Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 1st 2014 Contents A68
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, July 1, 2014
BRASILIA---Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama
had become expert at repelling French players,
keeping a remarkable 21 clean sheets for Lille in
the league last season and going more than 1,000
minutes without conceding a goal.
At the World Cup, though, he couldn t keep up
After making a string of crucial saves in Nigeria s
tense second-round match against France yesterday,
Enyeama flapped at a corner in front of a mass of
bodies and parried the ball straight to Paul Pogba
lurking at the back post.
The Juventus midfielder duly scored France s piv-
otal first goal in the 79th minute on the way to a
2-0 win in Brasilia.
It was a cruel way for Enyeama s World Cup to
end as he had been one of the tournament s best
goalkeepers, perhaps rivaling Mexico s Guillermo
Ochoa. For all his great saves, Enyeama will likely
be remembered for his error against the French.
"That moment, it is only him who can decide
the reason he parried the ball," Nigeria coach Stephen
Keshi said. "I can t tell you, his decision is final.
What happened, happened. But it cost us big."
Any criticism of Enyeama must be tempered by
what he had produced for Nigeria before his mis-
He kept clean sheets against Iran and Bosnia-
Herzegovina in the group stage, with the only goals
he conceded coming against a Lionel Messi-inspired
Argentina in a 3-2 defeat.
And against France, Enyeama was outstanding
for 78 minutes, saving brilliantly from Pogba s volley
in the first half and then denying Karim Benzema
in a one-on-one chance and from a bullet header
that he tipped over the bar.
"He has been fantastic for us," Nigeria captain
John Obi Mikel said. "He has been such a great
goalkeeper and some of the saves he has made
today were fantastic."
But he blotted his performance with his first big
mistake in Brazil.
"He obviously felt he could come for the ball,"
Nigeria teammate Shola Ameobi said. "On another
day, it falls to one of our players. It s just a rub of
the green." (AP)
TERESOPOLIS---Neymar will be fit to
play in the World Cup quarterfinal against
Colombia despite thigh and knee injuries
sustained against Chile, Brazil s football
confederation said yesterday.
The confederation said team doctor Jose
Luiz Runco checked Neymar again when
the squad returned to its training camp and
said the player is not a concern for Friday s
match in the northeastern city of Fortaleza.
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was worried
after Saturday s match, saying it could take
days for the player to get better and that
doctors would have to do their "best to put
him on the pitch."
Neymar complained of a left thigh injury
after Brazil s penalty shootout win over
Chile, and Runco said the player was also
being treated for a hit on his right knee.
Confederation spokesman Rodrigo Paiva
said the player could miss a few training
sessions depending on how the injuries
"The worst is the knee, it s what s hurting
the most," Paiva said. "He may be rested
from practice if needed. He will be evaluated
again, but Runco said fans don t have to
worry because he s not a concern for the
Neymar s was subjected to heavy chal-
lenges during the match against Chile, and
twice he had to leave the pitch for treatment.
The first time was when he was hit by mid-
fielder Charles Aranguiz in the fourth
minute, and then following a challenge by
Arturo Vidal in the 28th, when the striker
nearly flipped over near the sideline.
Neymar said he played with pain the rest
of the match. Neymar scored one of the
penalties that gave Brazil a 3-2 win in the
shootout after a 1-1 draw.
Scolari said the player s thigh was
extremely swollen in the dressing room after
"We just hope Neymar can recover as
fast as possible so he can be ready for our
next match," Brazil defensive midfielder Fer-
Brazil doctors said three other players
were undergoing treatment following the
Chile match, although none of the injuries
Midfielder Luiz Gustavo, who is out
against Colombia because he received his
second yellow card, was nursing a right
knee injury, while playmaker Oscar had a
deep scratch on his left thigh. Defender
David Luiz was recovering from a back prob-
lem sustained before the Chile match. (AP)
Belgium putting a Hazard in front of US
SALVADOR---Eden Hazard knows it s
time to live up to his name at the World
Cup, and to make sure the United States
realises what that stands for.
The Belgian playmaker is aware his country
is counting on a match-long display of Haz-
ard dazzle against the United States today.
"In this World Cup, I have yet to play a
great match, even if I had good moves which
were decisive," Hazard acknowledged.
And the instructions from coach Marc
Wilmots for today s game are clear because
he expects Hazard "to take charge of the
match" and "impose himself as a leader."
Unlike the players who have confirmed
their star status at the World Cup, like Ney-
mar for Brazil and Messi for Argentina, Haz-
ard is still finding his range.
Within Europe he is one of the half dozen
best creative players, but at the World Cup
so far he hasn t consistently delivered on
Belgium has escaped with two victories
in the matches Hazard was starting, each
time with the playmaker providing decisive
assists. In both matches, he was playing
below par until those big moments.
The responsibility falling on the 23-year-
old Chelsea playmaker could be even bigger
today if Vincent Kompany, captain and
undisputed leader of team, is still sidelined
with an injured groin.
"A lot is asked from a guy who has already
given us a lot," said Wilmots, even though
the coach himself has publicly said more
was expected from Hazard.
Given space, his first-touch football, feints
and pinpoint passing has disarmed some of
the best defenses in the world. And don t
underestimate the quality of his freekicks.
He is also coming off more than a week
of good rest, disregarding five minutes of
play against South Korea, while the U.
defenders are coming off a tough game
against Germany on Thursday.
US coach Jurgen Klinsmann knows all too
well what he is up against. "You have to
have a special eye on him. You have to double
cover everything that goes out, you have to
shift tremendously," Klinsmann said yes-
Compounding the difficulties for the US
defence should be the inclusion of creative
midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who has been
close to Hazard all through Belgium s youth
ranks. He also was rested for the final group
game, when Belgium already had qualified.
On the eve of the game, Wilmots
announced that Arsenal defender Thomas
Vermaelen had not recovered fully from a
right hamstring injury in time to be ready
for today s match. If Belgium advances into
Saturday s quarterfinal in Brasilia, he s likely
to be available. (AP)
RIO DE JANEIRO---FIFA says Belgium midfielder
Steven Defour will serve only a one-match ban
for his red card against South Korea in the team s
last group-stage match.
Defour will serve the automatic suspension when
Belgium plays the United States in a second-round
today in Salvador.
FIFA s disciplinary committee declined to extend
the ban for a serious foul on Kim Shin-wook in
the 45th minute of Belgium s 1-0 win last Thurs-
FIFA says Dufour was also fined 7,500 Swiss
francs (US$8,450). (AP)
Brazil's Neymar, right, embraces a member of his team after the penalty shootout at the
World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Brazil and Chile at Mineirao Stadium in Belo
Horizonte, Brazil, Saturday. Brazil won 3-2 on penalties after Neymar scored the winner in
the shootout. AP PHOTO
Belgium's Eden Hazard controls the ball
during the group H World Cup soccer match
between Belgium and Russia at the
Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
Sunday. AP PHOTO
Cup with error
Defour gets ban
for red card
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