At halftime: Messi with two, one a wonder; Dzeko scores –FOLLOW LIVE

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Well it’s been a lively start to Wednesday, as some of the world’s best made the score sheet early. As it stands, Iran will not only pick up their first ever loss to Bosnia and Herzegovina — giving BNH its first World Cup win — but miss the knockout round due a draw between Argentina and Nigeria.

Messi, my goodness.

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Argentina 1-1 Nigeria

Goals: 

3′ – Lionel Messi officially makes Group F’s second spot open for competition as he buries a rebound into the upper part of the net. Argentina, 1-0

4′ – Ahmed Musa wastes no time responding, as the 21-year-old CSKA Moscow player walks in from the left of goal to bury one. 1-1.

45+1′ – There’s only one Lionel Messi. A gorgeous, bending free kick past the wall from 25 out restores Argentina’s lead and Iran’s hope.

Key moments:

16′ – If Nigeria get through, someone needs to buy Vincent Enyeama’s meals for the rest of the tournament. The Nigerian keeper is perhaps the only reason outside of Musa’s goal that the nation may still go through.

31′ – Argentina continues to pressure as it’s done all day but Rojo heads wide off a strong cross.

Lineups

Nigeria: Enyeama, Yobo, Ambrose, Musa, Odemwingie, Emenike, Mikel, Oshaniwa, Onazi, Babatunde, Omeruo

Argentina: Romero, Garay, Zabaleta, Gago, Di Maria, Higuain, Messi, Mascherano, Rojo, Fernandez, Aguero

 

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Iran 0-1 Bosnia and Herzegovina

Goals: 

23′ – Edin Dzeko gets BNH on the board with a low, cross-body shot from the top of the 18. It’s a gorgeous goal from the Manchester City man, and puts Iran in a bad spot. Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1-0.

Key moments:

2′ – Iran probably deserved a penalty kick for an awkward takedown of Ashkan Dejagah in the box.

24′ – And Iran nearly counters! A Shojaei shot from just beyond the penalty spot rattles off the bottom of the bar, and the picture perfect rebound is butchered.

Lineups

Iran: Haghighi, Haji Safi, Hosseini, Sadeghi, Shojaei, Timotian, Montarezi, Ghoochannejad, Pooladi, Nekounam, Dejagah

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Begovic, Vrsajevic, Kolasinac, Hadzic, Sunjic, Spahic, Besic, Pjanic, Ibisevic, Dzeko, Susic

Report: Man United to target Rose, other full backs this summer

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Jose Mourinho has identified perhaps the most underrated position on the pitch as a place he needs to upgrade his squad this summer.

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According to a report from The Guardian, the Manchester United manager is looking to sign Tottenham wing back Danny Rose and potentially another full back in the summer transfer window. With Luke Shaw likely to leave the club, Mourinho is left with incumbents left back Ashley Young and right back Antonio Valencia, both on the wrong side of 30-years old and both converted wingers playing out-of-position.

Mourinho last December decried crosstown rivals Man City for spending more than $140 million to sign wing backs Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker last summer. Though Mendy missed most of the season with a torn ACL, Walker and fellow outside back Danilo helped give Man City’s attack another dimension out wide, as the wing backs in the 3-4-3 or Man City’s 4-1-4-1 with Fernandinho dropping back into the centerback pairing become ever more important.

Rose has had a contentious last 18-months or so at Tottenham and could be looking to leave this summer. But it will likely take a bid north of $75 million, around what it cost Man City to sign Walker last summer, to buy Rose out of his Tottenham contract.

Matteo Darmian meanwhile, another potential outside back for Man United, could also be departing the club this summer, as Man United looks to replenish its side.

Errors down, penalty kicks up after introduction of VAR in Italy

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The implementation of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Italy has been controversial, but according to a look at the statistics, it has for the most part done its job to fix clear and obvious errors.

Italian sports paper Gazzetta Dello Sport compiled all the times VAR has been used through 346 matches, 330 in Serie A and 16 in the Coppa Italia. There were 1,736 checks (916 goals, 464 penalties and 356 red cards) with 105 corrections and just 17 errors where the referee and assistant made the wrong decision. Eight of those errors did affect the result, which is an issue that will surely be addressed by the Italian officiating organization.

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But overall, Gazzetta found that in the VAR era, referee errors only amounted to 0.98 percent during a match, as opposed to 6.03 percent in the past. In addition, fouls are down 8.8 percent, red cards are down 6.4 percent, and yellow cards are down 14.7 percent. On the flip side, penalty kicks are called 4.3 more percent of the time.

The Premier League voted recently not to add VAR to its league matches next season, while top leagues in Germany, Italy and in Major League Soccer and the United Soccer League continue to use it.

Report: New Arsenal manager will have small budget to re-shape squad

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Whoever takes the helm as Arsenal’s next manager will have to do some math gymnastics this summer to stretch every penny available.

According to a report from The Telegraph, Arsenal is giving Arsene Wenger‘s successor a little less than $70 million to work with in this summer’s transfer market, citing back-to-back transfer windows with club-record signings (Alexandre Lacazette last summer and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January) and three raises given to players. Arsenal paid around $78 million alone to sign Aubameyang and around $65 million for Lacazette.

[READ: UCL Preview: Liverpool vs. Roma]

That means whoever comes in next to lead Arsenal will likely have to sell one or two players this summer to raise additional money for world-class signings.

For the last decade, Arsenal has been crying out for a new pair of centerbacks and a holding midfielder in the mould of Patrick Vieira. In addition, with Petr Cech getting older, the prospect of needing a new goalkeeper is also on the horizon.

Luckily for Arsenal, they seem to be just fine up front. From Aubameyang and Lacazette to Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey, the club has the talent to challenge for a title next season in that department.

A dozen different names have been bandied about as to who will be Arsenal’s next manager, with out-of-contract and former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique reportedly on the shortlist. Vieira, former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta, Germany National Team coach Joachim Low, Juventus boss Max Allegri and Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsman have all also been linked with the job.

Tunisian player who collapsed in Spain regains consciousness

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MADRID (AP) Spanish third-division club Toledo says a Tunisian player who collapsed from heart failure during practice 10 days ago has regained consciousness.

The club says doctors removed sedative medication and Lassad Nouioui was responding well to treatment on Monday.

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They will consider removing the 32-year-old Nouioui from the intensive care unit if his condition keeps improving. Nouioui has played for a number of clubs during his 14-year professional career, notably a four-year stay at Deportivo La Coruna and a one-year spell with Celtic.

Nouioui collapsed on April 14.

The game against Real Madrid B the following day was postponed because of the problem with Nouioui.