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» Gareth Bale reveals he used to support Arsenal - and loved Thierry Henry
The ex-Tottenham forward posed alongside Henry's famous number 14 jersey as he revisited the love he once felt for his old team's great rivals
» Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi both fail to score - or win - on international returns
The pair had each missed their countries' last six games following disappointing World Cup campaigns, but both were frustrated as they made their comebacks on Friday
» Manchester United 'meet Jadon Sancho's camp' over £70m summer move
Sancho, who starred as England dispatched the Czech Republic 5-0 at Wembley on Friday night, has hinted that he would prefer Old Trafford over his other suitors Paris St. Germain
» Gareth Southgate reveals secret behind Raheem Sterling's form in front of goal
The Manchester City winger scored a hat-trick for England in their 5-0 rout of the Czech Republic at Wembley
» Eric Dier ruled out of England's Euro 2020 qualifier vs Montenegro
The Tottenham midfielder limped out of the Three Lions' 5-0 victory over Czech Republic on Friday evening
» Dimitar Berbatov admits Paul Pogba got 'on his nerves' - but predicts long Man Utd stay
Former United striker Berbatov watched Pogba emerge as a youngster at the Old Trafford club
» Raheem Sterling's a national treasure and England's best player on and off the pitch
The Three Lions winger grabbed a sensational treble as England thrashed Czech Republic 5-0 in a Euro 2020 qualifier
» Gary Lineker makes bold England claim during Czech Republic rout
Gareth Southgate's side beat the Czech Republic 5-0 in their opening Euro 2020 qualifier at Wembley
» Jadon Sancho turns from boy to man in England shirt like Wayne Rooney did
The Borussia Dortmund winger further proved his quality as the Three Lions thrashed Czech Republic 5-0 at Wembley
» England 5-0 Czech Republic: Sensational Sterling hits hat-trick - 5 talking points
The Manchester City winger was joined on the score sheet by Harry Kane on a memorable night for the Three Lions
» Raheem Sterling pays tribute to late Crystal Palace youth player after England goal
Sterling revealed a tribute to Damary Dawkins, who died from leukaemia aged 13, after scoring his second goal
» Man Utd fans send Jadon Sancho message to Ed Woodward as youngster stars for England
Jadon Sancho's growing reputation was enhanced yet further during England's Euro 2020 qualifier against the Czech Republic at Wembley.
» England fans fume as ITV hub goes down during live stream of Czech Republic game
Gareth Southgate's side begun their campaign at Wembley but thousands of supporters were left unable to watch
» Divock Origi reveals the change that has helped him back into Liverpool reckoning
Belgian forward has become an increasingly important figure for the Reds since the end of last year
» Why Jesse Lingard did not join up with England despite playing for Man Utd at Wolves
The Manchester United midfielder will continue his rehab from injury despite playing 86 minutes at Molineux
» Romelu Lukaku names his 5-a-side team - and only includes two Man Utd stars
The Man Utd striker Anderlecht, Chelsea, West Brom, Everton and Belgium and has named the best of his teammates
» Former Arsenal star predicts St Totteringham's day return as Spurs stumble
The Gunners have closed the gap on their north London rivals to just a single point with eight games to go
» Eden Hazard 'makes Real Madrid decision after contact from Zinedine Zidane'
The Belgian forward continues to be linked with a switch to Los Blancos - and he has reportedly made up his mind
» England 5-0 Czech Republic REPORT: Raheem Sterling crashes stunning treble
Raheem Sterling scored three and won a penalty - which Harry Kane converted - before Tomas Kalas put through own goal         
» Real Madrid star 'tells teammates he wants to leave' amid Man Utd link
Real boss Zinedine Zidane is resigned to losing the defender, according to reports in Spain
» Tottenham show off stunning new stadium in time lapse video
Spurs wait for their new stadium has been well documented, but the delay is now almost over
» Raheem Sterling? Virgil van Dijk? Robbie Savage names his Player of the Year
The Man City and Liverpool stars have been stand outs this season but Sergio Aguero, Paul Pogba and Fernandinho have also impressed
» Sol Campbell opens up on tough introduction to management at Macclesfield
EXCLUSIVE: The Arsenal legend took over the Silkmen in November and is in a battle to save club from League Two relegation
» Former Man Utd star urges Red Devils to give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the job NOW
Solskjaer has guided United back into contention for a place in the Premier League top four

Football resources

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Other sport news:

» Raheem Sterling hits hat-trick in England demolition of Czech Republic

If the aim, ultimately, is for Gareth Southgate and his players to see whether their Euro 2020 adventure can finish in this stadium – 12 July, 2020, to be precise – this will certainly count as a decent way to begin that process. Five goals, a clean sheet and, perhaps most encouragingly of all, hard evidence that Raheem Sterling is transferring his Manchester City form on to the international stage.

OK, this is still too early to start imagining the possibilities that might open up in a tournament in which the semi-finals and final are all played at the stadium England call home. These are the kind of performances, however, that allow England’s followers to think positively, in particular when the team is suddenly filled with so much attacking variety.

