Spain prevail despite late Suarez ‘bite’

first_imgAlthough the Uruguayans came closer to pinching a point than they deserved, Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque was exultant afterwards as his side laid the foundation for reaching the last four from a group also containing Uruguay and minnows Tahiti.“These are three magnificent points which stand us in great stead when it comes to reaching the semi-finals,” said Del Bosque.“It was a great match played out in conditions which sapped the players’ strength,” he added, referring to the warm, humid weather.“We dominated almost the whole match but the margin was a slim one in the event. At 2-0 we thought we had it won already and we stepped off the gas a little.”Uruguay counterpart Oscar Tabarez said: “Spain were superior and they deserved to win – we lacked a bit of discipline. In the second half it was a little more balanced as we dug deep to play for our pride.”Cesc Fabregas came within the width of a post from giving Spain the lead in the 10th minute with a low strike before the favourites made the breakthrough after just 20 minutes — Lady Luck smiling on them as Diego Lugano deflected home Pedro’s shot to bamboozle keeper Fernando Muslera.As is their habit, Spain were giving the Uruguayans almost no chance to touch the ball in the opening quarter and Xavi almost made it two when he sent a freekick whizzing just off target after 26 minutes.Without the ball, Uruguay grew frustrated and resorted to some strong-arm tactics as first Edinson Cavani earned a booking for clattering into Sergio Ramos as they challenged for a header.Ramos responded by shoving Gaston Ramirez before Uruguayan Cristian Rodriguez caught Jordi Alba with his elbow.Suarez, in the news for intimating he would be partial to a move from Liverpool to Real Madrid, tried to rally the Celeste, who qualified for this event by winning the 2011 Copa America in Argentina, finding Cavani with a freekick, but the latter’s header was too close to Iker Casillas.Del Bosque elected to keep faith with his veteran keeper despite Casillas missing a chunk of the second half of the season with a hand injury — once he had recovered the then Real coach Jose Mourinho left him on the bench.After 32 minutes it was 2-0 courtesy of beautiful vision from Fabregas, who shimmied away from two defenders, then played in Soldado, who took one touch before drilling the ball into the roof of the net.Uruguay made a change at the break with Ramirez giving way to Alvaro Gonzalez but Spain were still on fire as Xavi and Iniesta interlinked brilliantly before Xavi’s flick fed Pedro and his cross just eluded the diving Soldado.Pedro then mishit an effort wide after a neat Fabregas through ball sent Alba into space.With 20 minutes left Uruguay sent on veteran striker Diego Forlan for Diego Perez.That sparked a revival of sorts for the South Americans and Suarez drove home a curling freekick with two minutes remaining to give the scoreline a more respectable look and also join Forlan as his country’s joint all-time scorer on 33 goals.Spain came to the event having already become the only team in history to win three major events on the bounce – the 2010 World Cup sandwiched by Euro 2008 and 2012.A win in this dress rehearsal for next year’s World Cup finals in Brazil would see the Spanish join Argentina and France as the only countries to win the trio of World Cup, the Olympics and the Confederations Cup.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000RECIFE, Brazil, June 17 – World champions Spain got their Confederations Cup campaign off to a winning start on Sunday with a 2-1 win over South American champions Uruguay in the northern Brazilian city of Recife.The Spaniards dominated throughout but after Pedro Rodriguez’s deflected opener had cause to be grateful to Roberto Soldado’s 32nd-minute clincher as Luis Suarez netted a late freekick for the Uruguayans.last_img read more

Every Premier League club’s biggest fear this season

first_img 10. Southampton: failing to rediscover their goalscoring touch – The Saints aren’t doing too badly in the league, but they’re leaving an awful lot to be desired in the final third. Manolo Gabbiadini is their top scorer with three goals, two of which came in the 2-2 draw with Newcastle mid-October. Sorting out their forward issues should be a priority for Mauricio Pellegrino. 20 8. Watford: failing to lift their home form – The difference between Watford’s form on the road compared to at home will be alarming for manager Marco Silva. Only Man City, Tottenham and Chelsea have a better record on the road than the Hornets, but on familiar territory just Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Swansea have a worse standing. While away days have been exciting for the club, fans will soon grow tired of sitting unhappily at Vicarage Road. 3. Tottenham: losing Harry Kane for an extended period – There’s no questioning Kane’s importance to the Tottenham team. He was absent for the trip to Man United, and boy did Spurs miss him. While they adapted without him for spells in the first and second half of last season, his team-mates have been more reliant on him to get the goals this term. A lengthy period with the striker on the sidelines could be trouble for the north London outfit. 20 20. Crystal Palace: spending the entire season in 20th position – to see your club’s biggest fear, click the arrow above – Palace are the favourites to be the first team to suffer the drop this season, so all Roy Hodgson can ask of his players is to put up a fight. Wilfried Zaha has transformed the team since his return from injury, but he won’t complete a turnaround alone. If the Eagles can move from bottom, that would be an achievement in itself. 20 20 20 18. Everton: the reality that no team is too good to go down – Everton might have spent a lot in the summer, but all they have to show for their investment is a third-from-bottom league standing. Ronald Koeman lost his job last week and the players did little to suggest they’re ready to step up in the first game without the Dutchman, losing 2-0 to Leicester. The threat of relegation is very real for the Toffees, even at this early stage of the season. 11. Leicester: losing their identity on the pitch under Claude Puel – Puel might have got his Leicester career off to a winning start over Everton, but, certainly on current form, the Toffees are far from the toughest test in the Premier League. Southampton lost their identity under the French manager last season, which contributed to his being sacked at the end of that campaign. He’ll need to deliver more than survival to satisfy the Foxes. 20 20 Every team – no matter where they’re expected to be competing – will have that one fear for the season.With this in mind, decided to delve into what could be worrying each Premier League club the most – scroll through the gallery above to read what fear we’ve singled out. 20 20 13. Huddersfield: failing to build on their start to the season – Many expected Huddersfield to be rooted to the bottom of the table in their debut top flight campaign, but they’ve proved us all wrong. They’ve even beaten Man United. For the Terriers, the focus must be on building on their start to the season. 20 14. Stoke City: getting sucked into the relegation battle – This is Stoke’s 10th season in succession in the top flight, and they have largely avoided any hint of relegation in that time. Mid-table and top half finishes have become the norm, and the club have even managed to shed the Pulis-forged reputation for long ball football. Stay well away from the basement battle is still the chief aim at the Bet365 Stadium, though. 20 16. West Ham: giving Slaven Bilic too much time – Bilic’s contract expires at the end of the season and it seems that no matter how poor West Ham’s performances are, he’ll see out his deal. If that decision has been made purely to avoid paying off the remainder of his contract if he was to be sacked, they could be punished. The Hammers have won only two games this season and have shown no signs of improvement as the campaign has progressed. 20 17. Swansea City: giving up on Paul Clement – Clement built an excellent reputation from the time he spent as assistant to Carlo Ancelotti, and was more than deserving of his appointment as first team manager to a Premier League club. With the Swans still struggling near the foot of the table, though, it would be easy to pass blame onto the Englishman. 20 1. Manchester City: ending the campaign without silverware – Pep Guardiola, the City manager, has instilled his brand of play on his team, but only silverware will satisfy. Last season, they were all talk and no trousers – that must change this time around. The Premier League and Champions League are not out of their reach. 15. West Bromwich Albion: going down and Wolves coming up – This is the stuff of nightmares for West Brom. The prospect of local rivals Wolves, who are among the favourites for automatic promotion from the Championship, taking their place in the Premier League next season should be incentive enough in moving up the table. 20 9. Newcastle’s biggest fear: Mike Ashley making a mess of the club’s sale – Mike Ashley has taken a risk in publicly announcing he wants a quick sale of Newcastle because, what if it all goes wrong? He wants a deal to be agreed by Christmas, and as the festive period approaches, there is the growing reality that this saga could drag on longer than anticipated. 7. Burnley: falling apart without Sean Dyche, if he leaves for Everton – Dyche marked five years in charge of Burnley with a win over Newcastle on Monday night and that could very well turn out to be his last win with the club. Rumour has it Everton will make an official approach for the 46-year-old this week, in the hope of making him their permanent replacement to Ronald Koeman. The Clarets have enjoyed an excellent start to this season, but their hard work could be undone if they lose their manager. 5. Arsenal: being forced to sell Alexis Sanchez to a Premier League rival – Sanchez, while not openly admitting so, seems to have made his mind up on leaving Arsenal in January or at the end of this season. The Chilean is out of contract in the summer and in August came close to joining Man City. Gooners will fear a repeat of the Robin van Persie saga five years ago. 6. Liverpool: losing Philippe Coutinho in January – Barcelona had three bids in excess of £100million rejected for Coutinho in the summer and the Spanish giants are likely to return with an even bigger offer. Liverpool might have to face that in January and how they handle negotiations could be the defining moment of their season. 20 20 4. Chelsea: the pressure getting to Antonio Conte – Despite a successful debut campaign at Stamford Bridge, speculation over the summer suggested Conte was already struggling to see eye to eye with Chelsea chiefs. The Italian has certainly been a tense figure on the sidelines this season and if the pressure starts to get to him, it could also get to his players. 19. Bournemouth: not escaping the drop zone – The excitement surrounding Eddie Howe and his Bournemouth team has dissipated this season. They’ve arguably overachieved in the top flight and are finding it tough to get the results needed. It’ll be difficult for the Cherries to escape the bottom three. 12. Brighton: panicking over Chris Hughton’s future – Like Huddersfield and Newcastle, Brighton have surprised many in how they’ve adapted to the Premier League. Should their form drop, the worry will be whether club chiefs could panic and decide Chris Hughton isn’t up to scratch. He took them up and deserves to see through the job, come what may. 20 20 2. Manchester United: running out of steam – At the moment United are battling neighbours City for the title, while they’re only one win away from a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League. All is well at Old Trafford right now, but the concern will be the team running out of steam, particularly with their injury record. 20 20last_img read more