World Cup 2018: Belgium Beats Panama 3-0

teleSUR brings you live updates from Sunday's game between Belgium and Panama in the Russia 2018 World Cup.

Belgium's creativity and power proved too much for World Cupdebutants Panama as the Group G favorites overcame the heroics of goalkeeper Jaime Penedo and a massed defense to run out 3-0 winners Monday.

It took a wonderful dipping volley from Dries Mertens on the right-hand edge of the area just after halftime to break the deadlock, however, giving Penedo no chance after a first half in which he had defied Mertens, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.

Hazard laid the ball off to Kevin De Bruyne who flipped a diagonal ball with the outside of his foot through for a lurking Lukaku to head home in the 69th minute.

The Manchester United striker made it 3-0 in the 75th, latching on to a through pass from Hazard and chipping over Penedo.

Belgium, unbeaten in their last 20 matches, will now be full of confidence for games against Tunisia and England.

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Superb Mexico stun defending champions Germany at FIFA World Cup

Mexico produced an excellent all-around display to stun defending champions Germany at the FIFA World Cup today as Brazil were also held to a draw by Switzerland.

A 1-0 defeat at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow was the worst possible start for the Germans in their attempt to become the first winners of two successive World Cups since Brazil in 1962.

Mexico started the better and combined well-organised defence with devastating speed on the counter-attack.

Javier Hernandez broke the German defence wide open with a pass that enabled Hirving Lozano to cut inside and fire home after 35 minutes. 

Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa then brilliantly tipped a Toni Kroos free-kick onto the bar and that was the closest the European side came to drawing level.

Germany launched wave after wave of attacks but never really looked like scoring.

"We showed we have a bright future and I am very satisfied with what we did," said Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio.

"We played with bravery when it was needed and also defended with all of our hearts."

Germany will still hope to progress in a group also containing Sweden and South Korea, but second place could mean a tantalising last-16 tie with Group E favourites, Brazil. 

A Philippe Coutinho wonder goal put Brazil in front against Switzerland ©Getty Images
A Philippe Coutinho wonder goal put Brazil in front against Switzerland ©Getty Images

The Brazilians, however, could only draw 1-1 with Switzerland despite a Philippe Coutinho wonder goal at the Rostov Arena.

Coutinho defied the laws of physics to bend the ball into the top corner from the left side of the penalty area.

Brazil were good for the lead and, at one stage, looked as if they would run riot.

But Switzerland stood firm and hung on until half-time.

They were soon level thereafter as Steven Zuber capitalised on some poor defending to head home from a corner kick.

Neymar missed a point blank header and substitute Roberto Firmino also saw a header beaten away as Brazil proved unable to make the decisive breakthrough.

Serbia had a moment of brilliance from captain Aleksandar Kolarov to thank for a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica elsewhere in Group E at the Cosmos Arena in Samara.

Defender Kolarov curled the ball home from 25 yards after brilliantly bending the ball around the Costa Rica defence.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas was left clutching thin air in the game's one moment of class.

A superb strike from Aleksandar Kolarov gave Serbia victory over Costa Rica ©Getty Images
A superb strike from Aleksandar Kolarov gave Serbia victory over Costa Rica ©Getty Images

Serbia were the better side, but their midfielder Nemanja Matic was involved in an ugly confrontation with a Costa Rica coach in injury time as the Manchester United player tried to get the ball back when it went out of play.

Sweden will play South Korea tomorrow at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in the second match in Group F.

Two matches are also scheduled in Group G.

Belgium will play Panama at Sochi's Fisht Olympic Stadium before Tunisia and 1966 World Cup winners England meet at the Volgograd Arena.

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‘We have to keep calm & win’: Messi feels ‘hurt’ but focused after bitter draw with Iceland

While Lionel Messi feels personal responsibility for his failure to convert a penalty, which led to a 1-1 draw with Iceland, the Argentine star is confident his team will shine during its next World Cup match, against Croatia.

“We have to look ahead. I think we deserved three points, but we have to be calm,” the Argentine and FC Barcelona forward said, after the fierce battle with 'The Vikings' that ended in a draw.

