Stephanie Frappart to become first women referee at a men’s World Cup game

On Thursday, when Germany and Costa Rica take to the field for their World Cup clash, the attention will be on Stephanie Frappart, the official referee for the match. Frappart will be the first women referee to officiate in a men’s World Cup game.

France’s Stephanie Frappart is one of three women referees among the 36 selected for the tournament in Qatar, alongside Rwandan official Salima Mukansanga and Japan’s Yoshimi Yamashita. Additionally, three female referees have travelled to Qatar as assistant referees.

Frappart is no stranger to big games. She was the first woman to referee in France’s Ligue 1 in 2019, the same year she took charge of the women’s World Cup final in her home country.

Frappart also officiated the 2019 UEFA Super Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea before refereeing the Champions League in 2020 and the French Cup final last season.

Cameroon’s Onana suspended from the national team following ‘disciplinary reasons’

Cameroon’s first-choice goalkeeper Andre Onana has been suspended from the national team due to disciplinary reasons, the country’s federation (FECAFOOT) said after he was left out of the squad for their clash against Serbia at the FIFA World Cup.

The official statement from FECAFOOT said, “The Cameroon Football Federation hereby informs the public that following Mr. Rigobert Song Bahanag’s decision, head coach of the Indomitable Lions, the player Andre Onana has been temporarily suspended from the group for disciplinary reasons.”

The statement further stated, “The Cameroon Football Federation reiterates its full support to the head coach and his entire staff as they implement the federation’s policy aimed at preserving discipline, solidarity, complementarity, and cohesion within the national team. FECAFOOT further reaffirms its commitment to create a peaceful atmosphere for the team and to provide them with adequate facilities for an outstanding performance.”

Devis Epassy played in the absence of Onana in their Group G clash against Serbia, which ended in a draw with 3 goals scored from both sides. 

Belgium loses to Morocco

Morocco shocks Belgium thanks to Sabiri & Aboukhlal’s goals

Belgium who was considered one of the favourites for the 2022 FIFA World Cup has suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Morocco. The second-ranked football team was outclassed by Hakim Ziyech’s team 2-0 thanks to the two second-half goals scored by Abdelhamid Sabiri and Zakaria Aboukhlal.

The match started with both teams attacking consistently to get the lead. Morocco, however, got the better of the Belgian defence. In the 47th minute of the first half, Hakim Ziyech, the star winger of Morocco, scored a fantabulous goal before the stroke of the whistle. But the goal was ruled out as VAR called it offside.

This didn’t deter the confidence of the Moroccan team as they continued to keep possession of the ball and take shots at the target. In the 74th minute, the Moroccans breached past the Belgium defence. Abdelhamid Sabiri scored a carbon-copy free-kick to Ziyech’s earlier ruled-out goal. The Belgians were left shocked due to this absolute error by their defence.

To make the matters worse, the Moroccan team scored another wonderful goal thanks to Zakaria Aboukhlal’s graceful strike inside the box. Aboukhlal’s strike sealed the game for Morocco and gave his team their first World Cup win in over 24 years.

The loss makes matters worse for Belgium to qualify for the knockout stage. They have 3 points from 2 matches with one win and one loss and are in the third position in Group F. The Belgians have one match remaining against 2018 FIFA World Cup runner-up Croatia.

Tite inform Neymar to continue playing in WC

“Neymar will continue to play”, informs Brazil coach Tite

Brazil manager Tite has provided an update on the entire Neymar situation. He informed that the Brazilian will continue playing despite the ankle injury suffered by the player during his team’s opening clash against Serbia.

Although the team won the match quite comfortably, thanks to Richarlison’s brace, there was a lot of talk about Neymar, who himself, asked to be subbed in the 79th minute of the game.

The Paris St. Germain forward was seen limping off while coming out and looked close to tears as he received treatment on the bench, before being pictured with a swollen ankle as he made his way to the dressing room.

Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar confirmed the 30-year-old will undergo further assessment in the next 24 to 48 hours. Tite, Brazil’s head coach revealed Neymar continued playing a further 11 minutes after sustaining the injury and is adamant he will return.

“[Neymar] felt this pain throughout the game, but he decided to stay on the pitch to help his team,” the head coach said. He further said, “So it’s remarkable that he could bear this pain while his team was playing. He stayed 11 minutes on the pitch after his injury, until the moment he could no longer continue, and he was substituted.

“We are confident that Neymar will continue playing; he will continue playing in the World Cup”, Tite revealed.

Japan stuns Germany

Japan stuns 2014 World champions Germany in FIFA World Cup

Two big upsets in two days. After Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina, it was time for Japan to outclass the 2014 FIFA World Cup champions Germany. The South Asian team defeated the 11th-ranked football team to register a 2-1 victory in their Group E match.

