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This is a free service to help you find a football team in your local area. We cover football for toddlers, junior football, youth football, kids football, football for children, football for teenagers, boys football, girls football, disability, adult and veteran football teams.

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You can find a football team here for U7, U8, U9, U10, U11, U12, U13, U14, U15, U16, U17, U18, U19, U21, Adult and Veterans.

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Football News

» Liverpool vs Man Utd: Jurgen Klopp opens up on Jose Mourinho's unheavenly style
"I am not the Pope of football tactics" shrugs Liverpool boss as they prepare for United's caution and long-ball attacks
» Mauricio Pochettino hints Tottenham won't buy in January transfer window either
Tottenham were the only Premier League club without a summer signing and Pochettino is fine with a repeat next month
» Arsenal have just 1 fit centre-back — but Unai Emery assures fans he's got a plan
Rob Holding's injured, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi are banned... and Laurent Koscielny only returned on Thursday from seven months out
» Ralph Hasenhuttl buying every Southampton fan a beer ahead of relegation battle
Voucher for a free pint included with a letter new boss Hasenhuttl has sent to every Southampton season-ticket holder spelling out their vital role over the coming months
» Olivier Giroud: Even best players get social-media abuse — mental strength is vital
EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea striker Giroud was targeted on France duty before Euro 2016 and again as they won the World Cup
» Manuel Pellegrini's big claim about his West Ham team after third win in a row
West Ham head to Fulham on a roll having starting the Pellegrini era by losing his first four Premier League matches
» Adrian Mariappa a true model pro — he is the face of a pal's fashion label
EXCLUSIVE: Watford stalwart Mariappa admits his other life as a male model has brought plenty of micky-taking
» Man City's Kevin de Bruyne set to be unleashed after enforced post-World Cup rest
Back-to-back injuries mean De Bruyne is yet to play for champions Manchester City in the Premier League this season
» Marco Silva says Everton MUST go for it away to Man City not park the bus
Everton boss Silva accepts champions City will probably score, so his men need to as well if they are to get anything
» Transfer news LIVE: Liverpool, Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea latest
Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and Unai Emery will be keen to do business in the January transfer window
» Mohamed Salah beats Sadio Mane to win BBC African Footballer of the Year 2018
The Liverpool star was honoured after smashing 44 goals in 52 games for the Reds last term
» Paul Ince makes Premier League top four prediction
EXCLUSIVE: The former Manchester United midfielder predicts a disappointing season for Chelsea
» Luka Modric and Antonio Conte front Inter Milan's ambitious new project
The Real Madrid star was strongly linked with the Italians last summer due to the strong Croatian contingent at the San Siro
» Gary Neville tells Jamie Carragher he only played with two world class footballers
Jamie Carragher revealed details of a conversation he had with his fellow Sky Sports pundit
» Sir Alex Ferguson given Christmas surprise by Man Utd's Class of 92
The legendary manager, 76, has recovered from a brain haemorrhage in May
» Michael Owen slammed for getting his daughter, 15, in a headlock in bizarre video
The former England striker, who retired in 2013 after years of injury troubles, posted the video on his 39th birthday to much merriment amongst the Twitter community
» Premier League Christmas Jumper power rankings: Every club's festive knitwear rated and sleigh-ted
For third year in a row, we bring you the run down of the best and worst festive knitwear on offer in the Premier League, where does your team sit?
» Raheem Sterling has sparked mainstream debate on racism - and we MUST continue the conversation
The Manchester City star has confronted the problem after suffering abuse at Stamford Bridge
» Newcastle United scrap Christmas party AGAIN over relegation fears
Rafa Benitez' players face two important games against Huddersfield and Fulham and decided a knees-up was not appropriate
» Football Manager 2019 wonderkids: FM19 best young players in the game
Football Manager is back for another season and as always the game is packed to the brim with starlets
» Ada Hegerberg gets special gift to celebrate historic Ballon d'Or win
The Norwegian striker became the first female winner of the Ballon d'Or this month
» Antonio Valencia posts gruesome picture of leg after being slammed for shocking tackle
The United captain has received a backlash after raking his studs down Toni Lato's shins during Wednesday's Champions League game at the Mestalla
» Paul Merson claims Premier League top four wouldn't want Lucas Torreira
The former Gunners star doesn't believe a team like Liverpool would be interested in signing him
» What Steven Gerrard's dad did when he saw his son wearing a Man Utd shirt
Back in 1991 a young Gerrard learnt just how serious the rivalry is between Man United and Liverpool
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Other sport news:

» Football should not carry the can for society’s ills – but can help to remedy them | Barney Ronay
Raheem Sterling kickstarted a welcome debate on racism this week and while the game should not shoulder all the blame perhaps everyone in football has learned something

To be fair to the more risque element of Chelsea’s matchday support, they have been very thorough this week in representing the full political spectrum. On the one hand an ad hoc hostile environment for Anglo-Jamaican British citizens. On the other a little throwaway antisemitism on Thursday night in Hungary. This is exemplary political balance and frankly the BBC for one could learn a great deal from it.

All that remains to complete the circle is for Sterling’s alleged Stamford Bridge abuser to resign from the East Stand and then turn up six months later as an outside Windrush Ticket bet for the next Conservative prime minister. And for Jeremy Corbyn to condemn, with a sad sigh, not specifically these Yid chants but “all kinds of offensive football chanting everywhere”.

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» Newcastle cancel Christmas party after deciding it would be a ‘wrong’ move
• Threat of relegation means no festive fun for players
• ‘If something’s wrong, you have to realise,’ says Rafael Benítez

Newcastle United’s players have cancelled their Christmas party for the second year running, and Rafael Benítez is suitably relieved.

Jamaal Lascelles, Newcastle’s captain, had planned a festive celebration in London this weekend but he and his team-mates came to the conclusion that partying is not a good look for a side in peril of relegation.

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» Phil Neville: 'To be told I knew nothing was incredibly disrespectful'

The 41-year-old reflects on a year in charge of England Women and how he plans to lead them to World Cup glory next summer

“Flown by. Absolutely flown by,” Phil Neville says as he reflects on his time in charge of the England women’s side. It has been almost a year and, as is the case with any job, there have been highs and lows, both of which Neville is willing and able to speak about on a clear winter’s afternoon at the national team’s base at St George’s Park.

Pride and ambition radiate from the former Manchester United defender and no more so than when conversation turns to next summer’s World Cup in France. England qualified for the tournament with victory over Wales in August and, following last Saturday’s draw, have been placed in the same group as Scotland, Argentina and Japan. It starts on 7 June and for the manager the target is clear: to get to the final in Lyon a month later and win the competition for the first time.

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» Chelsea face partial stadium closure if Uefa finds fans guilty of antisemitism
• Uefa to decide whether to open disciplinary case
• Fàbregas happy if Chelsea ‘taught a lesson’ to tackle racism

Chelsea face a partial closure of Stamford Bridge in the Europa League if Uefa determines a section of supporters were guilty of an antisemitic chant during their final group game against Vidi.

The governing body is scrutinising reports filed by its officials at the Groupama Arena before deciding whether to open a disciplinary case, with Chelsea having publicly condemned a small section of their travelling support for an anti-Tottenham Hotspur chant which referenced “Yids”. The incident in Budapest came only four days after Raheem Sterling was allegedly racially abused during Chelsea’s win over Manchester City, with four supporters having been suspended by the club pending further investigations.

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» Kieran Gibbs lifts West Brom to third with winner at Sheffield United

Sheffield United missed the chance to close the gap on second-placed Leeds United near the top of the Championship as they were beaten 2-1 by West Bromwich Albion at Bramall Lane. The win for Darren Moore’s side meant they overtook their hosts to move into third place as the battle for promotion from the second tier took another twist.

United took an early lead when David McGoldrick finished off a quick counterattack by side-footing past Sam Johnstone from close range meaning that West Brom have failed to keep a clean sheet in 21 of their 22 league games this season.

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» The Fiver | How best to avoid a hiding with a team he clearly thinks isn’t up to the job

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The Fiver would give several pennies for the thoughts of José Mourinho as he sits in the suite he has called home for the past two-and-a-half years at the Lowry Hotel. With the thrill of frightening staff by dressing as a zombie using his shower curtain, snaffling complimentary biscuits and tungsten-tipped screws long gone and being able to take apart and reassemble his Corby Trouser Press quicker than a blindfolded soldier field-stripping an AK47 assault rifle, the Manchester United manager has plenty of time to dwell on the vicissitudes of life, not least how best to avoid a hiding against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday with a team he clearly thinks isn’t up to the job.

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» Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend

A crunch clash at Anfield, depleted Palace and Huddersfield teams, and the start of a crucial run for Fulham

It is a marker of how far Manchester United have fallen to see that when Gary Neville set about choosing his combined XI for Liverpool and Manchester United on Monday Night Football, he included just three outfield United players. The only player he picked with conviction was Anthony Martial at left wing, admitting Eric Bailly would not be in if Joe Gomez was fit and laughing that his selection of Paul Pogba alongside Naby Keïta and Gini Wijnaldum was “just an opportunity to get a United player in”. Nobody would argue that Liverpool are the better side, and have been for a number of years, yet the past eight league meetings read W0, D3, L5 for the Merseyside club. Liverpool’s lack of ruthlessness against Napoli so nearly came back to bite them in the Champions League; they can ill afford the same profligacy against a José Mourinho side that is unlikely to be anything other than defensively minded. MB

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» José Mourinho: Manchester United are far from playing in my image
• Manager says reasons run deeper than transfers
• Trophies matter, Mourinho says, before game at Liverpool

José Mourinho believes Manchester United are a long way from playing in his image and has suggested structural issues at the club are to blame.

United travel to Anfield on Sunday 16 points behind Jürgen Klopp’s Premier League leaders. Liverpool are viewed as a team in their manager’s image and Mourinho was asked whether the same could be said for him and United.

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» Champions League: how far will the 16 teams go in the knockout stages?

Will PSG finally make the last four? Will Liverpool win away from Anfield? Will Lyon win another game?

By Ben McAleer and Josh Wright for WhoScored

Ajax have qualified for the Champions League knockout stages for the first time in 13 years and almost did so as group winners. The four-time European Cup winners were eight minutes away from beating Bayern Munich on Wednesday, only to then come from behind and secure a 3-3 draw. Ajax are one of only five teams unbeaten in the competition, after three wins and three draws. They have been particularly successful in turning over the ball high up the pitch and that could be important in the knockout stage; only Manchester City (43) won possession in the attacking third more times than Ajax (39).

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» Chelsea condemn own fans over antisemitic chant in Budapest

Chelsea’s reputation took another withering blow on Thursday night, with the club condemning their own supporters after they were heard singing an antisemitic chant in Hungary, just days after four fans were suspended for allegedly abusing Raheem Sterling.

Minutes into Chelsea’s first match since Saturday’s Premier League encounter with Manchester City was overshadowed by the alleged racist abuse directed at City’s Sterling, a group of the 1,273 travelling supporters were heard singing a derogatory chant about Tottenham fans, featuring antisemitic language.

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» Aston Villa remove Kevin MacDonald from coaching after new bullying claims

• Gareth Farrelly alleges he and others were targeted in 1990s
• Villa launch independent investigation and report claims to FA

Aston Villa have suspended their long-serving youth coach Kevin MacDonald from working with players, after a former graduate of the club, Gareth Farrelly, came forward to tell the Guardian about his claims of relentless bullying from MacDonald in the mid-1990s.

Farrelly accused the coach of “incredibly aggressive, constant verbal and physical bullying” and said it “took me to a place at 20 that nobody should have to go to. And I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”

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» Sterling’s racism ordeal was ugly but the reaction has been positive | Eni Aluko

Fallout from the Manchester City forward’s complaint about the media scrutiny black players face has been heartening

This week could be a eureka moment for football. Most of the reaction to Raheem Sterling’s claims that parts of the media have racially biased agendas has been very positive. It feels like a genuine step forward is being made and that Sterling has managed to turn something outrageous into a catalyst for long, overdue change.

