Football News: Chelsea Reject Big Money Offer From Barcelona For Brazilian Star, Willian

English FA Cup Champions, Chelsea have reportedly rejected a multi-million Pounds offer from Barcelona for Willian as they bid to beat Manchester United to land Brazilian star.

Premier League giant, Chelsea FC have turned down a £50million offer from Barcelona for Brazilian midfielder, Willian, according to Dailymail UK.

Despite winning the league and cup double last season, Barca have concerns that their squad still lacks greater quality in depth and attacking flair, particularly following their shock Champions League defeat by Roma.

The Spanish side see the skilful 29-year-old as a playmaker who can add an extra dimension to their attack following the departure of Andres Iniesta and want him to link up with compatriot Philippe Coutinho.

Willian’s representatives have been in Barcelona and the lure of the Spanish giants will be tempting but Chelsea have so far shown no willingness to sell.

Long-term admirers, Manchester United are waiting in the wings and have also posted an interest.

It is understood, United would be willing to offer even more to secure a player their manager, Jose Mourinho rates highly.

Indeed, United made overtures to sign Willian in January but Chelsea resisted despite Antonio Conte preferring to use him predominantly as an impact player.

Willian still managed to score 13 goals last season and was arguably Chelsea’s stand out player when they played Barcelona in the Champions League.

He is a popular figure at Stamford Bridge, is under contract until 2020, and the club would be reluctant to lose him, but he turns 30 in August and a greater offer could prove harder to resist as they look to reduce the age of their squad.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have opened talks over a move for 22-year-old CSKA Moscow midfielder Aleksandr Golovin and also want Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund.

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What Pogba Did To Messi After France Beat Argentina In The Last-16 Of The World Cup… See Photos And Video, I Bet you Love It.

 
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Lionel Messi was understandably distraught following Argentina‘s defeat by France in the last-16 of the World Cup on Saturday.

The Barcelona legend notched an assist on the day, but was unable to inspire a victory, as Les Bleus ran out 4-3 winners over the two-time champions of the tournament.

Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring from the penalty spot for France, after man of the match Kylian Mbappe was pulled down in the box by Marcos Rojo.

Angel Di Maria leveled the scores with a wonder strike before Gabriel Mercado latched onto a Messi shot to beat Hugo Lloris in the France goal, and put Argentina in front.

Benjamin Pavard then netted a wondergoal of his own to level the scores once more before an Mbappe double won the match for France.

Sergio Aguero bagged a late consolation, reducing the deficit to a single goal, but it was too little too late for Argentina.

After the match a number of Argentina players burst into tears on the pitch.

The cameras focused on Messi, who looked devastated, but managed to keep it together as players from both teams consoled him.

Paul Pogba was then seen creeping up behind the Barcelona star, and surprising him with a quick hug.

The gesture was short and sweet, and seemingly appreciated by Messi, and was picked up by a number of fans keeping track of the action at home.

 

 

Uruguay 2-1 Portugal: Edinson Cavani double sends Cristiano Ronaldo Home Alongside With His Laliga Rival Lionel Messi.

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Ronaldo follows Lionel Messi out of World Cup

Last Updated: 30/06/18 10:46pm.

Edinson Cavani was the matchwinner in Sochi
Edinson Cavani was the matchwinner in Sochi

Edinson Cavani scored twice as Uruguay booked a quarter-final date with France and sent Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal home after a 2-1 win in Sochi.

Cavani opened the scoring just seven minutes into the keenly-fought contest when he finished off a stunning cross-field one-two with Luis Suarez.

Pepe equalised with a towering 55th-minute header but Cavani hit back with a stylish first-time strike (62) to send Oscar Tabarez’s men through to the last eight for the first time since 2010.

Ronaldo, thwarted at set-pieces and restricted to potshots, struggled to inspire the European champions and bows out of the tournament on the same day as La Liga rival Lionel Messi, two headline acts whose World Cup time may be up.

Edinson Cavani gave Uruguay a seventh-minute lead
Edinson Cavani gave Uruguay a seventh-minute lead

Player ratings

Uruguay: Muslera (6), Caceres (6), Gimenez (7), Godin (8), Laxalt (6), Nandez (6), Torreira (7), Vecino (6), Bentancur (7), Suarez (8), Cavani (9).

Subs used: Rodriguez (6), Stuani (6), Sanchez (6).

Portugal: Rui Patricio (6), Ricardo Pereira (6), Pepe (7), Fonte (7), Guerreiro (7), Bernardo Silva (6), William Carvalho (7), Adrien Silva (6), Joao Mario (6), Goncalo Guedes (6), Ronaldo (7).

