World Cup 2022 news LIVE: Raheem Sterling hands England boost ahead of France tie

Jack Grealish: England have special bond with fans

Jack Grealish insists England now have a “special bond” with the fans ahead of the World Cup quarter-final.

“The pundits and press will always have something negative to say about us, no matter what we do, but we have created a special bond with the fans – during the last Euros and the World Cup in 2018. I feel they believe in us now.

“They are going into each game thinking this team can win, whoever we play against. No doubt this game will be our biggest test yet, but you are never going to get to a World Cup final without playing the best and we are fully looking forward to it.”

England’s Jack Grealish celebrates after victory over Wales

Ibrahima Konate: Kylian Mbappe just resting before England match

Ibrahima Konate has moved to allay any doubts over Kylian Mbappe’s involvement in the World Cup quarter-final against England.

The PSG superstar missed training on Wednesday, but the Liverpool defender insists Les Bleus’ talisman will be ready.

“We haven’t really spoken about it at all. He was just resting,” Konate said.

“It was a little recovery session – the day before we had a day off. I think he decided to stay indoors with the coach, there is nothing to worry about.”

‘It annoys us’: Luke Shaw on England team leaks

“For some reason, our team is out every game day before anything, so I’m sure everyone is going to find out like normal. It seems to get leaked every time we play.

“Of course it annoys us when that happens. You can guess some players that are going to play, but sometimes if people get changed and it is out there before the team actually gets announced it can give the opposing team an advantage.

“That is something we all speak about. We don’t understand why the English media would leak that to give other teams an advantage.

“There is nothing we can do about it because it has been happening for a long time, but we’ve got a couple more days to focus more on details about what France are going to do and we’ll go from there.”

This is the side of the World Cup that Qatar would prefer you ignore

t is one of the regular moments of harsh reality that takes you out of the illusion that is this World Cup. As the taxi driver drops the group off, there is a sudden plea. It is not for a five-star rating.

“Can you give me a tip please?”, he asks. “I have no money to eat.”

The driver, of south Asian descent, sends almost everything he earns back to his family. This is supposed to be the long-awaited period when such workers can generate income due to the number of visitors to Qatar but here is another who is just starving.

This is the side of the World Cup that Qatar would prefer you ignore

To walk around Qatar is to be blinded by lights, deafened by sounds, but the football has not distracted away from the debate around the most controversial World Cup in history, writes Miguel Delaney

Cristiano Ronaldo role at World Cup ‘to be defined’, Portugal coach reveals

Cristiano Ronaldo’s role for the remainder of the World Cup is something that has to be “defined”, Portugal boss Fernando Santos said after dropping his captain for their emphatic last-16 win over Switzerland.

The 37-year-old was only named on the bench as Benfica forward Goncalo Ramos – who hit a hat-trick on his full debut to secure a comfortable 6-1 victory and set up a quarter-final clash with Morocco.

Cristiano Ronaldo role at World Cup ‘to be defined’, Portugal coach reveals

The former Manchester United forward was left on the bench against Switzerland as his replacement Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick

‘I always knew I’d find form’: Harry Maguire repays Gareth Southgate’s faith with exemplary World Cup displays

To ward off the monotony that can build between games during the long weeks away at a major tournament, England’s players have been passing the time by trying their hand at Werewolf.

A murder strategy game based on lies and deception, those chosen as “wolves” have to kill off as many “villagers” as possible while the villagers have to detect and identify the wolves. One member of the squad has stood head and shoulders above the rest, revealing himself as something of a super sleuth. “I’m quite good at psychology, to be honest,” admits Harry Maguire. “I’ve needed to be over the last year or so.”

While Maguire puts his Werewolf prowess partly down to an analytical mind, it is mostly due to past experience. “I’ve played it before as well, I must say. When I was at Leicester, we played the game a lot and the more you play the game the more you see. You get to look at what people are doing, how they’re acting.”

This World Cup has shown us the most important positon in football

The way Gregg Berhalter put it: “We lacked that offensive finishing quality.” As the United States tumbled out of the World Cup, it may have been a more diplomatic, distinctly American way of saying his side needed a striker.

They are not alone in that but Berhalter tried three in four games, attempted an interlude with a false nine, and got a solitary goal from a centre-forward: Haji Wright’s fluke of a finish against the Netherlands. “We don’t have a Memphis Depay right now,” the USA manager concluded.

This World Cup has shown us the most important positon in football

The lack of a legitimate or in-form centre-forward has proven the death knell for many teams in Qatar

BREAKING: Raheem Sterling to return to England’s World Cup squad after burglary

Raheem Sterling will return to the England squad ahead of their World Cup 2022 quarter-final with France ffollowing the burglary of his family home in Surrey.

The 27-year-old forward did not feature in Sunday’s last-16 win against Senegal due to concern over his family’s wellbeing after the break-in that left his partner Paige and their three children badly shaken.

Sterling returned to the UK but is now willing to travel back to Qatar, with additional security measures being worked through to assure his family’s safety.

The FA confirmed: “Raheem Sterling will return to England’s World Cup base in Qatar.

“The Chelsea forward temporarily left to attend to a family matter but is now expected to rejoin the squad in Al Wakrah on Friday (9 December) ahead of the quarter-final with France.”

World Cup: The best moments so far from Messi magic and shock upsets to group stage drama

And breathe. After 17 days of non-stop football, the World Cup pauses ahead of the quarter-finals in Qatar. Amid controversy and continued human rights concerns surrounding the host country off the pitch, it’s been an exhilarating ride so far on it, with shocks galore and a number of thrilling matches to light up the tournament.

The group stages may be remembered as the most unpredictable ever seen at a World Cup, with Saudi Arabia shocking Argentina, Japan stunning Germany and then Spain, and Tunisia beating the defending champions France. Several of the groups went down to the final day, and in some cases final minutes, setting up a diverse last-16 line-up.

There have been moments of inspiration from star players, including Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe, as well as sublime team goals scored by the Netherlands and Brazil. England have also impressed and are the tournament’s top scorers heading into the quarter-finals, with Gareth Southgate’s side facing France on Saturday.

Morocco produced the result of the last-16 as they upset Spain on penalties, and will look to become the first African team to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup when they take on Portugal. Cristiano Ronaldo has already made history by becoming the first man to score in five World Cups, while Argentina look to be on a collision course with Brazil in what is Messi’s final World Cup.

Here are some of the best moments of the World Cup so far, as nominated by The Independent’s writers.

World Cup: The best moments so far

Amid controversy and continued human rights concerns surrounding Fifa and Qatar off the pitch, it’s been an exhilarating ride so far on it

Enjoying the Qatar World Cup? Here is the reality hiding in plain sight

t is a description that was almost overlooked at the time, but that Qatar was highly attuned to, and warrants mention every day of this World Cup.

“Consultations and reports in Qatar reveal that racial and ethnic stereotypes operate in both the public and private spheres, according to which, for example, sub-Saharan African men are presumed to be unsanitary, sub-Saharan African women are presumed to be sexually available, and certain South Asian nationalities are presumed unintelligent.

“The Special Rapporteur received credible reports that, on the other hand, North Americans, Europeans and Australians are presumed superior, and whites in general are presumed to be inherently competent in various contexts, such as hiring and promotion decisions.”

Enjoying the Qatar World Cup? Here is the reality hiding in plain sight

While the football dazzles in Qatar, one of the most dominant controversies in the build-up is now rarely mentioned, reports Miguel Delaney

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