Shedding its initial hesitation, the Odisha government on Thursday decided to be a part of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme and extend all support for its implementation in the State, a senior official said. The announcement was made on a day when a leading farmers’ body — Navnirman Krushak Sangathan — called for dawn-to-dusk strike against the State government’s “lack of concern” towards its demands.Chief Secretary A.P. Padhi said the Central scheme (PM-Kisan), which promises to provide ₹6,000 per annum to small and marginal farmers having cultivable land up to two hectares (about five acres), will be launched in Odisha on February 24, along with the other States.Earlier, after receiving a formal communication from the Centre about the mega farmers’ welfare scheme, the Odisha government had not shown any interest and dubbed it inferior to its own Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA), also meant for providing financial assistance to farmers.Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had said that the State was not implementing the Centre’s scheme for farmers over fears that all credit would go to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had on Wednesday attacked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for depriving the farming community from taking advantage of the central scheme.Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment Secretary Saurabh Garg said a list of around 12.45 lakh first-phase beneficiaries of the State government’s KALIA scheme will be given to the Centre for inclusion in PM-Kisan.According to PM-Kisan, the first tranche of ₹2,000 will be directly transferred to the beneficiaries’ bank accounts on February 24. The Centre will fund this initiative completely.Peaceful protestNormal life across Odisha was affected on Thursday due to the farmers’ strike. Though the protest — backed by the Congress as well as the BJP — continued peacefully, the police picked up about 200 protesters from different parts of the State, including 70 from Bhubaneswar.Holding placards and raising anti-government slogans, agitating farmers blocked roads in the city as well on national highways, prompting the police to undertake preventive arrest of the farmers.“We have made elaborate security arrangements to maintain law and order in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack,” Commissioner of Police Satyajit Mohanty told reporters.Mr. Mohanty claimed normal life in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack remained largely unaffected by the strike. Government offices continued to function with adequate attendance, but educational institutions, major shops and business establishments remained closed and public transport vehicles were off the roads.Situation in Ganjam, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Kandhamal and Koraput districts remained by and large peaceful.NNKS leader Akshya Kumar alleged that the State government did not pay any heed to their demands for fair price, pension and prestige to cultivators, forcing them to call the strike.Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) chief Niranjan Patnaik, in a Twitter post, said, “Our ‘annadatas’ (providers of food) have suffered a lot due to the anti-farmer policies of the BJD and the BJP. Odisha Congress supports the bandh called by the farmers.” Odisha Agriculture and Finance Minister S.B. Behera termed the agitation “unfortunate”. “The timing is very wrong as it is being observed a day before the annual high school examinations… The strike has put mental pressure on students. It’s even more saddening that two national political parties have extended their support to the bandh,” Mr. Behera said.Authorities at Utkal University and Shree Jagannath Sanskrit University said they have postponed examinations scheduled for Thursday.
A government college teacher has been arrested here for allegedly writing an “objectionable post” on Facebook two years ago in support of a beef party in Chennai, the police said on Sunday. Jeetrai Hansda, a contractual faculty member at Jamshedpur Co-operative College, was arrested from a village in the Sakchi area of Jamshedpur on Saturday night, an officer said, adding that the teacher had been evading arrest. “Hansda has been booked under various sections of the IPC and the IT Act, and the process to forward him to judicial custody is currently under way,” Rajeev Singh, the officer-in-charge of the Sakchi police station, said. The teacher, a resident of Parsudih here, had allegedly written a post in support of a beef party organised by the IIT-Madras students, prompting the Akhil Bharatiya Vishwa Parishad (ABVP), the student’s wing of the RSS, to file a complaint against him, the officer said. The beef fest was organised at IIT-Madras in 2017 in protest against the restrictions imposed on cattle trade by the Union government. The student’s union had demanded the sacking of Mr. Hansda. The post was then deleted, the officer added. Asked for a reaction, Kolhan University Vice-Chancellor Shukla Mohanty said Mr. Hansda was a guest faculty member at the Graduate School College for Women when he posted the message on Facebook. He was later absorbed as a contractual teacher in the women’s college.Show-cause notice “A show-cause notice was served on Mr. Hansda after receiving a complaint about his objectionable Facebook post, He then apologised,” Mr. Mohanty said, adding that Mr. Hansda had joined as a contractual faculty member at the Co-operative College recently.
While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Three-star defensive back Evan Fields, a rising senior from Midwest City, Okla., has named his top five schools which he released on twitter. Among his top options includes K-State, Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Mississippi State, and Illinois.https://twitter.com/Evan4_/status/802273235131723776The Cowboys entered the conversation late in the recruiting process, and earned an official visit earlier this season which he took alongside well-known Cowboy signee Tramonda Moore, who is currently at a junior college.“That’s family,” Fields told PFB of his connection with Moore, adding that he “loved” his visit to Oklahoma State, and that “it felt like home”.Whether that’s by blood or by friendship, I don’t know. But Tramonda isn’t playing his cards close to the vest in recruiting Fields. Here’s what he tweeted at Fields after he released his top five schools.#GoPokes ? https://t.co/0PQ3nxLA6h— Tramonda Moore⏳™ (@TramondaMoore) November 25, 2016The caveat in Fields list, though, is the fine print at the bottom: List can change with new offers.Fields has had a monster senior year, and it took OSU surpsingly midway through the season before extending an offer — likely to make sure he was back to full health. Now, though, there’s chatter that Oklahoma could get involved late, even though an offer has not been extended. The Sooners seem to have several other prospects on their board, before making a decision on whether to pull the trigger on Fields or not.Oklahoma State recently added a commitment at safety with Texas’ Trey Sterling, but the Pokes also lost the pledge of Tyon Merchant, so Fields would likely secure that final scholarship at safety should he land on the Cowboys. With signing day less than 3 months away, it will be interesting to see if teams jump in late or if he elects to stay with his core 5.
2016?-11Oklahoma Year Final ScoreLineFavored Team 200749-17 OU-11.5Oklahoma 201438-35 (OT) OSU-19.5Oklahoma 200927-0 OU-7.5Oklahoma 200861-41 OU-10.5Oklahoma Oklahoma opened as a 13.5 point lead over the Oklahoma State Cowboys for 2016 Bedlam, a line that many Pokes fans felt was high. The line is down to -11 as of Monday, and may continue to fall as we get closer to the big game on Saturday.We know that in its last nine Bedlam games, OSU is 2-7. I picked 2007 because that is the year Mike Gundy really started to get all his own players on the field (and we could only find spreads going back to that year).You probably knew that OSU record already, because Boone Pickens made us all painfully aware of it. But what have the lines been compared to the final scores? Has OSU normally covered? Let’s take a look. 201144-10 OSU-3.5Oklahoma State 201558-23 OU-7.5Oklahoma 201251-48 OU-6Oklahoma 201047-41 OU-3Oklahoma State 201333-24 OU-9.5Oklahoma State Oklahoma has actually covered the spread six times out of the last nine Bedlam meetings, but only twice out of five times since 2011. Sure, they’ve won several close games, in 2010, 2012, and 2013 (Gilbert caught it), but recent history shows us there’s a decent chance the Cowboys will beat the line this week.Which they’ll need to substantially if they want to win the their second Big 12 title after playing for it for the fourth time in six years.Tough to see OU as a 2-TD favorite when #okstate has the better receivers, defense, special teams and much better QB.— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguy) November 27, 2016 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Dixon rushed for more than 1,500 yards last season as a junior that garnered him a ton of attention in SEC country, but the attention has tapered of late. LSU, Minnesota, and OSU are the only schools to get on board of late, but it seems clear that his early offers from the blue-chip schools have been put on hold. OSU is likely aiming to swoop in and get his attention midway through the process, doing so with its recently hired running backs coach John Wozniak. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. Oklahoma State’s recent success in finding offensive weapons in Georgia has the Pokes fishing in similar territory, as 2018 running back Lyn-J Dixon, a 2018 prospect from Butler, Georgia, announced an offer from OSU this week.A three-star prospect, Dixon’s recruiting credentials don’t quite match his offer sheet. Although considered the 401st best prospect nationally in his class and 25th best running back, prominent schools like Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and others have hopped on board for the speedster.
