Two goals from Neymar give Brazil 4-1 win over Cameroon, first in Group A

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With his third and fourth goals of the 2014 World Cup, Brazilian star Neymar has put his team into the knockout round. Scoring in the 17th and 34th minutes, the 22-year-old helped send his team into halftime with a one-goal lead over Cameron, with second half goals from Fred and Fernandinho delivering a 4-1 win for the hosts in their nation’s capital.

Neymar opened the scoring with a right-footed finish from the middle of the Cameroon penalty area, an opener that was pulled back by a Joel Matip in the 26th minute. Just past the half-hour mark, a shot from the top of the area into the left of goal completed Neymar’s brace, with a close-range finish just after halftime giving Fred his first World Cup goal. With a toe-poke from the left of the area in the 84th minute, Fernandinho closed the scoring, helping the Seleçao hold off Mexico in Group A.

With the win, Brazil moves on to the knockout round, where they will face Chile on Saturday in Belo Horizonte. Cameroon leaves Brazil 2014 without a point, having lost seven straight matches at World Cups.

[ MORE: Mexico surge past Croatia | Dutch down Chile | Spain conquers Socceroos ]
[ RELATED: World Cup news, analysis from Soccerly ]

Early Brazil attacks down the team’s right flank provided hints the favorites would control the match, but as Cameroon came into the game, the opening moments found a surprising equilibrium.

That changed in the 17th minute when Luiz Gustavo forced a turnover at the edge of Brazil’s attacking third. Moving down the left side, the Seleçao midfielder played a ball toward the penalty spot. There, Neymar had cut across central defender Joel Matip to create room to finish inside Charles Itanjde’s left post.

Cameroon responded quickly when the second ball in from a 26th minute corner found Matip in front of goal. His one-timed finish of Nyom’s cross gave Júlio César no chance to prevent the shock equalizer.

Neymar, however, made sure Brazil’s response was just as swift. Given room to cut onto his right foot at the top of Cameroon’s penalty area, the Barcelona star pulled his shot into the left of goal, giving Brazil the 2-1 lead they’d take into halftime.

Just after intermission, a chipped cross from Neymar was cleared out of the Cameroon area, where midfielder Fernandinho was able to maintain Brazil’s possession. After the ball went wide to David Luiz, the Brazilian defender found Fred in front of goal, where the striker headed home his team’s third goal.

Six minutes from time, just as Mexico’s scoreline against Croatia was threatening to vault El Tri first in Group A, Brazil found added insurance. Running onto an Oscar pass in the left of Cameroon’s penalty area, Fernandinho finished far post to give Brazil their fourth goal, ensuring the hosts would finish first in their group.

The win guaranteed Brazil, who came into the day tied at the top of their group, would avoid the Netherlands to open the next round. Unfortunately, the alternative doesn’t provide much relief. Chile, seen by many as one of the tournament’s dark horses, await the World Cup favorites.

Lineups

Cameroon: Itanjde; Mbia, N’koulou, Nyom, Bedimo; Matip, Enoh, N’Guémo; Moukandjo (Salli 58′), Aboubakar (Webó 72′), Choupo-Moting

Goals: Matip 26′

Brazil: César; Alves, Silva, Luiz, Marcelo; Gustavo, Paulinho (Fernandinho 46′); Oscar, Neymar (Willian 71′), Hulk (Ramires 63′); Fred

Goals: Neymar 17′, 34′, Fred 49′, Fernandinho 84′

VIDEO: Napoli fans celebrate Juventus win

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It is safe to say Napoli’s fans were pretty happy with the 1-0 win their team secured at Juventus on Sunday.

Kalidou Koulibaly powered home a header in stoppage as Napoli moved just one point behind Juventus, who sit top of the Serie A table, with four games to go. The title race is well and truly on in Italy.

The scenes across Naples after the game were incredible and when the players arrived back at the airport at around 3 a.m. local time they were greeted by thousands of adoring fans.

Take a look at the video below. Wow.


Preview: Everton v. Newcastle

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  • Everton have won seven of their last eight games v Newcastle
  • Newcastle have won four PL games in a row
  • Wayne Rooney has more goals (15) against Newcastle than any other PL team

Everton host Newcastle United on Monday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with the Toffees and Magpies both setting pretty in midtable.

[ LIVE: Stream every PL game

The Toffees sit in ninth, with Newcastle in 10th and just one point behind Everton with a game in hand. Rafael Benitez has been lauded for taking his newly-promoted side into the top 10 with defensive solidity, while Sam Allardyce has been lambasted for a defensive style of play despite getting Everton out of a relegation fight following his appointment back in November.

In team news Everton have Mason Holgate and Gylfi Sigurdsson out injured, while Newcastle will be without Christian Atsu but Islam Slimani could make his first start.


What they’re saying 

Sam Allardyce on the job Rafael Benitez has done at Newcastle: “From a difficult period they have managed to recover and get in the Premier League and they have turned it around. They have put together a run of games and we’ll see a better Newcastle than we saw up there [when Everton won 1-0 in December]. Rafa has progressed very well. He has always expressed his disappointment with not enough funds – we can all say we don’t have enough funds. What he has managed with the funds he has, particularly in the January months, has been excellent.”

Rafael Benitez on his Newcastle future: “I want to win games and I want to win trophies and I want to have the tools to be capable of competing. At the same time. I like to improve players, coach players, follow a business plan, a realistic business plan in modern football. I have no problem with that because I did it in the past.”

Prediction
Two teams who are very similar in terms of their style of play should see a bit of a stalemate take place at Goodison. 1-1 draw, which is a much better result for Newcastle and will pile more pressure on Big Sam.

Paul Pogba: “Transfers are not in my head”

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Paul Pogba has been discussing his future at Manchester United beyond this season.

The Frenchman delivered a stunning assist in United’s 2-1 win against Tottenham in the FA Cup semifinal on Saturday, with the midfielder now named Man of the Match in each of his last two games after plenty of speculation about his future at United in recent months.

Jose Mourinho left Pogba out of his starting lineup on multiple occasions, while Pep Guardiola claims he was offered to buy Pogba in January and speculation about him joining Paris Saint-Germain, going back to Juventus or heading to Real Madrid continue.

Speaking to French outlet Canal Football Club, Pogba had the following to say about his own future.

“Right now, I am at Manchester United and I am honestly only thinking about the present. Transfers are not in my head. We are in the [FA] Cup final and the World Cup is around the corner,” Pogba said.

Pogba also addressed the rumors regarding his relationship with Mourinho with reports stating that the duo do not get along and United’s manager is fed up with the Frenchman’s attitude off the pitch.

“I don’t have a problem with him, and I don’t think he has a problem with me,” Pogba said. “He’s the coach and he has to make choices. I am a player and I accept them. I have to answer on the pitch.”

Benitez happy to stay at Newcastle if he “has the tools to compete”

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Rafa Benitez is approaching something vaguely resembling sainthood in the northeast of England — with the Newcastle United-supporting portion, at least — but his future remains in doubt as the end of the current Premier League season draws nearer and the next one approaches.

[ MORE: Salah beats De Bruyne to win PFA Player of the year award ]

Benitez and Newcastle owner Mike Ashley have endured an unhappy working relationship for much of Benitez’s 25 months at the club. The Spaniard was true to his word, though, when he stuck around another season after being relegated from the PL in 2016, then again after winning promotion on the Magpies’ first attempt, but he’ll be faced with the same dilemma again this summer, even after guiding Newcastle to a mid-table finish (they currently sit 10th with five games left to play).

[ MORE: Man United reach FA Cup final | Chelsea join them ]

If he’s not given assurances that he’ll be handed the necessary funds to properly strengthen his squad during the upcoming summer transfer window, the 58-year-old could very well walk away and leave Ashley to play the part of all-too-familiar villain. Or, as Benitez put it this weekend, Ashley could fork over “the tools to be capable of competing” and make everyone, from the manager to the fans, happy — quotes form the Guardian:

“If they [Ashley’s representatives] want to talk to my people [about a new contract,] they can talk. The main thing is to be sure we share the same ambition.

“I want to win games and I want to win trophies and I want to have the tools to be capable of competing. At the same time, I like to improve players, coach players, follow a business plan, a realistic business plan in modern football. I have no problem with that because I did it in the past.

“We have to be sure to have all the tools to compete and achieve what we want to achieve because Newcastle is a massive football club and we want it to reach its potential.”

Of course, the perfect scenario for everyone involved would have been for any one of the numerous takeover bids to have gone through during the last two years, but as was most recently evidenced earlier this year, Ashley and the Toon can’t seem to quit each other just yet.