dries

Game on: Lineups and more for Argentina vs. Belgium

Leave a comment

Yesterday, an early header from Mats Hummels was enough for Germany to beat France 1-0, with les bleus unable to find any sort of answer to a Germany side that finally looked to be clicking.

Brazil’s 2-1 win over Colombia provided more talking points, few of them happy ones. The referee lost control of the game early on, coming under heavy criticism for his officiating. The unfortunate side effect of his lax approach to discipline was an 88th minute challenge that resulted in Neymar being carried off the pitch on a stretcher. The Brazilian will now miss the rest of the tournament thanks to a broken vertebra.

[ MORE: Last-minute goal sees Argentina advance | Belgium push pass the U.S. in extra time]

LINEUPS

Argentina: Romero; Zabaleta, Demichelis, Garay, Basanta; Biglia, Mascherano, Di Maria; Lavezzi, Messi, Higuain

Belgium: Courtois; Alderweireld, Van Buyten, Kompany, Vertonghen; Witsel, Fellaini; De Bruyne, Mirallas, Hazard, Origi

Talking points

Will Argentina’s attack finally live up to its potential?
Lionel Messi scored ten goals in CONMEBOL qualifying, second only to Luis Suárez. But he wasn’t the only one scoring for Argentina. Gonzalo Higuaín contributed nine goals, Sergio Agüero five, and Ángel di María, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Maxi Rodríguez all three. In total, they scored 35 goals in 16 games.

Now, four games into their tournament, Argentina have scored six on their own, with four of those coming from Messi. Marco Rojo scored the winner against Nigeria, di María against Switzerland, off a ball from Messi. The potency of the albiceleste attack has yet to be truly shown. Will we finally get a glimpse of it today?

Can Romelu Lukaku score again?
The Belgian forward did not get off to a good start in the World Cup, leaving after less than an hour in his first two matches, and not even seeing time in the final group stage game. The 21-year-old looked completely ineffective up top, sluggish and out of ideas. But then he finally managed a goal, besting Tim Howard, whom he’d spent the season with against Everton. Lukaku’s goal insured that Julian Green’s late strike still allowed Belgium to advance.

But Lukaku hasn’t found his way back into the starting lineup, with Marc Wilmots favoring 19-year-old Divock Origi instead. But with Belgium’s tendency to save their goals for late in the match, it could still very well be the Chelsea man that makes the difference.

Expectation
Argentina progress. This is meant to be South America’s tournament. Plus, the albiceleste have a little guy known as Leo. Even when they struggle, Messi’s managed to bail them out.

One blogger’s prediction
Working off my 0% record here, I’m going to go ahead and say Argentina take this one. Because someday, someday, I’m going to be right.

Spain’s Villarreal signs Brazilian striker Pato

SWANSEA, WALES - APRIL 09:  Alexandre Pato of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at Liberty Stadium on April 9, 2016 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) Brazilian club Corinthians says it has agreed to transfer striker Alexandre Pato to Villarreal in Spain.

Corinthians says on its club website that it has “agreed to the final administrative details of the negotiation” for Pato’s move to Villarreal.

[ MORE: MLS All Star Game preview ]

It adds that both clubs have agreed to not release the financial details of the transfer.

The 26-year-old Pato played for AC Milan from 2007 to 2013, before returning to his native Brazil with Corinthians. He played the second half of last season on loan at Chelsea in the English Premier League.

Roberto Martinez linked to Atlanta United gig by Taylor Twellman

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - MAY 11:  Roberto Martinez, manager of Everton gives instructions during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Everton at the Stadium of Light on May 11, 2016 in Sunderland, England.  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
1 Comment

When news of Sigi Schmid’s departure from Seattle broke, there were plenty of folks wondering who could be the second coach in the Sounders’ MLS history.

One of those doing so publicly was ESPN writer Marc Connolly, who asked whether former Wigan and Everton boss Roberto Martinez could be interested in the gig.

[ MORE: Sounders, Schmid part ways ]

Fellow media member Taylor Twellman is obviously well-connected, and his reply raised some eyebrows, especially given the news that technical director Carlos Bocanegra is closing in on selecting the first manager in Atlanta United history.

Ryan is the quarterback of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, for those unaware. Martinez and Twellman worked together for ESPN this summer.

Is Martinez to MLS really a thing? He’s also been linked to the vacant Hull City job, and would be one of the highest profile coaches to make the switch in the history of the league.

Premier League preseason: Everton, Burnley win; Spurs fall to Juventus

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - JULY 26:  Muhamed Besic of Everton celebrates after scoring the third goal during the pre-season friendly match between MK Dons and Everton at Stadium mk on July 26, 2016 in Milton Keynes, England.  (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Four Premier League teams were in action on Tuesday, with two picking up wins and not a clean sheet in the joint.

[ MORE: Sounders, Schmid part ways ]

MK Dons 1-3 Everton

Ronald Koeman‘s men got goals from Gerard Deulofeu, Ross Barkley and Muhamed Besic, but wasn’t entirely pleased with every facet of their game.

From EvertonFC.com:

“The team, the players, we need to press better. The pitch in some stages of the game was too long. If you press up front, it means the midfielders they need to push up as well and it’s the same for the defenders.”

Bolton 1-2 Burnley

Andre Gray will likely be a well-known Premier League entity when his career is done, and the way he’s playing it could be by the time this season is complete. The Burnley man scored for the fifth time in four preseason games, and Josh Ginnelly also scored for the Clarets.

Barnsley 2-2 Hull City

Adama Diomande and Jarrod Bowen scored as the Tigers stayed unbeaten in preseason play.

Spurs 1-2 Juventus — RECAP

WATCH: “A little bit awkward” — Golf prodigy teaches Neymar to swing

Leave a comment

For every benefit of being ultra rich and even more famous, there’s are downsides, and here’s one of them.

Most of us learned to golf with just our parents, friends or older siblings watching us embarrass ourselves.

Neymar took his first hacks on video for the whole world to see.

[ MORE: Everton to land Gueye? ]

Was it as bad as his first baseball swings? We’ll let you make the call.

The girl who “taught” Neymar before and during the filming of the video is a 16-year-old Spanish golfer named Agueda Cortilla Mas.

Here’s how she described the encounter to the Irish Examiner, adding that Neymar was ready for another lesson:

“He never played golf before so it was a little bit awkward starting the lesson. But after the first few shots he started joking around, playing soccer with the golf ball and all that. After we finished recording he came over to my dad and thanked him for what I did because he knew it wasn’t easy.”

“Afterwards, I was going to my changing room and his manager asked me for my phone number. He told me that Neymar enjoyed the lesson and that he wanted to do more. The next day they called me but I couldn’t answer because I was in school.”

What other Olympic sports are on the horizon for Neymar? Could we see archery, water polo, or diving?