Brazilian legend Romario questions 2014 World Cup

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As the protests continue across Brazil, one of the countries greatest ever players has spoken of his disdain towards Fifa and the tournament being held in his homeland.

Romario, who is now a congressman for the Brazilian Socialist party (PSB), is on the warpath after World Cup plans have altered drastically since Brazil was awarded the tournament.

In a wonderfully crafted piece published in the Guardian, the former superstar striker has admitted that he initially backed the World Cup bid for Brazil 2014 but now believes the only people to benefit from the showpiece event will be Fifa. He claims soccer’s world governing body is set to make a $4 billion profit, tax-free.

With uproar across Brazil, Romario has sided with the protestors on the street as he calls for the country’s finances to be used elsewhere as the crippling costs of hosting the event has left parts of Brazil’s economy in tatters. The protestors aren’t necessarily against the World Cup, they just see it as yet another distraction standing in the way of Brazil becoming a better nation.

The politicians have neglected many important areas and Romario believes the country must come first instead of hosting the World Cup.

Despite an announcement yesterday that over $23 billion would be spent on public transport, the conditions in hospitals and schools are “deplorable” according to Romario. And he believes no legacy will be left behind after the World Cup is over and because of that, Brazil 2014 will be a failure.

President Dilma Rousseff repeats what former president Lula said, reassuring us that we’ll “host the best World Cup of all time”. I don’t agree, because we have failed on what matters most: a legacy to make us proud. Only Fifa is profiting, and this is one more good reason to go to the streets and protest. I never thought the World Cup would solve all of our problems, but now my fear is that this mega event will only deepen the problems we already have.

For a player that seemed hot-headed and egocentric on the pitch, damn, he talks a good deal of sense off it. Romario is in a unique situation. He was one of the men who made Brazil famous all over the world for their soccer exploits. Yet the former Barcelona star is now rallying against having the World Cup in his country, as he can see up close the harm it is causing to his proud nation.

I don’t know about you, but after this strong statement from one of Brazil’s greatest ever players, on every newscast televising the protests I’ll be looking out for a diminutive figure called Romario leading the people on their charge.

Preach it.

3 things we learned: Chelsea v. Liverpool

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Chelsea – Liverpool wasn’t exactly the goal-fest we expected and in the end it was a very straightforward win for the reigning Premier League champions.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]   

A red card to Andreas Christensen right on half time swung the game in Liverpool’s favor and two goals early in the second half from Sadio Mane sealed a comfortable win for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Here’s a look at what we learned from Chelsea – Liverpool as Frank Lampard will be trying to keep things in perspective, while Liverpool will be keen to keep building momentum.


Hunger of Sadio Mane underlines Liverpool ambition

The hunger with his runs, his passes and his finishing and his general desire to score goals and win games is incredible. Sadio Mane forced the red card which changed the game and scored twice early in the second half to kick Chelsea while they were down. Mane got my vote for the Football Writers’ Association player of the year in 2019-20 and the work he does often goes unnoticed. On his second goal, the way he reacted to giving the ball away epitomized him. He hunted down Kepa and intercepted a pass and slotted home into an empty net. Mane is often the least lauded forward out of Mohamed Salah, himself and Firmino. But his hunger in this game is replicated in most games. Liverpool fans appreciate Mane’s desire and the fact that fire is still burning bright proves how hungry this team are to win back-to-back titles.


Defensive Chelsea show Liverpool too much respect

We get it. Chelsea were without new signings Thiago Silva, Ben Chilwell and Hakim Ziyech. Christian Pulisic is out injured. Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy isn’t officially a Chelsea. All of that led to an extremely defensive and tentative display from Lampard’s side. Kai Havertz struggled out wide once again, while the defensive issues remain for Chelsea as Kepa had a nightmare on the red card situation and for the second goal. Aside from individual errors, the setup from Chelsea was too defensive from the start. They tried to hit Liverpool on the counter with the pace of Timo Werner and it almost worked a few times in the first half but their usual attacking swagger was totally missing. With a host of new players to come into the lineup, plus the injured Christian Pulisic to return, Chelsea will be better in the coming weeks and months. However, the respect they showed reigning champions Liverpool here was too much and underlined just how far they have to go to become genuine title contenders.


