Thank you for joining me today. The real action begins with Netherlands v USA. Join Beau Dure for all the action.
“Re Rob Wolf Peterson (12.33),” emails Steve Wiles. “I live in Bali too and I’m glad to see our local team being repped on the MBM (HBH? Not sure what to call a warm up blog). I think you you should ask Rob to send a photo of the Bali United shirt though, the Proper Football Men in the UK who bemoan the amount of advertising on modern shirts would be apoplectic.”
More on Brazil’s injury news.
Reports in Brazil say Pele has been moved to palliative care at Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo, after he stopped responding to cancer treatment.
Ed Aarons on Senegal and how they plan to beat England.
In addition to Gabriel Jesus, Alex Telles is also out of the World Cup. Dani Alves is the only fit full-back available to Tite for the last-16 match. It’s a good job they have plenty of people who can score goals.
Some big penalty statistics from the good folk at Opta.
Didier Deschamps knows France will not be able to breeze past Poland in their last-16 tie.
“Will there be other surprises? I only believe what I see. Today, even a great nation, if she is not ready, can have unpleasant situations. All the games are difficult, last night too. All the teams are good and prepared. The players all play in good leagues.
“This team (Poland) has had to defend in the first three games, defend a lot, and they defend very well. They love it. They have a hardcore of players with good experience. There is (Wojciech) Szczesny, (Kamil) Glik, (Robert) Lewandowski and you have to respect what this team does, they deserve to be there. Szczesny was decisive.
“My players know that there will be a response. They have a lot of attacking options to cause problems for the opponent.”
“I don’t know why anyone would pick the USA to win,” says Joshua Reynolds. “They have trouble scoring goals against teams that don’t even feature VVD. The Dutch might not be amazing but they will comfortably see off the USA.”
It’s a big test for USA, that’s for sure.
Senegal not too keen on the press.
“Afternoon Will,” afternoon Rob Wolf Petersen. “Can’t say I’ve personally received many niche football gifts but my brother co-directed the original Next Goal Wins and I live in Bali, so his oldest owns both an American Samoa kit and a Bali United top. A fairly unusual one-two punch.”
That is good stuff.
England trained today. The remaining 25 players in the squad all featured and will be fit for tomorrow.
Ben White, who left the camp earlier in the week due to personal reasons, is the only absentee.
Can Poland overcome France? Luke McLaughlin looks at the mood in Warsaw.
In relation to niche football gifts, Duncan Edwards emails: “Shortly after hearing the song “Dynamos versus Tornadoes” by the Real Sounds of Africa, my sister happened to be visiting Zimbabwe and i managed to persuade her to bring back a couple of football shirts. Sadly not a prized Dynamos shirt (in honour of their midfield great Moses Chunga, commemorated by the Real Sounds), but I think maybe Black Rhinos and CAPS FC. That was a good niche present.”
How can Germany bounce back from their World Cup failure? Philipp Lahm has a plan.
Nedum on Luis.
“Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo became the first man to score at five different World Cups.”
Whatever you think of the man, it is an impressive sporting achievement.
Cold War Steve is now my colleague. What a world.
If you can’t wait for Netherlands v USA later, Will Magee is on WSL duty. He has live updates from Manchester United v Aston Villa.
Bad news for Brazil.
“Brazil did not face a shot on target until first-half stoppage time in their final game against Cameroon.” Quite an impressive stat.
As the United States prepare for Saturday’s match with the Netherlands and an opportunity to reach the last eight of the World Cup for the first time in two decades, no single player has made a bigger impact than Adams, the Leeds United midfielder who has been the team’s brightest star across three matches in Qatar, both on and off the pitch.
Thanks for coming Uruguay.
The great John Brewin revisits England’s last knockout stage game against African opposition back in 1990.
Kurt Perleberg asks a big question: “Will the USMNT ever win the FIFA World Cup?”
I will say yes.
The many emotions of a Didier Deschamps press conference.
Switzerland boss Murat Yakin denied any assertions that politics were at the heart of two tense encounters in his side’s 3-2 win over Serbia, insisting any rumours to the contrary were “just speculation”.
The Swiss’ victory in a rematch of the 2018 group stage clash between the two sides propelled them into the last 16 as Group G runners-up in Qatar.
That previous win in Russia stirred up controversy when Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, both of Albanian-Kosovan heritage, were fined for their goal celebrations – hand gestures imitating a double-headed eagle symbol similar to the one on the Albanian flag.
Yakin, whose side will face Group H winners Portugal on Tuesday, shut down rumours any exchanges were politically charged, saying: “What I saw was a Granit Xhaka who focused fully on football today and who performed very well.
“I don’t know exactly what happened on the pitch. I just saw the players from Serbia crossing the sidelines, and I think other players tried to calm them down.
“I think that was just a very normal exchange, as it happens in football. You know, emotions are involved with such a game. Without emotions, I think that would be too much to expect.
“But I think overall, we were in control. They challenged us to the last minute. We had to really push our limits. But yes, again, I don’t know what happened exactly.”
He added: “We’re very happy that we’re now moving onto the round of 16, and I think everything else is just speculation and we’ll have to wait and see.” PA Media
Jordan Henderson remembers the bad times.
I received a Werder Bremen woolly hat so I could show my support for Niclas Fullkrug for the remainder of the tournament. Admittedly, Germany are out, so it doesn’t help much. Maybe they can bring Fullkrug back as a pundit. What’s the most niche football gift you’ve received?
After witnessing the group stage, who are you backing to win the tournament? I can’t look past Brazil’s arsenal of attackers. They have so many options up top, they will be very hard to stop.
Son Heung-min described South Korea’s agonising wait for confirmation of their place in World Cup knockout rounds “the longest six minutes of my life” after their 2-1 win over Portugal on Friday saw them advance to the last 16.
The Korean captain set up Hwang Hee-chan to score a 91st-minute winner against Fernando Santos’ side and leave the Taeguk Warriors hoping Uruguay would be unable to add to their two-goal lead over Ghana in the other Group H match.
Another goal would have taken Uruguay into the last 16 at Korea’s expense on goal-difference and the squad huddled together on the Education City Stadium pitch watching on digital devices as the South Americans ultimately fell short.
“It was the longest six minutes of my life, but in the circle we were really positive,” said Son, who will be playing in the World Cup knockout rounds for the first time in his career.
“I said: if Uruguay score one more goal, I’m very proud of this team and very happy that you gave it everything and we will see what’s going to happen. We were just waiting, but it was a long wait.” Reuters.
Louis van Gaal has been linked with the vacant Belgium national team job but he has more immediate matters to deal with, starting today against USA.
“We want to become world champions so we’ve got another four matches ahead of us and then we’ll see whether there are any offers on the table,” Van Gaal said through a translator. “If we become world champions, everybody is so opportunistic in this football world that there will be offers. I know that full well.
“But for the moment we are not world champions. And if I have to believe the Dutch media, we will never become world champions.”
It is Australia v Argentina later. Graham Arnold has played in the fixture before. A certain D Maradona was playing that day.
Due to the World Cup, there were a few League One and Two games last night.
The great Karen Carney on England v Senegal.
Kurt Perleberg is backing the Americans: “The USMNT will defeat the Netherlands today.”
Nedum Onuoha has been on Sky Sports News backing USA to overcome Netherlands. Is anyone else in the same boat? There is plenty of attacking talent in the USMNT squad but I fear their defence is a touch suspect.
England are four matches away from winning the World Cup. Jonathan Wilson asks ‘but are they any good at football?’.
Naturally, while my colleagues are off galavanting in Doha, I have been speaking to the former manager of a non-league team. Do not worry, it is very much World Cup-related. Two Senegal players have represented non-league teams in England. Can you name the other?
We should remind ourselves of yesterday’s action.
Starting with Serbia v Switzerland.
Barney Ronay’s analysis.
The match report.
And Cameroon v Brazil.
Barney Ronay has been looking at the Aspire project and how it’s influence.
The group stages are over, so it is time to relax. Oh, the knockout stages begin today.
The action kicks off with Netherlands v USA at 3pm and concludes with Argentina v Australia in the evening. Betting folk would back the Dutch and Argentinians to progress but this tournament has not been a simple one.
Elsewhere, there is plenty to build up to in the coming days, including England’s match tomorrow night against Senegal. Gareth Southgate’s side are back to get to the quarters but their opponents will be desperate to cause an upset.
As well as looking forward, I suspect there will be some fallout from yesterday. Uruguay’s upset with the officials and TV monitors might cause a few problems for them and Granit Xhaka’s alleged naughtiness might be assessed by Fifa.