Pulse.com.gh logo
Go


Football Neymar's Brazil look strong as Germany, Argentina tackle problems

Neymar's acclaimed return ahead of the World Cup supplied Brazil with an immeasurable boost, but holders Germany and Argentina arrive at the tournament confronting inconsistent form and disrupted preparations.

  • Published:
Neymar will be vital as Brazil target a record sixth World Cup play

Neymar will be vital as Brazil target a record sixth World Cup

(AFP/File)
24/7 Live - Subscribe to the Pulse Newsletter!

Neymar's acclaimed return ahead of the World Cup supplied Brazil with an immeasurable boost, but holders Germany and Argentina arrive at the tournament confronting inconsistent form and disrupted preparations.

The Paris Saint-Germain superstar's swashbuckling display in a 45-minute appearance against Croatia last weekend largely dismissed lingering concerns over his fitness after more than three months out with a fractured foot.

The 26-year-old admitted he was only at "80 percent" but promised he would be raring to go come Brazil's first game at the finals against Switzerland on June 17.

"For the first match back I actually expected less from him! I would have been happy with a quieter performance," Brazil coach Tite said of Neymar. "What he did was really extraordinary."

Brazil's form under Tite, appointed midway through a faltering qualifying campaign, suggests it will be difficult to stop the five-time world champions from adding another title in Russia.

A reinvigorated Selecao have won 16 of 20 matches with the former Corinthians boss at the helm, a 1-0 loss to Argentina last year in Melbourne the only defeat since he took charge.

Spain, unbeaten since Julen Lopetegui was named coach after Euro 2016, are back among the genuine contenders after a catastrophic 2014 World Cup and another early exit the European Championship.

"Spanish football has lived through an extraordinary, historic period in 2008, 2010 and 2012, but after that the team has not found the same consistency or success," Lopetegui told AFP.

"We have to grow again as a team. We have the biggest ambitions but we are also very aware that we arrive at this World Cup feeling humble and wanting to prove ourselves."

Spain cruised through a qualifying section featuring Italy, and delivered a further warning to their World Cup rivals with a 6-1 demolition of Argentina in March.

But they will be tested immediately in Russia when they launch their group stage campaign against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal on June 15.

Trouble ahead for Germany?

Manuel Neuer's comeback following eight months out with a foot injury has given Germany a much-needed shot in the arm, with Joachim Loew's side struggling to hit their stride ahead of their title defence.

Ilkay Gundogan missed both the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 due to injury play

Ilkay Gundogan missed both the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 due to injury

(AFP/File)

An unconvincing 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia on Friday halted a five-match winless run, although Ilkay Gundogan was booed by Germany supporters after meeting Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and calling him "my president".

"The fact that a national player is booed like that helps nobody," Loew told broadcaster ARD, insisting the incident be put in the past.

"He took a picture, okay, but he has addressed it with the press and underlined his support for German values.

"The topic has to be ticked off."

Argentina's build-up was jolted by the cancellation of a controversial friendly against Israel in Jerusalem, a fixture set to be their final outing ahead of the World Cup.

The sold-out game had been due to take place on Saturday but was hotly opposed by Palestinians, who claim the eastern part of the city, annexed by Israel, as the capital of their future state.

Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero will be roommates at Argentina's base camp on the outskirts of Moscow play

Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero will be roommates at Argentina's base camp on the outskirts of Moscow

(AFP)

With goalkeeper Sergio Romero already ruled out, Argentina's plans were further complicated by the loss of Manuel Lanzini to injury, but team manager Omar Souto believes all is in place for a successful competition.

"I have been at five World Cups and this is the best set-up because it has everything... there's never been a place like this for the national team," he told AFP, with Argentina due to arrive at their Bronnitsy training base, 40km southeast of Moscow, later on Saturday.

Pogba worry for France?

A hugely talented France squad head to Russia with high expectations, but Didier Deschamps is still struggling to find a system that will enable him to unlock the full potential in his team.

Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann are two central components of a France team trying emulate the one that won the 1998 title play

Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann are two central components of a France team trying emulate the one that won the 1998 title

(AFP/File)

Paul Pogba, who will have a huge role to play if France are to succeed, was jeered by a smattering of home fans after an underwhelming performance in a recent 3-1 win over Italy.

"People talk a lot about Paul. He's a midfielder, he's not a number 10, nor a forward," said Deschamps.

"He has the ability to score goals and create them, which he does often. He's a complete midfielder: he can do everything but he can't do everything."

Unburdened by modest expectations, England's youthful side will go into the tournament riding a 10-match unbeaten run that stretches back nearly a year.

Gareth Southgate admitted he faces a selection dilemma after Marcus Rashford starred in a 2-0 win over Costa Rica, but a reasonable draw could allow them to reach a first World Cup quarter-final since 2006.

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Ghana?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +233507713497, Social Media @pulseghana: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.com.gh.

Recommended Articles

Recommended Videos




Top Articles

1 #Number12 Anas releases further particulars against Nyantakyibullet
2 World Cup 2018 Argentina, Messi on brink of World Cup exit after...bullet
3 Video Anas mocks Kennedy Agyapong & Nyantakyi with Yaa Pono’s hit...bullet
4 Number 12 Anas demanded $150K to cancel screening of exposé –...bullet
5 Football Croatian master Modric schools Nigeria's young gunsbullet
6 #Number12 This is how Nyantakyi almost involved George Weah in...bullet
7 World Cup 2018 Mexico World Cup skipper Rafael Marquez on a...bullet
8 Black Stars Essien is the best- Sammy Osei Kuffourbullet
9 Photos Meet Kwesi Nyantakyi's beautiful first wife and...bullet
10 #Number12 Anas' family under threat following Number...bullet

Top Videos

1 Ghost Goal Italian referee shows remorse for disallowing Muntari’s goalbullet
2 Back to the Roots Memphis Depay dancing ‘adobe’ in Cape Coastbullet
3 Long Shot Michael Essien's favourite goal for Chelseabullet
4 Video Watch how Essien and his Chelsea legends suffered 4-1 defeatbullet
5 Video Watch the highlights of new Black Stars wonder kidbullet
6 Video Sannie Daara received GHC 4,000 bribe in Anas exposébullet
7 The Real News with Akrobeto goes International, shows on...bullet
8 Chelsea Fans' Favourite Michael Essien's left-footed goal...bullet
9 Watch how Ghanaian youngster tore Barca's unbeaten run...bullet
10 Video Watch Frank Acheampong 5th goal of the season...bullet

Football