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» Euro 2020 qualifiers: France turn on the style but Portugal held to draw

• Pogba and Griezmann show class in 4-1 win defeat of Moldova
• Ronaldo unable to inspire Portugal to win against Ukraine

France turned on the style in their opening Euro 2020 qualifier, winning 4-1 in Moldova. Goals from Antoine Griezmann, Raphaël Varane, Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappé made it a comfortable victory for the world champions, with Vladimir Ambros scoring for the home side.

Paul Pogba’s exquisite ball over the top was volleyed home from close range by Griezmann, who turned provider three minutes later as his corner was headed home at the near post by Varane.

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» Gareth Southgate says England hat-trick hero Raheem Sterling was devastating

• Southgate: ‘Sterling is a role model for younger players’
• Standing ovation for his part in 5-0 win over Czech Republic

Gareth Southgate praised Raheem Sterling’s “devastating” performance and the manner in which he has turned around his international career as England started their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a 5-0 victory over the Czech Republic.

Sterling contributed a first hat-trick and won a penalty converted by Harry Kane before retiring to a standing ovation having scored five goals in his last three England appearances. Southgate said the Manchester City forward, as one of the more experienced and influential members of the squad, has graduated to become a member of the national team’s in-house leadership group.

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» Birmingham City deducted nine points by EFL for financial breaches
• Birmingham left five points above relegation zone
• Club breached profitability and sustainability rules

Birmingham are facing a battle to avoid relegation after being docked nine points for a breach of the Football League’s profitability and sustainability rules.

The cost of hiring and firing the managers Gianfranco Zola and Harry Redknapp allied to a series of expensive signings has caught up with the club and is now imprinted on a hastily amended Championship table.

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» ‘Everyone seems a bit happier’: Mick McCarthy starts again with Ireland

McCarthy begins his second spell as Republic of Ireland manager in Gibraltar. A nation wants and needs him to do well

No matter how much Mick McCarthy says it is not about completing unfinished business, his second coming as Republic of Ireland manager demands a happier ending than his first.

Nearly 17 years ago, after “fighting a war I never wanted” with Roy Keane and suffering a bad start to the qualifiers for Euro 2004, McCarthy recognised he was still being scalded by the fires of rage ignited by the conflict with Keane so terminated his six-year reign. On Saturday, in Gibraltar, he starts anew, with time and increased exposure to Keane having softened many people’s views of McCarthy. A nation wants and needs him to do well.

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» England 5-0 Czech Republic ratings: Who caught the eye at Wembley

Raheem Sterling stole the show but Harry Kane and Ben Chilwell also impressed in England’s first qualifier for Euro 2020

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» Neymar charged with insulting referee after PSG’s defeat to Manchester United
• PSG forward said the VAR’s decisions were ‘a disgrace’
• Neymar could be suspended for three matches

Neymar has been charged for “insulting and/or molesting” the referee following his rant after Paris Saint-Germain were knocked out of the Champions League by Manchester United.

Neymar, who was sidelined by injury, was investigated by Uefa for lashing out and labelling the video assistant referee system a “disgrace” after United won a controversial penalty in the closing stages to win on away goals.

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» Scotland must turn their Kazakhstan shame on San Marino, says coach

• Assistant coach Peter Grant issues rallying cry after debacle
• After Kazakhstan, Scots now play worst team in the world

It was, as assistant coach Peter Grant freely admitted, not good enough. The fallout from Scotland’s calamitous 3-0 defeat by Kazakhstan – a side ranked 117th in the world who failed to win a match while trying to qualify for the 2018 World Cup – raged long into the night back home.

One newspaper superimposed an image of the manager, Alex McLeish, on the toilet with headline “Down the Kazi!” on its back page.

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» England discover a perfect, potent blend of skill in attacking trio | Barney Ronay

Gareth Southgate’s attack of Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Jadon Sancho complemented each other to great effect in England’s exciting victory over the Czech Republic

Three perfect touches at the end of 25. The opening goal of a room temperature qualifier at a fidgety Wembley might not be the kind of moment that international mini-eras are built around.

But England’s opener here, at the end of a move involving 10 outfield players, was special for various reasons. Not least as confirmation that Gareth Southgate is able to draw new elements and new rhythms from his team. So many England managers have stuck to a script, grown fat on the job. Sven-Göran Eriksson sat scratching his chin watching his England team play the same flat 4-4-2 formation through three successive tournaments.

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» Inside Stuttgart: a fallen giant in search of a fresh-faced identity

The five-times Bundesliga champions find themselves fighting relegation and it is up to former midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger to rescue them, in the short and long term

It was proving to be a miserable Monday in Stuttgart. Overcast but cool conditions had given way to snow and then, around 10am, howling winds. Yet the mood among the locals was bright and upbeat, which was hardly surprising given events of the previous afternoon.

VfB Stuttgart 5 Hannover 1. A first victory in nine games for Markus Weinzierl’s side as well as their biggest of the season by some distance. Crucially, it was against fellow relegation candidates, fuelling hopes that Die Roten may stay up after all. Cue smiles and laughter among the 60 or so people who had braved the wintery weather in order to watch the players go through an open-to-public warm-down session at the club’s training base, located on the east bank of the river Neckar and in the shadow of the 60,000-seater Mercedes-Benz Arena, named after the car manufacturer which, like Porsche, is a source of great pride as well as employment in the city.

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» How Luton lost a manager but continue to soar under Mick Harford
Luton are unbeaten in League One in five months and on target for as second straight promotion as the Championship beckons

After Luton secured promotion from League Two last season their defender Alan Sheehan made some bullish predictions. “The manager has built this squad for League One,” he said. “We’re not going into League One fearing anybody. We’ll go into every game thinking we can win it.” Nathan Jones, the Luton manager, declared his side were “ready for the next league and that’s the best thing about it”.

And so it has proved. Though Sheehan has not made the step up so convincingly – a mainstay of that promotion push he has been largely confined to the bench, starting three league games – his team have continued to excel. They find themselves five points clear at the top with eight games to go and unbeaten in more than five months.

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» Peter Beardsley charged by FA with using racist language towards youth players
  • Beardsley left role as Newcastle Under-23 coach earlier in March
  • 58-year-old has denied the allegations: ‘I’m not a racist,’ he said

Peter Beardsley has been charged by the Football Association with three counts of using racist language to players in his former job as Newcastle United’s Under-23 coach.

The former England international, who left Newcastle this month following a 14-month period of gardening leave, vehemently denies the claims and is expected to contest the charges. If so, his case will be heard by a three-person independent commission.

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» PSG criticise police and Chelsea after fans banned from women’s match
• Police say ‘knives and knuckledusters’ found on coach
• PSG: ‘The authorities have no evidence of wrongdoing’

Paris Saint-Germain have criticised the Metropolitan police and Chelsea after several of their supporters were turned away from Thursday’s Champions League tie at Kingsmeadow.

A 2-0 victory for Emma Hayes’s side was marred by events beforehand when a group of PSG’s “ultra” supporters were turned away from the ground before kick-off, with police later confirming reports they had confiscated knives and knuckledusters when they searched the fans’ coach. One man was also arrested for possession of a class A substance but rather than condemn their supporters, a statement from PSG on Friday appeared to blame the police and Chelsea for not allowing them to watch the game.

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» Former Sunderland player Adam Johnson released from prison
  • Former England international had served half of sentence
  • Johnson was released from HMP Moorland on Friday

The disgraced former England international Adam Johnson has been released from prison after serving three years for child sex offences.

The former Sunderland and Manchester City winger was sentenced to six years for engaging in sexual activity with a 15-year-old fan in 2016.

Witnesses said Johnson’s father, Dave Johnson, was seen driving a Mercedes people carrier with blacked-out rear windows out of HMP Moorland, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in the early hours of Friday morning.

The vehicle was followed out of the prison complex by a police van. The same car was later spotted arriving at Johnson’s mansion in Castle Eden, County Durham.

Friday’s release comes exactly halfway through the player’s six-year sentence.

Johnson admitted kissing the girl but denied her claim that he touched her inside her pants and that she then performed oral sex on him.

A jury found him guilty of sexual activity with a child in relation to “digital penetration” but cleared him of the same offence relating to the oral sex.

He had already admitted another charge of sexual activity with a child in relation to kissing and also of grooming the girl.

The judge said Johnson had lied repeatedly, referring to the controversy over whether he delayed his guilty pleas to enable him to continue his £60,000-a-week career with Sunderland.

As a sex offender, Johnson will have to register his address and bank details with police and inform officers of any intention to travel abroad.

The children’s services department from the local council may also carry out risk assessments in relation to Johnson’s daughter Ayla, and could prevent Johnson from spending time alone with his daughter.

Speaking briefly at Johnson’s home, his father agreed it was good to have him back. Mr Johnson said his son may make a statement later and asked reporters to leave.

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» Alex McLeish confident of ‘bouncing back’ after Kazakhstan debacle
• Scotland manager brushes off questions over future
• ‘I’ll continue doing my job ... I have to bounce back’

The Scotland manager, Alex McLeish, said he was “pretty good at bouncing back” as he brushed off questions over his future in the wake of his side’s 3-0 defeat in Kazakhstan.

McLeish’s team got their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign off to the worst possible start after losing two goals in the opening 10 minutes. They were three down before they forced the home goalkeeper into his only two saves, just before the hour.

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» Declan Rice apologises over apparent support for IRA on social media
• Midfielder wrote ‘up the RA’ in 2015 social media post
• Gareth Southgate says it is not ‘representative’ of player

Declan Rice was forced to make a public apology on the eve of a potential England debut at Wembley after it emerged the West Ham midfielder had posted apparent support for the IRA on social media in 2015.

The midfielder was 16 and a member of the Republic of Ireland’s junior squads at the time of the Instagram comments in which he wrote “upthera” on one, and “my brudda. UP THE RA. Wait Till We Draw England” to a teammate on another.

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» Niall McGinn shows Northern Ireland the way in opening win against Estonia

Where it began … should Northern Ireland’s fanatical support, complete with recurring Sweet Caroline anthem, grace a second European Championship in succession, the nature of victory against Estonia in the opening qualifying fixture will not matter one bit. That does not make the win any less vital. Matches such as this can ruin a campaign before it is properly underway.

Northern Ireland fully merited three points from this Group C fixture but they had to scrap to secure them. For 55 minutes they huffed and puffed; thereafter came the kind of breakthrough that separates them from nations of similar size and resource.

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» The Joy of Six: classic Germany v Netherlands encounters | Paul Wilson
From the 1974 World Cup final to a Nations League hammering, we pick half a dozen great matches between the two giants

Historians disagree over the extent to which the five-year occupation of the Netherlands by Germany in the second world war was responsible for the enmity that built up between the nations, but what is certain is that this World Cup final was the first competitive meeting between the teams since 1945. The Netherlands side featuring Johan Cruyff was still an emerging force, they did not really expect to beat their all-powerful opponents, although they did believe the English referee Jack Taylor was conned by Bernd Hölzenbein for the penalty that allowed West Germany to equalise, before Gerd Müller scored the winning goal.

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» The forgotten story of … the striker saved by football in Saddam’s Iraq

Sahib Abbas was locked up, tortured and forced to cope with the state-organised murder of his brother and four friends but thrived in remarkable circumstances

Just as he had done after every game, Sahib Abbas took the journey back to Karbala by bus. This time, however, there was no sign of his brother Fadhil. An amputee who had lost part of a leg during the Gulf War, his hobbling brother liked to quiz Sahib about the result as they made the 200-yard walk home, rejoicing with him when they won and commiserating when they lost. But, four matches into Sahib’s fledgling career with the top-division side Salahaddin, Fadhil was nowhere to be seen.

“They came and took him a week ago,” explained Sahib’s mother when he arrived home. “They” being the security officers. It had been only few months since Saddam Hussein ordered his army to invade neighbouring Kuwait before withdrawing under the pressure of the US-led coalition. President George Bush called on the Iraqi people to take matters into their own hands and force Saddam to step down. Along with his two brothers and a group of friends, the teenage Sahib would go out in his father’s Toyota Land Cruiser and attack checkpoints held by the army. But then the government declared a complete victory and Sahib was forced to flee for his life.

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» Juan Fernando Quintero: a reminder of the glory days of football's No10

The Colombian tore his ACL last weekend. He brings back memories of a time when the game cared less about fitting players into boxes

In recent years, football has attempted to eliminate subjectivity. The rise of VAR is the most obvious example, but we also see players’ movements tracked by GPS and statistics such as expected goals abound. The pure No10 – a player trusted to organize chaos and produce results from the unknown – is a casualty of our era.

Until Sunday, Juan Fernando Quintero was one of the few remaining creators still allowed to work at his own pace. He was at the top of his form last year, lifting River Plate to their fourth Copa Libertadores title. But just before halftime in a 3-0 win over Independiente last weekend, he tore his ACL as he tried to beat the opposing fullback. His career is by no means over but the 26-year-old will likely miss the rest of the season and this summer’s Copa America.

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» Sponsors queue up behind fans in huge week for women’s football | Eni Aluko
Hot on the heels of more than 60,000 attending a game in Spain, Barclays announced its £10m sponsorship of WSL

With record attendances, multimillion-pound sponsorship deals and global brand announcements, this has been a monumental week for women’s football and I’m excited to be involved in the next historic moment when Juventus face Fiorentina in the first Women’s Serie A match to be held at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

Related: Wanda Metropolitano’s record crowd shows English football the way | Suzanne Wrack

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» Does Scottish football really want to tackle wayward fans? | Ewan Murray

With an upsurge in fan misbehaviour, those in power should tackle this disease rather than concentrate on self-preservation

It was hardly a leap of faith to have envisioned sighs of relief in Scottish football’s high offices this month as chaos reigned at – somewhat poetically – St Andrew’s. Suddenly the patron saint of fan disorder was not a Scottish resident.

Until this season – aside from the odd exception – the biggest embarrassment attached to supporter behaviour in Scotland related to sectarian chanting. Although not exclusive to them, this is the recurring domain of the Old Firm; anti-catholic verse and pro-IRA singing form a depressing backdrop when Rangers and Celtic play away fixtures at Kilmarnock or Hamilton, let alone against each other. That so many of those belting out antiquated anthems could not make a distinction between Derry’s Walls and Niagara Falls adds to the lunacy. They point fingers at each other as the problem persists; clubs themselves are woefully quiet on the matter.

