England powers past Wales to top Group B, U.S. blanks Iran to advance to knockout round
Dutch beat host Qatar to remain unbeaten; Senegal advances after defeating Ecuador
Christian Pulisic scored while crashing headfirst into the goalkeeper in the 38th minute and the United States advanced to the knockout round of the World Cup with a 1-0 win over Iran on Tuesday in a politically charged rematch of their famous meeting a quarter-century ago.
Pulisic sprawled on the field and was lying in the goal for about three minutes as he received treatment from the U.S. staff. He reentered the game but was replaced at the start of the second half.
Back in the World Cup after missing the 2018 tournament, the U.S. opened with draws against Wales and England and needed a victory to move on to the round of 16.
The Americans finished second in Group B with five points, two behind England, and will play the Netherlands on Saturday with the chance to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002.
The U.S. is 1-4 against the Netherlands, all friendlies, overcoming a two-goal deficit to win 4-3 at Amsterdam in 2015.
Iran finished third with three points. The team has failed to advance in all six of its World Cup appearances.
Politically charged match
There was heightened tension surrounding the match because of the strained relations between the United States and Iran's Islamic government. Iran had famously upset the U.S. 2-1 in the 1998 tournament in France, eliminating the Americans.
Pregame protocols were normal, unlike the 1998 game, when Iranians presented the Americans with white flowers and the teams posed for a joint photo.
The U.S. outshot Iran 9-0 in the first half but didn't break through until Pulisic came up with the big moment that a growing and increasingly demanding fan base back home had been pining for.
Turning his body to let the ball hit his right foot, Pulisic knocked the ball for his 22nd international goal and first in World Cup play. His momemtum carried him into goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, and Pulisic needed to be helped to his feet before going back in.
Tim Weah, who scored the Americans' goal in the opening 1-1 draw with Wales, nearly doubled the lead in the seventh minute of first-half stoppage time but was ruled offside.
With England ahead of Wales, Iran knew if needed only a draw to advance and finally got its first shot at goalkeeper Matt Turner when Saman Ghoddos put a header over the crossbar in the 52nd minute. Iran went on to miss a couple more opportunities while hunting for the draw.
Rashford-led England breezes past Wales
Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden both scored Tuesday to put England into the last 16 of the World Cup with a 3-0 victory over Wales.
England coach Gareth Southgate opted to add both players in the starting lineup for the team's final Group B match and they responded with all three goals — two from Rashford and the other from Foden.
England will next face Senegal in the round of 16. Wales finished in last place in the group and has been eliminated.
Southgate had faced calls to freshen up his team after the 0-0 draw with the United States. He brought in Rashford and Foden into a new look attack and it worked.
England had the game wrapped up just after halftime with Rashford scoring from a free kick in the 50th and Foden adding another in the 51st. Rashford got his second after a weaving run in the box in the 68th.
Wales captain Gareth Bale was forced off at halftime with an injury.
The players for both England and Wales took a knee before their final World Cup group game on Tuesday.
The teams made the gesture as a sign of solidarity in the fight against discrimination.
England and Wales were among seven European nations that had intended to have their captains wear "One Love" armbands in support of inclusivity at the tournament in Qatar. But they had to abandon those plans after FIFA threatened sporting sanctions for any captain that wore them.
England coach Gareth Southgate said his players would take a knee at the start of the tournament. The team did it at all three Group B matches in Qatar. Wales only did it Tuesday.
"We feel this is the biggest and we think it's a strong statement that will go around the world for young people, in particular, to see that inclusivity is very important," Southgate said.
Additionally, the U.K.'s first openly gay sports minister attended the game and wore the armband.
Stuart Andrew said he decided to wear it in support of inclusivity at sporting events.
Dutch down host Qatar
The Netherlands finished off the worst showing by any World Cup host nation by beating Qatar 2-0 on Tuesday.
The Dutch advanced to the round of 16 by winning Group A while the Qataris, who were already eliminated, became the first host to lose all three of its group matches at soccer's biggest event.
Cody Gakpo put the Netherlands ahead midway through the first half with his third goal in as many matches and Frenkie de Jong doubled the advantage five minutes into the second half.
The Netherlands is a three-time runner-up at the World Cup, and also finished third in 2014, while Qatar was making its tournament debut.
The Dutch failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
The Netherlands finished with seven points at the top of the group. Senegal, which beat Ecuador 2-1 in the other group game, advanced in second place with six points. Ecuador was eliminated with four points and Qatar ended with zero.
In the 26th minute, Gakpo took control outside the area, dribbled forward and unleashed a powerful side-footed shot between two defenders that entered inside the right post.
De Jong's goal came when he sprinted forward uncontested to knock in a rebound from close range following a shot from Memphis Depay.
A possible third goal for the Netherlands by Steven Berghuis was waved off following a video review for a handball in the buildup.
While the Netherlands dominated the possession and created many more chances, Qatar did push forward on occasion and there was a nervy moment for the Dutch when goalkeeper Andries Noppert had trouble collecting a long-range shot from Ismael Mohamed.
Gakpo drew level with France standout Kylian Mbappe and Ecuador veteran Enner Valencia atop the tournament scoring chart.
For club and country in all competitions this season, Gakpo has been involved in 35 goals in 29 appearances with 17 goals scored and 18 assists.
That should make the 23-year-old PSV Eindhoven forward the target for an expensive transfer in the upcoming months.
In the round of 16, the Netherlands will face the second-placed team in Group B, which features England, Iran, the United States and Wales.
Senegal advance for 1st time since 2002
Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly put his team into the last 16 of the World Cup by volleying home the winner in a 2-1 victory over Ecuador on Tuesday.
Koulibaly scored three minutes after Moises Caicedo had evened the score at 1-1.
In a must-win match for the African champions, Senegal took the lead after a first-half penalty by Ismaila Sarr. Caicedo scored his goal in the 67th.
Lions of Teranga roaring from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TotalEnergisAFCON?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TotalEnergisAFCON</a> to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FIFAWorldCup?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FIFAWorldCup</a> 🦁<br><br>Senegal reach the FIFA World Cup round of 16 🇸🇳 <a href="https://t.co/aRDl8Io3MD">pic.twitter.com/aRDl8Io3MD</a>—@CAF_Online
At 1-1, Ecuador would have advanced from Group A and Senegal would have been eliminated.
The Netherlands beat Qatar 2-0 in the other match to win the group. Senegal finished second while Ecuador and Qatar were eliminated.
Senegal last advanced from the group stage at the 2002 World Cup, when the team reached the quarterfinals in its tournament debut.
Brazil's Neymar to miss final group stage match
Neymar will miss Brazil's last group game at the World Cup because of his right ankle injury, the team doctor said Tuesday.
Rodrigo Lasmar said the Brazil forward will not face Cameroon in the Group G game on Friday in Qatar.
Neymar missed Monday's game against Switzerland, when Brazil won 1-0 to secure its spot in the round of 16.
Lasmar did not give a timetable on Neymar's return, and did not say if the player would return at all. Brazil's coaching staff, though, reiterated Tuesday the Paris Saint-Germain forward was expected to play again at the tournament in Qatar.
Neymar, who damaged ligaments in his ankle during Brazil's opening match against Serbia, was the only player who didn't go to Stadium 974 to watch the match against Switzerland. He stayed at the team hotel for physiotherapy treatment.
Lasmar said Neymar also had a fever on Monday, which "was under control" and would not affect his ankle treatment.
Lasmar said right back Danilo, who also is nursing an ankle injury, and left back Alex Sandro, who had to leave Monday's match with a muscle injury, also won't play against Cameroon.
Danilo got injured in the team's opener last week and also missed the game against Switzerland. Alex Sandro got hurt in the final minutes of Brazil's win against the Swiss and was replaced by Alex Telles. Tests on Tuesday showed that he as a muscle injury in his left hip, Lasmar said.
Tite replaced Neymar with Fred and Danilo with Eder Militao in Monday's starting lineup.
Neymar, trying to win his first major title with Brazil, is two goals shy of Pele's all-time record of 77 with the national team.
His right ankle also kept him from playing in the 2019 Copa America in Brazil. Five years earlier, he was taken out of the World Cup in Brazil after hurting his back in the quarter-finals against Colombia.