Arsenal may want Simon Mignolet, but Paolo Di Canio’s prepared to fight for him

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In the wake of a run-in that left Sunderland fortunate to stay in the Premier League, manager Paolo Di Canio is promising big changes. The Black Cats may need “half-a-dozen” new signings this summer (really, an annual ritual around the Stadium of Light), though in order to keep that number from escalating, Di Canio’s going to have to hold on to the few solutions he has. That means keeping Steven Fletcher, retaining Stephane Sessegnon, and fighting off the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool for Sunderland’s true gem: goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

The 25-year-old Belgian was among the league’s best `keepers this season, facing the second-most shots in the league as he played every minute for the flounder Cats. Behind that barrage, Mignolet felt the downside of Martin O’Neill’s negative tactics, his ability tested not only with shots on goal but having cut out changes on endless balls sent into his area. Both aggressive off his line and posessing quick shot-stopping reflexes, Mignolet was given plenty of opportunity to shine behind a terrible team.

Unfortunately for Di Canio, it may be impossible to keep Mignolet now that clubs near the top of the table are in pursuit. No young Belgian heads to England to spend the rest of his career at Sunderland. Teams like the Black Cats provide a proving ground for foreign talent eager to work their way into the league’s seven high-profile teams. Once one comes knocking, it’s usually a matter of extracting full value.

Depending on how Liverpool feel about Pepe Reina, that my be difficult to extract from the Reds, as it’s unclear Brendan Rodgers is ready to let the Spaniard return to Barcelona. Arsenal, on the other hand, moved away from Wojciech Szczesny at year’s end, and while Arsène Wenger has typically imported younger goalkeepers, Mignolet makes sense if he’s looking for a new number one.

Able to speak five languages (Flemish, Dutch, German, French, and English), Mignolet will immediately be able to communicate with the bulk Arsenal’s defenders, and being a rare footballer with a four-year degree (politics, University of Leuven), Mignolet may be a natural fit for Wenger’s more erudite approach.

Add in the fact Arsenal won’t have to set any transfer records to bring the Belgian to The Emirates and everything lines up, though if Di Canio’s remarks to the Hartlepool Mail are to be taken at face value, Mignolet’s move would be a contentious one:

“It is clear that we have to bring in players over the summer – half-a-dozen, maybe more,” said Di Canio.

“We finished near the relegation zone and so it is obvious that we need to make changes to make sure that we are not in this situation next season.

“But at the same time we already have some quality players here, and I want them to stay.

“I want to build something here at Sunderland and take the club forward – that is my mission. So the last thing I want to do is to let any of our quality players leave.

“Simon is a top class goalkeeper,” he said. “He’s very important to us.”

For Di Canio, it would be better if he cashed in and reinvested the money. Sunderland needs some much at so many positions, getting a potential eight-digit (or, high seven-digit) sum for your goalkeeper has to be considered. With Irish international Kieran Westwood on the bench, the Cats have somebody who should be able to do a minimal job should a different replacement fail to head north.

For Arsenal, it’s just a matter of prioritization. If they do have a £70 million war chest, as has been speculated, how much of that do they want to allocate toward a goalkeeper? And are they willing to give up on Wojciech Szczesny?

Portugal beats Uruguay as Bruno continues red-hot World Cup

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Portugal made it two wins from two games as Bruno Fernandes scored twice to beat Uruguay 2-0 and advance to the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup on Monday.

WATCH FULL PORTUGAL vs URUGUAY MATCH REPLAY

Fernandes was awarded the opening goal in the 54th minute, perhaps to the dismay of Cristiano Ronaldo, who immediately insisted the he got his head on the ball as it sailed over everyone — himself included, according to the review panel — and found its way into the back of the net from the opposite corner of the penalty area.

Ronaldo wheeled away in celebration, but five minutes later it was announced that Fernandes was being credited with his first World Cup goal, after tallying a pair of assists in Portugal’s opening win over Ghana.

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

Goal no. 2 was full of even more controversy. Fernandes slid the ball through Jose Gimenez’s legs and the Uruguayan center back’s trail hand touching the ball was deemed a handball offense upon video review.

The victory puts Portugal (6 points) in the driver seat atop Group H, with Ghana (3) the only other side still with a chance to win the group. Portugal will conclude group play against South Kore (1 point – 4th place) on Friday.

[ MORE: Latest Group G standings, schedule, scores ]

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How to watch Portugal vs Uruguay live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Monday Nov. 28
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Everyone’s going to keep looking at Cristiano Ronaldo — it’s difficult not to turn your head with all the “Look at me” nonsense — but Bruno Fernandes is the real string-puller here. He’s playing well with Ruben Neves, while Ruben Dias and the back line will look to tighten things up after letting Ghana stay in the game.

Uruguay hero Luis Suarez has been here before, but his supporting cast is as good as ever. Rodrigo Betancur and Jose Maria Gimenez give La Celeste a chance at clean sheet every time they take the pitch.


