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.

Arsenal complete Sokratis signing for £17.7m

Arsenal have completed the signing of the Greece international Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Borussia Dortmund for a fee of €20m (£17.7m). The 30-year-old defender, who has won 79 caps for his country, was identified as one of Unai Emery’s prime transfer targets after the Spaniard took over from Arsène Wenger as manager. He has signed a “long-term contract” and becomes Emery’s third completed signing after the purchase of the German goalkeeper Bernd Leno for £19m from Bayer Leverkusen and the arrival of the 34-year-old Switzerland full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer from Juventus.

The former AEK Athens defender joins his former Dortmund teammates Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the Emirates Stadium. “They said to me the best things about this club, that it is one big family and of course they also called me not every day but a lot of times telling me to come here,” Papastathopoulos said. “Yes it’s a little bit [strange] but it’s also very beautiful that I’ve come to one team but I also have two players who I was together with for a lot of years. I know them both very well and I’m very happy.” Papastathopoulos, described by his former manager Thomas Tuchel as “a little obsessed with defending”, made 28 Bundesliga appearances last season having established himself as a mainstay of Dortmund’s defence since joining from Werder Bremen in 2013.

The 30-year-old arrives from Borussia Dortmund, where he won two Bundesliga titles and one German Cup. The hugely-experienced defender lists Werder Bremen, AC Milan, Genoa and AEK Athens among his previous clubs.  Sokratis, who will wear the No 5 shirt for us, also has vast experience on the international stage, making 79 appearances for Greece.  This deal is subject to the completion of regulatory processes.

How I Am Viewing The World Cup

I’ve been streaming the live matches of the World Cup from the comfort of my bedroom using the Sony Liv website, which is amazing by the way. I had signed up earlier this year to Hotstar for their really cheap Rs.299 a year for the Sports Package but Star network, their parent company, do not have the rights to broadcast the World Cup.

I was checking out other streaming options before signing up two weeks ago with Sony Liv for their monthly rent of just Rs.99 a month to watch the football games. I am loving this so much that I just might continue using it for a year or so. It’s easy to sign up and pay and then go to the website and select the game you want to watch. My 10mbps unlimited plan with Asianet is coming in really handy for this.

This weekend has been spent indoors, enjoying nice cool weather, with the exception of a quick Uber ride to and fro the self-service Bevco in Gandhinagar for a few beers – six in all, 2 each of Hunter, Black Fort & British Empire – and a 600ml bottle of Smirnoff Apple. I have to try to find another outlet though; this one doesn’t seem to have the brands I want.

List of Players Released By Arsenal

Standard annual footballer contracts run from July 1 to June 30 each year meaning that, come July 1 2018, all of the following players are going to be free agents:

Marc Bola

Santi Cazorla

Alex Crean

Vlad Dragomir

Aaron Eyoma

Yassin Fortune

Ryan Huddart

Chiori Johnson

Hugo Keto

Per Mertesacker

Tafari Moore

Jack Wilshere

The Gunners had earlier announced the departures of big names Santi Cazorla, Per Mertesacker and Jack Wilshere, however seeing this made official on Sunday will bring tears to the eyes of some Arsenal fans. Cazorla has been at the club since 2012, Mertesacker since 2011 and Wilshere since 2001 – he joined at the age of nine.

2018 Russia World Cup Update – 5

The final round of group games began like this – Mohamed Salah scored his second goal of the World Cup but Egypt ended with defeat by Saudi Arabia at Volgograd Arena. The Liverpool forward gave Egypt the lead with a brilliant lob over keeper Yasser Al-Mosailem in the 22nd minute. Egypt’s Essam El Hadary, 45, became the oldest player to feature at a World Cup and saved Fahad Al Muwallad’s penalty. However, he could not stop Salman Al Faraj’s spot-kick and was beaten again by Salem Al Dawsari with seconds left.

