PHOTOS: Top Moments from Day 11 | Qatar 2022

Tunisia vs France

France’s forward #10 Kylian Mbappe (C) kicks the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Tunisia and France at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

 

Tunisia’s forward #10 Wahbi Khazri (2-L) celebrates with teammate midfielder #15 Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane after scoring his team’s first goal past France’s goalkeeper #16 Steve Mandanda during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Tunisia and France at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

Tunisia’s forward #10 Wahbi Khazri (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal with his teammate Tunisia’s midfielder #15 Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Tunisia and France at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Antonin THUILLIER / AFP)

 

France’s midfielder #25 Eduardo Camavinga marks Tunisia’s defender #21 Wajdi Kechrida during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Tunisia and France at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

 

Tunisia’s forward #10 Wahbi Khazri (covered) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s first goal past France’s goalkeeper #16 Steve Mandanda during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Tunisia and France at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

New Zealander referee Matthew Conger shows a yellow card to Tunisia’s defender #21 Wajdi Kechrida for a foul on France’s midfielder #25 Eduardo Camavinga during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Tunisia and France at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP)

 

A pitch invader is escorted by security member during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Tunisia and France at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

 

France’s forward #07 Antoine Griezmann celebrates scoring a goal which was later disallowed after a VAR review during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Tunisia and France at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

 

New Zealander referee Matthew Conger disallows a goal from France’s forward #07 Antoine Griezmann after a VAR review during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Tunisia and France at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

France’s forward #07 Antoine Griezmann reacts during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Tunisia and France at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

Australia vs Denmark

Australia’s defender #02 Milos Degenek fights for the ball with Denmark’s midfielder #25 Jesper Lindstrom during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Australia and Denmark at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

 

Australia’s goalkeeper #01 Mathew Ryan (C) makes a save during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Australia and Denmark at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP)

 

Denmark’s goalkeeper #01 Kasper Schmeichel (C) clears the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Australia and Denmark at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Chandan KHANNA / AFP)

 

Australia’s defender #19 Harry Souttar (top) and Denmark’s forward #12 Kasper Dolberg fight for the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Australia and Denmark at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP)

 

Australia’s forward #07 Mathew Leckie scores his team’s first goal past Denmark’s goalkeeper #01 Kasper Schmeichel during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Australia and Denmark at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP)

 

Australia’s forward #07 Mathew Leckie celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Australia and Denmark at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP)

 

Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal shows a yellow card to Australia’s defender #02 Milos Degenek during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Australia and Denmark at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

 

Australia’s midfielder #26 Keanu Baccus celebrates after Australia won the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Australia and Denmark at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP)

 

Australia’s players celebrate winning the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Australia and Denmark at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Chandan KHANNA / AFP)

 

Denmark’s team reacts after losing the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Australia and Denmark at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

 

Poland vs Argentina

Poland (L) and Argentina flags are displayed before the start of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Poland and Argentina at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

 

Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi (in blue) and Poland’s forward #09 Robert Lewandowski greet each other before the start of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Poland and Argentina at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

 

Poland’s defender #15 Kamil Glik (L) helps Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi to stand up during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Poland and Argentina at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP)

 

Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi leads the ball past Poland’s players during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Poland and Argentina at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi (L) fights for the ball with Poland’s midfielder #06 Krystian Bielik during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Poland and Argentina at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

 

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico

Saudi Arabia’s goalkeeper #21 Mohammed Al-Owais makes a save next to Mexico’s forward #20 Henry Martin and Saudi Arabia’s defender #17 Hassan Al-Tambakti fight for the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Saudi Arabia and Mexico at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Saudi Arabia’s midfielder #23 Mohamed Kanno (C) fights for the ball with Mexico’s midfielder #24 Luis Chavez (R) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Saudi Arabia and Mexico at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Alfredo ESTRELLA / AFP)

 

Saudi Arabia’s midfielder #23 Mohamed Kanno (2nd R) reacts to a missed chance during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Saudi Arabia and Mexico at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP)

 

Mexico’s midfielder #04 Edson Alvarez fouls Saudi Arabia’s defender #17 Hassan Al-Tambakti during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Saudi Arabia and Mexico at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP)

 

Saudi Arabia’s midfielder #10 Salem Al-Dawsari receives medical treatment during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Saudi Arabia and Mexico at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

 

English referee Michael Oliver (L) shows a yellow card to Mexico’s midfielder #04 Edson Alvarez (R) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Saudi Arabia and Mexico at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 30, 2022. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

Australia Beat Tunisia To Keep World Cup Hopes Alive

Fans of Australia celebrate as the team acknowledges the crowd after defeating Tunisia 1-0 in the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Tunisia and Australia at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 26, 2022. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

 

Australia clinched a 1-0 victory over Tunisia on Saturday to keep their hopes of reaching the World Cup knockout phase alive.

