RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 22: Thibaut Courtois of Belgium acknowledges the crowd after defeating Russia 1-0 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between Belgium and Russia at Maracana on June 22, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Game(s) on: Belgium looks to close out Group H, Algeria hoping to advance

Leave a comment

One-goal wins in the team’s first two games have the Belgians into the second round, but with a point against South Korea today in São Paulo, the Red Devisl clinch first place in the 2014 World Cup’s Group H, thereby avoiding Germany in the tournament’s second round.

It’s one of two matches that will take place at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, with a 2010 rematch between Russia head coach Fabio Capello and second place Algeria kicking off at the same time in Curiabá. With all four teams still alive, here’s what each needs to happen to make the second round:

  • Belgium is into the second round can can secure first place with a win, draw, or an Algeria loss or draw.
  • Algeria takes second with a win or draw and can take first with a win and a Belgium loss.
  • Russia needs a win over Algeria and a Belgium result against South Korea (or, just to stay on the right side of the tiebreakers with the Koreans).
  • South Korea to (a.) beat Belgium by more than the Russians beat Algeria, or, if Algeria draws, (b.) beat Belgium by three. If Algeria wins, South Korea’s done.

[ MORE Soccerly: Follow South Korea vs. Belgium | Algeria vs. Russia ]

Here are the lineups for the last games of the 2014 group stage:

Lineups

South Korea: S.G. Kim; Y. Lee, Hong, Y.G. Kim, Yun; Han, Ki; C.Y. Lee, Koo, Son; S.W. Kim

Belgium: Courtois; Vanden Boore, Lombaerts, Van Buyten, Vertonghen; Fellaini, Dembélé; Mirallas, Januzaj, Defour, Mertens

Expectation: Despite failing to meet expectations during their first two games, the Red Devils are seen as big favorites in this one. There’s a reason why U.S. fans are already saying, “Give us Belgium.”

One blogger’s prediction: South Korea’s defense looks better than it did against Algeria, but Belgium begins finding its World Cup legs and posts an easy victory. 3-1, Red Devils.


Lineups

Algeria: Rais; Mandi, Belkalem, Halliche, Mesbah, Bentaleb, Medjani; Feghouli, Brahimi, Djabou; Slimani

Russia: Akinfeev; Kozlov, Berezutski, Ignashevich, Kombarov; Glushakov, Fayzulin; Samedov, Shatov, Kokorin; Kerzhakov

Expectations: Before the tournament, Algeria was seen as the group formats while Russia was expected to go through behind Belgium. Now, perceptions ave flipped. Algeria has captured hearts, while Fabio Capello’s style has made Russia difficult to enjoy.

One blogger’s prediction: Russia’s methods define the match, but they can’t produce a result. The ghosts of 2010 cheer as a 0-0 puts Algeria into the second round.

Kasper Schmeichel wants to play for Denmark 6 days after hernia surgery

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27: Kasper Schmeichel of Leicester City in action during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Swansea City at The King Power Stadium on August 27, 2016 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel was tough, but his son might be tougher.

Leicester City shot-stopper Kasper Schmeichel had hernia surgery earlier Monday, and while that seems like it would sideline him for some time, apparently not.

The 29-year-old tweeted from the hospital bed that he is aiming for a return on Sunday – just six days removed from surgery – when his native Denmark takes on Armenia in World Cup qualification.

That’s…ambitious. Not surprising though, given the ambition Leicester City showed last season stunning everyone to win the title.

Schmeichel was injured against Swansea on Saturday in Premier League play when he made a clearance and came up notably uncomfortable. He was replaced in the 57th minute by new Foxes signing Ron-Robert Zieler. According to manager Claudio Ranieri, the club had already planned surgery for this problem even before Saturday’s flare-up due to the recurring nature of the problem.

Sadly, the Wednesday’s friendly against Liechtenstein comes a little too soon for Schmeichel. It will be the first international match he will miss since March of 2015. We’ll give him a pass, considering most of us would still be in post-op then.

Report: Zardes injury is serious, broken foot could end his season

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 16:  Gyasi Zardes #9 of the United States dribbles against Jefferson Montero #7 of Ecuador during the 2016 Quarterfinal - Copa America Centenario match at CenturyLink Field on June 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The United States beat Ecuador 2-1.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

According to Goal.com’s Ives Galarcep, the injury that forced Gyasi Zardes to withdraw from USMNT consideration for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers is serious and could have much larger consequences.

Zardes reportedly suffered a broken right foot, and could not just miss the rest of the 2016 MLS season, but the rest of the calendar year, ruling him out of not just the two upcoming matches, but also the beginning of the Hexagonal in November should the U.S. advance to the next round.

The 24-year-old was injured just after halftime in an MLS match against Vancouver on Saturday, when he was brought down by Kendall Watson. It’s hard to see in full-speed what happens, but upon closer inspection, it appears that Watson’s follow-through catches the inside of Zardes’s right foot. He continued to play but looked less than healthy when he was finally substituted off in the 87th minute.

Zardes has been a rare youthful yet important cog in the USMNT machine the past few years. He played every minute of the Copa America run to the 3rd place match, and he has missed just two matches since making his debut in January of 2015, giving him 31 caps already despite a debut just 19 months ago.

The injury is also a serious blow for the LA Galaxy. Zardes had come onto the field in the 31st minute to replace an injured Steven Gerrard, and in-form defender Jelle van Damme had also departed the match with a knee ligament injury which will see him miss 2-3 weeks.

Michail Antonio thought he was being pranked when he got his England call-up

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28:  Michail Antonio of West Ham during the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham at Etihad Stadium on August 28, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Getty Images
2 Comments

Many were surprised when they saw West Ham winger Michail Antonio on Sam Allardyce‘s first England squad list.

Including Michail Antonio.

In fact, Antonio admitted he thought he was being pranked, or at the very least, the butt of a joke. Then he saw the proof, and began to get emotional.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Speaking with the official England Instagram account, Antonio said, “So literally I’ve done an interview at the end of the game [West Ham’s 3-1 loss to Manchester City on Sunday] and then I’ve come in and the physio’s come over to me and gone ‘you’ve been called up.’ I was like ‘haha funny’ and he’s gone ‘no no seriously’ and I was like ‘good banter!'”

[ MORE: West Ham falls to Manchester City 3-1 ]

The 26-year-old said he stared at the physio for a good 30 seconds before he was shown the official paper, at which point he began “welling up.” The water works came soon after. “So I gave my missus a call, obviously she doesn’t pick up. And then I just got myself mentally ready and waited for it to come out.”

Antonio has two goals in three Premier League games this season, although he struggled in West Ham’s season opener against Chelsea when forced to deputize at right-back. The London-born winger has never played under Allardyce, having joined the Hammers just a few months after Big Sam’s departure from West Ham.

Earthquakes fire longtime general manager John Doyle

SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 25: San Jose Earthquakes owner, John Doyle announces the San Jose Earthquakes new stadium ground breaking set for October 21st 2012 before the game between the Colorado Rapids and the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium on August 25, 2012 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Tony Medina/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The San Jose Earthquakes fired longtime general manager John Doyle on Monday, replacing him with technical director Chris Leitch on an interim basis.

Coach Dominic Kinnear and his staff remain in place, the team said.

Doyle, who in 2005 was the inaugural member of the San Jose Earthquakes Hall of Fame, had been the general manager since October 2007 and helped bring the franchise back following a two-year absence. He is a former player, assistant coach and color analyst with the organization.

San Jose has a 7-8-11 record for seventh place in the Western Conference and was three points back of Portland for the final playoff berth.