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FIFA World Cup 2022: Croatia Holds Belgium to a Goalless Draw, Qualifies for Knockouts

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QATAR: Belgium’s “golden generation” were eliminated from the World Cup after their 0-0 draw with Croatia knocked them out of contention for the last 16. Morocco, who defeated Canada in the other Group F match, topped the table. 

Croatia vs Belgium faceoff ends in a scoreless tie

Romelu Lukaku hit the post and missed many scoring opportunities in the match. After finishing third four years ago and leading the world rankings up until recently, Roberto Martinez’s team was well off the pace in Qatar. 

Despite an improved performance in the second half that led to a series of Lukaku opportunities, they could not get the win they needed to stay afloat in the tournament after Morocco beat Canada.

Lukaku, a sub for the second half, hit the inside of the post of the open goalpost. He then headed over from a Kevin De Bruyne cross, followed by a wide flick from close range, and chested the ball to the goalkeeper inside the six-yard box. Josko Gvardiol later beat him to a loose ball from a similar distance.

After the match ended, the record goal-scorer for Belgium broke down in the arms of Belgium’s manager, Thierry Henry, and afterward punched a board out of the Belgian dugout in disappointment.

His compatriots, however, had been less than impressive themselves, with just a very close offside call denying Croatia a penalty spot in the first half. Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois had to work hard in the second half to fend off Croatian strikers.

Martinez dropped captain Eden Hazard amid rumours of conflict in the Belgian squad after their 2-0 loss to Morocco in their previous group match. The changes didn’t affect the goalless streak of the team.

This talented group of Belgian footballers may have missed their chance to win trophies because 15 of their 26 players are over 29 years old.

Croatia will need to make significant personal improvements if they want to repeat their run to the final in Russia. However, they are still in the running for a last-16 matchup with the winner of Group E, where Spain leads.

Also Read: FIFA World Cup 2022: Morocco Defeats Canada 2-1 Emerging as Toppers of Group F

FIFA World Cup 2022: Morocco Defeats Canada 2-1 Emerging as Toppers of Group F

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QATAR: With the 2-1 victory over Canada, Morocco rose to the top of Group F at the World Cup. The victory secured its first appearance in the round of 16 since 1986. Canada was already out of the World Cup before the match on Thursday.

Morocco bags the victory with a blazing finisher

Morocco, which needed to win or draw their final Group F match to advance to the knockout stages, scored after four minutes when Hakim Ziyech took advantage of Milan Borjan’s poor clearance.

Midfielder Ziyech effortlessly chucked the ball over the stranded goalkeeper, supported by a raucous Moroccan crowd.

Borjan was forced to chase Moroccan forward Youssef En-Nesyri for the ball by central defender Steven Vitoria’s weak back pass, putting Borjan in an unpleasant position.

En-Nesyri looked in ominous touch throughout the first half. He doubled Morocco’s lead in the 23rd minute by beating Borjan at the near post after running onto a long ball from Achraf Hakimi.

In the first half’s stoppage time, En-Nesyri hit a volley into the Canadian goal, but the goal was ruled offside, thus disallowing it. Morocco finished first in Group F and will play the second-place finishers in Group E. 

In the 40th minute, Moroccan defender Nayef Aguerd accidentally scored Canada’s first World Cup own goal by flicking a cross from Sam Adekugbe past his own goalkeeper Yassine Bounou.

Canada, the United States, and Mexico will serve as co-hosts of the 2026 World Cup after exiting their first World Cup without a victory since 1986.

Morocco was placed in a group with tough opponents like Croatia and Belgium, who finished second and third in the 2018 World Cup, respectively. However, they were able to take four points off the European teams before holding on to win their final group game against Canada.

Morocco will now play with Spain, Japan, Costa Rica, or Germany, whichever ends up as the runners-up in Group E.

Also Read: FIFA World Cup 2022: Argentina Beat Poland 2-0, Qualifies for Round 16

Cost Cap Controversy: Alfa Romeo’s Fred Vasseur Takes a Dig at Christian Horner

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UNITED KINGDOM: Alfa Romeo’s team principal, Fred Vasseur, recently made fun of Christian Horner over the cost cap saga, saying that he can now spend “five times nothing.” 

