Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has announced Liverpool’s Egypt forward Mohamed Salah is now an honorary citizen of the Russian republic. Salah is at the World Cup in Russia with Egypt, whose training base is in the Chechen capital Grozny. Salah, 26, has been pictured with Kadyrov, who was accused of using the player for political propaganda.
The head of the Serbian Football Association has accused governing body FIFA of showing bias against his country at the World Cup in Russia. Slavisa Kokeza says Serbia were victims of a “brutal robbery” during Friday’s loss to Switzerland, accusing FIFA of “directing” officials to work against them. “We will send a protest to FIFA today,” Kokeza said on Saturday. A FIFA spokesman confirmed a letter of protest had been received but that no further comment would be made.
Ahmed Musa scored both goals as Nigeria swept aside World Cup debutants Iceland to leave Group D intriguingly poised with one round of games to go. The Super Eagles would have gone out with defeat but came good in Volgograd. Musa showed superb technique to fire Nigeria ahead on the half-volley before the Leicester player rounded keeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson to make it 2-0. Iceland missed a late penalty – awarded after a video assistant referee review – when Gylfi Sigurdsson fired over.
Denmark manager Age Hareide said video assistant referees are taking the “charm” out of the World Cup after Australia scored a debatable penalty to keep their last-16 hopes alive. Australia cancelled out Christian Eriksen’s fine opener when Mile Jedinak converted from the spot after Yussuf Poulsen’s handball in the area was penalised by VAR. The ball struck Poulsen on his trailing arm as he contested a header with Mathew Leckie. “I do believe it was a penalty but the whole issue with VAR is that there are people somewhere in Russia deciding to look at this situation because it looks like a penalty,” said Hareide.
Egypt are set to lodge a formal protest with FIFA about the performance of the referee during their 3-1 defeat by Russia in St Petersburg on Tuesday. Paraguayan Enrique Caceres is the man in question. “We want an investigation into the performance of the whole refereeing team,” Egyptian Football Association president Hany Abo Rida said. Abo Rida, who is also a FIFA Council member, said Egypt felt full-back Ahmed Fathi was pushed in the process of attempting to clear the ball two minutes into the second half and steered it into his own net to give Russia the lead.
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.