Premier League Playback: Should we be surprised by Steven Gerrard’s madness?

9 Comments

GERRARD’S RED-MIDST, MATA’S MAGIC

Steven Gerrard strode onto the Anfield pitch at half time to take part in his last-ever match against Manchester United for Liverpool. 38 seconds later, the Liverpool skipper walked straight back off as the rid-midst descended and he inexplicably stamped on Ander Herrera, who laid on the floor, just after delivering a crunching tackle on Juan Mata.

[ RELATED: Gerrard apologizes for red card ]

Gerrard was shown a straight red card, while Herrera was shown a yellow for his tackle on Gerrard, and hamstrung his team as they battled hard but lost 2-1 to United to leave them five points off of fourth place with eight games to go. Speaking to Sky Sports right after the game, watch in the video above, Gerrard apologized to the fans as he will now miss at least three of his final nine matches for the Reds through suspension.

“I need to accept it; the decision was right. I’ve let down my team-mates and the fans. I take full responsibility,” Gerrard said. “I don’t know what caused it. Probably just a reaction to the initial tackle [by Herrera]. I shouldn’t say more about it really. I’ve just come out here to apologize to the dressing room and supporters.”

Everyone everywhere was simply wondering “why?” when they saw Gerrard purposely stamp on the leg of Herrera right under the nose of referee Martin Atkinson. Gerard had no complaints about the red card and rightly so. But let’s not act like he’s an angel on the pitch and hasn’t been involved in contentious moments before. As a youngster he was close to being hooked out of Liverpool’s academy for crunching tackles and had to curb the physical side of his game.

During his illustrious career Gerrard has been sent off eight times, four of those reds have been in derby games against Merseyside rivals Everton or Manchester United. On all four occasions he has been sent off for reckless challenges but when you earn your living as a marauding central midfielder, you run that risk. The fact that this was Gerrard’s last-ever game against bitter rivals United before he moves to the LA Galaxy and calls an end to his 17-year career definitely played a part in his crazy decision to stamp on Herrera. So did the fact that he was left on the bench for United’s biggest game of the season and that he is no longer deemed a regular by Brendan Rodgers after spending almost six weeks on the sidelines.

[ RELATED: Mata scores stunning goal of the season contender ]

The pent up frustration in Gerrard cost his team a shot at beating United on Sunday as they rallied but had no answer for Mata’s brilliance. This will be painful for fans of Liverpool to accept, but Gerrard’s slip at home to Chelsea played a pivotal role in the Reds not winning the title last season and his silly challenge on Herrera could cost them a top four spot this season. Leaving after 38 seconds on a red card was not they way Gerrard wanted to go out in his last game as Liverpool’s leading man versus fierce rivals United, but that’s what happened.

On the other side of the fence, Juan Mata had his best game in a United short. Above is a moment of pure genius produced by  the majestic Mata.

He dug out this beauty in the 59th minute as time almost stood still inside Anfield when the Spaniard sprung himself in the air and volleyed home an incredible acrobatic effort from an almost impossible angle. That goal will be close to the hearts of United fans for the rest of time, as Mata’s two strikes on Sunday delivered a marvelous win which keeps them in pole position to finish in the top four.

[ RELATED: Watch full match replays ]

After the game Louis van Gaal hailed Mata’s display, as the Spaniard who cost $45 million from Chelsea last January is finally fitting in at Old Trafford and becoming an integral part of LVG’s plans. Even if the Dutchman is slightly reticent to admit it and is a little uneasy about dishing out praise…

“Juan is one of my better players,” van Gaal said. “I looked for balance and now I have found a position where he plays very good and he also scores two goals and marvelous goals.”

Marvelous. Majestic. Mercurial. Mata is finally making his mark at Manchester United, and did so on Sunday in the biggest game of their season so far as one of the fiercest rivalry matches in world soccer did not disappoint. See the highlights, below.

Premier League Schedule – Week 30

Result Recap & Highlights
Aston Villa 0-1 Swansea Recap and watch here
Hull 2-3 Chelsea Recap and watch here
Liverpool 1-2 Man United Recap and watch here
Man City 3-0 WBA Recap and watch here
Newcastle 1-2 Arsenal Recap and watch here
QPR 1-2 Everton Recap and watch here
Saints 2-0 Burnley Recap and watch here
Stoke 1-2 Crystal Palace Recap and watch here
Tottenham 4-3 Leicester Recap and watch here
West Ham 1-0 Sunderland Recap and watch here

REFS MUST GET VIDEO HELP

After two minutes of Manchester City’s game against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, Wilfried Bony went down outside the box in a challenge from Craig Dawson as he went through on goal. Clear red card. However referee Neil Swarbrick, as I’m sure you are aware of now, sent off Gareth McAuley instead of Dawson in a clear case of mistaken identity.

