Interesting that today is for some reason a hotbed for Arsenal transfer news.
With MLS Soccer already reporting that the Gunners could be seriously considering a move for Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan, Arsene Wenger has made some very interesting comments about Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa.
Wenger very rarely comments on other clubs’ players, but he has done so by praising the “animal” that is Diego Costa.
Discussing Atletico’s outstanding start to the season, Wenger said, “They have really good players in midfield and of course there is Diego Costa. This guy is an animal, he can score in any situation.”
Off to a ridiculous start in La Liga, the 25-year-old striker has 10 goals already in eight Primera Division matches, with wins in all eight. They’re tied with Barcelona at the top of the table, only behind on goal difference thanks to the Catalan giants’ absolute tear.
The key to all this is that Wenger very rarely speaks openly about players of another club (aside from helping reporters to preview upcoming opponents).
Arsenal were also linked to Costa in the summer transfer window as a backup to Gonzalo Higuain (neither of which ended up materializing). Liverpool were rumored to have swooped in at one point as well but the Spaniard remained in Madrid.
Atletico will no doubt do their best to keep Costa. Given his torrid start, he’s essential to retaining their Champions League place next season. In addition, they’ve failed to keep their best attacking players over the past few seasons, having no choice but to sell strikers Falcao and Sergio Aguero to bigger, richer clubs over the past three years.
The match is really opening up now, and France has begun to assert itself with an opener just beyond the half-hour mark.
[ MORE: Denmark, Australia draw, leaving Group C wide open ]
Kylian Mbappe has given Les Bleus a 1-0 lead over Peru after a deflected Olivier Giroud cross found the Monaco attacker just in front of goal for a tap-in finish.
The sequence began after Paul Pogba dispossessed Peru deep in their own half, before dishing the ball off to Giroud.
The goal for Mbappe is his first at a World Cup, as the 19-year-old continues to impress for both club and country.
Morocco’s World Cup journey will conclude after the group stage, but the African side isn’t pleased with how their second match transpired on Wednesday against Portugal.
[ MORE: Spain gets win after Iran sees equalizer ruled off ]
The Moroccans have lodged a complaint with FIFA against referee Mark Geiger — an American who has become one of the most well-known officials in Major League Soccer.
Geiger was alleged to have asked Portuguese captain Cristiano Ronaldo for his jersey at halftime of the 1-0 win over Morocco, to which Geiger has categorically denied the claims.
FIFA released the following statement on the matter:
The claims stemmed from Morocco player Nordin Amrabat, who addressed the matter in an interview following the match.
“I don’t know what [Geiger] is used to, but he was very impressed by Cristiano [Ronaldo],” Amrabat said. “I’ve been just told by Pepe that in the [first half], he asked if he could have his shirt. Come on, man. What are we talking about? … We are at the World Cup, not a circus here.”
Geiger returned to action on Thursday as video assistant referee for the Denmark-Australia match, which included an important alteration in a call that led to an Australia penalty kick.
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.
[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]
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.
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.