Aussies’ Ashes warning

Updated 14 November 2017
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Aussies’ Ashes warning

LONDON: Australia have been told to think again if they are assuming Ashes victory is all but guaranteed.
That message has come from Ryan Harris, part of the Aussie attack that destroyed England 5-0 the last time the sides faced each other Down Under.
With just a week until the first Test gets underway in Brisbane, a lot of the talk surrounding the tourists is negative. From the absence of Ben Stokes (pictured) — still unable to travel due to a police investigation into an alleged assault in Bristol two months ago — to injured bowlers, to the worry that the side is undercooked, there are seemingly more questions than answers about Joe Root’s side.
Harris, however, has warned that while England’s preparations have been far from ideal the side still have enough ability to beat the hosts.
“If there were injuries to Broad and Anderson you’d definitely go along with that line that they probably would struggle,” Harris told Reuters.
“But the bottom line is their two main bowlers that lead their attack are fit and firing.
“The third quick, who I think is going to be (Chris) Woakes, is pretty handy as well. We saw that the other night, especially under lights.
“You can’t write off teams just because of injuries. It can actually make you stronger because as a group, you come together.
“I know there’s a lot of talk out there in the media and in the public but I don’t think they’re going to be easy to beat.
“I think we’ll win, but I don’t think it will be an easy win like some people are saying.”
Meanwhile, Root has said he’ll remain completely unfazed if, as expected, Australia target him out in the middle.
“I’ve heard a lot of chat about them targeting me in particular,” the England skipper said.
“From our point of view we’ll be targeting every single one of them, we won’t be singling any guys out.”


LIVE: Spain 1-1 Morocco - Spain strike back after early Khalid Boutaïb goal

Updated 42 sec ago
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LIVE: Spain 1-1 Morocco - Spain strike back after early Khalid Boutaïb goal

10.33PM: A sign of just how well Morocco have played is that Diego Costa has not had a kick all game. The former Chelsea striker makes way after a frustrating 70 minutes for Iago Aspas. Thiago Alcantara also comes off, Marco Asensio replaces him.

10.28PM: Spain are seeing most of the possession but taking too many touches and moving the ball around too slowly. As it stands they will finish second in the group and face Uruguay in the second round...

HAPPY MOROCCO FANS: The Atlas Lions supporters have every reason to be smiling, their team is giving Spain a real game here. 

10.19PM: Great goaline clearance from Morcco. Isco's header was goal-bound with the keeper beaten. But Romain Saïss somehow rises to nod it away. From the resulting corner Pique, who is lukcy to still be on the pitch, heads just wide. We're not sure how this match is still 1-1. 

MOROCCO HIT THE POST:  What a strike from Amrabat, just outside the area on the righthand side the Watford man hits a sweet shot which beats De Gea all ends up, deserved to go in but hits the upright. So, so close. Nervous times for Spain. 

10.08PM:  Football fans have warmed to the Atlas Lions.

 

 

10.03PM:  A good start to the second period for Morocco, once again Spain are half asleep in defence and the Atlas Lions are seeing a lot of the ball. That results in Pique handling the ball on the edge of the box, for some reason the ref does not see the infringment and play continues. Good signs, though, for the North Africans. 

SECOND-HALF STARTS:  A key 45 minutes coming up here for Spain and Morocco. Spain know they have to win to get Russia in the next round, not an easy task but an easier one than Uruguay who they will face if they finish second. Morocco will want to finish the tournament with a result. They have played better thatn their results so far and will want to avoid three straight defeats. 

HALF-TIME: A mixed half for Morocco - they are creating chances and causing Spain problems in attack, But when without the ball they are under constant pressure, as the three yellow cards illustrate. Can they keep out Iniesta and Co. in the next 45 minutes? As it stands both Portugal and Spain are going thought, with Portugal beating Iran 1-0. A crucial next half coming up. 

SPAIN STRIKE: Iniesta and Isco celebrate the much-deserved equalizer. 

9.42PM: They may have been defending for long periods of this half, but they have always been comfortable on the ball and when they have got the chance to attack they have. A very well-worked move down the left ends with Ziyech having a decent shot from outside the box. They are doing themselves and their fans proud here. 

HISTORY MAKER: Take a bow Boutaib! 

 

 

9.33PM: Busquets has a great chance for Spain but heads wide from a corner. The Spainish are trying to turn the screw here, it's important Morocco get to half-time still level or you worry Spain may run away with it. Important nxt 10 minutes coming up. 

9.30PM: Spain, as expected, are seeing alot of the ball, while Morocco are seeing several yellow cards. The Morocco captain Moubarak Boussoufa rowing with the ref makes him the third Atlas Lion to go into the book — it's looking unlikely that Morocco will end this one with 11.

BRILLIANT BOUTAIB: The moment the Moroccan striker shocks Spain

9.23PM ANOTHER GREAT CHANCE FOR MOROCCO: Schoolboy defending by Spain gifts Boutaib another clear run-in on goal, De Gea does brilliantly to save and spare his side's blushes. Spain are being very adventurous here, there will be more chances you fancy for the Atlas Lions. 

9.17PM GOAL FOR SPAIN: That goal has given Spain a wake-up call. They come straight back. Iniesta atones for his mistake with a neat interchange with Diego Costa, before pulling back for Isco to finish from close range. Lovely goal.

9.12PM GOAL FOR MOROCCO!  Two of Spain's most experience players, Sergio Ramos and Andres Iniesta, both dithered on teh halfway line gifting the ball to Khalid Boutaïb who had a clean run in on goal. If he was nervous he didn't show it as he coolly slotted home past David de Gea. What a response! 

9.05PM: It has been a bright star for Spain, they are definitely not taking Morocco lightly. The Noerth Africans are chaing shadows at the moment. 

KICK-OFF: We're under way in Kaliningrad...

9.00PM: Should they lose this match, it will be only the second time Morocco have lost all of their World Cup group matches in a single campaign, having previously done so in 1994.

Whereas Spain have won their final group game in each of the last eight World Cup tournaments, a run stretching back to 1986.

8:50PM: Such is the support for the Atlas Lions in the stadium that is is almost like a home game. 

 

 

8:40PM: Morocco might be out, but that has not prevented plenty of their supporters showing up here in Kaliningrad. 

8:35PM: Starting line-ups...

Spain:
David De Gea; Dani Carvajal, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta; Isco, Thiago Alcantara, David Silva; Diego Costa
Coach: Fernando Hierro (ESP)

Morocco:
Monir El-Kajoui; Achraf Hakimi, Manuel Da Costa, Ghanem Saiss, Nabil Dirar; Noureddine Amrabat, Mbark Boussoufa, Karim El-Ahmadi, Younes Belhanda, Hakim Ziyach; Khalid Boutaib
Coach: Herve Renard (FRA)

Tonight's referee is Ravshan Irmatov from Uzbekistan.

8.30PM: So, after the dramatic late winner for Saudi Arabia in Group A, we move our attention to Morocco's final game of the 2018 World Cup. The Atlas Lions cannot progress, but could make like difficult for the former world champions Spain. The Spanish know nothing but a win will guarantee their progress at this tournament, and have named a strong side in their quest to get through.

Kick off is 20:00 KSA time.