Russia’s impressive start to the World Cup ended as they had a man sent off and were easily defeated by Uruguay, whose victory means they top Group A. Uruguay will go on to face Portugal in the last 16, while hosts Russia play Spain. They went behind in their final group match after only 10 minutes when Luis Suarez drilled in a clever low free-kick. It got worse for Stanislav Cherchesov’s side when a Diego Laxalt effort from 25 yards was deflected in by Denis Cheryshev, leaving his keeper Igor Akifneev stranded and in the position of having conceded three goals at the tournament without making a save. Akinfeev did then come out to block a Rodrigo Bentancur chance, with Roman Zobnin just scrambling the rebound clear of Edinson Cavani, before Igor Smolnikov picked up a second yellow card and was sent off 35 minutes into his World Cup debut.

Portugal progressed to the World Cup knockout stage after drawing with Iran in a game full of VAR controversy. Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty for Portugal and was shown a yellow card after a lengthy VAR review for a possible red card. Ricardo Quaresma had put Portugal in front with a sensational goal at the end of the first half. Iran scored a late penalty, given after another video review, and almost snatched a winner in stoppage time. Iago Aspas scored a stoppage-time equaliser – with the aid of VAR – as Spain scraped an unconvincing draw with Morocco to top Group B and secure a World Cup last-16 tie against hosts Russia.

Youssef En-Nesyri – who plays in Spain for Malaga – looked to have won it for Herve Renard’s side when he powered in a superb header from fellow substitute Faycal Fajr’s corner. But Aspas flicked in Dani Carvajal’s low cross to make it 2-2, with referee Ravshan Irmatov initially disallowing the goal before overturning the decision. Spain won the group on goals scored as Portugal were held to a 1-1 draw by Iran – but had a tough night as they extended their unbeaten run to 23 games. A dreadful mix-up between Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos had allowed Khalid Boutaib to stride through and give Morocco a surprise 14th-minute lead. Peru recorded their first win at a World Cup finals since 1978 as they beat Australia in the last match of the tournament for both sides. The South Americans went ahead with a fine, low 15-yard volley from Andre Carrillo & Peru captain Paolo Guerrero, sealed the victory when he spun and shot into the far corner.

Denmark joined France in the last 16 of the World Cup after playing out the first goalless draw of the tournament, which was greeted by boos at the final whistle. Iceland failed in their attempt to reach the World Cup knockout stage for the first time as Croatia secured a late win to top Group D on maximum points. Alfred Finnbogason and Birkir Bjarnason both went close before the interval in Rostov-on-Don but Milan Badelj stylishly slammed home for Croatia after the break. That forced Iceland to chase the game and, after Sverrir Ingason hit the bar, Gylfi Sigurdsson converted a penalty to level following Dejan Lovren’s handball. Marcos Rojo scored a fine late volley to send Argentina through to the last 16 of the 2018 World Cup with a dramatic victory over Nigeria in St Petersburg. It was a result they scarcely deserved after a poor second-half showing, epitomised by the Javier Mascherano error that allowed Victor Moses to equalise with a penalty.

Brazil avoided a shock result that had earlier seen Germany knocked out of the World Cup by defeating Serbia to finish top of Group E and book a last-16 tie against Mexico. Paulinho (36′minutes) & Thiago Silva (68′minutes) scored the goals. Switzerland set up a World Cup last-16 tie with Sweden after a draw with Costa Rica that featured a bizarre late penalty drama. Dzemaili (31′minutes) & Drmic (88′minutes) scores for Switzerland while Costa Rica saw goals from Waston (56′minutes) & Sommer (90’+3minutes og). Defending champions Germany have been eliminated from the World Cup at the group stage following defeat by South Korea, in one of the biggest shocks in the competition’s history. The four-time winners crashed out in ignominious fashion – conceding twice in injury time as they pressed for the goal which would have sent them through.

