Adelaide United has confirmed teenage winger Nestory Irankunda is heading to European giants FC Bayern Munich for what's believed to be an Australian record…
With a few days between games at the World Cup the on-field action is on ice, but as always there’s plenty happening behind the scenes.
Here’s all the latest news from Qatar.
After an impressive showing in Qatar, including scoring the first goal of Australia’s campaign against France, Socceroos winger Craig Goodwin has revealed he isn’t thinking about potential offers from overseas.
Goodwin is still in the first season of a three-year deal with the Reds and has twice departed Coopers Stadium for opportunities in Asia and Europe previously.
“I wouldn’t know because I haven’t spoken to my manager in terms of anything of that sort,” he told reporters.
“The only conversation I’ve had with him is him congratulating me on a fantastic World Cup campaign. The thought process for me now is with Adelaide.
“I’ve signed a long-term deal here and I’ve got a lot of work to do to help the team win trophies, because that’s what I want to do here. That’s what the goal is with this club. My future’s with Adelaide. I’ve signed a three-year deal, I’m happy here and that’s where my future lies.”
The 30-year-old boasts 12 national team caps, with two goals at international level.
Germany coach Hansi Flick will remain in charge of the Euro 2024 hosts despite his side’s dismal performance at the World Cup, the DFB said.
Flick and team director Oliver Bierhoff were widely criticised after their second consecutive group-stage exit at a World Cup in Qatar.
Germany never recovered from defeat by Japan in their opening match and were eliminated on goal difference behind Japan and Spain. Their only victory came against Costa Rica.
Former international striker Bierhoff became the first casualty after agreeing to leave his post two years before his contract ends.
But former Bayern Munich coach Flick will stay on, it was confirmed on Wednesday.
“We are all convinced that Euro 2024 in our own country represents a great opportunity for football in Germany,” said DFB president Bernd Neuendorf in a statement.
“Our goal is to make this tournament a sporting success. We have full confidence in Hansi Flick.
“With regard to Oliver Bierhoff’s successor, we have agreed that we will first discuss the future structure of this position within the DFB and then make a personnel decision.”
The Germans also tumbled out of the 2018 World Cup at the group stage – at the time their earliest exit in 80 years.
They also failed to advance past the round of 16 at Euro 2020 last year.
Virgil van Dijk insists the Netherlands are preparing for far more than Lionel Messi in heir World Cup quarter-final against Argentina.
Messi has, once again, proved Argentina’s inspiration in Qatar and the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner is aiming to cap his glittering career by guiding his side to success in next week’s final.
Yet defender Van Dijk knows Dutch hopes on Friday (Saturday 6am AEDT) do not just rest on whether they can stop Paris Saint-Germain’s former Barcelona talisman.
“He’s one of the best players of all time, obviously. He has done it for so many years,” the Liverpool centre-back said at a press conference.
“I would say he and Cristiano Ronaldo have been the standout players of the last two decades. There is only respect towards what they have achieved but, for us now, it is not a case of preparing just to face him. We are preparing to beat Argentina.
“Obviously we know how big a part of their success he has been over the years but it’s not Netherlands versus Messi, it’s Netherlands versus Argentina.”
The clash at Lusail Stadium renews one of the tournament’s great rivalries.
Argentina prevailed when they met in the 1978 final but a stunning late Dennis Bergkamp strike edged a tight quarter-final for the Dutch in 1998.
The last time they met was in a semi-final eight years ago when an Argentina side captained by Messi won through on penalties.
Van Dijk is ready should progress come down to spot-kicks again.
“We have been practising,” the 31-year-old said.
“It doesn’t guarantee in a game, where you play in a full stadium with 80,000 people and there is a semi-final at stake, that everything will go the same, but we try to do as much as possible in order to be ready for it.
“Hopefully we won’t come to that stage and we can decide the game before getting to extra time or penalties, but if the time comes we have to be ready for it. We have practised as much as possible.”
The Netherlands have reached the World Cup final three times but have yet to lift the trophy.
“It’s a quarter-final, that’s special. There is hunger, there are dreams,” Van Dijk added.
“We know we’re in the quarter-finals and only three games away from something really big. This is our chance.”
Belgium captain Eden Hazard has announced his retirement from international soccer aged 31 after his team’s group-stage exit at the World Cup.
The forward played in all three Group F games but did not score as Belgium beat Canada, lost to Morocco and played out a goalless draw with Croatia to finish third.
Hazard made his international debut in 2008 and scored 33 times in 126 appearances.
He helped Belgium reach the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, where they lost to eventual champions France, and beat England in the third-placed playoff.
“I have decided to put an end to my international career. The succession is ready,” Hazard wrote on Instagram.
“A page turns today … Thank you for your love. Thank you for your unparalleled support. Thank you for all this happiness shared since 2008 … I will miss you.”
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez stepped down from his role on Thursday following a disappointing tournament in Qatar for the team ranked second in the world.