But somehow onlookers make these kinds of conclusions.Chip Brown compared Shane Buechele to Colt McCoy. The Kool aid is getting dangerously strong in Austin.— Carson Cunningham (@KOCOCarson) August 21, 2017The Saga ContinuesBaylor’s legal issues continue to unfold.Federal judge orders Baylor University to release underlying documents in Pepper Hamilton sex assault investigation with limited exceptions— Paula Lavigne (@pinepaula) August 11, 2017The ruling came in a Title IX gender equity lawsuit filed against the school on behalf of 10 women who attended Baylor and claimed that school officials failed to properly respond to and investigate their reports of assault.“This is another very positive step in getting all the truth and information out there,” attorney Jim Dunnam said. He said the judge’s ruling compels Baylor to turn over the “information and the data” that the school gave Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton, which was hired in 2015 to examine the school’s response to sexual violence. “Now we can hopefully determine specifics about who did what and the specific failures.” [ESPN]So Pepper Hamilton’s carefully chosen footnotes aren’t enough.Quick HittersThree Big 12 players made the preseason All-American teamTexas’ starting right tackle underwent ankle surgery and their starting tight end is done for the yearStoops isn’t opposed to a spot on the CFP committeeK-State’s starting center foregoing senior season for health-related reasonsTexas Tech o-lineman is going full Gabe Lindsay – seeking eighth yearThe Big 12 is basically a NFL-farm system for undersized skill players.Had Great talk with the G.O.A.T @DarrenSproles, it’s amazing feeling to finally meet someone that you idolize as a kid. #HeartOverHeight pic.twitter.com/84srzKjqCx— Jakeem Grant (@_TheDreamIsHere) August 22, 2017TCU is on the doorstep of the rankingsTCU, Utah and Notre Dame were the top vote-getters outside the Top 25. pic.twitter.com/eS2GO9FUSj— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) August 21, 2017Briles has surfaced, informally. “I think it’s a bad move. You don’t want to associate yourself with Art Briles right now” @LauraMRutledge pic.twitter.com/5Q02q1KLVZ— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) August 22, 2017And now more formally.https://twitter.com/Ticats/status/902187937382768641 Let’s take a look at some news from around the league over the last week or two.Playoff-Sized ProblemSo what does it take to make sure the Big 12 is viable in the playoff-age?In order to improve its chances at being selected for the CFP, though, the Big 12 must also improve upon its 5-8 record against nonconference Power 5 opponents. Oklahoma has to beat Ohio State. West Virginia has to beat Virginia Tech. Texas has to win at USC.“If the Big 12 wants to kind of up their image,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said, “those types of games need to be won.”There are no guarantees with the selection committee, however. The Big 12’s new championship game has to feature more than its two best teams. At least one of them has to be one of the nation’s top four teams. Only then does any conference championship game matter. Just ask Penn State. [ESPN]And that’s what’s a challenge in setting up the league’s structure (scheduling requirements, champ game, how many league games, etc.) It just comes down to 13 guys in a room saying what they think and not an objective criterion to lean on.But here’s a pretty solid breakdown on the chances of the top teams for the playoff.TCU has finished with a losing record three times under Gary Patterson, most recently last season. What happened the past two times? A year later TCU won its conference. That’s in play for the Horned Frogs in 2017. Quarterback play and the performance of the defensive line are my two biggest concerns.Kansas State resembles a vintage Bill Snyder-coached team, especially if the secondary bounces back from a miserable season to finish in the top third of the Big 12 in the key categories – yards per attempt, opposing completion percentage and turnover margin, most notably. No one will enjoy playing the Wildcats in 2017.Oklahoma State is locked and loaded … but what about this offensive line? And the secondary? A wonderful quarterback, an explosive offense and a just-good-enough defense will put the Cowboys on a course for a New Year’s Six bowl, but the potential sticking points are numerous enough to have me questioning this team’s ability to lose just once during the regular season.That leaves Oklahoma. This isn’t a perfect team, either. There’s a hole at running back. No clear go-to receiver. The Sooners are more experienced on defense, but much does depend on the health of the defensive line. Still, this is the strongest, most cohesive roster in the Big 12; it doesn’t hurt to have the league’s best player in Baker Mayfield. [USA Today]Texas-Sized ExpectationsFinally, someone has a really reasonable perspective on Texas.I will not buy Texas as a top 25 team until I see it. The quarterback play has to get better. The ranking is based on the reputation of new head coach Tom Herman.If we are being honest, last year’s Houston squad underachieved because they didn’t win their conference. Houston didn’t win the division or a bowl game. The September game at USC could be a time where Texas can show us they are different. [SportsDay]Herman managed some blue-chip QB’s masterfully at Ohio State and groomed a blossoming QB at Houston in Greg Ward. If he can do something with Buchele at Texas, they could be poised to be a Top 25 team in 2018. But not today.Sounds like a dude who’s all in on his QB.Here is what Texas football coach Tom Herman said about Shane Buechele starting. Definitely a caveat pic.twitter.com/QtOWrrLyp0— Anwar Richardson (@AnwarRichardson) August 21, 2017 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Bayern München Van Gaal: I won’t return to Bayern while Hoeness is there Harry Sherlock 19:16 28/2/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Getty Images Bayern München Bundesliga The Dutchman insists that he will never work under the German again after a number of rows between the pair Louis van Gaal insists he will not return to Bayern Munich as long as Uli Hoeness works at the club.Van Gaal and Bayern’s president routinely clashed throughout his two-year spell in the Bundesliga, a period that saw him win a domestic double of the league title and the DFB-Pokal in 2009-10.Hoeness and Van Gaal have traded public barbs since, with the Bayern supremo claiming in 2013 that the manager “believes he is God’s father”. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp And the Dutchman has now rejected any suggestion that he could work under the 66-year-old again.”As long as Uli Hoeness is in the club, I would not work there,” he told Sport Bild .Van Gaal has explained that he grew tired of Hoeness’ interventions in team selection, and his favouritism towards certain players, with whom he had a “special relationship”.”Just like for [Franck] Ribéry, who always had to play according to Mr. Hoeness, which in my opinion is not good for the work of a trainer,” he added.
Premier League Arsenal vs Man City: TV channel, live stream, squad news & preview Ryan Kelly Last updated 1 year ago 17:50 1/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(5) Getty Images Premier League Arsenal v Manchester City Manchester City Arsenal Arsene Wenger’s side were left humiliated by the Citizens at Wembley so they will be aiming to restore pride on Thursday Just four days after playing in the Carabao Cup final, Arsenal and Manchester City meet again in London as they return to Premier League action.Pep Guardiola’s men emerged triumphant at Wembley on Sunday, beating the Gunners 3-0 to secure the Catalan coach’s first trophy since arriving in England.That defeat was Arsenal’s fifth in their last 10 matches in all competitions and they will need to improve if they want to secure a positive result at home on Thursday. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp A chasm of 27 points separates City in first from Arsenal in sixth and the Gunners, who are also 10 points adrift of fourth-place Tottenham, will be hoping to reclaim some pride at the Etihad. Game Arsenal vs Manchester City Date Thursday March 1 Time 19:45 GMT / 14:45 ET Stream (US only) fuboTV (7-day free trial) TV Channel & Live Stream In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial). New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser. US TV channel Online stream NBCSN fubo TV (7-day free trial) In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on TV on Sky Sports Premier League and it can be streamed live online using Sky Go. UK TV channel Online stream Sky Sports Premier League Sky Go Squads & Team News Position Arsenal players Goalkeepers Ospina, Cech, Macey Defenders Mertesacker, Koscielny, Holding, Monreal, Mustafi, Chambers, Bellerin, Kolasinac, Mavropanos, Osei-Tutu Midfielders Mkhitaryan, Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil, Iwobi, Xhaka, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Dragomir, Gilmour, Willock Forwards Aubameyang, Welbeck, Dasilva, Nelson, Nketiah Alexandre Lacazette recently underwent surgery on a knee injury so he is definitely out and Santi Cazorla is a long-term absentee who has been troubled by an ankle complaint.Nacho Monreal has been ruled out for the next few games too after suffering an inflamed disc in his back, but the remainder of the squad are fit to play.Potential Arsenal starting XI: Cech; Kolasinac, Koscielny, Mustafi, Bellerin; Wilshere, Xhaka, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Ramsey; Aubameyang. Position Man City players Goalkeepers Bravo, Ederson, Grimshaw Defenders Walker, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Laporte, Adarabioyo, Otamendi, Duhaney Midfielders Sterling, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sane, B. Silva, D. Silva, Fernandinho, Zinchenko, Toure, Foden, Diaz, Dele-Bashiru Forwards Aguero, Nmecha, Jesus Fernandinho is definitely out of the game after suffering a hamstring injury on Sunday, but Raheem Sterling could be available again after Guardiola revealed he is “much, much better”.Brazil international Gabriel Jesus is back in contention after making a substitute appearance in the final.Potential Man City starting XI: Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Kompany, Danilo; Gundogan, D. Silva, De Bruyne; Sane, Aguero, Jesus.Betting & Match Odds Man City are, perhaps unsurprisingly, favourites to win with dabblebet giving odds of 3/4 on Guardiola’s men. Arsenal are deemed a 7/2 bet to win and a draw is available at 3/1.Click here to see all of dabblebet’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.Match Preview Icy conditions are enveloping the United Kingdom this week as the so-called ‘Beast from the East’ arrives and the Emirates Stadium is becoming an increasingly cold house for Wenger too.The Arsenal boss was denied a maiden League Cup trophy on Sunday after his side meekly succumbed to the might of Guardiola’s City and the question of his future has now arisen once more.Even if the veteran coach guides the Gunners to a win over City on Thursday, those questions won’t go away, but he will be able to use a victory as a springboard for a strong finish to the season.The Europa League now seems to be their only realistic hope of achieving Champions League football for next season, but the pressure is still on to finish as high as possible in the league.City, on the other hand, are incredibly secure at the top of the table and have now comfortably beaten the Gunners twice this season.Despite the elation of winning the Carabao Cup, Guardiola’s men have a tough run of games to come, with Chelsea and Basel to play after Arsenal, so the Catalan will be demanding complete focus. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Blaise Matuidi Matuidi: Neymar wanted me to stay at PSG Dom Farrell 20:03 3/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images PSG Neymar Juventus Serie A Ligue 1 UEFA Champions League The midfielder spoke to various members of the Parisians’ squad before making his decision to leave for Turin in the summer – and he has no regrets France midfielder Blaise Matuidi would never have swapped Paris Saint-Germain for Juventus had Neymar had his way.Matuidi ended a six-year stay at Parc des Princes when he joined the Serie A champions for an initial €20 million in August, just over two weeks after PSG smashed the world transfer record to sign Neymar from Barcelona.It meant a three-minute substitute cameo against Guingamp was the sum of the time Matuidi spent on the field with the Brazil superstar in PSG colours, but Neymar was well aware of his quality. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp “Without going into details, I had a discussion with Neymar,” the 30-year-old told L’Equipe. “I talked a lot with Dani Alves too, with Thiago Motta.”In short, they all wanted me to stay, because, beyond my qualities, I spent six years in Paris and I know this club very well.”But my choice was made and I would have been frustrated at the end of my career not to try to play abroad. And what an experience, it is beautiful.”While PSG boast a commanding 11-point lead at the top of Ligue 1, Juventus are embroiled in a gripping scrap with Napoli in pursuit of a seventh consecutive Scudetto.Maurizio Sarri’s men lead by four points, although Juve’s postponed match against Atalanta last weekend gives them a game in hand.
