Meet the new boss… Lewis Holtby just can’t catch a break with Fulham’s hiring of his old coach

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The hits just keep coming for Lewis Holtby. Out of favor at Tottenham once Andre Villas-Boas was sacked, his loan to Fulham was supposed to bring a new lease on life for the German midfielder.

But Holtby is again at the center of turmoil just a few matches into his time at Craven Cottage, and there’s no question it has little do with anything he’s done in as a Cottager.

That’s because Fulham has brought in German manager Felix Magath to replace Rene Meulensteen as manager, and Holtby has a history of frustration playing under Magath when the two were together at Schalke.

Surely the player didn’t foresee the strict Magath becoming his boss again when he was asked in December about the potential of playing under another tough-minded coach. Here’s his response to whether he’d be cool to play under Louis van Gaal if he was hired at Tottenham:

“I wouldn’t have a problem if Van Gaal came in. After all, I’ve survived Felix Magath too,” Holtby told Bild at the time.

And it’s not as if Magath doesn’t know he has a reputation. The German manager once hid his players’ water bottles after a long, arduous run through the mountains. He was referred to as “the last dictator in Europe.”

In any event, Holtby says it’s all about perspective in the face of hype:

“I don’t have any fear,” said Holtby. “From my point of view, it’s being hyped up right now. I have grown as a player and my time under Magath is already almost five years away.

“We are both in Fulham to reach one goal and that is staying up. Everything else is secondary.”

As you can imagine, though, the news caught him off guard.

“At the weekend, I was in Denmark visiting my girlfriend’s family,” he said. “I booked a flight for Sunday afternoon, but since the first training session under Felix Magath was scheduled on such short notice for Sunday morning, I had to return a day early. The news was of course a big surprise.”

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.