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U17 World Cup: Luis Norton explains why Komal Thatal didn’t play

The former Benfica ‘B’ coach was asked as to why the Sikkimese winger wasn’t picked after the game against USMNT…

U17 World Cup: Luis Norton explains why Komal Thatal didn’t play

The former Benfica ‘B’ coach was asked as to why the Sikkimese winger wasn’t picked after the game against USMNT…

Arsenal vs SL Benfica - Emirates Cup - Pre Season Friendly Tournament

Soccer Football - Arsenal vs SL Benfica - Emirates Cup - Pre Season Friendly Tournament - London, Britain - July 29, 2017 Arsenal's Calum Chambers REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Files

Premier League injury doubts - who has returned from international duty with fitness issues?

While watching their national team make a final bid to qualify for the 2018 World Cup over the past fortnight, Premier League fans have also been keeping half an eye on the fate of their club team's players. As ever, the international matches have taken their toll. Here are some of the Premier League's leading players laid low as club football returns to action this weekend: Sadio Mane (Liverpool) In a major blow to Liverpool, Mane looks certain to miss up to six weeks after suffering a hamstring injury while on duty with Senegal. The forward played 89 minutes against Cape Verde last Saturday before being replaced and Liverpool believe the injury was sustained during the match. As well as this weekend's match against Manchester United, Mane could miss as many as eight games, including the next three in the Champions League. Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) Another player absent from that upcoming match at Anfield will be Fellaini, who has been ruled out for up to three weeks with knee ligament damage. He was substituted less than half an hour into Belgium’s victory at Bosnia-Herzegovina and subsequent scans revealed he had suffered a medial ligament strain. Fellaini is also expected to miss the Premier League games against Huddersfield Town and Tottenham in addition to the Champions League tie away at Benfica. Marouane Fellaini has been ruled out for a number of weeks Credit: ap Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United) Fellaini’s Belgium and United team-mate Romelu Lukaku missed the Bosnia game with a minor ankle problem but was declared fit to face Cyprus on Tuesday and came off the bench to score in their 4-0 win. He should be fine to start this weekend. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) Kante was forced off with a hamstring injury in the 34th minute of France’s victory over Bulgaria last Saturday and reports from the national set-up suggested he had suffered a tear. Chelsea have not yet announced the findings of their assessment of the midfielder so there is no timescale on his return, although it appears highly unlikely that he will be fit to face Crystal Palace this weekend. Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) A mainstay of the Arsenal defence, Mustafi sustained a suspected thigh tear while playing for Germany last weekend, having to leave the game against Azerbaijan in the 36th minute. Germany manager Joachim Low said afterwards: "It doesn’t look good, it looks like he has torn a ligament. We’re waiting for a full diagnosis, but it looks like he will be out for a while." Shkodran Mustafi is likely to be absent for some time Credit: getty images Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) Koscielny’s Achilles troubles are nothing new, with the centre-back requiring careful management over recent seasons. However, it flared up again during the international break and he was forced to withdraw from the French squad prior to their last two World Cup qualifiers. Fabian Delph (Manchester City) Having deputised for the injured Benjamin Mendy - who has been ruled out for the bulk of the season - in Manchester City's most recent match against Chelsea, Delph now has injury concerns of his own after withdrawing from England's squad prior to the last two World Cup qualifiers with a hamstring concern. The issue is not thought to be serious and he could be fit to face Stoke City this weekend. Joe Allen (Stoke City) Stoke are hoping that Joe Allen will be fit to face Manchester City on Saturday despite coming off in the 35th minute of Wales' defeat against Ireland on Monday. Allen came off with suspected concussion after hitting his head on the ground in a challenge, but it remains to be seen whether there is any lasting damage. Joe Allen took a hefty whack to the head against Ireland Credit: reuters Davy Propper (Brighton & Hove Albion) Propper scored for Holland in their victory over Belarus, but then withdrew from the squad prior to the second World Cup qualifier against Sweden with a thigh injury. The extent of the injury is unknown, but it looks likely that he will not regain fitness in time for Brighton's match against Everton on Sunday. Josh King (Bournemouth) King scored twice in Norway's victory over Sam Marino last week, but was then ruled out of the final World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland on Sunday with a hamstring injury. Bournemouth face Spurs this weekend and Norway manager Lars Lagerback says the striker may be available for the match: "The medical team said it was a minor injury so they thought it shouldn't take more than four, five days. I'm not an expert but as they said I think there's a good chance [of him playing against Tottenham]." Shane Long (Southampton) Southampton may have to face Newcastle this weekend without Long after he withdrew from Ireland's match against Wales with a hip injury. Before that he had played the bulk of the victory over Moldova and it is not known whether he will recover in time for a return to Premier League action.

Premier League injury doubts - who has returned from international duty with fitness issues?

