Wearing a bowler hat, stylish glasses and sporting his trademark beard, Dani Osvaldo strolled around Turin on Friday morning with a grin on his face.
Switching Southampton for Serie A leaders Juventus seems like a pretty good upwards trade — especially after you’ve just been suspended by Saints for allegedly headbutting and punching teammate Jose Fonte in training last week — as Osvaldo was in the Northern Italian city to have his medical ahead of a loan deal.
Juventus have apparently arranged to pay around $500,000 to take Osvaldo on loan until the end of the season, and then pay $22.5 million this summer to secure his services on a permanent basis if he impresses.
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That actually means Southampton will recoup all of the money they paid for Roma, and get a little bit extra too. Not bad for a loose cannon who has been banned, fined and short of goals since his big money move to the Premier League last summer. Osvaldo has scored just three times in 13 games for Saints, with the Italian internationals only moment of true class coming against Manchester City with a sublime lobbed goal back in December.
On Thursday Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino confirmed to myself and other assembled members of the media that Osvaldo would never play for Southampton again, as their record signing was shown the exit door at St. Mary’s.
Joining Juve is probably exactly what Osvaldo wanted after his incredible outburst in training, as the Argentine born-Italian international aims to get in the Azzurri squad for the World Cup this summer.
Saints will probably get most of their money back, Osvaldo joins the team leading Serie A and Southampton’s players don’t have to worry about being assaulted in training my a madman resembling Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean…
Everyone’s a winner.
Although Southampton’s fans, like the fans of every club Osvaldo has ever played for, will be thinking ‘what if’… After the mercurial forward imploded once again, despite showing glimpses of his incredible talent.
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.
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.
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.
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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 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.
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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.