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Iran national team staffer taken to hospital after goal against Spain disallowed

Spain managed to walk away with three points against Iran, but the FC crew explain how Iran managed to disrupt La Roja. KAZAN, Russia — A member of the Iran national team staff was hospitalised Wednesday after the team was denied a goal after when review held up an offside call their World Cup match against Spain. Iran coach Carlos Queiroz did not reveal the identity of the person, who felt ill after referee Andres Cunha disallowed Saeid Ezatolahi’s goal. Cunha overturned the goal after an assistant referee and the video assistant signaled that the player was offside. Spain won the game 1-0. “We’re more concerned because one member of our staff is in difficulties from a health point of view after the VAR decision,” Queiroz said. “He went to the hospital....

Spain boss Fernando Hierro says ‘I’m the new coach, get used to that!’

Spain managed to walk away with three points against Iran, but the FC crew explain how Iran managed to disrupt La Roja. KAZAN, Russia — Celebrating a first win just one week into the job, Spain’s new boss Fernando Hierro said he was happy with the narrow 1-0 defeat of Iran, while adding that people had better get used to him being in charge. “I’m the new coach, I’m the national coach. You have to get used to that!” he said, when quizzed about his inclusion of Lucas Vazquez and positioning of Isco during the win in Kazan that left Spain joint top of Group B with Portugal. Hierro, who took over after Julen Lopetegui was sacked last week, heaped praise on striker Diego Costa, who notched a scrappy 54th minute goal that was his third of the tournament. ̶...

Burger King apologises for ‘offensive’ World Cup pregnancy offer

Cristiano Ronaldo broke another record versus Morocco, Luis Suarez led Uruguay past Saudi Arabia and much more headline Matchday 7. Burger King says it’s sorry for offering a lifetime supply of Whoppers to Russian women who get pregnant from World Cup players. Critics assailed the offer, announced on Russian social media, as sexist and demeaning. The announcement was removed Tuesday from Burger King’s social media accounts but is still circulating among Russian social network users. It promised a reward to women who get “the best football genes” and “ensure the success of the Russian team for generations to come.” The fast food company posted a Russian-language statement on local network VKontakte saying “we offer apologies for the announcement we ...

England boss Gareth Southgate makes light of dislocating shoulder jogging

The ESPN FC guys answer your tweets on England’s game-winning goal, Gareth Southgate’s coaching, Raheem Sterling fluffing his lines and more. England’s Marcus Rashford believes Harry Kane can still improve and that he is the leader the team have been looking for. REPINO, Russia — England’s players got a bit of a surprise when they arrived for a team meeting at their World Cup base on Wednesday: Their coach had his right arm in a sling. Gareth Southgate dislocated his right shoulder while out running during England’s scheduled day off from training and was taken to the hospital by a team doctor. “It is better this is me than one of the players,” Southgate said. “They were a bit surprised in the team meeting and were asking, `What have yo...

Javier Hernandez implores Mexico World Cup fans to stop anti-gay chant

ESPN FC’s Seb Salazar and Herc Gomez address Hirving Lozano to Barcelona rumours and delve into Juan Carlos Osorio’s potential starting XI versus South Korea. Mexico striker Javier Hernandez has appealed to his country’s football fans to stop their anti-gay chanting at World Cup matches, arguing it could lead to further fines from FIFA. Hernandez posted a message on Instagram on Wednesday asking fans to end their derogatory chants during their opponents’ goal kicks. “To all Mexican fans in the stadiums, don’t shout ‘puto’,” Hernandez said. “Let’s not risk another sanction.” Mexico caused a major shock by beating Germany 1-0 in their opening game in Group F. They next play South Korea on Saturday. Mexicans have long sho...

Argentina’s Jorge Sampaoli pleads with fans to lay off Lionel Messi

The FC crew take a comprehensive look at how Iceland stifled Argentina and revisit La Albiceleste’s continued dependence on Lionel Messi. NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia — Argentina’s coach urged fans on Wednesday to stop blaming Lionel Messi when games do not go to script and instead appreciate all their captain has done for the national side over the years. Messi was furious with himself for missing a penalty in the South Americans’ opener against Iceland, which ended 1-1 in an inauspicious start for what may be his last chance to emulate Diego Maradona’s feat of winning a World Cup for Argentina. “Messi can’t be the only guilty one. When he scores, all Argentines celebrate, so when he misses, we can’t jump on him alone … that’s too eas...

