RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 22: Thomas Vermaelen of Belgium receives treatment during warm ups prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match between Belgium and Russia at Maracana on June 22, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Belgium injury update: Thomas Vermaelen out; Vincent Kompany still doubtful

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The health of Belgium’s defense has been one of the major talking points ahead to the team’s Tuesday Round of 16 match against the United States. Unfortunately for Red Devils’ fans, one of the fitness doubts that team carried out of its World Cup group stage has been resolved in the negative. Thomas Vermaelen, a potential starter at left back, has been ruled out, head coach Marc Wilmots confirmed on Monday.

While the Belgium boss said the veteran defender should be ready if his team makes the quarterfinals, the defender’s hamstring will keep him out of tomorrow’s match in Salvador. Through the tournament’s first 270 minutes, Vermaelen’s only been able to play 45, toughing out the first half against Russia after incurring his injury warming up for his team’s second match.

On Monday, Wilmots confirmed his vice-captain and been ruled out. Here’s the Belgian head coach, also speaking asked about midfielder Marouane Fellaini, from

“Thomas … has not enough time to be fit by tomorrow. He will be fit if we make the quarterfinals. He will return to full squad training in a day or two. Marouane is fine, no problem.”

Vermaelen wasn’t the only Belgian injury doubt coming off the team’s last match, but as Wilmots confirmed in the same press conference, little about captain Vincent Kompany’s status has changed since he was held out on Thursday against South Korea:

“I don’t know about Vincent and whether he will be fit,” said [Wilmots]. “We will see how it evolves.

That leaves U.S. fans in the awkward position of rooting for an injury, but this is Vincent Kompany we’re talking about. The man’s always in the conversation as one of the best central defenders in the world. If he can’t go on Tuesday, U.S. fans stand a better chance of seeing their team reach its third quarterfinal.

Not that Kompany’s replacements would be bums. If the Manchester City star is out, we’ll likely see Daniel Van Buyten and Nicolas Lombaerts in the middle. Out wide, Jan Vertonghen will get the call on the left, while Toby Alderweireld


Ferguson still being asked about Moyes: “We chose a good football man”

David Moyes Alex Ferguson
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In some ways absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it seems Sir Alex Ferguson‘s life after Manchester United has been filled with second guessing.

Whether the sales of Paul Pogba and Gerard Pique or the appointment of David Moyes, “Fergie” apparently can’t rest on his title-winning laurels.

[ MORE: Tax evasion charges dropped against Messi, but not his father ]

One thing that seems to bug him more than anything, though, is the idea that he hand-picked David Moyes to be his successor, and should be responsible for his failings.

In a new documentary, Ferguson both defends the appointment of Moyes and explains the process behind his choice.

From the BBC:

“I don’t think we made a mistake at all. I think we chose a good football man,” Ferguson says. “Unfortunately it didn’t work for David.

“Jose Mourinho was going back to Chelsea, Carlo Ancelotti was going to Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp had signed a contract with Dortmund, Louis Van Gaal was staying with Holland for the World Cup.”

The article also makes another key point, according to Ferguson: the manager claims he only gave United a few months notice that he’d be stepping down. That certainly didn’t provide a lot of lead time to secure a big boss.

What do you make it of it? If your answer is, “When can we stop talking about Moyes and United?” I tend to be with you, but it’s a talking point.

Tax evasion charges against Messi dropped; Case vs father continues

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2013 file photo, Barcelona F.C. star Lionel Messi, left, arrives at a court to answer questions in a tax fraud case in Gava, near Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona prosecutors are calling for the arrest of Messi's father in a tax fraud case. Prosecutors have cleared Messi of wrongdoing but are seeking an 18-month prison sentence for his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, for allegedly defrauding Spain's tax office of 4 million euros ($4.5 million) in unpaid taxes from 2007-09. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)
AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
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Lionel Messi will not face charges that he and his father defrauded the government in millions of unpaid taxes, though his father is not so lucky.

Messi’s father, Jorge, could face 18 months in jail and an approximate $2.25 million fine despite a voluntary payment of $5.5 million in 2013 to “correct” the missed taxes.

[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]

The Barcleona star had plead ignorance to the charges, something that failed to impress prosecutors. But, it apparently worked out in his favor on Tuesday.

From the BBC:

Prosecutors allege that Jorge avoiding paying tax on his son’s earnings by using offshore companies in Belize and Uruguay between 2007 and 2009.

Messi’s lawyers argued that the player had “never devoted a minute of his life to reading, studying or analysing” the contracts, El Pais newspaper reported.