World Cup 2022: joy for Japan, German despair and final group games – live | World Cup 2022


Key events

Tunisia striker Wahbi Khazri has announced his retirement from international soccer, Reuters reports.

Khazri scored to give Tunisia an historic 1-0 win over holders France on Wednesday, joining Saudi duo Salem Al-Dawsari and Sami Al-Jaber as the all-time leading Arab scorers at World Cups with three goals each.

“After the Tunisia match, and in a meeting that included all the players and the technical and administrative staff, I told everyone that this moment is appropriate, and I thanked everyone and wished them success,” Khazri told Bein Sports French.

“I am proud of what I gave my country over the past years, and I believe that the future for this generation is bright.”

The 31-year-old Montpellier striker said: “To beat France, to score and be decisive, that is more beautiful.”

Tunisia's Wahbi Khazri celebrates scoring his side's only goal in the win against France.
Tunisia’s Wahbi Khazri celebrates scoring his side’s only goal in the win against France. Photograph: Martin Meissner/AP

Khazri, who was born in France and played one game for the French national side in 2012, switched to play for Tunisia and won 74 international matches with them, scoring 25 goals along the way.

Adam White writes for the Guardian today to say that Didier Deschamps needs a better plan for France than just relying on Kylian Mbappé:

Didier Deschamps has looked indecisive for some time. Even though he had deployed wing-backs and a trio of centre-backs for much of the last two year, when announcing his World Cup squad, Deschamps surprisingly said he would switch back to a four-man defence – despite not having any warm-up games before the tournament to test the set-up. It was assumed this meant France would be returning to the asymmetrical 4-2-3-1 formation that served them so well at the World Cup in 2018. However, Deschamps opted for a more traditional 4-2-3-1 against Australia and Denmark, with Ousmane Dembélé operating on the right and Kylian Mbappé on the left.

The manager seems to be lurching from one idea to the next. Initially, he picked just 25 players in his squad – one fewer than everyone else – before adding Marcus Thuram a few days later, seemingly at random. The coach insisted he had planned the move all along and had wanted to see how the final round of domestic fixtures would play out. Yet, when Karim Benzema was eventually ruled out with injury, he then declined the opportunity to bring in another striker.

Read more here: Adam White – Didier Deschamps needs a better plan than just relying on Kylian Mbappé

It looks like Qatari television pundits were not so sad to see the back of the Germany national team after last night’s set of results. This video clip doing the rounds on social media appears to show television presenters mocking the German team’s gesture of covering their mouths in their team photo to say they had been silenced over human rights issues while waving them goodbye.

German players cover their mouths as they pose for a team group ahead of their opening match with Japan.
German players cover their mouths as they pose for a team group ahead of their opening match with Japan. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA

The German Football Association (DFB) will next week launch a round of talks to identify the reasons for their second consecutive World Cup flop, after the team were eliminated in the group stage again on Thursday night, Reuters reports.

“You can imagine that today there is deep disappointment,” DFB President Bernd Neuendorf told reporters on Friday at Doha airport as the team prepared to return home.

“This elimination is extremely painful. But we have to look ahead and so we will lead a process on how to deal with this.”

“The expectation is for the sporting direction to have a sporting analysis of this tournament and to also develop a prospect for after the tournament and the Euros on home soil,” Neuendorf said.

“It must also include the development of the national team since 2018. This is the demand and claim that we have. Then we will have more talks.”

The Germans suffered a similar first-round exit at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, their earliest departure in over 80 years at the time.

“I am a strong supporter of clear processes and expect to hold these talks with respect and in private. We are taking the first step before the second step,” Neuendorf said. Germany qualify automatically as hosts for Euro2024.

President of the German Football Association Bernd Neuendorf speaks to the media at the airport in Doha after Germany were eliminated from the World Cup.
President of the German Football Association Bernd Neuendorf speaks to the media at the airport in Doha after Germany were eliminated from the World Cup. Photograph: Annegret Hilse/Reuters

If you prefer to watch your podcast rather than listen to it, here is an excerpt of yesterday’s daily edition of Football Weekly, with some lively discussion and analysis – and more than a few laughs – about last night’s stupendous action in Group E.

Germany out following an astonishing night in Group E

Nick Ames is in Doha for the Guardian, and he previews today’s clash between Serbia and Switzerland:

Four years ago, hostilities had been publicly stoked. Yet much of the buildup to their latest showdown has resembled a convention of the saints. It was clear on Tuesday, when Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Dusan Tadic took questions at Serbia’s Al Arabi training base, that nobody was of a mind to dangle bait.

“There’s no doubt it was big pressure four years ago but we need to focus on football and show we can play better than them,” Tadic said when asked how Serbia would handle the occasion this time. His teammate matched the answer virtually word for word. Neither player expected emotions to run high: the priority was simply to look at themselves.

Serbia's Dusan Tadic during the match against Cameroon.
Serbia’s Dusan Tadic during the match against Cameroon. Photograph: Jennifer Lorenzini/Reuters

Mitrovic struck a similar note, saying: “It was a different game, we’re not thinking about what happened before.”

The problem is that the wider context tends to lurk beneath the surface and undermine any well-scripted words. Serbia are under Fifa investigation for displaying a flag showing Kosovo as part of their country, along with the words “We do not surrender”, in their dressing room before their opening game against Brazil. That did not go unnoticed in Kosovo.

Read more here: Nick Ames – Switzerland and Serbia feel the weight of history before high-stakes clash

Tomorrow we will be in the thick of the knockout stages, and Saturday evening’s fare in Qatar will be Argentina v Australia. The Socceroos have been talking up the awe they hold their opponents in, while for Argentina, it has been about avoiding complacency.

Steve Douglas at AP writes that Australia’s players speak in glowing, almost reverential terms about Lionel Messi. “He just does things that, you know, no one else can do,” forward Mathew Leckie said. Milos Degenek went even further. “Probably,” the Socceroos defender said, “the best footballer ever to grace the game.”

“I think they’re obviously driven by the motivation that it could be Messi’s last World Cup,” Degenek said, “and he wants to win the World Cup and end it on a high. For us, it’s about stopping that. Unfortunately, I’m a big fan of his, but I’d love to win the World Cup probably more than him.”

“No one expects us to win,” Leckie said. “So let’s shock the world.”

Australia’s Mathew Leckie celebrates with Bailey Wright after qualifying for the knockout stages.
Australia’s Mathew Leckie celebrates with Bailey Wright after qualifying for the knockout stages. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

Argentina have already weathered the storm of their shock opening defeat to Saudi Arabia. “We know, at the moment, everything is very difficult,” said Messi, who is bidding to win the World Cup in his fifth and likely last attempt. “All the opponents are complicated. We know it as well as anyone.”

“We went back to being what we were for a long time,” Messi said after Argentina’s 2-0 win over Poland that secured a place in the last 16, “and how we were looking to be at the beginning of the World Cup, which for different reasons we could not manage. “It gives confidence for what is coming.”

Argentina’s Lionel Messi during the World Cup group C soccer match between Poland and Argentina.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi during the World Cup group C soccer match between Poland and Argentina. Photograph: Darko Bandić/AP

Group H: What do Ghana, South Korea and Uruguay have to do to join Portugal in the next round

Group H – Ghana, Portugal, South Korea, Uruguay

Final matches Friday 2 December, 3pm GMT: South Korea v Portugal, Ghana v Uruguay

Portugal have qualified. A point will guarantee they win the group.

Ghana: A win against Uruguay will put Ghana through. A draw will be enough unless South Korea beat Portugal, in which case Ghana must hope South Korea pull off only a one goal victory, otherwise the Asian side will pip them on goal difference.

South Korea: They must beat Portugal, and hope that Ghana do not win. If Ghana draw then their hopes depend on their goal difference compared to Ghana. If Ghana lose, then South Korean hopes depend on their goal difference compared to Uruguay.

Uruguay: Uruguay must win, and hope that South Korea do not win against Portugal. If both Uruguay and South Korea win, then their relative goal differences will decide who qualifies. Uruguay start with a goal difference one worse than South Korea, so would have to beat Ghana by more than South Korea beat Portugal.

