Germany the favorite for 2018: Would you bet against them?

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Seven wins, no losses, eighteen goals, four goals allowed and a six-goal defeat of the host nation/No.1 team in the world: this is how Germany’s World Cup run looks after Sunday’s 1-0 win over Argentina in the title match.

And I’m here to tell you: they should get better.

While the same thing may’ve been said about Spain after their 2010 World Cup preceded this tournament’s failure, it’s hard to imagine Germany’s future will follow that path. Through the 2016 Euro in France and into the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Die Mannschaft should continue to function at a very, very high level.

[ MORE from our 2014 World Cup review ]

Would you bet against Germany becoming just the third team to win back-to-back World Cups?

Consider:

1) (Most of) the boys will be back

While Miroslav Klose will ride off into the sunset for sure, there are few other on the roster who should be ruled out of competing for the 2018 World Cup trophy. Captain Philipp Lahm will be 34 to go with a trio of 33-year-olds (Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker). Of that group, only Podolski and Mertesacker seem longshots.

Here are the 2018 ages for some key figures in the 2014 run:

Toni Kroos, 28
Thomas Mueller, 28
Andre Schurrle, 27
Sami Khedira, 31
Mario Goetze, 26
Mesut Ozil, 29
Jerome Boateng, 29
Mats Hummels, 29
Benedikt Howedes, 30
Manuel Neuer, 32

Julian Draxler and Matthias Ginter made the side at 20, Christoph Kramer at 23 and Shkodran Mustafi at 22. They’ll seemingly only get better.

2) And those young guys who were on the fringe…

Here’s a list of players Germany left home, and their ages for 2018:

GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 26
Marco Reus, 29
Lars Bender, 29
Pierre-Michel Lasogga, 26
Emre Can, 24
Kevin Volland, 25

3) Russia is closer to Germany than Brazil

I know! It surprised me, too.

Aside from falling in the 1998 quarterfinals in France, here are Germany’s finishes in World Cups played in Europe dating back to 1938: third, first, second, first, second, fourth, first.

4) The mighty BuLi!

If there’s a league that can compare to the Premier League, the Bundesliga can make the most claims. And only seven of the 30 players that made up Germany’s preliminary World Cup roster were plying their trade away from the BuLi.

USMNT: Brooks out with hip strain; World Cup qualifiers loom

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John Brooks is out of Hertha Berlin’s lineup “for the time being” after scans revealed a hip strain suffered in this weekend’s win over Wolfsburg.

That’s all Hertha has said, and that makes it hard to imagine whether American fans should be a little concerned or very concerned ahead of the USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago in early June.

Brooks was unavailable for two weeks with an adductor strain in September, missing a month before returning to the starting lineup.

The U.S. center back pool isn’t teeming after Brooks and Geoff Cameron. Matt Besler, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, and Walker Zimmerman were called up for the last World Cup qualifiers, and Gonzalez struggled but is a Bruce Arena favorite from their time in L.A.

WATCH: Snazzy Sargent goal leads U.S. U-17s past Mexico

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Josh Sargent scored a pretty goal as the United States Soccer program had another banner day against Mexico.

Nearly two months to the day after the U.S. U-20 side beat Mexico for the first time in 31 years, the U.S. U-17 topped El Tri for the first time ever. That win snapped Mexico’s 25-match unbeaten streak.

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

The goal is the first of Sargent’s two goals, as the 16-year-old latched onto a long diagonal ball and used his right foot and head to move the ball into position for a strong shot.

The U.S. clinches a spot in the next round of U-17 World Cup qualifying with one match remaining in group play.

Sargent is from St. Louis and plays with Scott Gallagher-Missouri. Former Philadelphia Union coach John Hackworth coaches the U.S. U-17s.

Heads of South American soccer sent $128M in bank transfers

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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) The leaders of South America’s soccer confederation transferred $128.6 million between 2000 and 2015 to personal accounts, suspicious accounts, or unauthorized third-party accounts, according to an audit released Wednesday by Ernst & Young.

According to the audit presented to the annual CONMEBOL congress in the Chilean capital, the confederation’s former president Nicolas Leoz transferred $26.9 million to his personal accounts. Leoz was the president for 27 years until resigning in 2013 for what he said were health reasons.

The audit also found $58 million in payments “to third parties without adequate documentation,” payments of $33.3 million to “unidentified accounts,” and $10.4 million to “suspicious third-parties.”

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

“We had said that we would have four pillars, and the first two pillars were clear accounts and accountability,” said Alejandro Dominguez, the president of CONMEBOL who commissioned the audit last year. “Today we are accountable to the leaders and the whole world of football.”

Leoz, 88, is one of three ex-presidents of CONMEBOL accused on corruption charges by the United States Department of Justice. He is in Paraguay fighting extradition to the United States.

The South American body has been plagued by corruption, which was exposed two years ago during the FIFA scandal. Leoz’s two successors, Eugenio Figueredo and Juan Angel Napout, were both arrested on corruption charges.

“I’m here, I’m the manager” – Moyes will not quit Sunderland

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This has been one horrible stretch for David Moyes.

The Sunderland manager probably thought he’d been through the worst once he left Real Sociedad, where he went 12-15-15.

But he’s managed just seven wins and seven draws in 38 matches in charge of the Black Cats — an 18 percent win mark. He’s also been charged for threatening to slap a female journalist.

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

And after Wednesday, Moyes has lost both of his derby matches against Middlesbrough.

Sunderland is 12 points back of safety with five matches left. The odds the Black Cats are headed for the Championship are somewhere north of 99 percent, and fans are calling for his job.

Well, he isn’t quitting. From the BBC:

“No, I’m here, I’m the manager, you take it on the chin. … I’m a football supporter, I know what it’s like. You don’t like seeing your team lose.

“There is nobody who wants to win more than me. I am used to winning, I’m not used to losing and I don’t want to get used to it either.”