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The best Ligue 1 starter squad

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Ligue 1 is dominated by Paris Saint-Germain on FIFA 23, but if you’re looking for an Ultimate Team starter squad, you’ll have to cast your net a little wider.

As the French league shows, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to find a good player. There are plenty of gems around for under 5,000 coins, most of whom don’t even cost half that amount.

Here’s the best Ligue 1 starter squad on FIFA 23 Ultimate Team.

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Alban Lafont

Lafont looks like a great stopper / Jean Catuffe/GettyImages

80-rated Alban Lafont stands at 6’5 with 86 reflexes.

Need we say more?

Alternatives to consider: Kasper Schmeichel, Anthony Lopes, Alexander Nubel

Hamari Traore

Traore is a well-rounded option / Catherine Steenkeste/GettyImages

Most budget right-backs in Ligue 1 are missing something, but Hamari Traore is about as well-rounded as you’re likely to find at this price range.

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He’s fast enough, with decent stats at both ends of the field to make him a valuable asset.

Alternatives to consider: Jonathan Clauss, Malo Gusto, Nordi Mukiele

Nordi Mukiele

Mukiele is better suited at CB / ANP/GettyImages

Nordi Mukiele ships as a right-back but looks like he’ll do his best work in a central role.

Standing at 6’2 and with a high defensive work rate, Mukiele is an elite athlete with 81 defending and 90 jumping, so you just know he’ll be a problem.

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Alternatives to consider: Jean-Clair Todibo, Chancel Mbemba

Tiago Djalo

Djalo works in any defensive position / Sylvain Lefevre/GettyImages

At 75 overall, Tiago Djalo’s card doesn’t exactly stand out, but importantly, it excels in every area you could want a centre-back to impress.

The 6’3 Djalo boasts a high defensive work rate, 81 pace, 76 defending and 77 physical, making him a perfect candidate for your starter squad.

Alternatives to consider: Kevin Danso, Facundo Medina

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Przemyslaw Frankowski

Frankowski has the pace / Jean Catuffe/GettyImages

Przemyslaw Frankowski has the pace needed to fit in a starter squad but probably needs a chemistry style to boost his defending. A Guardian or a Sentinel would go down a treat here.

If you can’t afford a style yet, you’ll have to settle for somebody slower.

Alternatives to consider: Nicolas Tagliafico, Ismaily

Mattéo Guendouzi

Guendouzi looks like a great CDM / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Matteo Guendouzi has flashed his true skill back in France and now looks like an ideal CDM.

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He’s tall, agile and powerful, but also brings a nice eye for a pass. Guendouzi will be great at recovering possession and kick-starting an attack.

Alternatives to consider: Mohamed Camara, Jordan Veretout, Moussa Sissoko

Carlos Soler

Soler is a Spain international / Gualter Fatia/GettyImages

A supremely well-rounded card with an eye for goal, Carlos Soler looks like he will be a lot of fun this year.

He’ll be responsible for leading your attacks from deep, but he has enough defensive ability to do the ugly work as well.

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Alternatives to consider: Seko Fofana, Vitinha, Matteo Guendouzi

Aleksandr Golovin

Golovin looks like a nice CAM / Jonathan Moscrop/GettyImages

You want your CAM to be able to dribble, pass and shoot, and few can offer all three like Alexandr Golovin.

That being said, this is another of those which depends on your playstyle. You can find better cards for each individual attribute if you look hard enough.

Alternatives to consider: Dimitri Payet, Pablo Sarabia, Teji Savanier, Vitinha

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Nicolas Pepe

Pepe has some really nice stats / Catherine Steenkeste/GettyImages

The 2* weak foot remains a problem, but Nicolas Pepe is still a sensational card if you can get around that.

89 pace, 82 dribbling, 77 shooting and 74 passing will do the job in a starter squad.

Alternatives to consider: Junya Ito, Mateus Tete

Lois Openda

Openda is part of the Belgium setup / BSR Agency/GettyImages

In attack, the 93-pace Lois Openda just about gets the nod.

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His 73 shooting is deceptive as it is dragged down by poor volleys and long shots, so if you plan on getting Openda into the box, you’ll have no problems.

Alternatives to consider: Jonathan David, Alexis Sanchez, Martin Terrier

Martin Terrier

Terrier looks like a good LW / DAMIEN MEYER/GettyImages

There are faster options than Martin Terrier, but the sacrifice you have to make with passing or shooting are significant.

Terrier still has 85 pace, so it’s not as if he’s slow, and his combination of 81 shooting, 78 dribbling and 75 passing make him worth considering out wide or up top.

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Alternatives to consider: Kamaldeen Sulemana, Moses Simon, Stephy Mavididi, Jonathan Bamba



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Football

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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