Sunday, December 31, 2017

MARCA readers vote Neymar as the best signing of 2017

English // marca
MARCA readers vote Neymar as the best signing of 2017
MARCA readers vote Neymar as the best signing of 2017

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2 Top Soccer Officials Found Guilty in FIFA Case

Soccer
2 Top Soccer Officials Found Guilty in FIFA Case
The verdicts against Juan Ángel Napout and José Maria Marin partially resolved a trial in the United States’ case focused on FIFA.

Friday, December 29, 2017

In an Unforgiving Sport, They Minister to Hearts and Souls

Soccer
In an Unforgiving Sport, They Minister to Hearts and Souls
A chaplain is part of the team for about three-quarters of England’s professional teams, offering spiritual or secular counseling to the players.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

PSG are the new 'Galacticos'

English // marca
PSG are the new 'Galacticos'
PSG are the new 'Galacticos'

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

FIFA in Hot Water Over Foam

Soccer
FIFA in Hot Water Over Foam
A court in Brazil has demanded FIFA immediately stop issuing a vanishing spray to referees after a patent dispute with its inventor.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp says his first thought is to defend

Football | The Guardian
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp says his first thought is to defend
• Klopp rejects idea that Liverpool’s default setting is too offensive
• Simon Mignolet mistake against Arsenal ‘will never happen again’

Liverpool’s failings at the back returned in untimely fashion at Arsenal on Friday but Jürgen Klopp has rejected the idea that his team’s default programming is too offensive and contended that his first thought is to defend.

“We have a defending approach,” he said when asked whether the kind of attacking football that has reaped rich dividends for the majority of the season was Liverpool’s natural instinct. “We played 4-5-1 and they all have responsibility to defend. As long as they do it, we can line up quite offensive player-wise. There is nobody on the pitch who is not involved in defending.

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Monday, December 25, 2017

Messi deals with Madrid yet again as Barcelona look impregnable

Football | The Guardian
Messi deals with Madrid yet again as Barcelona look impregnable

Though the season is only at its halfway point, the title looks certain to return to the Nou Camp

Leo Messi ended the clásico in a state of undress again but it was Real Madrid who had been stripped bare. At the very end of the last Madrid-Barça, Messi stood to the left of the goal at the north end of the Santiago Bernabéu, shirt off and held up for all to see; at the very end of the latest Madrid-Barça, exactly eight months later and a little over eight metres away, he lay on the grass to the right of the goal at the north end of the Santiago Bernabéu, boot off and abandoned, unseen at first. Then, as now, Barcelona had just scored the third, only now he had given it instead of getting it: another visit, another victory, and maybe this time a title too. If then there was hope, ultimately unfulfilled, this time there is expectation.

A gigantic banner had welcomed the players on to the pitch dreaming of a “White Christmas” but those celebrating it were mostly wearing red and blue. Messi was wearing red and blue and, it was now revealed, white. In the last minute, he ran at Marcelo. The challenge saw him lose his boot but not his balance and, dashing to the line, sports sock exposed, the Brazilian tumbling behind him, he pulled it back for Vidal, slipping to the floor as he went. As Vidal’s shot squirmed under Keylor Navas and over the line, he got up and ran to the scorer, leaping into his arms. Camera shutters clicked and when their pictures were developed handy circles superimposed over his sock showed everyone what they had missed. Ivan Rakitic arrived with the boot and as they broke Sergio Busquets drew near and, grinning, had a word in his ear.

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Maguire's 94th minute equaliser halts United's comeback

English // marca
Maguire's 94th minute equaliser halts United's comeback
Maguire's 94th minute equaliser halts United's comeback

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Arsène Wenger gets away with gamble on Ainsley Maitland-Niles | Nick Ames

Football | The Guardian
Arsène Wenger gets away with gamble on Ainsley Maitland-Niles | Nick Ames
Arsenal manager trusted his young full-back against the explosive Mohamed Salah and Ainsley Maitland-Niles can be pleased with his performance

Perhaps, in the kind of skewed reading that meetings between Arsenal and Liverpool have come to invite, this fixture was the perfect laboratory for a young full-back making his way.

By the time Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 20 years old and making his third Premier League start, left the field he could at least assure himself that nobody would have noticed any ragged edges very much.

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Friday, December 22, 2017

Ange Postecogelou claims critics undermined his Socceroos reign

Football | The Guardian
Ange Postecogelou claims critics undermined his Socceroos reign
Coach admits there is more to story of Socceroos exitDenies a falling out with FFA contributed to move to Japan

Former Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou has taken a parting swipe at critics he says had used “cheap shots” to undermine him and the national team. Speaking for the first time since taking up his new post with J-League heavyweights Yokohama F Marinos, Postecoglou resolved that his turbulent final year as coach has left him and Australian football in need of “a trial separation”.

Postecoglou addressed some of the factors contributing to last month’s resignation, admitting the stress and external pressure of the job had taken a toll on his family. He conceded a recent reminder of his infamous interview a decade ago with Craig Foster on SBS made him determined to leave the national set-up on his terms this time.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Swansea sack Paul Clement but hope to appoint successor in next 24 hours

Football | The Guardian
Swansea sack Paul Clement but hope to appoint successor in next 24 hours
• Welsh club sit bottom of the Premier League after string of poor results
• Board hope to get new manager in before Saturday’s game with Crystal Palace

Swansea City are looking for their third manager in less than 12 months after Paul Clement was sacked. The club’s American owners decided to part company with Clement after losing faith in his ability to engineer a turnaround following a dismal run of 10 defeats in 13 Premier League matches that left Swansea anchored to the bottom of the table and four points adrift of safety.

It is understood that Swansea have a replacement for Clement lined up and hope to have him in place before the critical home match against Crystal Palace on Saturday, with an announcement anticipated within the next 24 hours. Clement’s successor is expected to have Premier League experience, although there is no suggestion at this stage that Tony Pulis is in the frame.

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FFA reels in VARs after anger over use of video replay system

Football | The Guardian
FFA reels in VARs after anger over use of video replay system
Number of reviews will be reduced in A-LeagueVARs told to focus on match-changing situations

A-League chiefs have moved to end hysteria around the video assistant refereeing trial, tweaking interpretations of the rules which should result in far fewer interventions.

Related: Implementation of VARs in Australia proves messy and divisive | Dean Biron

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Ange Postecoglou makes swift return with J-League job lined up

Football | The Guardian
Ange Postecoglou makes swift return with J-League job lined up
Former Socceroos coach will take up role with Yokohama F. Marinos
Fading Japanese powerhouse aligned to City Football Group

Europe was calling but outgoing Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou’s next coaching job will be in Japan. The Asian Cup winner has accepted the job in charge of City Football Group-aligned J-League club Yokohama F. Marinos and will take up the reins in the new year.

“I am excited to be moving to Japan and returning to club football,” Postecoglou said. “Coaching YFM will be a great challenge and I am very much looking forward to working with the club’s players, and young players in particular, to achieve success.”

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Monday, December 18, 2017

Eagle launches Thai Aphibarnrat into Masters

English // marca
Eagle launches Thai Aphibarnrat into Masters
Eagle launches Thai Aphibarnrat into Masters

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Eight Candidates Approved for U.S. Soccer Presidential Race

Soccer
Eight Candidates Approved for U.S. Soccer Presidential Race
U.S. Soccer announced that eight of the nine announced candidates had submitted the required three nominations but declined to name them.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Sevilla frustrated as Levante hold on for a point

English // marca
Sevilla frustrated as Levante hold on for a point
Sevilla frustrated as Levante hold on for a point

Friday, December 15, 2017

Three Points and Six Words: ‘We Won Because We Were Better’

Soccer
Three Points and Six Words: ‘We Won Because We Were Better’
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City won by 2-1 at Manchester United, the surest sign yet that, even with half the season to go, the Premier League title is City’s to lose.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Report Into FIFA Raises Questions About Ethics Investigator

Soccer
Report Into FIFA Raises Questions About Ethics Investigator
FIFA’s chief ethics enforcer failed to disclose a friendship with Colombia’s disgraced former soccer president, according to a report from one of Europe’s ruling councils.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Football transfer rumours: Chelsea to win race for Thomas Lemar?

Football | The Guardian
Football transfer rumours: Chelsea to win race for Thomas Lemar?

Today’s rumours have a spreadsheet

Chelsea are, according to Antonio Conte, very tired and need some help. They did not show it at Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night but perhaps Conte just meant they required something to set tongues wagging on the long schlep home. In which case, the chatter at the back of the bus would have been thus: the champions-for-not-much-longer have entered the race for our old friend from the summer, Thomas Lemar. It appears Monaco will have to part with one of their few remaining stars of last season sooner rather than later; the question is whether they can fend off the longer-term interests of Arsenal and Liverpool, who will almost certainly be back in.

It being almost January, though, there are irons smouldering away in roaring fires. Chelsea’s pursuit of a wide man has also taken in the Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey, with an opening bid apparently being rejected. Liverpool, Manchester United and Barcelona are others keeping their eyes on the situation.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Maradona statue unveiled in India becomes target of online ridicule – video

Football | The Guardian
Maradona statue unveiled in India becomes target of online ridicule – video

Another football icon honoured by a statue has attracted widespread attention and ridicule. A bronze sculpture of the Argentina great, Diego Maradona, was unveiled at a club in Kolkata, although the dubious likeness to the 1986 World Cup winner has been the subject of much online mockery. The 12-foot statue features the 1986 World Cup winner with a healthy head of hair, with one online commenter saying it looked more like ‘someone’s gran’ than Maradona.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

UEFA Will Reject A.C. Milan Plan for Turnaround

Soccer
UEFA Will Reject A.C. Milan Plan for Turnaround
A.C. Milan appears to have failed to convince UEFA’s auditors that its Chinese owner can finance a turnaround that is in compliance with Financial Fair Play rules.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Navas enters the realms of Real Madrid's top 10 goalkeepers

English // marca
Navas enters the realms of Real Madrid's top 10 goalkeepers
Navas enters the realms of Real Madrid's top 10 goalkeepers

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Champions League: Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain Win Groups

Soccer
Champions League: Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain Win Groups
Roma and Barcelona also clinched spots at the top of their groups, while Atlético Madrid was eliminated after reaching the final in two of the last four years.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Full rounds of Premier League games to be shown live for first time

Football | The Guardian
Full rounds of Premier League games to be shown live for first time
• Three midweek rounds of fixtures and bank holiday programme available
• Fresh auction for 2019-20 season could see Amazon and Facebook enter fray

Four full rounds of Premier League games will reportedly be up for grabs in the new TV rights auction.

Related: Sky faces paying extra £1.8bn for Premier League broadcast rights

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Ronaldo: Hopefully Real can win the Champions League again

English // marca
Ronaldo: Hopefully Real can win the Champions League again
Ronaldo: Hopefully Real can win the Champions League again

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

World Cup Draw: Group-by-Group Analysis

Soccer
World Cup Draw: Group-by-Group Analysis
FIFA placed the 32 qualified teams for next summer’s World Cup into their first-round groups on Friday.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Panel to decide Socceroos coach by February as Eriksson throws name into hat

Football | The Guardian
Panel to decide Socceroos coach by February as Eriksson throws name into hat
Former England boss Sven-Göran Eriksson emerges as surprise candidate
‘No-one is ruled in or out,’ says FFA chief David Gallop

Australia will decide on a successor for Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou by mid-February, with former England boss Sven-Göran Eriksson emerging as a surprise candidate.

Football Federation Australia said on Tuesday it had formed a nine-person panel and engaged a consulting firm to assess candidates to take Australia to the World Cup in Russia and beyond.

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Monday, December 4, 2017

West Ham’s show of attacking gusto serves up hope for David Moyes | Nick Ames

Football | The Guardian
West Ham’s show of attacking gusto serves up hope for David Moyes | Nick Ames
Manchester City juggernaut had to find an extra gear to overcome a West Ham side who, despite a 2-1 defeat, offered something for their manager to work with

An unkind reading would be that the fact West Ham United can take such heart from what was eventually an Alamo‑esque occasion speaks volumes for the position the club find themselves in. That would not be unfair, even if caveats do exist. If David Moyes could not conjure a result up here then the semblance of a platform, a hint of the resilience that has deserted his new charges for so long, would reflect well on everyone involved: he got that at the Etihad and, with a little more quality at either end, might even have left with rather more.

“We’re going to have to try and find a way to see if we can stop them and make it hard for them,” a characteristically phlegmatic Moyes had asserted before the teams emerged. At that point City’s Tunnel Club concept appeared particularly ghoulish: a safari package for those with deep pockets prepared to watch doe-eyed prey lining up before the grisliest of slaughters. Moyes knew what the rest of us did: he had probably not read the apocalyptic projections that City might trouble the Premier League’s record winning margin, and was presumably ignorant of odds favouring an 8-0 home win above a single-goal win for his side but he was certainly aware of West Ham’s absentee list and had, more to the point, seen both sides play this season.

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Sunday, December 3, 2017

As Sponsors Shy Away, FIFA Faces World Cup Shortfall

Soccer
As Sponsors Shy Away, FIFA Faces World Cup Shortfall
FIFA’s battered reputation is affecting its sponsorship program for next year’s World Cup. Several high-value slots remain empty with only six months to go.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

England manager Gareth Southgate on the World Cup draw – video

Football | The Guardian
England manager Gareth Southgate on the World Cup draw – video

Gareth Southgate gives his reaction to the draw in Moscow for the World Cup next year in Russia. ‘We’re excited now that we know who we’re playing,’ says the England manager. The Three Lions will take on Belgium, Panama and Tunisia in Russia next year

England draw Belgium, Panama and Tunisia in 2018 World Cup group Continue reading...

