World Cup news LIVE: England offer Harry Kane fitness update ahead of USA clash

England continue their World Cup campaign on Friday against the USA, with Gareth Southgate’s side boosted by the news that Harry Kane has escaped injury on his ankle following a scan.

The England captain has returned to training after fears he would miss the Group B clash, after receiving a blow to his ankle following a heavy challenge in the opening 6-2 win against Iran on Monday.

Southgate has now confirmed the striker will be fit to face the USA. “Harry is fine,” the England manager said. “He has worked slightly separately from the group but all good for Friday night. He had a scan [on Wednesday] to make sure everything is fine.”

Elsewhere, the dust is still settling on the second major shock of the World Cup, after Japan’s stunning victory over Germany. The result came after Germany made a protest of Fifa’s decision to impose sporting sactions on the ‘OneLove’ armband.

Spain caught the eye with a 7-0 thrashing of Costa Rica while Belgium scraped past Canada in their opening match. Today’s action begins with Switzerland against Cameroon before attention turns to Group G with Uruguay’s match with South Korea and Portugal’s clash with Ghana.

All eyes will therefore be on Cristiano Ronaldo in his first match since leaving Manchester United - with Brazil also in action later as they take on Serbia. Follow all the latest news from the World Cup in our blog, below

World Cup news LIVE: Latest updates from Qatar

Harry Kane: England captain fit to play against USA after scan all clear

13:45 , Jamie Braidwood

England boss Gareth Southgate has confirmed captain Harry Kane will return to training on Thursday ahead of the World Cup clash with the United States after his ankle scan came back all clear.

Kane suffered a knock to his right ankle after a clumsy challenge by Morteza Pouraliganji in England’s 6-2 win against Iran on Monday – the national team’s biggest ever win at the start of a major tournament.

The Spurs striker, who has a history of ankle problems, did play on for 25 minutes but was seen limping after the game and went for a precautionary scan.

But the 29-year-old received the green light to train on Wednesday, with the official England Twitter account sharing a photo of him in training accompanied by the caption “skipper” and a fist emoji.

Southgate confirmed that his captain will train with the group again on Thursday at the Al Wakrah Sports Complex ahead of Friday’s clash with the USA.

Harry Kane fit to play against USA after scan all clear

Denmark reignites European dispute with Fifa in Qatar

13:30 , Jamie Braidwood

European football showed its public frustration with Fifa president Gianni Infantino again Wednesday at the World Cup — this time in the Denmark camp.

Denmark pledged it wouldn’t vote for Infantino, who is running unopposed for re-election in March. Danish soccer federation president Jesper Møller also hinted at wishing to walk away from Fifa membership.

“I’ve thought about it again,” Møller told Danish media in Qatar. “I imagine that there may be challenges if Denmark opts out alone. But let’s see if we can’t have a dialogue.”

Denmark’s issues with the Fifa president pre-dated the World Cup, said Møller, who is a member of the Uefa executive committee, but the tensions with Europe intensified in recent days.

Denmark reignites European dispute with Fifa at World Cup

‘We’re here to play football’: Eden Hazard criticises Germany World Cup protest

13:15 , Jamie Braidwood

Eden Hazard has criticised Germany’s protest against not being permitted to wear the OneLove armband, insisting “we’re here to play football”.

The German national team posed for their team photo while covering their mouths after Fifa’s ban, before suffering a shock World Cup defeat to Japan.

Seven European nations have supported the gesture but have been censored by the world’s governing body for the tournament in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.

Germany coach Hansi Flick said: “It was a sign, a message that we wanted to send out. We wanted to convey the message that Fifa is silencing us.”

But Hazard, who featured in Belgium’s 1-0 win over Canada, has criticised Germany and admits he was reluctant to participate due to the potential to earn a yellow card.

‘We’re here to play football’: Eden Hazard criticises Germany World Cup protest

France players urged to take human rights stand at World Cup by sports minister

13:00 , Luke Baker

The French sports minister urged the national football team to make themselves heard amid a row over Fifa’s threat of sanctions for the “OneLove” armband.

On Wednesday, all Germany players placed their hands over their mouths in front of dozens of photographers on the pitch ahead of kickoff, after world soccer body Fifa had threatened seven European teams with sanctions if they wore the armband symbolising diversity and tolerance.

France are not among the seven teams, with French football federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet saying it would “follow the guidelines of Fifa”.

“I think that Fifa’s decision to ban the One Love armband will be talked about for a while. Do I wish there had been a space for full freedom? The answer is clearly yes,” sports minister Amelie Oudea Castera told public TV channel Public Senat.

“Are there still spaces of freedom where our French team can continue to express their commitment to human rights? The answer is yes. The Germans are showing it.”

France players urged to take human rights stand at World Cup by sports minister

Qatar ‘impose’ last-minute alcohol ban on Wales fans

12:45 , Luke Baker

A World Cup party has been cancelled after Qatar authorities “imposed” changes to restrict alcohol sales, organisers said.

Fan charity Gol Cymru was looking to build on the success of its parties held either side of Wales’ opening World Cup game against the USA with a second round of events for Friday’s fixture with Iran.

But they said they were told at the last minute of new conditions preventing alcohol sales before 12pm, leading to them cancelling their pre-match event at the InterContinental Doha hotel, in the West Bay area of the city.

The Wales Football Supporters’ Association’s fan embassy later noted Friday is a holy day and “no alcohol before midday” is allowed.

Wales’ crunch group B fixture against Iran kicks off at 1pm Qatari time, 10am in the UK, at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.

Qatar ‘impose’ last-minute alcohol ban on Wales fans

Nadia Nadim: ITV World Cup pundit left heartbroken after mother killed in road accident

12:30 , Jamie Braidwood

World Cup pundit Nadia Nadim has been left heartbroken after her mother was killed by a truck.

The Denmark legend was forced off air on ITV during Denmark’s draw against Tunisia at Qatar.

And the 34-year-old has paid tribute to her mother and confirmed the tragic news.

“Words can not describe what I’m feeling,” Nadim said in a statement.

“I have lost the most important person in my life and it happened so sudden and unexpected. She was only 57.”

World Cup pundit Nadia Nadim left heartbroken after mother killed in road accident

Spain score seven in World Cup annihilation of dismal Costa Rica

12:15 , Miguel Delaney

Spain put on an exhibition, which is also an ominous display of their quality.

It might be far too early to call this 7-0 rout a victory of champions, but it’s fair to say it was the most complete and convincing team performance of this World Cup 2022 so far. Spain have announced themselves, in a manner similar to the 4-1 evisceration over Russia that sparked their Euro 2008 win.

The only pity was that there were so few people here to see it, Spain’s grand showcase also highlighting one of the less serious but still significant problems of this World Cup. There was never any hint, however, that Luis Enrique’s team would suffer from one of the growing football issues of this World Cup.

Far from arriving undercooked – as group rivals Germany, Argentina and other big sides look – Spain have the sense of a team coming together.

And, yes, it was only Costa Rica. But Pedri is only 19. Gavi is only 18.

Leah Williamson interview: ‘Football is everyone’s game - the Qatar World Cup is wrong’

12:00 , Jamie Braidwood

“If leadership in football has looked short in recent days, Leah Williamson can help to provide an antidote. The England captain says the staging of the men’s World Cup in Qatar is “wrong” but wants to use her voice to highlight the discrimination of LGBTQ+ people in the host country, while promoting messages of inclusion and equality closer to home.

“Armbands, and England’s decision not to follow through with their ‘OneLove’ stance following pressure from Fifa, has been the hot topic of the opening days of the World Cup. In July, Williamson proudly wore her rainbow armband in support of LGBTQ+ rights as the Lionesses won the Euros at Wembley. It was a victory that stood for more than football, celebrated in an environment that was inclusive and diverse.

“I think one of the biggest compliments I’ve had since the Euros is someone went to one of our games when they were afraid to go to a men’s game,” Williamson tells The Indepdendent. “I wouldn’t want anyone to feel like it wasn’t their game. We wanted to show that supporting England is an open invitation to be exactly who you want to be, because that’s what we do too.”

