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Game(s) on: Brazil tries to seal Group A; Mexico, Croatia eye knockout round

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The Netherlands and Chile are already through. Now it’s time to decide who they’ll face. Kicking off at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, Group A’s final two games will determine which of Brazil, Croatia, or Mexico face off against Group B’s top two in the World Cup’s knockout round.

Thanks to four points and a goal difference edge on Mexico, Brazil sit atop the group ahead of its match against already eliminated Cameroon. If the host nation takes all three points, only a lopsided win for El Tri will keep it from topping the group, and unless Mexico and Croatia play to a high-scoring draw, Brazil will have to lose by multiple goals to have a chance of going home.

Based on those scenarios, second place is the likely prize in Recife, where Mexico needs only a draw against Croatia to reach its sixth straight knockout round. Croatia, whose only loss was a controversial one to Brazil, sit in on three points, meaning a victory is a must if Niko Kovac’s team’s to advance to the knockout round.

[ MORE Soccerly: Follow Cameroon-Brazil | Croatia-Mexico ]

Here are the lineups:

Cameroon: Itanjde; Mbia, N’koulou, Nyom, Bedimo; Matip, Enoh, N’Guémo; Moukandjo, Aboubakar, Choupo-Moting

Brazil: César; Alves, Silva, Luiz, Marcelo; Gustavo, Paulinho; Oscar, Neymar, Hulk; Fred

Expectation: Brazil uses its game against the group’s weakest link to clinch first place.

One blogger’s prediction: An easy 2-0 for the hosts.


Croatia: Pletikosa; Srna, Corluka, Lovren, Vrsaljko; Modric, Pranjic; Perisic, Rakitic, Olic, Mandzukic

Mexico: Ochoa; Aguilar, Rodríguez, Marquez, Moreno, Layún; Vazquez, Herrera, Guardado; Dos Santos, Peralta

Expectation: There’s no clear favorite. Croatia’s talent, particularly in midfield, has drawn one set of admirers, while the resiliency Mexico’s leveraged while keeping two clean sheets has cultivated another.

One blogger’s prediction: 1-1, though if there’s one prediction I wish I didn’t have to make, it’s this one.

 

FA Cup slate set as Liverpool, Newcastle, Saints win

Newcastle United's DeAndre Yedlin, left, during the English FA Cup, third round replay soccer match at St James' Park in Newcastle, England, Wednesday Jan. 18, 2017. (Owen Humphreys/PA via AP)
Owen Humphreys/PA via AP
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The field is set for the fourth round of the FA Cup, as Newcastle United, Liverpool, and Southampton joined 29 other teams in the fourth round.

Newcastle United 2-1 Birmingham City

Matt Ritchie scored twice and Yoan Gouffran also scored as the Magpies clinched a trip to third-tier side Oxford United. David Cotterill scored in the 71st minute to provide an interesting finish, but Newcastle weathered the storm.

USMNT defender DeAndre Yedlin played 75 minutes for Newcastle before coming off for Isaac Hayden. Jonjo Shelvey had two assists in his return from suspension.

[ MORE: Depay off to Lyon ]

Plymouth Argyle 0-1 Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp chose another youth-heavy lineup, but a pair of Premier League vets got the job done for the winner. Philippe Coutinho assisted Lucas Leiva‘s 18th mintue goal to give the Reds a home date with Wolverhampton.

Divock Origi had a late penalty saved by Luke McCormick, but it didn’t come back to haunt the Reds.

Southampton 1-0 Norwich City

Saints got a much-needed albeit ugly win when Shane Long won a tussle in the box to score a stoppage time winner. Southampton will host Arsenal in the fourth round.

Full schedule

January 27
Derby County vs. Leicester City

January 28
Liverpool vs. Wolverhampton
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Wycombe Wanderers
Oxford United vs. Newcastle United
Lincoln City vs. Brighton & Hove Albion
Chelsea vs. Brentford
Rochdale vs. Huddersfield Town
Burnley vs. Bristol City
Blackburn vs. Blackpool
Middlesbrough vs. Accrington Stanley
Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City
Southampton vs. Arsenal
Millwall vs. Watford
Fulham vs. Hull City
Sutton United vs. Leeds United

January 29
Manchester United vs. Wigan Athletic

Men in Blazers podcast: Man Utd-Liverpool, Costa, Everton’s rout

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@MenInBlazers
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Rog and Davo break down Manchester United 1 – 1 Liverpool, discuss Diego Costa‘s absence from the Chelsea side and relive Everton’s 4 – 0 spanking of Manchester City.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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Jermaine Jones, LA Galaxy make it official

instagram.com/jermainejunior/
instagram.com/jermainejunior/
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He’s been a club changer at both of his Major League Soccer stops, and Jermaine Jones will expect nothing less from his time with the LA Galaxy.

Jones, 35, helped spearhead turnarounds at New England and Colorado after a good career in Germany. He has four goals in 67 caps for the United States men’s national team.

[ MORE: PST’s feature on Jones ]

He won’t be a Designated Player for the Galaxy, who still have two slots available next to Giovani Dos Santos. The Galaxy watched two DPs, Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard, skip town this winter.

From LAGalaxy.com:

“Jermaine is a winner who has experience in MLS and playing against the highest competition in the world,” said LA Galaxy Head Coach Curt Onalfo. “He has a relentless engine on the field and we are confident that he will strengthen our midfield. We look forward to him joining the Galaxy as we prepare for the upcoming season.”

When healthy, Jones remains a game changer at the MLS level. He was not healthy often during his season in Colorado, but the Rapids did not lose a regular season game in which he hit the pitch.

Report: Manchester United accepts Lyon bid for Memphis Depay

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14: Memphis Depay of Manchester United in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Manchester United on August 14, 2015 in Birmingham, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
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Given the amount of buzz surrounding Lyon’s supposed interest in Memphis Depay, it’s no surprise this one got done.

The Ligue 1 side has agreed to buy the Manchester United winger for a fee that will range between $20 and $27 million. Reports claim the Red Devils have both buy back and sell-on clauses inserted in the deal.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

Memphis was purchased for approximately $30 million from PSV Eindhoven in May 2015. That was hot on the heels of a 22-goal season that paced the Eredivisie.

After scoring two goals for United in his second appearance for the club, Memphis managed just 7 in 45 appearances. He hasn’t scored in seven matches this season.

Memphis has 27 caps with five goals for the Netherlands, and it’s hard to imagine he won’t reinforce his status with a prolific spell in France.

Lyon is fourth in the Ligue 1 table, eight behind third place PSG and 11 points back of leaders Monaco and Nice. The club is in the Round of 32 for the French Cup, and meets AZ Alkmaar in the UEFA Europa League.