The Socceroos, who would have gone out with a second successive defeat, scored the only goal through Mitchell Duke’s 23rd-minute header to move second in Group D behind France.

More to follow . ..

Sluggish England Frustrated In US Stalemate

England's midfielder #19 Mason Mount (L) and USA's defender #18 Shaq Moore fight for the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and USA at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)
England’s midfielder #19 Mason Mount (L) and USA’s defender #18 Shaq Moore fight for the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and USA at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

England missed a chance to book their place in the World Cup last 16 as Gareth Southgate’s side produced a limp display in their 0-0 draw against the United States on Friday.

Southgate’s men would have been guaranteed to advance from Group B with a victory in their second game of the tournament, but they rarely troubled a determined US team.

Having thrashed Iran 6-2 on Monday, England lacked the urgency they showed in their opening game and were booed off at full-time.

They managed just one shot on target and could easily have conceded in the first half when the US were in control for long periods at the Al Bayt Stadium.

For the third time in three World Cup meetings with the US, England failed to live up to their status as favourites.

After a shocking defeat in the 1950 tournament and a 1-1 draw in 2010, this was another defiant American effort against England, cooling some of the hype around the Three Lions following the Iran rout.

Although it was an extremely underwhelming performance from England, they are still in control of their own destiny.

A draw in their final group game against Wales on November 29 would ensure England progress to the knockout stages, while a victory would seal first place.

The US, who have drawn their first two games, play Iran on the same day knowing a win would send them into last 16.

Gregg Berhalter’s group are the second youngest team at the World Cup, but a day after America celebrated Thanksgiving they left sluggish England looking like they were the ones who had indulged in too much turkey.

With Harry Kane and Harry Maguire recovered from an ankle injury and illness respectively, England named an unchanged team for the first time since the 2018 World Cup semi-final defeat against Croatia.

But, whereas England dominated possession against timid Iran from the opening moments, they found the US far more willing to press higher up the pitch.

Laboured England

The US desire to engage England briefly left space in behind them and Jude Bellingham’s buccaneering run and pass freed Bukayo Saka down the right side of the US area.

Saka’s cross reached Kane, whose goalbound shot was blocked by Walker Zimmerman.

That near-miss proved a mirage in the desert for England as Haji Wright, a surprise selection in place of Josh Sargent, had the Americans’ first sight of goal with a well-timed run into the area for a header that whistled wide.

It was a warning that the US could trouble England and moments later Weston McKennie should have put them ahead.

Timothy Weah’s cross from wide on the right eluded the flat-footed England defence and the unmarked McKennie pulled the trigger from 10 yards, only to fire just wide of the relieved Pickford’s goal.

Showing no signs of being intimidated by England, Berhalter’s side were inches away from turning the enterprising display into a stunning lead when Christian Pulisic jinked into space and lashed a rising drive against the crossbar from just inside the area.

Giving the ball away far too easily and laboured in their build-up play, England looked rattled and Pulisic tested their fraying nerves with a header that glanced wide.

In a rare moment of menace from England, Saka’s pass found Mason Mount and the Chelsea’s midfielder low drive from 20 yards brought a first save from US keeper Matt Turner.

Epitomising the US spirit that was such a contrast to England’s lethargy, Tyler Adams crunched into a tackle on Saka, winning the ball and roaring in delight afterwards.

England remained stuck in first gear yet Kane nearly snatched an undeserved winner in stoppage time when he headed wide from Luke Shaw’s free-kick.

AFP

PHOTOS: Top Moments From Day 6 | Qatar 2022

Qatar vs Senegal

 

Qatar’s defender #17 Ismaiel Mohammed reacts to their defeat on the pitch after the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Senegal at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP)

 

Senegal’s forward #09 Boulaye Dia (R) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal with Senegal’s forward #18 Ismaila Sarr (L) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Senegal at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Senegal fans celebrate their win after the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Senegal at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Senegal’s forward #19 Famara Diedhiou reacts after the final whistle of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Senegal at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Senegal’s forward #20 Bamba Dieng (C) fights for the ball with Qatar’s defender #03 Karim Hassan Abdel (L) and Qatar’s midfielder #23 Assim Madibo (R) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Senegal at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

 

Qatar’s Spanish coach Felix Sanchez reacts from the sidelines during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Senegal at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP)

Wales vs Iran

Iran’s midfielder #16 Mehdi Torabi and Iran’s defender #15 Roozbeh Cheshmi celebrate their team’s victory during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Wales and Iran at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP)

 

TOPSHOT – Iran’s players celebrate after scoring the opening goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Wales and Iran at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by Antonin THUILLIER / AFP)

 

