Brazil, big favorite, enters the scene


hot in front

Brazil-Serbia and Portugal-Ghana

A group of Brazilian supporters pose with a replica of the World Cup in Doha on November 22.

After the surprise rout of Lionel Messi’s Argentina against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, it’s the turn of another big favorite for the final victory to make their debut this Thursday at 8 p.m.: Brazil. Two lengths from the goal record in the selection of “King” Pelé (75 against 77), Neymar will try to avoid the same inaugural misstep as his PSG teammate. Still, he and his teammates will have to be vigilant against an armed Serbia to play the spoilsports in a group G of death – with Switzerland and Cameroon. In particular, it will be necessary to keep an eye on the star striker of Juventus of Turin, Dusan Vlahovic, who is playing his first major international tournament with the Eagles.

Serbia had been one of the surprises in qualifying by beating Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in their group, forced to go through a play-off. Precisely, a little earlier (5 p.m.), “CR7” must, on the occasion of its entry into the tournament, against Ghana, join the closed club of players in the five final stages of a World Cup. Will we witness the burst of pride of the fivefold Ballon d’Or, whose divorce with his club, Manchester United, has just been recorded?

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the last chance of two legends

full throttle

Hajime Moriyasu’s masterstroke

On Wednesday, November 23, the second sensation of the World Cup came from the Khalifa International Stadium: Japan defeated Germany. Same score (2-1), same scenario (a turnaround in the second half) as the day before, when Saudi Arabia created the feat against Argentina.

This Japanese victory owes a lot to one man: Hajime Moriyasu. At 1-0 against his team, the Samuraï Blue coach took risks by making five changes, going from a 4-2-3-1 system to a 3-4-3 – three defenders, four midfielders and three forwards – offensively oriented.

His audacity transformed his team in the last twenty minutes of the match and the two Japanese goals were scored by players from the bench. “I believe this is a historic victory for Japan”reacted after this victory the technician at the head of the Japanese selection since the summer of 2018.

Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu on the lawn of the Khalifa International Stadium after his team's victory against Germany (2-1) during the World Cup, Wednesday, November 23, 2022, in Doha (Qatar).

Quicksands

“My children, for me, are the best in the world. Well, with my players, I feel the same. »

At a press conference, Uruguayan coach Diego Alonso insisted on recalling, “without arrogance”how much he believes in his men: “It’s feelings, that’s what I feel. Mine are the best. » The successor to the emblematic Oscar Tabarez (fifteen years at the head of Celeste) will take his first steps in the World Cup this Thursday, at 2 p.m., against South Korea.

A patch of blue sky

Dembélé, neither a defender nor just an “atmosphere”

Ousmane Dembélé in conference, it is always the promise of a certain freshness and sometimes lunar moments. Indeed, we are talking about a player who did not really know when he started whether he was right-handed or left-handed. Could this ambidexterity make him a makeshift left-back if ever something bad happened to him? Theo Hernandez, the only specialist in the position now? The idea was launched by his teammate – and child of Evreux (Eure) like him – Dayot Upamecano a few minutes earlier. “If I play left-back, we’re going to concede a lot of goals, huh… There’s Theo, he’s there, warns Dembélé, hilarious. We hope he will stay in very good health. »

The FC Barcelona winger was also questioned about his role as an entertainer. If Dembélé recalls that Didier Deschamps first took him for his “football skills”he admits to loving ” set the mood “. In 2018, he was especially useful in this role after losing his starting place against … Australia at the start of the World Cup. Decisive passer on Kylian Mbappé’s goal against these same Australians, Dembélé hopes that history will not stutter.

Qatar Postal

Germans defy FIFA

Present in the stands of the Khalifa International Stadium, in Doha, on the occasion of the match between Germany and Japan, on Wednesday, the German Interior Minister, Nancy Faeser, sported, for the time of a snapshot, the “One Love” armband against discrimination. The same one which seven European federations had to give up on Monday, under penalty of sporting sanctions from FIFA. At the same time, the starting eleven of the Nationalmannschaft covered his mouth in protest during the official photo preceding the meeting.

Read also: The symbolic gesture of the Germans against the attitude of FIFA

Already the day before, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark from 2011 to 2015, had worn a dress in the colors of the rainbow, which are also those of the LGBTQI + community, in the spans of the Ahmad-Ben stadium. -Ali, in Al-Rayyan, during the match between his country and Tunisia.

Grain of sand

21

Like the number of shots attempted by the selection of Canada against Belgium (including 14 in the first period)… without finding the net, Wednesday, November 23 at Al-Rayyan. Back in the World Cup thirty-six years later (their only participation dated back to 1986), the Canucks were attractive but too imprecise in the last gesture in front of Thibaut Courtois’ cage. The last Belgian rampart had the merit of repelling a penalty from Alphonso Davies in the first minutes. Finally, Michy Batshuayi sanctioned this lack of realism and the Red Devils won 1-0.

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