Pele criticizes Neymar
Brazil legend Pele has criticized Santos star Neymar’s performances for the national team, expressing fears they will not do well at next year’s World Cup on home soil. “I am very worried by the Brazilian side. We had three years with [coach] Mano Menezes and did not obtain any benefit from those three years,” Pele said in an interview with Estado de Sao Paulo published on Wednesday. Pele reserved some of his toughest criticism for Neymar, touted as the Selecao’s big star of the future. “Neymar, every time he plays for the Selecao, he becomes an ordinary player,” Pele said. “In all the games abroad he played badly. They all think he can solve the Selecao’s problems, [but] Neymar is not ready to shoulder this pressure. He does not play abroad. European soccer is different from the Latin American game. We from Santos say he is the best in the world, but he is already more concerned with media appearances than playing for the team. He is preoccupied with changing his style, his haircut,” he said.
Lions players sent home
Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes and Kent bowler Matt Coles have been sent home from the England Lions’ tour of Australia for disciplinary reasons. Both players attended a hearing with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and apologized for their behavior. England’s second-string team has had heavy defeats in its opening two one-day matches against Australia A. ECB performance director David Parsons said: “Matt and Ben have ignored the instructions given to them around their match preparation and recovery — and following previous warnings, it is regrettable that it has been necessary to terminate their involvement in the tour.”
Hammers to honor Moore
West Ham United will honor former captain and England World Cup winner Bobby Moore, who died 20 years ago, with a ceremony on Sunday. Fellow club and country teammates Martin Peters and Geoff Hurst will also attend West Ham’s home Premier League against Tottenham Hotspur on Monday, where a minute’s applause will take place before kickoff. Centerhalf Moore made 544 appearances for the Hammers between 1958 and 1974 and captained England to World Cup glory in 1966. Moore died of bowel cancer aged 51 on Feb. 24, 1993. “Having played with him for so many years, it was a disaster for me and for Geoff Hurst as well,” Peters told the West Ham Web site. “He could do anything. He could score goals and he was a great defender. He knew exactly what he wanted to do, he would mark people out of the game. He was just a wonderful, wonderful player. He’ll never ever be forgotten.”
Top seed wins in Bogota
Top seed Jelena Jankovic of Serbia reached the second round of the US$235,000 WTA tournament in Bogota on Wednesday, but two seeds tumbled out. Jankovic defeated Julia Cohen of the US 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, but Teliana Pereira of Brazil beat No. 2 seed Alize Cornet of France, 7-5, 6-7 (2/7), 6-2 in a second-round match. Mandy Minella of Luxembourg downed eighth seed Timea Babos of Hungary, 6-1, 6-4 to join Pereira in the third round. Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor of Spain beat Mathilde Johansson of France, 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 and Mariana Duque-Marino of Colombia, defeated Estrella Cabeza Candela of Spain, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in other second-round matches. Mariana Duque of Colombia earned a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory over Estrella Cabeza in their first-round clash.