World Cup 2022 LIVE: Bale claims Wales have more 'passion' than England as Three Lions prepare for Iran opener – latest | The Sun

WALES icon Gareth Bale has taken a dig at England claiming that his side has more passion than the Three Lions.

The Welshman said: "I believe we have the most passion, I know where you are aiming at – I'm not stupid!

"But personally, I fell we are the most passionate country in the world and that will never change my mind."

Gareth Southgate will be determined for his men to block out Bale's comments as they prepare for their opening World Cup fixture against Iran THIS AFTERNOON.

And all eyes will be on the manager to see who he picks for his first starting eleven at the huge Qatar tournament.

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Stay tuned with all the latest ahead from tournament…

  • Alex Smith

    What does the OneLove armband represent?

    England and Wales will be united as they plan to wear OneLove armbands during the World Cup in Qatar.

    There has been speculation that Fifa chiefs fear that any captain wearing it could have it removed or the player could get booked.

    But Harry Kane is set to defy any ban and wear it on the pitch versus Iran later today.

    The OneLove armbands at the World Cup promote inclusivity and LGBTQ+ rights.

    Host nation Qatar criminalises same-sex relationships.

    England, Wales, Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Denmark all seem set to wear the rainbow armband.

  • Alex Smith

    Armband row continues

    The Harry Kane armband row took another twist – leaving Fifa accused of a two-faced approach.

    FA chiefs will hold last minute discussions with Fifa ahead of today’s World Cup opener with Iran after coming under pressure to ditch the One Love armband Kane intends to wear against Iran.

    Fifa’s match commissioner “pointed out” tournament regulations outlawing “unapproved” equipment to the FA, with warnings that Kane could be booked the start of the game or even face attempts to physically strip it off his arm in the dressing room.

    But it came as giant pictures of Kane – and Liverpool’s Dutch captain Virgil van Dijk – WEARING the armband are plastered all round Doha on billboards from one of the World Cup’s OFFICIAL sponsors.

    The images are part of the marketing campaign run in the city’s Metro stations and elsewhere by TOD.

    Advertisements in England and Arabic, and using the official World Cup crest, proudly describe the company as the tournament’s “official streaming platform” telling fans: “Don’t miss out!”

    One source said: “That must have been signed off by someone at Fifa.

    “Gianni Infantino was talking about the hypocrisy of the west about Qatar on Saturday. 

    “But there will be quite a few people who ask if the same word could be used here.”

    Officially the FA are still “seeking clarification” over the growing row from world chiefs ahead of the game at the Khalifa International Stadium.

    Then the implied threat of a pre-match caution or potential physical encounter with Kane added to the already high desert temperatures.

    The England camp do not want to put Southgate's skipper in the invidious position of having an altercation with FIFA in the minutes before one of the biggest matches of his career.

    And that might yet see the FA pulling back from a consultation despite their desire to make a public statement in support of the basic human rights that Fifa claims to support.

    Fifa President Gianni Infantino spoke on Saturday about the revised “statutes” of the organisation.

    Article 3 of those Statutes reads: “Fifa is committed to respecting all internationally recognised human rights and shall strive to promote the protection of these rights.”

    But by booking a player for an armband supporting those SAME rights, or forcing it's removal, Fifa would be actively stopping the “protection of those rights” rather than promoting them.

    From Martin Lipton in Doha

  • Joshua Mbu

    Good morning footie fans

    It's the second day of the World Cup and there's THREE group fixtures taking place today.

    England kick off their Qatar campaign in Group B against Iran, with the game set to get underway at 1PM.

    Then it's back to Group A for Senegal vs Netherlands at 4PM.

    Group B then closes out the day as USA meet Wales in the evening.

    Hosts Qatar fell to defeat yesterday, losing comfortably to Ecuador, with ex-West Ham and Everton striker Enner Valencia scoring both goals.

  • Jon Boon

    The omen of '66

    IT’S coming omen! England’s first three players in the Lions Den darts challenge all scored 66.

