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Player ratings as Blues edge to narrow victory

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Chelsea edged closer to qualifying for the quarter finals of the Champions League with a hard fought 2-0 victory over Real Madrid on Wednesday evening.

Second half goals from Sophie Ingle and Erin Cuthbert proved to be the difference in a tight Kingsmeadow encounter.

The first half was a close affair of very few chances. Fran Kirby drew a stretching save from Misa Rodriguez inside three minutes after some trademark linkup play with Sam Kerr as Chelsea started in the accedency. But Real grew into the game, Caroline Weir seeing a goal-bound effort blocked by Kadeisha Buchanan as the opening 45 finished goalless.

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Having finished the first half strongly, Real carried on from where they left off at the beginning of the second, testing Ann-Katrin Berger with a Naomie Feller cross after the winger had burst past Magdalena Eriksson.

Jessie Fleming and Lauren James were introduced early in the second period, and the pair breathed new life into the Chelsea team with their energy and flair.

Having hardly threatened since the opening exchanges, a set piece was required for Chelsea to take the lead in the 68th minute. Erin Cuthbert’s corner was flicked on by Millie Bright, and Ingle headed home.

Real went in search of a leveller, with the right flank continuing to be a source of danger for the visitors. Kenti Robles provided a teasing delivery for Esther to latch onto, but again Buchanan was on hand to make an important intervention.

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Moments later, Chelsea doubled their advantage – and in fortuitous circumstances, as Cuthbert’s attempted cross from the right inadvertently flew into the top corner.

Niamh Charles fired into the side netting as the clocked ticked down after being magnificently found by James, as Chelsea ultimately ran out deserved winners.

Niamh Charles

Niamh Charles started at right back for Chelsea / Warren Little/GettyImages

GK: Ann-Katrin Berger – 6/10 – Got an important touch to a dangerous Feller cross in the second half and had a couple of comfortable saves to make, but was up to the task.

RB: Niamh Charles – 7/10 – Looked lively and was constantly up and down, seeing an over hit cross almost catch out Misa as it landed on the roof of the net in the first half, and seeing another effort hit the side netting in the second after another foray forward.

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CB: Kadeisha Buchanan – 8/10 – Produced an important block to keep out a goal bound Weir effort in the first half, and another to deny Esther in the second.

CB: Millie Bright – 8/10 – Cut out pass after pass for the Blues at the back. Won the flick on to set up Ingle for Chelsea’s opener.

LB: Magdalena Eriksson – 5/10 – Beaten for pace by Feller in the second half as Real created one of their most dangerous openings of the match, with Real often carrying their biggest threat down the Chelsea left.

CM: Sophie Ingle – 7/10 – Great determination to get her head to the ball first and put Chelsea 1-0 up. Typically tidy and composed.

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CM: Erin Cuthbert – 7/10 – Provided the curling set piece delivery from which Chelsea opened the scoring, before getting on the score sheet with a cross-come-shot.

RW: Johanna Rytting Kaneryd – 5/10 – Not quite able to bring the ball under control during a promising Chelsea attack in the first half. Showed glimpses of her magical feet, but replaced before the hour after failing to ever really get the better of the Real backline.

AM: Fran Kirby – 5/10 – Back into the starting XI after a spell out with illness. Tested Misa inside three minutes with a low effort after working the angle herself, but this would be her brightest moment, as she struggled to have a telling impact on proceedings.

LW: Guro Reiten – 6/10 – Tracked back well on a few occasions to help out defensively.

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ST: Sam Kerr – 6/10 – Combined well with Kirby to create Chelsea’s best first half opening. Put in a big defensive shift and ran her socks off.

SUB: Lauren James (55′ for Rytting Kaneryd) – 7/10


SUB: Jessie Fleming (55′ for Kirby) – 6/10

SUB: Jess Carter (79′ for Reiten) – 6/10

Erin Cuthbert, Claudia Zornoza

Claudia Zornoza challenges Erin Cuthbert / Warren Little/GettyImages

GK: Misa Rodríguez – 6/10 – Tipped a Kirby effort around the post inside three minutes with an impressive stretching save.

RB: Kenti Robles – 6/10 – Got forward frequently as Real’s right flank carried their biggest threat in the first half. Provided a teasing cross from which Esther came close to getting on the scoresheet in the second half.

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CB: Kathellen – 6/10 – Prevented Chelsea netting a third by impressively scrambling the ball off the line.

CB: Ivana Andrés – 5/10 – Lost track of marker Ingle as the Chelsea midfielder headed the Blues into the lead from a corner.

LB: Olga Carmona – 5/10 – Kept Rytting Kaneryd relatively quiet, but struggled more against James in the second half.

CM: Claudia Zornoza – 6/10 – Shielded the back four impressively, but not able to prevent Cuthbert sending in the cross from which Chelsea doubled their lead.

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CM: Freja Olofsson – 5/10 – Offered protection for the back four, allowing the Real front four to surge forward with freedom. Lost out in the air to Bright in the build up to the Chelsea opener.

RW: Naomie Feller – 7/10 – Carried a big attacking threat, burning past Eriksson in the second half to create one of Real’s most dangerous openings. Surprisingly replaced just after the hour, having arguably been her side’s most dangerous forward player.

AM: Caroline Weir – 6/10 – Good on the ball, saw a goal bound effort blocked by Buchanan, but tended to drift in and out of the game and faded in the second half.

LW: Maite Oroz – 5/10 – Kept really quiet and unable to have much of an attacking impact on the game.

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ST: Esther (86′ for Moller) – 5/10 – Saw her only sighting of goal sniffed out by Buchanan and largely left to feed off scraps.

SUB: Sofie Svava (62′ for Feller) – 5/10

SUB: Rocío Gálvez (80′ for Olofsson) – 5/10

SUB: Nahikari García (80′ for Carmona) – 5/10

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SUB: Sandie Toletti (86′ for Zornoza) – N/A

SUB: Caroline Moller (86′ for Esther) N/A

Player of the match – Millie Bright (Chelsea)



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Poland vs Argentina: Confirmed lineups

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Poland vs Argentina

France, who have already secured a spot in the last 16 of the World Cup 2022, play Tunisia on Wednesday in their final Group D matchup.

In the meantime, the African nation is last in the standings and must defeat the current champions to advance to the knockout stages.

Line-up

Poland XI (4-4-1-1): Szczesny; Bereszynski, Glik, Kiwior, Cash; Frankowski, Bielik, Krychowiak, Zielinski; Swiderski; Lewandowski

Argentina XI (4-3-3): Martínez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuña; De Paul, Enzo Fernández, Mac Allister; Messi, Álvarez, Di María

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Mauricio Pochettino discusses next managerial job

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Ex-Tottenham Hotspur and Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino has admitted he’d be open to taking a national team job.

Pochettino has been without a job since being sacked by PSG in the summer, despite winning his first silverware as a coach at the club – lifting the Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France.

The former PSG boss has been linked with a number of clubs since then, but speaking to Sky Sports, Poch insisted that he is also open to a move into international management, stating: “It wasn’t under my consideration to go [into international management] but now, yes I am open. Why not?

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!

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

“Yes, of course we are still young, full of energy, and day-by-day I like the adrenaline to train, to be involved. Maybe the national team is a different job, but why not? If it’s not the next job, then maybe in the future. It’s not specific that all I want is Argentina. If another country, why not? For sure, that would be good also.”

Pochettino also took the time to discuss England’s World Cup credentials, stating that he sees them as one of the favourites to win the tournament in Qatar.

“England have the quality to be one of the teams with an opportunity to win the World Cup,” he said. “I saw a very good performance against Wales, and I believe the quality is there. It’s all about believing and performing in a way which can grant you the possibility to be there.

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“But I really, really believe this year England can fight to try to lift the World Cup. [Gareth] Southgate is doing a fantastic job. He was a little bit unlucky in the final of the Euros against Italy, but he’s doing a fantastic job and deserves a lot of credit.”



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Player ratings as Eagles of Carthage knocked out of World Cup despite shock win

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Tunisia stunned France with a shock 1-0 win, but their hopes of reaching the last 16 of the World Cup were ended by Australia’s own unlikely victory against Denmark elsewhere in Group D.

The Eagles of Carthage fought tooth and nail to keep their hopes of advancing alive and put in a solid display against the rotated reigning champions, but their 2022 journey has come to an end at the benefit of the Socceroos.

Tunisia thought they took an eighth-minute lead when a Wahbi Khazri free-kick was flicked on and in by Nader Ghandri, but the linesman had his flag raised for a marginal offside and the goal was chalked off.

France looked very disjointed after making so many changes, though created a decent chance on the break with Youssouf Fofana slipping through Kingsley Coman, but his first touch took him away from goal and his off-balance strike sailed wide.

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Steve Mandanda was forced into a save when Aissa Laidouni’s second-time cross was nodded on by Anis Ben Slimane, before Eduardo Camavinga – filling in at left-back – had to retreat and prevent a similarly deep ball from reaching the free Nader Ghandri.

Just after the break, Laidouni robbed Fofana of possession in his own box and curled one narrowly over the top of Mandanda’s crossbar as Tunisia went closer to finding a crucial opener.

And Tunisia took a deserved lead when Fofana lost possession too easily again, and Laidouni found Khazri to weave his way past the French backline and poke a shot past the flailing Mandanda.

With the clock running down, France finally showed signs of life with substitute Kylian Mbappe forcing a save from Aymen Dahmen and Randal Kolo Muani blasting wide at the end of Les Bleus’ only real sweeping move of the afternoon.

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Tunisia nearly clung on through eight minutes of stoppage time before Antoine Griezmann’s deflected volley found the back of Dahmen’s net with essentially the last kick of the game, only for it to be ruled out by a lengthy VAR check.

However, Australia’s win had already been confirmed by this point and the Eagles of Carthage’s fate was already sealed.

GK: Aymen Dahmen – 5/10 – Didn’t inspire a lot of confidence but France barely attacked so it hardly mattered.

CB: Yassine Meriah – 7/10 – Got forward down the wing to support Kechidra. Helped by the fact France played without wingers.

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CB: Nader Ghandri – 7/10 – Got his head on most high balls and defended with authority.

CB: Montassar Talbi – 7/10 – Just as Meriah did down the right, Talbi was of great use down Tunisia’s left.

RM: Wajdi Kechidra – 7/10 – Gave Camavinga plenty of problems in tandem with Ben Slimane.

CM: Ellyes Skhiri – 8/10 – After a poor showing against Australia, Skhiri came roaring back with a monster midfield performance.

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CM: Aissa Laidouni – 8/10 – Took control of the midfield battle and teed up Tunisia’s opener.

LM: Ali Maaloul – 6/10 – Found it hard at times to get by Disasi but worked hard for the cause.

RF: Anis Ben Slimane – 6/10 – Brought a good mix of work ethic and quality in possession.

LF: Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane – 6/10 – Similarly covered every blade of grass down his flank.

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CF: Wahbi Khazri – 9/10 – Gave France all sorts of problems in his hour on the pitch, eventually scoring the opening goal.

SUB: Issam Jebali (60′ for Khazri) – 5/10

SUB: Ghaylen Chaaleli (74′ for Ben Romdhane) – 5/10

SUB: Ali Abdi (84′ for Ben Slimane) – N/A

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Manager: Jalel Kadri – 7/10 – Tunisia produced an authoritative performance despite the obvious gap in quality.

GK: Steve Mandanda – 4/10 – Looked every bit of his 37 years of age, slow to react to danger and made a hash of saves.

RB: Axel Disasi – 5/10 – Played out of position on his senior debut for Les Bleus but handled himself well.

CB: Raphael Varane – 4/10 – Made captain in Hugo Lloris’ absence. Didn’t defend with much seniority.

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CB: Ibrahima Konate – 6/10 – Put in a few recovery challenges but always looked awkward.

LB: Eduardo Camavinga – 3/10 – Hung out to dry in his first real outing as a left-back.

DM: Aurelien Tchouameni – 6/10 – Tried his best to hold the fort but needed more help.

CM: Jordan Veretout – 3/10 – Way out of his depth. Hid at times and just shouldn’t be starting a World Cup match.

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CM: Youssouf Fofana – 3/10 – Looked bright early on but continually dribbled his way into trouble, culminating in Tunisia’s opener.

AM: Matteo Guendouzi – 3/10 – Failed to link midfield and attack. Gave the ball away loosely.

CF: Kingsley Coman – 5/10 – Progressed the ball well when coming deep to receive it but didn’t threaten Tunisia where it mattered.

CF: Randal Kolo Muani – 5/10 – Likewise helped out in deeper areas but not enough in the final third.

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SUB: William Saliba (63′ for Varane) – 4/10

SUB: Adrien Rabiot (63′ for Veretout) – 4/10

SUB: Kylian Mbappe (63′ for Coman) – 3/10

SUB: Antoine Griezmann (73′ for Fofana) – 5/10

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SUB: Ousmane Dembele (79′ for Guendouzi) – 4/10

Manager: Didier Deschamps – 3/10 – Sure, it was a dead rubber for France and Deschamps was right to rest his key men, but the XI he picked seriously lacked cohesion.

Player of the Match – Wahbi Khazri



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