Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 11th 2014 Contents A62
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, July 11, 2014
BARCELONA---Neymar is progressing "very well"
from the back injury that caused the Brazil striker
to exit the World Cup, according to Barcelona.
The Spanish league club said on its website that
officials visited Neymar at his home in Brazil where
he will remain until returning to Barcelona on August
5 to continue the final phase of his recovery from
a fractured vertebra.
"The Brazilian football federation s announcement
of (Neymar s injury) was confirmed and the club has
given its consent to the treatment by the CBF,"
Barcelona said. "His recovery from the injury is pro-
gressing very well and from August 5 the player will
continue the final phase of his treatment in Barcelona."
Barcelona will hope to have Neymar available for
its season-opener, which is expected to be scheduled
for late August.
Neymar sustained the back injury in the 2-1 quar-
terfinal victory over Colombia, leaving Brazil without
its top attacking player for Tuesday s 7-1 humiliating
semifinal loss to Germany. It was Brazil s worst loss
in its 100-year history, matching the margin of a 6-
0 defeat to Uruguay in 1920.
Neymar, who joined Barcelona last season, scored
four goals in five matches at the World Cup, where
Brazil will look to salvage some pride on Saturday
against the Netherlands in the third-place playoff.
doubters says Aguero
SAO PAULO---Sergio Aguero thinks
Argentina have proved a lot of people
wrong by reaching the World Cup final.
Argentina will lock horns with Germany
for the biggest prize in world football on
Sunday after they beat Holland on penalties
in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.
Alejandro Sabella came under fire before
the World Cup for omitting Carlos Tevez
from his 23-man squad, and the Argentina
coach s reserved manner led some to ques-
tion whether he had the requisite charisma
to manage the side in Brazil.
When Argentina arrived at the World
Cup, Sabella was criticised for being too
reliant on Lionel Messi.
But with Argentina now one step away
from World Cup glory, the coach and his
charges can revel in silencing their doubters.
"A lot of people didn t think Argentina
would get to the final but we knew what
players we had - very good players," Man-
chester City striker Aguero said.
"Making the final means so much."
Aguero scored the third penalty in the
shootout, which came after a scoreless 120
Louis van Gaal snuffed out the threat of
Lionel Messi by packing the midfield and,
at the other end, Ezequiel Garay, Martin
Demichelis and Javier Mascherano kept
Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben quiet.
Coming 24 hours after Germany put five
past Brazil within half an hour, the cautious
play from both teams was understandable.
Mascherano expects a similar kind of
game in the Maracana on Sunday as he is
wary of the Germans attacking prowess
after their stunning performance in Belo
"On Wednesday we played like we did
against Belgium---we didn t give them any
options," the Barcelona midfielder said.
"Now we will study Germany. Obviously
we can t afford to give them the space that
"It will be a final we must play with
patience and calm, with hunger and heart."
Argentina s hero of the night was goal-
keeper Sergio Romero who saved penalties
from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder in the
Sabella took some more flak before the
tournament for choosing Romero as his
Romero was shipped out on loan to
Monaco at the start of the season from
Sampdoria, but he could not dislodge first
choice stopper Danijel Subasic.
Sabella stuck by the goalkeeper though
and the 27-year-old is thankful he did so.
"He helped me throughout what was the
most difficult time of my career," Romero
Romero had another coach to thank on
Wednesday night---Louis van Gaal.
The Holland coach brought Romero to
AZ Alkmaar from Argentina in 2007.
Romero was just three years old the last
time that Argentina made the World Cup
On that night in Italy, West Germany
beat the Argentinians with a controversial
85th minute penalty.
For this encounter Sabella has a near full
squad to choose from.
Angel Di Maria is the Argentinians only
The winger had to watch the agonising
penalty win from the sidelines because of
a thigh injury, but he has vowed to do every-
thing in his power to return for Sunday s
final in the Maracana. (AP)
Weary Dutch have no interest in 3rd place
SAO PAULO---The Netherlands squad
must stay at the World Cup when coach
Louis van Gaal dearly wishes they could
just go home. Next up? The match no one
wants to play.
