‘Macbeth’ set to tread the boards in Beijing

The Romeo & Julia Kören ensemble from Sweden is going to bring William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, to Beijing on June 13 and 14, with two shows at Tianqiao Performing Arts Center.

Adapted and directed by Benoît Malmberg and composed by Clément Janequin and Joaquin des Prez, the 70-minute performance combines a selection of musical pieces and fragmented dialogues.

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Romeo & Julia Kören’s Macbeth premiered in 1997 and has since been performed at Shakespeare festivals in Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Denmark.

The Romeo & Julia Kören ensemble was formed in 1991 and performs a mix of singing, dance and theatre. It has toured more than 35 countries including China, the United States, Russia and Germany.

All-women quartet gives Peking Opera a unique touch

For the first time in the history of Peking Opera, four women recently performed a piece in the China National Peking Opera Company production, Stories of the Red Army.

The Peking Opera performance was one of the 51 productions showcased at the 12th China Art Festival in Shanghai.

Two performances took place at Shanghai’s Majestic Theater on May 27 and 28.

For the show, the CNPOC brought together three stories based on events during the Red Army’s epic Long March (1934-36), to create the modern Peking Opera, which premiered in Beijing on Aug 1, 2018.

“They are stories about the resilience and bravery of the Red Army during the Long March,” says Song Chen, head of the CNPOC.

“You see in the play how these soldiers are ready to sacrifice themselves to help others. People will be touched by their faith and devotion.”

One of the stories is about three women soldiers staying for a night at a farmer’s home in Shazhou village in Rucheng county in Hunan province. They sleep in the home of a local woman named Xu Jiexiu, and feel sorry for her poor living conditions. When they leave the next morning, a soldier uses a pair of scissors to cut up the only quilt she has, leaving half of it for the village woman.

In this scene, the CNPOC did something unprecedented – introducing a quartet comprising three Red Army soldiers and the elderly villager woman.

Peking Opera styles have developed over hundreds of years, creating a wide range of roles, each featuring distinctive methods of performance and singing styles.

Yuan Huiqin, a veteran Peking Opera singer and deputy director of the CNPOC, says: “Every Peking Opera artist has his or her unique vocal expressions. It is not easy to bring together two artists from different schools in one song.

“Never before has there been a chorus in a formal Peking Opera piece.”

However, Zhang Manjun, director of the production, says that Peking Opera – despite its long history and rich heritage – is no stranger to innovation and creativity.

“We saw lots of successful innovations in a series of modern Peking Opera performances on the revolutionary theme created in the 1960s. And we believe new creativity can be achieved, and successful innovation is recognized and accepted by audiences and critics as well.”

In the chorus, three performers each adopt the singing style of one established school of female roles, or dan, to illustrate their different personalities.

The Mei school founded by Mei Lanfang (1894-1961) features excellent interpretation of grace and refinement. The Cheng school founded by Cheng Yanqiu (1904-58) is known for its whimper-like vocalization recognized as “soft and pleasing yet firm but gentle”. And the Shang school created by Shang Xiaoyun (1900-76) features martial arts and heroic brave women.

Yuan who acts the elderly woman character of Xu Jiexiu, is the fourth singer in the four-minute song.

“Composer Chen Jianzhong went to great lengths to introduce elements of Chinese folk music and make sure the four singers retained their styles while creating a harmonious chorus,” Yuan says.

“We spent a lot of time in rehearsals making sure this song was done properly.”

Since the premiere of the show on Aug 1, 2018, the opera has staged more than 20 performances, touring cities the Red Army passed through during the Long March.

“We worked it out eventually, the four of us, after so many stage performances,” Yuan says.

“We have borrowed a little choral-singing technique and figured out how to make sure everybody’s unique sound is heard while creating a harmonious chorus.”

The CNPOC’s Song says: “As China’s national Peking Opera company, we shoulder the responsibility of keeping the bar high and setting an example for colleagues in the rest of the country.

“We pulled together talent from the whole company in order to create Stories of the Red Army, and to make sure that the narrative, stage design and music performance are up to the mark.

The innovation, Song believes, is successful, as it respects the principles of Peking Opera art and explores modern harmony.

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Jing Junmei, a theater critic based in Beijing, praises Stories of the Red Army for its portrayal of “ordinary stories of ordinary people”.

“It enables audiences to really feel the spirit of their time, which is the most inspiring thing about this production,” Jing says.

Arts and crafts to paint picture of prosperity

Authorities look to promote region’s cultural heritage to boost business environment. Cao Yin reports from Lhasa, Tibet autonomous region.

Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series of stories about the Tibet autonomous region, focusing on the area’s history, poverty alleviation measures and the cultural and business sectors.

Earlier this month, a 17-day exhibition of Tibetan art and culture held at Chengdu International Finance Square in Sichuan province attracted nearly 200,000 visitors.

About 30 works were displayed during the exhibition, which was organized by Chengdu IFS and Tihho, a business in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet autonomous region, that promotes the area’s arts and culture. The show, which offered visitors free access to paintings and other treasures, was aimed at deepening popular understanding of Tibet and its culture.

Fang Kun, one of Tihho’s founders, began promoting Tibetan art and culture five years ago. He and three friends sited their headquarters in Lhasa, not only because they would be near Tibetan artists and their work but also because they were confident about the region’s dynamic business environment.

“We wanted to become a bridge for cultural exchanges between Tibet and other areas,” Fang said.

Last year, Xu Yingtao, from Heilongjiang province, also opened a company in Lhasa to help the regional government and local businesses promote Tibetan art and culture.

Xu described Tibet as a fledgling market, compared with the mature infrastructure in Southwest China’s wealthy provinces, “but with many job opportunities and business possibilities”, which is good news for startups.

A report published in November by the Tibet branch of the Communist Youth League of China and Tibet University noted that the region’s business environment has flourished as a result of the efforts of startups in recent years.

By April 2017, a total of 11,036 small and micro businesses had registered in Lhasa, accounting for 67 percent of companies in the city, bringing greater dynamism to the local economy, the report said.

The businesses covered several sectors, with those related to catering, culture and retailing ranked highest.

However, the report also noted a number of factors that could affect startups, including the small number of ethnic Tibetan entrepreneurs and a lack of regulation in some sectors.

In response, local authorities have taken steps to encourage residents to start their own businesses, such as providing subsidies and simplifying procedures for dealing with government departments.

Thubthan Khedrub, a Tibet University professor who helped write the report, welcomed the measures, but said they do not go far enough. He suggested the government should offer more financial support, especially for younger entrepreneurs, and provide more training for entrepreneurs to improve Lhasa’s business environment.

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Unveiling medical mysteries

A new four-part TV documentary series looks at the lives of doctors, Wang Kaihao reports.

What are doctors really like when you peel off the white gowns and masks? There is no script for The Doctors, a four-part documentary on Channel 4 of China Central Television that premiered on Monday, but reality is touching enough.

In the series created by Health News, a newspaper affiliated with the National Health Commission, the lens focuses on the work of medical practitioners from six hospitals in provincial capitals around China – Nanjing, Jiangsu province; Xi’an, Shaanxi province; Hangzhou, Zhejiang province; Zhengzhou, Henan province; Hefei, Anhui province; and Chengdu, Sichuan province.

Hu Yali, a gynecologist who recently retired as deputy director of the Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital after 30 years, still goes to the hospital every day and serves as a consultant.

“As long as I am still useful, I will go there,” she says.

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Wang Dongjin, a cardiologist from the same hospital, has long suffered from spondylosis – the degeneration of the vertebral column – but he still visits local communities every weekend to do voluntary medical service.

“I am luckier than other doctors,” he says. “The hospital provides me with a massage chair to take a rest. Not everyone has such a privilege.”

According to Zhang Jianzhen, director of The Doctors, which took two years to make, the program aims to improve public understanding of doctors’ work.

Statistics from the National Health Commission show that over 20 million people go to hospitals every day in China.

“This is a unique job, which has a direct link with people’s lives,” says Zhang after a recent preview of the documentary in Beijing.

“People rely on doctors. But they know very little about them because there isn’t enough public education about medical jobs in China.”

Zhu Liangfu, a neurologist from Henan Provincial People’s Hospital, recalls that when an elderly man died of a stroke in spite of his efforts, the patient’s wife angrily shouted at him, saying: “I want to tear you to pieces!”

“But later she calmed down and said to me: ‘I am feeling uncomfortable. Can you check my heart?’,” Zhu says.

Greece’s Piraeus Port luring Chinese cruise visitors

Piraeus, Greece’s largest port, is interested in securing more Chinese cruise passengers while acknowledging that the potential of the Chinese market is huge, a senior Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) official said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the 5th Posidonia Sea Tourism Forum, which opened here on Tuesday, PPA Strategic Planning and Marketing Manager Theodora Riga stressed the importance of attracting more visitors from China and presented a PPA report on Chinese cruise passengers visiting Piraeus.

The survey revealed that the typical Chinese cruise visitor has a budget of some 10,000 euros ($11,200) and spends more than 7 days on the trip. Forty-five percent of all Chinese cruise passengers are younger than 40, while the same age group accounts for only 31 percent of passengers arriving from the U.S.

“The Chinese have various options in the Mediterranean, such as Venice, Barcelona, etc., but Piraeus is also one of their targets,” said Riga in her address at the event, which will conclude on Wednesday.

“We are constantly seeking to promote Piraeus as a destination for Chinese cruise passengers,” she told Xinhua.

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China is the second largest source market for global cruise tourism with 2.4 million passengers per year, a long way behind the U.S. with 11.4 million passengers, said Thomas Boardley, secretary general of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Europe, at the forum.

About 300,000 Chinese tourists are expected to travel to Greece by all modes of transport this year, doubling last year’s figure of 150,000, Riga said. 

Eden engineers dramatic departure

Madrid-linked Hazard all but confirms Chelsea exit after brilliantly bamboozling Arsenal in Europa League finale

Eden Hazard said he’s “ready for a new challenge” after playing a starring role in Chelsea’s 4-1 Europa League final victory over Arsenal in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Wednesday.

The Belgian playmaker showed why he’s at the top of Real Madrid’s summer shopping list with two goals, including one from the penalty spot, and an assist to pick apart the hapless Gunners.

He hugged teammates and waved to Blues fans at the final whistle, and afterward strongly hinted he had played his last game in a Chelsea shirt.

“I think it’s a goodbye, but in football you never know. My dream was to play in the Premier League and I did this for seven years for one of the biggest clubs in the world. So now maybe it’s time for a new challenge,” said Hazard, who also won the Europa League in 2013 with the west Londoners, as well two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and one League Cup.

“I’ve made my decision already. Now it depends on the club. I’m just waiting like the fans wait, so you will know in a couple of days,” the 28-year-old added.

“My target today was to win the trophy. That’s it… the only thing that was on my mind.”

Sarri uncertainty

Chelsea coach Maurizio Sarri is also reportedly headed for the Stamford Bridge exit door, with Juventus anxious for him to replace outgoing Massimiliano Allegri.

That speculation was racheted up a notch after Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck was spotted meeting with Juve counterpart Andrea Agnelli in the club’s team hotel before the game.

Italian outlet Tuttosport said the pair also met to discuss Sarri’s future, and that the Serie A champion is increasingly confident of luring the 60-year-old former Napoli manager back to Italy this summer.

Sarri said he wanted to meet with Chelsea’s Russian billionaire owner Roman Abramovich-who missed most games this season due to British visa issues but was in Baku for the final-or director Marina Granovskaia to discuss his future.

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“The season finished one hour ago so tomorrow I will begin to speak with my club, to the owner, to the director, or Marina, I don’t know,” said the Italian, who celebrated by smoking a huge cigar on the pitch.

“We need to know what the club can do for me, what I can do better for the club. I need to speak but I also think the club needs to speak with me.”

Reflecting on his debut season in English soccer, Sarri added: “Of course the trophy is very important because we were in trouble in January and February and then we reacted.

“It is not easy to do that in the Premier League because the level is really very high.

“In the end we got into the Champions League, we played the final of the League Cup and lost on penalties to Manchester City. In the Europa League we played 15 matches and won 12 and drew three, so I think we deserved to win it.”

Despite Chelsea’s joy, the match was underwhelming, with the atmosphere inside Baku Olympic Stadium struggling to equal that of a typical European final.

There appeared to be several thousand empty seats and only around 6,000 fans traveled from England.

After a dour first half, former Arsenal forward Olivier Giroud broke the deadlock just after the restart before Pedro put the Blues in control.

Alex Iwobi’s strike either side of Hazard’s brace was scant consolation for Arsenal, which bade farewell to retiring 37-year-old goalkeeper Petr Cech.

Suarez included in Uruguay's final Copa America squad despite injury concerns

The Barcelona striker remains a doubt after undergoing knee surgery, but Luis Suarez is in Uruguay’s final squad for the Copa America.

Luis Suarez has been included in Uruguay’s final squad of 23 players for the Copa America despite continuing to recover from knee surgery. 

Suarez missed Barcelona’s shock defeat to Valencia in last weekend’s Copa del Rey final after having an operation on his meniscus. 

But he was named in Oscar Tabarez’s squad for the Copa America on Thursday, with the selection also including Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani, who had an injury-hit 2018-19. 

Both players were prolific when they were playing this season.  

Suarez scored 21 times in La Liga, second only to team-mate Lionel Messi and level with Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema in the league scoring charts, averaging a goal per every 135 minutes played.  

Cavani averaged a goal per every 93 minutes played in Ligue 1, managing 18 in total to finish third in the league scoring charts behind team-mate Kylian Mbappe and Lille’s Nicolas Pepe. 

Diego Godin is also in among the star names on the roster after the experienced defender confirmed his forthcoming exit from Atletico Madrid, who are also represented by defender Jose Gimenez. 

Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, one of the revelations of the Premier League season, Inter’s Matias Vecino and Juventus duo Martin Caceras and Rodrigo Bentancur are among the other notable players included. 

Uruguay face Panama in a friendly before opening their group campaign against Ecuador on June 16. Japan and Copa America holders Chile are also in Group C. 

The side will be looking to win their first Copa crown since 2011.  

Uruguay squad in full: 

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Martin Campana (Independiente), Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Martin Silva (Libertad); Martin Caceres (Juventus), Sebastian Coates (Sporting CP), Jose Gimenez (Atletico Madrid), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Marcelo Saracchi (RB Leipzig); Giorgian de Arrascaeta (Flamengo), Rodrigo Bentancur (Juventus), Giovanni Gonzalez (Penarol), Diego Laxalt (AC Milan), Nicolas Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders), Nahitan Nandez (Boca Juniors), Gaston Pereiro (PSV), Lucas Torreira (Arsenal), Federico Valverde (Real Madrid), Matias Vecino (Inter); Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain), Maxi Gomez (Celta Vigo), Jonathan Rodriguez (Cruz Azul), Cristhian Stuani (Girona), Luis Suarez (Barcelona).

'I'm excited to see him' – Wales manager Giggs insists Bale still loves football

Despite a troublesome season with Real Madrid, his international boss says the winger still has a lot of love for the game

Wales manager Ryan Giggs has insisted star player Gareth Bale remains happy and enthusiastic despite enduring a difficult season in Spain with Real Madrid.

His comments come amid claims that the Cardiff-born attacker has lost his love for the game following a tricky spell that has seen him lose his place in Real’s starting XI and found himself stuck on the bench.

Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane even refused to bring him off the bench in the final La Liga game of the season, denying the 29-year-old a potential farewell and later saying: “He [Bale] has won a lot here, but we live for the present and the future.”

The £85.3m signing from Tottenham has also become a target for the club’s fans, with a recent poll revealing that only nine per cent of almost five million Real supporters want him to stay at the Bernabeu Stadium.

According to Giggs, however, Bale has lost none of his love for the game, and he has praised the former Southampton winger for his application and attitude ahead of Wales’ upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Croatia and Hungary.

“I saw him this week (at a training camp),” Giggs told The Mail, “and he looked like he enjoyed football to me.

“He was sharp, he wanted the ball, and he was practising his trademark of cutting in on his left foot. He scored a great goal.

“Afterwards, when a lot of the lads went in, he was practising his shooting, so that doesn’t strike me as someone who just wants to get off and go back to his room.

“It struck me as a professional who still loves football.”

Despite winning four Champions League titles, three FIFA World Club titles, a La Liga crown and the Copa del Rey since his arrival in 2013, Bale’s future remains unclear.

When asked if he was surprised by the criticism aimed at Bale, who has also scored over 100 goals for the club, Giggs said: “Yes, but I’m not over there.

“I’m not a Real Madrid fan. I don’t know the ins and outs and I’m only looking from the outside.

“But you’ve got a player who won the team the Champions League final last year with one of the best goals you’ve ever seen and performs for that team week in, week out.

“I remember the original Ronaldo getting stick off Real Madrid fans. I remember Cristiano (Ronaldo) getting stick early doors.

“It’s that kind of club, it’s a club like no other where the white handkerchiefs come out if they don’t like you. That’s just the way it is.

“But we played a game (on Tuesday) and he looked really good, sharp and really fresh.

“I’m excited to see him in these two games.”

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'There he was, shooting at journalists!' – The crazy story of when Maradona and Pochettino roomed together

Tottenham’s manager had a first-hand glimpse of Diego’s rather erratic behaviour while at Newell’s Old Boys at the start of his career

On Saturday, Mauricio Pochettino will fulfil the dream of many a manager – leading his team out in a Champions League final.

The Tottenham boss has come a long way since taking his first steps in football in his native Argentina, which included an unforgettable experience rooming with the great Diego Maradona – and a bit-part role in one of the errant star’s most incredible outbursts.

Pochettino grew up in the tiny Santa Fe farming village of Murphy, which also counts Spurs’ reserve goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga among the 4,000 people that call it home – a ratio of one Champions League finalist per 2,000 inhabitants.

“It was a very small town and what I did every day was go to school and play football all day long with my friends. We didn’t have a TV in the house,” the manager explained to the BBC in a 2013 interview.

Eventually, the Pochettino family would splash out on a black and white set, which labourer father Hector would power by taking the battery off his tractor.

While as a child he was a fan of Avellaneda club Racing, it was at Newell’s Old Boys that the youngster received his break in football.

At 14, he was scouted by Marcelo Bielsa’s legendary right-hand man Jorge Griffa – responsible for discovering talents such as Gabriel Batistuta, Jorge Valdano, Maxi Rodriguez and Gabriel Heinze to name just a few players who sprang up from Santa Fe’s fertile footballing fields. Pochettino moved to Rosario, where he began working under El Loco in the Lepra’s youth divisions.

Bielsa was the man who gave final approval to the signing and travelled to Murphy in order to convince the teenager’s parents to let him move to Newell’s, while also taking the opportunity to have a good look at his potential star.

“One night, at one in the morning, he came to my house, knocked on the door and wanted to see a 13-year-old boy,” Pochettino (pictured below with the ponytail while Bielsa, on the far right, was Argentina coach) recalled to ESPN.

“He wanted to see my legs! At this time of the morning, he would have to be a little [crazy]… he had to make my parents dream.

“Then he said: ‘These legs look like those of a very good player.’ That was a good lie, no bad intentions. For me, he’s a person I will always admire. People call him ‘El Loco Bielsa’, but for me, he is not crazy at all.

“For me, he’s a genius. A person with charisma and a personality very different from us normal coaches, and that’s what makes him special.”

When Bielsa moved up to coach the first team in 1990, Pochettino already had two years of senior play under his belt.

With El Loco on the bench and Pochettino marshalling the defence Newell’s enjoyed one of the best spells in their history, winning two national league titles and reaching the final of the Copa Libertadores in 1992, where they lost out on penalties to a Sao Paulo team featuring future World Cup winners Cafu, Rai, Zetti and Muller.

That Libertadores campaign had actually begun with disaster, losing 6-0 to San Lorenzo at home. Incensed, the Newell’s barra brava hooligans made their way to Bielsa’s family home to protest – only to be greeted at the door with the coach brandishing a grenade.

“If you don’t leave now, I’ll pull the pin and throw,” he warned, before chasing the retreating thugs for several blocks, grenade in hand.

Bielsa opted to leave Newell’s for Mexico following defeat in the Copa final, but Pochettino stayed on. One year later, the arrival of Diego Maradona turned the world of Newell’s upside down.

The Argentine football legend, fresh from a fiery spell at Sevilla, chose to join the Rosario club to continue his comeback following a lengthy ban for cocaine consumption that forced him out of Napoli.

Over 40,000 fans turned out to watch his first training session in Lepra colours. And Pochettino was chosen to share a bedroom with Diego when Newell’s were on the road.

“It was incredible because I always had his photo on my bedroom wall,” the manager beamed when asked about the experience years later. “And then I was with him, it was tremendous.

“I remember my first night. I turned off the light and lay there trying to see if I could sleep. I couldn’t believe it, I thought I was dreaming, that it wasn’t real.”

