World Cup squads ranked 32-1 by PST staff; Who wins it? How’d US do?

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The ProSoccerTalk staff has weighed in on the 2014 World Cup’s 32 participating nations. Each writer was asked to submit their 1-32 rankings, and each vote counted toward the final list. The lowest combined score would be our number 1.

Following our rankings, you’ll see our group of death, “easiest” group, most surprising ouster and “highest” advancement. You’ll also be able to see how the tournament plays out from the Group Stages to the final.

It’s a good tournament to be a CONMEBOL squad, and a rough time to be from CONCACAF. Without further ado, let’s get to the rankings.

source: AP32. Iran (152 points)
Highest vote: 32 (three)
Lowest vote: 27

T-30. Australia (151 points)
Highest vote: 32
Lowest vote: 28

T-30. Algeria (151 points)
Highest vote: 32
Lowest vote: 27

29. Honduras (133 points)
Highest vote: 30
Lowest vote: 18

28. Cameroon (131 points)
Highest vote: 29
Lowest vote: 22

T-26. South Korea (130 points)
Highest vote: 30
Lowest vote: 22

T-26. Costa Rica (130 points)
Highest vote: 31
Lowest vote: 16

25. Mexico (121 points)
Highest vote: 28
Lowest vote: 19

source:

24. Nigeria (116 points)
Highest vote: 27
Lowest vote: 20

23. Ecuador (114 points)
Highest vote: 26
Lowest vote: 20

22. Greece (112 points)
Highest vote: 25
Lowest vote: 20

21. Ghana (103 points)
Highest vote: 28
Lowest vote: 11

20. Japan (97 points)
Highest vote: 24
Lowest vote: 13

19. Bosnia and Herzegovina (94 points)
Highest vote: 25
Lowest vote: 13

18. Switzerland (92 points)
Highest vote: 20
Lowest vote: 17

17. Croatia (85 points)
Highest vote: 23
Lowest vote: 11

source: Reuters

16. England (80 points)
Highest vote: 24
Lowest vote: 9

15. United States (78 points)
Highest vote: 19
Lowest vote: 10

T-13. Russia (69 points)
Highest vote: 16
Lowest vote: 12

T-13. Ivory Coast (69 points)
Highest vote: 23
Lowest vote: 6

12. Netherlands (63 points)
Highest vote: 20
Lowest vote: 7

11. Colombia (59 points)
Highest vote: 17
Lowest vote: 8

10. Portugal (56 points)
Highest vote: 18
Lowest vote: 5

9. Chile (50 points)
Highest vote: 15
Lowest vote: 5

source: Getty Images8. France (46 points)
Highest vote: 11
Lowest vote: 6

7. Belgium (37 points)
Highest vote: 11
Lowest vote: 5

6. Uruguay (34 points)
Highest vote: 8
Lowest vote: 4

5. Italy (28 points)
Highest vote: 11
Lowest vote: 2

4. Argentina (21 points)
Highest vote: 8
Lowest vote: 2

3. Spain (17 points, one No. 1  vote)
Highest vote: 7
Lowest vote: 1

2. Germany (16 points)
Highest vote: 4
Lowest vote: 2

1. Brazil (6 points, four No. 1 votes)
Highest vote: 2
Lowest vote: 1

Following our points guide, how would our tournament play out?

Group of death: Group G (Germany, Portugal, United States, Ghana)
Easiest group: Group H (Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea)
Lowest seed eliminated in group stage: Netherlands (12)
Highest seed to advance to Round of 16: Bosnia and Herzegovina (19)

source: Getty ImagesRound of 16:
Brazil (A1) def. Chile (B2)
Uruguay (D2) def. Colombia (C1)
France (E1) def. Bosnia and Herzegovina (F2)
Germany (G1) def. Russia (H2)
Spain (B1) def. Croatia (A2)
Italy (D1) def. Ivory Coast (C2)
Argentina (F1) def. Switzerland (E2)
Belgium (H1) def. Portugal (G2)

Quarterfinals:
Spain (B1) def. Italy (D1)
Argentina (F1) def. Belgium (H1)
Brazil (A1) def. Uruguay (D2)
Germany (G1) def. France (E1)

Semifinals:
Brazil (A1) def. Germany (G1)
Spain (B1) def. Argentina (F1)

Final:
Brazil (A1) def. Spain (B1)

Report: Chelsea line up Tuchel to replace Conte

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Reports in Germany claim Chelsea have met with Thomas Tuchel about replacing Antonio Conte as their manager.

[ MORE: 5 new stars in the PL ]

With relations said to be strained between Conte and Chelsea’s board following a summer of unrest regarding a lack of transfers, the Diego Costa situation and more for the reigning Premier League champions, losing to Arsenal in the Community Shield and then their Premier League opening to Burnley was far from an ideal start.

Still, Conte led Chelsea to the PL title last season, his first in England, with a record 30 wins from 38 games. How is he the bookies favorite to be the next PL manager to leave his job?

Tuchel, 43, has been out of work since leaving Borussia Dortmund at the end of last season and Sport Bild is reporting that Chelsea’s director Marina Granovskaia has approached Tuchel about replacing Conte, while it is also stated that former Barca boss Luis Enrique is a contender.

Could Tuchel succeed at Chelsea and in the Premier League? Of course he could.

At Borussia Dortmund he developed one of the finest attacking teams in Europe with talented youngsters playing in a fluid system. Tuchel didn’t leave Dortmund on good terms and although he was linked with plenty of vacant jobs across Europe, including the Arsenal job if Arsene Wenger stepped down, he remains without a club.

Tuchel is a very good coach but what Conte has done at Chelsea over the past 12 months is a borderline miracle.

The situation regarding Conte and Chelsea does appear to have been blown out of proportion, particularly with the Nemanja Matic situation as Conte was reportedly unwilling to lose his Serbian midfielder but the deal was sanctioned by those above him. Given the fact that Conte signed a new contract this summer but only for improved terms and not for an extended period of time past 2019 also raised alarm bells.

Chelsea fans have, understandably, not reacted too kindly to reports that a successor is being lined up for Conte. The Italian coach is adored by the Blues faithful after leading a rapid rebuild of their squad in his famed 3-4-3 formation last season. His passion on the sidelines is now a hallmark of Chelsea matchdays and if he does leave anytime soon due to issues behind-the-scenes, expect a mutiny from the fans.

Yes, managers have come and gone and frequently and success has remained under Roman Abramovich but hooking Conte may even be a step too far for the notoriously expectant owner.

Barcelona’s Twitter hacked to claim Di Maria signing

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FC Barcelona had eyeballs popping across the Twitterverse for a solid 90 seconds there.

La Liga’s giants Tweeted out a welcome to Angel Di Maria, the current PSG and former Real Madrid star, with the hashtag #DiMariaFCB.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

It was an odd Tweet for 4 a.m. local time, as humourously pointed out by our Andy Edwards, and the hackers were quick to claim credit before any Tweets could be deleted.

So if someone tells you Angel Di Maria is the latest member of Barcelona, be sure to stop the spread of fake news.

On a day where Barca’s reportedly ready to up their bid for Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, something tells us someone at the Camp Nou is turning over their keys to the club’s social media.

Rescheduled Yankees game moves NYCFC-Houston to Connecticut

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A rescheduled New York Yankees game is moving New York City FC to Connecticut.

Relax, it’s only for a day.

NYCFC will entertain the Houston Dynamo at Rentschler Field at 3 p.m. on Sept. 23 instead of their regular home of Yankee Stadium.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

The club will offer tickets to another match to current ticket holders, and will also discount tickets to the game in East Hartford for fans who hold tickets to the Yankee Stadium game and want to travel for the Dynamo match (More info here, if you are in either of those camps).

This is the third of three scheduled seasons NYCFC will play at Yankee Stadium, and it doesn’t look like it’ll find a new home any time soon.

Given the everyday nature of Major League Baseball, it’s surprising there have not been more conflicts for NYCFC. We just remain hopeful for the day we can watch NYC’s star-studded roster play on a bigger home field.

“Injustice.” “Incomprehensible.” Ronaldo again protests suspension

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The five-game suspension Cristiano Ronaldo received for making contact with an official is not sitting well with the forward.

Better put: it’s still not sitting well.

Six days ago, Ronaldo took to Instagram to say he was being persecuted after his red card in the Spanish Super Cup.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

Tuesday afternoon, he kept up the strong words by saying the suspension is “incomprehensible” and “an injustice.”

Roughly translated, Ronaldo posted, “One more incomprehensible decision. From injustice to injustive, they will never overcome me. And as always I will come back stronger. Thank you to all who have supported me.”

We’ll say this: He’s a really good soccer player.