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Phil Neville on Cameroon VAR mess: ‘It didn’t feel like football’

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An awkward, emotional, and occasionally cringe-worthy 90 minutes was played in Valenciennes. It was hard to watch at times as decision after decision went against Cameroon and their players grew increasingly emotional.

Cameroon saw VAR overturn an offside flag to allow England’s second goal by Ellen White just before halftime and VAR disallowed Cameroon’s potential first goal just after the break. The African nation reacted emotionally to both decisions in moments that were painful to view.

With halftime looming, the Cameroon players huddled for a long period of time, causing some to wonder if they were refusing to kick off after the decision to allow White’s goal. At the height of the emotions following the cancellation of the 48th minute Nchout goal, Cameroon players were seen crying, jumping up and down in anger, and gesturing wildly on the sidelines. Head coach Alain Djeumfa was required to console multiple players who lost control of emotions. Nchout in particular was inconsolable as Seedorf tried to calm her down forcibly.

After the match, England head coach Phil Neville had harsh words for the Cameroon players who he felt should conduct themselves in a more professional manner despite their perceived adversity.

“It didn’t feel like football, I’ve got to be honest,” Neville said in his immediate post-match interview on the field. “I know we get these briefs about coming on TV and just saying it was a good win…it was a good win, we played ok, we passed the ball well, we were ruthless in attack, we’re ready to play in a quarterfinal, but I’ve got to say that that wasn’t football for me.”

Neville continued, clearly targeting the actions of the Cameroon players who were set off by the refereeing decisions. He said it put his players in an awkward position as they just looked to complete a solid 90 minutes of play, praising his players for handling the situation as best they could and wishing the Cameroon players took their responsibility as role models on a world stage with more professionalism.

“That wasn’t a World Cup last 16 in terms of the behavior that I want to see from football,” Neville said. “As you know this is going out worldwide, and I can’t stand here and say that I particularly enjoyed it, my players didn’t enjoy it. At halftime they were confused about the actions, about what they should do. They kept their concentration fantastically, they did their job, but the images going out worldwide about how to act…there are young girls that are playing all over the world seeing that behavior, for me it’s not right, and I can’t stand here and say ‘it’s fantastic, it’s brilliant, we’re into the quarterfinal’ there’s a bigger picture here. There’s a certain standard of behavior that you’ve got to do…my players did that, and I’m proud.”

Neville continued to elaborate when he did his post-match press conference. “If that was any of my players they would never play for England again with that kind of behavior. I feel sorry for the referee, I think she was trying to protect football by not giving the penalty and the sending off at the end.”

With the loss Cameroon drops out of the World Cup while England advances to the quarterfinals to take on Norway.

Hudson-Odoi reportedly agrees to huge new Chelsea deal

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Callum Hudson-Odoi‘s promise and performance have earned him a very rich five-year new deal, especially given his young age, according to the BBC.

Oh, and his agent certainly deserves some credit, given the rumored and continued pursuit of the Chelsea star from Bayern Munich and other clubs.

[ MORE: Who is Newcastle’s new $50M forward? ]

The Englishman turns 19 in November, and plays primarily on the left wing. Rumors of his departure were rooted in his desire for playing time, and Maurizio Sarri gave him a little more than 1000 minutes in which Hudson-Odoi produced five goals and five assists.

Hudson-Odoi must feel assured of a faster track to regular playing time under new manager Frank Lampard, and Chelsea must feel his ruptured achilles tendon will heal up properly.

None of his 2018-19 goals were in the Premier League, but Hudson-Odoi struck four times in Chelsea’s run to the Europa League trophy.

He missed the last month of the system of the season the aforementioned tendon injury, and he’ll earn close to $125,000 a week on his new deal at Stamford Bridge.

Wow.

That would’ve been the highest salary on nine Premier League teams last season, a tied for 47th in the Premier League last season (Spotrac).

Exactly who is Newcastle’s new $50M striker?

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Newcastle United’s club record signing of Joelinton is raising plenty of eyebrows, as fans try to grasp what they have in the $50 million Brazilian.

Suffice it to say that there isn’t an easy comparison.

The soon-to-be 23-year-old scored seven goals with five assists in Bundesliga play for Hoffenheim last season, adding four and two from Champions League and German Cup play.