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» Time-lapse footage reveals completion of Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium – video

The three-year construction of Tottenham Hotspur's new stadium is revealed in a time-lapse video released by the club. The £1bn stadium will be officially unveiled on Sunday, before Spurs play their first match at their new home on 3 April against Crystal Palace.

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» Gareth Southgate defends Declan Rice over apparent pro-IRA posts – video

England manager Gareth Southgate has defended Declan Rice over social media posts from 2015 which showed apparent support for the IRA. Southgate pointed out that Rice had been 15 or 16 at the time and that most people have 'discussed things, said things, written things that might not look in the way we would want them several years later'.

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» Violence and teargas forces Panathinaikos v Olympiakos derby to be abandoned – video

Panathinaikos' match at home to Olympiakos was abandoned on Sunday after fans were seen attacking players on the visiting team's bench and clashing with police outside their Olympic Stadium.

The violence began four minutes after the Athens derby kicked off and the match was stopped for about eight minutes. The unrest erupted again after Olympiakos scored the only goal of the match in the 53rd minute.

Teargas was seen wafting onto the pitch - affecting players and fans. 

The referee abandoned the match in the 70th minute and Olympiakos were awarded the victory. Panathinaikos face a possible points deduction and a fine.

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» 'Nothing is decided': Jürgen Klopp praises Liverpool's nervy win at Fulham – video

Jûrgen Klopp has said Liverpool’s 2-1 victory at Fulham was ‘an average game, sensational result.’ The Reds needed a James Milner penalty to beat the London club, who remain in 19th place in the table.

Klopp’s side lead the Premier League table heading into the international break after moving two points clear of Manchester City, who have a game in hand.

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» Maurizio Sarri accuses his Chelsea players of 'mental block' at Everton – video

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has blamed 'a mental block' for his side's 2-0 loss at Everton following a fine first-half display. 

The defeat has dented the Blues hopes of finishing in the top four, but Sarri has insisted that 'it is not impossible' to achieve the feat in their remaining eight matches

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» 'I feel at home here': Zidane on first match back as Real Madrid coach – video

Gareth Bale and Isco both scored against Celta Vigo to give Zinedine Zidane a 2-0 victory  on his return to Real Madrid. Following the match, an overall 'happy' Zidane said 'It’s an important result, even if the first part of the match we didn’t do well'

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» Mary Fowler returns to Matildas squad for pre-World Cup test in US
  • 16-year-old gets chance to impress Ante Milicic
  • Uncapped Teagan Micah and Elizabeth Ralston included

Teenage talent Mary Fowler has been convinced to give the Matildas another shot, with the 16-year-old a headline inclusion by Ante Milicic in his 23-woman squad to take on world champions USA.

Fowler – who walked away from national team duty under previous coach Alen Stajcic – will next month travel to Colorado along with two uncapped players, as Milicic mulls his World Cup squad.

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» Adelaide United midfielder Ken Ilsø banned after positive cocaine test
  • Danish player awaits results of B test
  • Club treating matter with the ‘utmost seriousness’

Adelaide United midfielder Ken Ilsø has been provisionally suspended by Football Federation under its anti-doping policy.

FFA confirmed the player returned a positive A-sample for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, in January this year and is now under investigation by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.

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» Adrien Rabiot: the golden boy who became PSG’s French football outcast | Ed Aarons
Midfielder should be a force at his club but a contract stand-off and off-pitch behaviour have led to him being frozen out

“It’s not that I’m hiding away,” insisted Adrien Rabiot on French television last week. “I am available to the club. If I could play, I would. I’ve always been a club man …”

Some in the French capital may beg to differ. Last week, three months after his most recent appearance for Paris Saint-Germain, the elegant midfielder with the trademark frizzy hair was handed a two-week suspension for what PSG described as “major faults” in his conduct – namely being pictured at a nightclub hours after the defeat by Manchester United and ‘liking’ a tweet from Patrice Evra which celebrated the club’s surprise exit. In this era of social media obsession, what greater crime could there be?

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» Brent Sancho: ‘I told Peter Crouch, in Trinidad they absolutely hate you’
Before Trinidad and Tobago face Wales their former defender recalls a ‘bodily assault’ by Crouch at the 2006 World Cup

A globetrotting playing career took Brent Sancho from Portland to Priestfield, Ross County to Rochester Rhinos but, speaking to the former Trinidad and Tobago defender, there really is only one place to start: that unforgettable night in Nuremberg at the 2006 World Cup.

For 82 minutes Sancho and Dennis Lawrence, now the manager of the Caribbean nation, had held firm against Sven-Göran Eriksson’s England, until Peter Crouch pulled on Sancho’s dreadlocks for leverage and headed beyond Shaka Hislop. Steven Gerrard sealed victory in stoppage time, by which point Crouch had established himself as public enemy No 1.

