The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is hoping to have the South African Women’s team play against the Reggae Girlz in April as the Caribbean team continues its preparation for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer.

Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz are continuing to look for their best squad ahead of their FIFA Women’s World Cup bow, electing to field six newcomers ahead of two-game friendly series against Chile. 

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni revealed it had been a while since he last spoke to superstar Lionel Messi.

Messi, 31, last played for the national team at the 2018 World Cup, but is widely expected to make his return in March.

However, Scaloni refused to give anything away when talking about Messi – who is battling a thigh injury – on Monday.

"I have not talked to Messi for a while now," he said, via Ole.

"He has a match in a few days and we'll see if he can play."

Ahead of a Copa America campaign later this year, Argentina are scheduled to face Venezuela and Morocco in friendlies next month.

Messi is enjoying another fine season for Barcelona, scoring 29 goals in 27 games in all competitions.

United States head coach Gregg Berhalter was satisfied with a "good job" after a 2-0 friendly win over Costa Rica in California on Saturday.

Late goals from Sebastian Lletget and Paul Arriola saw Berhalter become just the third USA coach to win his first two matches in charge.

While he said there was still work to do for USA, Berhalter was pleased with his side's performance at Avaya Stadium.

"The three benchmarks we had were team building, style of play and competing," he told Fox Sports.

"And from a team-building standpoint, when you see the camaraderie, and you see how these guys are pushing for each other, you can tell that we've been working on that. So that's excellent.

"Style of play we need to keep going, we need to keep improving. There are some good elements, but we're not there yet. And from a competing standpoint, these guys are animals and you saw today. It's really nice to see in the second half the urging and the pushing.

"It was a good job."

USA recorded wins over Panama and Costa Rica to begin 2019 and have challenging friendlies against Ecuador and Chile to come next month.

Late goals from Sebastian Lletget and Paul Arriola saw United States make the most of their superiority and beat Costa Rica 2-0 in Saturday's friendly, as Gregg Berhalter clinched a second win from as many games as coach.

Berhalter's reign began with a comfortable 3-0 win over Panama on Monday, and although they looked be heading for a frustrating tie, USA – whose squad is made up entirely of players from clubs in North America – finally made the breakthrough towards the end.

A dull first half had few highlights and looked to be evidence of the squad's lack of familiarity, but USA really stepped things up after half-time.

Opportunities became a regular occurrence and USA even hit the post twice, as Costa Rica struggled to hold on, and the visitors' luck finally ran out 10 minutes from time as second-half substitute Lletget opened the scoring, and Arriola wrapped things up.

The closest either team went before the break saw Costa Rica's Marvin Loria blast just over from 25 yards in the early exchanges.

USA looked much more switched on at the start of second half, piling the pressure on almost immediately.

But Cristian Roldan was guilty of an inexplicable miss in the 51st minute, shooting wide from 10 yards despite Gyasi Zardes' header teeing him up perfectly.

Nick Lima then sent a fierce drive against the left-hand post from inside the box, before Djordje Mihailovic shot over from a similar distance.

Costa Rica continued to ride their luck and USA hit the left-hand post once again 22 minutes from time – Roldan's sweetly struck 20-yard attempt hitting the upright.

USA eventually got the goal their second-half display deserved with 80 minutes on the clock, as Lletget met the cross from fellow substitute Jonathan Lewis at the back post, nodding past Esteban Alvarado.

And Arriola sealed the win right at the end, clipping a neat finish over the approaching Alvarado.

The Gregg Berhalter era opened with a 3-0 victory over Panama thanks to United States debutant Djordje Mihailovic, Walker Zimmerman and Christian Ramirez.

Berhalter was appointed head coach in December, the former Columbus Crew boss replacing Dave Sarachan, who had temporarily filled the void left by Bruce Arena in October 2017.

And USA – in rebuild mode having failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 – got a glimpse into the future in Arizona, where a youthful team defeated regional foes Panama in a friendly on Sunday.

Chicago Fire's Mihailovic opened the scoring in the 40th minute before defender Zimmerman and substitute Ramirez sealed the win during the final 10 minutes at State Farm Stadium.

The January camp, which fell amid club fixtures in Europe, meant there were no stars like Borussia Dortmund's Chelsea-bound Christian Pulisic on show.

Berhalter's first line-up included five debutants – Nick Lima, Daniel Lovitz, Corey Baird, Jeremy Ebobisse and Mihailovic, though experienced midfielder Michael Bradley was in the XI.

USA were comfortable throughout, Baird coming close to breaking the deadlock in the 25th minute after combining with Gyasi Zardes but his effort flashed agonisingly wide of the post.

The hosts were rewarded approaching half-time when Mihailovic capped his first international appearance with a goal.