UEFA Champions League Why world-class Dembele has been compared to Ronaldinho and Maradona Peter Staunton Click here to see more stories from this author Chief Correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 16:00 7/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(9) Getty UEFA Champions League Tottenham Hotspur v Juventus Tottenham Hotspur v Newcastle United Juventus Tottenham Hotspur Newcastle United Premier League Opinion The 30-year-old has taken his time in coming to prominence in central midfield but his performances have been at an outstanding standard this year Mauricio Pochettino said last month that if he and his coaching team had got hold of Mousa Dembele when he was 18 or 19 he would have gone on to become of one the best footballers in the world.He compared the midfielder to Jay-Jay Okocha, Diego Maradona, Ivan De La Pena and Ronaldinho – all ex-teammates of the Tottenham manager – describing him as one of the five “genius” players he has had the pleasure of encountering in his career.Dembele’s ability on the ball has never been in doubt but it has been other factors limiting his potential. As an attacker, when he first came to England, he was not productive enough. He played throughout his time in the Netherlands with AZ as a No. 10 or a wide attacker and was signed with that in mind by Fulham. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Futhermore, long-standing ankle problems were only rectified with surgery last summer and a long ban impeded his start to that campaign.But gradually his development into a deep-lying player – who often comes into contact with the ball – has taken place over the course of the last three seasons under Pochettino. This calendar year in particular Dembele has found himself as the focus of an increasing appreciation society.Spurs had a run of tough fixtures a few weeks back in which four of five games came against Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Juventus – in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16.Dembele was arguably man of the match in all four. At the Juventus Stadium he ran the show, leaving Sami Khedira memorably trailing in his wake with one second-half shimmy.Pochettino, and Roberto Martinez, his Belgium manager for that matter, have no qualms about trusting Dembele in that position in tough away encounters like that, as evidenced by his selection for a qualifier against Greece in Piraeus in September.One thing he gives his teams – and what he could give any midfield – is a unique ability to tilt the pitch at will. Most deep midfielders take possession of the ball in the middle third and look to circulate the ball quickly.Dembele will quite often draw opponents in and seek to dribble. If he goes by one opponent, just one, then that is enough to ensure Spurs have a numerical advantage elsewhere on the field.The next pass may go to Christian Eriksen – in space outside the opposition box – or to one of the full-backs on the overlap. But it is unquestionable that initial instigation with a dummy, a feint or a dribble puts rivals on the back foot.Not only that but he is tough as nails. A strong lower body gives him the balance and the resilience to protect the ball and hold off opponents no matter what situation he finds himself in.A youth spent playing small-sided court football gives him that extra advantage, according to those who know his qualities well. He is also brave in possession and always looks for the ball.A video was doing the rounds on social media recently where a number of Spurs players were asked to name the best player at the club. Dele Alli, Victor Wanyama, Danny Rose and Harry Winks all plumped for Dembele.That’s because he’s the type of player that can be trusted in possession and his good-natured personality mean he is respected as a silent leader in the dressing room.His presence allows teams to dictate the tempo of the play – particularly important for sides like Spurs and Belgium who demand most of the possession – and is incisive and penetrative with his passes in the final third.As Spurs are more likely to encounter well-structured defensive units given their improvement in possession under Pochettino, Dembele becomes an increasingly influential figure. Every single Spurs player we’ve interviewed says Dembele is the best player at the club!Is he the most underrated player in the Premier League? pic.twitter.com/McPrmButGZ — Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) February 20, 2018 His colleagues in an attacking sense appreciate his constant availability – and presence of mind to find space – as well as his ability to run games in-play.It can be hard to get attention in this Spurs team given the goal-scoring exploits of Harry Kane and the focus that goes on Dele Alli. Son Heung-Min, too, is in the form of his life, while the consistency of Eriksen is rarely overlooked.That means Dembele is free to work relatively unencumbered by expectations on scoring goals or giving assists. He is not harassed from the outside in going about his midfield work.It may have taken a while but the time to sing Dembele’s praises has come.
Manchester City Guardiola slams ‘really, really poor’ Man City after Basel loss Goal Last updated 1 year ago 06:32 8/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Manchester City Guardiola Manchester City v Basel Basel UEFA Champions League Videos Despite taking an early lead the Premier League outfit fell to the Swiss side at home, and the Spanish manager was not pleased with their play Pep Guardiola took aim at his Manchester City side’s second-half performance against Basel, as the club fell to a 2-1 defeat in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. While City still cruised into the quarter-finals on the strength of a 4-0 win in the first leg, the Spanish boss was not pleased with how his side performed in a second half that saw them surrender a 36-game unbeaten run at Etihad Stadium .The Premier League leaders were largely dominant in terms of possesion on the night, completing 978 passes – the most recorded in a Champions League match since Opta began keeping the stats during the 2003-2004 season – but even that wasn’t good enough for the former Barcelona boss. Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp “We are happy to be in the quarter finals, we are so happy for that,” he said.”Second half we didn’t attack and forgot to even pass the ball… the second half was really really poor.”Guardiola singled out just one player, 17-year-old Phil Foden, who broke a Champions League age record by starting the match , for praise during the second period, which the manager believes lacked any form of aggression from his team. “Phil was good and in the second he was perhaps the only one who tried to be aggressive,” he said. “It’s good for the rhythm of the future.”With the job done in the last 16, City will now turn their attentions to the Champions League quarter-finals, and Guardiola knows the next round will be much tougher on his team. “The difference in the quarter-finals, in that level all the teams will be so, so tough and demanding,” he continued.”We will try to be ready and to come back because we did it in the recent games.”City hold a commanding lead in the Premier League and will find out who they will face in the Champions League quarter-finals on March 16, with Juventus, Real Madrid and Liverpool the three other teams to have already confirmed their place in the last eight.
Cristiano Ronaldo Ronaldo battles ‘nothing personal’ to PSG star Dani Alves Chris Burton 18:29 12/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Cristiano Ronaldo Neymar PSG Real Madrid Ligue 1 Primera División The former Barcelona defender has locked horns with the Real Madrid talisman on a regular basis down the years, but insists he has nothing against him Dani Alves insists a long-running duel with Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is “nothing personal” following their last coming together.Having previously found themselves on opposite sides of a Clasico divide in Spain, the pair have locked swords at regular intervals.Dani Alves was never afraid to put his boot in while on the books of Barcelona, while he also came up against the Portuguese in the 2017 Champions League final as Real downed Juventus. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Their rivalry was recently rekindled in a European showdown between Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, with Dani Alves accused of wiping snot on an old adversary.The Brazilian has strenuously denied those allegations and reiterated that his personal battle with Ronaldo has been overplayed, telling Esporte Espectacular: “It is part of the game, heat of the moment, part of football and nothing personal.”He added on the accusations levelled at him following his latest meeting with Ronaldo: “Thank God that my son does not like football, because football is losing the essence which made me want to be a player.”Look at the game with Real Madrid, for example. They have said that I put snot on Cristiano’s shirt. Is it me or are the people saying these things three years old? It’s stupidity without limit.”PSG came unstuck against Ronaldo and Real over the course of two legs, with a 5-2 aggregate defeat seeing the French side fall at the last-16 stage of this season’s Champions League.Their cause was rocked by an untimely injury to €222 million superstar Neymar ahead of the second leg of that continental contest, with the Brazil international having been forced to undergo surgery on a broken metatarsal.Dani Alves is among those to have been credited with luring a fellow countryman to Paris in a record-breaking deal, but he has once again played down such claims.He said: “People think that Neymar is a puppet, but children grow up and make their own decisions. “He is growing, maturing and learning to deal with difficult moments.”Like Neymar, Dani Alves claims his decision to join PSG was driven purely by sporting ambition, although the 34-year-old concedes that the money in football, from which he and his team-mates are benefiting, has spiralled out of control.The legendary full-back added: “I came to PSG for the sports project, for how they have valued me as a footballer.“But if I am very honest, I do not think my salary is in line with my value – it is too much.”
