The Brazilian Football Association (CBF) confirmed Lucas Paqueta will remain in Brazil’s Copa America squad despite being charged over alleged breaches of betting rules by the English Football Association (FA).

Last August, it was reported the FA had opened an investigation into suspicious betting activity surrounding Paqueta, who said he was cooperating with the FA’s probe in March.

The West Ham midfielder is accused of intentionally seeking to receive a card in four different Premier League fixtures, three in the 2022-23 season and one on the opening matchday of 2023-24, with the charges brought against him last Thursday.

Paqueta, who has until June 3 to respond to the charges, addressed the situation on social media saying, "I deny the charges in their entirety and will fight with every breath to clear my name."

Now, the CBF has confirmed that Paqueta will be staying in the national squad for the upcoming tournament following discussions between the two football associations.

"Given the facts reported by the English Federation, the CBF, supported by the joint opinion from the Legal and Governance and Compliance Directorates and the Integrity Unit, has decided to maintain the player's call-up," the CBF said in a statement signed by president Ednaldo Rodrigues.

"Based on the information provided by the FA, it is categorically concluded that the player, Lucas Paqueta, despite the behaviour for which he was accused authorising preventive removal [from the squad] ... has not been penalised to date by the prosecuting body authorised to sanction him.

"It is right to say that the player is free to perform his professional job until the present moment, the source of his livelihood and that of his family, in a full and unrestricted manner, whether for his club or his country's national team."

Selecao are nine-time winners of the Copa America and will kick off their campaign against Costa Rica in Group D on June 24.

Lucas Paqueta has been charged by the Football Association (FA) over alleged breaches of betting rules, with the West Ham midfielder accused of intentionally seeking to receive a card in four different games.

Last August, it was reported that the FA had opened an investigation into suspicious betting activity surrounding Paqueta.

In March, the Brazil international said he was cooperating with the FA's probe and was "happy to be helping".

On Thursday, the FA brought charges against Paqueta, who is accused of attempting to get himself carded in four different Premier League fixtures, three in the 2022-23 season and one on the opening matchday of 2023-24.

An FA spokesperson said: "West Ham United's Lucas Paqueta has been charged with misconduct in relation to alleged breaches of FA Rules E5 and F3.

"The player has been charged with four breaches of FA Rule E5.1 in relation to his conduct in the club's Premier League fixtures against Leicester City on 12 November 2022; Aston Villa on 12 March 2023; Leeds United on 21 May 2023; and AFC Bournemouth on 12 August 2023. 

"It's alleged that he directly sought to influence the progress, conduct, or any other aspect of, or occurrence in these matches by intentionally seeking to receive a card from the referee for the improper purpose of affecting the betting market in order for one or more persons to profit from betting."

Paqueta, who has until June 3 to respond to the charges, immediately addressed them on social media, vowing to clear his name.

He wrote on Instagram: "I am extremely surprised and upset that the FA has decided to charge me. For nine months, I have cooperated with every step of their investigation and provided all the information I can.

"I deny the charges in their entirety and will fight with every breath to clear my name."

The news comes after Brentford striker Ivan Toney served an eight-month ban following his admission of 232 breaches of betting rules between 2017 and 2021.

Newcastle United's Sandro Tonali, meanwhile, is midway through a 10-month suspension for breaking the Italian Football Federation's gambling rules and was recently given a suspended two-month sanction over 50 breaches investigated by the FA.

Jarrod Bowen looks set to be fit for West Ham’s bid for an unlikely Europa League comeback against new Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen.

The Hammers’ 19-goal top scorer missed the 2-0 quarter-final first-leg defeat in Germany, and Sunday’s Premier League loss at home to Fulham, with a hip injury.

But Bowen took part in training at West Ham’s Rush Green HQ on Wednesday morning and hopes are high that he will be available against Leverkusen.

Manager David Moyes said: “It was great to see Jarrod out there.

