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England route Iran 6-2 in World Cup match

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(Last Updated On: November 21, 2022)

England defeated Iran 6-2 in their first FIFA World Cup match in Qatar on Monday.

The goalfest started when Jude Bellingham leaped high and headed a Luke Shaw cross into the net to give favored England the lead in the 35th minute. Harry Maguire headed down a corner, and Bukayo Saka drove the ball home for goal No. 2 in the 43rd minute.

Raheem Sterling picked up the third goal off a Harry Kane pinpoint assist in added time. The goals were a fair representation of the first half, in which England consistently bossed Iran.

The second half was a little different. Saka got the ball in the box, did some dribbling, then kicked the ball in, once he found an opening. It seemed almost too easy.

Unexpectedly, Iran pulled one back in the 65th minute, with a goal from its star, Mehdi Taremi, a late-bloomer who has been knocking them in at Porto in Portugal. Taremi got behind the defense and picked up a nice pass from Ali Gholizadeh before chipping the ball in.

Normal service resumed minutes later as England broke forward with numbers and Marcus Rashford, who had come on just a minute earlier, coolly knocked home another past the back-pedalling Iran defense. Another sub, Jack Grealish, got Goal No. 6 on the break.

Deep into extra time, Iran, which to its credit kept trying throughout the game, earned a penalty. Taremi converted it to make the final score 6-2.

In the first half, Iran keeper Alireza Beiranvand had collided hard with his own defender, suffering a head injury. After extended treatment on the turf, he returned to the game briefly before being carried out on a stretcher.

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Afghan cricket team moves its homeground to the UAE

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2022)

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) and the Emirates Cricket Board have entered into a five-year mutual cooperation agreement that will see the ACB host its home fixtures in the United Arab Emirates.

The five-year agreement will allow ACB to utilize UAE’s world-class venues for its home fixtures.

In 2016, Shahid Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex in Greater Noida became the home ground for the Afghanistan national cricket team after they previously played out of Sharjah, in the UAE.

According to the ACB, Afghanistan will play a series of three-T20I matches annually, against the UAE, for the duration of the agreement.

In return, the Emirates Cricket Board will provide valuable logistic support to the Afghanistan Cricket Board, including visa assistance and office space.

Naseeb Khan, the ACB CEO, acknowledged the cooperation between both countries and expressed his confidence that this fruitful agreement will serve and benefit both parties’ future goals and ambitions.

Mubashir Usmani, the General Secretary of the Emirates Cricket Board said: “Both parties, the Emirates Cricket Board and the Afghanistan Cricket Board enjoy long and cordial relations and we are happy to support the ACB in ensuring that they have a home for their cricket.

“We are also thankful to the Afghanistan Cricket Board for agreeing to play a series of T20I matches against UAE Team each year. This will provide our UAE team with invaluable exposure and help in their development.”

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Messi magic guides relieved Argentina past Mexico

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(Last Updated On: November 27, 2022)

Lionel Messi kept his dream of winning his first World Cup alive by rifling in the opening goal in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Mexico in World Cup Group C, proving he was far from done in the tournament.

The Argentine, competing in his fifth World Cup at age 35, has won every other major title in his career but has failed to lift the coveted trophy despite making the final in 2014, Reuters reported.

But his 64th minute strike that was followed by substitute Enzo Fernandez’s sublime effort three minutes from time, reignited their hopes of advancing past the group stage after their shock 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in their opener.

Messi, who equalled Diego Maradona’s Argentina record of 21 matches and eight goals at the World Cup, was nowhere to be seen for more than an hour before picking up an Angel Di Maria pass, finding just enough space and rifling in from 20 meters.

Substitute Fernandez made sure of the victory when he curled a superb shot into the top corner.

Argentina, on three points, can guarantee progress with a win over Poland, top on four, in their final game on Wednesday.

“Today starts another World Cup for Argentina,” Messi said. “I tell people the same thing, that they continue to believe. Today we did what we had to do.

“We had no other choice. We had to win so that we depended only on ourselves.

“The first half we didn’t play as we should and in the second, when we calmed down, we started to play the ball better and until the goal we went back to being what we are,” he said.

Mexico, who have now lost all four World Cup clashes with Argentina, have one point and must beat Saudi Arabia, on three, to have any chance of continuing their run of making the last 16 in the last seven World Cups, but even that might not be enough.

With the prospect of an Argentina elimination, tensions were high on and off the ball in a scrappy first half but with the two sets of fans creating an electric atmosphere in the stadium, Reuters reported.

Neither team wanted to commit too many players forward and apart from a free kick by Mexico’s Luis Chavez in the ninth minute that sailed past the goalmouth there were few chances.

Mexico’s high pressing game stifled most of their opponents’ attack and Messi struggled to find any space to maneuver in a congested midfield.

Apart from a Lautaro Martinez effort that was well off the mark and another from Messi, Argentina were toothless up front.

But in a major blow to Mexico, skipper Andres Guardado, a veteran of five World Cups who until then had been a commanding presence in midfield, had to be taken off injured in the 42nd.

The Mexicans still carved out two more chances with Alexis Vega before the break but the tables would turn in the second half.

The South Americans looked more determined after the break and their captain and talisman dragged them out of trouble with his second goal of the tournament.

The stadium erupted in cheers once more with Fernandez’s late strike which sealed Argentina’s first win in the tournament and rekindled Messi’s hopes of a first ever World Cup title that would match that of the late Maradona from 1986.

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Qatar eliminated from World Cup after Netherlands and Ecuador draw

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(Last Updated On: November 26, 2022)

Qatar became the first team to be eliminated from the World Cup on Friday after Group A rivals the Netherlands and Ecuador drew 1-1.

The Dutch and Ecuador each have four points, Senegal have three. Qatar are without a point after they lost their opening game 2-0 to Ecuador and then went down 3-1 to Senegal earlier on Friday. 

“If you expected us to go very far in this tournament, then it will be a disappointment,” Qatar coach Félix Sánchez said before his team was officially out. “Our goal was to be competitive.”

Qatar cannot qualify whatever happens in their final match against the Netherlands on Tuesday.
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