Friday at the World Cup: England and Wales back in Group B as Netherlands meet Ecuador in Group A | football news

England and Wales are back in contention for the World Cup on Friday as teams in Groups A and B play their second games of the tournament.

Rob Page’s side from Wales start early, meet Iran at 10:00 CET and look to repeat Monday’s well-deserved 1-1 draw with the USA.

Gareth Southgate’s England start at 7pm as the last game of the day and face an impressive side from the USA but who have been buoyed by their 6-2 win over Iran.

In Group A, hosts Qatar meet Senegal – looking for the first points of the competition – while Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands take on Ecuador.

World Cup games – November 24th

Wales' Gareth Bale reacts after scoring against the United States
Gareth Bale of Wales reacts after scoring against the United States

  • Wales vs Iran – Group B, kick-off 10am
  • Qatar vs Senegal – Group A, kick-off 1 p.m
  • Netherlands vs Ecuador – Group A, kick-off 4 p.m
  • England vs USA – Group B, kick-off 7 p.m

So England can qualify for the round of 16 on Friday

Harry Maguire produced a composed ad
Harry Maguire produced a composed narrative against Iran

England lead Group B by three points after beating Iran 6-2 on Matchday 1. Wales and the USA each have a point after their draw on Monday, while Iran bolsters the group.

If England get another three points, they will qualify for the round of 16 and stay on top.

The win could even seal qualification as group winners, provided Wales have drawn against Iran. Should Wales suffer a defeat, Iran could still end up ahead of England with another win over the US.

The head-to-head record is the third way to break ties in this tournament, after goal difference and goals scored.

If Wales go into the final against England with four points after beating Iran, they could still finish ahead of England on Matchday 3, regardless of how England fare against the USA.

Taremi in form to beat Wales?

Iran's Mehdi Taremi beats Jordan Pickford from the penalty spot
Iran’s Mehdi Taremi beats Jordan Pickford from the penalty spot

Sky Sports’ Peter Smith:

Iran were expected to give England a far tougher test than they did on Monday, but striker Mehdi Taremi showed his threat with an impressive display given the circumstances of that 6-2 defeat.

He showed his instinctive one-touch finish ability with the first goal and his composure to take the penalty deep into injury time in the second half for his second goal.

Mehdi Taremi scored twice for Iran against England
Taremi scored twice for Iran against England

He led his team’s attacking metrics and although Iran only had 22 percent possession in the game, the stats show they were able to find him quickly as they regained the ball. Iran likely have more possession against Wales but expect them to seek it out at every opportunity.

And there’s a good reason for that. Taremi has scored five goals in five Champions League games this season and is in top form with 16 goal involvements in his last 13 games for club and country.

Mehdi Taremi has been in fine form for Portugal this season
Taremi has been in fine form for Portugal this season

His stats for Porto this season show just how dangerous he is in the box – whether shooting himself or fielding a team-mate, with six goals and five assists this season in LaLiga. He may lose more aerial duels than he wins, but he contributes so much to the Portuguese side’s front line – and has become a standout striker in Europe.

He also has a story. Taremi was a late developer. He’s 30 years old now, but it wasn’t until he was 22 that he played in Iran’s top division, and he didn’t make it to Europe until he was 27.

In between was a stopover in Qatar so he knows the World Cup environment well, but his 62 goals in 115 appearances for Porto – including the 20 he scored in La Liga during the 2021/22 double-winning campaign – shows it is a player who has really arrived now.

Is there another step ahead in his career? Talk of him could well pick up momentum in January, but for now his focus is on building on his record of 30 goals in 61 Iran games against Wales…

Cisse: I have full confidence in Mendy

Cody Gakpo of the Netherlands scores his team's first goal on Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy during the World Cup Group A soccer match between Senegal and Netherlands at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Monday January 11, 2022. (AP Photo /Thanassis Stavrakis)
Cody Gakpo of the Netherlands scores against Senegal

Despite his rocky start to the World Cup, Senegal coach Aliou Cisse has full confidence in goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

Mendy was arguably to blame for both goals in his side’s 2-0 opening defeat by the Netherlands, continuing a difficult period for the goalkeeper. He has been on the bench at times at Chelsea this season, with Kepa Arrizabalaga favored under new manager Graham Potter.

“Edouard is doing very well, he has a determination of steel,” Cisse told reporters on Thursday.

“Edouard’s qualities speak for themselves, I don’t think anyone doubts him, sometimes he has highs, sometimes he has lows, he has my full trust, my blind trust and that of his team-mates. Tomorrow he will do it.” be on the pitch.”

Senegalese centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, who is also Mendy’s team-mate at Chelsea, said people overreacted to the keeper’s form.

“We play for the same club and are also brothers in arms for Senegal. Edouard is a very important player for us, it’s normal to go through difficult periods – I think we’re making a mountain out of a mosquito here,” he said.

Qatar wants to prove they are competitive, says Sanchez

Mohammed Muntari regrets a missed opportunity
Mohammed Muntari regrets a missed opportunity for Qatar

Qatar want to prove against Senegal that they can compete at the highest level, says coach Felix Sanchez.

The Asian champions are hoping not to become the fourth hosts to be eliminated in the first round of the finals, after Switzerland, Chile and South Africa in 1954, 1962 and 2010. Qatar lost 2-0 to Ecuador in the tournament’s opening game.

“Hopefully we can play freely, without pressure, and do better than we did in the first game. This team has something to prove,” said Sanchez.

“Matches are determined by many factors, but the most important thing is to do our best. If you don’t do your best at the World Cup, you will be punished.

“It was very difficult emotionally [for the opening game] and dealing with the World Cup is completely different. I hope the performance against Senegal will be just as competitive.

“We didn’t make the fans happy, but we tried to avoid a negative atmosphere in the last few days.”

Team News

England's Harry Kane grimaces in pain against Iran
England’s Harry Kane grimaces in pain against Iran

English captain Harry Kane was given the go-ahead for Friday’s Group B World Cup match against the United States at Al Khor after shaking off a fractured ankle, confirmed coach Gareth Southgate.

Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand was dropped amid concussion protocols after his head collision with teammate Majid Hosseini in Monday’s game.

Beiranvand required treatment for several minutes after the incident and still looked ill when he got back to his feet, but remarkably he was briefly allowed to continue playing. It should be replaced by Hossein Hosseiniwho came on as a substitute in Iran’s defeat by England.

Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand receives treatment after a headbutt with a teammate
Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand is treated to a headbutt with a teammate

Queiroz said: “Day after day, test after test, everything is going well and we are happy with this situation, but due to the fact that he was involved in a concussion-related incident, we have to respect a medical protocol. There is no way to bypass the protocol. He won’t play, but he’ll be ready for the last game.”

Ecuador are awaiting further tests of veteran striker Enner Valencia before deciding if he is fit enough to face the Netherlands.

Enner Valencia celebrates after scoring their second goal
Enner Valencia celebrates after scoring his second goal for Ecuador

The 33-year-old scored both goals in Ecuador’s opening 2-0 win over Qatar and is pivotal to Ecuador’s World Cup hopes, but he hobbled off late in the game with a strained knee.

“The tests have shown that he has no injuries, but the trauma is very serious. We’ll look at him this afternoon [Thursday] and decide,” Ecuador head coach Gustavo Alfaro told reporters.

“I said the other day that not even fire can stop Enner. If it is up to him, he will play.

Opta Stats

England's Raheem Sterling celebrates with team mates after scoring his side's third goal
England’s Raheem Sterling celebrates with his team-mates after scoring his side’s third goal against Iran

  • In all competitions, England have won eight of their 11 meetings with the USA (D1 N2). Their last defeat against them was in June 1993 (0-2), since then they have won four and drawn one.
  • The USA have played more games at the World Cup without ever achieving a goalless draw than any other team (34), while England have finished more games 0-0 than any other nation (11).
  • This is only the second-ever meeting between Wales and Iran, with the Red Dragons winning the other in April 1978 – Phil Dwyer scoring the game’s only goal.
  • Carlos Queiroz has won just two of his eleven World Cup games (D4 L5) with Portugal and Iran. His teams had conceded just seven goals in their first ten games before Iran’s 6-2 defeat by England.
  • Qatar failed to find a shot on target in their opening game against Ecuador – the first host country to fail to do so in a World Cup match since the USA defeated Brazil in the 1994 round of 16.
  • Dutch coach Louis van Gaal has not lost in his eight World Cup games (W6 U2, penalties excluded). Only Vittorio Pozzo (9 – W8 D1) has managed more games without ever losing in the competition.
  • Ecuador are aiming to win only their second straight World Cup appearance in the same edition, having previously won their first two games to qualify for the knockout rounds in 2006.


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