Subs used: Quaresma (6), Silva (6), Fernandes (n/a).

Man of the match: Edinson Cavani

Portugal’s familiar hero had looked predictably up for it, performing a theatrical flick on the left flank before taking aim for the first time of the night, only to fire straight at Fernando Muslera.

But Cavani headed Uruguay in front with thrilling simplicity just moments later, launching a diagonal ball to Suarez, charging into the box and rising at the back post when his team-mate whipped a cross back in.

Pepe celebrates his equaliser against Uruguay
Pepe celebrates his equaliser against Uruguay

Team news

Portugal made three changes to their line-up, with Bernardo Silva, Goncalo Guedes and Ricardo Pereira handed starts.

Jose Gimenez replaced Sebastian Coates in defence for Uruguay.

Portugal responded well to the setback but Ronaldo was denied a bullet header by Jose Gimenez’s intervention and when Rodrigo Bentancur’s foul presented a free-kick chance, the Ballon d’Or holder smashed into the wall.

The imperious Diego Godin had marshalled Uruguay’s mean defence as attacking team-mates hustled and harried upfield but Portugal returned from the break with renewed intent and when Raphael Guerreiro crossed after a short corner, Pepe leapt unmarked to draw his side level.

Cristiano Ronaldo cut a frustrated figure against Uruguay
Cristiano Ronaldo cut a frustrated figure against Uruguay

Portugal had fresh faith but Uruguay took just seven minutes to reassert their authority, Bentancur rolling a ball that Cavani swept into the far corner without breaking stride.

Uruguay’s matchwinner hobbled off shortly after, ice packs applied to his shin, but Bernardo Silva wasted a good chance as Ronaldo lashed from range in desperation as time ticked down.

Tabarez’s men were tiring but in a frantic finale, they survived a string of late balls into the box and Ronaldo – whose late yellow card would have ruled him out of the next round had his side got there – trudged off stony-faced.

World Cup 2018, Round Of 16: How The Teams Face Off And Where They Play

With the FIFA World Cup Round of 16 decided, here is a look at who plays whom.

World Cup 2018, Round Of 16: How The Teams Face Off And Where They Play

Hosts Russia are the lowest-ranked team in World Cup 2018.© AFP

The FIFA World Cup 2018 Round of 16 line-up has been decided and barring Germany, almost all the teams expected to qualify have reached the knockout stage of the tournament. The pre-quarter-final showdowns have also thrown up some very interesting face-offs, with Argentina taking on France.

Here is a look at the match-ups and where they will be played.

Here is a graphic representation of all the games:

round of 16

Argentina vs France: This is arguably the biggest face-off at this stage. Lionel Messi and Argentina would be hoping that France’s less-than-daunting show in the group stages continues as the two sides meet at the Kazan Arena.

Uruguay vs Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo began with a bang in the group stage but seemed to have run out of steam a bit towards the end. However, this too will be a high-power contest at the Fisht Stadium as the Latin Americans have shown fine form.

Spain vs Russia: Hosts Russia, the lowest-ranked team in World Cup 2018, will be hard-pressed to stave off Spain, who look as good as anyone else, at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Croatia vs Denmark: Croatia should have the upper hand in the European contest since Denmark have just about done enough to be in the knockout stages. This match will be played at the Nizhy Novgorod Stadium.

Brazil vs Mexico: The South American clash of giants will really be the other match to watch out for, as Neymar and Brazil look to add to Mexico’s miseries after their big loss to Swe3den in the last group game. The contest is at the Samara Arena.

Belgium vs Japan: Belgium won’t be complaining as they take on Japan, who have surprised everyone by making it to the Round of 16. The last Asian representatives will take on a powerful Belgian side at the Rostov Arena.

Sweden vs Switzerland: There is little to choose from among these two sides, which makes for a riveting contest. The Swiss had held Brazil while the Swedes hammered Mexico, so both have the skills to advance as they meet at the St. Petersburg Stadium.

Colombia vs England: This is one of the most intriguing contests, as Colombia have been as good as anyone in the group stages while England have conceded goals in every game. One to watch out for at the Spartak Stadium.

Iceland 1-2 Croatia: What A Big Equalizer From Ivan Perisic’s That eliminate Iceland.

Josip Pivaric celebrates during Croatia's win over Iceland
Josip Pivaric celebrates during Croatia’s win over Iceland

Iceland’s World Cup dream was ended by Ivan Perisic’s late winner in a 2-1 defeat to Croatia, who themselves topped Group D.

Iceland came close to leading before the break but Birkir Bjarnason had two shots from corners blocked, and Lovre Kalinic pulled off a fine flying save to keep out Aron Gunnarsson.

Shortly after half-time though, Milan Badelj put Croatia in front with a textbook half-volley from Perisic’s cross.

Iceland continued to press and were rewarded with 15 minutes to go when Bjarnason’s cross was handled by Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren and Gylfi Sigurdsson, who missed from the spot in his previous game, stepped up to smash a penalty into the top corner.

Player ratings

Croatia: Kalinic (7), Jedvaj (6), Corluka (6), Caleta-Car (7), Pivaric (7), Pjaca (6), Modric (7), Badelj (7), Perisic (6), Kovacic (6), Kramaric (5).

Subs: Bradaric (6), Lovren (4), Rakitic (na).

Iceland: Halldorsson (6), Saevarsson (7), Ingason (8), R Sigurdsson (6), Magnusson (7), Gudmundsson (7), Gunnarsson (7), Hallfredsson (8), Bjarnason (6), Finnbogason (7).

Subs: Sigurdarson (6), Gudmundsson (na), Traustason (na).

Man of the match: Emil Hallfredsson

Needing only one more goal to progress after Argentina regained the lead against Nigeria, Iceland pressed for a winner but were caught out in injury time when Perisic brought the ball down on the left of the area and fired beyond Hannes Halldorsson to give them a perfect record in Group D.

Iceland were far the better side before the break, and not for the first time found set pieces their likeliest source of joy.

Hordur Magnusson, fresh from a move to CSKA Moscow from Bristol City, nodded a Sigurdsson delivery beyond the post from a corner, before doing likewise from a tougher angle from the kind of long throw that gave England nightmares two years ago.

Sigurdsson also forced Kalinic into a save from a free-kick, but it was Cardiff midfielder Gunnarsson whose curling drive from the edge of the area had him at full stretch just before the break.

Team news

Iceland made three changes from their defeat to Nigeria, with Johann Gudmundsson the most notable change back in midfield, replacing Rurik Gislason. Kari Arnason also missed out for Sverrir Ingason, and Emil Hallfredsson takes Jon Bodvarsson.

The only two players in the Croatia line-up to keep their places were The only two players to keep their places from the 3-0 win over Argentina were Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic.

Croatia improved from a display which had failed to register a convincing effort in the first half, with Badelj striking the bar before going one better a minute later, half-volleying into the ground and beyond Halldorsson from eight yards.

But Iceland responded with intensity and intent, with Sverrir Ingason’s effort touched over, and moments later he too smacked the crossbar.

And they found a way through when Lovren moved his arm towards Bjarnason’s cross, and Sigurdsson showed his bravery by planting his penalty in the same direction as the one he missed against Nigeria – albeit inside the posts this time.

Iceland threw men forward in search of a winner which looked increasingly like it would send them through.

But they were left in tears at the final whistle when, in the first minute of added time, Perisic – who had been so wasteful during the game – fired a powerful shot goalwards which Halldorsson could only palm into the top corner.

Nigeria 1-2 Argentina: Marcos Rojo And Messi’s Brillant Goals Has Save A Place For Argentina To Round Of 16 In Fifa World CUP 2018

Marcos Rojo and Lionel Messi celebrate the Man Utd defender's late winner
Marcos Rojo and Lionel Messi celebrate the Man Utd defender’s late winner

Argentina squeezed into the World Cup last 16 after Marcos Rojo’s fine late volley gave them a 2-1 win over Nigeria in St Petersburg.

With Nigeria heading through in Group D with four minutes remaining, the Manchester United defender popped up to convert Mercado’s cross and send Jorge Sampaoli’s side through in dramatic fashion.

Needing a win to stand a chance of qualifying, Argentina went ahead through Messi (14), turning home from 10 yards at a slight angle after Ever Banega superbly found him from deep.

Messi celebrates after scoring Argentina's first goal
Messi celebrates after scoring Argentina’s first goal

Player ratings

Nigeria: Uzoho (7), Idowu (6), Ndidi (7), Ekong (6), Balogun (6), Musa (7), Etebo (7), Mikel (7), Moses (7), Iheanacho (5), Omeruo (6)

Subs: Ighalo (6), Iwobi (NA), Simy (NA)

Argentina: Armani (7), Mercado (6), Rojo (6), Otamendi (5), Tagliafico (6), Mascherano (4), Banega (7), Perez (5), Di Maria (4), Messi (7), Higuain (4)

Subs: Pavon (6), Meza (6), Aguero (NA)

Man of the match: Ever Banega

Messi then hit the post with a free-kick, but Nigeria were allowed a path into the game as Victor Moses slotted home a penalty (51) from Javier Mascherano’s tug on Leon Balogun from a corner.

