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From Messi’s triumph to Federer’s retirement: 2022’s top sport stories – FRANCE 24 English

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From the moment Lionel Messi lifted the World Cup – the one major prize he had lacked – to the moment Roger Federer hung up his tennis racket, 2022 was a remarkable year in sport. FRANCE 24 looks back at all the highlights of the past 12 months.

Pelé acknowledges the crowd before an African Cup of Nations semi-final football match at the Stade de l'Amitie in Libreville, Gabon, February 8, 2012.
Pelé acknowledges the crowd before an African Cup of Nations semi-final football match at the Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville, Gabon, February 8, 2012. © Frank Fife, AFP

It was the moment of mourning the footballing world had been dreading. After his family gathered around his hospital bed over Christmas, the Brazilian king of football Pelé died aged 82 on December 29. He had been suffering from colon cancer.

Pelé’s significance for the beautiful game was best summed up by Spanish newspaper El Pais, which reacted to his death with a headline describing him as “football in four letters”.

The Brazilian icon was second to none when it came to pace, finishing skills and – above all – reading the game in advance. Pelé became a global phenomenon in 1958 at the age of just 17 when his goalscoring prowess powered Brazil to World Cup victory. Remarkably, he had already notched up 100 goals for his beloved club Santos.

Pelé won three World Cups with Brazil, with further victories in 1962 and 1970. On six occasions, Pelé managed to score five goals in the same game, but he also notched 30 quadruples and 92 hat over two illustrious decades.

Pelé scored five goals in the same game on six occasions, but he also notched 30 quadruples and 92 hat-tricks over two illustrious decades.

“Like all legends, the King seemed immortal,” said France manager Didier Deschamps. “He made people dream and continued to do that with generations and generations of lovers of our sport. Who, as a child, didn’t dream of being Pelé?”

 

An emotional Roger Federer of Team Europe sits alongside his playing partner Rafael Nadal after their Laver Cup doubles match against Team World's Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe at the O2 arena in London on September 23, 2022.
An emotional Roger Federer of Team Europe sits alongside his playing partner Rafael Nadal after their Laver Cup doubles match against Team World’s Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe at the O2 arena in London on September 23, 2022. © Kin Cheung, AP

Tennis virtuoso Roger Federer brought his extraordinary career to a close at the end of September with a final match playing doubles alongside longstanding rival and friend Rafael Nadal at the Laver Cup in London.

The 41-year-old Swiss icon made a moving expression of gratitude for his time in tennis. “This is a bittersweet decision, because I will miss everything the tour has given me,” Federer wrote. “But at the same time, there is so much to celebrate. I consider myself one of the most fortunate people on Earth. I was given a special talent to play tennis, and I did it at a level that I never imagined, for much longer than I ever thought possible.”

Federer was a mere 21 when he burst to fame by winning Wimbledon in 2003. Renowned for the consummate elegance and grace of his game, Federer at his peak dominated tennis’s most prestigious tournament – winning Wimbledon five consecutive times from 2003 to 2007.

In total, Federer won 20 titles and an unprecedented 369 Grand Slam matches during his long career, plus six Masters, one Davis Cup and one Olympic gold.

Nadal paid Federer a moving tribute upon the retirement announcement: “Dear Roger, my friend and rival. I wish this day would have never come,” he tweeted. “It’s a sad day for me personally and for sports around the world.

“It’s been a pleasure but also an honor and privilege to share all these years with you, living so many amazing moments on and off the court.”

 

  • England’s Lionesses win Women’s Euro

England's Leah Williamson and Millie Bright lift the trophy as they celebrate with teammates after winning the Women's Euro 2022 at London's Wembley Stadium on July 31, 2022.
England’s Leah Williamson and Millie Bright lift the trophy as they celebrate with teammates after winning the Women’s Euro 2022 at London’s Wembley Stadium on July 31, 2022. © Peter Cziborra, Reuters

Fifty-six years after the England men’s team famously lifted the World Cup in 1966, it was the England women’s team who finally ended the trophy drought when they beat Germany 2-1 in the final in July. Millions tuned in to see the Lionesses play and more than 87,000 spectators flocked to Wembley – showing just how popular women’s football has become, especially in the UK.

