BPL Sunday recap: Three points elude United, Tottenham dominates

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Premier League Sunday mainly caught the attention of viewers through the dominant display of Tottenham Hotspur, blanking Queens Park Rangers, 4-0, at White Hart Lane. Tottenham had to muscle their way to three points against West Ham last week, but nonetheless, they won, and with a second consecutive victory, they sit at the top of the BPL table with six points, ahead of Chelsea and Swansea City due to a better goal differential.

For Manchester United, early season disappointment continues to build with another unfavorable scoreline, a 1-1 draw at the hands of Sunderland. Manchester City transfer Jack Rodwell plunged the Black Cats back into the game in the 30th minute, after Juan Mata put the Red Devils ahead in the 17th minute. United, instead of moving up the standings with three points, is now positioned at 13th place with one point, just behind West Brom and ahead of Southampton.

Hull City kept their unbeaten momentum going against Stoke City, garnering a point out of a 1-1 result when Ryan Shawcross buried a late 83rd minute goal for Stoke. James Chester was dished a red card in the 15th minute, decreasing his team’s chances of ending this competition as victors. Nonetheless, Nikica Jelavić was able to provided Hull with a 1-0 advantage in the 42nd minute, and currently, the Tigers are slotted at 5th place, a nice are to exist for them.

In then end, while all these score lines may evoke surprise or a sense of predictability, it’s still very early in the season, and by the time December and January roll around, the more talented teams will likely take charge and insert themselves as the first-class Premier League squads. As for Tottenham, a first-place end-of-year finish would be a steep prediction, but from what they’ve shown thus far, they could achieve a Champions League space, although it’s definitely not imminent. And maybe Manchester United doesn’t improve massively from the year before, and Sunderland ends the 2014-15 campaign near a Europa League spot. We can only conjecture.

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.