While watching their national team make a final bid to qualify for the 2018 World Cup over the past fortnight, Premier League fans have also been keeping half an eye on the fate of their club team's players. As ever, the international matches have taken their toll. Here are some of the Premier League's leading players laid low as club football returns to action this weekend: Sadio Mane (Liverpool) In a major blow to Liverpool, Mane looks certain to miss up to six weeks after suffering a hamstring injury while on duty with Senegal. The forward played 89 minutes against Cape Verde last Saturday before being replaced and Liverpool believe the injury was sustained during the match. As well as this weekend's match against Manchester United, Mane could miss as many as eight games, including the next three in the Champions League. Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) Another player absent from that upcoming match at Anfield will be Fellaini, who has been ruled out for up to three weeks with knee ligament damage. He was substituted less than half an hour into Belgium’s victory at Bosnia-Herzegovina and subsequent scans revealed he had suffered a medial ligament strain. Fellaini is also expected to miss the Premier League games against Huddersfield Town and Tottenham in addition to the Champions League tie away at Benfica. Marouane Fellaini has been ruled out for a number of weeks Credit: ap Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United) Fellaini’s Belgium and United team-mate Romelu Lukaku missed the Bosnia game with a minor ankle problem but was declared fit to face Cyprus on Tuesday and came off the bench to score in their 4-0 win. He should be fine to start this weekend. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) Kante was forced off with a hamstring injury in the 34th minute of France’s victory over Bulgaria last Saturday and reports from the national set-up suggested he had suffered a tear. Chelsea have not yet announced the findings of their assessment of the midfielder so there is no timescale on his return, although it appears highly unlikely that he will be fit to face Crystal Palace this weekend. Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) A mainstay of the Arsenal defence, Mustafi sustained a suspected thigh tear while playing for Germany last weekend, having to leave the game against Azerbaijan in the 36th minute. Germany manager Joachim Low said afterwards: "It doesn’t look good, it looks like he has torn a ligament. We’re waiting for a full diagnosis, but it looks like he will be out for a while." Shkodran Mustafi is likely to be absent for some time Credit: getty images Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) Koscielny’s Achilles troubles are nothing new, with the centre-back requiring careful management over recent seasons. However, it flared up again during the international break and he was forced to withdraw from the French squad prior to their last two World Cup qualifiers. Fabian Delph (Manchester City) Having deputised for the injured Benjamin Mendy - who has been ruled out for the bulk of the season - in Manchester City's most recent match against Chelsea, Delph now has injury concerns of his own after withdrawing from England's squad prior to the last two World Cup qualifiers with a hamstring concern. The issue is not thought to be serious and he could be fit to face Stoke City this weekend. Joe Allen (Stoke City) Stoke are hoping that Joe Allen will be fit to face Manchester City on Saturday despite coming off in the 35th minute of Wales' defeat against Ireland on Monday. Allen came off with suspected concussion after hitting his head on the ground in a challenge, but it remains to be seen whether there is any lasting damage. Joe Allen took a hefty whack to the head against Ireland Credit: reuters Davy Propper (Brighton & Hove Albion) Propper scored for Holland in their victory over Belarus, but then withdrew from the squad prior to the second World Cup qualifier against Sweden with a thigh injury. The extent of the injury is unknown, but it looks likely that he will not regain fitness in time for Brighton's match against Everton on Sunday. Josh King (Bournemouth) King scored twice in Norway's victory over Sam Marino last week, but was then ruled out of the final World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland on Sunday with a hamstring injury. Bournemouth face Spurs this weekend and Norway manager Lars Lagerback says the striker may be available for the match: "The medical team said it was a minor injury so they thought it shouldn't take more than four, five days. I'm not an expert but as they said I think there's a good chance [of him playing against Tottenham]." Shane Long (Southampton) Southampton may have to face Newcastle this weekend without Long after he withdrew from Ireland's match against Wales with a hip injury. Before that he had played the bulk of the victory over Moldova and it is not known whether he will recover in time for a return to Premier League action.

Premier League injury doubts - who has returned from international duty with fitness issues?

While watching their national team make a final bid to qualify for the 2018 World Cup over the past fortnight, Premier League fans have also been keeping half an eye on the fate of their club team's players. As ever, the international matches have taken their toll. Here are some of the Premier League's leading players laid low as club football returns to action this weekend: Sadio Mane (Liverpool) In a major blow to Liverpool, Mane looks certain to miss up to six weeks after suffering a hamstring injury while on duty with Senegal. The forward played 89 minutes against Cape Verde last Saturday before being replaced and Liverpool believe the injury was sustained during the match. As well as this weekend's match against Manchester United, Mane could miss as many as eight games, including the next three in the Champions League. Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) Another player absent from that upcoming match at Anfield will be Fellaini, who has been ruled out for up to three weeks with knee ligament damage. He was substituted less than half an hour into Belgium’s victory at Bosnia-Herzegovina and subsequent scans revealed he had suffered a medial ligament strain. Fellaini is also expected to miss the Premier League games against Huddersfield Town and Tottenham in addition to the Champions League tie away at Benfica. Marouane Fellaini has been ruled out for a number of weeks Credit: ap Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United) Fellaini’s Belgium and United team-mate Romelu Lukaku missed the Bosnia game with a minor ankle problem but was declared fit to face Cyprus on Tuesday and came off the bench to score in their 4-0 win. He should be fine to start this weekend. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) Kante was forced off with a hamstring injury in the 34th minute of France’s victory over Bulgaria last Saturday and reports from the national set-up suggested he had suffered a tear. Chelsea have not yet announced the findings of their assessment of the midfielder so there is no timescale on his return, although it appears highly unlikely that he will be fit to face Crystal Palace this weekend. Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) A mainstay of the Arsenal defence, Mustafi sustained a suspected thigh tear while playing for Germany last weekend, having to leave the game against Azerbaijan in the 36th minute. Germany manager Joachim Low said afterwards: "It doesn’t look good, it looks like he has torn a ligament. We’re waiting for a full diagnosis, but it looks like he will be out for a while." Shkodran Mustafi is likely to be absent for some time Credit: getty images Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) Koscielny’s Achilles troubles are nothing new, with the centre-back requiring careful management over recent seasons. However, it flared up again during the international break and he was forced to withdraw from the French squad prior to their last two World Cup qualifiers. Fabian Delph (Manchester City) Having deputised for the injured Benjamin Mendy - who has been ruled out for the bulk of the season - in Manchester City's most recent match against Chelsea, Delph now has injury concerns of his own after withdrawing from England's squad prior to the last two World Cup qualifiers with a hamstring concern. The issue is not thought to be serious and he could be fit to face Stoke City this weekend. Joe Allen (Stoke City) Stoke are hoping that Joe Allen will be fit to face Manchester City on Saturday despite coming off in the 35th minute of Wales' defeat against Ireland on Monday. Allen came off with suspected concussion after hitting his head on the ground in a challenge, but it remains to be seen whether there is any lasting damage. Joe Allen took a hefty whack to the head against Ireland Credit: reuters Davy Propper (Brighton & Hove Albion) Propper scored for Holland in their victory over Belarus, but then withdrew from the squad prior to the second World Cup qualifier against Sweden with a thigh injury. The extent of the injury is unknown, but it looks likely that he will not regain fitness in time for Brighton's match against Everton on Sunday. Josh King (Bournemouth) King scored twice in Norway's victory over Sam Marino last week, but was then ruled out of the final World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland on Sunday with a hamstring injury. Bournemouth face Spurs this weekend and Norway manager Lars Lagerback says the striker may be available for the match: "The medical team said it was a minor injury so they thought it shouldn't take more than four, five days. I'm not an expert but as they said I think there's a good chance [of him playing against Tottenham]." Shane Long (Southampton) Southampton may have to face Newcastle this weekend without Long after he withdrew from Ireland's match against Wales with a hip injury. Before that he had played the bulk of the victory over Moldova and it is not known whether he will recover in time for a return to Premier League action.

