THAT’S ALL FOLKS
Join us again tomorrow as we build-up to matchday number two for England.
See you then!
Panama coach Hernan Dario Gomez says England’s possible leaked team sheet for their World Cup Group G clash does not give them an advantage.
Gomez says regardless of whether or not Marcus Rashford replaces Raheem Sterling, or Ruben Loftus-Cheek comes in for the injured Dele Alli, the England side will be strong.
“It doesn’t give me or afford me any advantage,” he said. “I think each and every coach needs to make sure they’re 100 per cent prepared and ready regardless of the opposition.
“It doesn’t matter who plays, because if one doesn’t play the other is just as good.”
‘LUKAKU NOT HERE FOR GOLDEN BOOT’
Romelu Lukaku‘s two goals against Tunisia today takes him level with Cristiano Ronaldo (four goals) in the race for the Golden Boot.
Speaking before the game, Belgium boss Roberto Martinez said the Manchester United striker was more interested in winning the World Cup trophy than any individual accolades.
“He’s not here to be the top scorer at the World Cup, he’s here to help the team to win and do his role,” said Martinez. “His role is of someone who can score goals.
“I know Rom well, I spent the biggest amount in Everton’s history on a player because of the quality of his finishing, not because he was a player that could contribute things other than scoring goals.”
GOAL! BELGIUM 5-2 TUNISIA (Khazri, 90+3)
TIME FOR A SIESTA
Spain’s squad will be bedding down for a nap right about now.
Midfielder Koke has revealed he and his team-mates are not able to watch all of the matches at this summer’s tournament because some of the games clash with their siestas.
He told the newspaper El Pais the early afternoon games are coinciding with the siesta and the ones after that are usually conflicting with the team’s practice sessions, so players can only watch the night matches during dinner time.
NO SELECTION DRAMAS FOR PANAMA
Panama manager Hernan Dari made light of the drama surrounding England’s leaked training notes by naming his own starting 11 on the eve of the match.
“The line-up will be exactly the same,” he said.
“I like how my team worked. The team that starts the match is the one with the most experience, that’s one of our assets. As a starting XI we are very organised and tactical.
“I think each and every coach needs to make sure they’re 100 percent prepared and ready regardless of the opposition.
“It doesn’t matter who plays, because if one doesn’t play the other is just as good.”
GOAL! BELGIUM 4-1 TUNISIA (Hazard, 50)
Eden Hazard keeps his cool, rounds the keeper and finds the back of the net for his second and Belgium’s fourth.
Game over for Tunisia now surely?
PERU FANS IN PLANE ENGINE SCARE
A Russian passenger plane carrying Peruvian supporters from the World Cup city of Ekaterinburg to Tyumen in Siberia landed safely on Friday after an engine fault caused the cabin to fill with smoke, Russia’s air transport regulator said on Saturday.
Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency, Rosaviatsiya, said in a statement: “During the landing approach there was a failure in the second turboprop engine.
“As a result of the abnormal engine activity, smoke from overheated oil got into the passenger cabin of the aircraft through the air-conditioning system.”
Earlier this week, a plane carrying Saudi Arabia’s team caught fire but landed safely.
BAYERN LIGHT IT UP
Germany have a must-win game against Sweden later tonight and Bayern Munich have lit-up the Allianz Arena to show their support to the national team.
GOAL! BELGIUM 3-1 TUNISIA (Lukaku, 45+2)
Romelu Lukaku has his fourth goal of the tournament.
He chips the Tunisian goalkeeper from close range to give Belgium a two-goal cushion at half-time.
KOVACIC SEEKS MADRID EXIT
Let’s break away from the cracker in Moscow to bring you some transfer news.
Croatia’s Mateo Kovacic has revealed he wants to leave Real Madridthis summer and move to a club where he can “play regularly”.
Kovacic has become frustrated by a lack of game time in Madrid – struggling to compete with Luka Modric and Toni Kross for a first-team place – making only 55 starts since joining from Inter Milan in 2015.
“I would like to play more at Real Madrid because I love football and I love being on the pitch,” he told Spanish publication Marca. “I know that it’s difficult to be a starter at Real Madrid, especially when I arrived at a really young age.”
GOAL! BELGIUM 2-1 TUNISIA (Bronn, 18)
Game on! Dylan Bronn pulls one back for Tunisia with a header.
What a start to the game.
GOAL! BELGIUM 2-0 TUNISIA (Lukaku, 15)
Romelu Lukaku doubles Belgium’s lead… they are cruising now.
The Manchester United striker keeps his cool, fires across goal and finds the bottom corner.
