Van Gaal accuses FIFA of dirty 'tricks': Louis van Gaal has claimed that the World Cup fixture has given Brazil an unfair advantage, report the Daily Mail. Van Gaal’s gripe revolves around the fact that the scheduling of the last round of group games means that Brazil will know their likely last 16 opponents before they kick off. “FIFA plays these tricks and it’s not a good thing. It’s not fair play. We’re going to focus on a victory against Chile and I don’t think that will be affected by the fact Brazil will play after us. I am just assuming they (Brazil) will do their sporting duty. Why on earth are they (FIFA) doing that (with the match schedule)? That is the question,” said the soon to be Manchester United manager.
Paper Round’s view: It does on the face of it seem a little odd that Group A's last round of matches kicks off after Group B - but when you put into the equation that the match timings mean Brazilians will be able to watch their national team at the end of the working day, rather than in the early afternoon, it makes sense. Any host nation would be granted the same favour - it just so happens that in this case, Brazil might have the theoretical option of intentionally losing or drawing in order to avoid either Netherlands or Chile. But it's a fuss about nothing: to win the World Cup a team needs to beat everyone who crosses their path, and Van Gaal knows that as well as anyone. There will be a subtle reason behind these comments from Van Gaal – there always is with a manager as wily as him – but in the end, it matters little. It is simple, win all their games and Netherlands win the World Cup regardless of any ‘tricks’ FIFA may or may not be playing.
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Hodgson has kept his job because he is English: Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson believes that Roy Hodgson would have gotten the sack already if he was foreign, according to the Daily Telegraph. “I know for sure, if that had been me, I would have been sacked at once. If he were foreign, he would be sacked. I’m quite sure about that,” said Eriksson. He also claimed that he would return to the post of England manager without hesitation but “that will not happen.”
Paper Round’s view: Hindsight is a tremendous commodity but, looking back, Eriksson was a fine manager who presided over a period of relative success for the national team. Granted an argument could be made that the group of players he had at his disposal were far superior than the pool Hodgson currently manages. However, if Fabio Capello or Eriksson presided over a group stage exit at the World Cup, it is hard to see how they would have survived it.
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Barcelona pull out of deal for Mangala: Barcelona have ended their interest in Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala and it is now a straight battle between Chelsea and Manchester United for the French star, claims the Daily Star. Barca are said to have baulked at the £36 million transfer fee.
Paper Round’s view: It's a wise decision from Barca to pull out of this deal as £36 million seems a rather inflated fee for Mangala. Granted, he is a very good centre-back but he is France’s fourth choice at the World Cup behind Raphael Varane, Mamadou Sakho and Laurent Koscielny. There must be more value in the market and with FFP a consideration it would be a surprise to see even Chelsea or Manchester United sanction a move at that price.
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Spurs battle Arsenal and Liverpool for Belgian youngster: Tottenham are set to bid for Belgium's goal hero Divock Origi, suggest the Daily Mail. However, they face competition from Liverpool and Arsenal for the 19-year-old, who scored five times in 30 games for Lille in Ligue 1 last season - and put Belgium into the last 16 on Sunday evening with his late goal against Russia. The French club will ask for £8m - though if he keeps knocking in goals in Brazil, expect that to double over the next week or so.
Paper Round’s view: This move would make sense for both clubs. Lille are apparently willing to sell while Tottenham are desperately short up front. There is however no mention of whether the player actually wants to move. And while Origi has impressed coming off the bench at the World Cup, his return of five goals in 30 games in domestic football – or a strike rate of one in six – is hardly prolific.
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