gareth-southgate-england

Can England beat Colombia in the last-16 of the World Cup?

England were drawn against Colombia in the last-16 of the World Cup on Thursday, June 28 after finishing second in Group G following their 1-0 defeat to Belgium in their last game.

The Three Lions qualified with six points from a possible nine – after wins in their two opening games against Tunisia and Panama – and many now believe they have a great opportunity to reach the semi-finals due to the luck of their draw (Colombia in the last-16, Sweden/Switzerland in the quarter-finals, Spain/Russia/Croatia/Denmark in the semi-finals).

But are England underestimating Colombia? The South American side reached the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup – England were eliminated at the group stage. The Three Lions don’t have the best record in tournaments after the group stage, so why are many assuming a victory for Gareth Southgate’s men?

How good are Colombia?

Colombia booked their place in the last-16 of the World Cup after finishing top of Group H with six points from a possible nine. They lost their opener to Japan but recovered with consecutive victories against Poland and Senegal. José Pékerman’s side have made history, as it’s only the third time ever that Colombia have reached the knockouts of a World Cup (1990, 2014, 2018).

They’re a much stronger outfit these days, boasting talent such as David Ospina (Arsenal), Cristián Zapata (AC Milan), Yerry Mina (Barcelona), Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham Hotspur) Radamel Falcao (AS Monaco), James Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Juan Cuadrado (Juventus) and Carlos Bacca (Villarreal).

They’re no slouches and their form ahead of the tournament wasn’t bad either. Colombia had picked up two wins and two draws from their last four internationals prior to the World Cup, beating France and China, while drawing with Australia and Egypt – keeping three clean sheets for their troubles. England shouldn’t underestimate Pékerman’s side, especially given their own poor record in knockout games

How have England fared in knockout games in past tournaments?

England have won the World Cup (1966) and reached a semi-final (1990) but haven’t gone further than the quarter-finals since. The Three Lions have won 10 of their last 24 World Cup games after their antics in 1990, while failing to win a knockout fixture since 2006. They don’t have the best record against big nations in the tournament either.

Since reaching the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup, England have beaten Slovenia (2010), Tunisia (2018) and Panama (2018). It’s a poor record in the tournament and one that will give Colombia a lot of confidence ahead of Tuesday’s fixture. Time will tell if England can finally buck the trend.

mauricio pochettino tottenham

Pochettino and Kane agreeing new deals are Tottenham’s best summer signings

Tottenham Hotspur did well to tie down manager Mauricio Pochettino to a long-term deal a week before the Real Madrid vacancy arose, as well as getting Harry Kane to agree a long-term contract just four days before the England World Cup squad travelled to Russia.

Spurs secured the futures of two highly-important figures at the club whose commitment to the London outfit could soon be followed by the rest of the squad. Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli are two players in talks over new deals and more could follow this summer.

Tottenham cashing in on two players who missed a lot of last season

Belgian centre-back Toby Alderweireld and midfielder Mousa Dembele are two players being linked with a move away from Tottenham and have just 12 months left on their respective deals. However, Alderweireld and Dembele haven’t had constructive contract talks with Spurs and could be put up for sale if an agreement over an extension isn’t reached this summer.

Alderweireld made only 14 Premier League appearances in an injury-hit 2017/18 campaign and saw Davinson Sanchez nail down a starting place at the back in his absence. Tottenham are unwilling to meet his wage demands and are open to a sale for £75m. Chairman Daniel Levy will drive a hard bargain to get maximum value from the centre-back and may do the same for Dembele.

The 30-year-old has also seen his contract demands rebuffed by Tottenham this summer. Dembele wants a long-term deal, but Spurs aren’t budging. The Belgian was substituted on or substituted off in 20 of his 28 Premier League appearances last season, highlighting his dwindling fitness levels and influence on the pitch.

Tottenham have Moussa Sissoko and Victor Wanyama in his absence and have been linked with Olympique Lyonnais’ 21-year-old midfielder Tanguy NDombele. Dembele would surely fetch a decent price too, as he’s been a good servant in his six years with the Londoners.

Big names could join Tottenham as key players are set to stay

After Tottenham’s stadium move, there were fears the club could suffer financially and have to put their best players up for sale. But it actually appears Spurs are in a healthy place and have scrapped their wage structure to tie down their most important talent. Should the likes of Eriksen and Alli follow Pochettino and Kane, big-name players in Europe could be convinced to make the switch.

Since Pochettino was appointed manager of Tottenham, the club have finished fifth (2014/15), third (2015/16), second (2016/17) and third (2017/18) in the Premier League. There was a fear that fantastic record could be ruined by a troublesome 2018/19 campaign had they resorted to cost-cutting measures, but now they could further improve the squad.

Tottenham should be firmly in the race for a top-four finish next season, so players shouldn’t consider it a gamble to move White Hart Lane. Spurs have racked up 70 points or more in each of the last three campaigns and are tying down their most important personnel to ensure a good season is too come.

 

Emre Can

Toure to exit Man City, Can leaving Liverpool: Premier League clubs submit released list

Yaya Toure (Manchester City) and Emre Can (Liverpool) are two notable departures as the 20 Premier League clubs submit their released list.

Michael Carrick (Manchester United) is retiring to become a first-team coach and Per Mertesacker (Arsenal) is retiring to become Head of Academy

AFC Bournemouth

  • Allsop, Ryan
  • Cargill, Baily James
  • Harfield, Oliver John
  • Matthews, Samuel Lloyd
  • O’Flaherty, Patrick
  • Quigley, Joseph Richard
  • Wiggins, Rhoys Barry

Arsenal

  • Bola, Marc Joel
  • Cazorla, Santiago
  • Crean, Alexander Felix
  • Eyoma, Aaron Jordan
  • Huddart, Ryan David
  • Johnson, Chiori
  • Keto, Hugo Oliver
  • Mertesacker, Per
  • Moore, Tafari Lalibela

Brighton & Hove Albion

  • Ajiboye, David Ibukun
  • Ayunga, Jonah Ananias Paul
  • Dallison-Lisbon, Thomas Albert
  • Hornby-Forbes, Tyler Cecil
  • Hunemeier, Uwe
  • Hutchinson, Desmond John
  • Ince, Rohan
  • Kone, Mamadou Saliou
  • Krul, Timothy Michael
  • Myles Meekums, Reece Christopher
  • O’Sullivan, Rian Michael
  • Rosenior, Liam James
  • Sidwell, Steven James

Burnley

  • Anderson, Thomas Robert
  • Arfield, Scott
  • Barnett, Jordan Thomas
  • Birch, Arlen Tom
  • Ginnelly, Joshua Lloyd
  • Jackson, Bradley Allen
  • Layton, Samuel Jay Dixon
  • Limb, Harry
  • Long, Christopher
  • Marney, Dean Edward
  • Metz, Khius
  • Nabi, Rahis
  • Thomas, Jamie Carl

Chelsea

  • Beeney, Mitchell Ryan
  • Christie-Davies, Isaac David
  • Dasilva, Cole Perry
  • Delac, Matej
  • Dos Reis Carvalho, Eduardo
  • Houghton, Jordan
  • Masampu, Renedi
  • Oliveira Dos Santos, Wallace
  • Walters, Tushaun-Tyreese

Crystal Palace

  • Berkeley-Agyepong, Jacob Kwame
  • Cabaye, Yohan
  • Cavalieri, Diego
  • Coker, Andre Jordan Coleridge
  • Delaney, Damien Finbarr
  • Fundi, Victor
  • Lee, Chung Yong
  • Sako, Bakary
  • Ward, Joel Edward Philip

Everton

  • Baxter, Jose
  • Byrne, Sam John
  • Dyson, Calum William
  • Grant, Conor James
  • Gray, Louis
  • Henen, David Boris Philippe
  • Robles Blazquez, Joel

Huddersfield Town

  • Boyle, Jack Alfie Andrew
  • Carvalho, Denilson Almeida Leonel
  • Cogill, Dylan Joseph
  • Colville, Luca Robert
  • Green, Robert Paul
  • Whitehead, Dean

Leicester City

  • Debayo, Joshua Akinkunmi
  • Huth, Robert
  • McLeod, Sammie
  • Watts, Dylan Billy
  • Yates, Cameron James

Liverpool

  • Can, Emre
  • Correia Gomes, Toni
  • Dhanda, Yan
  • Firth, Andrew
  • Flanagan, Jonathan
  • Neves Alves, Paulo Manuel
  • Parker, Mich’El
  • Williams, Michael Jordan

Manchester City

  • Diallo, Sadou
  • Duhaney, Demeaco
  • Patching, William Luke
  • Sarmiento Martinez, Erik
  • Sokol, Pawel Kazimierz
  • Toure, Gnegneri Yaya
  • Wood, Marcus James

Manchester United

  • Carrick, Michael
  • Johnstone, Max Oliver
  • Kenyon, Jake Barry
  • Moutha-Sebtaoui, Ilias
  • Redmond, Devonte Vincent
  • Richardson, Theo Huw
  • Riley, Joe
  • Scott, Charlie Thomas

