English side Thurrock FC relegated over $24 fine. Yes, $24.

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The common sense ruling clearly went out the window on this one. Wowza.

In England, Isthmian Premier Division side Thurrock FC were relegated to the Isthmian Division One North after the club mistakenly fielded a player last season who owed $24 to a former team for a fine.

$24.

Thurrock managed to avoid relegation by a single point during the 2012-13 campaign and mass celebrations ensued. Except all that champagne bottle popping is looking rather silly right now.

Because almost a month after the season had ended, Thurrock were told that had been issued a three point deduction. Which in turn meant relegation, their second straight drop down after being in the Conference South. (England’s sixth-tier)

Cue pandemonium.

The player at the center of this ridiculous episode is Joel Barnett, who was technically banned from playing in the Isthmian League after previously playing for a club in Yorkshire that collapsed as they couldn’t pay fines to the local FA. Barnett owed money and was therefore not allowed to play until it was paid. That paltry sum of $24 never was paid. Hence the issued.

Then Thurrock’s owner Tommy South gave quite a peculiar answer as to why Barnett never paid the fine: “Joel should have told us but he never knew [about the fine] because he was in prison.” The plot thickens.

According to their owner and the board, they lodged an appeal with the Football Association but were turned away as the FA said it was their own fault for looking at Barnett’s background.

It’s a disgrace. It all happened 11 months ago and what the FA and Ryman League have told us is that we should have checked this website and that, but we followed procedure by checking with our own county FA. It’s a real mess because he got sent off playing elsewhere before he came here and got a three-match ban but nothing was flagged up.

But tiny Thurrock won’t go down without a fight. They plan to take their case to the European Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

That $24 fine has caused quite the stir.

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.