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World Cup 2022: England and US plan for last 16, Australia hope to join them – live


Key events

The TV numbers are in. 16.59 million people watched Wales v England last night live in the UK.

An average audience of approximately 16.59 million TV viewers watched England’s 3-0 win over Wales between 1900 – 2055 last night on BBC One according to BARB overnight figures

More will have watched on other services. Figures do not include those watching on S4C #WALENG pic.twitter.com/Tfn5DXex1v

— lizo mzimba (@lizo_mzimba) November 30, 2022

I am enjoying that for me Twitter has marked the image as “the following media includes potentially sensitive content” and when you click reveal it is just England celebrating. Maybe Twitter HQ is just trying to think kindly of the Wales fans.

Every day is a school day when you are a journalist, but here is some news that is making me feel as if I’m kindergarten age again professionally. Fifa have been celebrating the achievement of reknowned Argentine sports reporter Enrique Macaya Márquez.

Márquez is reporting on his 17th consecutive World Cup, having first been deployed at the tournament in 1958 in Sweden when he was 23. That first tournament didn’t go without a hitch. On the Fifa website Márquez says:

We thought we were the best in the world, including in football. Argentina missed some of the World Cups due to political decisions, but the illusion was quickly shattered [in 1958]. Czechoslovakia put six goals past us. I couldn’t believe it, it was inexplicable. How could we concede six goals to a team who [I] had never heard of? I couldn’t handle it and I started smoking again, three years after giving up. It was a tough lesson.

The 88-year-old, who celebrated his birthday while covering Qatar v Ecuador this year, claims that he used to have kickabouts with the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano, as they grew up in the same neighbourhood.

In a journalism tale as old as time, he got his lucky break because while working at a radio station as a young lad he made his enthusiasm for football well known, and then one day the regular commentator failed to turn up. (This is pretty much how I got the Doctor Who and Eurovision gigs at the Guardian to be honest.)

He says the secret to journalism at a World Cup is:

You need knowledge, and you have to know how to communicate what you know, you have to know how to deal with technology, you have to know the game and interpret it correctly. It’s not easy and you have to learn all the time, talking to people and learning from them – that is how you get better.

He says his favourite ever World Cup team is the Dutch side from 1974, and that ultimately “my passion is football, rather than journalism”. So I’ve just got the 14 more World Cups to cover to emulate him then.

The row about concussion substitutions at this World Cup rumbles on. Wales defended their decision last night to keep Nottingham Forest defender Neco Williams on the pitch after he suffered a head injury against England. Coach Robert Page defended how the team handled it, saying:

Neco took a blow to the head, so there are protocols in place understandably with concussion. He passed the initial test. We followed the Fifa guidelines. The Fifa doctor OK’d him to stay on the pitch, but he was advised if there was any symptoms then to flag it up straight away, and that’s what he did. There was no second thoughts at all, he was off straight away. We’ve covered all the protocols and the Fifa guidelines.

Neco Williams of Wales looks dejected before coming off the pitch.
Neco Williams of Wales looks dejected before coming off the pitch. Photograph: Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images

But PA Media points out that in its report that brain injury charity Headway criticised the handling of the incident, saying “yet again medics are giving no options” while calling for the introduction of a temporary concussion rule.

YET AGAIN medics are given no options! A temporary concussion rule would have not resulted in Nico Williams being left on the pitch after #concussion. How many more?! #ENGWAL

— Headway – the brain injury association (@HeadwayUK) November 29, 2022

BBC pundit Alan Shearer was also vocal on the topic during the match last night, saying “I would say to IFAB, ‘what on earth are you waiting for?’ because everyone is under pressure then to make a decision. You’ve got the doctors and the physios on the pitch trying to buy a little bit of time. If they were able to get him off for 10 minutes, assess him, bring someone on and then make their mind up there rather than be put under huge pressure on the pitch.”

Ben Fisher

Ben Fisher

Ben Fisher was at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium stadium for the Guardian on Tuesday night, and here is what he made of it from the Wales point of view:

Three weeks ago, on the day Rob Page announced his squad, the Wales manager conceded that whether Bale could handle three games in quick succession was the million‑dollar question, for which we now have a resounding answer: 256 minutes across eight days was simply too much for a player who has played such little football over the past few years. The painful truth is Bale’s three World Cup appearances comprise three duds. At the final whistle Bale limped on to the pitch, embraced Page and then Gareth Southgate.

