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Player ratings as El Tri crash out after manic thriller

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Mexico beat Saudi Arabia in their final group game, but the 2-1 scoreline was not enough to jump ahead of Poland in the Group C standings as El Tri exit the World Cup before the knockout rounds for the first time since 1978.

Goal difference was ultimately the deciding factor, with Salem Al-Dawsari breaking Mexican hearts deep into stoppage time after Henry Martin and Luis Chavez had put them on the verge of the last 16 if they could find another goal.

Mexico had a glorious opportunity within the first three minutes that Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais was equal to. Orbelin Pineda’s through ball played in Alexis Vega, whose shot was immediately smothered by Al-Owais rushing off his line.

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Not much more time was on the clock before Al-Owais had to push an awkward ball clear before Martin could get his head to it in the six-yard box.

Both sides started at an aggressive tempo – the tone was set before kick-off with a set of exuberant anthems – and Saudi soon went close when Mohamed Kanno sent a free-kick narrowly over the bar.

Midway through the first half, Al-Owais made two more fairly routine saves, one from Luis Chavez and the other from Pineda – the sting was taken off the latter effort by a last-ditch tackle.

By the closing stages of the half, the game had become bitty and tempers threatened to boil over on more than occasion as both teams continued to go at it. But things did pick up again in stoppage time and a better connection off Sultan Al-Ghannam’s head might have given Saudi the lead.

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Having been denied by Al-Owais earlier on, Martin found the breakthrough right after the restart. In truth, he couldn’t miss, tapping in from a couple of yards after a clever near post flick from Cesar Montes, up from the back at a Mexico corner.

El Tri quickly capitalised on that momentum when Chavez, who hadn’t been scared to shoot from distance all night, sent a sublime free-kick flying into the top corner.

Saudi Arabia were stunned and were inches away from being 3-0 down straight after that, with only an offside flag keeping the deficit at two goals when Hirving Lozano found the net. Just after the hour mark, Lozano was denied another potential goal by Al-Owais’ sprawling right hand.

Martin lacked composure when he blazed a volley over the bar, while it took a spectacular Al-Owais save to stop another Chavez free-kick bound for the opposite top corner to his earlier goal. Pineda also narrowly missed the bottom corner with a curling low effort.

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Mexico had the ball in the net again with only a few minutes of the 90 left as substitute Uriel Antuna fed the ball underneath an onrushing Al-Owais, but he failed to time his run and the flag went up. Al-Owais beat away a Lozano free-kick as stoppage time began.

But as Mexico pushed and pushed to get the third goal to send them through, Saudi Arabia put together their first meaningful attack of the second half, capitalising on the spaces left open, to score a very neat goal as Al-Dawsari finished neatly beyond Guillermo Ochoa.

GK: Mohammed Al-Owais – 8/10 – Had plenty to do from the very start, made a number of good stops and Mexico aren’t in the last 16 because of his saves. Couldn’t be blamed for the goals.

RB: Sultan Al-Ghannam – 5/10 – Missed a really good headed chance at 0-0 that proved crucial in hindsight.

CB: Hassan Al-Tambakti – 6/10 –
Had the upper hand in a first half physical battle but was second best when Mexico increased the pace and tempo.

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CB: Abdulelah Al-Amri – 6/10 – A little wasteful in possession but made a few decent tackles and blocks in amongst the chaos.

LB: Ali Al-Bulaihi – 5/10 – Unable to shake off a first half injury.

RM: Firas Al-Buraikan – 5/10 – Played on the fringes of the game.

CM: Ali Al-Hassan – 4/10 – Only lasted one half but struggled to imprint himself on the game.

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CM: Saud Abdulhamid – 6/10 – Impressive defensive performance. Shifted over to left-back when Al-Bulaihi was forced off.

CM: Mohamed Kanno – 7/10 – Went close with a first half free-kick. Put himself about all over the pitch.

LM: Salem Al-Dawsari (c) – 6/10 – Too few touches for much of the game but broke Mexican hearts in stoppage time.

ST: Saleh Al-Shehri – 5/10 – Struggled to really hold the ball up and bring others into play.

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SUB: Riyadh Sharahili (37′ for Al-Bulaihi) – 5/10

SUB: Abdullah Madu (46′ for Al-Hassan) – 6/10

SUB: Abdulrahman Al-Aboud (62′ for Al-Shehri) – 5/10

SUB: Hattan Bahebri (88′ for Al-Ghannam) – 7/10

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Manager: Herve Renard – 5/10 – Forced into changes earlier than he would have hoped. Also couldn’t light a fire under his team at half-time the way he had previously done in the win over Argentina.

GK: Guillermo Ochoa – 6/10 – Largely a spectator. Beaten at the end.

RB: Jorge Sanchez – 6/10 – Got forward plenty in support of the attack.

CB: Cesar Montes – 7/10 – Lovely assist for the crucial opening goal.

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CB: Hector Moreno – 6/10 – Didn’t win his aerial duels but decent on the ground and in possession.

LB: Jesus Gallardo – 7/10 – Got forward and put a number of teasing crosses into the penalty area.

CM: Edson Alvarez – 6/10 – Arguably fortunate he wasn’t further punished when laying a hand on the referee right after getting booked and continued to walk a disciplinary tightrope.

CM: Luis Chavez – 8/10 – Often willing to try his luck from distance and eventually scored one of the goals of the tournament.

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RM: Hirving Lozano – 8/10 – Really turned up the pressure in the second half and was always asking questions.

AM: Orbelin Pineda – 7/10 – Creative livewire for El Tri from the start.

LM: Alexis Vega – 6/10 – Thwarted by a good early save from Al-Owais.

ST: Henry Martin – 7/10 –
Struggled to physically compete in the first half but clever movement made him a threat and he was rewarded with a goal. Missed a great chance to score a volley.

SUB: Uriel Antuna (46′ for Vega) – 6/10

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SUB: Raul Jimenez (77′ for Martin) – 5/10

SUB: Carlos Rodriguez (77′ for Pineda) – 5/10

SUB: Rogelio Funes Mori (86′ for Alvarez) – N/A

SUB: Kevin Alvarez (86′ for Sanchez) – N/A

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Manager: Gerardo Martino – 6/10 – This ended up being his last game as Mexico coach. His team finally fired up in the second half but it was too little too late in the end.

Player of the match – Mohammed Al-Owais (Saudi Arabia)



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CF Montreal’s Kamal Miller focused on 2023 MLS campaign amid European interest

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Kamal Miller has insisted his focus remains on the upcoming MLS season with CF Montreal amid transfer interest.

The 25-year-old center-back has been one of Montreal’s most consistent players in recent years and saw his form rewarded with a key role in Canada’s 2022 World Cup appearance.

Miller’s form has, naturally, caused his name to be linked to a European transfer, and 90min understands there is even interest from clubs in the top 10 leagues and competing in Uefa competitions.

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Should he depart, he would follow in the footsteps of the likes of Alistair Johnston and Djordje Mihailivic to swap Montreal for Europe in recent times. However, Miller isn’t getting ahead of himself and knows he has a job to do at Saputo Stadium.

“Just keep playing well and do what I did last year and, hopefully, something falls into place,” Miller Miller told reporters of his 2023 aims. “I think I did it my first year here. I think I did it my second year here, so it’ll be the same going into this season. Just focus on the opponent here and helping my teammates win games. Everything else will take care of itself.

“The players and the coaches will approach every game the same way,” he continued. “My teammates will help me. I’ll do whatever it takes for the team to win. Hopefully, not only myself but a lot of guys here get exposure and the opportunity to play at the next level.”

Exactly which clubs will emerge as serious contenders for Miller’s signature remains to be seen, but the player is well aware of the level of interest, adding: “They got me on their radar. Now it’s a waiting game.”

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After finishing second in the Eastern Conference last season, CF Montreal will once again look to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2023. Under new head coach Hernan Losada, they kick off the new campaign away at Inter Miami on February 25.



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How to watch the FA Cup in US, Canada & Australia

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We’re getting to the business end of the FA Cup with 32 teams remaining in with a chance of lifting it at Wembley later this year.

It may not be important as it once was, but clubs remain hugely keen to win the competition and fans from all over the world tune in to see who does so.

Here’s how you can watch it on TV if you live across the pond in USA or Canada, or down under in Australia.

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Victories over Blyth Spartans, Oldham, Farnborough and most recently Coventry to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2000.

The Welsh side have enjoyed some historic upsets in the competition, having previously beaten Arsenal and West Ham in the past.

Wrexham are unbeaten in 22 games but that streak will be put to the test against Championship high-flyers Sheffield United. The Blades are second in the league and looking firm favourites alongside Burnley to get promoted to the Premier League.

Both sides are in excellent form and it’s due to be a riveting encounter at the Racecourse Ground.

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ESPN has secured the rights to broadcast the FA Cup in the US with most of the games being exclusively streamed on ESPN+. However, some ties are shown on the free-to-air ESPN channel. For those that want to watch all of the available games, you will have to pay $6.99 a month or $69.99 annually to subscribe to ESPN+.

Up north in Canada, Sportsnet own the right to show the tournament and will broadcast multiple ties in each round. You’ll be able to view some games on their cable channel, but will have to subscribe to their streaming service, SN Now, if you want to catch all of them, and that will cost you $34.99 per month or $249.99 annually.

In Australia meanwhile, watching on a streaming service is the only option with Viacom buying the rights in late 2021 and showing the FA Cup only on Paramount+, a service that requires a monthly $8.99 subscription.

Every fourth round game will be available solely on ESPN+ in the US, with each of them featuring English coverage and five – Fulham vs Sunderland, Preston vs Tottenham, Manchester United vs Reading, Brighton vs Liverpool and Wrexham vs Sheffield United – being shown in Spanish too.

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Sportsnet are showing every tie of the round on their streaming service, SN Now, with Man Utd’s game also on their main TV channel, SN1.

Paramount+ will also show every match of the fourth round in Australia.



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Atletico Madrid Confirm Signing of Kieran Trippier From Tottenham on 3-Year Deal

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​Atletico Madrid have confirmed the signing of Tottenham right back Kieran Trippier for a fee believed to be worth £20m plus add-ons.

Trippier’s future at Spurs was in doubt following the conclusion of the 2018/19 season and he was linked with Serie A sides Juventus and Inter.

However, Atleti have now confirmed the deal after Trippier passed his medical on Wednesday, revealing the England international has signed a three-year deal with the Spanish giants.

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In a ​statement on their website, Atleti stated: “Atlético de Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have reached an agreement for the transfer of Kieran Trippier. The English player, 28, signs for the next three seasons.”

Trippier is ​Atletico’s latest signing this summer, with the club having already signed Marcos Llorente, Felipe, Hector Herrera and Joao Felix among others. The former Burnley man will compete with Santiago Arias for a starting spot under Diego Simeone.

Trippier enjoyed a fine 2017/18 campaign and an even better World Cup, but his form tailed off the following season.

The deal leaves ​Tottenham with Serge Aurier and Kyle Walker-Peters as their recognised right backs, while Juan Foyth is also an option having played in that position for Argentina at this summer’s Copa America.

Trippier made 114 appearances for the north London club after joining for £3.5m from Burnley, scoring two goals and helping them reach the final of the ​Champions League last season.





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