Kylian Mbappe is France's "main weapon" but Adrien Rabiot insists Les Bleus are not dependent on the forward in their quest to defend their World Cup crown.

The Paris Saint-Germain star leads the goalscoring charts at Qatar 2022 with five to date, and bagged a brace as Didier Deschamps' side progressed to the quarter-finals with a 3-1 win over Poland.

That has set up France's toughest test of the tournament on paper in the shape of Euro 2020 finalists England, where the attacker will be looking to make a difference once again.

Despite having needed Mbappe to fire them forward on several occasions so far, Rabiot says he is not the only member of their squad who can help win games.

"There is no dependency," Rabiot stated. "He is our main weapon, but we also have other players who can make a difference in other ways.

"We count on him as on all the players in the group. Everyone needs to be good health to face England.

Vahid Halilhodzic feels he has been left "out in the rain" watching Morocco progress to the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

Halilhodzic secured Morocco's qualification for the finals in Qatar with a 5-2 aggregate win over DR Congo in the third round of CAF qualifying in March.

However, Halilhodzic was sacked in August, marking his third dismissal from a national team post before a World Cup having led a team to qualification.

The Bosnian suffered the same fate with Ivory Coast in 2010 and Japan in 2018, though he did lead Algeria to the last 16 in 2014.

Morocco have enjoyed a stunning World Cup without him, reaching the last eight for the first time by beating Spain on penalties on Tuesday.

Asked about the Morocco team by So Foot, Halilhodzic said: "Instead of being in Qatar, I am here in the rain.

"I had really invested myself in this project thoroughly for three years and it is still a World Cup that I will miss. Well, it's life."

Halilhodzic came under fire for not picking enough locally based players and leaving out Hakim Ziyech, who did not feature in the qualification campaign.

"When you arrive in a country, you don't know all the good players. So we have to look for them," Halilhodzic added. 

"How many tapes I watched in Morocco! At least a thousand. I updated 80 per cent of the team. We have to find them, the players who can play for the national team.

"What makes a coach credible are the results. And never has the Moroccan team got better results than with me in the World Cup qualifiers. Seven wins, one draw having scored three goals per game on average.

"What I didn't appreciate were the smear campaigns, to create animosity between supporters of different clubs, between locals and Moroccans abroad, that locals would be prevented from playing for their country.

"This pressure from the federation had already been going on for a long time. They wanted me to take three-four players, while the team had achieved results without them. I did not give in, because you lose your credibility when the players feel that we decide for you.

"Some refused to play for Morocco because they had entourages who preferred them to play for Spain, Italy or France. And afterwards, they change their minds when there is a World Cup!

"I felt that with the Moroccan team that I had built, we could do something at the World Cup. I would have liked to end my career with a successful World Cup and say enough!"

Cristiano Ronaldo hailed Portugal's "historic" World Cup win over Switzerland, a match in which he was dropped by head coach Fernando Santos.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos named his superstar forward on the bench having been left disappointed by his reaction to being substituted in their final group-stage game against South Korea.

It marked another chapter in a tumultuous period for Ronaldo, who departed Manchester United by mutual consent in the wake of an incendiary interview with Piers Morgan.

Santos later said the matter had been solved internally, but Ronaldo's replacement Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick and assisted another in the 6-1 rout of Switzerland that set up a quarter-final tie with Morocco.

Ronaldo did come off the bench and had a goal rightly ruled offside, before later hailing the performance of the team via an Instagram post.

"Amazing day for Portugal, with a historic result in the biggest contest in world soccer. Luxury display by a team full of talent and youth," he wrote.

"Congratulations to our national team. The dream is alive! To the very end! Come on, Portugal!"

Bayern Munich CEO Oliver Kahn believes Jamal Musiala will be an "important cornerstone" in the club's future, with the Bavarian giants eager to secure the teenager's long-term services.

Musiala has enjoyed an impressive start to the Bundesliga season, scoring nine goals and providing six assists, with his 15 goal involvements the most registered by any teenager across Europe's top five leagues.

The Germany international, whose tally is also just two shy of Paris Saint-Germain's Lionel Messi (17 - seven goals, 10 assists), is under contract with Bayern until 2026, though Kahn does not want the 19-year-old to be tempted away from the Allianz Arena.

