Argentina will be fueled by Brazil fans’ antagonism

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This World Cup didn’t quite go as the dreamers had hoped. They’d wanted a final between two of South America’s most successful sides, with Argentina meeting Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil, of course, were meant to triumph, with Neymar lifting the Seleção to their sixth World Cup title.

Instead, Brazil were knocked out in deeply unceremonious fashion, with Germany thumping them 7-1 in the semifinal. To make matters worse, now one of their biggest rivals, Argentina, will be playing in the final.

Local supporters have spent matches backing whoever Argentina were up against. Argentina, in turn, hung banners in Sao Paolo during their semifinal victory, mocking the seven goals Brazil allowed as they exited the tournament. For the albiceleste, having Lionel Messi host the World Cup in the storied Maracanã would make their third title all the more sweet.

Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta confirmed his team’s feelings toward Brazil, saying, “It’s special for us to play in this country, especially as Brazilian fans have been against Argentina at this World Cup.”

Perhaps more significantly, Zabaleta also alluded to the fact that the Brazil fans’ antagonism may actually help lift Argentina to victory, explaining, “Sometimes, if you have all the people against you, you feel even stronger.”

The South American side go into Sunday’s final as the underdogs, requiring penalties to get past Netherlands. You can’t help but think they’ll be nervous, remembering Germany’s demolition of Brazil. But perhaps when those boos ring out from the crowd in Rio, Argentina will dig deep to find the means to win.

That, or they’ll simply make sure Messi gets the ball.

Newcastle’s Krul on crutches after injury in Dutch win

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  Tim Krul of Newcastle United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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Newcastle United’s horror start under Steve McClaren just got worse.

Magpies No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Krul is on duty with the Netherlands, and was forced from the Dutch’s 2-1 win at Kazakhstan in Euro qualifying action.

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Krul left the game after landing awkwardly on his knee, and left the stadium on crutches.

Newcastle’s back-up keepers are Karl Darlow, new from Nottingham Forest, and veteran Rob Elliot.

The Magpies are in 20th place, without a win through eight Premier League matches.

McClaren’s crew just finished a brutal run of matches that saw Newcastle face Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.

VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
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Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.