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Player ratings as Lionesses held to draw in final match of 2022

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England ensured they ended a memorable 2022 undefeated over the entirety of the year, but could only register a frustrating 1-1 draw against 10-player Norway at the Pinatar Arena on Tuesday evening.

Rachel Daly had given England a first half lead with her second goal in as many matches, before Frida Maanum capitalised on an Ellie Roebuck mistake 10 minutes from time to level the scores.

Norway had played the final 18 minutes with 10 players after Anja Sonstevold was given her marching orders for two bookable offences.

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The hard fought draw will be a real source of satisfaction for Norway, having been beaten 8-0 by the Lionesses four months earlier during the Euro 2022 group stages.

Sarina Wiegman made five changes to the already slightly experimental side that beat Japan 4-0 last time out, handing a senior debut to Manchester United youngster Maya Le Tissier. The right back was in the thick of the action from the off, chasing and closing down Emilie Haavi as she scampered through on goal down England’s right flank. A combination of Le Tissier’s pressure and a strong Ellie Roebuck save kept the Norway winger out.

England enjoyed more of the first half possession, but it was Norway who saw the better of the chances, Guro Reiten narrowly firing past the wrong side of the post when she probably should have scored.

For all of the Lionesses’ possession, the final pass was often missing. Lauren James fired straight at Aurora Mikalsen after working the space herself with a terrific piece of skill just on the half hour mark in England’s first real sighting of goal.

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Minutes later, the deadlock was broken. Chloe Kelly, England’s chief creator against Japan on Friday evening, provided the pinpoint delivery from deep, and Daly flicked home a header to offer Sarina Wiegman another reminder of her goal scoring credentials.

England made a trio of half time substitutions, and this initially disrupted their rhythm. A loose back pass by Katie Zelem was latched onto by Sophie Roman Haug, but Roebuck was out quickly to block the forward’s effort. The England goalkeeper was called into action once more minutes later, stretching to tip a Reiten free kick around the post.

Norway’s hopes of coming back into the game were dealt a blow 20 minutes from time as they were reduced to 10 players. Sonstevold was shown a second yellow card for another cynical foul on the lively Nikita Parris.

England pushed for a second, Kelly seeing a bending effort deflect narrowly wide before, despite their one-player deficit, Norway levelled – and in completely avoidable fashion from an England point of view. Roebuck rushed from her goal to attempt to clear a through ball but failed to make contact, enabling Maanum to stroke into an empty net.

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The Lionesses applied the pressure in the final 10 minutes, with Kelly causing problems with a series of dangerous deliveries. However, a winner could not be found, as England rounded off the most remarkable of years in unremarkable fashion.

GK: Ellie Roebuck – 5/10 – Had been superb; produced a near post save after two minutes to keep out Emilie Haavi, out quickly to block a Roman Haug effort and stretched magnificently to tip a Reiten free kick around the post in the second half. But was at fault for the Norway equaliser, failing to make a connection as she attempted to clear a through ball, allowing Maanum to stroke into an empty net.

RB: Maya Le Tissier – 6/10 – Making her senior England debut, and had a busy first half, with Norway’s most promising opportunities come down the Lionesses right flank. Switched to centre back for the final half hour.

CB: Millie Bright (45′ for Morgan) – 6/10 – Defensively sound, cutting out a few probing passes to halt potentially dangerous Norway attacks. Replaced at the break.

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CB: Alex Greenwood (63′ for Russo) – 6/10 – Lax on the ball in the build up to a chance for Roman Haug in the second half, but otherwise steady defensively and effective at breaking the lines when building out from the back.

LB: Niamh Charles – 7/10 – Created an opening for Toone with her endeavour to get to the byline in the second half. Saw plenty of the ball going forward, and linked up well with Kelly.

CM: Keira Walsh (45′ for Zelem) – 7/10 – Typically effortlessly cool on the ball and so good in tight spaces; displayed wonderful feet to create a bit of space for herself midway through the first half.

CM: Ella Toone – 6/10 – Fired just wide in the second half after creating the space for herself with some quick feet. Clever movement throughout and sound like up play with the front three.

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CM: Lauren James (45′ for Stanway) – 6/10 – Had England’s first sighting of goal with a terrific piece of skill to work the space, before firing straight at Mikalsen. Flashes of quality, but unable to unlock the Norway backline.

RW: Nikita Parris (83′ for Robinson) – 7/10 – Constantly switched flanks with Kelly. Drew a save from Mikalsen in the second half with a header. Grew into the game and responsible for Norway being reduced to 10, twice getting the better of Anja Sonstevold and drawing a pair of cynical fouls from the Norway left back.

ST: Rachel Daly – 7/10 – Given her hotly-anticipated first start as a number 9 under Sarina Wiegman, and opened the scoring with an excellent bit of movement and flicked header. Otherwise didn’t have another sighting of goal, and she moved to right back for the final 30 minutes.

LW: Chloe Kelly – 8/10 – Switched to the right midway through the first half and subsequently saw a lot more joy. Having wreaked havoc with her delivery last time out against Japan, set up England’s opener with superb cross from deep. A constant threat.

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SUB: Esme Morgan (45′ for Bright) – 6/10

SUB: Georgia Stanway (45′ for James) – 6/10

SUB: Katie Zelem (45′ for Walsh) – 6/10

SUB: Alessia Russo (63′ for Greenwood) – 6/10

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SUB: Katie Robinson (83′ for Parris) – 6/10



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Gareth Bale responds to question on Wales international future

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Gareth Bale shut down questions on whether the World Cup match against England would be his last for Wales on Tuesday, issuing a flat “no” when asked the question outright.

The Welsh captain is his country’s most capped men’s international player, though speculation has been surrounding the 33-year-old’s future at both club and international level for a number of months.

Bale moved to LAFC in MLS in order to prepare for the World Cup after leaving Real Madrid, and while he scored an equaliser against the United States in game one of Wales’ tournament in Qatar the team have underperformed on the whole, losing 2-0 to Iran last time out.

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They need a win against England to stand any chance of making it through to the knockout stages, and are dependent on other results. Wales’ position in the group and potential fate has naturally produced questions about what happens beyond the England game if Wales go home, but Bale flat out dismissed the question with a no.

Bale did though go into detail on his side’s campaign in Qatar so far, admitting the mood in the camp was low after conceding twice to Iran.

“We’re disappointed in the results and the performances,” he said a day out from the England match. “But that’s football, it’s not easy, we’re at a World Cup against some very good teams and we’ll always give 100%. We’ve been working hard the last few days to make things better and correct things.

“We don’t need to get anyone going, just need to keep working hard and hopefully things will turn around for us.

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“I don’t feel [added] responsibility because we’re a team. We’re a nation and we work hard for each other. We need to deliver as a team, it’s not one person that needs to do anything. Of course we’d have loved to be winning and doing a lot better but the reality is, football is hard. If it was that easy we’d be favourites to win the World Cup. We need to stick together and we’ll give 100% tomorrow like we always do.

“The one thing I always do is give 100%. I was flying into tackles in the 90th minute the other day. I’ll just try and lead by example.”

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders and Toby Cudworth to look back on South Korea/Japan ’02 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 here to download or listen to the episode in full!

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The World Cup has seen a number of shock results occur to date, with Argentina losing to Saudi Arabia and Morocco beating Belgium among others. Wales beating England would be a result in a similar bracket, but Bale is confident England have weaknesses to exploit.

“Everyone has weaknesses. We’ve done our homework. We’ve had meetings and I’m sure they’ve done the same with us. We know how difficult it will be. England are a very good team, They’re one of the favourites to win the tournament. We are under no illusions, it will be hard, we’re going to give everything like we always do.

“There’s been a few shocks in the tournament already and there’s no reason why we can’t do the same.”

Wales manager Rob Page hinted during his own press conference that Bale or Aaron Ramsey would not necessarily start the game against England, hinting at a need for fresh blood with Wales struggling for energy at times during their opening matches.