"Jamal has enormous qualities that he's showing consistently at a high level at 19," the former goalkeeper said. "He's also very ambitious and always wants to improve. We're glad we have him. Jamal will be an important cornerstone in the future of Bayern."

 

Musiala's performances provided a rare positive during Germany's disappointing World Cup campaign, with Die Nationalmannschaft exiting in the group stage for the second successive finals.

Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic believes the experience will benefit the youngster, with whom he soon hopes to open discussions regarding his future.

"Jamal was one of Germany's bright spots at the World Cup," he said. "Watching him play is simply fun.

"Playing at a World Cup was a valuable experience for him. Although the elimination is bitter, Jamal is 19 and still has many tournaments to play for Germany.

"Of course, we told Jamal's mother Carolin and his management before the World Cup that we're very happy with Jamal, and we let them know that we want to sit down with them after the tournament to talk about Jamal's further future at Bayern.

"We saw that he could transfer his performances at Bayern to the national team. We at Bayern will do everything to continue supporting him in his development."

Portugal coach Fernando Santos insists his relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo is unchanged despite dropping the captain for Tuesday's 6-1 win over Switzerland at the World Cup.

Ronaldo was benched after Santos expressed his disappointment with the striker's attitude following his substitution during last week's defeat to South Korea.

Santos said on Monday the matter had been resolved internally, but Ronaldo was then dropped to the bench for the clash at Lusail Stadium, starting a major-tournament match among the substitutes for the first time since 2008 (31 games).

A fan poll on the website of Portuguese newspaper A Bola suggested 70 per cent of Portugal fans wanted Ronaldo out of the team, and the Selecao went on to produce one of their best performances at a major tournament in years.

Goncalo Ramos replaced Ronaldo in the attack and had a hand in four goals, including a hat-trick, but Santos did not commit to keeping faith in the Benfica prospect for the quarter-final against Morocco.

Santos told reporters: "That's still something that has to be defined [who starts in the next game]. I already answered in yesterday's press conference [regarding Ronaldo]; there is no problem between us.

"I have a strong relationship with him, I always have. I have known him since he was young and at Sporting [CP], and then it started to develop in the national team.

"This relationship only developed. We've been friends for many years, things don't affect us.

"I already explained everything was resolved. I said that and I repeat that now. This is something that's finished and resolved.

"How he came in with a lot of will, he set an example as a great captain."

In scoring his hat-trick, Ramos became the first player to net three times on his first World Cup start since Miroslav Klose in 2002.

Similarly, it only took him 17 minutes to do what Ronaldo has never managed: score in a World Cup knockout game.

For most, Ramos starting the quarter-final clash would be a simple decision to make, but Santos intends to keep people guessing.

"Obviously I have my ways to observes things, I always have," he continued. "The players we have in this position obviously have many different characteristics.

"Andre [Silva] plays more advanced, Cristiano is more fixed, he plays in a determined area. Goncalo is dynamic.

"That's what he ended up showing us, but it was nothing new because he came on in two other games.

"I have three players I fully trust and for each match I will use what I think is the right strategy, as I have always done in my career."

Tuesday's success was Portugal's biggest ever victory in the knockout rounds of the World Cup, with it the first time they have scored six beyond the group stage.

It was a truly rampant performance, though Santos was particularly pleased that his team did not get carried away with the euphoria.

"It's exactly what I said [to the players]; when we are euphoric, I think we can go beyond what we should do in a match.

"We can end up having a bit too much fun, to use that expression, and football is not fun. Yes, you have to play, have fun in the field, but too much fun is not appropriate.

"In this aspect, in terms of how serious they were, they were fantastic."

Portugal will face Morocco in their quarter-final at Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday.

Joao Felix appeared to take a swipe at Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone by stating conditions with Portugal are more "favourable" than with the LaLiga giants.

The Atleti forward has been linked with a move away from the Wanda Metropolitano, with Los Rojiblancos chief executive Gil Marin believing a January exit is "reasonable" to expect.

Joao Felix has scored 33 goals for Atleti since arriving from Benfica for €126million in 2019 - a tally only bettered by Luis Suarez (34) during that span.

But the 23-year-old has a frosty relationship with Simeone, with the pair reportedly falling out earlier this season. 

And he appeared to aim a dig at his club boss after Portugal booked their World Cup quarter-final place with a comprehensive 6-1 rout of Switzerland on Tuesday.

