Ashley Sanchez & Niña Dioz Featured in Taco Bell’s New “Donde We All Play” Spot

Ashley Sanchez is feelin’ it

The 23-year-old Mexican America soccer player, a member of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, has teamed up with Mexican rapper Niña Dioz for the new ‘Donde We All Play’ spot for Taco Bell.

Ashley SanchezThe spot is airing now during the FIFA World Cup.

It features Diaz’s recently debuted track “Siéntelo,” which is about moving forward and pushing the boundaries.

“I’m so excited they gave me a platform to elevate my voice through one of the biggest stages in the world because I’m able to represent the Latinx community, being Mexico’s first openly queer rapper and showing the young Latin community that anything is possible,” Dioz said in a statement.

Sanchez added: “I’ve been playing soccer since I was young and to become one of the few Latinas to ever play for the U.S. women’s national team is a huge accomplishment, especially growing up and not seeing much Latin representation in sports. Working with Taco Bell on the campaign allowed me to fuse my cultural heritage and passion for soccer as well as love for the brand to reach a wider audience in hopes that it’ll inspire the younger Latin generation to do what they love.”

Lionel Messi Breaks Diego Maradona’s World Cup Goals Count

It’s one down, one to go(al) for Lionel Messi.

The 35-year-old Argentine soccer star and national team captain broke Diego Maradona‘s World Cup goals tally in Argentina’s 2-1 round-of-16 win against Australia on Saturday.

Lionel Messi,Messi equaled Maradona’s eight World Cup goals in Argentina’s previous game against Mexico, scoring from distance to set the Albiceleste on their way to a 2-0 win.

He surpassed the 1986 World Cup winner — and Guillermo Stabile, who scored eight times at the 1930 World Cup — with his ninth goal at the tournament on Saturday.

The landmark effort came in the 35th minute, giving Argentina a 1-0 lead, after he collected a layoff and expertly side-footed the ball low into the net with his famed left foot.

The goal was Messi’s first in the World Cup knockout stages and came on the occasion of his 1,000th game for club and country.

Messi had a chance to overtake Maradona in Argentina’s final group stage game against Poland but missed a first-half penalty. Argentina went on to top the group after a 2-0 win.

Messi is now one goal away from Gabriel Batistuta‘s record of 10 goals for Argentina, scored at the 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cups.

Messi scored on his World Cup debut in 2006, coming off the bench against Serbia and Montenegro in the group stage before rounding off a 6-0 victory for his side.

He failed to score entirely in the 2010 World Cup, however, as an Argentina side managed by Maradona reached the quarterfinals but lost 4-0 against Germany.

The forward enjoyed a far more prolific 2014 tournament, scoring four times in Argentina’s first three games as he helped them to the final — where they were beaten by Germany.

He scored just once at the 2018 finals in Russia — against Nigeria in the group stage — and has now netted in all of Argentina’s group games in Qatar.

Maradona’s World Cup goals came in the 1982 (2), 1986 (5) and 1994 (1) tournaments. His finest moment came in the 1986 finals in Mexico, where he led Argentina to their last World Cup triumph.

Messi is Argentina’s all-time top scorer with 94 goals in 169 appearances for the national team since making his debut in 2005. Maradona scored 34 goals in 91 appearances for Argentina from 1977-1994.

Lionel Messi Helps Lead Argentina Into the World Cup Quarterfinals

Lionel Messi has helped propel Argentina into the World Cup quarterfinals… 

In his 1,000th career match, the 35-year-old Argentine professional footballer scored the opening goal with a sublime effort on Saturday before Julian Alvarez scored in the second half to secure a 2-1 victory against Australia.

Lionel Messi,The win sets up a quarterfinal against the Netherlands.

“I am very happy for taking another step forward, achieving another objective,” Messi said. “It was a very strong and difficult match — we knew it was going to be this way.

“We didn’t have much time to rest up and we were concerned as we knew it was going to be a physical match and they were very strong. Luckily we found the goal and we were one goal ahead, and then two goals ahead.

“And then we had a setback with the goal — but that’s the World Cup for you, the matches are difficult and we got the win.”

Despite Argentina’s firepower, Australia managed to limit the early proceedings, keeping them uneventful with neither side exerting any dominance.

