Welcome to Sportstar’s Day 4 live updates. Four matches - Morocco vs Croatia, Germany vs Japan, Spain vs Costa Rica and Belgium vs Canada - will be played today at the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Batshuayi goal, Courtois penalty save earn Belgium win over Canada
Michy Batshuayi scored in the first half and Thibaut Courtois saved a penalty as Belgium opened its World Cup campaign on Wednesday with a scrappy 1-0 win over an energetic Canada which was back in the finals for the first time in 36 years.
Leading the Belgian attack in the absence of injured talisman Romelu Lukaku, Batshuayi scored against the run of play on the stroke of halftime to put the Red Devils top of Group F ahead of Morocco and Croatia who earlier drew 0-0.
It looked as if it would register its long awaited first goal when Belgium’s Yannick Carrasco handled the ball in the 11th minute and Alphonso Davies stepped up to take the penalty with the Canadian supporters roaring.
But Courtois, one of the world’s best goalkeepers, denied Davies a historic score by stopping his weak spot-kick.
But against the run of play Belgium took the lead when Batshuayi broke between two defenders, ran on to a long ball and shot past goalkeeper Milan Borjan in the 44th minute. (READ MORE)
FIFA opens proceedings against Mexican FA over fan chants in Poland draw
FIFA has opened proceedings against the Mexican Football Association following chants by the country’s fans during Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Poland at the World Cup in Qatar, world football’s governing body said on Wednesday.
FIFA did not elaborate on the chants but Mexicans were heard directing abuse after Poland striker Robert Lewandowski saw his second-half penalty saved by goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
Klaassen praises German gesture, Dutch may plan one themselves
Netherlands midfielder Davy Klaassen praised on Wednesday’s protest action by the Germany team, and suggested he and his team mates might also plan something at the World Cup in Qatar to highlight human rights and the “OneLove” campaign.
The German starting line-up placed their hands over their mouths during a team photo ahead of their Group E game against Japan on Wednesday as the row over FIFA’s threat of sanctions regarding the “OneLove” armband continued.
Ronaldo-Man United partnership a dream, but nothing lasts forever: Bruno Fernandes
Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes says it was a dream to play with Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United but “nothing lasts forever”.
“I don’t feel uncomfortable, I don’t have to pick a side. It was a dream come true to play with Cristiano at United but nothing lasts forever,” Fernandes told a press conference Wednesday.
“It is his career and we have to respect such decisions, every decision has to be respected regardless of whether you agree or not. We as players, but also as parents, brothers, we know it might be difficult to take some decisions but these decisions have to be for the wellness of ourselves and our families.” (READ MORE)
Serbia coach Stojkovic shoots down Brazil spy drone rumours
Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic dismissed rumours of Brazil spying on its training sessions using a drone, saying on Wednesday the South American superpower would gain nothing from filming its workouts.
Brazil and Serbia have been training at the Al Arabi SC training facilities in Doha, with both teams’ bases situated on either side of the road.
“I don’t believe they watched us, who are we for them to watch us? They are a football superpower,” Stojkovic said ahead of its Group G opener at the Lusail Stadium on Thursday.
“I think it’s misinformation. And even if it was a drone, I don’t know what they would have seen, nothing special,” he joked.
Spain thumps Costa Rica 7-0 for its biggest-ever World Cup win
Spain thumped Costa Rica 7-0 in its Group E opener at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday to clinch its biggest-ever win in a World Cup match.
World Cup winner of 2010 built its triumph on an incessant passing game that left the rival chasing shadows, and its record 7-0 demolition of Costa Rica suggests it is back to its best, with added scoring menace to boot.
While the Central Americans offered little to test the young but already battle-hardened Spain side, the way the Reds tore through Costa Rica’s defensive lines with movement and quick-fire exchanges sent a warning to the rest of the teams in Qatar.
Denmark won’t support Infantino after armband spat, says FA
The Danish Football Association (DBU) has said that it would not support the re-election of Gianni Infantino as FIFA president after world football’s governing body threatened teams wearing the “OneLove” armband with a yellow card at a minimum.
DBU president Jesper Moeller said, “This situation is quite extraordinary. I’m not just disappointed, I’m angry. This is my seventh finals... It is that the players have to be exposed to this is completely unacceptable. We have to respond to it.”
Jakob Jensen, CEO of the DBU, outlined the communication that the association had with the governing body, telling them before the tournament that they intended to wear the armband in support of diversity. Jensen said that the English FA was then expressly told at a meeting that the team captain might receive a yellow card for wearing the armband. READ MORE
FIFA World Cup: ‘OneLove’ anti-hate armbands sell out after Qatar WC ban
Call it the law of unintended consequences. The “OneLove” armbands FIFA banned at the World Cup in Qatar are suddenly selling like hotcakes. The armbands, intended to send a message of tolerance, connection and opposition to all forms of discrimination, have been in the global spotlight since FIFA threatened several European team captains with yellow cards if they wore them to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.
Now the company that makes the bands in Utrecht, the Netherlands, says it is sold out after shipping 10,000, mostly in the past two weeks. READ MORE
Saudi’s Al-Shahrani to undergo surgery and likely out of Qatar WC
Saudi Arabia defender Yasser Al-Shahrani’s World Cup is likely over as he will undergo surgery after sustaining a facial injury during the 2-1 Group C victory over Argentina on Tuesday.
Al-Shahrani fell to the ground after colliding with goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais in stoppage time and was carried off the pitch on a stretcher.
