Opponent Watch: Pogba ready to 'boss' FIFA World Cup

France star Paul Pogba has issued an ominous warning a month out from the FIFA World Cup, promising to take a stranglehold on the tournament.

Meanwhile, the fallout from Paolo Guerrero's drugs ban has seen an unassuming Japanese bystander become the target of Peruvian rage, while a potential Denmark wildcard is on the up.

It's all in the latest installment Opponent Watch.


Paul Pogba has a point to prove in Russia.

France's biggest star has faced regular criticism since returning to Manchester United at the start of last season, but he's determined to silence the doubters at the FIFA World Cup.

And he intends to do it by shouldering more responsibility in a star-studded Les Bleus side.

Asked by Canal+ when he would become a leader, Pogba was clear: "I hope now, at the World Cup.

"I'm going to take the reins of the France team, try to be the boss on and off the pitch.

"I hear it a lot. I hope to give my answer on the pitch and show everyone.

"I was the best young player [in 2014]. I hope I'll be the best player overall at the World Cup. That would be great."

Didier Deschamps is due to name his final 23 on Thursday.

Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba is on a mission.


The reinstatement of Paolo Guerrero's drugs ban is having consequences far beyond Ricardo Gareca's squad selection.

Peru's captain was ruled out of the FIFA World Cup after the Court of Arbitration for Sport opted to extend his sentence from six to 14 months for testing positive for an illegal substance.

The saga might not be over yet, with the world footballers' union FIFPro issuing a statement declaring the ban "unfair and disproportionate ... especially when it has been established that there was no intent to cheat."

FIFPro are calling for an urgent meeting with FIFA to protect the rights of players.

In the meantime, the 34-year-old will now sit out his country's long-awaited return to football's biggest stage and it has not gone down well with Peru supporters.

Unfortunately for one innocent Twitter user, they inadvertently discovered the  anger from Peruvian fans about the unjust ban of their star.

Japanese football reporter Tasuka Okawa, who goes by the account handle @tas, has been bombarded with angry tweets because his moniker shares the acronym of the Court of Arbitration for Sport's Spanish translation - El Tribunal de Arbitraje Deportivo, or TAS.

Okawa, it seems, has some experience with the problem.

Guerrero's suspension denies Peru their captain and all-time leading scorer.

The Flamengo forward's mother told RPP her son is "devastated" by the decision.

Paolo Guerrero
Paolo Guerrero is set for a lengthy stint on the sideline.


From Premier League survival to a national team recall, a whirlwind couple of days for Southampton midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg might just have reinvigorated a drifting career.

The 22-year-old is in the frame for a FIFA World Cup call-up after being named in Age Hareide's provisional 35-man Denmark squad, more than 18 months on from his last international appearance.

The news came less than 24 hours after Hojbjerg helped the Saints avoid relegation and, though Hareide has previously questioned his attitude, it appears the former Bayern Munich prodigy could be an ace in Denmark's pack.

"It's a great pleasure that I have been taken back by Age Hareide. I look forward to meeting with the players after having been out for so long," Hojbjerg told Politiken.

"The national team is the biggest, and it has always meant a lot for me to play for my country.

"The coach picks the team and I'm ready to do everything in training to show what I can do."

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is hoping to secure a spot in Denmark's final 23.