Could Tim Ream be the USMNT’s unlikely World Cup hero?

0 Comments

LONDON — Fresh off putting in another superb display for Fulham, veteran Tim Ream beamed as he stood outside Craven Cottage with the USMNT center back off to the World Cup.

Against the odds, he’s going to the biggest tournament on the planet to represent the USA.

[ MORE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch live, scores, hub ]

Ream, 35, was a surprise inclusion in Gregg Berhalter’s World Cup roster given he hadn’t been called up for over a year and the USMNT head coach seemed to prefer a different type of central defender.

But he’s been so good in the Premier League for Fulham this season he just couldn’t be ignored and with the USMNT having big problems at center back (and center forward) heading into this World Cup, could Ream become an unlikely hero for the U.S. in Qatar?

In attack you know the likes of Christian Pulisic, Brenden Aaronson and Gio Reyna are going to deliver but defensively the USMNT has big problems, especially with Miles Robinson and Chris Richards missing out through injury.

Ream is in the form of his life, has incredible experience and will be a calming influence on this young U.S. side. For most USMNT fans, he has to start at the World Cup.

Modest as always, ProSoccerTalk caught up with a delighted Tim Ream just before a taxi whisked him and Fulham teammate Antonee Robinson off to the airport and then on to Qatar.


Why Tim Ream should start for the USA

What are his expectations for the World Cup?

“I’d love to obviously get on the pitch,” Tim Ream said. “Expectations as a team, I think you go into any tournament wanting to win. That’s what we want to do and any way I can contribute and help the team win I’m looking forward to it.”

Ream is playing down the role he could play in Qatar and with Walker Zimmerman’s spot as the right-sided center back locked in, the spot next to him is up for grabs. Ream should have that starting spot at left center back ahead of Aaron Long and Cameron Carter-Vickers.

“Have you watched any Fulham games lately? Then you know why we want him in,” USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said when asked about Ream’s inclusion. “He’s a top performer for his team. It is really hard to ignore stuff like that… To me all the pieces are aligned to bring him back into the squad and to me there is a difference between qualifying in CONCACAF and playing in the World Cup. Tim, based on the level he’s playing at, he’s ready to play in a World Cup. For sure.”

As the numbers below show from Fulham’s clash with Manchester United (Ream also almost scored a header but David de Gea denied him), he’s having a superb season for Fulham, has been aggressive with his defending and one thing he has always been good at is playing out of the back. That is key for the way Gregg Berhalter wants to play and he doesn’t want his center backs to push high up the pitch and his full backs can cover for any pace that Zimmerman and Ream lack.

Ream has shown his calmness on the ball during his entire career but especially this season as he turned Anthony Martial inside out in his own box and started an attack with a purposeful pass forward against United on Sunday.

That is exactly the kind of the thing this possession-based USMNT side needs.


What is behind his fine form this season?

Ream has guided Fulham to ninth in the table (starting all 15 games and playing all but two minutes of the season so far) and has captained them for most of their brilliant return to the Premier League.

Fulham’s fans adore him and chant ‘Reammmmmmm’ every time he heads clear, makes a wonderful pass or turns a striker inside out with his trademark composure.

What has been going so right for Ream this season?

“I think it’s a lot of things. First of all, finally just playing with a freedom,” Ream explained. “Not worrying about what could happen, what will happen. Just going out there and enjoying the game, enjoying being here and just being on the pitch and playing with a freedom and an enjoyment.”

The St. Louis native is certainly playing with freedom on the ball, aggression to win it back and has looked in total control. His connection with USMNT left back Robinson on the left side of Fulham’s defense has also been key to their excellent start and that partnership should be reunited for the Stars and Stripes in Qatar.

Arsenal FC v Fulham FC - Premier League
Getty Images

Leadership role boosts his case further

This is the second-youngest team the USMNT has ever taken to the World Cup and Tim Ream is the oldest player on the roster at the age of 35.

He laughed when reminded of that fact but also said he’s willing to do whatever it takes on and off the pitch from his decade-long experience in England playing against many of the players the USMNT will face in group stage games against Wales and England.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who’ve played in some big games, going there I will take on a leadership role if that is what’s asked,” Ream said. “You just help guys out in any way you can. Whether that is physically, video sessions, just leading the guys and being in their ear if I need to be in their ear and helping to motivate guys to make sure we are on the right track.”

SOCCER: JUN 06 Concacaf Nations League Final - Mexico v United States
Getty Images

An inspirational story for every American soccer player

From playing in college at Saint Louis to being drafted in MLS with the New York Red Bulls, then getting the big move to Bolton only for them to be relegated and then heading to Fulham and being a mainstay as they bounced up and down to the Premier League over the last seven years, Ream has worked so hard to get this opportunity to go to the World Cup.

“It is a dream come true, something as boys we dream of. So to make it on the last try, the last hurdle, I am excited,” Tim Ream smiled.

Asked if his story was an inspiration to every American soccer player out there, Ream reflected on the winding road to get to the promised land.

“It is one of those where you just keep plugging away,” Ream smiled. “Just keep going. You never know, twists and turns, up and downs, life and football is a rollercoaster. But if you just keep going there’s nobody to stop you but yourself.”

Fulham FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
Getty Images

Japan vs Costa Rica, live! Score, updates, how to watch, stream

0 Comments

Japan look to make it two wins from two to kick off the group stage as they clash with a downbeat Costa Rica side.

STREAM LIVE JAPAN v COSTA RICA

Following their incredible late comeback win against Germany, many people believe the Samurai Blue could be a dark horse in this tournament. Their total team effort, and options off the bench, are impressive and they will now look to make the most of that historic win against Germany.

As for Costa Rica, well, it can’t get any worse than their opener. They didn’t have a single shot against Spain and lost 7-0 as Loc Ticos were totally outclassed and it will be tough to recover from that. If they want to get out of the group, they simply have to win this game.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

Here is everything you need for Japan vs Costa Rica in Group E. 


How to watch Japan vs Costa Rica live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 5am ET – Sunday, November 27
Stadium: Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Japan will now look to build on their first-ever win against Germany and they will be full of confidence after a resolute team display. Manager Hajime Moriyasu makes five changes to the team which beat Germany as the the strength of his squad is incredible and he will once again look to the bench and aim to blow opponents away in the final 30 minutes. It is all about the team first and his players totally buy into that model.

As for Costa Rica, they have to forget the hammering to Spain. That can happen when you play Spain who have so many great attacking players and when it clicks, they can pummel teams. They simply have to win this game and Kendall Waston and Gerson Torres are the only two changes from the defeat to Spain.


Japan quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 24
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 7
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC
Coach: Hajime Moriyasu
Key players: Maya Yoshida, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Takumi Minamino, Daichi Kamada

Costa Rica quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 31
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified from CONCACAF via interconfederation playoffs
Coach: Luis Fernando Suarez
Key players: Keylor Navas, Joel Campbell, Celso Borges, Bryan Ruiz


Croatia vs Canada: How to watch live, stream link, team news

0 Comments

Newly famous international darlings Canada will try again for a number of firsts, when they face Croatia in their second game at the 2022 World Cup on Sunday.

STREAM CROATIA vs CANADA LIVE

Canada outshone many of the tournament’s heavyweights during the first round of group games, ultimately falling just short of their first World Cup point and, had things gone just a bit differently, their first win.

Group F is an intriguing one, with favorites Belgium struggling in their opener and Croatia and Morocco both failing to impress against one another. As things stand, it’s wide open for anyone (and everyone).

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Croatia vs Canada. 


How to watch Croatia vs Canada live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 11am ET, Sunday (November 27)
Stadium: Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

On one hand, Canada were downright brilliant when they made their World Cup return, 36 years in the making on Wednesday. On the other hand, they lost 1-0 to Belgium and are the only team in Group F without a point thus far. The Canucks won plaudits (and new fans) as they showed no fear whatsoever playing against the no. 2 team in the world and were comfortably the better side on the day, so said Belgium boss Roberto Martinez after the game. Alphonso Davies was denied by Thibaut Courtois from the penalty spot, with the game still 0-0 and Canada seeking its first-ever World Cup goal (yeah, that too). Sunday, perhaps.

As for Croatia, their opening draw with Morocco raised a few red flags for a nation that went all the way to the World Cup final just four (and a half) years ago. With five of 11 starters age 30 or older, Croatia have very little range and mobility, and no explosiveness anywhere in the side. Despite holding nearly 65 percent of possession in the game against Morocco, Croatia managed just five shots in 90 minutes (two on target) and a paltry 0.52 xG. If things don’t turn around on Sunday, it’ll be the end of an iconic era that, unfortunately, lasted one cycle too long.


Croatia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 12
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 6
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Zlatko Dalic
Key players: Luka Modric, Andrej Kramaric, Mateo Kovacic

Canada quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 41
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 2
How they qualified: Qualified from CONCACAF (1st place)
Coach: John Herdman
Key players: Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David, Milan Borjan, Jonathan Osorio

Follow @AndyEdMLS

Lionel Messi goal, assist leads Argentina awakening vs Mexico

0 Comments

Lionel Messi’s second-half goal gave Argentina’s World Cup hopes a massive lift as the Albiceleste broke through against stubborn Mexico to win 2-0 in Lusail on Saturday.

Enzo Fernandez, 21, also scored for Argentina in the win, which comes after a 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia in the opener.

STREAM LIVE ARGENTINA vs MEXICO

Mexico’s brave performance was broken by Messi’s splendid finish and now Mexico (1 point) needs to beat Saudi Arabia (3 points) and get help from Argentina (3 points) vs Poland (4 points) to make the Round of 16.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]


Lionel Messi: Of course he did.

The world’s — maybe history’s — greatest ever player had a frustrating day and spent 65 minutes thinking this could’ve been his last World Cup match.

Twenty-five minutes later, he had a goal and an assist and Argentina was heading to Poland likely a draw or better away from going to the knockout rounds.

C’est la Messi.

Mexico executed Tata Martino’s masterful plan for over an hour and looked set to walk away with a point. Messi wasn’t getting the ball in dangerous spaces and Lautaro Martinez was so ineffective that he was taken off the pitch.

Then: One hesitation when Angel Di Maria spotted Messi. Two touches for the Atomic Ant. 1-0.

Messi would later assist young Enzo Fernandez’s goal to re-certify his status as one of the very best to do it in any team sport. Argentina only had 0.28 expected goals on the day but when you have two magic shots, it’ll get the job done.


Stars of the show

Lionel Messi

Nicolas Otamendi

Hector Moreno

Argentina vs Mexico
fotmob.com

Lionel Messi goal video: GOAT things

Enzo Fernandez goal video: Pearler of a finish delivers Messi assist


How to watch Argentina vs Mexico live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Saturday Nov. 26
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

It’s Messi, of course, who says he’s playing in his final World Cup, but it’s also about who’s going to step up as a difference maker for Argentina. Lautaro Martinez had a goal taken off the board for a razor-thin offside versus Saudi Arabia, while Julian Alvarez had a shot saved in his sub’s role and both Paulo Dybala and Angel Correa were unused subs in the opener.

Mexico’s midfield was excellent to start the tournament. Will Hector Herrera again join Edson Alvarez and Luis Chavez is setting the tone for Tata Martino’s team? And can El Tri find a finisher after Henry Martin and Co. failed to find the back of the goal versus Poland.


Argentina quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 3
World Cup titles: 2 (1978, 1986)
World Cup appearances: 17
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (2nd place)
Coach: Lionel Scaloni
Key players: Lionel Messi, Angel de Maria, Lautaro Martinez

Mexico quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 13
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 16
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONCACAF (2nd place)
Coach: Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino
Key players: Guillermo Ochoa, Hector Herrera, Raul Jimenez

World Cup 2022 Group E: Spain, Germany, Japan, Costa Rica schedule, fixtures, rankings

0 Comments

Japan and Spain sent early messages in Group E with an upset of Germany and demolition of Costa Rica, respectively, to start the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

[ LIVE: Watch World Cup en Espanol en Peacock ]

Japan reached the Round of 16 at the last World Cup and gave Belgium everything it could handle before bowing out 3-2, while Costa Rica surprised everyone in 2014 when it emerged atop a Group D with England, Italy, and Uruguay, then beating Greece in the Round of 16.

Of course, Spanish boss Luis Enrique and Germany’s Hansi Flick will be fancying themselves the favorites to emerge from the group, but the latter now knows better than ever before that anything can happen in Qatar after a 2-1 loss to Japan. Spain hammered Costa Rica 7-0 in their opener and they look the real deal.

[ MORE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

Below is everything you need to know on World Cup 2022 Group E.


Group E schedule (all times ET)

Recap/highlights: Spain 7-0 Costa Rica – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Germany 1-2 Japan – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Sunday, November 27: Spain vs Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm
Sunday, November 27: Japan vs Costa Rica – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 5am
Thursday, December 1: Japan vs Spain – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
Thursday, December 1: Costa Rica vs Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm

How To Watch Group E matches live

  • When: November 23-December 1 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 5am, 8am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, scores, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup, and be sure to subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube!


Group E table

1. Spain — 3 points (+7 GD)
2. Japan — 3 points (+1)
3. Germany — 0 points (-1)
4. Costa Rica — 0 points (-7)


Spain

Current FIFA world ranking: 7
World Cup titles: 1 (2010)
World Cup appearances: 16
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Luis Enrique
Key players: Rodri, Pedri, Pau Torres, Jordi Alba

Germany

Current FIFA world ranking: 11
World Cup titles: 4 (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)
World Cup appearances: 20
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Hansi Flick
Key players: Manuel Neuer, Antonio Rudiger, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka

Costa Rica

Current FIFA world ranking: 31
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified from CONCACAF via interconfederation playoffs
Coach: Luis Fernando Suarez
Key players: Keylor Navas, Joel Campbell, Celso Borges, Bryan Ruiz

Japan

Current FIFA world ranking: 24
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 7
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC
Coach: Hajime Moriyasu
Key players: Maya Yoshida, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Takumi Minamino, Daichi Kamada