Game On: Lineups & talking points as the dazzling Dutch return against Australia

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Kicking at 12 noon ET, the Dutch – who demolished the defending champions in their opener – are back at it against Australia.

The Socceroos played well despite a 3-1 loss to Chile last time out, but will now have to face new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal and his band of flying Dutchmen who took care of Spain 5-1.

The result wasn’t only shocking due to the scoreline, but also the fact that the Dutch were down 1-0 early in the game before bursting things open in the second half.

[ MORE Group B: Netherlands rip Spain | Chile outlasts Australia ]
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LINEUPS:

Netherlands – Cillessen, Vlaar, de Vrij, Indi, Blind, de Jong, Janmaat, de Guzman, van Persie, Sneijder, Robben.

Australia – Ryan, Davidson, Cahill, Spiranovic, Leckie, Oar, Jedinak, McKay, McGowan, Wilkinson, Bresciano.

Talking points

1. Can the Dutch continue their form while avoiding the Australian trap?

Chile struggled to deal with Australia on a consistent basis, and while they ultimately slid through with a nervy win and a late goal, there was a sense of trepidation.  With the Dutch coming off such a huge statement win, it’s not out of the question that they suffer a caffeine crash and Australia again puts out a positive performance. The Socceroos are massive underdogs, but that doesn’t always mean much at the World Cup.

2. Will Tim Cahill be able to stay dangerous against the Dutch?

They weren’t perfect, but the Socceroos were solid against Chile, and while they can shore things up at the back, Tim Cahill was a force up front.  Spain took the game to the Netherlands early on, causing the back four to make a number of mistakes that Ron Vlaar managed to clean up. If Australia can exploit the same openings and mistakes, they could get Cahill back into dangerous places and maybe pick up a shock goal or two against the run of play just like they did against Chile.

Expectation: The Dutch won’t best their performance against Spain, but they’ll stay on top. Arjen Robben and company are on top form, and their confidence will be at an all-time high. Australia are drawing them at the wrong time.

Prediction: Not much different from the expectation. Australia will be tough to break down and will likely stay incredibly defensive, the Dutch are pros at stretching a defense and will be successful at finding the gaps, even if it takes over 45 minutes to find the breakthrough.

Zabaleta staying in Premier League with West Ham move

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A week after bidding Manchester City an emotional goodbye, Pablo Zabaleta has announced he’ll be staying in England.

The 32-year-old right back is moving to London, where he’ll join West Ham United on a two-year deal beginning July 1.

[ MORE: Three key battles in FA Cup Final ]

The San Lorenzo youth product went to Espanyol in 2005 to begin his European adventure, joining Man City in 2008. He won two PL titles, two League Cups, and an FA Cup, and was named the club’s player of the season in 2012-13.

From WHUFC.com:

“Manchester City gave me the opportunity to come to this wonderful league, the Premier League, something I’ve been enjoying a lot as a player and of course for me it was probably the right time to move on.

“Also, as a player, I thought I wanted to keep playing in the Premier League. For me, after being in this country for so long, this is a new challenge for me in the Premier League and I’m ready for it and looking forward to it.”

Maybe he just wanted 3G.

Young Sam Byram can learn plenty from Zabaleta, and the signing means that star right-sided man Michail Antonio likely won’t have to be wasted at right back in emergency situations. Good risk by the Hammers.

Valencia extends Man Utd deal to great Mourinho praise

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Jose Mourinho has made no secret of his Antonio Valencia appreciation, and the Manchester United manager has rewarded his fullback with a new deal.

Valencia is nine appearances away from 300 in a Manchester United kit, with 22 goals and 61 assists as a Red Devil.

[ MORE: Monaco star’s Man City medical ]

Valencia said United has “been my life” since arriving from Wigan Athletic in 2009, while Mourinho heaped praise on the Ecuadorian captain’s character with glowing praise.

“It is no secret that I had been an admirer of Antonio’s long before I joined the club. I knew what a fantastic player he was and he has not disappointed me on that front. However, what I could never have imagined was what a great person he is. I know I have said this before but I truly believe it is a real privilege for us to have such a good player and such a good man. I am delighted he has extended his contract.”

Only Ander Herrera and Eric Bailly recorded better tackle rates at Old Trafford last season, and Valencia was credited with a team-best 1.5 crosses per game.

USMNT veteran Geoff Cameron extended by Stoke City

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Forget a return Stateside, as Geoff Cameron is sticking around the Potteries.

The versatile American midfielder and defender, 31, has extended his stay at Stoke City by two years, the Premier League club announced Friday.

Cameron has played 165 times for Stoke since arriving from the Houston Dynamo in 2012. He’s been capped 50 times by the USMNT.

Turning 32 next in mid-July, Cameron missed three-and-a-half months with a knee injury this season. That span saw Stoke go 6-5-5.

Advanced stats site WhoScored rated Cameron as Stoke’s best player — by far — this season. He was a bright spot along with loan man Bruno Martins Indi, and his extension is good news for both U.S. and Stoke fans.

Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland is preparing for more banter:

Double the Silva? Monaco star undergoing Man City medical

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Pep Guardiola is looking to Monaco in his chase for (lowers sunglasses) Silvaware.

Thanks, we’ll be here all day.

Bernardo Silva is in Manchester on Friday, with the Manchester Evening News saying the playmaker is close to joining unrelated surname sharer David Silva in the Sky Blues’ attack.

[ MORE: Three key battles in FA Cup Final ]

“The 22-year-old arrived at Manchester Airport on Thursday night on a flight from Mallorca and is believed to have had a medical at the club’s academy on Friday morning,” writes James Robson.

At 22, Bernardo Silva has already made 124 appearances for Monaco, registering 25 goals. He scored eight goals in Monaco’s Ligue 1 title run, adding three in the Champions League.

He’s also been capped 12 times by Portugal.

Where does Silva fit? He featured heavily at right wing for Monaco this season — 43 of 56 apps — also spending time in an attacking central midfield role. In City’s final match of the PL season, Gabriel Jesus lined up wide right next to David Silva