Tunisia with it all to do now.
GOAL! BELGIUM 1-0 TUNISIA (Hazard pen, 6)
Eden Hazard wins it, then he scores it.
He steps up so nonchalantly, then whips one into the bottom corner. Perfect start for the Belgians, who have began with a real purpose. Job on here for Tunisia.
WITSEL READY FOR TUNISIA TEST
Belgium take on Tunisia in about 20 minutes time. Axel Witselstarts in their midfield and says the team are together as they look for a second win in the tournament.
CHECHNYA LEADER GRANTS SALAH CITIZENSHIP
Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov has granted honorary citizenship to striker Mohamed Salah at a banquet held to say goodbye to Egypt’s World Cup squad.
The Friday night banquet was held at Kadyrov’s presidential palace in Grozny, and the Chechen leader posed with Salah for pictures while pinning a medal on his chest.
“It is a deserved honor,” Kadyrov wrote on Russian social media, adding that Salah’s presence had driven “unprecedented interest in football.”
The Liverpool forward posed with Kadyrov at the Grozny stadium on his country’s arrival at their base for the tournament, leading gay rights and equality campaigners to claim Salah was used for “political propaganda”.
Kadyrov’s regime has been criticised for alleged human rights abuses following reports of gay people being tortured and extrajudicial killings.
The Egyptians leave Grozny today for Volgograd, where they will play Saudi Arabia in their last group match on Monday. Both teams have already been eliminated from the World Cup.
SERB PRESS SLAM SWISS CELEBRATIONS
One of the main talking points from yesterday’s matches came during Switzerland’s 2-1 victory over Serbia.
Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka both celebrated by making a nationalist symbol to their Albanian heritage.
Shaqiri was born in Kosovo, the former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008, while Xhaka’s parents are originally from Kosovo and they are of Albanian heritage.
Stoke midfielder Shaqiri was asked about the celebration after the game, and put it down to pure emotion in the moment.
Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s independence and relations between the two countries remain tense, and Serbian papers have slammed the players for what they labelled “shameful provocation”.
The Telegraph paper criticised the “provocative Albanian gesticulation” while the Vecernje Novosti, under the headline “Provocation of the Swiss”.
Belgium’s opponents Tunisia will hope today is not the end of their World Cup journey. To build-up to the game, FIFA have taken some of their fans out a drive and a sing-song
BELGIUM UNCHANGED FOR TUNISIA
Belgium have named an unchanged side for their meeting with Tunisia as they looked to put themselves on the brink of the knockout rounds.
Roberto Martinez’s men beat Panama 3-0 on Monday and moved on to Moscow with Premier League stars Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard all starting.
A win would put the Red Devils in pole position to qualify for the last 16.
ENGLAND LEAVE FOR NIZHNY NOVGOROD
England trained this morning and have set-off for Nizhny Novgorod where they face Panama tomorrow.
MESSI ON A MISSION
Lionel Messi and Argentina trained today as they look to put the humiliation of a 3-0 loss to Croatia behind them.
Victory over Nigeria in their final Group D match in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday would send Argentina through as runners-up if group leaders Croatia avoid defeat against Iceland.
‘LIONEL MUSA’ OUT TO END ARGENTINA HOPES
Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa became ‘Lionel Musa’ on social media in Argentina on Friday after his two goals against Iceland which not only put the Africans back on course for a last 16 place, but also restored the World Cup hopes of the South Americans.
However, the Nigerian has warned his new-found hero status in Argentina is likely to end abruptly on Tuesday when the two countries meet in a decisive Group D game in St. Petersburg.
“Whenever I play against Argentina, or whenever (Lionel) Messi is playing against me, I score. Four years ago, in Brazil when Messi was playing against me, I scored two goals,” said Musa.
“When I transferred to Leicester City and we played against Barcelona and Messi was in the pitch too, I scored another two goals, so I think in the next game anything can happen. Possibly, I’m going to score another two goals.”
BELGIUM V TUNISIA PREVIEW
Vincent Kompany will miss today’s game, where Belgium will close in on the last 16 with a victory over Tunisia in their second Group G clash.
For Tunisia, goalkeeper Mouez Hassen has been ruled out for the remainder of the tournament after injuring his shoulder against England.
Roberto Martinez’s side cruised past Panama with a 3-0 victory on Monday, and another three points at the Otkrytie Arena in Moscow would seal their spot in the knockout stages should England not lose to Panama on Sunday.
“We respect Tunisia’s threat but they’re a team that need to come out and win the game, so they’ll make it very, very open,” Martinez said. “In that respect, if we look after our performance, we’ll get settled into that sort of game.”
