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Matt Doherty's World Cup diary | 23 November

Wed 23 November 2022, 09:00|Tottenham Hotspur

We’ve an expert eye to guide us through the World Cup as Matt Doherty brings us his daily diary on the greatest football show on earth in Qatar.

Now capped 33 times by the Republic of Ireland, his latest two caps in the last week, Matt will tell us what is catching his attention in Qatar and the players and matches to look out for as the tournament progresses.

With 12 team-mates in Qatar, plus the experience of playing against eight countries in the competition, Matt will give us his insight into the busy group stage over the next fortnight, then into the knockout stage which starts on 3 December.

Yesterday’s results

Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia
Denmark 0-0 Tunisia
Mexico 0-0 Poland
France 4-1 Australia

Today’s matches

Group F - Morocco v Croatia (10am, ITV)
Group E - Germany v Japan (1pm, ITV)
Group E - Spain v Costa Rica (4pm, ITV)
Group F - Belgium v Canada (7pm, BBC)

Our players in action today

Ivan Perisic - Morocco v Croatia

What caught my eye yesterday

Matt: “Saudi Arabia-Argentina, what a crazy game! Never in a million years would I have thought that would happen, especially when Argentina went 1-0 up, Lionel Messi scored the penalty, three goals disallowed. Saudi Arabia had one of the bravest defensive lines I've ever seen and they scored two great goals. That result has thrown Group C wide open. The next two games were 0-0, Denmark-Tunisia, Mexico-Poland, not great. I know Denmark could have nicked it, although Kasper Schmeichel made an incredible save in the first half. Two games, two 0-0s, not great for the neutral, but France-Australia was a good game. Australia went 1-0 up early, but I still didn't think France were in any trouble, with the explosiveness they have at the other end of the pitch it was always going to be a matter of time. My player to watch Ousmane Dembele looked good, got an assist for Kylian Mbappe's goal. Those two on the wings are a nightmare for any defender, and to think we (Republic of Ireland) have them in our Euro 2024 qualifying group in March, I might just have a few sleepless nights before then!"

What I’m looking forward to today

Matt: "Morocco-Croatia... Morocco have some really good players in their squad. They'll be lively and that should be a great game as Morocco should be a real threat. I wouldn't write them off. It will be nice to see how Ivan (Perisic) gets on for Croatia. That should be good to watch. Germany-Japan, I'd expect Germany to get through that, but saying that, I've said that about a few games and been surprised by how close some of the games have been. It's funny, just because you haven't heard of some players or seen some countries play, you just assume that a bigger nation will walk straight past them, but that's not the case. I think Germany will win, but it will be more difficult for them than people might think. I don't know what the average is, but I'd expect Spain to have well above the average for the amount of passes against Costa Rica. I'd expect them to play some good stuff and maybe win that 2-0, it should be comfortable enough for them. Then we finish with another good game, Belgium-Canada. Belgium are star-studded, superstars all over the team and Canada, who have some really exciting players who are playing across Europe, an up and coming nation who have earned the right to be at the World Cup. They will be right up for it."

If you only watch one game today

Matt: "It's a toss up between Morocco-Croatia and Belgium-Canada. I'm playing golf in the morning, so I'll miss Morocco-Canada, I'll catch those highlights later. I will watch Belgium-Canada, so that's the one."

Player to watch

Matt: "I'd go for Jonathan David of Canada. He plays for Lille and has scored a lot of goals in the last few season. It will be interesting to see how he gets on against the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, quality defenders, so he's my player to watch."