Villas-Boas lashes out at Daily Mail in postmatch press conference (video)

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After Tottenham finished level with Manchester United 2-2 in an exciting match, the press conference room was a lot less exciting.

Less exciting and way, way more awkward.

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas mumbled his way through a scathing yet contradictory attack of the Daily Mail’s Neil Ashton and Martin Samuel.

On the heels of last week’s 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City, Ashton wrote an article saying AVB’s job could be on the brink, with Spurs sitting in ninth position in the Premier League table.

Villas-Boas rightly pointed out that his team does happen to be in the quarterfinals of the league cup and through into the knockout phase of the Europa League following a perfect group stage record.

However, the manager then went on to call Ashton’s article “agenda-driven” and an attack on “my integrity, my human values, and my professionalism.”

He continued, “It insults the success that I have achieved in other clubs and I don’t think it’s fair. I think it’s a lack of respect and an attack on a person’s integrity.”

What followed was incredibly awkward.  Ashton, present in the conference, fired back to ask “what was personal in the article?”

That’s where Villas-Boas got both contradictory and confused.

He replied, “You don’t attack people by the front, you attack them sitting when you write.”  What Villas-Boas failed to mention is that, unfortunately for some managers, happens to be Neil’s job – to write.

After firing more insults at Ashton, including calling his article “out of order,” and asking reporters to get to know him before making accusations, he came to the conclusion that “that is my opinion” and conceded that “you (Neil) are entitled to yours and I am entitled to mine.  Obviously Neil and Martin have theirs and I respect that.”

You respect that? Do you?

Another reporter then asked, “Surely you don’t think there’s a personal agenda against you” to which AVB replied “No, no, I don’t think that.”

What? Didn’t you just say….never mind.

Whether any of this makes sense or not, it made one thing clear: Villas-Boas is having a hard time taking criticism, deserved or not.  And as the NBC Premier League broadcast crew discussed, the manager is distracting the media from a pretty good result on the heels of a disastrous one, and replacing the focus from a positive team result back to a negative.

Where will he go from here?

Germany mulls letting China under-20s play league soccer

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BERLIN (AP) The German soccer federation is mulling a proposal to allow China’s under-20 team to play friendly matches in the fourth tier of its league system.

Because the Southwest Regional League is comprised of 19 clubs, each currently has two match-days free that can be used for friendly games. The one-off action would allow China’s under-20 team to prepare for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

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“Nothing has been fixed yet but the clubs are all in favor,” league president Felix Wiedemann told The Associated Press on Thursday. “There’s a lot of interest in it. It’s important to say that there will be no points at stake, so it won’t influence the outcome of the league.”

Clubs would receive about 15,000 euros ($16,700) in compensation for two home games against the Chinese side, if the plan is approved. The Chinese are planning on a base near Heidelberg in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Southwest Regional League members are meeting on July 11, when a decision will likely be made in consultation with the German soccer federation, Wiedemann said. The league kicks off at the end of the month.

China and Germany agreed to a five-year soccer partnership last November, aimed at developing the game in China with training and other programs.

WATCH LIVE: Australia vs. Cameroon in Confederations Cup

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Australia and Cameroon fight for their Confederations Cup lives on Thursday at 11 a.m.ET live on Telemundo Deportes.

[ WATCH LIVE: Cameroon vs. Chile on Telemundo Deportes ]

Cameroon will have its top attacker in the form of Vincent Aboubakar in its bid to overcome an opening loss to Chile, while Australia will hope goalkeeper Maty Ryan can get the job done following a 3-2 loss to Germany.

Germany and Chile square off at 2 p.m. ET.

Reports: De Boer offered Crystal Palace manager’s spot

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Multiple reports claim Crystal Palace has offered its managerial position to Dutch boss Frank De Boer.

Palace has been without a manager since Sam Allardyce retired after the season. The Eagles finished 15th in the Premier League, five points behind eighth place Southampton and seven points clear of the drop zone.

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An accomplished defender at Ajax and Barcelona, the 47-year-old De Boer led Ajax in his first managerial stint before spending less than three months at Inter Milan last season.

De Boer twice won the Rinus Michels Award as the top manager in Dutch football, and would become just the second Palace manager from outside the British Isles.

He would inherit a very good group of attackers with Wilfried Zaha, Christian Benteke, and Andros Townsend. Palace also has a talented midfielders Luka Milivojevic and Yohan Cabaye to go with marauding Dutch back Patrick Van Aanholt.

Farcical officiating at end of Mexico-New Zealand match (video)

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Mexico should be counting their Confederations Cup blessings in congested Group A after a prolonged shoving match at the end of its 2-1 win over New Zealand on Thursday somehow ended with a single red card.

New Zealand is fortunate, too, but the All-Whites have already seen their hopes of the knockout round extinguished by a pair of losses in Russia.

With New Zealand counterattacking in hopes of a late equalizer, Mexico’s Diego Reyes pulled back charging Niko Boxall. It was the second pull back in minutes after Rafa Marquez went uncarded at the other end, and Boxall reacted poorly by lunging cleat-first into Hector Herrera’s calf.

Referee Bakary Gassama should’ve easily pulled two red cards there, but lost his focus in an ensuing melee that saw Herrera charge back to knock down Boxall, headbutts between Diego Reyes and Andrew Durante, and an absurd hand-throwing performance from Javier Aquino. Perhaps this lapse was understandable, which is why he had Video Assistant Referee available.

Even video couldn’t get it right, as a long and sloppy review was seemingly bungled by the referees saw a trio of yellow cards given to Boxall, Reyes, and Herrera.

All three should’ve been sent off, and otherwise Man of the Match contender Aquino and his teammate Marco Fabian should not have escaped discipline by any stretch of the imagination. If Gassama needed it to be level, Michael McGlinchey, Ryan Thomas and Durante could’ve left the match as well.

Instead, a terrific match has been left in the lurch. Will FIFA have the guts to issue supplemental discipline ahead of the important final matches of the group stage?