WC Qualification South America World Cup draws nearer for Brazil as Falcao ends Tite’s perfect record Raisa Simplicio Last updated 2 years ago 08:45 6/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(9) Luis Acosta / Getty Images WC Qualification South America Colombia v Brazil Brazil Colombia World Cup The Colombian was on hand to show the Selecao they will not have things their own way after Willian opened the scoring in Barranquilla COMMENTWhile the rest of the continent toils away in qualifying, thoughts in Brazil have already turned to the World Cup. The tournament itself is the focus of Tite’s attention, as proved in an experimental line-up that took a 1-1 draw away to Colombia on Tuesday. Almost as a reminder that Russia 2018 will be a different prospect, the coach received a timely jolt of reality after his dream start in the job. Radamel Falcao’s towering header robbed Brazil of their 100 percent record in his tenure – they had won the previous nine qualifiers disputed since Tite’s arrival – and could not complain about a result that reflected each team’s performance fairly. The game was tense and scrappy throughout, with Colombia and Brazil sharing possession in Barranquilla and both enjoying chances. Alisson in the Selecao net had more work to do than usual but looked comfortable enough, while aside from a few pieces of individual magic and his assist for Willian, Neymar was closely watched and struggled to make space. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing There was nevertheless plenty to be positive about for the visitors. Facing a team fighting intensely for their own World Cup place, in the stifling 37°C heat of Barranquilla and with stars like Juan Cuadrado, James Rodriguez and Falcao on the pitch, Brazil never looked like losing. With 10 qualifiers under his belt now, Tite has finally tasted disappointment in a competitive game. Nine brilliant victories sent the Selecao steaming into Russia and expelled from memory the dark days of Dunga, but Brazil must also remember that victory is not a foregone conclusion, especially in a World Cup. That reality check, along with a valuable look at players like Roberto Firmino, Fernandinho, Thiago Silva and Filipe Luis, who started on Tuesday but are far from regular first-teamers – Firmino the exception, as it was the unfamiliar position of centre-forward that was new to him – who will make up part of his alternative XI once in Russia, was exactly what Tite wanted, and he will leave Colombia in decent spirirs in spite of the dropped points. Brazil’s preparations for the World Cup have only just begun. Similar squad rotation will surely be witnessed in October, when the Selecao finish up their CONMEBOL campaign against Bolivia and Chile, and now there is only one goal within the ranks: to arrive in Russia in the best possible way, with all 23 players ready and willing to star at the world’s biggest football competition.
Argentina Messi is not Maradona, he does not win a World Cup alone – Crespo Guy Atkinson 19:53 6/17/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(9) Getty Images Argentina Lionel Messi World Cup Argentina v Iceland Iceland Argentina v Croatia Croatia Nigeria v Argentina Nigeria The ex-Parma, Inter and Chelsea hitman has criticised the No.10’s team-mates for failing to provide him with the platform required for success Former Argentina striker Hernan Crespo has jumped to the defence of Lionel Messi, saying he needs help from his team-mates to win the World Cup in Russia.The Barcelona superstar endured a difficult opening game at the tournament on Saturday, missing a penalty in his side’s surprising 1-1 draw with Group D rivals Iceland.Messi had 11 shots without scoring – setting a new Argentina record for the World Cup – and was dejected at the final whistle. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now Arsenal would be selling their soul with Mourinho move Crespo – who won 64 caps for Argentina – has criticised Messi’s colleagues and believes they need to provide the 30-year-old with more support if the country is to win it’s first World Cup since 1986, when Diego Maradona carried them to glory.”Let’s start with a fact: Messi deserves a five [for his performance],” Crespo told Gazzetta dello Sport.”Of course, we expect more from him, but Messi is not Maradona, alone he does not win a World Cup.”This must be understood first by all Argentinians, and then by his team-mates.”He is a phenomenon if he is put in the right conditions, like in Barcelona. Otherwise he is struggling.”But tell me: who helped him against Iceland? [Angel] Di Maria did not get past his opponent once, the midfielders did not support him.”Messi will be looking to bounce back when Argentina take on Croatia – who defeated Nigeria 2-0 on Saturday – at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Thursday.