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Khedira laughs off Swedish reporter’s offer of tickets home

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Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira brushed off a gesture from a Swedish reporter, trading a bit of banter ahead of Germany’s big World Cup match against Sweden on Saturday.

Germany fell 1-0 to Mexico in its opener while Sweden beat South Korea, leading a playful Swede to hand Khedira boarding passes for a flight home to Germany.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Khedira’s reply? He joked that Sweden won’t be a problem and he’ll use the tickets after the World Cup Final.

From Goal.com:

“After this bad start, we know that it’s super difficult, but we know that we are a strong team. We analysed the game, we saw Sweden play and we are sure that we are winning this game.

“I think we’ll need them [plane tickets] on the 16th of July.”

Atlanta comes back to draw 10-man Seattle (video)

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A scrappy if not downright venomous affair between the lowly Seattle Sounders and high-flying Atlanta United ended in a 1-1 draw in Georgia on Sunday.

The Sounders went ahead through a Nicolas Lodeiro penalty kick, awarded via VAR a la this morning’s World Cup Final, but Atlanta leveled the score with a highlight which show every bit of the game story.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

Just check Josef Martinez’s barking at Stefan Frei, who made an uncharacteristic error on the play, after his 19th goal of the season (Nice cross, Julian Gressel).

Martinez needs nine more goals to break the MLS single season record, and he has 13 games to score them.

Jordan McCrary was sent off for Seattle in the 63rd minute for a second yellow, but Seattle navigated the final half hour or so to scoop up an unlikely point.

Atlanta still sits first with its earned point but opens the door for New York City FC to reach the top of the table when it plays its match-in-hand, while Seattle is now 11 points back of the West’s final playoff spot.

Anderson arrives: Can Pellegrini unlock West Ham’s potential?

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West Ham United has sealed another impressive deal, adding $48 million winger Felipe Anderson from Lazio.

It’s a club record deal from the Irons, whose ambitions have been short-circuited in recent seasons by stop-start play under Slaven Bilic and David Moyes.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

Now Manuel Pellegrini is in charge, and has made a series of purchases including Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko, Issa Diop, and Jack Wilshere amongst others.

Anderson was fantastic for Lazio last season, though he was part of a loaded attack with Ciro Immobile, Luis Alberto, and Sergej Malinkovic-Savic.

Now the challenge is gelling quickly inside a short window. As we’ve seen in the past with markedly changed mid-table sides — see: Everton’s 2017-18 season — hitting the ground running is key.

Players have been convinced of West Ham’s ambition. Here’s the latest, Anderson, from WHUFC.com:

“West Ham is a club with a lot of tradition, lots of great players have played here, like Bobby Moore, Carlos Tevez and Di Canio. They were great players and idols here, and I’m aiming big, who knows, maybe I could hit their heights and be a legend here too.”

But turning that into on-field success and in-room culture has been a challenge. The move to London Stadium didn’t help, and managerial instability has been anything but a boon to the Irons. There have been plenty of self-inflicted wounds, too.

West Ham’s lineup could be frightening, even in the face of injuries to Andy Carroll (surprise!) and Winston Reid. But managing egos new and old is a challenge, which is why the Pellegrini hire could be a masterstroke.

Consider this possible XI from Pellegrini, who largely operated his Manchester City with a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2 with two holding/defensive/deep-lying center midfielders (There have been rumors West Ham could sell Cheikhou Kouyate).

There are a lot of options for Pellegrini’s front four. Anderson and Yarmolenko both prefer right wing, while Arnautovic likes the left but has proven adept as a center forward if Pellegrini becomes the latest manager to eschew the idea of Javier Hernandez up top. Manuel Lanzini‘s injury does seem to put Wilshere in the No. 10 role.

Fabianski

Fredericks — Diop — Balbuena — Masuaku

Obiang — Kouyate

Anderson — Wilshere — Yarmolenko

Arnautovic

So the ingredients are there, with Aaron Cresswell, Pablo Zabaleta, and Jordan Hugill joining Chicharito in keeping training competitive.

But Pellegrini will have to navigate a culture that saw a seedy finish to the season, with protests and ugly incidents amongst supporters and players on the field in London.

And he does seem the man for the job. But if he can’t do it… well, stay tuned.

Transfer rumor roundup: Sarri could make changes up front for Chelsea

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With roughly one month until the domestic seasons in Europe kick off, transfer season is about to kick into another gear following the conclusion of the World Cup on Sunday.

Pro Soccer Talk takes a look at three of the day’s biggest transfer stories, including how new Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri will handle his attack.

[ MORE: World Cup winner to receive $38 million ]


New Blues boss Sarri is reportedly keen on Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, and that could very well spell the end for both Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud at Stamford Bridge.

Higuain and Sarri have history together after both previously having played roles in Napoli’s squad.

Morata and Giroud have only spent one season, respectively, with Chelsea and combined for 14 Premier League goals in 2017/18.


Manchester United could be on the brink of adding some strong defensive depth in the form of an Italy international.

Jose Mourinho is reportedly keen on bringing in veteran center back Leonardo Bonucci, who currently plays for Serie A side AC Milan.

Given Milan’s sanctions from European football though, it is conceivable that the club will allow Bonucci to go in order to raise money for a team in the midst of financial troubles.


After a tremendous showing at the World Cup, France right back Benjamin Pavard is becoming a highly-coveted player.

The Stuttgart defender is being eyed by Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham as a potential replacement for Toby Alderweireld, according to the Mirror.

Pavard scored one of the goals of the World Cup during France’s thrilling 4-3 win over Argentina in the Round of 16.

Prize money revealed for each 2018 World Cup nation

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Exactly $400 million will be dished out by FIFA in prize money to the 32 teams who competed in the 2018 World Cup, which is a $42 million increase from the tournament in 2014.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

With the winners getting $38 million and the runners up $28 million, the four semifinalists were the big winners with Belgium winning $24 million and England getting $22 million. The four teams who were knocked out at the quarterfinal stage each received $16 million, while the nations who reached the last 16 earned $12 million each.

For simply qualifying for the tournament and reaching the group stage, the 16 teams who didn’t make it to the knockout rounds received $8 million.

Below is a breakdown in full of which countries earned what as France took home a cool $38 million as winners.


List of prize money for 2018 World Cup

$8 million: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Morocco, Peru, Australia, Nigeria, Iceland, Serbia, Costa Rica, South Korea, Germany, Tunisia, Panama, Senegal, Poland (knocked out in group stage)

$12 million: Portugal, Argentina, Mexico, Japan, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, Colombia (reached Round of 16)

$16 million: Uruguay, Brazil, Russia, Sweden (quarterfinalists)

$22 million: England (fourth)

$24 million: Belgium (third)

$28 million: Croatia (runners up)

$38 million: France (winners)