Despite devastating World Cup exit, England’s women inspired a nation

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Despite defeat to Japan, England’s women have inspired a nation this summer.

LONDON — On a small side street just off a bustling road in central London, I walked past a flower stand this morning.

“Did you see the England women’s team last night?” asks one bloke to another. Brief interjections regarding the success of England’s Lionesses have been frequent across this nation I call home over the past few weeks during the World Cup in Canada.

It’s inspiring. It’s uplifting. And, most of all, it reflects the power soccer has on society on these shores.

On Thursday morning people across England were waking up to learn that head coach Mark Sampson and his side were devastatingly knocked out of the World Cup by reigning champions Japan in the cruelest of fashions. Laura Bassett’s last-gasp own goal handed the Japanese victory as English soccer now has another heartbreaking moment to add to a long list of “what might have been?” World Cup campaigns.

[ MORE: Future is bright for Lionesses ]

However this felt different. There was a positive vibe despite the tears on the pitch at the end of the game, which reminded most England fans of Paul Gascoigne sobbing uncontrollably at Italia ’90. England’s women had never won a knockout game at a World Cup finals before this summer but they pushed the defending champs all the way in the final four and were arguably the better team for vast swathes of the match. Only a cruel slice of luck denied them a spot in the World Cup final against the USA.

source: Getty Images
Sampson consoles his players after the crushing defeat.

National newspapers held the printers until 2 a.m. local time on Thursday so they could splash England’s exploits all over the morning editions. The England women’s team was mentioned in parliament by Prime Minister David Cameron, plus a good luck message came from Prince William as well-wishers sprung up on TV and across social media to throw their support behind just the third English team in history to reach the semifinals of a World Cup.

[ MORE: Sampson praises Bassett after devastating own goal ]

Despite going out of the World Cup at the semifinal stage — just like the men’s side last did in 1990 in a similarly agonizing fashion following a penalty shootout defeat to Germany — what the 23 women on the English national team have achieved in Canada this summer cannot be underestimated.

Sure, it will take some time for England to become a nation who truly embraces women’s soccer like the United States, Canada or Germany does, but the achievements of the Lionesses reaching the final four against all the odds will have provided inspiration to millions of young girls across England.

“We came into this tournament as a huge underdog, with the weight of a nation on our back,” Sampson said in an emotional, awe-inspiring interview just after the full time whistle. “There were skeptics and critics who said we weren’t good enough to get this far and I’m just so proud of them [the players]. They’ve really inspired a nation back home and they deserve to go back home now as heroes. They’ve played their hearts out and given their all and we should all be very proud of them.”

Sampson was right. They have inspired a nation. As you can see below, fans gathered in bars in London to cheer on the team with the game in Edmonton kicking off at midnight local time, and despite England’s games kicking off late in the evening throughout the tournament, millions stayed up to watch and the BBC put the semifinal game vs. Japan on its marquee channel, BBC One.

Progress. Pride. Promotion. All three words epitomize what England’s unlikely run to the semifinals has been about.

But, due to many complex and deep-rooted reasons, there are big challenges ahead in the domestic game where most of England’s players ply their trade. The professional women’s league has had several incarnations in England but has never really taken off. In 2011 the FA’s NWL was set up and it now has 18 teams, but average crowds of just 719 for the 2014 season show how far women’s soccer still has to go to totally capture the minds of the English public. Compared those crowd figures to an average attendance of 4,137 for games in the NWSL in the U.S. and you start to understand why England’s successful run to the semifinals is a big deal and it can act as a catalyst for more interest in the women’s game in the nation which proudly calls itself the home of soccer.

[ MORE: Overwhelming support for Bassett ]

Women’s soccer is getting plenty of support from Premier League teams too as Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Sunderland, Everton, Aston Villa and Watford all have teams in the NWL. More giants of England soccer will need to support the women’s game going forward, and momentum from this World Cup success should not be allowed to drift away.

One factor that will hurt women’s soccer in England is that Team GB will not enter an Olympic team for Rio 2016 despite England qualifying through their World Cup performance. Due to disputes between the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish FA’s about linking up to field one team for Great Britain, no team will be entered in 2016. But you can’t help but think success in the Olympics would help grow the women’s game further in the UK as a whole. Putting those politics aside, the Lionesses now have a platform to build from by setting new records in Canada this summer. With the English FA investing millions in the women’s game and attendances of over 45,000 at Wembley Stadium for a friendly vs. Germany in 2014, the signs of progress are clear for all to see.

source: Getty Images
Laura Bassett of England is comforted by her teammates.

“I know the team are bitterly disappointed,” said HRH Prince William, who is also the honorary president of the English FA, on Thursday. “But I hope more than that they will be proud of what they have achieved. They’ve inspired thousands of girls and boys around the country and entered history as one of England’s great teams.”

