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How can Spain qualify for the World Cup knockout stages?

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It has not all been plain sailing for Spain so far at the Qatar 2022 World Cup but Luis Enrique’s side will be confident that they can get the job done on Thursday evening as Group E comes to a close.

Spain just need to concentrate on themselves and beat Japan to try and keep the situation in their own hands. All four teams in the group have got a chance of getting through to the round of 16 so it will be a night of thrilling twists and turns in Qatar.

Here is what Spain need in order to reach the round of 16, something that is considered the bare minimum for La Roja.

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Things started off extremely well for Spain as they recorded what is still the biggest win of the tournament. They thrashed Costa Rica 7-0 and it seemed like, while considered one of the favourites, Spain could be better than people anticipated.

The other ominous element of that win for other teams was the fact that there were seven different goalscorers; Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio, Ferran Torres, Gavi, Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata. There are goals all over the pitch for the Spanish.

They weren’t able to secure early passage to the round of 16 though against Germany as a late equaliser from Niclas Fullkrug meant the game ended 1-1. With four points though, Spain are in the driving seat when it comes to the final game.

Pablo Martín Páez Gavira, Aymeric Laporte

Gavi became the youngest ever World Cup scorer against Costa Rica / Visionhaus/GettyImages

The final group game for Spain to navigate their way through is against Japan, a team that are very hard to judge right now. The win over Germany was of course very impressive, but they followed up by a dismal 1-0 loss against a Costa Rica side that had just shipped seven against Spain.

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It is a very tough one to predict but it will be taking place at the Khalifa International Stadium on Thursday evening at 19:00 GMT. Spain and Japan have only ever met once and it was a friendly in 2001. It ended with a 1-0 win to Spain, a scoreline they will happily take on Thursday.

Spain currently top the group with four points while Japan have three, as do Costa Rica; Germany have one. It is all to play for which is why there are so many different possible outcomes.

Until the point they find themselves behind, Spain know they just need to win or draw to secure their place in the next round. A win would make sure they are top of the group.

Luis Enrique - Soccer Coach

Luis Enrique is regarded as one of the best coaches at the tournament / Lionel Hahn/GettyImages

If Spain were to be beaten by Japan, they would need to hope that Costa Rica do not beat Germany. That is the only situation where Spain do not make it through to the next round. The 7-0 win means that they easily win any battle that comes down to goal difference, something that will be a relief for Luis Enrique.

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A convincing win over Japan would mean that Spain have got seven points from the group stage which contained a fellow major side, and beat a team 7-0 in the progress. That has to be viewed as a success.

Harry Symeou hosts Jack Gallagher and Toby Cudworth to look back on Germany ’06 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click to download or listen to the episode in full!



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Player ratings as Casemiro strikes twice in FA Cup win

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Manchester United cruised into the fifth round of the FA Cup by overpowering ten-man Reading at Old Trafford on Saturday night.

The Championship visitors kept their hosts out for the first 45 minutes but United eventually broke their resistance as Casemiro struck twice in quick succession.

The Brazilian ran onto Antony’s pass and chipped Joe Lumley to put Erik ten Hag’s side 1-0 up before a long range strike found its way into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

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Andy Carroll charged around with aggression all night and ended up being sent off for two bookable offences before Fred added a third, cleverly back-heeling Fernandes’ cross in at the front post.

United switched off in the 72nd minute to gift Reading a consolation, with Amadou Salif Mbengue given a free header to reduce the deficit three minutes after his introduction.

The Red Devils saw out the rest of the contest to book their place in the next round, joining the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham and Leeds.

United looked sharp throughout the first half, quickly exploding into attack with opportunities for Wout Weghorst and Christian Eriksen before a double chance fell to for Eriksen and Marcus Rashford. However, Lumley denied them on both occasions.

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Fernandes lifted an effort just over before a brilliant Antony run ended without reward.

The deadlock seemed to have been broken ten minutes before half time when Rashford smashed in from close range, but Weghorst was shown to have been offside in the build-up.

The breakthrough eventually came when two Brazilians combined to cut through Reading’s defence. Antony picked out Casemiro with a precise pass, allowing the former Real Madrid midfielder to run in and dink Lumley for the game’s opener.

He netted his second goal just before the hour mark with more of a pot shot. A free kick was never fully cleared by Reading and Casemiro struck a fierce effort from distance that whistled in.

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United’s job got a lot easier when Carroll was given his second yellow card for wiping out Casemiro and they took advantage of their numerical superiority by netting a third.

A short corner was worked to Fernandes, who fired the ball into Fred to inventively flick the ball beyond Lumley.

The visitors were rewarded for their efforts when United suddenly went limp at a corner, allowing substitute Mbengue a free header to reduce the deficit. It meant little, however, with the Royals exiting the FA Cup and United reaching the last 16.

GK: David de Gea – 6/10 – Unsurprisingly a quiet night for De Gea, who had to clean up loose ball on occasion. Sharp stop to deny Hoilett.

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RB: Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 7/10 – Left the tackling to Malacia on the left but another display which shows his improvement under Ten Hag.

CB: Victor Lindelof – 6/10 – Decent enough for most of the night but he and Maguire won’t be back in the Premier League starting XI anytime soon conceding poor goals from corners.

CB: Harry Maguire – 6/10 – We all got the Maguire vs Carroll battle we didn’t know we needed. He came out of that clash having performed well enough.

LB: Tyrell Malacia – 7/10 – Did present a big chance to Hoilett but managed to wake up to deliver a better performance.

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CM: Casemiro – 9/10 – Provided a run from midfield and finished Antony’s pass well before netting from distance. Simply cannot do any wrong right now.

CM: Christian Eriksen – 6/10 – Came close with a free kick that whizzed past the post.

RW: Antony – 8/10 – Produced some marvellous running and the weight of pass on his delivery to Casemiro was perfect. Delivered end product which has been missing recently.

AM: Bruno Fernandes – 7/10 – Got United purring in attack and played the ball in for Fred to make in 3-0.

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LW: Marcus Rashford – 7/10 – No goals for the England international but his pace and direct running was a threat.

ST: Wout Weghorst – 7/10 – Provided some more selfless pressing and occupied defenders while his teammates did the damage.

Substitutes

Fred (57′ for Christian Eriksen) – 8/10 – Got United’s third and was efficient during his sub appearance.

Facundo Pellestri (68′ for Fernandes) – 6/10 – Quiet final 20 minute appearance.

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Alejandro Garnacho (68′ for Rashford) – 6/10

Kobbie Mainoo (68′ for Rashford) – 6/10

Anthony Elanga (73′ for Weghorst) – 6/10

Manager

Erik ten Hag – 7/10 – United averted any fears of a potential upset with a second half blitz which allowed Ten Hag to shuffle his pack in late on.

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GK: Joe Lumley (5); CB: Tom McIntyre (6), CB: Tom Holmes (6), CB: Junior Hoilett (5); RWB: Andy Yiadom (5), CM: Jeff Hendrick (6), CM: Abdul Rahman Baba (6), CM: Tom Ince (7), LWB: Mamadou Loum (6) ST: Andy Carroll (5), ST: Lucas Joao (6).

SUBS: Tyrese Fornah (6), Amadou Salif Mbengue (8), Dean Bouzanis (6), Shane Long (6).

Player of the match – Casemiro



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Tete undergoing medical with Leicester

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Tete will have a medical with Leicester on Saturday night ahead of his move from parent club Shakhtar Donetsk, 90min understands.

The Brazilian winger was offered to Premier League sides on loan with the view of a permanent deal back in December before the Foxes held talks with the representatives of the Lyon loanee regarding a move to the King Power Stadium.

Lyon are prepared to lose the 22-year-old as manager Laurent Blanc plans to move his side in a different direction. Despite that, Tete is their second highest top scorer this season after Alexandre Lacazette – who has 11 goals – with six strikes.

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Premier League sides West Ham, Tottenham, Newcastle and Arsenal were all alerted to his availability. David Moyes’ Hammers did explore a deal only to renege on their interest later.

Tete’s arrival will add firepower to Brendan Rodgers’ squad. Harvey Barnes and James Maddison are their top Premier League scorers this season with seven each, with Patson Daka, Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho all struggling for form.

On this edition of Talking Transfers, Scott Saunders hosts Toby Cudworth & Graeme Bailey to discuss some of the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maximo Perrone & more! If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Tete is a naturally right-sided player and has Champions League experience with Shakhtar, scoring three times in the UEFA competition.

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Leicester were quiet during the summer transfer window, bringing in only Alex Smithies and Wout Faes, but have signed Victor Kristiansen this month to add competition at left back.



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‘Nice one, Sonny!’ Tottenham chant lyrics, origin and video

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Son Heung-min had spent two-and-a-half seasons at Tottenham Hotspur, made more than 100 appearances and scored 40 goals before he was finally granted his own song by the Spurs faithful.

The eminently loveable South Korea international has scored almost 100 times since, eliciting countless renditions of a fittingly cheery tune from his adoring public in north London.

Here’s everything you need to know about the fascinating origins of a song that has become a staple of N17.

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Chirped out to a bouncy rhythm, Tottenham fans don’t have to memorise much to keep this jaunty chant in their head. The lyrics go:

Nice one Sonny,
Nice one Son,
Nice one Sonny,
Let’s have another one…

And repeat. And repeat, and repeat…

As a Goodwill Ambassador for the World Food Programme, Son will be pleased that even those on Tottenham’s terraces don’t let anything go to waste. ‘Nice one, Sonny!’ was originally ‘Nice one, Cyril!’, in honour of the Spurs left-back Cyril Knowles from the 1960s and ’70s.

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Pat Jennings joined Spurs in the same year as Knowles and insisted that the former England international would “have been proud” to have his song moulded in Son’s image.

To find the inspiration for Knowles’ chant, you have to turn to an earworm from 1970s advertisement. Before turning his pen to a bestselling memoir, Peter Mayle conjured up the slogan ‘Nice one, Cyril’ for Wonderloaf Bread. In the iconic advert, a baker by the name of Cyril saves the day at a bakery and is cheerily praised.

Spurs fans snagged the tagline which Cockerel Chorus expanded into a single for Tottenham’s run to the 1973 League Cup final. The song, written by Harold Spiro and Helen Clarke, topped out at number 14 in the charts. Cyril Knowles played the full 90 minutes as Spurs beat Norwich City 1-0 in the showpiece event.

When did Tottenham fans first chant ‘Nice one, Sonny!’?

It’s tricky to pin down the exact moment that ‘Nice one, Sonny!’ was first whispered by a Tottenham fan. However, the reinterpretation of the classic appears to have gained a spot in the hymnbook on 11 March 2018, when Son bagged a brace in a 4-1 win away to Bournemouth.

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That victory came at the end of four game sequence in which Son scored seven goals across three competitions for Spurs, forcing himself into the throat of the watching public.

Although, spare a thought for one Tottenham fan that pondered why Son hadn’t been serenaded with a specific chant all the way back in May 2017. Ten months before that hot streak, they wrote on the Spurs Community message board: “Surely he deserves one by now? I always thought the best one would be the old Cyril Knowles one.”

Even some of his teammates know the lyrics.



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