Full of confidence! Team USA books flight home after World Cup final

He’s survived the Group of Death, but Jurgen Klinsmann’s revelation of the USA squad’s travel plans infer that he isn’t done just yet.

After booking a last-16 clash with Belgium — who hold a 100% record at the 2014 World Cup — Klinsmann told the press that his team plans to fly out from Brazil on July 13.

Before you check your calendars, that date should sound familiar: It’s the day after the World Cup final, after all. “You can always change your flights,” was Klinsmann’s clever quip.

Whether it’s mind games, confidence or just good planning, we like it. You’d forgive the United States for getting ideas above their station, with the side rightfully receiving plaudits for making the knockouts. Belgium lie in wait, and Klinsmann is wary of the Red Devils’ star power.

Klinsmann told the New York Daily News:

“Belgium is one of the secret favorites in the World Cup because of the players they have. We have absolutely no fear at all. We’re in position to challenge them. We have the foundation to beat them.”

Considering Klinsmann’s thoughts on Team USA’s chances before the start of the tournament, this seems to be a complete 180-degree turn, despite USA’s daunting 50-1 odds.

The huge clash will take place next Tuesday, with the winner facing either Argentina or Switzerland in the quarterfinals. Good luck, boys.

(H/T NESN and New York Daily News)


Palmeiras vs. Club Tijuana: Xolos make history


Photo: Nelson Almeida/AFP/Getty Images

By Kyle McCarthy

1. The fairytale continues: Tijuana played its first match less than a decade ago. It reached the Mexican first division in 2011. It won its first title in 2012. And now it has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Copa Bridgestone Libertadores by registering the fourth Mexican victory on Brazilian soil.

In stark contrast to the two other Mexican clubs – Club América and C.D. Guadalajara – to win an away match in Brazil, Tijuana operates on a relatively modest budget and relies on a small squad of players to achieve laudable results. This triumph isn’t a fluke: it is the product of a cohesive unit of dedicated and savvy operators capable of winning against any opponent in North or South America on the right day. Antonio Mohamed has worked wonders to lift this club into a quarterfinal tie against Atlético Minero.

2. Credit Tijuana’s victory to a stout defensive shape: Tijuana prefers to play a counterattacking style well suited for continental play and Mohamed astutely adhered to it for this match. The game plan – retain the necessary structure and then wait for the opportune moment to break forward with pace – made perfect sense for this tie against a Palmeiras side that had scored just five goals in seven Libertadores matches coming into this match. Mohamed and his players dared Palmeiras to carve them open and win the tie. The Brazilians tried their best to do so (particularly in the second half), but they failed to come to terms with Tijuana’s resolute line (offside time and time again), lacked the quality to score from the run of play and suffered the consequences of their defensive lapses.

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Copa Libertadores, Round of 16: Tijuana squanders chance vs. Palmeiras

By Kyle McCarthy

Club Tijuana managed to keep its unblemished home record in the Copa Libertadores intact with a 0-0 draw against Palmeiras on Tuesday night, but the Xolos squandered its invitation to take control of this round of 16 tie.

The home side kept its nerve for the most part and threatened occasionally after an indifferent start to the match. It did not, however, possess the sharpness required to make the best use of its advantage at Estadio Caliente.

The lack of investment in this side prior to this Libertadores campaign and the suspect form over the past few weeks told once again in the final third. Fidel Martinez lashed wide from a promising position at the top of the penalty area after 25 minutes to signal Tijuana’s improvement after a tentative opening period. Fernando Arce subsequently forced Bruno to tip his free kick over the bar, while Alfredo Moreno and Duvier Riascos both wasted good opportunities to open the scoring before the interval.

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English clubs turn to Europa League for safe have

By Jonathan Wilson


Champions League results may, as Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said, have been a wake-up call for the Premier League. Yet, the strength of the English league was demonstrated by the passage of all three of its representatives to the quarterfinal of the Europa League.

Chelsea, Tottenham and Newcastle all endured some level of drama but all, in the end, survived. For those minded to care about such things, England stretched its lead over Germany in the UEFA coefficient table to 4.206 points.

Read more here.