As expected Manchester City wrapped up the $54 million capture of French international defender Eliaquim Mangala on Monday.
Manuel Pellegrini had spoke about the possibility of Mangala joining the Citizens following their Community Shield defeat to Arsenal on Sunday and within 24 hours City have completed the deal.
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Mangala joins from FC Porto and becomes City’s sixth, and most expensive, signing of a frugal summer transfer window so far. He adds a real presence in the heart of their defense and at just 23 years of age he will be an integral part of the clubs future.
Speaking about his move to the Etihad Stadium, Mangala is delighted to be joining City.
“City is a top club in Europe. For me, it was an important step to leave Porto and join Manchester City in order to continue my progress. I want to win titles and I believe I can do this. I am ambitious and this is why I am here. I’m very happy to come to England because for me, the Premier League is the best league in the world. It is a very intense and very aggressive competition. There are plenty of goals, so it is also really nice to watch and I can’t wait to get started. The fact that Fernando is here is better because I played with him at Porto but there is also other players that I know like Sagna, Clichy and Nasri.”
Grabbing a new central defender was a key part of Pellegrini’s summer transfer plans and he has finally done so. Mangala is likely to partner Vincent Kompany in central defense and has been chased by plenty of Europe’s top clubs. With Martin Demichelis coming towards the end of his career and Matija Nastasic out of favor with Pellegrini, getting a fourth central defender on board was a priority.
Mangala’s speed, power and size will suit the Premier League well. Expect him to become a star alongside Kompany as City aim to further shore up their defense as they aim to defend their PL title and go further than ever before in the UEFA Champions League.
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.