There’s no two ways about it, Brazil’s strikers have been misfiring during the 2014 World Cup.
Now, as their World Cup quarterfinal clash with red-hot Colombia has arrived, manager Luis Felipe Scolari could make a drastic switch and dump the Selecao’s forwards in favor of more midfielders.
[ RELATED: Full QF schedule, right here ]
With Fred and Jo failing to deliver in the central role so far, just one goal between them in four games, it seems as though right-winger Hulk may be moved into the middle to play as a “false nine” and help quell the threat of Colombia’s James Rodriguez.
Scolari is thought to be mulling over the idea of packing the midfield to thwart Colombia’s talented attacker, with Chelsea wingers Ramires or Willian expected to come in out wide as Hulk pushes inside.
Rodriguez has drifted into the box from deep with ease to torment plenty of teams at the World Cup so far, scoring five goals in four games to lead the tournament in scoring. That alone suggests this special treatment from Brazil is worthwhile.
As for Brazil’s own attack, Neymar has bagged four goals at the World Cup and has at times looked like a one-man band as Brazil’s solid defensive displays have outshone their Samba flair. I wrote about Brazil’s over-reliance on Neymar almost costing them in their penalty kick win over Chile in the last 16, as Scolari’s struggles to find a top-class forward to help ease the burden on Neymar continues.
The expectancy of a nation will be on the shoulders of Brazil’s players on Friday.
As the country comes to a standstill, will Big Phil’s gamble to leave out his recognized strikers pay off?
MILAN (AP) Sassuolo’s victory over Pescara has been reversed to a 3-0 loss.
Sassuolo won Sunday’s Serie A match 2-1 but the league now says it fielded an ineligible player.
The league says the paperwork for the signing of Antonino Ragusa, who played the final 25 minutes, had not been filed by noon the day before the match – as its rules demand.
Sassuolo says it followed the rules and will appeal.
The club was one of four teams to win both its opening matches, along with Genoa, Juventus and Sampdoria.
Jack Wilshere won’t be with Arsenal following Wednesday’s transfer deadline, however, where the Gunners midfielder lands is yet to be seen.
[ MORE: Is David Luiz poised for a return to Stamford Bridge? ]
According to Daily Mail, as many as 22 clubs are in the mix to acquire Wilshere on loan, including various Premier League sides.
[ MORE: Aguero charged by FA, could be out for Manchester derby ]
While Daily Mail suggests that Crystal Palace is among the leaders to bring in the 24-year-old center midfielder this season, Bournemouth and Watford are also said to be in the mix to sign the playmaker.
Manager Arsene Wenger reportedly won’t allow the Englishman to go to any of the top four sides in England and also hopes that Wilshere lands outside of the UK .
Wilshere is also being chased by foreign clubs including Serie A sides Juventus and Roma.
The Gunners have been active as the deadline heads down its final hours, with Lucas Perez of Deportivo La Coruna and Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi both joining the club on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, young defender Calum Chambers has joined Middlesbrough on loan and Serge Gnarby is reportedly close to joining Werder Bremen after drawing significant interest from Bundesliga sides.
CHICAGO (AP) The U.S. women’s national team will host Switzerland for two matches this October in Minneapolis and Utah.
The matches for the defending World Cup champions are set for Oct. 19 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, and at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Oct. 23.
The U.S. team has played Switzerland just twice before, with the Americans winning both matches.
The United States is also facing Thailand on Sept. 15 in Columbus, Ohio, before playing the Netherlands in Atlanta on Sept. 18.
The team will be without goalkeeper Hope Solo, who was suspended from the team for six months following comments she made at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The United States was ousted by Sweden in the quarterfinals for the team’s earliest-ever exit at the Olympics.
Just incase you were unaware, there’s another Pogba. And he too could be playing in the Premier League very soon.
[ MORE: Could David Luiz be making a return to Stamford Bridge? ]
While it was Paul Pogba that stole the spotlight when he returned to Manchester United for a world-record transfer fee, Florentin — his 26-year-old brother — is drawing interest from England’s top flight.
According to the Sun, David Moyes and Sunderland are launching an $8.5 million bid for the St Etienne defender as a potential replacement for Lamine Kone. The Black Cats still anticipate that Kone will exit the Stadium of Light this season after handing in a transfer request earlier this month.
Pogba has played with the Ligue 1 club since 2012 after joining from lower-division club Sedan. Additionally, the centerback has made 13 appearances for Guinea at the international level.