With their sixth-place finish in the constructors’ championship, the Alfa Romeo team made an additional $10 million in the 2022 Formula 1 season.

Fred Vasseur was one of the more vocal team principals as reports of Red Bull breaching the 2021 cost cap regulations arose in the second half of the 2022 Formula 1 season. 

The FIA later confirmed the allegations after it found Red Bull guilty of exceeding the cost cap by $2.2 million, despite team boss Christian Horner’s insistence that the overspending had “zero benefits” in terms of the performance of the RB16B.

Fred Vasseur is eager to see what he can accomplish using the money received from the FIA after their decent showing in 2022.

Taking a dig at Christian Horner, Vasseur said that one of his co-workers felt that two million was nothing. He added that the team now has “five times nothing.”

With everything on the line, Alfa Romeo led Aston Martin by five points heading into the season finale in Abu Dhabi. It was clear from the practise sessions and qualifying that the Aston Martin had the better pace.

Alfa Romeo couldn’t outscore Aston Martin in the race despite using a “very defensive” strategy, according to driver Valtteri Bottas.

The two teams finished the season tied on points. However, Bottas’ P5 finish at the Emilia Romagna GP put Alfa Romeo ahead of the two.

As things stand, the Frenchman who, according to expectations, will join Ferrari in January may not be in charge of that “five times nothing.”

On Tuesday, Ferrari announced Mattia Binotto’s departure, ending months of speculation over his future in light of Ferrari’s championship failure.

According to reports, Christian Horner and Andreas Seidl had already rejected Ferrari when they spoke a year ago. Franz Tost and Gerhard Berger have also turned down the Italian team’s offer.

Vasseur is currently Ferrari’s main pick to supplant Binotto, with the group supposedly currently in conversation with him to arrange his Alfa Romeo exit. However, Alfa Romeo must be willing to release the 54-year-old from his contract.

The Hinwil-based team has advanced from the bottom row of the standings grid to P6 thanks to Vasseur’s solid leadership.

Also Read: Red Bull Agrees to Cost Cap Infringement Penalty with FIA

Climate Activists Worldwide Deflate Tyres of over 900 SUVs to Protest “Luxury Emission”

ITALY: Climate activists are deflating SUV tyres to make it impossible to “own a huge polluting 4×4” in urban cities.

A group fighting climate change called Tyre Extinguishers claims to have deflated nearly 900 SUVs and 4x4s worldwide.

The statement released by the group says that on November 28 and 29, the group deflated the tyres of over 900 polluting SUVs in eight countries.

In March, Tyre Extinguishers announced that it had started its campaign against 4x4s by attacking SUVs in 13 locations across the UK.

The group believes that off-roading automobiles are a “climate catastrophe.” They contribute more to pollution and are more of a threat to pedestrians than regular cars.

According to the group, cities do not require them, so they contribute to climate change because of their use for “vanity and conspicuous consumption.”

Marion Walker, the group’s spokesperson, said that governments and politicians had failed to protect the environment from the “massive, unnecessary vehicles” at the time of its first attack.

At the end of October, the organisation claimed to have deflated 10,000 SUV tyres since March.

Over 900 Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) tyres were deflated worldwide during the “largest ever night of action against SUVs,” organised by climate activists Tyre Extinguishers.

The United Kingdom had the most deflated SUV tyres (340), followed by Switzerland (172), Germany (124), France (112), Sweden (72), and the United States (52).

The group carried out its actions in Amsterdam and Enschede, Netherlands; Paris and Lyon, France; Berlin, Bonn, Essen, Hanover, and Saarbrucken, Germany; Bristol, Leeds, London, Dundee, and Malmo, Sweden; Innsbruck, Austria; Zurich, Winterthur, and New York, USA; and Malmo, Sweden.

The move comes at the same time as the protests by Just Stop Oil. Just Stop Oil protesters have been slow-walking around London’s downtown and climbing onto freeway gantries to prevent new oil and gas projects from moving forward.

Also Read: MG Hector Facelift: Images of New SUV Leaked ahead of 2023 Launch

FIFA World Cup 2022: Australia Shocks Denmark 1-0 in the Final Group D Match

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QATAR: Australia advanced to the round of 16 for the first time since 2006 thanks to Mathew Leckie’s game-winning goal against Denmark in their last Group D match on Wednesday.

Australia’s winning spree in the 60th minute finalized Denmark’s defeat

After a scoreless first half in which Denmark seemed active and had more possession of the ball, Australia scored in the 60th minute when Leckie got through the Danish defence and spun into space before putting the ball home.

With six points, Australia tied for second place with France, the defending champions, who took first place in the group after Tunisia defeated them 1-0. Denmark came in last place with one point, with Tunisia in third with four points.

After two rounds, Graham Arnold’s team will play the winners of Group C, led by Poland. In their final group match on Wednesday, Poland takes on Argentina.

The Australians have reached the knockout stages just twice. The first time they did so was in 1996 when they lost 1-0 to Italy in the round of 16.

Kasper Hjulmand, the coach of Denmark, stated that his team’s performance against Australia was “too emotional” and lacked “quality.”

In the first half, Denmark had chances and could have led, but Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan stopped Jesper Lindstrom’s close-range shot and Mathias Jensen’s attempt.

In the 19th minute, as the defender drilled the ball into the box, Australia’s defence gave Joakim Maehle space on the left. However, Ryan once more came to Australia’s rescue and kicked the ball away.

As forward Duke Mitchell shot from close range and forward Riley McGree had a shot saved by Kasper Schmeichel, Australia began creating opportunities and posing a threat to the Danish defence.

At the hour mark, Leckie timed his run perfectly to send the ball through Maehle’s legs and past Schmeichel to give Australia the lead.

Ten minutes later, the referee gave Denmark a penalty for a foul on Kasper Dolberg, and Denmark thought they had a chance to tie the score. The penalty was reversed by the referee, who raised the flag for offside.

Also Read: FIFA World Cup 2022: Tunisia Stuns Defending Champion France 1-0

FIFA World Cup 2022: Tunisia Stuns Defending Champion France 1-0

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QATAR: On Wednesday, a rejuvenated Tunisia stunned France, a team mostly made up of backup players. However, the North Africans’ 1-0 victory over the World Cup champions proved inadequate for them to advance to the knockout stages.

Tunisia’s victory mode defeated France

Tunisia roared onto the field to take on a disjointed French team with nine changes from the team that beat Denmark and needed to beat already-qualified France to advance. Denmark also needed to avoid defeat against Australia in the other Group D game.

However, Tunisia’s victory over the 2018 World Cup champions was insufficient to advance to the next round because Australia defeated Denmark 1-0 to secure second place in Group D. As a result, Tunisia maintains its regrettable record of never making it past the group stage in any of its six World Cup appearances.

Wahbi Khazri scored in the 58th minute when he dribbled into the box and slipped the ball past backup goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, the oldest Frenchman to play in a World Cup match at 37. The victory for Tunisia also ended France’s six-match World Cup winning streak.

Khazri said that Tunisia had a “bittersweet feeling” at the end of their World Cup journey because they were happy to have defeated France but saddened by the outcome of the other group game. Tunisia also had an early chance when Nader Ghandri scored from a free kick, but an offside disallowed the goal.

The fans at Education City whistled at the French national anthem before kick-off, indicating the level of hostility from the stands from the beginning. The same thing had occurred during a passionate friendly match between France and its former colony in Paris in 2008.

Didier Deschamps, the French manager, rested his star players for the final group game. He gave players who typically don’t feature in many games a taste of the action in the middle. However, France’s bench lacked cohesion, and the desperate to score Tunisia constantly pushed back and split the French back line wide open.

Khazri’s goal made Deschamps bring stars like Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann into the attack to inject fire into the lacklustre French performance. Mbappe and Griezmann energized the French, and Tunisia sat back in the hope of keeping their win helped them.

In the final minutes of their match, the winning team’s bench personnel and substitutes closely followed the other crucial group stage game. France continued hoping to avoid a defeat, but an offside call disallowed Griezmann’s late goal.