Arsenal Mertesacker will regain love for football, says sympathetic Wenger Matt Dorman 23:52 14/3/2018 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Arsenal Premier League Arsenal v Milan UEFA Europa League The Frenchman has hailed the Germany international defender for his honesty after a candid interview with Der Spiegel Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger expects the retiring Per Mertesacker to rediscover his passion for playing soon after he hangs up the boots.World Cup winner Mertesacker recently revealed a desire to avoid being called upon during the final months of a career plagued by injuries.In a candid interview with Der Spiegel, the 33-year-old detailed his battles with anxiety and said he was eager to be “free” from the mental and physical demands of professional football. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Wenger sympathised with Mertesacker’s honest admission, although he believes the former Germany international will move past his frustration.”I think that will go very quickly. Once you stop for a few months you are ready to play again,” Wenger told reporters on Wednesday.”He has had a very long career. He never plays one minute without being totally focussed. That demands a huge amount of effort and that is why he has had the career he has.”To be a professional football player is to face a huge level of expectation. First of all from yourself, because these players are very demanding of themselves and that creates stress.”To play at the level they play today you need to have a huge resistance to stress.”To express what you want to do you need your body to be at your service. You never know how your body will respond, how you will feel, how much your reflexes in a game will be there. It is always an uncertainty and that creates stress.”Mertesacker, who will take over as the Gunners’ academy manager at the end of the campaign, has not featured since Arsenal’s FA Cup exit to Nottingham Forest in January. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Athletic Bilbao 1 Marseille 2 (2-5 agg): Payet inspires visitors to victory Alex Fisher 03:52 16/3/2018 AFP Marseille cruised into the Europa League quarter finals with a 2-1 win over Athletic Bilbao, securing a 5-2 aggregate success. Dimitri Payet and Lucas Ocampos haunted Athletic Bilbao for a second time in the Europa League as Marseille cruised into the quarter finals 5-2 on aggregate.Both Payet and Ocampos found the back of the net in the first leg at the Stade Velodrome last week and they were at it again on Thursday, Marseille running out 2-1 winners at San Mames.However, their progress was marred by reports of trouble before the match between Marseille fans and security staff, while flares were also reportedly thrown from the travelling supporters. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Williams case shows Solskjaer isn’t holding Man Utd’s youngsters back – he’s protecting them Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp That could well bring sanctions from UEFA, but on the pitch Marseille were excellent with the impressive Payet a shining light.A marauding run, including a one-two with Kostas Mitroglou, was ended by Inigo Lekue’s crude challenge, Payet converting the resulting spot kick with aplomb.14 – Dimitri Payet is involved in 14 goals in his 17 Europa League games (5 goals, 9 assists). Pride. pic.twitter.com/N8f2XjW67j— OptaJean (@OptaJean) March 15, 2018Ocampos took his opportunity early in the second period as Athletic gave him far too much room on the left, the Argentine cutting in and firing into the bottom corner – out of Iago Herrerin’s reach.Inaki Williams was lucky to stay on the pitch in the second half after escaping punishment for a challenge on Jordan Amavi when already on a yellow card.He took advantage to halve the deficit on the night with a close-range finish after the ball ricocheted around the visitors’ penalty area.Any hope of an Athletic comeback quickly disappeared two minutes later, however, as Aritz Aduriz was shown a second yellow for a poorly-timed challenge on Ocampos, the striker having earlier been booked for dissent.That enabled Marseille to comfortably see out the victory and ensure progression into the quarters, their first last-eight appearance in a European competition since the 2011-12 Champions League. read more
After months of misery, it’s finally game day again.Oklahoma State starts it’s 2019 season with a late-night meeting with Oregon State at 9:30 p.m. Friday night in Corvallis. The teams both had disappointing 2018s, but the expectations leading to that disappointment varied.The Beavers were 2-10 last season, beating Southern Utah and Colorado in overtime. Meanwhile, the Cowboys streak of 10-win seasons ended, as the Pokes narrowly secured bowl eligibility en route to a 7-6 year. Both teams are 0-0 now with endless possibilities ahead.Here are some things of note heading into the West Coast matchup.2018 Offensive Stats Points Per Game38.426.1 Passing Defense267.1254.9 Rushing Defense185.4281.8 Rushing Offense190.3155.6 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. 2018 Defensive Stats Oklahoma StateOregon State Total Offense500.2404.8 Oklahoma StateOregon State Points Allowed Per Game32.545.7 Total Defense452.5536.8 Intriguing Battle in the Trenches Looks to Favor CowboysOregon State quarterbacks got sacked 48 times last season. That was the most of any FBS team in the country. Oklahoma State’s defense had 39 team sacks, tied for 12th in the country.Just looking at those two stats, one would think Beaver quarterback Jake Luton will be picking himself off the turf quite a bit Friday night, but OSU’s defensive line is quite a bit different than it was a season ago.The Pokes return only 14 sacks from last season to their 2019 roster. Devin Harper had 2.5 of those, but he was absent the first depth chart the team put out after spending time in fall camp with a lower body injury. The Cowboys will also be without Calvin Bundage’s 1.5 sacks from 2018, as reports surfaced Thursday that he didn’t travel with the team after being dinged up for much of fall camp.The left side of the Beavers’ offensive line (LT-Blake Brandel and LG-Gus Lavaka) returns after starting every game last season. However Oregon State has less experience on the other three spots of the line.On the first depth chart the Beavers released this year, there was an or between centers Nathan Eldridge (who was injured all last season) and Nous Keobounnam (who primarily played on special teams in 2018). Eldrige is a transfer from Arizona, where he played in 25 games across 2016 and 2017.Oregon State’s starting right guard, Clay Cordasco played in nine games lasts season, and right tackle Brandon Kipper played in three.Expect Beavers to Pound the RockWhatever deficiencies the Oregon State offensive line had in pass protection last season, the unit tried to make up for with solid run blocking.Oregon State running back Jermar Jefferson was a freshman All-American last season after running for 1,380 yards and 12 touchdowns. Jefferson was the Beavers’ offense last season, averaging 115 yards a game and finishing his first season of college football 239 carries. Justice Hill and Chuba Hubbard combined for 282 carries last year.If the Cowboys can stuff Jefferson early and score points on the other end, it could get dicey for Oregon State if the Beavers have to depend on their passing game. Passing Offense309.8249.2
Oklahoma State might as well plan to play its games in the afternoon until further notice. The Big 12 announced Monday morning that the Cowboys’ Week 10 kick against TCU is a 2:30 kick, the third consecutive afternoon slot and the fifth this season.It’s unclear which major network will carry the game, but it’s guaranteed to be on network television. ESPN has the rights to carry it on its main network or to option it to ABC.⏰s and 📺 details for Week 10. #Big12FB(As selected by the Conference television partners) pic.twitter.com/Y3mrwCfMMM— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) October 21, 2019Afternoon kick times for OSU have been average so far this season. OSU is 1-1 when playing at either 2:30 or 3:00 p.m. this season, with a loss to Baylor and a win over Tulsa. OSU plays Iowa State this upcoming Saturday in Ames at 2:30 p.m. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Denmark Eriksen can take ‘confident’ Denmark to the next level, says Kjaer Robin Bairner Last updated 1 year ago 00:30 6/16/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Denmark World Cup Peru v Denmark Peru Although the strength of the Danes lies with the collective, the Spurs playmaker can provide the extra spark that could be decisive at the big moments Denmark captain Simon Kjaer says that his side are in confident mood ahead of their World Cup opener against Peru – and that Christian Eriksen is the man who can make their campaign special.The Danes come into the competition off the back of a 2-0 win over Mexico, which was their 15th successive match undefeated. Tottenham star Eriksen has played a key role in that run – the country’s best since the establishment of their national side in 1907 – and he can be key to helping Kjaer & Co. enjoy a lengthy run in Russia. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar “He is the individual who can take our team to the next level – he had an amazing qualifying campaign, scoring a lot of goals,” he told Goal. “Christian and I started in the national team at the same time, we were both selected as very young players for the World Cup in South Africa, and we have played a lot of matches together. He has developed a lot in Tottenham since then and is now our star player.”However, he stressed that every member of the 23-man squad is vital.“Football is a team sport, and I believe that our Denmark squad is a symbol of that,” he added. “The team spirit is our strength, and I am proud of that as captain of this great group, who can work hard but also laugh together. “No one is above our team – even though we have one player, who could deserve to hold that position in Christian Eriksen. He is definitely the star of our team, but he is also ‘just’ one piece in the puzzle of 11 players – or more correctly of the full squad. He never puts himself above the team.”After being forced to watch World Cup 2014 and Euro 2016 from afar as Denmark failed to qualify, the Sevilla centre-back is determined to make the most of this opportunity.“We definitely have the ambition to advance from the group stage, and I believe that we also have the quality in the squad to do that,” he said. “And then in the knockout phase we all know that anything could happen – it depends on hard work as a team of course, but also on a moment of brilliance or just a bit of luck. “We go into the World Cup with a lot of confidence after our long unbeaten run, and that feeling is important.”Paired with Peru, France and Australia, the Danes face a daunting pool.“It’s a very tough group, with three teams in the top 12 of the FIFA ranking – and the Asian champions,” he pointed out.“Peru plays another style of football than we are used to in Europe, and we prepared ourselves with a friendly against another strong South American nation, Chile, just like we have met – and defeated – World Cup teams like Panama and Mexico who also play this non-European style. “South American teams are always top class, and you don’t qualify for the World Cup from their continent unless you are a superb team. The FIFA ranking shows that Peru win a lot of matches.“I know that Australia are reigning Asian champions, and that tells a lot about their quality. They know how to achieve success together in a big tournament, and they work hard as a team. They have shown some good results in their friendlies as well.“Obviously France are the favourites to win our group, but we are in the World Cup to create surprises and maybe even sensations, and what would be a bigger sensation than beating France? “I can’t wait to play them – that’s what we live for.“I had two great years in Lille and in France, so I know a lot about the extremely high level of French football – which goes for both the national team and Ligue 1.”The prospect of another summer at home was not an appetising one, either for Kjaer or his team-mates.“The two missed qualifications obviously did pray on my mind,” he admitted. “I did not want to spend another summer just watching the big tournament on TV. It left us with some extra pressure not to disappoint ourselves again, but it also made our appetite even bigger in qualifying.”Their efforts culminated in a spectacular playoff win away over Ireland.“That night in Dublin was unforgettable. We blew Ireland out of their own stadium, where they are usually so strong, winning 5-1 in the all-decisive match to reach the World Cup,” he said. “The result in itself is one that I will never forget, and I am sure that it will be go down in Danish football history and will be remembered by the football fans in my country as a symbol of the success of this team. It was our finest hour – so far.”This will be Kjaer’s second World Cup, and it is one that he is relishing particularly due to his role as captain.“Before this qualifying campaign my partner in the central defence Daniel Agger retired from football, and I took over as the Denmark captain – and I am extremely proud of that honour,” he noted. “Leading the boys – and our country – to the World Cup will forever be one of my greatest memories from football.“I have already been at one World Cup as a starter, back in 2010 in South Africa. Now at 29 my role and responsibility is very different being the captain of the team. “A part of my job is to share my own international experience – from hundreds of games in the biggest leagues and from the World Cup and the Euros – with the younger players. “Playing at a World Cup is a personal highlight – something we have all dreamed of since we were kids. “The magnitude of the event in itself can blow you away, if you don’t keep your feet on the ground. As a player you must enjoy playing on the biggest stage – and find the mental balance where you are able to give everything you’ve got, because it might be a once in a career opportunity.”
World Cup Portugal vs Morocco: Live blog, text commentary, line-ups, stream & TV channel Ryan Kelly Last updated 1 year ago 14:45 6/20/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments() Getty World Cup Portugal v Morocco Morocco Portugal Powerade The European champions come up against the Atlas Lions, who will be desperate to win following a disheartening opening-day loss to Iran Portugal will now turn their focus to their final game against Iran but they will need to improve. Ronaldo was left isolated on so many occasions and they looked vulnerable down both flanks. Morocco will be playing for pride next week as they prepare to entertain Spain before heading home!Morocco are the first team to exit the 2018 Russia World Cup after two defeats from as many matches. They responded brilliantly after their heartbreaking defeat to Iran but it was not enough as Portugal did enough to hang on. Ronaldo was the hero once again thanks to his first-half header but they were lucky to hang on at times this afternoon. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar FULL TIME – Portugal 1-0 Morocco90+4 mins: Into the final minute, Morocco need to get the ball down the other end of the field. 90+2 mins: OVER!! Another free kick causes Portugal problems and Benatia is once again the first man to react inside the area. However, he produces another defender’s finish and cannot keep his shot on target. 90+1 mins: Silva has been on the field for a matter of seconds and he is booked for trying to time waste.90 mins: Five minutes of stoppage time given at the Luzhniki stadium!89 mins: CHANCE – Morocco work their way into the Portugal box but Pepe is on hand to put his body in the way and concede a corner.Final change from Santos as Moutinho walks off the field of play and is now replaced by Adrien Silva.86 mins: Sub for Morocco with time running out as Fajr replaces El Ahmadi.85 mins: BLOCK! Ronaldo steps up to take the free kick but the wall stands firm. The Madrid man goes down straight after and claims he should have a penalty but the game moves on. 83 mins: Ronaldo has possibly had less than five touches but with his latest one he wins a free kick on the edge of the Morocco box. 81 mins: OVER! Dirar stays back for a corner but the ball flies towards him and he gets a little excited. He tries to replicate Nacho’s effort against Portugal but he gets it wrong and smashes it into the crowd.80 mins: Morocco continue to throw everything at the Portugal defence but the European champions seem happy to absorb the attacks. Will they live to regret that decision?78 mins: MISS – Morocco win another free kick and Benatia misses another chance from inside the box. The defender glides away from his marker but the ball hits his shoulder and a goal kick is awarded.77 mins: Morocco are starting to make things harder for themselves and their best chance of a goal looks like it will come from a set piece.75 mins: Belhanda, who forced that sensational save out of Patricio, is now making his way off. He will be replaced by Carcela-Gonzalez.73 mins: Amrabat has struggled to get into the game during the last five minutes and the recent subs have also changed the tempo of the game. Renard looks like he will make another alteration as one of his players is stripped off and ready to go!71 mins: Around 20 minutes to go and time is running out for Morocco. They have tried so hard and will feel they could have got a result if it remains 1-0 to Santos’ outfit. 70 mins: Midfielder Mario has not made the best impression this afternoon and he is now replaced by Fernandes.69 mins: First change for Morocco as Boutaib makes way for El Kaabi. Big chance for the sub to become a hero!68 mins: JUST OVER! Ziyech calls rank on the set piece but he cannot get his shot up and down after beating the wall. His left-footed effort sails over the bar and Patricio will now take the goal kick.67 mins: Morocco win a free-kick after Guerreiro makes another sloppy tackle. He has really struggled out there this afternoon.65 mins: A Mexican wave sweeps around the Luzhniki Stadium and there’s plenty of time left for a few more goals. 