[ MORE: Man Utd chase Pepe, Fernandes ]

He’s a unit, to be sure, at 6-foot-1 with tremendous leaping ability and a powerful stride. Joelinton certainly has the ability to dominate in the air and hold the ball up like Newcastle’s loan star Salomon Rondon in 2018-19, but he brings better passing than most center forwards.

There’s a temptation to compare him to Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino, another Premier League import from Brazil via Hoffenheim, as Joe Prince-Wright wrote in his morning post about the impending deal.

Firmino was on another level in 2014-15, coming off a remarkably complete seasons for a center forward. He also shoots more often than Joelinton.

What Newcastle supporters will like from Joelinton, what makes him unique for his size, is that he’s a tremendous dribbler. He has trickery to go with his pace, not strictly a locomotive.

His season didn’t have the goals, the Toon will hope, because he was supplying wingers Andrej Kramaric (17 goals) and Ishak Belfodil (16). That could be music to the ears of Miguel Almiron and… whoever else Steve Bruce has to deploy (Yoshinori Muto? Jacob Murphy?).

Joelinton also played less than minutes than the following three comparables: West Ham import Sebastien Haller, Watford target Ismalia Sarr, and Wolves star Raul Jimenez.

Will he be worth the spend? The six-year deal promises profit potential — something Mike Ashley and chief scout Graham Carr are clearly targeting — if he explodes and earns the admiration of bigger sides. As for now, he should be able to provide what Rondon did in 2018-19.

Filipe Luis signs for Flamengo after leaving Atletico

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Brazilian veteran left-back Filipe Luis has signed for boyhood club Flamengo after leaving Atletico Madrid on a free transfer.

The Rio de Janeiro club and the player confirmed the move Tuesday on social media.

Flamengo said the 33-year-old Luis has signed a deal until 2021.

Luis has played in Europe for 14 years but left Atletico on Sunday after his contract expired.

The left-back was a starter for Brazil during its recent run to the Copa America title.

With Atletico, Luis won the Copa del Rey in 2013, the Spanish league in 2014, and the Europa League in 2012 and 2018. He also had a brief spell with Chelsea in between, winning the Premier League in 2015.

Flamengo is third in the Brazilian championship after 11 matches, five points behind leader and defending champion Palmeiras.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

MLS expansion side Austin FC name Wolff as first-ever head coach

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Former USMNT forward  Josh Wolff has become the first-ever head coach of Austin FC, as the MLS expansion franchise crack on with their expected entry into North America’s top-flight in 2021.

Wolff, 42, was the assistant coach for D.C. United before moving to the Columbus Crew were he worked as Gregg Berhalter’s assistant for the past five years. Wolff was then hired as Berhalter’s assistant when he took charge of the USMNT.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS coverage

Austin FC say that Wolff will start his new job after the international window in November as he will continue with his current job with U.S. Soccer until then.

“I know that Austin has a true love of soccer, and it is the opportunity of a lifetime to be part of the first ever major league team of any kind in the Capital of Texas,” Wolff said. “Our stated ambition is to establish ourselves quickly within MLS as a vibrant, attacking side and we want to reflect the diverse, competitive, and passionate makeup of our club’s home, both on and off the field.”

This move makes total sense as former Columbus Crew owner, Anthony Precourt, knows Wolff from their time together in Ohio. Precourt excercized his option to move his MLS franchise from Columbus to Austin which was confirmed in January 2019.

The Crew have since been kept in Columbus and Precourt is now the chairman and CEO of Two Oak Ventures, the entity which owns the rights to operate Austin FC and its stadium, while also holding the title of chairman and CEO of Austin FC. Austin FC’s new stadium at McKalla Place (the stadium and the complex around it looks pretty incredible) is privately funded and will hold 20,500 fans when it is completed.

Hiring a former MLS and USMNT star to lead the team makes a lot of sense and Wolff’s name has been mentioned plenty when MLS jobs have become available in recent years. He was on both the 2002 and 2006 USMNT World Cup squads and his experience across MLS and in Europe have given him a unique coaching style.

There is a lot of respect for Wolff among the American soccer community and his playing philosophy is very similar to Berhalter’s. Wolff becoming a head coach is good news for young domestic players.