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Chile manager Jorge Sampaoli has criticised the Arena Corinthians pitch ahead of the final group match against Netherlands. Arena Corinthians will be the home of Brazilian outfit Corinthians once the World Cup comes to an end. A very impressive stadium that has been purpose-built for the World Cup, this will be able to hold just under 63,000 fans at any given moment. The pitches at the World Cup 2014 have so far been excellent, but Sampaoli has blamed the Arena Corinthians pitch for not being conducive to good football.
Chile going to the final match against Netherlands hoping to get a win. Both teams are level on six points after having won the first two group matches. However, Netherlands lead the table because of a better goal difference compared to Chile. The Latin American team has to be Netherlands in order to finish top of the group, which will be of major significance when it comes to the last 16 opponent. Brazil are expected to top their group, which will put them against the runners up of group B. Currently, this position is occupied by Chile.
Sampaoli will be aware that facing Brazil in the last 16 stage puts his team at a major disadvantage. Hence, he has targeted a win against the Dutch, but it will not be easy against the brilliant attack featuring Arjen Robben.
“We normally do not train at the stadiums. We prefer to stay near our place, also to preserve the grass. The surface today is totally deteriorated. In a World Cup, (teams) shouldn’t be permitted to train at the stadium before the match. The pitch in the stadium is in a bad state, we don’t want to destroy it more. Tomorrow we will have a match in the stadium on a pitch that does not reach our expectations,” said the Chile manager.
Corinthians managed to continue their climb up the table after a 1-0 win over Cruzeiro on Wednesday. This was a very important victory given that their opposition were prior to the match. A defeat for even two dropped points would have put Corinthians at a serious disadvantage for the title. However, now they can hope towards maintaining their place near the top of the table. Paolo Guerrero scored the only goal of the game in the 68th minute to give Corinthians the victory. This was also the second consecutive victory for Corinthians, who have 16 points on the board of the nine matches.
As a result of this victory, Mano Menezes’ team now moved level on points with Fluminense and São Paulo. Internacional are not too far behind and are also on the same number of points. Since Corinthians did not have much injury problems apart from the absence of goalkeeper Cassio, Mano Menezes named a similar starting line-up apart from the goalkeeper change. Walter, who was named in the Corinthians goal, made some crucial saves in the first of to deny the opposition. Corinthians also had several opportunities to break the deadlock in the first half, but were guilty of some poor finishing.
In the second half, the goal proved very crucial, as Corinthians held on for three points. The defeat for Cruzeiro is vitally important not only for Corinthians but also for the entire Brazilian league, as they had already opened a three-point advantage after just nine matches. A victory for them in this match would have almost put them out of touching distance. The top of the Brazilian championship is proving to be an intriguing title race this season. Most of the top clubs are in with the chance to win the title at the end of the season.
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Tottenham midfielder Paulinho has returned to his former club Corinthians, at least on a temporary basis. It has been revealed by the Brazilian club that the 25-year-old will be training with them in Brazil prior to the start of the World Cup 2014. Brazil will be taking a risk on the midfielder, who has rarely featured for the Tottenham first-team in the second half of the season. Former club manager Tim Sherwood even challenged Paulinho to show his best form next season onwards. Paulinho was a £ 16 million signing in the summer after he moved from Corinthians.
Prior to the move, he had spent five years with the Brazilian club from 2008 to 2013. He soon after the move, it seems that he still maintains cordial relationship with his former club, as they have allowed him to use their training facilities before the World Cup. Brazil’s opening match of the tournament will be against Croatia, but before that, they come up against the likes of Panama and Serbia in friendly matches. It is expected that Paulinho has to impressive heavily in order to feature in the final squad, as manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has only named a provisional squad until now.
It is expected that performance in this too friendly matches will play a major role in selection for the final squad.
“It’s a great pleasure to train at Corinthians and even more so because I’m preparing for a World Cup. I was fortunate to have one of the happiest times of my life at Corinthians and it’s going to be good for me [to be back],” said the midfielder about his return to Corinthians – at least on a temporary basis. There has been a lot of speculation about the future of the midfielder at Tottenham with Chelsea being interested in him.
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Brazilian club Corinthians have expressed their confidence that they would be able to sign Elias before the international transfer window shuts down on Monday. Corinthians have been involved in negotiations with the midfielder, who is currently playing for Portuguese outfit Sporting Lisbon. He was on loan at Flamengo last season and he has also been looking at as a possible signing by the likes of São Paulo. It is believed that Corinthians have made an offer of € 4 million for the midfielder, but there are still some details left to be ironed out in the deal.
The club, though, are confident that they will be able to complete the signing before this transfer window since it would help them do well in the Brazilian Serie A. After winning the Copa Libertadores a few years ago, Corinthians have been struggling for form. The presence of former Brazil national team manager Mano Menezes, though, has helped them attract a lot of quality players, which is going to help them along way into rebuilding the team. The Brazilian Championship for the new season starts in the middle of April.
This will not be the first time Elias place for Corinthians since he had already represented the club from 2008 to 2010. He has also played for Spanish outfit Atletico Madrid, while representing the national team for 13 times. A return to domestic football, though, is expected to hurt his chances of being in the national team squad for the upcoming World Cup 2014. Still, it is understood that the player is keen on the move.
“The commitment of Corinthians was very large and the probability is quite large in achieving the business. I hope everything goes well,” said the Corinthians Director of Football, Ronaldo Ximenes. The club finished third in the group stages of the Paulista Championship.
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Bayern Munich’s defender Rafinha was heavily linked with a return to Brazilian football with Corinthians, but he chose to remain with the European champions. At 28 years of age, Rafinha should be playing regular football, but he is only on the fringes of the first-team at Bayern Munich. This is due to the quality at disposal of manager Pep Guardiola, who has even used fellow full-back Philipp Lahm in a defensive midfield position. Such is the intense quality available at the hands of Guardiola and it had raised the possibility of Rafinha being sold in January.
Corinthians were understood to have made an offer for the 28-year-old, as they saw this is the perfect opportunity to sign the former Schalke defender. The World Cup is coming in less than a few months and Rafinha would have wanted to be part of the Brazil team at this competition. However, he is unlikely to get a look in due to the lack of regular football. A return to Corinthians, though, would have certainly helped in this aspect. Rafinha, though, has revealed that Bayern Munich have made him a counter offer and were interested in keeping him as a starter in the team.
The defender has stated that he simply could not refuse the offer and he is now interested in knowing what the future holds for him.
“I actually had the proposal but unfortunately we did not reach an agreement. Bayern made me an irrefutable offer to become a starter. I’m right here in Munich. I made the decision and I am happy. You can not think so. I know that the club went through difficult times but I think if I had gone to Corinthians I would be earning. I made the decision (to stay at Bayern) and how things have happened belongs to God,” said Rafinha.