Today at the World Cup: England look to wrap up place in last 16

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England will look to secure their place in the last 16 of the World Cup when they face the United States, while Wales kick off Friday’s action against Iran in a crucial Group B match.

Hosts Qatar play their second Group A game against Senegal and the Netherlands take on Ecuador looking to maintain a perfect start.

Uruguay and South Korea had earlier played out a tepid goalless draw, but Switzerland got their campaign up and running with a 1-0 win over Cameroon.

Here, the PA news agency keeps on top of events in Qatar.

England expects

Gareth Southgate has challenged England to keep thinking big as they look to continue momentum in Qatar.

England captain Harry Kane has shaken off an ankle problem to be fit for Friday’s clash at the Al Bayt Stadium.

Having reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Southgate is looking to go one better than at last summer’s Euros, where England lost the final on penalties to Italy.

“These players are putting our country on the map really. They are regaining our respectability on the world stage and we have got to keep doing that,” Southgate said.

Bale puts team first

Wales captain Gareth Bale will take his place in the record books when he leads the side out against Iran at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on Friday morning.

Bale is set to become his country’s most-capped player by making his 110th international appearance, overtaking Chris Gunter, who will be among the substitutes in Doha.

“On a personal level it’s an amazing achievement,” said Bale, who made his Wales debut in 2006. “But it’s more important that we try and get the victory.”

Ronaldo revels in the spotlight

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo scores the opening goal against Ghana
Cristiano Ronaldo slotted in a penalty to open the scoring against Ghana (Martin Rickett/PA)

Ronaldo – a free agent after his acrimonious Old Trafford departure – became the first male footballer to score in five World Cup final tournaments when he broke the deadlock from the penalty spot.

Andre Ayew’s equaliser briefly looked like it would spoil Portugal’s party, but a quickfire double from Joao Felix and substitute Rafael Leao restored the advantage before Osman Bukari hit a late second for Ghana.

In Thursday’s other Group H fixture, Diego Godin and Federico Valverde were both denied by the woodwork to leave Uruguay frustrated in a 0-0 draw with South Korea.

Richarlison at the double

A stunning volley from Tottenham striker Richarlison helped Brazil see off Serbia in their first Group G game.

Preferred to Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison justified his selection with both goals at a yellow-clad Lusail Stadium.

After a low-key first half as Serbia’s committed defence stayed on top, Richarlison broke the deadlock when he tapped in from close range just after the hour.

Richarlison then lashed in a spectacular second – flicking the ball up with his left foot, then spinning to send a right-footed volley flying into the corner for an early contender for goal of the tournament.

Star man Neymar, though, was left in tears after being forced off late on with an ankle problem which will be assessed in the coming days.

Elsewhere in Group G, Breel Embolo scored the only goal for Switzerland when he stroked home Xherdan Shaqiri’s low cross early in the second half to secure a 1-0 win over Cameroon.

Picture of the day

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring at the World Cup
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated in his own inimitable way after making World Cup history (Martin Rickett/PA)

Who’s up next?

Group B: Wales v Iran (1000, BBC1 and S4C)
Group A: Qatar v Senegal (1300, BBC1)
Group A: Netherlands v Ecuador (1600, ITV1)
Group B: England v USA (1900, ITV1)

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