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Player ratings as Old Lady rise to third in Serie A

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Juventus pounced on errors and pulled together another impressive display to beat Lazio 3-0 on Sunday and leapfrog them up to third in the Serie A table.

Having won each of their last five league outings, Massimiliano Allegri’s men had shaken off a poor start to the season and European disappointment to bring the game to Napoli in Turin, enjoying the better spells of possession in the first half and taking the lead on the verge of the interval.

That goal forced Napoli to come out of their shells some more and force their way back into the contest, which ultimately left them susceptible to counter attacks. It was a performance that showed the belief coming back into a quietly resurgent Juve outfit, who snapped Napoli’s nine-game unbeaten away run with victory ahead of the World Cup break.

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Following on from a recent upturn in form, Juve started quickly inside the Allianz stadium and came close to taking an early lead through youngster Nicolo Fagioli and later Arkadiusz Milik, the latter’s effort whistling just wide of the post.

Napoli worked their way into proceedings without stretching Juve’s defence all too much, but crucially stifled the hosts and tried to slow them down as much as they could. In doing so, they were happy to cede possession and focus on stopping the Old Lady in the middle of the park.

With the game looking set to be goalless at the break, Adrien Rabiot sent a searching long ball behind the defence which was met by Moise Kean and coolly lofted above on-rushing goalkeeper Ivan Provedel, who wasn’t out quickly enough, giving Juve the lead on the stroke of half-time.

Juan Cuadrado made a tremendous recovery run to track back into his own box and block Pedro who was clean through on goal in the 52nd minute, as Lazio desperately looked for a way back into proceedings.

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But just as they pushed, Kean was again ready and waiting to pounce on the break. After Milik had won the ball back high up, Filip Kostic forced a fine, low save out of Provedel, whose parry fell straight into the path of the Italian to tuck away his second of the night, and his fifth in as many games.

From then on, the game fell perfectly into the hands of the Old Lady. They maintained their discipline in the form of a strict defensive block and allowed Lazio to probe for a goal, although Maurizio Sarri’s side had little luck in doing so.

Milik getting on the scoresheet in the final minute of normal time was the icing on the cake, finishing with ease from Federico Chiesa’s accurate low cross for 3-0.

The World Cup break comes at a frustrating time for Allegri’s side, who haven’t conceded in over 500 minutes of Serie A action and have bounced back well following extreme pressure. Lazio, meanwhile, must lick their wounds over the break, knowing the defeat cannot undo previous good form.

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GK: Wojciech Szczesny (7); CB: Gleison Bremer (7), CB: Federico Gatti (7), CB: Danilo (7); RWB: Juan Cuadrado (7), CM: Nicolo Fagioli (7), CM: Manuel Locatelli (8), CM: Adrien Rabiot (8), LWB: Filip Kostic (7); ST: Moise Kean (9), ST: Arkadiusz Milik (8)

SUB: Angel Di Maria (6), Federico Chiesa (7), Leandro Paredes (6)

GK: Ivan Provedel (7); RB: Adam Marusic (6), CB: Nicolo Casale (7), CB: Alessio Romagnoli (7), LB: Elseid Hysaj (6); CM: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (7), CM: Danilo Cataldi (7), CM: Toma Basic (6); RW: Luka Romero (7), ST: Felipe Anderson (6), LW: Pedro (7)

SUB: Luis Alberto (6), Matias Vecino (6), Matteo Cancellieri (6), Mario Gila (6), Marcos Antonio (6)

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Portugal vs Uruguay: Confirmed lineups

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By defeating Uruguay in Lusail, Portugal will be hoping to advance to the World Cup’s last 16 in 2022.

During their first match, Cristiano Ronaldo and company defeated Ghana in a five-goal thriller, while Uruguay and South Korea drew 0-0.

Line-up

Refresh later…

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Conor Coady responds to ‘daft’ question about Liverpool allegiance

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Conor Coady has told England teammate Jordan Henderson to do better in his goading after the Liverpool captain taunted him over his Everton connection.

Coady was a product of the Liverpool youth system and made a solitary appearance for his boyhood club in the 2012 Europa League. He has since moved on to Huddersfield Town and Wolves before joining Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton on loan last summer.

Speaking on the latest episode of Lion’s Den from England’s World Cup camp, though, Henderson could not resist trying to wind up Coady by quizzing him on his allegiances.

“Conor, we are all England here,” Henderson said. “But what I really want to know is: are you blue or red?”

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Henderson then started laughing, which prompted a similar response from Coady, who appeared both irritated and amused by the question.

“It’s so poor from him,” Coady said while smiling. “We have banter all the time. Of course, I am playing for Everton. He knows deep down.

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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“So, for him to come out there and ask that question is daft. Of course, I am blue. Of course, I am blue, without a shadow of a doubt.

“For him to say that…you know what I am going to go back there sit down and have a coffee with him. I will give him a bit. That’s nowhere near good enough from the big fella. Blue all day long.”

Everton have a clause allowing them to sign Coady permanently from Wolves this summer for a fee of just £4.5m.



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Croatia vs Belgium – World Cup: Team news, lineups & prediction

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Croatia face Belgium on Thursday afternoon in a meeting between two medallists from the 2018 World Cup.

Both sides may have reached the semi-finals in Russia but a passage to the round of 16 in Qatar is not certain for either nation heading into the final game of Group F.

Zlatko Dalic’s runners-up are better placed after victory against Canada took them to four points; a draw would send Croatia through. Belgium’s position is more precarious in the wake of a limp loss to Morocco.

Roberto Martinez’s side could theoretically qualify with one more point but only if winless Canada defeat Morocco by four or more goals in the other group game. A win would confirm Belgium’s qualification and leave Croatia sweating over Morocco’s result.

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Here’s everything you need to know about a devilishly poised encounter.

Croatia vs Belgium H2H Results (All Time)

Current Form (Last Five Games)

Croatia team news

Nikola Vlasic started Croatia’s opener against Morocco but was removed with a calf problem at half-time. The West Ham loanee recovered to make the bench against Canada but his replacement, Marko Livaja, delivered a strong argument to retain his starting berth with a crisply struck goal.

The arrival of a traditional striker shifted Andrej Kramaric to the right wing, where he scored twice on Sunday afternoon.

Croatia Starting 11 (4-3-3): Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Modric, Brozovic, Kovacic; Kramaric, Livaja, Perisic.
Bench: Grbic, Ivusic, Erlic, Vida, Sutalo, Barisic, Stanisic, Jakic, Sucic, Majer, Osric, Pasalic, Petkovic, Budimir, Vlasic.

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Belgium team news

Romelu Lukaku was deemed fit enough to come on for the final ten minutes of Belgium’s surprise defeat to Morocco. The Inter striker hasn’t started a match for club or country since August and may still be short of the fitness required to lead the line. However, with another four days to continue his recovery, Lukaku could make a longer cameo at least.

Amadou Onana will play no part after collecting a second, suspension-inducing booking against the Atlas Lions.

Belgium Starting 11 (3-4-2-1): Courtois; Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Castagne; Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel, Trossard; De Bruyne, E Hazard; Batshuayi.
Bench: Casteels, Mignolet, Debast, Faes, Theate, Dendoncker, Vanaken, De Ketelaere, T Hazard, Carrasco, Doku, Lukaku, Mertens, Openda.

There are a lot of familiar faces in both squads from the podium finishes in 2018 but Belgium seem to be anchored more firmly in the past. Ten players that featured in their semi-final defeat to France four-and-a-half years ago have already appeared this winter.

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Kevin De Bruyne’s pre-tournament admission that his nation has “no chance” of winning the World Cup because “we’re too old” has been painfully apparent in a pair of listless performances.

Martinez pledged: “We will play to win against Croatia and that will be the start of us at this World Cup.” However, if they produce the same lumbering display on Thursday, it will be the end of Belgium at this World Cup.

Prediction: Croatia 2-1 Belgium



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