Also Read: Qatar FIFA 2022 World Cup: While Super Eagle Fails to Fly, Ghana, Cameroon, and Others Shines

MG Hector Facelift: Images of New SUV Leaked ahead of 2023 Launch

INDIA: Photos of the brand-new MG Hector Facelift have flooded the internet ahead of its January 2023 debut in India. 

However, until this point, all of the spy shots of the forthcoming SUV have featured a lot of camouflage. It is the first instance of the release of detailed pictures of the new MG Hector, and they clearly show the car’s exterior, showing off its design details.

The new SUV from the MG Hector stable will primarily compete with the Tata Harrier, Hyundai Alcazar, Mahindra Scorpio N, and Mahindra XUV700 models.

The pictures show that the new MG Hector has a lot of changes on the outside, like a completely new front fascia. The car’s front end is now more clearly defined, with details highlighted by sharp lines and angles. 

More specifically, the SUV’s bumper has high-mounted LED daytime running lights and a diamond-like pattern coated in chrome. The car’s housing for the split headlamp is pentagonal, continuing the design of the previous version.

On the side profile, the MG Hector Facelift continues as before, with 18-inch double-tone amalgam wheels similar to the ones seen in older models.

The MG Hector Facelift’s rear end features similar changes. The rear of the car now features a red stripe running across it. In addition, a new Hector badge is installed below the SUV’s number plate.

The interior of the MG Hector Facelift is likely to be completely redesigned. The SUV will have a 14-inch touchscreen, according to earlier leaked information.

Additionally, it is anticipated to include ADAS, a digital instrument cluster, and intelligent connectivity features.

However, the MG Hector Facelift will not alter the vehicle’s mechanical components from the previous model.

As a result, it will continue to use a 2.0-litre diesel engine with 170 horsepower and two 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engines with 143 horsepower, one of which features mild hybrid technology.

Also Read: Audi Launches New RS6 and RS7 Performance Series with Added Power and Torque

Mattia Binotto Quits as Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari F1 Team

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ITALY: Ferrari has confirmed Mattia Binotto’s resignation as team principal of their Formula One team after months of pressure and growing speculation. 

After a championship in which Ferrari failed to meet early-season expectations and lost both world titles to Red Bull while in a strong position, Mattia Binotto had to cope with heavy criticism for how he handled things at Ferrari.

Charles Leclerc had two victories in the season’s first three races, giving him a 46-point lead over Max Verstappen in the standings. Ferrari was 49 points ahead of Red Bull.

However, as Red Bull re-established itself, reliability issues began to cost Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, his teammate, and the pressure mounted on Ferrari, which appeared to have no clue on how to tackle Red Bull’s resurgence.

As Formula One entered the summer break, there was speculation that Ferrari would return with a different team manager, but the Scuderia decided to stick with Binotto.

Ferrari failed to win any of the last ten races, despite Mattia Binotto stating that Ferrari could win them all and Charles Leclerc still having a chance of becoming the world champion.

He said he wasn’t worried about his future at Ferrari ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but he admitted that it wasn’t in his hands. The Italian submitted his resignation on Tuesday, as was the case.

A brief statement from Ferrari announced that the team accepted the resignation of Mattia Binotto, who will relinquish his position as Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal at the end of 2022.

Binotto asserted that he maximised his abilities to assist Ferrari with getting back to the top of the grid.

Under Binotto, Ferrari won four races this season after enduring two difficult seasons in 2020 and 2021.

Ferrari said the process to identify the team’s new team principal is underway, and the team expects to finalise the candidate in the new year.

Since Ross Brawn has decided to retire from F1, speculation is that Alfa Romeo’s Fred Vasseur will lead the Italian outfit in the future.

Also Read: F1 Academy Launched by Formula 1: All-women Racing Series Will Debut in 2023

FIFA World Cup 2022: Kalidou Leads Senegal to a 2-1 Win over Ecuador

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QATAR: Senegal defeated Ecuador 2-1 on Tuesday at the Khalifa International Stadium to advance to the World Cup’s quarterfinals. Winger Ismaila Sarr kept his cool to score a penalty kick in the first half, and captain Kalidou Koulibaly scored the second goal.

