Barcelona Cruise To UCL Final Despite Bayern’s Victory

BarcelonaFC Barcelona have progressed to the final of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) despite losing to German Champions-elect, Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.

The Catalans reached their first UCL final since 2011, despite Pep Guardiola’s team salvaging their pride in the return leg in Germany.

The German Champions revived their hopes through Medhi Benatia’s early downward header, after losing 3-0 to Barcelona at the Camp Nou last Wednesday.

The Spanish side levelled the score when Luis Suarez squared for a tap-in from Neymar, who drilled a second later in after the pair combined again.

Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller both curled in as Bayern won 3-2, but Barca still progressed 5-3 on aggregate after both legs.

However, cross town rivals, Real Madrid, must overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit against Italian champions-elect, Juventus, at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, to defend the European championship title against Barca.

Brazil FA Boss Says Scolari Deserves Respect

ScolariThe Confederation of Brazil Football’s President, Jose Maria, have said that Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari deserves respect after he resigned as coach of  A Seleção.

Scolari’s contract ended after the World Cup and he had said that he would let the CBF decide his fate after Brazil were beaten 3-0 by Netherlands on Saturday in the third-place play-off.

The Dutch defeat followed Brazil’s 7-1 humiliation by Germany in the semi-finals, the worst result in their World Cup history, and the first time they had lost a competitive match at home since 1975.

Scolari’s departure was announced following a meeting with CBF President, Jose Maria Marin, when it was decided that the former Portugal coach’s contract would not be renewed.

Jose Maria said “Scolari and his entire coaching staff deserve our respect and gratitude. They were responsible for returning to the Brazilian people your love for the team, despite not having achieved our greatest goal.”

The CBF in a statement said that the one-time Chelsea Manager chose to give up his position after the disappointment of not winning the World Cup on home soil.

“Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari and his fellow coaching staff surrendered their positions to the board of the Brazilian Football Confederation.

“The resignation was accepted by President Marin, who was keen to thank all the coaches and players and, by extension, the Brazilian fans for their support throughout the World Cup campaign.”

Scolari first took over the Brazil side in 2001 and guided them to World Cup success a year later, beating Germany 2-0 in the 2002 final in Yokohama, Japan.

But after spells in charge of Portugal, Premier League side Chelsea, Bunyodkor of Uzbekistan and Brazilian club Palmeiras, he resumed control of the national team in 2012.

Brazil hosted and won the Confederations Cup in 2013, beating Spain 3-0 in the final, and were favourites to win a sixth World Cup on home soil.

They finished top of their group after two wins and a draw from their three matches, before edging past Chile on penalties in the last 16.

They beat Colombia 2-1 in the quarter-finals, but lost top goalscorer,Neymar to a spine injury and captain Thiago Silva to suspension.

In the semi final, the World Cup host were defeated by Joachim Low’s Germany 7-1 in their heaviest loss ever and they also lost 3-0 to Netherlands in the third place.

Under Scolari, Brazil have won 19, drawn six and lost four of his 29 games in charge.

Vice President Del Nero is scheduled to take over from CBF President, Jose Maria Marin, next year, which could mean a delay in the naming of a successor to Scolari.

In the mean time, Brazil Under-23 coach, Alexandre Gallo, has been suggested as an interim caretaker.

FIFA Shortlists 3 Goalkeepers For Golden Glove

glovesTwo finalists, Neuer and Romero, head FIFA’s Technical Study Group’s shortlist for the best goalkeeper at Brazil 2014.

Below are the World Cup’s safest hands according to information on the FIFA website.

Keylor Navas (CRC) 

The Levante stopper was arguably Costa Rica’s best player at Brazil 2014, including a match-winning display in the Round of 16 tie against Greece. Making 21 saves in Los Ticos’ five games, he was awarded the Budweiser Man of the Match Award on three occasions. At 26-years-old the best years of his career are firmly ahead of him.

Manuel Neuer (GER)

The Germany keeper has played in all of the Nationalelf’s six games so far, making 25 saves and completing 202 passes. He’s kept three clean sheets and been a commanding presence for Joachim Low’s side so far. After winning a host of domestic honours, the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup, the FIFA World Cup and the Golden Glove is now in his sights.

Sergio Romero (ARG)

Penalty shoot-out saves from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneidjer sent La Albiceleste into the final, capping a fine tournament for the 27-year-old so far. The Monaco keeper has kept four clean sheets, making 15 saves in Brazil 2014 so far. Brought into international football by Diego Maradona, he has been Argentina’s first choice keeper for five years.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil have witnessed some remarkable displays of goalkeeping from Guillermo Ochoa’s spectacular stop from Neymar, to Tim Howard’s record-breaking 16 saves against Belgium.

There’s also been a string of fine displays from Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas, penalty heroics from Sergio Romero and an almost Libero-esque display from Manuel Neuer in Germany’s clash with Algeria.

Pele Looks Forward As Brazil Suffer Record Defeat In World Cup Semi

peleBrazil football legend, Pele, has moved on after his country’s 7-1 World Cup disgrace at Germany’s hands on Tuesday, saying the Selecao would deliver in Russia in 2018.

