Choupo-Moting passes Man Utd audition as Xhaka fortune goes on

World Cup 2022 briefing: Day 5

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Switzerland got their World Cup campaign off to a positive start with a 1-0 win over Cameroon on Thursday. Breel Embolo scored the only goal of the game in the 48th minute, converting after good work from Xherdan Shaqiri. Express Sport will now take a look at four things we learned from the showdown in Qatar.

Choupo-Moting passes Man Utd audition

One player to be linked with a move to Manchester United in recent weeks is Eric Choupo-Moting.

He previously struggled on these shores when he played for Stoke, netting just five times during his one and only season in the Premier League.

But Choupo-Moting has rebuilt his career at Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich in the time since and, in his first World Cup game this year, posed a threat.

The striker, who has scored 11 goals from 16 games for Bayern this season, caused Switzerland all kinds of problems and would have found the net if it wasn’t for the excellent Yann Sommer between the sticks.

United need a striker to replace Cristiano Ronaldo and Choupo-Moting, while not a Galactico name, would certainly represent a shrewd signing based on this evidence.

Yann Sommer shines

Another player to have been linked with United is Yann Sommer, who emerged as a transfer target back in the summer.

He was reportedly flattered by interest from the Red Devils, though opted to stay at Borussia Monchengladbach because he was worried about whether he’d be given regular first-team football.

United then proceeded to sign Martin Dubravka from Newcastle as an alternative.

But Sommer was outstanding for Switzerland, producing a typically resilient performance between the sticks and managing to keep Cameroon at bay.

He made five saves during the showdown at the Al Janoub Stadium, showing the Red Devils what they’re missing in the process.

Xhaka fortune goes on

Granit Xhaka has had a terrific season so far.

Many thought he’d be a squad player for Arsenal at best, especially after blowing hot and cold last term as the Gunners missed out on Champions League football.

But Xhaka has been a liberated figure at the Emirates Stadium and the Switzerland international’s good form has continued.

The 30-year-old has only been on the losing side twice this season. One was when they lost 3-1 to Manchester United in the Premier League, while Brighton beat them by the same scoreline in north London.

Xhaka will be hoping his fortune can continue when Switzerland face Brazil on Monday.

FIFA’s pledge looks foolish now

Before the World Cup in Qatar commenced, FIFA claimed it would be a ‘carbon-neutral’ affair.

So, of course, it makes perfect sense to have all the lights on at 2pm when the day was soaked in sunshine.

There was really no need for it. And yet those at the top deemed it necessary, despite there being barely any clouds in the blue sky.

FIFA have already broken several promises over the course of the competition so far.

And this looks like another one. That they’ve urged fans to travel to grounds by car, rather than using the state-of-the-art Metro system, is another controversial call. 

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