsel, Leander Dendoncker, Kevin De Bruyne (capt); Yannick Carrasco, Leandro Trossard, Dries Mertens.
Coach: Roberto Martinez (ESP)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
01 December 15:44
South Korea boss blasts 'lack of common sense' after World Cup red card
South Korea coach Paulo Bento said on Thursday the refereeing decision that triggered his sending-off at the World Cup showed "a deep lack of common sense".
The 53-year-old is suspended for Friday's must-win game against his native Portugal after he was red-carded following the final whistle in Monday's 3-2 defeat to Ghana.
Bento confronted English referee Anthony Taylor for not allowing the Koreans to take a corner before he blew up.
It means Bento will not be on the sidelines against Portugal, who have already qualified for the last 16 in Qatar and will be chasing top spot in Group H.
In contrast, South Korea and their talisman Son Heung-min must win, but they also need Ghana to drop points against Uruguay to stand any chance of staying alive in Qatar.
"I reacted maybe not in the best way but it was the response of someone who is human and makes mistakes," the former Portugal international said.
"Maybe the way I did it was a mistake but this was at a time when we had good reason.
"It was an unfair decision (not to let them take the corner) and also one that reveals a deep lack of common sense."
Bento, whose side drew their opener in Qatar 0-0 against Uruguay, said the last time he would see his men before the match would be before they get to the stadium.
He is confident though that it will not impact South Korea's chances off pulling off a shock against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal.
"I've worked for a long time with the players, we have competent staff and I am confident they will do what is needed," he said.
"All the staff are in line with our work and actually many decisions are taken during the matches by them.
"The players are also in line with the technical staff. I trust them and don't think it will be a problem."
01 December 15:07
Ghana face Uruguay on Friday in their decisive final World Cup group match, and there is one name on the minds of many from the West African country: Luis Suarez.
01 December 07:21
Germany fight for World Cup survival
Germany will battle to avoid the humiliation of another first-round exit at the World Cup on Thursday while Belgium's "golden generation" will be fighting for their lives when they face Croatia.
Despite being holders, Germany were eliminated at the group stage four years ago in Russia, and they are desperate to avoid a repeat when they play Costa Rica in Group E.
The Germans suffered a stunning opening defeat to Japan but salvaged a draw with Spain in their next game.
Germany must beat Costa Rica to stand a chance of progressing, and even then goal difference could still be a factor.
Costa Rica began their campaign on the wrong end of a 7-0 defeat to Spain but they proved their mettle with a subsequent 1-0 win over Japan and are still in contention to qualify.
Germany coach Hansi Flick laughed off suggestions he would lose his job if his side crashed out.
"You never know what's around the corner but I am looking forward to Germany's home European Championship (in 2024)," he said.
"I have a contract until 2024. But that's still a long way away."
Spain are not yet assured of their place in the last 16 - a loss to Japan would put the Japanese through and could allow Germany or Costa Rica to overtake them.
Belgium would crash out of the tournament if they lose to Croatia, snuffing out the hopes of ageing players including Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois in what is surely their last World Cup.
Roberto Martinez's team have failed to convince so far in Qatar, narrowly beating Canada in their opener before losing to Morocco in their second match and there have been reports of rows in the camp.
Argentina, Australia advance
A win over Croatia would give Belgium a place in the last 16 but a draw would leave them needing pointless Canada to beat Morocco elsewhere in Group F, with goal difference deciding who progresses.
Playmaker De Bruyne has looked off-colour so far, while injury has restricted striker Romelu Lukaku to a single substitute appearance.
Michy Batshuayi has scored Belgium's only goal and they will need to find a new gear against Croatia, who recovered from conceding an early goal to thrash Canada 4-1 in their last game.
Belgium fullback Timothy Castagne said on Wednesday: "Our confidence isn't as low as people think.
"It's true we didn't play so well in the first two matches but we're not in crisis mode like some people are saying in the press."
Croatia will look to take another step towards a potential second straight final appearance, while Morocco will be aiming to qualify for the last 16 for the first time since 1986.
If Wednesday's action is any guide, Thursday's group finales could provide more nerve-shredding drama.A four-way battle for last-16 places in Group C between Argentina, Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia went down to the wire.
While Argentina moved into first place in the standings after taking a 2-0 lead against Poland, the identity of the team joining them in the knockout rounds was in the balance until deep into injury time in Mexico's 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia.
A third Mexico goal would have been enough to take them into the last 16; instead it was Poland who squeezed through by dint of a marginally superior goal difference.
Argentina will now face Australia in the last 16 after the Socceroos confounded pre-tournament odds to defeat Denmark 1-0 and claim the runners-up spot in Group D.
France, who were already virtually assured of first place in the standings, were beaten 1-0 by Tunisia after coach Didier Deschamps opted to rest most of his first-choice line-up.
30 November 23:01
Argentina, Poland advance to knock-outs from Group C after night of drama
While they lost 2-0 to Argentina in their final Group C clash, Poland will join Lionel Messi's team in the knock-out stages of the 2022 World Cup.
Although Poland and Mexico - who beat Saudi Arabia 2-1 - ended on four points each, Poland advanced due to a better goal difference.
30 November 21:18
Ben White out of England World Cup squad: FA
England defender Ben White was ruled out of the remainder of the World Cup after leaving the squad for "personal reasons", the Football Association said on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old Arsenal player has returned to England after leaving the team's Al Wakrah training base, the FA said.
An FA statement said White was "not expected to return to the squad for the remainder of the tournament."
"We ask that the player's privacy is respected at this moment in time," the FA said.
White has excelled for Premier League leaders Arsenal this season but did not feature in any of England's three Group B games in the World Cup first phase.
England face Senegal in the last 16 of the World Cup on Sunday.
30 November 21:11
30 November 21:10
LIVE | FIFA WORLD CUP - Poland v Argentina
30 November 20:20
World Cup coaches welcome first female ref Frappart
Costa Rica coach Luis Fernando Suarez said Wednesday the appointment of Stephanie Frappart to referee his team's crucial clash with Germany was a major milestone in a "sexist sport".
30 November 20:18
Starting line-ups: Poland v Argentina
Wojciech Szczesny; Matty Cash, Kamil Glik, Jakub Kiwior, Bartosz Bereszynski; Krystian Bielik, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Piotr Zielinski, Przemyslaw Frankowski; Karol Swiderski, Robert Lewandowski (capt)
Coach: Czeslaw Michniewicz (POL)
Emiliano Martinez; Nahuel Molina, Cristian Romero, Nicolas Otamendi, Marcos Acuna; Rodrigo De Paul, Enzo Fernandez, Alexis Mac Allister; Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi (capt), Julian Alvarez
Coach: Lionel Scaloni (ARG)
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
30 November 20:16
Starting line-ups for the World Cup Group C match between Saudi Arabia and Mexico at Lusail Stadium in Doha on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia (3-4-3)
Mohammed Al-Owais; Hassan Al-Tambakti, Abdulelah Al-Amri, Ali Al-Bulayhi; Saud Abdelhamid, Ali Al-Hassan; Mohamed Kanno, Sultan Al-Ghannam; Feras Al-Brikan, Salem Al-Dawsari (capt), Saleh Al-Shehri
Coach: Herve Renard (FRA)
Guillermo Ochoa (capt); Jorge Sanchez, Cesar Montez, Hector Moreno, Jesus Gallardo; Edson Alvarez, Luis Chavez, Orbelin Pineda; Alexis Vega, Hirving Lozano, Henry Martin
Coach: Gerardo Martino (ARG)
Referee: Michael Oliver (ENG)
30 November 19:16
Australia reach World Cup last 16 and send Denmark home
Australia reached the last 16 of the World Cup for only the second time in their history with a 1-0 win over a disappointing Denmark on Wednesday.
30 November 17:11
30 November 17:09
30 November 16:43
Mbappe rested as France make nine changes against Tunisia
Kylian Mbappe is among the players rested as France coach Didier Deschamps makes nine changes to his starting line-up for Wednesday's final World Cup group game against Tunisia at Education City Stadium.
Mbappe has scored three times so far in Qatar, netting once in the holders' opening 4-1 win against Australia before his brace secured a 2-1 win over Denmark on Saturday.
Yet he starts on the bench as captain Raphael Varane and midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni are the only players to retain their places.
There is a debut for Monaco's Axel Disasi, who is expected to start at right-back, while Eintracht Frankfurt's Randal Kolo Muani gets a first start for his country.
France's two opening victories made them the first team to secure qualification for the last 16 and they now only require a point to clinch first place in Group D.
Even a defeat will not stop them topping the section so long as Australia do not beat Denmark at the same time and manage to overturn France's advantage on goal difference, which is currently superior by six.
