Everton 1-0 West Ham United: Romelu Lukaku is back with a bang (video)

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West Ham’s five-match unbeaten run was brought to an end by Everton on Saturday, with the Toffees taking all three points thanks to Romelu Lukaku’s first goal since the end of November.

As expected, Roberto Martínez’s side took the game to West Ham in the first half, playing their brand of attacking football…and being thwarted by Sam Allardyce’s belief that the best offense is a good defense.

To Big Sam’s credit, he did appear to make a tactical shift before 30 minutes were up, replacing Carlton Cole with Andy Carroll. But Carroll had little impact, what with Everton maintaining 75% possession in the first half. Their best, or at least prettiest, chance came in the 39th minute. Gerard Deulofeu, proving himself to be an awfully tricky player, snaked through the West Ham defenders to grab a little bit of space, but put his effort wide from 30 yards out.

Little changed in the second half. In the 55th minute, Tim Howard managed to save a shot from Andy Carroll. Kevin Nolan had an attempt after the resulting corner, but that was about it in terms of West Ham’s attack.

It took almost the entire match, but eventually Everton were able to break down the dogged West Ham defense. And who else but Romelu Lukaku was the man to do it? Martínez introduced the striker at the hour mark, but with the Irons still intent on closing down the Toffees’ attack, it took some time to make an impact. The goal came in the 81st minute. Leighton Baines sent his pass through a mass of claret-and-blue kits inside the area, with Lukaku there to pick it up, smashing the ball through to the center of the goal.

Everton: Howard, Baines, Distin, Coleman, Stones, Deulofeu (McGeady 73), Naismith (Barkley 85), McCarthy, Barry, Osman (Lukaku 59), Piennar

Goals: Lukaku 81′

West Ham United: Adrian, Demel (Reid 80), Tomkins, Collins, McCartney, Noble, Nolan, Taylor, Jarvis (Diamé 66), C.Cole (Carroll 29), Downing

Transfer rumor roundup: Matic to Manchester United; Barkley, Everton news

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Tottenham Hotspur’s depth means it can wait out Everton as the Toffees demand plenty of money for young star Ross Barkley.

The 23-year-old England international won’t sign a new deal with Everton, and Ronald Koeman has been clear that he’s ready to cash in on the wantaway midfielder.

[ MORE: Latest on Ronaldo ]

Spurs are interested according to Sky Sports, but rolling their eyes at a requested fee of close to $64 million. So the North Londoners will wait, a move that makes sense given Barkley’s up-and-down form.

The Liverpool Echo says that Koeman is close to making it official with Sandro Ramirez, as the ex-Barcelona prospect will join Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen as new Toffees in a $7 million deal.

The BBC says Koeman will quickly move onto two more transfers, aiming to woo Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea City and center back Michael Keane from Burnley.


The Manchester Evening News says Manchester United is close to reuniting Jose Mourinho with defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic.

The tough-minded Serbian turns 29 in August, and would give Mourinho flexibility with Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera. United also has Michael Carrick as a deep-lying option.

Matic has 121 Premier League appearances and two titles since returning to Chelsea in January 2014.


 

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.

[ MORE: Juve confirms Alves release ]

“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.

[ MORE: Latest on Ronaldo ]

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.