IN MY OPINION

Michelle Kaufman: World Cup appetizer is served to local fans

 
 
Barcelona's Neymar, left, escapes AC Milan's Ignazio Abate  during the  Champions League group H soccer match between FC Barcelona and AC Milan, at the Camp Nou stadium, in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013.
Barcelona's Neymar, left, escapes AC Milan's Ignazio Abate during the Champions League group H soccer match between FC Barcelona and AC Milan, at the Camp Nou stadium, in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013.
Manu Fernandez / AP

Who’s leading

English Premier League: Arsenal (25), Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham (20), Manchester City, Southampton, Everton (19).

Spanish La Liga: Barcelona (34), Atletico Madrid (33), Real Madrid (28), Villarreal (23), Bilbao (20).

German Bundesliga: Bayern Munich (20), Dortmund (28), Leverkusen (25), Monchengladbach (19), Wolfsburg (18).

Italy Serie A: Roma (31), Juventus, Napoli (28), Inter and Verona (22).

French Ligue 1: PSG (28), Lille (26), Monaco (25), Nantes (20), Marseille (18).

On the tube

Sunday: Tottenham vs. Newcastle (7 a.m.. NBCSN), Roma vs. Sassuolo (9 a.m., BeIN Sport USA), Sunderland vs. Manchester City (9 a.m., NBCSN), Marseille vs. Sochaux (11 a.m., BeIN Sport USA), Manchester United vs. Arsenal (11 a.m., NBCSN, Telemundo), Juventus vs. Napoli (2:45 p.m., BeIN Sport USA), MLS Western Conference playoffs (9 p.m., ESPN).


mkaufman@MiamiHerald.com

South Florida fans will get a rare World Cup preview when host Brazil — featuring Barcelona star Neymar — plays Honduras on Nov. 16 at Sun Life Stadium. Although it is just a friendly match, a huge crowd is expected.

The $35 tickets sold out in 17 minutes, and the $45 tickets sold out as soon as Honduras qualified for the World Cup.

“Tickets are pacing faster than any previous soccer match at Sun Life Stadium, including Barcelona, Spain vs. Haiti, and the International Champions Cup,” said Todd Boyan, senior vice president of Sun Life Stadium operations. “It is clear that people are not waiting until the last minute to get their tickets for this match.”

The matchup between Brazil and Honduras includes the best players from each country — Neymar, Oscar, Hulk, David Luiz, Marcelo and Dani Alves for the Brazilians and Carlo Costly, Maynor Figueroa, Roger Espinoza, Noel Valladares, Wilson Palacios and Victor Bernardez for the Catrachos.

The big surprise on the Brazil roster is AC Milan forward Robinho, who was called up by coach Luiz Felipe Scolari after a two-year absence from the team. He has scored 28 goals in 84 games for Brazil.

“Robinho is versatile and he is quality in any position from midfield forwards,” Scolari said at a news conference.

“He is daring and I want him to be daring for the national side. I expect to see in him what we know he has and that’s technical quality and joy. It is important we give him a chance to see if he can integrate with the team spirit we want.”

Robinho has only three goals in 13 games with Milan, but the coach sees something he likes heading into the final months of World Cup preparation. Marquinhos, the 19-year-old Paris St. Germain central defender, also got the call-up, as did Chelsea winger Willian. Scolari invited 22 players, 20 of whom play outside Brazil.

Atletico Mineiro goalkeeper Victor will start against Honduras. Victor is battling Jefferson (Botafogo) and Diego Cavalieri (Fluminense) to back up starter Julio Cesar.

Fans can purchase tickets at Ticketmaster.com or by calling the stadium box office at (305) 943-6311.

Brazil roster

•  Goalkeepers: Cesar (Queens Park Rangers), Victor (Atletico Mineiro).

•  Defenders: Thiago Silva (Paris St Germain), Dante (Bayern Munich), David Luiz (Chelsea), Marquinhos (Paris St Germain), Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (AS Roma), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Maxwell (Paris St. Germain).

•  Midfielders: Lucas Leiva (Liverpool), Hernanes (Lazio), Luiz Gustavo (VfL Wolfsburg), Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur), Ramires (Chelsea), Oscar (Chelsea), Willian (Chelsea)

Forwards: Neymar (Barcelona), Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Hulk (Zenit St Petersburg), Robinho (AC Milan), Jo (Atletico Mineiro).

Honduras roster

•  Goalkeepers: Valladares (Olimpia), Jhon Bodden (Victoria).

•  Defenders: Juan Pablo Montes (Motagua), Arnold Peralta (Rangers), Brayan Beckeles (Olimpia), Figueroa (Hull City), Víctor Bernárdez (San Jose Earthquakes), Juan Carlos García (Wigan, Inglaterra), Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic).

•  Midfielders: Jorge Claros (Motagua), Palacios (Stoke City), Edder Delgado (Real España), Boniek García (Dynamo, MLS), Andy Najar (Anderlecht), Roger Espinoza (Wigan), Marvin Chávez (San Jose Earthquakes).

•  Forwards: Jerry Bengtson (New England Revolution), Costly (Unattached), Rony Martínez (Real Sociedad), Jerry Palacios (Alajuelense).

Elsewhere

•  Bedoya impressing: U.S. midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, who grew up in Weston and played at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, is making quite an impression in his first season with French team Nantes.

He scored the game winner with three minutes to go in a 1-0 victory over Ajaccio. Nantes manager Michel Der Zakarian told BeIn Sport he is happy with Bedoya, who joined Nantes from Helsingborg in Sweden over the summer.

“He’s settled in very well,” Der Zakarian said. “He is technically excellent and is also prepared to work for the good of the team. His movement is always intelligent and he makes the right decisions.”

Nantes is in fourth place in Ligue 1, a year after being promoted. Bedoya gets big cheers from the club’s fans.

“I’d say I’m pretty satisfied with the way things are going so far,” Bedoya told BeIn Sport. “It’s been a bit hectic, my transition over here, in terms of a lot of games. My first start came against PSG. What better way to start off my campaign here?”

Bedoya was one of the final cuts from the U.S. World Cup team in 2010, but he has become a regular this time around. He started six of the past seven games for the national team.

•  For rent: U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said he wants his MLS players to play in Europe on loan this winter to prepare for the 2014 World Cup. There is talk Clint Dempsey will wind up spending some time with Fulham, Everton or Spurs.

“Our priorities are set so that the first one is if you get a chance to go on loan to Europe, do it,” Klinsmann told USSoccer.com. “It is very crucial for us that the players understand that everything they do now today has an influence on Brazil 2014 next summer. They can’t take it easy.”

The United States has upcoming friendlies at Scotland on Nov. 15 (3 p.m., ESPN2) and at Austria on Nov. 19 (2:45 p.m., NBCSN).

•  Adu let go: Freddy Adu, the one-time teen phenom, is being released by Brazilian club Bahia. Adu, 24, has played for nine clubs since turning pro as a 15-year-old.

“He hasn’t played because we understand that there are other players who are superior to him and he has had so many opportunities,” Bahia sporting director Anderson Barros told Lance!Net. “When his contract is ended he can go on with his life. He will be free to procure another club.”

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