Guardiola hails Man City: ‘Who could believe it?’

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Pep Guardiola seemed in awe of his Manchester City side as they breezed past reigning Premier League champions Chelsea on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium.

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Yes, they only won 1-0, but City were superior in every department and should have won by a more comfortable margin as they now need four wins to guarantee the title.

Pep’s side set a new Premier League record for the most passes completed (209) in a single game, as Chelsea looked frightened to attack and sat back in a 5-4-1 formation.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Guardiola was asked if he thought it was possible to be 18 points clear at the top and set to break several records this season.

“Before? No way. No way, no. Who could believe it? I think if you ask the players, the players neither,” Guardiola said. “In terms of not just the results but the way we played, today was another demonstration. Same desire as at Stamford Bridge. That is what pleases me the most. To have the distance, 25 to Chelsea, 33 to Arsenal, 18 to Tottenham is a lot. Tottenham, Liverpool and United they made a good result, a good pace. We are so far so good in terms of we drop points but after a lot of wins in a row but especially I think it is a consequence of the way we play today. The way we play today is a bit similar to what we have done.”

City are on course to set a new record for the most points won in a season, the most goals scored and the largest-ever winning margin.

Is that something they think about?

“What really matters is to be champions. I never spoke with the players about the records,” Guardiola said. “I never spoke we have to win the two games to achieve something. Stoke we are going to try and play like we play all season. After, at the end, we will see. Of course, but not we are going to play for the records. Records are always a consequence of what you have done but they are not the main thing.”

The ease with which they brushed Chelsea aside was astonishing (albeit helped by the Blues’ incredibly defensive setup from the get-go) and proved just how much of a fear factor there is around City right now.

Pep knows his plans are now all slotting into place after 18 months on the job and although he has spent huge sums of cash on new players, you can’t deny that he is

Video: Mbappe taps home to give France first blood

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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.

American referee Geiger accused of asking for Portugal kit

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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.

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.