“We’re not sure yet. I would never risk a player if I thought they were injured but you always want your best players back in, your goalscorers as well, and Jarrod has been that this season.”

The news is a major boost to the Hammers as they attempt to inflict a first defeat of the season on Xabi Alonso’s Leverkusen.

But they will be without key Brazilian midfielder Lucas Paqueta through suspension after he was booked in Germany.

“Most people know exactly what Jarrod has done for us over the season and others. It would give us and the crowd a real lift,” Moyes said.

“We’ve lost Lucas through suspension, and had Jarrod out through injury. We have to find ways of making magic happen.”

Left-back Emerson Palmieiri is also suspended while centre-half Konstantinos Mavropanos is a doubt.

Leverkusen secured a first league title in their history when they beat Werder Bremen 5-0 on Sunday, and Moyes hopes the celebrations went on long into the night – and maybe spilled into the start of the week.

“Rightly so, why would you not celebrate?” he said. “To be the champions, you should celebrate, you should enjoy it because the moments go very quickly.

“I hope they’ve been downing those big giant glasses of beer they get in Germany!”

Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, who turns 39 on Thursday, hopes West Ham can lean on their experience of making unlikely comebacks.

Fabianski was in the Hammers team who were 3-0 down at Tottenham with 10 minutes to go in 2020, and hit back to draw 3-3.

“I think the confidence that we can take is from the experiences in recent years, games where we have been down and come back,” the former Poland international said.

“The Spurs game is one of the best examples,  being 3-0 down and to score three in 10-15 minutes.

“We’ve experienced some great moments as a team in recent history and that will help us prepare mentally for (Thursday’s) game.”

West Ham were breached by two late goals as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final at Bayer Leverkusen.

The Hammers had defended heroically for 83 minutes before goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski was finally beaten by substitute Jonas Hoffman.

A one-goal deficit might have given David Moyes’ side hope going into next week’s second leg at the London Stadium, despite facing a side unbeaten all season.

But disaster struck in stoppage time when a second substitute, Victor Boniface, headed home Hofmann’s cross, to leave West Ham’s hopes of a third consecutive European semi-final looking horribly slim.

A yellow card for Lucas Paqueta, ruling the Brazil international out of the second leg, only adds to the task facing the east Londoners.

The Hammers, without injured top scorer Jarrod Bowen and defensive midfield linchpin Edson Alvarez through suspension, were almost undone in the seventh minute when Josip Stanisic’s wayward shot was flicked towards goal by Patrik Schick but the ball went straight to Fabianski.

But Leverkusen were given a warning of West Ham’s prowess on the counter-attack moments later when Michail Antonio outstripped Jonathan Tah on the left wing and produced the best chance of the first half.

The burly frontman squared the ball to Mohammed Kudus, but the Ghana winger’s first-time strike was comfortably held by Matej Kovar.

However, West Ham were largely camped in their own penalty area and Fabianski palmed away Jeremie Frimpong’s curler before Exequiel Palacios’s drive was deflected over.

Paqueta’s over-enthusiastic challenge on Amine Adli earned him his booking – the Brazilian survived a red card check – and provoked a mild skirmish on the touchline.

Fabianski might have suspected he was in for a busy evening and he was proved right, making big saves to keep out dangerous efforts from Alejandro Grimaldo, Shick and Edmond Tapsoba.

Early in the second half Emerson Palmieri was shown a yellow card after catching Adli on the ankle, meaning the left-back will also sit out next week’s return leg.

Frimpong, a former Manchester City youngster, hit a low angled drive straight at Fabianski, before the 38-year-old Pole made a stunning save to tip Shick’s instinctive header over the crossbar.

But with seven minutes remaining Fabianski was powerless to prevent Hoffman’s shot bouncing through a sea of white shirts and into the net after a corner was only half-cleared.

Tomas Soucek cleared two Tah efforts off the line in a desperate finale before Boniface headed the second to leave the Hammers devastated.