    Players in the series have unlimited darts to reach separate targets in 30 seconds — and Declan Rice, Luke Shaw and Mason Mount all hit the same year  England  last lifted the World Cup.

    Credit: Getty

    Mount, the last of the trio to pull off the spooky total, was stunned by the flight of fantasy ahead of Monday's opener against Iran.

    The Chelsea midfielder said: "That is just strange. .. wow!"

  • Jon Boon

    Southgate wants to get England smiling again

    Cheer we go! Harry Kane and Gareth Southgate vowed to get England smiling again with a rousing World Cup battle cry.

    Gaffer Gareth said: “We’re in the middle of an economic recession and life has been difficult for a lot of our people.

    Credit: Richard Pelham / The Sun

    “So we want them to enjoy their football and have a journey with the team that brings some real happiness.

    “Our country expects. The team are excited.”

  • Jon Boon

    'England need to be like Germany'

    Gareth Southgate wants England to become a major reference point for world football domination.

    For the nation’s manager, it is even a case of: The more German, the better.

    Credit: The Sun

    outhgate, 52, said: “It is hard to talk about form because you are always six weeks, two months between games in international football, so what actually is form?

    “What there is, is pedigree. We want to be a Germany, who when I was looking at their Wikipedia page: four golds, four silvers, four bronzes.

    “European Championships — three golds, three silvers, three bronzes.

    “Yes, our page didn’t quite look like that but we’d love it if it did in 40 years’ time and that should be our aim, to be consistently challenging. We remind ourselves of the privilege of being here and the uniqueness of it. Only 16 England teams have ever been to a World Cup.

    “A lot of the staff and players are at their second. Raheem [Sterling] is at his third. You have to remind yourself of this moment in time.

    “Tournament football is different. Germany have always been one of the prime examples of that. That’s how we need to be, really.”

  • Jon Boon

    Kane roars

    England captain Harry Kane roared into action in Qatar last night — pledging to end 56 years of World Cup hurt.

    The striker is aiming to lead the Three Lions to victory in their first group match today against Iran.

    Credit: Richard Pelham / The Sun

    And he revealed he is willing to defy any Fifa moves to ban the “One Love” rainbow armband.

    Harry, 29, said he was prepared to risk a fine or booking for making the gesture — and vowed to back the team’s core values.

    He said: “We have made it clear as a team and an organisation that we want to wear the armband.

    “I know that the FA and Fifa are talking and we will have a decision, but I want to wear it”.

  • Jon Boon

    Pickford using runners up medal as inspiration

    Jordan Pickford uses his Euros silver medal to inspire the “hunger” to win the first major trophy of his career.

    Pickford said: “It’s at my mam and dad’s house.

    “Other players don’t like them but I think it is a progression.

    “It is a hunger to say that you have got the runners-up medal — it’s a hunger wanting to go and get the winners’ medal.

    “You know what it takes to get to the final, now what’s the next step? So I think it is always good to have a look at. I’m positive about it, not negative.”

  • Jon Boon

    Southgate: 'England can conquer for eight years'

    Gareth Southgate reckons England are on Mission Possible at the Qatar World Cup.

    The Three Lions boss, preparing for Monday's opener against Iran, has told his 26-man squad to think big again after losing the Euro 2020 final to Italy on penalties.

    Southgate said: “Maybe we’ve made the impossible just look possible.

    “It’s exciting for other people and I can understand that.

    “We want England to be competitive for years to come and I believe our academy system has got that.

    “We have also got some good players and should be competitive for the next six, eight years with this group.”

  • Jon Boon

    Adams backs Rice for captaincy

    England legend Tony Adams thinks Declan Rice would make a better captain for the Three Lions than Harry Kane.

    Writing for SunSport, Adams began: "Harry Kane is a great player,  a top goalscorer, commands total respect from his team-mates and is rightly the first name on the England teamsheet.

    So far, so good, but I have my reservations about him as captain."

    He added: "Personally, I’d have given the captaincy to Declan Rice. I love his character, he had a fantastic Euros, and you know he’s going to give you 90 minutes.

    "Don’t forget the last time we won it we had a West Ham captain so it makes perfect sense!"

  • Jon Boon

    Wilshere backs Saka for penalties

    Jack Wilshere has backed Bukayo Saka to make amends for missing a penalty in the Euros final, by stepping up to take one in a shootout if needed.

    Writing in a column for SunSport, he penned: "He missed that crucial penalty in the final but bounced back and now he’s Arsenal’s penalty taker.

    "I’m sure if there’s another penalty shootout he will step up. He won’t be bothered at all by what happened before."

  • Jon Boon

    One Love armband could get Kane booked

    FA chiefs fear they are being strong-armed by FIFA into ordering Harry Kane not to wear his One Love armband against Iran today.

    England skipper Kane made clear his determination to lead Gareth Southgate's team into battle with the armband on public display despite warnings that he could even be booked for doing so before entering the pitch.

    The FA stuck to their guns after a meeting with FIFA match commissioner in which it was "pointed out" to them that wearing the armband would be a breach of regulations.

    But the commissioner could intervene if Kane does try to defy FIFA and order it to be removed or attempt to physically strip it off the England skipper.

    The astonishing row left both England and Wales officials frustrated and angry.

    Conversations between the FA and FIFA were continuing into Sunday evening and could resume in the hours before kick off on Monday.

  • Jon Boon

    Qatar's unwanted record

    Qatar became the first World Cup hosts to lose their tournament opener as Ecuador's 2-0 win produced a string of staggering stats.

    Enner Valencia struck twice in a one-sided first half and had a third-minute opener ruled out by VAR as the first World Cup finals held in the Middle East kicked off with stifling heat and stuttering displays.

    And amid all the debate about whether Qatar are suitable hosts off the field, the early figures suggest they are  unsuitable opponents on it.

    Of the previous 22 hosts, 16 won their opening matches and six drew it.

    In fact, Qatar had ZERO efforts on target against Ecuador – a feat achieved by teams only four times throughout the whole 2018 tournament.

    In all, the game provided just 11 goal attempts – the lowest total for an opener since records began with England's triumphant hosting in 1966.

  • Jon Boon

    England stars shielded from racist trolls

    England's World Cup stars will be shielded from racist trolls at the competition by cutting-edge tech that blocks abuse from their phones.

    Football stars Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho were left in tears when they were bombarded with hate after missing penalties at the Euro 2020 Final defeat against Italy.

    But FIFA world football bosses have confirmed players will be protected by an incredible new “Threat Matrix” troll-blocking system at Qatar 2022.

    Boffins have perfected an artificial intelligence programme which scans millions of online messages and identifies abusive words and emojis.

    Offensive messages will remain visible on favoured troll haunts like Twitter and Instagram and will not be erased from the web.

    But the incredible technology will act as a filter built into players phones – making sick jibes invisible to stars before they turn on the mobiles after games.

  • Jon Boon

    4-3-3 for England

    Gareth Southgate is set to ditch five at the back for England's World Cup opener.

    The Three Lions boss will revert to a back four against Iran for their curtain raiser in Qatar on Monday.

    Here's how the team could line up.

  • Jon Boon

    Enrique reveals daughter's pick

    Luis Enrique has joked his daughter will chop his head off if he does not pick Ferran Torres at the World Cup.

    Ahead of Spain's Qatar World Cup opener against Costa Rica, the former Barcelona boss was asked who he felt was an extension of himself on the field of play.

    Luis Enrique's daughter Sira is a fan of Ferran Torres

    To this Enrique replied: "Very easy – It's Mr Ferran Torres – otherwise my daughter will come after me and chop off my head."

  • Jon Boon

    You've got no fans

    Many Qatar fans left their World Cup opener at half-time after a shambolic performance against Ecaudor.

    The Al Bayt Stadium emptied early with the host nation down 0-2 after the opening 45 minutes.