But Argentina won it, meaning they’ll play France in Kazan on Saturday, while Croatia will play Denmark on Sunday.

In their third and final group game, Sampaoli went for five changes and 4-4-2, his third different formation of the World Cup, but it worked early on.

Banega, one of the incoming midfielders, played a fine ball from deep over the Nigeria defence for Messi, whose touch was superb before finishing past Francis Uzoho with his weaker right foot.

Messi is challenged by Nigeria's Bryan Idowu
Messi is challenged by Nigeria’s Bryan Idowu

Messi’s fine through ball gave Gonzalo Higuain the chance to double their lead before the half-hour mark, but the Juventus striker couldn’t dink the ball over the out-rushing Uzoho.

Messi, who had been criticised in Argentina’s first two games for looking out of sorts, was in the mood in St Petersburg, hitting the post with a 20-yard free-kick, though Uzoho can be credited again for getting the slightest touch on his effort.

Early in a dramatic second half, Mascherano first gave away a needless corner before grappling with Balogun from the resulting cross, with Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir going to VAR before awarding the spot-kick. Victor Moses duly converted, meaning Nigeria were through as it stood.

Victor Moses celebrates after scoring for Nigeria
Victor Moses celebrates after scoring for Nigeria

Odion Ighalo then missed a clear chance to put Nigeria ahead as the ball dropped kindly to him 10 yards out, while at the other end Higuain blazed over unmarked in the box from Rojo’s centre.

But Argentina got their vital winner shortly after, as Rojo met Gabriel Mercado’s cross from the right superbly, slamming low past Uzoho from 12 yards and sparking jubilant scenes on and off the pitch.

Man of the match – Ever Banega

Brought in as one of five changes, Banega’s quality on the ball put Argentina in control in the first half.

Though his influence reduced after the break, his ball for Messi for the opener was world class; from deep, his lofted pass over the defence left the forward with a clear sight at goal.

He won all of four of his attempted tackles, and recovered the ball more than any other Argentina player.

World Cup 2018:England News

Gareth Southgate says England not plotting path through World Cup knockout stages

Gareth Southgate wants his side to beat Belgium and top Group G
Gareth Southgate wants his side to beat Belgium and top Group G

Gareth Southgate says England will not try to plot their path through the World Cup knockout stages amid suggestions they would be best served trying to finish second in their group.

England take on Belgium on Thursday with top spot in Group G at stake. Both sides have already qualified for the last 16 after winning their opening two matches.

However, if Brazil finish top of Group E and Germany come second in Group F, whoever finishes second in England’s group would avoid them both and plot a favourable route to the semi-finals.

Southgate is not keen on trying to manipulate the draw though, saying: “For our country, that would be a very difficult mindset to have. We want to win every game of football we go into.

Harry Kane is currently the World Cup's top goalscorer, with five strikes
Harry Kane is currently the World Cup’s top goalscorer, with five strikes

“I don’t know how we would go into a game not wanting to win and not wanting to play well. So, I think that’s dangerous territory if we start trying to plot and predict where we might end up.

“I think we just have to keep playing as well as we can, keep preparing the team the right way, keep the momentum and I have to keep the squad involved. That’s the one thing I think is really important.”

0:45

Former England striker Jermain Defoe thinks Gareth Southgate should avoid making too many changes for the Belgium game in order to maintain their positive momentum

John Stones, who scored his first two international goals in England’s 6-1 thrashing of Panama on Sunday, echoed his manager’s thoughts.

Discussing the clash with Belgium, he said: “We want to win. I think we’ve got to keep a winning run going.

“You’ve got to keep that momentum going. It’s always an added bonus to take it into the next game.

Eden Hazard's Belgium are currently behind England in the Group G table because they have a worse disciplinary record
Eden Hazard’s Belgium are currently behind England in the Group G table because they have a worse disciplinary record

“I’m trying to keep improving and keep winning games. We want to be winners at the end of the day, that’s why we’re in the competition.”

While Southgate is planning on playing for the win against Belgium, he does acknowledge that Roberto Martinez’s side are more than capable of beating his team.

We look at who England could face in the World Cup knockout stages

“Over the last couple of years we’ve played all the top teams – we haven’t been able to beat any of these teams yet,” said Southgate.

“We all know the quality of the Belgium squad and the individuals they have. But we think we can be competitive in all those games – and let’s see.

“We are improving and I think the lads are gaining belief in what we are doing and confidence from their performances. I’ve said all along I don’t want to limit what they feel is possible and that’s still how I feel.”

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