In an astonishing and enthralling end to the match, Kim Young-gwon’s 92nd-minute goal – which was initially ruled out for offside before being awarded after a video assistant referee decision – left Germany on the brink of elimination. Worse was to come for the world’s number one ranked side, however, when deep into stoppage time and appearing increasingly desperate, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer lost possession in the opponents’ half. Ju Se-jong launched it forward where Son Heung-min tapped into an empty net to score the second. Sweden propelled themselves into the World Cup knockout stage with a handsome victory over Mexico that qualified them as Group F winners and condemned Germany to early elimination. Ludwig Augustinsson fired Sweden ahead five minutes after the break when a Viktor Claesson mis-hit inadvertently found him free at the far post, before Andreas Granqvist smashed home a penalty 12 minutes later following Hector Moreno’s trip on Marcus Berg.

England will face Colombia in the last 16 of the World Cup after a spectacular strike by Adnan Januzaj ensured Belgium finished top of Group G. A second-half strike from Sunderland’s Wahbi Khazri ensured Tunisia ended their World Cup Group G campaign with a victory, as Panama finished bottom. The north African side, who had 14 chances, fell a goal behind when Jose Luis Rodriguez’s effort deflected in off Yassine Meriah. Fakhreddine Ben Youssef equalised when he tapped home Khazri’s low ball. The provider of that goal then scored his second of the tournament when he fired home Oussama Haddadi’s cross.

Japan reached the last 16 of the World Cup by having a better disciplinary record than Senegal – after losing to Poland in their final Group H game. The match finished in farcical fashion, with both sides happy to play the ball around at the back for much of the final quarter. Akira Nishino’s side finished with the same number of points, goals scored and goals conceded as Senegal, but were shown only four yellow cards during the group stage to the African side’s six. Yerry Mina’s second-half header sent Colombia into a last-16 tie with England at the World Cup at the expense of Senegal, who lost out to Japan having received more yellow cards.

Double Deal To Be Announced Next Week?

Arsenal will complete a £16million deal for Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos next week, according to The Star. The Gunners are also on the brink of completing the £26million signing of Lucas Torreira from Sampdoria, reports the Telepgraph. Arsenal boss Unai Emery is including Lucas Torreira in his plans for next season. The Telegraph say the new Gunners manager wants to build his midfield around Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey. Emery then plans to add Torreira to the mix to bolster his midfield ranks at the Emirates. Torreira is currently at the World Cup with Uruguay but Sampdoria sporting director Carlo Osti has confirmed the 22-year-old had left the club.

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is to complete a move to Fenerbahce on Monday, according to reports in Turkey. The England midfielder will be a free agent when his Gunners contract ends on Sunday, and confirmed his departure on social media. Moves to Spain and Italy had been mooted in recent weeks but it now appears the 26-year-old is on the brink of a move to the Turkish giants. Wilshere had a decent campaign with Arsenal last season having spent 2016/17 on loan at Bournemouth as he looked to get an injury plagued career back on track.

His performances, though, did not convince incoming Arsenal manager Unai Emery and he is now being released by the Gunners. Fenerbahce finished second in the Turkish Super Lig last season, challenging Galatasaray for the title. Wilshere is seen as an upgrade on 37-year-old ex-Newcastle star Emre Belozoglu.

2018 Russia World Cup Update – 4

Philippe Coutinho and Neymar bailed Brazil out with stoppage-time strikes against Costa Rica following another uninspiring display at the 2018 World Cup. Coach Tite’s team were heading for a second inglorious draw when Barcelona midfielder Coutinho popped up to poke home from Roberto Firmino’s nod down. And with seconds remaining Neymar, the world’s most expensive player, tapped in Douglas Costa’s cross to secure Brazil’s first win of the tournament. 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. Switzerland took a huge step towards the last 16 of the World Cup as Xherdan Shaqiri scored a brilliant solo 90th-minute winner against Serbia. The Stoke City player collected the ball near the halfway line before dribbling away from the defence and slotting past Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic. Granit Xhaka had scored a superb equaliser for Switzerland after Aleksandar Mitrovic put Serbia in front with a header in the fifth minute. Javier Hernandez scored his 50th international goal to help Mexico take a big step towards the last 16 of the World Cup with an impressive win over South Korea, despite Son Heung-min’s stunning late strike.

Having upset defending champions Germany in their opening game in Group F, Mexico proved again they will be a test for any side should they reach the knockout stages. They took the lead in Rostov-on-Don through Carlos Vela’s penalty – the 14th of the tournament already – on 26 minutes after Jang Hyun-soo’s handball. Toni Kroos’ injury-time winner against Sweden revived defending champions Germany’s hopes of becoming the first side to retain the World Cup since Brazil in 1962. Ola Toivonen’s deft first-half lob had left Joachim Low’s side facing elimination but Marco Reus, starting in place of Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, prodded in an equaliser as Germany assumed control after the interval. The champions then had Jerome Boateng sent off late on for a second yellow card but continued to chase the game knowing a draw left their fate in others’ hands.

And they were rewarded in the final minute of five added on when Kroos tapped a free-kick short to Reus before sweeping the return pass into the top right corner from left of the penalty area. Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard both scored twice as Belgium strengthened their lead above England at the top of World Cup Group G by crushing Tunisia with a devastating attacking display. While Roberto Martinez’s side are not through to the last 16 yet, a win for England over Panama in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday will see the Red Devils and Three Lions progress. That would leave their meeting in Kaliningrad on Thursday to decide who tops the group and it is Belgium who hold the upper hand there, with their sparkling finishing in the sunshine at the Spartak Stadium leaving their goal difference significantly better off.

England recorded their biggest win at a World Cup to overwhelm Panama and secure a place in the last 16 before their final Group G game with Belgium. Harry Kane played a captain’s role once more with a hat-trick to become the tournament’s leading scorer, as England built on their opening victory against Tunisia with an impressive show of ruthlessness and quality. John Stones opened the scoring with an early header before Kane added the second with a thunderous penalty after Jesse Lingard had been fouled. Lingard added the third in the 36th minute with a brilliant curling effort from 25 yards and, as Panama crumbled, Stones crowned a slick set-piece routine by heading his second and Kane made it 5-0 before half-time with another penalty after he was wrestled to the ground.

Japan and Senegal remain well placed to reach the knockout stage of the World Cup – and a last-16 date with England or Belgium – after an entertaining draw in Ekaterinburg. Sadio Mane put Senegal ahead from close range after an awful mistake by Eiji Kawashima, the ball flying past the Japan keeper after his attempted punched clearance hit the Liverpool forward. Japan were level before half-time through Takashi Inui’s lovely curling finish, before Yuya Osako hit the crossbar. Nineteen-year-old defender Moussa Wague thought he had sealed Senegal’s second straight Group H win with a fine finish from an angle but substitute Keisuke Honda salvaged a point for Japan moments after coming on. Radamel Falcao scored his first World Cup goal as Colombia got their tournament in Russia up and running with an impressive victory that ended a lacklustre Poland side’s hopes of reaching the last 16.

Yerry Mina nodded in James Rodriguez’s cross shortly before half-time to put the South Americans ahead. Falcao, who missed the finals four years ago with injury, then broke through in the second half before driving a low strike into the far corner and Juan Cuadrado capped off a fine team performance with an accomplished finish after racing on to Rodriguez’s sublime ball behind the Poland defence.

Deals In The Pipeline For Emery?

With two confirmed deals and 1 to be confirmed on July 1st Arsenal are now looking at midfielders. Unai Emery is adamant that his new club sign his former player Ever Banega, yet today it is reported that Sevilla will do everything in their power to hold on to midfielder Ever Banega amid interest from Arsenal, insisting that he is “not for sale” and doubling down on their ability to talk the player into staying. The Argentina midfielder is considering his options this summer after some behind-the-scenes changes at the club and has an achievable release clause understood to be in the region of €20m (£17.6m) this summer.

