Hugo Lloris insists France will need 'all our strength, all our energy' when they face Morocco in the World Cup semi-finals.

Les Bleus became the first reigning champions to reach the last four since Brazil in 1998 after edging out England in a tight quarter-final on Saturday, Olivier Giroud's late header settling the tie.

It was a special day for Lloris, who became France's record cap holder after surpassing Lilian Thuram (142) with his 143rd international appearance.

To mark the occasion, the captain was presented with a commemorative shirt by Didier Deschamps as attention turns to the tournament's surprise package in Morocco, who became the first African nation to reach the semi-finals after stunning Portugal.

"[I am] still proud, still honoured to wear the shirt of Les Bleus, even after 143 appearances," Lloris said in a video posted on France's official Twitter account.

"I really want to thank the team, the staff, the entire management for making this game so special. Beating England in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, it will remain a special memory for me, but also for my family who were present.

"Now, we'll prepare well for this semi-final against Morocco. We'll need all our strength, all our energy knowing that there's something really special we can achieve.

"I think we're all aware of this, but we'll continue to be calm and collected. But it has to come from [the stomach]."

Antoine Griezmann was also presented with a personalised shirt, his pinpoint cross for Giroud's winner against England was his record-breaking 28th assist for Les Bleus.

The Atletico Madrid forward, who believes he will soon be surpassed by Kylian Mbappe (18), urged his team-mates not to lose sight on retaining the world title for the first time since Brazil in 1962.

"Kylian only needs 10 assists to reach 28, so I'm going to enjoy this moment!" he laughed. "There are still two games left, we can do it. Let's concentrate, be focused and enjoy."

Stefan Effenburg has ruled himself out of the running to replace Oliver Bierhoff as Germany's technical director, insisting "I am not available".

Bierhoff left his role of 18 years with the German Football Association (DFB) following Die Nationalmannschaft's second successive World Cup group-stage exit in Qatar.

Philipp Lahm – Germany's victorious captain in 2014 – and Dietmar Hamann were among several former players calling for significant changes in German football, though head coach Hansi Flick will remain in charge.

Regarding a replacement, president Bernd Neuendorf said he will "first discuss the future structure of this area of ​​responsibility within the DFB and then make a personnel decision."

Former midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger suggested Effenburg – Bayern Munich's Champions League-winning captain in 2001 – and Michael Ballack as potential candidates, telling ARD: "These are still guys who can really tackle".

But despite having held a similar position at KFC Uerdingen, the 54-year-old insisted he is "extremely comfortable" in his role as a brand ambassador at former club Bayern, while also serving as a columnist and television pundit.

"It is clear that many names were mentioned. The fact that mine was also there honours me," he told Sport1.

"[The ambassadorial and media work] fills me and that's what I want to continue to focus on. So I'm not going to send an application to the DFB. I am not available."

Milan have played a part in France's latest bid for World Cup glory after "revitalising" striker Olivier Giroud, according to the Serie A club's president Paolo Scaroni.

France remain on course to become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to retain the trophy after beating England 2-1 on Saturday to set up a semi-final showdown with Morocco.

Giroud scored the reigning champions' winner in the quarter-final against England, with that his fourth goal of Qatar 2022 – only team-mate Kylian Mbappe (five) has scored more.

The 36-year-old has also been in good form for club side Milan this campaign, having been directly involved in a team-high 14 goals (nine goals and five assists) in 19 matches.

He has scored 23 goals in 57 games in all competitions since the start of last season when joining from Chelsea, which is also more than any Milan player over that period.

As Giroud continues to show on the biggest stage that age is just a number, Scaroni says France should be grateful to Milan.

"He's doing very, very well. I think France's qualification [to the semi-finals] is due to him a lot," Rossoneri chief Scaroni told Sky Sport Italia.

"We at Milan have 'revitalised' him a bit. I don't know if I can say it, but I have the impression with us he has found new motivation that he has transferred to the national team. 

