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Gareth Southgate should stay on as England manager for Euro 2024 despite their World Cup quarter-final exit, says Gary Neville.

Having been in charge of the Three Lions since 2016, Southgate has already cemented himself as the best boss to take the reins since 1966 World Cup winner Alf Ramsey, reaching the Russia 2018 semi-finals and Euro 2020 final.

A last-eight defeat to France at Qatar 2022 has left Southgate pondering his future, though, having told the Football Association he would like time to consider his next steps.

Neville believes he should remain for England's next major tournament campaign, however, and suggested he could spend the year-and-a-half interim to help find a successor to follow in his steps.

"There will be those who are listening, who say, 'You've got to have someone who gets us over the line, you've got to have someone who has a winning mentality, you've got to change the manager'," he told Sky Sports.

"I get that, it sounds beautiful and wonderful, but I remember us getting rid of Bobby Robson in 1990. I remember us getting rid of Terry Venables in 1996.

"It didn't go particularly well straight after those tournaments and I think Gareth is doing a very good job and one more tournament for me feels right.

"Hopefully, this team can stick together and evolve. I think it evolved in this tournament. We were more progressive, more positive in matches, and we go for it again.

"He has seen it all, and I think he should be kept within the system to design the future. He has been there for 10 years. I would like him to stay with the FA beyond his coaching role."

Southgate is contracted through Euro 2024 and sits fifth among England managers for an overall win ratio, with 60.5 per cent.

Fabio Capello praised the performances of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe for Argentina and France in their respective World Cup semi-finals, but suggested the former has largely been below par at Qatar 2022.

The Paris Saint-Germain team-mates have been the headline stars of the tournament, and will face off in Sunday's final in Qatar with the trophy on the line.

For Messi, it is the chance to collect the major honour that has eluded him throughout his career, while for Mbappe it is an opportunity to defend the crown he won in Russia in 2018.

Former England boss Capello had kind words for both men, saying they were key figures in steering their sides through with wins over Croatia and Morocco respectively.

"Messi and Mbappe made the difference [in their semi-finals]," he said.

"Messi produced a great game and Mbappe arrived decisively twice near the goal, his two shots caused two deflections and they won against Morocco."

Capello does believe Messi had not always shown a spark before his impressive semi-final showcase against Croatia, though.

"Messi is back to being Messi," he added. "That only applies to the Argentina-Croatia game, though. Before that match, he just walked around the pitch."

Capello has enjoyed the World Cup and thinks its timing has been an important boost to the spectacle.

The Italian added: "It's been a good World Cup. The coaches did not give space to their opponents and I've seen great attention to detail. 

"The players arrived fresh and ran a lot. Players arrived in the middle of the current season, so they were all fresh.

"We have seen a [World Cup] of running and a good level of competition, different to when the World Cup is usually held in June when the players are tired.

"The two sides in the final are the teams who were able to reach another level technically. I think it's going to be very difficult for either side to win. I don't know how it's going to end."

Messi and Mbappe are tied in the race for the Golden Boot with five goals apiece heading into their final game of the tournament.

Fernando Santos has left his role as head coach of Portugal, bringing an end to a reign which saw him become the most successful boss in the team's history.

The 68-year-old departs in the wake of a World Cup quarter-final defeat to Morocco, a frustrating end to a terrific spell in charge that saw him lead Portugal to Euro 2016 and Nations League title triumphs.

His departure was confirmed by the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), which said in a statement: "The FPF and Fernando Santos agreed to end the highly successful journey that began in September 2014.

"After one of the best participations ever by the national team in the final stages of the World Cup, in Qatar, FPF and Fernando Santos understand that this is the right moment to start a new cycle.

"It was an honour to have a coach and a person like Fernando Santos at the head of the national team.

"The FPF thanks Fernando Santos and his technical team for the services provided over eight unique years and believes that this thanks is also made on behalf of the Portuguese people."

Santos departs at a time when doubts remain regarding whether Cristiano Ronaldo will extend his own international career.

The most prolific goalscorer in international football history struggled for form at the World Cup, and with his 38th birthday coming up in February, his days as a force at the top level may be over.

Santos reduced Ronaldo to the role of substitute for Portugal's two knockout games at the World Cup, a 6-1 win over Switzerland and the 1-0 loss to Morocco.

