25.11.2022
World Cup: Cristiano Ronaldo shrugs off Man United exit as he nets Portugal’s opening goal in Qatar

Cristiano Ronaldo recovered quickly from his exit from Manchester United as he scored Portugal’s first goal at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The veteran forward netted from the spot just after the hour mark to break the deadlock against Ghana in their first group game on Thursday evening.

Ronaldo, 37, was pictured fighting back tears during the Portuguese national anthem in his first game since having his contract terminated by the Red Devils.

But the confidently dispatched penalty, followed by his trademark ‘Siuuuu’ celebration, was highly controversial.

Ronaldo burst into the box and dived to the ground under minimal contact from Southampton defender Mohammed Salisu.

Referee Ismail Elfath – from America – awarded a spot-kick and VAR surprisingly did not overturn his decision.

Fans quickly rushed to social media to accuse the 37-year-old of an ‘absolutely pathetic’ dive and labelled him ‘trash’ for his actions in trying to fool the referee.

One said: ‘I just knew Ronaldo would dive. The game was becoming too tough for him to handle. It’s inevitable!’

A second added: ‘That Ronaldo dive was absolutely pathetic.’

Another fan posted: ‘That was the softest penalty call I’ve ever seen. What a dive by Ronaldo he’s trash.’

One tweeted: ‘Embarrassing dive from Ronaldo. Never a penalty.’

A fifth said: ‘That’s a disgraceful dive from Ronaldo.’

And BBC pundit Chris Sutton posted a GIF of a woman flopping to the floor theatrically.

With the goal, Ronaldo became the first ever player to score at five different World Cup tournaments.

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  • 2 часа, 36 минут назад 09.12.2022Sport
    Seven additional flights from Morocco sell out in an hour as fans dash for Qatar

    Moroccans scrambled on Friday to get seats on the seven additional flights that state carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM) has announced to help soccer fans get to Qatar for the World Cup quarter final against Portugal.

    Morocco, the last African country left in the tournament and the first Arab country to ever reach the quarter finals, has been gripped by excitement at the team’s World Cup performance, with victories over highly ranked Spain and Belgium.

    A source at Morocco’s soccer federation said it had agreed with RAM that fans seeking tickets on the additional flights should have tickets for the Saturday match and a Hayya card – Qatar’s temporary entry visa for World Cup visitors.

    However, several fans at a RAM office in Rabat said they were able to get air tickets with only the Hayya card and hoped to buy match tickets on arrival in Doha.

    Ousama Ouaddich, waiting outside the Rabat RAM office in the rain on Thursday night, said he had managed to buy a ticket for the match but did not yet have a flight.

    ‘It’s frustrating. We need more airplanes,’ he said.

    At home, the main fan zones with big screens are at a Casablanca stadium and in Marrakech, where a screen has been put up in the Jmaa al-Fnaa square, a UNESCO world heritage site.

    During the match against Spain, the Jmaa al-Fnaa was hung with flags and throbbed to the chants of 30,000 fans, said Abdelmakel El Mansouri a member of the city council.

    ‘We are expecting a similar or higher number of fans during the game against Portugal,’ he said.

    Fans attending the Casablanca stadium zone need to get there three hours early for a place, one of the organisers said.

    Across the country, shops and stalls are doing a roaring trade in flags, national team shirts and T-shirts.

    ‘Looking at how many T-shirts I have sold, I wish the World Cup lasted forever,â said Zouhir Sabir, a shop keeper in the old centre of Rabat. The price of clothes with national symbols had risen about 30 per cent due to high demand, he said.

    ‘Now you see people dressed normally. On the day of the match most people will be wearing colours of the national flag and football jerseys,” he said.

    Even people with little interest in the sport joined the street celebrations that have followed Morocco’s progress through the tournament.

    ‘I’m not usually a football fan and I know we have lots of economic problems in the country. But I think this is a special moment to celebrate,’ said Abdellah Belhaj, a retired man in Rabat.

    It comes as Sportsmail revealed there were some tickets remaining for England’s quarter-final date with France as Qatar continued to struggle to fill grounds even as the competition entered the business end.

    All general admission tickets for the mouth-watering clash against the world champions at the Al Bayt Stadium, which were priced between £90 and £150, have sold out, although some hospitality packages remain available.

