Neymar, Rodríguez: South America’s future shines before the knockout round

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Neymar has been on soccer fans’ radars for so long, it’s strange to think of him as one for the future, but if the Brazilian star’s first year at Barcelona told us anything, it’s that the 22-year-old still has room to improve. A valuable part of a team that finished second in La Liga, the former Santos star failed to meet expectations inflated by his $74 million transfer fee. Though 15 goals across all competitions was good, it still left us wondering what can be.

Two weeks in Brazil have given us another glimpse of that future: three games; two braces; and one sign a transition year between Brazil and Spain need not define the Selecao’s biggest start. With four goals, Neymar sits on top of the 2014 World Cup’s scoring chart, outpacing names like Thomas Müller, Karim Benzema, Robin van Persie, and Arjen Robben, all with three goals.

That only tells part of the Neymar story. Scoring 35 time in 52 appearances during what’s sure to be a record-setting international career, Neymar’s always been able to produce goals, but now moved into the middle of the Selecao attack, the goal-scorer-turned-focal point is at the center of everything his team does. Oscar’s playmaking helps, but through the tournament’s first three games, Neymar has more touches than any non-defender in the squad – part of the reason why, as we approach the midway point of the tournament, he’s has put himself in contention for the Golden Ball.

After Tuesday’s action, James Rodríguez is in the same boat, something even the Colombian’s most ardent supporters would have been pressed to predict when the tournament started. With team’s loss of its own focal point, striker Radamel Falcao, it was unclear how Cafeteros head coach José Pékerman would adjust. Thanks to his own 22-year-old star, the Colombians haven’t missed a beat. With three goals and two assists, Rodríguez may by the World Cup’s most productive player.

source: AP
Colombia’s James Rodriguez celebrates after scoring during the match between Japan and Colombia. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

He may also be tournament’s best, period, a status only emboldened by his 45 minutes today against Japan. On what was supposed to be a day of rest for Ligue 1’s assist leader, Rodríguez came off the bench to redefine the match. Instead of Japan carrying over momentum from their late first half equalizer, James (pronounced in a Spanish style: HAHM ace) asserted control, producing a goal for Jackson Martínez within 10 minutes in his introduction. From there, the Colombian creator did his damage in transition, seemingly making every ball played out of the Colombian defense into a potentially back-breaking counter.

By match’s end, Rodríguez’s 45 minutes had produced a goal, two assists, a 4-1 win, and no memory of his team being completely outplayed before halftime. Whereas once the Colombians looked in danger of being handed their first blemish, the team rolled into the knockout round on the back of a three-goal win, leaving no hint that they’re missing their best player.

Or maybe, they’re not. While it’s too soon to say Rodríguez has eclipsed the influence of Falcao, Tuesday’s performance confirmed that day will eventually come. Every ounce of promise that took Rodríguez from Banfield to Porto and Porto to Monaco was funneled into 45 minutes of the best individual soccer we’ve seen at this tournament. For all the talk of Robben’s performances, Müller-ian opportunism, or the array of goals Benzema could have scored, nobody’s reached the heights Rodríguez did in today’s second half.

Combined, Rodríguez and Neymar have already scored seven times at this World Cup. They’ve showed why Barcelona and Monaco open their vaults to buy then. They’ve provided a glimpse of two talents who could define the next eight years of South American soccer.

And combined, they’re only slightly older than one of Rodriguez’s teammate. Faryd Mondragón became the World Cup’s oldest player today, but at 43 years old, he nearly matches the age of two of the tournament’s brightest stars.

Through three games at this year’s World Cup, their ages haven’t mattered, though for fans around the world, 22 should be a reassuring number. Even if they fall in the knockout round, Neymar and Rodríguez will be back in 2018. And 2022.

The Soccer Tournament to air across NBC platforms in summer 2023

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27 games from the The Soccer Tournament (TST) will be aired across NBC Sports’ platforms in the summer of 2023 as some of the biggest clubs in the world will be represented as teams square off to try and win the $1 million grand prize.

[ LIVE: Watch The Soccer Tournament on Peacock ]

Games will be aired on Peacock and CNBC, as the inaugural 7-a-side tournament takes place in Cary, North Carolina and the likes of West Ham United, Wolves, Borussia Dortmund, Wrexham and various teams from around the world including former USMNT and USWNT players will compete.

“On June 4th, two teams will face off in our championship game for a million dollars. The second place team will get nothing. We are excited to showcase the drama of that moment and 26 additional high-stakes matches through this partnership with NBC Sports, home of the Premier League in the United States,” said TST founder and CEO Jon Mugar.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA


What is The Soccer Tournament?

Here are more details on what to expect from The Soccer Tournament this summer:

“A first-of-its-kind soccer event, TST will feature 32 teams from eight different countries competing in a World Cup-like group stage. Sixteen teams will advance to the knockout stage, where they will compete in single elimination games for a $1 million grand prize.

“Teams competing in the event include 7-a-side teams from notable European clubs such as Borussia Dortmund, West Ham, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wrexham, Como 1907, Israeli club Hapoel Tel Aviv, MLS club Charlotte FC, Liga MX’s Club Necaxa, Clint Dempsey’s Team Dempsey, and US Women, a team of former US women’s national team players organized by Heather O’Reilly and coached by Mia Hamm.

“Notable players include legendary Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas (Como 1907), NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco (Nati SC), social media influencer and former MLS Academy product Noah Beck (Borussia Dortmund), among others. TST’s field will also include 23 former U.S. senior national team players on both the men’s and women’s side with nearly 1,400 matches of experience combined.”

Below is the full TST game schedule and tickets for all TST games are on sale now at thetournament.com/tst-tickets.


The Soccer Tournament schedule, how to watch live, start times, dates


June 1, 2023

Borussia Dortmund 2-5 Hoosiers Army (Indiana Alumni) – June 1, 9am ET

West Ham United 2-4 Far East United – June 1, 10:30am ET

US Women 0-5 Say Word FC – June 1, 12pm ET

Wrexham Red Dragons 3-2 Como 1907 – June 1, 1:30pm ET

Wolverhampton 3-4 Blade & Grass – June 1, 5pm ET

Club Necaxa 2-3 Hapoel Tel Aviv – June 1, 6:30pm ET

Wrexham Red Dragons 12-0 US Women – June 1, 8pm ET

Team Dempsey 0-3 Sneaky Fox – June 1, 9:30pm ET


June 2, 2023

Borussia Dortmund vs. Kingdom FC – June 2, 9am ET
West Ham United vs. Culture by Mo Ali FC – June 2, 10:30am ET
Wrexham Red Dragons vs. Say Word FC – June 2, 12pm ET
Team Dempsey vs. Zala FFF – June 2, 1:30pm ET

Knockout Round (8 games) – June 2, 6pm – 11pm ET
Quarterfinals (4 games) – June 2, 12 pm – 4:45pm ET

June 3, 2023

Semifinals (2 games) – June 3, 7 pm and 9:30pm ET

June 4, 2023

TST $1M Championship Game (Live) – June 4, 3pm ET CNBC – Encore to air on June 10, 2pm ET (NBC)


Manchester City vs Manchester United: How to watch FA Cup Final

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It’s a Manchester derby in the FA Cup Final for the first time in tournament history when Manchester City and Manchester United trade blows at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Not that any more juice is needed for an FA Cup Final or a derby, let alone both, but Manchester United can deny Man City its hopes of joining the Red Devils as a treble winner.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

And a win for Erik ten Hag would give him a domestic cup double in his first season as United boss, leaving Pep Guardiola to max out as a Premier League and Champions League winner should City beat Inter later this month.

The FA Cup has been played since 1871, and Man United’s 12 tournament wins trail only Arsenal’s 12. United last won in 2016 and appeared in 2018.

City has rung up six FA Cup wins and last claimed the prize in 2019.

Man City smashed Manchester United 6-3 in October on a double hat trick day spread between Erling Haaland and Phil Foden, but United won 2-1 at Old Trafford early in 2023 to split the season series.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Manchester City vs Manchester United.


How to watch Manchester City vs Manchester United live, FA Cup Final fstream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
Where: Wembley Stadium, London
Online: Stream via ESPN+
Updates: Stats, commentary on NBCSports.com


FA Cup Final odds (Betting odds provided by our partner, BetMGM )

BetMGM is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on BetMGM for the first time after clicking our links. 

Man City (-200) vs Manchester United (+525) | Draw over 120 mins (+375)


Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Manuel Akanji, Ruben Dias, Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish

Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Antony. OUT: Lisandro Martinez, Marcel Sabitzer, Donny van de Beek.

Manchester City vs Inter Milan: How to watch Champions League Final, odds, predictions

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Manchester City is on the chase for a historic treble and standing in the way is Inter Milan, one of Europe’s precious few to claim such an honor.

The Premier League winners three times running could have an FA Cup under their belt by the time the Champions League Final in Istanbul arrives on June 10.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Should City get past rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup Final, Pep Guardiola could lead a second club to a treble after he did it with Barcelona in 2008-09.

And it would forever burn United to have domestic company on the treble stage right down the road.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Manchester City vs Inter Milan.


How to watch Manchester City vs Inter Milan live, stream link and start time

Dates: 3pm ET June 10, 2023
Online: Live updates via NBCSports.com
How to watch: TUDN, Paramount+


What Premier League clubs have won the treble?

Manchester United won the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League in 1998-99.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils are the lone Premier Leagueb club to win it.


How many times has the treble been won?

Nine times in history has a team won its domestic league, top domestic cup, and the European Cup.

Bayern Munich and Barcelona have each done it twice, with Bayern doing it in 2012-13 and 2019-20 and Barca pulling it off in 2008-09 and 2014-15.

Celtic was the first to win a treble, doing it in 1966-67, while Ajax was the next in 1971-72.

PSV Eindhoven then won it in 1987-88 before Man United made it happen 11 years later. Inter Milan is the only Italian team to pull it off, winning in 2009-10.

(UEFA.com)


Champions League Final odds (Betting odds provided by our partner, BetMGM )

BetMGM is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on BetMGM for the first time after clicking our links. 

Man City (-250) vs Inter Milan (+625) | Draw over 120 mins (+380)

Over 2.5 goals (-160). Under 2.5 goals (+110)


Champions League Final predictions

Joe Prince-Wright: Man City 2-1 Inter Milan
Andy Edwards: Man City 3-1 Inter Milan
Nick Mendola: Man City 2-0 Inter Milan


Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Manuel Akanji, Ruben Dias, Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish

Inter Milan team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Joaquin Correa. OUT: Dalbert.

USMNT upcoming schedule – Nations League, friendlies, Gold Cup

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After reaching the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup, the USMNT have a big 2023 coming up as they aim to build off a successful showing on the world’s biggest stage.

[ LATEST: Balogun named to Nations League roster ]

For the next few months CONCACAF Nations League takes center stage, while the program is very much in transition as Anthony Hudson was in temporary charge but he has now moved on with B.J. Callaghan taking over an interim basis as the search for a new permanent head coach continues.

After both the general manager (Brian McBride) and sporting director (Earnie Stewart) left in recent months, Matt Crocker has arrived as U.S. Soccer’s new sporting director and has some huge decisions coming up as the USMNT’s talented youngsters need some guidance with a World Cup on home soil just three years away.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

As for now, here is the USMNT’s upcoming schedule for 2023, with plenty more games to be added based on their qualification for the 2023 Gold Cup on home soil. 


How to watch USMNT

TV channels in English: HBO Max, TNT
TV channels en Español:
Universo, Telemundo Deportes
Streaming en Español: Peacock


USMNT upcoming schedule

* Friendly | ** CONCACAF Nations League | *** 2022 World Cup | **** Gold Cup

2023

vs. Serbia* — Jan. 25, 10 pm ET — Loss 2-1 | Recap & highlights
vs. Colombia* — Jan. 28, 7:30 pm ET — Draw 0-0 | Recap & highlights

at Grenada** — March 24, 8 pm ET — Won 7-1 | Recap & highlights + Player ratings
vs El Salvador** — March 27, 7:30pm ET — Won 1-0 | Recap & highlights
vs Mexico* — April 19, 10:22pm ET — Glendale, Arizona – More details

vs Mexico ** — June 15, 10pm ET — Las Vegas, Nevada (Nations League semifinal)

2023 Gold Cup from June 16 to July 19 

vs Jamaica**** — June 24, 9:30pm ET — Chicago, Illinois 
vs TBD****
— June 28, 9:30pm ET — St. Louis, Missouri 
vs Nicaragua****
— July 2, 7pm ET — Charlotte, North Carolina

October 2023

vs Germany* — October 14, 3pm ET — Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT
vs Ghana* — October 17, 8:30pm ET — GEODIS Park, Nashville, TN


USMNT games in 2022

vs. Morocco* — June 1 — Win 3-0
vs. Uruguay* — June 5 — Draw 0-0
vs. Grenada** — June 10 — Win 5-0
at El Salvador** — June 14 — Draw 1-1
vs Japan* — Sept. 23 (in Dusseldorf, Germany) — Loss 2-0
vs Saudi Arabia* — Sept. 27 (in Murcia, Spain) — Draw 0-0


USMNT at 2022 World Cup

Group B
vs. Wales*** — Nov. 21, 2 pm ET — Draw 1-1
vs. England*** — Nov. 25, 2 pm ET — Draw 0-0
vs. Iran*** — Nov. 29, 2 pm ET — Win 1-0

Last 16
vs. Netherlands*** — Dec. 3, 10 am ET — Loss 3-1


USMNT 2022 World Cup qualifying scores, recaps, analysis

at El Salvador — Sept. 2Draw 0-0
vs. Canada — Sept. 5 — Draw 1-1
at Honduras — Sept. 8 — Win 4-1

vs. Jamaica — Oct. 7 — Win 1-0
at Panama — Oct. 10 — Loss 0-1
vs. Costa Rica — Oct. 13 — Win 2-1

vs. Mexico — Nov. 12 — Win 2-0
at Jamaica — Nov. 16 — Draw 1-1

vs. El Salvador — Jan. 27 — Win 1-0
at Canada — Jan. 30 — Loss 0-2
vs. Honduras — Feb. 2 — Win 3-0

at Mexico — March 24 — Draw 0-0 
vs. Panama — March 27 — Win 5-1
at Costa Rica — March 30 — Loss 0-2 


Final CONCACAF World Cup qualifying standings

Canada — 28 points – (QUALIFIED) GD +16 – automatic qualification
Mexico — 28 points (QUALIFIED) GD +9 – automatic qualification
USMNT — 25 points – (QUALIFIED) GD +11 – automatic qualification


Costa Rica — 25 points (PLAYOFF) GD +5


Panama — 21 points (ELIMINATED)
Jamaica — 14 points (ELIMINATED)
El Salvador — 10 points (ELIMINATED)
Honduras — 4 points (ELIMINATED)

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