Belgium survive – barely – to beat electric, industrious Canada

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Canada shocked and stunned Belgium for 88 of 90 minutes but Thibaut Courtois saved a penalty and Toby Alderweireld joined Michy Batshuayi to set up a moment of brilliance in the Red Devils’ 1-0 win to start their World Cup at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium on Wednesday.

WATCH BELGIUM vs CANADA FULL MATCH REPLAY

Belgium had more of the ball but far less of the threat as Canada used 47 percent possession to rifle off 21 of the game’s 30 shots.

But Batshuayi ran onto Alderweireld’s lid-opening long ball and slotted past Milan Borjan to give Belgium three points and two-point group leads on remaining opponents Croatia and Morocco on Wednesday.

Courtois made three saves including an early penalty on Davies, making 50 touches in Belgium’s win.

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


Thibaut Courtois leads Belgium in saving Golden Generation… for now

If you thought you’d see a smash-and-grab in Belgium vs Canada, you would’ve expected the Canadians to be the ones doing the smashing and the grabbing at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.

We’ve seen Courtois steal the biggest club games in the world, and the Real Madrid man was the main reason Belgium delivered three points to their World Cup hopes.

This is viewed as a Golden Generation for Belgium and it came extremely close — like three diving saves close — to walking away from the tournament opener without a point in a game they were widely expected to use as a fairly easy springboard into the tournament.

Courtois guessed right to stop Davies penalty and the Bayern Munich man sliced the rebound over the bar, and  Courtois made another wonderful save late in the game as Canada pushed to finally get their breakthrough.

Belgium didn’t even manage a full expected goal in the win, while the numbers point to nearly three xG for the Canadians.

But… you have to finish. Oh, Canada.

Belgium vs Canada
(Photo by Stefan Matzke – sampics/Corbis via Getty Images)

John Herdman reaction: ‘We’re going to go and (expletive) Croatia’

Canada boss John Herdman wasn’t bashful when asked what he told his players after gathering them at midfield after the final whistle.

The Englishman told the Canadian team that they were as dominant as they felt, and made a vow regarding their second match of the tournament against Croatia.

“I just told them they belong here, and we’re going to go and ‘F’ Croatia next. It’s as simple as it gets,” Herdman said, according to The Athletic. “I’m proud of the performance but you need to take three points in your first game. We had an opportunity tonight to be top of the group, that was the mission, and we missed it. But I’m proud of the performance. These lads showed that they can live on this stage and I think they made the fans proud and made them feel that they belong here.”


Stars of the Show

Belgium vs Canada
fotmob.com

Thibaut Courtois

Toby Alderweireld

Stephen Eustaquio

Alistair Johnston


Thibaut Courtois penalty save (video)

Michy Batshuayi goal video: Belgium stings against run of play


How to watch Belgium vs Canada live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Wednesday Nov. 23
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

There’s strength in the aforementioned Belgium defense, though, and Belgium will be bringing six centurions to Qatar (Vertonghen, Alderweireled, Axel Witsel, Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens, Romelu Lukaku).  Thibaut Courtois (97) should reach his 100th cap during the tournament and Kevin De Bruyne could also hit that height with a prolonged Belgium run (94). This is a golden generation and hopes for — and pressure on — it will be incredibly high.

Canada is a proud soccer nation that has dramatically-underachieved in World Cup qualifying despite a wealth of talent at home and abroad. The big question is whether John Herdmann’s defense can get the Canadians through a match like this, as goalkeeper Milan Borjan is spectacular but the backs untested at any level near that of Belgium.


Belgium quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 2
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 14
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Roberto Martinez
Key players: Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard

Canada quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 41
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 2
How they qualified: Qualified from CONCACAF (1st place)
Coach: John Herdman
Key players: Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Milan Borjan, Jonathan Osorio

England vs Ukraine, live! Score, updates, stream, video highlights, lineups

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England host Ukraine in a UEFA EURO 2024 qualifier at Wembley with an extremely emotional atmosphere expected in London.

