Monday, June 30, 2014

Newcastle United want £12m for Mathieu Debuchy

Newcastle United have reportedly placed a £12m price tag on defender Mathieu Debuchy, who has been linked with a move to Arsenal.

The Gunners are in the market for a new right-back following Bacary Sagna's move to Manchester City, and Arsene Wenger is said to be keen on bringing the France international to the Emirates.

However, the Daily Express reports that Arsenal are prepared to bid £9m for the 28-year-old, while Magpies manager Alan Pardew has urged chairman Mike Ashley not to sell him for less than £12m.

Debuchy joined Newcastle from Lille for a fee in the region of £5.5m in January 2013.
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Giorgio Chiellini says bite is "forgotten"

Giorgio Chiellini has responded to Luis Suarez's apology for biting him at the World Cup, saying that the incident is "forgotten".

The Liverpool striker was handed a four-month ban from all footballing activities by FIFA for sinking his teeth into the Italy defender while playing for Uruguay last week, and issued an apology through his Twitter account earlier today.

Chiellini replied: "It's all forgotten. I hope FIFA will reduce your suspension."

This is the third time that Suarez has been suspended for biting an opponent.
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Klinsmann questions appointment of Algerian referee for Belgium clash

The German is not pleased that his team will have a French speaker from the same country that the Americans eliminated from South Africa 2010 as their match official

United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann has questioned Fifa's decision to select an Algerian referee for Tuesday's World Cup 2014 last-16 showdown with Belgium at Arena Fonte Nova.

The German hailed Djamel Haimoudi for the way in which he handled his two games in Brazil to date, Netherlands' 3-2 win over Australia and the scoreless draw between Costa Rican and England.

However, Klinsmann is concerned by the fact that not only is the 43-year-old official is a native French speaker, he hails from the same African nation that the Americans defeated 1-0 in a crunch group-stage clash in South Africa four years ago.

"We hope it's not an issue," the USA boss told reporters in Salvador on Monday.

"We know that he's done two games [at World Cup 2014] and he did them very well, so we hope he continues in the perfect manner in which he's performed so far. 

"But is it a good feeling [having an Algerian referee]? No. He's able to speak with them [in his native language], but not with us. He's also from the country that we eliminated from the last World Cup with a last-minute goal. 

"I know it's tricky for Fifa to choose the right referee for the right games but ... look, it is what it is. We accept it and we're going to be respectful during the game. We're just going to hope that everything goes well."

Klinsmann's Belgium counterpart, Marc Wilmots, was reluctant to be drawn on the issue but still argued that the identity of the man in the middle will have no influence on the outcome of the game at Arena Fonte Nova.

"I never talk to the referees," the former midfield ace stated. "They're not there to talk; they're there to referee. 

"I liked seeing Howard Webb's performance in the Brazil-Chile game, when he disallowed a goal [for Hulk]. I know what the pressure is like on them.

"I played three times in the last 16 [of the World Cup] and the decisions were not always good. But I don't like speaking about the referee. Talking about this stuff is just about finding excuses before the game. Mistakes are made; that's football."

Meanwhile, Klinsmann confirmed that striker Jozy Altidore is ready to make his return to action after recovering from the hamstring injury he sustained 23 minutes into USA's tournament opener against Ghana.

"We don't know how much [of the game against Belgium] he can play but he's available and this is what we had been hoping for," the former Germany international enthused.

"The medical staff have done a tremendous job with him and just having him with us now is huge. But as to how many minutes he can play, we'll have to wait and see. He's been with the team for two or three days and been working day and night but I can't really say how match fit he is."

Regardless, Klinsmann is confident that the US, who pipped Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal to second place in Group G, are capable of upsetting the heavily-fancied Belgians.

"The knockout stage obviously has a completely different dynamic but we made it very through a difficult pool," the ex-Inter forward reasoned.

"We're very hungry. We have a lot of respect for the Belgium side but we have no fear at all.

"I'm very positive that we have a great foundation for giving everything against Belgium. We feel free. We're recovering quickly after game and we've great team spirit. 

"We feel like we've just started this adventure. It feels like the first week again. The people have welcomed us so well everywhere we've gone in Brazil. 

"Everyone's so super positive with us and that's how our environment is now right now. We're looking forward to this game so much."

Indeed, Klinsmann says that he and his players are determined to provide football in the States with an even bigger boost, in light of the the unprecedented levels of support the national team is already enjoying both in Brazil and back home.

"Advancing to this stage means the world to me," he confessed. "I started this job three years ago and we've seen many things develop on many fronts, not just at the national team. 

"But you get judged on what you do in the World Cup. So, for all of us, this is huge. This only comes along every four years. We don't want to wait another four years to get into this position. 

"So, now it's about understanding the moment and doing everything to reach the last eight. We're going head to head with a very good team but, for these players, the sky's the limit.

"This is a big deal; there's no doubt about it. The players have it communicated to them through their families and the energy that comes from the States and the thousands of fans is great. 

"You can see how the game is going in the States now. You can't stop it any more. It's growing on every level. 

"Obviously, though, the national team is the pinnacle and we want to do well. We want to inspire them. 

"We want to prove how good we are to them. Even when we lost against Germany [in the group stage], the American fans were everywhere; all over the stadium. 

"They've given us such a buzz, so it's a cool moment right now and we want it to continue."

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Paul Pogba : "knocking Nigeria out proudest moment of my career"

The Juventus star was delighted with his goalscoring role in France knocking out the Super Eagles and says he has dreamt of this World Cup moment

France star Paul Pogba has stressed that Didier Deschamps' men don't fear anyone ahead of a potential quarter-final match against Germany.

Les Bleus booked their ticket for the final eight following a 2-0 win over Nigeria at the Estadio Mane Garrincha on Monday - with Pogba opening the scoring before Joseph Yobo beat his own goalkeeper to make it two - and the Juventus star is brimming with confidence.

“Why should we be afraid of Germany? We are not afraid of anyone. We are the national team of France. We will play whoever we get and play to win. We will always give everything," Pogba said at a press conference, before going on that he would like to meet hosts Brazil at some point in the tournament.
“Of course we would love to play Brazil. I remember watching France-Brazil when I was a kid in 1998. There’s a nice rivalry. It would be great to meet them again. But we have to take things one step at a time."

The midfielder picked up the man of the match award following his fine outing and he was immensely pleased with his role in the victory over Stephen Keshi's men, while he hopes that any doubts about the national team have been obliterated with progress to the quarter-finals.

"I knew there was a whole country that would support us - scoring that goal has freed us," the Juventus star told TF1.

"I am very happy for the team and for the whole of France. Playing in the last eight of the World Cup has always been a dream of mine.

"I am really happy that we won. I was man of the match, but it was a team effort. I wouldn’t have been here without my team-mates.

"This is one of the proudest moments of my life.”

France will face either Germany or Algeria in the last eight of the World Cup, with Brazil or Colombia waiting in the semi-finals for the victor.
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Luis Suarez issues apology to Giorgio Chiellini

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez has offered an apology to Italy's Giorgio Chiellini after biting him at the World Cup.

Suarez was given a nine-match international ban and a four-month suspension from all football-related activity following the incident, which took place during his country's win over Italy last week.

Suarez had maintained his innocence in the wake of the saga by claiming that he had fallen on Chiellini, but the 27-year-old has now shown a degree of contrition by reaching out to the defender.

My apologies to Chiellini:

— Luis Suarez (@luis16suarez) June 30, 2014

The first match of Suarez's international suspension saw Uruguay beaten by Colombia in the last 16 of the World Cup.
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Steven Defour to serve one-match ban

FIFA have confirmed that Steven Defour will be suspended for just one of Belgium's World Cup matches.

The midfielder was red carded for a challenge that he made on South Korea's Kim Shin-Wook last week, which had prompted the game's governing body to consider a longer ban.

However, following a meeting, it has been decided that the 26-year-old will only be made to sit out one encounter.

As a result, Belgium head coach Marc Wilmots will have to make do without Defour's services against USA tomorrow, but he will be available for the quarter-finals, should the Red Devils qualify.
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Asier Illarramendi heading for Porto loan

Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi could reportedly join Porto on loan this summer.

The Spaniard moved to Madrid from Real Sociedad last summer, but struggled to make a serious impact.

The midfielder is still seen as a key player for the future, but it is understood that Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti wants to send Illarramendi on loan for the 2014-15 campaign.

According to A Bola, Porto have emerged as the favourites due to the presence of former Spain Under-21 coach Julen Lopetegui, who is the Portuguese side's manager.

A number of European clubs are believed to be monitoring proceedings.
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Ottmar Hitzfeld: 'No plans for Lionel Messi'

Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has revealed that he has no special plans to deal with Lionel Messi when his side faces Argentina in the last 16 of the World Cup.

The two nations meet in Sao Paulo on Tuesday with a quarter-final encounter against either Belgium or the USA at stake.

Messi has scored four goals in four games at the tournament so far, but Hitzfeld believes that Argentina have plenty of other players who also need to be taken care of.

"Man-to-man marking against Messi? No," he told Blick. "I don't dream about Messi. I enjoy him when I see him play football. I am a fan of him, like everybody who likes football.

"However, nothing he does on Tuesday will be able to inspire me, regardless of how successful he is."

Switzerland made it through to the second round of the tournament by finishing in second place in Group E.
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Stephen Keshi accuses referee of ‘bias’ after Nigeria lose to France

Stephen Keshi was criticial of the officials' decisions after his side were eliminated from the World Cup. 

Stephen Keshi, the Nigeria coach, has accused Mark Geiger, the USA referee, of being biased after his side were beaten 2-0 by France in Brasília. A header from Paul Pogba and an own goal from Joseph Yobo secured France a place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup and condemned Nigeria to a defeat that Keshi found hard to accept because of what he described as “a lot of mistakes” from the officials.

Keshi was angry that Emmanuel Emenike had a goal ruled out early in the first half, despite replays showing the assistant referee had been right to raise his flag for offside.

He went on to complain about a particularly poor challenge from Blaise Matuidi on Ogenyi Onazi that earned the Frenchman a booking and saw the Nigeria midfielder leave the field on a stretcher with a suspected broken ankle. He was also unhappy about an incident involving Olivier Giroud, who caught Mikel John Obi with an elbow that went unpunished.

“I am not happy with the officiating because Onazi, on two occasions, he had a very bad tackle and nothing was done by the referee,” Keshi said. “I think the referee was just … for me, I think he was biased. This is the first time I will speak about the referee in my life as a coach but it wasn’t good.

“If you look at the goal we scored, I don’t think there was any infringement. The referee is a human being, bound to make some mistakes, but a lot of mistakes is questionable. I am not happy about it but he’s the man who decides whatever goes on the pitch.”

Mikel said of the incident with Giroud: “I got an elbow and the referee saw it and he only gave him a warning, not even a yellow card, nothing. It was bad. We know the game – if you see it, act on it. The ref saw it. He did catch me. I don’t know if it was too hard but the intention was definitely there. I don’t think he is a dirty player. Everyone wants to win for his country. He hasn’t done those sort of things before so maybe it was just one of those things in the heat of the moment.”

Keshi acknowledged that the Nigeria goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, who has been so impressive in this World Cup, was at fault for the goal that saw Pogba give France the lead 11 minutes from time. “At that moment, it’s only him that can decide the reason he parried the ball,” Keshi said. “I am very far from where he was, his decision is final. What happened happened, and it cost us big.”

For the France manager, Didier Deschamps, the emotions were very different. Four years on from the debacle at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when Raymond Domenech’s side were eliminated at the group stage and the players went on strike, France stand 90 minutes from a semi-final.

Asked whether getting this far represents a success, Deschamps said: “I would say it’s not a failure. We’ve had some objectives and we increased them because we topped the group and we’ve won the round of 16. We are in a quarter-final and when you look at the recent past of the team, it’s not insignificant. I’m not saying we’re going to win the World Cup but I’m very proud.”
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Joseph Yobo announces retirement from international football

The 33-year-old, who made a record 100th appearance for the Super Eagles against France on Monday, said he is calling time on his international career to focus on his family

Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo has announced his retirement from the national side after the Super Eagles fell 2-0 to France in the World Cup round of 16 on Monday.
The 33-year-old became the first Nigerian to play 100 international matches but his day ended on a sour note with an own goal in added time against Les Bleus.

“It was a bittersweet moment for me but I think it is time to focus on my family,” Yobo told reporters. “It has been a long road.”

Yobo made his debut with the Super Eagles in 2001 but became a mainstay of the team during the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

He played at three World Cups and captained Nigeria to the title at the African Cup of Nations last year.

“We’ve won the African Nations Cup and we came here and were not disgraced,” said the Fenerbahce man.

“I never thought that I’d be here because I missed the last six games of the season through injury. They gave me an opportunity but it is unfortunate what happened.

“I gave my all."

Yobo thinks he’s leaving the national team in capable hands with defenders Kenneth Omeruo and Godfrey Oboabona able to continue in his place.

“They would grow,” he said. “Omeruo has done very well. Oboabona was injured but he got his chance at the Nations Cup. They’re going to get better, the experience is going to come and one of them has to take the responsibility and be a leader.”

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Kevin Mirallas looking to make World Cup history with Belgium

Kevin Mirallas is hopeful that Belgium can 'continue to make history' when they take on USA in Salvador tomorrow night.

The Red Dragons, who progressed through Group H with a 100 per cent record, are looking to better their previous World Cup best of 1986 when they finished fourth.

"It is true we are making history and I hope that all the team is ready to continue doing so," Mirallas is quoted as saying by the Daily Star ahead of the last-16 clash with the United States. "We hope that we can continue as we have been doing.

"We are more excited than nervous. It is the first time for most of us on this stage but we know the whole country is behind us."

Belgium are competing in their first World Cup campaign for 12 years.
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Hull City announce Robert Snodgrass capture

Hull City have signed Robert Snodgrass from Norwich City on a three-year deal.

The news was confirmed via a tweet from the Tigers this afternoon, which revealed that the midfielder had joined for "an undisclosed fee".

"We are delighted to confirm Robert Snodgrass as our second major signing of the summer. Snodgrass arrives from @NorwichCityFC for an undisclosed fee, with the midfielder signing a three-year contract with the Tigers #UTT," read the tweet.

Meanwhile, Snodgrass added: "Having spoken to the owners and the manager, and seen the plans they have for this club, I was very keen to be a part of it all.

"Everything the club has done to get the deal completed has been unbelievable. This is the start of an exciting new chapter for me and for my family and I just can't wait to get started now."

The 26-year-old joined Norwich from Leeds United in 2012, but had been strongly linked with a move away from the Canaries this summer.
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Stephen Keshi criticises "lenient" referee

Nigeria manager Stephen Keshi has criticised the performance of referee Mark Geiger following his side's World Cup last-16 defeat against France.

The Super Eagles were undone by two late French goals in Brasilia to signal the end of their tournament.

Midfielder Ogenyi Onazi was later spotted leaving the stadium in a wheelchair after being on the receiving end of a nasty looking Blaise Matuidi challenge, but the American official only showed a yellow card to the Les Bleus' youngster.

"I thought the referee made a lot of mistakes and was very lenient to the French players," Keshi is quoted as saying by ITV Sport. "There was a very bad tackle on Ogenyi Onazi and he is probably out for weeks."

France will face either Germany or Algeria in the quarter-finals.
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France 2-0 Nigeria : France down Nigeria to reach World Cup quarter-finals

France have advanced to the quarter-finals of the World Cup and knocked out Nigeria thanks to two goals in the final 11 minutes in Brasilia.

In the early stages Nigeria surprisingly controlled possession, with France at their most dangerous on the counter-attack.

The African side thought that they had taken the lead in the 19th minute when Ahmed Musa's low cross was prodded home at the near post by Emmanuel Emenike, but the flag rightly went up for offside.

Minutes later France had their clearest opening of the first half through Paul Pogba, who charged upfield, fed Mathieu Valbuena on the wing and then pinged a volley goalwards that was beaten out by Vincent Enyeama.

After a stop-start opening to the second half, Peter Odemwingie threatened to put Nigeria in front with a stinging low drive from outside the area that Hugo Lloris got down to keep out.

France then had a dominant 10-minute spell that finally resulted in the winning goal.

First, Karim Benzema exchanged passes with Antoine Griezmann before his strike at goal was cleared off the line by Victor Moses.

Yohan Cabaye went even closer moments later when he rifled an effort against the underside of the bar from the right of the penalty box.

Les Bleus' pressure would pay off soon though when Pogba headed into an unguarded net after Enyeama had parried a corner his way.

Griezmann then forced Enyeama into an acrobatic save before playing a part in the goal that sealed victory in injury time.

He appeared to poke home a Valbuena cross, but it was in fact Joseph Yobo who got the final touch for an own goal.

Didier Deschamps's side will next face either Germany or Algeria in the first quarter-final on Friday afternoon.