    Hospitality tickets are not available through the official World Cup ticket portal and those seeking to buy them must make a separate enquiry to FIFA.

    For £7500 high-rolling England fans will get a pre-match meal and one of the best seats in the stadium, although supporters wanting to sit in a private box will have to spend over £10,000.

    FIFA are anticipating a packed stadium unlike England’s previous games in the tournament, which have played out in front of swathes of empty seats despite being supposedly sold out.

    Around 15,000 England fans have bought tickets, a significant increase on the 3000 who attended the group matches.

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  • 2 часа, 36 минут назад 09.12.2022Sport
    Teofimo Lopez hails MSG as ‘where legends are born’ as he prepares for his EIGHTH bout there

    Former lightweight champion of the world Teofimo Lopez is set to fight for the eighth time at Madison Square Garden this weekend – roughly a year after losing his belts there.

    Lopez was shocked by George Kambosos in November 2021, as he gave up his unified IBF, WBA and WBO titles via split decision.

    Now, the 17-1 fighter is preparing to fight in New York again, with a clash vs. southpaw Sandor Martin coming this Saturday.

    ‘This is my home,’ Lopez told the New York Post ahead of the fight.

    ‘I’ve fought here seven times, this will be No. 8 … I won my first world title at Madison Square Garden, in 2019, beating the former champion, beating the champion that was there.

    ‘Those are moments that they can never take away from me. Nobody can. Who can say that they won their first world title at Madison Square Garden? Not many can.

    ‘And who has fought there? The greats like Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali. Madison Square Garden, the mecca of boxing, the sports of sports, the arena of arenas. Madison Square Garden is where legends are born.’

    Lopez beat Richard Commey at MSG in 2019 via TKO to win his first lightweight title, but now fights in a new weight class of 140 pounds and Saturday stands to present a challenge for him.

    Martin (40-2) has won 11 consecutive fights, and Lopez was originally set to fight Jose Pedraza until he dropped off the bout last month.

    Pedraza cited a ‘Non-COVID illness’ as his reason, and while Lopez is favored to win, ESPN called the matchup a potential ‘trap fight’ due to the late switch.

    And while Martin has not lost in more than five years, Lopez is looking forward to the fight.

    ‘I love challenges, I love taking challenges,’ Lopez said. ‘Because challenges are what will separate us from being great, and being the greatest. … How do we do it?

    ‘We have to give the fans what they want to see. I’m a fighter that takes less money if I need to to give you what you need to see. That’s what a true champion is, that’s someone who has confidence in themself.’

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  • 2 часа, 36 минут назад 09.12.2022Sport
    Budweiser to make ‘alternative, culturally appropriate’ player of the match award

    Budweiser is in the process of making ‘alternative, culturally appropriate’ arrangements for player of the match awards to accommodate stars such as Kylian Mbappe who do not want to promote alcohol.

    The French forward has picked up the player of the match award in three out of four games, but has repeatedly snubbed the beverage giant by holding the trophy backwards in order to hide the logo.

    It was noted after he picked up the gong against Australia and Denmark and he again snubbed any promotion of the Budweiser branding after claiming the award against Poland.

    Mbappe is not alone either with other players including Cameroon’s Vincent Aboubakar, Tunisia’s Wahbi Khazri and Morocco’s duo Yassine Bounou and Hakim Ziyech also opting to do the same.

    Budweiser – who have had a torrid World Cup so far – has now addressed the claims that Mbappe has been hiding its logo deliberately, the Athletic reports.

    A spokesperson for AB InBev, which brews Budweiser, said: ‘Alternative, culturally appropriate, arrangements have and will continue to be made for players with bone fide objections on religious grounds.’

    This reportedly would include the same trophy but without the Budweiser logo and any branding in the background.

    It comes after Sportsmail exclusively reported this week that FIFA have become embroiled in a series of legal disputes with the Qatari authorities with relations between the two main World Cup organisers at an all-time low as the tournament reaches the knock-out stages.

    The Budweiser affair is just one of the contractual issues that have arisen before and during the tournament.

    Mbappe has not yet publicly declared the reasons that he is hiding the logo. However, A report in L’Equipe, via AS, this week detailed how the decision is deliberate on behalf of Mbappe with a stipulation in his image rights not to advertise alcoholic drinks, as well as sports betting and junk food.

    The French star was also avoiding the press after picking up the awards which is not permitted.

    However, after grabbing a brace and making the other in France’s 3-1 last-16 victory over Poland on Sunday, Mbappe did address the media, saying: ‘It wasn’t anything personal, I have nothing against journalists.

    ‘I just needed to focus on the tournament and my football.

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    The French Football Federation, had been offering Mbappe their full support during his press conference boycott, and said they would pay any fines picked up by players who refuse to speak to the media after winning a player of the match award.

    England fans will be hoping that Mbappe won’t need to snub Budweiser’s logo again if he does not pick up the player of the match award after Saturday’s quarter-final clash.

    Other big names to collect the award, including England’s Harry Kane and Wales’s Gareth Bale, have had no issue posing for photos with branding on display.

    It has been a difficult tournament so far for Budweiser, who have not been able to sell beer in the stadiums because of Qatar’s stance on alcohol.

    As a result of the ban – which came two days before the start of the tournament – thousands of Budweiser beer cans were left piled up at a warehouse.

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    ‘Every decision we take at this World Cup is a joint decision between Qatar and FIFA.

    ‘I think personally if for three hours a day, you cannot drink a beer, you will survive.’

    .

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  • 2 часа, 36 минут назад 09.12.2022Sport
    Luis Enrique ‘on Atletico Madrid shortlist to replace Diego Simeone’ after Spain sacking

    Atletico Madrid have identified Luis Enrique as their top target to replace Diego Simeone if he waves goodbye to the club, according to reports in Spain.

    Enrique was sacked as Spain head coach on Thursday following their shock World Cup last-16 exit at the hands of Morocco, which saw them crash out of the competition on penalties.

    As a result, the former Barcelona boss is now on the hunt for his next post after departing La Roja, and Spanish publication AS believe there are two potential options for him.

    The first of those is Atletico, who are said to have shortlisted him as a potential replacement for Simeone if the long-serving manager departs in 2023.

    Simeone, who has spent over 11 years in the hot-seat, is under serious pressure in Madrid after winning just seven league games this season and crashing out of the Champions League group stages.

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    While he is not under any immediate pressure, Ten Hag has suffered five defeats in his first 21 games at Old Trafford and question marks could surface if that tally increases between now and the end of the campaign.

    AS feel Enrique would be United’s most obvious target if that plays out, especially given he is only waiting in the wings to join one of Europe’s elite clubs.

    For now, though, Atletico appears the most likely next move for him amid doubts over Simeone’s future in Madrid.

    The Spanish club are down in fifth in LaLiga and currently sit 13 points adrift of table-toppers Barcelona, while they also crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage.

    With Enrique now on the market, Atletico CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin has refused to hide their interest in the sacked Spain head coach.

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    ‘It is clear that he adds up for everyone. For the media, for the players and for the clubs because he offers performance. I think he is good.’

    Atletico midfielder Koke also appears to be on board with Enrique’s potential appointment, saying: ‘Luis Enrique is a spectacular manager and coach. It’s a different idea than what we have now at Atlético, but why not?’

    Enrique spent three years in charge of Atletico’s rivals Barcelona, where he won two Spanish titles and the Champions League.

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  • 4 часа, 36 минут назад 09.12.2022Sport
    England coach Steve Holland seen for first time since news of alleged Ben White bust-up

    Steve Holland has been spotted for the first time since news of his alleged bust up with defender Ben White emerged.

    White, 25, returned home to the UK last week for personal reasons – with the Football Association having remained tight-lipped on the exact reasoning ever since.

    However, reports emerged earlier this week alleging the reason was a bust up between the Arsenal man and Holland.

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    It was also reported that he showed a poor knowledge of England’s opponents, whom they drew 0-0 with in their second group game.

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    More follows.

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  • 4 часа, 36 минут назад 09.12.2022Sport
    Abrar Ahmed seven-wicket haul puts Pakistan on top of England on first day of second Test

    Another gripping day of Test cricket ended with Pakistan and England fighting for supremacy after a superb seven-wicket haul for debutant mystery spinner Abrar Ahmed was countered by the early removal of the Pakistan openers.

