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The World Cup continues to throw up shocks and surprises as the first round of group stage fixtures were completed.
Arsenal scouts will be watching the tournament closely as preparations continue ahead of the January transfer window. A number of players that have been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium were once again on show across all four fixtures on Thursday.
Switzerland forward Noah Okafor featured alongside Arsenal star Granit Xhaka as the Swiss got off to a winning start, but the same could not be said for Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s Serbia side against tournament favourites Brazil. football.london will be covering the performances of Arsenal’s potential transfer targets across the tournament.
Ensure to return after each matchday for comments on the performances of the players the Gunners have been linked to throughout the tournament.
Reb Bull Salzburg star Noah Okafor was a late substitute for Switzerland after the sole goal from Breel Embolo eventually earned Granit Xhaka’s side all three points. Okafor has been suggested as a potential attacking option that the Gunners could consider.
However, he failed to really impact the late stages of this game and did little to convince many that he is worthy of potential transfer attention over the likes of Mykhaylo Mudryk. He might get more chances as the tournament goes on to show what he’s capable of.
Facundo Torres was an unused substitute as Uruguay played out a goalless draw against South Korea. The Orlando City player was not opted for by Diego Alonso. Nicolas de la Cruz and Edinson Cavani were unable however to help break to deadlock.
The Portuguese midfielder is one of the few players starting for their nation and is linked with a move. Situated at the base of the Portuguese midfield, Neves was responsible for dictating play from deep and with the struggles to break down the Ghana team William Carvalho was added to help the cause.
He was later replaced by Rafael Leao of Milan. Sacrificed in order for Portugal to find a winner, which they did.
The Serbian midfielder enjoyed a strong first half despite Brazil dominating most of the play. Milinkovic-Savic started as a box-to-box midfielder with a lot of Serbia’s attacks going through the Lazio star, whilst he also showed his defensive qualities when tracking back to disrupt Brazilian counter-attacks.
The 27-year-old demonstrated his physicality brilliantly against a quality Brazilian side and allowed Serbia to move up the pitch. Milinkovic-Savic would have been frustrated after his promising individual performance could not stop Brazil breaking the deadlock after the hour mark with Tite’s side winning 2-0 thanks to a brace from Tottenham star Richarlison.