"Let's say that we too have played a small role in the success achieved so far by France".

 

Giroud scored twice in France's opening group match against Australia and then overtook Thierry Henry as his country's record scorer with his strike in the last-16 win over Poland.

The ex-Arsenal man could set another record in France's semi-final against Morocco as he is one goal short of becoming the oldest player to score five at a single World Cup.

Giroud is not the only Milan player in France's World Cup squad, with defender Theo Hernandez – who has played in four games – also included.

Ronaldo revealed Brazil approached Pep Guardiola to become their new head coach before the Manchester City boss renewed his contract with the Premier League champions.

The Selecao are preparing for life after Tite, who guided them to the World Cup quarter-finals before suffering penalty shoot-out heartbreak against Croatia on Friday.

The 61-year-old announced in February he would leave his role irrespective of how the five-time champions fared in Qatar.

Legendary striker Ronaldo says the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) had spoken with former Barcelona and Bayern Munich head coach Guardiola, who subsequently opted to extend his stay at the Etihad Stadium until 2025.

"There was interest in Guardiola; it was discussed with Guardiola's coaching staff, but he preferred to renew his contract with City," the 2002 World Cup winner said on his YouTube channel.

"Perhaps it would be difficult for the CBF to reach an agreement; he is the highest-paid coach in the world."

Ronaldo believes the CBF should now turn their attention to the "Brazilian Guardiola" in Fernando Diniz – the Fluminense head coach renowned for his attractive possession-based style of play.

"Perhaps Diniz would be an attraction for the Brazilian national team," he added. "He's a guy who plays well, puts on a show.

"It is a very important decision for the next cycle. The sooner you present the name and start working on the philosophy of the coach, the better it will be. And we'll see. I'm curious. I think big names are coming here."

Milan have played a part in France's latest bid for World Cup glory after "revitalising" striker Olivier Giroud, according to the Serie A club's president Paolo Scaroni.

France remain on course to become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to retain the trophy after beating England 2-1 on Saturday to set up a semi-final showdown with Morocco.

Giroud scored the reigning champions' winner in the quarter-final against England, with that his fourth goal of Qatar 2022 – only team-mate Kylian Mbappe (five) has scored more.

The 36-year-old has also been in good form for club side Milan this campaign, having been directly involved in a team-high 14 goals (nine goals and five assists) in 19 matches.

He has scored 23 goals in 57 games in all competitions since the start of last season when joining from Chelsea, which is also more than any Milan player over that period.

As Giroud continues to show on the biggest stage that age is just a number, Scaroni says France should be grateful to Milan.

"He's doing very, very well. I think France's qualification [to the semi-finals] is due to him a lot," Rossoneri chief Scaroni told Sky Sport Italia.

"We at Milan have 'revitalised' him a bit. I don't know if I can say it, but I have the impression with us he has found new motivation that he has transferred to the national team. 

"Let's say that we too have played a small role in the success achieved so far by France".

 

Giroud scored twice in France's opening group match against Australia and then overtook Thierry Henry as his country's record scorer with his strike in the last-16 win over Poland.

The ex-Arsenal man could set another record in France's semi-final against Morocco as he is one goal short of becoming the oldest player to score five at a single World Cup.

Giroud is not the only Milan player in France's World Cup squad, with defender Theo Hernandez – who has played in four games – also included.

Pepe says Cristiano Ronaldo is "fine" after his emotional response to Portugal's shock defeat to Morocco in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

Ronaldo was left out of the starting line-up by head coach Fernando Santos for the second straight game after his angry reaction to being substituted against South Korea in the final group match.

Youssef En-Nesyri scored a towering header to give Morocco the lead, and despite Ronaldo's introduction shortly after half-time, Portugal were unable to find an equaliser as they were dumped out of the tournament. 

The loss elicited an emotional reaction from Ronaldo as the five-time Ballon d'Or winner left the field in tears, before a social media post on Sunday saw him accept his "most ambitious dream" of winning a World Cup with Portugal was over.

While Ronaldo held off from making a definitive call on his international future, Pepe feels the forward should be appreciated for his efforts in a Portugal shirt whatever he decides to do.

"Ronaldo is fine," Pepe told reporters after arriving back in Lisbon. "He's our Portuguese flag. He reaches all parts of the world.

"He gave us his contribution when he was called. We have to thank him and all his team-mates who did their best to be available for the coach."

Despite Portugal head coach Fernando Santos' contract running until 2024, it is rumoured he may step down after this World Cup disappointment.

Asked about Santos' future, Pepe explained: "I'm a player, I don't have to talk about it. I'm not going to go down that path.

"Unfortunately, we didn't achieve the goal we wanted. We tried to give everything to honour our country.

"It's football. There are these things. We have to learn from what happened so that the future is better for us."

Portugal's next match is against Liechtenstein in their opening Euro 2024 qualifier on March 23.

Cristiano Ronaldo's farewell to the World Cup was followed by tributes from sporting superstars Pele, Kylian Mbappe and LeBron James.

The Portugal captain said his dream of winning the trophy was over, after his fifth World Cup ended with a quarter-final defeat to Morocco.

Now 37, Ronaldo has conceded the Qatar 2022 tournament was his last World Cup, although he has left the door open for now on playing on in the short term.

Ronaldo lost his place in the side and was a second-half substitute in the last-16 win over Switzerland and also the Morocco game.

He became the first player to score in five separate World Cups, having netted in each edition since 2006, and is also now the joint most-capped player and highest goalscorer in international football history.

However, he never scored in a game in the knockout stages of the World Cup, a blip on an otherwise remarkably successful career.

There was a rapid reaction to an emotional message from Ronaldo on Instagram, where he described the goal of World Cup glory as "the biggest and most ambitious dream of my career".

NBA great James said Ronaldo was a "LEGEND!!", with the Los Angeles Lakers star adding a salute, thank-you and crown emoji to his message.

Three-time World Cup winner Pele, paying close attention to the tournament from his hospital bed in Brazil, wrote: "Thanks for making us smile my friend."

Mbappe, who helped France beat England 2-1 on Saturday to reach the semi-finals, replied to Ronaldo with three emojis. Those were of a goat, referencing Ronaldo's 'greatest of all time' credentials, plus hands together to signal his thanks, and a crown.

Ronaldo's recent interviewer and cheerleader, British journalist Piers Morgan, sent a message containing six sets of clapping hands.

Former Brazil striker Pato wrote to Ronaldo: "You are an example! You inspire people and children around the world. The same ones that criticise you are the ones who want the same success as you. You are a giant! Congratulations."

Jesse Lingard, Ronaldo's former Manchester United team-mate, seemingly got his acronyms muddled, however, as he posted "GAOT".

Cristiano Ronaldo accepts his "most ambitious dream" of winning the World Cup with Portugal is over, but has held off from making a definitive call over his international future.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo left the field in tears on Saturday following Portugal's shock 1-0 quarter-final loss to Morocco at Al Thumama Stadium.

The 37-year-old made history in Qatar by becoming the first player to score in five separate World Cups, having netted in each edition since 2006.

However, that landmark goal – a penalty against Ghana in Portugal's opening group match – proved a rare high point in a tournament that ended in frustration and heartbreak.

Ronaldo lost his place in the side and was a second-half substitute in the last-16 win over Switzerland and quarter-final loss to Morocco.

He did not discuss his future after the match, but the free agent took to social media on Sunday to confirm he will not take part in another World Cup.

"Winning a World Cup for Portugal was the biggest and most ambitious dream of my career," he posted on Instagram. 

"Fortunately, I won many titles of international dimension, including for Portugal, but putting the name of our country on the highest level in the world was my biggest dream.

