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Argentina, Colombia to co-host 12-team Copa America in 2020

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Argentina and Colombia will share hosting duties for the 2020 Copa America, which will be played with a new format.

South America’s soccer body CONMEBOL confirmed the dual hosts on Tuesday during a meeting in Rio de Janeiro, where the final of this year’s tournament will take place on July 7.

CONMEBOL said 10 South American teams plus two guests will play in the competition in 2020, the same number as this year’s edition. However, they will be divided into two groups of six based on geography with a north and south region.

Colombia will be paired with Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru and one of the guests.

Argentina will welcome Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay and the other guest.

The top four teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals.

Friendly roundup: Falcao gives Colombia win in Japan, and more

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Colombia beat Japan 1-0 in Yokohama and South Korea beat Bolivia 1-0 in Ulsan in friendlies on Friday.

Radamel Falcao converted a second-half penalty after a handball by Takehiro Tomiyasu, to give Carlos Queiroz a win in his first match as Colombia coach.

[READ: Adams leaves USMNT camp for Leipzig]

Colombia earned a measure of revenge for losing to Japan in the World Cup pool stage last year, although both teams advanced, and Queiroz also earned some revenge as his eight-year tenure in charge of Iran was ended by Japan in January in the Asian Cup semifinals.

Japan failed to find the target despite 17 attempts in its first game since losing the Asian Cup final to Qatar.

Japan, joining Colombia at the Copa America in June in Brazil, gets another taste of South American action on Tuesday against Bolivia.

South Korea struggled to make its domination count against Bolivia. Son Heung-min wasted several chances before a header by Lee Chung-yong scored the winner with five minutes remaining.

The Koreans welcome Colombia to Seoul on Tuesday.

Radamel Falcao plans to switch to baseball

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Radamel Falcao is known as a predatory striker who loves scoring goals. He could soon be known as a classy third baseman with a penchant for driving home runs…

The Colombian national team star, 33, has played for FC Porto, Atletico Madrid, Monaco, Chelsea and Man United in Europe but it seems like he could be a little fed up with running around.

Speaking to France Football, the current AS Monaco striker revealed what he plans to do after his playing days are over.

“I love baseball. When I was little, in Venezuela, where I grew up, it was the sport I practiced, at a very good level… I often talk about it with my wife. I think when I finish my football career, I’ll start one as a professional baseball player,” Falcao said. “Like Jordan, even if he was a basketball player and did not get to play in the big leagues, at the highest level. I want to be the first to succeed!”

Now, there is a certain level of tongue in cheek in here, surely, but Falcao’s power is undoubted and when you think about it, you can see him playing baseball. Am I right?

In my mind El Tigre would be designated hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals. A player who drives home runs relentlessly to left-field and is adapt at stealing bases.

If this happened, it would be pretty awesome. Is it going to happen? Probably not.

Female soccer players in Colombia denounce discrimination

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BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) Two female players have accused the Colombian soccer federation of threatening to fire them for denouncing sexual discrimination.

Isabella Echeverri and Melissa Ortiz, who both play for Colombia’s national team, criticized the conditions of female players in Colombia in videos posted on social media.

“We have decided to be honest about the reality of soccer in our country with a series of videos that we hope boost awareness,” they wrote in a text accompanying the videos. “We love our country and we want things to change for the better for female players.”

“We feel threatened. We are not paid,” they add in the videos. “They don’t provide international flights for us. Our uniforms are old. The federation has excluded players for speaking out.”

The federation has not responded to the accusations.

In 2017, the federation and professional league Dimayor started a women’s soccer league. It will play its third season this year.

The female players want to reduce the long periods between each season and be paid enough to live off their wages.

Millonarios and Sergio Arboleda University are starting a women’s team next season. The players who join the new club will have stipends, but wages will still be low.

“The women’s league is becoming shorter and shorter. The players are working in increasingly precarious conditions,” Ortiz told local radio broadcaster La W.

Echeverri and Ortiz have posted different versions of the videos, including one in English.

“We seek visibility and to boost awareness of the reality of women’s soccer,” Echeverri said. “They only show us when we play in the World Cup or the Olympic Games.”

The message of the players comes weeks after the owner of Deportes Tolima, Gabriel Camargo, said that women’s soccer in Colombia is a “breeding ground for lesbianism” and accused female players of not behaving professionally and drinking too much alcohol.

Camargo later apologized.

“I told (Ortiz) that things can get even worse,” Echeverri said, “and that it’s time that somebody stood up and told the truth about the women’s national team in Colombia.”

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

Report: West Ham has $45m striker bid rejected

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Duvan Zapata’s career half-year has made him an almost inexorable force in Serie A.

[ MORE: Juve wins again ]

The 27-year-old’s four-goal haul this weekend led him atop the Italian top flight in goals, level with Cristiano Ronaldo and Fabio Quagliarella.

Here is where it’s appropriate to pause and note that Quagliarella is going to turn 36 this month and we still think that number is too low. Didn’t he partner with Roberto Baggio or something?

His productivity has West Ham idealizing him as a fitting replacement for Marko Arnautovic, whether immediate or for next season, and Atalanta has reportedly spurned a $46 million offer for Zapata.

The five-times capped Colombian has 10, 11, and 14 goals in his last three Serie A campaigns, and the last number folds into his 17 across all competitions for Atalanta this season.

It would’ve essentially been a pound-for-pound deal for West Ham, who could allow Arnautovic to fly the coop for China.