On Turkey Day, we are grateful for the thriller between Portugal and Ghana and Richarlison with Brazil’s acrobatic finish against Serbia. Switzerland beat Cameroon by a single goal and South Korea drew Uruguay 0-0, whetting our appetite for more goals in games three and four later in the day.
In the run-up to Black Friday, we answer burning questions related to the match between England and the USA, discuss the legacy of Gareth Bale and explain what happens if the teams draw in the group stage.
Be sure to check Sportzshala throughout the tournament as we bring you the latest from Qatar. Here’s what you may have missed from Thursday’s World Cup events.
– World Cup news, features, previews and more
– Broadcast FC Daily and Futbol Americas on Sportzshala+
Ronaldo breaks another record
After a goalless first half between Portugal and Ghana, Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring in the second stanza from a penalty kick, becoming the first male player to score in five World Cup campaigns. The 37-year-old scored his first World Cup goal in 2006 and has scored 118 goals for his country so far.
Rafael Leão and Joao Felix joined their captain in the score for Portugal, who had just beaten Ghana 3-2. The match ended in a strange moment when Inaki Williams crept up on goalkeeper Diogo Costa, who sent the ball down, but before the forward could clear it from Costa, he slipped and missed the equalizer.
After the match, Ronaldo said: “The important thing was that the team won. [Manchester United] the chapter is closed, and all attention is focused exclusively on the World Cup.
He is now without a club following his recent departure from United and hopes to signal a signing for a new club in the January transfer window at this tournament.
Is Brazil open for the purpose of the tournament?
Richarlison was supposed to be Brazil’s third-odd man with Neymar and Vinicius Junior in front, but the striker scored against the opponent of the tournament in a 2-0 win over Serbia. The Tottenham Hotspur star scored the second goal of the game when he controlled the ball mid-air and then shot into the side corner, leaving goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic without a chance.
Meanwhile, Neymar was seen making a face at the end of the game and looking like he was in pain. Fans are hoping the Paris Saint-Germain player is ready for the next match against Switzerland on Monday. Brazil has delivered the spectacular, beautiful and eye-catching football that their country is known for and will strive to maintain that form.
Today’s top reads
Bale’s World Cup ambition is bigger than Wales.
Bale is looking to take Wales to the World Cup in Qatar, but what they’ve already accomplished off the pitch matters more.
US vs. England Preview: A Roundtable to Answer the Big Questions
In the first match of the World Cup, England defeated Iran, while the United States agreed to a draw with Wales. How will these results affect the match on Friday?
What happens when teams are tied on points?
The group stage of the 2022 World Cup enters the final stage, but what are the tiebreaks of individual teams in the table?
Your best bets (odds via Caesars Sportsbook)
If you’re looking to bet on the World Cup, Sportzshala correspondents Paul Carr, Dan Thomas and Dalene Cuff are here to give you key advice on odds, options and futures.
Here’s what we have for Friday matches.
Qatar vs Senegal (Qatar +490, draw +260, Senegal -160)
Carr: Even without Sadio Mane, Senegal played well against the Dutch in the first leg. I don’t see much success for Qatar against another defensive team after averaging five shots from 23 yards in the first game. I’ll take Senegal to win here (-160) and if you’re feeling braver go for a win to zero (+129).
Thomas: Qatar were very bad in the first match. I don’t see them improving. Senegal to win easily 2-0.
Cuff: I am brave, but not brave enough to win to zero; not sure if Senegal will score. But I like it when they keep a clean slate (-114) in a slightly more conservative game.
Netherlands vs Ecuador (Netherlands -129, draw +245, Ecuador +380)
Carr: I like it when the Netherlands win here. Despite a 2-0 win, Ecuador wasn’t as impressive against a mediocre at best Qatar team after the first half hour, with only six shots and one in the final half hour. Given the solid defense on both sides (Ecuador has seven outs in a row), under 2.5 goals is also attractive at -130, and I would consider a two-man game if that’s possible in your book.
Thomas: A real test for the Dutch. I think it could be a 1-1 draw.
Cuff: I like the defensive prowess of Ecuador and the general athleticism that can pay off on the counterattack. I don’t think the Dutch looked particularly threatening in their debut. It was a low-scoring tournament, less than 2.5 (-130) is an obvious game. If you want to be aggressive, a value less than 1.5 (+225) may be fine.
