Brazil boss Luis Felipe Scolari takes blame for huge defeat: “I am responsible”

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The expectation of an entire nation seemed to be weighing heavy on the shoulders of Brazil’s players early on during their shocking 7-1 defeat to Germany on Tuesday.

As soon as Thomas Muller scored the opener after 11 minutes Brazil’s defense imploded and the pressure put on them from their own fans tore them apart.

[ VIDEO: Watch all seven goals for Germany ]

[ VIDEO: Klose breaks WC scoring record ]

The post-mortem into the worst defeat in Brazil’s proud history has begun and one man is taking the blame: manager Luis Felipe Scolari.

Germany beats Brazil 7-1  |  How Brazil fell apart  |  Scolari takes blame  |  Luiz apologizes

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Scolari was asked how the catastrophic defeat came about. Here’s what he had to say.

“I will be remembered as the coach to lose 7-1 but I knew that risk when I took the job. The person who decided the line-up, the tactics, was me. It was my choice.”

“Who is invited to be the coach? I am. I am responsible. The catastrophic result can be shared as a group, my players will want that to happen. But who picked the tactics and the players? I did. The result and the performance is down to me. I am responsible.”

‘Big Phil’ will now need to stand up tall and take the intense criticism which is coming his way on the chin. The man has already won a World Cup with the Brazilian national team in 2002 and took them to the last four this time out with a far inferior team. When he took over in 2013, this country’s national team was in ruins. He at least restored some pride. Even if, right now, pride is the least prominent emotion that Brazilian fans and players are experiencing.

The squad Scolari had to whip into shape probably didn’t deserve to make the semifinals in any other tournament. The fact that they were playing on home soil and fed off the passion of the home fans dragged them through both of their narrow 2-1 wins in the last 16 clash against Chile and the quarterfinal vs. Colombia.

Scolari could never have foreseen his side defending so sluggishly in the opening 29 minutes and letting in five goals. With central defender and captain Thiago Silva out, Brazil’s defense resembled a poorly-manufactured sieve. Germany scored at will. Going forward Brazil were once again toothless and with their star man Neymar on the sidelines they had no hope at overturning what had already become an insurmountable German lead 29 minutes into the semifinal.

To take the blame off his players, Scolari will point the finger at himself. He doesn’t deserve that. Brazil’s players froze. Their 7-1 drubbing by Germany was down to basic errors being committed time and time again. There’s nothing Scolari can do about that.

Top Storylines for Premier League Week 6

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After a week of League Cup action domestically, the Premier League returns this weekend with a myriad of interesting matchups and storylines.

Let’s take a look at some of this week’s top story’s to follow:


Can Manchester City continue its torrid form?

Manchester City has finally found its groove under manager Pep Guardiola.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The club has won five successive games, the last three coming on the road while scoring a combined 19 goals. Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are a terrific 1-2 punch while David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne have been stars in midfield, with De Bruyne pulling the strings for Man City all season.

There’s every likelihood that Man City will continue its impressive run on Saturday. The club hosts floundering Crystal Palace, which is still adjusting to new manager Roy Hodgson.

(more…)

On This Day: The Battle of Old Trafford

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Fourteen years ago today, Arsenal headed north to Manchester for a famous matchup with Manchester United.

Taking the field at Old Trafford, Arsenal were unbeaten to start the season, having won its first four Premier League matches before drawing a week prior at home against Portsmouth. Manchester United meanwhile had four wins and one loss in that span.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

By way of Arsenal’s FA Cup title and Man United’s Premier League title the year before, the two teams met for the annual Community Shield a month earlier, and the game descended into a physical battle. Five yellow cards were shown, Arsenal substitute Francis Jeffers was shown a red card and defender Sol Campbell was later banned for kicking at an opponent, and Man United – backed by a young Tim Howard in goal – won 4-3 on penalty kicks after the score was tied at 1-1 after extra time.

With numerous physical encounters over the years, the September 21 encounter was shaping up to be another monumental showdown, and in terms of physicality, it didn’t disappoint.

Each team were shown four yellow cards and there was a combined 31 fouls. The match took a turn when Patrick Vieira was shown a second yellow card and subsequent red card for kicking out at Man United’s Ruud Van Nistelrooy after Van Nistelrooy had fouled Vieira going for a header. The decision set off a scrum in the middle of the field.

Despite being down to ten men, Arsenal held on until the final minutes, when Martin Keown was whistled for a foul in the box on Diego Forlan, giving Man United a penalty kick. But whether it was karma or lady luck, Van Nistelrooy’s penalty clanged off the crossbar and away to safety. Arsenal held on for a goalless draw, which helped boost the team’s belief in itself.

The Gunners went on to finish the 2013-2014 season undefeated, the only team to finish a Premier League season without a defeat. Man United wound up taking the FA Cup crown, settling for third place in the Premier League.

Watch some highlights from the match below.

Former Sunderland forward Scocco scores five goals for River Plate

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Veteran forward Ignacio “Nacho” Scocco is quickly endearing himself to the River Plate faithful.

Nearly three months since joining River, Scocco scored an incredible five goals in the second leg of his team’s Copa Libertadores quarterfinal matchup with Bolivian side Jorge Wilstermann. Scocco scored a first half hat-trick and added two more in the second half as River turned around a 3-0 deficit heading into the second leg.

Scocco had a mostly frustrating spell in 2014 ahead of the World Cup with Sunderland, joining the club as they staved off relegation by one point. Scocco failed to score for Sunderland in eight appearances, all off the bench.

However, since then, he returned to his native Argentina and starred for his hometown club Newell’s Old Boys before moving this summer to River as a replacement for Sebastián Driussi, who completed a transfer to Zenit St. Petersburg.

Here’s a look at all of Scocco’s goals Thursday evening.

Tammy Abraham denies switching national teams

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Fans of the England National Team may still have a chance to see Tammy Abraham don the Three Lions crest one day.

Abraham refuted reports from earlier Thursday that he was in the process of switching his national team to Nigeria from England. The 19-year-old Swansea City forward on-loan from Chelsea has played as high as the England Under-21 Men’s National Team but because of his Nigerian father, he’s eligible for the African nation.

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Abraham confirmed that he had met with Nigeria Football Federation chief Amaju Pinnick after Swansea’s last game, but denied that he was looking to play for the Super Eagles.

“I have informed The FA that I remain available for selection for England,” Abraham said, via the BBC. “Contrary to reports in the media I would like to clarify that I have not agreed to switch my national team allegiance. I can confirm I met the President of the NFF after our last game against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday given he is a friend of my father. However, any suggestion that I have made a decision to change my international representation is incorrect and wide of the mark.”

Earlier in the day, reports emerged that Pinnick said the process was underway for Abraham to switch his international allegiance.

Abraham’s apparently decision to remain with the England set-up is good news for his club Swansea City, who will get to keep him closer to Wales on a regular basis, but Abraham may be missing a chance to play senior national team soccer at a young age.