Friday, January 27, 2023

WC: Qatar eliminated after Netherlands and Ecuador draw; Iran beat Wales

Qatar are out of the World Cup – the first time a host nation has been eliminated after just two games.
The Netherlands’ 1-1 draw with Ecuador on Friday was enough to seal the Middle East country’s fate after the home side lost 3-1 to Senegal earlier in the day.
Last Sunday, Qatar were defeated 2-0 by Ecuador, with them currently on 0 points and a goal difference of -4.
Qatar still have to play their third group match on Tuesday, against the Netherlands.
But even if the hosts won that game, they would still only be on 3 points and would not be able to finish Group A in the top two.
Only the winner and runner-up in each group go through to the last 16 stage of the tournament.
The Netherlands and Ecuador are currently both on 4 points.
Senegal currently lie in third spot with 3 points and theoretically could still qualify if they overcome Ecuador on Tuesday.
Senegal registered a convincing 3-1 win over hosts Qatar in a Group A clash in the FIFA World Cup at the Thumama Stadium on Friday to keep their Round of 16 qualification hopes alive.
Boulaye Dia, who was booked by the Spanish referee for a foul, got his name on the scorers list with a goal four minutes away from the first half whistle. Famara Diedhiou added a second one three minutes after resuming the play.
Qatar pulled one back through substitute Mohammed Muntari in the 77th minute. Senegal struck their third goal through substitute Cheikh Dieng with seven minutes to go for the final whistle to put the issue beyond doubt for the African champions.
Valencia earns Ecuador deserved 1-1 draw against Netherlands
Ecuador’s “Superman” captain Enner Valencia led a feisty fightback on Friday as the South Americans drew 1-1 with the Netherlands in Group A to keep both teams in pole position for reaching the last 16 while ending Qatar’s chances of qualifying.
Valencia, 33, tapped in his third goal of the tournament from a rebound in the second half after Cody Gakpo had put the Dutch ahead in the sixth minute with a sizzling shot in a result that advanced both sides to four points.
Hosts Qatar lost their second successive game at their debut World Cup earlier on Friday to Senegal. The African champions are third in Group A with Ecuador to come in Tuesday’s final group games.
Ecuador had a subdued first half as Louis van Gaal’s side looked comfortable but unhurried. But the South Americans, roared on by a large yellow-clad contingent at the Khalifa International Stadium, stepped up a gear in the second half and could have won it when Gonzalo Plata’s strike hit the crossbar.
Iran upset 10 men Wales 2-0 in Group B match
Reduced to 10 men, Wales were left heartbroken as Rouzbeh Cheshmi and Ramin Rezaein scored in the stoppage time to help Iran claim a valuable 2-0 win in a Group B match of the FIFA World Cup at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium here on Friday.
Iran made the most of their one-man advantage, scoring two injury-time goals to beat Wales and maintain their chances of advancing from Group B.
Rouzbeh Cheshmi’s stunning goal in the eighth minute of stoppage time broke Wales’ resistance after goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey had been shown a straight red card for racing off his line and fouling Mehdi Taremi in the 84th minute.
Iran then added their second with practically the last kick of the game when Ramin Rezaeian finished off another rapid counter-attack with a cool finish over substitute goalkeeper Danny Ward.
Wales’ goalkeeper Hennessey was initially shown yellow for a challenge on Mehdi Taremi though it was checked by VAR with the referee swiftly overturning the decision.
Richarlison’s goals help Brazil beat Serbia 2-0
Richarlison scored two goals, the second with a spectacular acrobatic kick, to help Brazil beat Serbia 2-0 Friday at the World Cup.
In the 73rd minute, the striker used one touch to get the ball up in the air and then spun around and got off the ground before knocking the ball into the net with his right foot.
Brazil had struggled to get past the Serbian defense until Richarlison scored from close range in the 62nd in a buildup that started with Neymar.
Vinícius Júnior assisted on both goals.
Neymar, seeking his first major title with Brazil, stayed at 75 goals for the national team, two shy of Pelé’s scoring record.
Brazil coach Tite started with an attack-minded squad that included four forwards — Neymar, Vinícius Júnior, Raphinha and Richarlison. Attacking midfielder Lucas Paquetá played alongside Casemiro, the lone defensive midfielder.
Brazil’s best chance before Richarlison’s opening goal had been a low long-range shot by Alex Sandro that hit the post in the 60th. Neymar had his best opportunities with a free kick in the 50th and a shot from near the penalty spot in the 55th.
The 30-year-old Neymar arrived to his third World Cup as Brazil’s main attraction. He helped the “Seleção” win the 2013 Confederations Cup and its first Olympic gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, but has yet to win a major title with the national team.

Saturday’s matches
Tunisia Vs Australia – 3:30 pm
Poland Vs Saudi Arabia – 6:30 pm
France Vs Denmark – 9:30 pm
Argentina Vs Mexico – 12:30 am (Sunday)

Ecuador’s Enner Valencia, centre, and Jurrien Timber of the Netherlands challenge for the ball during the World Cup match. (AP/PTI)
Must Read