All eyes on Luis Suárez as Uruguay and Ghana meet in the World Cup again.
All eyes on Luis Suárez as Uruguay and Ghana meet in the World Cup again. Photograph: Benoît Tessier/Reuters

Group G: What do Cameroon, Serbia, Switzerland have to do to join Brazil in the next round

Group G – Brazil, Cameroon, Serbia, Switzerland

Final matches Friday 2 December, 7pm GMT: Cameroon v Brazil, Serbia v Switzerland

Unless Cameroon can beat Brazil, the match between Switzerland and Serbia looks like being a straight knockout tie.

Brazil have qualified and just need a point to guarantee top spot.

Switzerland: A win ensures Switzerland go through. A defeat means they go out. If Switzerland draw, they will still progress unless Cameroon have beaten Brazil, in which case goal difference will come into play.

Cameroon: Cameroon will progress only if they can beat Brazil and Switzerland do not win. A draw between Serbia and Switzerland – or a Serbian victory – would leave second place being contested on goal difference between Cameroon and one of the European sides.

Serbia: Serbia will progress only if they can beat Switzerland. However, if Cameroon also beat Brazil, then second place will be contested on goal difference between Serbia and Cameroon.

Cameroon have got it all to do today.
Cameroon have got it all to do today. Photograph: Tolga Bozoğlu/EPA

Karen Carney’s latest column is up for us. She says England have a plan to take them to the final but warns that high-quality Senegal are a danger:

England have not lost in their 20 matches against African opposition, which is an impressive record. There have already been shocks in the tournament and the important thing is for England to maintain their focus. Kalidou Koulibaly scored Senegal’s winner after a free-kick was crossed into the box against Ecuador, a sign of how dangerous he is.

England will be favourites but they should not have one eye on the quarter-final because they will be punished. I have played in tournaments where we were tipped to win, lost concentration, conceded two goals from set pieces and were on the next plane home.

Senegal have lost some key players: not only Gueye and Kouyaté but also Sadio Mané before the World Cup began. Selfishly, as an England fan, this is good news because they will be very hard to replace. Senegal do, though, have plenty of quality. We have seen at Watford how dangerous Ismaïla Sarr is and he proved that by winning and scoring a penalty against Ecuador.

Read more here: Karen Carney – England have a plan to take them to the final but high-quality Senegal are a danger

Over 17 million people tuned in to German broadcaster ARD’s coverage of the World Cup match between Germany and Costa Rica on Thursday, according to data from audience measurement firm AGF, Reuters reports.

The survey sadly doesn’t specify how many people threw their shoes at the telly in disgust at the end of the game.

German players leaving the pitch and the World Cup yesterday.
German players leaving the pitch and the World Cup yesterday. Photograph: Ariel Schalit/AP

We will be coming to how that Japan goal was allowed to stand shortly, but late last night it was one of the main topics of conversation in the pod with Max and the gang. Barry Glendenning, Lars Sivertsen, Jonathan Fadugba and Archie Rhind-Tutt were with Max Rushden to assess the fallout from an extraordinary night of drama. Get it in your ears.

Preamble

Well then, Morocco and Japan topping their groups was a coupon-buster yesterday and no mistake. Will we get anything similar today as our final groups, Group G and Group H, come to a climax/shuddering halt [delete as appropriate]?

The evening matches see an already qualified Brazil Reserves XI take on Cameroon. Brazil need a point to top the group, Cameroon need to build on their spirited comeback against Serbia with a win or they are not going any further. Serbia and Switzerland could be tasty. The winner probably goes through, a draw is enough for the Swiss, and they met at this stage in 2018 and it was a bad-tempered affair.

Before that, South Korea need a win against already qualified Portugal to stand any chance of progressing. Portugal need a point to guarantee top spot and avoid playing full-strength Brazil on Monday. Uruguay and Ghana have a rematch of that contentious 2010 quarter-final, with both sides knowing a win will probably see them progress.

Before then I will be bringing you reaction to yesterday’s matches, words from the people paraded in front of the press in Qatar today, and all the other World Cup bits and bobs you need. You can contact me at [email protected]





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