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Qatar crumbles

DOHA, Qatar (AFP) — Host nation Qatar crashed out of the World Cup on Friday after a second straight defeat before an uninspired England missed the chance to wrap up qualification for the last 16 following a 0-0 draw with the United States.

Qatar lost 3-1 to Senegal and became the first team to be knocked out of this World Cup after the Netherlands and Ecuador drew 1-1 in the other Group A game.

Asian champion Qatar had high hopes coming into the tournament but becoame only the second home team to crash out in the group stage, after South Africa in 2010.

Goals from Boulaye Dia, Famara Diedhiou and Bamba Dieng were enough to give African champions Senegal the win.

Mohammed Muntari scored Qatar’s only World Cup goal so far in a deeply disappointing debut on football’s biggest stage — it is the first time a World Cup host nation has gone out after just two games.
“We would like to say we’re very sorry to the supporters, to the country,” said Qatar defender Tarek Salman, who was a second-half substitute.

“We have made them feel bad about losing two games in a row in the World Cup.”

The Netherlands took an early lead against Ecuador through Cody Gakpo — his second goal of the tournament — but Ecuador levelled through captain Enner Valencia’s tournament-leading third goal.

Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands, who have four points, will qualify for the last 16 with a draw against Qatar in their final match.

Senegal must beat Ecuador to advance to the knockout phase.

After thumping Iran 6-2 in its opening match, an unimaginative England produced a limp display against the USA and were booed off at full-time.

Gareth Southgate’s men would have been guaranteed to advance from Group B with a victory, but they rarely troubled a determined US team.

“A draw isn’t the end of the world for us, it puts us in a great position in the group,” England captain Harry Kane said.

“After our first performance people thought we were just going to landslide every team we play, but it’s not the case.”

England need only avoid a four-goal defeat by neighbors Wales on Tuesday to advance and know a victory will send it through as group winners.

Earlier, Iran scored twice deep into stoppage time to stun Wales 2-0 and breathe new life into a World Cup campaign overshadowed by mass anti-government protests at home.

The Iranian players sang the national anthem before their win over Wales, having opted to stay silent in their opener in Qatar in an apparent gesture of support for the demonstrators.

They were worthy winners against a team reduced to 10 men late in the match.

Iran, which would have been eliminated if it had lost, punished Gareth Bale’s Wales in the eighth minute of injury time when substitute Rouzbeh Cheshmi smashed home.

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