Pele wrote on Twitter, “We’ll get the sixth title in Russia. Congratulations to Germany.

“I always said that football is a box of surprises. Nobody in this world expected this result,” said Pele, who played in three World Cup-winning Brazil teams.

Brazil had been hoping to extend their record of five wins in the competition, but, as with their previous hosting in 1950, they failed to land the trophy on home soil as the Germans annihilated them 7-1 in their Belo Horizonte semi-final.

Two goals for Toni Kroos and Andre Schurrle, plus one each for Thomas Muller, Sami Khedira, and record-breaking 16th World Cup goal for Miroslav Klose saw the visitors delirious, while Brazil begins a period of soul-searching such as never before.

The 7-1 scoreline was the worst defeat in the soccer-crazed nation’s history and many left the arena in tears before halftime, too stunned to watch any more.

34-year-old goalkeeper, Julio Cesar, said after the record defeat, “It is difficult to explain the inexplicable.

“Until now everything had gone very well. We had been very strong. It is so unexpected.

“Now we need to return home and be comforted by our families.”

Defender, David Luiz, who stood in for suspended Thiago Silva as Captain, said, “We had the worst game of our lives and Germany the best of their lives.”

Germany will go into Sunday’s World Cup final at the Maracana to face Argentina or Holland on the highest of highs.

Neymar Praises Coach Scolari For Hiring A Psycologist

Brazil forward Neymarscolari_y_neymar_ has praised coach Felipe Scolari’s decision to hire a psychologist to help the team keep their emotions in check during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Faced with great pressure to win the competition for a record sixth time in front of their own fans this summer, some Brazilian players have been reduced to tears during the national anthem before games.

Some of them also appeared emotional after the World Cup host’s tense penalty shootout victory over Chile in the last-16 tie in Belo Horizonte.

These reactions led to Brazil’s technical director and 1970 World Cup-winner, Carlos Alberto Parreira, criticise the team for allowing their feelings to take over, and Scolari, swiftly reacted by hiring psychologist Regina Brandao to work with the players, a move praised by Neymar who has a lot on his shoulder as Brazil’s golden boy.

The Barcelona forward admits that the Selecao players are enjoying the alternative mental approach on offer in camp as they cope with the pressure of expectation as the host nation

“I had never done anything like it before and I am quite enjoying it,” the Barcelona star said.

“It is not only us in football, who are surrounded by emotions every day and need psychologists. I think it could do every person good, to make one more relaxed.

“We have a very good relationship with Regina Brandao. She is a great person. I am learning a lot and I hope to continue doing it.”

Brazil will be hoping to progress to the semi-finals of the World Cup when they play Colombia in their quarter-final clash in Fortaleza on Friday.

Ronaldo Supports Brazil’s ‘Genuine’ World Cup Protesters

Ronaldo De LimaOne of Brazil’s all time legends of the World Cup, Ronaldo – having led his country to glory in 1994 as a youngster and again in 2002 – has admitted that there have been errors made in Brazil’s preparations for hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

While backing the validity of protests against the country’s hosting of the World Cup, he frowned at the violent approach adopted by some of the protesters.

Speaking with ESPN, he said: “I think we must separate the fake protesters who cause damage from the genuine demonstrators. In my opinion, yes, the Police must act violently against them and they must be wiped off the streets.

“But I support the peaceful protests, they should happen peacefully. Brazilians are tired of hearing that Brazil is the country of the future.

“That we can one day be a developed country is exactly what the country wants and needs now; this is the future we desire for our country. We want to feel all of this great progress.”

While the political problems linked to the tournament remain difficult to ignore, Ronaldo de Lima was happy to also speak about Brazil’s chances of winning the tournament.

“I think that today Brazil is entering the World Cup with much more confidence than we had when we entered the World Cup in 2002. I believe that the squad we have for 2014 is really strong, we have a balanced team full of talents.

“Neymar is a fantastic kid, so talented. He’s our great hope for the future.

“Another thing is that we are playing at home, this really makes me wish I were a few years younger and 45 pounds lighter. This is a one in a life time opportunity, playing at home in front of our fans.

“We saw the atmosphere during the Confederations Cup, it was so beautiful. However, we know that Brazilian fans are so demanding, they supported the Selecao because all the players played well.

“If Brazil do not deliver, they can start the booing. It will start very quickly especially in the big cities.

However, in my opinion I think the team is in a good form and have a great chance of being World Champion again.”

It is believed that success on the pitch for the Brazilian team might switch attention away from the problems within the country.

Santos To Sue Neymar’s Father

The controversy surrounding Brazilian star Neymar’s move to Spain is yet to stop as his father is to face legal action from Santos over his refusal to show the club details of the deal he made with Barcelona in 2011.

The club is furious that Neymar’s father would only verbally tell them details of the deal and are taking legal action against him, while criticising Barcelona’s tactics in the transfer saga.

Another unhappy party involved in the complex transfer is the DIS Group, which claims that the 21 year old had broken the terms and conditions of their deal by not telling them about Barca’s offer in 2011.

