De Bruyne: Belgium showing how “powerful” they can be

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The current Belgium squad — the one that reached the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup with a 2-1 victory over the mighty Brazil on Friday — is the end product of a golden generation that teased and tormented fans of their free-flowing style for years.

[ MORE: Belgium’s golden generation reaches World Cup semifinal ]

For so long, they were full of promise and potential, but lacked the maturity and/or experience in the big moments to get over the hump. But, now — four years after bowing out in the quarterfinals in Brazil, eight and 12 years after failing to qualify for back-to-back tournaments for the first time since the 1960s — the Red Devils, under carefree, bombastic manager Roberto Martinez, are delivering the goods.

After scoring the game-winning goal on Friday, Kevin De Bruyne spoke of the “power” possessed by this Belgian squad, of how they persevered against one of the most popular pre-tournament favorites, and of how they’re still two more wins from achieving what they set out to do — quotes from the BBC:

“It’s not easy to play Brazil, they are a wonderful team. But the power we have as a team showed today. We were magnificent in the first half.

“Second half it was very difficult, they had a lot of players in the middle. In the last 15 minutes it was a character test and we showed the world what we are capable of.”

“You have to grow as a player and as a team. Obviously it is difficult, in a tournament one loss and you are out but we tried everything. We are here to try and win the World Cup, obviously everyone tries. We are one win away from the game everyone wants to be in.”

As for Martinez, he believes it’s all about the mentality — something which has undoubtedly been fostered in so many of his players as they’ve risen to play for many of the biggest clubs in the world, and how they’ve applied those lessons to do what they’ve done thus far.

“They did it. You saw incredible heart from this team. You have to accept that Brazil have finesse and they will break you down but we did not accept it. This is something special. These boys deserve to be real special people back in Belgium.”

“I never lost a game on the tactics board, it’s the execution that matters and the execution was magnificent. Players have to be brave to change the way we play and we had two days to do it. That is down to desire, they wanted to make it happen.

“It is special. We can’t let them down back home now. We have beaten Brazil in the World Cup, we have created a nice memory, let’s treasure it and pass it down. Now we need more energy for the semifinal.”

Ghana, Uruguay crash out after another penalty kick miss and late drama

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Uruguay beat Ghana but failed to secure their spot in the last 16 after pouring more World Cup misery on the Black Stars.

FULL MATCH REPLAY

Luis Suarez, who was in tears at full time after South Korea’s stunning late victory against Portugal knocked Uruguay out on goals scored, was heavily involved in both goals for Giorgian de Arrascaeta in the first half but they only arrived after Ghana missed, you guessed it, a penalty kick which was awarded via VAR.

Sergio Rochet saved Andre Ayew’s penalty kick as lightning struck twice for the Black Stars against Uruguay.

[ MORE: Group H standings, schedule, rankings ]

Needing a point to advance, Ghana once again collapsed against Uruguay as amid all the talk about getting revenge for 2010, the Ghanians looked stunned following their penalty kick miss.

Uruguay finished on the same number of points and the same goal difference as South Korea, but went out as they scored just two goals to South Korea’s four.

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


Smiles turn to tears in an instance as Uruguay stunned

They weren’t good enough for most of this tournament and their goalless draw in their opening game against South Korea cost them dear. This is the end for Luis Suarez, who was distraught on the sidelines, as he and Edinson Cavani were dejected as South Korea scored a late winner against Portugal to leave Uruguay needing another three goals late on to advance. That wasn’t going to happen and at the final whistle their players lost it and went at the officials as they believed they should have had at least one penalty kick. In truth, Uruguay haven’t been good enough at this tournament. They will be reminded of that every time the images of Suarez sobbing uncontrollably on the bench, after he had been taken off with the South American side believing they had done enough to reach the list of 16, are shown. Ghana, in a way, finally got their revenge.


Stars of the show

Luis Suarez: Delivered one of his best displays in a long time to cause chaos up top. I guess he can still rise to the occasion and all of the pre-match talk probably helped him roll back the years. However, he ended the game in tears after being subbed off as his World Cup years appear to be over.

