Underdog Mexico eyeing “quinto partido,” but face Brazil first

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
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SAMARA, Russia (AP) — The elusive “quinto partido” is fueling Mexico ahead of its daunting knockout round opener against Brazil.

[ MORE: Cavani scores twice, Uruguay top Portugal to reach QF ]

The phrase, which means fifth game, refers to the quarterfinals at the World Cup. Mexico has made it to the round of 16 for the past six tournaments but hasn’t been able to advance any further.

If they can beat Neymar and the Brazilians, El Tri will reach that quinto partido. But that’s a big if.

Mexico has already made history in Russia, beating defending champion Germany 1-0 in the group opener. It was Mexico’s first victory over the Germans in a competitive match — and first in any game since 1985. The loss would later figure in Germany’s elimination in Russia.

“We’re motivated by the fact that we’re in the knockout stage, facing Brazil and one victory from reaching the fifth game,” captain Andres Guardado said. “It doesn’t go through my mind to think that this will be the last game that I’m going to play with the national team at a World Cup. We advanced despite a difficult group, and we’re here. It’s in our hands.”

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

Mexico is coming off a disappointing 3-0 loss to Sweden in its group stage finale. That result, combined with South Korea’s 2-0 shocking upset against Germany, gave Sweden the top spot in the group and made Mexico the runner-up.

For winning the group, Sweden earned a spot against Switzerland to start the knockout round. Mexico got the five-time World Cup champions.

Four years ago in Brazil, the two teams played to a scoreless draw in their group. Brazil had won the three previous World Cup meetings.

“We also had never beat Germany in a World Cup and we did it,” Guardado said. “We’re going to hold on to that because we came here to make history and we’re going to do everything to achieve it. The numbers against Brazil are just a stat and it doesn’t count once the game kicks off.”

El Tri haven’t made it past the second round since the 1986 World Cup, when they hosted the tournament and reached the quarterfinals.

Mexico’s last victory over Brazil came in 2012 in an exhibition match at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. El Tri memorably won the friendly match 2-0 before a crowd of more than 84,000 fans.

New twist as deadline extended for Manchester United bids

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There has been a new twist as two potential new owners of Manchester United were given extra time to make their bids as a deadline came and went.

Per our partners in the UK at Sky News, the deadline for second offers was on the evening of Wednesday, March 22.

However the two frontrunners, INEOS owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe and a group led by Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, both asked the Raine Group (overseeing any potential sale or investment for Manchester United) for more time to ‘fine tune their offers’ before submitting the bids.

Per the report, Raine accepted the request for more time but there is no new deadline for bids to be in by.

The Glazer family continue to explore either the full or partial sale of the Premier League giants.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Over the last few months the American family have been seeking potential investors in Manchester United and they have not been short of suitors.

Presentations have been taking place between potential new owners and investors and the Man United hierarchy over the last few weeks.


The latest updates

Two bids have now taken center stage as they arrived before the first, well-documented, deadline but then things have stalled a little ahead of the second deadline and after both groups toured the Manchester clubs facilities last week.

One bid is from INEOS owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who failed to buy Chelsea last year but was always said to prefer a bid for his boyhood club Manchester United.

“How do you decide the price of a painting? How do you decide the price of a house? It’s not related to how much it cost to build or how much it cost to paint. What you don’t want to do is pay stupid prices for things because then you regret it subsequently,” Ratcliffe told The Wall Street Journal.

Another bid is led by Qatari Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, who is seeking full control of the club and is the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank as his father was the former prime minister of Qatar.

The Glazer family bought United in 2005 for $1.4 billion and it is believed they are now asking over $7.3 billion for a full sale of the club.

Statement from INEOS

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s INEOS confirmed they have ‘submitted a bid for majority ownership of Manchester United’ and went into more detail on their plans.

“We would see our role as the long-term custodians of Manchester United on behalf of the fans and the wider community. We are ambitious and highly competitive and would want to invest in Manchester United to make them the number one club in the world once again.

“We also recognise that football governance in this country is at a crossroads. We would want to help lead this next chapter, deepening the culture of English football by making the club a beacon for a modern, progressive, fan-centred approach to ownership. We want a Manchester United anchored in its proud history and roots in the northwest of England, putting the Manchester back into Manchester United and clearly focusing on winning the Champions League.”

Statement from Qatari bid

The Qatari bid, led by Sheikh Jassim, promised that their offer is ‘completely debt free’ and they want United to become ‘the greatest football club in the world’ during their stewardship of the club.