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Bale is one of the leading players in the camp and remains firm that the team remain together and confident of turning things around against England.

“Yeah of course we have our responsibility to help everybody,” he added. “At this current moment we are not in the greatest of positions and we have not had an amazing tournament. But it is football, it is not easy. It is difficult. The main thing for us all is that we have stuck together as a group, like we have always done.

“We will fight again. We will go on the pitch and give everything. You saw our reaction when we conceded against Iran, how devastated we all were, lying on the floor. Heartbroken. After the game everybody was upset. No one can ever question our commitment but we will all stick together through thick and thin, through the ups and downs. We will give everything again tomorrow.”



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Player ratings as Selecao book place in knockout stages

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Brazil made incredibly hard work of their 1-0 victory over Switzerland on Monday evening at Stadium 974.

A thoroughly uninspiring affair came to life five minutes from time as Manchester United midfielder Casemiro popped up with a fizzing half-volley that flew beyond Yann Sommer and sealed Brazil’s place in the knockout stages.

Switzerland made an impressive start, enjoying plenty of possession and pushing numbers forward in an attempt to pin Brazil back.

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Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders and Toby Cudworth to look back on South Korea/Japan ’02 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 here to download or listen to the episode in full!

The first real sight of goal for either team came shortly before the hour mark. Raphinha’s cross found Vinicius Junior at the back post but he can’t connect properly and sends the ball towards goal with his knee, giving Yann Sommer enough time to get over to make the save.

And that was about as good as it got in the first half.

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A slow start to the second half saw ten minutes pass before the next real sight of goal. Vinicius played an excellent cross in towards Richarlison but, yet again, the ball was inches away from being on target.

The first real moment of quality in the match came in the 65th minute as Vinicius slotted home, but the automated offside system clocked Richarlison had strayed earlier in the move and ultimately ruled it out.

There was no ruling out Casemiro’s strike 20 minutes later. The midfielder waltzed into the box and fired home an excellent half-volley which led Brazil through to the next round.

It was nearly two as Rodrygo got a glimpse of goal but an excellent block from Manuel Akanji ensured Brazil had to settle for just the one goal.

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Vinicius Junior

Vinicius thought he had scored / Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

GK: Alisson – 5/10 – Shaky under little pressure but generally didn’t have a lot to do. Has shaved his moustache.

RB: Eder Militao – 7/10 – Did a nice job at right-back but was usually central when Brazil were on the ball. Really composed in possession.

CB: Thiago Silva – 7/10 – Some excellent passes as he looked in control of every situation.

CB: Marquinhos – 7/10 – Had to do a lot of the creating as Brazil’s midfielders struggled to get through.

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LB: Alex Sandro – 6/10 – Some fantastic moments that yielded slow-mo replays, but still needed to do more in attack.

DM: Casemiro – 8/10 – Shielded his defence well and did what he could to try and keep things ticking over in attack. A moment of magic to win the game.

CM: Fred – 5/10 – Not the right skill set for this game. Did a decent enough job defensively but his limited attacking output was a major issue.

CM: Lucas Paqueta – 5/10 – Not on it here. Made a few nice passes but generally couldn’t find the space needed to get through Switzerland’s defence.

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RW: Raphinha – 6/10 – At the centre of nearly everything positive from Brazil, which doesn’t say much.

ST: Richarlison – 5/10 – Starved of service but did manage a few nice passes when he did finaly get the ball.

LW: Vinicius Junior – 6/10 – A few nice runs but sloppy in front of goal. Should have put Brazil ahead in the first half. Came to life after the break.

SUB: Rodrygo (46′ for Paqueta) – 6/10 – Focused on trying to beat Switzerland on the counter. Nice movement.

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SUB: Bruno Guimaraes (59′ for Fred) – 7/10 – Changed the tide of the midfield battle. An impressive showing.

SUB: Antony (73′ for Raphinha) – 6/10 – Had the odd dangerous moment.

SUB: Gabriel Jesus (73′ for Richarlison) – 6/10 – Didn’t have long to strut his stuff but did involve himself in a few nice moves.

SUB: Alex Telles (86′ for Sandro) – N/A

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Manager: Tite – 5/10 – Clearly exploring ways to cope without Neymar but didn’t really find one. A thoroughly uninspiring showing saved by a moment of magic.

Nico Elvedi

Solid from Elvedi / Ian MacNicol/GettyImages

GK: Yann Sommer – 6/10 – Made a nice save to deny Vinicius.

RB: Silvan Widmer – 6/10 – Some early fouls on Vinicius set the tone. Made the winger uncomfortable and did a nice job. Saved by the offside flag for the disallowed opener.

CB: Manuel Akanji – 7/10 – Impressive positioning to keep Richarlison at bay.

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CB: Nico Elvedi – 7/10 – Did a very solid job of controlling Brazil’s attackers alongside his mathematician teammate.

LB: Ricardo Rodriguez – 6/10 – Didn’t have a whole lot of defending to do but looked a little too cautious in attack.

DM: Remo Freuler – 6/10 – Good energy and desire to keep closing Brazil’s midfield down. Faded as the game progressed.

DM: Granit Xhaka – 6/10 – Similarly, led by example in midfield as he pressed with real energy and enthusiasm. Unsettled Brazil.

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RM: Fabian Rieder – 6/10 – Handed his first international start in an unfamiliar position and did a solid job, but wasn’t always comfortable. A little too aggressive at times but nothing to really complain about.

AM: Djibril Sow – 5/10 – The odd nice run but couldn’t find any way through Brazil’s experienced defence.

LM: Ruben Vargas – 5/10 – Played a little narrower to try and being Rodriguez into the game but it didn’t always work.

ST: Breel Embolo – 5/10 – Put a shift in but had very little joy against high-level opposition. Can’t fault the effort.

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SUB: Edimilson Fernandes (59′ for Vargas) – 5/10 – Red hot in the minutes after he entered but soon faded away.

SUB: Renato Steffen (59′ for Rieder) – 5/10 – Didn’t offer mich down the right.

SUB: Michel Aebischer (75′ for Sow) – 5/10 – Barely got involved.

SUB: Haris Seferovic (75′ for Embolo) – 5/10 – Chased shadows during his short time on the pitch.

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SUB: Fabian Frei (86′ for Widmer) – N/A

Manager: Murat Yakin – 6/10 – It’s not easy to keep Brazil this quiet but Yakin’s decision to start Rieder over Xherdan Shaqiri helped add more steel. Just a shame about the non-existent attacking threat.

Player of the match – Casemiro



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Rangers appoint Michael Beale as new manager

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Rangers have confirmed the appointment of Michael Beale as the club’s new manager, following Gio van Bronckhorst’s sacking.

The former QPR manager has signed a contract which runs until 2026 at Ibrox, returning to the Gers having previously worked as an assistant manager at the club under Steven Gerrard.

90min revealed on Sunday that Beale’s appointment was imminent, and a club statement has confirmed his return to the club: “Michael Beale is the 18th manager of Rangers with the club delighted to confirm his appointment today.

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Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders and Toby Cudworth to look back on South Korea/Japan ’02 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 here to download or listen to the episode in full!

“Signing a contract to 2026, the 42 year-old joins from his role as manager of Queens’ Park Rangers in West London having previously worked as first-team coach at Ibrox from 2018 to last November. It is an exciting appointment for the club, with Beale undoubtedly one of the most sought-after young managers in British football.”

Speaking about his return to Rangers, Beale said: “It is fantastic to be back and to see everybody this morning, there are some new faces but some people that I know really well so it is great to see everyone. 

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“I am hugely proud, it is a wonderful, wonderful football club, it is an institution. For everyone that works here it is a huge privilege, but to be the manager of this football club, that is extremely special. Some wonderful people have sat in this chair prior to me, and I am hugely proud to be the person sat here now.”



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