Live Blog

Matchday REWIND: Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, Man Utd, Real Madrid & more in action as club football returns

Stay right up to date with GOAL's live commentary coverage of the biggest games from around the globe

Updated
Comments (0)
Fred Man Utd 2021-22
Getty Images

That's all for today

2022-04-02T18:54:25.256Z

Thanks for joining us - we've seen Liverpool and Man City keep up their title battle with wins, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich move further ahead of their chasing packs, while Chelsea and Manchester United both stumbled at home.

Make sure to join us again tomorrow for all Sunday's action. Until then, good bye.

VAR saves Man Utd

2022-04-02T18:41:10.708Z

Why was McTominay not sent off? Why was Maddison's goal disallowed?

GOAL explains all here.

Sometimes betting against your team works...

2022-04-02T18:34:04.803Z

FT: Man Utd 1-1 Leicester

2022-04-02T18:28:28.951Z

Manchesterr United drop two points and it's exactly what they deserve after a poor performance.

They stay sixth, three points off fourth place Arsenal who have two games in hand.

FT: Celta Vigo 1-2 Real Madrid

2022-04-02T18:25:44.334Z

Victory for Los Blancos that puts them 12 points clear in La Liga - but it was not without controversy.

Three penalties - two of them scored by Benzema - and a disallowed Vigo goal mean Davide Ancelotti's men (sitting in for the Covid-stricken Carlo) are fortunate to leave with three points.

Big chance for Sancho!

2022-04-02T18:19:51.382Z

This should have been the Man Utd winner.

Cross in is missed by Daniel Amrtey, and it lands unexpectedly at the feet of Sancho who is totally on his heels. He snatches at it and puts his shot wide.

Leicester goal ruled out by VAR

2022-04-02T18:09:12.153Z

James Maddison has been sensational today and he looks like he has the goal he deserves - before VAR intervenes.

Good interplay with Iheanacho and Castagne, before Maddison smashes it in at the near post, but Raphael Varane went down during that build up, clutching his right foot.

He came together with Iheanacho, and VAR adjudges the Nigerian to have fouled the defender. The goal is ruled out, a huge reprieve for Man Utd.

Top save from De Gea

2022-04-02T18:03:24.977Z

This game has come alive!

Maddison with another superb cross from a free kick, Wesley Fofana looks to have scored with a header only for David de Gea to spectacularly palm it away. Brilliant goalkeeping.

GOAL - Celta Vigo 1-2 Real Madrid (Benzema pen 69)

2022-04-02T18:00:38.146Z

You can't keep him down!

A third penalty awarded to Real Madrid, and Karim Benzema - having scored his first and had his second saved - gets back to form to score and restore the Blancos lead.

GOAL - Man Utd 1-1 Leicester (Fred 66)

2022-04-02T17:57:10.709Z

Instant response, and an unlikely goalscorer.

Bruno Fernandes' shot is parried by Schmeichel, and Fred is the furthest red shirt forward, to smash the ball into the roof of the net.

The Leicester keeper must think he should have done better there.

Benzema penalty saved!

2022-04-02T17:55:21.631Z

Real Madrid look certain to retake the lead at Celta Vigo after being awarded a penalty, but Karim Benzema is denied from the spot by goalkeeper Dituro.

1-1 with 25 minutes to play.

GOAL: Man Utd 0-1 Leicester (Iheanacho 63)

2022-04-02T17:52:13.319Z

Big trouble for Man Utd.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall wins it back in midfield, plays it wide to James Maddison, and his superb cross is nodded in by Kelechi Iheanacho.

McTominay off, Rashford on

2022-04-02T17:45:59.358Z

Sub for Man Utd, as Ralf Rangnick hauls Scott McTominay off straight after that nasty tackle.

Marcus Rashford comes on, aiming to put in a better performance than we have seen from him for most of this season.

He goes into the central striker role, with Bruno Fernandes - who had been operating as a false nine - moving into an attacking midfield role.

GOAL: Celta Vigo 1-1 Real Madrid (Nolito 52)

2022-04-02T17:44:27.600Z

This one counts!

Nolito pulls the hosts level. Madrid's advantage at the top is 10 points as it stands.

That's a bad tackle!

2022-04-02T17:38:20.580Z

Scott McTominay has a heavy touch then flies into James Maddison as he attempts to recover, it's a nasty studs-up challenge.

Andre Marriner gives McTominay a yellow card. He's lucky that isn't red.

Second halves underway

2022-04-02T17:37:12.101Z

Can Real Madrid stay ahead and go 12 points clear? Will Man Utd actually turn up?

Let's find out

Gary Neville destroys 'toothless' Man Utd

2022-04-02T17:29:49.605Z

The former Red Devil is not impressed with that first half display.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Neville said: "Manchester United are toothless. It's pathetically slow. No pace, no tempo. If Leicester had anything about them they'd go and beat Manchester United.

"I don't like the system at all. We saw how Manchester United played with this system at Etihad Stadium. It's a bit of a mess. Rashford has to come on this pitch. Pogba and Fernandes aren't centre forwards.

"It's been a poor first half from Manchester United and there's no getting away from that. There's been no pace or tempo. If Leicester had anything about them, they'd go and beat United but they've been below par so far."

Half times in 5.30 KOs

2022-04-02T17:21:07.965Z

Celta Vigo 0-1 Real Madrid - satisfactory for Madrid so far, they lead via a Benzema penalty.

Man Utd 0-0 Leicester - unsatisfactory for the hosts, who have offered very little in this game so far.

Historic season for Benzema

2022-04-02T17:17:11.312Z

Celta Vigo goal ruled out by VAR

2022-04-02T17:12:45.297Z

It looks as if Liga leaders Real Madrid have been pinned back just before half time, Thiago Gallardo firing home.

However, Iago Aspas is offside in the build up, and the goal is ruled out after consultation with VAR.

Madrid 1-0 up five minutes before half time.

Shaw hobbling

2022-04-02T17:10:23.209Z

Luke Shaw has had a very mixed season at Manchester United this season, and it's another downturn here as he suffers what looks like a shin injury.

He has his boot off and Alex Telles is warming up - but Shaw is well enough to continue for now.

Best chance of the game for Man Utd

2022-04-02T16:59:25.750Z

This hasn't been a classic so far, but Man Utd had a great chance to go ahead here - Burno Fernandes, fresh from signing his new contract this week, is played through one on one.

However, he is denied well by Schmeichel, who makes a fine save with his foot.

Still goalless at Old Trafford

2022-04-02T16:53:14.310Z

A quarter of the match played, and Manchester United have grown into the game more.

Jadon Sancho sends in a cross which Paul Pogba meets with his head, however it is a comfortable save for Kasper Schmeichel.

GOAL: Celta Vigo 0-1 Real Madrid (Benzema pen 18)

2022-04-02T16:49:06.469Z

First blood to the champions elect.

Karim Benzema slots home a penalty to give Real Madrid the advantage.

Who's that in the dugout for Madrid?

2022-04-02T16:43:19.573Z

Ancelotti is managing Real Madrid today - but it's Davide, not Carlo.

Davide Ancelotti, Madrid coach and son of the manager, is in charge today as his dad has tested positive for Covid.

He will be looking to steer Madrid to a win that would take them 12 points clear at the top of La Liga. Currently goalless after 15 minutes.

Early booking for Shaw

2022-04-02T16:37:15.799Z

Five minutes played, and already Luke Shaw is in the book. He won't have an enjoyable game up against James Maddison today with that on his mind.

Leicester have started the better at Old Trafford.

Underway at Old Trafford and Santiago Bernabeu

2022-04-02T16:32:54.220Z

Manchester United and Real Madrid seeking three points in our Saturday evening kick-offs.

Bayern field 12 players

2022-04-02T16:04:40.886Z

Remarkable scenes in the Bayern match earlier, where the Bundesliga champions briefly played with 12 men on the field.

The match between Freiburg and Bayern was interrupted for several minutes because Bayern had too many players on the pitch for about 20 seconds.

Afterwards the game was played until the end (with eight minutes of added time), Bayern winning 4-1.

We wait to see if there are any repurcussions from this for the Munich side.

Full times in the Premier League

2022-04-02T15:58:04.317Z

All over in the five 3pm kicks offs, with one result very much standing out:

Brighton 0-0 Norwich

Burnley 0-2 Man City

Chelsea 1-4 Brentford

Leeds 1-1 Southampton

Wolves 2-1 Aston Villa

FT: Chelsea 1-4 Brentford

2022-04-02T15:54:10.168Z

One of the most astonishing results you'll see in any league this season. Brentford beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge for the first time since 1939.

All five goals in the second half, four of them in the first 12 minutes after the break. Antonio Rudiger's wonder goal to open the scoring now a distant memory.

Christian Eriksen's first goal after his return to the Premier League just one part of an astonishing afternoon for Brentford, and a total nightmare for Chelsea.

FT: Burnley 0-2 Man City

2022-04-02T15:52:07.730Z

I didn't give any updates from Turf Moor in the second half because, frankly, this game has been won wince about 25 minutes in.

Man City back on top of the league.

GOAL: Wolves 2-1 Aston Villa (Watkins pen 86)

2022-04-02T15:47:21.847Z

Grandstand finish at Molineux.

Watkins slams in from the penalty spot to give Villa hope of snatching a point.

GOAL: Chelsea 1-4 Brentford (Wissa 87)

2022-04-02T15:45:05.579Z

Who had a bet on this today? Drinks on you if you did.

Yoann Wissa slams home a lose ball after some poor defending from Chelsea, Rudiger in particular with a feeble attempt at a clearance.

Chelsea fans stream out of Stamford Bridge. Brentford supporters rightly delirious.

Starting XIs: Man Utd v Leicester

2022-04-02T15:33:39.538Z

Ronaldo out for Man Utd

2022-04-02T15:31:24.591Z

They host Leicester in the evening kick-off, but will do so without CR7. He's ill, apparently with "flu-like symptoms".

Lucky 13 for JWP

2022-04-02T15:29:12.895Z

FT: Freiburg 1-4 Bayern Munich

2022-04-02T15:26:34.637Z

Job done for the Bundesliga leaders, added gloss put on the scoreline as Marcel Sabitzer scores a late fourth.

They go nine points clear of second placed Borussia Dortmund, who face RB Leipzig in the evening game.

Phillips is back for Leeds

2022-04-02T15:25:00.722Z

Boost for Leeds in their bid to avoid the drop as Kalvin Phillips returns from injury, he comes on as a sub.

The less said about his pre-match footwear however, the better...

Havertz goal disallowed

2022-04-02T15:23:17.444Z

Kai Havertz looks to have pulled one back for Chelsea, but it is ruled out for a handball.

The Blues are absolutely shellshocked here, trailing 3-1 at home to Brentford.

GOAL: Chelsea 1-3 Brentford (Janelt 60)

2022-04-02T15:18:31.280Z

This is truly sensational, we are heading for a huge Premier League upset.

Ivan Toney with a smart pass to split the Blues back line, and Janlet finishes for his second, Mendy gets fingertips to it but cannot keep it out.

Eriksen back at his best

2022-04-02T15:17:55.329Z

GOAL: Chelsea 1-2 Brentford (Eriksen 54)

2022-04-02T15:13:49.598Z

GOAL OF THE WEEKEND, FOR SO MANY REASONS!

It is Christian Eriksen's first goal for Brentford, and it is a beauty as he skilfully chips Edouard Mendy.

GOALS: Freiburg 1-3 Bayer Munich

2022-04-02T15:11:54.078Z

While I was focusing on the PL, the goals have been flying home in the Bundesliga too!

Serge Gnabry put Bayern ahead in the 73rd minute, and nine minutes later Kingsley Coman has surely made the points safe.

GOAL: Chelsea 1-1 Brentford (Janelt 50)

2022-04-02T15:10:12.793Z

Sensational start to the second half in the Premier League, yet another wonderful goal!

Vitaly Janelt fires in from the edge of the area to peg Chelsea back. Rudiger, having fired Chelsea ahead, was partly at fault as he failed to close down the Bees man.

GOAL: Leeds 1-1 Southampton (Ward-Prowse 49)

2022-04-02T15:08:55.216Z

James Ward-Prowse doing James Ward-Prowse things.

He curls in a superb free kick, as is his wont, right into the top corner with astonishing swerve. No chance for Ilian Meslier.

GOAL: Chelsea 1-0 Brentford (Rudiger48)

2022-04-02T15:07:48.227Z

WHAT A HIT BY THE CENTRE BACK!

Toni Rudiger, from fully 35 yards, has crashed one in off the post. Just what Chelsea needed.

Back underway in the Prem games

2022-04-02T15:06:21.605Z

Although only just in the case of Brighton v Norwich, where the second ahlf was delayed by about five minutes as the referee appeared to have an issue with his kit.

All five games have now resumed, and we already have some goals...

GOAL: Freiburg 1-1 Bayern Munich (Petersen 63)

2022-04-02T15:01:51.529Z

Bayern were only ahead for five minutes!

The door opened ajar for Dortmund again.

Bayern in the goals again

2022-04-02T14:59:03.459Z

But it won't be any good if they can't find a winner at Freiburg...

Half-times in the Premier League

2022-04-02T14:48:33.964Z

Here's the scores after 45 minutes in the 3pm kick-offs:

Brighton 0-0 Norwich

Burnley 0-2 Man City

Chelsea 0-0 Brentford

Leeds 1-0 Southampton

Wolves 2-0 Aston Villa

GOAL: Freiburg 0-1 Bayern Munich (Gundogan 58)

2022-04-02T14:47:19.427Z

Breakthrough for the Bundesliga leaders!

As it stands Bayern areb nine points ahead of Dortmund, who host Leipzig later.

Great save by Raya!

2022-04-02T14:40:23.749Z

David Raya earned his first Spain cap this week, and he's clearly on a high as he makes a terrific save here, flinging up an arm to deny a fierce strike by Hakim Ziyech.

Chelsea 0-0 Brentford with around five minutes to go in the first half.

Gundogan becomes top scoring German in PL

2022-04-02T14:38:14.296Z

GOAL - Wolves 2-0 Aston Villa (Young og 36)

2022-04-02T14:36:51.555Z

One for the end of season blooper reel by Ashley Young I'm afraid.

The veteran, on as a first half sub for Lucas Digne, heads Marcal's cross firmly into his own top corner.

Second half underway in Freiburg

2022-04-02T14:36:09.431Z

Bayern still looking for the breakthrough, 0-0 the score after 47 minutes.

GOAL - Leeds 1-0 Southampton (Harrison 30)

2022-04-02T14:30:25.113Z

This could be a huge goal for Leeds in their battle against the drop.

Raphinha's cross is palmed away by Saints keeper Fraser Forster, and Jack Harrison cleans up to tap home.

PENALTY MISSED - Brighton 0-0 Norwich

2022-04-02T14:28:03.775Z

Absolutely mad from Norwich defender Sam Byram, handling the ball with his arm high above his head.

Neil Maupay however skies his penalty, well over. Lifeline for the Canaries.

GOAL - Burnley 0-2 Man City (Gundogan 25)

2022-04-02T14:25:48.712Z

Looks like three points already safe for Man City.

Sterling again with the assist, pulling it back for Gundogan to fire under Nick Pope.

Chelsea still goalless

2022-04-02T14:23:29.324Z

The Blues currently being held by Brentford midway through the first half, Mason Mount whipping a shot over the bar from 20 yards in their best effort so far.

HT: Freiburg 0-0 Bayern Munich

2022-04-02T14:18:20.208Z

The Bundesliga leaders being held after 45 minutes at Freiburg. Fail to win and Dortmund could close the gap to four points with a win later against RB Leipzig.

Has Weghorst got lucky?

2022-04-02T14:16:55.778Z

The Burnley striker catches Rodri with his elbow, Man City players shout for a red card.

The referee gives a yellow, and Burnley stay with 11 men. It looks as though Wehorst really caught his man though - he's lucky to stay on the field.

GOAL: Wolves 1-0 Aston Villa (Jonny 7)

2022-04-02T14:08:25.255Z

Jonny tucks away after some sloppy defending by Villa, John McGinn and Ezri Konsa both slipping as they failed to clear.

Wolves well on top in the opening stages at Molineux.

GOAL: Bunrley 0-1 Man City (De Bruyne 5)

2022-04-02T14:07:04.555Z

Already Man City look like they will be reeling Liverpool back in at the top of the Premier League.

Kevin De Bruyne fires in first time after being teed up by Raheem Sterling.

Underway in the PL 3pm KOs

2022-04-02T14:00:09.000Z

A reminder of today's afternoon matches in the Premier League:

Brighton and Hove Albion v Norwich City

Burnley v Manchester City

Chelsea v Brentford

Leeds United v Southampton

Wolves v Aston Villa

Meanwhile it is still goalless in the Bundesliga between Freiburg and Bayern Munich.

10 10 10

2022-04-02T13:54:00.000Z

FT: Liverpool 2-0 Watford

Shot-to-shotstoppers

2022-04-02T13:46:00.000Z

Freiburg 0-0 Bayern

Another day, another win

2022-04-02T13:38:00.000Z

FT: Liverpool 2-0 Watford

KO: Freiburg v Bayern

2022-04-02T13:30:00.000Z

From the Premier League to the Bundesliga now, we're into action with the champions of Germany!

Bayern Munich are looking to go one step closer to their crown - but they'll have to get past Freiburg first.

Here we go!

Your move next

2022-04-02T13:25:00.000Z

FT: Liverpool 2-0 Watford

FT: Liverpool 2-0 Watford

2022-04-02T13:23:00.000Z

Reds head top of the Premier League

There goes the final whistle at Anfield - and Liverpool are top of the Premier League!

Diogo Jota's first-half header and a late Fabinho penalty send the Reds to the summit as they overcome former boss Roy Hodgson and Watford.

The Hornets stay in the thick of a relegation battle, while their hosts keep up the chase at the top. It's not all smiles though - Jurgen Klopp looks a little pensive, if anything.

GOAL: Liverpool 2-0 Watford

2022-04-02T13:17:00.000Z

(Fabinho pen)

Absolutely buried!

Liverpool lead by two heading into injury time and that should surely be enough to send them to the top of the Premier League!

Penalty to Liverpool!

2022-04-02T13:15:00.000Z

Liverpool 1-0 Watford

A spot-kick for the Reds in the final few minutes - and surely this will be where Liverpool seal the deal!

There's no Mohamed Salah on the pitch, so it will be Fabinho to take.

Team News: Burnley v Man City

2022-04-02T13:00:00.000Z

One in, one out

2022-04-02T12:58:00.000Z

Liverpool 1-0 Watford

Mohamed Salah's game is up - and who else should replace him but Sadio Mane.

The Egypt star isn't best pleased to be leaving the game with it still in the balance - and the fleeting touch he gives to his Senegal rival and Liverpool clubmate is a quick, almost curt one.

Can Mane find the second for the hosts?

Jota close to a second

2022-04-02T12:48:00.000Z

Liverpool 1-0 Watford

Noggin

2022-04-02T12:40:00.000Z

Liverpool 1-0 Watford

Back underway at Anfield

2022-04-02T12:33:00.000Z

Liverpool 1-0 Watford

We're back underway at Anfield for the second half - and Liverpool are hunting a second goal to put them out of the reach of Watford.

Can Jurgen Klopp's men get on top sooner rather than later? We're about to find out.

Here we go!

We're in heaven

2022-04-02T12:25:00.000Z

HT: Liverpool 1-0 Watford

HT: Liverpool 1-0 Watford

2022-04-02T12:17:00.000Z

There goes the whistle for half-time, and Diogo Jota has put Liverpool not just on top in this game, but on top of the Premier League table as things stand too.

A flying header has done the trick, but the Reds are not going to be allowed to slouch this one out, with Watford looking dangerous at points too.

It's set up nicely for the second half.

Hosts hunting a second

2022-04-02T12:10:00.000Z

Liverpool 1-0 Watford

WATCH: Jota header glances Liverpool ahead

2022-04-02T11:58:00.000Z

Liverpool 1-0 Watford

GOAL: Liverpool 1-0 Watford

2022-04-02T11:52:00.000Z

(Diogo Jota)

The Reds it the front inside the first quarter at Anfield!

Watford will not be hugely impressed with their concession here, as Liverpool carve them up on the break. It's Joe Gomez who fizzes a ball into the box amid a host of Hornets shirts.

Diogo Jota picks it out and glances a flying header in towards the far side of the net. Jurgen Klopp's men lead.

Reds seek to impose command on game

2022-04-02T11:42:00.000Z

Liverpool 0-0 Watford

Hornets flash early warning for hosts

2022-04-02T11:36:00.000Z

Liverpool 0-0 Watford

KO: Liverpool v Watford

2022-04-02T11:30:00.000Z

Just listen to the noise around Anfield!

We are underway in our first Premier League clash of the day!

Almost time

2022-04-02T11:27:00.000Z

Liverpool v Watford

Klopp shuts down Salah-Mane rift talk

2022-04-02T11:23:00.000Z

Liverpool v Watford

Ahead of kick-off, Jurgen Klopp has moved to clear the air on the atmosphere between his two strikers now - and he has assured all that there is harmony between the pair.

