Connect with us


World Cup roundup, Day 2: England roars, USMNT runs out of steam

The 2022 World Cup is in full swing. At the end of every matchday, we’ll review the biggest talking points emanating from Qatar and break down all the action on the pitch. Below, we look back on Day 2 of the tournament.

Bellingham announces World Cup arrival

There was already a ton to be excited about Jude Bellingham before he even touched a ball in Qatar. But the hype could be about to explode if his performance Monday is an indication of how his first World Cup will unfold.

Halftime hadn’t even arrived before the football world started singing the 19-year-old midfielder’s praises. And deservedly so. Bellingham was positively influential in helping England seal a comfortable – and expected – win over Iran in a World Cup debut to remember.

Bellingham, England’s only non-Premier League player, offered a spark in central midfield that was pivotal in helping Gareth Southgate’s men build a commanding first-half lead on their way to winning 6-2. The Borussia Dortmund star pushed the floodgates open in the 35th minute with a glancing header to record his first-ever international goal.

After Bukayo Saka scored the first of his two World Cup debut goals, Bellingham stepped up again and was the architect for England’s third goal. He burst into the Iran end, dribbling past his markers superbly before finding Harry Kane in the build up to Raheem Sterling’s goal to put the match well out of reach before halftime.

The price tag for Bellingham was already going to be ludicrous. But, at this pace, it could take a near world-record fee to pry away one of England’s most promising young stars from Borussia Dortmund next year.

Superstars make all the difference

Sadio Mane’s injury-induced absence was a blow to the World Cup as a whole. In full flow, the Senegalese forward is one of the game’s most entertaining players to watch. But, at its core, his injury crippled the reigning African champion. The team relies heavily on the 30-year-old to provide the clinical touch inside the penalty area and tip the scales, especially when locked in tight matches.

Senegal’s 2-0 defeat against the Netherlands on Monday was a stark reminder of Mane’s influence. The Lions of Teranga played well against the Dutch. They had more shots, more shots on target, more key passes, and crafted several threatening opportunities. If anything, Senegal carried the play. But, in the crucial moment, the cutting edge that only Mane provides was glaringly absent. Ismaila Sarr was energetic and dangerous out wide – he gave Matthijs de Ligt constant headaches all match – but his final product was lacking when he weaved his way into the area.

NurPhoto / NurPhoto / Getty

The match was a reminder of how, in major international tournaments where the margins are razor-thin, superstars make all the difference.

In the Netherlands’ best moment of the contest, Frenkie de Jong clipped a sumptuous ball over the top of the Senegalese defense that Cody Gakpo, the team’s most in-form attacker, headed home with authority. It was his only real scoring opportunity of the match. When it mattered most, the Netherlands’ key players stepped up, while Senegal’s best player could only watch from home, cruelly unable to make his mark on the competition.

Berhalter leaves U.S. exposed

Wales made an adjustment. The United States didn’t.

Ultimately, that’s what turned the tide in the second half of Monday’s 1-1 draw. Wales had struggled mightily without a reference point in the first half, but everything changed when head coach Rob Page introduced center-forward Kieffer Moore at halftime. The move emboldened the Welsh and allowed them to stretch the U.S. with a more direct approach. Page’s group responded with resounding effort as play resumed, wrestling back possession and taking over midfield.

Conversely, when Wales threatened to equalize, the United States’ Gregg Berhalter chose to stand pat. By the 66th minute – when Berhalter made the first of his five ineffective substitutions – the Americans had lost all the momentum they had built in the opening stanza. Brenden Aaronson, a tone-setting midfielder, couldn’t find his rhythm. DeAndre Yedlin lost duels on the right flank. Berhalter left Giovanni Reyna – a box-to-box midfielder with match-winning ability – on the bench while defensive crusher Kellyn Acosta struggled to gain a foothold in an increasingly stretched game. Berhalter showed his cards, preferring to control the damage, not reclaim the advantage.

Mike Egerton – PA Images / PA Images / Getty

The decision to leave out Reyna was particularly difficult to digest. Finally, the U.S. had one of its best players available after a year interrupted by injuries, and there he was, keeping loose on the sidelines for a substitution that never arrived.

“In the phase of the game we were at, we went with Jordan (Morris), who we felt could give us speed and power,” Berhalter told reporters, including ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle.

If Berhalter wasn’t willing to throw on a difference-maker against an opponent the U.S. could’ve and should’ve beaten, when will he do so?

Quick free-kicks

What’s up with stoppage time?

