World Cup Today: France clash with Nigeria, Germany take on Algeria

Leave a comment

WORLD CUP TODAY: MONDAY, JUNE 30

This is turning out to be the tournament that just keeps on giving. Long may that continue. Penalty shootout drama between Greece and Costa Rica, plus a dramatic late win for the Netherlands over Mexico, made Sunday a right humdinger.

On Monday the round of 16 continues as two European powerhouse face off against African upstarts. France play Nigeria, then Germany face Algeria, as a day of drama, excitement and potential upsets awaits.

France have been on fire so far, scoring eight goals and topping their group. As for Nigeria, they are delighted to be in the knockout round for the first-time since 1998. In the other match-up, much fancied Germany take on the Desert Foxes in what should be an intriguing battle in Porto Alegre.

Let’s take a look at both encounters, up close.

MATCH 53: FRANCE VS. NIGERIA

Location: Estádio Nacional, Brasilia
Time: Noon ET
SOCCERLY PREVIEW | SOCCERLY MATCHCENTER

Cheater’s Guide

France have recovered from the embarrassment in 2010 superbly, smashing five past Switzerland and three past Honduras in the group stage. Karim Benzema has three goals to his name and will prove to be a real handful for Nigeria. The Super Eagles will be looking to their ‘keeper Vincent Enyeama (he made more saves than any other goalkeeper in the group stages with 18) to thwart the French in Brazil’s capital city.

What they’re saying

French midfielder Yohan Cabaye is warning against arrogance: “Confidence shouldn’t become arrogance because that’s when you have problems.”

History

They have only played once before, Nigeria winning a friendly 1-0 in St Etienne back in 2009.

Premier League Players

France: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), Mathieu Debuchy (Newcastle), Bacary Sagna (Manchester City), Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Moussa Sissokho (Newcastle), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton), Olivier Giroud (Arsenal), Loic Remy (QPR).

Nigeria: John Obi MikelVictor Moses (Chelsea); Peter Odemwingie (Stoke City)

RELATED: World Cup news, analysis from Soccerly

***

MATCH 54: GERMANY VS. ALGERIA
Location: Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre
Time: 4 p.m. ET
SOCCERLY PREVIEW | SOCCERLY MATCHCENTER

source: Getty Images
Can Germany’s attackers spark back into life vs. Algeria?

Cheater’s guide

Germany’s offense exploded in a 4-0 win over Portugal in their World Cup opener, but a 2-2 draw vs. Ghana and unconvincing 1-0 win over the U.S. have followed. Head coach Joachim Low has asked his side to improve, as Das Mannschaft aim to make their ninth-straight World Cup quarterfinal. As for Algeria, they have never made it to the knockout stages of a World Cup. Anything is a bonus for the Desert Foxes whose staunch defensive display surprise everyone in the group stages. Algeria are claiming this game is all about revenge, as they call Germany’s 1-0 win over Austria in the 1982 World Cup (a result which meant both Germany and Austria advanced at Algeria’s expense) the ‘Disgrace of Gijon.’ There will be no love lost in this battle.

What they’re saying

German coach Low is upset by the ‘Disgrace of Gijon’ comments: “I find it irritating when I read that this is a match about vengeance. Why should players who weren’t even born then want revenge? Maybe some on the other side want to make an issue out of it to motivate Algeria.”

History

Algeria have faced Germany twice … and they’ve won both times. 2-1 during their 1982 World Cup match, as they became the first African side to beat a European nation. They also won a friendly 2-0 back in 1964.

Premier League players

Germany: Per Mertesacker, Mesut Özil, Lukas Podolski (Arsenal); André Schürrle (Chelsea)

Algeria: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham Hotspur)

Yaya Toure talks future, wants to play with Paul Pogba

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Leave a comment

There is very little debate: Yaya Toure is his own special case.

The longtime Manchester City midfielder does what he wants, flies his own flag, has the worst agent in the game, and is pleased or dismayed in unusual ways.

[ UCL: What would Real 3-peat mean? ]

Toure, 35, has been linked with a move to NYCFC now that he’s leaving Man City, but the Ivorian still wants to play two more seasons for a Champions League or Europa League club.

