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Player ratings as Spain dumped out of the World Cup

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Spain are out of the World Cup after they produced a horrific set of penalties following a stalemate with Morocco.

Luis Enrique told his players they would not be in the squad unless they practiced penalties, but that did little good as they missed all three of their spot-kicks.

Spain attempted to assert their authority from the off. They quickly settled into their tiki-taka style in an attempt to starve the north African side of the ball and sap their energy.

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However, while the possession Spain’s, any semblance of panache belonged to Morocco.

They settled into a solid defensive shape in their own half and looked to break out with pace at every opportunity, and it was a tactic that was working well.

The livewire Sofiane Boufal showed twinkle-toes down the left to embarrass Marcos Llorente, but there was little in the way of chances. Nayef Aguerd wasted the best of the half-chances, heading over when he might have expected to do better.

Spain, meanwhile, were not having it all their own way at all. In fact their most creative outlet seemed to be Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, who was intent on playing out from the back when he really shouldn’t have been.

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Fortunately, the time he was eventually caught out the offside flag went up and spared the blushes of both sides with Spain somehow unable to force the ball into the net anyway.

If the first half was uneventful the second was downright boring. Spain continued to pass, Morocco continued to block, pounce, and retreat when it broke down. As the half went on, though, Morocco’s threat faded.

Spain’s best chance of the second half fell to the man they would have wanted it to, Alvaro Morata, when they would have wanted it. However, he could only head high and wide when unmarked in injury time. Bounou was then needed to turn away an in-swinging Olmo free-kick at the death to send it to extra-time.

Extra-time followed a similar pattern. Spain freshened things up with by sending on Ansu Fati and Alex Balde, and Morocco needed to rely on some last-ditch defending at times to keep the scores level.

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The big chance came to Morocco, though. Walid Cheddira worked himself some room in the box and should have scored, but his tame effort was saved by Unai Simon.

Spain had one final chance to win in without penalties, but Pablo Sarabia hit the post with practically the last kick of extra-time.

They would be made to pay for that too, with Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets all tamely missing in the shootout, allowing Madrid-born Achraf Hakimi to win it and put Morocco into the last eight of the World Cup.

Sofyan Amrabat

Sofyan Amrabat – superb in midfield / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

GK: Yassine Bounou – 7/10 – Some nervy moments with his feet but excellent at the hands bit.

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RB: Achraf Hakimi – 8/10 – A cut above his teammates in quality and it showed.

CB: Nayef Aguerd – 710 – Should have done better with first half chance to open the scouring but defensively superb.

CB: Romain Saiss – 7/10 – Led the Moroccan defence superbly.

LB: Noussair Mazraoui – 6/10 – Supported the exciting Boufal well down the left.

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CM: Azzedine Ounahi – 6/10 – Probably the least effective of the Morocco midfield but a decent performance.

CM: Sofyan Amrabat – 8/10 – The key man in preventing Spain from enjoying their usual midfield dominance.

CM: Selim Amallah – 7/10 – Amrabat’s sidekick in spoiling.

RF: Hakim Ziyech – 6/10 – Typically frustrating but always a threat.

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CF: Youssef En-Nesyri – 6/10 – No real chances on the day.

LF: Sofiane Boufal – 7/10 – Fun to watch and a constant threat, although the end-product could’ve been better. Shame when injury forced him off.

Substitutes

SUB: Abde Ezzalzouli (66′ for Boufal) – 6/10.

SUB: Walid Cheddira (82′ for En-Nesyri) – 6/10.

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SUB: Yahia Attiyat Allah (82′ for Mazraoui) – 6/10.

SUB: Abdelhamid Sabiri (82′ for Amallah) – 5/10.

SUB: Jawad El Yamiq (84′ for Aguerd) – N/A.

SUB: Badr Benoun (120′ for Ounahi) – N/A.

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Manager

Walid Regragui – 7/10 – Set his team up well on the day, you’d have to say.

Pedri

Not Pedri’s day / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

GK: Unai Simon – 6/10 – The odd nervy moment but okay in general.

RB: Marcos Llorente – 5/10 – Not given a moment’s peace by Boufal but hung on in there.

CB: Rodri – 6/10 – Did okay but Morocco’s lack of a quality end-product helped him.

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CM: Aymeric Laporte – 6/10 – Ditto. Not tested as much as Morocco would have liked, but the usual composure.

LB: Jordi Alba – 6/10 – Not at his most influential for sure.

CM: Gavi – 5/10 – First half passed him by a little, much better after the break.

CM: Sergio Busquets – 4/10 – Didn’t stamp his authority on the game as you’d expect him to and missed his penalty.

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CM: Pedri – 5/10 – Far from his best and didn’t seem to fancy the physical battle at times.

RF: Ferran Torres -6/10 – The best of the starting Spanish forwards before he went off, but that didn’t say much.

CF: Marco Asensio – 5/10 – Saw little in terms of chances but wasteful when he did get site of goal.

LF: Dani Olmo – 5/10 – Marshalled well by the excellent Hakimi.

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Substitutes

SUB: Carlos Soler (63′ for Gavi) – 5/10.

SUB: Alvaro Morata (63′ for Asensio) – 5/10.

SUB: Nico Williams (76′ for Torres) – 5/10.

SUB: Ansu Fati (98′ for Olmo) – N/A.

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SUB: Alex Balde (98′ for Jordi Alba) – N/A.

SUB: Pablo Sarabia (118′ for Williams) – 4/10.

Manager

Luis Enrique – 4/10 – You have to be doing better with a squad like he has.

Player of the match: Sofyan Amrabat (Morocco)



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EPL

Cody Gakpo reflects on first month at Liverpool

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Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo has opened up on his first month on the books at Anfield, admitting he is still getting used to Jurgen Klopp’s tactics.

The Dutchman was wanted by a number of elite sides, with Manchester United expected to win the race for his signature, but it was Liverpool who snuck in and agreed to pay an initial £35m to bring Gakpo to England.

The 23-year-old, who made his name as a left winger but has spent time as a striker at Liverpool, is yet to score after four appearances for his new side, but he told club media that is it just a matter of getting to grips with his new surroundings

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“My feeling, personally, is everyone in the team has so much quality,” he said. “That is what I see in training and in phases in the games.

“It is also a part of football, that sometimes things don’t work out exactly the way you want them to. We just have to keep improving, working hard, and the quality will come out. Then, you’re going to see the real Liverpool.”

He continued: “From a football perspective, it’s a new environment on the pitch, with new players and a new team. I can tell it’s a really great group. Every day I am looking forward to working with them, to train hard and to play the games. I am trying to adapt as quickly as possible, to improve every day and in the end show the best version of myself.

“Off the pitch, to be honest, I haven’t been in the city so many times yet. Most of the time I have been in the hotel. I am moving this week, actually. That’s also something I’m looking forward to.”

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Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss 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, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Gakpo also confessed that he is still trying to adapt to his new role in Liverpool’s team.

“It is a little bit different to what I’m used to,” the Dutchman admitted. “Normally, I have played on the left for almost the past three years.

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“It’s something I can improve, playing in the striker role, and I want to show my quality there. It’s a great position and playing there makes me more complete as a technical player.





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Fulham launch bid Fluminense midfielder Andre

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Fulham have made a bid to sign Fluminense midfielder Andre, 90min understands.

The 21-year-old has quickly established himself as one of Fluminense’s top players and a number of sides across Europe have expressed an interest in luring him away from his homeland in 2023.

Sources have confirmed to 90min that Fulham have approached Fluminense to try and thrash out a deal, but the Brazilian side are reluctant to part ways with their star player during the 2023 campaign.

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Andre, who has been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Liverpool, has spoken out about the interest and insisted his focus remains solely on his current employers.

“Obviously, I’m focused and very happy,” Andre said recently. “I just renewed my contract until 2026.

“It’s normal to get offers, but I’m focused here on Fluminense and having an excellent season.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss 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, Maiximo Perrone & more!

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If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Andre’s agent, Carlos Leite, also took to Instagram to confirm that the 21-year-old had agreed to remain with Fluminense until the end of the current campaign, which runs over the entire calendar year.

“Thanks to the great work carried out, Andre entered the radars of some of the biggest European clubs and, with that, he has received several enquiries and some official proposals,” Leite wrote.

“However, the player and Fluminense, through president Mario Bittencourt, sealed an agreement for the midfielder to remain at the club at this time, with all the dedication and commitment, always seeking the best for Fluminense in all competitions.”

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Sporting CP manager makes Pedro Porro admission as Tottenham talks continue

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Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim has warned Tottenham that he will not take right-back Pedro Porro out of his starting lineup until a transfer has been 100% agreed.

90min understands Tottenham are confident they will get a deal over the line for the 23-year-old eventually, but Sporting’s reluctance to budge from their asking price of Porro’s €45m release clause has led to some lengthy negotiations which are not yet over.

And while Porro is still contracted to Sporting, Amorim will not hesitate to use the right-back and risk an injury which could see the entire move collapse.

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“Porro does not leave before the game,” Amorim said ahead of Saturday’s Allianz Cup final against Porto. “Clubs have to come first, and as far as I know, a player who is able to play and is signed up by a club, he has to go to games.

“I realise that [negotiations] involve a lot of players’ minds, but the indication I have is that Porro is fit, and the most important thing for me, as a manager, is that if he wasn’t there, there would be someone else. The game cannot be played with just one player. Porro is fit. Whatever has to happen will happen, we are prepared for all scenarios.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss 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, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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Amorim continued: “Is this Porro’s last game at the club? I don’t know. There are a few days left until February 1, then everyone will know if Porro stays or leaves.

“Porro hasn’t left yet. We are scouting, but not everything is easy, you’re in a real hurry to send Porro away!”

Spurs have repeatedly tried to lower Sporting’s asking price for Porro by including at least one player in the deal, but the Portuguese side have been clear about their determination to hold out for the right-back’s release clause – in full.





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