Hirving Lozano's last-gasp header earned Mexico a 1-0 friendly victory over Costa Rica on Tuesday.

Costa Rica's goal lived a charmed life throughout the meeting in Austria, though it appeared Keylor Navas and company had done enough to keep Mexico at bay.

Indeed, Mexico's luck seemed out when Lozano and Orbelin Pineda both hit the crossbar in the 73rd minute, either side of Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Navas making a superb stop on the line to deny Hector Moreno.

Yet fortune ultimately favoured Gerardo Martino's side – who had 18 attempts but only hit the target three times – with Lozano turning in Luis Romo's flick-on in the 89th minute before a dreadful miss from Allan Cruz at the other end settled the contest.

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) is in dialogue with police after Ben Cabango and Rabbi Matondo were subjected to racist abuse on social media.

Swansea City defender Cabango and winger Matondo, who was loaned out by Schalke to Stoke this season, revealed they were targeted after playing for Wales in a 1-0 friendly win over Mexico on Saturday.

The FAW on Sunday vowed to do all in its powers to bring those responsible to justice.

"The Football Association of Wales (FAW) is disgusted by the racial abuse received by national team players via social media after last night's game," the governing body stated.

"Racism and all forms of discriminatory behaviour are wholly unacceptable and the FAW condemns it completely.

"The FAW are in dialogue with South Wales Police to ensure this kind of abhorrent behaviour is reported and investigated.

"The FAW joins other national associations and clubs in urging social media platforms and regulatory authorities to take stronger, more effective and urgent action against this despicable behaviour."

Kieffer Moore scored the only goal of the game as Wales secured a 1-0 friendly win over Mexico on Saturday. 

Wales changed all 11 players from their 3-1 World Cup qualifying defeat to Belgium on Wednesday, but the new-look XI acquitted themselves superbly against a side ranked ninth in the world. 

The decisive goal came after just 11 minutes, Moore controlling Jonny Williams' pass before rolling past Guillermo Ochoa.

That was Cardiff City striker Moore's fifth goal in 14 appearances for Wales – at least two more than any other Welshman since his debut in September 2019. 

Hirving Lozano went close for the visitors in the second half, but Wales – for whom Chris Gunter became the first player to reach 100 appearances – held on to secure a first-ever win over Mexico at the fifth attempt.

Chris Gunter has been lauded as "a manager's dream" by Wales caretaker boss Robert Page ahead of the full-back winning his 100th international cap.

Charlton Athletic defender Gunter will bring up the landmark when Wales take on Mexico in a friendly at Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday.

Gunter is the first Welshman to achieve the feat, and will be six clear of goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, who is next on the list of Wales' most-capped players, ahead of Neville Southall (92) and Gareth Bale (87).

The 31-year-old made his debut in 2007, and Page, who is standing in as Wales boss due to Ryan Giggs' suspension, was full of praise for Gunter.

"I keep saying that every time I work with him, I'm more impressed," said Page.

"He's a model professional, he is a manager's dream. He just gets on with his work, he trains as he plays and he's thoroughly deserved his 100 caps and all the credit he's going to get from having achieved that.

"Good people in the game, you want to see them do well and he's certainly one of them."

For his part, Gunter said it was difficult to describe the emotion of his achievement.

"It's tough to put into words. If you asked me potentially afterwards then there might be something a bit more emotional," he said.

"I'm very proud, it means the world to me to represent the country and do what I know so many people would love to do.

"It's something you never take for granted. You've given your life to hopefully performing for your country."

The omens for Gunter marking the milestone with a win are not great, however. This will be the fifth meeting between the teams, with Wales yet to register a victory.

Indeed, Wales have not scored in either of their last two matches against Mexico, with the last Welshman to net against them John Charles in a May 1962 friendly.

Wales lost to Belgium in their opening World Cup qualifier on Wednesday, with the Czech Republic next up on Tuesday.

Asked if he had discussed the performance with Giggs, Page said: "Absolutely, I spoke with Ryan, of course.

"He was pleased with the second half. We made the change at half-time to be a little bit more positive in our press, get a little bit higher up the pitch and we just didn't want to camp on the edge of our box and allow attack after attack and he absolutely agreed with that.