England and Iran played nearly 30 minutes of stoppage time over their two halves Monday. The Netherlands scored a goal in the 99th minute of its win over Senegal. The United States and Wales played well beyond the 90th minute of their feisty affair. Get used to it. FIFA has instructed officials to be more liberal when adding time at the end of each half to account for minutes lost during play. Fans are typically used to seeing five additional minutes at most, but this more literal interpretation of “stoppage time” is going to result in lengthier matches throughout the tournament. With players already at their physical limit dealing with a congested schedule, plus the searing heat in Qatar, is this really a change that was needed or wanted?

Concussion protocol still a mess

Mike Egerton – PA Images / PA Images / Getty

There was a critical failure in FIFA’s newly adopted concussion protocol just two games into its implementation. Iran goalkeeper Ali Beiranvand went down with a nasty head injury but was still allowed to continue despite appearing visibly shaken after a lengthy break in play. After seemingly persuading Iran’s medical staff to keep him in the game, Beiranvand eventually asked to leave. The damage was done by then, as concerns and questions about the effectiveness of FIFA’s new policy were rampant. Given that this is the first World Cup that allows teams to make substitutions for suspected concussions in addition to the five allotted in a match, there’s no way Beiranvand should’ve been allowed to play had FIFA’s concussion protocol been followed.

Logistical issues in Qatar

It’s been 12 years since FIFA stunningly awarded this year’s World Cup to Qatar. The governing body, and the nation, had over a decade to prepare. Just a couple of days in, you wouldn’t know it. After the last-minute flip-flop on the sale of alcoholic beer in stadiums – something that should have been clearly established well before the tournament – ticket issues blighted Monday’s opening match between England and Iran. The problem caused scores of fans to miss the opening kickoff. FIFA’s mobile app was apparently the culprit. Fans complained that their e-tickets had disappeared from their phones, causing long queues outside the Khalifa International Stadium.

FIFA scores another own goal

Ahead of the World Cup, captains of seven European nations vowed to wear armbands adorned with the multi-colored, heart-shaped logo of the “OneLove” campaign that promotes inclusion and diversity. The national teams, including three who played Monday – England, Wales, and the Netherlands – said they were prepared to pay a fine to allow the respective captains to wear the armband. So FIFA upped the ante and threatened to sanction the players with yellow cards if they took part in the anti-discrimination gesture. They promptly abandoned the plans and wore a FIFA-approved armband instead. Fans and journalists took to social media Monday to provide accounts of how they were forced to remove pro-LGBTQ paraphernalia before entering stadiums. FIFA has reportedly ordered Belgium to remove the word “Love” from the collar of its World Cup shirt, too.

Good guy Grealish

Jack Grealish kept his promise. Prior to the World Cup, the England forward met with 11-year-old Manchester City fan Finlay, who has cerebral palsy. The heartwarming encounter ended with Finlay asking Grealish, whose sister also has cerebral palsy, to commemorate his next goal – either for club or country – with a special celebration. He did just that after scoring England’s sixth marker against Iran on Monday. With a giant grin on his face, Grealish stretched out his arms and began rolling them in waves, just as Finlay had demonstrated to him when they met. Especially amid some of the other scenes at this World Cup thus far – including some discussed above – it was a brilliant, beautiful sight that signals the power of football and sport.

Maguire makes amends

Harry Maguire has come under immense scrutiny, for good reason, amid consistent struggles at club level with Manchester United. So much so, many clamored for him to be dropped entirely from the squad for the World Cup. Southgate, though, trusts the oft-criticized defender more than most. He’s one of his stalwarts. Maguire repaid his manager’s faith with a solid outing against Iran. The 29-year-old looked liberated on the pitch, driving forward with the ball and, crucially, providing a constant threat from set pieces, a key element to England’s game. Southgate said after the match that Maguire was taken off as a precaution after feeling ill in the second half. The manager also allayed fears over a potential head injury, adding that he expects the defender to be available against the United States later this week. Bullet dodged, it seems.

Stat of the day

Welcome back to the World Cup, Wales.

Tweet of the day

What were you doing at 19 years old?

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Ranking the 10 best deals of the January transfer window

Find the biggest stories from across the soccer world by visiting our Top Soccer News section and subscribing to push notifications.

With a quiet January transfer window now complete, theScore ranks the 10 best moves made across the game’s top leagues.

10. Gift Orban ?? Lyon

Isosport/MB Media / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Details: Signed from Gent for reported €12M fee

There were some concerns when Gent signed Orban in January 2023. His scoring record of 20 goals in just 21 starts was clearly impressive, but that was in Norway’s second tier. Those reservations were soon forgotten as he amassed nine goals and two assists over 10 Belgian Pro League appearances and struck five times in five Conference League outings. His productivity has since slowed, but €12 million for an intensely competitive 21-year-old striker could prove extremely fruitful business for Lyon. Orban’s outgoing personality should also be a welcome addition to the dressing room.

9. Timo Werner ?? Tottenham

Details: Signed on loan from RB Leipzig with reported €17M option to buy

Like many transfers in the January window, bringing in Werner presented a low-risk deal for Tottenham. If it works out, €17 million is an affordable sum for a forward of Werner’s pedigree. The German was largely ineffective over his first two appearances but was much better in his third outing, setting up Destiny Udogie and Brennan Johnson for goals in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Brentford. His incredible work ethic and pace, paired with Ange Postecoglou’s ability to instill belief in his players, could make this a great move for both parties.

8. Said Benrahma ?? Lyon

Details: Signed from West Ham in deal worth up to €20.4M

Lyon fought for this one, and it should pay off. After battling some administrative issues, the Ligue 1 side completed the deal a day later than expected, announcing Benrahma had joined on an initial €6-million loan deal that could become permanent for another €14.4 million. It’s a low-risk move that should enliven Lyon’s struggling attack. Benrahma’s a functional system player who can break games open and change their pace with the flick of a foot. Though he started just five times for West Ham in the Premier League this season, he hasn’t lost those progressive traits.

7. Marcos Leonardo ?? Benfica

Zed Jameson/MB Media / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Details: Signed from Santos for reported €18M fee

You just know Benfica are onto something here. They always are. Leonardo arrives from Santos in a deal that could look like a bargain in the years to come. Despite playing for one of the worst Santos sides in its 111-year history, the 20-year-old still managed to score 26 goals in 66 league appearances. He’s an old-school striker who loves to hang in the penalty area, and if Benfica can provide him with the right service, he’ll have no issues doubling that goal-scoring return.

6. Tommaso Baldanzi ?? Roma

Details: Signed from Empoli for reported €15M fee

The deal for Baldanzi is perfect in nearly every sense. Roma get a long-term replacement for Paulo Dybala without breaking the bank or running further afoul of Financial Fair Play regulations. The future Italian international also satisfies the club’s long-held preference for central attacking midfielders. Baldanzi even idolized Dybala during his formative years at Empoli. He could’ve waited to go to a club fighting for trophies, but he’ll get far more playing time at Roma, especially if Dybala’s injury issues persist.

5. Adam Wharton ?? Crystal Palace

Details: Signed from Blackburn Rovers for reported initial £18M fee

Crystal Palace are no strangers to fishing in the EFL. They plucked the thrilling double act of Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise from the Championship, and it took an impressive loan spell at Swansea City to convince the Eagles to sign Marc Guehi from Chelsea. Wharton is the next to join that contingent. The 19-year-old will bring some much-needed solidity to the midfield, but his admiration of Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets, and Rodri hints at how much he treasures possession. He displays so much composure while he instigates attacks from the base of midfield.

4. Valentin Barco ?? Brighton & Hove Albion


Details: Signed from Boca Juniors for reported $10M fee

Tipping a player that Brighton & Hove Albion bought to shine usually works out, right? For a modest fee, the south coast club has acquired a cocksure 19-year-old who can play in any position down the left and also appeared across the midfield for Boca Juniors. Barco is a slippery operator, regularly dribbling past opponents and becoming difficult to track down once he’s wriggled free, and he’s constantly trying to ignite attacks with probing passes. It might take time for him to be a regular in Roberto De Zerbi’s lineup, but this signing should be yet another example of the Seagulls’ South American scouting network striking gold.

3. Jadon Sancho ?? Borussia Dortmund

Details: Signed on loan from Manchester United

Sancho is back at Dortmund – albeit temporarily – after leaving for Manchester United for around €85 million in 2021. The winger had a much-documented spat with Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag, and it’s difficult to envision a route back into the first team while the Dutchman’s in charge. By contrast, Sancho has been given a warm welcome in Germany, with club executives claiming he has no disciplinary issues and is in fine condition after being frozen out at United. It seems Sancho is in an ideal environment to revive his career.

2. Claudio Echeverri ?? Manchester City

Details: Signed from River Plate for reported £12.5M fee

Manchester City continue to bet on young talent during the January transfer window. Highly rated midfielder Echeverri follows in the footsteps of Julian Alvarez as the latest under-23 South American to sign for, if not necessarily join, the Premier League champions in the winter. Like Alvarez, whom City also signed from River Plate, Echeverri has been sent back to his boyhood club on loan for the year, allowing him to continue his development in a controlled environment. He’ll then arrive in Manchester in January 2025. City continue to hit the right note, never panicking while other clubs scramble for that elusive extra oomph to end the season.

1. Arthur Vermeeren ?? Atletico Madrid

Angel Martinez / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Details: Signed from Royal Antwerp for reported €18M fee

At just 18, Vermeeren already boasts plenty of experience. He played more minutes than any other player in Belgium’s top flight over 2023 and even captained Royal Antwerp during this season’s Champions League group stage. The midfielder has already won the Belgian league, cup, and super cup, too. Vermeeren might lack some physicality – and that weakness might not seem ideal when he’s going to play under the combative Diego Simeone – but he has a Koke-esque knack of progressing play while producing more interceptions, blocks, and clearances than the Atletico Madrid veteran. An €18-million deal is a bargain for someone who could become one of Europe’s leading midfielders.

Honorable mentions: Fabio Carvalho (Hull City), Radu Dragusin (Tottenham Hotspur)

Continue Reading


Transfer Deadline Day Live: Breaking down all the major deals, rumors

Find the biggest stories from across the soccer world by visiting our Top Soccer News section and subscribing to push notifications.

Transfer deadline day is in full swing. We’re providing live, quick-hit analysis of the biggest deals and rumors until tonight’s 6 p.m. ET deadline.

Give Chelsea all of your money

Chelsea are the headline act again at the transfer deadline – but playing a different role entirely. Languishing in 10th place in the Premier League standings and without Champions League football on the horizon, the cash-guzzling Blues desperately need funds to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations ahead of the 2024-25 season. Armando Broja and Conor Gallagher are reportedly up for sale, not because they’re angling to leave but because they offer the juiciest profit margin. Chelsea are raising academy graduates for financial slaughter, having pawned off Lewis Hall, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Mason Mount for tens of millions of pounds in pure profit over the last six months. Fulham are interested in taking Broja off Chelsea’s hands, just not at the quoted £50-million asking price, according to BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty. A loan deal could be a welcome compromise.

Bayern getting instant relief

M. Donato / FC Bayern / Getty

Bayern are closing out the window strong. Signing Sacha Boey from Galatasaray for a reported €30 million solves a crisis at the right-back position, where midfielder Konrad Laimer and left-back Raphael Guerreiro have split time as square-peg-round-hole replacements for the injured Noussair Mazraoui. Further injuries to wingers Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman forced Bayern to bring in 22-year-old Granada winger Bryan Zaragoza six months ahead of his expected move to the Bavarians. The deals give Bayern the depth they need to continue competing on all fronts. Given their sputtering form and a surprisingly sustained challenge from Bundesliga title rivals Bayer Leverkusen, they need all the help they can get.

No place like home for Hojbjerg

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s future at Tottenham Hotspur has been up in the air since Antonio Conte left the club in March 2023 – and it’ll be suspended in motion for a while longer. Hojbjerg, one of former manager Conte’s soldiers in midfield, has made just five Premier League starts under Ange Postecoglou. And while he remains on the periphery of Postecoglou’s plans, Hojbjerg remains committed to the cause. He doesn’t lack options – Juventus, Napoli, Ajax, and Lyon reportedly expressed interest in the midfielder – but still feels part of something big in north London. Credit to Postecoglou for making a player with such limited minutes feel connected to the cause.

Forest keep wheeling and dealing

Nottingham Forest are sticking to their usual deadline-day formula. Having closed out the 2023 summer transfer window with an incredible seven signings, Forest are back to juggling negotiations. They’ve completed the signing of highly rated Portuguese striker Rodrigo Ribeiro from Sporting CP and Gio Reyna on loan from Borussia Dortmund. Forest are also reportedly flying in Strasbourg goalkeeper Matz Sels after abandoning talks with Crystal Palace over shot-stopper Sam Johnstone. They’re allowing some departures, too, with Serge Aurier expected to leave for Galatasaray and Orel Mangala heading for Lyon.

Other deals to watch today …

  • Said Benrahma to Lyon
  • Stefano Sensi to Leicester City
  • Tommaso Baldanzi to Roma
  • Hugo Ekitike to Eintracht Frankfurt
  • Antonio Nusa to Brentford
  • Bryan Gil to Brighton & Hove Albion
  • Enes Unal to Bournemouth
  • Serge Aurier to Galatasaray
  • Thomas Meunier to Burnley
  • Rafa Mir to Valencia
  • Maxwel Cornet to Crystal Palace
  • Matz Sels to Nottingham Forest

Continue Reading


The Best FIFA awards: Follow live as Messi, Bonmati eye more trophies

Find the biggest stories from across the soccer world by visiting our Top Soccer News section and subscribing to push notifications.

World football’s top players and managers of 2023 are being recognized at The Best FIFA Football Awards show on Monday. Below, theScore is tracking all the winners of the various trophies handed out in London.

Best Men’s Player finalists

  • Erling Haaland (Manchester City and Norway)
  • Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain and France)
  • Lionel Messi (Inter Miami and Argentina)

Can Messi get one over on Mbappe yet again? The Argentine will look to retain the honor he won last year when he beat out his former Paris Saint-Germain teammate. The two superstars will face stiff competition from Manchester City striker Haaland for FIFA’s top individual prize, which was inaugurated in 2016 following the governing body’s split with Ballon d’Or organizer France Football. For this year’s award, accomplishments from Dec. 19, 2022, to Aug. 20, 2023, were taken into consideration by voters.

2022 winner: Lionel Messi

Best Women’s Player finalists

NurPhoto / NurPhoto / Getty
  • Aitana Bonmati (Barcelona and Spain)
  • Linda Caicedo (Real Madrid and Colombia)
  • Jennifer Hermoso (Tigres and Spain)

Bonmati can cap one of the most dominant individual seasons in the history of women’s soccer on Monday. The World Cup-winning midfielder, already having captured the Ballon d’Or and various other accolades over the last 12 months, is looking to succeed compatriot Putellas, who won this award in each of the last two years. The qualifying period for this year’s honor was Aug. 1, 2022, to Aug. 20, 2023, the date of the most recent Women’s World Cup final, which saw Bonmati’s Spain defeat England.

2022 winner: Alexia Putellas

Puskas Award finalists

One of the sport’s most coveted individual trophies. This year’s Puskas Award, given to the scorer of the best goal, covers the period between Dec. 19, 2022, and Aug. 20, 2023. Finalists include a long-range strike to conclude an excellent team move, a sensational bicycle kick, and a perfect rabona.

2022 winner: Marcin Oleksy

Best Men’s Coach finalists

  • Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)
  • Simone Inzaghi (Inter Milan)
  • Luciano Spalletti (Napoli)

A trio of club managers are vying for the men’s coaching award; though Spalletti is the current Italy boss, his nomination came on the back of an enchanting title-winning campaign at Napoli. The two tacticians who were on the touchline for last season’s Champions League final, Guardiola and Inzaghi, square off once again, with the Manchester City boss considered the favorite after his team’s historic treble-winning season.

2022 winner: Lionel Scaloni

Best Women’s Coach finalists

Valerio Pennicino – UEFA / UEFA / Getty
  • Jonatan Giraldez (Barcelona)
  • Emma Hayes (Chelsea)
  • Sarina Wiegman (England)

A mixture of club and international coaches are vying for this prize. Wiegman and Hayes are the two most recent winners. The England manager has taken the award home on three occasions, more than any other bench boss (male or female). Giraldez, meanwhile, is looking for his first FIFA honor.

2022 winner: Sarina Wiegman

Best Men’s Goalkeeper finalists

  • Yassine Bounou (Al-Hilal and Morocco)
  • Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid and Belgium)
  • Ederson (Manchester City and Brazil)

Bounou helped Sevilla win yet another Europa League crown in 2022-23 before departing for Saudi Arabia, while Ederson backstopped Manchester City to a trio of titles during the club’s record-breaking campaign. Courtois is the only finalist to have won this award before.

2022 winner: Emiliano Martinez

Best Women’s Goalkeeper finalists

  • Mackenzie Arnold (West Ham and Australia)
  • Catalina Coll (Barcelona and Spain)
  • Mary Earps (Manchester United and England)

Three netminders who shone brightly at the 2023 Women’s World Cup will battle for this accolade. Coll helped Spain take home the title, while Arnold and Earps have become cult heroes in their respective countries. The latter, in particular, is one of the most popular footballers in England thanks to her combination of on-pitch excellence and off-field personality.

2022 winner: Mary Earps

Men’s FIFA FIFPro World11

To be announced.

Women’s FIFA FIFPro World11

To be announced.

Continue Reading