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Switzerland Edge Serbia To Make World Cup Last 16

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Switzerland booked a last-16 showdown with Portugal at the World Cup on Friday after a 3-2 win over Serbia in a bad-tempered match secured them second place in Group G.

Xherdan Shaqiri’s deflected strike put the Swiss ahead but Aleksandar Mitrovic’s fine header brought Serbia level at Stadium 974.

Dusan Vlahovic then gave Serbia the lead only for Breel Embolo to equalise before half-time.

Remo Freuler’s brilliant goal early in the second half sent the Swiss through to the knockout rounds for the fourth time in five World Cups.

Bad blood marred the meeting between the teams at the 2018 tournament, when Granit Xhaka and Shaqiri celebrated goals by making pro-Kosovo gestures that enraged the Serbs.

Tempers flared in the second half on Friday after Serbia appealed for a penalty, with the stadium announcer calling for an end to “all discriminatory chants and gestures” around 15 minutes later.

Switzerland, who had their destiny in their own hands, nearly struck inside 30 seconds but Embolo’s attempt was well blocked by Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, who palmed away the follow-up from Xhaka.

Serbia’s Andrija Zivkovic rattled the post from distance with a sweet curling effort and Vlahovic bundled the rebound straight into goalkeeper Gregor Kobel’s arms.

Shaqiri missed Switzerland’s 1-0 loss to Brazil but returned with a bang as he fired his side in front on 20 minutes.

Ricardo Rodriguez speared a cross into the box which was cleared straight to Djibril Sow, who laid off for Shaqiri to sweep home via the leg of Strahinja Pavlovic in front of the Serbia fans.

This time there was no double eagle gesture. Instead, Shaqiri put his finger to his lips and pointed to the name on his shirt as a handful of bottles rained down.

Serbia hit back within minutes as Switzerland lost the ball in midfield, Dusan Tadic bending in a cross for Mitrovic to meet superbly and nod into the far corner.

Shaqiri steered wide under pressure from Pavlovic after timing his run perfectly to meet Rodriguez’s raking diagonal pass, but the Swiss then paid for another lapse in concentration.

They again ceded possession and Freuler watched on in dismay as his attempted interception served only to tee up Vlahovic to roll the ball beyond Kobel.

But Switzerland equalised a minute before the break as Sow picked out Silvan Widmer in acres of space on the right and his driven low cross was turned in by Embolo.

The Cameroon-born striker’s pressure on a lumbering Pavlovic gave Switzerland their third goal right after half-time, a brilliant team effort finished by Freuler.

Shaqiri clipped in a delicate ball after Embolo won it back high up, and Ruben Vargas’s cushioned backheel left Freuler to guide in from around the penalty spot.

Serbia appealed in vain for a penalty when Mitrovic theatrically fell to the ground, sparking an ugly flashpoint that led to reserve Serbia goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic being booked.

Substitute Christian Fassnacht spurned a late chance to ease Swiss nerves when clean through on goal.

An unseemly spat between Xhaka and Nikola Milenkovic threatened to boil over, but in the end the Swiss got over the line to set up a date with Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.

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I Regret My Action Against Netherlands Coach, Van Gaal At 2022 World Cup, Says Messi

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Argentina captain, Lionel Messi, has revealed regretful behaviour during his team’s 2022 FIFA World Cup quarter-final tie against the Netherlands in Qatar.

Recall that Messi led Argentina to beat the Netherlands 4-3 on penalties following a 2-2 draw.

Messi’s first controversial moment during the encounter was after he scored Argentina’s second goal when he cupped his ears and stood defiantly looking at Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal.

It was a reference to ‘Topo Gigio’, a cartoon mouse that gave Argentina legend Juan Roman Riquelme his nickname.

Riquelme and Van Gaal notoriously didn’t get on while the pair were at Barca, with the former being forced out by the Dutchman.

Speaking to Andy Kusnetzoff in an interview carried by MD, Messi said he did not like his celebration during Argentina’s tie with the Netherlands.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward said, “The truth is that no (I did not prepare it). I did not like it. It came out at the moment and yes, I knew what had been said before the game, what he had said. Some of my teammates told me, ‘did you see what he said’ on purpose.

The former Barcelona captain added, “We got 2-0 and then at the time, I don’t like what I did, what happened later with the ‘off you go, stupid’ [anda pa’ ‘lla bobo]. These are moments of great tension, a lot of anxiousness, everything happens very quickly and you don’t have time to think about anything. Actually, nothing was planned, it happened like that and as I say, it is not an image I like to give off.”

Messi went on to win the Golden Ball award for the best player of the World Cup tournament.

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Arsenal Set Sights On Chelsea Star, Jorginho

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Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, has switched his attention to Chelsea’s Jorginho in his search for a new central midfielder.

According to SportsMail, a deal is a long way off, but work towards the transfer has started.

It could be completed ahead of Tuesday’s transfer deadline.

This comes as Arsenal spent the whole of Monday deliberating whether to send in a third offer for Brighton midfielder, Moises Caicedo, amid fears they could damage their relationship with Brighton if they submit an improved bid.

Gunners chiefs were deliberating if to improve upon their latest bid of up to £ 70 million.

But Arsenal have started analysing alternatives; with Chelsea midfielder Jorginho emerging as their preferred option.

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You Can Go If You Wish, Guardiola Tells Cancelo

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Manchester City defender, Joao Cancelo, is set to leave the club on a loan deal to Bayern Munich, according to The Athletic.

Cancelo has fallen out of favour with manager Pep Guardiola this season.

The 28-year-old and Guardiola have had their ups and downs from the time he moved to the Etihad in 2019 from Juventus.

However, in recent seasons Cancelo has become one of Manchester City’s standout performers contributing both defensively and in the attack.

His form means that Cancelo was only a substitute in Portugal’s last two matches at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Upon his return to England, Cancelo has started only three of City’s matches and has seen Rico Lewis become the first-choice right-back even ahead of Kyle Walker.

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