Tunisia need to win and hope Australia do not win the other game to have a chance of going through.
Their coach Jalel Kadri makes six changes to the team that lost 1-0 to Australia, including bringing in Corsican-born Wahbi Khazri as captain.
Aymen Dahmen; Nader Ghandri, Yassine Meriah, Montassar Talbi; Wajdi Kechrida, Ellyes Skhiri, Aissa Laidouni, Ali Maaloul; Anis Slimane, Wahbi Khazri (capt), Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane
Coach: Jalel Kadri (TUN)
Steve Mandanda; Axel Disasi, Raphael Varane (capt), Ibrahima Konate, Eduardo Camavinga; Youssouf Fofana, Aurelien Tchouameni, Jordan Veretout; Matteo Guendouzi, Randal Kolo Muani, Kingsley Coman
Coach: Didier Deschamps (FRA)
Referee: Matthew Conger (NZL)
30 November 16:41
Starting line-ups for the World Cup Group D match between Australia and Denmark at Al Janoub Stadium in Doha on Wednesday.
Mathew Ryan (capt); Milos Degenek, Kye Rowles, Harry Souttar, Aziz Behich; Aaron Mooy, Riley McGree, Jackson Irvine; Mathew Leckie, Craig Goodwin, Mitchell Duke
Coach: Graham Arnold (AUS)
Kasper Schmeichel; Rasmus Kristensen Joachim Andersen, Andreas Christensen, Joakim Maehle; Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Christian Eriksen (capt), Mathias Jensen; Andreas Skov Olsen, Martin Braithwaite, Jesper Lindstrom
Coach: Kasper Hjulmand (DEN)
Referee: Mustapha Ghorbal (ALG)
30 November 16:20
Iran World Cup loss sparks despair - and joy from regime critics
For Iranians, their football team's World Cup loss against the United States was cause for either sadness or exuberant joy, depending on where they stand on a two-month-old protest movement.
30 November 12:40
Learn from this hurt, implores Wales boss
Wales will leave Qatar with mixed emotions - pride at reaching their first World Cup in 64 years mingled with a sense of bitter disappointment that they failed to do themselves justice.
Rob Page's team, cheered on by legions of their "Red Wall" fans in the Gulf state, drew their opening match against the USA 1-1 but then fell to a 2-0 defeat by Iran and were outclassed by England on Tuesday, losing 3-0.
After reaching the knockout stage at the past two European Championships, Wales struggled in Qatar, with ageing stars Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey looking well past their best.
"We're disappointed because we know in a couple of the games we haven't really shown our true colours and that's probably the most frustrating thing for me and the group of players," said Page.
"They know that themselves. I don't need to tell them that.
"It's important they learn from it. We've had a taste of it, the World Cup and the Euros, and we want to continue to qualify.
"The coach urged a focus on the "bigger picture", saying the experience would prove beneficial for his younger players.
"We haven't got the pool of players that England have got and I think they'll go on to do well in the tournament," he said.
"For us, it is an amazing achievement to get here."We've got to expose the younger players to these environments and hopefully then in future we can continue to qualify." - AFP
30 November 12:38
30 November 07:18
Messi and Lewandowski's World Cup dreams in the balance
Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski head into Wednesday's showdown between Argentina and Poland with the futures of what could be their final World Cup adventures hanging in the balance.
Either one of two of the biggest stars of European club football could fail to qualify for the knockout stages in Qatar and end their careers without tasting glory at the most prestigious tournament of all.
Messi has already netted twice in his last attempt to emulate Diego Maradona and win the World Cup for Argentina and is trying to drag the Albiceleste out of Group C after they were stunned by Saudi Arabia in their opening match.
Argentina beat Mexico 2-0 to salvage their campaign and sit second, level on three points with the Saudis and one behind leaders Poland and only a win will guarantee that 35-year-old Messi's Qatar campaign continues into December.
An Argentine exit would devastate fans back home and a worldwide army of Messi fans desperate to see him lift the World Cup.
It would also be a fitting climax to the career of one of football's greatest ever players, but coach Lionel Scaloni sees such histrionics as unnecessary.
"It's hard to make people understand that the sun will rise tomorrow, win or lose," he said after his side beat Mexico to get their challenge back on track.
"What matters is how you do things."
Lewandowski was brought to tears by fulfilling his "childhood dream" of scoring his first ever World Cup goal in what was his fifth match at the finals, a 2-0 win over the Saudis.
The Barcelona forward knows he might not get another chance on this stage should the Poles exit the tournament on Wednesday.
"I'm aware it might be my last World Cup and I wanted to be able to say that I've played and scored at World Cups," said the 34-year-old.
Lewandowski is a safer bet to make the last 16 as Poland will be through with a win or a draw, and even if they lose they are only sure to be knocked out if the Saudis beat Mexico.
Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz insisted it wasn't simply a contest between the forwards despite the inevitable focus on the two big stars.
"It's not only a match between Lewandowski and Messi, it's not tennis," he said.
USA send Iran out
On Tuesday, the United States reached the knockout phase by beating Iran 1-0 in a battle of geopolitical foes, earning a second round meeting with the Netherlands.
Christian Pulisic's winner in the 38th minute of an absorbing contest in Doha eliminated the Iranians.
The meeting of the bitter ideological rivals had been marked by a bad-tempered build-up, with Iran's Football Federation demanding on Sunday that FIFA punish US Soccer for posting a modified version of their country's flag on social media.
The defeat ended a fraught campaign for Iran, whose every move in Qatar has been scrutinised for signs the players are showing support for mass anti-government protests that have shaken the Islamic republic.
"The dream is over," coach Carlos Queiroz said. "Unfortunately football always punishes the team that doesn't score.
"The Americans finished two points behind England in Group B after Gareth Southgate's team cruised past Wales 3-0 in a one-sided 'Battle of Britain' decided by a Marcus Rashford brace and another strike from Manchester City star Phil Foden.
Rashford said his double, which included a stunning free-kick to open the scoring in the 50th minute at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, was "what I play football for".
"I have massive ambition for this team and think we can play even better than we showed today," added Rashford.
England will face Senegal on Sunday after Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly snatched a 2-1 win over Ecuador to finish second behind the Dutch in Group A and knock out the South Americans.
Koulibaly said he would give late Senegalese icon Papa Bouba Diop's family his man-of-the-match award after firing the Lions of Teranga into the last 16 for the second time in their history.
Cody Gakpo his third goal of the tournament as the Netherlands booked their place last 16 as group winners with a straightforward 2-0 victory over hosts Qatar.
Qatar, which has spent $200 billion to host the World Cup, bow out of their own tournament with the worst ever performance by a host nation - zero points and just one goal scored.
29 November 23:26
29 November 21:23
Senegal's Koulibaly gives World Cup man-of-the-match trophy to deceased Diop's family
Kalidou Koulibaly said he would give the family of late Senegal great Papa Bouba Diop's his man-of-the-match award after firing his country through to the World Cup last 16 on Tuesday.
The defender scored the winner to clinch a 2-1 win over Ecuador on the second anniversary of Diop's tragic early death following a long illness, taking Senegal through in second place in Group A.Koulibaly also paid tribute to Senegal's 2002 World Cup hero by having Diop's number 19 written on his captain's armband.
Diop scored the winning goal in the stunning 1-0 triumph over France in the opening game of that tournament 20 years ago, helping Senegal reach the quarter-finals.
"Today is the anniversary of his death, I will give his family the trophy in his honour," Koulibaly told reporters.
"We knew the anniversary of his death was something very important, for his family.
"We wanted to pay homage to him, he made me dream when I was a boy.
"We knew we wanted to play in his honour, this wasn't something we were going to let slip.
"It was important for us as a team to make our families and Papa's family proud.
"Now we know we need to rest up, keep a cool head, yes we've qualified, and yes we can savour the win, but now we need to concentrate.
"We need to show why we are the champions of Africa. We need to rest up and get the best from ourselves in the knockout stages."
29 November 20:22
Starting line-ups in the World Cup Group B match between Iran and the United States at the Al Thumama Stadium on Tuesday (kick-off 21:00):
Alireza Beiranvand; Morteza Pouraliganji, Milad Mohammadi, Majid Hosseini, Ramin Rezaeian; Saeid Ezatolahi, Ahmad Noorollahi, Ehsan Hajsafi (capt) Ali Gholizadeh; Mehdi Taremi, Sardar Azmoun
Coach: Carlos Queiroz (POR)
United States (4-3-3)
Matt Turner; Sergino Dest, Cameron Carter-Vikers, Tim Ream, Antonee Robinson; Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah; Tim Weah, Josh Sargent, Christian Pulisic
Coach: Gregg Berhalter (USA)
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP)