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Wayne Rooney is introduced, Mexico crashes out, and Belgium with a comeback for ages: Freedom Kicks 7/3/18

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Rooney, Rooney, Rooney

This is now strictly a Wayne Rooney blog. Welcome.

So, yesterday was the official unveiling of Rooney. United had a press conference at the Newseum. They had never hosted anything like that before, and while maybe it didn’t pull quite the numbers that David Beckham arriving in Los Angeles did, there was a decent gathering of press in attendance.

I’ll compare it for a moment to what the scene was last year when the club introduced Paul Arriola, Russell Canouse, Bruno Miranda, and Zoltan Stieber. That event was held in the batting cages in the bowels of RFK Stadium. In attendance was no more than the normal group of reporters you’d see at a midsummer slog at RFK. It was what you’d expect from a team that was having a dire season, and had little pull in the local media market.

Monday was much different. The venue was great, the event was well attended, if a bit hectic. Only thing missing was Ben Olsen, who surely would have had a few quips, while he and the rest of the team prepare for Wednesday’s game against the LA Galaxy.

That all said, here are a few press clippings from the event.

First, a look from the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, MLS Soccer, and Fox 5 (though this is just from the Associated Press). But since this is Rooney, there was a lot of outlets from England in attendance, and this is some of what they have. First, the SB Nation site that covers Everton gives their take on a specific sentence from Rooney, while Sky Sports and the Daily Mail add in their two cents. And then there is the state run media, the BBC.

And if you missed the press conference, you can watch it in it’s entirety here:

Meanwhile, the World Cup returned to it’s crazy state after a somewhat tepid Sunday.

Firstly, Mexico was made to pay for their poor performance against Sweden by losing 2-0 to Brazil in the Round of 16. If you’re keep count, that is 7 consecutive times that Mexico has made it to the Round of 16, but lost. They are amazingly consistent in getting to the World Cup, getting out of their group, but failing at the next stage.

From what I saw, which was only the first half, Mexico had a good start to the game, but just couldn’t capitalize. Towards the end of the half, momentum seemed to sway in favor of Brazil, and it’s probably safe to say that signified the end of Mexico’s chances, even if the game was scoreless at halftime.

But the latter game was just about the most dramatic World Cup game I’ve seen, and this tournament has had no shortages of drama. Japan scored twice early in the second half to take a 2-0 lead over Belgium, who at this point, should be one of the favorites to win the whole tournament.

Belgium wasn’t really deterred, although they needed some luck on their first goal, as Jan Vertonghen’s header probably wasn’t meant as a shot, but went in anyway. Marouane Fellaini leveled the score five minutes later, and both teams came close to adding a third as the game wore on.

But in the final minute of stoppage time, Japan had a corner kick that was caught by Thibaut Courtois, and that led to Nacer Chandli converting on a counter attack at the other end with the last kick of the game. Watch that goal here, and just look at Romelu Lukaku’s movement. He doesn’t touch the ball once, but does so much to create the space for the pass out wide, and then the strike from Chandli. Now we get to see Brazil and Belgium face off later this week.

And here’s what looks to be a happy ending for a terrifying story from Thailand. A group of 13 people, a young coach and 12 of his teenaged players got lost in a cave on June 23rd in Thailand. Flooding made searching for the team difficult, but after nine days, all 13 were found alive. They are still in the process of extracting everyone, but this story could have ended much worse.

Finally, I said this is a Rooney blog now. So Rooney we will end with. Remember Wayne’s brother, John? He was drafted by the New York Red Bulls in 2011, played a season there, then played a season with Orlando City in USL. He went back to England after that, and has bounced around since. He was unveiled the other day at his newest club, with just slightly less fanfare than his brother.