Now, soccer fans in England need to embrace the women’s game like they’ve never done before as young female players of the future will look back at late night’s spent watching the likes of Jill Scott, Steph Houghton and Fara Williams playing in the summer of 2015 as the moment they awoke to the power soccer bestows.

England’s players did more than just reach the semifinal of the World Cup. They inspired a nation.

“I really hope that tomorrow morning at 6 o’clock in the morning before school, thousands of young girls who have never kicked a football before, will pick up a football and say, ‘Mom, I want to be Laura Bassett today,’” added Sampson.

On the evidence of the past few weeks, plenty of young girls will have done just that this morning across England. Sampson and his side can be proud of their achievements. Just like the whole of England is.

Brazil vs Switzerland, live! Score, updates, stream link, video highlights

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Opening match winners Brazil and Switzerland meet Monday at Stadium 974 in Doha.

FIFA world No. 1 Brazil broke through pesky Serbia for a 2-0 win In Lusail to start the tournament as Richarlison scored two goals — one a ridiculous bit of technique — to get the Brazilians off on the right (and left) foot.

STREAM LIVE BRAZIL vs SWITZERLAND

Switzerland meanwhile used a 1-0 defeat of Cameroon to claim three points and set up Monday’s win-and-in match.

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

Can Neymar-less Brazil take the next step toward a sixth World Cup? Here is everything you need for Brazil vs Switzerland.


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 schedule – how to watch, groups, calendar, match schedule, brackets, dates

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The World Cup 2022 schedule is locked in and the start to the tournament in Qatar has been sensational as action throughout November and December will capture the imagination of the world.

[ LIVE: Watch World Cup en Espanol en Peacock ]

Saudi Arabia, Japan and Morocco have already pulled off huge upset wins over Argentina, Germany and Belgium respectively as the tournament has got off to a flying start.

From the USMNT drawing against England the day after Thanksgiving to Lionel Messi saving Argentina against Mexico in the group stages, Spain squaring off with Germany and upsets galore, there are plenty of intriguing games in the opening round.

[ MORE: World Cup rosters for all 32 teams ]

Then we have the Round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals, and final to look forward to. Bring. It. On.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]  

Below is the schedule in full, details on how to watch the games and everything else you need..

[ MORE: World Cup odds ]


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!


Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H

Group A schedule (all kick off times ET)

Recap/highlights: Qatar 0-2 Ecuador – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Senegal 0-2 Netherlands – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Qatar 1-3 Senegal – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Tuesday, November 29: Netherlands vs Qatar (preview) – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 10am
Tuesday, November 29: Ecuador vs Senegal (preview)–  Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Group B schedule

Recap/highlights: England 6-2 Iran – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: USA 1-1 Wales – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: England 0-0 USA – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Wales 0-2 Iran – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Tuesday, November 29: Wales vs England (preview) – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
Tuesday November 29: Iran vs USA (preview) – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm

Group C schedule

Recap/highlights: Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Mexico 0-0 Poland – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Argentina 2-0 Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Wednesday, November 30: Poland vs Argentina (preview) – Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm
Wednesday, November 30: Saudi Arabia vs Mexico (preview) – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm

Group D schedule

Recap/highlights: France 4-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Denmark 0-0 Tunisia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: France 2-1 Denmark – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Tunisia 0-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Wednesday, November 30: Tunisia vs France (preview) –  Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am
Wednesday, November 30: Australia vs Denmark (preview) – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 10am

Group E schedule

Recap/highlights: Spain 7-0 Costa Rica – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Germany 1-2 Japan – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Spain 1-1 Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Japan 0-1 Costa Rica – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Thursday, December 1: Japan vs Spain – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
Thursday, December 1: Costa Rica vs Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm

Group F schedule

Recap/highlights: Belgium 1-0 Canada – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Morocco 0-0 Croatia – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Belgium 0-2 Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Croatia 4-1 Canada – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Thursday, December 1: Croatia vs Belgium (preview) – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am
Thursday, December 1: Canada vs Morocco (preview) – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 10am

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

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 (preview) – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
Recap/highlights: South Korea 2-3 Ghana – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
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


Round of 16 schedule

Match 49 – Saturday, December 3: Winner Group A vs Runners up Group B – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Match 50 – Saturday, December 3:  Winners Group C vs Runners up Group D – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm

Match 52 – Sunday, December 4: Winners Group D vs Runners up Group C – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha – 10am

Match 51 – Sunday, December 4: Winners Group B vs Runners up Group A – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm

Match 53 – Monday, December 5: Winners Group E vs Runners up Group F – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 10am

Match 54 – Monday, December 5: Winners Group G vs Runners up Group H – Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm

Match 55 – Tuesday, December 6: Winners Group F vs Runners up Group E – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Match 56 – Tuesday, December 6: Winners Group H vs Runners up Group G – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm


Quarterfinal schedule

Match 58 – Friday, December 9: Winners Match 53 vs Winners Match 54 – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Match 57 – Friday, December 9: Winners Match 49 vs Winners Match 50 – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 10am