“The bid will be completely debt free via Sheikh Jassim’s Nine Two Foundation, which will look to invest in the football teams, the training center, the stadium and wider infrastructure, the fan experience and the communities the club supports.

“The vision of the bid is for Manchester United Football Club to be renowned for footballing excellence, and regarded as the greatest football club in the world.”

EURO 2024 qualification schedule: EURO qualifiers results, standings

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EURO 2024 qualifying is here, and you’re in the right spot for groups, fixtures, and results.

Italy outlasted England in penalty kicks to win EURO 2020 and is bidding to become the first repeat winner since Spain in 2008 and 2012.

[ MORE: Breaking down Premier League title race ]

England is still seeking its first European Championship and will be favored to emerge from Group C with aforementioned Italy as well as Ukraine, North Macedonia, and Malta.

Netherlands and France are also in a spicy group that has dark horse Republic of Ireland and former champions Greece, as well as Gibraltar.

A number of nations have guaranteed themselves no worse than a playoff spot due to their performances in the UEFA Nations League: Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Spain, Scotland, Georgia, Croatia, Turkey, Serbia, Kazakhstan.



EURO 2024 qualifying schedule

Thursday, March 23

Kazakhstan vs Slovenia — 11am ET
Slovakia vs Luxembourg — 3:45pm ET
Italy vs England — 3:45pm ET
Denmark vs Finland — 3:45pm ET
Portugal vs Liechtenstein — 3:45pm ET
San Marino vs Northern Ireland — 3:45pm ET
North Macedonia vs Malta — 3:45pm ET
Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Iceland — 3:45pm ET

Friday, March 24

Bulgaria vs Montenegro — 1pm ET
Gibraltar vs Greece — 3:45pm ET
Moldova vs Faroe Islands — 3:45pm ET
Serbia vs Lithuania — 3:45pm ET
Austria vs Azerbaijan — 3:45pm ET
Sweden vs Belgium– 3:45pm ET
Czech Republic vs Poland — 3:45pm ET
France vs Netherlands — 3:45pm ET

Saturday, March 25

Scotland vs Cyprus — 10am ET
Israel vs Kosovo  — 1pm ET
Armenia vs Turkey — 1pm ET
Belarus vs Switzerland  — 1pm ET
Spain vs Norway — 3:45pm ET
Croatia vs Wales — 3:45pm ET
Andorra vs Romania — 3:45pm ET

Sunday, March 26

Kazakhstan vs Denmark — 9am ET
England vs Ukraine — Noon ET
Liechtenstein vs Iceland — Noon ET
Slovenia vs San Marino — Noon ET
Slovakia vs Bosnia and Herzegovina — 2:45pm ET
Northern Ireland vs Finland — 2:45pm ET
Luxembourg vs Portugal — 2:45pm ET
Malta vs Italy — 2:45pm ET

Monday, March 27

Montenegro vs Serbia — 2:45pm ET
Netherlands vs Gibraltar — 2:45pm ET
Poland vs Albania — 2:45pm ET
Austria vs Estonia — 2:45pm ET
Sweden vs Azerbaijan — 2:45pm ET
Moldova vs Czech Republic — 2:45pm ET
Hungary vs Bulgaria — 2:45pm ET
Republic of Ireland vs France — 2:45pm ET

Tuesday, March 28

Georgia vs Norway — Noon ET
Wales vs Latvia — 2:45pm ET
Romania vs Belarus — 2:45pm ET
Switzerland vs Israel — 2:45pm ET
Kosovo vs Andorra — 2:45pm ET
Turkey vs Croatia — 2:45pm ET
Scotland vs Spain — 2:45pm ET


EURO 2024 qualifying standings

Group A

Spain
Scotland
Norway
Georgia
Cyprus

Group B

Netherlands
France
Republic of Ireland
Greece
Gibraltar

Group C

Italy
England
Ukraine
North Macedonia
Malta

Group D

Croatia
Wales
Armenia
Turkey
Latvia

Group E

Poland
Czech Republic
Albania
Faroe Islands
Moldova

Group F

Belgium
Austria
Sweden
Azerbaijan
Estonia

Group G

Hungary
Serbia
Montenegro
Bulgaria
Lithuania

Group H

Denmark
Finland
Slovenia
Kazakhstan
Northern Ireland
San Marino

Group I

Switzerland
Israel
Romania
Kosovo
Belarus
Andorra

Group J

Portugal
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Iceland
Luxembourg
Slovakia
Liechtenstein

Projected USMNT lineup for Nations League games in March

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The USMNT have two intriguing CONCACAF Nations League games coming up at Grenada and at home against El Salvador over the next week and interim head coach Anthony Hudson has some big decisions to make.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

Who is the starter in goal? Who will replace the injured Tyler Adams in midfield? Will Gio Reyna start in attack? And perhaps the biggest question for the USMNT over the last few years: who is going to start as the No. 9?

Below is a look at the projected USMNT lineup for the key Nations League games, with this international window a key window ahead of the Gold Cup this summer.


How to watch USMNT

TV channels in English: HBO Max, TNT
TV channels en Español:
Universo, Telemundo Deportes
Streaming en Español: Peacock


Projected USMNT lineup for Nations League games vs Grenada, El Salvador

—– Turner —–

— Dest — M. Robinson — Ream — A. Robinson —

—- McKennie —- Musah —-

—- Reyna —- Aaronson —- Pulisic —-

—– Pepi —–


Analysis of the USMNT lineup options

There is a real battle between Matt Turner, Ethan Horvath and Zack Steffen emerging. Not quite Friedel, Meola and Keller, but it’s still very good. Turner has looked understandably shaky for Arsenal in his recent Europa League outings and he needs to head out on loan to play regularly next season. That is what Steffen and Horvath have done and their moves from the Premier League to the Championship have worked out perfectly as they’re both regulars for teams battling for promotion to England’s top-flight. Don’t be surprised if Steffen starts over Turner in at least one of these games.

The back four pretty much picks itself with three of the four starters from the World Cup included in this squad in Sergio Dest, Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson. Having Miles Robinson back is a huge boost and it will be intriguing to see his partnership alongside Ream.

In midfield, captain Tyler Adams is missing through injury but you can expect Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah to both be deployed in their usual areas in the engine room. It would be great if Brenden Aaronson was given a free role in the No. 10 position to roam and create just ahead of them but Luca de la Torre could come straight in for Adams in a more defensive kind of role.

In attack Christian Pulisic is a lock on the left wing, while on the right it is time for Gio Reyna to come back into the fold as a regular now that he has finally had regular minutes under his belt at Borussia Dortmund with his injury issues hopefully behind him.

Up top it is one of Daryl Dike, Ricardo Pepi or Alex Zendejas with Taylor Booth an intriguing option following his first senior call-up. It will be fun to see if either Dike or Pepi can take this chance to nail down a starting spot as both have been in good form for West Brom and Groningen respectively, while Zendejas has been in good form for Club America.

Italy vs England: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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England will begin their EURO 2024 quest the same way they finished their heartbreaking EURO 2020 campaign: facing Italy, now two-time champions of Europe, on Thursday.

[ LIVE: EURO 2024 qualifying scores – Italy vs England ]

The two European giants faced off in the 2020 final (in the summer of 2021) at Wembley Stadium in London, and it was the Italians who triumphed in the penalty shootout after playing to a 1-1 draw after regular time and extra time.

Italy and England are joined in Group C by Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta. The sides that finish 1st and 2nd in the group will qualify for next summer’s tournament in Germany.

[ MORE: USMNT upcoming schedule – Nations League, friendlies, Gold Cup ]

Here is everything you need for Italy vs England. 


How to watch Italy vs England live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 3:45pm ET, Thursday (March 23)
Stadium: Stadio Diego Armando Maradona, Napoli
TV: FS1


Italy squad

Goalkeepers – Gianluigi Donnarumma (Paris Saint-Germain), Alex Meret (Napoli), Claudio Carnesecchi (Cremonese), Wladimiro Falcone (Lecce)

Defenders – Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Matteo Darmian (Inter Milan), Francesco Acerbi (Inter Milan), Emerson Palmieri (West Ham), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma), Alessio Romagnoli (Lazio), Rafael Toloi (Atalanta), Giorgio Scalvini (Atalanta), Alessandro Buongiorno (Torino)

Midfielders – Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain), Jorginho (Arsenal), Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Matteo Pessina (Monza), Sandro Tonali (AC Milan), Davide Frattesi (Sassuolo)

Forwards – Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Gianluca Scamacca (West Ham), Vincenzo Grifo (Freiburg), Wilfried Gnonto (Leeds), Simone Pafundi (Udinese), Mateo Retegui (Tigre)

England squad

Goalkeepers – Jordan Pickford (Everton), Fraser Forster (Tottenham), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders – Kyle Walker (Manchester City), John Stones (Manchester City), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Reece James (Chelsea), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace)

Midfielders – Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Declan Rice (West Ham), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea)

Forwards – Harry Kane (Tottenham), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Phil Foden (Manchester City), James Maddison (Leicester), Ivan Toney (Brentford)

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