EPL

Ronaldo misses Man Utd's final game before World Cup after struggling with illness

By Sports Desk November 13, 2022

Cristiano Ronaldo was left out of Manchester United's matchday squad for Sunday's Premier League trip to Fulham after struggling with illness. 

Ronaldo captained United in a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa last week but was absent for Thursday's EFL Cup victory over the same opponents due to feeling unwell.

Erik ten Hag said it was "possible" Ronaldo would be involved in United's final pre-World Cup game at Craven Cottage, insisting the Portugal forward's absence was not influenced by the upcoming tournament in Qatar.

However, the 37-year-old was left out of United's squad, with Anthony Elanga joining Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial – who both scored in Thursday's 4-2 win over Villa – in their attack.

Ten Hag also opted to start left-back Tyrell Malacia in place of suspended right-back Diogo Dalot, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka not included in the squad, while Bruno Fernandes was named captain as Harry Maguire, selected for the World Cup by England manager Gareth Southgate, dropped to the bench after starting on Thursday.

Fulham, meanwhile, were without talismanic striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who is facing a battle to be fit for Serbia's World Cup campaign after sustaining a foot injury.

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  • Switzerland draw felt like a victory, says Neuer after record Euro appearance Switzerland draw felt like a victory, says Neuer after record Euro appearance

    Manuel Neuer said Germany's draw with Switzerland felt like a win, going on to praise the impact made by Julian Nagelsmann's substitutions in Frankfurt on Sunday. 

    In a battle between Group A's unbeaten sides, it was Murat Yakin's team who took the lead through Dan Ndoye's first international goal in the first half.

    Germany had seen Robert Andrich's earlier effort ruled out by VAR after Jamal Musiala was adjudged to have committed a foul in the build-up. 

    However, substitutes David Ruam and Niclas Fullkrug combined to rescue a point for Die Mannschaft, ensuring they topped the group and remained unbeaten heading into the knockout stages. 

    "You should never write off a team, especially ours, especially with the substitutions we were able to make," said Neuer. 

    "The players who came on were a breath of fresh air and the result feels a bit like a victory."

    Neuer, who made his 18th appearance for Germany at the Euros, overtook Gianluigi Buffon (17) to become the goalkeeper with the most appearances in the tournament’s history but was unable to celebrate with a clean sheet. 

    During that time, the 38-year-old has made 32 saves across his appearances in the tournament, an average of 1.7 per game.

    When compared to Buffon, the Italian made more saves (60) from fewer outings, averaging 3.5 saves per game, as well as keeping more clean sheets (eight) compared to Neuer's six.

    The Bayern Munich goalkeeper is playing in his eighth major tournament for Germany and knows his side must improve in the last-16 if they are to add to their three European Championship titles.

    "We weren't quite as good over the 90 minutes (as the first two games) and I think a draw was a fair result. We can be satisfied with the point."

    Germany will face the runner-up of Group C in Dortmund on Saturday, with all four sides potential opponents for Nagelsmann's team. 

  • Scotland denied '100% penalty' against Hungary, says Clarke Scotland denied '100% penalty' against Hungary, says Clarke

    Scotland head coach Steve Clarke was adamant his side should have been awarded a penalty as their Euro 2024 campaign ended with a 1-0 defeat to Hungary in Stuttgart. 

    Kevin Csoboth scored the winning goal in the 10th minute of injury-time to put Scotland out of another major tournament in the group stages. 

    However, things could have been much different for Clarke's side.

    Stuart Armstrong looked to have skipped beyond Hungary's Willi Orban in the 80th minute, before the RB Leipzig defender grappled across the midfielder, with both tumbling inside the area. 

    Referee Facundo Tello waved away Scotland's appeals, and a subsequent check by VAR deemed the challenge not worthy of awarding a spot-kick. 

    “It was 100% a penalty," Clarke said. "Somebody, somewhere has to explain to me why that's not a penalty. It’s a one goal game, we get the penalty and it could have been a different night.

    “I've got other words, but I'm not going to use them. I don't understand how VAR can look at that and say it's not a penalty.

    “In a European competition, it may have been better to have a European referee but we had European VAR and maybe a referee didn't see the challenge clearly on the pitch, so what's the purpose of VAR if they are not going to come in on something like that. It was a penalty.”

    Having qualified for successive European Championships, this was Scotland’s 12th major tournament group stage, and in 50% of those they have failed to win a single match – at the 1954, 1958, 1986, and 1998 World Cups and EURO 2020 and 2024.

    “We gave everything, there’s nothing you can fault there. It was a very tough game against a good opponent," said Clarke. "A very close game that was always going to be decided by the first goal. You could tell that after half an hour.

    “Unfortunately for us when we opened up towards the end of the game to try and chase the winner, that we felt we needed to get to the next stage, we got caught on the counter.”

  • Euro 2024 Data Dive: Late goals and broken records tee up dramatic finish to Group A Euro 2024 Data Dive: Late goals and broken records tee up dramatic finish to Group A

    Sunday's action at Euro 2024 saw the conclusion of Group A, with late drama ensuring a last-gasp shake up to the standings.

    Germany looked sure to be on the end of a shock defeat to Switzerland until substitute Niclas Fullkrug stepped up to make it 1-1 in stoppage time and send the hosts through as group winners.

    Meanwhile, Scotland crashed out of the tournament without a win after conceding the latest goal ever scored at the Euros, with Hungary keeping their hopes of knockout football alive with their 1-0 victory.

    Here, we run through all the best Opta stats to emerge from the day's matches.

    Switzerland 1-1 Germany: Neuer makes history, but Fullkrug grabs headlines

    Having already qualified for the last 16, the hosts left it late to seal top spot in the group, needing Fullkrug to make a much-needed impact off the bench in Frankfurt.

    Dan Ndoye had given Switzerland a first-half lead with his maiden international goal to become the nation's second-youngest goalscorer at the Euros (aged 23 years 242 days), but Switzerland could not hold on.

    Manuel Neuer was left helpless against the forward's first-time finish on his 18th appearance at the European Championships, the most among goalkeepers at the tournament (overtaking Gianluigi Buffon – 17). At major tournaments, only Cristiano Ronaldo (45) has played in more games than the Bayern Munich stopper (37).

    Julian Nagelsmann named the same starting XI for three consecutive games, the first time Germany have done so in the competition's history, though it looked like tiredness was starting to take its toll as they struggled to break down their opponents.

    Toni Kroos finished the game with a passing accuracy of 92.5%, only averaging lower than that in one game for Real Madrid in 2023-24), but also equalled a record in the late drama.

    Having completed 323 passes so far at Euro 2024, Kroos has made the joint-most on record (since 1980) by a player in the group stage since himself at Euro 2016 (also 323).

    Germany eventually had 18 shots, with Fullkrug picking out the top corner with the final one; the striker has scored 13 goals in just 19 international appearances, while his four as a substitute at major tournaments are more than any other European player.

    Despite ultimately losing out on top spot, Switzerland have now gone unbeaten in their last four games against Die Mannschaft (W1 D3), with no nation currently enjoying a longer unbeaten streak against Germany (England and Spain both have ongoing runs of four).

    Scotland 0-1 Hungary: Csoboth breaks Tartan Army's hearts

    Meanwhile in Stuttgart, it was Hungary celebrating a late strike to seal a 1-0 victory that ensured an early exit for Scotland as they chased what would have been a landmark win.

    Kevin Csoboth cemented his place in European Championship history with his counter-attacking finish as he netted the latest goal ever scored in the tournament's history (excluding extra time), timed at 99 minutes and 32 seconds.

    Despite needing a win to finish third, Scotland failed to have a single shot on target in the game. In total, the Tartan Army had just 17 shots at Euro 2024 – since the group stage was introduced in 1980, it is the joint-fewest by a national team, along with Northern Ireland at Euro 2016.

    Indeed, only twice at Euro 2024 has a team failed to manage a shot on target in the first half of a match and both have been Scotland (also on MD 1 against Germany).

    Scotland pushed numbers forward for their last-minute corner with the hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the Euros for the first time, but instead will leave a major tournament group stage without a win for the sixth time (1954, 1958, 1986 and 1998 World Cups and Euro 2020 and 2024).

    While looking down and out after failing to win either of their opening games, Hungary finally ended a run of eight games in the competition without a win, registering their first victory since beating Austria 2-0 at Euro 2016 – this was also their first clean sheet since that win.

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