Japan comes from behind to shock Germany in FIFA World Cup Group E opener
Japan pulled off a stunning upset after it toppled Germany 2-1, after a stunning second-half comeback in the Group E opener at the Khalifa International Stadium on Wednesday.
This is Germany’s third defeat in four World Cup games and the second consecutive one at the hands of an Asian side, after its loss to South Korea in the 2018 World Cup.
Germany vs Japan to kick soon
Germany and Japan will take on each other at the Khalifa International stadium for the first FIFA World Cup fixture between the two sides. FOLLOW FOR ALL LIVE UPDATES.
Modric’s Croatia plays goalless draw against Morocco in opening Group F fixture
Croatia’s World Cup campaign got off to a stuttering start with a 0-0 draw against a battling Morocco on Wednesday as the 2018 runners-up lacked the punch of the side that went so close in Russia.
Chances were at a premium at Al Bayt Stadium as an even Group F contest produced little goalmouth action, and ended in the third goalless draw in nine games at the World Cup so far.
There were glimpses of goal for both sides, with Nikola Vlasic going close for Croatia at the end of the first half while Noussair Mazraoui had a header saved for Morocco.
Croatia 0-0 Morocco - FT
Croatia takes on Morocco in a Group F fixture today at 3:30pm IST at the Al Bayt stadium. Follow the match LIVE here
Cheikhou Kouyate to miss Qatar game
According to AP, Senegal midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate is likely to miss the game against host Qatar at the FIFA World Cup because of a right hamstring injury, his team said Wednesday.
Belgium faces stern test against Canada
Belgium, ranked second in the world behind Brazil, will begin its FIFA World Cup campaign against Canada on Wednesday night.
In Canada, they meet a team returning to the World Cup for the first time in 36 years. The Canadians have been boosted by the return to full fitness of Alphonso Davies.
Spain looks for a winning start
Spain will look to forget its 2014 and 2018 World Cup campaigns when it turns over a new leaf in the 2022 edition against Costa Rica in its opening fixture on Wednesday, in Qatar.
Luis Enrique has to go with a younger side, choosing to fly to Qatar without veterans like Sergio Ramos and Thiago Alcantara.
Instead, he will expect the brigade of Pedri, Gavi Paez and Ansu Fati will lead the country’s quest for a second World Cup.
Germany begins campaign against Japan
Germany begins its path to World Cup redemption on Wednesday after the 2018 horror show in Russia. It will face Japan on Wednesday.
After Saudi Arabia stunned Lionel Messi’s Argentina, ending the South American champions’ 36-match unbeaten run, Germany will be on high alert in their opening match against Japan.
As defending champions Germany crashed out in the group stage in Russia, suffering their earliest World Cup exit since 1938.
Captain Kane injury scare for England
England captain Harry Kane will have a scan on his ankle ahead of Gareth Southgate’s side’s second Group B match against USA at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, according to a report. READ MORE
Grealish and England set World Cup record
England’s Jack Grealish finished off a 35-pass move – the longest build-up to a goal in a World Cup on record since 1966 - READ
What did Lionel Messi say after the shock defeat to Saudi Arabia?
After being rudely jolted from his ‘happy’ dreams of enjoying the World Cup, a ghostly Lionel Messi, with life sucked out of him after 55-minutes of second-half nightmare, had very little energy to answer the probing questions of the world press - READ FULL REPORT.
Who is Mohammed Alowais?
Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais played a crucial role between the sticks as his team stunned Argentina in its opening match of FIFA World Cup 2022. Who is Mohammed Alowais?
Saudi king declares holiday after shock win over Argentina
Saudi King Salman has declared a national holiday after the football team’s stunning World Cup win on Tuesday over Argentina, state media reported - REPORT.
Giroud equals Henry’s tally
Olivier Giroud became France’s joint-highest goal-scorer alongside Thierry Henry with a brace in the defending champion’s Group D opener against Australia at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Al Wakrah, Qatar, on Tuesday - REPORT.
Croatia begins World Cup campaign against Morocco
Croatia has won its last five matches and lost once in 16 months, but the 2018 runners-up, led by midfield conjuror Luka Modric, will begin its World Cup campaign against Morocco on Wednesday with little fanfare and few predicting glory.
So unfancied is Zlatko Dalic’s side, which went all the way before succumbing to France in the final four years ago, that bookmakers are offering 50-1 against it lifting the trophy this time around - PREVIEW, WHEN AND WHERE TO WATCH.
‘It was a beautiful goal’: Pele to Weah
Brazil great Pele congratulated United States forward Timothy Weah for scoring his debut goal in the World Cup in the Americans’ 1-1 draw with Wales - REPORT.
France defender Lucas Hernandez ruled out of World Cup
France defender Lucas Hernandez has been ruled out of the FIFA World Cup 2022 after he suffered a knee injury during the defending champion’s 4-1 win over Australia on Tuesday night - REPORT.
DAY 3: RECAP
Before we warm up for today’s action, here’s how Day 3 at the Qatar World Cup panned out. From a stunning upset to a dogged draw, it had it all.
Saudi Arabia pulled off one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history as it came from behind to stun two-time winner Argentina in a fantastic Group C opener in Lusail. REPORT
Denmark was held to a draw by Tunisia in their World Cup opener in a raucous atmosphere at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan. REPORT
Robert Lewandowski had a penalty saved as Poland and Mexico played out a goalless World Cup draw at a fervent Stadium 974. REPORT
Oliver Giroud scored twice to equal Thierry Henry’s record as France’s all-time top scorer with 51 as France beat Australia 4-1. REPORT
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