0Shares0000BRASÍLIA, June 14 – Brazil and coach Luiz Felipe Scolari cannot help but have one eye on next year’s World Cup on home soil, but if the acid test is 12 months away the countdown starts Saturday when the Selecao take on Japan in their Confederations Cup opener.Scolari led the Selecao to their fifth World Cup, a coronation sealed in Tokyo 11 years ago. But the fact he is back for a second spell at the helm is evidence of the degree to which impatience and concern rule hearts and minds across this giant footballing nation given a clutch of disappointing showings at major events ever since.Scolari has insisted since returning to the fold last November, ironically a matter of days after predecessor Mano Manezes’ Brazil side spanked the Japanese 4-0 in a friendly in Poland, that the Confederations Cup is a sideshow and that he cannot deliver a second dose of alchemy overnight.Yet the pressure is on as the four-time Asian Cup champions should provide a stiff test before further showdowns with Olympic conquerors Mexico and three-time world champions Italy.Brazil’s star man Neymar says the hosts will not take the Japanese, coached by hugely-experienced Italian Alberto Zaccheroni, lightly, given the hosts are now safe in the knowledge they have booked their World Cup berth and can also draw on the likes of Manchester United favourite Shinji Kagawa.“Japan are a tricky proposition and not to be underestimated. Keisuke Honda and Kagawa are superb players and the team as a whole mark you very tightly,” said Barcelona-bound Neymar.Japan say they won’t be caught napping as they were in Poland, but will need to keep an eye on in-form striker Fred, who has five goals in his last six internationals — including two against England in friendly tussles in Wembley — where England won 2-1 and Rio, which ended 2-2.“Brazil have a very strong team and we need to make sure they don’t dole out a repeat of what they did in Poland,” said midfielder Yasuhito Endo.“We will be out to make a much better impression this time with more at stake.”The tournament is the first major event hosted by Brazil since the 1989 Confederations Cup and the logistical challenge has been a tough one, raising concerns about whether the country can produce 12 top notch venues for the World Cup.The opening match at the Estadio Nacional affords residents of the capital a rare chance to watch top-drawer football as the city currently lacks a top-flight team.The hosts will move on first to Fortaleza then Salvador for their remaining group encounters with Mexico and Italy.If the Selecao win Group A, they will then travel to Belo Horizonte — scene of England’s 1950 World Cup upset at the hands of the United States — for a June 26 semi-final against either reigning South American champions Uruguay or African champions Nigeria, assuming world champions Spain win Group B.Should Scolari’s men only take second place in the pool phase they would face a likely Spanish test in Fortaleza on June 27.If Brasilia is off the beaten track in terms of Brazilian footballing tradition, nonetheless striking parallels can be seen between the city and the national team.The city is a paean to modern architecture, a realised dream for former President Juscelino Kubitschek, who determined in the mid-1950s that the capital should be based in the very heart of the country rather than remain in Rio.Kubitschek came up with the slogan “50 years of progress in five,” his era coinciding with the first great Brazil side which, with a teenage Pele on board, lifted their first World Cup in Sweden in 1958.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
0Shares0000MANCHESTER, October 14- Alex Ferguson has backed Louis van Gaal’s decision to overhaul Manchester United’s struggling squad with a major spending spree.Van Gaal was hired to clean up the mess left by David Moyes, whose brief reign as Ferguson’s successor at Old Trafford ended with the club at their lowest ebb for two decades. United responded by hiring van Gaal and handing the Dutch coach significant funds to breathe new life into the team.Van Gaal splashed out over £150 million ($240 million) on Angel di Maria, who cost a club record £59 million, Radamel Falcao, Ander Herrera, Marcus Rojo and Luke Shaw.The new signings have helped United into the Premier League’s top four already despite some indifferent performances, and Ferguson, who retired after winning the title in 2013, is in no doubt that fresh faces were needed.Referring to the capture of Di Maria from Real Madrid, he told MUTV: “When you can identify ability like that for Manchester United, they have the resources to do that – fees I never quite equalled but they needed a big injection this year.”On the other signings he added: “Herrera played against us three years ago for Bilbao, he’s a talented young player and we scouted him quite a lot. He’s quite aggressive for a lad who’s not got a great frame.“I watched Rojo at the World Cup and thought he did well. He’s capable of playing left side or centre back.“Luke Shaw we tried to get when he was 16. They (Southampton) wouldn’t sell him but they always said we’d be the first to know if he did. He’s a talented boy, good footballer and likes to get forward.“Daley Blind is a common-sense footballer, a version of Darren Fletcher a few years ago. And Falcao is the one we’re all waiting to see, he’s got fantastic goalscoring ability.”– Faith in youth -Despite the big-money arrivals, Ferguson is pleased that van Gaal has decided to use the club’s academy as well, with youngsters Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett both featuring in defence this season.“The rebuilding of the team, they’ve brought in some good quality which is really important because you need quality at Manchester United, you need the best players,” Ferguson added.“What’s pleased me about Louis is he’s given about seven of the young kids their debuts, which falls into line with the history of the club. I think the supporters will respond well when a young player gets his opportunity.”Ferguson was often pictured in the stands last season as Moyes — the man hand-picked by the legendary former United boss to replace him — struggled to get the team performing.There was never anything to suggest Ferguson was influencing Moyes and he is adamant he has nothing to do with van Gaal when it comes to first-team affairs.“There’s no ongoing dialogue. He comes into my office sometimes after a game, we have a chat, it’s not a matter of picking up the phone to him as he’s a very capable person, a strong leader.“He knows what I’m about but there’s no need for him to phone me,” he said.Ferguson remains a United ambassador and director, as well as filling a number of other roles.He also continues to work with UEFA and the League Managers’ Association, but says fewer managers are now calling him for advice, as was often the way in the past.“One or two do, not many. I think they probably think I’m dead!” he said.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
Huddersfield Town defender Matt Crooks has completed an emergency loan switch to League Two side Hartlepool United.The 20-year-old has joined the Victoria Park club on a short-term deal until November 17 and could make his debut on Tuesday night against Accrington Stanley.Hartlepool have made the move to bolster their defence after a poor start to the season, which resulted in the sacking of Colin Cooper earlier this month.Sam Collins is now in caretaker charge of the club, who sit 22nd in the table having only recorded 11 points from 13 games.Speaking after confirmation of his move, Huddersfield boss Chris Powell claimed Crooks will benefit from regular first-team football lower down the league ladder.He told the club’s official website: “This loan spell at Hartlepool will be an excellent challenge for Matt. Hartlepool will be desperate for points and it puts Matt into a situation where winning really matters, which will be excellent for his development.”Town academy graduate Crooks made his debut for the Terriers on the opening day of the Championship season at home to Bournemouth, but has mainly featured in the club’s under-21 side this term. Matt Crooks 1
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! On the north, where the fire was most active, crews were beginning to cut eight miles of fireline, fire spokesman Victor Gutierrez said. “Things are definitely looking better,” Gutierrez said. The blaze, dubbed the Zaca Fire, was about 17 miles north of the Ventura County community of Ojai and 10 miles east of Montecito and Carpinteria in Santa Barbara County. SANTA BARBARA – Aided by rising humidity and cooler weather, firefighters made progress Thursday against a gigantic wildfire that has burned in the mountainous central coast forest most of the summer. The second-largest wildfire in modern California history grew by nearly 4,000 acres Wednesday night to 229,433 acres – or about 358 square miles – but continued to burn in wilderness rather than toward communities. Containment was put at 81 percent. Backfires were set along Highway 33 in the Los Padres National Forest to destroy dense chaparral that has fueled the fire for nearly two months as it has snaked southeast through mountain ranges with peaks topping 5,000 feet.
1 Ander Herrera Manchester United have rubbished reports linking midfielder Ander Herrera with a move back to La Liga, according to the Daily Mail.The Red Devils have received no enquiries for the Spaniard, who is allegedly being monitored by both Barcelona and Valencia.The Catalans have long admired Herrera since his Athletic Bilbao days and have touted him as a future replacement for Xavi – who left Barcelona for Qatar in the summer.The 26-year-old has seen competition for places in the United midfield increase over the summer after the acquisitions of Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger.The £28.8m midfielder has flitted in and out of the starting line up so far this campaign, but he remains happy at Old Trafford and has no plans on leaving.Red Devils manager Louis van Gaal also views Herrera as a key component in his plans, particularly after an impressive individual display during United’s emphatic Champions League qualifying victory at Club Brugge.
James Rodriguez Chelsea will have to splash £60m if they want to land Real Madrid star James Rodriguez today.The Colombian is reportedly ready to leave the Bernabeu after falling down the pecking order under Zinedine Zidane.Chelsea have been linked with the attacking midfielder throughout the summer and there has even been talk of a late move to Stamford Bridge.However, according to El Confidencial, if the Blues want to sign Rodriguez today they must pay £60m.Real Madrid are reluctant to lose the 25-year-old this late in the summer as they do not have a replacement lined up.However, if Chelsea were to fork out £60m, the club’s board would deem the offer too good to turn down. 1
Nacho Monreal in action for Arsenal 1 Athletic Bilbao are ready to reignite their interest in Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal, according to reports in Spain.The 30-year-old defender has become an important member of Arsene Wenger’s first team and he has made 10 Premier League appearances so far this season.However, that has not stopped speculation linking him with a move back to his homeland either in January or the end of the season.It was reported that Bilbao attempted to sign the former Malaga man in the summer but failed in their attempts to bring him in.But now Spanish newspaper Marca has claimed that Bilbao could come back in for him when the transfer window opens in the New Year.Monreal is happy at Arsenal, where he is under contract until 2019, but the Spanish club reckon he may be tempted by the chance to move back to northern Spain, just down the road from where he grew up in Pamplona.They would also be able to guarantee him first-team football as it is unlikely that Monreal would feature too regularly for Arsenal if everyone was fit.
no dice Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? 2 Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card huge blow Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury REVEALED Latest Premier League News Man United transfer news live: Haaland ‘wants a change’, two players off in January Victor Moses has struggled for games at Chelsea this season REVEALED Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars After Nigeria lost their Group D World Cup clash 2-1 with Argentina, where Moses equalised from the spot, he announced his retirement from international football.Goals from N’Golo Kante and David Luiz helped Chelsea to end Manchester City’s unbeaten run on Saturday and now means they are eight points behind leaders Liverpool. shining gameday cracker 2 Moses played for Crystal Palace between 2007 and 2010 after coming through their academy before leaving for Wigan Athletic and according to the Sun, Chelsea would be hoping for around £12million for the versatile player.After numerous loan spells at Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham United, Moses returned to Stamford Bridge in 2016 under Antonio Conte and was instrumental, playing 38 times to help them win the title. Moses lifts the Premier League title in 2017 tense Victor Moses is hopeful of ending his Chelsea nightmare in January with former club Crystal Palace interested in signing him.The 27-year-old has struggled to get into Maurizio Sarri’s side this season and has only made two Premier League appearances and six in all competitions. Green reveals how he confronted Sarri after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Man City deals Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT
Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’ gameday cracker 3 Getty Images – Getty ADVICE talkSPORT.com round up all the latest transfer news and football gossip from Sunday’s papers and online Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has emerged as a shock target of Inter Milan’s. (Express)Willian could leave Chelsea this summer with Barcelona still keen on the Brazil winger. The LaLiga club wanted to sign Willian last summer and again in January, and they are considering making a fresh bid for him. (Telegraph)Tottenham are looking at Celta Vigo striker Maxi Gomez as Mauricio Pochettino seeks to sign cover for Harry Kane and Fernando Llorente. Gomez, 22, is also wanted by Spurs’ London rivals West Ham. (Mail)Brendan Rodgers is hoping to reunite with Daniel Sturridge, the striker he worked with while in charge of Liverpool. Rodgers is currently Leicester City manager, having been appointed as Claude Puel’s successor earlier this year. (Sun) Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? tense LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS And here are the top talkSPORT.com stories…Police investigating alleged assault by Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton on Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel after League One clashPaul Pogba slammed by fans for ‘kung fu kick’ on Robert Snodgrass as Manchester United midfielder does not even get bookedLiverpool vs Chelsea: Demba Ba mocks Steven Gerrard over THAT slip in 2014 as he claims to feel no sympathy for Reds legend Green reveals how he confronted Sarri after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Man City Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT BEST OF Manchester United want to sign Tottenham star Christian Eriksen this summer, and will offer to treble his wages to tempt him to Old Trafford. (Mirror)Aaron Wan-Bissaka, the 21-year-old Crystal Palace full-back, has also been linked with a summer move to United, though Man City are also keen on the talented youngster. (Mail)Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be given £200million to spend this summer as he bids to rebuild United’s squad ahead of his first full season as the club’s manager. (Express)Tottenham are expected to lose Toby Alderweireld, the centre-back, this summer, and their north London rivals Arsenal are shock contenders for the Belgium international. There is a £25million release clause in Alderweireld’s contract. (Sun) Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won no dice Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move REVEALED 3 REPLY REVEALED huge blow Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions Burnley man Ashley Barnes KISSES Cardiff’s Joe Bennett during Premier League clash, both players yellow cardedTottenham’s Lucas Moura plays football with son on new stadium’s pitch after netting hat-trick vs HuddersfieldLiverpool vs Chelsea: Maurizio Sarri can join elite group of managers if he beats Reds at Anfield on his first visitChelsea defender Andreas Christensen ace ‘wants to stay’ with Blues as transfer ban looms Arsenal are shock contenders to sign Alderweireld It’s Liverpool vs Chelsea – five years on from that famous Steven Gerrard slip 3 shining
Jamie Murphy says he would be fulfilling a boyhood dream by signing for Rangers and playing for the team he has always supported.The Brighton forward arrived in Glasgow on Thursday afternoon to complete a medical ahead of becoming Rangers’ second signing of the January transfer window.Murphy said he had been aware of the proposed move for “a while” and there was still some work to be done to finalise the transfer. When asked by STV what the main draw for him was in making the switch, he said it was his personal connection to the club that attracted him. “Obviously it’s Rangers,” he said. “It’s the club I supported as a boy and still support now.”The 28-year-old said he was impressed with how the team had performed in the first half of the season and was keen to contribute to Graeme Murty in 2018.“It’s been a good season so far,” he said. “They’re always looking to improve so hopefully I can be a part of that. “Hopefully we’ll get the medical through and then we’ll see what happens.”