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Enyeama error cost Nigeria - Keshi

The coach admitted that the goalkeeper was to blame for the nation's World Cup exit and suggested that some Super Eagles players are not giving their all on the pitch

Stephen Keshi believes that Vincent Enyeama cost Nigeria their World Cup progress with his blunder in their 2-0 last-16 defeat to France on Monday.

The goalkeeper pulled off some super stops to keep les Bleus at bay but made a fatal error with 11 minutes left on the clock, failing to clear a corner which allowed Paul Pogba to put Didier Deschamps' men into the lead.

Joseph Yobo, on his 100th cap, endured the pain of scoring an own-goal in the last minute of the match as the Super Eagles failed in their goal to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in their history.

Keshi openly admitted that Enyeama's error had handed the game to France while hinting that his players taking their eye off the ball is to blame for Nigeria's latest World Cup exit.

"Enyeama had to make a decision and I don't know why he went for it like that," he told reporters. "It's his call and it cost us. It was a big moment.

"I don't know why African teams don't go further. If I were out there on the pitch, I would never want to go home. Probably some of the players are not focused enough. We will have to review this."

Keshi also admitted that recent behind-the-scenes protests over Nigeria's World Cup bonuses had been down to "cultural issues", with fellow African nations Ghana and Cameroon also seeing their players go head-to-head with football associations over post-tournament pay-outs.

Nigeria will be heading home from Brazil after the defeat, while France are set to face Germany or Algeria in the last eight.
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Matuidi disappointed with Onazi challenge

The France midfielder has revealed he went into the dressing room after the game to say sorry to the Lazio star for a tackle that ended his match

France midfielder Blaise Matuidi has admitted that he was "disappointed" with his tackle that forced Nigeria’s Ogenyi Onazi off during les Bleus’ 2-0 World Cup last-16 success over the African champions.

Just before an hour had been played, the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder challenged the Lazio player in the centre of the field but was late to the ball and caught Onazi on the ankle – a blow that ended the 21-year-old's involvement and left Nigeria boss Stephen Keshi fuming.

Matuidi, who was only shown a yellow card for the tackle, has confessed that the challenge was a poor one but has protested that there was no intent to injure the Super Eagles man.

"I'm sorry," he told the media after the game. "I've not gone in to hurt him; I'm disappointed because I'm not a dirty player.

"I went into the [Nigeria] dressing room afterwards to apologise."

The PSG star had praise for the spirit of his side, who had spent much of the opening hour under pressure from their opponents before Paul Pogba's header and Joseph Yobo's own-goal sealed the win.

"We may not have the talent of previous generations but we have the heart and the mind," he said. "This is what has put us [in the quarter-finals]."

For midfield partner Pogba, the 27-year-old only had words of admiration.

"He has a great future and he showed that today," the Toulouse-born added stated.

Matuidi has 26 caps for France, which he will be aiming to add to when they meet either Algeria or Germany in the quarter-finals on Friday.
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Alejandro Sabella: 'No margin for error against Switzerland'

Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella has warned his players that there is "no margin for error" when they take on Switzerland in the last 16 of the World Cup tomorrow night.

La Albiceleste advanced through Group F without dropping a single point, although all three victories were by single-goal margins.

"We know we have to be very focused and maintain balance," Sabella is quoted as saying by ITV Sport.

"Obviously at this stage there is no margin for error, in the group stage there is chance of a recovery. We have to be very focused. Errors become more and more expensive."

Tomorrow's game kicks off at 5pm in Sao Paulo, with the winner facing either Belgium or USA in the quarter-finals.
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WC Preview: Germany vs. Algeria (June 30, 21:00HRS)

Three-time World Cup winners Germany have never failed to reach the last eight when they have participated in the tournament and can do so once more if they beat Algeria on Monday evening.

Joachim Low's team advanced to the last 16 by coming top of Group G on seven points and will be heavily fancied to overcome surprise side Algeria, who reached the knockout stages for the first time in their history by finishing second behind Belgium in Group H.

Some have said that Monday's meeting in Porto Alegre is a grudge match for Algeria after Germany's suspect 1-0 win over Austria in 1982 ensured that they could not progress in Spain.

Low, however, doesn't feel that Germany's current generation of players should be brought into the debate.

After starting in Germany's final group match against USA, Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski will be missing from tomorrow's game because of a thigh injury.

He is expected to be replaced in the side by Mario Gotze, with Thomas Muller and Mesut Ozil also in attack.

Algeria are ready to welcome back Madjid Bougherra in the heart of defence after he sat out against Russia to avoid being suspended for the first knockout game.

The two nations have met twice previously, with Algeria winning both encounters. Whoever triumphs will take on the victor of the France-Nigeria tie, also on Monday, in the quarter-finals.

Recent form

Germany: WDWWDD

Algeria: DWLWWW

Possible starting lineups

Germany: Neuer; Boateng, Mertesacker, Hummels, Howedes; Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Kroos; Ozil, Muller, Gotze

Algeria: Mbolhi; Mandi, Bougherra, Halliche, Mesbah; Medjani, Bentaleb; Feghouli, Brahimi, Djabou; Slimani

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WC Preview: France vs. Nigeria (June 30, 17:00HRS)

France and Nigeria will meet for just the second time when they face off in the World Cup round of 16 in Brasilia on Monday afternoon.

Didier Deschamps's unbeaten France side advanced to the last 16 by topping Group E, scoring eight goals and conceding two, while Nigeria came second in Group F behind Argentina.

The pair's one and only meeting came in a Saint-Etienne friendly five years ago, with Nigeria winning 1-0 thanks to a goal from Joseph Akpala.

This time around Les Bleus are heavy favourites, but Deschamps does have injury worries, especially in defence.