The historic significance of the Lionesses’ victory was captured by Queen Elizabeth II. “The Championships and your performance in them have rightly won praise. However, your success goes far beyond the trophy you have so deservedly earned,” she wrote in a message to the team, months before her death in September.

“You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations. It is my hope that you will be as proud of the impact you have had on your sport as you are of the result today.”

 

  • Messi’s Argentina win the World Cup

Argentina striker Lionel Messi lifts the World Cup trophy during the Qatar 2022 World Cup trophy ceremony after the football final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium north of Doha on December 18, 2022.
Argentina striker Lionel Messi lifts the World Cup trophy during the Qatar 2022 World Cup trophy ceremony after the football final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium north of Doha on December 18, 2022. Franck Fife, AFP

The men’s World Cup final happened less than a fortnight ago but it seems already to belong to the annals of history. It was one of the greatest matches in the history of the game – not for the first, Argentina-dominated 80 minutes, but certainly from the moment France’s Kylian Mbappé scored his spot kick and lit a spark beneath both teams.

It was Mbappé’s match, as he became the second player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final after Geoff Hurst for England in 1966. But it was Lionel Messi’s night, as Argentina held their nerve and triumphed in the penalty shootout. After winning everything he wanted in club football, the diminutive genius was radiant joy after he captured the one prize to have eluded him.

The 36-year-old hit the back of the net seven times throughout the tournament and was the creative engine behind so many of Argentina’s goals. It came as no surprise when he was awarded the Golden Ball for best player of the tournament – the first player to win the prize twice.

The Argentinian victory was a seminal moment for a bitterly divided country, beset by economic and political woes, that nevertheless unites around love for its national football team and star player. The team arrived home to rapturous scenes at the victory parade in Buenos Aires on December 20, with more than five million people taking part as the government declared a national public holiday. It was the largest popular gathering in Argentinian history, according to local media.

The victory came 36 years after Argentina last won a World Cup, powered by Diego Maradona, one of the few players in the history of the sport to challenge Messi’s claim to be the greatest player of all time.

 

  • Morocco’s astonishing World Cup run

Morocco players are pictured on their bus as Morocco fans celebrate with flares during the parade in Rabat, December 22, 2022.
Morocco players are pictured on their bus as Morocco fans celebrate with flares during the parade in Rabat, December 22, 2022. © Reuters – Juan Medina

Morocco made World Cup history by becoming the first African and Arab nation to reach the semi-finals, when France sent them crashing out of the tournament.

Walid Regragui’s team pulled off a series of wins to shock the footballing world, defeating Belgium, Spain and Portugal and becoming a huge source of pride for both Africa and the Arab world.  

Before Qatar 2022 got started, few expected Morocco to reach the final four. But they showed remarkable team spirit and tactical acumen, defending with finesse and courage before overcoming their opponents on the counter-attack.

The Atlas Lions returned home to Rabat to a jubilant response, with hundreds of thousands taking the streets to give them a standing ovation. The team were also received by King Mohammed VI for a celebration ceremony to honour their historic achievement.

 

  • France’s Six Nations victory

France win the 2022 Six Nations rugby tournament.
France win the 2022 Six Nations rugby tournament. © Pierre-René Worms

It’s clear that 2023 will be a huge year for French rugby as the country hosts the Rugby World Cup from September 8 to October 21. Before that, the French national team sent a strong signal to the rugby world in 2022.

Les Bleus romped to victory in the Six Nations in March, triumphing over Italy (37-10), Ireland (30-24), Scotland (36-17), Wales (9-13) and finally their biggest rivals England (25-13).