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» Oh. My. God. Messi, a hat-trick and a stadium left in suspended animation

The Barça forward was applauded by both sets of fans at Betis – not for scoring three times, but because of how he scored

“Truth is, I don’t remember anything like this,” Lionel Messi said but nor do they and their reaction said more than words, long abandoned as inadequate. There were five minutes left of a perfect performance when he took the shot that transfixed them and then turned them. Not so much hit first time as coaxed, the ball rose softly and curved gently, granting them time to take it in, inviting them to halt everything and watch it orbiting alone, so they did. Only Betis goalkeeper Pau López moved, seeing it float by, just there but just out of reach, everything unfolding like a slow-motion replay from an arty TV director. Only this was live. The ball caressed the bar, landed in the net, and there was a collective intake of breath. And then, instead of a roar, an “oh”.

Oh. My. God.

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» Chattanooga FC: the US club with 2,000 owners around the world

The Tennessee club sold more than $500,000 in shares in a month. They believe they have tapped into a market for fans who want a stake in their team

Stefan Szymanski is a professor of sport management at the University of Michigan, the author of the much-lauded Soccernomics, and a supporter of Detroit City FC of the semi-pro National Premier Soccer League (NPSL). So why has Szymanski, who moved to the United States from Britain eight years ago, invested in an NPSL rival, Chattanooga FC?

The answer lies in shares. Szymanski bought two in the club, at $125 each, so he will be far from a majority owner; in fact, he already has has more than 2,000 partners from 44 US states and 10 countries around the world. Chattanooga FC said they sold more than $500,000 in shares in a month, after they became the first American sports team to sell limited public stock since securities reform laws were passed in 2016.

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» Inter take the Milan derby spoils and leap over rivals in Serie A standings | Paolo Bandini

Defeat was hardly catastrophic for Milan, but they have failed to beat Inter now in any of their last six Serie A meetings

The choreography produced by Milan’s Ultras for Sunday’s derby had been months in the making. As kick-off approached, a colossal depiction of Hellboy was unveiled: stretching from the top of the second tier in San Siro’s Curva Sud all the way down to ground level. The demon crashed his fist on to a pile of skulls, interwoven with an Inter scarf. “Send them to Hell,” read the accompanying slogan.

The banner left on display in the same section at full-time cannot have taken quite so long to prepare: a single word spelled out in letters as tall as your average fan. All it said was: “Shits.”

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» Daring to try – and daring to fail – gives Werder Bremen cause for optimism | Andy Brassell

A stylish victory over Bayer Leverkusen has confirmed that Florian Kohfeldt has given Werder’s fans reason to dream

It was the sort of result that, when it happened, appeared to be a curio but as time has gone past, it looks more and more like a season turning point. When Bayer Leverkusen visited Werder Bremen in late October they were on little more than a hiding-to-nothing. Mired in lower-mid-table and led by an unpopular coach, they were facing a side on the crest of a wave – and one who could, with a victory, have finished the weekend in second place in the Bundesliga.

It didn’t turn out like that. In a rarity amid an uninspired first half of the season under Heiko Herrlich, Leverkusen fired and then some. The 6-2 victory didn’t turn out to be the launchpad for Herrlich to draw the best from his talented team on a regular basis, as a quick glance at Peter Bosz on the Leverkusen bench now will tell you. It was the moment, however, where the air was let out of Werder’s tyres. They won just one more game – against then-struggling Fortuna Düsseldorf – before mid-January.

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» Ligue 1 blows chance to rid itself of 'farmers league' jibe

For the first time since 2011, not a single French club will appear in either the Europa League or Champions League last eight

By Adam White and Eric Devin for Get French Football News

It was not supposed to happen like this for Ligue 1, not with the way things looked a fortnight ago. PSG’s Champions League exit was perhaps down more to controversial circumstances and individual errors than the eliminations of Lyon and Rennes. However, despite the latter two sides having been given little chance in their ties against Barcelona and Arsenal, both entered the return legs in enviable positions, especially given the gulf in resources and reputation between them and their opponents. What followed for the two sides, however, was a pair of abject displays that will do little to dispel the “farmers’ league” trope that has been a millstone around the neck of Ligue 1 in the recent past.

Lyon, after all, had been arguably the surprise package of the Champions League group stage, being one of only two sides to finish unbeaten, and recording two near-unbelievable results against Manchester City. In the first leg, they had ridden their luck (and a poor outing from Luis Suárez) but had their chances in a goalless draw, not only keeping themselves in the tie but also denying the La Liga leaders an away goal.

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» Why societal change makes mockery of England’s dual nationality debate | Barney Ronay
Increasing numbers of England players are dual-qualified, requiring a nuanced approach to identity, history and family

What have Declan Rice, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Dele Alli, James Tarkowski and Trent Alexander-Arnold got in common? Aside from carrying the flame of undying hope (until they lose) for Gareth’s brave lions, the answer is that every one of them could have been playing for someone else this weekend.