"There's aspects that he's pleased with and things we can do better on but overall he was pleased."

It remains unclear as to whether Giggs will be in charge when the Euros roll around, though Page insists he is not focusing on taking the role for the tournament.

"No. I'm not interested in that," he added. "It's for other people to make those decisions, we're not worrying about that."

Raul Jimenez vowed he will "soon" be back in action for Wolves as he thanked Led Zeppelin rocker Robert Plant for his support.

The Mexican forward suffered a serious head injury in the 2-1 win at Arsenal on November 29 after colliding with home defender David Luiz.

Jimenez underwent around 10 minutes of medical attention on the field before he was carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital for checks. 

It was discovered the 29-year-old had suffered a fracture to his skull, leading to an operation.

However, Jimenez was able to return home last weekend, and he is already looking forward to getting back to football.

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo has expressed caution, but fans of the club, including lifelong supporter Plant, will hope to see him back in the black and gold shirt before long.

Plant wrote on Twitter at the start of December: "COME ON RAUL.."

Responding on Friday to the Whole Lotta Love singer, Jimenez said: "Thank you, I'm gonna be back soon."

He added thumbs-up and muscle emojis to the message.

Wolves tweeted a series of four pictures on Thursday that showed Jimenez back at the club's Compton Park training ground, embracing team-mates.

Jimenez also posted pictures of himself with his family, writing: "Happy to be back home, together we will overcome any adversity."

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo insists it is too early to know when forward Raul Jimenez will be able to play again but his progress has been "positive". 

Jimenez suffered a sickening injury in the fifth minute of Wolves' 2-1 win over Arsenal in the Premier League at Emirates Stadium last Sunday. 

The Mexico international was involved in an aerial duel with Arsenal defender David Luiz and the pair clashed heads. 

Jimenez required around 10 minutes of medical attention on the field before he was eventually carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital for checks. 

It was discovered the 29-year-old had suffered a fracture to his skull, leading to an operation. 

"We have positive news. He is recovering well with his family," Nuno told a media conference on Friday ahead of the trip to Liverpool. 

"It's positive, but no doubt that it's a serious situation. He's still in observation and soon he will be back home. 

"It’s too early and it’s not the moment to even think about [Raul returning]. He must get back to his normal life and everything else. 

"It was very serious and everybody was afraid of the situation. Everybody was worried but as the days go by, with the positive news, we’ve been able to return to a normal situation. 

"We will deal with that how we should do and give Raul time to return safely to the group again."

Nuno added his name to the list of those calling for concussion substitutes to be introduced into the Premier League. 

Trials for concussion replacements are set to begin in English football next season, allowing teams a temporary replacement for a player who suffers a head injury. 

Arsenal were criticised for allowing David Luiz to play on during the match against Wolves, though the defender was substituted at half-time. 

"There should be concussion substitutes," said the Wolves head coach. "It is obvious everyone in the game supports this and I am positive this is going to happen." 

Nuno also thanked the Wolves fans for their response to Jimenez's injury, with the club inundated with messages of support. 

The club's supporters also raised £7,500 in two hours for a giant flag for the Mexican which will be displayed at Molineux. 

"I am not surprised about the reaction. Raul means a lot to this city," he added 

"All the things you can say about Raul is not enough because he is an amazing person. Everything goes through your mind when you see someone you love and appreciate in a tough situation. 

"He means so much to us. It is like when someone in the family gets ill."

Roberto Mancini has led resurgent Italy back into the top 10 of the FIFA rankings after a four-year absence.

The Azzurri are four-time World Cup winners but last featured in the higher echelons in the August 2016 rankings.

Failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup during Gian Piero Ventura's reign demonstrated their decline, but Mancini, who turned 56 on Friday, has engineered an impressive turnaround in fortunes.

Italy were 20th on the FIFA list when Mancini took over as head coach in May 2018, but winning all 10 of their Euro 2020 qualifying matches not only re-established them as a major force, it has seen their ranking soar.

Italy have reached the Nations League finals and are now unbeaten in 22 matches, their best such run since the year they won the World Cup in 2006.

They enjoyed an 11-game winning streak within the current sequence and will be seeded for the Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Mancini praised his squad's efforts earlier this month, saying on RAI Sport: "The players have done a great job because it has not always been easy.

"We have tried to become more offensive with our play. You have to have the right mentality to do so and have a style of play that all the great teams have."

Italy climbed from 12th to 10th place in the new rankings, while Mexico also jumped two places, rising to ninth.

For Mexico the wait to rejoin the top 10 had been even longer than it was for Italy - with a nine-year span since they last featured.

Belgium remain top of the list, ahead of France and Brazil.

 

FIFA rankings top 10: 1 Belgium, 2 France, 3 Brazil, 4 England, 5 Portugal, 6 Spain, 7 Argentina, 8 Uruguay, 9 Mexico, 10 Italy.

Raul Jimenez and Hirving Lozano struck in the second half as Mexico extended their unbeaten run to 10 matches with a 2-0 friendly win over Japan in foggy Graz on Tuesday.

Japan had the better of the first half at Merkur Arena, but Guillermo Ochoa made a brilliant fingertip save to keep out Genki Haraguchi's drive before denying Musashi Suzuki the opening goal.

Busy captain Ochoa was called into action again to thwart Junya Ito and Daichi Kamada came close with a header as the Samurai Blue remained on the front foot.

Mexico played with much more urgency after the interval, Jimenez forcing a fine reflex save from Japan goalkeeper Daniel Schmidt.

The clinical Wolves striker was not to be denied a fifth goal in his past six international games after 63 minutes, though, poking home from inside the penalty area as Japan were unable to contain Mexico's passing and movement.

Mexico were playing with a swagger after a lacklustre first-half display and Lozano added a second five minutes after Jimenez's opener, racing through and tucking the ball beyond Schmidt in composed fashion.

Atletico Madrid have been dealt another setback ahead of their clash with Barcelona after confirming midfielder Hector Herrera has sustained a grade two injury to his left thigh.

Diego Simeone's men are already set to be without Luis Suarez for Saturday's LaLiga game following his positive test for coronavirus while away on international duty with Uruguay.

Atleti are sweating on the fitness of a number of other first-team players, including Diego Costa and Yannick Carrasco, and will definitely be without Herrera next weekend.

The 30-year-old played no part in Mexico's 3-2 win over South Korea last week and was sent back to Madrid to undergo a scan.

Atleti confirmed the extent of the injury on their official website on Tuesday, with Herrera now expected to miss around a month.

He has featured eight times in all competitions for Atletico this season and started their last four games before the international break.

Herrera has averaged 85.18 passes per 90 minutes in his five LaLiga outings, which is behind only Toni Kroos (86.54) among players to have played at least five times this term.

Kroos is also the only player to have averaged more touches (104 to 100) than Herrera, while no player has turned over possession more often (9.64) - Manu Garcia being next highest with 9.38.

Atletico take on Barcelona, Valencia and Real Valladolid in LaLiga over the next three weeks and also have Champions League games with Lokomotiv Moscow, Bayern Munich and Salzburg in that period.

Mexico spectacularly turned around a half-time deficit as they scored three goals inside four minutes to record a 3-2 victory over South Korea in Austria. 

Hwang Ui-jo opened the scoring when he scuffed in a volley from Son Heung-min's cross for South Korea, who only had 19 players available for the friendly fixture following further positive COVID-19 cases within coach Paulo Bento's squad. 

Mexico managed 12 shots in the first half but their frustrations were over when they produced a sensational treble to seize command of the contest at Stadion Wiener Neustadt. 

Raul Jimenez turned in a low cross to equalise, while a depleted South Korea were stunned again within a minute when Uriel Antuna provided the finish to fellow substitute Orbelin Pineda's throughball. 

Carlos Salcedo then made it 3-1 in the 70th minute with a crisp, half-volleyed finish and while Kwon Kyung-won pulled a goal back late on, Mexico were deserved winners in the end.

Gerardo Martino's side are back in action again on Tuesday, taking on Japan in Graz. South Korea, meanwhile, go up against Qatar, also on Austrian soil.

Frank De Boer insisted he always wants to win after suffering a 1-0 loss to Mexico in his first match in charge of the Netherlands, but defiantly reminded his critics that he rested key players ahead of his side's forthcoming Nations League fixtures.

Raul Jimenez scored a second-half penalty to settle the friendly at Johan Cruijff Arena on Wednesday, which saw De Boer go head-to-head with Mexico boss Gerardo Martino – who he succeeded as head coach of MLS outfit Atlanta United.

De Boer left Atlanta in July following a poor run of form and his appointment as Ronald Koeman's successor as coach of the Netherlands raised concerns among supporters unimpressed by his record at club level in recent years.

Inter sacked De Boer after he had been in charge for just 85 days in 2016, and the former Netherlands defender lasted just seven games as Crystal Palace boss in the Premier League the following year.

In his international coaching bow, he handed debuts to Owen Wijndal and Teun Koopmeiners, while resting the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Daley Blind ahead of Sunday's clash with Bosnia-Herzegovina and a trip to Italy three days later.

"Of course I have a bad feeling," De Boer told reporters after the game. "I always want to win.

"But we have made certain choices, which I think are logical. We did not let some guys play. We have two more matches soon.

"Moreover, I do not believe that I am the first national coach to lose on his debut."

"The result is unpleasant," added De Boer. "But it was a practice match.

"You could give the excuse that not all the best guys played. We know that someone like Frenkie de Jong is very important, and he was missing. But let's not forget that Teun Koopmeiners played a very good game in the middle."

De Boer, who played for his country as a defender more than 100 times, offered words of support to 20-year-old Wijndal, who made a glaring error in the first half that almost cost the Netherlands.

"He started a bit rough, that's possible," said De Boer. "But I thought it was very good how he fought back."

Opposite number Martino reflected on Mexico's 18th victory in their last 19 matches, claiming the midweek win one was well deserved.

"We played a good game," he said. "We had enough control of the game and we worked very well together.

"It seems to me that the result is fair. At times we pressed well and had the ball. If you work well, you impose your game.

"Today we were a very solid and generous team."

The Netherlands made a losing start to the Frank de Boer era as Mexico ran out 1-0 winners during the new Oranje coach's first game in charge.

There was little for De Boer to enjoy in a largely one-sided friendly at Johan Cruijff Arena, where Tata Martino's high-energy team made it 18 wins from their past 19 matches as Netherlands debuts for Owen Wijndal and Teun Koopmeiners fell flat.

De Boer indicated before the game that he would rather have had extra time to prepare for his side's forthcoming pair of Nations League matches than play a friendly, but he had to watch as the Netherlands were pulled apart at the back repeatedly as Raul Jimenez and Jesus Corona caused them problems.

There were chances at either end, with Memphis Depay lively in the Dutch attack, but a second-half Jimenez penalty after he was fouled by Nathan Ake settled the game and ensured De Boer's tenure started with a whimper.

Mexico exposed frailties in the Dutch defence early on when Hans Hateboer's slow reactions allowed Jesus Gallardo to put Jimenez clean through on goal, but the Wolves forward dragged his shot wide from 12 yards out.

Steven Berghuis' angled drive from close range stung the palms of diving Mexico goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera as the previously sluggish Netherlands began to rally.

But the visitors squandered another fine chance after 34 minutes when Owen Wijndal's scuffed pass allowed Rodolfo Pizarro into the box where he squared to Jimenez, who fired low and wide again.

Tim Krul was called into action 10 minutes into the second half when Corona bore down on goal and the Netherlands keeper parried his low shot away from danger.

Moments later, substitute Nathan Ake was adjudged to have pulled Jimenez's shirt in the box as the referee awarded a penalty that the striker rolled into the bottom-left corner of the net.

Corona should have doubled Mexico's lead 15 minutes from time after his jinking run towards goal and fierce angled drive but Krul got down well to save.

Luuk de Jong had a late chance saved, too, before Memphis Depay hit the bar from the rebound, with neither able to spare De Boer's blushes.

Frank de Boer has named his first squad as Netherlands head coach following his appointment last month, with Daley Blind among those recalled.

Former Ajax, Inter and Atlanta United coach De Boer was named Ronald Koeman's replacement after his departure for Barcelona, taking the reins from interim boss Dwight Lodeweges.

