World Cup 2022 LIVE: Qatar vs Senegal build-up, Karim Benzema OUT of tournament, Ronaldo & Messi photo, England latest | The Sun

FRANCE have been dealt a huge blow as Karim Benzema has been ruled out of the World Cup with injury.

The Ballon d'Or winner is having to forfeit from the squad after picking up an injury in training.

The World Cup gets underway today as hosts Qatar take on Ecuador in the opening game.

Elsewhere, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have come together with Louis Vitton and released a joint Instagram post.

The pair are pictured together over a chess board ahead of the tournament that gets underway on Sunday.

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Stay tuned with all the latest ahead of the tournament…

  • Jake Sanders

    Confirmed officials for England

    The officials have been confirmed for England's clash with Iran on Monday.

    The game will be refereed by Brazilian Raphael Claus, while hisassistants will be countrymen Rodrigo Figueiredo and Danilo Simon.

    The VAR will be Leodan Gonzalez of Uruguay.

  • Jake Sanders

    Opener fast appoaching

    We're now less than eight hours away from the opening game of the World Cup between Qatar and Ecuador.

    The game in Al Khor kicks off at 7pm local time, which is 4pm English.

    Everything you need to know is HERE, including details about the opening ceremony.

    Today's clash also marks the start of 17 consecutive days of World Cup football.

  • Kealan Hughes

    Good morning footy fans!

    Reports are coming late tonight that Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema is out of the World Cup.

    The France striker, 34, was earlier reported to be missing out on his country’s first game against Australia.

    However, now it’s been said that he will miss the whole tournament with a tear to his left thigh, according to Le Parisien.

    French journalist Julien Laurens has also tweeted: “Karim Benzema is out of the whole World Cup!!!!”

    Argentina are worried over the fitness of star man Lionel Messi after he was spotted training alone just days before their first World Cup game.

    Lionel Scaloni’s side trained in Qatar together but Messi was notably not involved sparking injury fears amongst fans.

    The 35-year-old appeared for practice later than the rest of his teammates and took part in a one-on-one session with a coach rather than joining in with the full squad.

    Marca report that Messi did “solo exercises” and did not touch the ball in his session but he will be okay for the team’s opening game.

    Argentine journalist Gustavo Yarroch rushed to calm down worried supporters saying that the PSG star has a small calf issue and that he is reducing his workload to ensure he is fit to play.

    Former American goalkeeper Brad Friedal has claimed England does not scare US – but Wales do.

    The ex-Tottenham keeper wrote in the Mail: “A lot of people think the US should beat Wales but this Welsh team is good. They have some excellent players and I’ve seen up close how special their star man, Gareth Bale, is.

    “A lot of people think the US should beat Wales but this Welsh team is good. They have some excellent players and I’ve seen up close how special their star man, Gareth Bale, is. Watching him in the MLS Cup final showed me how the fire still burns inside.”

    Qatar’s beer ban could cost Fifa a staggering £40MILLION with Budweiser prepared to play hard-ball.

    The American beer company is one of the World Cup’s official sponsors and were set to provide the booze in grounds and fan zones in Qatar.

    However, footy fans attending the tournament will have a dry World Cup after authorities performed a stunning U-turn on alcohol this week.

    It had previously been promised that beer and other drinks would be available at all eight World Cup venues.

    However, Fifa chiefs bowed to pressure from the Qatari authorities and confirmed they will not be selling alcohol at any stadiums.

    It’s bad news for official beer sponsor Budweiser, who are now looking for compensation following the shock U-turn.

    They currently have a deal worth around £65m with Fifa for this World Cup.

    Budweiser also has a deal for the 2026 World Cup worth up to £95m.
    Gareth Southgate does not deserve the berating he got for a dismal Nations League campaign this year, Eric Dier says.

    The defender told a press conference : “It’s crazy talk and perceptions change so quickly.

    “You’ve got to remember what England were doing before.

    “He has taken England to a World Cup semi and the final of a Euros and we’re talking small margins that change the outcome of those results.

    “The criticism is crazy after a small run of results given how England performed at those tournaments — and he was at the forefront of that.”

  • Jon Boon

    Lucky escape for Phillips

    Kalvin Phillips dropped a clanger that almost wrecked his Qatar hopes.

    The Manchester City star, 26, recovered from shoulder surgery just in time to be named in England’s World Cup squad.

    Then he risked it all by letting a 5kg weight fall on his foot ahead of City’s clash with Brentford last week!

