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(Pedro Aquino on realising that Peru’s World Cup is almost over and, as yet, they have neither a goal nor a point)

Australia and Denmark played out an entertaining 1-1 draw whereby an excellent Christian Eriksen strike was cancelled out by yet another penalty, awarded by the referee via VAR and scored by Mile Jedinak.

The draw was, in the end, a fair outcome as Denmark were the better team in the first half whereas Australia were superior in the second.

The point moves Denmark to four in total and means they will probably only need a draw from their game against France to qualify. The point for Australia keeps alive their faint hopes of progression but means that they will have to beat Peru to have any chance whatsoever.

The following game was the one which may see the end of any meaningful participation in this year’s competition for Peru.

At least they had a go at France and were a little unfortunate to go in at half-time 1-0 down through a scrappy goal scored by Kylian M’Bappe. In fact, the French only really decided to play after about twenty minutes and were lucky themselves not to be a goal down when Guerrero shot straight at the overrated Hugo Lloris from six yards.

The second half also saw Peru having a go and they even hit the bar at one stage. France, although not really in any serious trouble, will definitely have to play a lot better than this when they meet the better teams otherwise their World Cup won’t be lasting much longer.

For Peru it was a case of what might have been. They had missed a penalty against Denmark which could have changed the outcome of that match and they had a couple of decent chances against a poor France team to take at least a point.

The fact that they missed all those chances is the explanation as to why they are going home. The aim now, in the final game, is to ensure that they don’t go home goalless AND pointless.

c

Croatian players and staff celebrate their 3-0 win over Argentina

The day’s football was brought to a close by the game between Argentina and Croatia. Another chance for Lionel Messi to renew acquaintances with Luka Modrić outside of their Barcelona/Real Madrid rivalry.

In this system, Lionel Messi seems a peripheral figure and the problem faced by Argentina is how to get him more involved in the game. In the first half, for example, he touched the ball only 20 times, nowhere near enough for your star turn and playmaker.

Sergio Agüero, another influential player, only touched the ball 7 times so the problems were fairly obvious and go a long way to explaining why Argentina are struggling at present.

The game itself was entertaining enough and Croatia took the lead early in the second half when Ante Rebić took advantage of a Willy Caballero howler to score.

Agüero then went off and was replaced by Gonzalo Higuain who had around the same amount of touches and was just as ineffective.

As Argentina chased the game they left Luka Modrić with too much time and space just outside their penalty area and the inevitable happened. A trademark Modrić strike made it 2-0.

The South Americans then had a few kicks at assorted players and generally displayed the old bad habits long associated with them.

With time running out Croatia got a third, a tap in for Ivan Rakitić and it is probably goodbye Argentina although it is not entirely impossible that they could still qualify.

And finally in London…..

Chelsea will be signing five players but only if Maurizio Sarri becomes their 357th manager in the last twenty years.

They will raid his former club for striker Dries Mertens, winger Jose Maria Callejon, full-back Elseid Hysaj and defender Raul Albiol.

Juventus v AS Monaco - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second Leg

Miralem Pjanic – Said to be of interest to Chelsea, whoever that may be at present

Not content with just those four who, according to the Evening Standard, will cost “in excess of £70 million“, they will also try to sign Miralem Pjanic from Juventus, that one according to The Sun.

We think that the club would be better inclined trying to appoint a new manager and putting an old one out of his misery rather than blowing smoke at their own supporters.

Meanwhile, across London at a club who do know how to appoint a new manager, Arsenal are in talks to sign Ever Banega, Sevilla’s Argentinian midfielder. It may even happen, who knows?

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