Kepa knows his time is up; new boys will take time to gel

It is sad to see a player struggling so much with confidence but that is Kepa right now. The Spanish international goalkeeper is the most-expensive goalkeeper on the planet but his shaky displays continue and Senegal international Edouard Mendy is expected to join from Rennes in the coming days. Kepa played like he knew his time at Chelsea is up. He wandered around the penalty box early on, didn’t command his area and gave the second goal to Sadio Mane on a silver platter with a poor pass. Kepa has never settled at Chelsea and the best thing he could probably do for his career is move on as soon as possible. As for the other new boys, Havertz will take time, Werner looks more than okay and Ziyech, Chilwell and Thiago Silva will now all be expected to deliver right away. Often it doesn’t work like that and Liverpool’s lone new boy, Thiago Alcantara, gave away a penalty kick after coming on at half time for his debut. Adapting to a new team in a new league and in a new country isn’t easy, even for superstar talents. So often it takes much more time than most expect. That is not good news for Chelsea who have spent close to $275 million this summer on new talent.

Report: Wolves buying Nelson Semedo from Barcelona

Semedo to Wolves
Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images
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Wolves are turning much of the Diogo Jota money into Barcelona right back Nelson Semedo, according to several reports.

Semedo, 26, is set to cost around $42 million, some $16 million less than the reported max value of Jota’s sale to Liverpool.

Barca will open up some money to pursue American back Sergino Dest and others with the sale of Portuguese international. Reporter Fabrizio Romano says Bayern Munich still feels it’s in prime position to buy the Ajax back.

[ MORE: Wolves – Man City preview ]

Semedo would help replace Matt Doherty and could again push Adama Traore forward into a wing role.

Semedo has won four league titles between Benfica and Barcelona as well as the UEFA Nations League as part of his 14 caps for Portugal. He has two goals and 11 assists in three seasons at the Camp Nou, where Ronald Koeman is trying hard to clear out salary.

He would join boss Nuno Espirito Santo as well as Ruben Neves, Rui Patricio, Joao Moutinho, Pedro Neto, Daniel Podence, Fabio Silva, Vitinha, Ruben Vinagre, and Roderick as Portuguese members of Wolves.

Next up for the Wolves is a visit from Man City on Monday (Watch live at 3:15 pm ET Monday, online via Peacock).

Brighton cruises past Newcastle through Maupay brace

Newcastle - Brighton
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Newcastle – Brighton: Neal Maupay scored twice in the first seven minutes of Brighton and Hove Albion’s 3-0 win over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Sunday.

Aaron Connolly scored late to complete the score line and Yves Bissouma saw a late red card as the Seagulls deserved every bit of the win.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ] 

Newcastle drops to 1-1 on the season following its opening win over West Ham. The Magpies are off to Tottenham next, while Brighton hosts Manchester United.


Three things we learned from Newcastle – Brighton

1. Going two behind Brighton a problem: Graham Potter’s Seagulls could be one of the season’s surprise packages, especially if teams hand them early two-goal leads. The club has an embarrassment of riches at center back and was able to loan Shane Duffy, a very good back in his own right, to Celtic because of Ben White, Lewis Dunk, Adam Webster, Joel Veltman, and Dan Burn. The first three played Sunday and were basically impenetrable

2. More promise from Maupay: Maupay scored 10 times last season, his first in the Premier League after the Frenchman buried 25 chances for Brentford in his last season in the Championship. He finished his penalty and slotted a second on Sunday, and his team looks set to produce plenty of chances for its forwards this year.

3. Turnabout fair play: The Magpies were, perhaps, surprisingly decisive winners at West Ham on opening day while Brighton did well enough and would’ve felt unlucky to fall by two to Chelsea on Monday. Perhaps the early lead was a massive help but Brighton looked better prepared for Newcastle and the Magpies’ lack of a real game-changer in the midfield proved its undoing.

Man of the Match

We might’ve given it to Bissouma for a complete performance but his wild boot to the face of Jamal Lewis was ugly though unintentional. Lamptey was great but left early. Maupay’s next in line, just ahead of an impressive Leandro Trossard.


Newcastle – Brighton recap

Jamaal Lascelles cleared early danger for Newcastle but that was a harbinger of what was to come as Allan Saint-Maximin chopped Tariq Lamptey down in the box to give Brighton a third-minute penalty.

Maupay dispatched a hard low penalty under a diving Karl Darlow to make it 1-0.

The Frenchman had it 2-0 moments later when VAR overruled the assistant referee when Lamptey led a charge down the right of Newcastle’s defense.

Yves Bissouma was lively in the first 22 minutes and blazed over the bar.

