Game on: Lineups and talking points for Cameroon v. Croatia

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With Mexico and Brazil both on four points after two matches, the pressure is on Cameroon and Croatia to find a win and help avoid World Cup elimination

After losing their opener to Mexico 1-0, Cameroon will have to find inspiration from someone other than Samuel Eto’o whose left knee injury has left him out of the lineup. He’ll be replaced by 22-yeard old Lorient striker Vincent Aboubakar, who went for  16 goals in Ligue 1 last season.

For Croatia, they were done by in their 3-1 loss to Brazil but for this match the Blazers will have added firepower in the form of Mario Mandzukic, who replaces Nikica Jelavic up top.

[ MORE Group A: Brazil-Mexico Stalemate| Spain bow out]
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LINEUPS:

Cameroon – Itandje, Assou-Ekotto, Nkoulou (c), Song, Moukandjo, Aboubakar, Choupo Moting, Chedjou, Mbia, Enoh, Matip

Croatia -Pletikosa, Pranjic, Perisic, Corluka, Lovren, Rakitic, Modric, Srna (c), Mandzukic, Olic, Sammir

Talking points

1. Does Cameroon have bite without Eto’o? The Idomitable Lions had a few offensive flurries in their opener against Mexico but the majority of those chances came through Eto’o. In his place comes Aboubakar, who will have to step up if his country is to have a shot at the Round of 16.

2. Will Swim-Gate affect Croatia? We’ve all heard of the photos that reporters took of the Croatian team skinny-dipping and their ensuing ban on all media. But how will the team react on the pitch? Could this story serve as an odd motivator to get things right?

3. Will Mario Mandzukic step up? Suspended for the first match, look to see if Mandzukic can be the difference maker for Croatia. He’ll be eager to step on the World Cup stage after a brilliant performance in 2010 and could be extra motivated given his current status on the transfer market after it was reported he’ll be leaving Bayern Munich this summer.

Expectation: Cameroon looked sloppy and out-of-sorts during long spells of their first match so they’ll need to settle in and find a rhythm early to get something out of this match. If they fail to do so, expect that strong Croatian midfield to take charge and punish their opponents.

One blogger’s prediction: Croatia romps, wins by at least a goal but more likely two or three.

2-year doping ban upheld for Finland, CSKA Moscow player

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a two-year ban for CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko for a positive test for cocaine.

[ MORE: Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

CAS says the ban imposed by UEFA was “appropriate” and dismissed the Finland international’s appeal.

[ MORE: Vertonghen says Spurs need to “level up” like rest of PL contenders ]

The ban will expire on Oct. 5, 2018, when Eremenko will be 31.

Eremenko tested positive after playing in a Champions League game for CSKA Moscow against Bayer Leverkusen last September. The 2-2 result was not affected despite Eremenko scoring CSKA’s second goal.

Born in Moscow, Eremenko grew up in Finland and has represented its national team 73 times.

Webb says De Jong would have been sent off with video review

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NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.

The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.

Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”

Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City 0-1 Atlanta United (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Friday night’s effort at Orlando City Stadium wasn’t the prettiest for either side but Atlanta United will gladly take three points from the fixture as the Central Florida venue proved to be a fortress once more. The Lions were far superior in their attacking threats throughout the match, testing USMNT and Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on multiple occasions. However, it was Hector Villalba that proved to be the difference when he blasted a long-distance effort to beat Joe Bendik in the 86th minute. Atlanta extends its unbeaten streak to four matches with Friday’s decision, keeping Tata Martino’s side in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando City moves into fifth.

Three moments that mattered

36′ — Guzan stands tall, denies Rivas — Carlos Rivas thought he scorched this one (and he did…), but Brad Guzan acted like it was nothing as he held his ground to make the stop.

39′ — Spector gets ripped off by Guzan — The U.S. goalkeeper is at it again… What a save!

86′ — Villalba unleashes stunner to propel Atlanta — Sometimes it just takes one good hit as a striker.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Brad Guzan

Goalscorers: Hector Villalba (86′)

Report: Man City adding Mendy to continue backline restoration

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Fresh off of completing a record deal to help bolster the club’s back line this summer, Manchester City is back at it with the Premier League season looming.

[ MORE: Alvaro Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

The Citizens are reportedly on the brink of signing Monaco left back Benjamin Mendy to yet another world-record fee — which will total over $67 million.

Confirmation of the deal has yet to be announced by either team, but L’Equipe is reporting that the Citizens are hot on the 23-year-old’s trail in adding to their pricy back four.

Manager Pep Guardiola and Man City have not been shy readjusting their defensive unit over the past year, adding expensive first-team choices John Stones and Kyle Walker.