63 mins: The tempo has slowed down for Morocco and they might want to make a substitution to help their chances.60 mins: CHANCE – Another set piece from Morocco causes problems and Benatia reacts quickly to try and volley home. However, he snatches at his effort and shoots into the stands. Terrible shot but another dangerous free kick from Renard’s men.59 mins: Manchester City’s Silva has endured a quiet afternoon and he now makes way for Martins.58 mins: First-class goalkeeping from Patricio in the last two minutes. He has barely had anything to do but shows tremendous concentration skills to make two saves.57 mins: WHAT A SAVE!!!!! Stunning reflexes from Patricio keeps the score at 1-0 as he somehow leaps across to his right and palms away Belhanda’s header.56 mins: Amrabat wins a free-kick and he continues to have a superb game…55 mins: SAVE!!! Amrabat draws in two defenders and plays in Belhanda on the edge of the box. The midfielder picks his spot but Patricio is alert and plucks the ball out of the air and thwarts the danger.53 mins: Portugal look to have tightened up in midfield and as a result Morocco are not getting as much joy on the counter attack.51 mins: OVER! Portugal have Morocco panicking for a second as they take a quick free kick. Mario turns near the byline and Ronaldo looks destined to score his fifth of the tournament but he blasts the ball into the stands!48 mins: WIDE! Portugal win a corner and Fonte climbs high but as he heads wide the referee gives a free kick to Morocco.46 mins: We are back underway in Moscow and Morocco have 45 minutes to avoid defeat as they try to stay in the World Cup.Portugal need to try and bring Ronaldo into the game on a more regular basis but they are struggling to defend down the wings, especially against Amrabat. The crowd are fired up for this and it promises to be a cracking second half.Portugal will feel fortunate to lead and they have Ronaldo to thank after his goal inside four minutes. Morocco have since kicked on and they look a real threat down both flanks and they can still get a result today if they maintain their current performance levels.HALF TIME – Portugal 1-0 Morocco45+3 mins: MISS – Morocco cause problems and should test Patricio but Benatia cannot react quick enough to head home Belhanda’s flick on. 45+2 mins: Morocco win a free kick after Guerreiro fouls Amrabat near the corner flag.45+1 mins: Three minutes of stoppage time shown at the Luzhniki Stadium.45 mins: We have a break in play as Belhanda goes down after being caught in the face by Carvalho. It looked accidental and he should be OK to continue.42 mins: Just a few minutes to go until the break and Portugal have done a great job to stop Morocco’s barrage of attacks. 40 mins: SO CLOSE! Ronaldo brings the ball down and he plays in Guedes thanks to a well-weighted chip but the forward volleys straight into the hands of Mohamedi. Benatia is the first man into the book as the referee tries to control the game and not let things get out of hand.36 mins: Morocco urge the referee to book Cedric as he brings down Boutaib but the appeals are ignored and play resumes on the halfway line.35 mins: Only 35 minutes into the contest but this is a much better performance from Morocco as they try to keep their tournament hopes alive. The chances have dried up but they will be confident they can grab at least one goal this afternoon.33 mins: Ronaldo starting to show signs of frustration as he moans at one or two of his team-mates as they decide against crossing. 30 mins: The answer is no as he drills his effort straight into the Morocco wall. It remains 1-0 to Santos’ men!29 mins: Boutaib goes down in the Portugal box and demands a penalty but the Morocco fans are furious as Portugal break and Mario wins a free kick in a good position. It will be Ronaldo to take it…he can’t do it again can he?27 mins: BIG appeals for a penalty from the Morocco crowd as Amrabat goes down after a challenge from Guerreiro. The referee is not interested but Renard is left fuming on the touchline!25 mins: More jeers as Ronaldo goes down and does a few forward rolls after being clipped on the ankle by Benatia.23 mins: Ziyech goes looking for possession and glides inside before picking his spot from 25 yards out. Unfortunately, the winger fails to get the required power behind the ball and that is a comfortable save for new Wolves keeper Patricio.21 mins: Morocco have been the better team inside the first 20 minutes but they have failed to take any of their chances. Boos can be heard from their fans as Portugal try to settle down and play keep ball for a minute or two.20 mins: Ziyech wins a corner after some more good play but Portugal clear his delivery at the first time of asking. 19 mins: CHANCE – Dirar beats the offside trap and drills a low cross into the box but the referee spots a foul in back play. Another warning sign for the European champions.17 mins: Portugal need to improve here, they are really struggling to regain momentum despite being in the lead.15 mins: Amrabat came into this game wearing a scrum cap but he appears to have taken it off. He will be hoping to avoid another nasty head clash!13 mins: For the first time the two teams look to be trying to slow the play down and build from the back. Frantic start in Moscow and Portugal lead thanks to another fine finish from Ronaldo. 11 mins: CHANCE – Morocco have responded well since going behind and Da Costa nearly finds an equaliser. Ziyech swings in a corner to the back post and Da Costa gets up well to head home but Patricio does well to smother his effort.10 mins: CHANCE – Morocco work the ball down the right channel and Dirar picks out Boussoufa with a cross but the holding midfielder heads wide.8 mins: CHANCE – Ronaldo nearly grabs a brace but he can only shoot wide of the far post. Morocco’s defence collapses as Ronaldo turns on the edge of the box but he cannot find the bottom corner.6 mins: Wonderful moment for Ronaldo as he has now scored more international goals than any other European player in the history of football with 85. What a player!4 mins: After weathering some early pressure, Portugal now win a corner after Bernardo Silva’s cross was turned behind.Another set piece for Santos’ men after Da Costa heads over a long-range effort from Guerreiro.GOAAALL Portugal 1-0 Morocco – He’s at it again, Ronaldo grabs his fourth goal of the tournament from the corner. The Real Madrid star wrestles away from his marker before diving low to head home past Mohamedi. Superb start for Portugal!!Moutinho grabs the assist thanks to that superb curling delivery which caused chaos for the Morocco defence.3 mins: Renard’s men have to attack today and they have made a lively start with both Amrabat and Ziyech looking lively down the flanks. The latter swings in a cross for Boutaib but the striker can only head wide.2 mins: It is very simple today for Morocco, if they lose then they are out of the tournament with one game to spare. 1 min: We are underway in Moscow, with Morocco in their red strip and Portugal in all white. HERE WE GO…We are nearly ready for kick off as both teams enter the tunnel, can Morocco tame Ronaldo?Just one change for Portugal from that thrilling draw with Spain as Fernandes drops out for Joao Mario. Morocco coach Herve Renard has decided to make three alterations to his team with Saiss, Harit and El Kaabi all making way. With today a must win game, Renard brings in Da Costa, Ziyech and Boutaib.Morocco SUBS: Amine Harit, Ayoub El Kaabi, Youssef En-Nesyri, Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez, Faycal Fajr, Hamza Mendyl, Sofyan Amrabat, Ahmed Reda Tagnaouti, Romain Saiss, Aziz Bouhaddouz, Bono.Morocco Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Munir Mohamedi, Nabil Dirar, Medhi Benatia (c), Manuel da Costa, Achraf Hakimi, Karim El Ahmadi, Moubarak Boussoufa, Nordin Amrabat, Younes Belhanda, Hakim Ziyech, Khalid Boutaib.Portugal SUBS: Anthony Lopes, Ricardo Quaresma, Adrien Silva, Andre Silva, Gelson Martins, Mario Rui, Beto, Ricardo Pereira, Bruno Fernandes, Manuel Fernandes, Bruno Alves, Ruben Dias.Portugal Starting XI (4-4-2): Rui Patrício, Cédric Soares, Pepe, Jose Fonte, Raphael Guerreiro, Bernardo Silva, Joao Moutinho, William Carvalho, Joao Mario, Goncalo Guedes, Cristiano Ronaldo.Portugal have lost only one of their last 10 World Cup group games, winning five and drawing the other four. However, they will need to be at their best going forward, with Morocco not facing a single shot in the second half of their opening match against Iran.Fernando Santos’ men will go top if they win, but that could all change come 7pm this evening. If they are to be successful they will need to rewrite the record books, with Morocco beating Portugal 3-1 in their only previous encounter back in 1986.Portugal come into the game on the back of that entertaining 3-3 draw against Spain, while Morocco were beaten 1-0 by Iran last week.30 mins until KO: Good afternoon and welcome to our live text coverage of the Group B 2018 World Cup match between Portugal and Morocco at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.Squads & Team News Just the one change for Portugal as Joao Mario takes Bruno Fernandes’ place on the left of midfield, while Goncalo Guedes continues to be preferred over Andre Silva as Cristiano Ronaldo’s strike-partner.Morocco, however, have changed things up a little, and the major omission is Wolves’ Roman Saiss, who has been left on the bench. Nordin Amrabat has been pushed further forward and Amine Harit has also been dropped for full-back Nabil Dirar as Renard opts for a more defensive approach in this game. Confirmed Portugal XI: Rui Patricio; Guerreiro, Fonte, Pepe, Cedric; Mario, Moutinho, Carvalho, B. Silva; Ronaldo, GuedesPortugal subs: Alves, M. Fernandes, Andre Silva, Lopes, Dias, Pereira, B. Fernandes, Martins, Rui, Quaresma, Beto, Adrien SilvaConfirmed Morocco XI: Munir; Hakimi, Da Costa, Benatia, Dirar; Boussoufa, El Ahmadi; Ziyech, Belhanda, N. Amrabat; BoutaibMorocco subs: Bono, Mendyl, Saiss, El Kaabi, Fajr, Ait Bennasser, Harit, En-Nesyri, Bouhaddouz, S. Amrabat, Tagnaouti, Carcela-GonzalezTV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial). New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser. US TV channel Online stream FS1 / Telemundo fubo TV (7-day free trial) In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on TV on BBC One or streamed live online using the iPlayer. UK TV channel Online stream BBC One iPlayer For the first time the two teams look to be trying to slow the play down and build from the back. Frantic start in Moscow and Portugal lead thanks to another fine finish from Ronaldo. HALF TIME – Portugal 1-0 Morocco. WIDE! Portugal win a corner and Fonte climbs high but as he heads wide the referee gives a free kick to Morocco. SAVE!!! Amrabat draws in two defenders and plays in Belhanda on the edge of the box. The midfielder picks his spot but Patricio is alert and plucks the ball out of the air and thwarts the danger. JUST OVER! Ziyech calls rank on the set piece but he cannot get his shot up and down after beating the wall. His left-footed effort sails over the bar and Patricio will now take the goal kick.
