Brazil on top of S. America qualifiers as Chile, Argentina struggle

first_img0Shares0000Brazil’s Philippe Coutinho (R) celebrates with teammate Willian after scoring against Ecuador during their 2018 World Cup qualifier match in Porto Alegre, on August 31, 2017 © AFP / Itamar AGUIARMONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, Sep 1 – Philippe Coutinho shrugged off his transfer disappointment with a goal as Brazil beat Ecuador to guarantee top spot in South America’s 2018 World Cup qualifying race on Thursday while Chile and Argentina stumbled once more.Liverpool star Coutinho, who had seen his hopes of a dream move to Barcelona dashed earlier Thursday as the transfer window slammed shut with no agreement, produced a scintillating second-half display in a 2-0 victory over Ecuador in Porto Alegre. The 25-year-old has not played for Liverpool this season, officially sidelined by a back problem as the intrigue over a move to the Camp Nou swirled.However Coutinho showed no sign of injury after coming on for Renato Augusto in the second half, enlivening the hosts after a goalless first 45 minutes before a restless home crowd in Porto Alegre.New Barcelona signing Paulinho opened the scoring for Brazil, lashing home from close range in the 69th minute after Willian’s corner.Coutinho then fashioned Brazil’s second, playing Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus into space behind the Ecuador back four with a lofted pass.Argentina’s Lionel Messi (C) is marked by Uruguay’s Matias Vecino (L) and Nahitan Nandez during their 2018 World Cup qualifier match in Montevideo, on August 31, 2017 © AFP / DANTE FERNANDEZJesus wrongfooted the covering Ecuador defence with a sublime flick and then headed into the path of Coutinho who finished emphatically.The win was Brazil’s ninth consecutive qualifying victory and gives the five-time World Cup winners an 11-point cushion with three games remaining, meaning they cannot now be overhauled at the top of the table.The top four teams in South America’s round-robin competition qualify automatically for next year’s finals in Russia, with the fifth-placed team facing a play-off.– Down to the wire? –The scramble for automatic qualifying spots promises to go down to the wire, with only two points separating second-placed Colombia (25 points) and fifth-placed Argentina (23 points).Paraguay’s Richard Ortiz (L) celebrates after scoring against Chile during their 2018 World Cup qualifier match in Santiago, on August 31, 2017 © AFP / MARTIN BERNETTIParaguay also thrust themselves into contention with arguably the performance of the day on Thursday, a 3-0 away win over Chile in Santiago.The defeat capped a miserable 24 hours for Chile’s unsettled Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez.Like Coutinho, Sanchez had also seen his hopes of a transfer evaporate on Thursday, with a mooted move to Manchester City stalling.Sanchez barely featured in a disappointing display by the Chileans, who fell behind after midfield talisman Arturo Vidal scored a spectacular headed own goal in the first half to put Paraguay ahead.Further goals from Victor Caceres and Richard Ortiz sealed a deserved win for Paraguay, who moved up to sixth spot with 21 points — just two points behind Argentina, who remain in fifth place.Argentina meanwhile endured another frustrating outing after being held to a 0-0 draw by Uruguay in Montevideo.Argentina dominated the early exchanges but their challenge fizzled out in a dreary second half display littered with fouls on both sides.For Uruguay, the quicker-than-expected return of Luis Suarez — just two weeks after a knee injury — could not invigorate their attack.Suarez authored one of Uruguay’s best chances late in the first half after Edinson Cavani pounced on an Argentina slip near halfway and passed to the Barcelona star.Suarez looked up and attempted an audacious lob from 40 yards as Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero backpedalled, only for the ball to fly just over.The draw means Uruguay remain in third place in the standings on 24 points, one behind second-placed Colombia, who were held to a 0-0 draw against already-eliminated Venezuela in San Cristobal.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

January transfer special: Arsenal interested in Mahrez

first_img0Shares0000Arsenal could turn to Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez as they look to bring in a winger in JanuaryLONDON, United Kingdom, Jan 1 – The start of January means diets, resolutions and, most importantly, the beginning of the winter transfer window.Every Premier League side will have their own ideas of what they will do over the first month of 2018, whether that means incomings or outgoings as they tackle the second half of the season. Sportsmail’s Simon Jones has put together a guide to what each top flight club might do in January.READ: Arsenal could turn to Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez as they look to bring in a winger in JanuaryARSENALLeicester City midfielder Riyad Mahrez’s form has slumped and he was axed by Algeria, whose results have declined dramatically since reaching the second round of the 2014 World Cup in BrazilNeed: Winger, midfielder, defenderTargets: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Thomas Lemar (Monaco), Nabil Fekir (Lyon), Leon Goretzka (Schalke)Who could go? Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott (loan), Olivier Giroud, Mohamed Elneny (loan)Budget: £70mBOURNEMOUTHNeed: Full back, forwardTargets: Omar Richards (Reading), Dujon Sterling (Chelsea), Theo Walcott (Arsenal, loan)Who could go? Lewis Grabban, Benik Afobe, Harry ArterBudget: £30mBRIGHTONBrighton – who want to sign a striker in January – could target Moussa Dembele of Celtic. Photo/DAILY MAILNeed: Striker, midfielderTargets: Moussa Dembele (Celtic), Oumar Niasse (Everton), Ze Luis (Spartak Moscow), Josh Vela (Bolton)Who could go? Jamie MurphyBudget: £30mBURNLEYNeed: Left wing, centre backTargets: Aaron Lennon (Everton), Joe Worrall (Nottingham Forest), Jordan Jones (Kilmarnock), James McClean (WBA), Jozo Simunovic (Celtic)Who could go? Nahki WellsBudget: £20mCHELSEAChelsea are still interested in signing Juventus’s left back Alex Sandro in the winter window. Photo/DAILY MAILNeed: Left back, winger, strikerTargets: Alex Sandro (Juventus), Philipp Max (Augsburg), Ross Barkley (Everton), Thomas Lemar (Monaco), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid)Who could go? Kenedy, Baba Rahman, David Luiz, Michy BatshuayiBudget: £100mCRYSTAL PALACENeed: Goalkeeper, left back, centre back, strikerTargets: Sam Johnstone (Man Utd), Thomas Holy (Gillingham), Bartosz Bialkowski (Ipswich), James McCarthy (Everton), Mohamed Elyounoussi (Basle), Khouma Babacar (Fiorentina)Who could go? Jason Puncheon, Patrick van Aanholt, Scott Dann, Jordon MutchBudget: £40mEVERTONEverton are on the cusp of signing up Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun as they make January moves. Photo/DAILY MAILNeed: left back, defensive midfield, strikerTargets: Cenk Tosun (Besiktas), Steven Nzonzi (Sevilla), Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Adama Soumaoro (Lille), Aaron Cresswell (West Ham), Josh Earl (Preston)Who could go? Oumar Niasse, Mo Besic, Ross Barkley, Kevin MirallasBudget: £70mHUDDERSFIELD TOWNNeed: Goalkeeper, full backsTargets: Danny Ward (Liverpool, loan), Terence Kongolo (Monaco, loan), Joe Bryan (Bristol City)Who could go? NoneBudget: £20mLEICESTER CITYJonny Evans is a target for Manchester City as they aim to buy another central defender. Photo/DAILY MAILNeed: Full back, attacking midfieldTargets: Andre Almeida (Benfica), Hatem Ben Arfa (PSG)Who could go? Islam Slimani, Ahmed Musa, Leonardo Ulloa, Riyad MahrezBudget: £30mLIVERPOOLNeed: MidfielderTargets: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio), Leon Goretzka (Schalke), Thomas Lemar (Monaco), Jean Seri (Nice)Who could go? Divock Origi, Philippe Coutinho, Marko Grujic (loan), Harry Wilson (loan), Danny Ings (loan), Ben Woodburn (loan), Ovie Ejaria (loan), Lazar MarkovicBudget: £80mMANCHESTER CITYJonny Evans is a target for Manchester City as they aim to buy another central defender. Photo/DAILY MAILNeed: Defender, defensive midfielder, strikerTargets: Inigo Martinez (Real Sociedad), Jonny Evans (West Brom), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Julian Weigl (B Dortmund), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal)Who could go? NoneBudget: £90mMANCHESTER UNITEDNeed: Full backs, midfielder, wingerTargets: Danny Rose (Tottenham), Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham), Leon Goretzka (Schalke), Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio), Malcom (Bordeaux), Justin Kluivert (Ajax), Thomas Lemar (Monaco), Christian Pulisic (B Dortmund)Who could go? Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Matteo DarmianBudget: £80m plus salesNEWCASTLE UNITEDManchester United want full backs and one of the signings could be Tottenham’s Danny Rose. Photo/DAILY MAILNeed: Left back, midfielder, strikerTargets: Kiko Casilla (Real Madrid), Kenedy (Chelsea), Danny Ings (Liverpool), Islam Slimani (Leicester), Theo Walcott (Arsenal)Who could go? Aleksandar Mitrovic, Jonjo Shelvey, Jack ColbackBudget: £15m plus salesSOUTHAMPTONNeed: Centre back, strikerTargets: Jack Hendry (Dundee), Alfie Mawson (Swansea), Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham), Theo Walcott (Arsenal, loan), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Moussa Dembele (Celtic)Who could go? Manolo Gabbiadini, Shane LongBudget: £80mSTOKE CITYBoth Southampton and Stoke City could be interested in signing Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool. Photo/DAILY MAILNeed: Right back, defensive midfield, striker, wingerTargets: Daniel Opare (Augsburg), Daniel Sturridge, Danny Ings (Liverpool), Etienne Capoue (Watford), Amin Younes (Ajax)Who could go? Charlie Adam, Glen Johnson, Jese RodriguezBudget: £30m plus salesSWANSEA CITYNeed: Right-back, centre-back, strikerTargets: Kyle Walker-Peters (Tottenham), Andy Yiadom (Barnsley), Daniel Opare (Augsburg), Andre Ayew, Diafra Sakho (West Ham), Theo Walcott (Arsenal, loan)Who could go? Alfie Mawson, Ki Sung YuengBudget: £25mTOTTENHAMFulham wonderkid Ryan Sessegnon is being eyed up by Tottenham, who want a left back. Photo/DAILY MAILNeed: Left back, strikerTarget: Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham), Luke Shaw (Man Utd), Malcom (Bordeaux), Jann-Fiete Arp (Hamburg), Gorka Guruzeta (Athletic Bilbao)Who could go? Michel Vorm, Danny Rose, Georges-Kevin N’KoudouBudget: £35m plus salesWATFORDNeed: Goalkeeper, centre-back, midfielder, forwardTarget: Pontus Dahlberg (IFK Gothenburg), Islam Slimani (Leicester City), Amin Younes (Ajax)Who could go? Etienne Capoue, Troy DeeneyBudget: £40m plus salesWEST BROMWest Ham are expected to take an interest in Swansea defender Alfie Mawson (centre). Photo/DAILY MAILNeed: Centre-back, full-back, midfielder, strikerTarget: Ben Mee (Burnley), Glen Johnson (Stoke), Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle), Danny Ings (Lpool), Richmond Boakye (Red Star Belgrade)Who could go? Jonny Evans, Jake LivermoreBudget: £30m plus salesWEST HAMNeed: Defender, midfielder, strikerTarget: Alfie Mawson (Swansea), Joe Allen (Stoke), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle), Steven Nzonzi (Sevilla), Danny Ings (Liverpool), Andre Schurrle (B Dortmund), Fyodor Smolov (Krasnodar), Moussa Dembele (Celtic)Who could go? Diafra Sakho, Andre Ayew, Andy CarrollBudget: £30m plus sales-By Daily Mail-0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Aguero ruled out of Man City trip to Liverpool

first_img0Shares0000Sergio Aguero hasn’t played for a month due to a knee injury © AFP/File / Oli SCARFFLIVERPOOL, United Kingdom, Apr 3 – Manchester City will be without the club’s all-time record goalscorer Sergio Aguero for Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final, first leg away to Liverpool.The Argentine striker, who has scored 30 goals this season, has been sidelined for a month with a knee injury. City manager Pep Guardiola confirmed on Tuesday Aguero hasn’t travelled with the rest of the squad for the clash at Anfield.“He’s in Manchester, he didn’t come. He was injured in last three weeks, so still not fit,” said Guardiola.However, the Catalan coach remains hopeful Aguero will be fit to play a part as City hope to wrap up the Premier League title against local rivals Manchester United on Saturday, and for the second leg of their quarter-final tie with Liverpool next week.“Unfortunately in the best moment we had with Sergio he was injured,” added Guardiola.“He is much, much better, but today the doctors, physios spoke with him and he said ‘I still have a little bit problem, I don’t feel comfortable at all’ and he knows perfectly his body.”City will still be able to name a fearsome front line on Wednesday with Gabriel Jesus set to start alongside Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling after all three were on target in a 3-1 win at Everton on Saturday.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Southgate backs ‘strong’ Sterling to survive tattoo row

first_imgLucy Cope, who founded Mothers Against Guns after her son Damian was shot dead outside a club in July 2012, said the depiction was “totally unacceptable”.Sterling said the unfinished tattoo served as a reminder of his vow never to touch guns after his father was shot to death in his native Jamaica when he was just two years old.Southgate was asked whether he had spoken to Sterling about the need for England stars to be beyond reproach given the potential for influencing impressionable children who idolise them.But Southgate fully backed Sterling and expects his player to cope with the row.“He knows he’s got our support, he understands how some people have perceived the tattoo. But in my view a tattoo is like any work of art,” Southgate told reporters at England’s hotel on Friday. “It’s a very individual meaning, the intent is all with the individual and the person.“I suppose when you’re a high profile young man or woman and you’re in the public eye there will be intrusion into your life – that’s the world we’re in but he’s very focused on playing and working with us.”Speaking ahead of England’s World Cup warm-up against Nigeria at Wembley on Saturday, Southgate added: “What has been clear by his own statement and his own experiences is that he is not someone who supports or wants to promote guns in the way that was perceived at first.“It’s something he’s had to get on with this week but he’s a very strong individual and he’s looking forward to the game.”– Great example –After a superb season with Premier League champions City, Sterling is likely to be one of Southgate’s key men in Russia, where England face Tunisia, Panama and Belgium in Group G.And the England boss offered a strong defence of Sterling’s character amid calls from some quarters for him to be disciplined over the tattoo.Describing Sterling as a great inspiration to youngsters from all backgrounds, Southgate said: “I think the personal story of a lot of our players is quite remarkable.“People often highlight the issues, the faults, of all of the squad, but for so many of them it’s incredible they’ve got to the point they have.“They are a great example to young kids of what you can achieve with your life if you are dedicated, if you are focused.“Raheem embodies that. Nothing is given to you in life, you have to fight all the way.”Southgate said he doesn’t think it is right to clamp down on players expressing themselves with tattoos.“The tattoo was done a few months ago and there were pictures of him with it while he was in a Man City kit. You have to decide why it’s a story now and not then,” he said.“Tattoos are very personal. A lot of our players have tattoos and they are wrapped up in a lot of deep stories.“I don’t see why we should be involved in policing that.”Sterling also has the support of his team-mates, according to Manchester United and England forward Jesse Lingard.“We’ve reassured him, that’s what friends are for, that’s what team-mates are for,” Lingard said.“This England team is a tight-knit group, we stick together through the ups and downs, the negatives and the positives.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000England manager Gareth Southgate has backed Raheem Sterling over his tattoo controversy © AFP / Oli SCARFFLondon, United Kingdom, Jun 1 – England manager Gareth Southgate insists Raheem Sterling does not deserve to be hounded after the controversy caused by his tattoo of an M16 assault rifle.Manchester City striker Sterling, 23, posted a picture of himself training with his England team-mates with a tattoo of the rifle on the winger’s right calf clearly visible.last_img read more

Samurai Boo: Japan fans sheepish over W Cup fiasco

first_img0Shares0000Japan’s tactics in Russia were slammed on social media, with some putting the boot into coach Akira Nishino for ordering his team to play keep-ball in their own half © AFP / KAZUHIRO NOGITOKYO, Japan, Jun 29 – Japanese salarymen dashing to work Friday exchanged high fives with bleary-eyed football fans celebrating after the country reached the last 16 of the World Cup — most blissfully unaware of a backlash against their team.Japan lost 1-0 to Poland in Russia on Thursday in a match that ended in farce as the Samurai Blue ran down the clock knowing unless they picked up a pair of yellow cards or Senegal equalised against Colombia in the other Group H game, they would go through. “It was definitely a little bit fishy and it’s not nice to hear a crowd booing like that but, well, we reached the knockout stage — so ‘banzai!’… I guess,” advertising copywriter Ken Yazawa told AFP.“It’s only the third time we’ve got this far,” added the 44-year-old. “Hopefully we can go even further, although now we have to beat Belgium to reach the quarter-finals — nightmare!”Jeered off the pitch, Japan’s tactics in Russia were slammed on social media, with some Japanese Twitter users also putting the boot into coach Akira Nishino for ordering his team to play keep-ball in their own half.One disgruntled fan noted the irony of Japan becoming the first team to advance under the “fair play” rule after collecting fewer bookings than Senegal, posting: “It’s funny how Japan went through playing anti-football but we live to fight another day.”Another blamed football’s governing body for introducing the rule.“I doubt FIFA expected to see their fair play rule being used so unfairly,” he tweeted a little after the final whistle sounded at around 1am local time.– Under fire –Others sought to defuse the row as Japan came under fire from television commentators and pundits around the world who likened the fiasco to the infamous 1982 World Cup match between West Germany and Austria, when both teams played out a mutually beneficial 1-0 win for the Germans.“Let’s continue picking up the rubbish and collecting fair play points,” joked one wag, making reference to Japanese fans who dutifully help clean the stadium after matches.Most commuters pouring off the iconic scramble crossing and into the railway station in Tokyo’s trendy Shibuya district knew or cared little about the stir Japan’s negative tactics had caused.“I don’t really care how Japan got through,” said 28-year-old salesman Takkyu Watari.“I watched the game in a bar and no foreigners came up to congratulate us this time, that’s true. But I don’t think Japan did anything wrong.”Many salarymen, the identikit corporate samurai who formed the backbone of Japan’s post-war economic miracle, were more concerned about facing a sweaty commute with a sore head after only a few hours sleep.“I’ve got a thumping headache,” winced Kenji Kurematsu, a 52-year-old travel agent, clutching an energy drink.“I wish I had skipped the second half. It was boring, and I have a client meeting this morning.”One female commuter did not mince words.“It’s completely embarrassing,” fumed 41-year-old account executive Kumiko Chida. “I’ve no doubt Japan will lose millions of fans around the world.”0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more