    The midfielder, who has cut up his left flip-flop to stop it rubbing on the wound, said: “It’s a good story to be honest!

    “So before that game, being the professional I am, I went to the gym before the match and was just doing loads of Achilles work on the leg press.

    “I’d gone to pull a weight off the rack and there must have been one stuck behind it and I pulled it off and it landed on my foot and cut it all.

    “I stood for about ten seconds and thought, ‘Oh my God — what was that?’

    “If it wasn’t a 5kg plate, if it had been heavier, I think it would have been a lot worse.

    “Imagine that, that is what you get for being professional!

    “But it’s not too bad, the blisters from training hurt more.”

  • Jon Boon

    Dier sticks up for Southgate

    Gareth Southgate does not deserve the berating he got for a dismal Nations League campaign this year, Eric Dier says.

    The defender told a press conference : “It’s crazy talk and perceptions change so quickly.

    “You’ve got to remember what England were doing before.

    “He has taken England to a World Cup semi and the final of a Euros and we’re talking small margins that change the outcome of those results.

    “The criticism is crazy after a small run of results given how England performed at those tournaments — and he was at the forefront of that.”

  • Jon Boon

    Defiant Kane

    Harry Kane today defied a last-ditch bid by World Cup chiefs to stop him wearing a rainbow “One Love” armband.

    His team-mate Eric Dier also became the first England player to speak out on Qatar controversies, calling stadium worker deaths “terrible”.

    Fifa’s rattled chief Gianni Infantino had earlier launched into a bizarre defence of the World Cup, which kicks off tomorrow afternoon after a succession of cock-ups.

    Three Lions captain Kane will sport its anti-discrimination armband when England play Iran tomorrow after the FA rejected a late Fifa alternative yesterday.

    In its latest startling move, Fifa chiefs unveiled its own “approved” armbands including one emblazoned with: “NoDiscrimination.”

    But the FA hit back: “We respect the Fifa armband but are committed to the One Love armband and intend to wear it.”

  • Jon Boon

    Benzema out of the World Cup

    Reports are coming late tonight that Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema is out of the World Cup.

    The France striker, 34, was earlier reported to be missing out on his country's first game against Australia.

    However, now it's been said that he will miss the whole tournament with a tear to his left thigh, according to Le Parisien.

    French journalist Julien Laurens has also tweeted: "Karim Benzema is out of the whole World Cup!!!!"

  • Jon Boon

    Southgate to resign?

    Sam Allardyce reckons Gareth Southgate will quit as England manager even if he wins the World Cup.

    Ex-Bolton and West Ham chief Allardyce said: “If Southgate doesn’t win the World Cup, he will step down from his role as England manager.

    “Even if he does win it, he will walk too as he can leave on a high.

    “It’d be a great way to bow out.”

  • Jon Boon

    Forest keen on Keane

    Everton want to off-load England defender Michael Keane — and hope Nottingham Forest make a big offer.

    Keane is out of favour under Frank Lampard and the Toffees plan to cash in on the 29-year-old ex-Burnley centre-back.

    Forest have money to spend and want to boost their survival battle.

    But Steve Cooper will explore other options first and Everton may have to settle for a fee around £15million at best.

  • Jon Boon

    Sancho wipes his Insta

    Man Utd fans have been left baffled after Jadon Sancho wiped out his Instagram account.

    The 22-year-old winger moved to Old Trafford last year after a stunning few years in Germany at Borussia Dortmund.

    That had led to him becoming a regular in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.

    However, a drop in form for his club has seen him lose his Three Lions place which has resulted in him missing out on the World Cup.

    Whether or not that is the reason that Sancho has decided to have an Instagram blackout remains unknown.

    But fans were quick to spot today that he had deleted all of his previous posts from the account.

  • Jon Boon

    Benzema doubt

    France could be without Karim Benzema for their opening World Cup game against Australia after he limped out of Saturday's training session.

    The reigning world champions begin the defence of their title in Qatar on Tuesday.

    But they have received some bad news just days out from getting their campaign underway.

    According to L'Equipe via Get French Football News, the Ballon d'Or winner is still being plagued by both a hamstring problem AND knee strains.

    Those reports gained further credibility just hours later when Benzema, 34, pulled up and promptly ended his training session before the rest of the France squad.

    His fitness issues now make him a doubt for their opening game against Australia.

  • Jon Boon

    Messi injury worry

    Argentina are worried over the fitness of star man Lionel Messi after he was spotted training alone just days before their first World Cup game.

    Lionel Scaloni's side trained in Qatar together but Messi was notably not involved sparking injury fears amongst fans.

    The 35-year-old appeared for practice later than the rest of his teammates and took part in a one-on-one session with a coach rather than joining in with the full squad.

    Marca report that Messi did "solo exercises" and did not touch the ball in his session but he will be okay for the team's opening game.

    Argentine journalist Gustavo Yarroch rushed to calm down worried supporters saying that the PSG star has a small calf issue and that he is reducing his workload to ensure he is fit to play.

  • Jon Boon

    Check mates

    Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been snapped playing chess against one another ahead of the World Cup.

    The long-time rivals took part in a Louis Vuitton photoshoot which was released just days before the start of football's biggest tournament.

    It showed the pair analysing where to go on a Louis Vuitton bag that was being used as a chess board.

    Both men posted similar captions alongside the photo – which the pair shared on Instagram.

    They read: "Victory is in the Mind. A long-standing tradition handcrafted trunk-building photographed by @louisvuitton.

    "For @annieleibovitz Victory is a State of Mind. A long tradition of crafting trunks photographed by @louisvuitton."

  • Jon Boon

    Friedal claims US don't fear England

    Former American goalkeeper Brad Friedal has claimed England does not scare US – but Wales do.

    The ex-Tottenham keeper wrote in the Mail: "A lot of people think the US should beat Wales but this Welsh team is good. They have some excellent players and I've seen up close how special their star man, Gareth Bale, is.

    "A lot of people think the US should beat Wales but this Welsh team is good. They have some excellent players and I've seen up close how special their star man, Gareth Bale, is. Watching him in the MLS Cup final showed me how the fire still burns inside."

  • Jon Boon

    FIFA's potential £40m Budweiser bill

    Qatar’s beer ban could cost Fifa a staggering £40MILLION with Budweiser prepared to play hard-ball.

    The American beer company is one of the World Cup’s official sponsors and were set to provide the booze in grounds and fan zones in Qatar.

    However, footy fans attending the tournament will have a dry World Cup after authorities performed a stunning U-turn on alcohol this week.

    It had previously been promised that beer and other drinks would be available at all eight World Cup venues.

    However, Fifa chiefs bowed to pressure from the Qatari authorities and confirmed they will not be selling alcohol at any stadiums.

    It’s bad news for official beer sponsor Budweiser, who are now looking for compensation following the shock U-turn.

    They currently have a deal worth around £65m with Fifa for this World Cup.

    Budweiser also has a deal for the 2026 World Cup worth up to £95m.

  • Jon Boon

    Dier asks fans to enjoy 'without alcohol'

    Eric Dier believes England fans can enjoy the World Cup in Qatar without any booze.

    "I'd like to think you can enjoy yourself with or without alcohol," Dier said.

    "It's up to us as a team and every team in the tournament to bring great football, exciting football and that's what is going to create a great atmosphere in the stadiums."

  • Jon Boon

    Unicorns are back!

    Harry Maguire has revealed the inflatable unicorns are back for England.

    The blow-up animals became iconic in the last World Cup when several players were pictured riding them joyfully in the swimming pool.

    They then made a comeback last year as England managed to fight their way through to the Euro 2020 final.

    And now for the third major tournament in a row, the inflatable unicorns will make an appearance.

    Maguire confirmed the beach toys have returned with a Instagram post.

    With a pic of the unicorns sat on a pool edge, the defender wrote: "nice to meet you again."

  • Jon Boon

    Wenger backs England for semi-final

    Arsenal legend Arsene Wenger says England will reach the World Cup last four – if they can banish their inner doubts.

    Wenger, the leader of the World Cup Technical Study Group, told SunSport: “If you look at the last few years, England should be in the semi-finals at least.

    “They got to the semi-finals in Russia and then the Final in the Euros.

    “But the doubt comes from what has happened over the past year.

    “If they can get over that doubt in their own minds, they have the team that is good enough to reach the semi-finals.”

  • Jon Boon

    Neymar respect

    Brazil forward Richarlison physically moved teammate Fred after he sat in Neymar's seat for a squad picture ahead of the World Cup.

    The five-time world champions are heading to Qatar as the favourites to lift the trophy.

    Tite's 26-man squad boasts a plethora of superstars led by Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar.

    And it was Tottenham's Richarlison who reminded Manchester United midfielder Fred of the hierarchy among the players on the eve of the tournament.

    As they prepared for a photo together, Fred sat down in the middle of the shot.

    If he had stayed there, he would have been situated next to Brazil captain Marquinhos and Newcastle man Bruno Guimaraes.

    But Richarlison was having none of it and proceeded to move the 29-year-old.

    He walked over to Fred and dragged him to the side, before sitting him down in a different spot in between Raphinha and Alex Telles.

    It was a hilarious moment which caused a huge reaction on social media.

    One person said: "😅 Poor Fred. Good to see players respect Neymar".

  • Jake Sanders

    Smith Rowe tips England to win World Cup

    Arsenal star Emile Smith Rowe reckons England will win the World Cup.

    Smith Rowe was part of the squad this time 12 months ago, but injuries and a lack of form has seen him miss out on the last couple of squads.

    Regardless, the attacker is confident his teammates will get the job done in Qatar.

    He told Sky Sports News: “I’m really confident in the team, obviously we missed out at the last minute in the last big tournament.

    “I believe the boys are going to bring it home this time. The squad is really strong, it’s looking good.”

  • Jake Sanders

    Free access for supporters

    The technical nerve centre of the 2022 World Cup has been revealed – as an office full of stats geeks in Newport, writes Martin Lipton.

    A team of 78 analysts, date engineers and scientists based in the Welsh town will detail every second of each player in all 64 matches.

    The detailed breakdowns, including the number of time a player DIDN’T receive a pass when they were open, as well as sprinting, line breaks, tackles, distances and accuracy of passes, will be available to anyone via just four hours after the final whistle on the Fifa Training Centre website.

    It means the armchair fan will have free access to all the information available to Gareth Southgate and the other 31 World Cup coaches – and be able to show where England got it right OR wrong.

  • Jake Sanders

    Unbeerlievable

    Budweiser have been left with thousands of canned beer they cannot sell at the World Cup after Fifa’s last minute U-turn, writes Martin Lipton.

    And that comes after a genuine booze cruise from the firm’s three breweries in London, Lancashire and Wales.

    Tankers made the 8,000 mile sea route to Doha – a voyage taking 30 days – via the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal, arriving just in time for Qatar to slam down the shutters on the planned stadium bars.

    No wonder it is anticipated Budweiser will be looking for a £40m reduction on the new sponsorship dela that takes in the 2026 tournament in the US, Canada and Mexico.

  • Jake Sanders

    Wenger tips England for semi-final

    Arsene Wenger says England will reach the World Cup last four – if they can banish their inner doubts, writes Martin Lipton.

    The former Arsenal boss, now Fifa's head of global football development, is backing Gareth Southgate's to go deep in what he predicts will the "World Cup of the last chance – and the high press".

    Wenger, the leader of the World Cup Technical Study Group, told SunSport: "If you look at the last few years, England should be in the semi-finals at least.

    "They got to the semi-finals in Russia and then the Final in the Euros.

    "But the doubt comes from what has happened over the past year.

    "If they can get over that doubt in their own minds, they have the team that is good enough to reach the semi-finals."

  • Jake Sanders

    No Christraction

    Christian Eriksen has said that Cristiano Ronaldo's interview with SunSport columnist Piers Morgan hasn't proved a distraction for him ahead of the World Cup.

    The 37-year-old said he has no respect for Erik ten Hag and also slammed the club's owners, but Eriksen hasn't been in contact with the Portugal ace recently and his focus is solely on football's showpiece.

    He said: "It hasn’t been any distraction for me, all my thoughts are on the World Cup.

    "I haven’t spoken to him in the last couple of weeks."

  • Jake Sanders

    World Cup a dream for Eriksen

    Christian Eriksen will complete his ‘dream’ journey back to football’s biggest stage here in Doha when he takes to the field against Tunisia next week, writes Neil Custis.

    In June of last year Eriksen said he had 'died for five minutes' when he collapsed in the 42nd minute of Denmark’s Euros opener against Finland in Copenhagen.

    He returned not only to club football with Brentford last season and now Manchester United this but as the talisman for his national side.

    He said: "I think one of the first conversations I had with the doctor in Amsterdam, who participated in all the testing, was about it being my goal to play in the World Cup if everything went well.

    "That was the dream at the time. But things went as they did and I was back playing in March and have since played a number of matches. I never expected that. It’s just great."

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