Thibaut, Aritz Aduriz

Feud between Thibaut Courtois and Simon Mignolet threatens to derail Belgium’s World Cup


At this point naming Belgium as your dark-horse favorite to win the 2014 World Cup is hardly a daring prediction. Deeply talented, fit, young and in fantastic form, Diables Rouges are heading into Brazil with momentum.

There is, however, an emerging feud between goalkeepers Thibaut Courtois and Simon Mignolet that could threaten to derail the Belgian train from its track.

Courtois, who is currently on loan at Atletico Madrid from Chelsea for a third successive season, wants Liverpool’s Mignolet to show him more respect. In an interview with Sport/Foot MagazineCourtois claimed that Mignolet instigated a “personal attack” on him by questioning Belgium head coach Marc Wilmots’ as to why he was dropped.

“When someone says he’s been unfairly dropped as Belgium’s No.1 keeper I see it as a personal attack on me,” Courtois said.

“It shows you don’t accept your manager’s calls – and you have no respect for the first choice. He needs to show respect for whoever is currently in that role.”

Mignolet made the comments following his being handed the gloves in Belgium’s two most recent matches, defeats to Colombia and Japan. Courtois’ reaction to Mignolet’s disgust came swiftly and it wasn’t the first time the Atletico man went on the offensive. Earlier this month Courtois noted his disgust at not being backed by Mignolet.

“In Spain, I hear no goalkeeper saying they’re aiming for the place of Casillas,” he said. “Not De Gea, not Valdes, not Reina. It’s the opposite – they back Casillas. Simon can say whatever he wants, but I think I’ve already saved enough points for Belgium and I’m playing good games for Atletico. He has to stay humble and respectful.”

Both players have  earned 14 caps for their country. In 23 La Liga matches this season Courtois has 42 saves, 12 clean sheets, conceding a league best 16 goals. For Liverpool this season, Mignolet has made 26 appearances in the league racking up 82 saves and 7 clean sheets while conceding 32 times.

How can Man United qualify for last 16 of Champions League?

Wayne Rooney, Manchester United FC

Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]

So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:

  • A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
  • A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
  • A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.

VIDEO: Can Leicester stun the world? Man United title favorites?

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The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?

With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.

[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]

Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.

Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.

Men in Blazers podcast: The Leicester fairytale goes on

Men In Blazers - Sept. 22
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Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

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Pellegrini updates status of Joe Hart’s hamstring injury

Joe Hart, Manchester City FC
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.

Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).