Newcastle United

  • Aziakonou, Yannick
  • Cameron, Kyle Milne
  • Elmahanni, Yasin Ben
  • Findlay, Stuart}
  • Gallacher, Owen John
  • Gamez Duarte, Jesus
  • Gillesphey, Macauley
  • Gilliead, Alex Nicholas
  • Good, Curtis
  • Haidara, Massadio
  • Heaney, Mackenzie
  • Heardman, Tom
  • Hunter, Jack David
  • Kitchen, Benjamin
  • Long, Oliver James
  • McNall, Lewis
  • Pearson, Brendan Conor
  • Smith, Callum
  • Smith, Liam Phillip
  • Spooner, Craig
  • Ward, Daniel John
  • Williams, Callum Dylan
  • Woolston, Paul Hudson

Southampton

  • Bakary, Mohamed Richard
  • Cook, Oliver David Paul
  • Gardos, Florin
  • Little, Armani
  • Olomola, Olufela
  • Pied, Jeremy
  • Wood, William Nicholas

Stoke City

  • Ayoola, Olusola Adeola
  • Banks, Lewis
  • Greenidge, Jordan Neil
  • Hill, Ryan
  • Ireland, Stephen James
  • Johnson, Glen McLeod Cooper
  • Lecygne, Eddy
  • Marques De Almeida, Luis

Swansea City

  • Britton, Leon James
  • Darame, Causso
  • Davies, Mael Daniel
  • Ki, Sung Yueng
  • Paljk, Matic
  • Thomas, Lewis Rhys
  • Zaragoza, Angel Rangel

Tottenham Hotspur

  • Loft, Ryan
  • Maghoma, Christian
  • O’Reilly, Luke Patrick
  • Pritchard, Joe Cameron
  • Tsaroulla, Nicholas

Watford

  • Gartside, Nathan James
  • Lewis, Dennon Elliot
  • Mason, Brandon Alexander
  • Rogers, Louis Ronald
  • Rowan, Charles Alfred
  • Ryan, Maximillian Medwyn Richard
  • Sesay, David Junior Deen
  • Stevens, Connor John
  • Stewart, Carl Leon

West Bromwich Albion

  • Campbell, Tahvon
  • McAuley, Gareth Gerald
  • McCourt, Robbie
  • Morrison, James Clark
  • Myhill, Glyn Oliver
  • Pierce, Evan
  • Ross, Ethan Walker
  • Yacob, Claudio

West Ham United

  • Collins, James Michael
  • Evra, Patrice Latyr
Leroy Sane Joachim Loew

Why did Loew leave Sane out of Germany’s World Cup squad?

Germany manager Joachim Loew left out Manchester City winger Leroy Sane out of his final 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup, despite the 22-year-old coming off the back of his best-ever season. He admitted disappointment in the decision from Loew but defiantly stated he will work even harder to ensure he won’t be omitted again.

“I’m obviously disappointed I won’t participate in the World Cup, but I have to accept this decision and I’ll give it my all to bounce back stronger! Nothing but the best of success to the DFB (Germany) Team in Russia. Go get that title!” he said on Twitter. Sane was initially named in the 27-man World Cup preliminary squad but didn’t make the cut when Loew had to trim the team to 23 players.

Instead, Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (Paris St-Germain), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) and Mario Gomez (Stuttgart) were given the nod to fill the attacking roles in Russia.

Sane could hardly have performed better last season

After joining City from Schalke 04 in 2016, Sane had a largely underwhelming debut season at the Etihad Stadium which finished stronger than it started. Coming off the back of scoring and creating 14 goals in 23 Bundesliga starts in the final season for Schalke, the 22-year-old managed only eight goals in 20 Premier League outings in his debut campaign at City.

However, his second season under Pep Guardiola was a success, with Sane contributing 25 goals in 27 league starts and being named Young Player of the Year for his troubles. No teammate matched his 85 successful dribbles in the league last season, while only Kevin de Bruyne (16) made more assists (15).

Sane could hardly have performed better to get into the Germany squad, which suggests his omission wasn’t based on his performances over the last 12 months. The skilful winger was instead judged on past showings for his country and due to playing style.

Is Brandt really better for Germany than Sane?

Loew revealed that Brandt got the nod for Germany over Sane, a decision that was based on performances for the national team. He said, in quotes reported by the Metro: “It was a very close decision between him and Julian Brandt, which was made in favour of Brandt. Leroy is a huge talent. He will be back again from September. He had not arrived in international matches yet.”

Sane’s international career hasn’t quite kicked off, making 11 appearances for Germany without scoring, but Brandt has made 15 for the national team and only has one goal to his name. Goal say Loew’s tactics are the real reason behind the decision, as Sane is instead adept at counter-attacking football, being on the end of attacks, rather than building them from deep.

It’s strange that the City forward was left out of the Germany squad given he could surely be a good impact player, although Brandt is believed to be better in this role. Nevertheless, why couldn’t Loew find a place for Sane in the 23-man team?