Related: If every racist at football was silenced stadiums would still be full of racists | John Barnes

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» Gary Lineker criticised by Jonathan Agnew for 'political' Brexit tweets

BBC’s cricket correspondent says he would be sacked if he copied Match of the Day host

‘Doesn’t know his arse from his elbow’: ex-England players argue over Brexit

BBC Sport host Gary Lineker has been criticised by his colleague Jonathan Agnew for expressing his political views on Twitter.

The former England football captain, who hosts the BBC’s flagship Match of the Day programme, has been outspoken in his political opinions, in particular his opposition to Brexit, which he regularly tweets about. Lineker also appeared at a rally in London campaigning for a second referendum in November.

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» Celtic survive Craig Gordon’s calamity to advance in Europa League

Even in such a rich and varied history, it is unlikely Celtic Park has hosted as strange a European occasion as this. With the Scottish champions in the depths of despair and supporters heading for exits after Salzburg did their bit for Red Bull relations, unlikely salvation arrived from a Norwegian in Germany. Celtic owe a debt of gratitude to Tore Reginiussen, whose 86th-minute strike stunned Leipzig.

Salzburg’s victory here would have been enough to see their commercial cousins into the last 32 of the Europa League at Celtic’s expense had the Bundesliga team kept their side of the bargain. Instead, Rosenborg’s late equaliser in Leipzig rendered this defeat for Celtic irrelevant.

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» Alexandre Lacazette points the way in Arsenal’s Europa League run-out against Qarabag

A contest of limited consequence given Arsenal’s pre-match status as group winners might not have meant a great deal to many but to Laurent Koscielny the experience of feeling like a footballer out on the pitch again and under the floodlights appeared to mean everything.

His individual performance passed without major incident – ideal under the circumstances – and when his number was up after 72 minutes he stopped for a moment and raised his fist to the air, before breaking into an elated smile. The crowd responded with a warm ovation. The substitutes all shook his hand when he got back to the bench, obviously delighted for him. This was a significant moment for the Arsenal captain. He described it later as “much more than a game”.

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» Rangers crash out after Dejan Ljubicic fires late winner for Rapid Vienna

Steven Gerrard said Rangers will need January reinforcements after watching his side miss out on the Europa League last 32.

Rangers needed to beat Rapid Vienna in their final Group G match if they were to follow Villarreal through to the knockout rounds. Their remarkable journey that started on 12 July as they were forced to battle through four qualifiers came to an end after Dejan Ljubicic’s late winner sealed victory for Rapid.

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» Tottenham’s manager Pochettino tips his hat to ‘hard-working’ chairman Levy

• ‘Fantastic recognition’ deserved for work on stadium project
• He needs to feel the love from fans and the club, manager adds

Mauricio Pochettino has told Tottenham fans that Daniel Levy deserves “fantastic recognition” for the club’s new stadium rather than being made a scapegoat for the delays, as he talked up the chairman’s other side and how badly he was suffering.

Spurs hope to be playing in the ground by early February, although the timings look tight. They confirmed the latest delay on Wednesday when they said the Manchester United game scheduled for 13 January will be played at Wembley, their temporary home.

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» Regular female-led football coverage ‘generations’ away, says Jacqui Oatley
• Broadcaster supports Women in Football’s #WhatIf campaign
• Fewer than a third of 2018 major sport roles filled by women

The sports broadcaster Jacqui Oatley has said it will take “a couple of generations” before women working in football as reporters, commentators and presenters is seen as normal.

“When I was growing up I didn’t think it was an option to work in football,” said Oatley, who went on to become the first female commentator on Match of the Day.

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» Manchester City v Everton: match preview

Manchester City welcome Everton in the unfamiliar position of not leading the league, having done so for 10 of the 16 Premier League games this season before last week’s loss at Chelsea. Yet as Liverpool do not play Manchester United until Sunday Pep Guardiola’s side can leapfrog Jürgen Klopp’s by defeating Everton. Marco Silva’s team, though, are the only one Guardiola’s have played at home twice in the league and not beaten so it may be a tricky afternoon. Jamie Jackson

Saturday 12.30pm Sky Sports Premier League

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» Tottenham Hotspur v Burnley: match preview

Tottenham’s physios will be busy before this match, with four defenders – Serge Aurier, Davinson Sánchez, Juan Foyth and Kieran Trippier – all facing late fitness tests. Mauricio Pochettino must refocus his team after their dramatic Champions League qualification, and keep pressure on Liverpool and Manchester City, against a Burnley side who have proved tricky opponents in recent visits to Wembley and White Hart Lane. Sean Dyche’s side have two tough away trips in succession – they go to Arsenal next week, and have not won in the league at either north London side since 1974. Dyche has urged his team to play with more attacking freedom, but that may be easier said than done. Niall McVeigh

Saturday 3pm

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» Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United: match preview

Huddersfield have been playing well in recent weeks but face a challenge continuing that form following an unfortunate slew of injuries. David Wagner will have to tweak his midfield, in particular, following the loss of Aaron Mooy and Danny Williams, though the return of Philip Billing from suspension is well-timed. It remains to be seen whether Newcastle, who have lost two of their last three matches, are good enough to take advantage of the hosts’ misfortune. Paul Doyle

Saturday 3pm

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» Crystal Palace v Leicester City: match preview

Crystal Palace won this fixture at a canter back in the spring, rattling up their biggest ever Premier League victory en route to top-flight survival as Leicester wilted and left Claude Puel under pressure. Now it is Roy Hodgson in the spotlight. Palace had been playing well but missing out up to last week, but their capitulations at Brighton and West Ham have cast a grimmer shadow on an underwhelming campaign so far. They have not won without Wilfried Zaha since September 2016, and face Manchester City next. These are worrying times. Dominic Fifield

Saturday 3pm

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» Watford v Cardiff City: match preview

Cardiff are going to lose or rather they will if the form book is to be believed. Neil Warnock’s side have followed up all of their wins this season with defeats. So how can they avoid such a fate? They might not need that much help. Watford are missing Will Hughes and the steadying presence of Étienne Capoue in midfield through injury and the final game of a three-game suspension respectively. Javi Gracia’s side are winless since October and have scored just four goals in the six matches since beating Huddersfield. Graham Searles

Saturday 3pm

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» Fulham v West Ham United: match preview

Fulham were desperately poor against Manchester United last time out but now face arguably a tougher task in hosting West Ham. A fourth win in a row is on the cards and with Felipe Anderson playing so magnificently Fulham’s notional defence could be in for a very difficult and draining evening. Claudio Ranieri may look forward to fixtures against Newcastle and Huddersfield to pick up much-needed points over Christmas instead. Graham Searles

Saturday 5.30pm BT Sport 1

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» Wolverhampton Wanderers v Bournemouth: match preview

Wolves are chasing a third successive win, thanks largely to Diogo Jota’s return to form, against Bournemouth. After failing to score in 14 appearances in all competitions he found the net in wins against Chelsea and Newcastle. Nuno Espírito Santo’s side can leapfrog Eddie Howe’s with victory. Bournemouth have slipped from their impressive start and could be in trouble. One, somewhat fortunate, win against Huddersfield and five defeats in their past six is troubling. A key aspect could be Ryan Fraser’s partnership with Callum Wilson and whether Wolves are able to shut them down, if Wilson is passed fit. Graham Searles

Saturday 3pm

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» The 100 best female footballers in the world 2018

Seventy-two judges from 30 countries have had their say and here is our top 100 of the best players in the world. In association with The Offside Rule

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» Gareth Farrelly: ‘It was a toxic, bullying culture for young players at Aston Villa’
Midfielder turned lawyer claims coach Kevin MacDonald left a ‘dark shadow’ over players at Villa and says it drove him to suicidal thoughts

“It was a culture of verbal and physical bullying, but there were no checks and balances; he operated with impunity … It was like a dark shadow came over.”

Gareth Farrelly, now 43 and a qualified lawyer, with a Premier League and international career behind him, is recalling the bullying he says he endured as a young player at Aston Villa in the 1990s from the coach Kevin MacDonald. It was a “relentlessly negative” regime under him.

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» Toughness and corporate nous saw Glenn carry out a tough job well | David Conn
FA’s departing chief executive will leave through the revolving door in May but with the ruling body in a stronger position

On top of the congratulatory statistics with which the Football Association showered Martin Glenn when announcing he will stand down as the chief executive at the end of this season, is another, the most pertinent figure of all. Glenn’s decision, made just before Richard Scudamore takes his leave of the Premier League with his famous £5m thank-you card, means no fewer than six FA chief executives have gone or announced their departures during Scudamore’s single 19-year span.

Glenn was 55 in 2015 when offered the dream/nightmare job in Wembley’s corridors, and is said to have told the then FA chairman, Greg Dyke, that he would not consider a 10-year stint. Dyke is said to have reassured him that the average survival expectancy was around two years. Scudamore, patrolling his territory, had a little to do with that; run-ins over the FA’s power as the governing body to rein in the Premier League’s commercialised domination contributed to the abrupt exits of the very able Adam Crozier and Ian Watmore.

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» Champions League last 16: who’s hot, who’s not and potential match-ups

Liverpool, Spurs and Manchester United face the prospect of daunting ties after the cream rose to the top in the groups

The Premier League will supply a quarter of the teams in the Champions League last-16 draw, which will take place at 11am on Monday. Teams from the same country cannot be drawn against each other, and likewise teams who qualified from the same group. Group winners will be drawn against second-placed teams, with the top seed enjoying home advantage in the second leg. VAR will be used for the rest of the competition.

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» Liverpool walked the title 30 years ago but never bullied Manchester United

Manchester United were always underdogs at Anfield in the 1980s but they usually showed enough heart to earn a result

By Steven Pye for That 1980s Sports Blog

Even during Liverpool’s decade of dominance, their record against Manchester United was relatively poor. The two great rivals met 20 times in the league in the 1980s yet Liverpool won just two of those encounters. Half of their league matches in the decade ended in draws, with one of their more memorable battles taking place on Easter Monday in 1988.

United arrived at Anfield on 4 April 1988 in second place but the team above them were in a league of their own. Eleven points clear of their Manchester rivals (having played two games fewer), Liverpool had started the 1987-88 season with a 29-match unbeaten run in the league. Ian Rush had gone to Italy but his departure had no discernible effect on Kenny Dalglish’s side.

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» Four years to go: Qatar on course for its improbable World Cup

Super-rich state determined to defy doubters as it presses on with preparations for 2022 but being in Doha for a few days prompts scepticism

It began almost a decade ago as the most unfeasible bid ever to host a World Cup: an outlandish proposal for “air-cooled” stadiums in the desert summer heat of a tiny, obscure-seeming Arab emirate with one city, Doha, populated by just 300,000 citizens. Qatar is though, the richest per capita state on earth, and on that cold Zurich night in December 2010 its bid succeeded in garnering a majority of Fifa executive committee votes, and claimed the right to host the 2022 World Cup.

Since then Qatar’s planned hosting of the tournament – its ubiquitous slogan in Doha is “Deliver Amazing” with its stated mission to unify people in the Middle East and project a positive Arab experience – has survived a hurricane of challenges. There have been waves of corruption allegations, which the secretary general of the “supreme committee” organising the World Cup, Hassan al-Thawadi, repeatedly denied, denounced and angrily dismissed as anti-Arab prejudice.

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» Qatar 2022: £40 a week to build the World Cup stadiums

Workers from some of the world’s poorest countries are being paid a pittance to deliver the football dream of the world’s wealthiest per capita state

The men employed on building the 40,000-seat al-Rayyan football stadium were having their lunch, in the model accommodation camp of the “supreme committee” organising the 2022 World Cup, when I talked with them about their lives as migrant workers in the wealthiest country on earth. They had come from Ghana, where they said adverts about construction jobs in Qatar were broadcast on the radio, and about 300 of them had taken the opportunity. All four had paid agents, an exploitation that is officially outlawed but is endemic in the recruitment of millions of people from poorer countries to work all over the oil and gas-rich Gulf.

“The agent said to me: ‘Qatar is the richest country in the world; you can Google it,’” one man told me. “He said we would earn a ‘huge salary’. But when we came here, we found it was the opposite.”

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» ‘It’s an honour to be here’: Xavi on a mission to give Qatar a team to be proud of

The Spain legend is seen as central to emirate’s efforts to improve the national side in time for the 2022 World Cup

The gulf between Qatar’s rank in the global football hierarchy and its vaulting, nation-building project to host the World Cup in 2022, is illustrated by the record of its national team. The “supreme committee” organising the World Cup makes the most of celebrating Qatar’s football history, which is a fascinating example of sports having been taken all around the world by British and European workers – here, in the oil and gas industries. Replicating a worldwide phenomenon, local people in the colonies or trading countries were introduced to sports, and clubs were formed on the European model.

It was only in 1970, the year of Brazil’s third World Cup triumph in the celebrated Mexico tournament lit up by Pelé, that Qatar even established a national team at all. That was a year before the country gained independence, under the rule of the al-Thani dynasty, from its status as a British protectorate. When its World Cup bid team, chaired by Sheikh Mohammed, the son of the then emir (ruler) Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, claimed the famous Fifa vote in December 2010, Qatar became the first country since 1934 to host a World Cup without ever having qualified for one.

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» Dress codes, empty seats and Xavi: football in Qatar – in pictures

With four years to go until the 2022 World Cup, our photographer Tom Jenkins has been to check out the preparations and take in a Qatar Stars League game

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» Mollie and Rosie Kmita: the twins 'breaking the mould' for women in football – video

Twitter UK has launched a new #WomenInFootball campaign with sisters Rosie and Mollie Kmita telling the story of how they ‘broke the mould’ to earn respect in their sport. Rosie, a professional footballer at West Ham, and Mollie who plays for Gillingham, believe ‘women’s football is going in the right direction’ and hope to inspire the next generation of female players.

You can watch all four films in the series here.

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» Jacqui Oatley: women's football is generations away from equality, but it's getting there – video

Broadcaster Jacqui Oatley believes it will take 'a couple of generations' to make football a more equal environment, but that change can already been seen in the women's game. In a short film - part of series produced for Twitter UK as part of its support for Women in Football’s #WhatIf campaign - Oatley said she hopes 'the assumption of knowledge is there just the same [for female reporters, commentators and presenters] as it is when a male voice is delivering.'

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» Liverpool 'have to be angry' against Manchester United, says Klopp – video

The Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has said that his side will be angry ahead of their game with Manchester United on Sunday, adding that ‘we fight for our points’. When asked about his counterpart José Mourinho Klopp praised what he called ‘one of the most successful managers in the world’

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» Manchester City win group as Leroy Sané double sinks Hoffenheim – video

‘It’s an incredible success,’ Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says of his team’s 2-1 win over Hoffenheim. The already-qualified English champions, who had suffered their first league defeat in 22 matches at Chelsea on Saturday, needed a point to guarantee top spot in Group F. During the post-match press conference, Guardiola praised Phil Foden as a ‘diamond’ for England but played down an incident where Hoffenheim supporters levelled racist abuse at Leroy Sané.

Match report: Man City 2-1 Hoffenheim

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» Mourinho considers being second in their Champions League group a ‘success’ – video

'To finish second in this group is always a success,' says Manchester United manager José Mourinho. His team missed the chance to finish top of its Champions League group as an understrength team lost 2-1 at Valencia, with an embarrassing own-goal by Phil Jones proving decisive. With first-place Juventus losing 2-1 at Young Boys, United could have jumped above the Italian team in Group H with a win at the Mestalla but manager Jose Mourinho's decision to play a virtual reserve team backfired.

Match report: Valencia 2-1 Man Utd

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» Tottenham seal qualification for Champions League last 16 on drama-filled night at Camp Nou – video

Mauricio Pochettino hailed a 'massive achievement' for Tottenham as his side secured a place in the knockout phase of the Champions League with a 1-1 draw against already-qualified Barcelona. Spurs needed to match or better Internazionale's result against PSV Eindhoven on a tense final evening of Group B action; Lucas Moura's 85th-minute goal at the Camp Nou was enough as Inter also drew 1-1 in Milan.

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» The 100 best footballers in the world 2017

Our panel of 169 experts from 63 nations compile a list of the greatest male players in 2017. Click on an individual to read more about their year.

Messi edges Ronaldo to No1 | The data behind our 100 | Watch: our top 10
Meet our panel of judges for 2017 | 2016 edition | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012

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» David Squires on ... the A-League's expansion plans

Our cartoonist runs the rule over the two successful applicants – and the four bids that failed

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» 'They are bullies': The American businessman taking on PSG at Bordeaux

Joseph DaGrosa is the latest American to invest in French football. He tells Steve Brenner how he hopes to compete with one of the world’s richest clubs

Joseph DaGrosa, a Miami-based investor and entrepreneur, is no stranger to financial challenges. So competing against one of the world’s richest football teams – whose star player costs twice as much as the entire club he had just purchased – was a task that whet the 54 year-old’s appetite.

Last month, DaGrosa finalized a $114m deal to buy FC Girondins de Bordeaux, the six-time Ligue 1 champions, located in one of the finest wine regions in the world.

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» Zack Steffen is unlikely to ever play for Man City. So why did he join them?

The goalkeeper is one of the US’s most promising players. But he’s more than likely swapping a starring role in MLS for a loan move from City

Pep Guardiola knows what he likes in a goalkeeper. The Manchester City manager has changed the way football looks at the art of keeping. It’s now about more than just making saves, punching clear corners and screaming instructions at dim-witted centre backs. Just ask Claudio Bravo, who lost his starting place just one season after a high-profile move from Barcelona, Ederson, who is almost as good with his feet as he is with his hands, now holds the position, and he is often higher up the pitch than most defenders.

Is this what led Guardiola – or should we say City Football Group (CFG) - to Zack Steffen? The Columbus Crew goalkeeper will leave MLS for City in July 2019. CFG expect a certain standard for their teams and so it makes sense that they want to sign Steffen, who was named the 2018 Goalkeeper of the Year in MLS. He might be raw and prone to the odd blunder, but the 23-year-old possesses a level of technical ability that conforms to Guardiola’s philosophy. He’s not a bad shot-stopper either. Steffen is expected to follow the likes of Kasey Keller, Tim Howard and Brad Guzan as America’s next great goalkeeper.

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» 'His Magnum opus': even for Lionel Messi, this was special | Sid Lowe

This weekend Messi did something unusual: he did something he hasn’t done before, exceeding his own expectations

Sunday morning and military machines rolled down the Castellana, armoured vehicles on the move. Snipers stood on roofs and helicopters circled. Something big was happening. “We’ll know how it feels,” Marca said, which they wouldn’t of course, but like everyone else they hoped to find out. And, like everyone else, they were trying. Politicians packed the place, more even than usual, and people arrived from everywhere, papers dedicating dozens of pages. Florentino Pérez left Real Madrid’s match at Huesca early to be there and the best player in the world was due as soon as he’d finished, his club mates too. The third best was there. And so was the fifth.

Leo Messi boarded a plane bound for the Bernabéu, where he’s scored more than any visitor, but he wasn’t playing this time. This was the weekend when Javi Calleja was sacked as Villarreal manager and a last-minute equaliser for Valencia couldn’t stop Mestalla whipping out white hankies; when Betis defender Sidnei went all Maradona, or so they said, and Eibar and Levante went wild; when Cornellá hosted the Catalan derby and Butarque the “southern derby”, Leganés’s mascot presiding over an on-pitch proposal at half-time against Getafe because nothing says romance like a six-foot cucumber. Yet much of that didn’t warrant a word because this was also the weekend when Madrid hosted the derby; one they tried to make their own, although it’s not.

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» Jadon Sancho's stock rises higher and higher after a derby to remember | Andy Brassell

After a difficult week, the English teenager scored the winner against Schalke as Borussia Dortmund continue their charge

It was dark when Borussia Dortmund’s bus arrived back at the club’s training ground in Brackel but it couldn’t get in. It was blocked by several hundred supporters, chanting and lighting the winter night with pyro. A couple of the players, Axel Witsel and Achraf Hakimi, got off the coach and joined them.

This may already be shaping up to be a special season for Dortmund but if you wondered what this dream start – unbeaten in the Bundesliga, soaring above champions Bayern Munich having beaten them in Der Klassiker last month, through to the Champions League last 16 – was missing, then here was the answer. They had entered Saturday afternoon’s match already 19 points clear of rivals Schalke but winning the Revierderby, whenever, however, always means so much.

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» River Plate claim Copa Libertadores against 10-man Boca with Quintero goal

• River Plate 3-1 Boca Juniors (aet; 5-3 on agg)
• Pratto 68 Quintero 109 Martínez 120 | Benedetto 44

It may be marked with an asterisk and there could be more chapters to come in this extraordinary story, soaked in symbolism, sport and society, drama and emotion too, raw and exhilarating to the last, but River Plate are the Copa Libertadores winners – clinching a title they and Boca Juniors, their great rivals from across Buenos Aires, always knew would be forever.

The game that would never end, reached the very, very end. “It’s been almost 60 days since this started and there is tremendous sadness,” said the Boca manager, Guillermo Schelotto. With 120 minutes gone and River 2-1 up, he watched as Leonardo Jara hit the post, the tension clawing at nerves as never before. That left Boca with one last chance: a corner the referee seemed determined to delay, as if clinging to this game, not wanting to let it go, and their goalkeeper Esteban Andrada in attack where he had been for seven or eight minutes already. It also left them exposed.

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» First test of new FFA board delivers an outcome in its own image | Richard Parkin

With financials a major consideration, the decision on A-League expansion appears an eminently sensible one

With the announcement of Western Melbourne and Macarthur-South West Sydney as the two new A-League expansion clubs, we have our first real glimpse of the new-look Football Federation Australia board and chairman Chris Nikou in action. And like pets that resemble their owners, Thursday’s outcome is one that mirrors the decision-makers themselves – a touch cautious, explicitly political, but eminently sensible.

With his deadpan homage-to-Hannah-Gadsby delivery, CEO David Gallop opened his preliminary address by stating: “Today is a great news day for Australian football.” The only suggestion to the contrary being the funereal face that accompanied it – but as anyone who witnessed Clive Palmer’s ill-fated launch of an alternative governing body can attest, sometimes colour and pageantry is overrated.

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» Afghan football officials suspended over sexual and physical abuse allegations

• Country’s attorney general acts against six Afghan FA members
• Allegations relate to abuse of the Afghanistan women’s team

The Afghanistan attorney general, Farid Hamidi, has suspended six members of the Afghanistan Football Federation, including the president, Keramuddin Karim, after reviewing allegations of sexual and physical abuse of the Afghanistan women’s national team by AFF staff.

Related: Fifa examining claims of sexual and physical abuse on Afghanistan women’s team

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» 'The wisdom was you needed a Beckham': What can Atlanta’s rise teach MLS?

Graham Parker speaks with Atlanta United president Darren Eales on continuing their improbable rise and learning from their peers

It could have been so different.

As the second-half wore on, and it became increasingly obvious that Atlanta were going to win their first MLS Cup on Saturday night, it was possible for thoughts to drift to other phantom versions of this final in other cities and stadiums.

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» Sunderland ‘Til I Die shows all that is right and wrong in English football | Barry Glendenning
A sense of loss is all-pervading in a Netflix series chronicling Sunderland’s relegation into League One but, throughout, a sense of optimism shines out from most fans

It’s the hope that kills them, Sunderland fans can handle the despair. And it is a prevailing sense of hope that percolates throughout all eight episodes of a behind-the-scenes documentary chronicling the club’s relegation to the third tier of English football last season. Throughout a preposterously chaotic campaign, even by the standards of a club long considered utterly dysfunctional, Sunderland’s fans remain surprisingly upbeat, despite having grown wearily accustomed to coping with apparently bottomless levels of crushing disappointment.

Related: Sunderland's hall of shame: club's (mostly bad) signings under Short

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» If every racist at football was silenced stadiums would still be full of racists | John Barnes

In times of stress, like the period we’re living through, people look for ways to communicate their superiority over others

I wasn’t surprised to see white people allegedly shouting racist abuse at Raheem Sterling and I don’t blame racists for holding those beliefs. We all discriminate, consciously or subconsciously. To be angry at a few people is a distraction. When it happens, the problem is not that people shout racist abuse, it is that they want to shout racist abuse. If every racist who came to football was silenced, football stadiums would still be full of racists. Racism is everywhere in our society, it is inside every one of us.

The next day Sterling turned the spotlight on to how the media portrays young black footballers, compared with how they report similar stories about white players. It was right of him to do so, and it has started a debate on black representation in the media. But we can’t just focus on particular groups, on trying to get more black people into the police force, or running football clubs, or into journalism. Talking about what any one section of our society has to do to combat racism just stops people outside that group asking difficult questions of themselves. We keep looking at symptoms and not treating the cause.

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» Mo Salah, Liverpool’s kangaroo, looks ready to bounce through winter slog | Barney Ronay

The Egyptian just keeps on keeping on, and does so with a rare lightness, hinting at what may be to come in the next months

Just past the half hour at a chilly, angsty Anfield Mo Salah was suddenly free in space on the edge of the Napoli box, scampering in on goal in that bouncy style, hair flapping, legs whirring like a cartoon kangaroo. Salah had time to look up, pause and nudge a doomed pass across the six-yard box in the vague direction of Sadio Mané. There was a groan from the stands, but not much of a groan. The one thing they know for sure about Salah around here is that he just keeps on keeping on. Some footballers are relentless in a pained kind of way, tied to the rack, teeth clenched, head down. Salah has a lightness to him. He keeps coming because he knows in the end the game will open up, that his ability to glide and spring sideways with preternatural speed will find the right pocket of space.

Related: Salah and Alisson heroics ensure Liverpool qualify at Napoli’s expense

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» David Squires on … the mistreatment of Raheem Sterling

Our cartoonist on why it’s hard to exaggerate the vilification Raheem Sterling has been subjected to in recent years

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» Football transfer rumours: Ben Chilwell to Manchester City for £50m?

Today’s fluff is on the up

With Benjamin Mendy still sidelined through injury, Manchester City are ready to bid for Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell in January. A summer spent in the company of a personal trainer doing sprints in a Milton Keynes park have yielded rich dividends for the youngster, who told one interviewer: “I feel like this season needs to be the season I push on”. Having done exactly that, he may earn himself a move to the reigning Premier League champions to further his education under Pep Guardiola. £50m is the fee being mentioned.

Related: Tottenham’s manager Pochettino tips his hat to ‘hard-working’ chairman Levy

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» What is the smallest football ground a European champion has lost at? | The Knowledge

Plus: the longest delay for any new stadium in history and the worst goal difference you can get away with and still qualify in the Champions League. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU

“Real Madrid recently lost 3-0 to Eibar in a stadium that holds just 7,000 people,” begins Robin Tucker. “That got me thinking: have any former European champions lost a competitive match in a smaller stadium? This would be only counting results after their first European success, so games such as Liverpool’s 1959 defeat to Worcester City would not count.”

A fine question, but it’s not even the smallest stadium a former European champion has lost in this season. The 1986 winners Steaua Bucharest, now snappily known as FCSB, have suffered plenty of turmoil recently, including a defeat earlier this month to Sepsi OSK. That was in front of an estimated 2,500 at the 5,200-capacity Stadionul Municipal.

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» Women’s Super League: talking points from the weekend’s action

Manchester City keep pressure on Arsenal in the WSL, while Manchester United lose for the first time in the Championship

This has been a pivotal period for Manchester City. After showing that Arsenal can be beaten last week, they backed it up by grabbing a tight win over a stingy Birmingham side. Arsenal have company at the top of the table, although they do have a game in hand. Still, this was an important victory for City, who had to work hard against Marc Skinner’s side. Birmingham are an efficient outfit and are always difficult to break down. But they like to play out from the back and City targeted that, with Nikita Parris leading their high press. It brought a reward when Birmingham’s young goalkeeper, Hannah Hampton, made the error that led to Georgia Stanway scoring the game’s only goal. City closed it out from there, making themselves solid in midfield, guarding the ball well and showing that their game management skills are maturing. They will have to keep doing that in order to keep up with Arsenal.

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» The Dozen: the weekend’s best Premier League photos

Our picture editors choose their favourite images from the weekend’s Premier League action

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» Sports quiz of the week: Luka Modric, Deontay Wilder, Pelé and long hair

Who has ‘one skill’? Who bunked off? Who swung and missed?

Deontay Wilder threw 430 punches in his fight against Tyson Fury. What percentage of them landed?

6%

17%

29%

51%

Luka Modric won the Ballon d'Or on Monday night and became the first player other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to win the award in a decade. Who won it in 2007 before Messi and Ronaldo started to dominate?

Ronaldinho

Thierry Henry

Fabio Cannavaro

Kaká

Ada Hegerberg was awarded the first ever women’s Ballon d’Or at the ceremony in Paris. Which of these statements about her is false?

She plays for Lyon and her sister Andrine plays for PSG

She has won the Champions League for the last three years in a row

She has won Ligue 1 for the last four years in a row

She has scored 10 goals for Norway this year

Kilmarnock are top of the league in Scotland. They have only won the title once in their history in 1965. How did they do it?

By the drawing of lots

On goal average

On goal difference

By the toss of a coin

Crystal Palace were beaten by their big rivals Brighton this week. What other setback did the club face?

They had to stop selling Christmas cards with the words “holidays are coming” as it is a Coca-Cola trademark

They had to apologise after their mascot, Alice the Eagle, tripped up Brighton manager Chris Hughton

They had to reschedule their Christmas party after they spotted it clashed with a league game

They had to close their training ground canteen as it was infested with mice

According to Pelé, which footballer “only shoots with one leg, only has one skill and doesn’t head the ball well”?

Diego Maradona

Neymar

Lionel Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo

Stefan Kiessling has admitted that he skipped some pre-season training while he was playing in the Bundesliga. How did he get away with it?

His mum wrote him sick notes

He sent the club footage of his identical twin doing gym work

His wife did the drills wearing his Fitbit

He left a motorbike near the club and used it to do his cross-country runs

Who said: “I think there is a bit of jealousy there. Maybe he can’t accept the fact that he chose to go back to short hair”?

David Luiz

Mattéo Guendouzi

Edinson Cavani

Gareth Bale

Southampton sacked Mark Hughes this week while they were 18th in the Premier League. Which club sacked him in January while they too were 18th in the Premier League?

QPR

Fulham

Stoke City

West Bromwich Albion

Brothers Paul Gleghorne and Mark Gleghorne will both be on the pitch when Ireland play England at the Hockey World Cup this weekend. What is unusual about that?

One plays for Ireland and one plays for England

They were both born in Scotland

Paul is Ireland's player manager and Mark is his player-coach

The manager is Zoe Gleghorne – their sister

1 and above.

You're not fit to wear the shirt

2 and above.

You tried

3 and above.

You tried

4 and above.

You tried

5 and above.

A respectable score

6 and above.

A decent score

7 and above.

A fine score

8 and above.

An excellent score

9 and above.

You are amazing

0 and above.

You're not fit to wear the shirt

10 and above.

You are awesome

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» Ada Hegerberg, a dog's goal-line clearance and vomit in Madras | Classic YouTube

This week’s roundup also features a British boxing love-in, a jazzy hockey song for the World Cup and Kevin Keegan singing

1) Let’s have a look at the first ever women’s Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg being really good at football, rather than concentrate on some whopper asking her to twerk. Here’s more on the Lyon and Norway star.

Related: Ada Hegerberg: first women’s Ballon d’Or marred as winner is asked to twerk

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» Football quiz: identify the stadiums pictured from a distance

Twelve football grounds in a dozen spectacular landscape photos. But how many can you name?

We'll start with an old-school English ground. But who plays there?

Birmingham City

Everton

Blackburn Rovers

Leicester City

Moving to the continent – can you name this Serie A stadium by the sea?

Stadio Olimpico (Roma and Lazio)

Stadio Luigi Ferraris (Genoa and Sampdoria)

Stadio San Paolo (Napoli)

Stadio Sant'Elia (Cagliari)

Staying in Europe – where is this?

Seville

Athens

Marseille

Lisbon

Which Championship ground is lit up here?

Elland Road

The Hawthorns

Deepdale

Hillsborough

Which of this summer's World Cup venues is pictured here?

Rostov Arena

Krestovsky Stadium

Luzhniki Stadium

Kaliningrad Arena

Back to Britain, and whose ground sits at the centre of this picturesque shot?

Hearts

Oldham Athletic

Scunthorpe United

Burnley

Which London venue is this, pictured from a nearby train station?

The Den

Loftus Road

Kingsmeadow

Selhurst Park

Which La Liga side play in this sun-kissed stadium in Spain?

Espanyol

Athletic Bilbao

Real Sociedad

Celta Vigo

Which European national side play here?

Poland

Switzerland

Denmark

Croatia

Which English riverside ground is this?

Nottingham Forest's City Ground

Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough

Sunderland's Stadium of Light

Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium

Which Premier League ground can be seen in this scenic view?

Cardiff City Stadium

Etihad Stadium

John Smith's Stadium

Amex Stadium

Finally, which South American crucible is pictured here at sunset?

Maracanã

La Bombonera

El Monumental

Morumbi

12 and above.

A full house!

9 and above.

Almost at capacity

5 and above.

A decent turnout

0 and above.

Plenty of empty seats

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» Next Generation 2018: 60 of the best young talents in world football

From Lilian Thuram’s son to Real Madrid-bound Rodrygo and the ‘Croatian Neymar’, the Guardian picks 60 of the most talented players born in 2001. Check out the progress of our 2017 class | 2016 | 2015 | 2014


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» Raheem Sterling shouldn’t have to educate the media about racism | Musa Okwonga

Sterling should be free to do his job – play football. But he’s right that the British media needs to tackle racism, head on

Raheem Sterling is busy. He is busy being a world-class forward for Manchester City and England and he is busy being a parent. It is therefore confusing as to why, on top of these considerable responsibilities, he is now apparently expected to educate Britain – including a cluster of journalists who claim to know no better – about the media’s role in the racism he experiences both in and on the way to his place of work.

Following a Premier League match against Chelsea, during which he stated that he was subjected to a racist tirade from a nearby fan, Sterling took to Instagram to express his concern about the vastly different treatment that white and black players receive from certain sections of the British media. Sterling drew a connection between the negative coverage that black players constantly receive and their treatment by the public.

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» Sponsorship milestone shows women’s football is now big business | Suzanne Wrack
Backing by Visa indicates women’s game has value and is the biggest sign of its potential to be self-sustaining to date

Sponsorship deals are routinely mocked, from Manchester United’s mattress partners to Everton’s Angry Birds sleeves, with some companies all too keen to get themselves associated with Premier League clubs. And we roll our eyes at the latest madcap scenarios players find themselves in at launch events.

However Uefa’s announcement that it has agreed a seven-year deal with Visa as the first sponsor of Uefa women’s football deserves the celebratory tone with which it was unveiled. Because, for a change, it actually is a groundbreaking deal. Why? Because as Nadine Kessler, Uefa’s head of women’s football, said, the aim is “to assign a clear value to women’s football”.

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» Ada Hegerberg’s Ballon d’Or reactions echoed class she shows on pitch | Eni Aluko

The Norwegian’s powerful, inspiring speech gave me goose bumps and the award’s worthy winner dealt with Martin Solveig’s casual sexism magnificently

When I was a young girl I had to deal with people calling me weird and strange because I spent so much time around boys playing football. However I am not alone – that seems to be a regular theme when you speak to many of the great female professional footballers in the world about their journey to where they are now. It is not free of adversity and it is challenging having to justify your talent in what has been considered a man’s sport for centuries.

I think the quicker we tell young girls who dream of playing professionally that they should believe in themselves, the more prepared they will be for the world of pro sport. Which is why Ada Hegerberg’s speech at the Ballon d’Or ceremony on Monday was so powerful.

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