The hits kept coming for Newcastle as Saint-Maximin left the match in the 34th minute with an ankle ailment. The French wizard was replaced by Ryan Fraser.

Steven Alzate led a stoppage-time rush that nearly put it out of reach, Leandro Trossard’s ball making its way to Lamptey but the back’s shot smothered by Karl Darlow.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce lifted Andy Carroll for Miguel Almiron and the Magpies had more of the ball in the second half.

But Brighton twice challenged Darlow while the final ball kept eluding Newcastle.

The Magpies finally got their chance when Callum Wilson butchered a point-blank header off of Almiron’s fine cross.

Aaron Connolly broke through the back line and smashed the post but the AR’s flag was up. Trossard then clobbered the post on a shot that would’ve counted had it been on target.

Newcastle couldn’t make anything from a series of Ryan Fraser corners, Jeff Hendrick’s attempt to recreate a great goal at West Ham instead sailing well over the frame with 11 minutes to play.

Connolly had been knocking on the door and delivered the knockout blow with a terrific curler from inside the 18 in the 84th minute.

Bissouma was shown his red after VAR review of his reckless cleat to the face of Jamal Lewis with a few minutes to play, the Newcastle defender badly bloodied.

Chelsea – Liverpool: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

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Chelsea – Liverpool: This is always one of the biggest games of the Premier League season and on Sunday (Watch live at 11:30am ET, online via Peacock) at Stamford Bridge we can expect all-out attack between these two stacked heavyweights.

CHELSEA – LIVERPOOL STREAM LIVE

Frank Lampard and Chelsea have spent close to $300 million on new players this summer and may spend even more as they look to make the leap from a top four team to title contenders. As for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp, the reigning champions had a scare in their opening day win against Leeds but will know they will have plenty of chances to score against Chelsea.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of Chelsea – Liverpool this Sunday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: Chelsea – Liverpool (INJURY REPORT)

Chelsea will be without USMNT star Christian Pulisic as Lampard revealed he suffered a minor injury setback from his hamstring issue. This game has also come too early for new signings Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell, and Thiago Silva to make their debuts as they work their way towards full fitness. Timo Werner is fit after suffering a small injury on his debut.

Frank Lampard issued the following injury update on Pulisic:  “Chilwell is not ready for the game, neither is Christian Pulisic. We hope they will work well during the week.” And had this to say after their win at Brighton on Monday: “Christian was training with us last week but he had a bit of discomfort a couple of days ago when he was trying to be in contention for today. It would have been a big ask for today and he has had to take a few steps back and we will have to see.”

Liverpool has Thiago Alcantara on the bench and Kostas Tsimikas available following a period of self-isolation after he tested positive for COVID-19. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be missing once again after he picked up a knee injury, while Xherdan Shaqiri is battling back from yet another injury. 


What they’re saying

Frank Lampard on the brewing rivalry, sideline clashes with Jurgen Klopp: “How much do you want to make of it? If you’re pushing to be successful… we had it when I was a player. In the Champions League we drew each other a lot. In modern terms it’s slightly different because Liverpool are on top of the league and we’re trying to improve. Both squads, clubs and coaches are very driven to win. It’s what the Premier League is all about. The nature of the world we live in is there’s a lot of airtime for you to fill with rivalries. They can be scrutinised in every way. I have huge respect for him, what he’s done at Liverpool was incredible. There’s nothing in it for me. The competitive nature of the 90 minutes can boil over but the respect for Klopp I have will never change.”

Klopp on Mohamed Salah’s hat trick on the opening day against Leeds: “Of all the good performances Mo had for us obviously, this was for sure one of the better ones. So he should be proud of that because it’s very special to have these kind of numbers. ‘Long may it continue,’ I like to think in these moments, and this time I say it as well.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Chelsea (+215) are the underdogs but Liverpool’s odds are longer (+115) than many would expect. Chelsea have done well against Liverpool in recent seasons and seem to match up with them well, and the draw (+270) would be the smart bet in this one. Both teams would take that early in the season and move on.

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Prediction

I’m going for a goalfest here and I think both teams will have plenty of chances and it’s all about who is more clinical. Liverpool will try to shore things up at the back but I think Chelsea know how to get behind them and Werner, if he’s fit, will cause problems. I’m going for 3-3. This will be a classic.


How to watch Chelsea – Liverpool stream and start time

Kickoff: 11:30 am ET Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock