A Brazil supporter reacts during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Brazil and Germany at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Germany vs. Brazil: Looking back at 19 minutes of carnage in Belo Horizonte

4 Comments

After one of the most remarkable stretches in World Cup history, the five-time champions, pre-tournament favorites, and host nation Brazil were five goals down, with their halftime reprieve still 16 minutes away. Here’s a look back at the 19 minutes of carnage that have seen Germany on the bring of the final:

11′ – A counterattack after a Marcelo turnover is defused, forcing Germany to settle for a corner kick. But “settle” becomes “capitalize” when a crowd gathers at the near post, allowing Thömas Müller to pull away before Toni Kroos’s corner. Before David Luiz can get out to him, Müller volleys home his 10th career World Cup goal, giving Germany an early 1-0 lead.

23′ – The record is Klose’s. After Fernandinho gambles to try to intercept a pass from the right, the Brazilian defense is left in cinder blocks as Kroos finds Müller in the penalty box. While Marcelo tries to recover, Müller touches it to Miroslav Klose, allowing the record-setter to-be to test Júlio César. Although the keeper’s initially up to the challenge, the ensuing rebound gives the 36-year-old an open lane inside the right post. It’s 2-0.

24′ – Brazil is shellshocked, explaining why Philipp Lahm’s been allowed to play a cross in from the right, a ball that makes its way to Kroos at the edge of the penalty area. One-timing a left-footed shot for the far post, Kroos executes one of the most clinical finishes of the tournament, something that’s overshadowed by the lopsided story on the scoreboard. Germany is up, 3-0.

26′ – Now Germany’s just playing with Brazil. Surging forward in midfield after the ensuing kickoff, Kroos intercepts a ball before it reaches an unsuspecting Fernandinho, sending the Germans streaking toward goal. Playing the ball to Sami Khedira before getting it back just inside the penalty area, Kroos slots an easy right-footed finish into the left of goal, taking the onslaught to historic proportions.

29′ – The slaughter’s last salvo comes as a Brazil defense desperately missing Thiago Silva’s guidance collapses toward Mesut Özil, in possession 10 yards from the left post. A simple pass back and a casual finish sees Khedira get on the scoresheet, with a run through midfield from center back Mats Hummels starting another attack against a stunned Brazil. It’s 5-0.

Just before the half-hour mark, the drama was over in Belo Horizonte. Records had been set. Outcomes had been decided. It’s only the second time in tournament history that a team’s scored five goals in a semifinal, and Germany did in over a span of 19 minutes.

All that remained was a final, inglorious 45 minutes for the tournament’s hosts.

(GIFs via @flybyknite and @omnimeme.)

Messi named La Liga Player of the Month for first time in career

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 06:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Copa del Rey Round of 16 first leg match between FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol at Camp Nou on January 6, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lionel Messi has won every individual award imaginable, but now he can add another trophy to his shelf.

For the first time in his career, Messi was named La Liga’s Player of the Month for January.

[ MORE: PL Power Rankings, Vol. VIII ]

It’s hard to believe, but somehow the Barcelona superstar had never won this honor before. Despite winning a record five Ballon D’or trophies as the best player in the world, this trophy had eluded Messi since its inception in 2013.

Messi scored six goals in six January matches as Barcelona sit atop the La Liga table, currently holding a three-point lead over Atletico Madrid.

Despite their dominance in La Liga, this is only the second time a Barcelona player has won this monthly award, as Neymar took home the honor in November of 2015.

USWNT-Mexico preview: Energized Yanks look to keep rolling toward Rio

FRISCO, TX - FEBRUARY 10:  Team USA poses for a photo before play against Costa Rica during 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying at Toyota Stadium on February 10, 2016 in Frisco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The United States women’s national team looks to keep rolling through CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying with a match with Mexico on Saturday.

Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, is again the scene after the Yanks battered Costa Rica 5-0 on Wednesday.

[ MUST WATCH: Christen Press’ dazzling first touch, spin, goal ]

A win over Mexico would move the USWNT into the all-important semifinal, where a win would gain them entry into this Summer’s Olympic Games.

Mexico staged a blowout of its own on Wednesday, cruising past Puerto Rico 6-0 thanks in large part to a hat trick from Maribel Dominguez.

[ VIDEO: Alex Morgan caps off a 12-second, six-pass goal ]

Mexico has only beaten the USWNT twice in history, and only the 2010 Gold Cup semifinal is considered official.

In recent history, the USWNT beat up Mexico 5-1 last year, and thrice in 2014 by a combined score of 15-0. Expect very little to change with an energized, impressive U.S. side on Saturday.

[ SATURDAY: Watch USWNT vs Mexico live online on NBC Sports Live Extra ]

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks: Big boys to turn up

3 Comments

Week 26 of the Premier League season is here. This will be a lot of fun with massive games at both ends of the table.

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live online ]

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out.

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the longshots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.

BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Arsenal 3-2 Leicester City – (Sunday, 7 a.m. ET, NBCSN) –  [STREAM]

Norwich City 0-2 West Ham – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, USA) –  [STREAM]

Man City 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur – (Sunday 11:15 a.m. ET, NBCSN) –  [STREAM]

Sunderland 0-2 Manchester United – (Saturday, 7:45 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

DON’T TOUCH THIS…

Everton 2-1 West Brom  – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) –  [STREAM]

Swansea 1-1 Southampton – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) –  [STREAM] 

Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) –  [STREAM]

Chelsea 3-2 Newcastle – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

Bournemouth 2-1 Stoke City – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) –  [STREAM]

Aston Villa 2-1 Liverpool – (Sunday, 9:05 a.m. ET, NBCSN) –  [STREAM]

Ranieri on Leicester City’s dream season: “Nobody wake us up please!”

during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium on February 6, 2016 in Manchester, England.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

There’s plenty to like about Leicester City’s run to the top of the Premier League, but perhaps nothing is more enjoyable that its manager’s musings.

Claudio Ranieri, the Tinkerman himself, has provided some of the best quips of the season.

[ MORE: Top 5 storylines to look for in PL ]

From “I want to be the crazy man in the Premier League” to “It’s like nobody wants to win the league“, the 64-year-old Italian has offered plenty of beauties.

Make way for some more gems, from LCFC.com:

“I think we work so hard to achieve this level. We want to stay at this level. It’s no pressure for us. The pressure was at the beginning to start well, to carry on and maintain the standard of our performance.
“Now we are safe and we want to fight with respect with all our opponents. Face to face, we play with our strength and they play with theirs. If we win, fantastic. If we lose, next match.
“I think the pressure is on the other teams. We have pressure for our little gap. We continue to dream with our fans and we want to continue to dream. Nobody wake us up please!”
We love this man. To go from a short-lived run in Euro qualifying with Greece to this remarkable roll with Leicester has to be a bit dream-like. We get it. And we love that he’s going with it.