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World Cup Showcases Christian Athletes and Action… –


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This third Sunday of Advent, millions of Christians will be at church. But millions will also be glued to a screen, anxious to find out if the Argentinian GOAT will at long last claim a World Cup title. Though past his prime, the 35-year-old team captain Lionel Messi has been sublime in the competition, with five goals and three assists under his belt, and is leading the golden boot race in his fifth World Cup.

Although the reserved Messi, whose right arm bears a tattoo of Jesus crowned with thorns, has not expressed his faith openly beyond pointing to heaven after his goals, this World Cup has featured numerous heroics of confessing Christians.

Leading the freewheeling French attack against Argentina will be 36-year-old striker Olivier Giroud, who has Psalm 23’s “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want” tattooed in Latin on his right arm. During this World Cup, Giroud became the all-time top scorer for France with four magnificent goals.

While the team’s talisman Kylian Mbappé has lived up to the hype with his blistering speed and lethal shooting, Giroud has provided a reliable focal point in offense and his selfless play has created openings for his teammates. “I try to speak about my faith whenever I can,” he said after winning the World Cup in 2018. “I feel I have to use my media profile to talk about my commitment to Jesus Christ.”

During most of the past decade when Giroud played for two clubs in London, he attended St. Barnabas Church in Kensington, which belongs to the evangelical wing of the Church of England. During France’s quarterfinal against England, when he netted a header to secure a 2–1 win for Les Bleus, he faced an upcoming generation of English wingers who are living out their Christian faith with grace.

With three goals each, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka were stellar in Qatar. Both were nurtured in Black Pentecostal churches, and 25-year-old Rashford has already made a name for himself as an activist and philanthropist against racism and homelessness. At 21 years old, Saka has graced the cover of Time after winning England men’s player of the year, and he shared that he reads the Bible every night to gain “peace and happiness.” Although Rashford and Saka received racist abuse online after missing the penalties in the final of Euro 2020, both have been praised for their resilience and for fostering wholesome camaraderie in the English squad.

England faced the US men’s national team (USMNT) in the group stage, and the stalwart American defense led by pastor’s kid Walker Zimmerman gave the underdogs a respectable 0–0 draw against formidable England. The Georgia native who brings his one-year-old son to practice, Zimmerman has been a towering leader at the back and an advocate for gun control and racial and gender equality, especially for equal pay at the US women’s national team.

Zimmerman has a fellow believer in Christian “Captain America” Pulisic, who scored the winning goal against Iran to send the USMNT to the knockout stage while suffering an abdominal injury after crashing into the opposing goalie. Pulisic told GQ last year that his $73 million move to Chelsea F.C. brought him closer to God despite steep competition for his playmaking position and injuries he suffered there. Two months prior to the World Cup, he posted Psalm 147:11 as an Instagram caption. The verse reads, “The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”

At the other end of the field, Brazil’s number-one keeper Alisson Becker has made some spectacular saves to record two clean sheets and concede just two goals in four games. Although an unfortunately deflected Croatian strike in the 117th minute knocked out the favorites in the quarterfinals, Alisson will be returning to Liverpool F.C. where he is surrounded by faithful brothers in Christ. His charismatic coach Jürgen Klopp is a vocal Christian, and Alisson baptized his teammate Robert Firmino at a pool in his house. Their teammate Virgil van Dijk has even dubbed Alisson, who is a member at a Hillsong church in Liverpool, a “holy goalie.”

Despite the disappointment of a quarterfinal exit, outgoing Brazilian coach Tite gave his team plenty to cheer for. A devout Catholic, Tite gave all 26 players on his roster playing time in Qatar and danced with his players to celebrate the cascade of goals during Brazil’s 4–1 trouncing of South Korea. During the 2018 World Cup, he attended mass in Russia and was seen with a rosary during training in Qatar.

Perhaps the most devout team has been Ecuador. A day before the tournament began, midfielder Carlos Gruezo shared a video of him and his teammates praying. “Today begins a new story and who guides our steps is God,” he wrote in the caption. “Without you we can’t do anything. We give you all the glory and honor.”

After Guerzo’s teammate Enner Valencia converted a penalty in Ecuador’s opening match of the World Cup against host Qatar, he and his teammates gathered in a circle on their knees, raising their hands to praise God.

As many hoped to derail the dominance of European teams in recent World Cups, Moroccan coach Walid Regragui made headlines for leading the first Arab or African nation to a semifinal. Though his faith is unknown, he certainly embodied the biblical imperative to honor one’s father and mother by inviting the families of his players to join them for free in Qatar. One of the most moving images during the World Cup was Moroccan right back Achraf Hakimi running over to his mother in the stands to give her a kiss after Morocco’s historic victory over Belgium. “Our success is not possible without our parents’ happiness,” said Regrarui.

While Moroccan fans joined the ranks of Argentinian and Brazilian fans as some of the world’s most fervent during this World Cup, the most beloved were Japanese fans. Their cleaning of stadiums with blue trash bags following their country’s upset wins over heavyweights Germany and Spain went viral and inspired similar acts of tidiness. The Samurai Blues also left their locker rooms spotless after each game, which earned the respect of FIFA.

Qatar’s World Cup would not have been possible without the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers from South Asian countries who built the stadium, often at a significant cost to themselves. More than 2,000 Nepali workers have died in Qatar since 2010 while building extravagant stadiums in torrid heat and atrocious conditions. Others will suffer chronic pain for the rest of their lives while their families remain mired in debt and poverty.

“Their [the migrant workers’] deaths were accepted and not investigated, their families are not adequately compensated,” wrote 2014 World Cup winner and former Germany captain Philipp Lahm, a Christian, on why he boycotted visiting Qatar.

Among the last words of American soccer journalist Grant Wahl, who passed away during the World Cup, was a scathing rebuke of apathy to the suffering of others.

“They just don’t care,” he wrote, referencing the death of another migrant worker at one of the team’s training resorts that occurred during the tournament.

As we return to worship after cheering for Messi and Mbappé this Sunday, perhaps we could pause to ponder whether Wahl’s indictment applies to us.

J. Y. Lee is a PhD student at Princeton Seminary and a freelance writer who has reported from Brazil during the 2014 World Cup.

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Manchester United

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



By – Stream Manchester United Game Today

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. ★★★★★


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

source – Manchester United Live Stream Now

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



By – Watch FIFA 2022 World Cup Live Stream Online

FIFA World Cup to have 104 matches in 2026  Sky News
FIFA World Cup 2022 Live Stream –

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Manchester United

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



By – Stream Manchester United Game Today

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;



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



Tete, Diop, Ream, Robinson;

Reed, Palhinha;

De Cordova-Reid, Pereira, Willian;



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

source – Manchester United Live Stream Now

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