De Bruyne’s magic leads Man City past West Ham

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MANCHESTER — In the first game after being banned from European action by UEFA for two seasons, Man City eased past West Ham United 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday as they recorded an eighth-straight Premier League win against the Hammers.

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In a rearranged game from Matchweek 26 after Storm Ciara called the original clash off, Pep Guardiola‘s side dominated from start to finish. Rodri headed home Kevin De Bruyne‘s corner in the first half and the Belgian wizard scored the second on his own in the second half as the Hammers barely threatened.

Anti-UEFA chants were heard throughout from the home fans who witnessed a routine win after a tough few days for everyone connected with Man City.

The win keeps City in second place on 54 points, four points ahead of third-place Leicester City, but they are 22 points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool. David Moyes‘ West Ham remain in serious trouble and occupy the final relegation spot on 24 points and are one point from safety.


3 things we learned

1. Defiant atmosphere in first game since ban: There were the predictable chants against UEFA and City’s fans and players were in a defiant mood. They meant business and even though Guardiola was irate with a few missed chances by Gabriel Jesus and loose passes, he will have been pleased with their reaction after all of the negativity around the club over the last week. Maybe Man City will use the uncertainty around their European future to finish the season with a flourish?

2. De Bruyne’s brilliance hard to stop: All season long KDB has been like this. The Belgian ace was in sublime form, pulling all the strings in his 78 minutes on the pitch as he was subbed off and given a standing ovation. If it wasn’t for Liverpool’s historic season he would win the Player of the Year award and his precision passing, driving runs and clever flicks were the difference. Not only was he quality in attack but he also ran back to win the ball off Michail Antonio at a pivotal moment. De Bruyne has been touted as the first player to leave Man City if their European ban is upheld but this display suggests he is fully committed.

3. West Ham’s lack of ambition sums up their season: As good as Man City were, West Ham lacked any ambition and since David Moyes returned his debut win against Bournemouth has proved to be a false dawn. The Hammers are in 18th place, are winless in six PL games and have the worst form in the league over the past nine outings. Antonio was their only hope on the counter and they showed no interest in attacking despite being 2-0 down. Sure, they were playing Man City but West Ham have 12 games to get themselves out of the bottom three and their next six see them play Liverpool, Southampton, Arsenal, Wolves, Tottenham and Chelsea. Ouch.

Man of the Match: Kevin de Bruyne – When isn’t he Man of the Match these days? Despite City being miles away from Liverpool throughout this season the Belgian playmaker has been fit and on fire.


Jesus, starting on the left, had the first big chance as he went clean through on goal but instead of having a shot cut back around Fabianski and lost the chance to open the scoring.

Aguero had the next chance as he used the outside of his right boot to bend a shot just wide of the post.

De Bruyne’s deflected shot was saved by Fabianski’s leg and then Jesus had his shot blocked by Aaron Cresswell when he looked certain to score. Aguero felt he should have had a penalty kick after being grabbed by Angelo Ogbonna in the ground but he was flagged offside. However, replays showed that was incorrect and Guardiola was not happy on the sidelines.

Wave after wave of Man City attack pinned West Ham back in the first half as Michail Antonio cut a lonely figure up top for the Hammers. Eventually City took the lead from a corner as De Bruyne whipped in a delicious set piece to the near post and Rodri flicked home a wonderful header to make it 1-0.

David Silva and Jesus almost doubled their lead just before the break as City totally dominated but Antonio whipped in a dangerous cross to give the hosts a warning.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The second half saw West Ham have a bit more luck on the break but Man City continued to look the more dangerous as Aguero flashed a shot inches wide which rolled along the touchline and was only kept in play as a ball boy mistakenly fetched the ball before it went out of play.

There was a lengthy delay as Ryan Fredericks was carried off the pitch and replaced by Pablo Zabaleta, as the Man City legend received a standing ovation from the home fans.

Moments after that City doubled their lead as De Bruyne played the ball into Bernardo Silva who flicked it around the corner and KDB ran onto it before smashing home at the near post.

Fabianski then saved from Jesus as Man City eased to victory with West Ham so far off the pace it was scary.

USMNT vs Iran player ratings out of 10

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Christian Pulisic was injured scoring the lone goal of a 1-0 win over Iran as the United States men’s national team advanced to the World Cup’s Round of 16 on Tuesday.

WATCH IRAN vs USA FULL MATCH REPLAY

Fortunately for the USMNT, his exit from the match did not stop the Yanks from delivering a spot in the knockout rounds.

While the attack sputtered without him, the defenders and midfielders largely stepped into the fold as Yunus Musah and Co. helped Matt Turner keep a second clean sheet in three games.

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


Iran vs USA player ratings out of 10

Matt Turner: 6.5 — Some nervy moments late but the Arsenal backup again showed command of his box even when his body didn’t follow-through on good decisions.

Antonee Robinson: 9 — There’s an argument to be made that “Jedi” was the player of the round for the USMNT. He made a few rescue tackles and crosses from the left were few and far between.

Tim Ream: 8 — Quick, someone ask the coach if the guy who played every minute of the group stage is now a good fit for his system.

Cameron Carter-Vickers: 7 — Terrific when the U.S. had the ball and mostly good at the back, too. Is a good fit as a RCB in the back three, if that’s something Berhalter pulls out again.

Sergino Dest (Off 82′): 9 — While Pulisic’s goal was the moment of the game and Musah delivered several other moments, the fullbacks were the story of the entirety. Dest’s assist was massive, too (obviously).

USMNT player ratings
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Tyler Adams: 8 — He rarely has bad games in a USMNT shirt, and there’s a reason he has the captain’s arm band when most teams would’ve automatically allocated it to Pulisic.

Yunus Musah: 8.5 — It’s fair to say the U.S. hasn’t had as a complete a midfield duo in Musah and Adams in two decades, if not longer. Musah was monstrous

Weston McKennie (Off 65′): 6.5 –Still working his way to match sharpness over the hour-plus, and you can pen him in for a start and a sub in every game the rest of the way.

Tim Weah (Off 82′): 7.5 — The team’s second-biggest threat, could’ve had this match salted away at the hour mark with a hat trick on another day.

Josh Sargent (On 75′): 7 — Yeoman’s work from the Norwich City man, who limped off after landing awkwardly on the ball.

Christian Pulisic (Off HT): 8 — Scoring a round-clinching goal in a World Cup game is a really good way to cement your status in a national team program. His abdominal injury required a precautionary trip to the hospital. Fingers are crossed. So are toes. And any new appendages that might evolve.

Subs

Brenden Aaronson (On HT): 7 — A busy boy in his half, had Iran just as enraged as he’s had Premier League opponents

Kellyn Acosta (On 65′): 6.5  — Job done.

Haji Wright (On 75′): 6.5 — See above.

Walker Zimmerman (On 82′): 8 — A goal-line clearance and all the aerials duels you knew would be won when he was plugged into the lineup, were won. Three clearances in 10-plus minutes.

Shaq Moore (On 82′): 6 — Wyd, Gregg? Moore’s only job should’ve been to shut down crosses. He didn’t.


FotMob player ratings

USMNT player ratings
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Berhalter ‘proud’ of USMNT, looks ahead to Netherlands; Pulisic injury update

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USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter was a relieved man as he spoke to media after the USA beat Iran 1-0 to clinch a spot in the last 16 of the World Cup.

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

After Christian Pulisic’s first half goal the U.S. held on late on as Iran create three good chances but the young American side dug deep.

They will now face the Netherlands in the last 16 on Saturday (kick off, 10am ET) and Berhalter was asked how proud he was of his side.

USA grind out win after an impressive display

“Proud. First half we showed what we can do soccer wise. Second half we showed what we could do determination wise. The guys grinded. They gave every single ounce of energy. We are undefeated going into the knockout round,” Berhalter said.

He was then asked about his nerves late on as Iran almost scored in the 99th minute when Mehdi Taremi nearly got on the end of a ball into the box.

“This new injury time, counting every second, it is stressful. I think I have less hair on my head now,” Berhalter smiled. “We will take it and we will move on and we will go battle Holland.”

Christian Pulisic injury update

Pulisic, the goalscoring hero, was subbed out at half time after getting hit in the abdominal area when he scored the winning goal.

Asked about the status of the USMNT and Chelsea star, here is what Berhalter had to say.

“No update on his status but I’ve been saying all along, ‘it’s a wonderful thing when one of your best players is also one of your hardest working.’ He is certainly that. I can’t say enough positive things about Christian.”

Another update from Fox said Pulisic was taken to the hospital after the injury.

England hammers Wales to top Group B, set up last 16 clash v Senegal

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England hammered Wales 3-0 to secure top spot in Group B and Gareth Southgate’s side will now face Senegal in the last 16 of the World Cup.

FULL MATCH REPLAY

Marcus Rashford scored a stunning free kick to get them going in the second half, while Phil Foden finished off a delicious Harry Kane assist and then Rashford scored another as he was England’s hero.

[ MORE: Group B standings, schedule, results ]

The Three Lions went close to scoring many more as they finished the group stage with a flurry and scored nine goals and grabbed seven points to sit atop Group A and were unbeaten.

Wales exits the tournament bottom of the group with just one point from their three games.

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


How to watch Wales vs England live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET – Tuesday, November 29
Stadium: Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

The Welsh have not made the most of their second trip to the World Cup in their history. They were dominated in the first half of their opener against the U.S. but showed good spirit to battle back for a point late on. Against Iran they were second best throughout and a late red card to Wayne Hennessey was followed by two late Iranian goals and Robert Page could have no complaints as his team failed to show up. Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale have had superb careers but injuries have hit them hard in recent years and this looks like a tournament too far for Wales’ star duo.

As for England, the vultures are circling back home as Gareth Southgate is under pressure once again for what many believe are overly cautious tactics. Against the U.S. they huffed and puffed without really creating clear-cut chances and were pretty lucky to escape with a draw. Even though England are all but guaranteed a spot in the last 16, the Three Lions fans expect more from Harry Kane and Co. after they reached the World Cup semifinals four years ago and were runners up in the European Championships just over a year ago. Southgate is expected to make quite a few changes to his lineup as the likes of Phil Foden, Kalvin Phillips and Marcus Rashford could feature from the start.


Wales quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 19
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 1
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs, Path B
Coach: Rob Page
Key players: Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies

England quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 5
World Cup titles: 1 (1966)
World Cup appearances: 15
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA
Coach: Gareth Southgate
Key players: Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Pickford


USMNT tops Iran to set up World Cup date with Netherlands

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Christian Pulisic was injured scoring the lone goal of a 1-0 win over Iran as the United States men’s national team advanced to the World Cup’s Round of 16 on Tuesday.

The Yanks, runners-up in Group B, will play Group A winners Netherlands at 10am ET Saturday.

[ MORE: USMNT player ratings vs Iran ]

Pulisic walked off the field on his power and appeared to have taken a hard shot to the midsection. We’ll update his condition as soon as it becomes available.

WATCH IRAN vs USA FULL MATCH REPLAY

England won the group while Iran bows out along with Wales.

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


What we learned from Iran vs USA

It’s difficult not to feel good for Christian Pulisic, no longer the young sparkplug hopeful of reaching his potential.

The next great American player actually became the next great American player, and our enduring World Cup-related memory of him was in qualification; The teenage goal scorer who didn’t find a teammate to also score in Couva as the Yanks crashed out of the tournament.

Now the enduring World Cup image of him, rightly so, is as a gamer. Pulisic scored a round-sealing goal while getting kicked in the nether region.

Then his teammates needed to hold on tight.

They mostly did! The USMNT stayed firm after Gregg Berhalter stopped going for the second goal, removing several attackers in favor of Walker Zimmerman and Shaq Moore.

It was nervy, but they did it. And the U.S. moves forward…


Stars of the Show

Christian Pulisic

Antonee Robinson

Tyler Adams

Majid Hosseini

Tim Ream

USMNT player ratings
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Christian Pulisic goal video: Dest cues up USMNT star

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.

There has also been some off-field tension brewing between the U.S. and Iran surrounding this game, as Gregg Berhalter and captain Tyler Adams responded to in a tense press conference amid questions from the Iranian press.


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