Match 60 – Saturday, December 10: Winners Match 55 vs Winners Match 56 – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha – 10am

Match 59 – Saturday, December 10: Winners Match 51 vs Winners Match 52 – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


Semifinal schedule

Match 61 – Tuesday, December 13: Winners Match 57 vs Winners Match 58 – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm

Match 62 – Wednesday, December 14: Winners Match 59 vs Winners Match 60 – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


Third-place play-off

Match 63 – Saturday, December 17: Losers Match 61 vs Losers Match 62 – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm


Final

Match 64 – Sunday, December 18: Winners Match 61 vs Winners Match 62 – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 10am

Iran vs USA: How to watch live, USMNT stream link, team news

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The United States men’s national team seeks a return to the knockout rounds and that’ll only come with a win over Iran at 2pm ET Saturday inside Al Thumama Stadium in Al Khor.

STREAM LIVE IRAN vs USA

It doesn’t matter what Wales does vs England at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan because England already has four points and a draw would give Iran four as well.

The Yanks’ two draws mandate a win-or-go-home mentality on Saturday and there are multiple generations worth of redemption up for grabs after the USMNT was felled by Iran at the 1998 World Cup and failed to qualify for the 2018 tourney in Russia.

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

How can Gregg Berhalter unlock the USMNT attack to get the goal or goals he’ll need to reach a date with Group B’s winner or runner-up?

Here is everything you need for Iran vs USA.


How to watch Iran vs USA live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Tuesday Nov. 29
Stadium: Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

For Iran, it’s about riding the momentum of a huge win after finding inspiration in a huge loss. There’s an ocean’s worth of difference in emotion between the 6-2 tournament-opening loss to England in Al Rayyan and the 2-0 triumph over Wales In the same city. Can Mehdi Taremi or Sardar Azmoun succeed where Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling could not and break down the USMNT defense for a goal?

Meanwhile, the Yanks may still be lamenting a 1-1 draw with Wales as much as they are celebrating a strong performance that kept them unbeaten against England at the World Cup after a scoreless draw with Gareth Southgate’s men In Al Khor. Gregg Berhalter has to find a way to unlock the USMNT’s final-third woes when they hit Al Khor on Tuesday.


Iran quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 20
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC (Won Group A)
Coach: Dragan Skocic
Key players: Ehsan Hajsafi, Sardar Azmoun, Mehdi Taremi

USA quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 16
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 9
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONCACAF (3rd place)
Coach: Gregg Berhalter
Key players: Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams

World Cup 2022 Group A: Qatar, Senegal, Netherlands, Ecuador schedule, fixtures, rankings

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Group A in the 2022 World Cup will be intriguing, as hosts Qatar are joined by African champs Senegal, plus the Netherlands and Ecuador.

[ MORE: Full schedule for 2022 World Cup ]

This really is a wide-open group but the host nation got off to a terrible start as they were outclassed by Ecuador and Qatar are now out are losing to Senegal too.

There’s no doubting that the Netherlands and Senegal are the favorites to advance as Virgil van Dijk will lead the Dutch as they look to make up for missing the 2018 tournament, but Senegal are missing main man Sadio Mane through injury as they aim to better their best-ever finish of reaching the quarterfinals in 2002.

As for Ecuador, they look like an incredibly solid team who are set up very well to counter and proved that against Qatar.

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

Below is everything you need to know for 2022 World Cup Group A.


Group A schedule (all kick off times ET)

Recap/highlights: Qatar 0-2 Ecuador – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Senegal 0-2 Netherlands  – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 5am
Recap/highlights: Qatar 1-3 Senegal – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Tuesday, November 29: Netherlands vs Qatar – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 10am
Tuesday, November 29: Ecuador vs Senegal –  Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

How To Watch Group A matches live

  • When: November 20-29, 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 5am, 8am, 10am, 11am (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 A table

1. Ecuador — 4 points (+2 GD)
2. Netherlands — 4 points (+2)
3. Senegal — 3 points (0)
4. Qatar — 0 (-2) – ELIMINATED


Qatar

Current FIFA world ranking: 49
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 0
How they qualified: As hosts
Coach: Felix Sanchez
Key players: Abdelkarim Hassan, Almoez Ali, Hassan Al-Haydos

Senegal

Current FIFA world ranking: 18
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 2
How they qualified: Beat Egypt in CAF playoff
Coach: Aliou Cisse
Key players: Idrissa Gana Gueye, Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly

Netherlands

Current FIFA world ranking: 8
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 10
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group G)
Coach: Louis van Gaal
Key players: Virgil van Dijk, Memphis Depay, Frenkie de Jong

Ecuador

Current FIFA world ranking: 44
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 3
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (4th place)
Coach: Gustavo Alfaro
Key players: Enner Valencia, Moises Caicedo, Pervis Estupinan