Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying: Brazil, Uruguay face road tests

Leave a comment

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Brazil and Uruguay each play away on Tuesday in a round of South American World Cup qualifiers that could see first place in the table change hands.

Leader Uruguay will travel to Barranquilla to face fourth-place Colombia while Brazil visits Merida to challenge bottom Venezuela. If Brazil wins and Uruguay fails to, the five-time world champions will go from sixth place to first in only four matches under new manager Adenor Bacchi, universally known as Tite.

Weeks ago, Brazil wasn’t even among the top four in South America’s standings, which award automatic places at the World Cup in Russia. Now Brazil has 18 points, one behind Uruguay.

[ MORE: $225 million offer for Neymar? ]

Although Venezuela has only two points in nine matches, Tite recognized it will be a key match for Brazil. That is because Barcelona star Neymar won’t be available for him for the first time due to a suspension. Under former coach Dunga, Brazil won 85 percent of the time with Neymar on the pitch and only 50 percent without him.

Tite said the match against Venezuela would be important to show that “the team has to be strong without Neymar and, when with him, become even stronger.”

Practice sessions in sunny Natal, in Brazil’s Northeast, showed Chelsea’s Willian in the starting lineup as a replacement for Neymar. Guangzhou Evergrande’s midfielder Paulinho also seemed set to claim back his position – he was suspended in the 5-0 thrashing of Bolivia on Thursday.

Uruguay, who beat Venezuela 3-0 in Montevideo in the previous round, will have a much trickier challenge against a rising Colombia team.

It will be the fifth time coach Oscar Tabarez’s Uruguay plays against Jose Pekerman’s Colombia. So far, each has won two.

ARGENTINA

Fifth-place Argentina has massive problems as it prepares to host sixth-place Paraguay on Tuesday: superstar Lionel Messi is still injured, its defense has been dismantled with the absence of three players and the team is getting farther and farther from the leaders.

With 16 points alongside Ecuador and Colombia, but behind on goal difference, Argentina holds its worst position in qualifiers since the current system was implemented for the 1998 World Cup in France.

[ MORE: Canada’s Hoilett finds new Championship club ]

Messi also missed successive 2-2 draws against Venezuela and Peru in the previous qualifiers. In its opening nine qualifiers, Argentina won the three in which Messi was involved and collected only seven points from the other six games.

“We can’t always depend on Messi, we have to do something to get ahead so his absence is not noted,” Juventus striker Paulo Dybala said.

Besides Messi, Argentina is without defenders Pablo Zabaleta, Nicolas Otamendi and Ramiro Funes Mori.

Paraguay, with 12 points, lost to Colombia at home 1-0 in the previous round and needs a win to keep alive its hopes of qualification for Russia.

CHILE

Copa America winner Chile will play perhaps the most attractive match of the week in Santiago against Peru. Lagging in seventh place with 11 points, Chile risks not qualifying for the World Cup if it doesn’t beat its Andean rival. After losing 3-0 to Ecuador, Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi is under heavy pressure. He blamed the altitude for the bad result in Quito and promised a different attitude before the home fans.

“It will be different on Tuesday,” Pizzi said. “Three months ago we won Copa America Centenario with those players and these tactics. Then we played three games and our line was always the same, except for the match against Ecuador. We will insist with things that gave us good results.”

Eighth-place Peru, with eight points, has limited hopes of qualification.

Elsewhere, ninth-place Bolivia hosts third-place Ecuador.

Leicester City smashes Man City through Vardy hat trick

Leave a comment

Manchester City – Leicester City: Jamie Vardy’s hat trick included two of three Leicester City penalties as the Foxes punished Man City 5-2 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

James Maddison scored a spectacular goal in a substitute performance and Youri Tielemans converted a Maddison-won penalty to salt away the points.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Riyad Mahrez had given Man City a lead over his former team but Leicester had a 2-1 lead by halftime. Nathan Ake scored late off a Mahrez corner kick for City’s second goal.

It’s the first time Pep Guardiola has seen his team concede five goals at home, and also the first time a team has scored three penalties in a game.