Unai Emery is very familiar with the player from his own time in Seville and is well aware of the qualities and experience that the 29-year-old playmaker could bring in a time of rebuilding at the Emirates. It is also thought that the signing of another South American player is a done deal.  Arsenal have already signed Lucas Torreira, according to the agent of ANOTHER player. Torreira’s move has been in the pipeline for a matter of weeks after the midfielder’s impressive performances in Serie A.

But the Gunners have also been linked with Celta Vigo man Stanislav Lobotka in recent times. However, his agent Branislav Jasurek rubbished those reports, while simultaneously confirming that Torreira will be an Arsenal player next term. “Arsenal have bought Torreira to play six, so I do not think it’s going to happen,” he told La Voz de Galicia. “We only had a few words about feelings about the club, about what we think about Stanko’s future, but nothing in particular.”

2018 Russia World Cup Update – 3

Japan profited from Colombia’s nightmare start to the World Cup as they secured a victory against 10 men in their Group H opener in Saransk, despite James Rodriguez’s late introduction. Colombia conceded a penalty and had a man sent off inside three minutes, with Carlos Sanchez dismissed for handling Shinji Kagawa’s shot at a goal left exposed by terrible defending. After the first red card shown at this World Cup – and the second fastest in history at two minutes 56 seconds – Kagawa scored the spot-kick.

Senegal deservedly defeated Poland in a game of few chances to claim the first win by an African team at the World Cup – although there was a hint of controversy about their second goal. M’Baye Niang sprinted back on to the field of play after injury and immediately intercepted a backpass from midfield, beating former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and Southampton defender Jan Bednarek to the ball. He then slotted into an empty net – to the confusion and disgust of several Poland players, who protested in vain to referee Nawaf Shukralla. The Lions of Teranga had taken the lead shortly before the break when a shot from Everton’s Idrissa Gueye took a huge deflection off the unfortunate Thiago Cionek.

Russia moved to the brink of qualifying for the last 16 of the World Cup after the host nation beat Mohamed Salah’s Egypt in St Petersburg. Russia, who beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 in their opening game, took the lead thanks to a bizarre 47th-minute own goal from Ahmed Fathi, who diverted Roman Zobnin’s shot into his own net. Denis Cheryshev doubled Russia’s advantage after he finished from Mario Fernandes’ pull-back, before Artem Dzyuba sealed the victory with a fine individual goal. Liverpool forward Salah, playing for the first time since sustaining a shoulder injury in the Champions League final, converted a penalty after he had been fouled – but it was not enough to mount an Egypt fightback.

Uruguay’s slender victory over Saudi Arabia ensured that they and host nation Russia reached the last 16 of the World Cup. Luis Suarez scored the only goal at the Rostov Arena, sweeping in from close range on his 100th international appearance. It was hard on the Green Falcons, who were knocked out despite a vast improvement from their 5-0 defeat by Russia in the tournament’s opening game. Cristiano Ronaldo continued his sensational start to the World Cup with the winner as Portugal knocked Morocco out of the tournament. All eyes at the Luzhniki Stadium were on the Real Madrid star after his hat-trick in Portugal’s opening game with Spain and, typically, he did not disappoint. It took the captain only four minutes to make his mark in the way Morocco had feared, diving to get on the end of a Joao Moutinho cross and planting an unstoppable header into the net.

Spain edged out a gallant Iran in an absorbing contest to ensure they will reach the World Cup knockout stage with a draw in their final group game. The 2010 champions needed a fortuitous Diego Costa goal after half-time, having been frustrated in an opening period in which they had 81% of possession. Iran, who defended admirably until the ball ricocheted in off Costa, instantly showed more intent and thought they had levelled, only for Saeid Ezatolahi’s strike to be ruled out for offside. 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.

Kylian Mbappe’s first-half strike helped France overcome – and eliminate – a resilient Peru to earn a spot in the knockout round of the World Cup. Ricardo Gareca’s side, buoyed on by their passionate support inside the Ekaterinburg Arena, came alive in the second half after falling behind in the 34th minute but ultimately could not find the equaliser that would have prevented their exit. Monaco’s Mbappe was the player to punish the Peruvians when he tapped in Olivier Giroud’s deflected shot, coming after a period of France dominance. Argentina are facing the prospect of an early World Cup exit after a dreadful error from goalkeeper Willy Caballero set Croatia on their way to victory and a place in the last 16. It was a dogged defensive second-half display from Croatia, illuminated by a moment of magic from their own masterful number 10, Luka Modric. His curled shot from range drifted beautifully beyond Caballero’s dive to put his side two ahead, before Rakitic’s injury-time tap-in sealed a victory that moves the Europeans through to the knockout stage and also leaves them in a strong position to win the group.

2018 Russia World Cup Update – 2

Aziz Behich’s late own goal broke Australian resistance as France started with a win in Group C and history was made with the World Cup’s first VAR goal. The video assistant referee penalised Australia’s Josh Risdon for a sliding challenge on Antoine Griezmann, allowing the Atletico Madrid forward to dispatch a penalty, the first World Cup goal influenced by VAR. However, after French defender Samuel Umtiti handled Aaron Mooy’s free-kick, Australia equalised through Mile Jedinak’s penalty in Kazan. Kylian Mbappe sparkled early on, racing beyond the Australia backline to test goalkeeper Mat Ryan after 93 seconds.

Lionel Messi’s bid to win the World Cup got off to a nightmare start as he missed a penalty and his Argentina side were surprisingly held by debutants Iceland. Messi was looking to match the impact his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo has made on the tournament – a sensational hat-trick against Spain on Friday night. But instead of being the hero, Messi was the villain as his second-half spot-kick was easily saved by Hannes Halldorsson with the score at 1-1. Denmark began their World Cup campaign with a hard-fought victory against a Peru side that had earlier missed a penalty. The Danes hit Peru on the counter-attack in the second half with Christian Eriksen releasing Yussuf Poulsen, who had conceded the penalty, and he fired past Pedro Gallese.

Croatia made a winning World Cup start against Nigeria, as Oghenekaro Etebo’s own goal and a Luka Modric penalty decided a poor Group D match in Kaliningrad. Etebo, who joined Stoke City from Portuguese club Feirense for £6.35m on Monday, turned Modric’s first-half corner into his own net after Ante Rebic and Mario Mandzukic had both got touches. Modric then converted a 71st-minute penalty – Croatia’s first shot on target – after William Troost-Ekong had manhandled Mandzukic at a corner. Aleksandar Kolarov scored a spectacular free-kick to give Serbia a deserved victory in their opening World Cup Group E match against Costa Rica. Serbia captain Kolarov – the former Manchester City defender – scored from 25 yards when he curled the ball over the Costa Rica wall.

Pre-tournament favourites Brazil failed to win their opening game of a World Cup for the first time since 1978 as Switzerland earned a valuable draw in Rostov-on-Don. The five-time champions, so often lauded for their flair, failed to sparkle after Philippe Coutinho’s superbly curled opener on 20 minutes. Tite’s side – with Gabriel Jesus and Willian alongside Neymar in a front three – could offer only fleeting moments of fluid play and Steven Zuber’s header from a corner earned the Swiss a deserved point. Defending champions Germany made a disastrous start to their bid to win back-to-back World Cups with a shock defeat by Mexico.

Hirving Lozano’s first-half goal was the difference between the two sides in an enthralling encounter in Moscow, but the surprising result was not the only concern for Germany coach Joachim Low. His disjointed side looked extraordinarily vulnerable on the break even before Javier Hernandez punished them with the pass that set up Lozano to cut inside and fire home. Sweden marked their first appearance in the World Cup for 12 years by beating South Korea thanks to a penalty from captain Andreas Granqvist that was awarded after a video assistant referee (VAR) review. There was a short delay for Kim Min-woo’s foul on Viktor Claesson to be analysed on video and for the referee to point to the spot but it did not affect Granqvist, who sent goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo the wrong way.

Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Belgium proved too good for World Cup debutants Panama in the opening match in England’s Group G. After a goalless first half, Belgium, ranked third in the world, finally broke Panama’s resistance when Dries Mertens steered in a spectacular volley. Panama, 55th in the rankings, had a chance to snatch an equaliser but Thibaut Courtois was quick off his line to save Michael Murillo’s shot with his legs. Manchester United striker Lukaku made certain of the victory as he scored with a diving header after an exquisite pass from Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne with the outside of his boot. Lukaku then added a third with a chipped finish after a fine through ball from Chelsea’s Eden Hazard.

Harry Kane’s stoppage-time winner ensured England started their World Cup campaign with victory after Tunisia threatened to snatch a point in Volgograd. Kane scored his second goal of the game with a clever header as Gareth Southgate’s side recorded England’s first win in the opening game of a major tournament since they beat Paraguay in the 2006 World Cup. England’s captain gave them the reward they deserved for a brilliant start by turning in the opener in the 11th minute after Tunisia keeper Mouez Hassen, who went off injured in the first half, clawed out John Stones’ header.

Midfielder Deal Done?

Here is another deal that seems to be almost all wrapped up. Arsenal have been looking out for a defensive minded midfielder and we may have that player within our graps, if news reports are accurate – this one quotes the president of Sampdoria, where the player in question is currently signed onto, hence it is mostly legitamate.

Arsenal are seemingly on the verge of signing midfielder Lucas Torreira after Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero confirmed the player had “left” the Seria A side. Torreira, 22, is seen as one of Serie A’s most talented young midfielders, a modern playmaker who can win the ball back as well as distribute it, something missing from Arsenal’s play in recent seasons as Granit Xhaka continues to flatter to deceive. He will be the latest signing that recruitment czar Sven Mislintat has been charged with revamping Unai Emery’s first Arsenal squad ready for the new season, with goalkeeper Bernd Leno joining on Tuesday from Bayer Leverkusen.

Now a Uruguayan international, Torreira is part of an exciting midfield revolution under Oscar Washington Tabarez as the World Cup dark horses look to squeeze the last out of their prolific generation of strikers in Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. Speaking on Italian television, Ferrero said: “Torreira left for 30m euro. I bought him from Pescara when no one believed in him. We placed a bet and we won, paying just 3m euro. Torreira, originally a striker before moving backwards into midfield, is did not start Uruguay’s opener against Egypt on Friday but made a second-half appearance from the bench.

Arsenal Sign Goalie Bernd Leno

The highly-rated 26-year-old made more than 230 appearances for Leverkusen in more than seven seasons with the Bundesliga side.

Spending most of his youth career at Stuttgart, Leno signed for Leverkusen in 2011 and that September became the youngest goalkeeper to feature in a Champions League match at the age of just 19 years and 193 days, during Leverkusen’s group-stage game against Chelsea.

A Germany international, Bernd received his first senior international call-up in 2015 and has since won six caps for his country. Last year he was part of the Germany squad that won the 2017 Confederations Cup. Leno, 26, moves to the Emirates Stadium as the club continue to reshape both the squad and off-field structure following the arrival of Emery in May as new head coach to succeed Arsene Wenger.

“For me it’s a dream to play for Arsenal,” Leno said on the Premier League club’s official website. In Germany, Arsenal are so famous and when I heard it (transfer), I was a little bit nervous, but at that moment it was clear for me: I wanted to sign for Arsenal.” Emery described the German as “a goalkeeper of high quality and experience”, but it remains to be seen whether he will directly compete with both veteran Petr Cech and David Ospina, who is away at the World Cup with Colombia. Arsenal added that the German’s shirt number “will be announced in due course”.

Swiss defender Stephan Lichtsteiner has arrived on a free from Juventus, while midfielder Granit Xhaka has signed a new, long-term contract along with 20-year-old winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles. A potential £27million deal for Sampdoria midfielder Lucas Torreira, who is with Uruguay at the World Cup, is understood to be in the pipeline along with a transfer for Borussia Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos.