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FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

December 29, 2022 | 8:12am
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FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
December 29, 2022

Kylian Mbappe says he will never get over the disappointment of losing the World Cup final after the France star scored the winner on his return to action for Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

"I think I'm never going to get over it," Mbappe says, speaking 10 days after he scored a hat-trick in the final against Argentina which the South Americans won in a penalty shootout.

Mbappe says he had been through some "difficult times" since the defeat but he showed few signs of the setback in Qatar as he won and converted a 96th minute penalty to give PSG a last-gasp 2-1 win against Strasbourg on Ligue 1's resumption following the World Cup break. — AFP

December 17, 2022

Didier Deschamps said Saturday that France were taking "as many precautions as possible" to stop the spread of a virus that is threatening their preparations for their World Cup final showdown with Argentina.

"We are trying to take as many precautions as possible, to adapt as necessary and get on with it," the France coach said at a press conference in Doha ahead of Sunday's match.

"Obviously it would be better if this wasn't happening but we are handling it as well as possible with our medical staff."

Central defensive pair Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate missed training on Friday due to illness, along with winger Kingsley Coman.

Midfielder Adrien Rabiot and defender Dayot Upamecano did not play in Wednesday's semi-final win over Morocco.

Deschamps and his captain Hugo Lloris both insisted they could not offer any health updates on Saturday morning, with the team set to train again later in the day.

"I am fine. As for the players, I left quite early this morning so they were all sleeping," added Deschamps, who spoke to reporters at 11:30 am local time.

"We are trying to handle the situation as well as possible and remain calm and focused. -- AFP

December 17, 2022

France is anxiously awaiting news on the health of three key players on the eve of the World Cup final against an Argentina side led by Lionel Messi.

While the finalists prepare to do battle for football's biggest prize, Morocco and Croatia have to pick themselves up to contest the third-place playoff on Saturday.

Defending champions France were forced to exclude central defenders Raphael Varane and Ibrahima Konate and winger Kingsley Coman from a training session on Friday because they had cold-like symptoms. — AFP

December 14, 2022

Thousands of Pakistanis in a Karachi neighborhood once synonymous with gang violence and poverty will mass together to roar on Argentina in the World Cup final on Sunday.

People poured through the labyrinth streets of Lyari in the early hours of Wednesday to watch Lionel Messi and his Argentina side on a giant screen beat Croatia 3-0 in the semi-final.

Wearing Argentina shirts, some broke into song and dance after the South Americans sealed their spot in the decider in Qatar against France or Morocco. Fireworks lit up the night sky. — AFP

December 12, 2022

Lionel Messi and Argentina's World Cup dream remains alive but an indefatigable Croatia side inspired by the enduring brilliance of Luka Modric stands in their way in Tuesday's semi-final in Doha.

Argentina have recovered from the shock of losing their opening game in Qatar to Saudi Arabia and made the last four with an exhausting win on penalties against the Netherlands at the end of a fractious quarter-final on Friday.

Having been 2-0 up and cruising after 83 minutes, with Messi setting up one goal in sublime fashion and netting a penalty, they conceded twice late on and had to survive extra time before triumphing 4-3 in a shoot-out.

Backed by an enormous contingent of travelling supporters who have brought the passion, noise and colour of Argentina's own stadiums to this World Cup, Messi and his teammates are starting to believe this really could be their year.

"We have balls, passion, heart and we are doing this for 45 million people," said goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, and Argentina's optimism now has only increased after seeing great rivals Brazil go out in the last round. — AFP

December 10, 2022

Emiliano Martinez comes to the rescue for Argentina on a remarkable night of drama by saving two Netherlands penalties in the shootout to send his country through to the World Cup semi-finals.

The Aston Villa goalkeeper was barely tested for the best part of 90 minutes as Argentina swept into a two-goal lead before substitute Wout Weghorst engineered an incredible Dutch fightback in the quarter-final.

Argentina were stunned as Weghorst equalized in the 11th minute of added time, forcing an extra 30 minutes to the astonishment of the 88,235 in attendance at Lusail Stadium -- nearly all of those rooting for Lionel Messi and his teammates. — AFP

December 9, 2022

Brazil seeks to become the first team through to the World Cup semi-finals on Friday, while Argentina could set up a blockbuster all-South American clash if they get past the Netherlands.

After three weeks of pulsating action, just eight teams are left standing as the 32-nation tournament heads into the final rounds of the knockout competition after a two-day break.

Five-time champions Brazil kick off the quarter-finals against surprise 2018 runners-up Croatia, with Neymar fit and firing again after an ankle injury he suffered in the opening game.

"I'll be doing everything that I can to win with the Brazilian national team. That's our mission and our dream," said Neymar.

"We're getting ever closer, we've got another step to go now." — AFP

December 8, 2022

England forward Raheem Sterling is to return to the World Cup in Qatar on Friday after spending time in England following a robbery at his home, England's Football Association said on Thursday.

"Raheem Sterling will return to England's World Cup base in Qatar. The Chelsea forward temporarily left to attend to a family matter but is now expected to rejoin the squad in Al Wakrah on Friday ahead of the quarter-final with France," the FA said in a statement.

Sterling did not feature in England's squad for the 3-0 win against Senegal with Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka playing either side of striker Harry Kane. — AFP

December 6, 2022

Brazil's players pay tribute to legend Pele, who is receiving hospital treatment in Sao Paulo due to his ailing health, after sauntering to a 4-1 World Cup victory over South Korea.

Following Monday's last-16 match at Stadium 974 in Doha, the players unfurled a huge banner to the 82-year-old, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.

First-half goals from Vinicius Junior, Neymar, Richarlison and Lucas Paqueta saw2 Brazil put the game to bed long before Paik Seung-ho's stunning consolation in the second period. — AFP

December 5, 2022

After fierce criticism of the Qatar World Cup, the head of the UN labour agency on Sunday pressed FIFA's president for a greater role scrutinizing future World Cup hosts.

International Labour Organisation director general Gilbert Houngbo told AFP before meeting with Gianni Infantino that Qatar has been a victim of "double standards" and has made significant progress but more needs to be done for its migrant labourers.

The ILO is seeking a role carrying out "due diligence" on future candidate countries, Houngbo said in an interview.

FIFA has faced increased pressure after years of criticism of labour rights in Qatar, ranging from controversy over deaths on mega construction projects to unpaid salaries and working in the Gulf state's fierce summer heat.

Houngbo said he believes "FIFA is very determined to make sure that for future World Cups, or the next attribution, the social question, the question of respect of worker standards, are critical questions in the decision".

The former Togo prime minister said respect for human rights had to include "rights linked to work and especially health and safety at work."

FIFA, which already works with the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, said after the meeting that talks on a memorandum of understanding with the ILO were not yet complete.

"We have been engaging with the ILO for a number of years and we want to make sure our fruitful cooperation will continue in the future," Infantino said in a statement.

Houngbo said he was "reasonably optimistic" of reaching agreement with FIFA on workers' rights. -- AFP

December 5, 2022

After fierce criticism of the Qatar World Cup, the head of the UN labour agency on Sunday pressed FIFA's president for a greater role scrutinizing future World Cup hosts.

International Labour Organisation director general Gilbert Houngbo told AFP before meeting with Gianni Infantino that Qatar has been a victim of "double standards" and has made significant progress but more needs to be done for its migrant labourers.

The ILO is seeking a role carrying out "due diligence" on future candidate countries, Houngbo said in an interview.

FIFA has faced increased pressure after years of criticism of labour rights in Qatar, ranging from controversy over deaths on mega construction projects to unpaid salaries and working in the Gulf state's fierce summer heat.

Houngbo said he believes "FIFA is very determined to make sure that for future World Cups, or the next attribution, the social question, the question of respect of worker standards, are critical questions in the decision". — AFP

December 3, 2022

Australia take on Lionel Messi's Argentina in a David v Goliath World Cup showdown while the United States look to ambush the Netherlands as the World Cup knockout rounds get under way on Saturday.

After a group stage full of twists and turns, the business end of the tournament kicks off with 16 teams dreaming of plotting a path to the final in Doha on December 18.

The USA and the Netherlands open the second round at the Khalifa Stadium on Saturday, with the Americans aiming to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2002.  — AFP

December 3, 2022

Last-gasp South Korea reaches the World Cup knockout phase in dramatic fashion to set up a last-16 match against mighty Brazil as Switzerland edged a bad-tempered encounter with Serbia to progress.

With the clock ticking down at Education City Stadium, the Koreans knew they needed one more goal against Portugal to leapfrog the South Americans and Hwang Hee-chan delivered in stoppage time to secure a 2-1 victory.

The Korean players stood in a huddle watching the final minutes of the Ghana v Uruguay match on a mobile phone as they waited for their place in the last 16 to be confirmed. — AFP

December 2, 2022

Louis van Gaal has his sights set on an emotional World Cup run as the outspoken Netherlands coach prepares for Saturday's last 16 clash with the United States.

If Van Gaal's side make it to the latter stages of the World Cup in Qatar it would provide one of the most poignant stories of the tournament.

The 71-year-old came out of retirement to coach the Netherlands last year despite his harrowing battle with aggressive prostate cancer. — AFP

December 2, 2022

Coach Hansi Flick calls for urgent changes to Germany's football youth development, after the "huge disappointment" of elimination at the group stage for the second World Cup in a row.

Despite beating Costa Rica 4-2 on Thursday, Germany were dumped out on goal difference after Japan pulled off a shock 2-1 defeat of Spain in the group's other game on a nailbiting night in Qatar. 

Prior to the match, 1990 World Cup winner and former Germany manager Jurgen Klinsmann said another group stage elimination would be "ten times more of a disaster" than the side's early exit from Russia four years ago. — AFP

December 1, 2022

As Argentina claims its decisive 2-0 World Cup victory over Poland, thousands of fans are erupting in celebration on a grassy field in Bangladesh.

From young children to retirees, many clad in blue and white or waving Argentinian flags, the throng stood for nearly the entire match as they watched on giant screens in the main square of the capital's Dhaka University.

The Latin football powerhouse -- and star forward Lionel Messi -- have a huge fanbase in the South Asian country, where cricket is king but football is building a devoted following. — AFP

December 1, 2022

Mexico suffers an agonizing exit from the World Cup on goal difference despite beating Saudi Arabia 2-1 in a dramatic finale to Group C.

Second-half goals from Henry Martin and Luis Chavez secured victory for Mexico at Lusail Stadium but they finished third behind Poland after Salem Al-Dawsari's late strike.

Mexico desperately pushed for a third goal in an effort to improve their goal difference as they faced elimination on FIFA fair play rules but they fell short. — AFP

November 30, 2022

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. — AFP

November 29, 2022

The Italian foreign ministry says Tuesday that the Italian man who ran onto the pitch during a World Cup match in Qatar carrying a rainbow flag has been released following a brief detention.

The man identified as Mario Ferri also wore a T-shirt with the words "Respect for Iranian Woman" on the back and "Save Ukraine" on the front.

Ferri was on the field for about 30 seconds during the second half of the game between Portugal and Uruguay before being tackled and escorted off by security. — AFP

November 29, 2022

The United States and Iran meet in a politically charged winner-takes-all World Cup clash on Tuesday as England aim to reach the last 16 as group winners with victory over Wales.

Ever since the draw for the tournament was made in April, the Group B game between the US and Iran has stood out as one of the highlights of the first phase in Qatar.

Even with little riding on the result, the game at Thumama Stadium would have been loaded with political overtones, only the third meeting on a football field of two nations who share more than 40 years of ideological enmity.  — AFP

Get all the latest on the FIFA World Cup 2022 Football series.

Photo courtesy of AFP/François-Xavier Marit 

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