    But Babar Azam hit back with a 57-ball half-century that would not have been out of place in Ben Stokes’s side and, at stumps on the first day of the second Test, Pakistan had advanced to 104 for two in reply to England’s 281. It was all to play for.

    After all 10 England wickets fell to spin, with Abrar’s seven followed by three for fellow leggie Zahid Mahmood, Jimmy Anderson quickly chalked one up for the quicks, as Imam-ul-Haq – one of seven centurions at Rawalpindi – edged a back-foot force and was caught behind by Ollie Pope for a duck in the third over of the reply.

    The fit-again Mark Wood was brought on to rough up Babar, who had been bounced out by Stokes on the fourth evening of the first Test, and topped 95mph in his first over.

    But Pakistan’s captain survived comfortably enough, and the hosts had reached 51 before Jack Leach, who e left-arm spin had been given the second over, found Abdullah Shafique’s edge as he pushed forward. Umpire Marais Erasmus turned down the appeal, but England reviewed and DRS took care of the rest.

    After that, Babar enjoyed solid support from Saud Shakeel, who helped him to stumps without further loss. On a day when smog did not delay the start as feared, there were almost 80 overs in all. We can expect a result from here.

    Earlier, the England innings had been a predictable flurry of activity, as a smorgasbord of sweeps was punctuated by repeated incisions from the excellent Abrar.

    Locals had expressed disbelief when Ahmed was left out at Rawalpindi, where Zahid Mahmood – the more senior of their leg-spinners – was preferred instead, and promptly carted all over the place.

    Here, the folly of his omission quickly became obvious, as he slid his fifth ball back through Zak Crawley’s gate to hit the top of middle and off.

    With Crawley gone for 19, England were 38 for one, and aware, if they didn’t already know it, that the bespectacled Abrar was no conventional leggie, and more of a finger-flicking, side-of-the-hand mystery spinner of the kind that occasionally lights up the game, keeping the analysts busy and the batsmen guessing.

    On a pitch offering far more turn than Rawalpindi, Ben Duckett and Pope swept and reverse-swept like maniacs, apparently determined to score quickly before a ball arrived with their name on it.

    Duckett raced to 63 before Abrar overturned umpire Aleem Dar’s not-out lbw decision on review, and then trapped Joe Root, pinned on the back foot by a leg-break for eight to make it 145 for three.

    Two more followed by lunch: Pope for 60, furious with himself after failing to control a reverse-sweep and ballooning a catch to backward point, and Harry Brook, caught on the charge at mid-off.

    Not since England’s John Lever against India at Delhi in 1976-77 had a bowler taken the opposition’s first five wickets before lunch on the opening morning of his debut Test. And there was more to come after the break.

    Having moved effortlessly to 30, Stokes was open-mouthed in astonishment when Abrar turned one back across the left-hander to hit off stump – the defensive shot proof that England had decided not to take too many liberties.

    And when Will Jacks was leg-before for 31, having missed an attempted sweep to hand Abrar his seventh, there was excited talk that he might become the fourth bowler in Test history – after Jim Laker, Anil Kumble and Ajaz Patel – to take all 10 in an innings, and the first on debut.

    It was not to be, as Mahmood – who continued to leak runs after his mauling in Rawalpindi – had Ollie Robinson caught on the slog at mid-on. Next ball, Mahmood bowled Leach as he attempted a gruesome reverse slap.

    Anderson defended the hat-trick ball and, from 245 for nine, England were grateful for some clean hitting by Wood, who smashed eight fours in an unbeaten 36 off 27 balls, before Anderson was bowled by Mahmood.

    England were all out for 281, leaving Abrar with seven for 114. For Pakistan, only off-spinner Mohammad Nazir, with seven for 99 against New Zealand at Karachi in 1969-70, has better figures in his first innings as a Test bowler.

    Stokes’s team had scored at 5.43 an over, their second-quickest rate when batting first in a Test – behind, you guessed it, Rawalpindi last week.

    On a pitch that will get no easier for batting, their aggression might just have kept them in the game.

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Sport World Cup: Cristiano Ronaldo shrugs off Man United exit as he nets Portugal's opening goal in Qatar