2017 Confederations Cup

Minnesota United adds Confederations Cup vet Boxall

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Fresh off a starring role in one of the more contentious moments of the Confederations Cup, Michael Boxall is returning to the United States.

The New Zealand right back, 28, has signed a deal to join Minnesota United. A former Vancouver Whitecaps defender, Boxall played in the States in college with UC Santa Barbara.

More recently, he played for South Africa’s SuperSport United.

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A 6-foot-2 defender, Boxall has 26 caps with the Kiwis and has been a key part of their World Cup qualifying. At the Confederations Cup, he was dragged down by Diego Reyes before lunging into Hector Herrera, leading to a melee.

From MNUFC.com:

“Excited to be here, I had heard a lot of positive things about the coaching staff here and that got me excited to join the club,” said Boxall. “Being involved in something from the very start and the opportunity to build something special here meant a lot. I’m very excited to get to know my teammates, the coaching staff and all the fans here in Minnesota.”

Boxall’s younger brother Niko played at Northwestern and now suits up professionally for KuPS in Finland.

Mexico’s manager Osorio banned for six games by FIFA

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Mexico’s manager Juan Carlos Osorio has been suspended for six games by FIFA.

World soccer’s governing body revealed the ban on Friday after FIFA Disciplinary Committee investigation into Osorio’s sideline behavior following Mexico’s 2-1 defeat to Portugal in the 2017 Confederations Cup third place match.

Osorio was charged with “using insulting words towards the match officials while displaying an aggressive attitude towards them” after the defeat which saw Portugal equalize in stoppage time and then score the winner via a penalty kick in extra time.

Below is the statement from FIFA in full as Osorio will now miss the entirety of Mexico’s 2017 Gold Cup campaign, and if they don’t reach the final he will miss their upcoming World Cup qualifying games in September.

The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has reached a decision in the case related to Mexico’s national team coach, Juan Carlos Osorio, following the FIFA Confederations Cup match for third place between Portugal and Mexico on 2 July 2017, during which Mr Osorio used insulting words towards the match officials while displaying an aggressive attitude towards them.

After taking into account all circumstances of the case, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has decided that Mr Osorio is regarded as having breached article 49.1 a) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code. As a result, and given the gravity of the incident, Mr Osorio is to be suspended for six official matches and has also been sanctioned with a warning and a fine of CHF 5,000.

The decision, which has been duly notified today, comes into force immediately. Therefore, in line with art. 38 par. 2 c) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, the sanction shall be served during the Mexican national team’s next official matches, which will take place in the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017.

Depending on the stage at which the final match of the Mexican national team takes place in the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017, any remaining matches of this six-match suspension shall be served during the national team’s subsequent official matches.


Germany tops latest FIFA rankings, USMNT falls 12 spots

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There’s a new sheriff in town when it comes to FIFA’s World Rankings.

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Germany has moved into the top spot following their 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup title on Sunday, while South American power Brazil has dropped to second place.

Among the big movers inside the top 10 are Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, Switzerland and Poland — who all leapt up four places, respectively. Meanwhile, Confed Cup runners’ up Chile managed to fall three spots to seventh.

Sweden completed the biggest jump inside the top 50 after gaining 16 positions and taking hold of 18th.

In CONCACAF, Mexico remains the top nation from North and Central America, with El Tri sitting 16th. Costa Rica and the U.S. men’s national team are the next-highest ranked teams from the region at 26 and 35, respectively.

Bruce Arena’s side dropped 12 spots in the latest installment of the rankings despite a run of four matches unbeaten in June/July, which recently culminated with the USMNT’s 2-1 win over Ghana.

Germany’s young squad comes of age in Confed Cup triumph

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Die Mannschaft – The conveyor belt which exists for the sole purpose of spitting out world-class German footballing talent has done it again: another golden generation seems ready to take center stage after the reigning world champions claimed the 2017 Confederations Cup on Sunday.

[ MORE: Germany outlast Chile to win Confederations Cup ]

Having used what’s been referred to as a “B-team” squad made up of youngsters seeking their first taste of international competition (not a single player on the 23-man squad was 30 years of age), manager Joachim Loew can, and likely will, begin the process of transitioning away from the group that won the 2014 World Cup as he sets his sights on defending the crown 347 days from now in Russia.

After the game, Germany’s all-time winningest manager (102 victories, in 141 games managed) was predictably pleased with the result of his gamble — quotes from the Guardian:

“The fact that these young players have won this trophy is a historic achievement. It’s unique in Germany history. It is just outstanding: players with so little international experience, with so few caps in other final matches, have been playing at the top level of quality.”

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Loew, who’ll begin his 12th year in charge of Germany 10 days from Sunday’s triumph in Saint Petersburg, has proven himself the lone exception to the widely accepted rule that national team managers should hold the job for no more than one four-year World Cup cycle. He, and his homeland, are better with every passing year, and it’ll be unfathomably difficult to look past Die Mannschaft again next summer.

Does Chile’s Confed Cup defeat hint at trouble ahead?

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) Chile’s players wanted to prove they were the world’s best, but instead showed they’re vulnerable.

Since 2015, the Chileans have won two Copa Americas, and reached Sunday’s Confederations Cup final – a huge achievement for a country which had never before won a tournament.

They’re spectacular to watch, but Chile’s hard-charging style and three summers without rest and could leave players drained for next year’s World Cup – for which Chile is struggling to qualify.

Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi wants his players to leave nothing in the tank.

“I was convinced that if we went back home with no energy left, we would be full of glory, and I thought we would we have the trophy,” he said after losing 1-0 to Germany in Sunday’s final. “We go home with no energy, full of glory, but with no trophy.”

Chile is all about overwhelming the opponent with intense, aggressive pressure. It also works as a defensive tactic, giving opposing teams no time to build up dangerous attacks, such as when Chile won both of its Copa America titles on penalties after 0-0 draws.

There’s no Plan B, though, and Chile doesn’t respond well if the opposition scores first.

Pizzi had claimed Chile would be so motivated by playing against Germany that it would make up for tired legs. Arturo Vidal pitched it as an unofficial world championship game, even though Germany left several star players at home.

Chile managed its usual fast start – but missed crucial chances – and bounced back in a second-half revival.

After Lars Stindl scored following some Chile-style high pressing from the Germans, Chile looked frustrated. They had come back to win 2-1 against Australia in the group stage but Germany was a far trickier opponent and there was visible frustration. Vidal confronted Joshua Kimmich; Gonzalo Jara was lucky to avoid a red card for elbowing Timo Werner.

Chile has high hopes for the World Cup, but the Confederations Cup has meant it once again lost weeks of crucial summer rest.

Vidal has seemingly endless energy reserves, though the strain on his teammates is starting to show. The Chileans occupy the last of South America’s four automatic World Cup qualifying spots, but have Argentina and Ecuador close behind.

Further increasing the burden on tired legs, coach Juan Antonio Pizzi has few options to rotate players. Of Chile’s 12 substitutes for Sunday’s final, none play in European leagues. Age is a factor too – Chile’s 23-man Confederations Cup squad had just four players under the age of 26. None of them started more than one game.

Still, Pizzi has no intention of revising his approach.

“We will try to keep this style of play,” he said. “We have fulfilled our commitment, we have followed our game plan, imposed our style.”