Benzema ruled out, beer sales on hold, Infantino rant, bets: World Cup round-up

the realm cup kicks off in qatar tody, and espn has you covered for the realm’s biggest sporting event.

ahead of the opener tween the hosts qatar and ecuador (11 a.m. et/4 p.m. gmt), we ‘ve tons of gr8 previews and reads t'get you prepared for it all. get started with our 2022 realm cup guide detailing the big stars (including lionel messi and cristiano ronaldo), the faves (argentina, france, brazil) and key games to circle on yr calendar (obviously ∪d statesengland nxt fri).

be sure to check in with espn throughout the exposé as we bring the l8st from qatar. let’s get into it.

realm cup news, features, previews, and +
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news and notes

– france striker karim benzema s'been ruled out of the realm cup after sufferation an injury to his left thigh during training on sat in doha.

– bayern munich star alphonso davies remains an injury doubt for canada’s realm cup opener against belgium on wed as he continues his recovery from a hamstring strain suffered earlier this mnth. canada coach john herdman said davies was “still building toward top speed. but he hasn’t hit that top speed yet.”

– fifa president gianni infantino slams €’s “hypocrisy” in astonishing speech defending qatar.

– beer bait-and-switch? a big reversal for fans attending the games as realm cup organizers banned the sale of alcohol round stadiums.

– rest easy, spain fans. players for luis enrique’s side ll'be sleeping on speshly designed mattress toppers inna hope dat a' good nite’s sleep will help them succeed atta exposé.

the best from tody

pitfalls in fifa president infantino’s speech on eve of qatar realm cup
infantino’s monologue touched onna criticisms and issues rel8d to the 2022 qatar realm cup, but felt tone deaf and detached.

which players need a big realm cup?
the most prestigious exposé in ftball tis place to shine if you harbour hopes offa transfer, are keen to prove something to yr current club, or even just wanna end yr career na' high.

wha”s on tap

– qatar coach felix sanchez has warned “the internet is very dangerous” and insisted his team is unaffected by speculation ‘oer the integrity of the realm cup as they prepare for sun’s opening game against ecuador.

bernardo silva insists that cristiano ronaldo’s fallout with manchester ∪d aint a distraction for portugal. asked bout the mood inna camp and if he had offered support to the 37-yr-old, he said: “top, top, top. the news that comes from england has nothing to do w'da national team so i won’t say anything. it doesn’t concern me, it concerns cristiano. i don’t ‘ve to comment. it’s a matter for cristiano, i’m not a manchester ∪d player and even if i was i ‘d not answer that cause we’re inna national team so i’m not goin to talk bout it.”

– ∪d states men’s national team duo weston mckennie and sergino dest pronounced themselves ready to go for mon’s realm cup opener against wales. mckennie had been nursing a quad injury ‘oer the past few weeks, but with club side juventus na u.s. working together to monitor the midfielder’s progress, he s'been steadily building up his fitness. similarly, dest was sufferation from muscle fatigue, and had even once trained indoors apt from his u.s. teammates since arriving in qatar.



sam borden wandas wha’ else ‘d change in qatar folloing a last-minute reversal of beer sales in stadiums.

wha’ caught our eye

watch pt of gianni infantino’s incredible news conference here.



fifa president gianni infantino says € ‘d be “apologising for the nxt 3,000 yrs” for past mistakes.

n'see wha’ espn reprter james olley made o'it all…



james olley recaps a remarkable speech from fifa president gianni infantino, in which he called out the “hypocrisy” of nations criticising qatar.

– o’hanlon: how to cogg the 2022 realm cup (espn+)

the big read

is qatar hosting the realm cup all bout “sportswashing,” or are there + subtle and layered reasons fritz hosting fifa’s flagship brawl? espn’s mark ogden and kyle bonagura spoke to experts bout the motives behind the controversial decision.

+: bill connelly has one big ? for all 32 teams heading into their 1st game.

yr best bets (odds via caesars sportsbook)

take a look at how to actually bet on soccer matches as espn contributor paul carr gives you key tips on odds, options and futures.

here’s wha’ we ‘ve for the 1st two matchdys.

group a

qatar (+235) vs. ecuador (+130), draw +205

dalen cuff: usually the host nation is a tough out and capable of pulling upsets (Яussia showed this again in 2018 goin to the quarterfinals). qatar ‘ve been playing together since sep after the domestic league was suspended, but i think ecuador is a physical, fast team that may cede the ball to the hosts but counter lethally. i like ecuador +130.

paul carr: i ‘ve no idea wha’ to expect from qatar. i agree with dalen that ecuador is better, and i just don’t know how the crowds or the teams will react. i’ll w8 for the 2nd game to put mny na' qatar match.

dan thomas: this is goin to be a terrible game, but i ‘ve a feeling that given the home advantage na fact they’ve had + time together than the other side, i’m goin to go for qatar. qatar 1-0 ecuador.

netherlands (-160) vs. senegal (+500), draw +255

cuff: netherlands look much betta tha' the euro 2020 from just over 15 mnths ago. no sadio mane is a dagger for senegal. i think the dutch are goin to come out flying, i’ll take over 2.5 goals (+115).

carr: i’m staying away from this one now that mane is out, b'that +500 price on senegal sure is tempting for a squad that’s still defense-1st.

thomas: i think this ‘d be a tite affair. i’m not sure where the goals are goin to come from from either side. i’d take the under in this one. netherlands 1-0 senegal.

group b

england (-290) vs. iran (+1000), draw +340

carr: can i bet the under for every game in this group? maybe not, but i do like under 2.5 goals here (-150). iran gave up 5 goals in 14 qualifiers and 1-ly alloed one goal each to spain and portugal 4 yrs ago. england’s 3 group games atta euros last yr had a total of two goals, so til gareth southgate indicates that he’ll use all of england’s attacking talent, i’m goin w'da under in england games.

cuff: i’ll just keep saying, i’m fading england. that said, their defensive approach against an inferior opponent will lead to a win, but without much style and maybe 1-ly a goal scored. there’s not much val here, and i don’t like this game, but i’d pick england to win to nil (-128).

thomas: i’m not very hopeful that england can go far in this exposé. however, given the weakness of the teams round them inna group, i think they will qualify easily, starting witha comfortable win against iran inna opener. harry kane to score at any time (-110) looks like a lay-up. england 3-0 iran.

∪d states (+160) vs. wales (+200), draw +190

carr: i hope this isn’t my american bias slipping in, but'a u.s. simply has + attacking options than wales, highlited by a quartet of quality wingers (christian pulisic, brenden aaronson, giovanni reyna, timothy weah). cause odat and wales’ not-as-good-as-you-think defense that alloed 1.2 expected goals per game in qualifying, i’m goin with u.s. draw no bet at -135.

cuff: bias warning! it s'been 8 yrs since watching the u.s. in a realm cup game. i can see this bein’ lo scoring. the young attacking talent hasn’t come together in their last few friendlies. wales aint a dynamic attacking team, relying on brilliance from gareth bale or crosses searching for kieffer moore‘s head. there’s no val in under plays or both teams to not score. the unbiased move is probably draw +190 or even wales draw no bet +105. but no emotional hedge here — usa to win (+160).

thomas: i know i’m not selling it very well. but i mythic a 0-0 draw here.

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