The French national rugby team can count on an “exceptional generation of players who are at once well-trained technically and have great attitudes”, former France international Philippe Saint-André told FRANCE 24.

Les Bleus continued their unbeaten run of form with a 13th straight win over Japan in the Autumn Nations League in November – a record-breaking streak that France hope to see extended well into 2023 and, who knows, beyond.

 

  • Senegal win first ever African Cup of Nations

Senegal win their first ever Africa Cup of Nations,beating Egypt on penalties, on January 6, 2022.
Senegal win their first ever Africa Cup of Nations,beating Egypt on penalties, on January 6, 2022. © Pierre René-Worms, France 24

Senegal won their first ever African Cup of Nations when they beat Egypt on penalties, with talismanic star Sadio Mané firing home to win the day. It was a huge achievement for the Teranga Lions, for whom the trophy had long been elusive despite 57 years since their first appearance in the competition and a storied reputation as one of the best African teams in international football.

After the victory, Senegal manager Aliou Cissé expressed his “joy” and “pride” at taking home the trophy. It was a testament to the quality of the players and their coherence as a group animated by fierce team spirit. And it was an especially great moment for their biggest star along with Mané, goalkeeper Édouard Mendy, whose career looked like it was ending in failure eight years ago, before he went on to become one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

 

  • Women’s Tour de France made a huge comeback

Team Jumbo Visma's Dutch rider Marianne Vos wearing the sprinter's green jersey, Movistar Team's Dutch rider Annemiek Van Vleuten wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, van Trek-Segafredo's Dutch rider Shirin Van Anrooij wearing the best young rider's white jersey, and Team SD Worx's Dutch rider Demi Vollering wearing the climber's dotted jersey celebrate on the podium after the 8th and final stage of the new edition of the Women's Tour de France cycling race, 123,3 km between Lure and La Super Planche des Belles Filles, on July 31, 2022.
Team Jumbo Visma’s Dutch rider Marianne Vos wearing the sprinter’s green jersey, Movistar Team’s Dutch rider Annemiek Van Vleuten wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey, van Trek-Segafredo’s Dutch rider Shirin Van Anrooij wearing the best young rider’s white jersey, and Team SD Worx’s Dutch rider Demi Vollering wearing the climber’s dotted jersey celebrate on the podium after the 8th and final stage of the new edition of the Women’s Tour de France cycling race, 123,3 km between Lure and La Super Planche des Belles Filles, on July 31, 2022. © Jeff Pachoud, AFP

Thirty-three years after the women’s Tour de France was last held in 1989, it started again on July 24, the same day that the men’s race came to a close.

Over the course of a week, 144 female cyclists – 109 at the finish – competed in eight stages, including a monumental final climb at the Planche des Belles Filles in eastern France’s hilly Vosges region.

One of the favourites ahead of the competition, Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten won easily – succeeding the 1989 winner Jeannie Longo. This year’s tournament was characterised by a huge gulf between the big names and the other contestants, with the 14 most-famous cyclists taking all the stage victories.

The female edition of the Tour de France attracted vast interest, with crowds lining the paths in typical fashion and between 2 and 3 million watching each stage on TV. The women’s competition is now set to become a permanent fixture, with a 2023 Tour that will take contestants from Clermont-Ferrand in central France’s Auvergne region to Pau in the Pyrenees.

>> Women’s Tour de France: Director relishes chance for girls to ‘identify with champions’

 

  • Benzema wins Ballon d’Or

Karim Benzema receives the Ballon d'Or at the Châtelet Theatre in Paris, October 17, 2022.
Karim Benzema receives the Ballon d’Or at the Châtelet Theatre in Paris, October 17, 2022. © Franck Fife, AFP

Capping an extraordinary run of form that has seen him get better and better as he ages, Real Madrid’s French striker Karim Benzema won the Ballon d’Or on October 17. Benzema was the clear favourite to win the prize for best player, after a decade in which Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo dominated. It was a stratospheric season for Benzema, a protean goalscoring menace, who scored 44 goals in 46 games last season, the most prolific of his career.

“This prize makes me really proud,” Benzema said. “I never gave up; it was a childhood dream. There was a difficult period where I wasn’t in the France team, but I kept working hard. I kept in my head this joy of playing football. I’m really proud of my journey here.”

At 34, Benzema became the second-oldest player ever to win the award, after English legend Stanley Matthews earned the inaugural prize aged 41 in 1956.

The Real Madrid star became the fifth Frenchmen to win the Ballon d’Or – following in the footsteps of his former club manager Zinedine Zidane, who won the trophy in 1998 and presented Benzema with this year’s prize.

Benzema missed the 2022 World Cup due to injury and announced the end of his international career shortly after the tournament.

  • France’s Caroline Garcia wins WTA masters

Caroline Garcia of France holds the winner's trophy after defeating Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic during the women's final of the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 21, 2022 in Mason, Ohio.
Caroline Garcia of France holds the winner’s trophy after defeating Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic during the women’s final of the Western & Southern Open at Lindner Family Tennis Center on August 21, 2022 in Mason, Ohio. © Matthew Stockman, AFP

It was the French tennis performance of the year. Caroline Garcia won the WTA Masters in Fort Worth, Texas at the beginning of November after beating the Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka. She became the second Frenchwoman to achieve this feat after Amélie Mauresmo, who won the trophy in an all-French final against Mary Pierce in 2005.

It’s a richly deserved victory for the 29-year-old from Lyon, after years of doubt as to whether she could become a top player. Garcia was ranked 79th in the world in May but has pulled off a meteoric rise in the WTA rankings and is now at number 4.

So Garcia is a strong contender to win the next Grand Slam, the Australian Open in January. If she did so, she would win French women’s tennis its first major title since Marion Bartoli won Wimbledon in 2013. That would be mirroring Mauresmo’s trajectory, winning the WTA Masters and using it as a launching pad to win the Australian Open soon after.

 

  • Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard wins Tour de France

Visma's Jonas Vingegaard crosses the finish line as he celebrates winning the Tour de France.
Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard crosses the finish line as he celebrates winning the Tour de France. © Christian Hartmann, Reuters

After coming second in the 2021 Tour de France, Jonas Vingegaard won the tournament’s 2022 edition on July 24.

With the race kicking off in his native Denmark, the 25-year-old had to slug it out in a breathless duel with Tadej Pogacar – the two-time defending winner at the time. But the Slovenian never quite managed to take the yellow jersey from Pogacar.

After a fierce contest over dramatic landscapes in a strength-sapping heatwave, Vingegaard clinched his win in time-trial after taking the lead in the Alps and extending it in the Pyrenees.

But the Tour may well be best remembered for a great moment of fair play: Pogacar fell at top speed and Vingegaard waited for him to catch up, with the pair clasping hands briefly.

This article was adapted from the original in French.

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Manchester United

Ratings: De Gea, Martinez & Sabitzer were great against Fulham; Fernandes’ brace was a positive too

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Manchester United beat Fulham 3-1 at Old Trafford in the Emirate FA Cup quarter final. It was Fulham who were the better team for large spells as Aleksandar Mitrović opening the scoring in the 50th minute of the match. A Willian handball gave a penalty for United which Bruno Fernandes scored – Willian, Mitrović and Marco Silva were sent off. Marcel Saboteur then scored his first goal for United before Fernandes scored a second.

Fulham started well at Old Trafford with Aleksandar Mitrović showing great strength down the right in the second minute, whipping in a good ball that Scott McTominay had to be alert to knock behind. Harry Maguire then headed clear the resulting set-piece. David De Gea made a save in the third minute as Issa Diop was found 15-yards out on an angle, looping a good header towards De Gea, who had the help the ball over the crossbar. Fulham were lively.

In the fourth minute of the match Mitrović had a penalty appeal waved away after he thought he was fouled by Luke Shaw in the box. United seemed to be sloppy from the start with Maguire adding to it with bad passing from the back. Andreas Pereira then drove forward in the eighth minute, found Mitrović who then set up Willian on the edge of the box, who should have found more but hit his effort far and wide of the target. United needed to be so much better.

In the tenth minute, Bruno Fernandes was down needing treatment after seemingly being elbowed just above his waist. He was fine to continue though. Marcus Rashford launched an attack in the 13th minute, finding Wout Weghorst on the edge of the box for the Dutchman’s finish was not good enough and was straight at Bernd Leno. Mitrović seemed to be lively in the early stages of the match, seeking a goal against United in the Emirates FA Cup.

Fulham had a good chance in the 14th minute with Harrison Reed nicking the ball off Lisandro Martinez then charging into the box. He had three in the box but his final ball was not good enough and the ball was cleared out for a corner. The corner found its way to Tim Ream on the left flank and he delivered a good ball across the face of the goal but there were no takers for Fulham. Andreas Pereira was booked in the 18th minute for a foul on Rashford.

Maguire was booked three minutes later, which would be a suspension for the semi final of the competition, should United get there where the winner of this match will face Brighton and Hove Albion at Wembley. United were close in the 24th minute as Rashford cut onto his right foot, curled the ball into where Weghorst and Marcel Sabitzer were but neither of them could reach it in the end. Fulham wanted another penalty in the 26th minute after Mitrović went down.

It was not given though as there was nothing in it – other than a dive for Mitrović. Fulham had a chance in the 31st minute but Mitrović was unable to find the back of the net. United had a chance at the other end a minute later with Rashford the source of imagination for United but on his final ball, Leno was able to get to block it which ricocheted of Rashford and out for a goal kick. United then started to find some flow but needed a lot more than they had brought to far.

Martinez defended well in the 40th minute as Mitrović was sent up the channel, having an eye for the box. He tried to beat the Argentinian defender with a change of pace but Martinez stayed strong and came away with the ball. Sabitzer had a chance on goal in the 41st minute, taking on a strike from 22-yards but Leno parried it away. Jadon Sancho started something a minute later, with Sabitzer also involved but Rashford did not get to it. It was 0-0 at half time.

There were no substitutions for either team during the break. Fulham started on top again in the second half with João Palhinha and Reed keeping the chance alive, Willian then back heeled the ball to Antonee Robinson who shot at goal but De Gea tipped it over the crossbar. De Gea made another save a minute later was Willian struck from the edge of the box. Fulham opened the scoring in the 50th minute through Mitrović, who buried the ball provided by Issa Diop.

In the 54th minute, United went direct to Weghorst who held it for Rashford, then finding Fernandes. The Portuguese midfielder took his strike from the edge of the box but it was wide of the target. Ten Hag made a substitution in the 59th minute with Antony replacing McTominay. Willian started rolling back the years in the 64th minute, showing his class and ability. He was unable to inspire Fulham to double their lead though. United still needed to get something back.

De Gea performed another great save in the 66th after Mitrović rose highest to head towards goal. Fernandes had some involvement in something in the 68th minute, sending it in to Sancho, who struck it and it deflected off Rashford. In the 70th minute, Willian seemed to handle the ball, being honest about it. VAR got involved and the referee looked at the screen. He sent Willian off and gave United a penalty – it was a harsh sending off for the Brazilian.

Mitrović got nasty, pushed the referee and pushed his face into his face and was sent off for that. Marco Silva was also sent off for his reaction from the double red card, which turned into a treble. Fernandes took the penalty, scoring his ninth goal of the season for United. Two minutes later, Sabitzer scored his first goal for United after Shaw played the ball into him as he was running in the box. VAR looked at the goal and awarded it. United were 1-0 down to 2-1 up.

That was a dramatic ten minutes. Willian was perhaps treated badly for that sending off but what Mitrović did was out of order and he deserves that. Silva also deserved to be sent off for his reaction to what happened. Some will say United got their way with the referees again but it was purely on Fulham what happened. United just gained from it. That is what happens in football. The Fernandes penalty followed by the Saboteur goal was brilliant for United.

United seemed to cool the game down after that, trying to keep possession – dominating the game, which was a first to be fair. It was a terrible game for United before the penalty. Antony came close in the 88th minute – it tested Leno and Diop but he was not able to score. Fred replaced Rashford in the 83rd minute of the match, giving United more in the midfield with them 2-1 up at this stage of the match. United just needed to keep the ball and keep Fulham a bay.

In the 89th minute, Luis Boa Norte – Fulham’s assistant manager, made a triple substitution with Cédric Spares, Manot Solomon and Daniel James replacing Kenny Tete, Bobby De Cordova-Reid and Harrison Reed. In the 90th minute, Tom Cairney replaced Andreas Pereira. Seven minutes were added at the end of the second half. United found a third goal, through Fernandes – his tenth of the season, assisted by Fred in the sixth minute of added time.

It was United that would face Brighton and Hove Albion in the Emirates FA Cup semi final at Wembley in April with Manchester City facing Sheffield United in the other semi final. United’s match will probably be on Sunday 23 April as they are playing in the UEFA Europa League the Thursday prior to the match. Ten Hag was happy, United were happy and the supporters were happy. Another trip to Wembley for United – another chance for another trophy this season.

Player Ratings

David De Gea: Made some great saves to deny Fulham – one of which kept them in the game. Conceded to Mitrović but later in the second half, that threat was gone. It was a comfortable match for De Gea. ★★★★★★★★

Aaron Wan-Bissaka: Did not seem to be at his best until Antony was on the pitch. His final third play before that was dire. Their ability with each other is good to see. One of the better aspects of his game. ★★★★★★

Harry Maguire: Not the best performances – one of the worst. Hauled down Mitrović and was booked for it – therefore misses the semi final. Kept his place as Raphael Varane was ill and regressed massively. ★★★★★

Lisandro Martinez: The Argentinian really imposed himself against Fulham, although Harrison Reed did cause him to misjudge him. That said, he was great at the back for United and health with Aleksandar Mitrović well. ★★★★★★★★

Luke Shaw: Did not really get going to help United on the attack much. Did get his seventh assist of the season though playing the ball into Marcel Sabitzer for him to score his first United goal, overlapping Jadon Sancho. ★★★★★★★

Scott McTominay: He was disciplined positionally when he did not have the ball – not that he was bad with it. He got a chance on goal just before the break. Replaced by Antony in the 58th minute of the match – before the madness. ★★★★★

Marcel Sabitzer: Scored his first goal for United. Took time to adjust with Scott McTominay. Had a good shot in the first half and played in a cross. His goal was a brilliant finish – first Austrian to score for United. ★★★★★★★★

Jadon Sancho: Seemed off the pace in the first half. Seemed slow on and off the ball at times. Did not get much dynamism in the match but did win the penalty for United with the ball touching Willian’s hand. ★★★★★★

Bruno Fernandes: Careless with the ball at times. He changed his performance when United won the penalty levelling from the spot. He got his second of the game in added time, giving him ten goals and 10 assists this season. ★★★★★★★

Marcus Rashford: He was the one player that created something in the first half. He was quiet in the second half and did not get many chances. He was replaced by Fred in the 83rd minute with United 2-1 up. ★★★★★★

Wout Weghorst: It was not a great day for the Dutchman against Fulham. He was unable to get many chances towards goal, with his first shot not actually a shot, more of a back pass. He was put in the number ten role. ★★★★★

Substitutes

Antony: Replaced McTominay 58′. He helped United on the attack with led to the penalty. He was lively since his introduction. It was good that he recovered from illness ahead of this match. Superb player on his day. ★★★★★★★

Fred: Replaced Rashford 83′. Came on giving more energy with United in the lead. He got his fourth assist of the season for Fernandes’ second goal of the match. He was an important substitute for United. ★★★★★★