Baird squared the ball back to 20-year-old team-mate Mihailovic, who finished first time from the top of the penalty area.

USA goalkeeper Zack Steffen, who will join Premier League champions Manchester City on a four-year deal in July, did not have much to do throughout the match.

But he was called into action for the first time after 56 minutes and produced a fine stop to thwart Panama's Edson Samms.

Zimmerman added USA's second goal with 10 minutes remaining, while Ramirez came off the bench to side-foot into an empty net in the 89th minute.

Australia warmed up for the start of their Asian Cup campaign with a comfortable 5-0 win over Oman.

Graham Arnold's men will begin their bid to defend the title on January 6 when they face Jordan and they made light work of vastly inferior opposition in Dubai as goalkeeper Mat Ryan celebrated his 50th cap with an easy victory.

Three goals in the opening 23 minutes put the result beyond doubt. Chris Ikonomidis netted his first international goal either side of efforts from Andrew Nabbout and Awer Mabil. 

Milos Degenek added further gloss to the scoreline in the second half with his maiden international goal, before Jackson Irvine completed the rout late on.

Nabbout broke the deadlock in the 10th minute when he capitalised on the first of many mistakes in the Oman defence to slide home from close range.

Four minutes later it was 2-0 as Ikonomidis fired a half-volley in off the post and Mabil soon added the Socceroos' third when he prodded home after a seemingly innocuous Aziz Behich cross was allowed to find its way into his path.

Mabil went close to doubling his tally in the second half as his powerful free-kick was tipped over the crossbar by Faiyz Al Rashidi, but from the resulting corner Degenek opened his Australia account with a bizarre looping finish at the near post.

Australia took their foot off the gas somewhat thereafter, though Irvine emphatically volleyed home late on, and will hope for similarly serene victories in Group B, which also features Syria and Palestine.

 

What does it mean? Socceroos display gap in quality

Oman may have seen this game as a test of where they are as they attempt to progress from a tough Group F in which they will face Japan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and it served as emphatic evidence they are a long way adrift of side's of Australia's quality. The Socceroos will likely have to wait until the knockout rounds to receive a real test of their abilities.

Ikonomidis proves his worth

Ikonomidis has been largely kept in the international wilderness so far in his career, but earned his call-up for the tournament with some excellent form for Perth Glory and delivered an example of his finishing prowess with a well-taken goal.

Oman offer no defence

It will be a miserable tournament for Oman if they do not improve defensively, their backline making it far too easy for Australia in the first half.

What's next?

Australia face Jordan in their group opener in Al Ain, while Oman face Thailand in another friendly on January 1 ahead of their first tournament match with Uzbekistan on eight days later in Sharjah.

Lionel Scaloni is happy to be leading Argentina at the 2019 Copa America as the head coach dismissed his critics.

Scaloni is set to oversee Argentina's Copa America campaign, having impressed since replacing Jorge Sampaoli on an interim basis following the World Cup in August.

Argentina have only lost one of six matches after Scaloni's appointment – a defeat to Brazil in October – and discussing the future, he said: "I am happy because the objectives we set ourselves were achieved.

"To contribute players to this new team. I am happy to have the possibility to continue."

This is Scaloni's first head coaching role, having served as an assistant for Argentina and LaLiga outfit Sevilla previously.

Criticised for a lack of experience, the 40-year-old former defender added: "It does not bother me that I do not have experience because it's the reality. Any coach who starts, logically, has no experience.

"I had the opportunity to be in an important technical body, in Seville and in the national team. I cannot get angry because it's the truth."

The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) has paid its national players four of six outstanding amounts for which there was the promise of strike action. 

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe cannot be rested by their clubs because of an overly busy international schedule, according to Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri.

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe could yet feature in Paris Saint-Germain's crunch Champions League clash with Liverpool despite recent injuries, coach Thomas Tuchel confirmed.

Brazil captain Neymar suffered a groin injury during the early stages of his country's 1-0 friendly win over Cameroon, while Mbappe hurt his shoulder in action for France against Uruguay.

The pair will not play against Toulouse in Ligue 1 this weekend, but Tuchel is hopeful they may yet recover for Wednesday when PSG welcome Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool to the Parc des Princes.

"With Ney and Kylian, right now, the good thing is that it's not very, very serious," Tuchel told a news conference. "But we do not take risks for tomorrow [Saturday against Toulouse].

"They will not play, but there is the possibility that they play against Liverpool, it's possible.

"I think - and this is my opinion, I spoke with the doctor and the players - I think they can play."

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are not seriously injured but Paris Saint-Germain confirmed the attacking duo will require further medical tests ahead of a crucial Champions League clash with Liverpool.

Both forwards were injured in international friendlies on Tuesday, Brazil captain Neymar limping off after eight minutes against Cameroon while Mbappe was withdrawn in the first half of France's fixture with Uruguay.