Related: Trent Alexander-Arnold out of England Euro 2020 qualifiers with injury

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» Wanda Metropolitano’s record crowd shows English football the way | Suzanne Wrack

The 60,739 gate for Atlético Madrid’s match with Barcelona showed that, if you build it, fans of women’s football will come

When 60,739 fans filed into the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday to watch Atlético Madrid take on their title rivals Barcelona, a 99-year record was broken. On 26 December 1920, and just under a year before the Football Association banned women’s football – a ban that lasted 50 years – 53,000 people filled Goodison Park, with a further 14,000 reportedly turned away, to watch the famous Dick, Kerr Ladies beat St Helens 4-0.

Related: Ji So-yun breaks Durham hearts and fires Chelsea into FA Cup last four

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» Football’s name-changing fetish shows the game’s infected with greed | Anthony Clavane

Renaming White Hart Lane station as Tottenham Hotspur is a blow to loyal fans and the neighbourhood’s history

What’s in a name? Everything, if you’re a football fan. The sport has always been driven by finance, but the post-1992 fetish for name-changing has taken commercialisation to a whole new level. And it’s spilling into our public spaces.

History, tradition and community are all high on the list of the reasons why long-suffering supporters stay loyal to their teams. It is fashionable to caricature those who campaign against the corporate rebranding of their clubs as traditionalist dinosaurs. But in an era when local neighbourhoods have become fractured, clinging to the original name of your team, stadium and even local railway station has become one of the few remaining signifiers of community spirit.

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» The Fiver | Humiliation calculated as Kazakhstan = 1978 x (Costa Rica + Uruguay)²

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Shortbread McFiver woke up at 2.59pm on Thursday afternoon. “Oof och ooyah ma heed!” the Fiver’s increasingly unacceptable stereotypical cousin from north of Brexitland yelped. Po’ Shortbread was recovering from an evening during which he’d sunk seven bottles of Fistfight, the 87.32%ABV whisky-flavoured turps beverage, one bottle of turps (87.33%ABV) found at the back of Granny Fiver’s sideboard, and, to keep it all down, 18 piping-hot bowls of Cullen Skink. “Ah well, at least this is the worst I’ll feel all day,” chuckled Shortbread, making the best of a bad lot. Oh Shortbread!

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» Messi, Matty Taylor, Lewis Hamilton and commentators gone wild | Classic YouTube

This week’s roundup also features a wild miss in Germany, scary racing from Southwell and Rustu Recber

1) Why settle for just 50 hat-tricks, when you can score a 51st of this quality? Lionel Messi’s treble last Sunday against Real Betis was concluded by using his left foot as a pitching wedge. Mention must also be made of Luis Suárez’s assists for the second and the goal he scored. But could Messi’s left peg ever match the majesty of Matt Taylor, the former Luton Town, Portsmouth, Bolton Wanderers, West Ham United, Burnley, Northampton Town and latterly Swindon player, who announced his impending retirement last week, and scored some fantastic goals in his time, including this one? OK, but still.

2) Eintracht Braunschweig beat SV Meppen in the Bundesliga 3 last weekend, but only after this spectacular contrivance of misses. That surely makes them a contender for a future edition of Nick Murray Wills’s excellent series of animated Bundesliga commentaries. You’ll find loads more on his YouTube page.

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» David Squires on … the 50th anniversary of Swindon's greatest moment in sport

Our cartoonist on Swindon’s League Cup final win over Arsenal. Yes, more Wiltshire-centric media bias

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

Your weekend roundup of the best photography from the FA Cup and Premier League

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» Six Nations deciders, the Rocket's 1,000 centuries and penalty woe | Classic YouTube

This week’s roundup also includes a cheeky Carlisle goal, horses racing all over the place and some heavily accented lip-reading

1) Will Warren Gatland end his Six Nations sojourn with Wales as he began it, with a grand slam? Ireland stand in their way on Saturday, as they did when they visited Cardiff in 2005, when Wales memorably clinched a first title for 12 years. The whole game is here, if you’ve got the time. Wales beat Ireland at the 2011 World Cup too, but Ireland came out on top in 2018, en route to their own slam – and what a classic it was. Should Ireland prevail again this year it would pave the way for England to take the title by beating Scotland, something they achieved when they won the concluding matches in 1980 and at Twickenham in 1995.

2) Best you go your way and I’ll go mine: racing goes seriously freeform with horses peeling off in all directions at this race in France.

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» Football League: Blackpool fans return to celebrate dramatic equaliser
  • Sheffield United keep pace as West Brom, Middlesbrough falter
  • Sunderland snatch late leveller during chaos at Wycombe

The race for automatic promotion thinned out after both Middlesbrough and West Brom dropped points on the top three.

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» Sports quiz of the week: laughter, LeBron, L'Equipe and F1 fastest laps

Who ‘felt flat’ after a big win? Who prepared in style? Who had a dig at Watford?

'I looked over at him a few times and that made me laugh a little' – who said this during the week, and who were they talking about?

Mike Phelan about Neymar

Hatem Ben Arfa about Unai Emery

Kepa Arrizabalaga about Maurizio Sarri

Daniele de Rossi about Eusebio di Francesco

Nick Kyrgios won his first ATP Tour trophy for over a year in Acapulco on Sunday, but how did he prepare for the final?

Getting advice from his friend Andy Murray over the phone

Sitting in a sauna to prepare for extreme heat on court

Spending the afternoon on a jetski

Watching opponent Alexander Zverev's train from under a sombrero

Who was accused of exaggerating the toughness of his upbringing this week?

Anthony Joshua

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Owen Farrell

Dan Evans

Swiss cyclist Nicole Hanselmann built up a big lead in a race on Sunday, but finished 74th. What went wrong?

She suffered multiple punctures and had to jog the last half-mile

She caught up the men's race ahead of her and was held up by officials

She had been going the wrong way and had to turn around

She had to stop for an extended comfort break

LeBron James overtook his idol, Michael Jordan, to become the NBA's fourth-highest points scorer of all time. Who is top of the list?

Kobe Bryant

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Shaquille O'Neal

Karl Malone

Who joined an exclusive club by earning 10/10 from L'Equipe in midweek?

Romelu Lukaku

Hakim Ziyech

Dusan Tadic

Iker Casillas

France head to Dublin in the Six Nations on Sunday, and have a poor recent away record in the competition. Where did they last win a game in Britain or Ireland?


Croke Park

Etihad Stadium


'I feel a bit flat to be honest with you' – who said this after a landmark win this week?

Harry Kane

Virat Kohli

Phil Neville

Nick Kyrgios

Harry Kane will face Southampton on Saturday having scored seven goals in eight Premier League games against them. Who was Kane playing for when he first faced the Saints?




Leyton Orient

Formula One returns next weekend, with the organisers set to introduce what prize for the fastest lap in each race?

A two-place boost up the grid in the next race

A gold helmet to wear in the next race

A bonus point that counts towards the overall standings

£250,000 in cash

8 and above.

Outstanding. Enjoy the rest of your weekend

0 and above.

Unlucky. Enjoy the rest of your weekend

3 and above.

A fair effort. Enjoy the rest of your weekend

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» Golden Goal: Steve McManaman for Liverpool v Celtic (1997)

The midfielder was the Merseyside club’s most consistent attacking threat for a decade and dazzled in Glasgow

If there is a phrase that sums up Steve McManaman’s time at Real Madrid, a four-year spell in which the Spanish club won La Liga and the Champions League twice apiece, it was perhaps the one delivered by an unlikely source. “El socio del todos” – “a partner to everyone on the pitch”– is how Johan Cruyff described the Merseyside-born Madridista, and he meant it neither sarcastically nor begrudgingly.

Cruyff’s assessment was instead genuine and warm-hearted, underlining the understated yet important role the midfielder played in Madrid’s success at the start of the millennium, linking defence to Galácticos attack. This was the era of Raúl, Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and the original Ronaldo, and McManaman’s role was to give them the ball as often as possible.

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» Champions League quarter-finals: tie-by-tie analysis and verdict
We run the rule over the matches, including Manchester United’s duel with Barcelona, and predict who will triumph

A great opportunity for Juventus and Cristiano Ronaldo to take a step closer to the only title that really matters to the club now that they have won seven straight scudetti and are on their way to an eighth.

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» PSG demise a lesson in the corrupting effect of money and arrogance | Jonathan Wilson

It was a great week for the puckish charms of football and its ability to confound hubris

Football still, it turns out, has the power to fight back. Money is a lot of things but it isn’t quite everything, not yet.

Although before we get carried away, it should be acknowledged that it really is a lot of things, most things even, almost everything. The leagues of Italy and France are a walkover yet again. Spain and Germany will probably have very familiar champions. So distorted has the modern view become that not only are Ajax, grandees of the Dutch game, transformed into plucky giant-killers, but somehow Manchester United can be cast as improbable outsiders. It was a great week for the puckish charms of football and its ability to confound hubris but nobody should kid themselves: it’s losing the war against greed.

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» Son Heung-min: ‘My father says I shouldn’t marry until I retire and I agree’
The Spurs forward describes four-hour keepy-uppy sessions as a child and reveals why the desire to repay his family is so strong

The way Son Heung-min tells it, he was 10 years old and squabbling with his older brother, Heung-yun. Then something happened that has stayed with him.

The Tottenham forward’s father, Son Woong-jung, was a former professional footballer who made it to a good level in South Korea, and he had begun to coach his boys, making it his mission to guide them to the top, avoiding the pitfalls he encountered. On this occasion, he saw red and, to borrow the word Son uses, decided to impose a forfeit.

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» England 5-0 Czech Republic: Euro 2020 qualifier – as it happened

Raheem Sterling was the hat-trick hero as England thrashed the Czechs at Wembley to begin their Euro 2020 qualification campaign in style

England final have some attackers that the country can enjoy watching ...

Related: England’s discover a perfect, potent blend of skill in attacking trio | Barney Ronay

Elsewhere in international football ...

Related: Euro 2020 qualifiers: France turn on the style but Portugal held to draw

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