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Official: Hazard, Courtois crash out of World Cup, Modric’s Croatia through to the knockouts

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Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images

After a tightly-contested affair that ended in a goalless draw against Croatia, Eden Hazard’s Belgium are out of the FIFA World Cup 2022. Luka Modric’s side, however, have made it through to the Round of 16, finishing second in Group F.

The Belgian Red Devils had looked sub-par throughout the tournament even though they had managed to pick up a narrow win over Canada in their opening fixture. But the 2-0 loss to Morocco last time out put them under intense pressure.

Needing a win to stand a chance to qualify, especially with Morocco getting the better of Canada in the other Group F match, Belgium could not get the job done.

In a brave call, Roberto Martinez opted to drop Hazard from the starting XI. His Real Madrid teammate, Thibaut Courtois, did brilliantly to keep Belgium alive in the match, pulling off several clutch saves.

However, at the other end, Romelu Lukaku missed three sitters after coming on at half-time, as the match ended in a goalless draw. Hazard, who came on as a substitute in the latter stages of the game, could do little to change things.

While the Real Madrid duo’s journey in Qatar comes to an end, another Los Blancos star goes through to the knockouts as Modric and Croatia advance again. Having drawn against Morocco in their opener, the Vatreni had beaten Canada resoundingly to put themselves in a good position.

But a loss would have sent them out. However, the team managed to pull through and hold things together. Special mention for Josko Gvardiol who had a top game against Belgium to help Croatia go through.

This Belgium side, considered the ‘Golden Generation’, had advanced to the semi-finals of the last World Cup. But things have been rocky for them for a while now, with recent reports of infighting within the squad only adding fuel to that.

Eventually, Hazard, Courtois & co. are out, while Modric will lead Croatia into the Round of 16, where they could likely face Spain.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid midfielder set to sign a four-year contract with the club

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Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images

In a major development, journalist Tomas Gonzalez-Martin is reporting that Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos has decided to sign a new contract with the club and will pen a four-year deal to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The 26-year-old midfielder’s current contract with Real Madrid stands to expire at the end of the season. And there had been conflicting reports over whether he would be offered a new deal by the Merengues.

But the Spaniard has managed to turn things around spectacularly in recent weeks, putting up top displays one after the other, helping Real Madrid emerge out of a poor run at the start of the new year.

It has convinced the club to hand him a new contract and it seems like things are moving swiftly on the renewal front for Ceballos.

Indeed, as per the update from Tomas Gonzalez-Martin, Real Madrid have decided to offer him a new four-year contract that will keep him at the club until the summer of 2027. It will see the midfielder receive an improved salary to the one that he is currently earning.

And Ceballos has decided to sign the deal. The former Real Betis ace has always maintained that he wants to continue at the Bernabeu beyond the current campaign. And the two parties could now be close to shaking hands on a new contract.

Ceballos joined Real Madrid from Real Betis back in 2017, arriving as one of the most talented young midfielders in La Liga. However, he found the going tough initially, thanks to the hegemony of the midfield trio of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Casemiro.

The Spaniard spent a couple of seasons on loan at Arsenal before returning to the club in 2021. If not for an injury while away at the Tokyo Olympics, Ceballos could have been sold that year.

Having returned to action in January last year, he has slowly but surely gained importance in Carlo Ancelotti’s plans. And he is now set to be rewarded with a new four-year contract by the champions of Spain and Europe.

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