“The contrast to Qatar could not be clearer.”

Leah Williamson interview: ‘Football is everyone’s game - this World Cup is wrong’

Germany beaten by Japan but stand up to Fifa as pressure mounts at controversial Qatar World Cup

11:45 , Alex Pattle

“Germany fans had waited four years for their team to make a statement at the Qatar World Cup, but they weren’t necessarily thinking of the one that Hansi Flick’s side delivered in their opening game.

“While the national team failed to banish the spectre of Russia 2018, where Germany’s World Cup campaign came crashing down in Kazan, the team at least ensured that they addressed a much more pressing issue here.

“Four-and-a-half years after a 2-0 defeat by South Korea saw Germany’s catastrophic world title defence end in the group stage – and in shame – the four-time champions went some way to restoring pride before they had kicked a ball against Japan; which was just as well, given their actual kicking of the ball offered little to celebrate.

“Lining up for their pre-game photograph ahead of this 2-1 loss to Japan, every Germany player covered their mouth, making clear their frustration at Fifa’s attempts to silence political dissections of this World Cup. Prior to that gesture, Flick’s players had sported rainbow sleeves on their training tops while warming up for this opening Group E tie, while – up in the stands – Germany’s Federal Minister of the Interior and Community, Nancy Faeser, wore the OneLove armband that Fifa has so adamantly tried to wipe from existence.”

Harry Kane trains with England squad

11:38 , Lawrence Ostlere

Harry Kane has been pictured in England training on Thursday following his recent injury scare.

Kane underwent a scan on his foot following a heavy challenge in England’s 6-2 opening victory over Iran on Monday.

The scan did not reveal any lasting damage and Kane is expected to start against the USA tomorrow.

Harry Kane in England treaining at Al Wakrah SC Stadium on Thursday afternoon (Getty Images)
Harry Kane in England treaining at Al Wakrah SC Stadium on Thursday afternoon (Getty Images)

Uruguay perfect World Cup dark horses with Federico Valverde at the heart of their regeneration

11:30 , Jamie Braidwood

“The original World Cup winners, and indeed hosts, Uruguay have been part of international folklore for as long as that version of the game has been around.

“Unlike some others from that part of the world, though, the story of La Celeste has not always been one of romance and achievement, of being giants and being admired, their names woven into World Cup fabric as often as they would have liked.

“The tenth-biggest nation in South America by population went from mythical to missing on the global stage in the space of less than three decades.

“Between 1978 and 1998 they qualified only twice and tasted victory only once. It has been a long road back for the Sky Blue side, but a golden generation of players was overseen and developed by the legendary Oscar Tabarez and now, under the guidance of Diego Alonso, they are showing that a generational team doesn’t have to be restricted to a single generation.

“Uruguay are very much a force to reckoned with in Qatar at the World Cup, a team with players who know their roles, proven goalscorers and committed faces aplenty and, crucially, a handful of elite talents playing near the top of their game.”

Uruguay perfect World Cup dark horses with Valverde at the heart of regeneration

Son Heung-min fit to face Uruguay in South Korea’s World Cup opener

11:15 , Jamie Braidwood

Son Heung-min will be fit enough to feature for South Korea in their World Cup opener against Uruguay on Thursday.

Head coach Paulo Bento confirmed the Tottenham attacker will play with the black protective mask he has been wearing in training since he sustained a fracture around his left eye in a Champions League match against Marseille on 1 November.

South Korea captain Son underwent surgery days later to fix the issue and despite not appearing at his country’s pre-match press conference in Al Rayyan, he will be involved in the Group H opener at Education City Stadium.

“Sonny can play. Yes he will be able to play,” Bento told a press conference on Wednesday. “I think the fact that he would be wearing a mask is not an inconvenience for him. It is rather natural for him.”

Son Heung-min fit to face Uruguay in South Korea’s World Cup opener

Germany say Fifa ‘denied us a voice’ after covering mouths in statement at World Cup

11:00 , Jamie Braidwood

Germany claim Fifa “denied us a voice” after their players covered their mouths in a World Cup statement before their Group E match with Japan.

It is the latest development in the row with the world’s governing body over the “One Love” initiative, with Fifa censoring Germany and other teams in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal.

The four-time World Cup winners lined up for the photo opportunity on the pitch before the Group E match at the Khalifa International Stadium, collectively covering their mouths.

A statement from the German FA read: “We wanted to use our captain’s armband to take a stand for values that we hold in the Germany national team: diversity and mutual respect. Together with other nations, we wanted our voice to be heard.

“It wasn’t about making a political statement – human rights are non-negotiable. That should be taken for granted, but it still isn’t the case. That’s why this message is so important to us. Denying us the armband is the same as denying us a voice. We stand by our position.”

Germany say Fifa ‘denied us a voice’ after covering mouths in statement at World Cup

Jesse Marsch says USA face tougher World Cup test against ‘high level’ England

10:45 , Jamie Braidwood

Jesse Marsch believes the United States face a far tougher assignment against England at this World Cup than the one he was part of in 2010.

Marsch was a coach on Bob Bradley’s backroom staff as the USA stunned the Three Lions by earning a 1-1 draw in their opening group game in South Africa 12 years ago.

It was a tournament that saw England labour under Fabio Capello, despite having Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, John Terry and Ashley Cole among their starters, as they scraped through the group stages before being knocked out by Germany in the last 16.

Marsch, currently working in the Premier League as Leeds boss, reckons the current crop will have a much more difficult task playing against Gareth Southgate’s side on Friday.

Jesse Marsch says USA face tougher test against ‘high level’ England

Kieffer Moore targets key Iranian weakness for Wales to exploit

10:30 , Jamie Braidwood

Wales striker Kieffer Moore plans to torment Iran in the air just like England did.

England smashed six past Iran in their World Cup opener, with the Iranians having no answer to the Three Lions’ aerial power.

The 6ft 5in Moore watched the first half of that game before Wales set off for their tournament opener – a 1-1 draw against the United States – and is confident of wreaking more havoc on the Iran defence.

Asked if he had been licking his lips at Iran’s defensive problems, Moore said: “I was, yeah – they did struggle in the air. You could see England’s dominance in the box. They took a lead straight away and that set the tone for the game.

“It was 3-0 at half-time and England played really well to utilise those positions to get the ball into the box. If we can replicate that then hopefully we’ll get the same outcome.”

'I don’t know why I got the trophy’

10:25 , Lawrence Ostlere

Kevin De Bruyne mocked his own man of the match award after Belgium’s unconvincing World Cup win over Canada on Wednesday night.

The world No2-ranked Belgian side struggled against their lively opposition and had goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to thank for a penalty save which helped earn a 1-0 victory.

Manchester City star De Bruyne had little impact as part of a disjointed Belgian midfield and was baffled by his post-match prize.

“No, I don’t think I played a great game,” a miserable-looking De Bruyne said after being told of his award. “I don’t know why I got the trophy — maybe it’s because of my name.”

‘I don’t know why’: Kevin De Bruyne mocks his own man of the match award

Switzerland vs Cameroon underway

10:15 , Jamie Braidwood

Today’s action is underway with Switzerland vs Cameroon kicking off Group G, which also includes Brazil and Serbia.

You can follow the opening match of the day with our live blog:

Switzerland vs Cameroon LIVE: World Cup 2022 latest score and updates

Canada showed against Belgium they belong at World Cup, says manager Herdman

10:00 , Jamie Braidwood

John Herdman believes his Canada side proved they belong at the World Cup 2022 after they outshone Belgium only to slip to a narrow defeat.

Michy Batshuayi hit the only goal of the game as a lacklustre Belgium, ranked second in the world, began Group F with a barely-deserved 1-0 win.

Canada – 39 places lower than Belgium in the rankings – had earlier missed a penalty as Alphonso Davies’ tame effort was saved by Thibaut Courtois before they were potentially denied two further first-half spot-kicks.

Playing in their first World Cup in 36 years, Canada more than held their own and had 21 shots on goal compared to nine from Belgium.

Englishman Herdman guided Les Rouges back to the world stage following a fine qualification campaign – becoming the first coach to manage at both the men’s and women’s World Cups.

Canada showed against Belgium they belong at World Cup, says manager Herdman

Neco Williams praised for ‘great courage and bravery’ after grandfather’s death

09:45 , Jamie Braidwood

Harry Wilson has praised Neco Williams’ “courage and bravery” for playing in Wales’ World Cup opener on Monday following the death of his grandfather.

Williams’ grandfather died on Sunday and the Nottingham Forest full-back shared the sad news on social media after playing in Wales’ 1-1 draw against the United States.

“Yesterday was the toughest news I’ve ever had to face and that was listening to my mum tell me my grandad passed away last night,” Williams wrote on Monday night, dedicating the game and point to his late grandfather.

“To go from crying all day to start in a World Cup game was extremely tough but I got through it from the support of my team-mates and family.”

Neco Williams praised for ‘great courage and bravery’ after grandfather’s death

Jordan Pickford hoping England get ‘fair’ treatment from referees

09:30 , Jamie Braidwood

Jordan Pickford is hoping England get fair treatment from officials after boss Gareth Southgate said he was “worried” that his side had been used as an example during pre-World Cup referee meetings.

England were denied what looked like a clear spot-kick when Harry Maguire was grabbed by Rouzbeh Cheshmi early on in their 6-2 win over Iran on Monday.

The VAR decided not to intervene but later alerted the referee to a tug on a shirt in the England box which resulted in Mehdi Taremi scoring a last-gasp penalty, while a similar offence resulted in a spot-kick in Argentina’s shock defeat to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.

Jordan Pickford hoping England get ‘fair’ treatment from referees

England issue Harry Kane fitness update

09:18 , Jamie Braidwood

Gareth Southgate says Harry Kane is “fine” and fit to start against the USA on Friday. The England captain had to undergo a scan after receiving a blow to his ankle against Iran, but fears he could miss the second match of Group B have been eased.

“Harry is fine. He has worked slightly separately from the group but all good for Friday night,” Southgate said. “He had a scan [on Wednesday] to make sure everything is fine.”

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

Fernandes not worried about United’s future after Ronaldo exit

09:15 , Jamie Braidwood

Bruno Fernandes is not concerned about the future of Manchester United following Cristiano Ronaldo‘s dramatic departure, insisting that he does not need to “pick a side”.

Ronaldo’s Old Trafford contract was terminated with immediate effect on Tuesday as a result of the damaging tell-all interview in which he criticised both the club’s hierarchy and manager Erik ten Hag.

The 37-year-old has left United without a pay-off and will now play alongside international team-mate Fernandes as a free agent in Portugal’s opening World Cup game against Ghana on Thursday.

Fernandes will return to Old Trafford after the World Cup in Qatar without his compatriot but said that he does not feel under pressure to side with either Ronaldo or his club in the dispute.

Bruno Fernandes not worried about Manchester United’s future

‘We are to blame’: German inquest begins after shock World Cup defeat to Japan

09:00 , Richard Jolly

“Some people were on the pitch. They thought it was all over. Because it was and the 11 Japan players were joined by the rest of the squad, all streaming across the Khalifa Stadium turf, headed for the corner in euphoric, exhilarating celebration of their greatest ever win. The turn of pace, it seemed, was not confined to the substitutes who overran Germany in a remarkable final half-hour.

“The buoyant Japanese were energised by the astonishing, by Shuichi Gonda’s quadruple save, by the goals the impact subs Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano delivered, by the sudden sense that, from a seemingly routine victory for Germany, this became the kind of occasion that will be remembered for decades. “A historical victory, to say the least,” stated their manager Hajime Moriyasu.”

‘We are to blame’: German inquest begins after shock defeat to Japan

Japan fans praised for cleaning up World Cup stadium after historic win over Germany

08:45 , Jamie Braidwood

Japanese football fans won praise on social media after cleaning up Doha’s Khalifa International Stadium following their momentous win over Germany at the Qatar World Cup.

Japan came back from behind to win 2-1 thanks to second-half strikes by Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano, the latter with a brilliant individual goal which secured the Group E victory over the four-time world champions.

Video on social media showed Japanese fans filling rubbish bags with litter and rubbish from around their seats after the full-time whistle.

Such images have become commonplace at major tournaments and were also seen at the men’s World Cup in Russia four years ago, garnering praise from around the world after their team were knocked out of the tournament by Belgium in the round of 16.

Japan fans praised for cleaning up World Cup stadium after historic win over Germany

Kyle Walker targeting ‘biggest prize of all’ after handing England fitness boost

08:30 , Jamie Braidwood

Kyle Walker is desperate to help this talented England side win the “biggest prize of all” after returning from injury just in time to go to the World Cup.

A regular starter in the last three major tournaments, it looked like the 32-year-old could be watching the tournament in Qatar from afar due to a persistent a groin complaint.

Sustained in early September when Manchester City played Aston Villa, Walker aggravated it on England duty against Germany and the derby clash with Manchester United on 3 October proved the “final straw”.

Germany won’t be punished by Fifa for World Cup protest

08:10 , Jamie Braidwood

Germany’s players will not face any disciplinary action from Fifa after taking the OneLove armband protest to a new level as their players covered their mouths during a team photo at the World Cup.

The move marked another day of tension between the seven European nations who supported the OneLove campaign and Fifa, with the group – which includes the English and Welsh FAs – exploring their legal options over the matter.

The Football Association declined to comment on whether the England team would copy the German gesture ahead of their match against the United States on Friday, while the Football Association of Wales chief executive Noel Mooney said he was “furious” with Fifa’s behaviour.

England and Wales were only told hours before their opening matches on Monday that they would face sporting sanctions if captains Harry Kane and Gareth Bale wore the rainbow-coloured armbands.

Germany won’t be punished by Fifa for World Cup protest

Harry Kane trains for England after ankle injury scare ahead of World Cup clash with USA

08:05 , Jamie Braidwood

Harry Kane trained on Wednesday and England are optimistic the striker will be fit for Friday’s World Cup 2022 clash against the United States.

Gareth Southgate’s men enjoyed the Three Lions’ best start to a major tournament, thrashing Iran 6-2 as their quest for Qatar glory began in style on Monday.

Kane provided two assists and played 75 minutes of the Group B opener, having seemingly escaped injury despite going down gripping his right foot in pain early in the second half.

Southgate downplayed the issue but the 29-year-old left the Khalifa International Stadium with a slight limp and his right ankle lightly strapped following a poor challenge by Morteza Pouraliganji.

Kane was due for a scan on his right ankle ahead of the US game and it seems the striker has avoided injury as he trained with the group on Wednesday.

Kane trains for England after ankle injury scare ahead of clash with USA

World Cup news LIVE: Latest updates from Qatar

08:00 , Jamie Braidwood

England continue their World Cup campaign on Friday against the USA, with Gareth Southgate’s side boosted by the news that Harry Kane has escaped injury on his ankle following a scan.

The England captain has returned to training after fears he would miss the Group B clash, after receiving a blow to his ankle following a heavy challenge in the opening 6-2 win against Iran on Monday.

Elsewhere, the dust is still settling on the second major shock of the World Cup, after Japan’s stunning victory over Germany. The result came after Germany made a protest of Fifa’s decision to impose sporting sactions on the ‘OneLove’ armband.

Spain caught the eye with a 7-0 thrashing of Costa Rica while Belgium scraped past Canada in their opening match. Today’s action begins with Switzerland against Cameroon before attention turns to Group G with Uruguay’s match with South Korea and Portugal’s clash with Ghana.

All eyes will therefore be on Cristiano Ronaldo in his first match since leaving Manchester United - with Brazil also in action later as they take on Serbia.