The game started with the German players posing with their mouths covered to revolt against FIFA’s ban on the “One Love” armband. This was the team’s idea to show their dissent against the decision.

The Germans showed their dominance on the pitch by relentlessly attacking the opposing team’s goal. They came close multiple times. However, it was their captain Ilkay Gündogan who converted a penalty in the 33rd minute to give his team a lead.

Germany went into the break with a comfortable 1-0 lead over the Asian team. However, little did they knew Japan would turn the tables in such an astounding fashion. After multiple attempts to breach the German defence, Japan finally succeeded. Japan’s Ritsu Doan equalised in the 75th minute with a wonderful goal.

The game was nicely poised with the Germans looking to score the winner with their attacking gameplay. But it was Takuma Asano who smashed the winning goal from a tight angle in the 83rd minute to win the game for Japan.

Germany now faces an uphill task to qualify for the knockouts in a tough group consisting of Spain and Costa Rica besides Japan. 

Argentina loses against Saudi Arabia

Messi’s Argentina face a huge upset in FIFA World Cup; lose to Saudi Arabia

It’s just the third day of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and we have our first upset. Potential title challengers Argentina have lost to 51-ranked Saudi Arabia. It is a huge loss for the team full of superstars.

Argentina started the match by fielding their best players. Their star man, Lionel Messi, converted a penalty to give them a perfect start. The South American team were looking to kill the game as Lautaro Martinez scored an amazing goal but was ruled out by VAR. 

As soon as the second half progressed, the game saw a different version of Saudi Arabia. The team attacked relentlessly, and the approach paid dividends. Their left winger, Yahya Al-Shehri, scored soon after to level the scoreline. 

To make matters worse, Saudi Arabia’s winger Salem Aldawsari scored a blinder to seal the game. Thereafter, the Argentinians tried their best but couldn’t quite get past the Saudi defence.

The loss will hurt the Argentinians very hard as the South American team are on a mission to win the World Cup trophy for their star player, Lionel Messi and give him a special goodbye.

Ronaldo becomes the first celebrity to 500M followers

Cristiano Ronaldo breaks another record; becomes first to 500M Instagram followers

Cristiano Ronaldo’s stakes seem to be at an all-time high. After breaking the Internet yesterday with the Louis Vuitton campaign with fellow football G.O.A.T. Lionel Messi, the charismatic striker has become the first person to breach the 500 million followers barrier on Instagram.

The Manchester United striker crossed the milestone in the early hours of Monday. He became the first person in the world to have 500 followers on Instagram. The striker reached the milestone on Sunday evening. Lionel Messi is the second celebrity on the list with 376 million followers. While reality TV star Kylie Jenner (372M followers) and singer Selena Gomez (357M followers) come a close third and fourth respectively. The fifth spot is occupied by WWE star turned actor, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with 348 million followers.

The record seems to be like a bright light in a dark tunnel (a bit!). The Portugal striker is having a torrid time off the field. The star gave an explosive interview to Piers Morgan criticising the coach Erik Ten Hag and the management of Manchester United. 

As soon as the interview was out, everyone on the Internet started criticising his attitude and temperament. As per reports, Manchester United was looking at legal options to terminate Ronaldo’s contract, under which, he earns half a million pounds every week.

Qatar makes history; first host nation to lose opening game

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is no short of news. After making the controversial decision to have no alcohol in the eight World Cup stadiums, the country has attached its name to an unwanted record.

Qatar, the host nation, become the first country to lose its opening game at the World Cup. Enner Valencia’s two goals in the first 30 minutes of the game became the ultimate difference as Ecuador beat the hosts Qatar 2-0 in the tournament opener at the iconic Al Bayt Stadium.

 

“I would say we felt bad [for our supporters],” Qatar coach Felix Sanchez said. “I hope in the next game they will be prouder.”

Besides, Qatar was also in the line to have another foot-in-the-mouth moment. Ecuador striker Michael Estrada scored within the first 3 minutes of normal time. But the goal was cancelled as VAR called the goal “offside”.

The night started with more than 67,000 mostly Qatari fans filling the beautiful Al Bayt Stadium, enjoying an opening ceremony that showcased the tiny Arab emirate to a global audience 12 years after winning the right to host football’s biggest event. The night witnessed many high-profile celebrities in attendance including Morgan Freeman, FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and K-pop boyband BTS’ singer Jungkook performing his song “Dreamer”.

The Last Dance: Players who will be playing their final FIFA World Cup

The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off in less than a week. All the teams have landed in the Arabic country and started their preparation. The teams are getting acclimatised to the hot and humid conditions of Qatar.

Well, as the team prepares for the Winter World Cup, there are some players who might be playing their final World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi being the most obvious ones. This might be their last chance to get their hands on the coveted FIFA World Cup. So, they will be leaving no stone unturned to win the big prize.

