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Tuesday at the World Cup: France begin title defence as Argentina start campaign

Defending champions France and one of the heavy favourites Argentina begin their campaigns on Day Three of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Didier Deschamps’ side, who won the 2018 World Cup after beating Croatia in the final, are looking to become the first side to win the tournament back-to-back since Brazil in 1958 and 1962. Les Bleus begin their defence against Australia with the other Group D opener seeing Denmark face Tunisia.

Didier Deschamps' France get their campaign underway
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Didier Deschamps’ France get their campaign under way

Day Three begins with Argentina and Lionel Messi’s quest to win the World Cup as they start their Group C campaign against Saudi Arabia followed by Mexico versus Poland in the same group.

World Cup fixtures – November 21

  • Argentina vs Saudi Arabia – Group C, kick-off 10am
  • Denmark vs Tunisia – Group D, kick-off 1pm
  • Mexico vs Poland – Group C, kick-off 4pm
  • France vs Australia – Group D, kick-off 7pm

Team news

Argentina star Lionel Messi has played down rumours of a pre-tournament injury as his nation prepares to take on Saudi Arabia.

The PSG star has been seen with padding on his right ankle in training in recent days but Messi says he is not carrying anything ahead of the Group C opener.

Messi has denied a pre-tournament injury going into the World Cup
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Messi has denied a pre-tournament injury going into the World Cup

“No issues whatsoever,” said Messi, who was pictured at practice with extra padding on the inside of his right ankle.

“I heard there were rumors of having to miss part of training or be away from the team because of a blow, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary.”

Saudi Arabia coach Herve Renard is not worried by two of the squad’s goalkeepers’ lack of playing time this season ahead of their match against Argentina.

Renard did not announce the name of the goalkeeper who will lead the Green Falcons’ starting line-up, but Muhammad Al-Owais has played 42 times for the national team, compared to just seven internationals for Muhammad Al-Yami.

“The goalkeeper who will play tomorrow’s match has played 17 World Cup qualifiers so there is absolutely no problem,” the Frenchman told a news conference on Monday. The third goalkeeper in the squad, Nawaf Al-Aqidi, is still waiting for his debut with the national team.

Renard also stood by his decision to exclude veteran custodian Abdullah Al-Mayouf, who announced his retirement in 2019 before reversing his decision and saying he was available for selection.

Denmark’s World Cup opener with Tunisia will mark a personal victory for playmaker Christian Eriksen, who suffered a cardiac arrest in their Euro 2020 opener in Copenhagen last year but has since made a full recovery.

Christian Eriksen is set for play his first tournament game for Denmark since his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020
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Christian Eriksen is set to play his first tournament game for Denmark since his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020

“We are all happy and thankful that Christian is here after what happened,” Danish captain Simon Kjaer said.

“As a football player, probably one of the best I’m ever seen in terms of quality and love of the game. Every minute he plays, it’s only a plus for Denmark.”

Tunisia have two players in the Danish league, Anis Ben Slimane at Brondby and Issam Jebali with Odense.

The latter says he has not been able to provide any special insight into Tuesday’s opponents as the Tunisian technical team have been meticulous in their planning.

“We have a great technical staff and they have prepared well for the game,” Jebali said. “We know the Danish set-up, how they play and even how they think. We have a very good chance, we are a good squad. We are strong, we trust each other and have a good team spirit.”

Mexico forward Raul Jimenez’s fitness remains a matter of concern ahead of their opener with Poland.

The fitness of Raul Jimenez is a concern for MExico
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The fitness of Raul Jimenez is a concern for Mexico

Jimenez has not played for Wolves since August due to a groin injury. He had a 45-minute run-out in a friendly against Sweden last week but appeared to look uncomfortable in a recent training video.

Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa said: “It is unfair they took five seconds of a video and said he was not good.

“He has looked very good in training. In Raul I see much motivation, hunger and an enormous ambition to be on the field.”

Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is backing team-mate Robert Lewandowski to make a huge impact at Qatar 2022.

Poland striker Robert Lewandowski is still searching for his first World Cup goal
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Poland striker Robert Lewandowski is still searching for his first World Cup goal

Despite his prolific record for club and country, Poland striker Lewandowski is yet to score at a World Cup finals.

