RIP Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart

Jim (The Anvil) Neidhart, who formed the popular Hart Foundation tag team with brother-in-law Bret in the 1980s, died Monday. He was 63. The Pasco Sheriff’s Office in Wesley Chapel, Fla., said Neidhart fell at home, hit his head and “succumbed to his injury.” No foul play was suspected. Neidhart, a native of Tampa who turned to wrestling in 1979 following a professional football career with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys, was trained by WWE Hall of Famer Stu Hart in Calgary.

Married to Stu’s daughter, Ellie, he became a member of the legendary Hart family before joining the WWE with Dynamite Kid, Davey Boy Smith and Bret (Hit Man) Hart. Neidhart wrestled mostly for WWE from 1985 to 1997 and was known for his pink and black gear, maniacal laugh and goatee. Neidhart and Hart held the tag belts for nearly a year after beating The British Bulldogs in early 1987. They enjoyed another long reign as champs after defeating Demolition in mid-1990. Neidhart also teamed with Bret’s younger and late brother, Owen, and wrestled in singles competition. The two Hart brothers joined Neidhart, Smith and Brian Pillman in a re-formed Hart Foundation faction that enjoyed a strong run in 1997.

Neidhart, who earned the “Anvil” nickname after breaking the California high school record in shot put, was initially managed by Jimmy (The Mouth of the South) Hart as the Hart Foundation went on to capture two WWE world tag team championships. Ross Hart, his brother-in-law and a former pro wrestler, told The Associated Press that Neidhart suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and it was believed he suffered a grand mal seizure on Monday. Jimmy Hart said Neidhart seemed in good health when they last saw each other in April on WrestleMania weekend.

Neidhart competed in Calgary Stampede wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling in the early 1980s before joining the-then World Wrestling Federation in 1985. In the ’90s, Neidhart was part of the Hart Foundation group that feuded with Stone Cold Steve Austin. He last competed in the organization in 1997, but one of his three daughters, Natalya, is a WWE superstar. Neidhart wrestled briefly for other wrestling promotions and had brushes with the law and spent time in drug rehabilitation later in life. But he found a second act as comic relief on “Total Divas” and was filmed going shopping with his daughter and teaching wrestlers how to golf.

Arsenal 0 Manchester City 2

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says his side will get even better as they deservedly beat Arsenal on the opening day of the Premier League season. The Gunners were playing their first competitive game without Arsene Wenger in charge since 1996 but were well beaten by the defending champions. Raheem Sterling put City ahead in the 14th minute when he got the ball on the corner of the box, cut beyond two players and rifled home from 20 yards.

Riyad Mahrez went close to scoring on his league debut for City when his free-kick was saved by Petr Cech, who denied Aymeric Laporte from the follow-up. It was always going to be a tough first game for Unai Emery at Arsenal and they had few clear-cut chances – with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and substitute Alexandre Lacazette shooting wide from outside the box. Sterling, who was selected on the left wing over Leroy Sane, opened the scoring when he received a pass from Mendy, making his first Premier League start since September.

Record goalscorer Sergio Aguero should have had his 202nd City goal when he was played in one-on-one from the halfway line but he shot right at Cech – with De Bruyne free in the centre. Bernardo finally sealed the points when he finished from Mendy’s cutback. It would be unfair to judge Arsenal – or Emery, who replaced legendary manager Wenger this summer – based on a performance against the country’s outstanding team.

Lucas Perez Joins West Ham

West Ham have signed forward Lucas Perez from Arsenal on a three-year contract. It has been a really busy summer in east London and the 29-year-old Perez becomes West Ham’s eighth new signing, as manager Manuel Pellegrini overhauls his squad. Perez said: “I’m very happy to be here at such an historic club. “I’m very excited, as West Ham are giving me the chance to stay in the Premier League and I’m very happy to be part of this new project.

“West Ham have great fans and play in an amazing stadium, so to sign here brings me great joy. I’m very motivated.” Perez joined Arsenal from Deportivo La Coruna in August 2016 and spent last season on loan back at the Spanish club, having struggled to make an impact at the Emirates. West Ham director of football Mario Husillos said: “We welcome Lucas to West Ham United. “He is a very experienced player that Manuel and I both know well from Spain. “He has great technical quality, and can play as both the main striker or the second striker in a deeper role. He scores goals, but can also create them and link well with the midfielders.

Lucas makes the move across London and signs a three-year contract with the Irons, having played in the Premier League and La Liga over the past two seasons with the Gunners and on loan for Deportivo de La Coruna. The 29-year-old joins Ryan Fredericks, Lukasz Fabianski, Issa Diop, Jack Wilshere, Aindriy Yarmolenko, Fabian Balbuena and Felipe Anderson in moving to London Stadium this summer.

Transfer Window Almost Closed

According to The Sun, new coach Unai Emery fears Shkodran Mustafi is not up to the job, while he is also said to fear the likes of Calum Chambers, Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos are not yet ready for regular first team football. Chambers, who recently signed a new long-term deal, is reportedly on the verge of joining newly promoted Fulham on a season-long loan with Croatia World Cup star Domagoj Vida having been identified as a potential replacement.

The physically imposing Vida joined Besiktas from Dynamo Kiev for £8m January and the Turkish club have rejected a £13.5m bid from Liverpool already this summer. Having invested heavily this summer and last January, when Mesut Ozil signed a new deal following the arrivals of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Arsenal must sell before they can submit a tempting offer for Vida. Danny Welbeck is expected to leave before the deadline, while Aaron Ramsey could yet raise up to £30m if he fails to agree an extension to his contract which is due to expire next summer.

Bournemouth and Southampton want Danny Welbeck, Everton move off the England international. January signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is their No.1 frontman with Alexandre Lacazette also an option leaving Welbeck as 3rd choice. That leaves Welbeck out in the cold and he could be off before Thursday’s 5pm transfer deadline. Everton like the ex-Manchester United man but with Brazilian ace Bernard set to sign on a free transfer they could end their interest. That would leave Southampton and Bournemouth in the clear to battle over Welbeck who has just a year left on his contract at Arsenal.

Monday Arsenal Transfer News

Arsenal have problems at left-back with Sead Kolasinac set for two months on the sidelines having picked up a knee injury in the recent friendly against Chelsea. Nacho Monreal hasn’t featured in Arsenal’s preparations for the new season having returned from the World Cup with a knee injury. The Spaniard is expected to return to Emery’s squad this week but is a major doubt for Arsenal’s Premier League opener against Manchester City on Sunday (4pm). And with youngster Ainsley Maitland-Niles set to fill the role against the champions, Emery has decided he needs fresh cover.

And the Daily Mail report the new boss will target AC Milan full-back Ricardo Rodriguez before the transfer window closes on Thursday (5pm). Rodgriguez moved to Milan last summer after spending five seasons in Germany with Wolfsburg. It’s claimed that Milan are keen to keep hold of the 25-year-old and it may cost Emery £30million to get his man. This is a player I wanted Arsenal  to sign a year or so ago.

Lucas Pérez wants to remain at Arsenal beyond next week’s transfer window, sources close to the player have said, with the striker hopeful of fighting his way into Unai Emery’s plans for the coming season despite interest in his services from Sporting Lisbon. Pérez was signed by Arsene Wenger almost two years ago, arriving from Deportivo de La Coruña in Spain for £17.1m. However he failed to make much of an impression in north London, scoring just one Premier League goal in his debut campaign, before spending last season out on loan at his former club. The 29-year-old returned to Arsenal this summer to link up with fellow Spaniard Emery and featured in the club’s first two pre-season friendlies against Boreham Wood, Atlético Madrid, although he was left out of their recent squads for wins over Chelsea and Lazio.

Perez To Lazio, Arsenal In For Vida

Arsenal have decided to accept a bid from Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon for striker Lucas Perez after he failed to win over Unai Emery, according to reports. The 29-year-old joined the Gunners two years ago in a £17m deal, but spent last season on loan at Deportivo after being deemed surplus to requirements by former manager Arsene Wenger. Emery’s arrival appeared to offer Perez a second chance at the Emirates, with the Spanish boss even having tried to sign his compatriot while in charge of PSG.

Perez reported to training early in an attempt to impress the new manager and was part of the squad that travelled to Singapore for their pre-season tour. However, Portuguese newspaper A Bola report that Sporting have agreed a fee of just £4.4million with Arsenal for Perez – a significant loss on the figure they paid just two summers ago.

The Arsenal board are happy to sanction a £25m deal for Besiktas star Domagoj Vida provided the Gunners can shift Shkodran Mustafi or Danny Welbeck in the coming days. The defender was impressive as Croatia reached the final of the World Cup in Russia and his performances have not gone unnoticed by Arsenal’s head of recruitment Sven Mislintat. Arsenal already have a wealth of options at centre-back but Emery wants a long-term partner for Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Laurent Koscielny is currently sidelined with an achilles injury.

Mustafi has failed to convince Emery in pre-season and the Gunners are open to offers for the German before the transfer window closes. Danny Welbeck has less than a year left on his deal and has been told he can leave, with Everton interested. One or both of their departures would free up funds for Emery to make moves in the transfer market and the Sun say he will use the money to go for Vida. The 29-year-old only joined Besiktas last January for £8m but the Turkish giants would not stand in his way for the right fee.

End Of July Arsenal Transfer Updates

In a candid interview with Sky Sports, Aaron Ramsey admitted he is uncertain about his Arsenal future as he enters the last year of his contact. The Welsh star, who arrived in north London from Cardiff in 2008, is reportedly being tailed by Italian outfit Lazio and is said to be open to trying a new adventure overseas. Ramsey’s agents are in discussions with Arsenal, and although Sky Sports says new boss Unai Emery has “made it clear he wants Ramsey to remain at the club”, the man himself gave little away when asked to comment on his future following a squad training session in Singapore.

Steven N’Zonzi’s move to Arsenal has stalled. The France international is said to be “waiting for permission from his father before he can complete a move”. Unai Emery worked with the midfielder at Sevilla and has been chasing N’Zonzi for weeks, but it’s claimed that the Gunners aren’t willing to pay his full £36m release clause and are trying to haggle down the Spanish side. According to Spanish newspaper Estadio Deportivo, N’Zonzi’s dad “holds a unique personal sell-on clause which would entitle him to a cash windfall if Sevilla sell his son”, which is why the asking price isn’t budging. The way out of the impasse? Sevilla “may be willing to budge on their asking price should N’Zonzi senior agree to forfeit the clause”, says talkSPORT.

The Sun reports that midfielder Alex Iwobi has “snubbed interest from Lazio” and is set to sign a new five-year deal with Arsenal. The 22-year-old Nigerian international progressed to the Arsenal first-team from the academy and his new contract is reportedly worth £70,000-a-week.

Will Arsenal Sell & Buy More Players?

David Ospina allowed to leave despite Petr Cech rumours. Ospina was No 2 behind Petr Cech last season with Unai Emery also signing Bernd Leno this summer. There is doubt over Cech’s future though with former club Chelsea linked to a surprise move for the Czech keeper. Leno is expected to be Emery’s No 1 but with Cech potentially leaving, it could leave Arsenalshort on goalkeepers. Even so, the Evening Standard report that the Gunners will allow Ospina to leave if he finds a new club.

Besiktas have been strongly linked with the Colombian as the Turkish club could lose their current keeper. Emery is keen to bring in two more players before the end of the transfer window, but the north London side will have to sell players first in order to raise funds. The Gunners have already secured the services of Bernd Leno, Lucas Torreira, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Matteo Guendouzi in recent weeks and Emery remains keen to add to his squad. Arsenal had a £70 million ($91m) budget heading into the transfer window, however, and will have to sell before making any additional signings.

They are believed to be willing to listen to offers for the likes of Nacho Monreal, Shkodran Mustafi, Danny Welbeck, Petr Cech, David Ospina, Carl Jenkinson and Lucas Perez. The arrival of Leno from Bayer Leverkusen means Cech will likely end up on the bench after three years at the Emirates, with Ospina another potential victim of the German goalkeeper’s signing. Mustafi faces extra competition for a starting berth in defence from Sokratis following his arrival from Borussia Dortmund , with the centre-back enduring a difficult 2017-18 campaign.

