Is Brazil a better team without Neymar?

By July 08, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Pavard expecting big season at Bayern after beating Real Madrid Pavard expecting big season at Bayern after beating Real Madrid

    Benjamin Pavard says Bayern Munich fans can expect a successful season and should not fear any "little crisis" that comes the way of the Bundesliga champions.

    Niko Kovac's side beat Real Madrid 3-1 in the International Champions Cup on Sunday despite goalkeeper Sven Ulreich's late red card in Houston.

    There were encouraging signs of improvement following Bayern's 2-1 loss to Arsenal last Thursday, particularly with the DFL-Supercup showdown with Borussia Dortmund now less than two weeks away.

    Bayern's domestic dominance looked under serious threat from Dortmund last term, but a strong second half to the season saw them claim the league title and the DFB-Pokal.

    And Pavard, who completed his move from Stuttgart after the end of 2018-19, thinks there is every reason to be optimistic heading into the new campaign.

    "We were strong, we defended very well, attacked very well," he said after the win over Madrid. "We scored three goals. We conceded a goal, which is annoying, but it does not matter. We just must remember the fact we won. We feel better and better.

    "Of course, it's a very big club, which has a habit of winning a lot of titles. We know that if we lose one or two matches in the season, it's a kind of little crisis. But I don't worry: we really have a very good squad and a great atmosphere. It will be okay.

    "I have a lot of confidence. There is a very good atmosphere. On the pitch, we can see that everyone takes pleasure. We are making every effort together."

    Bayern face AC Milan and Fenerbahce in their remaining pre-season games before meeting Dortmund on August 3 at Signal Iduna Park.

    They then take on Energie Cottbus in the first round of the DFB-Pokal before getting their Bundesliga campaign underway at home to Hertha Berlin on August 16.

  • Sarri: Juventus were naive in Tottenham loss Sarri: Juventus were naive in Tottenham loss

    Maurizio Sarri urged Juventus to show less naivety on the ball after Adrian Rabiot's late lapse led to a 3-2 loss to Tottenham in Singapore.

    The Serie A champions succumbed to defeat in Sarri's first match in charge courtesy of Harry Kane's sublime lob over Wojciech Szczesny from inside the centre circle in the third minute of added time.

    New signing Rabiot dallied on the ball and invited a tackle from Lucas Moura, from which the ball spilled into Kane's path.

    Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo earlier scored to overturn Erik Lamela's first-half opener, before Lucas equalised in the 65th minute.

    "It was a difficult game, there is a difference between us in our physical preparation," Sarri told reporters.

    "Tottenham have players who have known each other for years and in the first half they seemed quicker, but it's normal.

    "If we want to show our football we must defend further forward. In the first half we weren't high enough up the pitch, which made things difficult.

    "In the second half we pressed better and we did some good things, even though we were naive with the lost balls.

    "But I think this is also affected by the level of physical conditioning."

    The International Champions Cup clash was the opening pre-season match for both clubs.

    Debutant Rabiot said: "It was the first game, so there is still a lot of work to do. Physically I need to grow, but I felt good playing my first game.

    "We are understanding each other very well within the team and with the coach."

    Juve return to action against Serie A rivals Inter in China on Wednesday.

  • James driven on at Man United by late father James driven on at Man United by late father

    Daniel James feels driven to succeed at Manchester United following the loss of his father prior to his transfer from Swansea City.

    The Wales winger has enjoyed an encouraging pre-season with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side following his move from the Championship club for a reported £15million.

    James' father, Kevan, died only weeks before he completed his switch to Old Trafford.

    Speaking after United's 1-0 International Champions Cup victory over Inter, James said: "Every day, I miss him. He always drove me on when he was here.

    "There are times when I am a bit down about it but what he would say is just keep playing and working hard.

    "I know he is looking down on me now, still driving me on."

    James has started all three of United's pre-season games so far - against Perth Glory, Leeds United and Inter - and has been praised for his performances by Solskjaer.

    He almost scored his first goal for the club against Leeds when he sprinted beyond Marcus Rashford and shot against the base of the post after being played through on goal.

    But James is not getting carried away by his performances, with United still to play Tottenham, Kristiansund and AC Milan before beginning the 2019-20 Premier League campaign against Chelsea on August 11.

    "It is pleasing but there are three more games to the start of the season," he said.

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