TOPSHOT – Wales’ forward #11 Gareth Bale reacts following his team’s defeat during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Wales and Iran at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

Wales’ defender #03 Neco Williams reacts following his team’s defeat during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Wales and Iran at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

TOPSHOT – Iran’s fans celebrate at the end of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Wales and Iran at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by Fadel Senna / AFP)

 

TOPSHOT – Wales’ goalkeeper #01 Wayne Hennessey flies off his line and collides with Iran’s forward #09 Mehdi Taremi during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Wales and Iran at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

Iran’s midfielder #07 Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Iran’s forward #09 Mehdi Taremi, and Iran’s forward #10 Karim Ansarifard applaud the fans during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Wales and Iran at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 25, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

Richarlison Double Gives Brazil World Cup Win Over Serbia

Brazil's forward #09 Richarlison (2nd L) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Brazil and Serbia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 24, 2022. (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP)
Brazil’s forward #09 Richarlison (2nd L) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Brazil and Serbia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 24, 2022. (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP)

 

A second-half brace by Richarlison, including a stunning overhead scissor kick, gave tournament favourites Brazil a 2-0 win over Serbia in their opening World Cup game at the Lusail Stadium on Thursday.

The record five-time winners had toiled at times in the first half but improved after the break and were rewarded when Tottenham Hotspur striker Richarlison followed in to score the opener in the 62nd minute when a Vinicius Junior shot was saved.

Vinicius then set up Richarlison to score again in the 73rd minute with a stunning acrobatic effort that is surely the goal of the World Cup so far.

The result continues Brazil’s superb record in the World Cup group stage, in which their last defeat came in 1998 against Norway, when they had already secured a place in the next round.

Tite’s side are now already on top of Group G ahead of Switzerland, who beat Cameroon 1-0 earlier and who are Brazil’s next opponents.

The scoreline here was the same as when these sides met in the group stage in 2018 but Brazil are determined to do far better than four years ago, when they lost to Belgium in the quarter-finals.

Brazil's forward #09 Richarlison scores his team's first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Brazil and Serbia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 24, 2022. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)
Brazil’s forward #09 Richarlison scores his team’s first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Brazil and Serbia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 24, 2022. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

 

They have come to Qatar as the favourites for a sixth title, two decades after their last victory.

Other results in the opening round of matches in Qatar served as a warning, with their great rivals Argentina suffering a shock defeat to Saudi Arabia at the same stadium and Germany being shocked by Japan.

However, Brazil would have known not to take Serbia lightly, given that the side who lie 21st in the FIFA rankings are one of Europe’s most improved teams and topped their qualifying group above Portugal.

Yet it still would have been a huge shock for Brazil to lose at a ground where they intend to return for the final on December 18.

Tite sent out a very attack-minded side, with Neymar in support of Richarlison while Raphinha and Vinicius occupied the wings and Lucas Paqueta added creativity in central midfield.

Neymar, the world’s most expensive player, kicked off needing just two goals to equal Pele’s all-time record tally of 77 for Brazil, but he will have to wait a little longer to get them.

Serbia did their best to frustrate the Paris Saint-Germain superstar, who come close to scoring direct from an early corner that would have raised the roof at the magnificent Lusail Stadium, where the stands were filled with yellow and green.

Acrobatic

The best Brazilian moments in the first half came when Thiago Silva’s defence-splitting pass found Vinicius in the box, only for goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic to thwart the Real Madrid man, and when Raphinha played a one-two with Paqueta before his shot was saved.

Barcelona winger Raphinha was involved again within a minute of the restart when he hounded Nemanja Gudelj out of possession but was again denied by the goalkeeper.

Brazil's forward #09 Richarlison scores his team's second goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Brazil and Serbia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 24, 2022. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)
Brazil’s forward #09 Richarlison scores his team’s second goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group G football match between Brazil and Serbia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 24, 2022. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

 

However, Serbia’s resistance was broken just after the hour mark.

The warning had come when Alex Sandro lashed a left-foot shot off an upright and two minutes later the goal arrived.

Neymar set up Vinicius for a shot that Milinkovic-Savic got a hand to, but the ball broke to Richarlison who followed in to score.

Serbia responded by bringing on Dusan Vlahovic, the exciting Juventus striker who had been struggling with injury.

Yet Brazil had now found their stride and the second goal when it came was worthy of the biggest stage.

A Vinicius cross with the outside of his right boot was controlled by Richarlison who then spun around and leapt to score with an outrageous acrobatic effort.

Brazil could have scored more, with Casemiro seeing a shot come back off the crossbar, but this was a very promising start.

AFP

Spain Ignite World Cup Bid By Smashing Seven Past Costa Rica

Spain’s forward #10 Marco Asensio celebrates with teammates after scoring the second goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Raul ARBOLEDA / AFP)

 

Spain shredded Costa Rica 7-0 on Wednesday in a brutal destruction in their Group E opener which launched their bid to lift a second World Cup.

