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Claudio Bravo’s struggles at Man City come to a head at Goodison

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Pep Guardiola‘s attempts to make Manchester City his own have not gone particularly well this season. The players do not seem to fully grasp the full extent of his tactics, and they look not only unable to produce a consistent cutting edge up front but also have been unusually vulnerable to counter-attacks on the other end.

Maybe the most regrettable decision Guardiola has made thus far, however, was made at the very beginning of the season. He sent Joe Hart on loan to Torino and replaced the England #1 with Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.

Hart has been relatively strong at Torino since settling in Serie A, but what makes the decision so painful for City fans is how poorly Bravo has performed.

Touted as one of the top goalkeepers in the world, the 33-year-old Chilean has been woeful in net for City this season. He is rated the 21st-best goalkeeper in the Premier League this season by Squawka Statistics, but that’s only the start of the ugly numbers.

Bravo has faced 61 shots on target this season, conceding 25 goals, a 59% save rate. It’s been even worse of late, with Bravo allowing 13 goals over City’s last eight Premier League games while facing 23 shots on target, a save rate of just 44%. That includes a 2-1 win over Arsenal where the Gunners scored on their only shot on target, a 1-0 loss to Liverpool where the Reds scored with their only shot on target, a 4-2 loss to Leicester City where the Foxes scored with four of six shots on target, a 3-1 loss to Chelsea where the Blues scored three times with just four shots on target, and finally the most recent calamity against Everton where the Toffees scored four goals on four shots on target, including 18-year-old Tom Davies who chipped Bravo after coming off his line, and 19-year-old Ademola Lookman who sent it through Bravo’s legs for Everton’s fourth.

Bravo has kept just four clean sheets this season, a far cry from the 12 kept by Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois or the eight for Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris, although that statistic has just as much to do with the back line as it does with Bravo.

Meanwhile, Hart has kept five clean sheets with Torino over in the Italian top flight, and is rated the seventh-best goalkeeper in Serie A by Squawka’s performance score, one place behind Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon. Torino has conceded 28 goals, eighth-best in Serie A.

Back in early January, Guardiola backed Bravo, saying, “He has to adapt but all the goalkeepers, central defenders, full-backs and strikers do. I know people are focused on Claudio but why does Claudio need to adapt and others don’t?”

It’s becoming harder and harder.

World Cup’s only black coach says there should be more

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MOSCOW (AP) — The only black coach at this year’s World Cup says there is a need for more in soccer.

“In European countries, in major clubs, you see lots of African players. Now we need African coaches for our continent to go ahead,” Senegal’s Aliou Cisse said through a translator on Monday, a day ahead of his nation’s World Cup opener against Poland.

[ MORE: Where to watch Tuesday’s games, feat. Colombia and Egypt ]

The percentage of black players at this year’s tournament and with clubs in the world’s top leagues is far higher.

Cisse was captain of Senegal when it reached the 2002 quarterfinals in the nation’s only previous World Cup appearance.

“I am the only black coach in this World Cup. That is true,” Cisse said. “But really these are debates that disturb me. I think that football is a universal sport and that the color of your skin is of very little importance.”

[ MORE: Harry Kane “buzzing” after two goals | Southgate encouraged ]

FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Cisse cited Florent Ibenge, the coach of Congo’s national team, as a sign of progress.

“I think we have a new generation that is working, that is doing its utmost, and beyond being good players with a past of professional footballers,” Cisse said. “We are very good in our tactics, and we have the right to be part of the top international coaches.”

Africa’s best performance at the World Cup has been to reach the quarterfinals, accomplished by Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

“I have the certainty that one day an African team, an African country, will win the World Cup,” Cisse said. “It’s a bit more complicated in our countries. We have realities that are not there in other continents, but I think that the African continent is full of qualities. We are on the way, and I’m sure that Senegal, Nigeria or other African countries will be able win, just like Brazil, Germany or other European countries.”

A lack of minority managers also has been documented at the club level. The Sports People’s Think Tank said in November there were just three minority managers among the 92 English professional clubs as of Sept. 1.

World Cup: Saudi team safe after plane caught fire mid-flight

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The Saudi Arabian national team arrived alive and well in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, on Monday after a terrifying incident that saw their plane catch fire in the air.

[ MORE: Where to watch Tuesday’s games, feat. Colombia and Egypt ]

The blaze was caused by “a technical failure in one of the airplane engines,” which the airline, Rossiya, claims was caused by a bird flying into the engine. Each of the planes engines were reportedly in operation upon landing at its final destination.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation posted a message on Twitter later on Monday, saying they “would like to reassure everyone that all the Saudi national team players are safe, after a technical failure in one of the airplane engines that has just landed in Rostov-on-Don airport, and now they’re heading to their residence safely.”

The Green Falcons will face Uruguay in Rostov, hoping to rebound from their tournament-opening 5-0 loss to Russia on Thursday, in each side’s second game of Group A action on Wednesday (11 a.m. ET).

Seismologists clarify Mexico fans didn’t cause earthquake

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s National Seismological Service says there was seismic activity around the country’s capital Sunday, but it wasn’t linked to soccer fans celebrating their country’s game-winning goal vs. Germany at the World Cup.

[ MORE: Where to watch Tuesday’s games, feat. Colombia and Egypt ]

The service says in a report that there were two small earthquakes at 10:24 a.m. and 12:01 p.m. The goal came around 11:35 a.m. local time.

A geological institute reported Sunday that seismic detectors had registered a false earthquake that may have been generated by “massive jumps” by fans.

[ MORE: Harry Kane “buzzing” after two goals | Southgate encouraged ]

Mexico’s Seismological Service explained Monday that the city’s normal bustle of traffic and other movement causes vibrations that are detected by sensitive instruments.

It says those vibrations notably quieted during the match as people gathered in front of TVs to watch, and rose after the goal.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 6 — Colombia vs. Japan; Salah’s debut?

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Day 6 of the 2018 World Cup is up next, on Tuesday — and would you believe it? — there’s another three games on the schedule. This whole “back-to-back-to-back games of soccer” thing isn’t so bad.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Up first, it’s the 2018 debut of Colombia, winners of tens hundreds of millions of hearts in 2014, as they take on Japan. In the day’s other Group H fixture, it’ll be Robert Lewandowski and Poland facing Sadio Mane and Senegal. Star power aplenty.

Then, we swing things back around to Group A, where the hosts Russia will look to continue their hot start against Egypt with Mohamed Salah expected to make his World Cup debut.

Below is Tuesday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Tuesday, June 19

Group H
Colombia vs. Japan: Saransk, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Poland vs. Senegal: Moscow, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group A
Russia vs. Egypt: St. Petersburg, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE