Moussa Dembele wants out of White Hart Lane

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With just two goals in 61 appearances for Tottenham Hotspur for Moussa Dembele, it would appear his time at White Hart Lane is coming to a close.

The Belgian midfielder is using the same play as many others this January to try and secure as much playing time as possible – he wants to secure his World Cup spot.

Unfortunately for Dembele, he seems to have recently lost his place at White Hart Lane, with Andre Villas-Boas telling Dembele he prefers the more defensive Paulinho, and Sandro in the midfield.

“I can not be satisfied with it, of course, I just want to play as many games,” said Dembele. “The coach explained that he makes a tactical choice, he wants more defensive players in midfield.”

For the 26-year-old, it’s not just Tottenham’s crowded midfield he has to be worried about.

Belgium, an up-and-coming powerhouse that looks poised for a possible World Cup breakout, is packed in the midfield.  Dembele must contend with the likes of Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, and Marouane Fellaini for a spot in the starting squad.

The goal tally for Dembele has never been there since even his Fulham days, but since his August 2012 move to White Hart Lane his talent on the ball and ability to make runs at defenders have been vital.

Unfortunately for the Belgian, he was pegged further and further back by AVB’s tactics, with the Portugese manager preferring not to utilize Dembele’s on-ball skills and instead sit two midfielders back as distributors rather than dynamic chance-creators.

That role is much more suited for the Brazilian duo of midfielders, and they’ve both excelled, sending Dembele to the bench.

Fulham manager Martin Jol has often lamented the absence of the Belgian since his transfer, but it remains to be seen what his loss would be worth monetarily to Villas-Boas.

VIDEO: Tunisia equalizes on controversial penalty kick

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England centerback Kyle Walker put his arm up to halt the forward progress of Fakhreddine Ben Youssef. Unfortunately for Walker, Ben Youssef was in the box and Walker’s elbow caught Ben Youssef’s face.

Referee Wilmar Roldan quickly whistled for a penalty kick and despite the protests from a half-dozen of England players and a check from the VAR, the called stood. Ferjani Sassi’stepped up to the spot and found the lower-left corner, just barely beating Jordan Pickford to tie the game in the 35th minute.

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How will England respond?

VIDEO: Captain Kane puts England on the board early

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It may be the easiest goal-scoring opportunity Harry Kane‘s ever had in an international competition, and he finished it as easy as you’d like.

Kane side-footed home after Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen made a terrific save on John Stone’s header off a corner, but the save was directed right into a wide-open Kane who was standing ready inside the six yard box. The 11th minute goal will surely settle some of the Three Lions’ nerves as they open their World Cup bid in Russia.

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After slow start, Belgium takes care of business against feisty Panama

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All it took was one goal to bring Belgium to life.

Following a frustrating first 45 minutes, in which Belgium put a pair of shots into the side netting and forced saves from Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, Dries Mertens 47th minute goal opened the floodgates, as Belgium went on to defeat Panama, 3-0, Monday afternoon in Sochi.

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But Panama never made it easy for the Belgians. From the opening whistle the CONCACAF nation showed its incredible spirit, chasing down Belgium all across the field and making life incredibly difficult for Belgium attackers Romelu Lukaku, Mertens and Eden Hazard. Hazard was hacked down all over the field, and while he did earn fouls and a few yellow cards were issued to Panamanian players, it was enough to get in Hazard’s head.

Two minutes into the second half, everything changed. A wonderstrike from Mertens opened the game, and forced Panama to attack and try and tie the match, which gave Hazard, de Bruyne and Lukaku more space to operate.

In the heat and humidity of the Sochi summer, Panama’s veteran defense began to tire, allowing de Bruyne the space to deliver a terrific assist to Lukaku in the box, putting Belgium up 2-0 in the 69th minute.

 

Six minutes later, Lukaku was put through on the break, chipping over Penedo to confirm the victory.

With the win, Belgium moves to the top of Group G. Up next for Belgium is Tunisia on Saturday, while Panama takes on England on Sunday.

VIDEO: de Bruyne delivers gorgeous assist on Lukaku goal

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It took a little bit of patience, but Romelu Lukaku finally got on the scoresheet at the 2018 World Cup, thanks to a delicious assist from crosstown club rival Kevin De Bruyne.

The Manchester City playmaker delivered a spectacular outside-of-the-boot cross into the box, where Lukaku’s head met it and guided it towards the far post for Belgium’s second goal of the day.

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