"The way you play here and at the club are different," he said. "When the conditions are favourable, things go better."

Joao Felix set up two of Goncalo Ramos' three goals against the Swiss, becoming the third Portugal player to provide two assists in a World Cup game after Jose Torres - against Brazil in 1966 - and Bruno Fernandes - versus Ghana in this tournament.

He saluted Portugal's most impressive performance so far in Qatar, where he feels confidence and concentration levels are high in Fernando Santos' side ahead of facing Morocco in the last eight.

"The preparation was the same as the other games," he added. "We saw what was best and worst and played because of that, not losing our identity. We played a great game, perhaps the best so far.

"We are focused and believe completely in us. I hope it's been shown that we have a great team, we know what we want. We have the support of everyone, and won't be held back."

Cristiano Ronaldo's benching was fully vindicated as his replacement Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick to guide Portugal into the World Cup quarter-finals courtesy of a 6-1 demolition of Switzerland.

Fernando Santos had been angered by Ronaldo's attitude after being substituted in their defeat to South Korea and the veteran coach took the opportunity to bench the out-of-form 37-year-old on Tuesday.

It took Ramos 17 minutes to do what Ronaldo has never done for Portugal: score in a World Cup knockout game, and he would ultimately have a hand in four goals.

Pepe, captain in Ronaldo's absence, got Portugal's second and Ramos also teed up Raphael Guerreiro, with Manuel Akanji's consolation for Switzerland prior to Ramos' hat-trick goal and Rafael Leao's late stunner a mere footnote.

Ramos' opener was entirely out of keeping with a dull opening.

Joao Felix passed into the left side of the area and, after taking a touch, Ramos sent a bullet of a left-footed strike into the top-left corner from a tight angle.

A fingertip Diogo Costa save from Xherdan Shaqiri's free-kick just before the half-hour kept Portugal in front and they capitalised three minutes later as Pepe headed home Bruno Fernandes' corner.

Any hope of a turnaround was swiftly put down by two goals early in the second half.

Ramos first turned in Diogo Dalot's low cross before the striker unselfishly teed up Guerreiro.

Akanji knocked in at the back post after a Portugal defender inadvertently flicked on a corner, but the deficit was four again soon after – Ramos' impudent dink over Yann Sommer completing a memorable treble.

He was later brought off as Ronaldo – who had a late goal disallowed for offside – entered, but Portugal were not done yet, with Leao burying a gorgeous curler in stoppage time.

Ferran Torres rued the "external factors" that he felt cost Spain in their shock penalty shoot-out defeat to Morocco in the last 16 of the World Cup.

La Roja crashed out in the round of 16 for the second successive finals, as Yassine Bounou produced a heroic display with Morocco triumphing 3-0 on penalties after a goalless draw.

Luis Enrique's men dominated proceedings, enjoying over 77 per cent of possession over the 120 minutes, but were subsequently made to pay for not converting that superiority after creating just one shot on target, with Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets all off target in the shoot-out.

Spain consequently became the first nation to lose four World Cup penalty shoot-outs, but Torres insists he and his team-mates could not have done more. 

"We gave everything from minute one to 120," he said. "We have not been successful in front of goal. It was difficult, they locked themselves in, they have played that way, and the chances we had were not clear at all.

"We have frustration, because we have been superior, we have not been able to materialise the opportunities we have had, and there have been external factors that have not helped us.

"We had been practising the penalties because we knew they were games of 120 [minutes] plus penalties. But we continue working for the future."

Marcos Llorente concurred "it was very complicated" to create opportunities to break down a resolute Morocco, who became the fourth African nation to reach the quarter-finals after Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010).

Rodri added: "We haven't been right on penalties, and we're going home. I don't know what else to say, I wish someone up there had helped us with penalties. The team has given everything, and we deserved to pass."

Sergio Busquets says now is not the time to discuss his international future after Spain crashed out of the World Cup in "the most cruel way" with a defeat to Morocco on penalties.

La Roja lost the shoot-out 3-0 at Education City Stadium following a goalless round-of-16 encounter on Tuesday, with the Atlas Lions reaching the last eight for the first time.

Spain captain Busquets, Pablo Sarabia and Carlos Soler were unable to find the back of the net from 12 yards out, goalkeeper Yassine Bounou producing heroics for Morocco.

