ARGENTINA ON THE BRINK OF WORLD CUP EXIT

Lionel Messi, yet again, could not rise up to the occasion as Argentina faltered in their second successive game at the 2018 World Cup. Croatia crushed them 3-0 as they qualified for the knockout stage, having previously beaten Nigeria.

Despite the team being star studded and very talented, Argentina have failed to turn in any major trophies. They have reached several finals but they just could not break through. With Russia 2018 being the last possible opportunity the golden generation of Argentine stars have of lifting a trophy, there was more pressure.
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Paul Pogba aiming to impress with France at the World Cup

Manchester United midfielder has stated his ambition to impress for France during the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia. The Frenchman has been one of Didier Deschamps’ most influential players over the past 24 months and the 25-year-old is now keen to emerge as a leader in the upcoming global tournament.

Speaking on Canal +, he said: “I hope now, at the World Cup. I’m going to take the reins of the France team, try to be the boss on and off the pitch. I hear it (criticism) a lot. I hope to give my answer on the pitch and show everyone. I was the best young player (in 2014).  I hope I’ll be the best player overall at the World Cup. That would be great.”
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Alvaro Morata Admits He Could Miss The World Cup

Spain international Alvaro Morata has admitted that he could fail to make La Roja’s squad for the summer World Cup in Russia. The 25-year-old had a strong start to his career with Chelsea earlier this season and he scored six goals in his first six Premier League games. However, he has since struggled to maintain any sort of consistency and has managed just one goal in the top-flight since December.

Speaking to Marca, Morata admitted that there is the possibility of him missing out on selection after failing to make the squad for the recent international friendlies against Germany and Spain. He is nevertheless prepared to work hard in the remaining weeks in order to convince Julen Lopetegui into picking him. Continue reading “Alvaro Morata Admits He Could Miss The World Cup”

Frank Lampard Urges Jack Wilshere To Prove His Worth Ahead Of World Cup

Chelsea favourite Frank Lampard believes Jack Wilshere can earn a place in England’s World Cup squad despite not playing a single international game for nearly two years. The Arsenal midfielder earned a much-awaited call-up under Gareth Southgate last month, but a knee injury hampered his chances of participating against the Netherlands and Italy.

 

Writing on his Evening Standard column, Lampard believes Wilshere can get into the squad with his talent alone, and he gave an example of a similar run, he had with Chelsea prior to Euro 2004, he said: “It was unfortunate he missed the last two friendlies through injury, but I believe a run of form will get Wilshere on the plane. In terms of games left in the season, there is still a long way to go and a lot can happen.

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Ruben Loftus-Cheek Not Giving Up On England World Cup Dream

Crystal Palace midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek believes he can make a late entry into England’s World Cup squad despite being injured for most of the second-half of the season. The 22-year-old bagged the man of the match during his Three Lions debut against Germany in November, and this earned him praise from manager Gareth Southgate.


However, things have since not been rosy for the midfielder, who sustained an ankle injury in the month of December. The Chelsea loanee only returned as a substitute during Palace’s recent 2-0 league win over Huddersfield Town, but he remains hopeful of proving his fitness to Southgate before the end of the season. Continue reading “Ruben Loftus-Cheek Not Giving Up On England World Cup Dream”

Roberto Martinez: Michy Batshuayi has boosted World Cup hopes

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has said that Michy Batshuayi has boosted his World Cup hopes after making the switch to Borussia Dortmund on loan for the second half of the season. The 24-year-old has since contributed five goals for his German employers in just four matches across all competitions.


Speaking to TalkSPORT, Martinez was pleased to see Batshuayi’s involvement on a regular basis with Dortmund after finding himself playing second fiddle to Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge. Meanwhile, the former Everton boss appeared to enhance the Belgian’s participation at the summer World Cup after finding his feet in the Bundesliga.
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Jose Mourinho expects Sergio Romero in goal for Argentina at World Cup

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is confident that Sergio Romero will lead the line for Argentina at this summer’s World Cup despite receiving limited gametime this term. The former Sampdoria man has featured in just five matches this campaign with David de Gea remaining the first-choice for the Premier League duties.

Romero has been often linked with an exit from Old Trafford in recent weeks, but according to Mourinho, the Argentine remains an influential player in the club’s ranks regardless of his restricted period on the playing field. Ahead of United’s FA Cup third round versus Derby County, Mourinho confirmed that Romero would start the match whilst hinting that he could do the same when Argentina host Nigeria in their opening World Cup game in June.
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Sweden boss Janne Andersson dismisses Zlatan Ibrahimovic return talk

Sweden coach Janne Andersson has ruled out the prospect of Zlatan Ibrahimovic making a return to the national side. The East European nation qualified for the World Cup finals earlier this week after they beat Italy across two legs in the playoff. Sweden took a 1-0 lead in their home leg and managed to contain Italy to a 0-0 score in the reverse fixture which many term as the ‘Miracle of Milan’. Zlatan last featured for Swede at the European championships in France before calling time on his international career, but the journalists nevertheless posed a question whether the 36-year-old would return to the national setup.

In response, Andersson was surprised by the question and insisted that he would rather focus on the success from the current crop of players rather than pondering over the involvement of Zlatan, who is in the twilight of his career at 36. He said: “This is incredible! This player [Ibrahimovic] has just stopped to play with Sweden one year and a half ago and we are still here talking about him. Gosh, we need to talk about the great players we have in this team I believe.
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New Zealand manager pleased with goalless draw versus Peru

New Zealand kept their World Cup hopes alive after they held Peru to a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the intercontinental play-off on Saturday. The teams will now face each other in the reverse fixture in Lima next week where Peru will hope to reach their first World Cup in over 36 years.

The South American nation were heavily tipped to beat the All Whites being the 10th ranked team in the world. However, they struggled to find the creativity in the forward department with star striker and captain Paolo Guerrera suspended for the game after failing a doping test.
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What Did the International Break Tell Us?

It is fair to say that you should not read too much into the results of international friendlies. This is especially true when they are matches scheduled just after the qualification process for the 2018 World Cup has ended.

All the qualified nations were in action at the start of November and most won’t now play again until the spring. Many of the countries had depleted or understrength sides on display – and although winning a match eight months ahead of a major tournament against weaker opposition doesn’t mean that side will win the World Cup, there is still some insight that can be taken. Continue reading “What Did the International Break Tell Us?”