Portugal quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 9
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs
Coach: Fernando Santos
Key players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancelo

Uruguay quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 14
World Cup titles: 2 (1930, 1950)
World Cup appearances: 14
How they qualified: Qualified from CONMEBOL
Coach: Diego Alonso
Key players: Luis Suarez, Federico Valverde, Darwin Nunez, Rodrigo Betancur

Brazil grinds out late win over Switzerland without Neymar

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Brazil were held in check for 82 minutes without Neymar, but the five-time world champions escaped with a 1-0 victory vs Switzerland to advance to the round of 16 at the 2022 World Cup on Monday.

WATCH FULL MATCH REPLAY

Casemiro hammered home a right-footed strike set up by Rodrygo’s clever first-time ball, just as Brazil appeared headed for a frustrating scoreless draw. Vinicius Junior had the ball in the back of the net not so long before Casemiro did, but the goal was ruled out for offside in the build-up, in a too-rare moment attacking fluidity.

The victory sends Brazil (6 points) through to the knockout rounds for an astonishing 20th straight World Cup appearance. Brazil’s only group-stage failure came in 1930, at the inaugural World Cup.

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

The defeat is far from a tournament-ender for Switzerland (3 points – 2nd place), who need at least a draw (but preferably a win) against Serbia on Friday.

Brazil vs Switzerland
Photo: FotMob.com

[ MORE: Latest Group G standings, schedule, scores ]


No Neymar, no ideas

With Neymar (ankle) out for at least the rest of the group stage (maybe), Tite opted to bring Fred into the team and push Lucas Paqueta higher up the field against Switzerland. Brazil were, at times, brilliant going forward with Neymar playing off Richarlison’s strong hold-up and link-up play, making surging runs into space with a center back (or two) occupied.

Predictably, there was a disconnect between midfield and the forward line. Brazil were unable to create chances through the middle of the field, limited to hopeful crosses into the box where Switzerland’s towering center backs to comfortably clear. The stats and analytics really highlight Neymar’s impact, and the difficulties that Brazil have without him on the field, from the first half (and not much changed in the second half)…

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How to watch Brazil vs Switzerland live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 11am ET, Monday Nov. 28
Stadium: Stadium 974, Doha
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Brazil will not have Neymar for this one and likely the rest of the group stage as the oft-fouled magician felt the sting of Serbian tackles in the opener. The Brazilians have had to play without their captain before and have a wealth of attacking options, but who will join Richarlison in providing the goals in a Ney-less attack.

The Swiss have all the tools to hang with Brazil, but how physical will they want to make it for the favorites? Granit Xhaka will be one to watch as the underdogs try to balance a desire to get forward with the danger of doing so against a potent Brazil.


Brazil quick facts

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

Switzerland quick facts

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

Brazil vs Switzerland live

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 – 6 points (+3 GD)
2. Switzerland – 3 points (0)
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

World Cup 2022 Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea schedule, fixtures, rankings

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Expect fireworks when a star-studded World Cup 2022 Group H puts Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, Heung-min Son, and Thomas Partey in the same group this November.

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

All World Cup groups have megastars but Portugal and Uruguay will be considered contenders if not favorites to reach the semifinals in Qatar.

Premier League fans will know players from every single team.

Portugal (Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancelo, Partey), Uruguay (Darwin Nunez, Rodrigo Betancur), Tottenham Hotspur (Son), and Ghana (Thomas Partey, Jordan Ayew, Jeff Schlupp) are among the PL players set to contribute to the cause.

After their narrow win over Ghana, Portugal is looking good to reach the last 16, while it will be an almighty scrap between the other three to join them.

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

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


Group H schedule

Recap/highlights: Portugal 3-2 Ghana – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Uruguay 0-0 South Korea – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Monday, November 28: Portugal vs Uruguay – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
Monday, November 28: South Korea vs Ghana – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 8am
Friday, December 2: South Korea vs Portugal – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am
Friday, December 2: Ghana vs Uruguay – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 10am

How To Watch Group F matches live

  • When: November 23-December 1, 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 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!


Group H table

1. Portugal — 6 points (+3 GD)
2. Ghana — 3 points (0)
3. South Korea — 1 point (-1)
4. Uruguay — 1 point (-2)


Portugal

Current FIFA world ranking: 9
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs
Coach: Fernando Santos
Key players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancelo

Ghana

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: Jordan Ayew, Andre Ayew, Thomas Partey, Jeff Schlupp

Uruguay

Current FIFA world ranking: 14
World Cup titles: 2 (1930, 1950)
World Cup appearances: 14
How they qualified: Qualified from CONMEBOL
Coach: Diego Alonso
Key players: Luis Suarez, Federico Valverde, Darwin Nunez, Rodrigo Betancur

South Korea

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