But the Socceroos‘ defense was breached on 35 minutes as Messi showed his undeniable quality to score his first-ever goal in the World Cup knockout stage.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward started the move with a darting run inside from the right wing — a quick exchange of passes landed him inside the box before he unleashed a left-footed curling shot past Mat Ryan.

“He [Messi] is incredible. One of the greatest ever,” Australia boss Graham Arnold said. “We really worked hard not to be in awe of him, because of the great player he is.

“But wow, he’s remarkable. I had the privilege of playing against Diego Maradona, and now coaching against Messi — they’re both wonderful players and Argentina should be so proud and happy to have players of that calibre.”

Buoyed by rapturous support, Argentina tightened their grip on a quarterfinal spot 12 minutes after half-time as Rodrigo De Paul pounced on a slack touch by Australia goalkeeper Ryan, allowing Alvarez to slot into a vacated net, doubling his side’s lead.

A triple substitution for Australia on 72 minutes signified a desperate last roll of the dice by manager Arnold and they were handed a lifeline when an own goal by Enzo Fernandez halved their deficit 13 minutes from time.

Craig Goodwin latched onto a loose ball outside the box and struck a fierce effort first-time, which took a huge deflection off Fernandez, fooling goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and hitting the back of the net.

With renewed optimism, Aziz Behich came close to leveling the game three minutes later as he embarked on a fantastic darting run, beating four Argentina defenders before eventually being thwarted by Lisandro Martinez in the box.

Despite their desire, a comeback didn’t materialize for Australia and manager Arnold was full of praise for their impressive run in the tournament.

“They’re extremely disappointed — it’s not every day you get to play the third-best nation in the word and play those types of players,” he said.

“I felt we did a good job. I wanted to say how proud I am of them and the sacrifices they’ve made through the campaign. Everyone said before we came here we were the worst Socceroo team ever and to qualify for a World Cup — but that’s gone now — we’ve done exceptionally well.”

Julian Alvarez Scores First-Ever World Cup Goal to Help Lead Argentina into the Round of 16

It’s a special World Cup first for Julian Alvarez.

The 22-year-old Argentine professional footballer, nicknamed “La Araña,” scored his first FIFA World Cup goal on Wednesday during Argentina’s Group C 2-0 win against Poland.

Julian Alvarez, Alvarez and Alexis Mac Allister’s second-half goals at Stadium 974 in Qatar helped Argentina advance to the last 16.

Great news for the Argentina team, which was shocked by Saudi Arabia in their group opener, in their quest for a first World Cup title since 1986.

“It’s so emotional for me, for the whole squad. It’s a dream come true,” Mac Allister told reporters. “I debuted with this team, I’m so proud of that. And now managing to score in a World Cup. I’m so happy.

“[After Messi’s penalty miss] we tried to stay positive, to stay calm. We did not feel down. We tried to be optimistic. Fortunately we managed to win and go through.”

Despite being thoroughly outplayed through the 90 minutes, Poland also snuck into the knockout round in second place thanks to a superior goal difference over Mexico and will face Group D winners France on Sunday.

Argentina is set to face Australia on Saturday with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.

Lionel Messi, meantime, was playing in his 22nd game at the World Cup — and 999th of his career for club and country — breaking a tie with Diego Maradona for the most by an Argentine in the world’s biggest tournament.

Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny saved a Messi penalty that was awarded by VAR as Argentina dominated the first 45 minutes but had nothing to show for it with the halftime score 0-0.

Szczesny had been kept busy the entire half with the Poland defence breached time and again, but the Juventus keeper stood firm to deny the Argentines who grew more confident with every attack.

He first denied Alvarez, who broke through the offside trap before he tipped Angel Di Maria‘s cross over the bar when his Juve teammate attempted to score directly from a corner kick.

The opener for Argentina came right after the restart when Brighton striker Mac Allister redirected a Nahuel Molina cross with a first-time shot that trickled past Szczesny and off the far post.

Manchester City teenager Alvarez announced himself on the world stage and doubled Argentina’s lead midway through the second half, picking up a pass from Enzo Fernandez in the penalty area and lashing a shot past Szczesny to all but secure the three points.

With Poland’s spot in the round of 16 looking like it could come down to a fair play (yellow and red card accumulation) tiebreaker with Mexico, Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz had instructed his players to avoid unnecessary bookings as the match wore on.

“I didn’t tell players to take their foot off the ball, but I did tell them to avoid silly bookings,” Michniewicz told a news conference. “We even talked about the yellow cards for those on the bench, because it was only before the match, after the meeting with the delegate, when we learned that cards awarded to players on the bench do not count for the fair play classification.

“We were afraid that one of the players would jump out, or the coach, and would get booked and therefore we might not advance further. But I also asked that we do not provoke, not pull their shirts, not argue with the referee.”

Neuza Back to Form Part of Historic All-Woman Refereeing Team at World Cup

Neuza Back is about to make FIFA World Cup history…

The Brazilian referee, Mexico’s Karen Diaz and Stephanie Frappart will become the first all-women refereeing team for a men’s World Cup match as they have been named to take charge of the Costa Rica-Germany Group E match on Thursday, FIFA has announced.

Neuza BackFrappart, the fourth official for the Poland-Mexico Group C clash last week, will be the main referee as she reaches another milestone after being the first female to officiate at a men’s World Cup qualifier in March and Champions League match in 2020.

Neuza and Diaz will serve as assistants.

Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda and Yamashita Yoshimi of Japan are also taking part at the tournament in Qatar.

Gavi Becomes One of the Youngest Goal Scorers in FIFA World Cup History

Gavi has kicked his way in to the World Cup history books…

The 18-year-old Spanish midfielder has become the third-youngest goal scorer in FIFA World Cup history and youngest since Brazil legend Pele in 1958 with his 74th-minute strike in a 7-0 win against Costa Rica on Wednesday.

GaviWhen he stepped on the field to start the game, the Barcelona prodigy also became the youngest player (18 years, 110 days) to appear for Spain in a major international tournament (World Cup or European Championship).

“I never dreamed to be here at this age,” Gavi said through an interpreter. “I’m so happy to be here. This is only one step. I need to keep going.”

Pele was aged 17 years, 249 days when he scored in Brazil’s 1958 World Cup final win over Sweden. He holds the record for the youngest to score in a World Cup when scoring 10 days earlier in the quarterfinals.

Mexico‘s Manuel Rosas is the second-youngest scorer, aged 18 years and 93 days when finding the net in the inaugural 1930 tournament.

Spain led 4-0 when a driving run from Alejandro Balde pierced the Costa Rica defense and after goalkeeper Keylor Navas’ partial clearance, Alvaro Morata found Gavi on a late-arriving run.

The teenager struck it with the outside of his right boot and it deflected in off the right post in what was one of the most impressive displays of skill in the tournament so far.

His overall contribution earned him FIFA‘s player of the match award.

“It was a great game. We started from the first minute to win this game and I’m really happy,” Gavi said. “Now I’m waiting for the next one. I’m really happy to win MVP but today we all did a really great game and I’m really happy for all of them.

“I know I’m the youngest in the team and I respect everyone, but on the field it’s different and I bring out my best. I’m proud to be in that podium.”

It was a historically dominant win for Spain, who didn’t allow a single shot and recorded the most passes (1,043) and highest possession percentage (81.3) in a World Cup match since at least 1966.

Spain’s victory was the most lopsided win at a World Cup since Portugal beat North Korea 7-0 in 2010.

Maluma Teaming Up with Nicki Minaj & Myriam Fares to Release New World Cup Anthem “Tukoh Taka”

Maluma is getting into the World Cup spirit…

The 28-year-old Colombian singer, songwriter and actor is joining voices with Nicki Minaj and Lebanese artist Myriam Fares to release a new official World Cup anthem this Friday, November 18, according to FIFA.

MalumaThe single will be released via Universal Arabic Music/Universal Music Group/ Republic Records.

Titled “Tukoh Taka,” the track will make history as the first FIFA World Cup song featuring English, Spanish and Arabic lyrics.

The cross-continental collaboration features a high-energy synergy between Minaj, Maluma and Fares as they rap and sing about uniting fans worldwide and celebrating together.

Fans can also expect a “cinematic” music video premiere to accompany the track that same day.

This year, FIFA has released a handful of official songs for the 2022 World Cup. The first song released was the uplifting track “Hayya Hayya (Better Together),” featuring Trinidad Cardona, Davido and Aisha, which fuses R&B and reggae influences. For the first time ever, the tournament’s soundtrack will feature a multi-song collection, with international artists “showcasing diverse musical genres that span the world, setting the tone for a truly global celebration,” according to FIFA.

In 1990, almost sixty years after the first-ever edition of the World Cup, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) began to adopt songs that would become the official soundtrack of the global soccer event, which happens every four years.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off on November 20 with host nation Qatar’s tournament opener against Ecuador. A total of 32 teams representing different countries will participate. In the end, one is crowned the World Cup champion on December 18.

Trinidad Cardona to Perform During the 2022 FIFA Fan Festival

Trinidad Cardona is readying to take the global stage…

The 23-year-old Mexican and African American R&B singer, social media personality and songwriter is along a prestigious list of global artists set to take part in the 2022 FIFA Fan Festival.

Trinidad CardonaThe announcement comes as the World Cup gets set to launch in Qatar later this month.

In addition to Cardona, other artists playing on the festival’s main stage include Calvin Harris and Diplo, along with Canadian/Morroccan singer Nora Fatehi and Nigerian singer/songwriter Kizz Daniel.

“I’ve been really fortunate to travel all over the world and experience different cultures through music,” says Diplo. “Wherever I am, Jamaica, Spain, England, China, South Africa, etc., football is a social constant. Seeing so many fans from all over the world in one place – the FIFA Fan Festival is just awesome. Really looking forward to it!”

“I’m so excited to be playing for football fans from all over the world at this year’s FIFA Fan Festival,” adds Harris.

The five shows start in Qatar on November 22 with Diplo’s performance and extend through December 10 when Harris closes out the event. The Fan Festival promises music, entertainment, local culture, food and games along with loads of soccer.

These live performances are just one part of the musical offerings associated with the World Cup, the global soccer event in which 32 teams — representing different countries — participate with one, in the end, being crowned World Cup champion.

As has been tradition for many years, a select number of songs officially soundtrack the tournament, and so far this year several songs associated to the World Cup have been released, with a few including  “Hayya Hayya (Better Together)” being part of the official FIFA soundtrack.

See a list of those 2022 tracks here.

FC Dallas’ Jesus Ferreira Named the MLS Young Player of the Year

Jesus Ferreira is celebrating a major MLS honor… 

The 21-year-old Colombia professional soccer player, a forward for FC Dallas, has been named the MLS Young Player of the Year after matching the franchise record for goals in a season.

Jesus FerreiraFerreira scored 18 goals to share the record with Jason Kreis (1999) and Kenny Cooper (2008). The 18 goals tied for fourth best in Major League Soccer this season, with Nashville SC‘s Hany Mukhtar leading the league with 23. 

Ferreira also netted a goal from the penalty spot during Dallas’ shootout win over Minnesota United FC in the MLS playoffs on Monday night.

The YPOTY award is given out to players age 22 and under and was known as Rookie of the Year until being changed in 2020.

Ferreira received 32.4 percent of the votes from a panel of players, technical staff and media.

Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada (17.3 percent) finished second and FC Cincinnati forward Brenner (8.2 percent) was third.

Ferreira also had six assists while playing in 33 matches (29 starts) this season. He has 36 goals and 22 assists in 114 career matches (97 starts) for FC Dallas.

Ferreira, who turns 22 on December 24, made his MLS debut at age 16 during the 2017 season.

The United States men’s national team is also expecting Ferreira to be a key contributor for Gregg Berhalter at the World Cup in Qatar. He became the fifth player in USMNT history to score four goals in a match when he turned the trick against Grenada on June 11 in a CONCACAF match.

Almada, 21, had six goals and 12 assists in 29 matches (25 starts) this season, while Brenner, 22, had 18 goals and six assists in 29 matches (22 starts).

Gavi Named World’s Best Under-21 Footballer

Gavi is celebrating his Kopa moment…

The 18-year-old Spanish professional footballer has won the Kopa Trophy, the award presented to the best player under age 21, prior to the 2022 Ballon d’Or presentation.

GaviThe Barca midfielder, who turned 18 in August, claimed the prize ahead of Borussia Dortmund‘s Jude Bellingham and Bayern Munich‘s Jamal Musiala.

He succeeds Barcelona teammate Pedri, last year’s winner.

After breaking into the first-team setup at age 16 last year, Gavi went on to make 47 appearances for Barca in all competitions in 2021-22, scoring two goals.

His performances for the Catalan club earned him a call-up to the Spain national team and he became the youngest player to ever represent La Roja, at the age of 17 years and 62 days.

Gavi has since won 12 caps for Spain and is a regular for club and country heading into next month’s FIFA World Cup.