In this article, we’ll look at those players who will be playing their final FIFA World Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo

The Portugal superstar will be making his 5th consecutive appearance at the most prestigious tournament in the world. Pooled in Group H alongside Uruguay, South Korea, and Ghana, Portugal will hope to give their star man a befitting send-off at the grand stage, and it does not get better than aiming for the ultimate prize.

The Manchester United striker has won every possible trophy there is to win. Only the World Cup trophy is missing from his cabinet. If he manages to go till the end, then it will establish him as one of the G.O.A.T.s.

Lionel Messi

The Argentine superstar will also be making his final appearance in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. One of the world’s finest players, Lionel Messi, hopes for World Cup glory this time. Following his admission that he will retire from international football after the World Cup, several Argentine teammates, including Manchester United’s Lisandro Martinez, swore, “to go to war for Messi to win the World Cup”.

Under the able leadership of Lionel Messi, Argentina are on a hot streak with 24 victories and 11 draws across friendly matches, World Cup 2022 qualifying and, of course, the 2021 Copa América, a trophy they lifted for the 15th time. With such form, things are all set for Lionel Messi to put an end to his World Cup trophy drought.

Neymar Jr.

The Brazilian superstar will be making his final appearance at the World Cup. Neymar is second on Brazil’s all-time top goalscorers list with 74 goals in 119 appearances.

“I think it (2022) will be my last World Cup,” Neymar said. “I am facing it like the last World Cup because I don’t know whether I will be able to, mentally, endure more soccer”, he said in the documentary Neymar & The Line Of Kings, produced by DAZN.

“I will do everything possible to get there very well. I will do all I can to win it with my country and realize my dream, the biggest since my boyhood.”

Luis Suarez

Uruguay’s all-time leading goalscorer will be plying his trade for the last time. The 35-year-old is set to play his fourth World Cup. The superstar will be trying to recreate his magic on the field, like in the 2010 World Cup, where he led his team to fourth place.

Robert Lewandowski

 

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have overshadowed the Poland superstar. The Barcelona main man has quietly kept scoring goals in his club career. At the international level, the former Bayern Munich striker has amassed 76 goals in 134 appearances for Poland but is yet to score at the World Cup.

Edinson Cavani

Uruguay’s most prolific goal scorer, Edinson Cavani, will also be playing his final World Cup. Cavani made his debut in 2008 against Columbia and since then has appeared in 133 games and scored 58 goals.

The striker has appeared in 14 matches and scored five goals in the World Cup.

Luka Modrić

The Real Madrid legend who plies his trade for Croatia will be making his final appearance on the biggest stage. The 37-year-old seems to be getting better with age. The creative midfielder, who led his team to the finals of the 2018 World Cup, will be looking to go all the way and win the trophy for his nation.

Manuel Neuer

The Bayern Munich legend is one of the best goalkeepers the game has ever witnessed. The 36-year-old will be playing his fourth World Cup. He has stood like a rock between the opposing teams and the goalpost.

Thomas Müller

One of the most prolific goal scorers in Germany’s squad, Thomas Müller, will be appearing in his fourth World Cup. The Bayern Munich striker has scored 10 goals in 16 games. Considering this will probably be his final World Cup, he will leave no stone unturned to get his hands on the prestigious trophy.

Other notable mentions: Karim Benzema, Olivier Giroud, Sergio Busquets, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Eden Hazard, Jordi Alba, Hugo Lloris, Angel Di Maria, and Pepe, among many others.

These were a few footballers who will be making their final appearance at the FIFA World Cup. Let us know which footballer will be missed the most in their national colours.

The 7 greatest FIFA World Cup individual performances

It is difficult to forget certain things in your life. Your first kiss, your first heartbreak, and an exceptional performance from a top athlete. Whether you are a Real Madrid or a Barcelona fan, Ronaldo’s bicycle kick in the 2018 Champions League semi-finals against Juventus will be eternally etched in your memory. A great performance never ends on the field; it is written and talked about for years to come. We are still talking about Virat Kohli’s match-winning knock against Pakistan in T20 World Cup 2022. 

The biggest sporting event, the FIFA World Cup, is just around the corner. Almost every legend has been featured in this grand event representing their respective country over the years. But somehow, only some of them have given us the performances to remember. Let’s have a look at seven such memorable renditions in the history of the FIFA World Cup. 

Zinedine Zidane vs Brazil, 1998 Final 

Zinedine Zidane became a benchmark for midfielders with his blistering performance against Brazil in the finals of the 1998 World Cup. The legendary midfielder took the Stade Velodrome stadium by storm with his two clutch goals within the first 45 minutes of the match. 