Bale had seven forgettable touches and completed one pass in 50 first-half minutes – and that was back towards his own defender about 10 yards from the Wales goal-line. Despite starting in his favoured position on the right flank, Bale again appeared to be running on empty, immobile and somehow, despite all of his past grandeur, reduced to a pawn on a chessboard of kings and queens in a dull first half, in which Kieffer Moore had Wales’s only shot on target. Page said if Bale returned for the second half he would have been playing at about 70%. Quite what percentage he was operating at in the first half is anyone’s guess.

Wales Rob Page talks to Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey during the match between Wales and England.
Wales Rob Page talks to Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey during the match between Wales and England. Photograph: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Read more here: Ben Fisher – Is now the time for Gareth to Bale out? Wales legend is running on empty

US president Joe Biden’s social media team have posted a little behind the scenes clip of him being informed of the US-Iran score, and then announcing it at a political event in Michigan last night.

With apologies to Wales fans, I’m just going to leave this picture here.

England's Marcus Rashford, right, is greeted by England's head coach Gareth Southgate.
England’s Marcus Rashford, right, is greeted by England’s head coach Gareth Southgate. Photograph: Frank Augstein/AP

Here is how Rory Smith at the New York Times viewed that US performance in Qatar last night, writing:

Those last few minutes were not about talent. They were, instead, the most thorough examination imaginable of Gregg Berhalter’s team’s poise, and composure, and grit. They were a test of nerve. It is to their immense credit that they passed.

Victory was not comfortable, not at all. There were moments when their hearts rose up into their mouths, moments when their legs seemed heavy and their minds weary, moments when they had to fight off the siren call of blind panic. But then, it could not be any other way. It would not be a test if it were easy.

This remains an intensely young team, one that has been designed at least in part with the next World Cup, four years away and (mostly) on home soil, in mind. That they weathered what is most likely the most stressful situation any of them have experienced is to their enormous credit.

The Netherlands now stand in the way of this US team emulating their peers from 2002, who reached the quarter-finals, the best US performance of modern times.

The United States team did reach the semi-finals in Uruguay in 1930 in the inaugural World Cup, in a tournament which saw the winners of each of four groups paired up as the last four. The US were beaten by Argentina in Montevideo on that occasion, having overcome Belgium and Paraguay in the group stages.

Jonathan Liew

Jonathan Liew

Jonathan Liew was at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium last night for England v Wales, and he says that Southgate has a dilemma:

As the teams disappeared down the tunnel at half-time you could almost feel the heat from the steam of a million middle-aged Englishmen collectively boiling their piss. A bright start had disintegrated into a staid passing circle, which as everyone knows is the wokest of all the shapes. But One Trick Gareth had a second trick up his sleeve. And it didn’t even involve a substitution.

So it was a few minutes into the second half that Foden, now restored to his favoured left flank, slalomed past three Wales players, winning a free-kick that Rashford slotted beautifully into the top corner. Less than two minutes later Rashford, now given the freedom of the right wing, won the ball from Ben Davies, allowing Kane to play Foden in for his first tournament goal.

Southgate now has a quiet dilemma on his hands. Bukayo Saka has had a good tournament; Raheem Sterling is his talisman; Mason Mount his rock. But you try dropping Foden and Rashford after a second half like that.

Read more here: Jonathan Liew – Gareth Southgate has a dilemma: try dropping Foden or Rashford now

You know the drill by now. Max and the gang were up late after the matches finished yesterday to bring you the latest daily edition of Football Weekly. Mr Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning, Troy Townsend, Elis James, Barney Ronay and Nick Ames as they talk about England, Wales and all that jazz. Get it in your ears here.

Preamble

It is the morning after the night before for United States fans basking in the glow of a place in the second round, Iran fans wondering what might have been, England fans puzzled if their team is good again now, and Wales fans dreaming it won’t be 64 years until the next time.

Then we’ve got the no small matter of four matches to get through as Group C and Group D come to the pointy end. Can Argentina redeem themselves – possibly at Poland’s expense? Will Saudi Arabia’s heroics in their opening match come to nothing? Do Mexico even know where the goal is? Can the Socceroos effectively send Denmark home and make the next round for the first time in 16 years? And how will France’s free-flowing football fare when it hits the tension of a post-colonial clash with Tunisia? France are already through, but any of the other seven can still join them. Here is how it lines up …

We will have MBM coverage of all of them. Before then I’ll have all the fallout from yesterday, media lines from the teams playing tomorrow as they emerge, and the buildup to this afternoon’s matches. Drop me a line at martin.belam@theguardian.com





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