Del Piero update: Reports say Galaxy, New York, but not Montreal

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We’ve been hearing about Alessandro del Piero’s arrival in Major League Soccer long enough to be desensitized. What’s it been? Two years? Regardless, you’d think there’d be a little more excitement surrounding one of soccer’s global icons moving to North America.

While it’s not a certainty that the out-of-contract, former-Juventus attacker will find his way to MLS, this possibility’s moved beyond idol speculation. At this point, it’s something worth getting excited about (and being disappointed in, if it doesn’t transpire).

It’s one of the great things about being a fan of MLS at this point in its history. You think baseball fans get amped at Yu Darvish coming to MLS? A little, but in the context baseball history, it’s only slightly more exciting than any other major transaction. Del Piero coming to Major League Soccer? Undeniably amp-enducing, on a league-wide scale.

Italian newspaper Tuttosport speaks with a certain air of inevitability, linking the 37-year-old with the typical duo: LA Galaxy, New York Red Bulls. While the report is little more than European paper mongering, the pieces do seem to fit.

Del Piero had been linked with one other MLS side, but I guess that’s the point of today’s news. Del Piero is said to have turned down the opportunity to join Marco Di Viao in Montreal. Though Tuttosport says Spain’s Malaga could get in the race, it looks like MLS’s two biggest spenders will (again) be bidding for the league’s next big import.

The report also goes hints at the ridiculous Del Piero versus Ronaldinho fantasy choice on one sheik has the luxury of making. Check that out, and in the interim, we’ll start blowing up the implications of Del Piero: what is means for the league that the two big spenders have corner another big star’s market; and how Del Piero can and might fit with his two possible destinations.

Also, secret between us PST’ers: When you see me end a post like this, it means my first draft was way, way too long, and I need to break up my thoughts into a bunch of posts. Here’s that follow up, talking about the implications of Del Piero joining LA or New York.

Group C wide open as Denmark, Australia settle for draw

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Denmark and Australia settled for a 1-1 draw on Thursday, as this exciting Group C affair had nothing to separate the two nations at the end of 90 minutes.

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As it stands, the Danes lead the group with four points, while Australia earned its first point of the World Cup.

France will meet Peru later on Thursday, with Les Bleus having won its first match and Peru having suffered defeat to Denmark.

The Danes broke through after seven minutes when Nicolai Jørgensen picked out a perfect back-heel pass to Christian Eriksen at the top of the box, before the Tottenham Hotspur attacker volleyed home for a 1-0 lead.

Jørgensen nearly doubled the Denmark advantage in the 24th minute when the 27-year-old had an open header from close range that skewed just wide of the target.

Australia worked its way into the match following the opener, and were awarded a penalty kick in the 37th minute after VAR Mark Geiger altered an initial decision for a handball inside the box.

Mile Jedinak converted the spot kick to level the match at 1-1, giving the Socceroos life.

A dangerous free kick four minutes later almost gave Denmark the lead once again, however, Eriksen couldn’t get a crucial touch on the ball to knock it over the goal line before Ryan collected.

The second half continued with lightning pace from both sides, and Aaron Mooy‘s 71st minute blast came inches away from giving Australia an improbable lead.

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The two nations will conclude Group C play on June 26, as Denmark faces France and Australia takes on CONMEBOL side Peru.

Video: VAR awards Australia penalty, before Jedinak converts

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The Socceroos battled admirably in the latter stages of the first half, and Australia was rewarded for their efforts.

Australia has leveled the match at 1-1 after a Mile Jedinak penalty kick cancelled out Christian Eriksen’s stunning opener in the seventh minute.

After an initial decision to play on by the head referee, VAR Mark Geiger opted to award a penalty kick to the Aussies after Yussuf Poulsen was caught with his hand away from his body on a Mathew Leckie header.

Poulsen was also shown a yellow card for the infraction, which rules him out for Denmark’s group-stage finale against France.

Video: Eriksen volley has Denmark ahead inside 10 minutes

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Denmark is well on its way to another three points on Thursday, and this time it’s Christian Eriksen who has finally broken through at the World Cup.

 MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Eriksen put the Danes in front in the seventh minute after a tremendous volley that gave Australia goalkeeper Maty Ryan no chance at keeping it out.

After a sloppy turnover in their own half, Australia could only watch as the ball fell to Nicolai Jørgensen, who cleverly back-heeled to Eriksen at the top of the box.

The Danes pulled off a 1-0 victory in their first Group C match against Peru, while Australia fell 2-1 to France.

Croatia coach says “we have nothing to lose” against Argentina

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Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic chose his words wisely when discussing their final Group D opponent, Argentina, but his side won’t be backing down when they take on Lionel Messi and Co.

[ MORE: Spain gets win after Iran equalizer called off by replay ]

With three points already in the bag for the European nation, Croatia currently sits atop their group, however, Dalic recognizes the task that lies in front of him and his team on Thursday.

“I didn’t say that Argentina was the easiest opponent,” Dalic said. “I said that this was the easiest game for us. We have nothing to lose. We are playing against one of the best.”

Croatia does have the benefit of having won its first match in group play, which has given the side a decided enthusiasm heading into the meeting.

For Ivan Rakitic — who plays at Barcelona with Messi — he believes there isn’t much he or anyone on his team can say or do to further prepare themselves for the Albiceleste.

“What can I tell them that they don’t know?” Rakitic said. “The world knows. Messi is one of the best players in the world. He will have his moments, clearly. It is up to us to stop him, to play the right way against him, and to enjoy the match and play our best.

“It’s a beautiful thing to play against one of the best teams in the world. We are especially motivated.”

In four all-time meetings, Argentina leads 2-1-1 against Croatia, including a 1-0 victory during the 1998 World Cup in France.

The two teams last met in 2014 following Argentina’s World Cup final defeat to Germany, with Messi and Co. earning a 2-1 victory over Croatia.