Shropshire Star

Today at the World Cup: Neymar set for Brazil return, England and France advance

Neymar missed group games against Switzerland and Cameroon due to an ankle injury.

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Neymar could return to action on Monday when Brazil take on South Korea for a place in the World Cup quarter-finals, with the winners to meet whoever triumphs in the Japan v Croatia match taking place earlier in the day.

England beat Senegal 3-0 on Sunday to set up a last-eight clash with defending champions France, who defeated Poland 3-1.

Here, the PA news agency looks ahead to the penultimate day of round-of-16 action in Qatar, and back at how Sunday unfolded.

Neymar to return?

Neymar in action for Brazil (Nick Potts/PA).
Neymar has been sidelined by an ankle injury (Nick Potts/PA)

After missing group games against Switzerland and Cameroon due to an ankle injury, Neymar would be back for Brazil against South Korea if he trained “OK” on Sunday afternoon, boss Tite told a press conference.

Tite also launched a scathing attack on his “haters” for spreading fake news regarding the fitness of Gabriel Jesus, who has been ruled out of the rest of the tournament by a knee problem sustained against Cameroon.

Asked if Jesus already had an issue with his knee prior to the World Cup, Tite replied: “Thank you very much for your question because I don’t like hearing lies out there, evil lies. Those are the people who want to do bad things for others.”

Japan seek warrior spirit

Yuto Nagatomo (right) in action for Japan in their win against Spain (Martin Rickett/PA).
Yuto Nagatomo (right) in action for Japan in their win against Spain (Martin Rickett/PA).

Japan’s Yuto Nagatomo has called on his team-mates to evoke the ‘Samurai spirit’ as they aim to overcome 2018’s beaten finalists Croatia and book a place in the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in their history.

The defender said: “I think this is a great opportunity for us to show the world how we can fight like Samurai. Before they go into battle they polish their weapons and try to improve their techniques, but if they are scared during battle, they would not be able to use those weapons and techniques fully.”

England advance

(PA Graphic)
(PA Graphic)

It was a nervy affair for England fans in the first half of the clash with Senegal until Jordan Henderson opened the scoring in the 38th minute, firing past Edouard Mendy from Jude Bellingham’s low cross.

Gareth Southgate’s men subsequently doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time, Bellingham leading a charge out of defence before sliding in Phil Foden, who fed Harry Kane for the skipper’s first goal of the tournament and 52nd for the team – putting him one behind all-time record scorer Wayne Rooney.

Bukayo Saka then made it 3-0 with his third of the competition just before the hour mark, Foden once again providing the assist.

Sterling absent

Raheem Sterling was missing from the England squad, with a message on the team’s official Twitter account saying it was due to the Chelsea forward “dealing with a family matter” and Southgate after the game saying that the Chelsea forward had headed home.

The PA news agency understands it comes after armed intruders broke into Sterling’s house while his family were there.

Southgate said “we’ve got to wait and see” whether Sterling features again at the World Cup, with his only focus giving the player the time and support he needs.

Marvel Mbappe

Earlier, France star Kylian Mbappe continued his supreme form in Qatar as Les Bleus proved too strong for Poland.

Didier Deschamps’ side took the lead just before the break when Mbappe teed up a strike for Olivier Giroud that made him the outright top goalscorer of the France men’s team with 52 goals, moving ahead of Thierry Henry.

Mbappe then registered his fourth and fifth goals of the tournament in the 74th minute and stoppage time, before Robert Lewandowski netted a consolation for Poland with a late penalty.

Picture of the day

Kane celebrates scoring England’s second goal (Martin Rickett/PA).
Kane celebrates scoring England’s second goal (Martin Rickett/PA)

Tweet of the day

Who’s up next?

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Japan v Croatia (1500GMT, BBC One)

Brazil v South Korea (1900GMT, ITV1)

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