Neymar returns to Brazil’s World Cup training despite right ankle injury

Neymar returned to Brazil’s training after sustaining an injury during Tuesday’s training session. Joao Castelo-Branco shares his thoughts on Brazil’s statement that Neymar was given permission to leave training after he limped out of the session. ESPN FC’s Craig Burley says Neymar’s ‘circus’ in Brazil’s draw against Switzerland and subsequent injury news are a distraction to the team. Neymar has resumed training with Brazil at their World Cup base in Sochi, Russia, one day after leaving the session early because of a lingering right ankle injury. The forward missed training on Monday and joined his teammates for only 15 minutes on Tuesday, with doctor Rodrigo Lasmar saying it was a precautionary measure after he felt soreness while jogging. ...

World Cup LIVE: Spain seek first win; Ronaldo fires Portugal; Uruguay win

It’s Day 7, and not only does that mean it’s the second round of group games, but it’s also time to check out who’s leading in Ballsupski anti-fantasy football and which famous celebrity will be celebrating their birthday in front of the TV today. Spain play Iran looking for their first win. Uruguay are through and Saudi Arabia are out, while Portugal top Group B after beating Morocco. Join the chat and post comments / questions using the hashtag #AskESPNFC.

Germany ‘misjudged’ situation ahead of defeat to Mexico – Thomas Muller

The ESPN FC guys answer your tweets on whether Colombia or Germany has more reason to panic, Jack Wilshere’s next club and more. Germany’s Manuel Neuer insists the squad get on well as a team despite not having a wealth of World Cup experience. World Cup winner Phillipp Lahm thinks Germany need to stand united following opening game loss to Mexico. Craig Burley believes if Germany are to rebound from their “Mexico wake-up call”, they’ll need to rethink both their tactics and starting XI. Raphael Honigstein joins the FC panel to discuss the ramifications of Germany’s defeat to Mexico, Mats Hummels’ postmatch comments and more. Thomas Muller has said Germany “misjudged the situation” by believing that they would click into gear ahead of t...

Lucas Torreira to join Arsenal in ¬30 million deal – Sampdoria chief

Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson shares his thoughts on how Sampdoria’s Lucas Torreira would fit in at the Emirates. The FC guys answer your tweets on Arsenal’s next No. 1 goalkeeper, what a 48-team World Cup will be like, Antoine Griezmann’s decision and more. Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero has confirmed that midfielder Lucas Torreira is set to join Arsenal in a €30 million deal. Arsenal have been in talks to sign the Uruguay international, although the deal is dragging out with the player competing at the World Cup in Russia. But Ferrero said live on Sportitalia on Tuesday that Sampdoria have accepted an offer for the holding midfielder. “Torreira’s gone for €30m,” Ferrero said. “I bought him from Pescara when nobody believed in him....

Atletico Madrid may report Barcelona for Antoine Griezmann approach – chief

With Antoine Griezmann yet to announce his decision on his future, the FC crew discuss whether staying at Atletico would show a lack of ambition. Barcelona’s sporting director Eric Abidal insists he belongs to the club and will do all in his power to help them improve. Atletico Madrid chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin said his club are considering reporting Barcelona for an illegal approach for Antoine Griezmann. Barcelona’s board made a public attempt to persuade Griezmann to make a €100 million switch to the Camp Nou this summer, but the France international used a television documentary last week to announce his decision to sign a new deal that ties him to Atletico through 2022-23. “We have proof of the contacts,” Gil Marin told Cadena Ser. “There is n...

Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo becomes Europe’s top scorer in internationals

Cristiano Ronaldo became Europe’s top international scorer, but Portugal were lucky to come out on top against a resilient Morocco. Cristiano Ronaldo has broken Ferenc Puskás’ European goalscoring record in Portugal’s match against Morocco at the 2018 World Cup. The FC crew examine how Cristiano Ronaldo has adjusted his game with age to remain one of the world’s elite players. After two very different opening World Cup matches, the FC guys talk about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s differing roles for their national teams. Cristiano Ronaldo broke Ferenc Puskas’ record for the most international goals by a European player with his winning goal for Portugal against Morocco in their 2018 World Cup group match on Wednesday. The Portugal captain met Joao...