A 3-2 victory over Italy’s runners-up Saturday afternoon in Denver left Louis van Gaal with more complaints than praise, with the new Manchester United boss critical of a second half showing that allowed Roma to close the gap to one after the Red Devils’ three first half scores.
Two of those goals went to Wayne Rooney, whose four goals in 90 minutes have given the United star a quick start to Manchester United’s U.S. tour. The England international also set up United’s other score, with a long pass for Juan Mata allowing the Spaniard to beat Lukasz Skorupski six minutes before halftime.
In the second, goals from Miralem Pjanic and a penalty kick converted by Francesco Totti closed the gap, with van Gaal particularly critical of Ben Amos’s inability to adjust to Pjanic’s lob from beyond the center line.
“I am nearly 63 years old and I run, when the ball is flying four seconds, fifty meters,” the new United boss quipped, according to The Guardian.
It was part of a second half that saw United’s midfield let them down, leaving van Gaal remiss that some of his most skilled players couldn’t kill the game off. Combine that poor play with altitude and a mid-day kick-off, and United had its recipe for collapse.
“When you are 3-0 ahead, you just have to keep the ball as opponent [have] to run and run,” Van Gaal said. “It is very difficult, with this hot weather to do that … I am pleased we have won, but it was not good.”
Among the other things that pleased van Gaal was the performance of Rooney, whose pass for Mata’s goal was called “unbelievable.” The rest of the team drew a more critical review: “I think we [didn’t] play a good match.”
International roundup: Schweinsteiger, Keane say goodbye; Denmark bags five
Max Meyer picked up from his remarkable Olympics by firing home, and Mesut Ozil also scored for the Germans in a match that was not about the winner. Bastian Schweinsteiger called it a day on his international career in the win, his 121st cap. The Manchester United man finishes his career with 24 goals, a World Cup title and a EURO runner-up finish. Not too shabby.
ROI all-time leading scorer Robbie Keane fittingly ended his tenure as an international player with yet another goal, bringing his career tally to 68 goals in 146 caps. Stoke City’s Jon Walters scored twice for the Boys in Green, and Robbie Brady (Norwich) also netted in the win.
It took the hosts a half-hour to break down the visitors, but a pair from Feyenoord striker Nicolai Jorgensen opened the floodgates and Andreas Cornelius, Viktor Fischer and Jens Stryger Larsen finished the scoring in a blowout at the CASA Arena in Horsens. It was Larsen’s first cap.
Elsewhere Turkey 0-0 Russia
Albania 0-0 Morocco
Estonia 1-1 Malta
Norway 0-1 Belarus
Lebanon 1-1 Jordan
3. Dieumerci Mbokani, loan from Dynamo Kyiv to Hull — While Robbie Brady, Timm Klose, and Nathan Redmond got a lot of the headlines, Mbokani was a powerful part of the Canaries’ attack in an ill-fated campaign. At 30 he’s far from a long-term fix, but Mbokani should provide strength and skill to a Hull City side facing a very challenging campaign. Per 90 minutes, no one on Norwich touched him last year (courtesy advanced stats site Squawka):
2. Jack Wilshere, loan from Arsenal to Bournemouth — We want so badly to make this our No. 1 for many reasons, but can’t take that risk thanks to the risk presented by Wilshere’s injury history. For Jeff Mostyn, Eddie Howe, and the Cherries to win the rights to bring Wilshere to town is big for a lot of reasons. That Arsene Wenger allowed him to go is another. Frankly, this could be a game changer for two clubs’ PL fortunes.
— Honorable mention — Wilfried Bony is a nice pick-up for Stoke, but Bruno Martins Indi gives the club freedom to use Geoff Cameron in other ways. … Georges-Kevin Nkoudou is another good piece for Spurs’ attacking depth ahead of the UEFA Champions League.
Islam Slimani, permanent from Lisbon to Leicester — The Algerian striker was sold on King Power Stadium by fellow Desert Warriors attacker Riyad Mahrez, and now gives the Foxes even more danger whether counterattacking or taking their talents to the opposition. With Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, and Ahmed Musa joining Slimani, Leicester has the depth to dance in Europe.