Lazaro Helps Lead Brazil to Under 17 World Cup Title Over Mexico

Lazaro has lead his team to a major victory…

The Brazilian soccer player scored a second-half injury time goal to give Brazil a 2-1 comeback victory over Mexico in the Under-17 World Cup final on Sunday in Brasilia.

Lazaro

Mexico had taken the lead through a Bryan Gonzalez header in the 66th minute and looked like it would hold on until Kaio Jorgeconverted a penalty in the 84th, with Lazaro the hero for Brazil with his late finish.

It was Brazil’s fourth Under-17 World Cup victory, while Mexico was in its third final in the last eight years in the age group.

Brazil, backed by fervent home support, hit the crossbar twice and had a number of good opportunities to score — outscoring Mexico 10-2 in shots on goal — but Mexico grafted, and held on and managed to keep the score at zero.

Eugenio Pizzuto swung in a deep left-wing cross from Gonzalez to give Mexico the lead and quiet the crowd, but Brazil came from two goals down to beat France in the semifinal and once again mounted a comeback.

The late challenge from Jesus Gomez on Gabriel Veron to give Brazil its penalty was the game’s major talking point, with referee Andris Treimanisinitially not seeing it and then checking it on VAR and awarding Brazil the penalty.

Mexico coach Jose Maria “Chema” Ruiz lamented the decision after the game, indicating the officials were selective in their use of VAR and claiming El Tri was “always the victim’ during the final.

Kaio Jorge made no mistake from the penalty spot, although Mexico keeper Eduardo Garcia got close to pushing the ball out.

The goal gave Brazil the momentum to go for the winner, which Lazaro struck first time from a right-wing cross from Yan Coutoto send the crown at Estadio Bezerrao into wild applause.

Gabriel Jesus Leads Brazil to Copa America Title

Gabriel Jesus is being hailed a hero in his home country…

The 22-year-old Brazilian professional footballer, a forward for Premier League club Manchester City and the Brazil national team, scored and assisted on goals before being sent off in Brazil‘s 3-1 win over Peru in the Copa America final on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro.

Gabriel Jesus

The hosts opened the scoring in the 15th minute after Jesus slipped past two defenders and crossed the ball for Everton to finish first time past Peru keeper Pedro Gallese.

The two teams traded goals right before halftime with Paolo Guerreroconverting a spot kick for Peru after Thiago Silva was whistled for handball and Jesus cooly finishing from the top of the penalty area to restore Brazil’s lead at 2-1 before the break.

Peru had not won this tournament since 1975 and they bounced back quickly with an equalizer a minute before halftime when Paolo Guerrero scored from the penalty spot after Silva was adjudged to have handled the ball.

The goal was the first Brazil had conceded in six games since the Copa America began.

Jesus was controversially sent off in the 70th minute for a foul on Carlos Zambrano with the Man Citystriker being shown his second yellow card and leaving Brazil to finish the match with 10 players.

“I want to apologize,” said Jesus. “I could have avoided it and I also need to grow up a lot.”

Despite being down a man, Brazil was still able to force the issue on the field and goalscorer Everton drew a penalty, which substitute Richarlison converted to give Brazil their ninth Copa America title and first major trophy since 2007.

Peru coach Ricardo Garecarecognized Brazil was the superior side but said his team, who played at their first World Cupin 36 years in 2018, were competitive throughout.

“It was fair that Brazil won,” he said. “We had our momentum but the second goal…

“They took advantage of their opportunities.

“We came here hoping to win but they were very effective,” he added. “But looking beyond the pain of the defeat, I think we are on the right path, that is the feeling that I have.”

An injured Neymar and his son sat close to Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro among the crowd of nearly 70,000 at the Maracana as the Selecao secured a historic one for Brazil manager Tite, who becomes the first coach to oversee a win in the Copa America, the Copa Libertadores( Corinthians, 2012) and the Copa Sudamericana(Internacional, 2008).

Gabriel Jesus & Roberto Firmino Lead Brazil Into the Copa America Finals

Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino are hometown heroes…

The Brazilian soccer players scored the two goals that helped lead Brazil to a 2-0 victory against old rival Argentina in the Copa America semifinals.

Gabriel Jesus & Roberto Firmino

Both sides tried to impose themselves physically early on but it was Jesus who gave Brazil the lead after 19 minutes when Firmino sent in a low cross for the unmarked striker to side-foot home from close range.

The two combined again on the counter-attack after 71 minutes to make it 2-0 after great work from Jesus left Firmino with the simplest of tap-ins.

Brazil, who have lost twice in 42 games under coach Tite, will face either Peru or Chile in Sunday’s final at Maracana Stadiumin Rio de Janeiro and captain Dani Alves said their goal was within reach.

“There is one more step to go before we fulfil our objective,” he added. “The standard here is very high there are no easy teams. You have to work and fight for what you want and we worked for this.”

Argentina have not beaten Brazil in a major competitive fixture dating back to 2005 and that run rarely looked like ending in front of 52,000 fans at the Mineirao Stadiumin Belo Horizonte.

Sergio Aguero hit the bar with a header in the first half and Lionel Messi struck the post 11 minutes into the second period but the visitors had little luck in front of goal and were never on top for any length of time.

While the tournament has been plagued by lengthy stoppages for the video assistant referee (VAR), Tuesday’s officials preferred to let the game run, though Argentina were incensed VAR did not come into play when Arthur felled one of their players at a corner.

Messi, who has still not won a major title with Argentina, was more influential than in his first few matches here but was still a pale shadow of the player who has won everything with his club side.

“We had chances, the ball hit the woodwork, it flashed across the six-yard box, there were penalties that weren’t given,” said Messi, who like coach Lionel Scalonicomplained about the refereeing.

“Today it just didn’t happen.”

Argentina bow out after scoring just five goals in five games and are still looking for their first major title since lifting the Copa America in 1993.

“We knew that it would be difficult because of the players they have,” Brazil’s Casemiro said.

“It’s about details. We knew it would be scrappy and that there would be wind-ups and time wasting. But we have to congratulate our strikers who did a great job. When they got chances, they scored.”

Caetano Veloso Pens New York Times Op-Ed on the Possible Breakdown of Democracy in Brazil

Caetano Veloso is speaking out about the political turmoil in his beloved Brazil…

The 76-year-old Brazilian musician and political activist has published an op-ed in the New York Times about the possible breakdown of democracy his home country is facing.

Caetano Veloso

A two-time Grammy winner, Veloso gaimed acclaim through participating in the Tropicalismo artistic movement at the beginning of the military dictatorship that Brazil (the fourth-largest democracy in the world) operated under in the 1960s.

In the editorial, titled “Dark Times Are Coming for My Country,” Caetano writes about the populist right-wing conservatism influencing Brazilian politics, and claims that Brazilians “can expect a wave of fear and hatred” if projected election winner Jair Bolsonaro becomes president. The election is scheduled for Sunday, October 28.

“Like other countries around the world, Brazil is facing a threat from the far right, a storm of populist conservatism,” Caetano says. “Our new political phenomenon, Jair Bolsonaro…is a former army captain who admires Donald Trump but seems more like Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines’ strongman. Mr. Bolsonaro champions the unrestricted sale of firearms, proposes a presumption of self-defense if a policeman kills a “suspect” and declares that a dead son is preferable to a gay one.”

Caetano goes on to provide background information about the decline of Brazilian political life in recent years, the impact of the news media on Bolsonaro’s success, and his history of artistic activism. Caetano spent time in prison for his political beliefs, along with other artists, students, and intellectuals.

Caetano ends the piece by expressing that he was forced into exile before, but won’t see that happen a second time, saying “I want my music, my presence, to be a permanent resistance to whatever anti-democratic feature may come out of a probable Bolsonaro government.”

Read the op-ed in full here.

Gutiérrez to Direct the Next Installment of “The Ring”

F. Javier Gutiérrez is preparing to bring a popular horror film franchise back to life.

Paramount Pictures has hired the Spanish filmmaker, one of the most awarded and lauded fantasy genre filmmakers his native country, to direct the third installment of its The Ring series.

F. Javier Gutierrez

It marks Gutiérrez’s second studio genre franchise film after Relativity Media and The Weinstein Co. chose him to helm the reboot of The Crow in another hotly contested director search.

The Ring threequel is the latest installment of the $400M-grossing horror franchise first launched in the U.S. by Gore Verbinski in 2002 with The Ring and its sequel The Ring 2, both starring Naomi Watts as a woman caught in the clutches of a cursed video tape.

The Ring

The Japanese original Ringu, directed by Hideo Nakata and adapted from the novel by Kōji Suzuki, spawned its own series of prequel/sequels and spin-off films and led a wave of J-horror Hollywood remakes throughout the 2000s.

Gutiérrez earned genre cred on the international scene with his shorts Braziland La habitacion de Norman, followed by his 2008 debut feature Before the Fall (Tres días).

Romero Saves Two Penalty Kicks to Help Argentina Reach the FIFA World Cup Final

World Cup 2014

Sergio Romero is the man of the moment…

The 27-year-old Argentine footballer has earned a hero’s welcome in his native country after his impressive performance in the penalty shootout after Argentina and the Netherlands were tied 0-0 at the end of extra time.

Sergio Romero

Romero, the goalkeeper for his team, saved penalty kicks by Holland’s Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder. Argentina’s Maxi Rodriguez put away the winning kick, sending Argentina to its first FIFA World Cup final in 24 years.

The last time a World Cup semifinal was decided by penalty kicks was 1998 when Netherlands played Brazil. Brazil won that encounter.

Argentina will face off against Germany in the final, which will be played Sunday in Rio’s Estadio Maracana.

This will be the third time Argentina and Germany will meet in the ‪World Cup final. Germany won in 1990. Argentina won in 1986.

César Stops Two Penalty Shootout Kicks to Help Brazil Defeat Chile

World Cup 2014

Júlio César is being heralded as Brazil’s saving grace…

The 34-year-old Brazilian footballer, the national team’s goalkeeper, emerged as Brazil’s hero on Saturday after Brazil squeaked past Chile 3-2 in a penalty shootout to advance to the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals.

Julio Cesarorld

After the teams played to a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of extra time at Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, César – a goalkeeper for Major League Soccer (MLS) club Toronto FC – stopped penalty kicks by Mauricio Pinilla and Alexis Sanchez. The match then ended when Gonzalo Jara’s blast clanked off the post.

Brazil’s shootout goals came from David Luiz, Marcelo and finally Neymar, who calmly fired a strike into the left part of the goal after first trying to gauge where Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo would be moving.

The match was played on even terms until the 18th minute, when David Luiz scored from just a few feet away from the goal line after Thiago Silva headed the ball his way following a corner kick.

It initially appeared that the ball had gone in the net off Jara’s foot.

Chile got the equalizer in the 32nd minute when Eduardo Vargas took advantage of a Brazilian defensive blunder and centered the ball to Alexis Sanchez, who fired a perfectly placed strike past a diving César.

Brazil then had a couple of chances before halftime, but a header by Neymar was deflected away by Jara and then a blast off the foot of Fred sailed over the crossbar.

In the 54th minute, Hulk appeared to score the go-ahead goal when he received a cross and fired a shot past Bravo. But English referee Howard Webb waived it off and gave the forward a yellow card, ruling that he had lowered the ball with his arm.

Brazilian coach Luiz Felipe Scolari then sent on Jo and Ramires to replace Fred and Fernandinho, respectively, but they were unable to provide the creative spark needed to break down Chile’s resistance.

Bravo’s heroics also were key to keeping the match tied, as he stopped a header from Neymar and a powerful strike from Hulk before the end of the second half.

In extra time, Brazil dominated ball possession but had no answer for Chile’s all-out defensive tactics.

La Roja also proved dangerous with the few chances it had, with Pinilla blasting a shot off the crossbar shortly before the end of extra time.

With the win, the Brazilians, who are seeking their sixth World Cup title, advance to a quarterfinal match on July 4 against Colombia, which defeated Uruguay 2-0.

Messi Scores Two Goals Against Nigeria to Tie Neymar at the World Cup

World Cup 2014

Lionel Messi is proving his critics wrong at this year’s FIFA World Cup

The 37-year-old Argentine soccer star – his country’s team captain – has lit up the World Cup stage with four goals in his first three games, matching Brazil’s Neymar, his fellow teammate at FC Barcelona, for the most goals so far.

Lionel Messi vs. Nigeria

Messi, who has had to contend with critics who say he never delivers when playing in an Argentina jersey, has now scored more times in this tournament than his previous two World Cups combined.

Messi’s wwo goals against Nigeria in Wednesday’s 3-2 victory helped Argentina secure the top spot in Group F and move the team into the Round of 16.

“Messi is one heck of a player,” Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi told reporters. “You can’t take that away from him. He’s blessed. I think there are other players in the Argentina squad who are very strong, but Messi is from Jupiter.”

Messi left Argentina for Spain at the age of 13 — a move which led many in his homeland to question whether he had taken on a Catalan identity by the time he grew into one of the world’s greats.

That myth will surely be extinguished should Messi lead his country to its first World Cup triumph since 1986 — and the signs are increasingly encouraging.

He has now scored 42 goals in 88 international appearances while playing with an energy which suggests he may have been saving his best for last following a relatively poor season at Barcelona, which was interrupted by injury.

His last-gasp goal which secured a 1-0 win over a valiant Iran was a moment of magic which will long be remembered.

That goal, which came just moments after Diego Maradona — arguably Argentina’s greatest ever player — had left the stadium, appeared to signal his arrival as the nation’s new hero.

Messi, who turned 27 on Tuesday, said the perfect birthday gift would be the World Cup title — and given his recent performances, it looks like that’s quite possible.

Scolari Returning as Coach of Brazil’s National Soccer Team…

Luiz Felipe Scolari is officially back at the helm in Brazil…

The Brazilian Soccer Confederation has announced that the 64-year-old World Cup-winning Brazilian football manager, known as Felipão in Brazil, will return as coach of the national team as it prepares for the 2014 World Cup tournament in the South American nation.

Luiz Felipe Scolari
Scolari was leading the team in 2002 when Brazil won the most recent of its record five World Cups.

CBF President Jose Maria Marin presented Scolari to the media during a press conference on Thursday where Carlos Alberto Parreira – who coached Brazil to victory in the 1994 World Cup – was named as national team coordinator.

“After a deep analysis, thinking of what would be best for Brazilian soccer,” said Marin, “we decided to turn over the destiny of the team with toward the country’s soccer objective, the World Cup, to competent hands, with recognized capability, experience already proven with titles won.”

In response, Scolari vowed to make his team the tournament favorites.
“We have the obligation to win the title,” said Scolari. “We’re not the favorites now, but we intend to be by the time the World Cup arrives and we will work for that.”

The first practices under the new coaching staff are set for January, to prepare for a friendly match in London against England.

Mano Menezes was fired last Friday as coach of the national team after 27 months in the post.

Though the team won 21 of its 33 matches under Menezes, none of the victories was against a top-flight opponent. His tenure also included a loss to Mexico in the finals of the 2012 Summer Olympics and a quarterfinal exit in last year’s Copa America competition.

A Ballon d’Or Threepeat for Messi?

He’s the reigning Ballon d’Or winner, having won the coveted trophy two years in a row… And now Lionel Messi is on the verge of a threepeat!

But the 24-year-old Argentine soccer superstar will have to beat out his fellow Futbol Club Barcelona teammate Xavi and his Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo for the trophy, which is given annually to the player considered to have performed the best in the previous season.

Lionel-Messi-Barcelona-Football-Player

The three players were shortlisted this week for the 2011 FIFA Ballon d’Or, with Messi the strong favorite to become only the second player in the award’s 55-year history to claim the trophy hat-trick in successive years.

Michael Platini, now president of European soccer’s governing body Uefa, is the only player to have achieved the feat to date. The Frenchman took home the award in 1983, 1984 and 1985.

Dutch stars Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten also claimed the title three times, but not in successive years.

The Ballon d’Or is awarded based on votes by coaches and captains of international teams, as well as journalists from around the world.

Meanwhile, Brazil’s Marta will face off against the United States’ Abby Wambach and Japan’s Homare Sawa for the player of the year crown in the women’s division.

The 2011 awards will be voted for by national team coaches and captains, as well as a panel of soccer journalists.

The winners will be presented at a special ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland on January 9.