The Catalan giants paid Neymar’s father 10million pounds  up front over two years ago – with the other 30milion  pounds  to be paid following an eventual transfer – to ensure that he helped ease through the deal at the expense of other interested clubs, such as Real Madrid.


Brazil super kid; Neymar ends transfer speculations

Neymar has ended any hope of any European club aiming to get the signature of Brazil’s wonder kid as he expressed his desire to milk out his contract with Brazilian club side Santos which will keep him there till 2014.

One of world football’s most sought-after young talents, who has turned the eyes of the world to his direction with his superfluous moves on the field of play, has had some of the biggest clubs in Europe seek his service but he decided to snub lucrative moves to Europe.

Barcelona were widely believed to be the frontrunners to sign the striker, though Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United have all been credited with an interest.

Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro revealed earlier this month that a proposed move to Stamford Bridge over the summer never materialized, while Man City boss Roberto Mancini has said he would discuss Neymar’s situation with new director of football Txiki Begiristain.

Neymar himself has always been keen to play down any talk of a move to Europe, stressing the benefits of developing his game in the Brasileirao.

That has not stopped the speculation, however, and the forward appeared exasperated when he was quizzed about his future in New Jersey, where he is with the Brazilian national team for a friendly with Colombia.

Chelsea on the verge of losing Neymar to Barca

London club Chelsea may have to do without Brazilian playmaker; Neymar (possibly to replace Ivorien Didier Drogba) if nothing extra is done to lure the player to England, as his Brazilian team-mate Dani Alves urged him to join Barcelona.

Neymar a long-term target of Chelsea may move to Spain instead of the Premier League after Barcelona right back Alves said he would be a success at the Nou Camp.

Chelsea also has Brazilian stars such as Oscar who could sway Neymar to join Stamford Bridge, if the need arises.

Alves said “Obviously anybody would want to play for Barcelona,” Alves said.

“If Barcelona is interested in Neymar and if next month, next year or in two years he comes, I don’t know.

“I hope he does come here because, as I’ve already said, he would get better as a player and he would also improve the team.”

20-year-old Brazil striker would have been signed by the Blues last summer but according to report, the deal didn’t go well.

Neymar inspires Brazil’s victory against Japan

Brazil’s new football sensation Neymar was on call twice for his home country as Brazil showed what it has always been known for against Japan to ensure Mano Meneze’s side ended their brief European tour with two wins from two encounters.

Last week, it was a serious demolishing for Iraq as Brazil pounded the Arabian side 6-0 in Sweden thanks the young lad Neymar. And today, he proved unstoppable as he became a threat in the defence of the Japanese side while Real Madrid star Kaka also got his name on the score sheet.

Going into statistics of Brazil’s opponents Japan was a better side as they proved to be another tough side but the Samba boys happen to be tougher and this can be deduced from Japan’s impressive win over France even Brazil became a very hard nut for the Japanese side to crack.

Paulinho gave the Brazilians the lead in the 12th minute with a strike from outside the area before Neymar, who also scored against Iraq, doubled the advantage from the penalty spot.

Neymar was fortunate to record his second goal of the afternoon after the ball deflected in off Atsuto Uchida, but the 20-year-old Santos star was credited with his 16th strike in 25 Brazil appearances.

Kaka, who had not scored for Brazil since 2010, added his second goal in five days to complete the scoring with 14 minutes left, but Neymar took the headlines once again.

Olympic Warm-Up: Neymar on call for Brazil against G.Britain

They have been tagged as the favourites to win the Olympic gold medal in London and to send further warning to contenders, in a warm up game against Great Britain showed their superiority as they thrashed the British 2-0, thanks to Neymar.

The South Americans won the game courtesy of first-half goals from Sandro and Neymar.

Neymar, Brazil’s key figure was in sensational form, ripping apart the Great Britain defence time and time again.

It was precisely Neymar who set-up Brazil’s first goal, when in the 12th minute he curled a free-kick into the back post, and Sandro was at the right place at the right time to nod home.

Ten minutes from half-time Brazil were awarded a penalty kick, when Micah Richards impeded Hulk in the area. Neymar stepped up to the spot and made no mistake to put the Brazilians two goals to the good.

In the second period Great Britain improved a touch, and came close to scoring through Craig Bellamy, but the Welshmans effort was brilliantly saved by Brazil goalkeeper Rafael Cabral.

Although Stuart Pearce’s side played some decent soccer at times, they proved much inferior to a Brazil outfit that demonstrated that they will be the team to beat at the Olympic Games.

In the last quarter hour of the game, Brazil dominated their opponents with slick passing, and dangerous attacking moves.

They created a number of opportunities to extend their advantage, but late efforts from Lucas Moura, Neymar and Pato were saved by Great Britain goalkeeper Jack Butland.

Great Britain, who played their first game for 41 years, needs to improve a great deal if they intend to survive out of a group which consists of South American champions Uruguay, Senegal and the United Arab Emirates.

Meanwhile Brazil, who has never won the Olympic gold medal, is the overwhelming favourites to win a group which includes Egypt, Belarus and New Zealand.