Both Mamadou Sakho and Laurent Koscielny are struggling to get fit in time, meaning that Eliaquim Mangala could get the nod to start alongside Raphael Varane.

Nigeria, meanwhile, will be without midfielder Michael Babatunde after he broke his arm in a freak incident against Argentina on Wednesday.

Victor Moses could take Babatunde's place in midfield, but the Chelsea man has also been hampered by a muscular problem.

The winner will take on either Germany or Algeria in Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium on Friday for a place in the semi-finals.

Recent form

France: DWWWDW

Nigeria: LWDLDD

Possible starting lineups

France: Lloris; Debuchy, Varane, Sakho, Evra; Cabaye, Pogba, Matuidi; Valbuena, Benzema, Griezmann

Nigeria: Enyeama; Ambrose, Yobo, Omeruo, Oshaniwa; Mikel, Onazi; Musa, Moses, Odemwingie; Emenike

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Juventus make Juan Iturbe bid

Juventus have reportedly made an offer to Hellas Verona for winger Juan Iturbe.

The 21-year-old completed a permanent move to Verona last month, after an impressive season on loan from Porto.

However, according to The Express, Juventus have bid €21m (£17.8m) plus Fabio Quagliarella in order to land Iturbe.

Iturbe made 32 appearances for Verona last season, scoring five goals.
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Didier Deschamps: 'Nigeria can cause us problems'

France boss Didier Deschamps has expressed his belief that Nigeria have the ability to cause his side problems in their second round World Cup matchup.

Stephen Keshi's side took four points from their three Group F games, losing only to Argentina in a tight match.

The 45-year-old is adamant that his side can't afford to rest on their laurels in their last-16 clash in Brasilia.

Deschamps told reporters: "They will undoubtedly cause us problems on a physical level and they have forwards who can make the difference at any moment."

France face Nigeria in their clash later today.
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Mark Lawrenson: 'Luis Suarez excuse was shameful'

Mark Lawrenson has expressed his belief that Luis Suarez's excuse for biting Giorgio Chiellini was shameful and feels that Liverpool should accept a bid from Barcelona if Alexis Sanchez is also included in the deal.

The 27-year-old has been banned by FIFA for four months from all football activity following his bite on the Juventus defender in Uruguay's World Cup win over Italy, which Suarez has insisted was unintentional.

However, Lawrenson feels that enough is enough with the striker and believes that Liverpool should move on, if the right offer comes in for him.

He wrote in his column in The Mirror: "Alexis Sanchez plus cash for Luis Suarez? I'd take that all day long. We all know how wonderful a player Suarez is. We know what he did for Liverpool last season.

"We also know, however, what Liverpool have done for him. And if you're John W. Henry right now you're thinking to yourself: 'How many times can this guy keep dragging our name through the mud?'

"Not only that, the excuse he has come out with for biting Giorgio Chiellini last week is even more shameful."

Barcelona have been linked with a £40m move for Suarez, but have reportedly asked for a 'bite clause' to be inserted into any possible deal.
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Liverpool 'to urge FIFA to allow Luis Suarez to train'

Liverpool are reportedly planning to contact FIFA to urge them to allow Luis Suarez to train during his four-month ban.

The 27-year-old has been issued with the sanction, which includes a nine-match international ban, after he was found guilty of biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.

During the ban, Suarez, who has been linked with a summer move to Barcelona, is not allowed to take part in any football activity, which includes training at Liverpool's Melwood facility.

However, according to The Express, Liverpool will launch a plea to the world governing body to relax their position in order to allow the controversial forward to train with the Merseyside club.

Should FIFA deny the Premier League outfit's approach, Suarez will not be permitted to return to training until the end of October.

Reports have claimed that manager Brendan Rodgers and American owners Fenway Sports Group have given their support to the striker and will not consider a summer transfer unless a bid in the region of £80m is submitted.
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Alexis Sanchez wants Barcelona stay, but is open to Arsenal move

Alexis Sanchez is reportedly open to joining Arsenal should Barcelona decide to offload the forward this summer.

The 25-year-old has been linked with a move away from Camp Nou amid reports that the Spanish giants are keen to launch a big-money offer for Liverpool star Luis Suarez.

While reports have claimed that Sanchez could be used as part of a swap deal involving the Reds, both Arsenal and Juventus have been touted as possible destinations for the forward.

According to Spanish website Sport, Sanchez wants to prove his worth at Barcelona, but would consider a move to Arsenal should the Catalan giants push him out of the door.

Sanchez impressed for Chile during the World Cup, but his time on the global stage has come to an end after his nation were knocked out by hosts Brazil following a penalty shootout on Saturday in the round-of-16 phase.
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Jan Vertonghen hails Divock Origi

Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen has expressed his belief that Belgium teammate Divock Origi has the credentials to thrive in the Premier League.

Origi, 19, has impressed for his country at this summer's World Cup, leading to suggestions that a number of English clubs were preparing moves for the Lille forward.

"He has the qualities to play for a good team in the Premier League and I think he shows it every game," Vertonghen told reporters at a press conference.

"He has come on in every game, and he's changed games for us. He has the qualities to go to a bigger league, but obviously with Lille playing in the Champions League we'll see."

Liverpool reportedly lead the race for the teenager.
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Sevilla preparing Pedro Leon offer

Sevilla are reportedly preparing a summer move for Getafe midfielder Pedro Leon.

The 27-year-old, who joined Getafe from Real Madrid in 2010, is widely regarded as one of the most talented players in Spain's top flight.

It is understood that the player is happy in Madrid, but according to AS, Sevilla are preparing a £7m move.

It has also been claimed that Jairo Samperio could move in the opposite direction on loan.

Leon registered seven assists in La Liga last season.
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Mario Balotelli desperate for Arsenal move

Mario Balotelli has reportedly said that he is desperate to join Arsenal during this summer's transfer window.

The AC Milan forward has been linked with a return to the Premier League in recent weeks, although manager Arsene Wenger has denied pursuing the striker.

According to the Daily Mail, Balotelli is keen to leave Italy after fans blamed him for the national side's exit from the World Cup.

The report goes on to say that Balotelli is worried that the Gunners will start looking at other forwards if he does not complete the move next week.
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Emanuel Insua close to West Ham United move

Boca Juniors defender Emanuel Insua has reportedly agreed personal terms with West Ham United ahead of a proposed move to the Premier League side.

According to the The Mirror, the left-back will sign a four-year contract with the London side once the two clubs have agreed a fee.

The 23-year-old is the brother of former Liverpool defender Emiliano Insua.

The Hammers have already made two signings this summer, bringing in striker Mauro Zarate and midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate.
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Louis Van Gaal considers move for Dirk Kuyt

Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal is reportedly lining up a bid for Fenerbahce and former Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt.

Van Gaal has admired Kuyt's work ethic with the national team during the World Cup and could now bring the Dutch forward back to the Premier League, according to the Daily Mail.

Kuyt spent six years at Anfield after signing for Liverpool in 2006 for £10m, but left for Fenerbahce in 2012.

Kuyt was part of the Holland side who lost the 2010 World Cup final to Spain.
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Stephen Keshi calls on Nigeria players to learn from past experience

Nigeria manager Stephen Keshi has warned his players to learn from past experience as they look to book a place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

The Super Eagles, who finished second in Group F, take on France in Brasilia tomorrow night in the last 16 of the tournament.

Keshi's side started slowly against Argentina last time out, falling behind with just two minutes on the clock to Lionel Messi's close-range finish.

"The players are all aware of what happened early on against Argentina in the group stages," the 52-year-old is quoted as saying by "We came out differently after the break. I hope we can take this experience with us toward the match against France.

"The France players all play at big clubs across the world and [Didier] Deschamps has plenty of options. They have started the tournament really well. It will be a very difficult game.

"It has been a very open tournament. You can never predict what will happen. Look at the Netherlands game [against Mexico] and what happened. Even Brazil are not guaranteed anything. It's been a wonderful tournament."

Nigeria have never previously qualified for the quarter-finals.
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Adrian Lopez heading for Valencia

Valencia are reportedly exploring the possibility of moving for Atletico Madrid's Adrian Lopez.

The Spaniard was mainly a bit-part player for Atletico last season, but did feature on a regular basis in the latter stages of the campaign following injuries to Diego Costa and Arda Turan.

Atletico boss Diego Simeone is an admirer of Adrian's versatility, but according to AS, the Primera Division champions could be persuaded into a sale if an offer matching the player's value arrives from the Mestalla.

Should Adrian depart, Atletico are expected to renew their interest in Arsenal attacker Santi Cazorla, who is reportedly keen on a return to Spain.
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Manchester United rejected James Rodriguez move

Manchester United reportedly turned down the chance to sign Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez for £5m.

The 22-year-old is the top goalscorer at the World Cup and scored twice for his country in their 2-0 victory over Uruguay on Saturday.

Rodriguez currently plays for Monaco, but according to a report in The Guardian, he was offered to United four years ago when he was playing for Argentine club Banfield.

It is believed that senior scouts at Old Trafford were approached regarding a transfer, but the Premier League club did not come back with a response.

Later that summer United signed Bebe for £7.4m, while Rodriguez moved to Porto for £4m.
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Hector Moreno suffers fractured tibia

Espanyol have announced that Mexico defender Hector Moreno suffered a fractured tibia in the 2-1 defeat to the Netherlands on Sunday.

Moreno had to leave the field of play on a stretcher shortly after the half-time break following a collision with Arjen Robben.

A statement on Espanyol's website read: "Hector Moreno has suffered a fractured tibia in his left leg, the medical services of the Mexican national team have confirmed."

Although the severity of the injury is yet to be determined, it is believed that Moreno faces a race in order to be fit for the Catalans' first game of the season.

Miguel Herrera's side were minutes away from sealing a place in the quarter-final of the World Cup.

However, Wesley Sneijder drilled home an 88th-minute equaliser before Klaas Jan Huntelaar stroked from a stoppage-time winner from the penalty spot to cap a dramatic comeback.
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Louis van Gaal: 'Netherlands were lucky'

Louis van Gaal has admitted that his Netherlands team are lucky to remain in the World Cup following the dramatic 2-1 win over Mexico this evening.

The Oranje were minutes away from exiting the tournament to a Giovanni Dos Santos goal, only for Wesley Sneijder to drill home an 88th-minute equaliser.

Arjen Robben won a penalty in controversial circumstances minutes later, which Klaas Jan Huntelaar duly dispatched to send the Dutch through to the quarter-finals, and Van Gaal admits that his side had an "escape".

"It was an escape yes, but in the second half we showed we could create many opportunities," he told reporters.

"It's always food for thought, we will analyse the next opponents and see what's best to do. It's not only to do with our qualities but also those of our opponents."

Van Gaal's side will face Costa Rica in the last-eight stage following their penalty shootout victory over Greece.
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Roberto Carlos: 'Iker Casillas must take responsibility for Spain failure'

Former Brazil international Roberto Carlos believes that Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas must "take responsibility" for Spain's early exit from the World Cup.

The 33-year-old came under fire after making two mistakes in La Roja's opening 5-1 defeat against the Netherlands, while also struggling against Chile as the current World Cup holders bowed out at the group stage.