France Crowned 2018 World Cup Winners

France won the Fifa World Cup for the second time by overcoming Croatia’s bold challenge in a thrilling final in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. Didier Deschamps’ side repeated the success on home soil at France ’98 by a margin that hardly looked possible as Croatia stood toe-to-toe with the favourites for an hour. France’s victory meant Deschamps, who captained them 20 years ago, became just the third man to win the competition as a player and coach. Croatia also felt their luck deserted them, but ultimately France ran out victorious to erase the memories of the loss to Portugal in the Euro 2016 final in Paris.

In one of the most exciting World Cup finals of the modern era, played out to a soundtrack of thunder, Croatia and France delivered an enthralling spectacle that brought the joint highest goal tally in a final since 1958, a pitch invasion, and a controversial intervention from the video assistant referee that had a huge influence on the outcome. France took the lead after 18 minutes when Antoine Griezmann’s free-kick deflected in off Mario Mandzukic’s head – but Croatia were by far the better side in the first half and deservedly equalised courtesy of Ivan Perisic’s left-foot finish. Croatia were left nursing a burning sense of injustice when France restored their lead seven minutes before half-time through Griezmann’s penalty, awarded by referee Nestor Pitana for handball against Perisic after a lengthy delay while VAR was consulted.

In a compelling second half, France looked to have wrapped it up with two strikes in six minutes from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe either side of the hour mark. Croatia, however, showed unbreakable spirit and even threatened a comeback when Mandzukic took advantage of France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris hesitating over a clearance to pull a goal back. But France closed out the win to bring redemption for Deschamps after defeat at the Euros two years ago, sparking wild celebrations and ensuring Lloris lifted the World Cup.

Belgium Wins 3rd Place – World Cup 2018

England’s World Cup campaign in Russia ended with a 2-0 defeat by Belgium in St Petersburg that meant the Three Lions finished in fourth place.

Gareth Southgate’s team were unable to bounce back from the despair of Wednesday’s extra-time loss against Croatia in the semi-final in Moscow – but this still represents a highly creditable tournament for England.

Thomas Meunier put Belgium ahead after just four minutes when he slid in ahead of Danny Rose to divert Nacer Chadli’s cross past goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

England had chances to level in the second half as Toby Alderweireld cleared off the line from Eric Dier, while Harry Maguire also headed wide from a good position.

Eden Hazard wrapped it up for Belgium with eight minutes left when he got the better of Phil Jones to beat Pickford, who had just saved magnificently from Meunier, with an powerful finish.

Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku missed two chances and was substituted without scoring, leaving England captain Harry Kane in pole position to win the World Cup’s Golden Boot with six goals.

World Cup 2018 Semi-Finals

France will face England or Croatia in the World Cup final after edging past European neighbours Belgium in the semi-final in St Petersburg. Defender Samuel Umtiti scored the winning goal for the 1998 champions in the second half with a towering header from Antoine Griezmann’s corner. Didier Deschamps’ side were on the back foot for large periods of the game, but emerged victorious to reach their third final, having been beaten by Italy on penalties in 2006.

Belgium came through the quarter-finals by impressively beating Brazil, but they were unable to find the equaliser, as Axel Witsel’s powerful, long-range drive was pushed away by Hugo Lloris, who also brilliantly kept out Toby Alderweireld’s turn and shot. At the final whistle, the France substitutes ran on the pitch to celebrate with the players, while manager Deschamps was mobbed by his staff before dancing around in a circle.

England’s bid to reach a first World Cup final since 1966 came to an agonising end as they lost in extra time to Croatia in Moscow. Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic scored the winning goal in the 109th minute of the semi-final, slotting in from Ivan Perisic’s flick-on into the area. England – in their first World Cup semi-final since they were beaten on penalties by West Germany at Italia ’90 – were given the perfect start through Kieran Trippier’s 20-yard free-kick after only five minutes, but Perisic’s 68th-minute equaliser sent the match into extra time.