Leicester City goes atop the table in joining Everton as 3-0 teams, while Man City falls to 1-1.


Three things we learned: Manchester City – Leicester City

1. Rodgers gets a signature win: Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has been seeking a win over a notable rivals since getting hammered by Liverpool and Man City in consecutive affairs during last season’s festive fixtures. This absolutely qualifies, and to do it in the first of 12 weeks without Wilfred Ndidi makes the win all the more impressive.

2. Pep’s point made: Guardiola had been grousing about his injuries all week and it might’ve all seemed a bit silly given the riches of Man City, but when Ferran Torres and Liam Delap entered the game as subs and you looked to the bench to see they were merely chosen over a bunch of defenders and youth, well, yup. Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Joao Cancelo, Gabriel Jesus, and Sergio Aguero all missed out.

3. Vardy loves the spot: Vardy knows how to make the most of any contact in the box and he’s even better once he sorts the ball on the spot. He has five goals on the young season and is not showing any signs that he’s 33 years old (aside from, perhaps, his limping gait).

Man of the Match

Tielemans is the club’s the most important player to the team now that Ndidi is out, but Nampalys Mendy filled in admirably against the top attack in the league.


Manchester City – Leicester City recap

Ex-Leicester City striker Riyad Mahrez has torn the cover off a goal to give Man City an early lead over his former club.

A loose ball fell to the Algerian near the back of the 18 and Mahrez absolutely smashed the ball into the upper reaches of the goal.

Schmeichel made a solid save on Raheem Sterling in the 18th minute as City bid for a second, and the goalkeeper also caught a Fernandinho header off a free kick.

Leicester had a chance on the break but James Justin passed instead of shooting with Ederson way off his line and it was broken up by Man City.

Rodri had the ball in the goal off a De Bruyne free kick but was offside and the score stayed 1-0.

Kyle Walker then wrestled Vardy to the box in the 37th minute. He doesn’t miss many penalties, that Vardy.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

He’d provide the go-ahead goal on a combination play often seen from Man City, as Youri Tielemans sent Timothy Castagne racing to the end line. The Belgian’s cutback was cheekily turned past Ederson by the back leg of Vardy.

Vardy drew his second penalty off a push from Eric Garcia and City was in real trouble.

Schmeichel saved a De Bruyne effort in the 62nd minute and Liam Delap headed over the goal minutes later.

De Bruyne picked out Raheem Sterling at the back post with 23 minutes to play only for the Englishman to head over the goal.

There wasn’t much for Man City to like aside from Ake’s goal, 71 percent possession and a 15-7 shot edge doing little.

West Ham – Wolves: How to watch, start time, team news, prediction, odds

Leave a comment

West Ham – Wolves: David Moyes will be watching from home after testing positive for COVID-19, though he reportedly remains asymptomatic, when his West Ham United side welcomes Wolverhampton Wanderers to the London Stadium on Sunday (Watch live at 2 pm ET, online via Peacock).

WEST HAM – WOLVES STREAM LIVE

In recent history, West Ham have had an absolutely torrid time against Nuno Espirito Santo’s side since they won promotion from the EFL Championship. The Hammers have found the back of the net zero times, and collected zero points, in four meetings since Wolves returned to the Premier League.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Here is everything you need to know ahead of West Ham – Wolves this Sunday with team news, odds, stream link and more.


Team news: West Ham – Wolves (INJURY REPORT)

West Ham’s Issa Diop and Josh Cullen join Moyes on the sideline after positive COVID-19 tests.

Nelson Semedo makes his Wolves debut behind Adama Traore on what’s a frightening right side. Ex-Liverpool man Ki-Jana Hoever is on the bench for Wolves.


What they’re saying: West Ham – Wolves

Stand-in manager Alan Irvine, on Moyes’ absence: “I’ve spoken to him several times this morning. He is not feeling any symptoms and hasn’t felt them any way through, so obviously it’s a bit frustrating for him, but he’s fine and he’s getting on with other things. Of course, David will be the manager and everything we do will be run through him. He will make the decisions on everything.”

Nuno Espirito Santo, on facing a team with COVID-19 cases: “We are not concerned, I wish David and the players the fastest recovery. What happened to West Ham can happen to any one of us. It’s tough when you are preparing for a game and you cannot be on the touchline. Now we’re not concerned, we’re confident and we trust the authorities to keep things safe for us.”


Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)

Everything points to a win for Wolves (+105) with West Ham (+270) made slight home underdogs, which should spell out everything you need to know about the Hammers. Best-case scenario for Moyes and Irvine would be to snatch a draw (+240).

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


Prediction: West Ham – Wolves

West Ham might get out of the starting block at some point this season, but Wolves are hardly the ideal opponent you want to see when you have zero points and very few positives to start the season. Misery begets misery, and West Ham are in for a bit more. West Ham 0-2 Wolves.


How to watch West Ham – Wolves stream and start time

Kickoff: 2 pm ET Sunday
Online: Stream via Peacock

Bayern Munich win streak stopped short of Guinness World Record

Bayern Munich streak
Photo by DANIEL ROLAND/AFP via Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Guinness World Record people can cancel their midweek trip to Munich, unless they want to go for pleasure in place of business.

Coritiba’s 2011 world record for wins (24) is safe after Bayern Munich failed to match it in a 4-1 loss to Hoffenheim on Sunday at PreZero Arena, also ending a 32-match unbeaten run for Hansi Flick’s Bavarians.

[ MORE: Schalke fires Wagner ]

Maybe a slightly-weakened Bayern was weary from Thursday’s UEFA Super Cup defeat of Sevilla in Hungary.

Maybe Bayern men overlooked Hoffenheim with Wednesday’s German Super Cup date with rivals Borussia Dortmund on the docket

Or maybe it was just inevitable given the quality of football teams in the world and the fact that Hoffenheim played pretty well.

Regardless, Bayern made it five big German teams to drop points this week when Andrej Kramaric scored twice to join Munas Dabbur and Ermin Bicakcic in sending Hoffenheim to all three points (Borussia Dortmund lost Saturday, while Leipzig, Gladbach, and Bayer Leverkusen all drew).

Joshua Kimmich was good as usual for Bayern and brought the score to 2-1 by halftime, but Kramaric’s goals came in the 77th minute and deep in stoppage time as Hoffenheim overcame 28 percent possession to win.

Robert Lewandowski and Leon Goretzka started on the bench in favor of Joshua Zirkzee and Corentin Tolisso, but entered the match in the 57th minute and could not produce an equalizer.

Hoffenheim joins Augsburg as the lone 2-0 teams in the Bundesliga, though Freiburg can join them Sunday with a win over Wolfsburg. All the burgs.

Newcastle’s Bruce: Handball rule ‘nonsense’ hurting the game

1 Comment

Given most of the words coming out of Steve Bruce’s mouth, you would’ve thought the penalty given late in a 1-1 draw between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United hurt his side.

But Bruce did not mince words when asked about VAR awarding Newcastle a stoppage-time penalty for Andy Carroll’s late header onto the back of Eric Dier’s arm that allowed Callum Wilson to take a point for the Magpies at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

[ MORE: Match recap | Mourinho reacts ]

In fact, toss in the penalty given against Crystal Palace’s Joel Ward on Saturday and Bruce thinks the managers should approach the Premier League and demand change.

“I can understand why Spurs are going to go berserk and the way Roy Hodgson reacted yesterday,” Bruce said after the game. “It’s a total nonsense. Look we got one today and we should be jumping for joy and through hoops but I’d be devastated if it was against us. The handball rule has been around for years but the decisions are, for me, ruining the spectacles. It’s great for me today but I think we have to get together as the managers, coaches and go to the Premier League and say it must stop.”‘

What will the Premier League do about the rule and how VAR interprets it? Stay tuned…

Newcastle moves to 1-1-1 on the season to match Spurs but the Magpies did little to deserve the point aside from Karl Darlow’s 11-save day between the sticks.

It was Newcastle’s first penalty conversion after missing the only one awarded to them in 2019-20 and two of three in 2018-19.