Avoiding the fate of giants Argentina and group rivals Germany, who lost 2-1 to Japan earlier on, Luis Enrique’s fancied side sparkled at Doha’s Al Thumama Stadium, dominating possession and taking their chances mercilessly.

Ferran Torres netted twice and Marco Asensio, Dani Olmo, Gavi, Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata were also on the scoresheet for the Euro 2020 semi-finalists in an emphatic romp.

READ ALSO: Germany Slump To Japan In Another World Cup Shocker

In the past the 2010 World Cup winners have paid the price for profligacy but all three forwards Luis Enrique selected netted in the first half to pay back his trust in them.

The coach placed Asensio at false nine, flanked by Olmo and Torres, starting with Morata and Ansu Fati on the bench.

The coach opted to deploy Manchester City midfielder Rodri Hernandez in central defence, alongside club team-mate Aymeric Laporte, correctly anticipating his team would monopolise the ball.

It took only 11 minutes for La Roja to open the scoring, with Gavi stabbing a pass forward for Olmo to receive in the area and the RB Leipzig winger taking one sublime touch to turn and another to stroke the ball gently past Keylor Navas.

Costa Rica, who were a surprise package at the 2014 World Cup, beating Italy and Uruguay and drawing with England to top their group, were sliced apart again for the second goal 10 minutes later.

Jordi Alba’s low drilled cross was rammed home by Real Madrid forward Asensio past his former team-mate Navas, who might have done more to keep it out.

Torres stroked home from the penalty spot after Alba was fouled by Oscar Duarte –- a soft call on a hard night for Los Ticos, who were never in the game and failed to muster a shot at goal.

Barcelona forward Torres capitalised on more slack defending to fire the fourth past Navas early in the second half.

Luis Enrique was able to take off the effervescent Pedri and Torres before the hour mark in order to rest them for Sunday’s clash with Germany, and handed teenage Barcelona left-back Alejandro Balde his debut.

The 19-year-old roared up the pitch in the build-up to Spain’s fifth goal, with substitute Morata crossing for Gavi to drill home with aplomb.

Kopa Trophy winner Gavi became the third youngest goalscorer at a World Cup at 18 years and 110 days old, after Mexico’s Manuel Rosas and record holder Pele.

Soler and Morata then got in on the act with stoppage-time strikes to pile further misery on Costa Rica and help Spain flex their muscles in a perfect opening match in Qatar.

AFP

PHOTOS: Top Moments From Day 4 | Qatar 2022

Morocco vs Croatia

Croatia’s midfielder #11 Marcelo Brozovic and Morocco’s forward #16 Abde Ezzalzouli fight for the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group F football match between Morocco and Croatia at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP)

 

Morocco’s goalkeeper #01 Yassine Bounou (in blue) watches the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group F football match between Morocco and Croatia at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Argentinian referee Fernando Rapallini (L) shows a yellow card to Morocco’s midfielder #04 Sofyan Amrabat (R) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group F football match between Morocco and Croatia at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

 

Morocco’s goalkeeper #01 Yassine Bounou (C) gestures during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group F football match between Morocco and Croatia at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP)

 

Morocco’s goalkeeper #01 Yassine Bounou (C) secures the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group F football match between Morocco and Croatia at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Morocco’s goalkeeper #01 Yassine Bounou (in blue) watches to secure the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group F football match between Morocco and Croatia at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Morocco’s forward #16 Abde Ezzalzouli is challenged by Croatia’s defender #22 Josip Juranovic and Croatia’s midfielder #04 Ivan Perisic during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group F football match between Morocco and Croatia at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Fadel Senna / AFP)

 

Germany vs Japan

The flags of Japan and Germany are seen ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Antonin THUILLIER / AFP)

 

Germany’s forward #13 Thomas Mueller celebrates after teammate Ilkay Gundogan (out of frame) scored his team’s first goal from the penalty spot past Japan’s goalkeeper #12 Shuichi Gonda during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by INA FASSBENDER / AFP)

 

Germany’s players celebrate their first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Antonin THUILLIER / AFP)

 

Japan’s forward #25 Daizen Maeda (R) scores a goal from an offside positon during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

The ball drifts wide of the goal of Japan’s goalkeeper #12 Shuichi Gonda (R) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

Japan’s defender #19 Hiroki Sakai (R) gestures as Germany’s midfielder #21 Ilkay Gundogan (L) reacts in pain during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Antonin THUILLIER / AFP)

 

Germany’s defender #02 Antonio Ruediger falls next to Japan’s midfielder #11 Takefusa Kubo during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by INA FASSBENDER / AFP)