Wales vs Iran (Wales +105, draw +205, Iran +305)
Carr: Iran conceded six goals to England, but only 2.1 goals expected, so the defensive performance was not as bad as the final score suggested. With Wales’ conservative style and Iran’s defensive mindset (four goals conceded in 10 final round qualifiers), this game just screams underperformance, although the price of -195 for under 2.5 goals isn’t very attractive. I’d rather get plus-money for less than 1.5 goals or bet on exactly one goal (+275). I’m also leaning towards Iran, given the top forwards in Mehdi Taremi and Sardar Azmoun, who could do more than his cameos against England.
Thomas: It’s complicated. I don’t expect many goals. So I’ll take under.
Cuff: Wales must win this game; I don’t think Iran will give a damn about them. I think it’s 1-0, not aggressive enough to bet on the correct score. So I will win Wales (+105).
USA vs England (England (-175), USA (+500), draw (+285)
After watching England’s six goals against Iran, it’s no surprise that they became favorites against an American team that barely held on to equalize against Wales in their first leg. With odds for England (-175), USA (+500), Draw (+285), is there any chance that Gregg Berhalter’s men can keep up with the Three Lions?
Carr: Of course! (The American says optimistically.) Since a draw is a worthy result for both teams, I think this game will be tense, especially in the beginning. The US has typically played this way in the toughest qualifiers, away in the octagon, averaging less than six shots and half the expected goal per game in the first half. And they showed no signs of a good counter-attack against Wales. If he plays, Harry Kane won’t be 100 percent and Gareth Southgate also prefers a defensive setup in major tournaments. I’m leaning towards less than 2.5 heads at -120.
Thomas: I would worry about how exhausted everyone looked at the end of the Wales game. I see only a victory for England, and a convincing one at that.
Cuff: I love Paul’s positivity and my heart says the same, but my head says a draw would be healthy. Given the way the US team played and looked, Dan thought in the second half that a point would have been great. I will not play either side until I see the roster to confirm Kane’s start, US roster and any changes. It will be a tight match where the US will think it cannot lose; this may be their downfall, but I also like less, -2.5.
Considering how strong the American side looked in the first half against Wales, would you risk, say, US win in 1st half/England win in 2nd half (+1000) or any other 1st half result/result 2 th half?
Carr: It’s so dependent on the US lineup that I wouldn’t play without seeing the lineup. If Timothy Weah starts again, expect the US to aggressively play long balls and immediately threaten England’s shaky defense. If Brenden Aaronson is in the game, the US will likely try to defend a little more. And if Gio Reyna starts, it could mean the US will try to get the ball. Or maybe a bigger tactical mistake is coming. However, this game can go in different ways, depending on each team’s approach.
Cuff: I was told that I talk too much… NO.
It’s still more likely that the US could make it out of this group, but did you see enough in Monday’s matches to roll the dice and actually win Group B (+800)?
Carr: That wouldn’t be the worst of the lot, given that a US win on Friday would mean a win over Iran would result in a group win, and even a draw might be enough. But at +500 odds on a US win over England, you’re better off just betting them on Friday and then putting some or all of that money into Tuesday’s game when you know exactly what the US needs to advance.
Thomas: I can’t write no again. So I will say that I do not believe that this is a bet that you should be making anywhere near.
Cuff: Given the situation with any other team not named USA, I would never bet that they would win that group in this scenario… So again, take the emotion out of it. Any money put on the US to win the group now is money wasted. To qualify at -125 is where you need to be.
Are there any other props from this game that you especially remember?
Carr: Given the expected conservative nature of both teams, I think +185 with no goals in the first half is worth a try. It’s not a lot of fun to bet, but we’re likely to see a lot of caution early on and I think this game goes to 0-0 break more than a third of the time.
Thomas: I really like Paul’s bet. Elsewhere, a yellow bet on Tyler Adams, who plays a lot with a heart on his sleeve at +330, looks like a brilliant bet.
Cuff: I actually really like both of the above rates, but I’ll also add both commands to the NO -115 result.
News and notes
In Manchester United news, the club’s owners are looking for a world record price to sell the club, sources say to Sportzshala. Forbes values United at £3.8bn ($4.59bn), but sources told Sportzshala that the Glazer family is expecting bids in excess of £6bn ($7.25bn). While a full takeover is the likely outcome, the Glazers have said they are also considering outside investment and “strategic alternatives”.
Iran arrests former member of…