Zidane defined the meaning of grace every time he touched the ball that night. Each of his passes pierced through Brazil’s defence. France won the World Cup 3-0 against Brazil, with Emmanuel Petit scoring the final goal for the hosts. Zidane was named the “Man of the Match” and the rest is history. 

Cristiano Ronaldo vs Spain 2018 Group Stage

Cristiano Ronaldo has carried his side a lot of times in his glorious career. But to do it in a World Cup match against a team like Spain makes it more special. The Portuguese skipper scored a mesmerizing hattrick against Spain to steal a point against them in the group stages of the 2018 World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo also became the first player in history to score in eight consecutive international tournaments. 

Ronaldo grabbed his maiden World Cup hat trick when his side needed him the most. What makes this performance more special is Ronaldo’s 88th-minute free-kick to equalize the score against Spain. A once-in-a-generation show by the greatest of all time. 

James Rodriguez vs Uruguay, 2014 Round of 16 

The 2014 World Cup was a life-changing campaign for James Rodrigues. 22-year-old James Rodriguez won it for his side against Uruguay with a spectacular brace in the Round of 16 stage. The former Real Madrid player became an overnight success as Colombia went on to

win the match 2-0 against Uruguay. Rodriguez created history with his performance as he carried Colombia to their first-ever World Cup quarter-finals. 

Rodriguez’s first goal against Uruguay, which was an exceptional volley, was described as “one of the greatest goals the World Cup has ever seen” by none other than Uruguay’s manager of the time, Oscar Tabarez. James won the Golden boot in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and was soon signed by Real Madrid after the World Cup for a historic sum of 90m euros (£71m), making him the 4th costliest player of the time. 

Diego Maradona vs England, 1986 Quater-final 

“A little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God,” this might be the most iconic line said by any footballer in the history of the sport. We don’t actually need to say who said it and when. Diego Maradona is coined as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, footballers to ever grace this beautiful sport. He was passionate, a genius, and a serial winner. He was loved by all, except, umm, some of the English fans for obvious reasons. 

Maradona scored the infamous “hand of God” goal against England to knock them out of the quarter-final of the 1986 World Cup. However, the “hand of God” wasn’t the only talking point about Argentina’s win over England. Maradona also scored arguably the best goal of his career just 4 minutes after his first goal. Maradona’s second goal against England in 1986 was also named the ‘Goal of the century’. Gary Linekar scored a consolation goal for England in the 81st minute. 

Pele vs France, 1958 Semi-final 

“So you think you are Pele? a very common line used in the 70s and 80s, even by someone who has never watched a game of football. Pele was the first real superstar of the game and was globally known for his majestic aura in the world of sports. Pele was born to play football, and he has the stats to prove it. There are many songs written about his greatness, and his performance against France in the 1958 semi-final is just one of them. 

France was leading Brazil in that particular semi-final of the 1958 World Cup until Pele stepped in. A 17-year-old Pele, the youngest player in that World Cup, scored a hattrick to carry Brazil to the finals. Pele also scored a brace during Brazil’s 5-2 win against Sweden in the 1958 FIFA World Cup finals. Pele scored a total of six goals in just four appearances in the World Cup of 1958 and never looked back. 

Ronaldo vs Germany, 2002 Final 

The 2002 World Cup is fairly remembered for “that” haircut by the Brazilian Ronaldo. The legendary striker inspired almost an entire generation of teenagers to pick that haircut unintentionally. The real reason why Ronaldo adopted that look was to distract the media from writing about his ever-lasting knee injury. Against all odds, Ronaldo made it to Brazil’s squad in the 2002 World Cup after recovering from a severe knee injury.

Ronaldo was the star performer for Brazil in the finals against Germany, where he scored both goals to win for his team. Ronaldo comeback from a career-ending injury and became the highest scorer of the 2002 FIFA World Cup with a total of 12 goals. Ronaldo found the net against every opponent except England in the 2002 World Cup. But his performance in the finals against Germany was the best version of the Brazilian ace. 

Kylian Mbappe vs Argentina, 2018 Round of 16 

Kylian Mbappe’s worth is now in gold, and it is not a metaphor. No offer is good enough that will convince PSG to let him go; ask Florentino Perez. Very few players can match Mbappe’s stature in modern-day football, one of them being Manchester City’s Erling Haaland. Kylian Mbappe is touted to be the next legend of this game. Kylian Mbappe is a generational talent, and he has shown glimpses of his greatness since he was a boy. 

Kylian Mbappe became the first teenager after Pele to score a brace in a FIFA World Cup match, a record which stood since 1958. Kylian Mbappe achieved this feat against Argentina in the 2018 Round of 16 clash. Kylian Mbappe’s brace helped France to edge past Argentina in a thrilling 4-3 encounter. Kylian Mbappe was the best player on the pitch that night despite the presence of Lionel Messi.

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