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England hope to qualify for round of 16

England hope to qualify for round of 16

England manager Gareth Southgate and Harry Kane will fight for a play-off spot on Friday. (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)

England will be looking to secure a spot in the World Cup round of 16 when they face the United States, while Wales kick off Friday’s game against Iran in the Group B decider.

Hosts Qatar are playing their second Group A match against Senegal, while the Netherlands will play Ecuador looking to maintain a perfect start.

Cristiano Ronaldo wrote his own piece of World Cup history on Thursday as Portugal beat Ghana in their first Group H match before pre-tournament favorites Brazil defeated Serbia 2-0 with Richarlison’s brace, but Neymar feared injury.

Uruguay and South Korea had previously played out a tepid goalless draw, but Switzerland continued their campaign by beating Cameroon 1-0.

Here, the PA news agency follows the developments in Qatar.

England is waiting

Gareth Southgate urged England to keep thinking big as they look to maintain momentum in Qatar.

England captain Harry Kane got rid of an ankle problem to prepare for Friday’s match at Al Bayt Stadium.

Having reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Southgate hopes to be better than at last summer’s Euros, where England lost in the final to Italy on penalties.

“These players are really putting our country on the map. They are restoring our respectability on the world stage and we must continue to do so,” Southgate said.

Bale puts the team first

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

Bale is poised to become his country’s top scoring player with his 110th cap, overtaking Chris Gunther, who will be on the bench 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 win.”

Ronaldo enjoys the attention

Just two days after breaking ties with Manchester United, Ronaldo made World Cup history when Portugal kicked off their campaign with a 3-2 win over Ghana.

Ronaldo – a free agent following his acrimonious departure from Old Trafford – became the first male player to score in five World Cup finals when he broke the deadlock from penalties.

For a moment it looked like André Ayew’s equalizer would ruin Portugal’s party, but a quick double from Joao Felix and substitute Rafael Leão restored the lead before Osman Boukari hit Ghana with a final second.

In another Group H match on Thursday, Diego Godin and Federico Valverde prevented Uruguay from drawing 0-0 with South Korea.

Richarlison in doubles

A stunning volley from Tottenham striker Richarlison helped Brazil beat Serbia in the first leg of Group G.

Richarlison, who was favored over Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus, justified his choice with both goals at Lusail Stadium, dressed in yellow.

After a tight first half, with Serbia’s dedicated defense up to the mark, Richarlison broke the stalemate with a close-range strike just after the hour ended.

Richarlison then landed an impressive second shot – tossing the ball up with his left foot, then pivoting to send a right-footed volley into the corner for an early tournament goal contender.

Star player Neymar, however, was left in tears after being forced to leave late due to an ankle problem that will be assessed in the coming days.

Elsewhere in Group G, Brel Embolo scored the only goal for Switzerland when, early in the second half, he hit Xherdan Shaqiri with a low pass to secure a 1–0 victory over Cameroon.

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Who is next?

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

Written by khirou

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