‘Messi is only human, the penalty miss affected him’: Mourinho on Argentina-Iceland draw (VIDEO)

In its debut game in Group D, Iceland clashed with one of this year’s World Cup favorites – Argentina. While the South American team was widely anticipated to secure a victory against the debutants, Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson worked his magic on the 63rd minute, by diving to his right and palming away Messi’s penalty shot.

 @WeAreMessi Hannes Halldórsson (Iceland): "It's been my dream to play against the best player in the world, Lionel Messi, and it was an honor to save his penalty." 

“It hurts me to have missed the penalty because it would’ve given us a decisive advantage,” the Barcelona player said after the game. “There’s bitterness from not being able to add the three points in our first match because I think we deserved it.”

After Sergio Aguero put Argentina ahead and Alfred Finnbogason equalized, Messi's miss came as a major disappointment to the fans. The 30-year-old star footballer, however, promised a better performance against Croatia on June 21.

'Somewhere, Ronaldo is winking': Social media piles in on penalty-missing Messi after poor match

“We have to be calm and stay focused,” Messi reiterated. “I think a lot of what we did was good, but in any case, we just have to try to win the Croatia match.”

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FIFA WORLD CUP 2018: EGYPT-URUGUAY PREVIEW

How to follow:
Watch live on BBC One at 12:30 BST; listen on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC local radio; text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Egypt

  • 23El-Shenawy
  • 7Fathy
  • 2Gabr
  • 6Hegazi
  • 13Shafy
  • 17Elneny
  • 8Hamed
  • 22Warda
  • 19El Said
  • 21Trézéguet
  • 9Mohsen

Substitutes

  • 1El Hadary
  • 3El Mohamady
  • 4Gaber
  • 5Morsy
  • 10Salah
  • 11Kahraba
  • 12Ashraf
  • 14Sobhi
  • 15Hamdi
  • 16Ekramy
  • 18Shikabala
  • 20Samir

Uruguay

  • 1Muslera
  • 4Varela
  • 2Giménez
  • 3Godín
  • 22Cáceres
  • 8Nández
  • 6Bentancur
  • 15Vecino
  • 10de Arrascaeta
  • 9Suárez
  • 21Cavani

Substitutes

  • 5Sánchez
  • 7Rodríguez
  • 11Stuani
  • 12Campaña
  • 13G Silva
  • 14Torreira
  • 16Pereira
  • 17Laxalt
  • 18Gómez
  • 19Coates
  • 20Urretaviscaya
  • 23M Silva
Referee:Björn Kuipers

TEAM NEWS

Egypt forward Mohamed Salah is on the bench for Friday's World Cup opener against Uruguay in Yekaterinburg.

The 25-year-old has not played since injuring shoulder ligaments during Liverpool's Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid on 26 May.

On Thursday, Egypt boss Hector Cuper said he could "almost assure" media that Salah would "100%" play.

Cuper said Salah was "doing very well" and had recovered "very, very quickly" from his injury.

OMENS FAVOUR URUGUAY?

The build-up to this game has been dominated by the fitness of Salah.

He joined the squad for training on Wednesday, completing the warm-up and then finishing the rest of the session away from the group. The team doctor said afterwards they were monitoring his progress "day by day", and Cuper played down the importance of the forward, saying: "Our tactics don't solely revolve around him."

The fuss around the Liverpool star could well play into the hands of the Uruguayans, who seem to have gone under the radar despite being strong favourites to top Group A.

An experienced squad contains four players with more than 100 caps, and goalkeeper Fernando Muslera (97) and forward Luis Suarez (98) should reach their century by the end of the group stage. The potent forward pairing of Suarez and Edinson Cavani have also scored 93 international goals between them.

All the omens point to a Uruguayan win. The South Americans come into this fixture on a run of three consecutive victories, while Egypt are without a win in 2018 and are yet to taste victory at a World Cup.

LAWRO'S PREDICTION

Even if Salah is at his best, it is going to be hard for Egypt to get out of this group, in their first World Cup since 1990.

Uruguay have lots of big-game experience and they will be looking to Suarez to provide some star quality to go with it.

Prediction: 0-1

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Uruguay beat Egypt in their only previous encounter, defeating them 2-0 in Alexandria in August 2006.
  • The Uruguayans are unbeaten against African opposition at the World Cup (W1, D2), while this will be Egypt's first meeting with a South American side at the tournament.

Egypt

  • Egypt have never won a game at the World Cup finals (D2, L2).
  • This is the Pharaohs' first World Cup appearance since 1990 and their third overall. They lost 1-0 to England in their last game in the tournament.
  • Head coach Hector Cuper is making his World Cup debut as a head coach. His only previous major tournament in charge of Egypt saw them reach the Africa Cup of Nations final in 2017, where they lost 2-1 to Cameroon.
  • Goalkeeper and captain Essam El Hadary could become the oldest player in World Cup history (45 years and 151 days).
  • Mohamed Salah scored five goals in the third round of African qualifying, more than any other player.
  • Salah will celebrate his 26th birthday on the day of the game.

Uruguay

  • Two-time champions Uruguay have only progressed beyond the round of 16 once in their last six World Cup appearances, when they finished fourth in 2010.
  • Uruguay have only lost one of their last eight World Cup group games (W4, D3).
  • However, they have failed to win their opening game at the last six World Cup tournaments (D3, L3).
  • This is Oscar Tabarez's fourth World Cup appearance as a head coach (1990, 2010, 2014 and 2018), more than any other coach at this year's tournament.
  • Edinson Cavani was the top scorer in South American qualifying with 10 goals.
  • Luis Suarez has recorded five goals and two assists in eight World Cup games.
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Cuba’s Soccer Fans Ready for the World Cup

Cuba will be one of the more than a hundred countries that won’t have its national soccer team playing in the World Cup in Russia, but that won’t stop soccer fever from taking over the island’s sports enthusiasts.

Traditionally, Cuban fans mostly choose to support Argentina and Brazil, because of the Latin blood they share apparently, but over time support grows for the teams of Germany and Spain, who have done well in previous events, as well as France and Holland, although Holland didn’t qualify for the Russian competition.

Fans of the different teams form groups to come together and cheer their squad as already happens with the different teams in the other national and continental soccer leagues. When the World Cup comes along you can see special initiatives to enjoy the matches.

This weekend, official Real Madrid and Barcelona clubs in Havana played a friendly game at the Eduardo Saborit sports center, to make it clear that even though they support different teams, there’s no bitterness between them. It was also a mixed affair as each team had to sign up one woman to their team.

Anyway, getting back to the World Cup… some places in Havana have already advertised to fans to come and enjoy their favorite team’s matches there; for example, restaurants 1830 and La Chorrera, whose managers are fans of the German team are planning to gather all their fans together there. Restaurant 1830 also has the German Embassy in Havana for support and will be the kind of “official” for their fans.

Tony, a Bayern Munich and German football fan, told us that he won’t miss one of the matches. “I go to 1830 a lot to watch Bayern matches throughout the year, especially on the weekend because of work. Now, I’ll also try to go every time Germany plays, if work allows me to. A group of people that we’ve all known for some time meet up there and we really enjoy the games.”

Meanwhile, another Bavarian supporter, Alfredo, told us a little bit about his expectations. “Germany hasn’t been playing very well in the lead up friendly matches up until now, but that’s because they’ve been up against big teams and they’ve played with a lot of different line-ups. When the World Cup starts, things will be different and I predict that they’ll finish first in their group. Afterwards, in the knockout stage, everyone knows that it’s very hard to beat them, so I think they can be the champions again.”

Raulito, an Argentina fan, has a very different opinion: “This World Cup belongs to (Lionel) Messi. It’s about time that Argentina won a tournament. It was really close to winning in another World Cup and in the Copa Americas, so I think it’s time has come. Messi needs the team to keep up with him more because he can’t do it all on his own.”