    Qatar were picked apart by Ecaudor with Enner Valencia netting twice after seeing another strike disallowed for a close offside.

    The host nation's goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb put in a nightmare display giving away a penalty and was unconvincing throughout.

    It was meant to be a big day for Qatar after the opening ceremony kicked off with a performance from BTS pop star Jung Kook and a narration from actor Morgan Freeman.

    However the game did not live up to the hype as Ecuador took control early and Qatar rarely threatened.

  • Jon Boon

    Captain material

    Tyler Adams will be the USMNT's captain at the World Cup.

    The Leeds star, 23, has been selected by coach Gregg Berhalter due to his "great leadership capabilities".

    Berhalter has employed a captain-by-committee approach during his time in charge.

    Christian Pulisic, Walker Zimmerman and Weston McKennie have all worn the armband at some point during the USA's qualifying campaign.

    While Adams has captained the USA nine times in his international career, with seven of those games in the build-up to Qatar.

    But now Berhalter has decided that the USMNT need a permanent leader, with Adams coming out on top.

  • Jon Boon

    Mount impressed England's stars

    Raheem Sterling reckons Mason Mount blew senior England stars away when he turned up for his first ever training session with them.

    Speaking on Lions Den on the England YouTube channel, Sterling said: "I think it was the first camp after the World Cup in Russia.

    Credit: Getty

    "It was the best training performance I have seen to this day. He came up to join us and he was incredible.

    "Left foot, right foot, dribbling, chopping, everything I am not exaggerating. I haven't seen anything to top that."

  • Jon Boon

    England will take the knee

    Gareth Southgate has confirmed England WILL take the knee before Monday's World Cup opener against Iran.

    Southgate said: "We have discussed taking the knee. We feel we should.

    Credit: PA

    "It's what we stand for as a team and have done for a long period of time.

    "We understand in the Premier League, teams decided to only do it for the big games, the big occasions. We feel this is the biggest.

    "We think it's a strong statement that will go around the world to young people in particular to show inclusivity is important."

  • Jon Boon

    Richarlison's plans for retirement

    Brazil forward Richarlison has claimed he plans to " buy an island" and live there with a "bunch of women" when he retires from football.

    He was asked by a reporter: "Do you have an idea of what you will do when you retire?"

    To which he replied: "I'm going to buy an island and stay there with a bunch of women, just like that picture of Ronaldinho."

  • Jon Boon

    Calamity keeper

    Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb had a shocking first-half in the World Cup opening game versus Ecaudor.

    The 32-year-old put in an unconvincing display in the early stages of the game as Enner Valencia netted twice to seal his side's 0-2 win.

    Fans could not quite believe how bad his Al Sheeb's performance was as he failed to live up to the big ocasssion.

    One fan said: "The Qatar goalkeeper might be the worst footballer I’ve ever seen."

    Another reacted: "Qatar's goalkeeper genuinely looks like he's won a competition on the side of a cereal box."

    More commented: "That keeper needs to change profession."

  • Jon Boon

    First game is over

    And it goes Ecuador's way.

    The South Americans have beaten hosts Qatar easily 2-0.

    Credit: Reuters

    Qatar become the first hosts ever to lose an opening game at the World Cup.

  • Jon Boon

    'We want beer'

    Ecuador fans roared their disapproval of Qatar's last-minute alcohol ban during the World Cup opener

    Hundreds of South Americans chanted "We want beer!" from the stands against the outclassed hosts at the at Al Bayt Stadium.

    Credit: Getty

    just 48 hours before Sunday's big kick-off, Qatar's tournament chiefs U-turned by refusing to allow alcohol at matches.

    That could cost Fifa £40MILLION as Budweiser prepared to play hard-ball.

    The American beer company is one of the World Cup’s official sponsors and were set to provide booze in grounds and fan zones in Qatar.

  • Jon Boon

    Fans zone

    An impressive number of football fans cram into Al Bidda Park at the Qatar Fan Festival to watch the opening game.

    The locals might not be happy with what they are seeing, but they are definitely supporting their country in droves.

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