"I fought for it. I fought hard for this dream. In the five tournaments I scored in over 16 years, alongside great players and supported by millions of people, I gave my all. 

"I left everything on the field. I never turned my face to the fight and I never gave up on that dream. Unfortunately, yesterday the dream ended." 

Ronaldo is both Portugal's most-capped player (196) and record all-time goalscorer (118).

He is currently without a club after having his contract with Manchester United terminated by mutual consent last month.

There had been suggestions he would call time on his international career after Qatar 2022, but the former Real Madrid man will wait before making a formal decision.

"It is not worth reacting hot," he said. "Much has been said, much has been written, much has been speculated, but my dedication to Portugal has not changed for an instant. 

"I was always one more person fighting for everyone's goal and I would never turn my back on my team-mates and my country.

"For now, there's not much more to say. Thank you, Portugal. Thank you, Qatar. The dream was beautiful while it lasted.

"Now, it's time to be a good advisor and allow each one to draw their own conclusions."

While Ronaldo fell short in his bid to win the World Cup with Portugal, he played a part in his nation's Euro 2016 triumph and their Nations League success three years ago.

Eddie Jones says his next step will be "the right job at the right time" following his England exit, as rumours of a return to the Australia national set-up rumble on.

The coach was dismissed on the back of a frustrating 2022, less than a year out from the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

As England move to find his successor, with Leicester Tigers boss Steve Borthwick considered the frontrunner, talk has swirled over Jones potentially linking up with the Wallabies.

The 62-year-old however is happy to wait on his future, having also mooted a cross-code switch to rugby league, and suggests he will not rush into a decision.

"Everyone knows I love a scrap, and I'm up for whatever challenge is next," he told the Sydney Morning Herald. "I'm open to looking at everything in rugby, and I've made no secret of my wish to give the NRL a go, too.

"Nothing is off the table. Nothing. It's all about the right job at the right time, and I'll look at it all."

Reflecting on his departure, Jones acknowledged his pride for his England achievements, while stressing he will not adapt to please his cynics.

"In this job I've learnt it's impossible to avoid being moved on," he added. "It comes with the gig. But I'm proud of what we accomplished in my time here, and I wish I had the opportunity to finish what I started.

"All the critics are having their say. My only response is that I have coached a certain way my whole career and I'm happy with that. I'm not about to change anything."

Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan confirmed he had contacted Jones on Saturday, but refused to disclose what he had discussed with him.

Jones previously led his home country between 2001 and 2005, and was in charge when they lost the 2003 Rugby World Cup final to England.

Ben White has resumed training with Arsenal following his early departure from England's World Cup camp in Qatar.

The 25-year-old returned home on November 30 "for personal reasons" without playing a single minute in any of England's three group matches.

Widespread reports suggested White's premature exit from England's Al Wakrah headquarters came after a falling out with assistant manager Steve Holland.

Commenting on those rumours earlier this week, Southgate said: "The article written used words like 'alleged', so whoever wrote it didn't feel strongly enough it was correct.

"Ben left for personal reasons. We made that very clear and I think especially in this day and age it is very important that a situation like that is respected."

England went on to beat Senegal 3-0 in the last 16 but were eliminated by France at the quarter-final stage on Saturday with a 2-1 defeat.

A day on from the Three Lions' tournament exit, White took part in a training session with Arsenal at their warm-weather camp in Dubai.

White has started all 14 Premier League games this season for leaders Arsenal, who resume their campaign against West Ham on Boxing Day.

Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey and United States goalkeeper Matt Turner also resumed training with Mikel Arteta's side on Sunday following their own World Cup exits.

Arsenal have friendlies with Serie A sides Milan and Juventus to come before facing London rivals West Ham.

England's World Cup exit came despite the Three Lions outperforming every other side at the tournament, says Jamie Carragher, who felt Gareth Southgate could have been "braver" in Saturday's defeat to France.

