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USMNT to host Colombia in October

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The U.S. men’s national team will host Colombia on Oct. 11 in yet another glitzy friendly.

Interim boss Dave Sarachan will lead the USMNT against Los Cafeteros in Tampa, Florida with the game to be played at the Raymond James Stadium.

Colombia reached the Round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup and will be a tough test for what is likely to be yet another youthful U.S. side.

Sarachan is excited by the challenge of playing against No.16 ranked Colombia, who the USMNT have lost to twice in recent years.

“As we continue to build into the next cycle, this will be another important experience for the development of this group,” Sarachan said. “When you talk about exciting, technical and experienced opponents, Colombia ticks all the boxes. With players at some of the top clubs around the world, they are fast, physical and skilful. Tampa has been a great host to our national teams, and I know they will come out and show their support in October.”

The next five friendlies coming up for the USMNT will be a huge test of where the program is currently as they face Brazil on Sept. 7 at MetLife, then Mexico on Sept. 11 in Nashville before playing Colombia with another friendly expected to be announced in October.

In November they will head overseas to first play against England at Wembley on Nov. 15 and then against Italy on Nov. 20.

What will these tests against top 20 nations do for the USMNT?

Just like the friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and France did in June, it will provide this young squad with a measuring stick for where they are at in terms of their development but these friendlies may tempt Sarachan into giving some of the old guard a chance to be reintegrated back into the group after the fallout of 2018 World Cup qualification.

Everton target Mina wants to stay at Barca, but also to play

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1 Comment says Yerry Mina could be leaving the Camp Nou after just one season for meaningful playing time at Goodison Park.

Mina’s agent says the center back would still like to feature at Barca following his strong World Cup with Colombia, but that Everton and Zenit Saint-Petersburg are interested in the $20 million man.

[ MORE: El Tri’s Reyes to Newcastle? ]

He was WhoScored’s second-best player in the entire World Cup tournament, going 270 minutes for Los Cafeteros. Mina averaged seven clearances a match, with 1.3 tackles and an interception per contest. Here’s Mina’s agent, from The Liverpool Echo:

“Everton is a club that insists on the player, who has called us directly. There are other teams like Zenit, but we hope Barcelona will take the initiative. He wants to play and do it in Barcelona. For Yerry Mina it would be a failure not to play. He just wants to play.”

The 23-year-old played just six times for Barcelona last season, and would join Michael Keane and Mason Holgate as younger center backs in Everton’s corps (Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka are well into the careers).

Stones proud of English maturity in face of “dirtiest team I’ve played”

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John Stones has called the Colombia side which England beat in a penalty shootout in the 2018 World Cup round of 16 on Tuesday, “the dirtiest team I’ve ever come up against.”

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More importantly than Colombia’s questionable tactics, Stones is proud of the maturity shown by a young England side (average age: 25.6 years old) that refused to fall into the South Americans’ trap. It’s that focus which helped them reach Saturday’s quarterfinal clash with Sweden, and it’s that focus which will serve them best as the Three Lions chase a place in the World Cup semifinals for the first time since 1990, and perhaps their first final since winning it all in 1966 — quotes from the AP:

“The best thing for us was to beat them at football — that will hurt them most. They’re on the plane going home and we’re in the next round.”

“The game was so strange. It was the dirtiest team I’ve ever come up against, in the respect of when we won a penalty, surrounding the referee, pushing the referee, the head-butt you’ve all seen, scuffing the penalty spot and a lot of off-the-ball stuff I’m sure you’ve not heard about.

“All the sort of things you don’t really hear in a football match. On our behalf, it showed massive character to keep a cool head and not get dragged into their game. We stuck to our plan and kept playing our way and that’s a great quality to have. It was a difficult situation but one we’ve overcome and can be proud of.”

“We kept playing our own football and that’s a great sign for a team to have, to make sure we have that quality of tunnel vision to get out of the game. It was a difficult situation to be in, and we can look back on it and be very proud of it.”

Tuesday’s game saw eight yellow cards (six to Colombia) and a penalty (to England) given by referee Mark Geiger, and could have very easily seen 10 minutes of second-half stoppage time after following a handful of prolonged stoppages in play. Nearly four minutes of real time passed between the moment Geiger whistled to award England a penalty, and the time at which Harry Kane finally took, and converted, it.

Falcao calls it “peculiar” American referee Geiger officiated Colombia vs. England match

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American referee Mark Geiger has received criticism for how he managed the physicality between Colombia and England in their World Cup Round of 16 match on Tuesday. Some of that criticism has come from the parties involved.

Geiger handed out six yellow cards to Colombian players – including to Falcao in the 63rd minute – and whistled them for 23 fouls. He awarded England a penalty in the 57th minute that Harry Kane buried for England’s lead. Meanwhile, England players were only shown two yellow cards and called them for 13 fouls.

“The referee disturbed us a lot,” Colombia striker Falcao said after the match. “In the 50-50 plays, he always made the calls in favor of England. He didn’t act with the same criteria for both teams. When in doubt, he always went to the England side.”

The criticism from Falcao is slightly odd given how much Colombia looked to cause havoc with its physical play, hoping to muck up the game with the South American side missing playmaker James Rodriguez due to injury. In fact, it seemed Geiger could have punished them further at times, especially during the four minutes between the penalty decision and Kane’s attempt from the spot when Colombian players surrounded Geiger protesting furiously. Geiger did not caution a single Colombian player during the fracas.

On social media, Geiger was often criticized for losing control of the match as it seemingly devolved into a 90 minute wrestling match.

But that’s not all Falcao had to say about the American referee’s match assignment. “I found it peculiar that they put an American referee in this instance. To tell you the truth, the process leaves a lot of doubts,” he added.

Falcao was not the only one to question FIFA’s decision to appoint an American to referee the match. Outspoken Argentinian legend Diego Maradona, who was spotted wearing a Colombia jersey during the match and celebrated their late goal, said after the match, “Here’s a gentleman who decides, a referee who, if you Google him, shouldn’t be given a match of this magnitude… Geiger, an American, what a coincidence.”

England beats Colombia in PKs (Yes, in PKs)

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England denied its World Cup penalty kick demons on Tuesday as the Three Lions booked the final spot in the World Cup quarterfinals with a 4-3 defeat of Colombia after 120 minutes of 1-1 in Moscow.

Harry Kane and Yerry Mina traded goals in regulation, with Mina’s coming well into second half stoppage time.

Colombia was playing without star playmaker James Rodriguez.

COL – Radamel Falcao scores
ENG – Kane scores
COL – Juan Cuadrado scores
ENG – Marcus Rashford scores
COL – Luis Muriel scores
ENG – Jordan Henderson saved by David Ospina
COL – Manuel Uribe hits the cross bar
ENG – Kieran Trippier scores
COL – Carlos Bacca saved by Jordan Pickford
ENG – Eric Dier scores

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

There were few terrific chances in the first half, with the half focused on fouls and skullduggery.

And with apologies to a Harry Maguire header, the moment of the half was an incident between Colombia’s Wilmar Barrios and England’s Jordan Henderson.

Barrios made head-first contact with Henderson’s chest and head, and Henderson made sure everyone knew it. England supporters wanted a red card, but American referee Mark Geiger only showed yellow after VAR review.

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Kane won and converted a penalty kick shortly after the break, as Carlos Sanchez had his second awful moment of the tournament.

The half devolved even more afterward, and the 70th minute saw the match with one yellow for every 10 minutes of play (five for Colombia).

And Kyle Walker nearly gave the game back to Los Cafeteros, but Juan Cuadrado knifed his effort wide of the goal.

Mateus Uribe forced Jordan Pickford into an outstanding save in the third minute of stoppage, earning Colombia a corner kick. Mina headed home and it was 1-1.

The first 15 minutes of extra time belonged to Colombia, but England saw a few chances in the second stanza. Jordan Henderson sent Danny Rose on goal, but the Spurs man dragged his 112th minute shot just wide of the far post.