World Cup Belgium vs Tunisia: Live blog, text commentary, line-ups, stream & TV channel Ryan Kelly Last updated 1 year ago 14:45 6/23/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images World Cup Belgium v Tunisia Tunisia Belgium The Red Devils delivered a routine victory over Panama in their opening game and they will aim to build on that display What an incredible game – the highest-scoring so far – in which Belgium showed their quality and attacking prowess, and could easily have scored more! Hazard and Lukaku grabbed two apiece, before substitute Batshuayi eventually made it five, although he could have had four to himself! Tunisia hit two of their won through Bronn and Khazri, leaving question marks over Belgium’s defending, but were simply overrun by the superior quality of their opponents. It finishes 5-2 to Belgium in one of the most entertaining games of the tournament! FULL-TIME: BELGIUM 5-2 TUNISIA Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar 90+3 mins: GOAL! TUNISIA MAKE IT 5-2! Out of nowhere again, Nagguez bombs forward from right-back and cuts the ball back towards Khazri, who guides the ball into the far corner on the swivel. Lax defending from Belgium though, as Carrasco has switched off and the back three were all static. They felt the game was over and done with. 90+2 mins: MISS! Batshuayi charges at goal, and has Tielemans in support, but he ignores the run of his team-mate and tries to lash a shot in on his left foot after working a yard, but he drags it wide! Tielemans is not happy, having assisted the striker just minutes earlier. 90 mins: GOAL! IT’S 5-1 NOW! Batshuayi finally gets his goal! Tielemans puts in an absolute peach of a ball from the right that the striker throws himself at, turning the ball into the corner with his left foot!89 mins: Tielemans takes a corner deep to the edge of the box, but it’s hooked away by a defender and the danger was minimal. 88 mins: Belgium are playing the ball around comfortably now, under minimal pressure from Tunisia. Can either side grab one last goal here? 86 mins: Impressive youngster Tielemans, who plies his trade at Monaco, replaces Mertens in Belgium’s final change. He will play just in front of Witsel and Fellaini, leaving De Bruyne in support of Batshuayi.85 mins: Meunier tries to loft the ball forward for Batshuayi , but it’s a little too heavy and it runs out for a goal-kick. 83 mins: The Dortmund striker, on loan from Chelsea, is cutting a very frustrated figure out here. He could easily have had a hat-trick, but he’s still yet to find the back of the net.81 mins: SAVE! Batshuayi simply cannot score! De Bruyne does excellently down the left, beating his man and crossing superbly for Batshuayi, whose powerful, left-footed volley from inside the box is kept out by Ben Mustapha! 80 mins: CROSSBAR! How has Batshuayi not scored?! Carrasco cuts inside from the left and lashes a powerful shot at goal that Ben Mustapha fumbles, but Batshuayi, latching onto the loose ball, somehow rattles it off the crossbar and out from six yards!! 77 mins: Khaoui is down with cramp as Tunisian legs begin to tire. They’ve worked hard today, but to no avail. 76 mins: OFF THE LINE! Batshuayi finally gets onto a Mertens through-ball ahead of Ben Mustapha, rounding him and bobbling a strike at an open goal, but Meriah shows incredible desire to get back and clear it off the line! Batshuayi had to score there though. 75 mins: SAVE! Ben Mustapha charges out of his box to deal with a pass in behind for Batshuayi, and has to be careful not to use his hands as he slides to intercept, using his chest instead! 74 mins: Mertens is flagged for offside after the ball is won high up the field. He was in a good position there. 72 mins: Vertonghen is holding his head after a clash when competing for a ball into the box, and is taken to the sidelines for a quick check. He looks as though he will be okay to continue though. 71 mins: Mertens plays the ball over the top for Batshuayi to chase in behind, but the flag goes up for offside. That was a tight call. 70 mins: Khaoui sees Khazri’s free-kick headed out to him, but flashes a wild effort high over the bar on the volley. 69 mins: Carrasco comes in off the left and tries to slip it through for Mertens, but the keeper is out quickly to collect.68 mins: Hazard, like Lukaku, perhaps would have wanted his hat-trick, but is sensibly replaced by Martinez, with Batshuayi coming on in his stead.67 mins: Badri shows quick feet to work a yard of space and tries to thump a strike in, but Courtois show good reflexes to get across and hold the shot. 65 mins: Khazri takes a short corner and receives it back immediately, before trying an ambitious effort from the edge of the box that is blocked away. Sliti then tries one from 18 yards, but Alderweireld is across to block it. 63 mins: Hazard, looking for his hat-trick no doubt, balloons an effort high over the bar from outside the box. Not his best effort this game. 61 mins: MISS! Carrasco works some space beautifully, cutting inside onto his favoured right foot and unleashing a wicked, curling effort towards the top corner, but it’s just over the top! 60 mins: CHANCE! Khazri leaves the ball with a clever dummy for Badri, but his shot is blocked from inside the box! Tunisia aren’t done yet.59 mins: Lukaku may be a little disappointed to be coming off without a hat-trick, but Martinez clearly wants to take no risks with his star striker, who had to be treated for what looked like an ankle injury in the first half. Fellaini replaces him, slotting into midfield alongside Witsel and allowing De Bruyne further forward to support Hazard and Mertens. Meanwhile Sassi, who scored the penalty against England, is replaced by winger Sliti in Tunisia’s final change. 57 mins: Carrasco is played through neatly on the left, but he tries to cut back instead of shooting and his pass is blocked! 55 mins: MISS! Sassi spots Courtois off his line and tries a cheeky lob on the half-volley, but it sails wide! That was a decent effort by the midfielder though. 54 mins: Fakhreddine Ben Youssef tangles with Vertonghen on the touchline, and has his elbow in the air. He seems to be losing his cool a bit, and is perhaps lucky to escape a booking. 51 mins: GOAL!!!!! IT’S NOW 4-1! Hazard grabs his second in style, chesting down from a long ball by Alderweireld, his run split the two centre-halves, before poking round the onrushing goalkeeper and firing into an empty net!! Great composure there from Hazard. 50 mins: SAVE! Tunisia have started strongly in this half as Badri works some space off the left and drills a low effort at goal that Courtois holds well. 49 mins: CHANCE! Khazri stretches to reach a cross from the left, but it’s a little high and he can’t direct it towards the target! The flag is up for offside, anyway. 47 mins: MISS! Belgium work a short corner well and De Bruyne fizzes a ball in towards the near post, but Alderweireld spoons his effort over the bar! 46 mins: The second half is underway!Tunisia lost two men to injury in that first half, and with just one substitute left, they may find that tiring legs struggle in the latter stages of the second half. Belgium, however, simply need to maintain their level of quality and could find themselves racking up a few more here, and may look to send out a statement of intent going forward. What a half! Belgium were 2-0 up after just 16 minutes following a Hazard penalty and an emphatic Lukaku strike, but Tunisia got themselves back into the game out of nowhere just two minutes later, with Bronn glancing Khazri’s superb free-kick into the net with his side’s first shot of the game! Chances were plentiful as both sides showed positivity in an open encounter, and Lukaku struck again on the stroke of half-time, lifting the ball over the goalkeeper from close range to restore his side’s two-goal advantage. HALF-TIME: BELGIUM 3-1 TUNISIA45+3 mins: GOAL!!! LUKAKU MAKES IT 3-1! Right on the stroke of half-time, Lukaku gets his second! De Bruyne drifted out to the right and linked up well with Meunier, who drifted into the middle and slipped an inch-perfect through-ball for Lukaku to run onto and clip over the onrushing goalkeeper! Great finish! 45+1 mins: For the first time in the game, both sides seem to be taking a breather and slowing the pace down.44 mins: Tunisia have grown into the game, while Belgium’s intensity has dropped a little. However, the favourites have the capacity to strike in an instant with their quality, so the African side must remain wary.42 mins: Tunisia win a corner down the left, forcing Boyata to make an excellent sliding block! The corner flies straight into the arms of Courtois, however. 41 mins: Syam Ben Youssef is the second Tunisian defender to be stretchered off before half-time, and is replaced by Leicester City’s Benalouane.40 mins: MISS! Ben Youssef tries to strike a volley at goal, but he just cuts across it too much and sends it miles wide of the target! 39 mins: CHANCE! Belgium win the ball well on the right and play it to Lukaku on the edge of the box. He thinks about shooting on his left, but instead slips De Bruyne in and is inches away from the return pass inside the box, but Ben Mustapha gathers! 37 mins: Khazri trudges back on, and play resumes, although both sides seem to be slowing things down just for the moment. 36 mins: Worryingly for Tunisia, Khazri is down holding his ankle, and the game is stopped so he can receive some treatment. 35 mins: Lukaku, who was briefly off the pitch to receive some treatment, has returned to the pitch as Khazri just fails to unlock the Belgium defence on the break after some clever build-up play. 34 mins: SAVE! Mertens gets the better of his man down the right and curls in a delightful cross that Ben Mustapha does well to get a hand to, but he fumbles it initially before pouncing on the loose ball. 33 mins: SAVE! Khazri pulls a nervy save out of Courtois with a swerving, curling strike from outside the box that the Chelsea shot-stopper gathers at the second attempt! 31 mins: MISS! Tunsia break dangerously down the right as they catch Carrasco napping, and the cross into the box is only headed as far as Sassi, who shifts it onto his right foot and just drags an effort narrowly wide of the bottom-left corner! 29 mins: What an opening half an hour this has been! Breathless stuff from both sides here.27 mins: CHANCE! The openings are flowing thick and fast here as Tunisia play a suicidal ball out from the back that falls straight to Witsel, who perhaps picks the wrong option and smacks a deflected shot over the bar rather that picking out Lukaku!26 mins: CHANCE! Lukaku is fed through as Belgium break, but his first touch is heavy and Ben Mustapha shepherds him out of play. Lukaku has to hurdle the keeper at the byline and wants a penalty, but there’s nothing doing there. 25 mins: Khazri gets to the byline and tries a rabona cross that Courtois catches! Lovely skill from the forward! 24 mins: Bronn is indeed replaced at right-back by Nagguez, who will be fortunate to have as much of an impact on the game for his side as the man he replaces! 22 mins: Bronn, the goalscorer, is down for Tunisia and it doesn’t look good. His arm went up immediately to signal to the bench, and he looks certain to come off. 20 mins: SAVE! Carrasco works a yard and hammers a shot at goal, but Ben Mustapha palms it away. It falls kindly for Hazard on the follow-up, but he gets caught between shooting and squaring for Lukaku, and ends up not quite doing either! 19 mins: Tunisia scored with their only shot on target against England, and have done it again here! In fact that was their first shot so far in this game!18 mins: GOAL!!!!! TUNISIA PULL ONE BACK! It’s now 2-1 as Bronn glances Khazri’s free-kick across the keeper and into the far corner! Khazri’s set-piece delivery was enticing and dangerous, and all Bronn needed was a little flick to take it past the keeper and into the goal! This game is far from over! 16 mins: GOAL!!!! LUKAKU MAKES IT 2-0 TO BELGIUM! Mertens capitalised on a poor touch from Maaloul and fed Lukaku well, timing his pass perfectly as the big striker peels off his marker, before arrowing a low strike right into the bottom-right corner through the legs of Ben Youssef! Great goal! 15 mins: SAVE! Carrasco wriggles inside from the left and strikes at goal, but it’s tame and the goalkeeper is relatively untroubled.14 mins: Sassi is booked for dissent after a soft Khazri appeal for a penalty is turned down. There was a little coming together between the forward and Vertonghen, but his reaction was certainly exaggerated. 13 mins: SAVE! Hazard is inches away from a second goal, but he can’t make the most of an enticing opportunity and Ben Mustapha clings on gratefully! 12 mins: BLOCK! Hazard’s incisive run down the left earns his side a throw, which is taken to Witsel, and the midfielder turns and thumps an effort at goal that cannons back off a red shirt! 10 mins: Courtois has to be alert to come off his line and collect a dinked ball over the top for Badri. Belgium look bright and sharp so far. 8 mins: Tunisia try to muster an attack, pushing forward down the right, but the ball is too heavy down the line and runs out harmlessly for a goal-kick. 6 mins: GOAL!!! HAZARD SCORES! It’s 1-0 to Belgium very early on here as Hazard gives the keeper the eyes and slots emphatically into the bottom-left corner. What a start!5 mins: PENALTY! Belgium produce some lovely, flowing football and Hazard throws a dummy in, allowing the ball to run through his legs for Lukaku, who feeds him the return ball and Ben Youssef clumsily bundles the Chelsea forward over just inside the box! Hazard will take. 4 mins: Meunier drifts inside from his right wing-back position and drives a low effort at goal with his weaker left foot, and it’s an easy stop for Ben Mustapha.3 mins: CHANCE! Tunisia surge forward and want a free-kick, but the referee waves the appeal away and the ball is pumped in behind for Lukaku to chase, but the goalkeeper just gets there first! 2 mins: Belgium win a very early free-kick which De Bruyne lofts forward, but it’s not his best delivery and Ben Mustapha collects with ease. 1 min: We’re underway!5 MINS TILL KO: The teams are out here and the anthems are underway, kick-off is almost upon us!Tunisia need to win here if they are to have any hope of progressing from the group, but they face a tough task here, with Belgium unbeaten in 10 World Cup group stage games (W5 D5). 10 mins till KO: A win for Belgium today all but confirms qualification – assuming Panama do not beat England tomorrow – and Martinez’s side will be motivated to build on their strong start here. Belgium have not lost to any of the three African sides they have faced at the World Cup, and Tunisia do not have a strong record in the tournament, failing to win any of their last 12 World Cup games (D4 L8) after winning their first-ever match against Mexico. 15 mins till KO: Belgium and Tunisia have met three times previously, winning one apiece and drawing the other – which came in their only other World Cup encounter in 2002. Belgium’s victory came in their most recent encounter four years ago, with Mertens grabbing a late winner.20 mins till KO: Tunisia head coach Nabil Maaloul makes two changes from the side that lost 2-1 to England in their opening fixture, with Ben Mustapha continuing in goal for the injured Mouez Hassen – whose tournament is sadly over following his shoulder injury. Khaoui also replaces Sliti, slotting into midfield and pushing Badri further forward. Roberto Martinez makes no changes to the side that beat Panama so comfortably in their opening fixture, with Boyata continuing in the centre of defence while Kompany recovers from a groin injury. 30 mins till KO: The team news is in, here is how the two sides will line-up this afternoon.Belgium XI (3-4-3): Thibaut Courtois; Jan Vertonghen, Dedryck Boyata, Toby Alderweireld; Yannick Carrasco, Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Thomas Meunier; Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Dries MertensBelgium substitutes: Mousa Dembele, Leander Dendoncker, Thorgan Hazard, Michy Batshuayi, Nacer Chadli, Marouane Fellaini, Thomas Vermaelen, Simon Mignolet, Vincent Kompany, Youri Tielemans, Adnan Januzaj, Koen CasteelsTunisia XI (4-3-3): Farouk Ben Mustapha; Ali Maaloul, Yassine Meriah, Syam Ben Youssef, Dylan Bronn; Saif-Eddine Khaoui, Ellyes Skhiri, Ferjani Sassi; Anice Badri, Wahbi Khazri, Fakhreddine Ben YoussefTunisia substitutes: Yohan Benalouane, Mohamed Ben Amor, Naim Sliti, Hamdi Nagguez, Ahmed Khalil, Bassem Srarfi, Ghilane Chaalali, Oussama Haddadi, Rami Bedoui, Saber Khalifa, Aymen Mathlouthi45 mins till KO: Hello and welcome to Goal’s live blog of the Group G clash between Belgium and Tunisia at the 2018 Russia World Cup.Squads & Team News Belgium XI: Courtois; Vertonghen, Boyata, Alderweireld; Carrasco, Witsel, De Bruyne, Meunier; E. Hazard, Mertens, Lukaku.Belgium subs: Dembele, Dendoncker, Hazard, Batshuayi, Chadli, Fellaini, Vermaelen, Mignolet, Kompany, Tielemans, Januzaj, CasteelsTunisia XI: Ben Mustapha; Bronn, S. Ben Youssef, Meriah, Maaloul; Skhiri, Sassi, Khaoui; Badri, F. Ben Youssef, Khazri.Tunisia subs: Benalouane, Ben Amor, Sliti, Nagguez, Khalil, Srarfi, Chaalali, Haddadi, Bedoui, Khalifa, MathlouthiTV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial). New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser. US TV channel Online stream FOX / Telemundo fubo TV (7-day free trial) In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on TV on BBC One or streamed live online using the BBC iPlayer. UK TV channel Online stream BBC One BBC iPlayer
Transfers ‘Fellaini isn’t final title jigsaw piece for Man Utd’ – Neville supports new contract but only in squad role Chris Burton 08:36 7/1/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Transfers Manchester United Premier League The former Red Devils defender is pleased to see the Belgian staying at Old Trafford but believes he will remain little more than a squad player Marouane Fellaini will “contribute” for Manchester United after signing a new two-year contract but can hardly be considered “the final piece” of a title-winning jigsaw, says Gary Neville.After several months of uncertainty regarding his future plans, the Belgium international has committed his immediate future to the Red Devils by penning fresh terms.He had been poised to drop into the free agent pool, with Premier League rivals Arsenal among those reported to be keen on acquiring the versatile performer. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Perfection from Pulisic: Chelsea’s Captain America has arrived in the Premier League Why always Raheem? ‘Unplayable’ Sterling setting a standard Man City’s other stars need to match ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Neville believes retaining the 30-year-old is good business for United, as he has proved to be a useful asset under Jose Mourinho, but more is required if a challenge for the Premier League crown is to be sustained in 2018-19.The former Red Devils defender told Sky Sports: “Well he [Mourinho] wanted to keep him as a part of the club.“There was talk about if he was leaving, from my point of view it wouldn’t have made too much difference.“I don’t think he’s the final piece of the jigsaw which gets Manchester United back to winning the title.“He is someone, who within a squad of 22 players, can contribute during a season.“There’s always a lot of exposure of Marouane Fellaini in his position at Manchester United.“The reality is he does contribute during the season – if they needed to go long in a game, he can do it.“If he is part of a midfield pool of four or five players, then I’m satisfied with that.”United have already bolstered their midfield ranks this summer with the £52.5 million ($70m) signing of Brazil international Fred.They have, however, lost Michael Carrick to retirement, so further additions are expected.Mourinho is currently away on punditry duty at World Cup 2018, though, with recruitment drives across the globe set to be stepped up once the action in Russia comes to a close.