Maradona’s time at Newell’s proved to be turbulent, marked by injuries, fall-outs with coaches and precious little time on the field. In total he would play just five games for the club, failing to score. Diego nevertheless stayed on through the start of 1994, participating in Newell’s summer pre-season plans in the beach resort of Mar del Plata.

As Pochettino can attest, though, life with the little genius was never predictable.

“We were all together in pre-season in Mar del Plata and the day before we had shared a room,” he explained. “That night, because he loves basketball, he had gone to see the League final. In the morning, when I woke up, he was not in his bed.”

The mystery of Diego’s whereabouts on February 2, 1994 would not be clarified until hours later.

“After breakfast we went to train and then we came back for lunch. Still nobody knew where Diego was,” Pochettino continued. “As we ate we watched the news on television: he was shooting at journalists in Buenos Aires, 400 kilometres from where we were!”

As Pochettino had slumbered the previous night, Maradona made his way back from Argentina’s Atlantic coast to his home in Moreno on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

When he awoke to find a gaggle of reporters at his gates, Diego opened fire with an air rifle, wounding six members of the press while also turning the hose on those who still refused to leave. In 2002, he was given a suspended two-year prison sentence, with Maradona also ordered to pay damages to those injured in the melee.

Attacks on journalists aside, the Spurs boss’ love of his football idol and ex-room-mate has never faltered.

“I love football, it has always been my passion. And [my idol] will always be Diego Armando Maradona,” Pochettino told Sky Sports.

Now the boy from Murphy has achieved what neither Diego nor Bielsa ever could, taking part in the biggest game in European club football.

It has been a long journey from those early days in Rosario, sharing training sessions and hotel rooms with two of the game’s most eccentric, unique characters: but both men have played their part in turning Pochettino into the man and manager he is today.

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Weah goal sends United States to knockout stage of Under-20 World Cup

The Paris Saint-Germain teenager scored the only goal of a nervy victory over Qatar, which sees the U.S. advance to the last-16

Timothy Weah earned the United States a place in the Under-20 World Cup knockout stages with the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Qatar. 

The 19-year-old Paris Saint-Germain forward’s goal in the 76th minute ensured the U.S. a second-place finish in the group, and automatic qualification to the last 16, though a potential matchup with France awaits. 

After losing their opening game to Ukraine 2-1 and then rebounding with a 2-0 victory over Nigeria, the U.S. entered the contest knowing a victory would seal their place in the knockout stage while a draw would likely see them through. 

However, it wasn’t an impressive first half for the Americans who, despite their favorites tag, looked second-best for most of the opening 45 minutes. 

The best chance of the half actually fell to Qatar, with David Ochoa rushing out for a save with his boot on a 1v1 chance in the 37th minute. There was a rebound opportunity on the empty net, but it was put wide to let the U.S. off. 

However, the U.S. nearly capitalized on an error late in the first half when Qatar goalkeeper Shehab Mamdouh spilled a cross into the path of the onrushing Sebastian Soto. 

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But the striker hit it at a narrow angle, and put his chance into the side netting. 

Ochoa was tested again in the second half as Khaled Mohamed got in on him alone at a tough angle, but the keeper was able to snag the low shot cleanly. 

Moments after Mohamed’s opportunity, Weah made Qatar pay for their spurned chances. 

Mendez forced a turnover near the Qatar area and then played it into Weah, who then blasted his shot past Mamdouh to give the U.S. the advantage with his first goal of the tournament. 

The U.S. then had an opportunity to double their advantage after Brandon Servania was hauled down in the area, which saw a penalty awarded after VAR overruled the initial offside call. 

But Mandouh was equal to the task, stopping Mendez at full-stretch to keep Qatar in the match. 

The goalkeeper again was called into action late on as Weah was played in with a chance to double his tally and the U.S. advantage, but Mamdouh made the stop. 

Deep into stoppage time, Richie Ledezma hit a rocket from distance which struck off the crossbar and ensured a nervy final few minutes for the U.S. 

A 1-1 draw between Ukraine and Nigeria ensures the U.S. finish second in Group D and will face either France or Mali in the next round.  

While the USA did advance, it will be short two starters for the last 16 as both Mendez and Chris Durkin picked up yellow cards, which will see them suspended for the match.