Friday, December 1, 2017

2018 World Cup Draw: 32 Teams, 1 Goal

Soccer
2018 World Cup Draw: 32 Teams, 1 Goal
Friday’s draw for the 2018 World Cup will sort the field of 32 countries into eight first-round groups. How they got to Russia, and what they expect when they get there, is different for each of them.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

World Cup 2018 Draw: How It Works

Soccer
World Cup 2018 Draw: How It Works
The draw placing teams into groups for next summer’s World Cup in Russia will be held Friday at the Kremlin.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Ahead of World Cup, Fans Are Warned About Homophobia and Racism in Russia

Soccer
Ahead of World Cup, Fans Are Warned About Homophobia and Racism in Russia
An anti-discrimination organization that has partnered with FIFA to control fan behavior at the World Cup has issued warnings to gay and transgender fans and people of certain races.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A-League invites ridicule with Star Wars round promotion

Football | The Guardian
A-League invites ridicule with Star Wars round promotion

Fans mock commercial tie-up that chief executive David Gallop hails as way to ‘expand the football family’

In the midst of a governance crisis, Football Federation Australia has announced it has teamed up with Walt Disney for a Star Wars round, to kick off on 8 December. The round is timed to lead into the release of Star Wars: the Last Jedi in cinemas in Australia on 14 December.

According to the FFA, the round will include “character appearances, big screen content, themed activities and giveaways”. The unlikely bedfellows have also worked together to produce a co-branded video which draws on themes of light and dark, good and evil by interspersing footage from this football season with the new film.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

José Mourinho praises Romelu Lukaku despite flow of goals drying up

Football | The Guardian
José Mourinho praises Romelu Lukaku despite flow of goals drying up
• Manchester United manager says there is no pressure on the striker
• Forward has scored for United in only one of his last 10 matches

José Mourinho was at his most succinct. For the ninth time in 10 matches his £75m striker had failed to find the net. “He didn’t score,” the Manchester United manager said. “I don’t care.” The Portuguese can be a master of deception and diversionary tactics. Sometimes, however out of character it may appear, he is simply voicing an honest opinion.

Because when Romelu Lukaku was averaging a goal a game, Mourinho’s mantra was that it did not matter. When his biggest summer signing opened his league account against West Ham, his manager averred that there was “no pressure from me”. After Lukaku struck in the win over his former club Everton, Mourinho said: “He knows that for me there is no pressure for goalscoring.” When flood has given way to drought, United’s manager has displayed a consistency of argument.

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Icardi at the double again in Cagliari as Inter go top

English // marca
Icardi at the double again in Cagliari as Inter go top
Icardi at the double again in Cagliari as Inter go top

Saturday, November 25, 2017

The Big Six and … Burnley? A Success Story Confounds the Statisticians

Soccer
The Big Six and … Burnley? A Success Story Confounds the Statisticians
Almost a third of the way into the season, seventh-place Burnley has overcome all expectations — even its own.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Everton's misery compounded by home humiliation

English // marca
Everton's misery compounded by home humiliation
Everton's misery compounded by home humiliation

Thursday, November 23, 2017

At UEFA, Mounting Concern About A.C. Milan’s Murky Finances

Soccer
At UEFA, Mounting Concern About A.C. Milan’s Murky Finances
UEFA will decide early next month whether A.C. Milan, a seven-time European champion, has the financial resources to re-enter its continental championships should it play its way back in.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Benzema begins to justify Zidane's confidence

English // marca
Benzema begins to justify Zidane's confidence
Benzema begins to justify Zidane's confidence

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

At West Brom, Tony Pulis’s Game of Substance Goes Out of Style

Soccer
At West Brom, Tony Pulis’s Game of Substance Goes Out of Style
Pulis’s pragmatic approach led to adequate results for West Bromwich but also led to disaffected fans and, ultimately, his firing this weekend.

Monday, November 20, 2017

David Moyes pleads for unity at West Ham as fans turn on club hierarchy

Football | The Guardian
David Moyes pleads for unity at West Ham as fans turn on club hierarchy
• Chants of ‘sack the board’ heard as Moyes’ loses first game in charge to Watford
• Manager hits out at ‘players with big reputations’

David Moyes has appealed for unity among West Ham United supporters after watching his new team slump to a 2-0 defeat at Watford in his first match, leaving them marooned in the relegation zone.

A number of fans made their feelings known throughout the game, with Will Hughes’s opening goal in the 11th minute greeted with a chorus of “sack the board” as West Ham made a nightmare start under the Scot in his first appointment since leaving Sunderland early last summer. Andy Carroll was also singled out for criticism by a large section of away supporters when he was withdrawn in the second half soon after Richarlison had doubled Watford’s lead and Moyes, who replaced Slaven Bilic as manager during the international break, admitted they will have to get behind the team if West Ham are to rescue themselves from their second-worst start to a Premier League season. “I don’t know the history and all the reasons for it but I have to say we need them now,” the manager said.

Continue reading...

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Bloody nose for Sergio Ramos as Real and Atlético draw in Madrid derby

Football | The Guardian
Bloody nose for Sergio Ramos as Real and Atlético draw in Madrid derby

When the final whistle went at the end of the first ever Madrid derby at the Wanda Metropolitano, Atlético’s new home 12 miles across the city from their old one, there was no roar, but there was a little relief. A 0-0 draw suits neither side and was nothing to celebrate but at least it was not cruel, as some Atlético fans feel their history against Real has been. Instead, it was largely empty. It leaves both teams from the capital ten points behind Barcelona and showcased the reasons why that is the case. Isco apart, this was a game desperately lacking in creativity or control. Lacking goals too.

Related: Luis Suárez back on target as Barcelona pull away with win over Leganés

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Watford v West Ham United: match preview

Football | The Guardian
Watford v West Ham United: match preview

David Moyes takes charge of his 500th Premier League game and his first as West Ham United manager. Unfortunately he will be without the club’s top scorer, Javier Hernández, who was injured playing for Mexico. Despite Moyes’s emphasis on improved work ethic, Marco Silva will probably look to apply as much pressure on West Ham’s porous defence as possible to stop a run of three defeats. Graham Searles

Kick-off Sunday 4pm

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Ready for some club football? Enjoy these four huge derbies on Saturday

Football | The Guardian
Ready for some club football? Enjoy these four huge derbies on Saturday

The big leagues are returning in style with four big derbies: Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal, Roma v Lazio, Basaksehir v Galatasaray and Atlético v Real Madrid

By Martin Laurence for WhoScored?, part of the Guardian Sport Network

The first North London derby of the season gets the ball rolling again in the Premier League this weekend as Arsenal aim to keep pace with Spurs after the clubs’ fortunes were well and truly reversed last season. While Mauricio Pochettino led Tottenham to their second successive top-three finish, Arsenal dropped out of the Champions League places for the first time under Arsène Wenger’s management.

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Football transfer rumours: Marouane Fellaini to Arsenal?

Football | The Guardian
Football transfer rumours: Marouane Fellaini to Arsenal?

Today’s fluff is in discord and rhyme

Real Betis “believe they are close to pulling off a massive coup”, according to the Mirror. In these days of military takeovers of African quasi-dictatorships you might think that football gossipmongers might have temporarily scaled back on their use of the word “coup”, but no. Here it is in black and white, and being used to describe the future planning of a certain Jack Wilshere. The player, whose contract at Arsenal ends next summer, is apparently “open to moving to La Liga”, the only question being whether Betis “push for a cut-price deal in January”, “convince him to sign a pre-contract in January” or, in fact, fail to sign him altogether.

But who would replace Wilshere in Arsenal’s midfield/bench/stands should he leave? One improbable answer could be Marouane Fellaini, who “has rejected a new contract offer and is set to quit Manchester United on a free transfer at the end of the season”, according to the Express. They say that Internazionale, Besiktas and indeed Arsenal all want to add the Belgian’s sharp-elbowed skills to their ranks, but United will not consider selling the midfielder in January, preferring to keep him just as long as they can. The Mirror suggest this might be longer than first advertised, with the club “working on a compromise deal” and José Mourinho having “not given up hope of persuading him to stay at Old Trafford”, but then they also say he might end up in Valencia as part-payment for the 20-year-old midfield wonderkid Carlos Soler.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Denmark look to Russia as Irish soul-searching begins

English // marca
Denmark look to Russia as Irish soul-searching begins
Denmark look to Russia as Irish soul-searching begins

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Barcelona's rapid finishes a good sign for a successful season

English // marca
Barcelona's rapid finishes a good sign for a successful season
Barcelona's rapid finishes a good sign for a successful season

Monday, November 13, 2017

Croatia and Switzerland Clinch World Cup Berths

Soccer
Croatia and Switzerland Clinch World Cup Berths
Both teams earned scoreless draws in the second legs of their playoff series to earn spots in next summer’s tournament in Russia.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Disputed Penalty Kick Gives Switzerland a Win in World Cup Playoff

Soccer
Disputed Penalty Kick Gives Switzerland a Win in World Cup Playoff
Switzerland was awarded a penalty kick after a ball appeared to hit the shoulder of a Northern Irish player and converted it for a 1-0 victory.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Bale left devastated after new injury

English // marca
Bale left  devastated after new injury
Bale left devastated after new injury

Friday, November 10, 2017

Alex Morgan scores as USA women play to 1-1 draw with Canada in friendly

Football | The Guardian
Alex Morgan scores as USA women play to 1-1 draw with Canada in friendly
Morgan’s 31st-minute goal lifts USA to 1-1 draw at Vancouver’s BC PlaceAmericans improve to 47-3-7 against Canada with no losses in 16 yearsUSA will conclude 2017 schedule with rematch on Sunday in California

Alex Morgan scored and Alyssa Naeher had a late stop to help the US women’s national team to a 1-1 draw with Canada on Thursday night before a sold-out crowd of 28,017 at Vancouver’s BC Place.

The US had won six in a row since a 1-0 loss to Australia on July 27 and is 47-3-7 all-time against Canada.

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

World Cup play-offs, final qualifiers and friendlies: 10 things to look out for

Football | The Guardian
World Cup play-offs, final qualifiers and friendlies: 10 things to look out for

Republic of Ireland walk disciplinary tightrope, Italians seek revenge, Morocco and Senegal look for final step and will Wilfried Zaha be Ivory Coast’s saviour?

Northern Ireland and Switzerland last met in a competitive fixture in 1964, when a home team featuring Pat Jennings, Terry Neill and George Best triumphed 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park. The current Northern Ireland side boast no players of such high quality, but the indomitable team spirit forged by the manager, Michael O’Neill, in recent years makes them an extremely tough nut to crack at the best of times, particularly when playing in Belfast. Fortress Windsor Park is once again the venue as Northern Ireland resume hostilities with the Swiss in the first leg of a far more significant qualifier on Thursday. For all their delight at being pitted against Switzerland, Northern Ireland fans will be aware their Swiss counterparts will also have been yodelling with delight at the draw. The Swiss boasted a 100% record in their qualifying group until being consigned to the play-offs on goal difference by defeat at the hands of Portugal in their final game. Neutralising the Swiss at home is vital for the Irish and O’Neill has said as much. “The most important thing is we don’t concede an away goal,” he said. One of the greatest players ever to play the game, Best never got to showcase his skills on football’s most exalted stage. A comparatively workmanlike group of players will never have a better chance to rub shoulders with international football’s global elite. BG

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Lewandowski: Bayern must bring in new blood to stay on top

English // marca
Lewandowski: Bayern must bring in new blood to stay on top
Lewandowski: Bayern must bring in new blood to stay on top

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo assures Real Madrid teammates that he'll win the Pichichi

English // marca
Cristiano Ronaldo assures Real Madrid teammates that he'll win the Pichichi
Cristiano Ronaldo assures Real Madrid teammates that he'll win the Pichichi

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Pochettino: Beating Real Madrid puts Spurs among Europe’s best

Football | The Guardian
Pochettino: Beating Real Madrid puts Spurs among Europe’s best

• ‘To get to the next level Tottenham have to win things,’ says manager
• Real’s Zinedine Zidane says Spurs ‘superior in all aspects’

Mauricio Pochettino challenged his Tottenham Hotspur players to take the club to “the next level” and start winning trophies on the back of their victory against Real Madrid and a result that seals their qualification to the Champions League knockout stages with two matches to spare.

Related: Dele Alli double rocks Real Madrid for historic Tottenham victory

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Champions League roundup: Borussia Dortmund face early exit

Football | The Guardian
Champions League roundup: Borussia Dortmund face early exit
• 2013 finalists miss chances and draw 1-1 at home against Apoel Nicosia
• Important home wins for Sevilla and Porto

Borussia Dortmund’s hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League were virtually extinguished when they could only draw 1-1 at home against the Cypriot side Apoel Nicosia on Wednesday.

Needing a win to put pressure on Tottenham and Real Madrid in Group H, Dortmund, beaten finalists in 2013, took the lead through Raphaël Guerreiro in the 29th minute after he had been set up by Shinji Kagawa’s through ball.

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Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid: Champions League – live!

Football | The Guardian
Tottenham Hotspur v Real Madrid: Champions League – live!
Minute-by-minute updates from the match at WembleyFollow Liverpool v Maribor | Follow Napoli v Manchester CityEmail jacob.steinberg@theguardian.com. Tweet @JacobSteinberg

9.10pm GMT

69 min: Prediction: Real Madrid v Manchester United in the last 16.

9.09pm GMT

68 min: Eriksen shoots over from 20 yards.

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Rybarikova outlasts top seed Mladenovic at WTA Elite Trophy

English // marca
Rybarikova outlasts top seed Mladenovic at WTA Elite Trophy
Rybarikova outlasts top seed Mladenovic at WTA Elite Trophy

José Mourinho: 'No drama' in Lukaku penalty decision – video

Football | The Guardian
José Mourinho: 'No drama' in Lukaku penalty decision – video

The Manchester United manager, José Mourinho, says he was just doing his job by instructing Daley Blind to take a penalty in the win over Benfica on Tuesday. Romelu Lukaku was quick to grab the ball when United were awarded the spot-kick in the 78th minute but Mourinho signalled he wanted someone else to take penalty. ‘The players respected my decision and that’s it. End of story,’ says Mourinho

Mourinho defends Lukaku penalty snub in Manchester United’s win over Benfica Continue reading...

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

In Praise of Soccer’s Jack-of-All-Trades, Now Making a Comeback

Soccer
In Praise of Soccer’s Jack-of-All-Trades, Now Making a Comeback
In an era of bigger squads and multimillion-dollar specialists, Champions League managers are rediscovering the value of a pro who can play multiple positions.

Celtic v Bayern Munich: Champions League – live!

Football | The Guardian
Celtic v Bayern Munich: Champions League – live!
Champions League Group B updates from Celtic Park
Roma v Chelsea – live! | Manchester United v Benfica – live! Live scores: all the goals from around Europe
Email niall.mcveigh@theguardian.com or tweet @niallmcveigh

9.15pm GMT

72 mins: Celtic are turning up the heat, Tierney powering a cross to Forrest, who lifts it first time back across goal. Dembele, who has been kept out of this second half, can’t get to it.

9.13pm GMT

71 mins: James Forrest, Celtic’s best player tonight, fires a snap shot at goal that’s deflected behind, much to Ulreich’s relief. Armstrong’s corner drifts out of play, which is frankly unforgivable at this point.

Continue reading...

SOS call for Griezmann

English // marca
SOS call for Griezmann
SOS call for Griezmann

Football transfer rumours: Isco to Manchester City from Real Madrid?

Football | The Guardian
Football transfer rumours: Isco to Manchester City from Real Madrid?

Today’s gossip has been slow-cooked so that it melts in the mouth

Pep Guardiola is determined to make his Manchester City midfield the busiest creative offering since Jackson Pollock’s Convergence in 1952. To do so he’ll try to steal away Isco from Real Madrid using the power of his personality (and his club’s vast reservoir of Abu Dhabi cash, of course). Apparently, he’s on Guardiola’s ‘top-five’ footballers list, which presumably he has stuck on his fridge door at home. Isco recently signed a new contract at the Bernabéu until 2022 but we all know that means bugger all these days.

Related: Álvaro Morata denies he is unsettled as Chelsea prepare to face Roma

Continue reading...

Monday, October 30, 2017

MARCA's Eye on LaLiga: Unrest at Real

English // marca
MARCA's Eye on LaLiga: Unrest at Real
MARCA's Eye on LaLiga: Unrest at Real

A Spotlight-Averse Striker Can’t Seem to Stay Out of It

Soccer
A Spotlight-Averse Striker Can’t Seem to Stay Out of It
Bradley Wright-Phillips is a two-time M.L.S. scoring champion but insists he would prefer it if he could “score goals and nobody saw or even spoke about it.”

Cologne ordered to pay compensation to Arsenal

English // marca
Cologne ordered to pay compensation to Arsenal
Cologne ordered to pay compensation to Arsenal

Patrick Vieira interview: 'I am doing what I love and I am where I want to be'

Football | The Guardian
Patrick Vieira interview: 'I am doing what I love and I am where I want to be'

The New York City FC coach is preparing to lead his team in the MLS playoffs – and says he is not considering a return to Europe just yet


Patrick Vieira is determined to focus on the here and now – but it appears an almost Sisyphean task given that he is constantly asked where his future lies. Barely a week goes by when the New York City FC head coach is not linked with a vacancy either in Europe or the United States.

Even before Bruce Arena resigned after failing to lead USA to next summer’s World Cup finals, Vieira was touted as a possible replacement, leading the Frenchman to issue to a quick and firm denial regarding his interest in the position. This came soon after Vieira revealed he had tentative talks with Ligue 1 side St Etienne in the summer. The rumours and speculation will only increase if Vieira leads NYC FC to the MLS Cup this year, in just his second season as a professional head coach.

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Mignolet: Liverpool back on the right path ahead of Maribor clash

English // marca
Mignolet: Liverpool back on the right path ahead of Maribor clash
Mignolet: Liverpool back on the right path ahead of Maribor clash

David Unsworth left wondering what he’s got himself into as Everton caretaker | Sachin Nakrani

Football | The Guardian
David Unsworth left wondering what he’s got himself into as Everton caretaker | Sachin Nakrani
The sight of the away end emptying long before the final whistle was blown in the 2-0 defeat at Leicester City told its own story

David Unsworth spent the majority of this match standing on the edge of his technical area. Occasionally he instructed his players to do something, while there were other moments when he could be seen encouraging those in white and grey with a firm clap. But more often than not he simply stood there, staring forward and perhaps wondering what on earth he has got himself into.

Related: Leicester City 2-0 Everton: Premier League – as it happened

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Lewis Hamilton flies over Mexico City in a helicopter... to avoid the traffic!

English // marca
Lewis Hamilton flies over Mexico City in a helicopter... to avoid the traffic!
Lewis Hamilton flies over Mexico City in a helicopter... to avoid the traffic!

Kevin Nolan: ‘Young English managers have to believe there’s still room for us at the top’

Football | The Guardian
Kevin Nolan: ‘Young English managers have to believe there’s still room for us at the top’
The former West Ham midfielder discusses how he has transformed Notts County as player-manager, why he is happy to be likened to Sam Allardyce and his Champions League ambitions

It is a sign of Notts County’s recent transformation that their self-assured manager cannot get into his own team. At 35, Kevin Nolan is younger than some of his squad members but the former Premier League midfielder, who is registered to play, knows the side sitting top of League Two are doing pretty well without him. “At the minute I’m not in physical condition to play, that’s my excuse, but I don’t think I’d get in the team even if I was,” he says with a grin.

Sitting in his office, Nolan reflects on a remarkable year. Notts County were in a state of “intensive care” according to the owner, Alan Hardy, when he bought the club in January. They were in serious debt, under a transfer embargo and in danger of slipping out of the Football League for the first time, having lost 10 league games in a row. Hardy’s first move was to appoint the inexperienced Nolan; he wanted an instant impact and he certainly got one.

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Joshua stops Takam in 10th to retain heavyweight crowns

English // marca
Joshua stops Takam in 10th to retain heavyweight crowns
Joshua stops Takam in 10th to retain heavyweight crowns

Real Madrid arrive peacefully in Girona

English // marca
Real Madrid arrive peacefully in Girona
Real Madrid arrive peacefully in Girona

Liverpool v Huddersfield, West Brom v Man City, Arsenal v Swansea – live!

Football | The Guardian
Liverpool v Huddersfield, West Brom v Man City, Arsenal v Swansea – live!
Minute-by-minute updates from the Saturday 3pm kick-offsEngland v Spain: Under-17 World Cup final - live!Live scores: all the goals from around the UK and EuropeSend your thoughts to Rob via rob.smyth@theguardian.com

3.43pm BST

Jonas Lossl saves Mohamed Salah’s penalty, and Jordan Henderson hits the post from the rebound!

3.41pm BST

ITUEYMI, England are in a World Cup final today.

Related: England v Spain: Under-17 World Cup final — live!

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Girona-Real Madrid: It's just another match

English // marca
Girona-Real Madrid: It's just another match
Girona-Real Madrid: It's just another match

Friday, October 27, 2017

Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp backs Simon Mignolet but says pressure is mounting

Football | The Guardian
Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp backs Simon Mignolet but says pressure is mounting
• Goalkeeper will keep his place against Huddersfield Town
• Klopp: ‘I don’t think for a second about changing this position’

Jürgen Klopp has confirmed Simon Mignolet will start against Huddersfield Town on Saturday because the erratic display against Tottenham Hotspur was out of context with his recent Liverpool form.

The goalkeeper and the defender Dejan Lovren were widely criticised for errors in the 4-1 defeat at Wembley last Sunday, although Klopp insists Mignolet was at fault only for Spurs’ fourth goal and that was “the first mistake I can remember [from him] in the last few weeks”. He says he has given no thought to replacing Mignolet with Loris Karius against David Wagner’s team and claims the pair have been unfairly blamed for collective defensive failings.

Continue reading...

Barca desperately chasing €150m to plug wage bill black hole

English // marca
Barca desperately chasing €150m to plug wage bill black hole
Barca desperately chasing €150m to plug wage bill black hole