England aim to finish in the last 16

England manager Gareth Southgate and Harry Kane will secure a place in the knockout stages on Friday (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)

England will look to secure their place in the last 16 of the World Cup when they take on the United States, while Wales take on Iran in a crucial Group B game on Friday.

Hosts Qatar play their second game in Group A against Senegal and the Netherlands take on Ecuador to keep a perfect start.

On Thursday, Cristiano Ronaldo made his own piece of World Cup history as Portugal beat Ghana in the first game of Group H before Brazil, pre-tournament favorites, beat Serbia 2-0 with a brace for Richarlison – but there were fears of injury for Neymar.

Uruguay and South Korea had previously played a meager goalless draw, but Switzerland started their season with a 1-0 win over Cameroon.

Here, the PA news agency updates on events in Qatar.

England expected

Gareth Southgate has challenged England to keep thinking big when it comes to continuing the momentum in Qatar.

England captain Harry Kane has shaken off his ankle problems to be fit for Friday’s clash at the Al Bayt Stadium.

Having reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Southgate is looking to go one step further from last summer’s European Championships, where England lost the final to Italy on penalties.

‚ÄúThese players really put our country on the map. They’re regaining our seriousness on the world stage and we need to keep doing that,” Southgate said.

Bale puts the team first

Wales captain Gareth Bale will take his place in the record books when he leads the side against Iran at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Friday morning.

Bale becomes his country’s all-time cap with his 110th cap, overtaking Chris Gunter, who will be one of the substitutes in Doha.

“On a personal level it’s an amazing achievement,” said Bale, who made his Wales debut in 2006. “But it’s more important that we try to get the win.”

Ronaldo is in the spotlight

Just two days after parting ways with Manchester United, Ronaldo made World Cup history as Portugal opened their season with a 3-2 win over Ghana.

Ronaldo – a free agent following his acrimonious departure from Old Trafford – became the first male footballer to score in five World Cups when he broke a deadlock with a penalty.

Andre Ayew’s equalizer briefly looked set to spoil Portugal’s party, but a quick double from Joao Felix and substitute Rafael Leao restored the lead before Osman Bukari struck a late second for Ghana.

In Thursday’s other Group H game, Diego Godin and Federico Valverde were both denied by woodwork, leaving Uruguay frustrated as they drew 0-0 with South Korea.

Richarlison in the double

A stunning volley from Tottenham striker Richarlison helped Brazil defeat Serbia in their first Group G game.

Richarlison, who was chosen over Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus, justified his selection with both goals at the yellow-clad Lusail Stadium.

After an unremarkable first half that saw Serbia’s dedicated defense stay ahead, Richarlison broke the deadlock with a shot on target from close range just after the hour.

Richarlison then struck in a spectacular second – flicking the ball up with his left foot, then spinning to send a right-footed volley into the corner to be an early contender for goal of the tournament.

However, star man Neymar was in tears after being forced off late with an ankle problem that will be investigated in the coming days.

Elsewhere in Group G, Breel Embolo scored the only goal for Switzerland when he met a low cross from Xherdan Shaqiri in a 1-0 win over Cameroon early in the second half.

image of the day

Tweet of the day

Who’s next?

Group B: Wales – Iran (1000, BBC1 and S4C)Group A: Qatar – Senegal (1300, BBC1)Group A: Netherlands – Ecuador (1600, ITV1)Group B: England – USA (1900, ITV1)

Leave a Comment