England’s players were inconsolable at the final whistle as the dream was snatched away and the pain was etched on their faces as well as that of manager Gareth Southgate – but they can take great pride and credit from this tournament. Croatia, in sharp contrast, were jubilant and will now face France in the final in Moscow on Sunday.

Arsenal Sign Teenage Midfielder Matteo Guendouzi

Arsenal have signed France under-20 international Matteo Guendouzi from Lorient for an undisclosed fee. The 19-year-old, who started his career in Paris St-Germain’s academy, joined Ligue 2 side Lorient in 2014 and made his first-team debut aged 17 in 2016. Torreira is Unai Emery’s fifth signing as Arsenal manager following Lucas Torreira’s arrival on Tuesday. “I want to become part of the club’s history and to achieve great things here,” said midfielder Guendouzi. “Arsenal have always been the team closest to my heart and a side I’ve wanted to join since I was a child.”

Guendouzi made 30 appearances for Lorient during his time at the club and will wear the number 29 shirt at Arsenal. The Gunners have also brought in goalkeeper Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen, defender Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus and defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund. Head coach Unai Emery said: “We are delighted Matteo is joining us. He is a talented young player and a lot of clubs were interested in him. “He has big potential and gained good first-team experience last season with Lorient. “He wants to learn and improve and will be an important part of our first-team squad.”

Guendouzi will wear the number 29 shirt and could make his Arsenal debut on Saturday in a pre-season friendly against Boreham Wood. One for the future and we will be watching.

Arsenal Sign Uruguayan Lucas Torreira

Arsenal have completed the signing of Uruguay midfielder Lucas Torreira from Sampdoria. Torreira, 22, completed his medical at Arsenal’s London Colney training base on Tuesday before the club announced the deal for an undisclosed fee. The midfielder, who featured in all five of Uruguay’s games at the World Cup, will be given a break before joining up with the rest of his new team-mates in early August. Arsenal head coach Unai Emery told the club’s website: “In Lucas Torreira, we have signed a young player who is a very bright talent in the game.

“A midfielder with great quality, I have enjoyed watching his performances for Sampdoria in the past two seasons, and we all saw him do very well for Uruguay in the World Cup. “He is a young player already with good experience, but who wants to keep on growing. We welcome Lucas to Arsenal and look forward to him joining us soon for pre-season.” Torreira said he is excited to get started in London, with the club confirming he will wear the No 11 shirt.”I feel very happy,” he said. “I want to make the most of this opportunity life has given me. I am really looking forward to starting this new adventure.”I feel calm. I am used to coping with this kind of thing in the best possible way. It’s a very positive thing that people want to welcome me.”It makes me feel comfortable. Now I am calm and I look forward to the future, which for sure will be very nice.”

Emery has been busy in the transfer window already, signing Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, free agent right-back Stefan Lichtsteiner and Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno. He has been handed the number 11 shirt for the 2018/19 campaign and will join up with the squad in early August.

Wilshere Joins West Ham United

Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has joined West Ham on a three-year deal and says he has moved to the club he supported as a boy. The 26-year-old midfielder, who has won 34 caps for England, becomes Manuel Pellegrini’s fourth summer signing following the arrivals of Issa Diop, Lukasz Fabianski and Ryan Fredericks, another player out of contract. The England player’s contract with the Gunners expired at the end of June. “It feels special. “It feels good and of course my family and a few of my friends are West Ham fans so everyone’s buzzing,” Wilshere, whose brother and father are also supporters of his new club, said. “People will have seen the picture of me in a West Ham shirt and I’ve got good memories of my childhood supporting West Ham, watching them at Upton Park. Many people know that I’ve had a special bond with this club growing up,” he said.

The Hammers are also closing in on the signing of Ukraine forward Andriy Yarmolenko. A fee of about 20m euros (£17.66m) is understood to have been agreed with Borussia Dortmund. Wilshere is set to fly to Switzerland to link up with new West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini’s squad at the club’s pre-season training camp. His first game on home soil could be a pre-season friendly against Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday. Despite his career being badly affected by injuries, the Hammers are confident Wilshere can make a meaningful contribution to a squad being overhauled by Pellegrini.

Wilshere made 197 first-team appearances for Arsenal and was part of the 2014 and 2015 FA Cup-winning sides. After spending the 2016-17 campaign on loan at fellow Premier League side Bournemouth, he returned to the Gunners and made 38 appearances last season but was not included in Gareth Southgate’s England World Cup squad. Wilshere, who joined Arsenal at the age of nine, exited the Emirates Stadium this summer after talks with the new manager Unai Emery left him adamant that his “playing time would be significantly reduced”.

World Cup 2018 Quarter Finals

France are into the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 2006 after seeing off Uruguay with the help of a terrible error by goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. In terms of excitement, this quarter-final tie did not come close to Les Bleus’ win over Argentina in the last 16 but will still be remembered for the contrasting fates of the two goalkeepers, with Hugo Lloris producing a contender for save of the tournament while his opposite number made a mistake that was even more memorable. Raphael Varane headed France into a first-half lead from a free-kick that came straight off the training field, with Antoine Griezmann checking his run before delivering the perfect cross for the Real Madrid defender to glance home.

Belgium produced a brilliant performance to knock five-time winners Brazil out of the World Cup and reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1986. Roberto Martinez’s side turned on the style in Kazan to clock up their fifth straight win of the tournament and ensure the semi-finals will be contested by four European sides for the first time since 2006. Brazil had conceded just one goal in their past four games in Russia but were behind early when Nacer Chadli’s corner struck Fernandinho’s arm and flew into the net, the 10th own goal of this World Cup. Fernandinho’s Manchester City team-mate Kevin de Bruyne doubled Belgium’s lead with a sublime arrowed finish from 20 yards after Romelu Lukaku’s powerful run. In an entertaining and open game, Brazil hit the post when the match was goalless – Thiago Silva missing in front of a gaping net after Neymar’s corner – before substitute Renato Augusto gave Brazil hope with a headed goal after Philippe Coutinho’s delicious pass.

England reached the World Cup semi-final for the first time since Italia 90 as Harry Maguire and Dele Alli struck either side of the interval to beat Sweden in Samara. Gareth Southgate’s side will now face Croatia in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday after overcoming a stubborn Sweden challenge in this quarter-final, with help from a magnificent display by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. Maguire, outstanding once more, broke the deadlock on the half-hour when another England set-piece bore fruit – Leicester City’s powerful defender flashing a header past Sweden keeper Robin Olsen from Ashley Young’s corner. Everton keeper Pickford then snuffed out Sweden’s hopes of recovery with a superb save from Marcus Berg, before England sealed their victory after 58 minutes when Alli headed in Jesse Lingard’s cross at the far post.

Russia’s remarkable World Cup run ended in a heart-breaking quarter-final defeat on penalties as Croatia bounced back from a late extra-time equaliser to set up a last-four meeting with England. Defender Mario Fernandes, who had brought his side level through a header in the 115th minute, missed what proved to be the decisive spot-kick, with Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic making no mistake to send his team into the semi-finals. Immediately after his penalty went in Rakitic was mobbed by his team-mates – in repeat scenes of Croatia’s last-16 shootout victory over Denmark. Brazil-born defender Fernandes’ miss – blazed low and wide of the post – was the second of two failed Russian spot-kicks. Fedor Smolov missed the first with a weak Panenka effort that was easily stopped by Danijel Subasic, while opposite number Igor Akinfeev stopped one – a fabulous low save from Mateo Kovacic.

Two Midfielders In The Talking

Arsenal have a pair of moves in the works with the club hoping to complete the signing of Lucas Torreira from Sampdoria next week after the midfielder’s World Cup campaign came to an end on Friday. Uruguay lost 2-0 to France in the quarterfinals, finally freeing up Torreira to undergo a medical with the Gunners. According to BBC Sport, the exact timing will depend on whether he chooses to fly straight from Russia to London to conclude the transfer or whether he returns home to Uruguay for some post-tournament R&R first.

Uruguay have dropped a massive hint that Lucas Torreira could be about to join Arsenal after their elimination from the World Cup. Arsenal are understood to have agreed a £26.4million deal to land Torreira this summer but the Gunners have had to wait to complete the signing of the 22-year-old midfielder. Torreira confirmed that he chose to delay his medical until after Uruguay’s participation in Russia and it appears the Sampdoria man is on his way to north London imminently. An official statement from Uruguay’s FA revealed that Torreira was not on the flight with the rest of his team-mates as they headed back to Montevideo following a 2-0 defeat to France.

And the Gunners are also keen to move for a player who helped bounce Torreira’s side from the tournament in Russia with Sky Sports reporting that Sevilla and France midfielder Steven N’Zonzi is also on the summer wishlist. N’Zonzi has featured regularly for France in Russia and new Arsenal boss Unai Emery will know what he’s in for with the 29-year-old having established a relationship with him after managing him during his time in charge at Sevilla.

World Cup 2018 Pre-quarter Finals – 2

Neymar scored one goal and played a key role in the second as Brazil edged out Mexico in Samara to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for a seventh consecutive time. Brazil did not have it all their own way, especially in an opening period dominated by Mexico, but the five-time winners grew into what became a controlled performance. It means Mexico are once again eliminated at the last-16 stage – as they have been at every World Cup since 1994. His run across goal and clever backheel won Willian space, and the Chelsea midfielder only needed two touches to drive into box and lay the ball across for the world’s most expensive player to slide home.

Belgium completed a remarkable revival as they came from the World Cup abyss and beat Japan to reach the quarter-finals. Roberto Martinez’s side were trailing 2-0 when he brought on Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli in the 65th minute, and Fellaini scored the equaliser before Chadli netted a 94th-minute winner. They now face Brazil in the last eight on Friday. Japan looked on their way to a famous win in Rostov after Genki Haraguchi ran onto Gaku Shibasaki’s long ball, which Jan Vertonghen should have cut out, to open the scoring. Takashi Inui’s 25-yard strike made it 2-0 and looked set to take the Asian side into their first quarter-final. Belgium’s Premier League stars – their golden generation – had put in a disappointing performance, and Martinez turned to the oft-ridiculed Fellaini and West Brom winger Chadli in his hour of need.

Their fortunes changed after that as Vertonghen scored a looping header to get them back into the game. Fellaini then headed in Eden Hazard’s cross to level before Chadli converted Thomas Meunier’s pass to finish off a flowing move and help the Red Devils avoid being the latest victims of a World Cup of shocks. Belgium are the first team to fight back from two goals down to win a World Cup knockout game since West Germany against England in 1970.

Sweden will play England in the quarter-finals of the World Cup after defeating Switzerland in a strangely compelling but untidy tie in St Petersburg. Emil Forsberg struck the decisive blow midway through the second half with a shot that deflected off the luckless Manuel Akanji and left Yann Sommer stranded in the Swiss goal. Sommer had brilliantly clawed away a shot on the turn from Marcus Berg in the first half and denied Haris Seferovic late on but it was undoubtedly a game that was more about missed opportunities than good saves.

England won a World Cup penalty shootout for the first time on a night of high drama in Moscow, overcoming Colombia to secure a quarter-final meeting with Sweden. Amid a fevered atmosphere inside Spartak Stadium, Eric Dier scored the winning kick after Jordan Pickford’s brilliant save from Carlos Bacca. England’s famous victory sets up a meeting with Sweden in Samara on Saturday, a game that can be seen live across the BBC. Southgate’s side looked to have emerged unscathed from an ill-disciplined match courtesy of Harry Kane’s penalty, only for Colombia’s Yerry Mina to equalise in the closing seconds of stoppage time to send the massed ranks of Colombia fans wild. The extra 30 minutes could not separate the sides and led to a nerve-shredding finale that has so often been England’s undoing, with a dismal record of just one win in seven shootouts at major tournaments before this.

England looked to be set for more agony when Jordan Henderson’s penalty was saved by David Ospina but Mateus Uribe smashed the following kick on to the crossbar to pave the way for Pickford and Dier to be England’s saviours. No previous world champions stand between England and the final. The winners of their quarter-final will face either Croatia or hosts Russia for a place in the Moscow showpiece on 15 July.