To add insult to injury, it was the Madrid-born Achraf Hakimi who scored the winning spot-kick.

Luis Enrique's side dominated possession but lacked a cutting edge, with Sarabia hitting the post right at the end of extra-time.

At the age of 34, it has been suggested Busquets could call time on his Spain career, but the Barcelona midfielder will not rush into a decision following a stunning exit in Doha.

He told La1: "Now the important thing is the team and not me, it's a difficult night and we will have to get up and use this experience, there are very young people who will be very useful and we must continue."

Busquets felt Spain were unfortunate to miss out on a place in the quarter-finals.

"It was a shame, it was decided on penalties in the most cruel way. It was complicated, we tried to wear them down, turn them around, find spaces. We lacked luck from the last pass." he said.

Goalkeeper Unai Simon also felt Spain deserved to go through.

He said: "I think that in the 120 minutes of the game we have been superior, but what I say now is of little value if we don't score.

"In the penalty shoot-out they have been superior and that is what has made them reach the quarter-finals

"We are seeing that there are surprises throughout the World Cup, we have not been able to overcome it and we did not expect to be eliminated against Morocco, but it is the reality and we have to go home."

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has confirmed the Ligue 1 champions would like to sign England midfielder Jude Bellingham.

The 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund man has been one of the stars of this year's World Cup, with a host of European giants reported to be interested in signing him.

Bellingham scored England's first goal of the tournament in a 6-2 thrashing of Iran in the group stage, and produced another masterful midfield display in Sunday's last-16 win over Senegal.

The former Birmingham City man leads his team-mates for dribbles completed (six) and possessions won (23) in Qatar, while only Luke Shaw (72) has bettered his tally of 48 passes ending in the final third.  

His all-round ability has seen him touted as a contender to be named the young player of the tournament, and Al-Khelaifi admitted he would like to bring him to the Ligue 1 champions.

"Amazing player – what a player," Al-Khelaifi told Sky News. "England (are) lucky to have him, to be honest. He's one of the best players in the tournament. Amazing – his first World Cup. He's calm and relaxed, confident."

Asked whether PSG want to sign Bellingham, Al-Khelaifi said: "Everybody wants him, I'm not going to hide it. He's at his club, and respect, so if we want to talk to him, we'll talk to the club first."

Bellingham will next be in action on Saturday when England face France in a mouth-watering quarter-final clash. 

Arsenal and Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus has undergone successful knee surgery.

Jesus was ruled out for the remainder of the World Cup after sustaining an injury to his right knee during the Selecao's Group G clash with Cameroon.

Head coach Tite died reports that Jesus was already carrying an issue prior to featuring for the five-time world champions in Qatar.

According to unconfirmed reports in Brazil, Jesus will be absent for three months.

Premier League leaders Arsenal on Tuesday confirmed he has started his rehabilitation programme.

The 25-year-old has played a key role in the Gunners' impressive start to the Premier League season, which sees them five points clear at the summit after 14 games.

Jesus' tally of five goals is only bettered for Arsenal by Martin Odegaard (six), while only Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (nine) and team-mate Bukayo Saka (six) have registered more assists in the English top flight than his five.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been left on the bench for Portugal's match against Switzerland in the last 16 of the World Cup.

Ronaldo's role in the Portugal team has been the subject of some debate in recent days following his substitution in the final group game against South Korea.

The free agent forward appeared to offer a dissenting comment towards coach Fernando Santos, who said on Monday: "I really didn't like it at all."

Santos added the issues had been "resolved", with the focus on facing Switzerland, but Ronaldo was not in his starting line-up when the team news was announced on Tuesday.

The all-time leading international goalscorer was replaced by Goncalo Ramos, with Pepe taking over the captain's armband.

Ronaldo is still waiting on his first knockout goal at a World Cup, having seen great rival Lionel Messi break his duck on Saturday.

The 37-year-old was released from his Manchester United contract earlier in the tournament and is yet to agree a deal with a new club, although a significant offer from Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia has been reported.

Samuel Eto'o has apologised for "reacting in a way that does not match my personality" during a "violent altercation" after Brazil's win over South Korea on Monday.

A video was widely circulated on social media on Tuesday of Eto'o, who won 118 caps for Cameroon during a decorated playing career, clashing with a man outside Stadium 974 before appearing to knee him in the face.