Harry Kane scored a penalty and missed another as England suffered more quarter-final heartache, despite outplaying the world champions for long periods at Al Bayt stadium.

Despite amassing double the number of shots (16 to eight) and expected goals (2.41 to 1.01) than France, England succumbed to their seventh World Cup quarter-final elimination – a tournament record.

Former Three Lions defender Carragher was present for one of those exits, missing a penalty in a 2006 shoot-out loss to Portugal, but he believes Southgate's men played at a higher level than past England sides.

Recounting England's previous World Cup exits in a column for The Telegraph, Carragher wrote: "The biggest compliment I can pay Southgate's side is that they do not belong with such company. 

"This England team was no underdog going toe-to-toe with the world champions. This England team leaves the tournament having played better than any side in Qatar over their five games, a genuine contender that could and arguably should have gone all the way.

"France won on the night because of moments – a stunning goal from distance and a cross from Antoine Griezmann that would have troubled any defence in the world.

"Then England missed a penalty, knowing that had Harry Kane equalised for a second time, it would have carried positive momentum into extra time."

While praising the quality of England's displays in Qatar, Carragher said Southgate should have made better use of his squad when Saturday's game was poised at 1-1 in the second half.

"When you lose a game there's always things you look back on and think you could have done differently," he told Sky Sports.

"That's easy to say after the event, but I did feel before the game that England had to be brave from the bench. I just felt that in the period between the two goals, we could have been braver from the bench.

"With five substitutions, it's a big part of a manager's role to try to influence or change a game. I know Gareth's been criticised for that in the past, after the games against Croatia [in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals] and Italy [in the Euro 2020 final].

"Both those sides, if we're being totally honest, were better than us. I don't think France were better than us, and I felt the change should have been to try to go and win the game.

"England certainly had the strongest bench in the competition, I firmly believe that, and I just think we could have been a little bit more proactive in that period where it was 1-1 and we were playing really well."

Aurelien Tchouameni warned "a group is being born" after France edged out England 2-1 to reach the World Cup semi-finals.

Les Bleus are the first reigning champions to reach the last four since Brazil in 1998, as Olivier Giroud settled a tight affair with 12 minutes remaining after a Harry Kane penalty cancelled out Tchouameni's earlier 25-yard effort at Al Bayt Stadium.

Didier Deschamps' side suffered a late scare when England were awarded a second spot-kick six minutes from time, only for Kane to blaze high over Hugo Lloris' goal.

Tchouameni told beIN SPORTS: "We are getting stronger. A group is being born, we feel good, we must continue.

"We suffered – it's the World Cup, we played a very good English team. We managed to win, we are happy."

Meanwhile, Adrien Rabiot hailed the togetherness in the France group, with Morocco up next in the last four on Wednesday.

"[I feel] pride, proud of this team, this group," the midfielder said. "There is joy. We have suffered, we have shown that we can be united and in solidarity.

"We were warned and prepared, we knew they would be committed. We responded with our weapons. It's an incredible moment. It is a moment of communion, as from the beginning, that carries us.

"More and more people are behind us and believe in it. We feel that there is something to be done. Even when we are in trouble, nothing can happen to us."

Pepe has slammed referee Facundo Tello following Portugal's World Cup exit, claiming "it is unacceptable for an Argentine to referee the game."

Fernando Santos' side bowed out in the quarter-finals after becoming Morocco's latest victims; Youssef En-Nesyri's first-half header enough to seal a 1-0 win at Al Thumama Stadium.

The Atlas Lions, who have also beaten Belgium and Spain in Qatar, are the first African nation to reach the World Cup semi-finals, though Pepe was left enraged by the performance of Argentine referee Tello.

This comes less than 24 hours after Lionel Messi heavily criticised Spanish official Antonio Mateu Lahoz following Argentina's shoot-out victory over the Netherlands.

"It is unacceptable for an Argentine to referee the game. I am very sad," he said in quotes reported by O Jogo. 

