LiveScore Daily: Today’s football news in bite-sized chunks
LiveScore Daily is here to deliver all the big talking points from the world of football throughout the day. Keep refreshing this page for the latest stories in bite-sized chunks.
Bust-up? What bust-up?
Gareth Southgate has played down talk that Ben White left England's World Cup camp due to a bust-up with Steve Holland.
Arsenal star White, 25, did not feature in the first two Group B matches and missed the Three Lions' 3-0 win against Wales through illness, with the FA announcing the following day that he had returned home.
English football's governing body said White left for "personal reasons" and was not expected to return to Qatar, asking "that the player’s privacy is respected at this moment in time".
The Daily Star reported yesterday that the defender was unhappy and struggling to mix with team-mates, before falling out with assistant Holland in front of the rest of the squad.
But speaking ahead of tomorrow's quarter-final clash with France, Three Lions boss Southgate said: "I think by commenting on the story I could be giving it any form of credibility.
"We explained why Ben left the camp and I think it’s important that is respected."
Ready for battle
Didier Deschamps is full of admiration for Gareth Southgate — but the pleasantries will be put on hold when France collide with England tomorrow night.
All eyes will be on the clash at the Al Bayt Stadium, which is being billed as the highlight of the World Cup quarter-finals.
And Les Bleus boss Deschamps, 54, is desperate to get one over his opposite number as the reigning champions bid to advance to the final four.
He said: "I very much like Gareth. We have met and talked on a number of occasions.
"But if I understand correctly, not everyone appreciates him so much in his own country.
"That isn't because he wasn't a good footballer himself. He had a long, distinguished career and is also a very good coach.
"He has enabled England to get some very good results over the years and I very much like him."
Deschamps, who is only under contract until the end of the tournament in Qatar, added: "My only priority is this match and getting through to the semi-finals.
"My players want to go further. It is a wonderful opportunity but you need to dig deep to go further."
On the rise
Women’s Super League attendances have rocketed 200% from last year following England’s Euro 2022 success.
Kelly Simmons, director of the women’s professional game, hailed a record-breaking first half of the season ahead of this weekend’s final round of fixtures before the winter break.
She said: "Coming into the 2022-23 season, we knew we had an extraordinary opportunity to introduce the Women’s Super League and the Women’s Championship to new audiences.
"The Lionesses’ victory propelled the women's game in this country to new levels and it was important for us to capture and capitalise on that momentum.
"It has often been said that a successful women's England team will help generate interest in the domestic game.
"This is certainly true and I have been really overwhelmed by the response we have seen from fans — new and old — in the first half of the season.
"I am delighted to reveal that since the season commenced, we have seen almost 300,000 spectators attend matches across the Women’s Super League. This just highlights how much appetite there is for world-class women's league football.
"We are currently averaging almost 6,000 fans a week in the Women’s Super League as we go into the final league fixtures of 2022, which is up over 200% on this time last year.
"The Women’s Championship is also performing brilliantly, with the average attendance up over 85% on this time last year."
The highest WSL attendance was an individual club record when Arsenal and Tottenham played in front of 47,367 fans at the Emirates Stadium in September.
Back in action
Raheem Sterling returned to training today ahead of England's World Cup quarter-final clash with France.
Sterling, 28, did not feature in last weekend’s last-16 win against Senegal due to concerns over his family’s wellbeing following a break-in at his Surrey home.
The Chelsea ace headed backed to the UK to deal with the matter but is now pushing to be involved against Les Bleus.
However, England boss Gareth Southgate has played down suggestions that Sterling could feature.
He said: "I think he’s in a better place in that he feels he can come back in and has had the time he needs to help his family.
"Whether he's going to have done enough to be involved in the game is a different matter. He's had two long flights and missed a lot of training with the team.
"It's great for us that we’ve got the option of having him back with us, that he’s back with the group, but in terms of involvement for this game, that's a bit more complicated."
Out in the cold
The cold weather snap has resulted in a number of postponements this weekend.
Tomorrow's League One fixture between Accrington and Portsmouth and the League Two match between Crewe and Leyton Orient have both fallen foul of frozen pitches.
The Cumbrian derby between Carlisle and Barrow in League Two was also called off following a pitch inspection.
Carlisle had hoped the game would go ahead after placing covers on the playing surface at Brunton Park.
Postponed EFL fixtures
League One: Morecambe vs Charlton, Accrington Stanley vs Portsmouth.
League Two: Crewe vs Leyton Orient, Carlisle vs Barrow, Rochdale vs Stockport, Salford vs Walsall.