Match Information

Goals: Bruno Fernandes 75′ penalty’, 90+6′, Marcel Sabitzer 77′; Aleksandar Mitrović 50′

Assists: Luke Shaw 77′, Fred 90+6′; Issa Diop 50′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw; McTominay (Antony 58′), Sabitzer; Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford (Fred 83′); Weghorst

Substitutes Not Used: Butland; Lindelof, Malacia, Dalot; Mainoo; Pellistri, Elanga

Bookings: Harry Maguire 21′; Andreas Pereira 18′, Willian s/o 72′, Aleksandar Mitrović 72′

Written by John Walker

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FIFA World Cup to have 104 matches in 2026 – Sky News

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FIFA World Cup to have 104 matches in 2026  Sky News
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Manchester United

Confirmed XI: Maguire & Martinez in defence; Sabitzer, Sancho, Fernandes & Rashford supporting Weghorst in attack against Fulham

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Manchester United face Fulham in the Emirates FA Cup quarter final at Old Trafford this afternoon. Erik ten Hag’s side will play their second quarter final of the season days after reaching their third quarter final in the UEFA Europa League, where they will face Sevilla over two legs next month. This match against Fulham is the final match for United prior to the international break, then the season will continue with United playing nine matches in April – another busy month.

Should United beat Fulham and earn a semi final place in the FA Cup this season, the match against Chelsea at Old Trafford in the Premier League would be postponed as that is the weekend the semi finals will be played at Wembley, so United would need to find the time to reschedule that match, plus the one against Brighton and Hove Albion that should have been played this weekend. Should United go all the way in both competitions, they will have a busy period ahead.

United and Fulham have already met at Craven Cottage in the Premier League this season, just prior to the FIFA World Cup where United won 2-1 with Alejandro Garnacho scoring the winner in in the last minute of added time. United will face Fulham again at Old Trafford on the final day of the Premier League season. The draw for the semi final of the FA Cup should be done prior to this match commencing, providing extra time is not needed between Brighton and Grimsby Town.

Manchester United

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw;

McTominay, Sabitzer;

Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford;

Weghorst

Substitutes

Butland; Lindelof, Malacia, Dalot; Fred, Mainoo; Antony, Pellistri, Elanga

Fulham

Leno;

Tete, Diop, Ream, Robinson;

Reed, Palhinha;

De Cordova-Reid, Pereira, Willian;

Mitrovic

Substitutes

Rodak; Adarabioyo, Soares; Cairney, James, Lukic; Wilson, Solomon, Vinicius

United and Fulham have met 87 times in all competitions in the history of both clubs. United have won 53 times, drawn 20 times and lost 14 times. Earlier this season United beat Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage, just prior to the FIFA World Cup with Christian Eriksen and Alejandro Garnacho scoring either side of Dan James’ equaliser. This will be the second meeting of the two teams this season – United face Fulham at Old Trafford in the final Premier League match this season.

United and Fulham have met 14 times in the FA Cup – United have won eight times, drawn four times and lost twice. The last defeat to Fulham in the FA Cup came back in 1908. United have scored 27 goals, conceded 15 and kept four clean sheets. The last time the two teams met in the FA Cup was back in 2013 – a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford with Ryan Giggs, Wayne Rooney and a brave from Javier Hernandez before Aaron Hughes scored a late consolation goal.

Andreas Pereira, Dimitar Berbatov, Andy Cole, Louis Saha, Edwin van de Sar, Paul Parker, Kieran Richardson, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Chris Smalling, Tim Fosu-Mensah, George Best and Charlie Mitten have all played for both Manchester United and Fulham. Best is probably the most well-known along with van de Sar, Parker, Cole, Berbatov, Mitten Saha and Smalling. Pereira is doing well at Fulham after being sold by United. He has three goals and six assists in 31 appearances so far.

Written by John Walker

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