England winger Raheem Sterling says he no longer worries about the media “picking on him” because of his “bling” lifestyle. Sterling, 23, has frequently found himself at the centre of attention throughout his career, most recently for a tattoo of a rifle on his leg. That followed criticism for proposing to his girlfriend, purchasing clothes at high-street chain Primark, and even for buying his mother a house.
Manchester City are closing in on the signing of Napoli’s Italy midfielder Jorginho. City boss Pep Guardiola made the 26-year-old one of his key summer targets. Although no deal is done yet, the two parties are not far apart in their valuation of the player and it is anticipated the transfer will be completed in time for Jorginho to join the club’s pre-season tour to the United States in the middle of July. The Brazilian-born star, who qualifies for Italy through his grandparents, joined Napoli from Verona in January 2014.
Brazil midfielder Fred has completed his £47m move to Manchester United from Shakhtar Donetsk. The 25-year-old, who is currently at the World Cup in Russia, joins on a five-year-deal. He becomes manager Jose Mourinho’s second signing this summer following Portuguese full-back Diogo Dalot’s arrival at Old Trafford. “This is the biggest club in the world and I am delighted to be a part of this amazing team,” said Fred. “To work with Jose Mourinho, who has won so many trophies in his time as a coach, is an opportunity not to be missed.”
A female reporter groped live on air at the World Cup has spoken out about harassment by sports fans. Colombian correspondent Julieth Gonzalez Theran was working for DW Espanol in Moscow when a man grabbed her breast and kissed her cheek. She continued her report without interruption but has since addressed the incident online.
Denmark are in action in today’s first game and Jonas Knudsen could play after an interesting few days. The defender’s team-,mates paid for a private jet sohe could fly home and see his new-born daughter after last weekend’s World Cup win over Peru. The 25-year-old’s wife Trine gave birth to a girl several weeks earlier than expected, after he had arrived in Russia for the tournament. “We wanted to look at the human side,” said goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. “There are lots of fathers in the squad. You have to remember we are human beings as well as footballers.”
Super Eagles captain, John Mikel Obi, has made it clear that he is willing to sacrifice his role in the team so they could win games. Mikel Obi was roundly criticized for his display in the 2-0 loss to Croatia last Saturday, when he was the most advanced midfielder in Gernot Rohr’s formation.
A lot of pundits and fans have called for Rohr to play the Tianjin TEDA midfielder in a withdrawn role in subsequent games and Mikel Obi, speaking to the press on Wednesday, says he is open to the idea.
Some nationals from Morocco, Nigeria and other counties have tried to enter Europe illegally from Russia using World Cup 2018 fan identity documents. Police told Reuters on Wednesday that the asylum seekers entered Russia using World Cup tickets and fan identity cards, which Moscow accepts instead of visas during the tournament. Then they headed for the border with Finland or Norway or the Belarusian border with Poland, authorities in the three countries told Reuters.
England manager Gareth Southgate dislocated his right shoulder while running on Wednesday. The players had a day off from training and Southgate suffered the injury near the squad’s World Cup base in Repino. “The doc has made it clear punching the air is not an option,” said Southgate, who jumped in the air celebrating the injury-time winner in Monday’s 2-1 opening victory over Tunisia. “I might not be celebrating any goals as athletically in future,” he added.
Brazil forward Neymar hobbled out of training three days before their World Cup group game against Costa Rica on Friday. The 26-year-old, who returned from a broken foot shortly before the tournament, withdrew from the session for treatment on his right ankle. A Brazil spokesman linked the injury to Neymar being repeatedly fouled in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland. “As soon as he felt the pain he went to the physio,” said Vinicius Rodrigues. “He will stay there for today and tomorrow morning, and will train as normal tomorrow.”
The agent of Leicester City forward Ahmed Musa has said they are in talks with Turkish side Galatasaray. Galatasaray want the Nigeria international on loan next season but City have yet to agree to another loan switch after Musa finished last season on loan at CSKA Moscow, who City paid £16 million to in 2016.
Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic has been sent home from the World Cup after he refused to come on as a substitute during the 2-0 defeat of Nigeria. The 30-year-old cannot be replaced, meaning Croatia will have to make do with only 22 players for the rest of the tournament. AC Milan’s Kalinic said he had a back injury, having complained of the same problem in the friendly loss to Brazil. Coach Zlatko Dalic said: “I need my players fit and ready to play.”
Iceland palyers has sent a message of support to ailing Nigeria’s first choice goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme. The Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper who would have been one of the first names on Rohr’s 23-man roster. Ikeme was left out of the Super Eagles squad as he is still recovering from leukemia. Ikeme has a cordial relationship with Iceland’s Jón Daði Böðvarsson, who played on the same team with him during the 2016-2017 season. The 26-year-old Böðvarsson played 48 games for Wolves two seasons ago, scoring three goals, while Ikeme was active in 33 games in all competitions. Sharing a photo of Iceland national team shirt with “Ikeme” printed on the back, on Twitter, Böðvarsson wrote, ”All of us in @footballiceland are with you @Carl_Ikeme 👊🏻❤.”
It wouldn’t be the World Cup if we didn’t dispense with experts, odds, analysis, form etc and put the fates of teams into the hands, tentacles or trunks of animals. At the 2010 World Cup it was Paul the Octopus. This time Marcus the Pig has picked the four semi finalists for Russia 2018 world cup – Nigeria, Argentina, Belgium and Uruguay. Achilles the Psychic Cat has called the opener in favour of Russia (against Saudi Arabia), and Nelly the Elephant looks to pick up where she left off four years ago. Nelly has predicted a win for Germany in their opening group game of the 2018 World Cup against Mexico. We are watching.