Sergio Rochet: Gave the penalty kick away, which seemed harsh, but saved the spot kick and made some other big stops to shut out Ghana.

Ghana vs Uruguay
Graphic via FotMob.com

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

Kick off: 10am ET – Friday, December 2
Stadium: Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Ghana will likely start the same team which started against South Korea as they looked dangerous in attack but they will have to improve defensively and keep the ball a bit better. The Ayew brothers (Jordan and Andre) provide so much experience, while Inaki Williams and Kudus knit everything together well in the final third.

Uruguay have to go for it, so does that mean starting Suarez, Cavani and Nunez up top together? If they do that they could cause Ghana, who have looked shaky at the back, plenty of problems. They may go back to a back four and the trio of Bentancur, Vecino and Valverde to hold down midfield.


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

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 Bentancur


South Korea grabs dramatic stoppage time win to reach last 16

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South Korea scored in the 91st minute to beat Portugal 2-1 and secure themselves a spot in the last 16 of the World Cup in the most dramatic fashion.

FULL MATCH REPLAY

They finished Group H level on points and goal difference with Uruguay but went through ahead of Uruguay based on goals scored, as they scored three group stage goals to Uruguay’s two.

Wolves striker Hwang Hee-chan scored the winner as he was set up by Heung-min Son and slotted home.

Portugal had taken the lead through Horta but Kim Young-gwon scored a superb equalizer before half time.

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

South Korea have reached the last 16 of the World Cup for just the second time since their legendary run to the semifinals as hosts in 2002 and just the third time in their history.

Portugal won Group H as Fernando Santos rotated his lineup and they weren’t too bothered with the result. South Korea are now all but certain to face Brazil in the last 16.


Son and South Korea get what they deserve

They lost to Ghana 3-2 despite pummelling their Group H opponents and were very good against Uruguay but drew and finally they got the win they needed, and deserved. South Korea’s dramatic last-gasp win against Portugal was the stuff of legends as Son and Hwang Hee-chan combined for the latter to coolly slot home. How he kept that cool in that scenario is crazy as the whole of South Korea held their breath, then roared in jubilation. This team have huffed and puffed and have never given up and right at the end of the group stage they got what they deserved. After the euphoria of this win, you wouldn’t bet against Son and Co. to pull off a huge upset and knock Brazil out of the World Cup, would you?


Stars of the show

Heung-min Son: Delivered an amazing late assist on the winner and that was the difference. His class in the final third was always going to shine through in the end and he’s been trying so hard to be the main man for South Korea. Now he has his moment.

South Korea vs Portugal
Graphic via FotMob.com

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

Kick off: 10am ET – Friday, December 2
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 the stage is set for Heung-min Son. He is a hero in his homeland and he’s worked so hard to be fit for this tournament after the nasty facial injury but looks out of sorts on the left. Perhaps he can moved inside or slightly deeper to get on the ball more? Cho Gue-sung scored two beauties against Ghana and if South Korea can put more quality deliveries into the box, they will cause problems. They simply have to go all-out for the win and that approach saw them deliver their best play of the tournament in the second half against Ghana. However, South Korea’s Portuguese coach Paulo Bento was sent off at the end of that disappointing defeat to Ghana as he was unhappy with a late corner not being allowed as the final whistle was blown. He will miss this game through suspension. 

For Portugal it’s about resting key players and warming up for their last 16 clash. Winning the group is essential as that means they would face one of Serbia, Switzerland or Cameroon in the last 16 rather than Brazil. It is very unlikely Portugal won’t finish top, but it could happen. Basically, Ghana would have to win big to overturn a three-goal difference by beating Uruguay and Portugal would also have to lose against South Korea. It could happen but Fernando Santos can rotate his team and still have so much quality on the pitch as Goncalo Ramos, Diogo Dalot, Matheus Nunes and Rafael Leao could all start.


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

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


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

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The World Cup 2022 odds are already intriguing.

Who’s going to lift the World Cup trophy on Sunday, Dec. 18, and what are the current betting odds for them to do so?

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

Odds for not only who will be crowned world champions this winter in Qatar, but also for each one of the eight groups, were posted.

