United States Yedlin says USA’s goal must be to win World Cup Seth Vertelney 09:20 2/9/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Catherine Ivill/Getty Images United States Newcastle United World Cup The Newcastle right back was adamant that wining the game’s ultimate prize must be the ultimate target for the United States DeAndre Yedlin has said that the United States must set their sights on winning a World Cup, despite their recent failure to qualify for Russia 2018. The U.S. ended a streak of qualifying for seven consecutive World Cups when they were shocked by Trinidad & Tobago in October, falling short of the World Cup for the first time since 1986.Despite that failure, Newcastle right back Yedlin says his country should be aiming for the very top of the soccer world. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player “For me, I want to win the World Cup. If that’s not the goal then I don’t think you should be playing,” Yedlin told NBC Sports. “A lot of people will say that isn’t realistic but for me, I will say, ‘Why?’ Why isn’t that realistic? Leicester City won the Premier League and nobody thought that could happen but it did.'”If that’s [winning the World Cup] not the ultimate goal then I think we should reevaluate things.”In order to win the World Cup, of course, the U.S. must qualify, and Yedlin believes his country’s recent disappointment could be a motivating factor as it looks toward Qatar 2022.”I wouldn’t call it a blessing in disguise but I think now, especially the guys that have come through it, now we feel what disappointment is like, not making the World Cup,” Yedlin said.“Now there is going to be an extra gear that is hit to make sure we make the next one but not only make it but do well in it.”With the team’s next shot at a World Cup not coming for at least four years, Yedlin, 24, believes the time is now for the USA’s younger generation to take over.“Every international career is going to come to an end you’re going to pass it down to the younger generation,” Yedlin said.”Every career comes to that point. I think they [the older generation] are happy with doing that and they know we have some talented players coming in.”Yedlin and his Newcastle United side face a tough task this weekend, with Jose Mourinho and Manchester United visiting St James’ Park.
Yaya Touré ‘It depends on him’ – Guardiola cold on Toure return Dom Farrell Last updated 1 year ago 23:30 2/28/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Yaya Touré Manchester City Arsenal v Manchester City Arsenal Premier League Guardiola Fernandinho’s injury could open the door to a return for the veteran midfielder, but the coach implied that his prospects are not good Pep Guardiola is seemingly unwilling to bring Yaya Toure in from the cold as his Manchester City team prepare to brave sub-zero temperatures and a Thursday trip to Arsenal.The Premier League leaders will meet their north London foes once more, having run out convincing 3-0 winners in Sunday’s EFL Cup final at Wembley.Arguably the only blot on a destructive second-half showing at the national stadium was a hamstring injury to influential midfielder Fernandinho. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Guardiola did not have a like-for-like replacement for the Brazil international in the holding role on his bench, although Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne combined effectively enough at the base of the midfield to take apart the lacklustre Gunners.Toure would stand as the most natural deputy for Fernandinho, were it not for the fact he has been restricted to five substitute cameos in the Premier League this season.The 34-year-old was left out at Wembley, having featured in every round of the EFL Cup and Guardiola offered a terse response when asked whether Toure could play at Emirates Stadium.”It depends on him,” he said. “It’s simple like that, it depends on him.”Guardiola, who banished Toure from the first-team picture during the early stages of last season amid a public spat with the player’s outspoken agent Dimitri Seluk, would not be drawn on the specifics of what the City crowd favourite must do to earn a return but suggested he is short of his best level.”It depends on him,” he repeated. “If he’s coming back as who he is, he’s going to play. Yeah, he is fit.” City youth-team product Phil Foden featured on the bench ahead of Toure last time out and appeared as a substitute during the closing minutes.The 17-year-old will reportedly sign an extended contract with his boyhood club when he turns 18 in May and Guardiola left no doubt over the club’s position.”He knows, his family knows, his agent knows. We would like to keep him with us for a long time,” he said, having seen Foden’s fellow England youth star Jadon Sancho depart for Borussia Dortmund last August.”He has to grow up, get strong. But the huge quality is there.” The main Wembley sub-plot concerned Guardiola wearing a yellow ribbon on the touchline in solidarity with political prisoners in his native Catalonia, in defiance of a Football Association (FA) charge.The 47-year-old began wearing his ribbon to draw attention of pro-independence politicians Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart being jailed as part of the crackdown that followed last October’s Catalan referendum and, after the FA decided to charge Guardiola over wearing a political message, thousands of City fans also donned ribbons at the national stadium.Guardiola said there had been no further contact from the FA but maintained he was open to dialogue.”Of course I am going write the letter and explain our position but it is the same – I am available for the FA, absolutely. It is no problem,” he added, before addressing the support for his cause from City fans.”It was the feeling to belong to something. I’m really grateful for that initiative. They don’t have to do it, it is in another country but it makes me really happy because it helps people understand what is going on.”
Sevilla 2 Barcelona 2: Messi rescues leaders with late late show Alex Fisher Last updated 1 year ago 04:39 4/1/18 Getty Images Barcelona scored twice in 53 seconds during a frantic finish to Saturday’s LaLiga clash with Sevilla to earn a 2-2 draw. Lionel Messi came off the bench to rescue Barcelona and extend their unbeaten run LaLiga to 37 games as the leaders scored twice in the closing moments to draw 2-2 with Sevilla. Barcelona had been unusually below-par at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan and were lucky to only be two goals behind as the game entered the 88th minute.But Luis Suarez – who had been so wasteful for the visitors – then halved the deficit and 53 seconds later Messi earned a point, the Argentine superstar beating Sergio Rico from 20 yards to cap his return from injury in an astonishing finish to the contest. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player It was harsh on Sevilla who had dominated proceedings and deservedly led through strikes in either half from Franco Vazquez and Luis Muriel.But they were made to rue wasted chances from that duo and Jesus Navas as Barca showed why they are the top side in Spain this season.The draw edges Ernesto Valverde’s side closer to the title – now 12 points clear of closest challengers Atletico Madrid – and leaves them one game short of equalling Real Sociedad’s unbeaten record in the competition.Final whistle! Sevilla 2-2 FC Barcelona Franco Vázquez and Luis Muriel / Luis Suárez and Leo #Messi #ForçaBarça #SevillaBarça pic.twitter.com/jR2igXpaIJ— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 31, 2018And breathe…#SevillaBarça— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 31, 2018Barcelona rued the absence of Messi in the opening half as Suarez and Andres Iniesta lacked the quality in front of goal that their Argentine team-mate is renowned for.Suarez saw an early chance saved by Sergio Rico and blasted another wide soon after, the Uruguayan’s openings coming after Iniesta had failed to test the Sevilla goalkeeper.At the other end Ter Stegen’s goal led a charmed life as Luis Muriel and Joaquin Correa both headed wide under little pressure from the Barca defence.Vazquez showed much more composure with 36 minutes on the clock as Barca gave him the freedom of the six-yard box, the attacking midfielder slotting home Correa’s low cross.Gerard Pique should have levelled things up seconds before the break but he inexplicably chose to try and volley Samuel Umtiti’s deflected cross rather than use his head – the defender failing to connect at the back post.HT: #SevillaFC 1-0 @FCBarcelonaA fantastic half of football for #SevillaFC. Let’s have the same again come the restart #vamosmisevilla #SevillaFCBarça pic.twitter.com/RIsPpFck1G— Sevilla FC (@SevillaFC_ENG) March 31, 2018The hosts used the let-off to put Barca further behind five minutes after the restart, Muriel firing beyond Ter Stegen after the goalkeeper could only parry Sergio Escudero’s shot.As Messi warmed up, Sevilla should have been three in front when Navas raced through one-on-one, but Ter Stegen held him up momentarily before Pique cleared his shot off the line.The loose ball then fell to Vazquez and he was unable to convert from 12 yards.Valverde introduced Messi – who missed Argentina’s two friendlies with a hamstring problem – just before the hour and he gave the visitors much more quality in the final third.He was immediately involved to release Philippe Coutinho but Simon Kjaer intercepted the Brazilian’s low cross before Suarez could tap home.Another chance saw Suarez hit the post from a tight angle, but Sevilla still posed more of an attacking threat – Muriel and substitute Miguel Layun both wasting good openings.And they proved costly as Suarez finally beat Rico with an acrobatic effort, with more drama to come in the visitors’ next attack.Messi – it had to be him – snatched a point Barca scarcely deserved with a curling effort that Rico could only get a hand to as the league leaders completed an unlikely recovery.Key Opta Stats:- Lionel Messi has scored 24 goals against Sevilla in LaLiga, his favourite opponents in the competition. – Barcelona have won more points from losing positions than any other side in LaLiga this season (17). – Messi is the player with the most goals from outside the box in Europe’s top five leagues this season, alongside Paulo Dybala (seven apiece). – Barcelona faced 21 shots against Sevilla, more than in any other game this season in all competitions. – Messi has scored nine goals in his last 13 games as a substitute in LaLiga.- Luis Suarez has scored 25 or more goals in each of his four seasons for Barcelona. read more
Nigeria 0 Czech Republic 1: Super Eagles suffer another World Cup warm-up defeat Ryan Benson 22:59 6/6/18 Getty Images Tomas Kalas scored the only goal of the game, as Nigeria lost their final World Cup warm-up match 1-0 to Czech Republic on Wednesday. Nigeria’s World Cup preparations took another hit on Wednesday, as they lost 1-0 to a Czech Republic side which failed to qualify for the finals in Russia.Gernot Rohr’s men could take some positives away from their 2-1 defeat to England on Saturday, but there were few four days later, as Tomas Kalas’ first-half opener secured a slender victory for the Czechs, who were thrashed 4-0 by Australia on Friday.At no point in the first half did Nigeria appear to be in the ascendancy and, shortly after surviving a scare, they deservedly found themselves trailing in the 25th minute – Kalas scuffing in from close range after Francis Uzoho parried Tomas Soucek’s header right to him. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now The closest Nigeria came to levelling before the break was Wilfred Ndidi’s 30-yard drive, which was brilliantly tipped around the post by Tomas Vaclik in the Czech goal.Although a downpour briefly interrupted play in the early stages of the second half, Nigeria played with more intent after half-time and went close in the 63rd minute, as John Obi Mikel saw a header saved by Vaclik.Despite Nigeria’s efforts and attack-minded approach, a late equaliser never arrived, consigning them to a second successive defeat in their World Cup preparation games. read more
Arsenal midfielder Iwobi: We can’t dwell on Southampton defeatby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal midfielder Alex Iwobi says they cannot dwell on defeat to Southampton.Iwobi admits they let themselves down for the 3-2 loss.He said, “I guess we weren’t concentrating throughout the 90 minutes. We had spells where we weren’t defending well as a group. It’s something we have to dust ourselves down from and keep on going. We can’t let our heads drop from this defeat, we just have to push on to the next match.”Of course, they deserve some credit. They had a gameplan and they stuck to it and did well against us. But it’s disappointing from us and we have to keep going again.”We had a lot of chances to win this game, I believe. But we have to give ourselves a bit of credit that we were able to go on this unbeaten run and now we have to start over again.”We have to react well, we have to keep on going. It’s a bit unfortunate that there were a couple of injuries but we have to keep on going and keep on fighting throughout the season.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Chelsea ace Kante: Do I cheat at cards? Well…by Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea ace N’Golo Kante insists his reputation of being a card shark is overblown!Kante has been mercilessly teased for the way he plays cards when away with the France squad.But the World Cup winner has joked the accusations are unfair.”On cards, when you’re in complicated situations, you use little strategies and that’s what I did from time to time. That’s why I was called a cheater,” said Kante.”They are not entirely right because I’m not the only one to have done it but they are not wrong…” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Fenerbahce rival Caen for Leicester striker Fousseni Diabateby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveThe race for Leicester City striker Fousseni Diabate is heating up.Caen are keen to set up a loan deal for the 23 year-old next month.However, Le 10 Sport says Caen face competition from Turkish giants Fenerbahce for Diabate.Like Caen, Fener are eager to discuss a loan deal with Leicester for Diabate.The forward joined the Foxes a year ago from Ajaccio.
Lovren confident Liverpool can emulate Arsenal’s Invinciblesby Freddie Taylor10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveDejan Lovren is confident Liverpool can emulate Arsenal’s 2003/04 unbeaten season.The Reds have gone 19 games without a single loss this season, but face a tough test against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on Thursday night.Asked if Liverpool can emulate Arsenal’s 2003-04 invincible season, Lovren said: “There are always records to beat. Everything is possible when you believe and you work hard.”Of course, you need the luck to go your way also, but why not? It is a challenge for us and every player here.”Will it be possible? Let’s see at the end of the season.” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say
Real Madrid boss Zidane delighted with Modric ‘cracker’by Carlos Volcano19 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveReal Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane was delighted with Luka Modric’s goal for victory over Granada.Modric hit a screamer on the day.Zidane said, “I’m delighted for Modric. He scored a cracker. “He’s got that in his locker, three or four years ago he scored that very same goal in Granada. “He doesn’t always go for it, but with the shot that he’s got on him… he certainly should.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say
Klinsmann lined up for shock Ecuador moveby Paul Vegas6 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Tottenham star Jurgen Klinsmann is being lined up for a shock return to management with Ecuador.Klinsmann has been out of the game for a year since leaving his role with the US men’s national team.The Sun says there is growing speculation in South America that the 55-year-old is on the verge of taking charge of Ecuador instead.The country is looking for a new manager have Hernan Dario Gomez was sacked in July on the back of a disappointing Copa America.Ecuador failed to make it out of the group stages, and under the temporary control of under-20 boss Jorge Celico they have struggled to make any improvement. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
KNOXVILLE, TN – OCTOBER 01: Fans pack the stands to support their teams as the Mississippi Rebels face the Tennessee Volunteers on October 1, 2005 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)A snow game took place in Neyland Stadium late Wednesday evening. It involved some snowballs and a group of mischievous Tennessee students. With their campus covered in a blanket of white powder, a few dozen Volunteers snuck into their school’s football stadium and had a giant snowball fight. This is the second year in a row that this has happened. After last year’s incident, many of the students were given citations for trespassing. when it’s 12:30 in the morning and you’re bored so you go to Ayers and Neyland Stadium pic.twitter.com/apdfhmRTw8— Briyana Dyer (@BriyanaDyer) February 26, 2015Snowball fight in Neyland? I don’t know what you’re talking about? pic.twitter.com/Oy8FZa7TnW— Ali Clark (@alisonRhea08) February 26, 2015when in doubt break into Neyland on a school night 🙂 pic.twitter.com/2ErLE3r0xf— Erin Rivers (@erinriiivaaas) February 26, 2015#snoWBIR #utk snowball fight at neyland 2livecrew pic.twitter.com/NKfKWxru5D— Rico 〽️ckinney (@Mr_Suave) February 26, 2015@wesrucker247 @ClayTravisBGID @TeranJ_VLZ snowball fight in Neyland pic.twitter.com/I1TWl7ly8f— UT Sports (@UTvol_sports) February 26, 2015Hopefully Knoxville will get an unexpected snow this fall and we’ll get to see Tennessee’s football team play an actual snow game inside Neyland Stadium.
Vine/@StephLaurenThe half-court shot on the basketball version of ESPN’s College GameDay is often the highlight of the program, and that is definitely a fact for one lucky North Carolina student today. UNC junior Forrest Reynolds, who also serves as a student manager with the basketball program, took two very strong attempts before absolutely drilling his third shot, netting him $18,000.Kid just made the half court shot on College Gameday at UNC https://t.co/MqGH2psO6i— Stephanie Haberman (@StephLauren) March 7, 2015A win over hated rival Duke today would definitely be the icing on the cake for Reynolds, although he’d probably admit that he’s made out pretty well no matter what happens tonight.
Buddy Hield NetOklahoma just took down Oregon to reach the program’s first Final Four since 2002. Senior guard and Player of the Year candidate Buddy Hield was unconscious, scoring 37 points on 13-of-20 from the field.After the game, Hield took his place atop a ladder for the ceremonial net-cutting. Buddy clipping that net!! pic.twitter.com/2IK17TmNJi— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) March 27, 2016Buddy then hit press row for a radio interview, his piece of the net displayed prominently. Buddy Hield doing post game radio with his piece of the net tied to his hat pic.twitter.com/gQq2bdcHu2— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) March 27, 2016There’s one more net that Hield and the Sooners want to cut down. That’s the one at NRG Stadium in Houston, the site of next week’s Final Four.
Callum Hudson-Odoi is a ‘great talent’ and would be an astute signing for Bayern Munich, according to club legend Lothar Matthaus.The 18-year-old Chelsea winger has only made 12 career appearances but Goal understands Bayern have now bid £35 million ($45m) for his services.Matthaus has been impressed by what he has seen of Hudson-Odoi so far and believes he would be a fantastic signing for the German champions, capable of making a similar impact to Jadon Sancho at Borussia Dortmund. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? “I saw him at the FA Cup game against Nottingham Forest, where he assisted both goals and was on both wings,” Matthaus told Sky.“Even in English junior teams, I have already watched him.“He’s a great talent, reminiscent of Sancho at Dortmund. Fast, a strong dribbler, good vision and good finishing.“I can imagine that he would be a great reinforcement for the champions.”Although Bayern have bid for Hudson-Odoi, they may find it hard to land their man as Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is reluctant to let him go saying he is an important player in his squad.”To stay here is better for him,” said Sarri. “He is very young but he is improving, especially in the defensive phase.”I don’t know the situation with the club but for me he is an important player.”Meanwhile, Matthaus feels RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner has a tricky decision to make regarding his future amid interest from Bayern and Borussia Dortmund in the Germany international.“Allegedly, Dortmund are now interested as well. It could therefore, apart from other top European clubs, come down to a fight between Bayern and Dortmund for the best German striker,” added Matthaus.“In the end, the question will be where he sees the best overall package and the most tempting one when he leaves Leipzig.““Financially, of course, a Bayern deal should be higher than that of Borussia Dortmund. But Watzke and Co. have managed well, have boosted the coffers and have a lot to offer.“Should Timo have to decide between the two big German clubs, he will have to consider whether he can accept the big competition with Lewandowski and other world stars and what the club bosses and the respective coaches would make of him.”
Real Madrid head coach Santiago Solari praised Vinicius Junior, saying the teenage forward was making “huge strides” at the club.Vinicius, 18, scored his third goal of the season in Madrid’s 3-0 win over Leganes in the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie on Wednesday.The Brazilian joined the European giants in July last year and is slowly settling in, although he has made just one LaLiga start. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Solari is pleased with the way Vinicius is improving at Madrid, who recorded their first win of 2019 by beating Leganes.”It was a very good performance. Vinicius is making huge strides,” he told a news conference.”He’s always had the talent but to develop it at the Bernabeu surrounded by wonderful players speaks volumes about his confidence, rawness and the enjoyment he exudes with the ball at his feet.”He’s 18 years of age and you have to look after yourself in football. It’s important for him to keep going.”We’re very happy with his current performance levels, he’s keen to take people on. He’s bold and that individual ability to beat a man is very important in modern-day football. So far, so good. Let’s finish the job in the second leg next Wednesday! #RMCopa pic.twitter.com/TNrT1mICxC — Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) January 9, 2019 “His goal showed wonderful technique, and also how he puts defenders off balance. We hope he continues to grow both from individual and collective points of view.”Madrid, struggling in fifth in La Liga, are next in action with a trip to Real Betis on Sunday as they look to close the gap on league leaders Barcelona, who are 10 points clear of their eternal rivals at the top of the table. The comfortable win on Wednesday should take some of the pressure off of Solari ahead of the second leg of their round of 16 clash next Wednesday. Vinicius could also be in line for a heavier workload as Madrid are dealing with a rash of injuries to a number of the club’s top players, and Solari has continued to avoid handing starts to Isco.
The golden generation of Honduran soccer is gone, the team that went to three consecutive Gold Cup semifinals and back-to-back World Cups now a distant memory.This Honduras won’t even get out of the Gold Cup group stage. Curacao topped Los Catrachos 1-0, the first-ever Gold Cup win for Curacao, and confirmed the final group game next week will be Hondura’s last in the tournament.Fabian Coito is five matches into his tenure as Honduras manager. If he survives he’ll exit with a record of no wins, a pair of draws and three defeats. The aggregate is skewed by a 7-0 loss to Brazil in preparations for this tournament, but it sits at 12-3 in the favor of Honduras’ opponents. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘There is no creativity’ – Can Solskjaer get Man Utd scoring freely again? ‘Everyone legged it on to the pitch!’ – How Foden went from Man City superfan to future superstar Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Even so, it would be harsh for him to be given his marching orders. The long-time Uruguay youth coach has been brought in partly to build from the bottom. Honduras knows it needs fresh blood. The Norway U-20 team smashing the Honduran equivalent 12-0 at last month’s World Cup showed there is still much to do.”As a manager, what I say is that I’m continuing to draw conclusions, but, well, logically as a manager each game is a test,” said a calm but frustrated Coito after the match. “There’s always the chance something happens depending on what happens in the games. Really, I’m not worried about being here or not being here. It’s not my decision if I’m out. If not, what interests me is try to work and move forward, turn this adverse situation around and, well, it’s not the first time this situation has happened to me in a team or national team.”How to turn things around will be a tough decision. It would be easy to glance over the team and determine the issue is with Honduras’ aging back line. It certainly is a spot that should bring concern in the upcoming years. But the 36-year-old Maynor Figueroa, 33-year-old Emilio Izaguirre and 33-year-old Brayan Beckeles, who left the contest at halftime, bear little blame for the early elimination. Even if it was the 26-year-old Henry Figueroa whose heroic last-gasp tackle prevented a second Curacao goal, the rest of the unit mostly pulled their weight as well.The real culpable player was Curacao goalkeeper Eloy Room. The PSV No. 2 is undoubtedly Curacao’s No. 1, making 13 stops. Nine of those came in the first half, with Alberth Elis darting down the right wing and looking to set up center forward Antony Lozano or Michaell Chirinos on the other side. Even when one of the players found a good effort, Room was there to block, tip over the bar or smother the ball.”I wanted to help the team and get the first victory in the Gold Cup. So many saves, I didn’t count them in the game,” Room told Goal after the contest. “But I wanted to win. After the game, everyone was happy after we won the game – especially for the fans of Curacao and our island. We won the game, and I’m proud of the team. I helped the team win it, and that’s nice.”Coming up on the wrong end of an historic triumph, and at that one that eliminated the team from the knockout stage, always was going to be frustrating. But Coitio said the team lost its way late in the second half, letting the moment get the best of it. Room’s heroics played no small part in adding to the mental anguish of the Hondurans, who were urged on by a partisan crowd at BBVA Stadium but never seemed to have the energy to mount a serious late charge.”Of course we were frustrated by that, and everything else. We tried to score but weren’t able to do it,” Figueroa said of the goalkeeper’s fantastic evening. “There are games where you have no chances, but obviously we have the responsibility to finish.”Coito said he hasn’t considered stepping aside, but Figueroa and several other veterans may be wondering about their international careers. The Nations League, and the pressure of a potential relegation, looms large as does another World Cup qualification cycle. Figueroa and his defensive counterparts may consider retirement, but who will replace them? Does Honduras’ pool really contain up-and-comers overlooked by Coito?Victor “Muma” Bernardez attempted to retire internationally after the 2014 World Cup only for the coaching staff to attempt to lure him back. There simply were no other options as good as the veteran. That’s not a good situation, but it’s the situation Honduras finds itself in once again.How to get better? For Figueroa, it’s not about mixing things up but rather about pushing even harder in the way Honduras has been pushing.”We have to do the same thing. When you win, you have to keep working, and when you lose, work even harder. We’ve got to keep working, getting better,” Figueroa said. “There are a lot of things to improve upon, and that’s it. Keep believing, keep trying every day.”That may be good advice for individual players, but Honduran fans will find it hard to continue believing in this national team. With the glory days so clearly gone, it’s hard to blame them.
New Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt has refuted claims that money played a big part in his high-profile move to Italy this month.The 19-year-old shot to prominence at Ajax last season as they reached the semi-final stage of the Champions League and lifted the Eredivisie title, sparking a race for his signature this summer featuring some of Europe’s biggest clubs.The likes of Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona all registered an interest in the Netherlands international before he rubber-stamped his €75 million (£68m/$84m) move to Turin, with the latter seemingly convinced that the teenager would eventually opt for Camp Nou. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? When his decision was delayed, the Spanish champions, who claimed to have agreed terms with the defender, voiced their frustration as new suitors appeared on what felt like a daily basis.At one stage, a potential move to Paris was reportedly dismissed due to the fact that club officials refused to guarantee the Dutchman the same wage structure as star forward Kylian Mbappe. De Ligt, however, has played suggestions that money was the be-all and end-all, reflecting on a summer of speculation that lurched from claim and counter-claim to the downright ridiculous.“Money played no role at all in my choice for a new club,” he said in an interview with VI. “Everyone who knows me, knows that. “Money has never been ‘leading’. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I will respect that, but some people were saying things like that very easily.“Every day there was something new. Suddenly, even my father was too fat and that’s why one of the clubs [Manchester United] didn’t want me. That makes you go: ‘come on man’.”He was also quick to defend the part played by his agent Mino Raiola, who was instrumental in constructing his eventual move to the Italian champions.“He has a lot of experience,” said De Ligt of Raiola, who also looks after global stars such as Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mario Balotelli.“I think there may be a certain negative image of him in Holland, but I certainly don’t experience it that way. I think if you ask all of his players if Mino does a good job for them, everyone would say yes. “That’s the most important thing. It’s not about what other people say about him, it’s about what he can do for me.”
The flipside to Alisson Becker being such a perfect fit for Liverpool is the imperfection left in his absence. The best goalkeepers can generally be relied upon to provide consistent service without needing rest or rotation and the injury suffered by Liverpool’s No. 1 on Friday night throws up a significant problem for Jurgen Klopp.The manager was putting no timeframe on how long his goalkeeper would be missing but the fact of the matter is that it’s going to be weeks rather than days. Adrian, signed as a back-up after his West Ham contract expired, is a vastly inferior goalkeeper in all aspects to Alisson but will have to come in and deputise nonetheless.Liverpool’s run to the Champions League title and second place in the Premier League was predicated on a mean defence first and foremost, with only seven conceded in the top flight by the halfway mark last season. They ended up letting in only 22 in all – the best in the league – and have Alisson, Virgil van Dijk and Co. to thank for their sixth European title and record-breaking Premier League points total as much as their much-vaunted front three. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? That was thanks in no small part to Alisson’s heroics between the posts. That’s not to say the Copa America winner was flying around his goal every two minutes keeping shots out. Rather, it was that Alisson was there to be depended upon as required.Liverpool did not give up a lot of shots overall, truth be told, but Alisson saved a better percentage of chances compared to his goalkeeping peers at other clubs. If they give up chances at a similar clip during his absence then it would be only reasonable to deduce that – with a goalkeeper of a lower standard in his place – they are going to concede more goals.It’s Jurgen Klopp’s worst nightmare; Alisson is perhaps the only true irreplaceable in the Liverpool line-up. They had to do without Van Dijk in the home leg against Bayern in the Champions League last 16 for example and still eased their way to a clean sheet. Mohamed Salah played no part in the second leg of the semi-finals against Barcelona. Other players can come in for those high-profile stars and do a job for the team.Alisson is probably the only one whose exact attributes match the requirements demanded by his position. And that’s what could well derail a Liverpool title bid over the next few weeks.They won six games in a row to start last season, conceding only twice, and on occasion last term were a world class save or two from Alisson away from conceding goals that might well have cost them points or progress. A late save from Arek Milk in the final Champions League group stage game against Napoli – which preserved their status in the competition – comes to mind in that context.Without him there are no guarantees. Across 38 league games last season, Alisson made 76 saves in all from the 307 shots that Liverpool allowed. Fifty of those saves were made from efforts inside the box. Plenty of credit goes to Liverpool’s backline for restricting the number of shots in the first place but the ones that did get through were more often than not repelled by Alisson.His save percentage was 77, the best in the Premier League, whereas David de Gea – widely regarded as the best goalkeeper in the division – was much further down on 69 per cent.Ederson – Manchester City’s goalkeeper and Alisson’s national team rival – conceded more goals (23) from fewer shots faced (238). That speaks of Alisson’s ability to make big saves when they matter.Based on the quality and number of chances that Liverpool gave up last season, they conceded seven fewer goals than their expected goals (xG) projections. That’s according to data from Understat. In turn, that helped account for a 13.5 point over-performance in the league, which put them far closer to Manchester City than might have otherwise been expected. Thanks, in no small part, to Alisson’s ability to prevent goals one-on-one.Furthermore, no regular starting goalkeeper played more successful passes than Alisson’s 864 throughout the course of the Premier League season. Liverpool – along with Manchester City and Chelsea – use the goalkeeper like an outfield player more often than any of the other Premier League teams. They do this because it’s fundamental to their play and – therefore – need dependable goalkeepers to pull it off like Ederson and Kepa Arrizabalaga.The last time Adrian was a regular in the division – when he shared duties with Joe Hart at West Ham – he had only 42.5 per cent passing accuracy and his save percentage was low down at 70 per cent. Those numbers are okay and no better, but probably nowhere near good enough to sustain Liverpool’s brilliance at the back. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
COLUMBUS, OH – NOVEMBER 11: Head Coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks up at the scoreboard as his coaches send in plays in the fourth quarter against the Michigan State Spartans at Ohio Stadium on November 11, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Michigan State 48-3. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)Urban Meyer is a couple of days into paid administrative leave at Ohio State. The Buckeyes placed the head coach on leave on Wednesday night following the report by college football insider Brett McMurphy.Meyer, according to the report, was actually aware of domestic violence allegations against now-fired assistant coach Zach Smith back in 2015.The Ohio State head coach has since released a statement, saying he was aware but reported everything, following protocol.“Unfortunately, at Big Ten Media days on July 24, I failed on many of these fronts,” he said in his statement. “My intention was not to say anything inaccurate or misleading. However, I was not adequately prepared to discuss these sensitive personnel issues with the media, and I apologize for the way I handled those questions.”Meyer added:“Here is the truth: While at the University of Florida, and now at The Ohio State University, I have always followed proper reporting protocols and procedures when I have learned of an incident involving a student-athlete, coach or member of our staff by elevating the issues to the proper channels. And, I did so regarding the Zach Smith incident in 2015. I take that responsibility very seriously and any suggestion to the contrary is simply false.”Ohio State’s football team, meanwhile, is a couple of weeks away from beginning its season. How long is Meyer expected to be on leave?Yahoo! Sports spoke to a lawyer who believes the investigation could take about two weeks.From the report:One lawyer estimated perhaps two weeks as a reasonable timeline, but much of that could hinge on whether Ohio State brings in an outside firm.We’re about four days into the process. The Buckeyes announced the full details of Meyer’s investigation on Thursday night.Urban Meyer has been at Ohio State since 2012. There are some who believe he’ll be fired and others who think he’ll be staying put.It looks like we could have another week or so before learning a final decision.
ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 03: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on in the second half against the Florida Gators during the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on December 3, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)We’re just two hours away from the reveal of the College Football Playoff rankings. After a busy Rivalry Weekend and several significant upsets, fans from around the country are waiting to see if the committee likes their teams enough to have a shot at the playoff this season.With Michigan’s loss to Ohio State, the Wolverines will fall out of the top four. Meanwhile, Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame all won this weekend which means they’re in for now.It all comes down to championship weekend as the conference title games are played. Who will get in after the title games are played this weekend? ESPN’s computer model, FiveThirtyEight, ran several projections – including a loss from Alabama.Here’s what will happen if Alabama loses to Georgia and Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State all win.Clemson, Oklahoma and Ohio State win; Alabama loses.Chances of happening: 19 percent Likely playoff field: Clemson (>99 percent), Georgia (98), Ohio State (66), Oklahoma (62) Others: Notre Dame (60 percent), Alabama (13)In this scenario Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State and Oklahoma would make the College Football Playoff. Meanwhile, an undefeated Notre Dame program would be sitting at home wondering what happened.It’s difficult to imagine Alabama going from the No. 1 team all season to out of the playoff with a loss, but it’s possible.That’s why they play the games. Stay tuned.