[ RELATED: Latest PL standings ]

Swarwick has since apologized and the Professional Game Match Officials Ltd (PGMOL) have called for video technology to be used to help out their officials in tight situations.

“We need to see what technology we can use to help get referees’ decisions more accurate. Football as a whole has to look at it,” Mike Riley, head of the PGMOL said. “All it takes is a split-second lapse in concentration. Neil had four or five elements to judge in half a second and it is that type of situation that would lend itself to technology.”

[ RELATED: English refs want video help ]

In essence it was the correct decision for a red card and a PK (just not to the right player) so West Brom can’t argue about the outcome too much as they got off to the worst possible start in their 3-0 defeat. But having video technology with the fourth official on the sidelines — or perhaps an official watching a TV screen in some neutral location like they do for contentious calls in NHL — would make the most sense.

It takes 10-15 seconds to take a quick look and see if the right player was sent off and if a decision regarding a penalty kick was for a dive or not. (Maybe that will help to get rid of diving too?) Those worried about every decision being placed under video scrutiny, I hear you. But perhaps a challenge system could be brought in so coaches have three of them during a match, but mostly this technology would be used to overturn incorrect decisions by a referee if the fourth official has clear video evidence to show that a mistake has been made.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Referees sending off incorrect players hasn’t happened a whole lot, but in the past 12 months it has occurred three times which is three more times than it should happen. With Kieran Gibbs given a red when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain handled on the line for Arsenal against Chelsea last season and Wes Brown was sent off instead of John O’Shea for Sunderland at Manchester United earlier this campaign, big mistakes have been made. With the pace of the game and scrutiny on officials from pundits, fans and outsiders who can see every angle in a replay close to 10 seconds after the incident in question took place, why can’t referees get that kind of technology to help them out?

Below are the views of our panel as to how referees can be helped out.

KANE DESERVES CHANCE TO LEAD ENGLAND

On Saturday Harry Kane scored another Premier League hat trick to take his tally in the PL to 19 this season, and 29 in all competitions as the man named PL Player of the Month for January and February kept his insane hot-streak going in the 4-3 win over Leicester City. 

Kane, 21, was called up to England’s full national team squad this week for the first time and the Tottenham Hotspur forward deserves the chance to lead the line for the Three Lions in their upcoming games against Lithuania and Italy, not just sit on the bench for the “experience.”

[ RELATED: Premier League schedule ]

Moving through England’s youth ranks and scoring goals at every level, it’s about time he got his chance after a season of blossom few would have predicted last August. Sure, Kane had potential, but the rapid rate of his development has stunned observers and provided Roy Hodgson with a welcome selection dilemma up front.

How do you fit Daniel Sturridge, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Kane into and England lineup? Hint: you play Kane up top on his own. With Sturridge still easing his way back into things after injury, Rooney a guaranteed starter and Welbeck a little off the boil, Hodgson’s preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, or a variation of 4-3-3, would suit Kane in the lone central role and allow Rooney the freedom to create in behind him. On the wings Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge would provide pace, trickery and balance, as Kane and Sturridge could well interchange as we often see both drifting out wide for their club teams to create havoc.

Simply put, Kane’s time is now. Yes, he is just 21 but at the moment he is carrying Tottenham’s top four hopes and is a talisman who a team can be built around. England awaits the Hurri-Kane.

AMERICANS ABROAD

Tim Howard was the only U.S. national team player to taste success in the Premier League this weekend. Geoff Cameron went the full 90 at right back, hear his thoughts on the Potters chase for their best-ever PL finish in the video above, but Crystal Palace made Stoke pay for slack defending.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan couldn’t help his side shutout Swansea as a late goal saw Villa’s winning-streak end at three in all competitions as the Midlands clubs are still entrenched in a relegation battle. As for Howard, he helped Everton squeak by QPR to ease their relegation concerns after a tough exit from the Europa League last Thursday.

Premier League Playback comes out every Monday as PST’s Editor and Lead Writer takes an alternative look at all the action from the weekend. Read the full archive, here

World Cup 2022 rankings: Who are the favorites?

0 Comments

With the tournament in full flow and the knockout rounds now here, it is time to update and release the latest 2022 World Cup rankings.

[ LIVE: Watch World Cup en Espanol en Peacock

There are a few favorites to win the trophy in Qatar but some of the giants have struggled in the group stage and there have been some big shocks to impact the chances of some powerhouses lifting the famous trophy.

There remains no real frontrunner to win the tournament. That is great news for neutrals.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

Keep an eye out on a few underdogs too, as there are some real opportunities which have opened up depending on what side of the bracket you’re on.

We will updates these rankings during the tournament in Qatar as the final takes place on December 18, 2022.

Let us know what you think of the rankings below.


World Cup 2022 schedule, start time, dates, how to watch live

  • When: November 20, 2022 to December 18, 2022
  • Knockout round game kick-off times: 10am, 2pm (both ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, scores, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup, and be sure to subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube!


World Cup Rankings – December 4, 2022

Teams knocked out on the group stage

32. Qatar – Even
31. Wales – Even
30. Canada – Down 2
29. Tunisia – Up 1
28. Costa Rica – Up 1


27. Belgium – Down 17
26. Denmark – Down 10
25. Saudi Arabia – Down 6
24. Ghana – Even
23. Serbia – Down 6


22. Cameroon – Up 4
21. Iran – Down 3
20. Mexico – Up 5
19. Germany – Down 10
18. Uruguay – Down 7
17. Ecuador – Down 4


Teams who made it to the last 16

16. Poland – Up 5
15. Australia – Up 12
14. Senegal –  Up 6
13. USA – Up 2


12. South Korea – Up 10
11. Morocco – Up 12
10. Switzerland – Up 2
9. Japan – Up 5
8. Croatia – Even
7. Spain – Up 3


6. Netherlands – Up 1
5. England – Up 1
4. Portugal – Down1
3. Argentina – Up 4 
2. France – Even
1. Brazil – Even


Portugal vs Switzerland: How to watch live, stream link, team news

0 Comments

Portugal and Switzerland meet Tuesday with a 2022 World Cup quarterfinal berth on the line in Lusail.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portuguese have a EURO during his tenure with the team but have never won the World Cup. That, of course, can change this month with Bruno Fernandes now the focal point of the attack.

STREAM LIVE PORTUGAL v SWITZERLAND

Switzerland, meanwhile, will feel it has as good a chance as any to make a run in the tournament having beaten Cameroon and Serbia while staying within a goal of world No. 1 Brazil in a close group stage loss.

Portugal opened the tournament with a slim and thrilling 3-2 win over Ghana, then topping Uruguay 2-0 before further dooming the Uruguayan side by falling 2-1 to South Korea in Al Rayyan

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Portugal vs Switzerland.


How to watch Portugal vs Switzerland live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Tuesday Dec. 6
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Portugal’s complete team is something to behold as Ruben Dias, Ruben Neves, and Bruno Fernandes give the side a robust spine that can be topped just as robustly by Cristiano Ronaldo when the great player is at his best in terms of defying the age 37.

The Swiss have seen Breel Embolo as a threat up top but the backs and midfield have so many tough nuts to crack with Granit Xhaka operating atop Manuel Akanji and Fabian Schar.


Portugal quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 9
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs
Coach: Fernando Santos
Key players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancelo

Switzerland quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 15
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 12
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Murat Yakin
Key players: Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, Yann Sommer, Remo Freuler

Follow @NicholasMendola

World Cup 2022 schedule – how to watch, last 16, calendar, match schedule, brackets, dates

2 Comments

The World Cup 2022 schedule is locked in and this tournament in Qatar has been sensational as the knockout rounds will capture the imagination of the globe.

[ LIVE: Watch World Cup en Espanol en Peacock ]

Japan, Australia and Morocco made the last 16 with so many huge shocks during the tournament, while Germany, Denmark and Belgium all crashed out in the group stage.

From the USMNT and England getting out of their group to Lionel Messi dragging Argentina through and Mexico just missing out on getting out of the group stages and amid upsets galore, there are plenty of intriguing games in the latter stages.

[ MORE: World Cup rosters for all 32 teams ]

We now have the small matter of the Round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals, and final to look forward to. Bring. It. On.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]  

Below is the schedule in full, details on how to watch the games and everything else you need..

[ MORE: World Cup odds ]


World Cup 2022 schedule, start time, dates, how to watch live

  • When: November 20, 2022 to December 18, 2022
  • Knockout round kick-off times: 10am, 2pm (both ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, scores, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup, and be sure to subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube!


Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H | Full tables


Round of 16 schedule

Match 49 – Saturday, December 3: Netherlands 3-1 USA – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

Match 50 – Saturday, December 3: Argentina 2-1 Australia – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan

Match 52 – Sunday, December 4: France 3-1 Poland – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha

Match 51 – Sunday, December 4: England 3-0 Senegal – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

Match 53 – Monday, December 5: Japan vs Croatia (preview) – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 10am

Match 54 – Monday, December 5: Brazil vs South Korea (preview) – Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm

Match 55 – Tuesday, December 6: Morocco vs Spain (preview) – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Match 56 – Tuesday, December 6: Portugal vs Switzerland (preview) – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm


Quarterfinal schedule

Match 58 – Friday, December 9: Winners Match 53 vs Winners Match 54 – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Match 57 – Friday, December 9: Netherlands vs Argentina – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 10am

Match 60 – Saturday, December 10: Winners Match 55 vs Winners Match 56 – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha – 10am

Match 59 – Saturday, December 10: Winners Match 51 vs France – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


Semifinal schedule

Match 61 – Tuesday, December 13: Winners Match 57 vs Winners Match 58 – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm

Match 62 – Wednesday, December 14: Winners Match 59 vs Winners Match 60 – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


Third-place play-off

Match 63 – Saturday, December 17: Losers Match 61 vs Losers Match 62 – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm


Final

Match 64 – Sunday, December 18: Winners Match 61 vs Winners Match 62 – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 10am


Group stage results

Group A

Recap/highlights: Qatar 0-2 Ecuador – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Senegal 0-2 Netherlands  – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 5am
Recap/highlights: Qatar 1-3 Senegal – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 2-0 Qatar – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Ecuador 1-2 Senegal –  Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

Group B

Recap/highlights: England 6-2 Iran – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: USA 1-1 Wales – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: England 0-0 USA – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Wales 0-2 Iran – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Wales 0-3 England – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Iran 0-1 USA – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor

Group C

Recap/highlights: Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Mexico 0-0 Poland – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Argentina 2-0 Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Poland 0-2 Argentina – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail

Group D

Recap/highlights: France 4-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Denmark 0-0 Tunisia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: France 2-1 Denmark – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Tunisia 0-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Tunisia 1-0 France –  Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Australia 1-0 Denmark – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah

Group E

Recap/highlights: Spain 7-0 Costa Rica – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Germany 1-2 Japan – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Spain 1-1 Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Japan 0-1 Costa Rica – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Japan 2-1 Spain – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Costa Rica 2-4 Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

Group F

Recap/highlights: Belgium 1-0 Canada – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Morocco 0-0 Croatia – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 5am
Recap/highlights: Belgium 0-2 Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Croatia 4-1 Canada – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Croatia 0-0 Belgium – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights Canada 1-2 Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor

Group G

Recap/highlights: Brazil 2-0 Serbia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Brazil 1-0 Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha – 11am
Recap/highlights: Cameroon 3-3 Serbia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Cameroon 1-0 Brazil – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Serbia 2-3 Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha

Group H

Recap/highlights: Portugal 3-2 Ghana – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Uruguay 0-0 South Korea – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Portugal 2-0 Uruguay – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: South Korea 2-3 Ghana – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: South Korea 2-1 Portugal – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Ghana 0-2 Uruguay – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah


World Cup player rankings: Who are the top 25 players in Qatar?

0 Comments

Our World Cup player rankings have landed, as we select the top 25 players in Qatar as we head into the knockout round at the tournament.

Of course, this is going to change a lot during the World Cup and we will be updating this list as all the action happens in Qatar.

[ MORE: Rosters for all 32 teams ]

From Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe, there are superstars galore who have the hopes of their nation resting on their shoulders.

[ LIVE: Watch World Cup en Espanol en Peacock ]

Below are the player rankings in full which we will updated throughout the tournament.

[ MORE: World Cup odds ]


How to watch, start time, dates, stream links

  • When: November 20, 2022 to December 18, 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 5am, 8am, 10am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, scores, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup, and be sure to subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube!


World Cup player rankings (As of December 4)

1. Kylian Mbappe (France) – Even
2. Lionel Messi (Argentina) – Even
3. Casemiro (Brazil) – Up 7
4. Bruno Fernandes (Portugal) – Up 10
5. Wojciech Szczesny (Poland) – New entry
6. Antoine Griezmann (France) – New entry
7. Alisson (Brazil) – Even
8. Harry Kane (England) – Down 5
9. Frenkie de Jong (Netherlands) – New entry
10. Olivier Giroud (France) – Up 7
11. Cody Gakpo (Netherlands) – New entry
12. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – Down 6
13. Memphis Depay (Netherlands) – New entry
14. Hakim Ziyech (Morocco) – New entry
15. Rodrigo de Paul (Argentina) – New entry
16. Ritsu Doan (Japan) – New entry
17. Jurrien Timber (Netherlands) – New entry
18. Richarlison (Brazil) – Down 10
19. Bernardo Silva (Portugal) – Even
20. Virgil van Dijk (Netherlands) – Even
21. Vinicius Junior (Brazil) – Down 16
22. Heung-min Son (South Korea) – Down 4
23. Harry Maguire (England) – New entry
24. Achraf Hakimi (Morocco) – New entry
25. Pedri (Spain) – Down 12