Just 24 hours before their World Cup quarterfinal with France, the German national team are in disarray as several of their players have been struck down by illness.
Speaking in a press conference on Thursday, German head coach Joachim Low confirmed that seven of his players are suffering from “flu like symptoms” as they prepare for their showdown with European rivals France in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.
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Mats Hummels missed Germany’s last 16 win over Algeria with the illness and the sickness now seems to have spread to the rest of the squad. Not naming any names, although Christoph Kramer and Thomas Muller are both believe to be sick, Low blamed several factors as the illness rips through his squad.
“Seven players are slightly ill with flu symptoms,” Low said. “It is not that bad at the moment and it could be partly about air conditioning, the travel, temperature differences. I do not want to make a drama of it. We hope the situation will ease.”
After a tiring 120 minutes of action against Algeria last time out, this kind of scare is the last thing Low and his team needed. After drawing against Ghana then scrapping wins against the U.S. and Algeria in their last two games, the German public has yet to see the attacking panache and dominance return after it appeared majestically in their opening game against Portugal which they won 4-0.
Instead, Low is under pressure to at least get his side to the semifinals of the World Cup for the third-straight tournament. That seems to be the minimum requirement, even if the DFB say Low’s job is safe no matter what.
Coming up against an in-form and confident French side in the Maracana on Friday should provide Germany with their toughest test of the World Cup so far. Right now, Low is hoping he has 11 fully-fit players to put out on the field.
The U.S. Men’s National Team won’t have a busy schedule throughout the summer, but Dave Sarachan and his side will get a tiny taste of the World Cup in September.
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ESPN FC is reporting that the USMNT will likely face Brazil and Mexico — both of whom will travel to Russia in June — later this year, as the U.S. Soccer Federation is in the process of finalizing both friendlies.
The matches are set to be played during the September international window, which runs from Sept. 3 through Sept. 11.
Both fixtures will reportedly be played in the United States, although venues haven’t been determined yet.
The U.S. has already begun booking a slate of difficult matches to round out 2018, with England and Italy already confirmed opponents for the Yanks in November.
The Yanks are 1-17-0 all-time against Brazil in all competitions, while the U.S. hasn’t faced Mexico since its 1-1 draw at the Estadio Azteca in June 2017 during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
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Two key midfielders earned new deals on Thursday, as two of the Eastern Conference’s recent successes helped solidify for their attacks for the next few years.
The Columbus Crew extended Designated Player attacker Federico Higuain through the 2019 MLS season.
Higuain has been with the Crew since 2012, when the Argentine joined the club from Colon de Santa Fe in his native country.
Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls extended Daniel Royer’s contract, as the Austrian winger in the midst of his third season with Jesse Marsch’s group.
Thus far, Royer has tallied 17 goals in all competitions for the Red Bulls, including 15 during the 2017 campaign, where the former Midtjylland player finished second on the team in goals behind Bradley Wright-Phillips.
A game of back-and-forth at the Emirates Stadium set up an enticing second leg in the UEFA Europa League semifinals, while a Ligue 1 side positioned itself well to move into the final.
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Arsenal and Atletico Madrid settled for a 1-1 draw in London, as Antoine Griezmann’s late strike leveled the match for the Spanish side.
The Gunners looked on their way to a victory when Alexandre Lacazette‘s goal just beyond the hour mark put Arsene Wenger‘s men in front.
The result sets up a strong showdown for the two giants in a week’s time, although Arsenal will feel it left something on the table after racking up 26 shots (seven on target) on the day, particularly after Sime Vrsaljko was sent off after 10 minutes for the visitors when he picked up a second yellow card.
Meanwhile, Florian Thauvin and Clinton Njie gave Marseille a 2-0 win over Red Bull Leipzig, giving the French side the edge it sought out ahead of the competition finale.
The two clubs will meet again at Red Bull Arena Salzburg for the second leg.
Arsenal 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Marseille 2-0 Red Bull Salzburg