Brazil boss Luis Felipe Scolari takes blame for huge defeat: “I am responsible”

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The expectation of an entire nation seemed to be weighing heavy on the shoulders of Brazil’s players early on during their shocking 7-1 defeat to Germany on Tuesday.

As soon as Thomas Muller scored the opener after 11 minutes Brazil’s defense imploded and the pressure put on them from their own fans tore them apart.

[ VIDEO: Watch all seven goals for Germany ]

[ VIDEO: Klose breaks WC scoring record ]

The post-mortem into the worst defeat in Brazil’s proud history has begun and one man is taking the blame: manager Luis Felipe Scolari.

Germany beats Brazil 7-1  |  How Brazil fell apart  |  Scolari takes blame  |  Luiz apologizes

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Scolari was asked how the catastrophic defeat came about. Here’s what he had to say.

“I will be remembered as the coach to lose 7-1 but I knew that risk when I took the job. The person who decided the line-up, the tactics, was me. It was my choice.”

“Who is invited to be the coach? I am. I am responsible. The catastrophic result can be shared as a group, my players will want that to happen. But who picked the tactics and the players? I did. The result and the performance is down to me. I am responsible.”

‘Big Phil’ will now need to stand up tall and take the intense criticism which is coming his way on the chin. The man has already won a World Cup with the Brazilian national team in 2002 and took them to the last four this time out with a far inferior team. When he took over in 2013, this country’s national team was in ruins. He at least restored some pride. Even if, right now, pride is the least prominent emotion that Brazilian fans and players are experiencing.

The squad Scolari had to whip into shape probably didn’t deserve to make the semifinals in any other tournament. The fact that they were playing on home soil and fed off the passion of the home fans dragged them through both of their narrow 2-1 wins in the last 16 clash against Chile and the quarterfinal vs. Colombia.

Scolari could never have foreseen his side defending so sluggishly in the opening 29 minutes and letting in five goals. With central defender and captain Thiago Silva out, Brazil’s defense resembled a poorly-manufactured sieve. Germany scored at will. Going forward Brazil were once again toothless and with their star man Neymar on the sidelines they had no hope at overturning what had already become an insurmountable German lead 29 minutes into the semifinal.

To take the blame off his players, Scolari will point the finger at himself. He doesn’t deserve that. Brazil’s players froze. Their 7-1 drubbing by Germany was down to basic errors being committed time and time again. There’s nothing Scolari can do about that.

Premier League clubs vote VAR into use for 2019-20 season

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It’s been inevitable for quite some time, but now it’s official: video review will be used in the Premier League when the 2019-20 season kicks off next August.

[ MORE: Fulham hire Claudio Ranieri after firing Slavisa Jokanovic ]

20 of 20 current PL clubs voted on Thursday to confirm the use of the modern technology beginning next season.

The Bundesliga and Serie A began using the video assistant referee (VAR) at the start of the 2017-18 season, and have continued (successful) operation of the system in 2018-19. Major League Soccer introduced the protocol two-thirds of the way through its 2017 season, to far greater degrees of varying success. La Liga is set to begin use of VAR next season as well.

[ MORE: England vs. USMNT preview ]

VAR was first used in the English game last season, when select FA Cup fixtures were used as test runs, while the same is being done in the EFL Cup this season.

Chelsea expected to let Cahill leave on loan in January

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Gary Cahill is no longer first-choice at Chelsea — anything but, in fact, as he’s played just 21 minutes in the Premier League this season — and the club is prepared to allow its captain to leave on loan in January as a reward for six years of excellent service, according to a report from the Guardian.

[ MORE: Fulham hire Claudio Ranieri after firing Slavisa Jokanovic ]

New Blues boss Maurizio Sarri has used Cahill sparingly thus far — even leaving him out of the 18-man team for Sunday’s draw with Everton — but has praised the 32-year-old for his professionalism and influence as a valued member inside the locker room. For those reasons, Sarri is prepared to do right by one of the club’s most senior members as Cahill seeks regular first-team minutes.

[ MORE: England vs. USMNT preview ]

Cahill’s current contract is set to expire in the summer of 2020, thus a loan in January and an ensuing permanent transfer this coming summer represents the club’s final opportunity to recoup a small fee for a player who will surely garner plenty of interest from within the PL. Having paid under $9 million to sign him from Bolton in January 2012, Chelsea have gotten pretty good value for their initial investment, including two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup, and one Champions League and Europa League title each during Cahill’s spell at the club.

U.S. U-20 men one win from World Cup

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One win.

That’s all the United States’ U-20 men’s national team will need to advance to this summer’s World Cup in Poland and the Pan-American Games in Peru.

[ MORE: Surgery for Mendy ]

The Yanks cruised through group play with a nearly perfect nine days of soccer, the closest of five wins a 6-1 defeat of Trinidad and Tobago.

Competition is a bit tougher in the knockout stage, but Costa Rica and Honduras did the U.S. a massive solid by drawing 1-1 in their opener.

Now Tab Ramos’ kids can qualify for the World Cup with a defeat of Costa Rica on Friday or Honduras on Monday.

The top two teams in each group qualify for Poland, while the Group A winner advances to the CONCACAF U-20 Championship to face the winner of Group B (Mexico, El Salvador, or Panama).

The U.S. has spread the scoring around, lead by 17-year-old Ulysses Lainez of LA Galaxy II (six goals). His former Galaxy Academy buddy, Alexis Mendez of Freiburg has five goals, as does Toronto FC 18-year-old Ayo Akinola.

Atlanta United sits atop Forbes’ list of most valuable MLS franchises

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Atlanta United came up just short of the Supporters’ Shield, but it’s off-the-field success is No. 1 with a bullet.

Giving high marks to attendance and merchandise sales, Forbes places the Five Stripes atop its list of the most valuable franchises in Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: Surgery for Mendy ]

United sits first, with a valuation of $330 million. Both Atlanta and the second place Galaxy have valuations ahead of the two-least valuable teams combined (Columbus and Colorado). And the Five Stripes are worth twice the individual values of those teams and Vancouver. Full list here, from Forbes.com:

“Last season, average home-game attendance was 48,200, and this year the team is drawing over 50,000 fans per game. In just two seasons Atlanta has already laid claim to the league’s eight best-attended games ever, and nine of the top eleven.”

The margins are fine, relatively speaking, with Atlanta’s advantage over second place LA Galaxy by $10 million. Seattle is third at $310m, with newcomers LAFC at $305m, and Toronto FC at $290m.