Premier League injury doubts - who has returned from international duty with fitness issues?

While watching their national team make a final bid to qualify for the 2018 World Cup over the past fortnight, Premier League fans have also been keeping half an eye on the fate of their club team's players. As ever, the international matches have taken their toll. Here are some of the Premier League's leading players laid low as club football returns to action this weekend: Sadio Mane (Liverpool) In a major blow to Liverpool, Mane looks certain to miss up to six weeks after suffering a hamstring injury while on duty with Senegal. The forward played 89 minutes against Cape Verde last Saturday before being replaced and Liverpool believe the injury was sustained during the match. As well as this weekend's match against Manchester United, Mane could miss as many as eight games, including the next three in the Champions League. Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) Another player absent from that upcoming match at Anfield will be Fellaini, who has been ruled out for up to three weeks with knee ligament damage. He was substituted less than half an hour into Belgium’s victory at Bosnia-Herzegovina and subsequent scans revealed he had suffered a medial ligament strain. Fellaini is also expected to miss the Premier League games against Huddersfield Town and Tottenham in addition to the Champions League tie away at Benfica. Marouane Fellaini has been ruled out for a number of weeks Credit: ap Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United) Fellaini’s Belgium and United team-mate Romelu Lukaku missed the Bosnia game with a minor ankle problem but was declared fit to face Cyprus on Tuesday and came off the bench to score in their 4-0 win. He should be fine to start this weekend. N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) Kante was forced off with a hamstring injury in the 34th minute of France’s victory over Bulgaria last Saturday and reports from the national set-up suggested he had suffered a tear. Chelsea have not yet announced the findings of their assessment of the midfielder so there is no timescale on his return, although it appears highly unlikely that he will be fit to face Crystal Palace this weekend. Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal) A mainstay of the Arsenal defence, Mustafi sustained a suspected thigh tear while playing for Germany last weekend, having to leave the game against Azerbaijan in the 36th minute. Germany manager Joachim Low said afterwards: "It doesn’t look good, it looks like he has torn a ligament. We’re waiting for a full diagnosis, but it looks like he will be out for a while." Shkodran Mustafi is likely to be absent for some time Credit: getty images Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) Koscielny’s Achilles troubles are nothing new, with the centre-back requiring careful management over recent seasons. However, it flared up again during the international break and he was forced to withdraw from the French squad prior to their last two World Cup qualifiers. Fabian Delph (Manchester City) Having deputised for the injured Benjamin Mendy - who has been ruled out for the bulk of the season - in Manchester City's most recent match against Chelsea, Delph now has injury concerns of his own after withdrawing from England's squad prior to the last two World Cup qualifiers with a hamstring concern. The issue is not thought to be serious and he could be fit to face Stoke City this weekend. Joe Allen (Stoke City) Stoke are hoping that Joe Allen will be fit to face Manchester City on Saturday despite coming off in the 35th minute of Wales' defeat against Ireland on Monday. Allen came off with suspected concussion after hitting his head on the ground in a challenge, but it remains to be seen whether there is any lasting damage. Joe Allen took a hefty whack to the head against Ireland Credit: reuters Davy Propper (Brighton & Hove Albion) Propper scored for Holland in their victory over Belarus, but then withdrew from the squad prior to the second World Cup qualifier against Sweden with a thigh injury. The extent of the injury is unknown, but it looks likely that he will not regain fitness in time for Brighton's match against Everton on Sunday. Josh King (Bournemouth) King scored twice in Norway's victory over Sam Marino last week, but was then ruled out of the final World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland on Sunday with a hamstring injury. Bournemouth face Spurs this weekend and Norway manager Lars Lagerback says the striker may be available for the match: "The medical team said it was a minor injury so they thought it shouldn't take more than four, five days. I'm not an expert but as they said I think there's a good chance [of him playing against Tottenham]." Shane Long (Southampton) Southampton may have to face Newcastle this weekend without Long after he withdrew from Ireland's match against Wales with a hip injury. Before that he had played the bulk of the victory over Moldova and it is not known whether he will recover in time for a return to Premier League action.

Man Utd blow as Marouane Fellaini ruled out for three weeks with knee ligament damage

Jose Mourinho has suffered a set-back ahead of Manchester United’s visit to Liverpool on Saturday with Marouane Fellaini ruled out for up to three weeks with knee ligament damage. Fellaini was substituted less than half an hour into Belgium’s 4-3 World Cup qualifying win away to Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday after an opponent landed awkwardly on his left knee. Subsequent scans revealed that Fellaini has suffered a medial ligament strain, but while there is relief the injury is not more serious, the Belgian’s absence is still an untimely blow for United ahead of a crucial run of games. As well as Liverpool, Fellaini is expected to miss the Premier League games against Huddersfield Town and Tottenham in addition to the EFL Cup match away to Swansea and the Champions League tie away to Benfica. The news is a particular blow for Mourinho at a time when the United manager has already lost Paul Pogba to a long-term hamstring injury that could keep the France midfielder out of action until after the November international break. Fellaini has overcome many of his critics at Old Trafford to establish himself as a key figure for Mourinho and has been in impressive form for United this season. With Pogba sidelined, the Belgian has dislodged Ander Herrera as United’s first-choice midfielder alongside Nemanja Matic and scored twice in the recent 4-0 win over Crystal Palace to take his goals tally for the campaign to four. Ep 10 Total Football 38:05 Fellaini’s Belgium and United team-mate, Romelu Lukaku, missed the Bosnia game with a minor ankle problem but may yet feature against Cyprus in Brussels on Tuesday, although with Fellaini now injured, Mourinho will hope Belgium coach Roberto Martinez does not take an unnecessary risk with the fitness of his leading goalscorer. Fellaini will travel back to Manchester on Monday for assessment by United's medical staff, who have been in regular contact with their Belgium counterparts, although the player could then return to Belgium to continue his rehabilitation.

U17 World Cup: Norton de Matos questions media's silence over penalty decision, hints at formation change

The former Benfica youth development head opined that 2-1 would have been a fair result.

U17 World Cup: India’s Luis Norton: Indian team was very organized

The former Benfica ‘B’ coach was disappointed with the result and rued missing the chance to score against USA…

U17 World Cup: India’s Luis Norton: Indian team was very organized

The former Benfica ‘B’ coach was disappointed with the result and rued missing the chance to score against USA…

Jupp Heynckes could return to Bayern Munich for fourth spell as Carlo Ancelotti's replacement

Treble-winning coach Jupp Heynckes is set to take over at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich for a fourth time, succeeding sacked Carlo Ancelotti, German media reported on Thursday. The 72-year-old Heynckes led Bayern to the domestic league and Cup double and the Champions League title in 2013 but then had to make way for Spaniard Pep Guardiola. According to the Bild newspaper Heynckes, who also led Real Madrid to the Champions League title and coached Benfica, Athletic Bilbao and a string of Bundesliga clubs, will take over until the end of the season. The club could not be immediately reached for a comment. Italian Ancelotti took over last season but was fired last week after the German champions slipped to second place in the league after twice squandering a two-goal lead in consecutive games. Ancelotti was sacked last week Credit: AFP They had also been beaten 3-0 at Paris St Germain in the Champions League. Heynckes, who has not worked since 2013, had also coached Bayern from 1987-91 and briefly took over at the end of the 2008/9 season before becoming head coach between 2011-13. Returning managers | Who has gone back multiple times?

Jupp Heynckes could return to Bayern Munich for fourth spell as Carlo Ancelotti's replacement

Treble-winning coach Jupp Heynckes is set to take over at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich for a fourth time, succeeding sacked Carlo Ancelotti, German media reported on Thursday. The 72-year-old Heynckes led Bayern to the domestic league and Cup double and the Champions League title in 2013 but then had to make way for Spaniard Pep Guardiola. According to the Bild newspaper Heynckes, who also led Real Madrid to the Champions League title and coached Benfica, Athletic Bilbao and a string of Bundesliga clubs, will take over until the end of the season. The club could not be immediately reached for a comment. Italian Ancelotti took over last season but was fired last week after the German champions slipped to second place in the league after twice squandering a two-goal lead in consecutive games. Ancelotti was sacked last week Credit: AFP They had also been beaten 3-0 at Paris St Germain in the Champions League. Heynckes, who has not worked since 2013, had also coached Bayern from 1987-91 and briefly took over at the end of the 2008/9 season before becoming head coach between 2011-13. Returning managers | Who has gone back multiple times?

Already Qualified, Mexico Approaches Final World Cup Qualifiers With All-In Mentality

Despite the fact that Mexico has already booked its ticket to next year's World Cup, Juan Carlos Osorio knows full well that good form in the qualifiers doesn’t necessarily dictate good form in Russia.

If anything, if Mexico's 2014 qualifying campaign is an indicator, qualifying form means absolutely nothing for the main event. Four years ago, El Tri scraped by in the Hexagonal and qualified for the World Cup in Brazil after a playoff victory over New Zealand. It inspired little confidence heading into the tournament, and after the group draw yielded Brazil, Croatia and Cameroon, many fans and pundits thought El Tri would be lucky to get out of the opening stage, let alone do well.

As it turned out, Mexico advanced to the knockout stage undefeated, beating Croatia and Cameroon and drawing 0-0 with Brazil. Suffering a controversial, narrow and heart-breaking loss against the Netherlands in the round of 16 was not the ending it wanted, but at least El Tri earned a little bit of respect back thanks to a hard-fought tournament.

In the beautiful game, form and attitude dictate much of what can happen in a major tournament, and for Osorio, ever the strategist, it all begins with chemistry. In order to succeed in Russia, this team needs to take advantage of every possible situation when congregated together, so it’s no surprise how he envisions these qualifiers, despite nothing immediately tangible at stake. The squad he has called up for the last two matches is a strong unit, filled with experience and abroad-based players.

West Ham’s Javier Hernandez and Porto’s Miguel Layun, Hector Herrera, Jesus “Tecatito” Corona and Diego Reyes are all included for matches against Trinidad & Tobago and Honduras. Real Betis's in-form Andres Guardado is also included, as well as Benfica’s Raul Jimenez and Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, who has lit up the Dutch league with PSV, scoring six goals in six matches.

In total, there are 12 members who play in Europe, with the remainder of the squad coming from Liga MX.

It’s also worth noting that only four changes from September’s qualifiers were made with the aforementioned Layun, Carlos Salcedo, Oribe Peralta and Oswaldo Alanis replacing Jair Pereira, Orbelin Pineda, Jesus Dueñas and Jurgen Damm (due to injury.)

Osorio is done with roster experimentation. This is about reaching 24 points in the Hexagonal and improving as a unit. Nothing less.

"The team can't relax," said León’s Elias Hernandez, who impressed during the Gold Cup, at a news conference on Monday. "We are very committed and we want to finish [the Hex] in first place. It is very important to get six points."

Friday’s match against Trinidad & Tobago will be an emotional affair as the tragic effects of the recent Mexico City earthquake, which so far has claimed a death toll of 360 people, will be on everyone’s mind. The fixture will be played at San Luis's Estadio Alfonso Lastras, and for the national team this is the first competitive match played outside of Estadio Azteca since 2012.

There is no doubt, however, that it will be an electric atmosphere given the fact that it’s a much smaller stadium, calling for a much more intimate affair.

Many players such as Javier Hernandez, Layun, and brothers Giovani and Jonathan Dos Santos have started campaigns for several organizations to help the earthquake victims, and last week Mexico’s soccer federation (FMF) announced that it would donate almost $400,000 for reconstruction costs across the country.

Back on the pitch, qualifiers are only part of the puzzle. Whereas in November 2013 Mexico was fighting for its World Cup life, four years later it has the luxury of preparing to face the best. Mexico will test itself against high-quality opposition when it travels to Europe and faces the fifth- (Belgium) and sixth- (Poland) ranked teams in FIFA's most recent standings to finish off the calendar year.

Belgium’s path to Russia has been somewhat similar to Mexico, as Roberto Martinez’s squad also qualified for the World Cup without losing a single match. In fact, the squad won every match aside from a 1-1 draw with Greece back in March. This will no doubt be the challenge Osorio has been craving, as his team will have to face players with Premier League pedigree such as Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and the presently unstoppable Romelu Lukaku.

Poland, meanwhile, leads its qualifying group with only one loss, and is led by another star center forward, Robert Lewandowski. Last year, Adam Nawa?ka’s team reached the quarterfinals of UEFA’s European championship before losing in penalties to eventual champion Portugal.

Against this level of opposition, the biggest task for Osorio and Mexico will be improving defensively. From what we saw in the Confederations Cup, the biggest issue for Mexico is what to do immediately after losing possession. But these friendlies are also about matching up physically with two teams who boast two of the best strikers in the world.

Ultimately, it will provide a great opportunity to learn how far Mexico has improved since the beginning of the summer, but more importantly, they will expose Osorio’s final tasks and illuminate what he needs to correct in order get El Tri past the World Cup’s round of 16 for the first time since 1986.

Football Soccer - Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg - Champions League

Football Soccer - Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg - Champions League - Luz stadium, Lisbon, Portugal - 16/02/16. Zenit St. Petersburg's coach Andre Villas-Boas reacts during match against Benfica. REUTERS/Hugo Correia

Football Soccer - Zenit St. Petersburg Press conference

Football Soccer - Zenit St. Petersburg Press conference - Champions League - Petrovsky stadium, St. Petersburg, Russia - 08/03/16 Zenit St. Petersburg's coach Andre Villas-Boas attends a news conference prior to their Champions League soccer match against Benfica. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

U17 World Cup: Why Luis Norton took India Under-17 team to watch a Benfica game

There was a reason as to why Luis Norton de Matos took the India Under-17 team to watch Benfica's game in Portugal...

U17 World Cup: Why Luis Norton took India Under-17 team to watch a Benfica game

There was a reason as to why Luis Norton de Matos took the India Under-17 team to watch Benfica's game in Portugal...

Funchal (Portugal), 01/10/2017.- Ricardo Valente (L) of Maritimo vies for the ball with Jonas of Benfica during the Portuguese First Laegue soccer match between Maritimo and Benfica at Barreiros Stadium in Funchal, Portugal, 01 October 2017. EFE/EPA/GREGORIO CUNHA

Funchal (Portugal), 01/10/2017.- Everton (L) of Maritimo vies for the ball with Luisao of Benfica during the Portuguese First Laegue soccer match between Maritimo and Benfica at Barreiros Stadium in Funchal, Portugal, 01 October 2017. EFE/EPA/GREGORIO CUNHA

U17 World Cup: Why Luis Norton took India Under-17 team to watch a Benfica game

There was a reason as to why Luis Norton de Matos took the India Under-17 team to watch Benfica's game in Portugal...

U17 World Cup: Why Luis Norton took India Under-17 team to watch a Benfica game

There was a reason as to why Luis Norton de Matos took the India Under-17 team to watch Benfica's game in Portugal...

U17 World Cup: Why Luis Norton took India Under-17 team to watch a Benfica game

There was a reason as to why Luis Norton de Matos took the India Under-17 team to watch Benfica's game in Portugal...

U17 World Cup: Why Luis Norton took India Under-17 team to watch a Benfica game

There was a reason as to why Luis Norton de Matos took the India Under-17 team to watch Benfica's game in Portugal...

Funchal (Portugal), 01/10/2017.- Ricardo Valente (L) player of Maritimo fights for the ball with Pizzi of Benfica during their Portuguese First League soccer match held at Barreiros Stadium, Funchal, Portugal, 01 October 2017. EFE/EPA/GREGORIO CUNHA

Funchal (Portugal), 01/10/2017.- Benfica players celebrate a goal during the Portuguese First Laegue soccer match between Maritimo and Benfica held at Barreiros Stadium, Funchal, Portugal, 01 October 2017. EFE/EPA/GREGORIO CUNHA

Funchal (Portugal), 01/10/2017.- Jonas (C) of Benfica in action during the Portuguese First Laegue soccer match between Maritimo and Benfica held at Barreiros Stadium, Funchal, Portugal, 01 October 2017. EFE/EPA/GREGORIO CUNHA

Funchal (Portugal), 01/10/2017.- Jonas (L) of Benfica in action during the Portuguese First Laegue soccer match between Maritimo and Benfica held at Barreiros Stadium, Funchal, Portugal, 01 October 2017. EFE/EPA/GREGORIO CUNHA

Sporting CP 0 Porto 0: Conceicao's side retain lead at Primeira Liga summit

Sporting CP were unable to leapfrog Porto in the Primeira Liga following a goalless draw that offers Benfica a chance to close in.

VIDEO: Basel Star Dimitri Oberlin Shows Off Electric Pace in Stunning Counter-Attacking Goal

​Pace, pace, pace. It's one thing that top sides love to boast in abundance throughout their teams for a whole host of reasons. One such example is the ability to hit opposing teams on the counter attack at lightning speed and, if one of Basel's goals in their 5-0 drubbing of Benfica is anything to go by on Wednesday, even legendary sprinter Usain Bolt would be proud of the pace showed by Dimitri Oberlin. The forward, celebrating his 20th birthday on the night no less, showed Benfica's defence...

VIDEO: Basel Star Dimitri Oberlin Shows Off Electric Pace in Stunning Counter-Attacking Goal

​Pace, pace, pace. It's one thing that top sides love to boast in abundance throughout their teams for a whole host of reasons. One such example is the ability to hit opposing teams on the counter attack at lightning speed and, if one of Basel's goals in their 5-0 drubbing of Benfica is anything to go by on Wednesday, even legendary sprinter Usain Bolt would be proud of the pace showed by Dimitri Oberlin. The forward, celebrating his 20th birthday on the night no less, showed Benfica's defence...

Under-17 World Cup: How Luis Norton changed the core of the India team in seven months

The former Benfica coach has made some important changes to the India U-17 squad since taking charge in March this year…

Under-17 World Cup: How Luis Norton changed the core of the India team in seven months

The former Benfica coach has made some important changes to the India U-17 squad since taking charge in March this year…

Under-17 World Cup: How Luis Norton changed the core of the India team in seven months

The former Benfica coach has made some important changes to the India U-17 squad since taking charge in March this year…

Under-17 World Cup: How Luis Norton changed the core of the India team in seven months

The former Benfica coach has made some important changes to the India U-17 squad since taking charge in March this year…

Anderlecht 0 Celtic 3: Hoops get Champions League campaign up and running with outstanding win in Brussels

An outcome of significance for Brendan Rodgers and Celtic – neither of whom have found European football a greatly productive arena in recent years – was secured in this Champions League group stage contest thanks to a first half strike by Leigh Griffiths, an own goal by Serigne Mbodji as the defender tried to block a Patrick Roberts drive and an injury time bonus from Scott Sinclair. The result favours Celtic’s hope of third place and a berth in the Europa League. Rodgers made one change from the side which achieved a 2-0 victory in last weekend’s Old Firm derby, with Olivier Ntcham starting instead of Stuart Armstrong for a tie that offered what looked like a reasonable prospect of a halt to lamentable statistics. The book of numbers revealed that Celtic had won only a single Champions League group stage game in their 27 most recent attempts. That was against Spartak Moscow in 2012 and it was also five years since Celtic had kept a clean sheet, in a goalless draw at home to Benfica, both results being achieved under Neil Lennon. Anderlecht, meanwhile, were boosted by the inclusion of Lukasz Teodorczyk after the Polish striker passed a fitness test. The opening stage included a surprise in the form of a five-man Anderlecht back line and what seemed to be a deliberate game plan of allowing Celtic to have the ball upfield, however the recalled Ntcham was alarmingly lax in his distribution. Celtic dominate against Anderlecht Credit: GETTY IMAGES The Frenchman nevertheless stuck to his task and, seven minutes before the break, sprung Kieran Tierney into space beyond Alexandru Chipciu for the full-back to drill a pass across the goalmouth into the path of the onrushing Griffiths, who had peeled away from Olivier Deschacht for an angled finish beyond Frank Boeckx. Anderlecht were further discomfited by the loss of Uros Sajic, who had struggled for almost 20 minutes after being fouled by Scott Sinclair, who was very lucky to escape sanction. Nor could Teodorczyk find the target from two outstanding chances on either side of the interval. On the first occasion, the Pole was played in beyond Craig Gordon’s far post and might have got reward from his left foot, but shot across the box with his stronger right. His next opening was dead in front of goal but, when Gordon could only block a powerful effort by Sofiane Hanni, Teodorczyk scuffed the ball tamely wide. His profligacy was punished swiftly when Roberts suddenly sparked into life with a jink past Deschacht for a drive which ricocheted into the net off Mbodji, who had replaced Spajic just before the break. Celtic’s work was not yet done, because Brown pulled up with a hamstring strain and was replaced by Nir Bitton. Tom Rogic was next to depart. Callum McGregor took the Australian’s place and should have rendered the outcome beyond dispute when put clear inside the box by an unselfish pass from Griffiths, but the midfielder took a heavy touch and was ambushed by Mbodji. The third goal was merely postponed, as it turned out. Three minutes into injury time, Ntcham turned provider again, this time releasing Sinclair for a rising drive to make it 3-0 and seal a thoroughly satisfying evening for the Scottish champions.  

Anderlecht 0 Celtic 3: Hoops get Champions League campaign up and running with outstanding win in Brussels

An outcome of significance for Brendan Rodgers and Celtic – neither of whom have found European football a greatly productive arena in recent years – was secured in this Champions League group stage contest thanks to a first half strike by Leigh Griffiths, an own goal by Serigne Mbodji as the defender tried to block a Patrick Roberts drive and an injury time bonus from Scott Sinclair. The result favours Celtic’s hope of third place and a berth in the Europa League. Rodgers made one change from the side which achieved a 2-0 victory in last weekend’s Old Firm derby, with Olivier Ntcham starting instead of Stuart Armstrong for a tie that offered what looked like a reasonable prospect of a halt to lamentable statistics. The book of numbers revealed that Celtic had won only a single Champions League group stage game in their 27 most recent attempts. That was against Spartak Moscow in 2012 and it was also five years since Celtic had kept a clean sheet, in a goalless draw at home to Benfica, both results being achieved under Neil Lennon. Anderlecht, meanwhile, were boosted by the inclusion of Lukasz Teodorczyk after the Polish striker passed a fitness test. The opening stage included a surprise in the form of a five-man Anderlecht back line and what seemed to be a deliberate game plan of allowing Celtic to have the ball upfield, however the recalled Ntcham was alarmingly lax in his distribution. Celtic dominate against Anderlecht Credit: GETTY IMAGES The Frenchman nevertheless stuck to his task and, seven minutes before the break, sprung Kieran Tierney into space beyond Alexandru Chipciu for the full-back to drill a pass across the goalmouth into the path of the onrushing Griffiths, who had peeled away from Olivier Deschacht for an angled finish beyond Frank Boeckx. Anderlecht were further discomfited by the loss of Uros Sajic, who had struggled for almost 20 minutes after being fouled by Scott Sinclair, who was very lucky to escape sanction. Nor could Teodorczyk find the target from two outstanding chances on either side of the interval. On the first occasion, the Pole was played in beyond Craig Gordon’s far post and might have got reward from his left foot, but shot across the box with his stronger right. His next opening was dead in front of goal but, when Gordon could only block a powerful effort by Sofiane Hanni, Teodorczyk scuffed the ball tamely wide. His profligacy was punished swiftly when Roberts suddenly sparked into life with a jink past Deschacht for a drive which ricocheted into the net off Mbodji, who had replaced Spajic just before the break. Celtic’s work was not yet done, because Brown pulled up with a hamstring strain and was replaced by Nir Bitton. Tom Rogic was next to depart. Callum McGregor took the Australian’s place and should have rendered the outcome beyond dispute when put clear inside the box by an unselfish pass from Griffiths, but the midfielder took a heavy touch and was ambushed by Mbodji. The third goal was merely postponed, as it turned out. Three minutes into injury time, Ntcham turned provider again, this time releasing Sinclair for a rising drive to make it 3-0 and seal a thoroughly satisfying evening for the Scottish champions.  

Anderlecht vs Celtic plus all tonight's Champions League live scores

  9:44PM Full time: Paris SG 3-0 FC Bayern The referee has seen enough at Parc des Princes and blows the final whistle. 9:42PM Average touch positions (full time) Average touch positions (full time) 9:41PM Full time: Sporting 0-1 Barcelona The final whistle blows at Estádio José Alvalade. 9:39PM Average touch positions (full time) Average touch positions (full time) 9:34PM Average touch positions (full time) Average touch positions (full time) 9:22PM GOAL! Mario Mandzukic adds a second for Juventus - it's now 2-0! Juventus 2 - 0 Olympiakos (Mario Mandzukic, 80 min) 9:21PM It's been a mismatch at St Jakob-Park so far Basel are dominating this game, firing in a total of 15 shots compared to six from Benfica so far. Basel vs Benfica shots on goal 9:19PM GOAL! A goal from Blás Riveros for Basel makes the score 5-0. Basel 5 - 0 Benfica (Blás Riveros, 76 min) 9:14PM The referee's busy at Estádio José Alvalade Nélson Semedo of Barcelona becomes the seventh player to go into the book of referee Ovidiu Hategan. 9:13PM GOAL! 1-0. Gonzalo Higuaín has broken the deadlock for Juventus. Juventus 1 - 0 Olympiakos (Gonzalo Higuaín, 69 min) 9:12PM One-way traffic at Allianz Stadium It's been all Juventus, with the hosts racking up 15 shots so far - Olympiakos have managed just six in reply. Juventus vs Olympiakos shots on goal 9:10PM GOAL! A goal from Dimitri Oberlin for Basel makes the score 4-0. Basel 4 - 0 Benfica (Dimitri Oberlin, 69 min) 9:00PM GOAL! Ricky van Wolfswinkel makes it 3-0 and puts Basel firmly in the driving seat now. Basel 3 - 0 Benfica (Ricky van Wolfswinkel, 59 min) 8:51PM Second half: Paris SG 2-0 FC Bayern The action restarts at Parc des Princes. 8:50PM Second half: Sporting 0-0 Barcelona We're back under way at Estádio José Alvalade. 8:49PM Second half: Anderlecht 0-1 Celtic We're back under way at Constant Vanden Stockstadion. 8:48PM Second half: Juventus 0-0 Olympiakos The second 45 has begun at Allianz Stadium. 8:46PM Second half: Basel 2-0 Benfica The action restarts at St Jakob-Park. 8:44PM Half time: Sporting 0-0 Barcelona The first 45 minutes is up at Estádio José Alvalade. 8:42PM Half time: Paris SG 2-0 FC Bayern The first 45 minutes is up at Parc des Princes. 8:41PM Average touch positions (half time) Average touch positions (half time) 8:40PM Half time: Anderlecht 0-1 Celtic The half-time whistle blows at Constant Vanden Stockstadion. 8:38PM Average touch positions (half time) Average touch positions (half time) 8:37PM Average touch positions (half time) Average touch positions (half time) 8:36PM Average touch positions (half time) Average touch positions (half time) 8:34PM Half time: Juventus 0-0 Olympiakos The teams head in at the break at Allianz Stadium. 8:33PM Average touch positions (half time) Average touch positions (half time) 8:32PM Half time: Basel 2-0 Benfica The teams head in at the break at St Jakob-Park. 8:31PM FC Bayern trail - but their attack still looks lively The visitors are having a lot of the ball in the final third as they force Paris SG to defend their lead. Paris SG vs FC Bayern 8:26PM The shot count is similar Sporting and Barcelona have both attempted four shots each. Sporting vs Barcelona shots on goal 8:24PM GOAL! Celtic take the lead, and it's Leigh Griffiths with the goal: 0-1. Anderlecht 0 - 1 Celtic (Leigh Griffiths, 38 min) 8:20PM GOAL! FC Bayern up against it now - Edinson Cavani makes it 2-0 to Paris SG. Paris SG 2 - 0 FC Bayern (Edinson Cavani, 31 min) 8:17PM Celtic hit back Celtic register their first shot, in response to two so far from Anderlecht. Anderlecht vs Celtic shots on goal 8:10PM Celtic are dominating the ball so far Celtic are making the hosts do the chasing - they've had 167 touches of the ball compared to just 77 for Anderlecht. Anderlecht vs Celtic 8:06PM GOAL! Benfica up against it now - Dimitri Oberlin makes it 2-0 to Basel. Basel 2 - 0 Benfica (Dimitri Oberlin, 20 min) 8:05PM Barcelona are dominating the ball so far Barcelona are making the hosts do the chasing - they've had 183 touches of the ball compared to just 93 for Sporting. Sporting vs Barcelona 8:03PM Sporting have their first strike at goal Sporting respond to the earlier Barcelona effort with their first shot of the game. Sporting vs Barcelona shots on goal 8:01PM Sporting and Barcelona yet to find a way through Not much to do for either keeper at Estádio José Alvalade - Sporting and Barcelona keeping each other at bay. Sporting vs Barcelona shots on goal 8:00PM FC Bayern threaten for the first time Following the earlier Paris SG effort, FC Bayern register their first attempt at goal. Paris SG vs FC Bayern shots on goal 7:54PM Juventus threaten for the first time Following the earlier Olympiakos effort, Juventus register their first attempt at goal. Juventus vs Olympiakos shots on goal 7:53PM Benfica respond The visitors have their first shot of the game, in reply to two so far from Basel. Basel vs Benfica shots on goal 7:50PM GOAL! Dani Alves strikes early to open the scoring - it's 1-0 to Paris SG. Paris SG 1 - 0 FC Bayern (Dani Alves, 2 min) 7:48PM GOAL! Basel take an early lead and they have Michael Lang to thank for it: 1-0. Basel 1 - 0 Benfica (Michael Lang, 2 min) 7:47PM Kick off: Paris SG vs FC Bayern They're off and running at Parc des Princes. 7:46PM Kick off: Sporting vs Barcelona They're off and running at Estádio José Alvalade. 7:45PM Kick off: Anderlecht vs Celtic The action gets started at Constant Vanden Stockstadion. 7:45PM Kick off: Basel vs Benfica They're off and running at St Jakob-Park. 7:45PM Kick off: Juventus vs Olympiakos The action gets started at Allianz Stadium. 6:46PM TEAM NEWS - Celtic #CelticFC team to play @rscanderlecht in the @ChampionsLeague. #UCL#ANDCELpic.twitter.com/4J35hqfvrn— Celtic Football Club (@celticfc) September 27, 2017 6:45PM TEAM NEWS - Anderlecht #RSCA - Celtic FC Starting line-up! Subs: Sels, Kara, Stanciu, Bruno, Beric, Sowah & Harbaoui #COYM#UCL#ANDCELpic.twitter.com/V976BicUKx— RSC Anderlecht (@rscanderlecht) September 27, 2017

Basel's Dimitri Oberlin, right, scores his teams 2nd goal against Benfica's goalkeeper Julio Cesar, during their Champions League Group stage Group A, soccer match between Switzerland's FC Basel 1893 and Portugal's SL Benfica in the St. Jakob-Park stadium, Basel, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. (Peter Klaunzer/Keystone via AP)

Wicky heaps praise on 'unbelievable' Oberlin after record win

Dimitri Oberlin produced an outstanding match-winning performance as Basel saw off Benfica, with Raphael Wicky quick to laud the winger.

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