 

Japan’s midfielder #08 Ritsu Doan (L) scores his team’s first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

Japan’s forward #09 Kaoru Mitoma, Japan’s midfielder #06 Wataru Endo and Japan’s midfielder #15 Daichi Kamada celebrate after defeating Germany 2-1 in the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP)

 

Spain vs Costa Rica

The Spanish flag (L) and Costa Rica’s flag (R) are seen on the pitch ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Spain’s forward #21 Dani Olmo reacts to a missed chance during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

 

Spain’s forward #21 Dani Olmo (R) scores his team’s first goal past Costa Rica’s goalkeeper #01 Keylor Navas (2nd L) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Spain’s forward #21 Dani Olmo celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

 

Spain’s forward #10 Marco Asensio celebrates with teammates after scoring the second goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Raul ARBOLEDA / AFP)

 

Spain’s forward #11 Ferran Torres (C) celebrates after he scored his team’s third goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

 

Spain’s forward #11 Ferran Torres reacts after scoring his team’s third goal from the penalty spot during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Raul ARBOLEDA / AFP)

 

Costa Rica’s midfielder #21 Douglas Lopez and Costa Rica’s forward #12 Joel Campbell argue during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

 

Emirati referee Abdulla Mohammed shows the yellow card to Costa Rica’s defender #15 Francisco Calvo during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

 

Spain’s forward #11 Ferran Torres celebrates scoring his team’s fourth goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

 

Spain’s midfielder #09 Gavi (2nd R) celebrates scoring his team’s fifth goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Spain’s midfielder #19 Carlos Soler (rear L) scores his team’s sixth goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

 

Emirati referee Abdulla Mohammed (C) gives a yellow card to Costa Rica’s forward #12 Joel Campbell during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Spain’s forward #07 Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring his team’s seventh goal next to Costa Rica’s goalkeeper #01 Keylor Navas during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Costa Rica’s defender #19 Kendall Waston reacts at the end of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group E football match between Spain and Costa Rica at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 23, 2022. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

Poland’s Lewandowski Misses Penalty In Mexico Stalemate

Mexico's goalkeeper #13 Guillermo Ochoa (bottom) saves a penalty shot by Poland's forward #09 Robert Lewandowski (C) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Mexico and Poland at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)
Mexico’s goalkeeper #13 Guillermo Ochoa (bottom) saves a penalty shot by Poland’s forward #09 Robert Lewandowski (C) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Mexico and Poland at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Robert Lewandowski suffered fresh World Cup misery as the Poland striker’s penalty was saved by Guillermo Ochoa in a 0-0 draw against Mexico on Tuesday.

Lewandowski has never scored at a World Cup and the Barcelona striker had admitted it would be a “huge dream” to finally get off the mark on the global stage.

Instead, the 34-year-old’s dream turned into a nightmare when he won a second-half penalty, only to see Ochoa deny him from the spot.

Lewandowski, Poland’s record scorer with 76 goals, has netted 18 times in 19 appearances for Barcelona, the club he joined in the close-season after bagging 344 goals in eight trophy-filled years at Bayern Munich.

Yet the World Cup has proved hellish for Lewandowski, with this latest goalless outing coming after he failed to score in Poland’s three games when they bowed out in the group stage four years ago.

Saudi Arabia’s stunning 2-1 win over Argentina earlier on Tuesday had blown open the race to progress to the last 16 from Group C.

But this was a frustrating draw for both teams, with Lewandowski wasting the best chance of a cagey game and Mexico ruing their failure to turn territorial dominance into goals.

Mexico boss Gerardo Martino had endured stinging criticism from fans and media following some poor pre-tournament performances, prompting him to dub himself “public enemy number one”.

That didn’t stop thousands of Mexico supporters making the long journey to support ‘El Tri’ in Qatar.

The unique Stadium 974 — whose structure was partially created from a colourful tapestry of shipping containers — overlooks Doha’s port and the area was transformed into a colourful fiesta as green-clad, sombrero-wearing Mexicans partied ahead of the evening kick-off.

It was an even more vibrant scene inside the stadium, with the estimated 40,000 capacity almost entirely filled with vociferous, flag-waving Mexicans.

Lewandowski woe

As the main threat to their team’s hopes, Lewandowski was immediately subjected to ear-splitting jeers from the Mexico fans.

Lewandowski tried to silence the din with an early header but his effort deflected harmlessly wide.

With Poland curiously content to sit back for long periods and Mexico’s energy levels almost matching their raucous fans, it was Martino’s side who carried the greater threat.

Alexis Vega looped his header inches past the far post from Hector Herrera’s cross.

Mexico followed that close shave with another incisive move that ended with Jesus Gallardo’s shot being palmed away by Wojciech Szczesny.

Jorge Sanchez’s deflected effort whistled just over Szczesny’s crossbar as Mexico kept up the pressure.

Isolated by Poland’s conservative tactics, Lewandowski mustered just one touch in the Mexico area and completed only three passes in the first half.

Lewandowski couldn’t be contained forever and his tenacity earned the 57th-minute penalty when he barged into the Mexico area, forcing a crude challenge from Hector Moreno that was ruled a spot-kick after VAR intervened.

But Lewandowski’s World Cup woe wasn’t over as the 37-year-old Ochoa plunged to his left to make a fine save, leaving the striker holding his head in despair.

It was Lewandowski’s second successive penalty miss after he failed to score for Barcelona against Almeria earlier this month.

Henry Martin’s glancing header drew a good stop from Szczesny as Mexico tried in vain to make the most of their escape.

AFP

World Cup 2022: Top Photos From Day 3

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia

Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi and Saudi Arabia’s midfielder #07 Salman Al-Faraj pose with the referees ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi takes a penalty to score his team’s first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Argentina’s goalkeeper #23 Emiliano Martinez fails to stop Saudi Arabia’s forward #11 Saleh Al-Shehri first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Saudi Arabia’s midfielder #10 Salem Al-Dawsari (R) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by JUAN MABROMATA / AFP)

 

Argentina’s coach Lionel Scaloni gestures during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

 

Saudi Arabia’s defender #04 Abdulelah Alamri (L) clears the ball off the line during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Saudi Arabia’s defender #13 Yasser Al-Shahrani collides with Saudi Arabia’s goalkeeper #21 Mohammed Al-Owais during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Saudi Arabia’s defender #13 Yasser Al-Shahrani receives medical attention after a collision during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic shows the yellow card to Saudi Arabia’s midfielder #10 Salem Al-Dawsari during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Saudi Arabia’s forward #09 Firas Al-Buraikan celebrates as Argentina’s forward #10 Lionel Messi leaves the pitch during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Saudi Arabia’s midfielder #07 Salman Al-Faraj and Saudi Arabia’s midfielder #10 Salem Al-Dawsari hug as they celebrate the team’s victory during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Argentina and Saudi Arabia at the Lusail Stadium in Lusail, north of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Denmark vs Tunisia

Fireworks are set off prior to the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Denmark and Tunisia at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP)

 

Denmark’s midfielder #11 Andreas Skov Olsen (2R) shoots during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Denmark and Tunisia at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by François-Xavier MARIT / AFP)

 

Denmark’s goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel (R) gets to the ball ahead of Tunisia’s forward Anis Ben Slimane and Denmark’s defender Andreas Christensen during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Denmark and Tunisia at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP)

 

Tunisia’s defender #04 Yassine Meriah (3rd from top) heads the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Denmark and Tunisia at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

 

Denmark’s goalkeeper #01 Kasper Schmeichel (C) spreads himself to save a shot from Tunisia’s forward #09 Issam Jebali (2nd R) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Denmark and Tunisia at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by François-Xavier MARIT / AFP)

 

Tunisia’s forward #09 Issam Jebali (L) reacts to a missed chance during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Denmark and Tunisia at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by François-Xavier MARIT / AFP)

 

Mexican referee Cesar Ramos shows a yellow card to Denmark’s midfielder #07 Mathias Jensen during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Denmark and Tunisia at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by François-Xavier MARIT / AFP)

 

Denmark’s forward #21 Andreas Cornelius (L) misses a chance to score during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between Denmark and Tunisia at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by François-Xavier MARIT / AFP)

 

Mexico vs Poland

Mexico players and Poland players listen to national anthem ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Mexico and Poland at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP)

 

Poland’s goalkeeper #01 Wojciech Szczesny (in yellow) watches the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Mexico and Poland at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Poland’s goalkeeper #01 Wojciech Szczesny dives fot he ball past Mexico’s forward #20 Henry Martin during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Mexico and Poland at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP)

 

Poland’s defender #15 Kamil Glik (C) heads the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Mexico and Poland at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

 

Poland’s defender #15 Kamil Glik (C) jumps for the ball during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group C football match between Mexico and Poland at Stadium 974 in Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Alfredo ESTRELLA / AFP)

 

France vs Australia

France’s supporters celebrate at the end of the match during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between France and Australia at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

France’s forward #09 Olivier Giroud celebrates with teammates after he scored during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between France and Australia at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

France’s forward #10 Kylian Mbappe celebrates after France’s forward #09 Olivier Giroud scored France’s fourth goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between France and Australia at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

 

France’s players celebrate scoring their team’s fourth goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between France and Australia at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

Australia’s goalkeeper #01 Mathew Ryan (2nd R) reacts while conceding a goal by France’s forward #10 Kylian Mbappe (2nd L) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group D football match between France and Australia at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on November 22, 2022. (Photo by Chandan Khanna / AFP)

World Cup 2022: Day 2 In Photos

Fireworks explode around a giant replica of the FIFA World Cup trophy before the start of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP)

 

England vs Iran

A general view shows England and Iran players listening to their national anthems during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

England’s midfielder #22 Jude Bellingham (C) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

England’s midfielder #22 Jude Bellingham (unseen) scores the opening goal past Iran’s goalkeeper #24 Hossein Hosseini during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

Iran’s goalkeeper #24 Hossein Hosseini dives to stop the ball after England’s forward #17 Bukayo Saka scored his team’s second goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP)

 

England’s forward #17 Bukayo Saka (R) celebrates after he scored during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Fadel Senna / AFP)

 

England’s forward #09 Harry Kane (L) and Iran’s defender #08 Morteza Pouraliganji collide during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

 

England’s forward #09 Harry Kane (L) receives medical attention after sustaining an injury during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

 

Iran’s goalkeeper #24 Hossein Hosseini dives to stop the ball after England’s forward #10 Raheem Sterling scored his team’s third goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

 

England’s forward #10 Raheem Sterling (L) celebrates with forward #09 Harry Kane after scoring his team’s third goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

England’s midfielder #19 Mason Mount (L) heads the ball past Iran’s midfielder #11 Vahid Amiri during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

 

Iran’s forward #09 Mehdi Taremi (C) scores past England’s goalkeeper #01 Jordan Pickford during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)

 

Iran’s forward #09 Mehdi Taremi (2L) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

England’s forward #17 Bukayo Saka (top) scores his team’s fourth goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

 

England’s forward #11 Marcus Rashford (2R) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s fifth goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Former England player David Beckham (top 2nd R) and FIFA President Gianni Infantino (bottom L) attend the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

England’s forward #07 Jack Grealish (R) celebrates with teammate forward #20 Phil Foden after scoring his team’s sixth goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Iranian players gather during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP)

 

England’s defender #06 Harry Maguire (C) is helped by his teammates after being injured during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

 

England’s goalkeeper #01 Jordan Pickford (C) fails to stop a penalty goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between England and Iran at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Senegal vs Netherlands

Fireworks go off next to a FIFA World Cup trophy replica ahead the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

 

Senegal’s (L) team and Netherlands’ team pose for pictures ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Netherlands’ forward #08 Cody Gakpo (R) misses a chance during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Senegal fans cheer on their team ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

 

Senegal’s forward #18 Ismaila Sarr (L) and Netherlands’ defender #22 Denzel Dumfries lie on the pitch during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Senegal’s goalkeeper #01 Edouard Mendy (L) jumps for the ball as Netherlands’ forward #18 Vincent Janssen (2nd R) approaches during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Senegal’s defender #22 Abdou Diallo (2ndR) fights for the ball with Netherlands’ forward #18 Vincent Janssen (L) and Netherlands’ defender #22 Denzel Dumfries during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

 

Senegal’s forward #18 Ismaila Sarr (L) lies on the pitch as Brazilian referee Wilton Sampaio speaks to him during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Brazilian referee Wilton Sampaio (C) talks with Netherlands’ defender #05 Nathan Ake (L) next to Netherlands’ defender #17 Daley Blind during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)

 

Netherlands’ defender #04 Virgil van Dijk (3rd R) reacts to a missed chance as Senegal’s goalkeeper #16 Edouard Mendy (C) gestures as the ball goes over the bar during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Brazilian referee Wilton Sampaio (L) shows a yellow card to Netherlands’ defender #03 Matthijs De Ligt (2nd L) during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Senegal’s midfielder #08 Cheikhou Kouyate leaves the pitch in a stretcher during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Netherlands’ forward #08 Cody Gakpo (L) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Netherlands’ forward #08 Cody Gakpo (3rdR) celebrates with teammates after he scored the opening goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)

 

Netherlands’ midfielder #14 Davy Klaassen (L) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Netherlands’ forward #10 Memphis Depay (C) and Netherlands’ defender #17 Daley Blind (4th R) celebrate at the end of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Senegal and the Netherlands at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

USA vs Wales

USA’s forward #21 Timothy Weah (R) celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between USA and Wales at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Jewel SAMAD / AFP)

 

USA’s goalkeeper #01 Matt Turner celebrates the opening goal scored by USA’s forward #21 Timothy Weah during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between USA and Wales at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Antonin THUILLIER / AFP)

 

TOPSHOT – Wales’ forward #11 Gareth Bale celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between USA and Wales at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP)

 

Wales’ forward #11 Gareth Bale applauds the fans after the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between USA and Wales at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 21, 2022. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP)

World Cup 2022: Players To Watch Out For In Qatar

Photo collage of Harry Kane, Kylian Mbappe, Luka Modric, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo.

 

The FIFA World Cup remains the biggest football competition in the world and special players have always played huge roles in deciding who wins the coveted trophy on each occasion.

Pele, Maradona, Bebeto, Ronaldo De Lima, Zinedine Zidane, Fabio Cannavaro, and Andres Iniesta to name a few have risen up to the occasion to help their teams become world champions.

As the competition begins in the Middle East, here is a list of some players who could take the spotlight and lift their teams:

Lionel Messi – Argentina

Lionel Messi. Facebook/Lionel Messi

 

Messi does not need an introduction to anyone who has followed global football in the last 15 years. He has remained one of the best in the game, winning seven Ballon d’Or awards so far including other individual awards. Leading two-time champions Argentina, the former Barcelona man came closest to winning the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 only to be stopped by Germany in the final.

The Argentina captain has been in scintillating for Paris Saint-Germain so far this season.  With 12 goals and 14 assists for his club, Messi is in the mood to go one spot better than in 2014 with his national team.

Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo. Facebook/Cristiano Ronaldo.

 

Ronaldo is the only player who has kept pace with Messi in terms of performance within the last two decades and has always come through for Portugal.

Though not in the best of moments at Manchester United, the Portugal skipper is the last player anyone can write off, as he still holds the record for most goals (117) scored for a national team by a player.

His charisma and leadership propelled Portugal to their major international trophy in 2016 when they defeated France to win the Euros. He is still much around and fit to replicate the success with his teammates in Qatar.

Neymar Junior – Brazil

Neymar. Facebook/Neymar Jr

 

The PSG star is an important player for the five-time world champions, scoring 75 goals in 121 appearances since 2010 to become the second top scorer only behind the legendary Pele for the Selecao.

Brazil’s progression at the World Cup on home soil in 2014 was halted by an embarrassing 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany following an injury to the former Barcelona man in the quarter-final.

With his form this season at PSG, Brazil will be hoping that Neymar stays fit to boost their chances of once again lifting the trophy they last won in 2002.

Kylian Mbappe – France

Kylian Mbappe. Facebook/Kylian Mbappe.

 

Mbappe was instrumental as France lifted the World Cup for the second time in Russia in 2018, scoring four goals including one in the final against Croatia.

Alongside Messi and Neymar in PSG this season, Mbappe is once again in hot form and if he carries it to the World Cup, he will no doubt be among the most feared attackers in Qatar.

Thomas Muller – Germany

Thomas Muller. Facebook/Thomas Muller.

 

33-year-old Muller has appeared in three World Cups and has scored 10 goals which put him at number 8 among all-time scorers in the competition. Muller is one of the top scorers in this competition and with that reputation, he is one to watch out for in the German team in what is likely his last World Cup.

Harry Kane – England

Harry Kane. Facebook/Harry Kane.

 

Kane was the top scorer in Russia in 2018 with six goals as England went all the way to the semi-final only to be stopped by Croatia. With 12 goals and three assists so far for Tottenham this season, Kane is no doubt in the mood to replicate his exploits 4 years ago and possibly do better.

Luka Modric – Croatia

Luka Modric. Facebook/Luka Modric.

 

Modric’s performance as Croatia reached a World Cup final for the first time earned him the Golden Ball as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. At 37, he remains one of the best performers for a Real Madrid team that lifted the Champions League once again last season. Croatia will definitely be looking up to him as they hope to better the achievement of Russia in Qatar.

Top Photos From Qatar 2022 Opening Ceremony

A replica of the World Cup trophy is seen ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

South Korean singer Jung Kook performs during the opening ceremony ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)
South Korean singer Jung Kook performs during the opening ceremony ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

 

Ecuador supporters cheer ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
Ecuador supporters cheer ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Qatari singer Dana al-Fardan (C) performs during the opening ceremony ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

 

A FIFA World Cup trophy replica is pictured on the pitch as fireworks go off ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

 

US actor Morgan Freeman (R), Qatari YouTuber Ghanim al-Muftah (C), and Qatari singer Dana al-Fardan take part in the opening ceremony of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha, on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Raul ARBOLEDA / AFP)

 

A photo shows a fireworks display during the opening ceremony ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

 

The Qatar 2022 mascot La’eeb performs during the opening ceremony ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Dancers perform during the opening ceremony ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP)

 

Performers take part in the opening ceremony ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP)

 

Inflatable football jerseys are seen during the opening ceremony ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP)

 

Performers take part in the opening ceremony ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP)

 

A replica of the World Cup trophy is seen during the opening ceremony ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

A FIFA World Cup trophy replica is pictured on the pitch as fireworks go off ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)