FIFA World Cup Buzz

France’s Lucas Hernandez ruled out after injury
Doha, Nov 23: Another one of France’s 2018 World Cup -winning team is injured and was ruled out of the title defense on Wednesday, and likely for the rest of the season. Lucas Hernandez, the starting left-back four years ago, lasted just eight minutes of France’s opening game against Australia on Tuesday before suffering a ruptured ACL in his right knee. “We’re losing an important element,” coach Didier Deschamps said in French soccer federation statement. “Lucas is a warrior.” Hernandez seemed to twist his right knee while his leg was off the ground in the play that saw the cross delivered for Australia to score and take a shock early lead in France’s 4-1 win.While his younger brother Theo prepared to come on as a replacement, Hernandez was treated on the pitch for a couple minutes before limping around the field to exit down the players’ tunnel. France also lost forwards Karim Benzema and Christopher Nkunku to injuries in training last week and central defender Raphael Varane. (AP)

Pele congratulates Weah for debut WC goal
DOHA,Nov23:Brazil great Pele congratulated United States forward Timothy Weah for scoring his debut goal in the World Cup in the Americans’ 1-1 draw with Wales. Weah got his goal in the 36th minute of Monday’s game to become the first player to score against Wales in a World Cup since Pele, who was 17 years old when he did it in 1958. That was the last time Wales played at the World Cup before this year in Qatar. Weah posted a photo of him celebrating the goal on Instagram and Pele congratulated him in the comments section. “Congratulations. It was a beautiful goal. Keep dreaming, dreams come true,” Pele wrote. Weah responded to “Papa Pele” by thanking him for the “inspiring message.” “It is such a blessing and an honor to receive such an inspiring message from The King himself,” Weah wrote. The 22-year-old Weah is the son of George Weah, the current president of Liberia and the 1995 world player of the year. (AP)

Frappart becomes first woman referee in men’s World Cup
DOHA, Nov23:Stephanie Frappart of France made soccer history Tuesday as the the first woman to officiate a men’s World Cup match when she took the field as the fourth official in the game between Mexico and Poland. Frappart, Japan’s Yamashita Yoshimi and Rwanda’s Salima Mukansanga are the first women selected as referees for soccer’s biggest tournament. They were among the 36 total referees for the tournament in Qatar. Brazil’s Neuza Back, Mexico’s Karen Diaz Medina and American Kathryn Nesbitt are among 69 assistant referees at the World Cup. (AP)

Wales asks FIFA why rainbow hats were prohibited
DOHA,Nov23: The Wales football federation says it has asked FIFA for clarity on reports some Wales fans were stopped from taking rainbow-colored hats into a World Cup stadium. The Welsh federation said it was involved in creating the hats for fans to wear in Qatar, starting against the United States on Monday. Rainbow imagery, a symbol of LGBTQ rights, is controversial in a country where same-sex relations are criminalised. Fans and staff members were “asked to remove and discard their Rainbow Wall bucket hats before entry to the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium,” the Wales federation said in a statement, adding it was “extremely disappointed.” “The (federation) has collated information on these alleged incidents and will be addressing this matter directly with FIFA,” it said. In April, a senior Qatari security official overseeing tournament preparations said fans carrying rainbow flags could have them removed for their own safety. (AP)

Senegal midfielder Kouyate likely to miss Qatar game
DOHA,Nov23: Senegal midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate is likely to miss the game against host Qatar at the World Cup because of a right hamstring injury, his team said Wednesday. Kouyate was “probably” out of Senegal’s second Group A game on Friday, the team said, forcing the African champion to reshuffle its lineup again having already lost forward Sadio Mane to injury days before the tournament started. Kouyate, a key central midfielder for Senegal, went off on a stretcher in the second half of his team’s opening 2-0 loss to the Netherlands after he went up for a header and came down clutching his right thigh. Defender Abdou Diallo was also injured and came off against the Netherlands. Senegal said Diallo had muscle cramps but was expected to return to training on Wednesday. (AP)

Saudi Arabia declare public holiday following victory
Riyadh, Nov22: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) announced on Wednesday a celebratory holiday after the historic win against Argentina on Tuesday, in its first match in the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported. All employees in the state and private sector will get the day off, as will male and female students in all educational stages. This comes after the Saudi national team detonated a heavy-caliber surprise. To stun Argentina and emerge victorious 2-1 in one of the biggest surprises in the history of the World Cup. The directive issued by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman after a proposal from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to celebrate the joyous occasion of the stunning victory of the Saudi national team. (Agencies)

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