“This is a never-ending story, my brother,” Alfredo tells him. “It’s time you look for another team. Those Argentinians don’t have what it takes to win. When it counts, their legs get soft and nobody scores. That (Gonzalo) Higuain needs his head checked: he misses the easiest goals when it’s the final, and the same thing happens in the Champions League, both when he was at Real Madrid and now at Juventus.”

“I believe that Argentina is considered a favorite just because of Messi,” Alejandro says. “Because the truth is that as a team they aren’t that extraordinary. They at least need to put (Paulo) Dybala on the field and put aside that foolishness that he can’t play alongside Messi, because if they don’t, Argentina won’t go anywhere.”

“Forget about Argentina,” Ulises interrupts. “This World Cup is Brazil’s and the Golden Boot award is Neymar’s (da Silva). No other team has the Brazilians’ skill and they have been unbeatable for a while now, ever since Dunga was let go as trainer because they weren’t going to go anywhere with him. Neymar definitely doesn’t get rattled when the time comes and I’m sure he’ll be a champion with this team. Plus, they’re coming back with a vengeance after they lost in 2014, so I don’t think they will lose.”

“It’s true, Brazil is good,” Julita says, “but don’t forget Spain, who are also making their mark in the friendlies and kicked Italy out in the qualifiers. This team is also very good, with star players playing nearly every position. What they need is for Diego Costa to score goals with Spain like he does when he plays for Atletico, because if he did there’s no one who could beat the Spanish.”

“Guys,” Abelito says, “don’t forget about France. If we take a look at each and every player, I think they are one of the best bets and they have also really stood out in the exhibition matches, in spite of the line-up having been changed quite a lot.”

“But, it’s the same with France like it is with Argentina,” Alejandro cuts back. “If they weren’t able to win the UEFA European Championship at home, against Portugal which isn’t a particularly great team, and they didn’t even have Cristiano Ronaldo playing that day, then do you really think they can win the World Cup?

In my opinion, that (Antoine) Griezmann is a lot like Higuain, when the game gets critical, he gets nervous and they can’t win the World Cup like that.”

This improvised group didn’t end up agreeing, like what normally happens, and they each passionately bet on their own teams, just like they used to when they discussed baseball in the old days. We will see who’s right as time goes on, or there might even be a surprise and an unexpected team makes it all the way. In this sport, you never know…

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Brazil leads FIFA rankings, Iran best in Asia

Brazil has taken over at the top of the FIFA rankings for the first time since 2010. 

After losing Lionel Messi to a four-match ban, Argentina lost 2-0 at Bolivia last week and dropped to No. 2. 

World Cup winner Germany is still No. 3, followed by Chile and Colombia. South American teams tallied more ranking points last month by playing two World Cup qualifiers. European teams played one. 

European champion Portugal is No 8, while Switzerland entered the top 10, up two to ninth, one ahead of above Spain. 

Mexico climbed one to No 16 and leads CONCACAF teams. The United States climbed seven to No 23. No 19 Egypt leads African teams, and No 28 Iran is Asia's best. 

World Cup host Russia fell one to No 61.

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Dunga: “Neymar should concentrate on Football”

New Brazil manager Dunga has launched a scathing attack to Neymar’s flamboyant attitudes on the pitch. Information Nigeria understands.

The new Coach has expressed frustrations of the Barcelona’s talisman promoting of his brand on the pitch, especially in big games, citing his frequent changing of hair style.

“LNeymar is a worldwide point of reference. But we don’t want the team to play for Neymar – we want Neymar to play for the team. Brazil will have to create a structure that allows Neymar to make a difference,” Dunga told Globo.

“The main focus for all players should be the national team. It should be about football rather than about marketing.

“When Neymar gives an interview, he should be wearing a hat of the national team or no hat at all, but not one with his own logo on it. With other teams, there is never any room for such marketing tools and it should be the same for Brazil.

“I don’t want players to be busy with their hair when they’re with the national team. They do it before or after they’re with Brazil. The focus should be on what happens on the pitch.”

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