[ LIVE: EURO 2024 qualifying scores – England vs Ukraine ]

As the war rages on across Ukraine following the Russia invasion just over a year ago, the United Kingdom have been one of Ukraine’s key partners in the fight against Russian forces.

The English Football Association have given away close to 1,000 free tickets to Ukrainians (and their sponsor families from the UK) who were forced to flee their country and resettle with families in the UK. Over 4,200 Ukraine fans will be in the away end at Wembley amid a sea of blue and yellow and you can expect plenty of mutual respect and support from fans of both countries towards each other. This match is Ukraine’s first of 2023, as they narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 2022 World Cup after losing to Wales in a playoff last summer.

[ MORE: Full EURO 2024 qualifying schedule, standings ]

England beat Italy 2-1 in Naples on Thursday as Harry Kane became their all-time leading goalscorer with his 54th goal for the Three Lions and they held on after going 2-0 up as Luke Shaw’s red card with 10 minutes to go complicated matters. Gareth Southgate’s young side are developing but will they be able to finally win a major tournament?

They have to qualify for the Euros in Germany next summer first, but a first win away in Italy since 1961 was a great start to this qualifying campaign.

Here’s everything you need for England vs Ukraine.


England vs Ukraine live score: 2-0


Harry Kane goal video: Saka cues up North London rival

Bukayo Saka goal video: Sensational curl makes it 2-0


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

Kick off: 12pm ET, Sunday (March 26)
Updates: Via NBCSports.com
Stadium: Wembley Stadium, London
Stream: Fubo


Key storylines, in-form players

The last time this nations met England ran out 4-0 winners in the quarterfinals of EURO 2020. They will be the heavy favorites in this game but Ukraine should not be underestimate as the No. 26 ranked team in the world have the likes of Oleksandr Zinchenko, Mykhailo Mudryk, and Vitalii Mykolenko all playing in the Premier League.

England’s forwards ran riot in the first half against Italy with Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka sensational, plus Jude Bellingham’s driving runs from midfield give this Three Lions side an extra dimension. There is more creativity and cutting edge about this England side compared to recent years and it feels like they are ready to win something. There will be a ceremony before this game to honor Harry Kane becoming England’s all-time goalscorer as he passed Wayne Rooney with his goal in Italy on Thursday.


England team news, lineup options

Luke Shaw will be suspended for this game after his red card in Italy, so Ben Chilwell comes in at left back. Jordan Henderson enters for Kalvin Phillips in midfield, while Phil Foden misses out after undergoing appendix surgery. Reece James is also out, but Jude Bellingham perseveres through an injury to start and James Maddison is also in the XI.

Ukraine team news, lineup options

Andriy Yarmolenko (three goals away from equalling Andriy Shevchenko as Ukraine’s all-time leading scorer) has been struggling with a hamstring injury and misses out, while Bournemouth’s Ilya Zabarnyi and Shakhtar’s Oleksandr Zubkov are both out. Roman Yaremchuk offesr real quality in up top while Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko is the heartbeat of this Ukraine side and Chelsea’s Mykhailo Mudryk will drive the left side in front of Everton’s Vitalii Mykolenko.


EURO 2024 qualification live! EURO qualifiers schedule, updates, standings

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EURO 2024 qualifying is here, and you’re in the right spot for groups, fixtures, and results.

Italy outlasted England in penalty kicks to win EURO 2020 and is bidding to become the first repeat winner since Spain in 2008 and 2012.

[ MORE: Breaking down Premier League title race ]

England is still seeking its first European Championship and will be favored to emerge from Group C with aforementioned Italy as well as Ukraine, North Macedonia, and Malta.

Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions started off 2024 qualifying well as Harry Kane snapped a tie with Wayne Rooney atop England’s all-time goals list with a 2-1 win in Italy, the nation’s first in the country since 1961.

Netherlands and France are also in a spicy group that has dark horse Republic of Ireland and former champions Greece, as well as Gibraltar.

[ MORE: Live scores, updates, standings from EURO 2024 qualifying ]

A number of nations have guaranteed themselves no worse than a playoff spot due to their performances in the UEFA Nations League: Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Spain, Scotland, Georgia, Croatia, Turkey, Serbia, Kazakhstan.



EURO 2024 qualifying schedule

Thursday, March 23

Kazakhstan 1-2 Slovenia
Slovakia 0-0 Luxembourg
Italy 1-2 England – Video, player ratings as Kane breaks Rooney record
Denmark 3-1 Finland
Portugal 4-0 Liechtenstein
San Marino 0-2 Northern Ireland
North Macedonia 2-1 Malta
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-0 Iceland

Friday, March 24

Bulgaria 0-1 Montenegro
Gibraltar 0-3 Greece
Moldova 1-1 Faroe Islands
Serbia 2-0 Lithuania
Austria 4-1 Azerbaijan
Sweden 0-3 Belgium
Czech Republic 3-1 Poland
France 4-0 Netherlands

Saturday, March 25

Scotland 3-0 Cyprus
Israel 1-1 Kosovo
Armenia 1-2 Turkey
Belarus 0-5 Switzerland
Spain 3-0 Norway
Croatia 1-0 Wales
Andorra 0-2 Romania

Sunday, March 26

Kazakhstan 3-2 Denmark
England vs Ukraine — Noon ET — Live updates, video highlights
Liechtenstein vs Iceland — Noon ET
Slovenia vs San Marino — Noon ET
Slovakia vs Bosnia and Herzegovina — 2:45pm ET
Northern Ireland vs Finland — 2:45pm ET
Luxembourg vs Portugal — 2:45pm ET
Malta vs Italy — 2:45pm ET

Monday, March 27

Montenegro vs Serbia — 2:45pm ET
Netherlands vs Gibraltar — 2:45pm ET
Poland vs Albania — 2:45pm ET
Austria vs Estonia — 2:45pm ET
Sweden vs Azerbaijan — 2:45pm ET
Moldova vs Czech Republic — 2:45pm ET
Hungary vs Bulgaria — 2:45pm ET
Republic of Ireland vs France — 2:45pm ET

Tuesday, March 28

Georgia vs Norway — Noon ET
Wales vs Latvia — 2:45pm ET
Romania vs Belarus — 2:45pm ET
Switzerland vs Israel — 2:45pm ET
Kosovo vs Andorra — 2:45pm ET
Turkey vs Croatia — 2:45pm ET
Scotland vs Spain — 2:45pm ET


EURO 2024 qualifying standings

Group A

Spain — 3 pts, +3 GD
Scotland — 3 pts, +3GD
Georgia
Norway — 0 pts, -3 GD
Cyprus — 0 pts, -3 GD

Group B

France — 3pts, +4 GD
Greece — 3 pts, +3 GD
Republic of Ireland
Gibraltar — 0 pts, -3 GD
Netherlands — 0 pts, -4 GD

Group C

England — 3 pts, +1 GD
North Macedonia — 3 pts, +1 GD
Ukraine
Malta — 0 pts, -1 GD
Italy — 0 pts, -1 GD

Group D

Turkey — 3 pts, +1 GD
Wales — 1 pt, 0 GD
Croatia — 1 pt, 0 GD
Latvia
Armenia — 0 pts, -1 GD

Group E

Czech Republic — 3 pts, +2 GD
Faroe Islands — 1 pt, 0 GD
Moldova — 1 pt, 0 GD
Albania
Poland — 0 pts, -2 GD

Group F

Austria — 3 pts, +3 GD
Belgium — 3 pts, + 3GD
Estonia
Azerbaijan — 0 pts, -3 GD
Sweden — 0 pts, -3 GD

Group G

Serbia — 3 pts, +2 GD
Montenegro — 3 pts, +1 GD
Hungary
Bulgaria — 0 pts, -1 GD
Lithuania — 0 pts, -2 GD

Group H

Northern Ireland — 3 pts, +2 GD
Denmark — 3 pts, +1 GD
Slovenia — 3 pts, +1 GD
Kazakhstan — 3 pts, 0 GD
Finland — 0 pts, -2 GD
San Marino — 0 pts, -2 GD

Group I

Switzerland — 3 pts, +5 GD
Romania — 3 pts, + 2 GD
Israel — 1 pt, 0 GD
Kosovo — 1 pt, 0 GD
Andorra — 0 pts, -2 GD
Belarus — 0 pts, -5 GD

Group J

Portugal — 3 pts, +4 GD
Bosnia and Herzegovina — 3 pts, +3 GD
Slovakia — 1 pt, 0 GD
Liechtenstein — 1 pt, 0 GD
Iceland — 0 pts, -3 GD
Luxembourg — 0 pts, -4 GD

Kevin Paredes scores spectacular goal as US U20s fall to England (video)

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A day after the United States men’s national team pumped home seven goals against Grenada, Wolfsburg phenom Kevin Paredes showed them a bit of what could be in store for the program.

The U.S. U-20 men ultimately fell 4-2 to England in Marbella, Spain, on Saturday, but Paredes scored an acrobatic goal before cuing up an Owen Wolff finish to tantalize American fans.

[ MORE: Dual national Folarin Balogun meets with U.S. Soccer ]

Paredes, still a teenager until early May, made his U-20 debut going 68 minutes on Wednesday as the Baby Yanks were smacked 4-0 by France in a friendly.

He’d find the scoresheet twice via his goal and assist against England, however, and both showed off the technique and power that has USMNT fans tickled by the potential of the left-sided man.

Paredes’ goal is the stuff of wonder, a scissor kick goal to finish off a wonderful turnover-and-counter. He left DC United for Wolfsburg last season, making two appearances before really finding his footing this season.

Wolfsburg’s called his name 18 times this season, 16 of those coming in the Bundesliga, and Paredes has responded with a goal and two assists. He’s appeared in nine of Wolfsburg’s last 10 matches, missing once for illness.

Leeds’ Mateo Joseph scored a brace for Leeds, while Chelsea starlet Harvey Vale and Liverpool’s Jarell Quansah also bagged goals in the win.

The U.S. U-20s finish the international break with a friendly against Serbia on Tuesday.


Kevin Paredes goal video: Acrobatic finish pulls one back

Jack McGlynn forces a turnover and drives the 18 before laying off for Wolff.

The Austin FC kid’s cross is hammered home by Paredes with a scissor kick.


Owen Wolff backheel goal video: Kevin Paredes assist for 2-2

Paredes then turned provider for Wolff after the Baby Yanks drove the ball from the back through the midfield with Colorado Rapids product Darren Yapi helping it along to Hajduk Split phenom Rokas Pukstas.

Pukstas, 18 and a squad regular, found the Wolfsburg man on the right. Paredes then dribbled inside from the right, finding Wolff for an improvised backheel finish.

Phil Foden has appendix surgery, to miss Manchester City vs Liverpool

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Manchester City star Phil Foden will be unavailable for the club’s big Premier League match with Liverpool, and he may be out longer.

Foden, 22, withdrew from the England squad in order to undergo an appendectomy, and City says he has returned to Manchester to begin recovery.

His recovery means he will not feature for second-place City when it hosts rivals Liverpool on April 1.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ] 

Foden’s nine goals put him into a tie for 12th on the Premier League’s season goals list, and he’s chipped in four assists in league play.

City has 61 points, eight fewer than leaders Arsenal but with a match-in-hand on the Gunners.

Man City’s bidding to win a third-straight Premier League Trophy, something that hasn’t been done since Manchester United completed a “three-peat” at the end of the 2008-09 season.

England plays Ukraine at Noon ET Sunday.