How will Brazil and Germany line up in World Cup semifinal?

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With injuries and suspensions impacting Luis Felipe Scolari’s lineup decisions ahead of Brazil’s World Cup semifinal clash with Germany, the Brazilian head coach certainly has a selection headache.

Neymar is out injured for the rest of the tournament, plus captain Thiago Silva to miss out through suspension. Two of Scolari’s key players are missing for Brazil’s toughest test yet.

[ RELATED: Neymar denies comeback reports ]

As for Germany, they are fully fit as Joachim Low’s men continue to grind out wins and get past teams with solid, yet unspectacular performances.

Let’s take a look at how both teams could line up on Tuesday in Belo Horizonte.

BRAZIL’s STARTING XI

If you look at this starting XI below, the two missing players are mammoth. However, with Willian coming in for Neymar out wide and Dante replacing Thiago Silva in defense, it certainly isn’t a disaster. Other areas which could change are Dani Alves coming back in to replace Maicon at right back, Paulinho starting ahead of Luis Gustavo and the potential for Hulk to play up top on his own with Oscar supporting him. Ramires could then come in out wide, as Fred and Jo just haven’t performed in the central strikers role throughout the entire tournament. In the formation below it is likely that Oscar and Hulk will interchange to try and cause Germany’s defense plenty of issues. Balls in-behind Germany’s defense to use the pace of Willian and Hulk in the channels will be Brazil’s key threat going forward. As you can gather, there are plenty of moving pieces here for Scolari to tinker with. He has options, but will his attacking players finally step up when it matters in Neymar’s absence?

— Julio Cesar —

—Maicon—Dante—Luiz—Marcelo—

—Willian—Fernandinho—Luis Gustavo—Oscar

—Hulk—

—Fred—

GERMANY’s STARTING XI

Low’s decisions are more straight-forward, as Germany looked solid and steady in dispatching a very talented French team at the quarterfinal stage. They may well remain the same. One of the big issues in the last few games has been at the back. Although they have only conceded three goals in five games during the entire tournament, the German defense keeps getting turned and put on the back foot way to easily. Against the likes of Willian and Hulk the towering German defense could face some issues with pace. Going forward, Low may decide that Andre Schurrle is a better option than Mesut Ozil in this match. Arsenal’s playmaker has struggled to get going in this World Cup and every time Schurrle has come off the bench he has looked incredibly dangerous. Schurrle’s pace out wide would also counteract Brazil’s full backs pushing up and allow Germany to quell the speed of Brazil’s wingers. Another option to bring back in could be Mario Gotze, as Bastian Schweinsteiger or Sami Khedira could be replaced due to Gotze’s natural creative flair.

— Neuer —

—Lahm—Boateng—Hummels—Howedes—

—Khedira—Schweinsteiger—

—Kroos—

—Muller—Podolski—Ozil—

 

Barcelona’s Twitter hacked to claim Di Maria signing

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FC Barcelona had eyeballs popping across the Twitterverse for a solid 90 seconds there.

La Liga’s giants Tweeted out a welcome to Angel Di Maria, the current PSG and former Real Madrid star, with the hashtag #DiMariaFCB.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

It was an odd Tweet for 4 a.m. local time, as humourously pointed out by our Andy Edwards, and the hackers were quick to claim credit before any Tweets could be deleted.

So if someone tells you Angel Di Maria is the latest member of Barcelona, be sure to stop the spread of fake news.

On a day where Barca’s reportedly ready to up their bid for Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, something tells us someone at the Camp Nou is turning over their keys to the club’s social media.

Rescheduled Yankees game moves NYCFC-Houston to Connecticut

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A rescheduled New York Yankees game is moving New York City FC to Connecticut.

Relax, it’s only for a day.

NYCFC will entertain the Houston Dynamo at Rentschler Field at 3 p.m. on Sept. 23 instead of their regular home of Yankee Stadium.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

The club will offer tickets to another match to current ticket holders, and will also discount tickets to the game in East Hartford for fans who hold tickets to the Yankee Stadium game and want to travel for the Dynamo match (More info here, if you are in either of those camps).

This is the third of three scheduled seasons NYCFC will play at Yankee Stadium, and it doesn’t look like it’ll find a new home any time soon.

Given the everyday nature of Major League Baseball, it’s surprising there have not been more conflicts for NYCFC. We just remain hopeful for the day we can watch NYC’s star-studded roster play on a bigger home field.

“Injustice.” “Incomprehensible.” Ronaldo again protests suspension

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The five-game suspension Cristiano Ronaldo received for making contact with an official is not sitting well with the forward.

Better put: it’s still not sitting well.

Six days ago, Ronaldo took to Instagram to say he was being persecuted after his red card in the Spanish Super Cup.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

Tuesday afternoon, he kept up the strong words by saying the suspension is “incomprehensible” and “an injustice.”

Roughly translated, Ronaldo posted, “One more incomprehensible decision. From injustice to injustive, they will never overcome me. And as always I will come back stronger. Thank you to all who have supported me.”

We’ll say this: He’s a really good soccer player.

Barca to offer Liverpool $176M for Coutinho

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Barcelona is insane.

Desperate following a rough two-legged loss to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup, the Blaugranas are reportedly ready to offer $176 million to Liverpool for Philippe Coutinho.

Read it again: $176 million for Philippe Coutinho. It’s about $126 million with $12 million more when Barca clinches a UCL spot over the next four seasons (which they have done every year since finishing sixth in 2002-03).

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

Even in this transfer market, that’s nuts. Crazy to offer, and maybe even crazier not to accept.

That’s pretty much two-thirds of the Neymar money. Two-thirds (I keep repeating myself with this story)

It’s even a convenient out for Jurgen Klopp, who’s said Liverpool is not a selling club. Here, he can say with a straight face that the club can improve with this money by selling a player who has — and I recognize it’s not all about goals and assists — one double-digit goal season in his career and a career single-season high of seven PL assists (done thrice).

Almost anyone who’s had the audacity to say the Reds should accept the bid has often been shot down by the Anfield faithful online. “It’ll ruin our season” and “How do we replace him this late?” are the common cries.

To the first question: No, it won’t. To the second: Easy?

It’s not like-for-like, but nearly every player in the world is available for $176 million. It’s not like-for-like, but here’s a short list: Antoine Griezmann, Gareth Bale, Paulo Dybala, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marco Reus… Shoot! Klopp could sign 2-3 of his favorite BVB alums.

With this fee, Coutinho would become the second-highest transfer fee of all-time, behind only Neymar. There are makeweights Barcelona could offer that would make the deal even more intriguing to the Reds: Arda Turan, Andre Gomes, Denis Suarez.

Look at it from a neutral’s eyes — which I know is hard from the number of times I’ve read @ Tweets that say, “The only people who would like this deal are fans of Chelsea or United!” — at some point, it becomes unreasonable to not take advantage of Barcelona’s desperation. Maybe Coutinho is worth the “fit” for Barca, but rejecting this fee is more illogical than the offer itself.

At the risk of inflaming every more Liverpool supporters, Ross Barkley is probably going to cost someone $35 million and he’s a year and a half younger (Coutinho is a superior player right now, but we’re talking about the market here).

And, lastly, at some point you’re telling your entire team room that you’re willing to turn down near record money — it would be the highest non-buyout clause transfer ever — to keep a player from his dream club.

Take the money. Use it. Move on.