What the papers say

West Ham will join Liverpool, Tottenham and AC Milan in the hunt for 26 -year-old Fulham defender Tosin Adarabioyo, according to the Guardian. The former Manchester City player will be a free agent in summer, but Fulham are hoping to retain his services.

Football Insider says Chelsea are trying to secure the signature of Athletic Bilbao forward Nico Williams for £43million. The 21-year-old Spain international has scored six goals and had 14 assists for Athletic in all competitions this season.

Former Arsenal loanee Dani Ceballos is set to leave Real Madrid for rivals Atletico Madrid as he struggles for game time at the LaLiga leaders, the Sun reports. The 27-year-old Spain midfielder has played just 14 games for the Real Madrid in the league this season, mostly as a substitute.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Mohamed Salah: The 31-year-old Liverpool striker is set to be targeted once again by Saudi Pro League clubs this summer with Al Ittihad reportedly set to offer £70million for the Egypt star, Talksport says.

Lucas Paqueta: French media outlet L’Equipe says Manchester City have agreed to terms with the 26-year-old West Ham midfielder.

What the papers say

Arsenal’s quest to find a new striker has been whittled down to a 10-man shortlist, according to the Daily Mirror. Among those being watched by the Gunners are RB Leipzig’s Slovenian Benjamin Sesko, 20, Sporting’s Viktor Gyokeres, 25, and his fellow Sweden international Alexander Isak, 24, at Newcastle.

Another Arsenal target may be out of reach, reports the Daily Express. They have been tracking Dutch winger Xavi Simons, 20, but his parent club Paris St-Germain are keen to give him game time after a loan spell at RB Leipzig.

Liverpool forward Luis Diaz, 27, is still hopeful of a move to Spain. The Daily Mail reports on the Colombia international’s father saying he remains keen on a move to one of La Liga’s top clubs.

Manchester United have strengthening their defence as their main summer priority, according to The Daily Telegraph. Everton’s Jarrad Branthwaite, 21, is high on their list of targets.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Bruno Guimaraes: Spanish outlet Fichajes says Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is “obsessed” by the Newcastle midfielder, 26, who would cost around £85million.

Lucas Paqueta: West Ham expect Manchester City to make another bid for the Brazil midfielder, 26, according to Football Insider.

Lucas Paqueta scored a stoppage-time penalty as Brazil came from behind for a second time to claim a 3-3 draw in their international friendly in Spain.

Spain captain Rodri looked to have won the match for the hosts with his second spot-kick of the night, three minutes from time in Madrid.

The Manchester City midfielder had also opened the scoring in a thrilling contest at the Bernabeu Stadium with his first effort after 16 minutes before Dani Olmo added a superb second.

Brazil hit back through Rodrygo and Real Madrid-bound teenage star Endrick, and Paqueta snatched the draw after Rodri had put Spain back ahead.

Spain started strongly with 16-year-old Barcelona star Lamine Yamal an immediate handful.

The youngster blazed an early chance over and then won the penalty from which his side took the lead after jinking into the area and being brought down by Joao Gomes.

Rodri made no mistake with a shot straight down the middle.

Vinicius Junior, who was playing at his home ground and the focus of much pre-match attention, had Brazil’s first opportunity after a powerful run by Rodrygo but shot tamely at Unai Simon.

Spain wanted another penalty after Nico Williams was fouled by Bruno Guimaraes but the offence was just outside the area.

The hosts increased their advantage after 36 minutes with a dazzling effort from Olmo. Yamal was again involved with a well-weighted pass but the goal was all about Olmo’s nimble footwork as he weaved through three challenges before curling a shot past Bento.

Yet, as stunning as that was, Brazil pulled one back almost immediately after a poor error by Simon. The goalkeeper’s pass for Fabian Ruiz was far too weak and Rodrygo was quick to swoop, expertly lifting the ball back over Simon.

Brazil introduced Endrick at half-time and it did not take the youngster long to make his mark at the ground he will call home from this summer.

The 17-year-old, fresh from his winner against England on Saturday, was in the right place at the edge of the box when a corner was half-cleared. He met the ball with a powerful left-footed volley that thundered into the bottom corner with the aid of a deflection.

There were further chances at both ends with Olmo twice testing Bento either side of a Lucas Beraldo effort for Brazil that flew well over.

Dani Carvajal also forced a save before being awarded Spain’s second penalty of the night as he went down, under a Beraldo challenge five minutes from time.

Again Rodri was on target but Paqueta was to have the final word after Galeno was bundled over by Carvajal.

Lucas Paqueta scored a last-gasp penalty as Brazil twice came from behind to draw 3-3 with Spain in a thrilling friendly at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Paqueta converted with one of the last kicks of the game, less than 10 minutes after Rodri thought he had grabbed the winner for Spain in their first meeting with Brazil for 11 years.

Rodri had opened the scoring from the spot before Dani Olmo's strike doubled Spain's advantage.

Rodrygo issued an immediate response to halve the deficit and Brazil wonderboy Endrick scored for the second game running to level the score, paving the way for the late drama.

Having missed an early opportunity when he failed to test Brazil goalkeeper Bento, Lamine Yamal was at the heart of Spain's opener when, in the 11th minute, he was brought down by Joao Gomez in the box, with referee Antonio Nobre pointing to the spot – Rodri calmly slotting the resulting penalty down the middle.

Brazil went close at the other end when Real Madrid stars Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior combined, with the latter firing straight at Unai Simon, but Spain made it 2-0 when Olmo lashed in following superb skill to bamboozle two defenders.

Brazil responded quickly, though, punishing an error from Simon when Spain’s goalkeeper gifted the ball straight to Rodrygo, who finished coolly.

The half-time break and the four changes made by head coach Dorival Junior had the desired impact for Brazil, as Endrick – fresh from his historic winner against England – volleyed home an equaliser following a corner.

Olmo was denied a second when Bento pulled off an excellent save, but Spain did eventually get their chance to win it when Dani Carvajal was bundled over by Beraldo.

Once again, Rodri was on target, but in the dying embers, Carvajal’s clumsy tackle on Galeno handed Paqueta the chance to grab a draw, with the West Ham midfielder making no mistake.

Endrick shows the Bernabeu what he can do

After becoming Brazil’s youngest scorer since Ronaldo when he grabbed the winner at Wembley on Saturday, Endrick – who will be joining Madrid ahead of next season – will hope his goal this time out is the first of many at his soon-to-be stomping ground.

The 17-year-old levelled the scores five minutes into the second half with just his fourth shot for Brazil.

Head coach Dorival Junior will be disappointed that Brazil could not build on Saturday's 1-0 win against England with another victory but will see the positives as his side prepare to try and win a 10th Copa America title this summer.

The draw also keeps up Brazil’s excellent record against European nations in friendlies having not lost such a match since August 2013 against Switzerland.

Spain slip up... again

Spain failed to score in Friday's surprise friendly defeat to Colombia despite having 13 shots, but they had no such problem this time in a dominant first-half display.

Barcelona prodigy Yamal impressed, winning the penalty and being involved in much of Spain's positive play, while Olmo showed his individual quality too.

But from a position of comfort, Simon's mistake gifted Brazil a route back into the contest, head coach Luis de la Fuente will only have been further frustrated by Carvajal's clumsiness right at the end, as their search for a first win of 2024 rumbles on.

David Moyes took the handbrake off West Ham and watched them race into the last eight of the Europa League with a 5-0 win over Freiburg.

Hammers boss Moyes uncharacteristically named an attacking line-up in a bid to repair the damage of the 1-0 first-leg defeat in Germany last week.

He was rewarded with a sparkling display as goals from Lucas Paqueta, Jarrod Bowen, Aaron Cresswell and two from Mohammed Kudus – including a sensational solo effort – secured a 5-1 aggregate win and a place in a European quarter-final for a third-successive season.

As a consequence the Hammers may have also done some of their Premier League rivals a favour, with the result pushing England ahead of Germany in UEFA’s coefficient rankings, which could mean an extra spot in Europe next season.

Despite some indifferent domestic form, West Ham – last season’s Europa Conference League winners – seem to come alive on these European nights.

Two years ago, at the same stage of the same competition, they memorably overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit against Spanish Europa League specialists Sevilla.

There were fears that that crackling atmosphere might be difficult to recreate, with many fans unable to make the match due to the unusual 5.45pm kick-off time.

But the London Stadium was still almost full and it erupted after just nine minutes as Freiburg saw their advantage wiped out.

Cresswell swung in a third-successive corner, Tomas Soucek stooped to flick the ball on and the unmarked Paqueta slid it in at the far post.

Just after the half-hour mark, West Ham had their second as Bowen celebrated his latest call-up to the England squad in style, shrugging off the attentions of Freiburg captain Christian Gunter before lashing home from 20 yards.

Freiburg still posed a threat, though, with Roland Sallai firing across goal and wide just to let West Ham know the tie was still very much in the balance at half-time.

That lasted until six minutes into the second half, when Bowen’s square ball across the box was deflected out to Cresswell, lurking on the edge of the area.

The left-back, who was the fall guy in Frankfurt two years when his red card in the semi-final against Eintracht cost West Ham dearly, took a touch before leathering the ball inside the far post.

The best was still to come, despite there being little sign of danger when Kudus picked the ball up deep inside his own half.

The former Ajax wideman sprinted around 70 yards, slicing through the heart of the Freiburg defence before casually rolling the ball into the net.

No wonder Kudus felt the need to borrow a photographer’s stool and sit down in front of the delirious home fans as his team-mates celebrated around him.

The rest had clearly done Kudus good, as he promptly collected Bowen’s lay-off and dispatched a low drive from 20 yards to complete West Ham’s five-star display.

David Moyes saw his injury worries mount up as West Ham were held to a 1-1 FA Cup draw by Bristol City.

Lucas Paqueta set up Jarrod Bowen’s goal after just four minutes, but limped off shortly after with a recurrence of a knee injury.

Defender Konstantinos Mavropanos was also forced off with a shoulder problem before half-time.

But most worryingly of all, top-scorer Bowen had to be helped from the pitch after the final whistle having gone down injured in stoppage time.

The injuries may have brought into question Moyes’ decision to play his strongest team against the Championship side.

But the Hammers boss insisted: “I had no intention of doing anything else than making sure we put out as strong a team as we possibly could.

“Injuries are part of football, and unfortunately we picked up a couple today. Losing Lucas was a big turning point in the match.”

The Hammers looked on course for a comfortable afternoon when Bowen brought down Paqueta’s ball over the top and fired them into an early lead.

It proved to be anything but, however, after a second-half equaliser from Tommy Conway secured a replay for the rocking Robins.

West Ham’s squad would have been given a whole a week off had they won this third-round tie, but they will now be dragged back in on Friday as Moyes, who reached Wembley twice as a player with City, prepares for a return to Ashton Gate.

A replay is the last thing Moyes needs as the injuries begin to bite, but he claimed: “I’m looking forward to going back to Bristol, I’ve not been there for a long time, I’m really looking forward to going back to Ashton Gate.

“The amount of games we played this season it would be better if we didn’t have it, but if I was Bristol City I’d be thrilled to have West Ham at Ashton Gate.”

Danny Ings has been linked with a move to Wolves this January having hardly figured this season.

The striker, on as a second-half substitute, missed a late chance when he hit the side-netting.

But Moyes insisted: “Danny was probably the best player when he came on. I’d talk about his performance rather than anything else.”

City boss Liam Manning, a former Hammers Under-23s coach, was delighted with his side’s second-half display.

“The immediate emotion would be pride in terms of the performance level,” he said.

“Going a goal down early can derail you but the response was outstanding.

“For the first 20 or 25 minutes of the second half the performance level was excellent, and the goal was a terrific moment of quality.”

Arsenal missed the chance to return to the top of the Premier League as they slipped to a disappointing defeat to West Ham amid more VAR controversy.

The Gunners needed victory to replace Liverpool at the summit but lost 2-0 by the Hammers on a night where David Moyes finally landed a victory at the Emirates Stadium.

His West Ham side lost Kurt Zouma ahead of the game and Lucas Paqueta after just over half an hour but hit the front through Tomas Soucek’s strike, awarded after VAR could not determine whether the whole ball had gone out of play in the build-up.

A second-half header from former Arsenal defender Konstantinos Mavropanos secured the points and things could have been even better for the visitors had Said Benrahma not seen a last-gasp penalty saved by David Raya.

Moyes had failed to secure victory in his previous 72 Premier League away games at Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool or Manchester United, so this was a long time coming for the Scot.

Arsenal laboured when they needed to continue their recent winning run in London derbies to go back to the top of the table.

Instead, only captain Martin Odegaard could hold his head high on a night where their defence creaked and Gabriel Jesus was guilty of missing a couple of very good chances.

Arsenal started well, with some great touches in and around the West Ham box from Odegaard in particular.

But at the other end their defending left a lot to be desired, as Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Magalhaes failed to deal with a simple ball into the middle.

Jarrod Bowen capitalised by latching onto the miscue and teed up Soucek to finish – the goal surviving a lengthy VAR check which could not ultimately make a call on if the ball had not gone out of play before Bowen’s cutback.

Arsenal looked to respond although the goal gave West Ham something to defend, although Jesus found a way in behind with a subtle flick into Bukayo Saka, whose header was brilliantly saved by Alphonse Areola.

Paqueta had been hurt in the warm-up and lasted just over half an hour, with his fellow Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli curling an effort just wide for Arsenal as they continued in vain to find a leveller.

The hosts were getting closer, West Ham gifting possession as two passes saw Arsenal in on goal once more, this time Saka hitting the base of the post from an acute angle.

Former West Ham captain Declan Rice fired just over from 25 yards but it was another player coming back to haunt his former club who would find the back of the net soon after.

Mavropanos made just seven league starts in three years as an Arsenal player but returned to the Premier League last summer with the Hammers and headed them two goals ahead before the hour.

Jesus then headed straight at Areola before sending another fine chance well over the bar moments after Arteta introduced Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson off the bench.

Areola was on hand again to keep out a Leandro Trossard effort, with Vladimir Coufal clearing a William Saliba header off the line from the resulting corner.

Rice had come off the bench during a 3-0 Carabao Cup defeat on his return to West Ham earlier in the season and endured another night to forget here as he conceded a late penalty for tripping Emerson Palmieri in the box – only for Raya to keep out substitute Benrahma’s tame spot-kick.

David Moyes was thrilled to get West Ham’s Europa League campaign back on track after Lucas Paqueta’s goal secured a 1-0 victory over Olympiacos.

The Brazil midfielder crashed in a second-half volley to keep the Hammers on top of Group A and to the brink of qualifying for the knockout stages.

Moyes’ side are also guaranteed European football after Christmas with the worst-case scenario a third-placed finish meaning a return to the Europa Conference League and a chance to defend the trophy they won last season.

They enjoyed a measure of revenge, too, having accused the Greek team of celebrating their 2-1 win in the reverse fixture two weeks ago as if they had won the Europa League itself.

Not only that, but West Ham have now won their last nine home games in Europe since the start of last season, one more than Manchester City.

“We were disappointed to lose our record of 17 unbeaten two weeks ago against Olympiacos, so it’s good to get back on track,” said Moyes.

“We’re top of the group, we still have two matches to play but at the moment I think this is the hardest group we’ve had, in our third year in it, and it’s proved to be the case. We’ve done the job tonight. It’s a great result for us.