Faced with the prospect of the third-
place game against host Brazil tomorrow
after a disappointing semifinal loss to
Argentina, Dutch coach Louis van Gaal has
criticized the match as meaningless and
"nothing whatsoever to do with sports."
"I think that this match should never be
played," Van Gaal said after his team went
out 4-2 in a penalty shootout following a
0-0 deadlock through 120 minutes against
the Argentines. "I ve been saying this for
10 years. But anyway, we will just have to
play that match."
The Dutch somehow have to lift them-
selves one last time at the World Cup. Tired
and bitterly disappointed, it won t be easy.
"They can keep it." Netherlands forward
Arjen Robben replied dismissively to a ques-
tion on how he felt about playing for third.
"Only one prize counts and that is becoming
Having lost the World Cup final four years
ago, the Netherlands attitude is understand-
able. And although Van Gaal has been cam-
paigning for a decade to get the game
scrapped, the Dutch must honour the com-
But while the Netherlands players aren t
really interested, the Brazil squad sees the
game as an immediate opportunity for
redemption following a 7-1 humiliation by
Germany in the semifinals. That has left
one team much more determined to play
this match than the other.
"Life goes on, we need to look forward
to our next goal, and our next goal is to win
the match for third place," Brazil coach Luiz
Felipe Scolari said. "We have to play it. It
has become our main goal."
Far from a main goal, it s an irritation for
Van Gaal said there were a number of
things he didn t like about the match, but
the one that really grated with him is that
a team faces the possibility of going home
off back-to-back losses after doing so well
and making the last four of a World Cup.
The Brazilians have also had an extra day
of rest after their semifinal on Tuesday.
"So that s not fair play either," Van Gaal
said. "But the worst thing is, I believe, that
chances are that you lose twice in a row.
A tournament where you ve played so mar-
velously well, that you go home as a loser
just because you could possibly lose the last
two matches. So, this has got nothing what-
soever to do with sports, not in my view."
Neymar progressing well
RIO DE JANEIRO---Fifa has rejected Luis
Suarez s appeal against his lengthy ban for biting
an opponent in a World Cup match.
Football s international governing body yesterday
said its appeals committee rejected the appeal by
Suarez and the Uruguay football federation in its
entirety. But that doesn t mean Suarez has given
up hope of playing on the opening day of the sea-
The Uruguay and Liverpool star has up to 10
days to get the written decision from FIFA, which
he needs to lodge an appeal against the ban with
the Court of Arbitration for Sport. If he does lodge
the appeal, he could apply to CAS for an immediate
freeze on the sanctions.
Suarez was banned for nine competitive inter-
national matches, four months from all football
and fined 100,000 Swiss francs (US$112,000) for
biting the shoulder of Giorgio Chiellini during
Uruguay s 1-0 win over Italy in a group-stage game
It is the third time Suarez has been banned for
biting an opponent, after similar incidents at both
Ajax in the Dutch league and Liverpool in the English
The incident was missed by match officials, and
Fifa s disciplinary committee studied video evidence
before charging the Uruguay forward.
The ruling to uphold the sanctions was expected,
as Fifa s appeals panel seldom changes disciplinary
If Suarez seeks and is granted from CAS a freeze
of his sanctions during his appeal process, he would
be allowed to train and play with his club until a
final verdict is reached.
Suarez is reportedly negotiating a move from
Liverpool to Barcelona. Fifa said a transfer could
proceed despite the sanction from football activity.
Argentina's Sergio Aguero, centre, reacts after winning a shootout at the end of the World
Cup semifinal soccer match between the Netherlands and Argentina at the Itaquerao
Stadium in Sao Paulo Brazil, Wednesday. Argentina won 4-2 on penalties after the match
ended 0-0 after extra time. AP PHOTO
Netherlands' Ron Vlaar reacts after missing
his shot during a penalty shootout after
extra time during the World Cup semifinal
soccer match between the Netherlands and
Argentina at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao
Paulo Brazil, Wednesday. Argentina
defeated the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty
shootout after a 0-0 tie to advance to the
finals. AP PHOTO
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