KOMPANY WILL BE FIT FOR ENGLAND
Sky Sports News reporter Gary Cotterill reports from Moscow where Belgium have been boosted by the news that Vincent Kompany will be ready to face England.
ENRIQUE RECOVERING AFTER BRAIN SURGERY
Former Spain international Jose Enrique has revealed he has had surgery to remove a rare brain tumour and is now in recovery.
The 32-year-old, who retired from playing in September 2017 after a spell with Real Zaragoza, told Spanish newspaper Marca he was diagnosed with a chordoma in his skull and there were fears it could cost him his sight.
Let’s turn our attention to today’s action and there are three more huge games coming up.
England will be keen observers of the lunchtime kick-off as Belgiumtake on Tunisia in the other game in Group G.
Later, Mexico will look to follow-up their impressive start to the tournament when they face South Korea.
And could we see the biggest shock of the World Cup so far? Defeat for Germany against Sweden could see them knocked out after just two games!
‘BEWARE OF PANAMA TRICKS’
One man who knows all about Panama is former Leyton Orient midfielder Jobi McAnuff. He faced them with his national team, Jamaica, and says England should keep their head in case Panama attempt to frustrate them physically.
“My advice for the team would be to stay composed. We came across a lot of tricks from the Panama side and others in qualification; I’d call them fouls, but a lot of things that go unnoticed, little pulls of the shirt or trying to stop your momentum if you’re looking to pace forward,” McAnuff said.
“There were little fine details they will try to do to put you off your game, and you must keep a level head.
“We suffered in one game, getting a man sent off through frustration. It’s something I’m sure England are used to facing, but Panama are clever in that sense.”
THE PANAMA FACTFILE
So England’s attentions are very much focused on Panama, but who are tomorrow’s opponents and what can the Three Lions expect to come up against?
How will they setup? They tend to use a defensive 4-5-1 system.
Who are their key players? Their goalkeeper Jaime Penedo should be in for another busy afternoon. He made three key saves to keep the scoreline respectable against Belgium.
Who is the manager? He might not be a household name in Europe but Hernan Dario Gomez has a good track record in South America having taken his own country, Colombia, and Ecuador to the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, respectively.
How did they qualify? Roman Torres’ emphatic 87th minute strike handed them a 2-1 win over Costa Rica in their final game which coupled with USA’s 2-1 defeat to Trinidad & Tobago, sealed an automatic qualifying place.
Can they beat England? You wouldn’t have thought so judging by their defeat against Belgium, along with their results before touching down in Russia.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is many people’s favourite to replace Dele Alli, if he isn’t fit for the Panama game.
And the man who managed Loftus-Cheek last season, Roy Hodgson, has given the midfielder some very high praise indeed.
“I do think he’s ready, yes, definitely, 100 per cent,” the Crystal Palace boss told the Daily Mail.
“I’d say he goes by people more than Ballack did. I think he’s got Ballack’s power and his pace and his strength – he’s definitely got that,” Hodgson added.
“But he’s maybe got more strings to his bow than even Ballack had. That’s a bold thing to say, I know, but he’s so good at going past people. He’s got that deceptive turn of pace.
“In that way he’s a bit like Jack Wilshere really. That ability to receive a ball in tight situations and then come out very quickly on the other side and open a game up.
“That’s a skill because passing players can’t do that. Passing players have to pass it and then get it back again. Ruben can twist and turn his way out of tight situations and, as I say, open a game up. And then he’s very powerful going forward.
“I think he can add more goals to his game. I’m sure he will as time goes on.”
ALLI HAS ‘SLIM CHANCE’
So promising news from the England camp this morning, but manager Gareth Southgate revealed yesterday that Dele Alli still only has “a slim chance” of starting against Panama.
Alli was not part of the line-up leaked to reporters from a note held by assistant manager Steve Holland this week. It showed a plan to play in a 3-5-2 formation against Panama, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek in place of Alli in midfield.
WELCOME BACK DELE!
Look’s who’s back in training. Dele Alli has recovered enough to re-join his teammates as they warm-up for Panama.
Wonder what updates Kyle Walker is giving the midfielder?
ALLI RETURNS TO TRAINING
Sky Sports News reporter Rob Dorsett has the latest from Repino where Dele Alli rejoins England training ahead of Sunday’s match with Panama.
Welcome back. We have another busy day of World Cup action to bring you.
England train this morning for the final time as they step up their preparations for Panama. Plus, we’ll have all the build-up as Tunisia look to bounce back against Belgium.
And, can reigning champions Germany avoid a shock early exit against Sweden? Stay with us!