France names 2014 World Cup squad, omits Samir Nasri

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France head coach, discussing his 23-man World Cup squad, make it clear why Samir Nasri was not in the team.

The Manchester City midfielder, who played an important role in the Citizens’ second Premier League title in three years, has been part of Deschamps’ sides before, but unfortunately, those call-ups left the former Marseille boss with a bad impression of the l’OM product.

“He has an important status with City, where he starts, which is not the case today in the France team,” Deschamps explained. “When he is substituted, he is not happy. It is for these reasons that I decided not to retain him.”

For Nasri, it’s the second straight World Cup where the 26-year-old has been a controversial omission.

“I missed a World Cup in 2010 and I am still alive and stronger than ever. I am going to watch it on TV while I am on holiday and I will be fine.”

Among the bigger names in Les Bleus’ squad are Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, Bayern Munich attacker Franck Ribery, and Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema. The team includes nine selections who play in England, with eight Ligue 1 talents joining three from Spain and one each from the German, Italian, Portuguese, and Ukranian leagues.

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Mikael Landreau (Bordeaux).

Defenders: Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle), Bacary  Sagna (Arsenal), Laurent  Koscielny (Arsenal), Mamdou Sakho (Liverpool), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Eliaquim Mangala (Porto), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Lucas Digne (PSG)

Midfielders: Yohan Cabaye (PSG), Clement Grenier (Lyon), Blaise Matuidi (PSG), Rio Mavuba (Lille), Paul Pogba (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille).

Strikers: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier  Giroud (Arsenal), Antoine Griezmann (Real Sociedad), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich), Loic Remy (QPR).

Standby: Remy Cabella (Montpellier), Maxime Gonalons (Lyon), Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon), Loic Perrin (Saint-Etienne), Stephane Ruffier (Saint-Etienne), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton), Benoit Tremoulinas (Dynamo Kiev).

Video: Ronaldo scores fourth goal, gives Portugal early lead

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He has four goals in less than two matches, and Portugal is off to another flying start courtesy of their star forward.

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Cristiano Ronaldo gave the Portuguese a 1-0 lead against Morocco in the fourth minute after brilliantly heading home a corner kick.

The Real Madrid star gave Portugal a similar spark at the beginning of their 3-3 draw against Spain in their first Group B match when Ronaldo drew, and scored a penalty kick inside of the opening three minutes.

Is there anything this man cannot do?

Reports: Alli unlikely to play in England’s second Group G match

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The Three Lions may not have taken all good news away from the team’s 2-1 win over Tunisia in their World Cup opener.

[ MORE: Russia races past Egypt, likely en route to next round ]

Several reports are suggesting that England will likely be without Tottenham playmaker Dele Alli in their second Group G match against Panama on Sunday.

Alli was forced out of England’s opener with a thigh strain, which gave manager Gareth Southgate the decision to put in Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

There isn’t a timetable for the 22-year-old’s return to the pitch, but his absence will definitely present a major question for Southgate heading into the rest of group play.

Without Alli in the starting XI, it’ll likely be between Loftus-Cheek and Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard to fill the role where Alli normally sits.

In the case of Lingard, who started against Tunisia, the England boss would have to bring in another starter if Southgate opts to have the Red Devils attacker sit in as the number 10.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

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Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.