World Cup 2018 Pre-quarter Finals – 1

Kylian Mbappe announced himself on football’s biggest stage with two fine goals that gave France victory in a classic World Cup encounter with Argentina, and a place in the quarter-finals. Though much of the focus before the game was on Argentina superstar Lionel Messi, it was Mbappe who produced a brilliant performance that will linger long in the memory. Mbappe’s second-half double turned the game decisively in France’s favour, and inflicted more pain on Argentina in what may be their final chance to win the World Cup during Messi’s prime. In doing so, the 19-year-old became the first teenager to score two in a World Cup match since Pele netted twice for Brazil against Sweden in the 1958 final. Antoine Griezmann had already hit the bar with a free-kick by the time he put France ahead from the penalty spot in the ninth minute, following a searing Mbappe run that was ended by a clumsy Marcos Rojo foul.

Argentina looked unable to reply for much of the first half, until Angel di Maria hauled his side level with a stunning long-range curler shortly before the break. Thousands of raucous South American supporters were sent into raptures when Gabriel Mercado diverted a Messi shot past Hugo Lloris to give Jorge Sampaoli’s side the lead. But Benjamin Pavard’s stunning strike levelled the scores, and 11 minutes later Mbappe had scored twice – two clinical finishes that ensured the 2014 beaten finalists would be going home at the last 16. For the first he swept body and ball into space before driving past Franco Armani to score, while the second was swept in crisply at the end of a counter-attack as Argentina chased another leveller. Substitute Sergio Aguero did get a late consolation – a low header from a pin-point Messi cross in the 93rd minute.

Edinson Cavani scored two superb goals as Uruguay beat Portugal to set up a World Cup quarter-final meeting with France. Defeat for the European champions finished Cristiano Ronaldo’s hopes of success in Russia just hours after Lionel Messi and Argentina were knocked out, beaten 4-3 by Les Bleus. This World Cup has not been short of stunning goals and Cavani added another to the collection when he opened the scoring early on, playing a superb one-two with Luis Suarez before thumping home a header from his strike partner’s cross.

Uruguay had not conceded a goal at this World Cup before Pepe rose unmarked to nod in an equaliser from close range, prompting a brief spell of dominance for Portugal. But Cavani secured Uruguay’s place in the last eight – and a trip to Nizhny Novgorod to face France on Friday – when he steered a brilliant shot beyond goalkeeper Rui Patricio. The win may have come at a price, though, as Cavani limped off late on.

Hosts Russia pulled off the biggest shock of the 2018 World Cup so far as they beat 2010 winners Spain in the first penalty shootout of the tournament to reach the quarter-finals for the first time in 48 years. After extra-time ended with the score locked at 1-1, goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was Russia’s penalty hero, denying Koke and then Iago Aspas to spark scenes of delirious celebration at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.

His opposite number, David de Gea, got a hand to the first spot-kick he faced – from Fedor Smolov – but that was the closest he came to making a save as the Russians converted their remaining penalties in clinical fashion. Stanislav Cherchesov’s side, at 70 the lowest ranked team in the competition and 60 places below Spain, now face Croatia in the last eight in Sochi on Saturday.

Danijel Subasic saved three penalties as Croatia knocked out dogged Denmark in a nerve-shredding shootout to set up a World Cup quarter-final tie against hosts Russia. It came at the end of a largely disappointing tie – and one that had seen Luka Modric spurn a golden chance to snatch a late winner when his penalty shortly before the end of extra-time was superbly saved by Kasper Schmeichel.

The Leicester City goalkeeper also saved two penalties in the shootout at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium but he could not prevent Ivan Rakitic slotting home the decisive 10th kick. Martin Jorgensen capitalised on the chaos caused by a long throw to fire a weak shot beyond Subasic in the opening minute. A scuffed clearance and an inadvertent header off Danish midfielder Martin Delaney left Mario Mandzukic with a good chance that he gobbled up, shooting beyond Schmeichel as Croatia soon levelled.