A brace from talismanic Reggae Girl, Khadija Shaw helped Jamaica to a 3-2 win over Chile in the second of two friendlies between the teams at the Montego Bay Sports Complex in St James on Sunday. 

Argentina left-back Nicolas Tagliafico accepts the national team simply do not know how to make the most of Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

At club level, Messi has been arguably the most consistently brilliant player in the world for more than a decade, while many regard him as the greatest of all time having scored at least 25 goals in every LaLiga season since the 2009-10 campaign and won every competition possible with Barcelona.

Although Messi is Argentina's record goalscorer with 65 and just 20 appearances shy of being their most-capped player, many feel his international career has been underwhelming, particularly after the disappointment of the 2018 World Cup when Argentina exited to France in the last 16.

Messi has not played for his country since the tournament in Russia, and although he is expected to bring an end to his international hiatus on Thursday, Tagliafico concedes Argentina have never worked out how to get the best from him.

"We have seen two glorious stages in our football with [Cesar Luis] Menotti and [Carlos] Bilardo, which are two different ways of understanding football," Ajax defender Tagliafico told Marca.

"We have not found out which is the best [style of play] for our time, or which one is the best to help Leo [Messi].

"He's the best player in the world and we do not know how to take advantage of him.

"We have to find an idea or a coach that makes us understand the opportunity he represents and bring that order we need.

"It's not the same to be in a club for 15 years knowing everything. In the national team, either because of the change of president, coach or because of the passion we have that blinds us, we are not able to put together projects every year. That's not easy.

"Leo did not have the luck to be crowned. He reached three finals, but we do not have the project that, for example, Barca does."

Germany coach Joachim Low has welcomed Marc-Andre ter Stegen's determination to challenge Manuel Neuer for a starting role as the national team's goalkeeper.

Bayern Munich star Neuer remains captain and Low's first-choice shot-stopper, leaving the Barcelona man frustrated at a lack of opportunities to represent his country.

In a recent interview with DAZN, Ter Stegen stressed he is determined to put Neuer under pressure and force his claim to a starting role.

And Low acknowledged the 26-year-old's right to make his feelings known, insisting he did not consider it an attack on his team-mate or coaches.

"I think it's absolutely okay what he said," Low told DAZN.

"It was not an attack towards Manuel Neuer or us coaches. He formulated his ambitions and he is absolutely right to do that because he became a really great goalkeeper in the last two or three years.

"We are happy to have two world-class goalkeepers in Germany. I said last year that Neuer is the number one, also because he is our captain. But this year we have a little restart and Marc will get his chances in the qualification for Euro 2020. The Euros are next summer, we have a little time left until then.

"Of course, there will be a fight [for the number one role]. At the end, the performances always count. Manuel made good performances at the World Cup, although he had a long injury before. Both goalkeepers are on a great level, so this year we'll see what happens. Surely Marc will also get a few games."

Despite starting very brightly against Chile inside the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica, the World-Cup-bound Reggae Girlz could only manage a 1-0 win headed into the second leg of their tie in Montego Bay on Sunday. 

Brazil head coach Tite said Vinicius Junior deserves his international call-up as he hailed the Real Madrid teenage sensation.

Vinicius has been called into Brazil's senior squad for the first time, ahead of friendlies against Panama (March 23) and the Czech Republic (March 26).

The 18-year-old has enjoyed a stellar debut campaign at European champions Madrid, where he has established himself as a key member following his €45million switch from Flamengo.

Vinicius has scored four goals in all competitions for Madrid this season and Tite told reporters: "I'm open to the emergence of new talent and to encourage them.

"If they are prepared to fight to be in excellent teams, technically and emotionally.

"This has led to him [Vinicius] being called up. He's had around 30... 26 matches, and that's remarkable, the performances he's giving.

"This analysis is quantitative but also qualitative. But quantity gives us the information. Players who have such potential and who are showing it, are called up.

"Even though we'll have little time to train, I want to give him the opportunity of growing and improving. This is confirmation [of his talent] and the evolution of it."

 

Vinicius Junior has been called into Brazil's senior squad for the first time ahead of next month's friendlies against Panama and Czech Republic.

The 18-year-old forward has become a key member of Real Madrid's first team under Santiago Solari since joining from Flamengo before the start of this season.

Vinicius turned in another dazzling display against Barcelona in Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final, although his end product was lacking and the game finished in a 3-0 defeat for Madrid.

But national team boss Tite has seen more than enough to be persuaded over the merits of adding the youngster to his forward line, while Vinicius' former Flamengo team-mate Lucas Paqueta has won a first call-up since joining AC Milan in the last transfer window.

Tite sent his assistant coach Sylvinho to watch Vinicius and Paqueta in action recently and the duo's trip to Europe almost yielded an international return for Fernandinho.

The Manchester City midfielder held talks with Tite and Sylvinho, agreeing to go back on his decision to retire from Brazil duty in the aftermath of the 2018 World Cup – only to suffer a hamstring injury during last weekend's EFL Cup triumph over Chelsea.

The games against Panama in Porto on March 23 and versus Czech Republic in Prague three days later are the final opportunities Tite will have to see Brazil in action before his country hosts the 2019 Copa America.

 

Brazil squad to face Panama and Czech Republic:

Alisson (Liverpool), Ederson (Manchester City), Weverton (Palmeiras); Dani Alves (Paris Saint-Germain), Danilo (Manchester City), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Eder Militao (Porto), Miranda (Inter), Alex Sandro (Juventus), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain); Allan (Napoli), Felipe Anderson (West Ham), Arthur (Barcelona), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Everton (Gremio), Fabinho (Liverpool), Lucas Paqueta (AC Milan); Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Richarlison (Everton), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid).

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. 

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.