After earning the penalty kick for himself, Sarr converted it in the 44th minute. However, Moises Caicedo scored an equalizer for Ecuador, who needed only a draw to advance to the knockout rounds.

However, the joy for the South Americans didn’t last long as Koulibaly restored Senegal’s lead three minutes later, which they could hold onto for the remainder of the match.

The African champions are second in Group A with six points from their three matches. They are one point behind the winners, Netherlands, and two points ahead of Ecuador, whose tournament held a lot of promise but ended in bitter disappointment.

Senegal qualified for the knockouts at the expense of Ecuador

Senegal dominated the opening period against an opponent who was content to sit back and attempt to absorb the pressure. The stadium was filled with the steady thumping of African drums.

Early on, Senegal’s Idrissa Gana Gueye missed a shot, and Senegal’s Boulaye Dia missed an opportunity for a goal with a shot that went wide of the far post.

Late in the first half, Ecuador defender Piero Hincapie pounded into Sarr. The Senegal footballer got up to take a penalty kick and deposited the ball in the bottom corner of the goal, leaving goalkeeper Hernan Galindez rooted to the spot.

Senegal’s contentment with their passive defence countered Ecuador’s desperate push for an equalizer in the second half.

Photo Credit: Twitter/FIFAWorldCup

Felix Torres sent in a corner midway through the half, and Caicedo scored from the back post unchallenged for a straightforward finish to score the equalizer for Ecuador.

Since Ivan Kaviedes in 2006, he is the only player other than Enner Valencia to score for Ecuador at the World Cup.

The substantial Ecuadorian crowd in the stands burst into song, but shortly after that, Senegal struck again.

Koulibaly volleyed the ball into the net from six yards out after the South American team failed to clear a corner.

For the first time in 20 years, the African team advanced from their World Cup group to the knockout stages. The qualification to the last 16 stage was primarily due to their first-half performance against Ecuador, who knew they only needed a point to advance.

Also Read: FIFA World Cup 2022: Niclas Fullkrug Keeps Germany’s Hopes Alive

FIFA World Cup 2022: Gakpo’s Brilliance Helps Netherlands Beat Qatar 2-0

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QATAR: With a 2-0 victory over Qatar, Netherlands qualified for the World Cup’s last 16 stages by securing the top spot in Group A.

Qatar was outclassed by Netherlands

After losing to Senegal 3-1, the Qataris were out of contention for the knockout stages of the World Cup. Despite spending a lot of money on cutting-edge facilities to host the World Cup, they failed again on the field.

The Qataris had their moments in a lacklustre first half, forcing a few corners and posing a threat on the edge of the Dutch area, but Gakpo scored a gut-wrenching goal as soon as they bared their teeth.

Photo Credit: Twitter/FIFAWorldCup

Cody Gakpo scored his third tournament goal midway through the first half, and Frenkie de Jong added a second shortly after the break.

The team led by Louis van Gaal advanced to the knockout stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, where they will face the runner-up from Group B, which could be either England, Iran, the United States, or Wales.

As a consequence of the defeat to Netherlands, Qatar became the first host nation in World Cup history not to earn a single point or register a win.

Gakpo was the star of the day for Netherlands. He has played exceptionally throughout the tournament so far. Gakpo scored in the 26th minute to give his team the lead in the match.

He scored with a header against Senegal in the opener and with his left against Ecuador. He completed his perfect hat trick with a right-footed shot from inside the area against Qatar.

Memphis Depay, placed at the far post, received the ball from a cross by Davy Klaassen that deflected off a defender’s head. The goalkeeper saved Depay’s close-range effort, but De Jong, who was in the vicinity, poked it into the empty net from a few yards out to make double the Netherlands lead.

The Dutch missed a goal after Gakpo seemed to have handled the ball in the build-up to the goal, but they still cruised to victory despite Qatar’s lack of quality to mount a comeback.

Also Read: FIFA World Cup 2022: Portugal Defeats Uruguay 2-0 to Advance to the Round of 16