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Mexico dominant yet drab in 0-0 draw with Wales


Mexico dominated Wales on the stat sheet, racking up nearly 70% possession and 22 shots (9 on target) to just two for Wales. But the eye test told a different story.

El Tri was quite poor up front in the first half, creating little and finishing even less, and it carried over for much of the second half as they drew a Gareth Bale-less Wales in Pasadena, California on Monday.

Mexico started a mediocre starting lineup that did feature Chicharito, but brought on other veterans as the game went on, including both Dos Santos brothers, with Jonathan coming on at the half-hour mark and Gio entering the pitch with 20 minutes to go. Carlos Salcedo entered at halftime, while Oribe Peralta relieved Chicharito at the 59-minute mark.

As the game wound down, Mexico ramped up the pressure, but they were unable to put any truly quality chances on net.

The match is simply meant to be a warmup, but the performance was less than inspiring with Mexico to play in a group against Germany, Sweden, and South Korea.

Hughes on hotel drama, win: Saints “delighted but still work to do”

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Southampton manager Mark Hughes‘ impish smile betrayed his steady post-match press conference after Saints nearly cemented their Premier League status with a 1-0 win at Swansea City on Tuesday.

[ RECAP: Swans 0-1 Saints ]

Saints saw their Welsh hotel reservations canceled due to a virus before the match, sending them well outside Swansea for their stay.

A Welshman himself, Hughes couldn’t resist a comment.

“We suspected that maybe some of the dark arts at work but it didn’t let us affect us, in fact we used it as a motivating factor,” Hughes said. “That helped our focus and we won’t be staying in the vicinity of the hotel Marriott Swansea, I think we will stick to the Vale of Glamorgan.”

Saints will enter Championship Sunday with a 3-point lead on 18th place Swansea City and a nine-goal goal differential advantage. Also in play in 17th place Huddersfield Town, currently level with Southampton on points but with two matches remaining (Arsenal, Chelsea).

Saints currently have an 11-goal advantage in differential on Swans. A major loss to Man City isn’t out of the question, and Swans meet a porous Stoke defense which was hemorrhaging goals even before it was relegated this weekend.

“It is not mathematically certain,” Hughes said. “We had to come here and we had to win. If we had not won today it would have been very, very difficult for us. It is not done yet but tonight we have put ourselves in the position where we have a great chance to stay up.

“We will enjoy tonight, we got what we set out to get. A huge result, we are delighted but still got work to do.”

Gareth Bale “unhappy” as Man United circle

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Gareth Bale‘s future at Real Madrid appears to be in the balance as reports about him being unhappy have surfaced once again.

Reports from Sky Sports claim that Bale is particularly unhappy about his lack of minutes in recent games, with Bale on the bench in two of Real’s last four games.

Bale, 28, was left out of the starting lineup in both of Real’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 games against Paris Saint-Germain and given Cristiano Ronaldo’s untouchable status at the Santiago Bernabeu, Isco scoring a hat trick during the international break and Karim Benzema a firm favorite of manager Zinedine Zidane, it appears he could miss out against Juventus in a huge week for the reigning European champions.

Bale scored twice for Real Madrid in their win at Las Palmas on Saturday but Zidane refused to confirm if the Welsh international would start in their key UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg at Juventus on Tuesday.

“I’m very pleased with his performance. You’ll have to wait and see if he plays on Tuesday,” Zidane said.

Hot on the heels of these reports of unhappiness from Bale is a claim from the Daily Mirror that Manchester United is ready and willing to offload Anthony Martial to Juventus in order to sign the former Tottenham star.

Martial has dazzled in spells at United but Mourinho doesn’t appear to trust him in big games and the French international, still just 22 years old, may see a move to Juve better for his long-term development given Alexis Sanchez’s arrival at United and Marcus Rashford often preferred to him on the left.

Given Jose Mourinho’s previous comments that he would drive to the airport himself to pick Bale up if there was a chance of Man United signing the Welsh forward, it appears there could be some movement for Mourinho to make an airport run.

Bale has often been targeted by some of Real’s fans amid plenty of rumblings that he hasn’t taken to life in Spain, despite winning three UCL titles in five seasons at the Spanish giants.

Where would Bale slot in at United?

Well, if Martial leaves then a front three of Romelu Lukaku, Sanchez and Bale wouldn’t be bad, would it? Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard would be in reserve and with Juan Mata perhaps moving on this summer, Mourinho seems keen to add more pace to his forward line.

Bale fits the bill and it appears his relationship with Zidane is strained and his five-year sojourn in Spain is coming towards an end. From a selfish point of view, wouldn’t it be great to see Bale back in the Premier League again?

Int’l roundup: Depay, Van Dijk lead Holland past Portugal and more

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Only two matches on Monday involved countries heading to Russia this summer, but each fixture featured exciting action.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal received a 3-0 hammering from Holland at the Stade de Genève, behind goals from Memphis Depay, Ryan Babel and Virgil Van Dijk.

[ MORE: MetLife Stadium would host 2026 World Cup if United bid wins ]

The Portuguese fell behind after 11 minutes, when Depay led a brilliant attack for the Dutch. The lead soon doubled just beyond the half-hour mark as Babel’s sliding effort found its way past goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

Liverpool defender Van Dijk capped off the scoring on the stroke of halftime with a strong strike inside the Portuguese area following a free kick for the Dutch.

The fate of the hosts was sealed in the 61st minute, when defender Jo√£o Cancelo received his second yellow card in less than 20 minutes, and was sent off.

Meanwhile, Edinson Cavani’s second-half strike helped Uruguay top Wales with a 1-0 victory on the road.

The South American side was outmatched for much of the fixture, with Gareth Bale and Wales looking the more dominant side, but the PSG star found the back of the net four minutes into the second stanza after¬†Cristian Rodr√≠guez picked out the veteran striker — who was positioned close to goal.

Cavani goal leads Uruguay past Wales in China Cup Final

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Uruguay continued its warm-up for this summer’s World Cup with a 1-0 win over Wales in the China Cup Final on Monday.

[ MORE: USMNT-Paraguay preview ]

Edinson Cavani was the goal scorer, following up his audacious semifinal overhead goal. It was the striker’s 100th cap and 42nd goal, with four coming in his last five appearances for¬†La Celeste.

Uruguay is a sneaky side to watch in Russia, with Cavani joining Luis Suarez to form a very potent strike force.

The South American side was eliminated by CONMEBOL mates Colombia in the Round of 16 at the last World Cup, and lost 3-2 to Netherlands in the 2010 semifinal en route to another 3-2 loss to Germany in the third place match.

Led by coach Oscar Tabarez since 2006, Uruguay has a winnable World Cup Group A with Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. Group A’s winner and runner-up will be drawn against the opposite from Group B, likely Portugal and Spain.