And he wants to get together with Paul Pogba. You can see where this is going… (from The Manchester Evening News):

“Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go. Technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things.”

That must mean both are going to Paris Saint-Germain because… Yaya at Manchester United? No way, right? Right? Even with last year’s reports from his — again — terrible agent that it was an option, that still seems too villainous.

“I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. … I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job.”

Toure later said he was “no good in an office,” which had us thinking, well, what if they properly celebrated your birthday, Yaya?

WATCH: Miami United midfield unleashes Open Cup laser

@USSoccer
Leave a comment

Tomas Granitto, have yourself an extra plate at the postgame buffet.

The Miami United midfielder scored a gorgeous goal in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over fellow NPSL side Jacksonville Armada in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s third round.

[ MORE: 3 Key Battles for UCL Final ]

Complete with aesthetically-pleasing post-ping, the former El Salvador U-20 player laid into a 25-yard shot to open the scoring in Florida.

Granitto, 24, has played for Timbers 2, Swope Park Rangers, FC Edmonton, since leaving NCAA side Florida Gulf Coast.

Rondon wanted by Atleti, Inter Milan, and West Ham

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The big boys are looking to Salomon Rondon as a bargain striker.

Yes, $22 million is a bargain in the striker market these days.

[ MORE: Napoli hires Ancelotti ]

West Brom’s Venezuelan international, 28, stands 6’2″ and has a relegation release clause that is reportedly interesting Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, and West Ham United.

Atleti and Inter are in the Champions League next season, but Rondon played for new West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini at Malaga, posting 25 league goals in two seasons.

He’s scored 24 goals in three Premier League seasons at West Brom, almost a quarter of the 104 produced by the Baggies.

He also picked up three assists this season as the target man for Tony Pulis, Alan Pardew, and Darren Moore (and was fouled more often than any other Baggie (Baggy?)).

Rondon and Marko Arnautovic next to each other would be a real handful for PL defenses. Then again, maybe he’ll stay loyal to West Brom and set the Championship scoring record next season.

Three German organizers of 2006 World Cup indicted for tax evasion

Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images
Leave a comment

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Three German organizers of the 2006 World Cup have been charged with tax evasion linked to a payment to FIFA.

German news agency dpa reported that Theo Zwanziger, Wolfgang Niersbach and Horst R. Schmidt confirmed Wednesday they are indicted by Frankfurt prosecutors in a long-running investigation.

[ MORE: 3 Key Battles for UCL Final ]

They are accused of falsifying tax returns on behalf of the Germany soccer federation (DFB) in 2006. The DFB has already paid 19.2 million euros ($22.4 million) in back taxes. All three deny the charges, which were first reported by German daily Bild

The allegations are also being investigated by Swiss federal prosecutors and FIFA’s ethics committee. They have targeted German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer, who led the 2006 tournament organizing committee.

Beckenbauer, Zwanziger and Niersbach were members of FIFA’s executive committee in turn from 2007 through 2016.

In 2016, the DFB published an inquiry report into a complex payments trail including 6.7 million euros ($7.8 million) to FIFA in April 2005. Zwanziger and the DFB claimed the money was for a World Cup opening gala and therefore tax-deductible.

However, the payment went through FIFA and ended in a Swiss account belonging to former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who died in 2009.

The inquiry report did not rule out, but could not prove, that votes were bought when Germany beat a Nelson Mandela-supported South Africa bid for the hosting rights in a 12-11 vote of FIFA executive committee members in 2000.

Swiss prosecutors said in 2016 they had opened a criminal proceeding against the four German officials the previous year, on suspicion of fraud, money laundering, criminal mismanagement and misappropriation. That case spun off from a wider Swiss investigation of suspected corruption linked to FIFA and World Cup hosting votes that is ongoing.

Niersbach lost his seat on FIFA’s ruling committee when he was banned for one year for failing to disclose possible unethical conduct.

The various investigations have tarnished the reputation of the 2006 World Cup that was a popular success in the host nation, which called it the “Summer Fairytale.”