"There were 90 minutes in which they always wanted to stop our game with little fouls - the referee did not give a yellow card, did not call attention. 

"After yesterday, with Messi talking, an Argentinian comes and whistles. In the second half, nothing was played, there were only eight [additional] minutes. 

"We were always on top. They were lucky enough to score a goal. We worked well and did a lot to win the game."

However, Santos refused to blame Portugal's elimination on Tello, insisting the official did not have a negative influence on his nation's display.

"He could have called fouls in a few plays, but generally speaking, I do not think so," the head coach said during his post-match press conference.

"I think we could have done more, and we failed to do so. I don't think we should blame the referee, it does not make sense. There were a few plays, but honestly, I do not think that's the way to see it."

Brazil's World Cup shoot-out defeat by Croatia brought back memories of Italy's loss to the Selecao on penalties in the 1994 final for former Azzurri boss Arrigo Sacchi.

The five-time champions crashed out in the quarter-finals, as the 2018 finalists held their nerve from 12 yards to prevail 4-2 following a 1-1 draw at Education City Stadium.

Sacchi oversaw Italy's run to the 1994 showpiece at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, where Brazil denied them glory on penalties with Franco Baresi and Roberto Baggio notably shooting over the crossbar.

The 76-year-old Sacchi empathises with Tite's side, but also saluted the desire demonstrated by Croatia.

"The Croatians never gave up and hid the ball from the Brazilians," he wrote in his La Gazzetta Dello Sport column. "They were more determined than the Brazilians, who will now understand how much it hurts to lose on penalties.

"Unfortunately, I know something about it and I confess that, by watching the match on TV, I thought about the emotions and feelings of Pasadena in 1994."

Sacchi also offered his thoughts on Argentina's victory over the Netherlands, criticising La Albiceleste's approach after surrendering a 2-0 lead before recovering to prevail on penalties.

"I didn't see much quality in the first half - only when [Lionel] Messi had the ball, the lights turned on," he continued.

"Nobody wanted to take risks with five defenders for Argentina and five for the Netherlands. Van Gaal's teams are usually attacking-minded, but the Dutch were more defensive in this World Cup.

"When Argentina went 2-0 up, Van Gaal threw in his tall strikers, adding centimetres and battling physically. A right move, but Argentina made an unforgivable error. They should not have allowed the Dutch to go close to the goal, and keep a high line."

Morocco became the first African team ever to reach a World Cup semi-final as the Atlas Lions continued their fairytale run in Qatar with a 1-0 win over Portugal at Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday.

Walid Regragui's side saw off Spain on penalties in the last 16, but this was even more impressive and notable as Morocco ensured they will go where no other African nation has ventured before.

Youssef En-Nesyri had the honour of scoring what will go down as one of the most important goals in the history of African football as he powered in a header just before the break.

Portugal piled pressure on for much of the second half, introducing the again-benched Cristiano Ronaldo, but their efforts fell short much to the delight of the Morocco-dominated crowd.

Fernando Santos' side unsurprisingly enjoyed early control, but clear opportunities were non-existent.

Encouraged, Morocco looked dangerous on the break and the contest livened up after the half-hour mark – Selim Amallah blazed over from Romain Saiss' cut-back and the lively Sofiane Boufal shot at Diogo Costa from 25 yards.

As such, the Atlas Lions were good value for the lead when En-Nesyri towered above Costa to head in Yahya Attiat-Allah's cross after 42 minutes.

Portugal looked for a response.

Bruno Fernandes' dipping right-wing volley struck the crossbar, and he was subsequently denied a penalty after claiming to be tugged back in the box.

Ronaldo's introduction – just before Azzedine Ounahi wasted a decent chance – effectively ushered in complete Portugal control.

But Portugal created precious little until crucial late Yassine Bounou saves from Joao Felix and Ronaldo, as Morocco valiantly held on for another momentous result despite substitute Walid Cheddira's stoppage-time dismissal for a second booking.

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