"In Brazil, it is said that when you win, everybody wins and loses together," Carlos, a former Real Madrid teammate of Casillas, is quoted as saying by "Iker, as has been spoken about, was not at his best, but the others didn't help him either.

"There are two people on the field who can do no wrong. The striker and the goalkeeper, when they make mistakes, it's very noticeable and gives way to criticism.

"Iker has to take responsibility. As a friend, I'm sorry for him and for the team, but you have to always improve as we do not live in footballing past, but in the present."

Carlos was a part of Brazil's 2002 World Cup winning squad.
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Costa Rica 1-1 Greece (Pen 5-3) : Costa Rica book quarter-final place on penalties

Costa Rica have progressed into the quarter-finals of the World Cup after beating Greece 5-3 in a thrilling penalty shootout in Recife tonight.

It was the Central Americans who managed to get away the first shot of the night, with Bryan Ruiz sliding a pass out to Christian Bolanos whose effort from a tight angle flew over the bar on eight minutes.

Shortly after, Lazaros Christodoulopoulos beat two men as he cut inside from the left flank, before dragging his long-range attempt wide of the target.

Greece started to enjoy more of the ball as the half progressed, and Giorgos Karagounis came close to opening the scoring when he struck the ball from 25-yards out which Keylor Navas did well to handle just short of the half-hour mark.

Navas was called into action once more before the interval, this time to deny Dimitris Salpingidis's first-time finish at the back post with a superb stop to ensure that the scores remained level at the break.

The breakthrough came seven minutes after the restart when Ruiz steered a low pass into the bottom corner of the net with Orestis Karnezis left rooted to the spot, to give La Sele a 1-0 lead with their first real attack of the second half.

With over 20 minutes still left to play, Costa Rica defender Oscar Duarte was shown a second yellow card of the night to give Greece real hope of staging a comeback.

Following a couple of half-chances, the Ethniki turned the screw further as Lazaros pounced on a loose cross which he could only send wide.

Some fine play on the left by Lazaros created an opening for substitute Kostas Mitroglou, but the striker was unable to convert the chance.

Then, as the game entered injury time, centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos levelled the contest as he tapped home after Theofanis Gekas's shot on the turn was pushed into his path by Navas.

Greece could have won it with seconds remaining, but Navas pulled off another superb save to deny Mitroglou to send the game into extra time.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, it was Costa Rica who came closest to breaking the deadlock during extra time as second-half substitute Randall Brenes volleyed narrowly wide of the mark minutes after the restart.

The Greeks could have then nicked it at the death but Navas, just as he did at the end of normal time, denied Mitroglou and it soon transpired that penalties were needed to separate both teams.

Seven perfectly executed penalties from both sides saw Costa Rica hold a slender 4-3 lead, but Navas's save from Gekas handed Michael Umana the opportunity to win it once and for all - and the 31-year-old duly obliged, stroking home the winning penalty to seal their progression and book a last-eight clash with the Netherlands.

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Netherlands 2-1 Mexico : Netherlands through to World Cup quarter-finals after late drama against Mexico

Netherlands dramatically scored twice in the final moments to come from behind and beat Mexico in their World Cup last-16 clash in Fortaleza this afternoon.

The Dutch lost holding midfielder Nigel de Jong to injury inside the first 10 minutes and Mexico soon had a dominant spell.

Hector Herrera dragged a shot wide before he appeared to be denied the ball in the penalty area by high foots from both Ron Vlaar and Stefan de Vrij. Mexico appealed for a penalty, but Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca didn't agree.

The hot and humid conditions in Fortaleza meant that one cooling break was allowed per half to allow the players to take on fluids.

Three minutes before the interval Giovani dos Santos was presented with a shooting opportunity from a tight angle but couldn't get the better of Jasper Cillessen.

Netherlands then wanted a penalty of their own when Arjen Robben seemed to be taken out by a combination of Rafael Marquez and Hector Moreno in the area, but once again Proenca opted against pointing to the spot.

Mexico broke the deadlock just three minutes after the resumption when Dos Santos rifled a bouncing ball low into the corner from 25 yards.

The Dutch came within of inches of an equaliser just before the hour mark when De Vrij volleyed at goal from inside the six-yard box but was somehow denied by the strong hands of Guillermo Ochoa, who managed to palm the ball agains the inside of the post.

Moments later it was Wesley Sneijder to go close. The Galatasaray man was fed by Robben but had his shot deflected up and inches over the crossbar.

With 15 minutes on the clock, Robben had his clearest sight of goal when he glided into the box but couldn't beat Ochoa from a tight angle.

It looked like the Dutch would go out in the first knockout stage after winning every single group game until Sneijder struck with two minutes of normal time remaining.

A loose ball fell his way from a corner and he kept his cool to slam a volley low into the corner.

Oranje then sent Mexico home with an injury-time penalty from substitute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar after Robben had been brought down in the box by Marquez.

Louis van Gaal's side will next face the winner of tonight's match between Costa Rica and Greece in the quarter-finals on Saturday afternoon.

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Sao Paulo announce Kaka loan

Sao Paulo have announced that they have verbally agreed to take Kaka on loan once his proposed move to Orlando City has been completed.

The Brazilian has been linked with a move to the newly-formed Major League Soccer side in time for their debut next year, but the club that the 32-year-old began his career at say that he will join them on loan for the next six months beforehand.

Vice-president Ataide Gil Guerreiro told Sportiv: "After 60 days of negotiations we have reached an agreement, but there isn't anything formal yet. There are steps to be taken but when it comes to values, there is an agreement between all parties involved, Milan, MLS, Orlando, Kaka and Sao Paulo.

"He will sign a contract with the MLS. Clubs can choose three designated players, Orlando choose Kaka. He will undergo a medical and will join Orlando, then he will be loaned to Sao Paulo for six months until December 31.

"Not only is Kaka excited, but he is also physically peaking. The problems at Real Madrid were due to arguments and positioning with the manager. As Milan don't have a good squad, he has a clause allowing him to leave. He will come to Sao Paulo very motivated."

The midfielder recently insisted that his departure from AC Milan is not yet certain.

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Manuel Jose: 'Cristiano Ronaldo didn't believe in Portugal'

Former Benfica coach Manuel Jose has accused Cristiano Ronaldo of not trusting his teammates during Portugal's dismal World Cup campaign.

A crushing 4-0 defeat to Germany appeared to set the tone for Portugal's tournament as Paulo Bento's side failed to reach the last 16 of the competition.

"Portugal have been carrying the 'world's best' like a diamond ring that we never had," he told TSF Radio. "The other players were treated like subordinates. Completely."

"He is a fantastic player, but every time he speaks he comes out with a blunder.

"He ended up saying that he never believed in the team. If he does not believe in the team, then he doesn't believe in his teammates."

Germany and USA will represent Group G in the second round.
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Miguel Herrera slams referee, Arjen Robben

Mexico boss Miguel Herrera has blasted referee Pedro Proenca and blamed him for his side's World Cup exit following the dramatic 2-1 defeat to the Netherlands.

Herrera's men were minutes away from booking a place in the quarter-final when Wesley Sneijder drilled an 88th-minute equaliser past goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

There was yet more drama, however, when Arjen Robben was awarded a stoppage-time penalty, which Klaas Jan Huntelaar duly converted to send the Oranje through.

Robben has since admitted to diving to win a penalty earlier in the contest, and Herrera believes that Proenca contributed to Mexico's elimination by not booking the Dutchman on that occasion.

"The reason was the referee. He put us out of the next stage. As I said, the first goal was due to a mistake on our part," he told reporters.

"[Robben] dived three times, and the referee should have booked him the first time. The referee should go back and caution the guy who tried to cheat. If that's the case Robben doesn't do it the second time.

"At least we expect that the refereeing committee looks at this and the referee goes home just like us."

Consequence of the win, Louis van Gaal's charges will face Costa Rica in the next round.
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Roberto Carlos: 'Real Madrid should sign James Rodriguez'

Roberto Carlos has said that Real Madrid should try and sign Monaco midfielder James Rodriguez.

The 22-year-old has been one of the standout players at the World Cup and scored twice for his country in their 2-0 win over Uruguay on Saturday.

Rodriguez's recent displays have seen him linked with a number of Europe's biggest clubs, and Carlos has urged Madrid president Florentino Perez to bring him to Spain this summer.

"He is at Monaco, which is a great team, one of the best in France, but if we have a word with Florentino who knows what might happen, Florentino can do anything he likes," Carlos is quoted as saying by the Daily Star.

"Rodriguez is very good - he has already shown that at Monaco. I follow the leagues around the world and I have seen him play at a high level in France."

Rodriguez is the leading goalscorer at the World Cup with five goals.
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Barcelona want Luis Suarez 'bite clause'

Barcelona have reportedly demanded that Luis Suarez agrees to a bite clause if he is to join the club this summer.

The Liverpool striker had been linked with the move to the La Liga side prior to the biting incident at the World Cup which has left him with a four-month ban from all football-related activities.

According to The Mirror, the Catalan side is willing to offer the Uruguay international a five-year deal worth £160,000 a week and help with his appeal against his suspension if he agrees to a number of special clauses relating to his behaviour on and off the pitch.

Liverpool are believed to be seeking around £80m for the PFA player of the year, while Barcelona want to pay no more than £50m.
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Arjen Robben apologises for diving against Mexico

Netherlands midfielder Arjen Robben has apologised for diving during his side's dramatic late victory against Mexico in Fortaleza.

The 30-year-old had several appeals for a spot kick turned down in the World Cup last-16 clash, before finally being awarded a penalty in injury time which was successfully converted by substitute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

Robben insists that the referee got the decision correct, but admits that he went to ground too easily on one occasion in the first half.

"I have to be honest and must apologise," he is quoted as saying by "One of the moments in the first half was a dive. Sometimes you get kicked, but that was not the case at that particular moment. I shouldn't have done that and I'm really upset with myself about it. It was a silly action.

"The other one in the first half was a clear penalty. If that's not a spot-kick, then what is? The one at the end was a just penalty call as well."

The Bayern Munich player has won five penalties in 14 Champions League and World Cup games this season.
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Klaas-Jan Huntelaar: 'I almost rejected penalty chance'

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar has revealed that he almost turned down the chance to take his match-winning penalty against Mexico earlier today.

Oranje were heading for the World Cup exit door having found themselves a goal behind with just two minutes of time remaining in Recife.

However, Wesley Sneijder's strike, coupled with Hunterlaar's penalty which was awarded when Arjen Robben was brought down in the box, secured a quarter-finals spot for the Dutch.

Following the game, the 30-year-old striker, who has missed four of his previous five spot-kicks, told NIS: "I didn't have the balls to shoot through the middle. Arjen had the ball and asked 'Would you like to take it?'

"When I was there I thought about changing [my mind], as I had missed the last time. [But] what an adrenaline rush. This is the best drug out there."

The Netherlands will face Costa Rica in the next round.
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Real Madrid want £40m for Angel di Maria

Real Madrid have reportedly placed a £40m price tag on Angel di Maria following interest from the Premier League.

Arsenal and Manchester United have both been linked with a move for the midfielder after talks over a contract extension with the European champions stalled.

According to the Daily Express, the La Liga side would only consider offers of £40m or more for the Argentina international, but expect that neither United nor the Gunners would be willing to bid so high.

Di Maria joined Real from Benfica in 2010.
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