Report: Donovan not in USMNT squad for World Cup qualifiers

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Should this news really be such a big surprise?

Um, yeah.

According to reports surfacing this afternoon, Landon Donovan will not be included in Jurgen Klinsmann’s U.S. squads for the crucial World Cup qualifiers coming up next month.

The US Camp begins on May 21, ahead of the friendlies against Belgium and Germany and the crucial World Cup qualifiers in June with Jamaica, Panama and Honduras.

At the moment the only way Donovan could make it into the squad would be due to a swathe of injuries to current national team players.

Klinsmann obviously wasn’t too impressed with the self-imposed sabbatical or Donovan’s form since he has returned.

Donovan hasn’t played for the US since their 1-0 win in Mexico last August and has only played five games for the LA Galaxy since taking time out from soccer from January to March 2013.

But where does all this leave Donovan’s future with the USMNT?

We are all still guessing. Klinsmann has discussed Donovan’s possible future involvement with the US before. We all know how that turned out last month, ICYMI, here is a little refresher on what Klinsmann had to say.

I’m not talking names but there are players clearly ahead of Landon Donovan right now. He hasn’t been part of the development of that team most of the time over the last two years, so chemistry is extremely important. Most of the time, he was not part of that process, that was his choice and I totally understand that, it’s no problem. I’ve always said that we will observe him, like we observe all the other players over the stretch of a long period and then we decide whether he is part of that picture or not.”

(More: Donovan agrees with Klinsmann “I still have a long way to go”)

Those words seem to resonate even stronger given today’s revelations. It seems as if Klinsi has observed Donovan’s return and deemed him surplus to requirements.

If these reports of Donovan not making the US squad this summer are true, then who will take his place? The obvious choice is Graham Zusi. The Sporting KC man has been in fine form this season and Klinsmann has often praised his ability on the ball and to change a game.

Donovan recently said this about Zusi: “I look forward to continuing to battle back and forth with him and hopefully push each other,” he allowed. “He’s a lot younger than me. But don’t count the old guy out yet.”

It seems as if the old guy isn’t being appreciated by Klinsmann. Can Donovan fight his way back in to the USMNT’s World Cup plans?

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 2

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Layla Anna-Lee has a new show and, well, it’s unbiased. At least occasionally…

In the second episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, Layla Anna-Lee looks at the best moments from the first set of matches in the 2018 World Cup.

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There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.

Brazil waste Coutinho’s stunner, draw Switzerland in opener

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Brazil started brilliantly and raced out to an early lead, but the five-time World Cup winners — and one of a handful of favorites in 2018 — disappointed in the end as they settled for a 1-1 draw with Switzerland in the two sides’ Group E opener.

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Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring after 20 minutes, turning home a stunning strike from distance, off the inside of the post, to settle any early nerves and give Tite’s Selecao a 1-0 lead (WATCH HERE).

It wasn’t Brazil’s first golden scoring chance of the game, though, as Coutinho and Neymar combined down the left wing to send the latter into space inside the penalty area. Neymar played a first-time cross into the six-yard box, but Paulinho‘s scuffed effort from close range was tipped around the post by Yann Sommer.

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A bit of complacency and real lack of urgency washed over Brazil as soon as they went ahead, affording Switzerland every opportunity to get back in the game.

Vladimir Petkovic’s side needed just five second-half minutes to draw level, thanks to some shoddy set-piece defending by Brazil. Steven Zuber took up a spot at the near post, virtually unmarked inside the six-yard box, and headed past Alisson.

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The game’s most controversial moment came just after the 70-minute mark, when Gabriel Jesus was bear-hugged inside the penalty area. Wrapped up from behind, the Manchester City forward was blatantly prevented from getting to the ball after a quick passage of smooth build-up, but referee Cesar Arturo Ramos Palazuelos was unmoved and no video review was enacted.

By the full-time whistle, Brazil had piled up 21 shots (just four on target) compared to just six from Switzerland (two). Despite on-target efforts from Neymar and Renato Augusto inside the game’s final five minutes, a winner wasn’t on the cards and the sides were forced to split the points.

Up next for Brazil is a clash with Costa Rica on Friday, while Switzerland will face Serbia the same day. The Serbs topped the Costa Ricans in Sunday’s first game, putting them top of the group after after the first of three rounds in Group E.

Video: Coutinho’s curler has Brazil flying early

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It took 20 minutes for the Selecao to get on the board, but Brazil looks every bit as good as advertised.

Tite’s side struck nearly halfway through the opening stanza when Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho curled his shot from distance off the inside of the post against Switzerland.

The Brazilians came close on several occasions prior to Coutinho’s opener, but the 26-year-old made good on the misses with his first career World Cup tally.

El Tri may have caused small earthquake back in Mexico City

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It was impossible to ignore the magnitude of Mexico’s 1-0 win over Germany on Sunday, and it apparently caused waves all over the world.

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Although a large contingent of El Tri fans were present in Moscow, Russia for the team’s win over the defending World Cup champions, it wasn’t comparable to the scenes back home.

Supporters were reportedly so enthused by the match that it’s quite possible they started a minor earthquake in Mexico City.

The earthquake reading came at 11:32 am ET, right around the time when Hirving Lozano gave El Tri the lead over their Group F opponent.