“Europe has been great for this football club, we’ve had some great nights and long may they continue.”

Paqueta, the best player on the pitch, broke the deadlock in the 74th minute after Bowen’s square pass found James Ward-Prowse.

The former Southampton midfielder chipped the ball forward into the area for Paqueta to fire home on the volley.

The goal was initially ruled out by an assistant referee’s flag, but a VAR check showed the Brazilian was onside and referee Matej Jug, who had infuriated West Ham with some strange decisions all evening, got the biggest cheer of the night when he signalled a goal.

“I don’t think VAR needed to come to the rescue, it was onside, it was a goal,” added Moyes.

“We needed it because the game was very tight, there was very little in it.

“He took the goal brilliantly tonight but there were lots of things I wanted him to do better. We’ve got room for improvement.”

It was a fourth assist in four European outings for Ward-Prowse, who was overlooked by England again earlier in the day, more than a year after his last call-up.

Paqueta pointedly went to the 3,000 travelling fans to celebrate, probably because the West Ham players were targeted by laser pens from Greek supporters in Athens.

West Ham survived a late scare when Mady Camara rattled a post but they held on to complete their European revenge mission.

Lucas Paqueta got West Ham’s Europa League campaign back on track with the winner in a 1-0 victory over Olympiacos.

The Brazil midfielder crashed in a second-half volley to keep the Hammers on top of Group A and to the brink of qualifying for the knockout stages.

It was also a measure of revenge for West Ham, who had accused the Greek team of celebrating their 2-1 win in the reverse fixture two weeks ago as if they had won the Europa League itself.

Olympiacos fans created a hostile atmosphere that night in Athens, unfurling a huge banner across one stand reading ‘Tonight you dine in hell’.

The London Stadium, by contrast, could never be referred to as a cauldron of noise, and besides, ‘Tonight you dine in Westfield’ does not have the same ring to it.

Nevertheless, the place was crackling at kick-off with the Hammers, last season’s Europa Conference League winners, in need of a victory to keep their continental destiny in their own hands.

But a workmanlike but limited Olympiacos proved a tough nut to crack in the opening 45 minutes.

Said Benrahma dragged an early shot wide and then saw a better one saved by visiting goalkeeper Alexandros Paschalakis.

From the corner James Ward-Prowse’s cross was headed straight at Paschalakis by Nayef Aguerd.

Jarrod Bowen, on the day he earned another call up to the England squad, nodded Vladimir Coufal’s cross wide before Paschalakis was called into action again by Benrahma’s low drive.

Two more Aguerd headers were off target before Olympiacos had their first shot in anger, shortly before half-time, with on-loan Wolves forward Daniel Podence volleying Francisco Ortega’s cross wide.

Ward-Prowse should have given his side the lead on the hour when he met a cutback from Bowen, but the midfielder’s shot was straight at Paschalakis.

But Paqueta, the best player on the pitch, finally broke the deadlock after Bowen’s square pass found Ward-Prowse.

The former Southampton midfielder chipped it forward into the area for Paqueta to fire home on the volley from.

The goal was initially ruled out by an assistant referee’s flag, but a VAR check showed the Brazilian was onside and referee Matej Jug, who had infuriated West Ham with some strange decisions all evening, got the biggest cheer of the night when he signalled a goal.

It was a fourth assist in four European outings for Ward-Prowse, who was overlooked by England again earlier in the day, more than a year after his last call-up.

Paqueta pointedly went to the 3,000 travelling fans to celebrate, probably because the West Ham players were targeted by laser pens from Greek supporters in Athens.

West Ham survived a late scare when Mady Camara rattled a post but they held on to complete their European revenge mission.

David Moyes defended his team selection after West Ham’s unbeaten European record was reduced to ruins in Athens.

The Hammers came a cropper in the shadow of the Acropolis as they crashed 2-1 at Olympiacos, their first loss in continental competition in 18 matches.

Moyes, who led his side to the Europa Conference League title last season, made seven changes for their Europa League Group A clash in the Greek capital with one eye on Sunday’s visit of Everton.

But his tinkering backfired as a soft goal from Olympiacos captain Kostas Fortounis and an own goal from stand-in Hammers skipper Angelo Ogbonna brought their undefeated run to a halt despite Lucas Paqueta’s late volley.

“Look, we changed a lot of players tonight, we’ve got the Premier League coming up and we’ve got a League Cup game next week and we’d won the first two games in the group, which gave us leeway to make changes tonight,” Moyes told whufc.com.

“But maybe I have to recognise that while we didn’t win the Conference League games easily, as they were all tough games, coming to Olympiacos after winning away in Freiburg – which was a good result – this wasn’t a good result and wasn’t a good performance.

“In our heads we certainly had a bigger picture in our heads and that was going into Sunday.

“I don’t think anybody could say the team we started with wasn’t a good team and wasn’t a team capable of winning or performing.

“Many of them have been very good players for us over the years and still are.”

The local ‘ultras’ welcomed West Ham on to the pitch with a huge banner reading “tonight you dine in hell”, and the Hammers’ first-half display was certainly hard to stomach.

The hosts took the lead in the 34th minute when Fortounis launched an old-fashioned toe poke from the edge of the box which flew past the flat-footed Alphonse Areola in the West Ham goal.

On the stroke of half-time the Hammers found themselves two behind when Ogbonna suffered his own personal Greek tragedy.

The Italian veteran stuck out a foot to block a cross from Brazilian full-back Rodinei, only to help it past Areola into his own net.

Moyes sent on Paqueta, Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio before the hour mark but the Brazilian’s strike, albeit spectacular, was all West Ham had to show for a late flurry.

Fortounis admitted his goal was a shade fortuitous. He told reporters: “To be honest, it all seems like a haze.

“I turned and ran towards goal, the ball was right in front of me and I couldn’t do anything else. It was literally a strike with the tip of my toe.”

David Moyes saluted his “maverick” forward Lucas Paqueta after the 2-1 Europa League win at Freiburg, even though he drives him mad.

Freiburg’s nickname is the Breisgau Brazilians due to their flamboyant style of play, but it was West Ham’s Samba star Paqueta who stole the show.

He put them ahead after only nine minutes with a towering header from a cross by Jarrod Bowen, celebrating his return to the England squad.

Paqueta then spent the rest of the evening tormenting the hosts with his array of flicks, tricks and occasional theatrics.

“It was a bit of an old-fashioned goal, down the side with a good cross, and then a great header like an old-fashioned centre forward. I really enjoyed watching it,” said Hammers boss Moyes.

“Jarrod played well but Lucas was terrific. He drives me mad sometimes but everybody who watched him would have said this player has got incredible talent.

“There is a word that goes around, a maverick. He is that for us.

“It is really important we get him in and adapt to him and accept some of his things he may not do, things which I would say are conventional.

“But we are really enjoying him at the moment and he is terrific at taking the ball under pressure – but also there are moments when I say: ‘what are you doing’?”

The match may have taken place on the edge of the Black Forest, but it was never going to be a piece of cake for the Hammers against a side eighth in the Bundesliga.

They were also up against 34,000 noisy fans, with no away supporters allowed to attend following incidents during West Ham’s Europa Conference League final triumph in June.

Freiburg equalised after half-time through Roland Sallai, but Nayef Aguerd’s header from a James Ward-Prowse corner made it two wins from two in Group A and a 17th match undefeated in Europe, a record for an English club.

“It’s a brilliant achievement, I’ve said to the boys we need to keep it going. Winning the game tonight was most important,” added Moyes.

“I’m really pleased. We played very well especially, in the opening 20 or 30 minutes.

“They came back, which I expected. They got better and we had moments when we played very well but we mainly won the first half. We had to then be good defensively.”

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