"No doubt about it they are not only close, they are well educated, they are good boys, they are good humans," he stated. "I really thought Sadio did particularly well with it to be honest and I am sure that Mo appreciates that as well.

"Even if it is your brother, then imagine he is playing for the other team and you have to play a final and one wins and the other loses. That is not a good situation for anyone. But for sure Sadio and Mo would consider themselves as friends, and they handled it well."

Here come the old boys

2022-04-02T11:19:00.000Z

Liverpool v Watford

Can Maguire silence the doubters?

2022-04-02T11:15:00.000Z

Man Utd v Leicester

From two men suffering a crisis with their country to one whose performances under the national flag have been better than his club form now, as Harry Maguire looks to silence the doubters when he faces old club Leicester City with Manchester United today.

The England defender was booed before kick-off against the Ivory Coast on Tuesday, a move that preceded both a fine performance at the back for the Three Lions and sparked a passionate defence from coach Gareth Southgate and his international squadmates.

But Maguire has been handed the brunt of criticism for United's club failings this term, and he'll hope to deliver the kind of showcase at Old Trafford this weekend that shuts them up.

Harry Maguire Manchester United
Getty Images

Jorginho with a point to prove?

2022-04-02T11:11:00.000Z

Chelsea v Brentford

Salah isn't the only Premier League star contending with World Cup heartbreak however, with Chelsea playmaker Jorginho likely to be looking to put his mark on his side's game with Brentford following Italy's failure to qualify too.

The Azzurri lost to North Macedonia in a playoff semi-final last month, and their midfielder has become something of a scapegoat for their loss.

On the back of last year's Euro 2020 high, it is a bitter pill to swallow - and he'll want to put it swiftly behind him at club level this weekend.

Jorginho dejected Italy 2022
Getty Images

Liverpool struck by striker split once more?

2022-04-02T11:07:00.000Z

Liverpool v Watford

So, first out of the gate today are Liverpool, as they look to move top of the Premier League with a win against Watford. Victory at Anfield would see them vault champions Manchester City into first - for the moment at least - to keep them firmly in the hunt.

It will be not so much of a surprise that Mohamed Salah is straight into the starting XI, and that Sadio Mane makes do with the bench however. For the second time this year, the Egypt international has been bested by his Senegal club-mate, after the former lost to the latter in last month's World Cup playoff decider.

Coupled with Salah's loss to Mane in the AFCON final earlier this year, the Reds striker will surely be fired up once more to deliver - but could there be any emotional spillover between the duo at domestic level?

Mohamed Salah Sadio Mane
Getty

Team News: Liverpool v Watford

2022-04-02T11:03:00.000Z

Salah starts, Mane benched

Today's order of play

2022-04-02T11:02:00.000Z

We all know how much we've missed club football - and boy, there is no shortage of action to get your teeth stuck into today! Title favourites from the Premier League, the Bundesliga and La Liga - they're all here! Plus, Manchester United. We can't forget about Manchester United.

We'll be bringing you the biggest moments from several of these games, plus we'll aim to keep you looped in on the half-time and full-time scores elsewhere across Europe. Today's order of play then, is as follows:

1230/0730: Liverpool v Watford
1430/0930: Freiburg v Bayern Munich
1500/1000: Burnley v Manchester City
1500/1000: Chelsea v Brentford
1730/1230: Manchester Utd v Leicester
1730/1230: Celta Vigo v Real Madrid
1730/1230: Borussia Dortmund v RB Leipzig

(All times BST/EST)

Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United 2021-22
Getty

πŸŽ‰ ⚽️ Welcome to GOAL Matchday Live! ⚽️ πŸŽ‰

2022-04-02T11:00:00.000Z

Hello and welcome to GOAL Matchday Live - our rolling blog coverage of all the biggest beats and hottest games across Europe this weekend!

Oh, and isn't it just good to be back! The March international break has served up some delights and duds - a moment of reflection for all the people who shouted IT'S COMING ROME last summer, please - but that's it for World Cup prep until the end of the season.

Now, however? It's the final race to the flag, a jam-packed two-month hurtle towards the silverware end of the season. Several teams are out of the running - but many remain.

So pull up a seat, sit yourself down and get ready to soak it all in - happy April everyone!

salah
Getty Images