Check out the 2022 World Cup winners betting odds below, provided by our partner, PointsBet.


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!


World Cup 2022 odds – winners (As of December 2)

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links. Here are the odds provided by our partner, PointsBet.

Brazil +225
Argentina +475
France +500
Spain +600
England +900
Portugal +1200
Netherlands +1800
Croatia +3300
Uruguay +6600
Japan +6600
Switzerland +10000
USA +10000
Morocco +10000
Senegal +10000
Serbia +20000
Poland +25000
Australia +25000
Ghana +75000
South Korea +100000
Cameroon +200000

Qatar – Eliminated
Canada – Eliminated
Ecuador – Eliminated
Wales – Eliminated
Iran – Eliminated
Germany – Eliminated
Belgium – Eliminated
Denmark – Eliminated
Costa Rica – Eliminated
Tunisia – Eliminated
Mexico – Eliminated
Saudi Arabia – Eliminated


World Cup odds – group stage winners (At start of tournament, November 20)

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links. Here are the odds provided by our partner, PointsBet.

Group A

Netherlands -223
Senegal +400
Ecuador +550
Qatar +1600

Group B

England -304
Wales +550
USA +600
Iran +1800

Group C

Argentina -223
Poland +450
Mexico +450
Saudi Arabia +2500

Group D

France -250
Denmark +275
Tunisia +1400
Australia +2000

Group E

Spain -112
Germany +110
Japan +1200
Costa Rica +5000

Group F

Belgium -200
Croatia +250
Morocco +1000
Canada +1200

Group G

Brazil -250
Switzerland +500
Serbia +600
Cameroon +1200

Group H

Portugal -154
Uruguay +200
Ghana +1100
South Korea +1100


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

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The 2022 World Cup is already well underway and through the first matches of the group stage, the tournament has been marked by unpredictability and upsets, including Saudi Arabia toppling Argentina and Japan edging out Germany thanks to a late comeback. While one loss doesn’t necessarily mean these pre-tournament contenders won’t make it to the knockout rounds, it does make the path significantly harder. Read on to see the World Cup tiebreakers that may come into play in determining which teams advance to the next round and continue on the path to soccer’s greatest glory.

How many teams will advance from the World Cup group stage?

Of the 32 teams at the 2022 World Cup, only 16 will advance to the next round of the tournament. The top two teams in each of the eight groups will advance to the Round of 16. From there, the tournament will be a single-elimination competition, with eight teams making it through to the quarterfinals and four to the semifinals. The winners of the semifinal matches will play in the final, while the losers will meet in the third-place playoff.

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

What are the tiebreakers for the group stage at the World Cup?

If two or more teams have an equal number of points after the conclusion of group stage matches, FIFA will use the following tiebreakers to determine which nations advance:

  • Goal differential – the team with the higher goal differential (total goals scored minus total goals allowed) will have the higher ranking
  • Number of goals scored – If multiple teams have the same number of points and equal goal differential, the team with more goals scored will be given a higher ranking than the lesser-scoring team

World Cup draw rules

If two or more teams are still “tied” after applying these tiebreakers, FIFA moves on to a second round of tiebreakers:

  • Greatest number of points obtained in group matches between the teams concerned
  • Superior goal difference resulting from the group matches between the team concerned
  • Greatest number of goals scored in all matches between the teams concerned
  • Highest team conduct score – team conduct score is based on the number of yellow and red cards a team has obtained. The team with the highest team conduct score will receive the higher ranking.
    • Yellow Card: Minus one point
    • Indirect Red Card (acquired via two yellow cards): Minus three points
    • Direct Red Card: Minus four points
    • Yellow Card and Direct Red Card: Minus five points

RELATED: PST’s 2022 World Cup predictions: Standings, winner, awards, USMNT fate

World Cup yellow card rules

The “team conduct” tiebreaker or “fair play” tiebreaker was first used at the 2018 World Cup – Japan and Senegal stood equal after all other tiebreakers were applied but Senegal had more yellow cards and was subsequently eliminated. Japan advanced to the Round of 16.

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)

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

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!