In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Eto'o – who is now president of the Cameroonian Football Federation – apologised for his involvement in the incident, which he blamed on the ongoing fallout from Cameroon's World Cup play-off win over Algeria in March.

The Algerian Football Federation called for a replay of the second leg after what they described as "scandalous" refereeing decisions.

Cameroon reached Qatar 2022 courtesy of Karl Toko Ekambi's 124th-minute winner, and former Barcelona and Inter striker Eto'o believes Monday's incident was the latest in a line of "relentless provocation and daily harassment" by Algeria supporters.

"On December 5, after the Brazil-South Korea match, I had a violent altercation with a person who was probably an Algerian supporter," the statement read.

"I would like to apologise for losing my temper and reacting in a way that does not match my personality. I apologise to the public for this unfortunate incident.

"I pledge to continue to resist the relentless provocation and daily harassment of some Algerian supporters.

"Indeed, since the Cameroon-Algeria match on 29 March in Blida, I have been the target of insults and allegations of cheating without any evidence.

"During this World Cup, Cameroonian fans have been harassed and pestered by Algerians on the same subject. I would like to mention that the scenario of Algeria's defeat was cruel but perfectly in line with the rules and ethics of our sport.

"All the appeals made by the Algerian Football Federation to the competent jurisdictions have been rejected.

"I therefore call on Algerian authorities and Federation to take their responsibilities to put an end to this unhealthy climate before a more serious tragedy occurs.

"To Fennecs' fans, I wish that they find peace and manage to overcome the disappointment of a painful defeat, now behind us."

Samuel Eto'o has apologised for "reacting in a way that does not match my personality" during a "violent altercation" after Brazil's win over South Korea on Monday.

A video was widely circulated on social media on Tuesday of Eto'o, who won 118 caps for Cameroon during a decorated playing career, clashing with a man outside Stadium 974 before appearing to knee him in the face.

In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Eto'o – who is now president of the Cameroonian Football Federation – apologised for his involvement in the incident, which he blamed on the ongoing fallout from Cameroon's World Cup play-off win over Algeria in March.

The Algerian Football Federation called for a replay of the second leg after what they described as "scandalous" refereeing decisions.

Cameroon reached Qatar 2022 courtesy of Karl Toko Ekambi's 124th-minute winner, and former Barcelona and Inter striker Eto'o believes Monday's incident was the latest in a line of "relentless provocation and daily harassment" by Algeria supporters.

"On December 5, after the Brazil-South Korea match, I had a violent altercation with a person who was probably an Algerian supporter," the statement read.

"I would like to apologise for losing my temper and reacting in a way that does not match my personality. I apologise to the public for this unfortunate incident.

"I pledge to continue to resist the relentless provocation and daily harassment of some Algerian supporters.

"Indeed, since the Cameroon-Algeria match on 29 March in Blida, I have been the target of insults and allegations of cheating without any evidence.

"During this World Cup, Cameroonian fans have been harassed and pestered by Algerians on the same subject. I would like to mention that the scenario of Algeria's defeat was cruel but perfectly in line with the rules and ethics of our sport.

"All the appeals made by the Algerian Football Federation to the competent jurisdictions have been rejected.

"I therefore call on Algerian authorities and Federation to take their responsibilities to put an end to this unhealthy climate before a more serious tragedy occurs.

"To Fennecs' fans, I wish that they find peace and manage to overcome the disappointment of a painful defeat, now behind us."

Kylian Mbappe was absent from France's training session four days before the holders face England in a World Cup quarter-final.

The leading scorer in the tournament, with five goals from four appearances, was in the recovery room on Tuesday when his team-mates trained at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium.

Mbappe had been troubled by an ankle injury before the tournament started in Qatar.

The Paris-Saint Germain man has shown no signs of being hampered, lighting up the tournament and putting himself in pole position to claim the Golden Boot.

He scored two superb goals in a 3-1 round-of-16 win over Poland on Sunday, having also helped himself to a decisive double in a victory over Denmark and found the back of the net in an opening win over Australia.

Mbappe has also provided two assists for the defending champions.

Al Bayt Stadium will be the venue for a huge last-eight showdown between Les Bleus and Gareth Southgate's side, who beat Senegal 3-0 to move into the quarter-finals.

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