International Champions Cup dates set; more high-level summer soccer in the States

9 Comments

Can we be excited about the next roster of fine teams coming through for the Guinness International Champions Cup and have a little go at the tournament, too?

Of course we can!

More details are out today on the second edition of this tournament. And there are some great names, including Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Liverpool.

Roma, Inter Milan and AC Milan from Italy, plus Greece’s Olympiakos round out this little slice of summer soccer awesome. It plays out over 13 U.S. cities from July 26 to Aug. 4.

The quibble is here:

Today’s release (linked above) from Fox Soccer, the tournament’s broadcast partner, calls it a “fiercely contested eight team soccer extravaganza.”

This is a terrific event, one that allows domestic fans to get up-close looks at some of the world’s top stars. But it is what it is: exhibition soccer. (Which, by the way, will not include some of the real A-listers, as they’ll be on break following World Cup play … but details, details.)

But “fiercely contested?” Come on!

Priorities here for these clubs, roughly in this order, are: Don’t get hurt. Make money. Don’t get hurt. Make lots of money. Get some touches and generate some fitness for the coming season. Experiment with lineups and combos. Don’t get hurt. Shop. Don’t get hurt.

The final (between group winners) is at Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida.

 Group A

  • Real Madrid
  • Inter Milan
  • Manchester United
  • AS Roma

Group B:

  • Olympiacos
  • Manchester City
  • AC Milan
  • Liverpool

 SCHEDULE

July 24: Olympiacos v. AC Milan, site TBD

July 26: Real Madrid CF vs. Inter Milan at University of Phoenix Stadium, Phoenix

July 26: Manchester United vs. AS Roma, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver

July 27: AC Milan v. Manchester City, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

July 27: Liverpool FC vs. Olympiacos, Soldier Field, Chicago

July 29: Manchester United vs. Inter Milan, FedEx Field, Washington D.C.

July 29: Real Madrid CF vs. AS Roma,  Cotton Bowl, Dallas

July 30: Manchester City vs. Liverpool FC, Yankee Stadium, New York

Aug. 2: Inter Milan vs. AS Roma, Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

Aug. 2: Real Madrid CF vs. Manchester United – TBD

Aug. 2: Olympiacos vs. Manchester City, TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis

Aug. 2: AC Milan vs. Liverpool FC, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte

Ronaldo explains his new chin hair at World Cup

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
Leave a comment

Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.

Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:

“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.

“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”

Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.

Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.

Report: Southampton could sell Tadic to Ajax for $20m

Adam Davy/PA via AP
Leave a comment

Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?

Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.

[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]

The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.

The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.

Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.

He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.

Toronto locks down USMNT backstop Bono with extension

Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.

[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]

The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.

Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:

“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”

The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 8 — Argentina on the edge; France aims for berth

Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Leave a comment

France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.

That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.

Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group C
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group D
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE