Portugal urged by Fernando Santos to hit ‘Euro 2016 levels’ against Morocco

• Manager says team can play even better than against Spain
• Santos says Portugal cannot just rely on Cristiano Ronaldo

The Portugal coach, Fernando Santos, has urged his team to reach “Euro 2016 levels” as they prepare to take on Morocco in their second game of the World Cup.

Their first match, against Spain, ended in a wild 3-3 draw with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick, but while Santos was pleased with some aspects of that game, he expects his team to improve in certain areas.

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via Football | The Guardian

Russia march on, Group H upsets and Japanese litter-pickers – World Cup Football Daily

Max and the pod discuss two upsets in Group H, a remarkable Senegalese goal, Japanese litter-pickers, Jack Wilshere departing Arsenal and Max’s favourite World Cup shorts

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Max Rushden is joined by Barry Glendenning and John Brewin to take a look back at day six of the 2018 World Cup, starting with Japan’s shock 2-1 victory over Colombia. We dial up Ben Mabley, probably the only Somerset-born pundit on Japanese TV, to hear about how Tokyo is taking the shock.

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via Football | The Guardian

Ruben Loftus-Cheek in line to start for England against Panama

• Dele Alli unlikely to be fit for second World Cup game
• Midfielder suffered thigh strain in first half against Tunisia

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is in line to make his first World Cup start, against Panama on Sunday, with Dele Alli rendered a major doubt for England’s second group game after suffering a minor thigh strain in Monday’s victory over Tunisia.

Alli, who had pulled up just before half-time in clear discomfort, for all that he surprisingly played on after the break, underwent a scan at a private hospital in St Petersburg on Tuesday that revealed minor damage to his quad muscle. The England medical staff will continue to monitor him over the rest of the week at their base in Repino where he will be treated on site, but the 22-year-old is expected to miss at least two days’ training in the build-up to the match in Nizhny Novgorod.

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via Football | The Guardian

Ruben Loftus-Cheek in line to start for England against Panama

• Dele Alli unlikely to be fit for second World Cup game
• Midfielder suffered thigh strain in first half against Tunisia

Ruben Loftus-Cheek is in line to make his first World Cup start, against Panama on Sunday, with Dele Alli rendered a major doubt for England’s second group game after suffering a minor thigh strain in Monday’s victory over Tunisia.

Alli, who had pulled up just before half-time in clear discomfort, for all that he surprisingly played on after the break, underwent a scan at a private hospital in St Petersburg on Tuesday that revealed minor damage to his quad muscle. The England medical staff will continue to monitor him over the rest of the week at their base in Repino where he will be treated on site, but the 22-year-old is expected to miss at least two days’ training in the build-up to the match in Nizhny Novgorod.

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via Football | The Guardian

Jack Wilshere confirms Arsenal exit due to ‘reduced playing time’ under Emery

• Midfielder says meeting with new manager made up his mind
• Wilshere wanted to stay at club he has been at since age of 9

Jack Wilshere has confirmed he is leaving Arsenal when his current contract at the club expires at the end of this month. The midfielder announced his decision on Tuesday evening after claiming his “playing time would be significantly reduced” under the club’s new manager, Unai Emery.

Related: Arsenal confirm deal to sign goalkeeper Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen

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via Football | The Guardian

Ten things we have learned from the first round of World Cup games

With every team having played at least one match, Guardian writers in Russia offer their first impressions

The political tensions and all the other issues with the Russian government will still be there when the World Cup leaves town, but it’s likely that a lot of people will depart Russia with great memories and a changed view of the country. Russia is putting on its best, most smiling face for the month: people are excited to welcome the tournament and the fans, and so far at least that is leading to overwhelmingly positive vibes. The cheap beer and warm sunshine in most host cities is not hindering this process, either. With Russian transport corridors all running through the capital, Moscow has become a hub for fans, with tens of thousands shuttling through for a couple of nights between games and creating a carnival atmosphere. Shaun Walker

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via Football | The Guardian

EFL expects safe standing to be permitted by 2019-20 season

• Shaun Harvey says one-size fits all approach is outdated
• ‘All clubs should have the ability to offer fans the choice’

The EFL expect fans to be once again allowed to stand at matches in all four divisions of English football by this time next year.

With the issue of safe standing set to be debated in parliament next week, the EFL’s chief executive, Shaun Harvey, believes that a consensus between football stakeholders and supporters means it is now “illogical and outdated” not to give clubs the choice to reintroduce standing to their grounds.

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via Football | The Guardian

Bob Higgins ‘stormed out’ when confronted by colleague, court hears

Former Southampton coach Bob Higgins denies 50 offences of indecent assault over 25 years

The former Southampton FC coach Bob Higgins, who is accused of sexually abusing schoolboy players, shouted and stormed out when a senior figure at the club confronted him, a jury has been told.

Higgins said he would sue anyone who made allegations against him, but had left the club within a few weeks, the jury heard.

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via Football | The Guardian

England’s late World Cup win sparks scenes of celebration across country

Harry Kane’s 90th-minute winner set of huge celebrations last night, many captured and shared on social media

The drama of England’s last-gasp win in their opening World Cup match against Tunisia on Monday sparked a wave of exuberant celebrations among fans, many of which were captured and widely shared on social media.

The O2 Academy in Leeds was one of many venues across the country that was not only showing the match on big screens, but was also primed to capture fan reaction from the key moments of the game. They were rewarded with footage of the absolute scenes that followed captain Harry Kane’s 90th-minute winner.

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via Football | The Guardian