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World Cup briefing: Unemployed Cristiano Ronaldo makes historical past

On Thursday night time, Cristiano Ronaldo put his title within the historical past books. His aim towards Ghana — a penalty scored simply after the hour mark — made him the primary participant ever to attain at 5 separate World Cups.

The feat is a testomony to his enduring expertise, and to the size of his reign on the high of the boys’s sport. No marvel he nonetheless vies with Lionel Messi to be world soccer’s official GOAT.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is a phenomenon”, stated Fernando Santos, Portugal’s head coach, after the sport. “In 50 years’ time, we’ll proceed to discuss him.”

But the 37-year-old ahead finds himself on the lookout for work. Earlier this week, his contract with Manchester United was torn up with speedy impact — the fallout from an explosive interview he gave to Piers Morgan.

After Thursday’s match, he was requested about his future. He swerved. The one factor on his thoughts now could be this Portugal staff and the World Cup. “The remaining, it doesn’t matter,” he stated, earlier than leaving the post-match press convention.

Earlier within the day, Saudi Arabia’s sport minister had helped set tongues wagging. In an interview with the BBC, he was requested if Ronaldo is likely to be lured by the Saudi league. In spite of everything, the Gulf kingdom has been making an aggressive push into international sport.

“Something is feasible”, stated Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal. “I might like to see Cristiano Ronaldo play within the Saudi league.”

Messi already has a deal to assist promote tourism in Saudi Arabia. Maybe a package deal journey to observe Ronaldo might be within the subsequent vacation brochure.

Friday’s one to observe: Qatar’s final probability at redemption

Qatar’s goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb misses a shot from Ecuador in the team’s first World Cup match
Qatar’s goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb misses a shot from Ecuador within the staff’s first World Cup match © AP

Qatar’s soccer ambitions have been constructed at nice expense on the Aspire Academy, a cutting-edge facility in Doha with coaches, sports activities scientists and different consultants from round world.

The venture to construct a aggressive staff — greater than a decade within the making — confronted its greatest take a look at on the opening day of the match. It was an abject failure, with the Qatar nationwide staff dropping 2-0 to Ecuador.

Even with out injured talisman Sadio Mané, Senegal needs to be a fair more durable opponent on Friday afternoon. However for Qatar that is their final probability. A loss right here would assure an early exit, and push the staff’s title into the working for the match’s worst aspect. Qatar’s long-term soccer ambitions would possibly then be up for dialogue.

Fixture checklist:

Wales vs Iran, 10am UK time/1pm Doha time

Qatar vs Senegal, 1pm UK time/4pm Doha time

Netherlands vs Ecuador, 4pm UK time/7pm Doha time

England vs USA, 7pm UK time/10pm Doha time

Thursday’s spotlight: Spherical one shuffles pack of potential champions

Brazil celebrate scoring against Serbia
Nonetheless favourites, Brazil have fun scoring towards Serbia © REUTERS

We’ve now seen each staff play their first sport in Qatar, with just a few shocks alongside the way in which. The checklist of favourites appears to be like barely completely different in consequence.

Brazil stay probably the most backed aspect to elevate the World Cup (maybe due to Richarlison’s wonder-volley towards Serbia). However behind them now sit high-scoring Spain and England, each at 7/1. Narrowly a bit additional again are holders France, who notched up their very own spectacular 4-1 win over Australia.

In the meantime Argentina’s star has fallen, no less than a bit. They’re now 19/2 to turn into world champions for the primary time since 1986. However they’ll should get going fairly shortly: a loss towards Mexico on the weekend would show deadly to these ambitions.

As for Germany, they’re now a distant 29/1 to win the match after their late defeat by the hands of Japan. Having been bounced out within the first spherical in 2018, a second early exit in a row now looms.

Full outcomes:

Switzerland 1 Cameroon 0

Uruguay 0 South Korea 0

Portugal 3 Ghana 2

Brazil 2 Serbia 0

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