Everton, the Premier League’s dark-horse for Champions League qualification

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With a brutal fixture list and an array of key injuries, there’s little doubt that Everton are the Premier League’s dark-horse to qualify for Champions League football.

The 6th place Toffees head to White Hart Lane this weekend for a clash with 3rd place Tottenham, who Everton beat 2-1 in the reverse fixture last December. Revenge will certainly be on the minds of Spurs but it won’t come easy for Andre Villas-Boas’ side who carry the added burden of facing FC Basel in the quarter-finals of the Europa League on Thursday.

With six points separating Everton and Spurs (and the Blues holding a game in hand), Leighton Baines & Co. are keeping it cool and the left-back insists it is not a make-or-break match. “It’s a big game but there are plenty more after that and it won’t be decided by next weekend,” Baines told the Liverpool Echo. “We are the ones who are trailing and that probably means we are the least favourite of the teams but we are fighters.” And fighters they’ll need to be as Moyes’ side will once again have to cope with the absences of Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar, who will serve the second of their two match bans this Sunday.

To make their Champions League dreams a reality, the Toffees will need to finish on a dominant run of form. That means not only winning games they’re supposed to win – QPR, Sunderland, Fulham and West Ham – but also scalping at least two of the three big clubs they have yet to face – Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea. Currently just two points behind 5th placed Arsenal and four points behind 4th placed Chelsea, these contests will prove the difference makers at the end of the year.

To hit such form the notoriously thin Toffees will need to do everything to get their best players on the pitch, even if it means playing injured. In last weekend’s 1-0 victory over Stoke, Tim Howard and Phil Jagielka both returned, the former after more than a month out with a broken back and the later after three weeks sidelined with a gashed ankle. The center-back received a pain-killing injection to play, and that’s exactly the kind of determination and spirit that epitomizes this Everton squad. “At other clubs, you might get certain guys saying: ‘I will take another week and then come back’. But for me and Jags that never came into it – we love to pull on the shirt,” Howard said.

For Everton, qualifying for Champions League would mean more than the glory of playing in club football’s most prestigious contest as many believe the $30.3/£20 million in qualifying prize money would provide the impetus for David Moyes to end his contractual standoff and put pen to paper.

And who knows? With Champions League football on the horizon and a legendary manager locked down, maybe the fat-pocketed white knight that Evertonians have long dreamed of taking over the club will finally appear at the gates of Goodison Park.

Until then – ride, dark-horse, ride!

Vincent Aboubakar leads Cameroon comeback in six-goal draw vs Serbia

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Cameroon vs Serbia could go down as the match of the group stage at the 2022 World Cup, where a 3-3 draw included a Vincent Aboubakar-inspired two-goal comeback in Al Wakrah.

Jean-Charles Castelletto staked Cameroon to a first-half lead but Strahinja Pavlovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic scored in first-half stoppage time to give Serbia a halftime lead.

WATCH CAMEROON v SERBIA FULL MATCH REPLAY

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored after the break to seemingly put Serbia in control, the second of two assists for Andrija Zivkovic, and Cameroon plugged in Aboubakar for the final 35 minutes.

What a difference he made, scoring off a Castelletto assist in the 63rd minute before setting up Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting for a 66th-minute equalizer.

Twenty-eight total shots — 13 for Cameroon — told the story almost as well as the score line, and 2.37-2.01 favored the African side.

Cameroon were dangerous for large spells against Switzerland but lost 1-0, while Serbia was beaten by Brazil. The final matchday will be wild regardless of how Brazil vs Switzerland goes later Monday.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub


Stars of the show

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic

Jean-Charles Castelletto

Andrija Zivkovic

Cameroon vs Serbia
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How to watch Cameroon vs Serbia live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 5am ET – Monday, November 28
Stadium: Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

 


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Cameroon will be dangerous on the counter and their gameplan was pretty spot on against Switzerland and it will be the same against Serbia. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Bryan Mbuemo will cause all kinds of problems on the break and Andre Onana is going to have to excel in goal if the Indomitable Lions are going to get a huge win.

Serbia won’t be too disheartened to lose to Brazil in their World Cup opener but they now know this is basically must-win after Switzerland beat Cameroon in their opening game. Dusan Tadic, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic hold the key for Serbia who will have to be patient as they will see plenty of the ball.


Cameroon quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 43
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from CAF playoffs
Coach: Rigobert Song
Key players: Andre Onana, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Vincent Aboubakar, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting

Serbia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 21
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 12
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs
Coach: Dragan Stojkovic
Key players: Aleksandar Mitrovic, Dusan Vlahovic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Dusan Tadic


South Korea vs Ghana, live! Score, updates, live stream link, video highlights

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South Korea and Ghana collide in Group H with both teams earmarking this as a must-win game in an incredibly tight group.

STREAM LIVE SOUTH KOREA v GHANA

Heung-min Son and Co. were very solid against Uruguay in their opener but only created a couple of big chances in the 0-0 draw. This is when Son really needs to step up and be the difference as they play Portugal in their final group stage game and will want to have four points on the board by then.

For Ghana, they were so unlucky to lose to Portugal in a five-goal thriller as the Black Stars were a lot of fun to watch and almost snatched a 3-3 draw late on but Inaki Williams slipped at the crucial moment.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

Here is everything you need for South Korea vs Ghana.


How to watch South Korea vs Ghana live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 8am ET – Monday, November 28
Stadium: Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Obviously Heung-min Son is the main man for South Korea and at the other end of the pitch they need Kim Min-jae to hold things together defensively. It will be intriguing to see if South Korea starts a few more of their playmakers in this clash as they look to take the game to Ghana. Against Uruguay they very much played for the draw to set themselves up for this game.

For Ghana, it will be a very similar approach to how they played against Portugal but they will look to be less open on the counter defensively. They will sit back and counter and the key is getting Mohammed Kudus further forward. Both Ghana and South Korea will see this as a game they have to win to have a chance of reaching the last 16 but Ghana can get a draw and then set up potentially a winner takes all game against Uruguay in their Group H finale.


South Korea quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 28
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 10
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC
Coach: Paulo Bento
Key players: Heung-min Son, Young-gwon Kim, In-beom Hwang, Woo-yeong Jeong

Ghana quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 61
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 4
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CAF via playoffs
Coach: Otto Addo
Key players: Daniel Amartey, Andre Ayew, Thomas Partey


World Cup 2022 Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Cameroon, Switzerland schedule, fixtures, rankings

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World No. 1 Brazil was not given an easy ride to the knockout rounds with a tough draw in World Cup 2022 Group G this November.

Tite’s imperious Brazilians will be tested by savvy Switzerland, fierce Serbia, and a Cameroon side capable of anything on its day.

[ MORE: Full schedule for 2022 World Cup ]

The group will feature classic midfield battles as Granit Xhaka, Casemiro, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa will patrol that part of the pitch.

Who will claim the second spot in the group if Brazil does as expected and wins the group? Switzerland will be feeling very good after their tight win against Cameroon to kick things off. While Brazil took care of business against Serbia to set themselves up nicely.

[ MORE: Ranking every World Cup team, 32-1 ]

Below is everything you need to know on World Cup 2022 Group G.


Group G schedule

Recap/highlights: Brazil 2-0 Serbia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Monday, November 28: Brazil vs Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha – 11am
Recap/highlights: Cameroon 3-3 Serbia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Friday, December 2: Cameroon vs Brazil – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
Friday, December 2: Serbia vs Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm

How To Watch Group G matches live

  • When: November 24-December 2, 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 5am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, scores, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup, and be sure to subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube!


Group G table

1. Brazil – 3 points (+2 GD)
2. Switzerland – 3 points (+1)
3. Cameroon – 1 point (-1)
4. Serbia – 1 point (-2)


Brazil

Current FIFA world ranking: 1
World Cup titles: 5 (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
World Cup appearances: 22
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (1st place)
Coach: Tite
Key players: Neymar, Thiago Silva, Casemiro, Alisson Becker

Serbia

Current FIFA world ranking: 21
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 12
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs
Coach: Dragan Stojkovic
Key players: Aleksandar Mitrovic, Luka Jovic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Dusan Tadic

Switzerland

Current FIFA world ranking: 15
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 12
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Murat Yakin
Key players: Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, Yann Sommer, Remo Freuler

Cameroon

Current FIFA world ranking: 43
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from CAF playoffs
Coach: Rigobert Song
Key players: Andre Onana, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, Vincent Aboubakar, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting

Offsides rules at 2022 World Cup: Explaining how VAR technology impacts referee calls

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The 2022 World Cup is underway from the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar and as the group stage continues, we’ve seen unexpected upsets and some new contenders emerge – but there’s still a long way to go until the tournament champions are crowned in late December.

Along the way, spectators have already seen most matches impacted in at least some capacity by VAR technology when it comes to determining penalties, possession and, frequently, offsides decisions. After introducing semi-automated offside technology at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, FIFA announced this summer that the tool would return for this year’s tournament. Read on to learn how offsides works and how VAR technology is utilized to make decisions at the 2022 World Cup.

RELATED: World Cup 2022 schedule – how to watch, groups, calendar, match schedule, brackets, dates

What is the offsides rule?

A player is in an offsides position when they are in the opponent’s half of the field and any part of their head, body or feet is “nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second-last opponent.” Simply put, a player needs to be entirely in front of the last defender when their teammate passes them the ball. The offsides rule exists to keep players from lingering near their opponent’s goal to try and scoop up scoring opportunities.

The offsides rule does not apply when the player receives the ball directly from a corner kick, throw in or goal kick.

RELATED: What are the group stage tiebreaker rules at the 2022 World Cup?

What is VAR?

By now a familiar acronym to any fans of year-round leagues like the Premier League, VAR stands for “Video Assistant Referee.” It refers to officials off the pitch who are watching the match with access to multiple cameras, angles and data points, as well as slow-motion replay, who can weigh in on decisions including goals and penalties, with the objective of making officiating more accurate.

RELATED: World Cup 2022 odds: Favorites, underdogs, group stage winners

How does technology impact offsides calls at 2022 World Cup?

In Qatar, FIFA is using multiple forms of VAR technology to support officials in determining offsides. This includes 12 tracking cameras constantly collecting data on the limb position of each player, as well as “connected ball technology,” a sensor within the official match ball sending kick-point detection data to the video operations room. Per FIFA, “by combining the limb- and ball-tracking data and applying artificial intelligence, the new technology provides an automated offside alert to the video match officials inside the video operation room whenever the ball is received by an attacker who was in an offside position at the moment the ball was played by a teammate.”

After the video referee and the officials on the pitch have confirmed a decision, a 3D visualization of the offsides penalty is available to clearly communicate the infraction.

Germany v Japan: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

World Cup 2022 schedule, start time, dates, how to watch live

  • When: November 20, 2022 to December 18, 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 5am, 8am, 10am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, scores, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup, and be sure to subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube!