Profiling Group E at the 2012 Summer Olympics

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First out of the pot, Group E features the hosts, two frequent party-goers, and a new face in the crowd.

Great Britain

Playing as hosts could be a boon for Hope Powell’s Great Britain squad. The team may have something extra to play for. An inspired performance by Team GB could raise the profile of the women’s game at home – something not lost on the players per recent interviews.

Hosting rights also come with an additional burden of pressure. Just ask Germany as last year’s World Cup hosts; pegged as favorites to win a third straight world title before crashing out against Japan in the Quarterfinals.

Team GB has a healthy mix of precocious talent and seasoned veterans. Arsenal striker Ellen White had a memorable performance in Germany last summer. Powell will hope the 23-year-old can duplicate the same form. If Kelly Smith can ward off injury, she could be the central cog in Team GB’s plans.

Name to know: Jill Scott is a versatile, box-to-box midfielder capable of contributing timely goals. Kim Little is one of the two Scottish players in the squad, and is considered one of the most fearsome goal poachers in the FA Women’s Super League.

2008: DNQ

New Zealand

The Football Ferns captured hearts at the World Cup last summer after scoring two stoppage time goals to tie Mexico in their final group stage match. It wasn’t enough to advance to the Quarterfinals – or even escape last place in the group – but it marked their finest World Cup performance to date.

Much has changed since. Head coach John Herdman couldn’t decline advances from the Canadian Soccer Association and parted ways with the program he helped build.

The World Cup also saw New Zealand distance itself from the ‘kick and rush’ tag that typically characterized its style of play. The team will try to avoid a reversion back to form under new coach Tony Readings. New Zealand can be counted on for dogged performances as their 2-2 draw against the U.S. in February proves. It will take more than that to finish in the top half of a relatively tough group, though.

Name to know: Ali Riley has a sterling reputation in U.S. women’s soccer circles. The speedy L.A.-born outside back was one of the most distinguished outside backs in Women’s Professional Soccer. Chances are she’ll make an appearance on many Team of the Tournament ballots.

2008: Finished bottom of Group G with one point. The pair of New Zealand’s only goals came in a spirited 2-2 draw against Japan in the group’s opening match. They have a knack for that kind of thing.

Brazil

Brazil possesses arguably the most prodigious female player of the modern era, but why is the team itself a notch below the world’s elite? A lack of resources and meaningful support from the CBF has hamstrung the side. Friendlies are infrequent and domestic friendlies are even rarer, resulting in few opportunities to build team cohesion.

An unorthodox tactical formation did the team no favors in Germany last summer. Former coach Kleiton Lima insisted on a three-back defensive unit that seemed ill-suited to Brazil’s bevy of skilled players.

Despite reaching the finals of the 2007 World Cup and the 2008 Olympics, a major title has eluded Brazil. An Olympic Gold Medal would finally establish Brazil as a legitimate power in the world’s eyes. And, perhaps more important, back home too.

Name to know: Winning FIFA World Player of the Year five times over makes Marta a known commodity, so let’s go with the ever-unheralded Formiga. The hard-nosed defensive midfielder has been with the national team since the 90s and remains a potent force in the center of the park.

2008: Brazil came within 14 minutes of a penalty kick shoot-out in the final against the U.S. The side avenged its World Cup loss against Germany in the semifinals but were denied gold by Carli Lloyd’s stoppage time goal.

Cameroon

African women’s soccer has long been dominated by a duopoly consisting of Nigeria and Ghana. A continental shift in powers is underway as neither team qualified for the Olympics this summer.

Cameroon will be making its first appearance at a major international tournament. The team narrowly edged out Nigeria in penalty kicks in the Final Round of Olympic qualifying. Cameroon’s involvement might not come as a massive surprise, given the positive effects of globalization in the women’s game. Eight of the team’s players currently ply their trade in Europe.

The squad is one of the youngest in the tournament with five teenagers in its ranks. Francoise Bella leads the team with 58 caps while the rest of the roster has averaged around 20 appearances each.

Cameroon might not be pegged for a Semifinals run, but a thorough test against the best teams in the world will go a long way in promoting development. This could only be the beginning.

Name to know: Madeleine Ngono Mani has scored enough goals to merit the no. 9 shirt. The 28-year-old is the program’s leading goal-scorer. She’ll now have the chance to impress worldwide audience.

2008: DNQ

Destined for the Quarterfinals: Brazil, Great Britain

Matches:

July 25 – Great Britain vs. New Zealand

July 25 – Cameroon vs. Brazil

July 28 – New Zealand vs. Brazil

July 28 – Great Britain vs. Cameroon

July 31 – New Zealand vs. Cameroon

July 31 – Great Britain vs. Brazil

VIDEO: ProSoccerTalk team unfiltered – Review, preview, Power Rankings and more

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ProSoccerTalk is now on video as well as in written format. Unleash the beast, as they say.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ] 

Each week ProSoccerTalk writers Joe Prince-Wright, Nick Mendola and Andy Edwards will tell us what they learned from the Premier League action, rank their top five PL players based on current form, preview the upcoming weekend and handle any other news from around the soccer world.

Expect opinions, analysis and insight, as well as plenty of friendly banter along the way and maybe a beer or two…

Basically, they have these chats on their own anyway so we thought we would record them and let them loose on the Premier League, USMNT and everything in-between. This is going to be a lot of fun and a lighthearted look at all of the action from across the soccer world each week.

With JPW is based in England and heading to Premier League games and traveling to stadiums/ training grounds, plus Andy and Nick based Stateside, we will be checking in with them regularly to get their views on just about anything when it comes to Pro Soccer. Because, well, ProSoccerTalk.

Follow the ProSoccerTalk lads on Twitter below, and click play on the video above to watch ProSocccerTalk this week in full.

Champions League qualifying: How to watch, start times, odds

UEFA Champions League qualifying
Photo by Raddad Jebarah/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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The 12 clubs remaining in the race for the final UEFA Champions League group stage slots will be pared down to six in the next eight days.

There are American connections to two of the six ties.

Former USMNT midfielder Jesse Marsch manages Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg toward the next round, while Molde right back Henry Wingo came up with the Seattle Sounders.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Salzburg are significant favorites to advance over two legs, odds accentuated by Maccabi Tel-Aviv’s seven players absent due to positive COVID-19 tests.

Marsch had previously said he did not want to go to Israel due to COVID-19 concerns, calling it “dangerous,” but has accepted the task at hand.

From Austrian publication Kronen Zeitung:

“The moment UEFA said we were going to play in Tel Aviv, it wasn’t a problem for me. Maccabi has a great team. We are not naive. We understand that we have to fight tomorrow.”

At 3:10 in some sportsbooks, Marsch’s men are the only club favored to win the first leg away. Salzburg is led by Dominik Szoboszlai and Patson Daka, who’ve helped the team thrive despite the sales of several stars including Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino.

Molde has a much tougher test with Hungarian side Ferencvaros, who knocked off Celtic. That tie could go either way, while Slavia Prague and Olympiakos are respectively noticeable favorites to beat Midtjylland and Omonia Nicosia.

Dynamo Kiev will be expected to outlast Gent over two legs, while it would be a minor upset if PAOK takes down Krasnodar.


How to watch the UEFA Champions League qualifying playoff round

Kickoff: 3 pm ET Tuesday and Wednesday
Stream: CBS All-Access (subscription required)


UEFA Champions League playoff round matches

All 12 legs will kickoff at 3 pm ET between Tuesday and Sept. 30.

Tuesday

Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1-2 Red Bull Salzburg
Slavia Prague 0-0 Midtjylland
Krasnodar 2-1 PAOK

Wednesday

Gent v Dynamo Kiev
Molde v Ferencvaros
Olympiakos v Omonia

Sept. 29

Ferencvaros v Molde
Dynamo Kiev v Gent
Omonia v Olympiakos

Sept. 30

Midtjylland v Slavia Prague
PAOK v Krasnodar
Red Bull Salzburg v Maccabi Tel-Aviv

League Cup: How to watch, start times, as Premier League powers enter

League Cup
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images
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Fifteen Premier League teams eye dates in the fourth round when the League Cup returns for another September midweek.

The congested nature of the season will see some PL sides play three matches in as many weeks, though the European qualifying teams are just entering the fray this week.

[ LIVE: Follow League Cup scores ]

That includes Europa League sides Arsenal and Leicester City, who will stage the lone all-PL scrap of the round come Wednesday at the King Power Stadium.

Tuesday was going to see Tottenham Hotspur visit a club sponsored by Spurs striker Harry Kane, but Leyton Orient is in the news after positive COVID-19 tests have threatened to forfeit Spurs into the next round.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Manchester United will hope to snap out of its season-opening funk when it begins its tourney Tuesday at Luton Town, while Chelsea hosts Barnsley on Wednesday.

Liverpool is off to Lincoln City on Thursday, kicking off its League Cup at the same time Manchester City welcomes Bournemouth.

Because of the aforementioned congested September in the tournament, the fourth round draw has already been held and those fixtures are at bottom of the page.


League Cup third round draw

All times ET

Tuesday
Leyton Orient v Tottenham Hotspur — Postponed
West Brom 2-2 Brentford – (Brentford win on penalty kicks)
Newport County 3-1 Watford 
West Ham United 5-1 Hull City
Luton Town 0-3 Manchester United 

Wednesday
Preston North End v Brighton — 2 pm
Millwall v Burnley — 2 pm
Fulham v Sheffield Wednesday — 2 pm
Stoke City v Gillingham — 2 pm
Chelsea v Barnsley — 2:45 pm
Leicester City v Arsenal — 2:45 pm
Fleetwood Town v Everton — 2:45 pm
Morecambe v Newcastle United — 2:45 pm

Thursday
Bristol City v Aston Villa — 2 pm
Lincoln City v Liverpool — 2:45 pm
Manchester City v Bournemouth — 2:45 pm


League Cup fourth round draw

Lincoln City/Liverpool v Leicester City/Arsenal
Millwall/Burnley v Manchester City/Bournemouth
West Brom/Brentford v Fulham/Sheffield Wednesday
Fleetwood Town/Everton v West Ham United/Hull City
Bristol City/Aston Villa v Stoke City/Gillingham
Leyton Orient/Tottenham v Chelsea/Barnsley
Newport County/Watford v Morecambe/Newcastle United
Preston North End/Brighton v Luton Town/Manchester United


How to watch League Cup third round streams and start time

Kickoff: Tuesday through Thursday
Online: Select games on ESPN+
Updates: Follow League Cup scores via NBCSports.com

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Premier League player Power Rankings are here!

Our second player Power Rankings of the 2020-21 season have arrived, as all 20 teams have played and we are coming off the highest scoring matchweek in Premier League history with 44 goals scored across the 10 games.

Simply put: it was incredibly tough to put 20 players in this list based on the crazy results across the Premier League.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA

Stars from Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton dominate our second player Power Rankings and there are plenty of new signings who have impressed early in the season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t going to be in this list!

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


1. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
2. James Rodriguez (Everton)
3. Kevin de Bruyne (Man City)
4. Harry Kane (Tottenham)
5. Heung-min Son (Tottenham)
6. Fabinho (Liverpool)
7. Tariq Lamptey (Brighton)
8. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
9. Raul Jimenez (Wolves)
10. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
11. Gabriel (Arsenal)
12. Dani Ceballos (Arsenal)
13. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
14. Vicente Guaita (Crystal Palace)
15. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)
16. Patrick Bamford (Leeds)
17. Timothy Castagne (Leicester)
18. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
19. Andy Robertson (Liverpool)
20. Kalvin Phillips (Leeds)