PSG's perfect Ligue 1 record is on the line at home to Toulouse on Saturday but head coach Thomas Tuchel will be more concerned about Neymar and Mbappe's availability to face Liverpool at the Parc des Princes four days later.

The club confirmed in a brief medical update that Neymar has been diagnosed with "a right adductor strain", while Mbappe has "a bruised right shoulder".

"They will undergo a 48-hour period of treatment before further evaluation," the club's statement said.

PSG are third in Group C of the Champions League with two games remaining, a point behind both Napoli and Liverpool.

They host last season's beaten finalists before heading to Red Star Belgrade in their last pool fixture

Mauro Icardi is hopeful Lionel Messi will return to the Argentina scene again ahead of next year's Copa America.

Messi has not played for his country since their last-16 exit from the World Cup at the hands of eventual winners France and his international future remains unclear.

They have lost just one of those six matches under the stewardship of interim coach Lionel Scaloni, with Icardi on the scoresheet for the first time as Argentina claimed a second successive 2-0 win over Mexico on Tuesday.

Asked about Messi after the game, Icardi told TyC Sports: "He's the best player in the world and we all hope he comes back with us, especially with the Copa America coming up."

The Inter striker also hailed the team spirit under Scaloni, who does not expect his impressive results to earn him the role on a full-time basis.

"I'd lacked a goal, I was waiting for it and now I'm happy," Icardi added. "It's not easy to go without scoring. It creates a lot of chatter, but now I hope to keep going like this.

"We're a really great group, we can grow a lot and we're happy with the work of Leo [Scaloni], Walter [Samuel] and Pablo [Aimar].

"Of course, it'll be the federation which decides their future but I can say that right now, there's an atmosphere in the national team like never before

"Now we all feel comfortable and something very important is being built. I'd worked under the previous management, but I've never seen the friendship and union that exists between us now."

Edinson Cavani has told the media to stop suggesting he and Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar have an ongoing feud after the two appeared at odds in a recent international meeting.

The Uruguay striker was booked following a clumsy tackle on the Brazil captain in a 0-0 draw at Emirates Stadium on Friday, leading to an exchange between the two.

Cavani was incensed by the booking, with replays suggesting contact was minimal, and he subsequently threw the ball at Neymar's leg after helping him up.

The 31-year-old striker then appeared to say something to Neymar as he walked away, before insisting at full-time they are friends.

Cavani was asked again about the situation after Uruguay's 1-0 defeat to France on Tuesday, and he lost his patience.

"You need to stop this," he told L'Equipe. "It's you, the media, that are creating something from nothing.

"On the outside, everybody has his own life. On the inside, everyone works for the best interests of the club."

In Tuesday's outing, another of Cavani's PSG team-mates Kylian Mbappe was forced off with a shoulder injury in the first half.

With PSG in Champions League action against Liverpool on November 28, a bad injury to Mbappe would be a major blow and Cavani has his fingers crossed.

"I don't know, I hope it's not serious," he said. "We will need everyone to carry on."

Tite applauded his counterpart Clarence Seedorf for Cameroon's style of play in their 1-0 defeat to Brazil on Tuesday.

Richarlison scored the only goal of the game on the stroke of half-time, having replaced the injured Neymar in the eighth minute.

The Paris Saint-Germain star suffered a suspected groin injury, though both he and the team doctor have since suggested it was a minor strain.

Brazil were dominant for much of the match in Milton Keynes and created numerous opportunities, but Tite was still able to appreciate Cameroon, who were playing just their fifth match under Seedorf.

"I even congratulated Seedorf," said Tite. "The game was for those looking for well-played football.

"I'm not talking about what's worse or better [in terms of style of play], but it was a beautiful game of football.

"They came out playing with the goalkeeper, who has the technical capacity to get out of danger with both feet.

"We put pressure on, creating a great deal of opportunities, but we couldn't complete them or turn them into goals. He also brought a creative process. Anyway, it was a good game to watch."

The win brought to an end a mixed 2018 for Brazil, who were dumped out of the World Cup at the quarter-final stage.

One aspect of the season that has particularly pleased Tite is the arrival of new players into the fold, though he felt it necessary to apologise to Rafinha and Dede for not bringing them on against Cameroon.

"What I can say is that, first of all, it [2018] was significant because I could give opportunities to players that are emerging well in Europe or Brazil," he said.

"It brought a very big benefit to compose and keep the basic structure of the team. I apologised to Dede and Rafinha [for not playing them].

"The game was in such a way that, with 15 minutes left of the second half, we couldn't get the second goal.

"Then, if I put Dede or Rafinha, that's not giving an opportunity. They would have thought: 'If make a mistake here, it will fall in my lap.' So, in some situations we have to lead."

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