Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2018

Fixtures & Results

Colombia COL 1

Japan JPN 2

REPORT

Poland POL 1

Senegal SEN 2

REPORT

Russia RUS 3

Egypt EGY 1

REPORT

Portugal POR 1

Morocco MAR 0

REPORT

Uruguay URY 1

Saudi Arabia SAU 0

REPORT

Iran IRN 0

Spain ESP 1

REPORT

Denmark DNK

Australia AUS

France FRA

Peru PER

Argentina ARG

Croatia CRO

Brazil BRA

Costa Rica CRI

Nigeria NGA

Iceland ISL

Serbia SRB

Switzerland SUI

Belgium BEL

Tunisia TUN

South Korea KOR

Mexico MEX

Germany GER

Sweden SWE

England ENG

Panama PAN

Japan JPN

Senegal SEN

Poland POL

Colombia COL

Saudi Arabia SAU

Egypt EGY

Uruguay URY

Russia RUS

Spain ESP

Morocco MAR

Iran IRN

Portugal POR

Denmark DNK

France FRA

Australia AUS

Peru PER

Iceland ISL

Croatia CRO

Nigeria NGA

Argentina ARG

Mexico MEX

Sweden SWE

South Korea KOR

Germany GER

Switzerland SUI

Costa Rica CRI

Serbia SRB

Brazil BRA

Senegal SEN

Colombia COL

Japan JPN

Poland POL

Panama PAN

Tunisia TUN

England ENG

Belgium BEL

Rafael Benitez laughs off prospect of top-four finish for Newcastle

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has laughed off the prospect of a top-four Premier League finish despite his side's encouraging start to the season.

The promoted Magpies head into the weekend sitting in fourth place after three successive league victories and targeting another at Brighton on Sunday.

However, while fans may be dreaming of the days when the club regularly rubbed shoulders with Europe's elite, Benitez is refusing to entertain the idea.

Asked in admittedly tongue-in-cheek fashion about Champions League qualification, the Spaniard said: "No. At the moment, I am just thinking about if we can get three points against Brighton, that's it.

"It's not that I am watching the table. Yes, I have seen the table, but I am not really concerned about that.

"My main responsibility is to be sure that they play with the same intensity and we approach every game as if it was the most important. That's it."

Newcastle's return of nine points from games against West Ham, Swansea and Stoke has left them in a lofty position as they prepare to renew hostilities with Brighton, whom they pipped to the Sky Bet Championship title on a dramatic final day last season, and their manager Chris Hughton.

Hughton is remembered fondly on Tyneside for guiding the club back into the Premier League at the first attempt in 2010, although while he may receive a hero's welcome from the travelling fans, it is the future and not the past which matters to Benitez.

Asked if his team is currently exceeding expectations, he said: "It's difficult to say because when you see them training every day, you know they can play at the level they have been playing.

"But you have to win. Sometimes playing well, you cannot win and sometimes playing badly, you win. In this case, what I have seen is the performances of the team are fine and we have got three points in the last three games and we have to try to do the same.

"For me, it's not a surprise when you see them training. But in terms of performance and the way they are doing things, it's more or less what I was expecting."

Striker Aleksandar Mitrovic will sit out once again as he completes his three-match ban, while defender Florian Lejeune will also be missing after suffering a minor setback in his return from ankle ligament damage.

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