Football focus and World Cup Qualifiers

by Lorraine Williamson
World Cup Football
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FOOTBALL – The World Cup Qualifying rounds have dominated football this week. So far, most teams have already played 2 games out of the 10 from their groups.

England are clear leaders in their Group having won both of their 2 matches. The first was a spectacular 5-0 victory against San Mario. James Ward-Prowse opened the scoring with his first international goal. Raheem Sterling and Ollie Watkins also scored, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored a double for the English side.

World Cup Football - Harry Kane, England Captain

Their second World Cup game was yesterday (Sunday) against Albania where they won a comfortable 2-0 victory. Captain, Harry Kane scored in the first half with the second goal coming in the 63rd minute by Mason Mount.

They were largely untroubled by Albania, but they did have a few unsettling moments.

Clean sheet

England´s next game is at Wembley on Wednesday against Poland. So far, they have a clean sheet, but 2nd place Poland have managed to bag 6 goals in their first two matches. Goalkeeper, Nick Pope might have his work cut out for him on Wednesday.

Northern Ireland had a tough first game in Group C against Italy where they lost 2-0. They play again on Wednesday at home against Bulgaria. Currently Italy and Switzerland sit top positions.

Spain at home for next World Cup qualifier

Meanwhile, Spain was held to a 1-1 draw earlier this week by Greece.  Alvaro Morata scored in the 33rd minute by a pass from Koke. However, Greece equalised early into the second half. Yesterday Spain played away to Georgia and won 1-2. Spain is currently 2nd in Group B with Sweden sitting at the top. On Wednesday, Spain will play at home against bottom place Kosovo.

Wales are in Group E and despite an impressive start where an early goal by Harry Wilson put them in the lead, Belgium then seemed to dominate the game and came back from behind to win 3-1. They have another tough game tomorrow at Cardiff City Stadium against the Czech Republic.

Gibraltar bottom of Group G with Turkey and Montenegro at the top. Gibraltar lost their first match 4-1 to Montenegro on Saturday. They play at home tomorrow (Tuesday) against the Netherlands.

Scotland are in Group F with Denmark at the top. Playing at Hampden Park against Austria, Scotland fought back twice to equalise 2-2. Goals were scored by Grant Hanley and John McGinn.  In their second match away to Israel, Scotland again fought back after a late first half goal by Israel. Assisted by Adams, Fraser equalised in the 56th minute. They drew 1-1 against Israel and have their next World Cup match on Wednesday against the Faroe Islands.

Injury worries

As reported by España.net, Barcelona teenage forward Ansu Fati has endured injury difficulties in recent months.  And just this week he seemed to be on the road to recovery from a long-term knee injury which would no doubt set him back on the path destined for stardom. However, A report in El Mundo Deportivo stated Fati was woken up at 3am with the swelling returning in his knee and he is now pushing for a change in treatment to allow him to return to action. His knee is not healing as hope, and his injury nightmare continues.  

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World´s best young footballer

However, there was some better news for the 18-year-old youngster, Ansu Fati when he was voted as World´s best young footballer. Teammates, Pedri and Moriba also featured in this top 50 list by coming 4th and 50th respectively. Real Madrid mid-fielders, Reinier (10th) and Nakai (49th) both also feature in the list. As do Valencia midfielder, Musah (13th) and Real Mallorca´s Romero (39th)

The annual award is organised by Goal.com. The publication has 44 editions all over the world, and the winners are nominated by the votes of their journalists.

I always look for him on the pitch

Talking about Messi, 4th place Pedri told an interview with Marca: “I enjoy it; to see him and what he is capable of doing. It is like that in games and in training sessions. Being able to share moments with him is incredible. I always look for him on the pitch because he always knows what he is doing.

“He has always tried to find me and tells me to put myself between the lines because he is going to find me. I look for him, I give him passes because he is the one who can create danger.”

Dembele faints in training

Atletico Madrid French striker Moussa Dembele unexpectedly collapsed during a stretching session in training earlier this week. He fell to the ground and was laying on his back with his legs shaking. He received urgent medical attention. As reported by Diario AS, Dembele collapsed due to a slight drop in blood pressure but the club have reassured that all his vital signs are now normal and there are no health concerns.

Double injury blow

world cup football - injury doubts

Real Madrid suffered a double injury blow on Tuesday as Toni Kroos and Fede Valverde both picked up knocks. Fitness doubts, Kroos and Valverde look likely to miss their game against Eibar on April 6. However, the club is optimistic they will be fit ahead of their Champions League quarter final clash against Liverpool next month. Furthermore, they are hopeful for the return of Carvajal who has been injured since mid-February when they won against Valencia.

In other news, Real Madrid defender, Marcelo is under fire as reported by Football España when he posted family photographs enjoying time at La Malvarrosa beach in the Valencia Region. This was during a time when travel restrictions were imposed. He could face a fine for this as well as not wearing a mask.

Koeman is staying

Barcelona news reports president, Joan Laporta has told Ronald Koeman the will remain as boss beyond this season.  Koeman has seen the Barcelona side return to form and is setting his sights at the domestic double.

Football this week

There were no changes in La Liga last week due to the national teams playing in the World Cup Qualifiers. The next league games will be on Friday 2nd April. Here´s how the top three teams sit on points;

  • Atletico Madrid – 66
  • Barcelona – 62
  • Real Madrid – 60

Copa del Rey

After both teams agreed to postpone the 2020 Copa del Rey Final to be able to play in front of fans, Athletic Club and Real Sociedad will ultimately play the game behind closed doors. The match is Saturday April 3 at the Estadio de La Cartuja in Seville. The 2021 Final will be played 2 weeks later.

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