While Ronaldo came off the bench in both games, his impact was minimal. Santos later said he had "no regrets" about dropping the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

He still faced criticism from Ronaldo's partner Georgina Rodriguez, who posted on Instagram that the coach "decided wrong", adding: "You can't underestimate the best player in the world and the most powerful weapon you have, just as you can't stand up for someone who doesn't deserve it."

The titles that Santos won with Portugal are the country's only major honours, with a 1-0 victory over France in the Euro 2016 final made all the more impressive by the fact Ronaldo was withdrawn after suffering an early injury.

Portugal then hosted and won the 2019 Nations League finals, defeating the Netherlands 1-0 in the final, but they lost to Belgium in the last 16 at Euro 2020.

The shock defeat to Morocco prompted Santos and Portugal to part ways despite the head coach having a contract that was due to run until 2024.

Roma coach Jose Mourinho has been linked with the job, having previously expressed a desire to move into international football.

Should Portugal hire Mourinho, they would be taking on one of the most successful coaches of the modern era, who has led Porto and Inter to Champions League glory.

Besides his rich success with those sides, Mourinho has stacked up many more trophies during spells at Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United, while he steered Roma to the inaugural Europa Conference League title last season.

Netherlands defender Daley Blind has expressed frustration at news of his likely January exit from Ajax quickly becoming common knowledge.

Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Wednesday how Blind has been given permission to leave the Amsterdam giants on a free transfer.

The club are said to have agreed to smooth the path for his exit because of his long service, which has come either side of a four-year stint with Manchester United.

Blind, 32, is the son of Ajax legend Danny Blind, and began his career in the Ajax youth ranks before emerging into the first team.

After his Old Trafford stay, he returned to Ajax in July 2018. His deal was due to expire at the end of this season, but the 99-cap international now looks poised to depart sooner.

Reports have linked Blind with Belgian club Royal Antwerp, whose director of football Marc Overmars previously worked in the same role at Ajax.

Blind reacted to the news getting out with an oblique message on Twitter, stating: "Such a pity but typical that this is within a day with the 'media'.

"It is also a misrepresentation of things. Sigh.."

Blind, only a substitute in Ajax's last games before the World Cup break, scored for the Netherlands during their campaign in Qatar, netting in the 3-1 win over the United States at the last-16 stage.

One short of a century of Netherlands caps, Blind will hope to remain in favour during Ronald Koeman's second stint as head coach of the Oranje.

Koeman is taking over from Louis van Gaal, whose third spell in charge of the national team ended with a defeat on penalties to Argentina in the World Cup quarter-finals.

The Royal Morocco Football Federation (FMRF) has lodged a complaint to FIFA over referee Cesar Ramos' performance during their World Cup semi-final defeat to France.

Morocco lost Wednesday's game 2-0 after goals from Theo Hernandez and Randal Kolo Muani sent reigning champions France through to a second consecutive World Cup final.

However, there were a number of contentious decisions during the match, with Morocco's players first incensed when winger Sofiane Boufal collided with Hernandez in the France box.

The referee opted to award Les Bleus a free-kick instead of a Morocco penalty before booking Boufal, provoking a furious reaction from Walid Regragui's men.

Substitute Selim Amallah was then dragged down in the France area as he awaited a free-kick delivery, though Ramos once again chose not to award a spot-kick, or even call for a VAR review.

The FMRF said in its statement: "The FMRF has written to the relevant body to review the refereeing decisions that deprived the Moroccan team of two penalties that were indisputable in the view of several refereeing specialists.

"The FMRF was equally astonished that the video assistant referee (VAR) did not react to these situations."

Morocco made history in Qatar by becoming the first African team to reach the final four of a World Cup.

Despite their heart-breaking semi-final loss, the Atlas Lions have a chance to finish the tournament on a high in Saturday's third-place play-off against Croatia.

Right-back Achraf Hakimi remained positive after the France defeat, declaring on Twitter: "We gave it all. The dream of a team, of a whole country, is over.

"But we have to be proud of what we have done. We fought until the last second and we leave with our heads held high.

"We will continue to try and give our all for this nation. Thanks to all Moroccans for your support."

Michel Platini is feeling a sense of "pride" at seeing France in another World Cup final and is firmly behind Les Bleus on their march towards history, his lawyer has said.

Although he was a European Championship winner with France in 1984, the golden generation to which Platini belonged could not add global glory to that title.

They stalled in the semi-finals of the 1982 and 1986 World Cups, losing out to West Germany both times.

Platini was an organising committee chief when France won the World Cup on home soil in 1998, but by the time of their triumph at Russia 2018 he was serving a ban from football over ethics violations during his time as UEFA president.

Now 67, Platini has recently kept a mostly low profile.

His lawyer, Najwa El Haite, said Platini remained engrossed in France's footballing fortunes.

"He is of course closely following the performance of the France team," she told French broadcaster BFMTV.

"There is a pride, he was very happy yesterday.

"He is not on social networks, he does not communicate, but he is present and fully supports the France team."

France are bidding to become the first team since Brazil in 1958 and 1962 to win consecutive editions of the World Cup.

El Haite is a French-Moroccan citizen, and she may have had split loyalties for Wednesday's semi-final as France beat Morocco 2-0 to set up a clash with Argentina for the trophy on Sunday.

She explained how Platini had also been charmed by the Atlas Lions during their surprising run, which saw them become the first African team to reach a World Cup semi-final.

"A few days ago, he called me, when Morocco were playing against Portugal. I was honoured that he called me to tell me, 'The Moroccan team played well, congratulations to them'," El Haite said.

"This morning, he sent me a message saying, 'They lost but they played well, I will support them on Saturday [in the third-place game] against Croatia'."

Didier Deschamps was quizzed on whether Karim Benzema could make a sensational France return for the World Cup final against Argentina.

Benzema was ruled out of the tournament in Qatar due to a thigh injury, but it has been reported that he could feature for the holders when they attempt to retain their crown on Sunday.

Les Bleus beat Morocco 2-0 on Wednesday to set up a showdown with La Albiceleste at Lusail Stadium this weekend.

France head coach Deschamps refused to say whether Ballon d'Or winner Benzema may play a part in the final after returning to training with Real Madrid.

He said after a lengthy pause: "I don't really want to answer that question. Next question. I do apologise."

Benzema has made only 12 appearances for Madrid this season due to injury.

Goals from Theo Hernandez and Randal Kolo Muani put France in another World Cup final.

 

Theo Hernandez defiantly stated Lionel Messi does not scare France, while Olivier Giroud is intent on denying the Argentina legend a dream World Cup swansong in Sunday's final.

Les Bleus are on the cusp of defending the title they won in Russia four years ago after a workmanlike 2-0 victory over Morocco in Wednesday's second semi-final.

The showpiece fixture will be Messi's final World Cup game and, at least for the football romantics, would be seen as a fitting send-off for one of the all-time greats.

But France will have little time for sentiment as they aim to be crowned world champions for the third time and Milan full-back Hernandez said Les Bleus are not fearful of Argentina's talisman – who was star of the show in La Albiceleste's own last-four triumph over Croatia.

"Now we must think about the final, I am tired but it's so good to win a World Cup semi-final," Hernandez said in quotes reported by Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Now we must recover for Sunday, we are not scared of Messi, but Argentina are an incredible team and we have a few days to work."

Giroud, who during the tournament has become France's all-time leading goalscorer, was part of the side that defeated Argentina 4-3 in the round of 16 at Russia 2018.

In that game, N'Golo Kante – missing in Qatar through injury – was tasked with a man-marking job on Messi, whose five goals at this tournament are matched only by Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Kylian Mbappe.

Giroud gave little away as to whether a similar tactic will be employed but said the whole collective will do their part to deny Messi the biggest prize of his illustrious career.

"Messi is an incredible player, but we are not going to let him enjoy the best night he can have," he said.

"We want to win this game. We want to win another World Cup – and we will try everything to stop him. 

"But there is not only Messi in that team. They have got great players who work for the team also. I think that is why they are so strong.

"I don't know if we need a special plan. I remember back in the days of 2018, N'Golo was all the game on his back, behind him. But this time I don't know what will be the plan. We will see with the manager."

France midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni is not fazed about juggling the responsibilities usually reserved for injured stalwarts Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante after helping Les Bleus to the World Cup final.

Didier Deschamps' side beat Morocco 2-0 at Al Bayt Stadium on Wednesday to secure their spot in Sunday's showpiece against Argentina.

It ensured France became the first nation to reach back-to-back World Cup finals since Brazil in 2002 as they – somewhat unconvincingly – managed to end Morocco's fairytale run.

The build-up to France's World Cup defence was dominated by talk of the so-called 'holders' curse' given each of the previous three defending champions had been eliminated at the group stage.

Pre-tournament confidence was also dented by injuries to several key players, with Karim Benzema, Pogba and Kante all missing out.

Yet on Sunday, they could become the first European country to win successive World Cups since Italy in 1938, with Tchouameni playing an important part in a new-look midfield.

 

Asked whether the Pogba or Kante role suits him best, he replied: "It's both!

"Sometimes it's [my job] to recover some balls like today, and sometimes I have the opportunities to score a goal, like the last game.

"Or today when I had the almost-assists for Kylian [Mbappe] and Olivier [Giroud]. It's a mix between those two [Pogba and Kante]."

He added: "[Pogba and Kante] are great players for us.

"Unfortunately they're not here because they're injured, so we try to do our best to help the team in the middle of the pitch, and I think we do a great job."

Tchouameni's influence was highlighted by the fact his 65 touches were the joint-highest in the France team, while only Antoine Griezmann (four) played more key passes than his two.

Although his 83 per cent passing accuracy suggests a degree of wastefulness, the Real Madrid talent showed purpose in terms of ball progression, with his eight passes in the final third only behind Kylian Mbappe and Youssouf Fofana (both nine). A riskier approach is always likely to result in less accurate distribution.

Nevertheless, he did not neglect his defensive responsibilities, tallying the second-most interceptions (four) on the pitch (Ibrahima Konate – six) and joint-highest number of recoveries (10).

Alongside Fofana, Tchouameni was part of a particularly inexperienced midfield pairing, but Deschamps believes both have proven they belong at this level.

"Experience isn't everything, they have great qualities and play with top clubs," the coach told reporters.

"They may not have much experience at the international level, but they are good enough to play at this level.

 

"They have tremendous potential, tremendous quality – and they are supported by the experienced players around them.

"All of the players struggled against Tunisia – Fofana had a bad game, if I'm honest with you – but he showed today, in a World Cup semi-final, that he has learned from that experience.

"Tchouameni played for us at a very young age and went to Madrid where he's slotted straight in.

"Of course, there's room for improvement, but he has all the strength to succeed at this level. I had no doubt about playing both of them in there, though, as they had experienced players around them."

Didier Deschamps insisted he and his future are "not the most important thing" as he vowed to make France "even happier" after Sunday's World Cup final against Argentina.

The reigning world champions produced another ruthless performance to down Morocco 2-0 after goals from Theo Hernandez and Randal Kolo Muani in Wednesday's semi-final clash at Al Bayt Stadium.

Argentina await as France bid to become just the third side to retain their global crown, with the Lusail Stadium showpiece signalling a likely end for Albiceleste captain Lionel Messi and potentially also for Bleus coach Deschamps.

Zinedine Zidane has long been suggested as the successor to Deschamps, whose contract expires after the tournament, but the focus remains for now on success in Qatar.

"I'm always proud when we achieve a result like this. It is great to have got through to the final on Sunday," Deschamps said at a post-match press conference. 

"It wasn't an easy victory, we showed our quality, experience and team spirit. We had to dig deep even in the challenging moments in the match. As a coach, I'm very proud and pleased with my players.

"I don't really think about myself, but I can appreciate the fact we have had this success. As for my achievements, I'm not the most important thing here.

"The team is more important than I am. We have the chance of defending our title in the final, so that is a great achievement already.

"But we are going to do everything we can to ensure we, as a team and for our nation, are even happier on Sunday."

France and Argentina played out a seven-goal thriller at Russia 2018 as Deschamps' side edged their opponents 4-3 to reach the quarter-finals following Kylian Mbappe's brace.

Both finalists have been far from their best at times in Qatar, with France losing to Tunisia and battling past England in the quarter-finals, while Argentina fell to a shock group-stage defeat to Saudi Arabia.

Deschamps believes the clash for the biggest prize in the sport will come down to the finest of margins, with both sides facing "a better team than any they have played in the tournament".

"It is always a battle out there, we saw a very strong Argentina against Croatia, but they had not always been as strong," he continued.

"We weren't perfect against England or against Morocco. We could have played better. In a final against Argentina, both teams are playing a better team than they have played in the tournament so far. 

"We have two sides with a great deal of quality. The team who makes fewer mistakes will likely win the game; whoever manages to do that will lift the trophy."

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