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Three things learned: Tottenham v. Juve

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LONDON — Tottenham Hotspur blew it on the big stage as they crumbled at home in the UEFA Champions League and lost 2-1 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate against Juventus.

Heung-Min Son put Tottenham ahead in the first half but two goals in three minutes in the second half from Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala stopped Spurs in their tracks as their dreams of a place in the Champions League last eight were dashed.

It wasn’t to be as Gianluigi Buffon and Co. were the team celebrating at the final whistle as Harry Kane and Spurs stood with their hands on their hips and were left devastated.

Here’s what we learned from a dramatic night at Wembley.


TOTTENHAM NOT READY FOR THE BIG TIME

Let’s get this straight, Juventus were made to look very ordinary for vast swathes of the two legs. A win would have been a huge statement by Tottenham but they crumbled when it mattered most.

83 percent of teams to have drawn 2-2 away in the first leg of a UCL knockout tie have progressed to the next stage. Not Spurs.

So much has been talked about Tottenham’s potential to dine at the Premier League’s top table, let alone Europe’s, but those questions will now remain.

Pochettino has cultivated a young, hungry squad over the past three years and their progress is clear for all to see. Third and second place finishes in the Premier League in the past two seasons prove that, even if there’s no silverware in the trophy cabinet to back up the brilliance of Kane, Eriksen, Alli and Co.

But this was a seminal moment in Spurs’ present, it was meant to be a momentous leap forward for a club which has taken huge strides forwards on and off the pitch in recent years.

Reports about Kane, Alli and even Pochettino leaving will now be rife with Tottenham unable to match the wages of England and Europe’s elite. Their project is genuinely exciting but once again they have come up short. They shouldn’t have.

Tottenham should have been in the last eight of the Champions League for just the second time in club history. Pochettino should have led Spurs into uncharted territory and that should have been enough to keep their stars together for at least another season.

Now, it seems like all of that is in jeopardy once again.


JUVENTUS’ EXPERIENCE SHOWS

This is a team who have been in two of the last three UEFA Champions League finals. They have won the Italian title six years on the spin.

Never write off Juventus.

As soon as Higuain hooked home brilliantly to make it 1-1 on the night and 3-3 on aggregate, he punched his fists in the air and screamed back at Juve’s goalkeeper and inspirational leader Gigi Buffon. That was the goal they needed.

They never looked back and three minute later Dybala was given the freedom of Wembley to race through and slot home the killer second goal. All of this came after Max Allegri’s tactical switch to bring on Stephan Lichtsteiner for Mehdi Benatia and shifting veteran defender Andrea Barzagli to center back, as Juve swung the game in their favor in the matter of 189 seconds.

In truth, Allegri made a mistake by placing Barzagli, 37, at right back for the injured Mattia Di Sciglio as he was roasted by Son on several occasions, but he put it right superbly and Juve never looked back.

Over the 180 minutes of this encounter, Juventus had dominated about 20 minutes of the action. In those 20 minutes they scored four goals and missed one glorious chance in the first leg. They weren’t going to make that same mistake again.

Giorgio Chiellini put his body on the line late on as the Spurs onslaught came. His last-ditch tackle to deny Tottenham a tap in was greeted by Buffon grabbing him by the scruff his neck and screaming with delight in his face. Kane’s header hitting the post and staying out late on was the luck they needed and they dug deep to make the last eight. Experience counts for a lot in these moments. Juve had it. Spurs didn’t.


SON DANGEROUS BUT NOT RED-HOT

He could have had a hat trick in the first half alone and he had five decent chances but scored just once.

The South Korean star has been in red-hot form for Spurs, scoring five goals in his last three games in all competitions and he tormented Juve’s right back Andrea Barzagli, who stepped in for the injured Mattia De Sciglio.

Spurs constantly looked out to the left flank in the first half to isolate Barzagli and it worked. Son had a shot across goal which Buffon pushed out, another he somehow dragged wide and then he put another agonizingly wide late on.

On another night Son could have wrapped this tie up by half time but his costly misses, coupled with quiet nights for Kane and Eriksen, compounded Tottenham’s miserable exit from Europe.

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.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

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.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

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.