Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Report: Kouyate has medical ahead of Palace switch

Leave a comment

Crystal Palace can count on continued improvement if it keeps adding pieces like this.

The Eagles have had a slow start to the transfer season, adding goalkeeper Vicente Guaita in an offseason which saw Damien Delaney and Yohan Cabaye leave Selhurst Park.

[ MORE: Chattanooga announces as USL D-III franchise ]

Most important, though, is that Palace have so far resisted all offers for Wilfried Zaha, and are said to be on the verge of two significant signings.

As noted in our rumor roundup, Multiple reports say that Max Meyer will join on a free transfer from Schalke.

And Sky Sports says West Ham’s Cheikhou Kouyate will join Meyer and Luka Milivojevic in Palace’s midfield should the Senegalese midfielder pass a medical.

Kouyate, 28, also deputized at center back last season, and has made 147 appearances for West Ham since 2014. Kouyate has 15 goals and 10 assists with West Ham, and also 51 caps for Senegal.

Palace is good money to improve their standing this season, especially if Zaha can stay healthy (The Eagles lost every match he missed last season).

FIFA to review fair-play tiebreaker, but unlikely to change

AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo
2 Comments

MOSCOW (AP) — FIFA plans to review a rule that resulted in Senegal being eliminated from the World Cup because it had more yellow cards than Japan, but is unlikely to remove the measure.

[ MORE: 2018 World Cup Best XI (so far) ]

“We will review after this World Cup, we will see what the feedback and the situation is,” FIFA’s competition director Colin Smith said Friday, “but as it currently stands we don’t see any need to change.”

The rule, in use for the first time at the World Cup, caused a stir when the last games in Group H were being played simultaneously and it became obvious it would be needed as a tiebreaker between two teams finishing equal in every other way.

Japan barely attacked in the end of its 1-0 loss to Poland — preferring instead to take a safety first approach against a team that was already out of contention — because it was due to qualify on its disciplinary record ahead of Senegal. At the time, Senegal was losing 1-0 to Colombia, which jumped from third spot to top of the group.

Previously the situation would have been resolved with the drawing of lots, which would have meant that during the game, no team would have been assured of going through in the same circumstances.

[ MORE: Predicting the round of 16 ]

“What we want to avoid is the drawing of lots. We believe that teams should go forward on their performance and what happens on the pitch, not in a draw bowl,” Smith said. “The preference is that slots and teams advancing is on the basis of goals and results and there’s clear winners.” He said the ‘fair play’ rule was clear to all teams.

Smith added that FIFA had no complaint about England’s 1-0 loss to Belgium on Thursday, which was widely likened to a friendly game because of the combined 17 changes to the starting lineups and perceived lack of attacking intent. Both teams had already qualified for the knockout stages, and the losing team could face lower-ranked opponents in subsequent rounds.

“Fans who have paid money” deserve to see competitive games, Smith said, but he added that he Adnan Januzaj’s curling shot for Belgium’s goal showed the game was indeed competitive.

“If Belgium didn’t want to win, they obviously forgot to tell the goalscorer,” Smith said, “Because it was a cracker.”

Out in the group stage, but up in transfer stock

AP Photo/Lee Jin-man
2 Comments

Hyeon-woo Jo had an exceptional World Cup.

His South Korean national team did not.

But that will not stop potential suitors from seeking the 26-year-old goalkeeper who was named Man of the Match against Germany.

[ MORE: Knockout round schedule, bracket ]

And there will be many more. The 2014 World Cup saw names like DeAndre Yedlin (USMNT), James Rodriguez (Colombia), and Keylor Navas (Costa Rica) gain plenty of renown.

Here’s a list of names who’ve left the World Cup in the group stage but will certainly have their proverbial tires kicked.

Hyeon-woo Jo, South Korea (Daegu FC)

And he’s humble, to boot. From FIFA.com:

“I’ve never had a perfect game like this before, in my entire career, but I wasn’t saving all the shots by myself today – I thought the other goalkeepers [Kim] Seunggyu and [Kim] Jinhyeon were also giving me a hand.”

Salem Al-Dawsari, Saudi Arabia (Al-Hilal)

Didn’t see much time on loan at Villarreal this season, but clearly is a player not constrained to playing in his home country. The 26-year-old winger scored, averaged key passes per game, and threw in 2.3 interceptions per contest for good measure.

Kenneth Omeruo, Nigeria (Kasimpasa)

The center back registered an assist and played an all-around game for Nigeria. At 24, he should have plenty of suitors.

Lee Jae-sung, South Korea (Jeonbuk Hyundai)

If the 25-year-old midfielder’s status as the 2017 K-League Most Valuable Player hadn’t already raised some eyebrows, his job patrolling the center of the park certainly did the trick.

Ramin Rezaeian, Iran (Oostende)

The 28-year-old right-sided man can play right back or more advanced. He’s a bit longer-in-the-tooth in terms of prospect, but a club could do worse in adding depth.

Moussa Wagué, Senegal (Eupen)

A 19-year-old right back whose name was already popping up in the rumor mill, he’s going to be carrying even more interest after scoring against Japan.

Colombia beat Senegal, win Group H

Getty Images
3 Comments
  • Yerry Mina grabs only goal of the game
  • Colombia win Group H
  • Senegal eliminated on yellow cards
  • James Rodriguez injured

Colombia beat Senegal 1-0 in Samara on Thursday to win Group H and advance to the last 16 of the tournament, while also knocking Senegal out of the tournament.

Yerry Mina’s header changed the entire complexion of Group H as the South American nation had been heading out of the World Cup at the group stage heading into the last 30 minutes.

However, it was the Lions of Teranga were eliminated from the 2018 World Cup for picking up just two more yellow cards than Japan, who they finished level with on points, goals scored and goals conceded.

Colombia will face either Belgium or England in the last 16.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

The first big chance of the game fell to Colombia but Juan Quintero’s free kick was pushed away by Khadim N’Diaye impressively.

A huge moment then arrived as Senegal were awarded a penalty kick as Sadio Mane was taken down in the box by Davinson Sanchez. However, referee Milorad Mazic used VAR to take a second look and it was clear that Sanchez just got to the ball first with his back heel before taking out Mane.

A wonderful advert for a quick and impactful use of VAR.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ]

Senegal dominated the first half as Colombia struggled to get out of their own half and then they were hit with a big blow as James Rodriguez limped off the field with his calf injury forcing him to miss more time.

Luis Muriel, who replaced James, drilled a shot in on goal which deflected just wide in the second half as Colombia started to gain the momentum.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

That eventually ended in a goal as Mina headed home his second goal of the tournament from a corner kick to make it 1-0 and put Senegal on the brink of elimination.

Late on Senegal threw everything at Colombia with Niang denied by David Ospina and Ismaila Sarr coming so close to prodding home an equalizer.

But Mina’s goal was the difference as Senegal became the first team in World Cup history to be eliminated on fair play points.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 15 — Belgium-England highlights group stage finales

Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The final two knockout round berths in the 2018 World Cup will be sorted by the time Belgium and England meet for the Group G crown in Kaliningrad on Wednesday.

[ SCENARIOS: Who needs what, to finish where, in final round of group games ]

So while that’s the marquee match-up, it’s also difficult to determine how much it will mean to either side.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]

Sure, Belgium wants to win the group, as does England. The Premier League-heavy rosters will want bragging rights, particularly amongst the Spurs factions of each side (Harry Kane, Dele Alli, and Eric Dier of England, and Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen of Belgium).

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

But will the group winner be facing Senegal, Colombia, or Japan? The lineup cards will be turned in by the time England or Belgium knows, with Senegal facing Colombia with the former on four points and the latter on three. And Japan has four points heading into a match-up with pointless Poland.


2018 World Cup schedule – Thursday, June 28

Group H
Senegal vs. Colombia: Volgograd, 10 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Japan vs. Poland: Samara, 10 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group G
England vs. Belgium: Kaliningrad, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Panama vs. Tunisia: Saransk, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE