Picking the Best Potential Spain Lineup to Play Russia on Sunday in Moscow

Spain face World Cup hosts Russia on Sunday for an intriguing last 16 tie at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

The Spaniards won just one of their three group games but are expected to see off Russia, who impressed against Saudi Arabia and Egypt before getting thrashed 3-0 by Uruguay.

Here’s who is expected to take the field for Fernando Hierro’s side.

1. GK – David de Gea

There had been reports earlier in the week claiming that Hierro could look to drop De Gea but the Manchester United goalie will play after his manager confirmed he is set to start.

The 27-year-old played in each of Spain’s three group games, conceding five goals and keeping one clean sheet.

2. RB – Dani Carvajal

Seen as one of Europe’s premier right backs, Carvajal has had his injury problems previously with Real Madrid but should start for Spain as they look to assert themselves as one of the favourites for the tournament with a win against Russia.

The 26-year-old has 17 caps for his national side and is yet to score an international goal, although he did net once for the Under-21 side.

3. CB – Sergio Ramos

The evil Real Madrid defender has faced bigger challenges and better attacks than Russia’s current forward line, but Spain’s captain will still need to be at his best.

His side have been far too open during their opening games and Ramos was even involved in a major calamity when he left a ball for Iniesta only for Morroco’s Khalid Boutaib to steal possession, running through to score.

4. CB – Gerard Pique

The Barcelona defender was noticeably below par during the Morocco draw an could have been sent off for a rash, studs up challenge.

However, the 31-year-old has recently struggled with injury in training, as reported by the Mirror, and could face a race to be fit.

5. LB – Jordi Alba

Perhaps second only to Real Madrid and Brazil star Marcelo as the world’s greatest left back, Alba will start again here.

The 29-year-old is known for bombing forward and will be looking to add to the two goals and eight assists he notched during the 2017/18 La Liga season.

6. MF – Koke

The Atletico Madrid midfielder has had to bide his time on the international scene but could start on Sunday, as David Silva could miss out.

Koke could play alongside Sergio Busquets as a defensive midfielder, or as part of a three with Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta.

7. MF – Sergio Busquets

Busquets is the often uncredited link between Spain’s defence and attacking midfield, so often twisting and turning elegantly to supply those further forward with good possession.

The Barcelona midfielder should start, although he is one booking away from a suspension.

8. MF – Andres Iniesta

Football fans have already seen moments of Andres Iniesta’s immeasurable talent that have made us all sad that this is the modern legend’s final World Cup.

The 34-year-old could play on the left or through the middle, but expect the same incredible level of performance from him wherever he plays.

9. MF – Isco

The Real Madrid magician has been in good form during the World Cup so far, having established himself as one of the best playmakers in the world thanks to some glittering performances in La Liga over the past few seasons.

If Isco watched Uruguay’s 3-0 humbling of Russia, he would no doubt have been licking his lips at the prospect of facing a team lacking in defensive quality.

10. MF – Marco Asensio

Asensio has mainly had to make do with a substitute role at this World Cup, which he has had no issue making his own during his time with Real Madrid.

However, should he start tomorrow, expect an few shots from distance from the 22-year-old, and possibly a goal.

11. FW – Diego Costa

Diego Costa needs a big game if he’s to challenge the top marksmen at this tournament for the Golden Boot.

Uncharacteristically quiet during the draw with Morocco, Costa is still two goals behind England’s Harry Kane and one behind both Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Expect a good performance.


Liverpool & Milan Clubs Join Arsenal in the Hunt for Real Madrid Winger Lucas Vazquez

Arsenal and Liverpool will go toe to toe with both Inter and AC Milan this summer in an attempt to lure Spain international Lucas Vázquez away from Real Madrid, according to reports.

The 26-year-old winger, who is a product of the Los Blancos academy, was one of Zinedine Zidane’s most capped player last season, making 48 appearances where he scored eight goals and claimed 14 assists.

Although Vázquez is believed to be happy with life at the Santiago Bernabéu, Marca claim that at least three clubs in the Premier League are willing to give the former Espanyol forward a major pay rise to ditch Real Madrid this summer.

Chelsea are among Vázquez’s suitors this summer, but domestic rivals Arsenal and Liverpool are ahead as the Blues continue to delay transfers until after they’ve appointed a new manager – believed to be Maurizio Sarri.

New Arsenal manager Unai Emery is reportedly keen on bringing his compatriot to the Emirates this summer due to his versatility and the Gunners will offer Vázquez a €3m pay rise to join the club. The north London side are also said to be tracking Portugal international Gelson Martins.

Milan were also believed to be keeping tabs on Vázquez this summer. However, their recent suspension from European competitions has dented their efforts, allowing neighbours Inter to steal the march on bringing the Spaniard to Serie A.


One sticking point for all of Vázquez’s admirers is his hefty release clause in the Spanish capital. It is believed that clubs would have to pay €310m to activate the clause in his contract, something which would put all of the interested parties off of a deal.


Brazil Star Casemiro Names Best Central Midfielder in the World Ahead of World Cup Last 16

Brazilian midfield enforcer Casemiro has boldly claimed that ​Barcelona star Sergio Busquets is the best central midfielder in the world.

Despite Busquets playing for the fiercest rivals of Casemiro’s ​Real Madrid, the midfielder has heaped praise on the Spanish defensive midfielder.

Casemiro also picked out Chelsea’s N’Golo Kanté and Paul Pogba of Manchester United for particular praise.

“There are not many players that I can choose from in my position but if I had to pick one then it would be Busquets,” Casemiro told a press conference, per ​Marca.

“He is the best in the world and I have a lot of admiration for him, he has a lot of quality. Kante and Pogba are also very strong.”

Brazilian star Neymar has not been allowed to flourish during this tournament, with defenders being particularly aggressive in their attempts to stop his play. However, Casemiro insists that Neymar is capable of looking after himself and doesn’t need help from any of his teammates.


“He doesn’t need anyone to protect him,” he said.

“He is more than accustomed to the pressure and knows how to cope. He is aware that if he doesn’t play well then he will be attacked and that if he scores a great goal then he will be praised as the best.”

Neymar was overcome with emotion when he scored his first goal of this summer’s World Cup in the 97th minute of Brazil’s ​second group game against Costa Rica.

It is his only goal of the tournament to date, as he languishes well behind the likes of ​Harry Kane and ​Cristiano Ronaldo in the goal scoring charts.


Brazil will now face Mexico in the last 16 on Wednesday and will be hoping that Neymar – who has disappointed massively so far – can hit his form at just the right time.


Spurs Readying Offer for Colombia Star Juan Quintero After Impressive World Cup Performances

Tottenham Hotspur have taken up an interest in Colombia’s Juan Fernando Quintero following his exploits during the group stage of the 2018 World Cup.

The 25-year-old has certainly done himself no harm with his performances to date, scoring a goal and assisting two others to help his country recover from their opening defeat against Japan to emerge winners of Group H.

Spanish giants Real Madrid are believed to have already contacted Porto over a move for the player, currently on loan at Argentinian side River Plate. But any interested teams will have to also go through the South American outfit as they have an option in their loan contract which would allow them to purchase him for £3m.

The likelihood of Quintero joining a European suitor is still great as River Plate could simply activate their option to later sell him for a huge profit.

According to ​La Nueva, the London side have also informed Porto of their interest in the player and could soon return with an offer. The report claims that both Spurs and Madrid are prepared to offer ‘significant sums’ in an attempt to land the Colombian attacker.

Madrid do have a history as it relates to the signing of Colombians who emerge as stars at the World Cup, having bought Quintero’s international teammates James Rodrigues and Keylor Navas after their notable showings at the tournament in 2014. And the No.20 could be the latest star to make the switch to the Bernabeu under such circumstances.


With Spurs reportedly now in the mix, however, the player could be tempted to move to a club he feels would likely offer him more playing time, especially given how things turned out for Rodriguez at Real.


Christian Eriksen Makes Bold Claim About Luka Modrić Ahead of Denmark’s World Cup Clash With Croatia

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen has claimed to be at least as good a footballer as Croatia star Luka Modrić, ahead of the Danes’ clash with Croatia in the ​FIFA World Cup round of 16 on Sunday.

Quoted by ​Danish tabloid ​BT, Eriksen said, “I do not consider myself to be worse than him [Modrić].”


The ​Tottenham star did also acknowledge the Croat’s outstanding achievements, but attributed them partly to the fact that Modrić plays for serial ​UEFA Champions League winners ​Real Madrid. “Modrić has won an incredible number of accolades,” said Eriksen, adding: “Of course, the team in Real Madrid has helped him, but he has played to a very high standard.”

The Dane also sounded enthusiastic about the prospect of taking on Modrić on Sunday: “He is the type of player you enjoy to challenge yourself against. For the national team is more attacking that he is for Madrid,” said Eriksen.

Eriksen’s audacious claim to be on a par with Modrić is at least partly supported by statistics. Eriksen either scored or assisted 27 goals for Spurs in all competitions last season, and his tally of 14 goals was just three fewer than the Croat’s overall total in four seasons with the Lilywhites.

Nevertheless, Eriksen arguably still has plenty to prove at the highest level of the game. His Spurs side faded to defeat against ​Juventus in the last 16 of last season’s Champions League, while Modrić produced an imperious display in Real Madrid’s 3-1 win over ​Liverpool in the final.


It will be interesting to note whether Eriksen can live up to his bold claim on Sunday. Both he and Modrić have impressed so far in this summer’s World Cup, and they have each scored one outstanding goal – Eriksen produced a sublime finish against Australia, while Modrić fired in a spectacular long range strike against Argentina.


In-Demand Lazio Midfielder Hints at Possible Departure Amid Reports of Juventus Interest

Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has admitted that he doesn’t know what the future holds amid reports of interest from Italian giants ​Juventus. The Serbian is on his way back to Rome after being knocked out of the World Cup and is set to have a discussion with Lazio president Lotito.

Milinkovic-Savic has become one of the most sought after players in Europe following an incredible season in Serie A. There’s a lot of interest in the youngster, namely from Juventus and the Premier League, but at this point anything could happen.


​Lazio have slapped a huge €150m asking price on the midfielder’s head, and the 23-year-old has now opened up on reports linking him with a move to a new club.

“Now I’m going back home to Lazio where I have a contract,” Milinkovic-Savic said, via Football Italia. “Then we’ll see whether I stay or go, it depends on President Lotito and sporting director [Igli] Tare. I’ll talk to them, the €150m asking price isn’t a burden, it’s a motivation to do better.

“Every day I see links to a different team, it’s a motivation. Juve are a great team, at the top in Italy, you can see that from Scudetti and Coppe Italia in their trophy cabinet.

“Plus my little brother [Vanja] is in Turin, even if I’ll have to see what he does. He wants to play more, but [Salvatore] Sirigu is a great goalkeeper. It’s not like I’ll follow my brother though! But family is important to me.


“To the Lazio supporters I’d say that I’ve spent three beautiful years there and they’ll remain in my heart, now we’ll see if I stay or go.”


Tottenham Preparing to Rival Man Utd in Race to Sign Highly Sought After Croatian Superstar

Tottenham have reportedly decided to contact ​Real Madrid in the hopes of beating ​Manchester United to Mateo Kovacic’s signature.

The exciting playmaker only made 10 starts in the league for Los Blancos last season, and has subsequently been linked to a number of clubs following the resignation of manager Zinedine Zidane, including Roma, ​Juventus and ​Inter Milan. 

According to Spainish outlet AS, via ​the Daily Star, Manchester United were expected to sign the player for around £65m, where he would join new £52m signing Fred in midfield. However, ​with Mousa Dembele rumoured to be moving abroad, Tottenham Hotspur have attempted to hijack the deal and sign the unsettled Croatian.

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Kovacic is unlikely to address these transfer rumours as he is away at the World Cup with the Croatian national team, who have managed to top Group D by winning all of their games, including an emphatic 3-0 win over Argentina. 

The 24-year-old has been with Real Madrid since 2015, in which time the club has won three Champions League titles in consecutive seasons, as well as one La Liga crown. 

The young Croatian is up against strong competition in the Real Madrid midfield, with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos often starting ahead of him. 

Tottenham are yet to make a signing so far this summer, but have been linked to a number of players, including ​Aston Villa’s promising young midfielder Jack Grealish and ​OGC Nice forward Alassane Plea. 

The London-based club will be hoping to challenge for the title next season, as they have finished in the top three for the previous three seasons.


Report Claims Neymar’s Father & Real Madrid President Conspiring to Force Brazilian’s PSG Exit

​Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and Neymar’s father Neymar Santos Sr. are reportedly conspiring together to get the Brazilian out of Paris Saint-Germain and to the Bernabeu this summer, according to reports in France.

Neymar has seemingly been tipped with a move away from the French capital as soon as the €222m fee was agreed with ​Barcelona last year, despite having gone on to slot seamlessly into Ligue 1 with 19 goals in 20 games before injury struck. 


Whilst a handful of clubs have been reported to be keeping tabs on his situation throughout the season, ​none have remained in the hunt as long as Real Madrid, and now the Spanish giants are preparing to up the ante – as per France Football, via ​Sport.

The report claims that Perez is aware that the 26-year-old will be hard to prise away from PSG and to avoid missing out on the star playmaker for the third time, he has enlisted the help of Neymar’s father, who is also his agent, to pressure the Parisians into a sale. 

Perez is said to be trying to lure Neymar to the Bernabeu on the premise that his chances of winning the Ballon d’Or would be significantly boosted if he was a Galactico. 

However, any such deal would come with a hefty price and having parted with €222m last summer, it is understood that PSG would only entertain offers in the region of a staggering €350m before even considering sanctioning a deal that would see Neymar join a Champions League rival. 

The French outfit, meanwhile, insist that Neymar is going nowhere this summer regardless of any antics from Real Madrid.

With Neymar currently with Brazil in Russia for the World Cup any such developments over his future will be unlikely to take place whilst his side are still in the tournament. 


Toni Kroos Left Red Faced As Brazilian Fans Unearth Tweet Following Germany’s World Cup Exit

Toni Kroos will be regretting the tweet he sent that angered Brazil fans minutes before the start of 2017.

The tweet is going viral after Germany’s embarrassing exit at the hands of South Korea yesterday. Two injury time goals from Kim Young-gwon and Son Heung-min sent Die Mannschaft home early for the first time since 1938.

It is the first time in his career that Joachim Low has failed to take Germany past the group stages, and Brazil fans were quick to gloat.

Brazil’s infamous 7-1 loss to Germany on home soil at the 2014 World Cup is perhaps the most humiliating moment the nation has endured at a major tournament in recent years. And minutes before the beginning of 2017, Kroos was quick to gloat, posting this tweet, angering Brazil’s millions of fans:

And it seems they haven’t forgotten. Brazilians flocked to Kroos’ account in numbers, taking turns to send him similar messages mocking Germany’s exit from the tournament. 

It is the first time since 1938 that Germany were knocked out at the first hurdle and after the humiliation they endured at their home tournament, who can play them for getting their own back? 

Revenge is sweet for Brazil who comfortable made it to the knockout stages after beating Serbia last night. They are now the favourites to win the tournament following Germany’s stunning exit from the competition.  


Marcelo Forced Off Inside 10 Minutes of Brazil’s Final Group Stage Game With Apparent Injury

Brazil fans will be holding their breath after Marcelo was forced off during their final ​World Cup group game against Serbia.

​Just eight minutes had been played before the drama unfolded, with Real Madrid full back putting the ball out of play straight from a goal kick to receive treatment. Just seconds later, cameras showed Marcelo seemingly in some discomfort, holding his leg and almost in tears with little indication to what caused the injury. 

At first there was some confusion as to what the problem was with Brazilian medics waiting by the sidelines to attend too Marcelo, however it was soon evident that the problem was worst than first thought when Felipe Luis was called upon by Tite to replace the full back.

​Marcelo then headed down the tunnel with the medics for further evaluation, with matters not looking good for the defender.

​He played all 180 minutes of Brazil’s opening two games at the World Cup – a 1-1 draw with Switzerland followed by a dramatic 2-0 win over Costa Rica – and is seen as a vital part to Tite’s Brazil side who were tipped by many prior to the tournament to go all the way and win the competition.


Marcelo headed into the tournament coming off the back of winning his third consecutive Champions League title with Real Madrid which was also in turn his 19 trophy won during his time in the Spanish capital. Let’s hope he has a speedy recovery, and that he gets back to action soon.​