Central & South America

Flying Kicks, Avant-Garde Linesmen's Flags And Other CONMEBOL Qualifiers Highlights

Here it's a pill hard to swallow: Concacaf doesn't have the monopoly on absurdity. Sorry. Other confederations also have a fair share of the industry, and they are not shy when it is time to demonstrate it. 

And yes, we are looking at you, CONMEBOL.

Thursday night there were three games in the South American qualifiers, and all of them brought goals, emotions but also a good amount of WTF moments.

You don't have time; I don't have time, so let's go to the point.

Alisson Praises VAR After Two Red Cards Rescinded

QUITO — Alisson said the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) had prevented his side from being "punished unfairly" after the Brazil goalkeeper had two red cards rescinded in Thursday's 1-1 draw with Ecuador in a World Cup qualifier.

Alisson was shown a red card after 25 minutes for a fierce tackle and another in stoppage time for felling Ayrton Preciado as he attempted to punch the ball, but on both occasions the referee consulted VAR and changed his mind.

"I think this was the first time this has happened in the history of football," the Liverpool keeper said.

Antonee Robinson Ruptures His Hamstring . . . Just Kidding He's A National Treasure

Prior to the USMNT's World Cup qualifier against El Salvador on Thursday night, left back Antonee Robinson was asked to discuss his recent attacking form for Championship-leading Fulham, which has just rattled off four straight wins while scoring an incredible 22 goals. 

During that run, Robinson's hit one from 20 yards out and provided two assists while going the full 90 in every match. 

Neymar's Netflix Series Is Fascinating In Ways That Neymar Probably Didn't Intend

Warning: Spoilers Ahead (Brazil doesn't win the 2014 World Cup) 

"He's in constant chaos, you know? He often creates it," says Dani Alves with a laugh during the opening of Neymar's new Netflix documentary. "He seems to enjoy that perfect chaos."

And with that we not only have the basis of the title — Neymar: The Perfect Chaos — but a good synopsis of the polarizing footballer who delights in the roles of entertainer, savior, clown, antihero and villain without ever really knowing, or caring, which mask he's going to don on any given day. 

What If The USMNT Isn't Actually Embracing The Cold And This Was All A Terrible Idea?

It is, we're learning, a question that can be framed in countless ways — "Will it be an advantage? But will it really be an advantage? How will you prepare? How will you mentally prepare? Will you put hot chicken broth in your water bottle so it doesn't freeze?" — but really only ever has one definitive plan of action: Deal with it. 

Frightening Pitch Invasion Interrupts Match At São Paulo's Flagship Youth Tournament

The São Paulo state football federation called for tough action on Sunday after the semifinal of its flagship youth tournament was interrupted when fans invaded the pitch and threatened Palmeiras players.

Only São Paulo supporters were allowed inside the ground for Saturday evening’s semifinal between São Paulo and Palmeiras in the hugely popular tournament for Under-20 players that takes place every January.

With their team trailing 1-0 in stoppage time at least two of them invaded the pitch and threatened Palmeiras players before being restrained.

The Most Hyped Brazilian Teenager Since Neymar Just Hit A Ridiculous Bicycle Kick

Three days ago, The Mirror reported that scouts from Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City were all at the Copa São Paulo de Futebol Junior Championships to watch 15-year-old Palmeiras phenom Endrick — who's already progressed to Brazil's U-20 squad and is spoken of in the same reverent tones that persuaded much of the globe to find an illegal stream of a Santos match to watch the prodigy known as Neymar.

Italy’s Supreme Court Confirms Robinho’s 9-Year Rape Verdict

ROME — Italy's Supreme Court confirmed the conviction of former AC Milan and Brazil striker Robinho to nine years in prison for his involvement in a gang rape of an Albanian woman in 2013, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

The ruling cannot be challenged and is definitive.

In 2017 a Milan court found Robinho and five other Brazilians guilty of assaulting the woman after plying her with alcohol in a discotheque. The conviction was confirmed by an appeals court in 2020.

Messi Left Out Of Argentina Squad For WCQ As He Recovers From Covid-19

Argentina has left Lionel Messi out of their squad for World Cup qualifiers against Chile and Colombia as the Paris St. Germain forward continues his recovery from COVID-19 infection.

The twice World Cup winners and current Copa America champions have qualified for the finals in Qatar and sit second in the 10-team South American group.

The 34-year-old Messi was omitted from Argentina’s 27-man squad after not playing for PSG since Dec. 22 against FC Lorient in French Ligue 1.

38-Year-Old Dani Alves Earns Brazil Recall For Upcoming World Cup Qualifiers

Brazil coach Tite has left out Renan Lodi for their World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Paraguay because the Atlético Madrid full back has not had a full course of COVID-19 vaccines.

"Renan Lodi was excluded from the possibility of being called up due to his non-vaccination," Tite, who recalled Dani Alves and Philippe Coutinho, told reporters on Thursday. "He missed the chance to compete (for a place)."

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