The Oranje play Mexico in a friendly on October 7 and then have Nations League meetings against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Italy.

De Boer claimed at his presentation as coach tthat his group is more talented than Netherlands' 2010 World Cup finalists - when he was on the staff - and he has opted against widescale changes.

Blind is back, though, after being left out in September following a health scare.

The centre-back, who was last year fitted with a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator after being diagnosed with heart muscle inflammation, collapsed in an Ajax friendly in pre-season.

Blind subsequently declared he was "feeling fine", however, and has gone on to start each of Ajax's opening three Eredivisie wins.

Steven Berghuis and Donyell Malen have also returned to the fold, while there is a first senior call-up for AZ captain Teun Koopmeiners.

The Leeds United-linked midfielder made the preliminary squad under Lodeweges but has only now made the final selection.

Perr Schuurs was a new name last month but is not in the latest squad, nor is Leroy Fer.


Netherlands squad in full:

Jasper Cillessen (Valencia), Marco Bizot (AZ), Tim Krul (Norwich City); Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries (PSV), Nathan Ake (Manchester City), Hans Hateboer (Atalanta), Daley Blind (Ajax), Joel Veltman (Brighton and Hove Albion), Stefan de Vrij (Inter), Owen Wijndal (AZ); Donny van de Beek (Ajax), Mohamed Ihattaren (PSV), Teun Koopmeiners (AZ), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Kevin Strootman (Marseille), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool); Luuk de Jong (Sevilla), Quincy Promes (Ajax), Ryan Babel (Galatasaray), Memphis Depay (Lyon), Steven Bergwijn (Tottenham), Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord), Donyell Malen (PSV).

The Reggae Boyz have done well to push their CONCACAF rankings and make it directly to the final round of World Cup qualification.

But I don’t believe that this has helped them. I believe it would have been better had the Reggae Boyz not done so well up to this point.

The brand, Reggae Boyz, is not what it used to be and as it stands, the team hasn’t been getting high-quality opponents during friendlies.

I believe that the match windows the team could have used to get sharp and stay sharp will be wasted on teams not of the quality to prepare the Reggae Boyz for the harsh realities of the Octagonal they are to face in June of 2021.

So far, the Reggae Boyz, the number four team in CONCACAF, will play against the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Honduras. Three other teams will join the Reggae Boyz in the final-round fight for a place at the World Cup in Qatar.

The Reggae Boyz, if properly prepared, can compete against any of these teams, but without having to play in further qualifiers before the final round, I fear they may not be.

Outside of a 3-1 defeat to the United States in June of 2019, in the last year, the Reggae Boyz have played against Curacao, Panama, Antigua & Barbuda, Guyana and Aruba.

No disrespect to these teams, but as far as oppositions go, they may not be good enough to accurately prepare the Reggae Boyz for high-quality opposition in the Octagonal.

With no international football since the spread of COVID-19 and attempt to cauterize it from creating further devastation, the Reggae Boyz have been, in a word, idle.

You might say this applies to all the teams in the final round, however, these teams have a greater history of being successful at this level.

It is the Reggae Boyz who need to step up, improve to their level.

The team, I believe, has all the requisite talent to do so. The Reggae Boyz performance in making the second Gold Cup finals in their history is proof of that.

However, coach Theodore Whitmore and standout centre half Damion Lowe, have pointed to one thing while noting the excellent chances of this team of making it to Qatar in 2022.

The two have said the preparations need to be on point.

One of the ways of preparing is to play friendlies against high-enough quality opposition to ensure, match readiness and to figure out how to diminish your weaknesses.

While the opposition the Reggae Boyz have faced over the last year may provide them match readiness, these teams do not adequately show up the Reggae Boyz’ weaknesses.

Those weaknesses will not be shown up because, again, no disrespect to the opposition so far, the Reggae Boyz are better.

The Jamaica Football Federation has kept its plans for the months preceding the Octagonal close to its chest but if the nature of friendlies in the recent past is anything to go by, the Reggae Boyz might find themselves short of work come June.

Arjen Robben's retirement lasted just a single season, as the Netherlands and Bayern Munich great announced on Saturday he is to return to boyhood club Groningen for the 2020-21 campaign.

Robben, 36, brought an illustrious playing career to an end last July shortly after his 10-year spell with Bayern came to an end.

Although at the time he was linked with a potential return to the team that gave him his professional debut, Robben - who suffered with numerous injury problems throughout his career - opted to retire.

But now he looks set to return, not only to top-tier football, but at the place where it all began.

In honour of Robben's return to his first club, we identified some other high-profile players who went to finish their careers back home.

Juan Roman Riquelme - Argentinos Juniors

Perhaps more synonymous with Boca Juniors, where he made his professional debut and also spent most of his final years, Riquelme also had a strong affinity with Argentinos Juniors. He came through the club's academy in the early-to-mid 1990s, before then finishing his immense career at Estadio Diego Maradona in 2014, having also played for Barcelona, Villarreal and Argentina. Although the iconic attacking midfielder appeared close to joining Paraguay's Cerro Porteno the following year, the move never materialised.

Dirk Kuyt - Quick Boys

Kuyt briefly came out of retirement two years ago to help Quick Boys, with whom he spent 13 years as a youth. Playing in the Derde Divisie Saturday league, Kuyt was already working as assistant at the time, but made himself available for selection during a striker shortage and he made three appearances. The former Netherlands and Liverpool forward had retired the year before following a second spell with Feyenoord, where he had made his initial breakthrough in the mid-2000s, his form at the time earning a move to Anfield.

Rafael Marquez - Atlas

One of Mexico's greatest players, Marquez's longevity at such a high level was nothing short of incredible, as he accumulated 147 international caps. After breaking into the Atlas team as a teenager having come through their academy, the elegant centre-back enjoyed a sparkling career in Europe, winning 14 titles across spells with Monaco and Barcelona. Time with New York Red Bulls, Leon and Hellas Verona followed, before a final two-year stint back at the Jalisco ended in 2018. Although plagued by off-field allegations towards the end of his career, Marquez went on to become the club's sporting president, before standing down last year to focus on other areas of the sport.

Juan Pablo Angel - Atletico Nacional

Angel perhaps never quite lived up to the expectations he set during his early days as part of River Plate's so-called 'Fantastic Four' with Javier Saviola, Ariel Ortega and Pablo Aimar, having joined from Colombia's Nacional. Nevertheless, he became a fan favourite at Aston Villa in the Premier League, before spending six years in MLS with New York Red Bulls, Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA. In 2013 he returned to Nacional for two seasons, having left them in 1997. He called it quits in late 2014, just a few days after losing to his former club River in the final of the Copa Sudamericana. "I am ending my career with a final between the two clubs I love the most," he said.

Henrik Larsson - Hogaborgs

While the Swedish club most may associate with Larsson is Helsingborgs, he actually made the breakthrough at a smaller side – Hogaborgs. It was here where he trained from the age of six, before eventually becoming a regular in the senior side and earning a move to Helsingborgs. A trophy-laden career followed, taking him to Feyenoord, Celtic, Barcelona and Manchester United. Although he retired in 2009, he returned to the pitch for Raa in the Swedish third tier three years later, before then finding himself back in the team at Hogaborgs in 2013, helping out due to an injury crisis despite him only previously being registered to a casual team for 'seniors'. This gave him the chance to play alongside his son, Jordan.

Carlos Tevez - Boca Juniors

The Tevez-Boca love affair has dominated most of the striker's successful and complex career. After coming through their youth ranks, the feisty forward was seen as the heir to Maradona. A brief stint in Brazil with Corinthians followed, but Europe had long since beckoned, even if West Ham was by no means the expected destination. He went on to play for Manchester United and Manchester City, increasing tension between the clubs, before then going to Juventus, but throughout this time Tevez seemed to long for a return to Boca. He went back to La Bombonera in 2015, his homecoming interrupted by a brief spell with Shanghai Shenhua in 2017 in the Chinese Super League, though even Tevez acknowledged he saw his time in China as a "holiday". "He filled Santa's sack with dollars and now he has returned to Boca" was Maradona's assessment upon 'El Apache's' return from the CSL.

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