Speaking at a press conference, Juventus keeper Szczesny said: “It’s definitely a very important tournament to him. I can see that he is very motivated for this championship.

“There is no doubt that he is, if not the best, then one of them. He would like to fulfil his ambitions not only at club level, but also with the national team.

“I hope that years later we will remember Robert’s great performance at the World Cup in Qatar.”

France have been hit by a series of injuries, which ruled out key midfielders N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba, and most recently Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, who left the squad in the early hours of Sunday after withdrawing with a thigh injury, and centre-back Presnel Kimpembe.

Karim Benzema (left), Paul Pogba (centre), Adrien Rabiot (right)
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Karim Benzema (left) and Paul Pogba (centre) are both injured

“We still believe in our chances, in our squad. The last-minute withdrawals, especially Karim’s, did not help,” France captain Hugo Lloris told a news conference. “But I want to think that the team will move on.”

Deschamps needs to reshuffle his attacking line in the absence of Benzema, with veteran Olivier Giroud likely to start as a lone forward.

At the back, Deschamps will be able to rely on centre back Raphael Varane, who he says has shaken off a hamstring injury that had prevented him from training with the team last week.

“He is doing well and available for tomorrow’s game,” Deschamps said.

Australia coach Graham Arnold’s plans for their opener with France were hit when winger Martin Boyle pulled out on Sunday with a knee injury.

Boyle has a decent scoring record with five goals from 19 appearances for Australia.

“We all feel for Martin and it is a cruel blow for him,” Arnold said. “He has been an integral part of our journey to get to Qatar.”

One to watch on Tuesday: Aurelien Tchouameni

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Sky Sports’ Peter Smith and Nick Wright analyse some of their favourite stars to keep an eye out for during the World Cup 2022 in Qatar. Their one to watch for day three is France and Real Madrid’s midfield general Aurélien Tchouaméni

Opta stats: Argentina unbeaten against Saudi Arabia, France opening match woes

  • Argentina are unbeaten in all four of their previous meetings with Saudi Arabia (W2 D2), with this the first meeting between the sides at the FIFA World Cup.
  • Argentina have made it past the first round in 12 of their last 13 World Cup appearances, the only exception coming in 2002.
  • All six of Lionel Messi’s goals at the FIFA World Cup have been scored in the group stages, never finding the net in 756 minutes of play in the knockout phase of the tournament. Meanwhile, Messi is also the only player to have registered an assist at each of the last four World Cup tournaments.
  • France have qualified for their 16th FIFA World Cup. It’s their seventh appearance in a row, their longest ever run of participations.
  • Since 1998, France have reached the final of the FIFA World Cup in three of the six editions (1998, 2006, 2018), more than any other nation in this time.
  • France have won their opening match in just three of the last 12 editions of the FIFA World Cup (D4 L5) – Germany in 1994, and Brazil in both 1998 and 2006

Elsewhere at the World Cup

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Cristiano Ronaldo is adamant his controversial interview with Piers Morgan will not affect the Portugal squad at the World Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo says he is “bulletproof and iron-clad” following his explosive interview last week and says he is fit for Portugal’s World Cup opener against Ghana on Thursday.

He said: “The atmosphere is excellent, no problems, we are completely focused. You can help by not talking about me. I’m completely bulletproof and iron-clad.

“If you ask other players about Cristiano Ronaldo I would be upset. If you want to ask him about the World Cup and the team, I would like you to do that.”

He added: “In my life, the best timing is always my timing.

“I don’t have to think about what other people think. I speak when I want. The players know me really well for many years and know the type of person I am.

“Its an ambitious group that is hungry and focused. So I’m sure it [the interview] won’t shake the changing room’s concentration and focus.”

Messi: England among World Cup favourites | Haaland: I wish I was there

Lionel Messi says Brazil, France and England are the biggest threats to his dream of finally getting a World Cup winners’ medal with Argentina.

The 35-year-old Paris Saint-Germain forward will again shoulder Argentina’s hopes in Qatar as they bid to deliver the South American country’s third world title but first since 1986.

“Whenever we talk about candidates, we always talk about the same teams,” Messi told South American Federation CONMEBOL.

“If I have to put some above others I think Brazil, France and England are a little bit above the rest. But the World Cup is so difficult and so complicated that anything can happen.”

Lionel Messi for Argentina against Italy in Finalissima at Wembley
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Messi in action for Argentina against Italy in Finalissima at Wembley

Messi reached the final with Argentina in 2014 but suffered an extra-time defeat by Germany.

Copa America champions Argentina are unbeaten in 35 games and if this is to be Messi’s final World Cup, they are in the form to deliver the title.

“We are very excited. We have a very nice group that is very eager, but we think about going little by little,” he said.

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The World Cup preview show panel share their predictions for the 2022 World Cup, including picking the overall winners, the golden boot award, best player and more!

“We hope to start the World Cup in the best way to face everything that comes after. The more you play and the more time you spend on the pitch, the more you get to know each other.”

Argentina’s opening Group C match is against Saudi Arabia before they face Mexico and Poland.

Haaland: England among favourites | ‘I wish I was playing!’

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Erling Haaland thinks Brazil, Argentina France and maybe England are the favourites for the World Cup but says his goal with the Norwegian national team is to reach the World Cup and the Euros

Manchester City forward Erling Haaland wishes he could be at the Qatar World Cup but because Norway failed to qualify for the tournament, the 22-year-old will use the break to recharge for the rest of the Premier League season.

Haaland has enhanced his reputation as one of Europe’s top strikers following his move to City from Borussia Dortmund in the close season, scoring 18 goals in 13 league games and five goals in four Champions League matches.

But with Norway only finishing third in Group G of European World Cup qualifying behind the Netherlands and Turkey, Haaland will have to wait to add to his international tally of 21 goals.

“I wished I played in the World Cup of course, but that’s the reality now [that] I don’t do [that], but I will relax my body and my mind a lot and then I will train,” Haaland said.

Erling Haaland struck a 95th-minute winner
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Manchester City’s Haaland will not be going to the World Cup

“What I will train on? Nothing special I think, it’s been going quite well my first months at City so I don’t need to do so many changes to be honest.

“It’s about preparing myself for the next half of the season and be ready when the next game kicks in after the break.”

Norway last qualified for the World Cup in 1998.

“The biggest thing we can do is to get to either a World Cup or a Euros,” Haaland said. “That of course is my goal with the national team to do. We know it’s difficult, but hopefully in the future one day I’ll be able to play there.”

Haaland scores his side's second goal from spot
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The Norwegian wants to lead Norway to the World Cup

Haaland said Brazil, Argentina, France and England were the favourites in Qatar, where the World Cup begins on November 20.

“I cannot only say one, because there are so many good teams, so yeah, these four,” he added.

What are Man City doing during the World Cup?

 Haaland celebrates with John Stones after scoring
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Haaland believes Brazil are among the favourites

Manchester City are yet to fully finalise plans but Pep Guardiola has revealed the first-team members not heading to Qatar will take a break once the World Cup starts.

At the start of December, the squad are set to travel to Abu Dhabi for a training camp in the United Arab Emirates, where the club’s owner Sheikh Mansour is the Deputy Prime Minister.

“We will try, maybe in two, three weeks for these guys in winter in Manchester,” Guardiola said earlier this month. “Take a break, for staff to go there. Good weather, our owners are there. We are going to do that.

“I would say right after or a few days after we come back from 10 days off. After Brentford one or two days off, after we come back we travel. Not confirmed but we will try.”

Manchester City's Erling Haaland is congratulated
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Haaland will be given time to recover from injuries

Guardiola also said he expects Haaland to enjoy some down time in Spain having missed out on reaching the World Cup with Norway.

“I’m pretty sure he will love to be at the World Cup and maybe the next one or Euros he will,” Guardiola said on his striker. “But he has a house in Marbella – go there, play golf, hopefully don’t drink much, eat much and come back fit.”

Which players are going to the World Cup? Sixteen players: Manuel Akanji (Switzerland), Ederson (Brazil), Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium), Ilkay Gundogan (Germany), John Stones, Kyle Walker, Kalvin Phillips, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish (all England), Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva (all Portugal), Nathan Ake (Netherlands), Aymeric Laporte and Rodri (both Spain), Julian Alvarez (Argentina).

Every World Cup 2022 squad listed

Who’s going to the World Cup in Qatar? Every nation has now named their final 26-man squads and we’ve pulled together the selections for all 32 competitors…

FIFA rules permit teams to make late replacements in the event of serious injury, at any time up to 24 hours before their first game.

Group A

Qatar

TBC

Ecuador

TBC

Senegal

TBC

Netherlands

Squad announced Friday November 11

Group B

England

Squad announced Thursday November 10; 2pm GMT

Iran

TBC

United States

Squad announced Wednesday November 9; 10pm GMT

Wales

Squad announced Wednesday November 9; 7pm GMT

Group C

Argentina

Squad announced Monday November 14

Saudi Arabia

TBC

Mexico

TBC

Poland

Squad announced Thursday November 10

Group D

France

Squad announced Wednesday November 9

Australia

Garang Kuol signed for Newcastle in September and will join the club in January after he has played for Australia at the World Cup
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Garang Kuol signed for Newcastle in September and will join the club in January after he has played for Australia at the World Cup

Goalkeepers: Mathew Ryan (FC Copenhagen), Andrew Redmayne (Sydney FC), Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners)

Defenders: Aziz Behich (Dundee United), Milos Degenek (Columbus Crew), Thomas Deng (Aibirex Niigata), Joel King (Odense Boldklub), Nathaniel Atkinson (Hearts), Fran Karacic (Brescia), Harry Souttar (Stoke City), Kye Rowles (Hearts), Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United)

Midfielders: Aaron Mooy (Celtic), Jackson Irvine (St Pauli), Ajdin Hrustic (Hellas Verona), Bailey Wright (Sunderland), Cameron Devlin (Hearts), Riley McGree (Middlesbrough), Keanu Baccus (St Mirren)

Forwards: Awer Mabil (Cadiz), Mathew Leckie (Melbourne City), Martin Boyle (Hibernian), James Maclaren (Melbourne City), Jason Cummings (Central Coast Mariners), Mitchell Duke (Fagiano Okayama), Garang Kuol (Central Coast Mariners)

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Following a call up to the Australia squad for the World Cup, relive Jason Cummings’ eventful time at Hibernian

Denmark

Goalkeepers: Kasper Schmeichel (Nice), Oliver Christensen (Hertha Berlin).

Defenders: Simon Kjaer (AC Milan), Joachim Andersen (Crystal Palace), Joakim Maehle (Atalanta), Andreas Christensen (Barcelona), Rasmus Kristensen (Leeds United), Jens Stryger Larsen (Trabzonspor), Victor Nelsson (Galatasaray), Daniel Wass (Brondby).

Midfielders: Thomas Delaney (Sevilla), Mathias Jensen (Brentford), Christian Eriksen (Manchester United), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Tottenham).

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Denmark head coach Kasper Hjulmand has named 21 of his 26-man squad including Christian Eriksen that will travel to the World Cup finals in Qatar

Forwards: Andreas Skov Olsen (Club Bruges), Jesper Lindstrom (Eintracht Frankfurt), Andreas Cornelius (Copenhagen), Martin Braithwaite (Espanyol), Kasper Dolberg (Sevilla), Mikkel Damsgaard (Brentford), Jonas Wind (VfL Wolfsburg).

Denmark named a 21-man preliminary squad on November 7. They will reveal the final five players following the last round of European fixtures.

Tunisia

TBC

Group E

Spain

Squad announced Friday November 11

Costa Rica

Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas (Paris St-Germain), Esteban Alvarado (Herediano), Patrick Sequeira (CD Lugo)

Defenders: Francisco Calvo (Konyaspor), Juan Pablo Vargas(Millonarios FC), Kendall Waston (Saprissa), Oscar Duarte (Al-Wehda), Daniel Chacon (Colorado Rapids), Keysher Fuller (Herediano), Carlos Martinez (San Carlos), Bryan Oviedo (Real Salt Lake), Ronald Matarrita (Cincinnati)

Midfielders: Yeltsin Tejeda (Herediano), Celso Borges (Alajuelense), Youstin Salas (Saprissa), Roan Wilson (Grecia), Gerson Torres (Herediano), Douglas Lopez (Herediano) Jewisson Bennette (Sunderland), Alvaro Zamora (Saprissa), Anthony Hernandez (Puntarenas FC), Brandon Aguilera (Nottingham Forest), Bryan Ruiz (Alajuelense)

Forwards: Joel Campbell (Leon), Anthony Contreras (Herediano) Johan Venegas (Alajuelense)

Germany

Squad announced Thursday November 10

Japan

Goalkeepers: Eiji Kawashima (Strasbourg), Daniel Schmidt (Sint Truiden), Shuichi Gonda (Shimizu S-Pulse)

Defenders: Hiroki Sakai (Urawa Red Diamonds), Miki Yamane (Kawasaki Frontale), Ko Itakura (Borussia Monchengladbach), Takehiro Tomiyasu (Arsenal), Maya Yoshida (Schalke 04), Shogo Taniguchi (Kawasaki Frontale), Hiroki Ito (VfB Stuttgart), Yuto Nagatomo (FC Tokyo), Yuta Nakayama (Huddersfield Town – since withdrawn through injury)

Takehiro Tomiyasu is challenged by Adam Armstrong
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Arsenal’s Takehiro Tomiyasu is in Japan’s final squad

Midfielders: Junya Ito (Stade de Reims), Ritsu Doan (SC Freiburg), Wataru Endo (VfB Stuttgart), Hidemasa Morita (Sporting), Ao Tanaka (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt), Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad), Takumi Minamino (AS Monaco), Kaoru Mitoma (Brighton & Hove Albion), Gaku Shibasaki (Leganes), Yuki Soma (Nagoya Grampus)

Forwards: Takuma Asano (Vfl Bochum), Daizen Maeda (Celtic), Ayase Ueda (Cercle Brugge)

Group F

Belgium

Squad announced Thursday November 10

Canada

Squad announced Sunday November 13

Morocco

TBC

Croatia

Squad announced Wednesday November 9

Group G

Brazil

Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison and Antony
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Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison and Antony have been named in Brazil’s 26-man squad

Goalkeepers: Alisson (Liverpool), Ederson (Man City), Weverton (Palmeiras)

Defenders: Dani Alves (Pumas), Danilo (Juventus), Alex Sandro (Juventus), Alex Telles (Seville), Bremer (Juventus), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Marquinhos (PSG), Thiago Silva (Chelsea)

Midfielders: Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle), Casemiro (Manchester United), Everton Ribeiro (Flamengo), Fabinho (Liverpool), Fred (Manchester United), Lucas Paqueta (West Ham)

Forwards: Antony (Manchester United), Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal), Neymar (PSG), Pedro (Flamengo), Raphinha (Barcelona), Richarlison (Tottenham), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid)

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Manchester United’s Antony and Tottenham’s Richarlison both celebrated their call-ups to Brazil’s World Cup squad with friends and family

Serbia

TBC

Switzerland

Squad announced Wednesday November 9; 10am GMT

Cameroon

TBC

Group H

Portugal

Squad announced Thursday November 10; 4.30 GMT

Ghana

TBC

Uruguay

TBC

South Korea

Squad announced Saturday November 12

Spain rescue Czech Republic draw | Messi scores five vs Estonia

Spain needed a last-minute Inigo Martinez strike to rescue a 2-2 Nations League draw with the Czech Republic, while Lionel Messi scored all five goals as Argentina beat Estonia 5-0 in a friendly.

The Czechs took an early lead in the Group A2 clash with Spain after Sparta Prague forward Jakub Pesek scored from close range in the fourth minute, connecting with a pass from Jan Kuchta who got in behind the visitors’ defence.

Spain equalised on the stroke of half-time when midfielder Gavi beat Czech goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik with a shot to the far post.

Kuchta celebrates after scoring for Czech Republic
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Jan Kuchta celebrates after scoring for Czech Republic

However, the Czechs retook the lead in the 66th minute when Kuchta lobbed goalkeeper Unai Simon from just outside the area after he was sent through on goal alone.

Spain scored in the 90th minute to break the hearts of the home fans in Prague when Martinez connected with a cross from Marco Asensio and his header just crossed the line.

Czech Republic's Jan Kuchta scores against Spain
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Kuchta scores against Spain

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Portugal swept to an emphatic 4-0 victory over Switzerland in their UEFA Nations League clash at the Estadio Jose Alvalade in Lisbon.

Carvalho and Joao Cancelo were also on the scoresheet as the hosts wasted numerous opportunities to inflict more humiliation on the visitors, who suffered their biggest defeat since losing to Germany by the same scoreline in 2008.

Cristiano Ronaldo was among the goals for Portugal
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Cristiano Ronaldo was among the goals for Portugal

Portugal have four points from their opening two Group A2 matches and are ahead of second-placed Czech Republic on goal difference. Switzerland are on zero after back-to-back losses and are now winless in their last four encounters since they qualified for the World Cup in Qatar.

Carvalho opened the scoring when he reacted quickest to the loose ball when Ronaldo’s free-kick was parried, before the latter netted a quickfire double to extend his record tally of international goals to 117.

Ronaldo should have had a hat-trick when he wasted two excellent opportunities before half-time, the first a barely believable miss from six yards, but it was left to Cancelo to score the fourth for Portugal in the second half.

Ronaldo celebrates the first of his strikes
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Ronaldo celebrates the first of his strikes

Portugal host Czech Republic in their next fixture on Thursday, while Switzerland entertain Spain in Geneva on the same evening.

Meanwhile, Erling Haaland scored in each half to bring his international tally to 18 in 19 games as Norway beat Sweden 2-1 to top Nations League Group B4 after victories in their opening two games.

The visitors took the lead when Morten Thorsby was awarded a soft penalty by referee Anthony Taylor for some innocuous contact in the box by Emil Krafth. Haaland, who scored the winner against Serbia in their opening game, thumped the spot-kick to the right of Robin Olsen in the 20th minute.

Sweden’s only attempts on target in the opening 45 minutes came from a pair of Emil Forsberg free-kicks just before the break, but despite a string of decent attacks and set-pieces early in the second half, they could not manage to fashion an equaliser.

Haaland made them pay in the 69th minute, latching on to a loose ball and surging powerfully into the box before flashing a low right-foot shot across Olsen and into the net to make it 2-0.

Norway's Erling Haaland celebrates after scoring
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Norway’s Erling Haaland celebrates after scoring

The striker missed a great chance to complete his hat-trick three minutes later and was replaced by Joshua King soon after.

Anthony Elanga scored a stoppage-time goal for the Swedes that proved too little, too late as Norway held on to win.

The Norwegians top the group on six points ahead of their first home game against bottom-side Slovenia on Thursday, while the Swedes host second-placed Serbia, who beat the Slovenians 4-1.

Slovenia‘s Petar Stojanovic cancelled out Aleksandar Mitrovic’s first-half opener, but second-half goals from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Luka Jovic and Nemanja Radonjic completed a comfortable win for the Serbs.

Northern Ireland‘s winless run in the competition was extended to 12 matches as they were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw in Cyprus.

Ian Baraclough’s side, who lost 1-0 to Greece at Windsor Park last week in their group C2 opener, sit third in the table after two matches.

Greece followed up last week’s opening win with another 1-0 success on the road as Anastasios Bakasetas scored the only goal in Kosovo.

Georgia made it two wins from two as they won 5-2 in Bulgaria, group C4 rivals North Macedonia registered their first win, 2-0 in Gibraltar, and Malta made a winning start to their group D2 campaign, beating San Marino 2-0.

Messi grabs five as Argentina thrash Estonia

Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates his side's fourth
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Argentina’s Lionel Messi celebrates his fourth goal

Lionel Messi celebrated captaining Argentina to Finalissima glory last Wednesday by grabbing all five goals – and becoming the fourth-highest scorer in men’s international football – as Argentina ended their European tour with a 5-0 thrashing of Estonia in Spain.

The seven-time Ballon D’Or winner opened the scoring from the spot after eight minutes, and doubled Argentina’s advantage from a tight angle moments before the interval.

It took only two minutes of the second half for him to add a third, which took him level with Hungary legend Ferenc Puskas on 84 goals for his country.

He was not done there, though, and moved clear into fourth position in the all-time top goalscorer standings when playing on after several Estonia players had stopped for what looked a foul on an Argentina midfielder, before rounding goalkeeper Matvei Igonen and slotting home.

He added a fifth for only the second time in his career for club or country when he latched onto the rebound from Paulo Dybala’s effort to round off a typically exceptional solo performance.

What’s next?

World Cup holders France face a rematch of their 2018 final victory over Croatia in Split on Monday as the highlight of the day’s seven games; kick-off 7.45pm.

Elsewhere, Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark visit Ralf Rangnick’s Austria looking to build on their impressive 2-1 win over France in their Nations League opener.