colombia

Game on: Colombia and Greece kick off Saturday’s World Cup games

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After a fantastic slate of games on Friday, it’ll be tough for Day 3 of the World Cup to measure up. Will anyone be able to score five goals? Perform as acrobatic of a header as Robin van Persie? Dance through defenses like Alexis Sánchez?

It’s time to find out. First up is Colombia vs. Greece. Cross your fingers that Greece have expanded their repertoire, electing not to pack ten men behind the ball. Because really, we’re all here to see that flowing Colombian attack.

The match kicks off at 12 noon ET. Here’s what you need to know:

[ MORE, Previews: Colombia | Greece | Group C]
[ MORE, Soccerly: Preview | Follow live ]

Starting lineups

Colombia:   Ospina; Armero, Zapata, Yepes, Zúñiga; Sánchez, Abel, Cuadrado, James, Ibarbo; Teo.

Greece: Karnezis, Maniatis, Manolas, Samaras, Kone, Salpingidis, Torosidis, Gekas, Sokratis, Cholevas, Katsouranis

Talking points

1. How Colombia will fare without Falcao. Relax, people. Radamel Falcao has been injured since the start of 2014. José Pékerman has had plenty of time to think of alternate strategies. And with James Rodríguez, Victor Ibarbo and Teófilo Gutiérrez all set to start, no one’s going to tell Colombia they don’t have the firepower to get past Greece.

From FIFA:

“We’re not talking about injuries anymore, we’re talking about players. I really believe in this team and from here on in we’re working on every situation we could come across on the pitch.”

2. Whether Greece can shed the defensive stereotype. Georgios Samaras let slip that he believes his manager, Fernando Santos, emphasizes a strategy of getting a single goal and defending at all costs. Santos insisted that’s not the case, but it still seems unlikely Greece can shed their overly-defensive image built on their win in Euro 2004.

From FIFA:

“The history of Greek football over the last few years derives a great deal from what was achieved in 2004, with that huge victory. Since then, the players have felt somehow comfortable playing in a particular pattern. Lately, we’ve been trying to progress from that pattern, but it’s very hard especially at national team level, since there aren’t many training sessions. We haven’t had much time to work as a group, so it’s not easy to change these patterns and the team’s habits.”

Expectation: Despite their protestations, Greece will do their best to make this match as dull as yesterday’s were exciting.

One blogger’s prediction: Greece crumbles to dust under the onslaught of the free-flowing Colombia attack. Ok, maybe it won’t be that simple, but Colombia should emerge with the win.

Liverpool hires EA Sports executive as new CEO

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 14:   President of Electronic Arts Sports (EA Sports) Peter Moore talks about new games at an EA press briefing ahead of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) at the Orpheum Theater June 14, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The annual video game trade conference and show at the Los Angeles Convention center runs from June 15-17.  (Photo by Michal Czerwonka/Getty Images)
Photo by Michal Czerwonka/Getty Images
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Liverpool has named Peter Moore as the successor to chief executive office Ian Ayre.

Ayre, 53, is off to 1860 Munich this summer, and has stepped down early to allow Moore to take over.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

A Liverpool-born executive, Moore was the chief operating officer at EA Sports and has also worked with Microsoft and SEGA.

The move “completes a transitional phase” which saw several new names join the fray. From The Liverpool Echo:

The appointment completes a transition plan by FSG which included appointing Michael Edwards as sporting director while Billy Hogan was promoted to the role of managing director and chief commercial officer.

Palmer-Brown heads U.S. U-20s to win over Mexico (video)

Erik Palmer-Brown
@ussoccer_ynt
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The United States U-20 men are on the precipice of the U-20 World Cup after beating Mexico 1-0 on Monday, scooping their first win against El Tri in 31 years.

Brooks Lennon continues to look the part for the U.S. ahead of his loan season from Liverpool to Real Salt Lake.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops again ]

The youngster sent in this free kick that Erik Palmer-Brown, himself a loan man at Porto from Sporting KC this year, headed into the Mexico goal courtesy of a back post defender who opted for his right leg over a decent clearing attempt.

The U.S. took that lead into halftime.

Things got chippy as the second half unfolded, with referee Melvin Matamoros turning a blind eye to a few clattering tackles.

Tab Ramos subbed NYCFC prospect Jonathan Lewis into the match, and he sprung a counterattack that should have put the match to bed. But Lewis’ through ball missed FC Dallas’ Coy Craft and the latter took too much time, frittering away the chance.

Shakespeare loves “fire in the belly” in Leicester win

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27:  Craig Shakespeare, Caretaker Manager of Leicester City watches his side warm up prior to the Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at The King Power Stadium on February 27, 2017 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
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Craig Shakespeare had a pretty strong opening bow as interim Leicester City boss, with the Foxes climbing out of the drop zone after a 3-1 defeat of Liverpool on Monday.

Now Leicester has to figure out, at least in the short-term, if Shakespeare is capable of more.

[ RECAP: Leicester 3-1 Liverpool ]

It’s not unusual for a club to respond to a manager change. Hull City was buoyed by some early season results and stuck with Mike Phelan in a move that didn’t work out well. Garry Monk was given the reigns of Swans soon after winning the South Wales Derby, and enjoyed a good reign in Swansea.

Here’s what Shakespeare had to say after Monday’s win, from the BBC. He sounds more Nigel Pearson than Claudio Ranieri.

“You could tell from the word go there was intensity and passion.

“All credit to the fans tonight. I think there was a worry in some quarters about how they would react but they were outstanding.

“The professionalism of the players has never been questioned by me. Having taken training with them, I know the criticism has hurt and perhaps there was a little more fire in the belly because of that.

“They know they are guilty of under performing but this is only one result and we must build on that.”

Leicester hosts Hull City next weekend, and then has 10 days before its UEFA Champions League second leg against Sevilla. Should Shakespeare be given the chance to make history?

Exasperated Klopp: “We were not physical enough” vs Leicester

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27:  Liverpool players make their way back to the half way line after they let in their first goal during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at The King Power Stadium on February 27, 2017 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
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A desperate Leicester City battered Liverpool at the King Power Stadium on Monday, leaving Reds boss Jurgen Klopp to question how his side lost to another relegation candidate.

That’s four teams in the Bottom Seven to beat the Reds this season, and the fifth is 11th place Burnley.

[ RECAP: Leicester 3-1 Liverpool ]

Klopp said he could explain the loss in German, but the challenge of doing it in English was proving difficult.

“The language issues always come a little bit more when you have to explain defeats and it’s really difficult to find the right words. It was not an over aggressive game from Leicester. Even for this level we were not physical enough today.”

Liverpool did look soft without midfielder Jordan Henderson, and did have multiple midfielders in the back line with Lucas Leiva at center back and James Milner on the right.

But moreover, the players failed to follow some of Klopp’s guidelines. For example, Christian Fuchs was able to launch several of his big throws into the 18. One helped Leicester to a goal.

“We gave throw-ins away like we never spoke about it. It does not make much sense to give away 20 throw-ins to Fuchs from that position.”

It wasn’t good enough, and it’s baffling to see Liverpool this season. A club that took four of six points from Chelsea has lost to a quartet of relegation battlers. This isn’t good.