Associated Press

Three key battles in Confederations Cup final

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Germany and Chile both shoot for their first Confederations Cup trophy as they meet on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET at St. Petersburg Stadium in Russia.

The match will no doubt be hotly contested, with Chile looking quality at the back, and Germany impressing despite not bringing their first-choice squad.

So, where will the match be won? There will be multiple points of interest for fans to keep an eye on as the game flows.

1. Alexis Sanchez vs. Josh Kimmich

The Arsenal superstar has had a relatively mum tournament, and while Chile has yet to be beaten, the attack has not entirely impressed. Sanchez will now likely see a lot of young Joshua Kimmich in the final, with the Bayern Munich utility man likely to be deployed on Sanchez’s flank.

At just 22 years old, Kimmich has proven much more than his age would suggest. He is the only German to start the last 18 straight games for the national team, and has played the full 90 minutes or more in each one of those matches. However, the German defense hasn’t been rock solid in Russia. Matthias Ginter has proven vulnerable at times, and even Kimmich has shown a slight weakness in the air (see: Cameroon’s goal).

Kimmich has a tall task ahead of him, but if any 22-year-old can take care of business, it’s the German all-star who has risen to heights so great he’s expected to eventually earn the captain’s armband for his country on a long-term basis. Can he stop Alexis Sanchez, who may be playing to earn a few more Premier League bucks?

2. Gary Medel, Gonzalo Jara vs. Timo Werner

Germany may not have brought it’s “A” team, but Timo Werner is making a case to be a part of the first-choice squad when Joachim Low picks his 2018 World Cup team. The 21-year-old has three goals in the last two games, and looks to be a high quality player for the future, and even now.

Chile’s strength lies in its organization and defense. While the offense hasn’t exactly clicked this tournament, the back line has been solid. They have allowed just two goals all tournament, and the two central defenders have been a big reason why. Both sport over 100 caps, and only a slight injury to Medel has kept the pair from playing every minute together in Russia. They are highly experienced, and will need that to stop the prolific German spearheading the attack.

3. Arturo Vidal vs. Julian Draxler

Arturo Vidal never holds back. He never has, and he never will. Julian Draxler will be the next man to face the Chilean’s wrath as the two meet again. They have faced off many times in the past in Bundesliga play before Draxler’s move to PSG, so these two will be quite familiar with one another.

The 23-year-old German has been prolific this tournament, and although he’s only had a direct hand in two of Germany’s 11 Confederations Cup goals, he has been one of the best players in the side. Draxler’s technical ability and pace on the ball has opened things up in the German attack, and Vidal’s crunching style will be key in stopping his counterpart.

USMNT celebrates winning 2017 Gold Cup – Video

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The U.S. national team won the 2017 Gold Cup title on Wednesday night and the Stars and Stripes celebrated in style.

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After beating Jamaica 2-1 in a tense final in Santa Clara, Calif. the champagne corks were soon popping as veterans and youngsters danced the night away to celebrate the USMNT’s first trophy since their Gold Cup success in 2013.

This was the USA’s sixth Gold Cup title and for many (Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey to name a few) it could be their last piece of silverware for the USMNT.

Watch them drink in the celebrations below as Bruce Arena (celebrating his third Gold Cup title) pulled off a veteran move to remove his suit jacket before getting drenched.

The U.S. are once again champions of the CONCACAF region.


Arsenal confirm Alexis Sanchez will return to training

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Arsene Wenger has confirmed Alexis Sanchez will return to training with Arsenal this Sunday.

Sanchez, 28, is yet to sign a new contract at Arsenal and has just 12 months left on his current deal, but it appears that Wenger isn’t planning on losing his Chilean superstar anytime soon.

Below is what Wenger has to say about Sanchez and Shkodran Mustafi returning to training this weekend after their exploits in the 2017 Confederations Cup which saw both men play in the final on July 2.

“Alexis and Mustafi, their first training session will be on Sunday, the day we play against Sevilla [in the Emirates Cup],” Wenger said. “They are practising on the day. First of all you make a really good check up of where they are, how much they have worked during their break. After, once you know where you stand, they need an adjusted programme and to see how quickly you can fit them in again.

“Of course it depends as well on what is the need in the squad, what is their quality. All of these things together make your decision. Do you put them on the bench when they are not ready [to start]? It is easier to put a striker on the bench than a defender, sometimes. Because in a short period they can make an impact. We’ll see.”

Manchester City hammer Real Madrid in LA

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Manchester City went full Beastmode on Real Madrid in the second half of their International Champions Cup game in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Neymar to PSG on? ]

In front of a record 93,038 fans, City scored four goals in the second half with Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones and Raheem Sterling all netting before youngster Brahim Diaz finished things off in style.

Kevin De Bruyne was in particularly menacing form with the Belgian at the heart of everything good for Pep Guardiola‘s men.

Despite the hammering Real Madrid did score the goal of the night with youngster Oscar Rodriguez smashing home a beauty into the top corner form distance in the 90th minute.

Click play on the video above to watch the highlights.

City now head to Nashville, Tennessee where they face Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday with both teams finishing off their U.S. tour in style in Music City.

Real Madrid travel to Miami, Florida for the small matter of an El Clasico against Barcelona to finish off the International Champions Cup tournament Stateside.

Report: Neymar agrees five-year deal at Paris Saint-Germain

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Paris, are you ready for Neymar to become the main man?

[ MORE: USMNT win Gold Cup title

The Brazilian has scored all three of Barcelona’s goals during their preseason wins over Juventus and Manchester United in the U.S. but was his game-winner on Wednesday in Washington D.C. his final strike in a Barca shirt?

L’Equipe is reporting that Neymar has agreed terms on a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain but that the French giants are now trying to get Barcelona to reduce the $260 million transfer fee which is Neymar’s release clause.

Per the report Neymar will earn over $34.1 million annually while reports in Spain suggest that both clubs want the Brazilian superstar to make a decision and are eager to push the deal through by next week if it’s going to happen.

Neymar, 25, is said to want to leave Barca and be the main man at PSG.

With Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez around at the Nou Camp, it’s easy to understand that Brazil’s captain feels a little underappreciated sometimes but with Messi now 30 years old and Suarez 31, surely Neymar can wait it out a few years before he takes over Messi’s throne at Barca?

Hmmm, with the five-time World Player of the Year recently signing a new contract until 2021, Mess is going nowhere and maybe that was the trigger for Neymar and his representatives to look elsewhere as he’s about to enter his prime.

On top of all that the ongoing investigation from the Spanish authorities into his transfer from Santos looms large over the global superstar, but after winning two UEFA Champions League titles, three La Liga trophies and two Copa del Rey’s during his four years at Barca, would he really walk away?

His teammates and manager have been speaking about that posibility during Barca’s preseason tour of the U.S. and nobody seems too sure if he will remain. If anything the word “hope” is getting thrown around a lot rather than a definitive “yes” or “no” and even Gerard Pique had to back track on a social media post where he posed with Neymar and used the caption “he stays” to sum up the situation.

PSG are reportedly working around the clock to figure out how on earth they can finance this deal but it is becoming increasingly obvious that they are the only club who can afford to sign Neymar and their Abu Dhabi owners are doing all they can to make it a reality.