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Great Danes U21 (S)

Ingrave Road, Brentwood, , CM14 5AE
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» Carabao Cup draw LIVE: First round fixtures decided, live stream and TV channel
Championship big-hitters will discover their fate as the first round draw for the Carabao Cup takes place
» Napoli president begins war of words with new Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri
Serie A champions Juventus appointed Maurizio Sarri on a three-year contract earlier this week
» England star Karen Bardsley slams changes after Women's World Cup VAR controversy
England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley had sympathy for rivals Scotland after their Women's World Cup heartache
» Arsenal legend claims something is 'very wrong' with 'irrelevant' Gunners star
Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil faces an uncertain future at the Emirates after falling out with Unai Emery
» Birmingham City confirm new manager after sacking Garry Monk
Birmingham City have confirmed their manager to start the new season after sacking Garry Monk this week
» Maurizio Sarri reveals bizarre clause in his Juventus contract
The former Chelsea boss was officially unveiled as Juventus manager and revealed the detail on Thursday
» Aaron Wan-Bissaka has had head turned by Man Utd interest, admits his boss
England U21 boss Aidy Boothroyd admits Aaron Wan-Bissaka is distracted by being at the centre of a huge transfer saga
» Man Utd urged to put Jesse Lingard on transfer list after social media posts
Manchester United star Jesse Lingard has come under fire for his social media posts and off-field activities
» Man City poised to beat Man Utd to £65million Harry Maguire transfer
The Leicester defender is on the shopping list of both Pep Guardiola and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - but City look set to land him
» Neymar 'ready to go on strike' at PSG to force transfer back to Barcelona
The Brazilian and his club are heading for a 'divorce' according to a report in Spain, with the forward determined to return to Catalonia
» Craig Bellamy appointed manager of Anderlecht U21s as he links up with Vincent Kompany
Craig Bellamy has left Cardiff City to become Anderlecht Under-21s boss, linking up with Vincent Kompany
» James Rodriguez drops big transfer hint about next club
The Colombian was speaking after his nation's victory over Qatar at the Copa America
» Garry Monk issues statement following controversial Birmingham sacking
Monk was given his marching orders by Blues after a row with club chief Xuandong Ren
» Man Utd target Bruno Fernandes' agent 'holds talks' with Premier League rivals
The Sporting midfielder is a wanted man in the Premier League with Man Utd and Tottenham leading the race
» Neymar's teammate speaks out on 'major bombshell' Barcelona transfer
The Brazilian has been linked with a switch back to Barca after just two seasons at Paris Saint-Germain
» Man Utd target Declan Rice 'does not believe it's the right time' to make transfer
The West Ham midfielder has been strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford - but is reportedly unsure
» Maurizio Sarri admits having 'Eden Hazard issues' as new Juventus boss takes Chelsea swipe
The Italian has taken the reins in Turin, leaving the Premier League after just one year
» Oleksandr Zinchenko inks new five-year deal to complete remarkable Man City turnaround
The Ukraine international was available for transfer last summer, but rejected a £16million switch to Wolves and his persistence has paid off
» Atletico Madrid agree transfer deal for Real Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente
The 24-year-old moves across the Spanish capital having been at the Santiago Bernabeu since the age of 13
» 'Mad' former Premier League star sent off as amateur 7-a-side game turns ugly
Former Tottenham, Sunderland and Wigan defender Pascal Chimbonda was furious with an opponent who "wanted to break my legs"
» Juventus chief admits club are "very fond" of Paul Pogba amid return rumours
Juve are confident of sealing a deal for Pogba to go back to the club three years after selling him to Manchester United
» Naby Keita admits he wants one thing from Jurgen Klopp next season
The Liverpool midfielder will be going into his second campaign at Anfield following last summer's move from RB Leipzig
» Maurizio Sarri makes Cristiano Ronaldo declaration at Juventus introduction
The ex-Chelsea boss was unveiled by the Italian champions on Thursday and is looking forward to working with the Portuguese
» Yannick Carrasco's teammate accuses 'lazy' Arsenal target of refusing to play in match
Dalian Yifang goalkeeper Yu Ziqian has launched a stinging attack on the former Atletico Madrid winger

Football resources

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» BBC Sport
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» Little Kickers
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Other sport news:

» Netherlands v Canada, Cameroon v New Zealand: Women's World Cup clockwatch – live!

81 min: Cameroon 1-1 New Zealand This could be a fun last 10 minutes, because a draw is useless for both teams.

Oh no. Bowen’s inswinging cross from the right is shanked into her own net by Awona at the near post, and that could put Cameroon out of the World Cup. That’s so cruel.

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» Manchester United close to Aaron Wan-Bissaka deal with Crystal Palace
• Palace want at least £50m for England Under-21 right-back
• Aidy Boothroyd says player’s head turned by United interest

Aidy Boothroyd believes Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s head has been turned by Manchester United, who are close to agreeing a deal for the Crystal Palace defender.

United and Palace officials have been in talks since the weekend over a fee for the England Under-21 right-back, with the Selhurst Park club wanting at least £50m guaranteed for the 21-year-old. Palace rejected United’s first offer last month but progress has been made on the terms in recent days. Palace also want United to remove the sell-on clause that was part of the deal that took Wilfried Zaha back to Palace in January 2015.

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» Scotland collapse, England move on and Totti hits out – Football Weekly Extra

Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning, Paolo Bandini and Flo Lloyd-Hughes discuss the latest Women’s World Cup drama, VAR’s increasing prominence, Copa América and a Totti meltdown

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

We look back at the last few days in football, starting with Scotland’s devastating collapse in their final group match of the 2019 World Cup.

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» Karen Bardsley questions ‘cruel’ VAR decisions after Scotland penalty drama

• Lee Alexander judged to move off line too soon for save
• England goalkeeper: ‘It’s strange to crack down on it’

England’s goalkeeper Karen Bardsley has expressed misgivings about the use of VAR to judge the movement of goalkeepers, saying it seems “cruel” and “pedantic”.

Scotland’s hopes of making the last 16 of the World Cup disappeared when Argentina re-took and scored an injury-time penalty which had been saved by Lee Alexander after the goalkeeper was seen to have moved off her line too soon. It followed similar VAR-driven retakes by France and Italy against Nigeria and Jamaica respectively, both of which were also converted at the second attempt.

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» Argentina are floundering and Messi problem is not the biggest one | Jonathan Wilson
Copa América struggles demonstrate that more important are a lack of leadership and shrinking pool of high-class talent

The only positive for Argentina, and it is a dubious one, is that it could have been worse. A draw against Paraguay means they will probably advance to the quarter-final of the Copa América if they beat Qatar on Sunday – but there are no guarantees either that four points will be enough even for a best third-placed finish or, on current form, that they will beat the Asian champions. This was an extremely fortuitous point after another dismal performance.

Again, Argentina were painfully disjointed. Again, it was almost impossible to discern a plan. Again, there was little attacking flair and panic at every counter. Little wonder Sergio Agüero and Nicolás Otamendi have gone grey with the stress.

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» The Fiver | Goddess of fate goaded into wreaking revenge with extreme prejudice

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Argentina has long been a word seared on the heart of every Scottish football fan. That’s a legacy of 1978, when the men’s team went over there and rewrote the dictionary definitions of both hubris and fiasco. They had been seen off in style by 30,000 delirious fans at Hampden, but as they approached their hilltop hotel, the clutch on their bus burnt out, and a truck had to nudge them the last 200 metres of their journey. It proved a powerful metaphor. Peru and Iran did a number on them; beleaguered manager Ally McLeod bent down to stroke a dog, uttering the immortal words “At least this wee fellow loves me!” just before the mutt sank its teeth into his hand; and Archie Gemmill scored the best goal in the history of All Football only for it to mean nothing 202 seconds later when Holland’s Johnny Rep lashed one in from downtown Buenos Aires. Oh Scotland! Ah Argentina! Oh aaaiiee aaarrgh.

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» Maurizio Sarri admits he will have to win over sceptical Juventus fans
  • ‘I’ve never seen a club so determined to hire a coach,’ he says
  • Ex-Chelsea coach hints at unfair criticism from English press

Maurizio Sarri accepted on his unveiling as Juventus manager that he will have to win over some of his new club’s fans because of his association with their Serie A rivals Napoli.

“I arrive with scepticism, just as I did with all my other clubs,” said the Italian, who signed a three-year contract in Turin after leaving Chelsea this week. “I understand that, but I know only one way to change that and that is to win and convince while entertaining and getting results. For three years [at Napoli] I would wake up and think about how to defeat Juventus, because they were a winning team. I gave 110%, but we still couldn’t do it. I will now give everything for this club.”

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» Players’ health at risk in Africa Cup of Nations heat, says footballers’ union
• Afternoon games at Egypt tournament could be played in 40C
• Fifpro wants four mid-game breaks for drinks and towels

Serious concerns have been raised about the well-being of players at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, where temperatures may reach 40C (104F) during some games.

The tournament kicks off with Egypt against Zimbabwe at 10pm local time on Friday and seven of its group stage fixtures are scheduled for 4.30pm local time (3.30 BST), when the searing heat has not yet abated. Fifpro, the global players’ union, is worried that the organisers’ efforts to mitigate for the afternoon sun are insufficient and has requested that the Confederation of African Football (Caf) considers delaying kick-offs if conditions are potentially dangerous.

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» Transfer window 2019 – every summer deal from Europe's top five leagues

All the latest deals and club-by-club guides for the Premier League, La Liga, the Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A

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» Benin’s Steve Mounié: ‘We are the squirrels – and squirrels are strong’
The Huddersfield striker discusses the ‘big failure’ of last season, Benin’s chances at the AFCON and why he is pleased their nickname did not change

This year Steve Mounié has experienced the highs and lows of football almost simultaneously. With Huddersfield Town the striker endured the most difficult club season of his career but with his country, Benin, he has enjoyed thrilling success and there could be more to come, as he and his compatriots hope to make history at the Africa Cup of Nations, which kicks off on Friday.

It is Benin’s first appearance in the tournament since 2010, their fourth overall. “Benin have never won a match at the tournament so, if we win one game, we will be in the history books and that will be great for us,” says Mounié. “It doesn’t matter who it is against. Our first aim is to win a game and then we will see if we can get out of the group.” That would be no mean feat given the pool also includes the holders, Cameroon, one of the favourites, Ghana, and fellow underdogs Guinea-Bissau.

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» Women’s World Cup game-changing moments No 4: Brandi Chastain in 1999

The 1999 World Cup games were watched by 660,000 fans and will for ever be associated with USA defender celebrating the winning penalty by ripping off her shirt

The Rose Bowl, Pasadena – a virtual cauldron on a typically sweltering Californian summer’s day. It’s 10 July, 1999, and in the packed stands a partisan crowd looks on as Brandi Chastain makes the long, lonely walk from the centre-circle, catches the ball casually tossed her way and carefully places it on the penalty spot. Anxious not to catch the eye of China’s goalkeeper, Gao Hong, who had psyched her out in similar circumstances earlier that year, Chastain turns away and retreats. One step, two steps, three steps, four steps, five steps, six. She turns back to face the goal, takes a final couple of paces backwards, another two forward and pauses for a breath.

She begins her run-up, knowing Gao has done her homework and is expecting her to shoot with her right foot. It is why she has been practising with her left following a chat with the USA’s head coach, Tony DiCicco. It is also why, after a scoreless draw over 90 minutes and an additional 30 of Golden Goal extra-time, he insisted the defender be named as the fifth penalty taker when she was originally down as sixth. It is why, having seen her team’s goalkeeper, Briana Scurry, save China’s third from Liu Ying, she now knows it is all down to her and her untested left peg. With the World Cup up for grabs, she begins her run-up and the 90,185 fans present hold their breath.

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» Brazilians are falling out of love with their distant, expensive football team

Copa América tickets cost too much but the gap between fans and the Seleção has been growing for some time

By Yellow & Green Football for the Guardian Sport Network

The organisers of the Copa América insisted the opening match between Brazil and Bolivia on Friday evening would sell out the 67,000-capacity Morumbi stadium in São Paulo. It didn’t. Just 46,342 fans paid for tickets, leaving the ground just 70% full. With the game still goalless at half-time, the deafening silence turned to boos as Tite’s men trudged off the pitch. Two goals from Philippe Coutinho and a superb solo strike from Everton Soares gave Brazil a 3-0 win, but much of the debate after the game was about the crowd’s antipathy to their own team.

Manager Tite said he “expected” a negative reaction given the way his team played. “We need to understand. If we get forward and create chances they will applaud. Having been at big clubs, when you sometimes don’t produce, then don’t expect the fans to understand. They will boo. When you pass the ball along the back, from full-back to central defender to goalkeeper, the first thing you hear is boo.”

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» Shelley Kerr says Scotland ‘devastated’ after cruel World Cup exit

• ‘We feel very hard done by,’ says coach after 3-3 Argentina draw
• Neville looks forward as England beat Japan to reach last 16

Phil Neville looked forward to the “business end” of the World Cup after watching his side defeat Japan 2-0 to reach the knockout stages as group winners. But while England can look forward Scotland can look only back with regret after they were knocked out in dramatic circumstances in their final Group D game.

The Scots blew a 3-0 lead inside the last 20 minutes to draw 3-3 with Argentina in Paris after they had looked in control of a third-place finish and a good chance of a place in the last 16.

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» Why are the best footballers in the world suing their bosses? – podcast

The Women’s World Cup is nearing the knockout stages, with the tournament favourites, the US, in blistering form. But back home, the players are taking on their governing body in a gender equality lawsuit that could have huge implications for women’s sport. Plus: Jonathan Freedland on Donald Trump’s economic record

The US set a Women’s World Cup record this month with their 13-0 demolition of Thailand in a performance that has set a marker in this year’s competition from the tournament favourites. But behind the scenes, things are less rosy. A group of 28 players on the US women’s national team have brought a lawsuit accusing US Soccer of gender discrimination.

Joining Anushka Asthana are the journalist and US fan Jill Martin Wrenn, and Gemma Clarke, the author of SoccerWomen.

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» EFL fixtures: Luton face Middlesbrough and Salford play Stevenage on day one
• EFL fixtures for the 2019-20 season announced
• Woodgate’s first game in charge of Boro is on 2 August

Jonathan Woodgate’s managerial debut will be the first match of the 2019-20 EFL season. Middlesbrough installed the 39-year-old former England international defender as their manager last week on a three-year contract.

Related: Middlesbrough name Jonathan Woodgate as manager

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» From Somali refugee to England's first female Muslim football referee

Jawahir Roble’s love of football was forged on the streets of wartorn Mogadishu. Now she is training and inspiring young female footballers in the UK

On a sunny afternoon, a group of mothers in hijabs sit on the bench of a football pitch, watching their daughters play football at the Stonebridge recreation ground in north-west London.

As World Cup fever grips the UK, the girls’ enthusiasm for the training session is matched by their obvious adoration of their coach and referee, Jawahir Roble, known as JJ to her friends.

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» Football transfer rumours: David Brooks to Manchester United?

Today’s nonsense didn’t get a cake

Manchester United “have agreed to pay £55m” to sign Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace. After weeks of negotiating a fee for the scorer of one of the finest own goals you’ll ever see, they’ve finally done it. Ed Woodward has finally done it! He really has! Hooray for Ed! They’ll be building a statue of him outside Old Trafford any day now! Forget the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand – how about the Sir Ed Woodward Stand? It has a nice ring to it. Except … hang on … hang on a minute … look here … oh … it says here … “contrary to earlier reports” … oh … oh dear … Manchester United and Crystal Palace haven’t agreed a £55m fee for Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Oh. Oh dear. Oh Ed. Cancel the statue.

Related: Everton set to land £22m Gomes but Burnley hit by Heaton contract blow

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» Golden Boot Standings: top scorers for France 2019 World Cup

The latest standings for the Golden Boot award at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France

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» USA women face Sweden in first true test with chance to exorcise Rio ghosts

Three years after Sweden handed the US women their earliest ever exit from a major tournament, the Americans can score revenge while making a World Cup statement

Megan Rapinoe insists that she has moved on from the 2016 Olympics, when Sweden handed the US women’s national team their earliest ever exit from a major tournament. Told by a reporter from Expressen that the Swedish players say they have the mental edge due to that history, Rapinoe shrugged off that notion.

“It was three years ago – I personally wouldn’t take a lot of confidence from that nor would I feel bad about it or think we’re at a disadvantage from it,” she said. “We’ve both grown and evolved over that time.”

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» Georgia Stanway and Rachel Daly seize chance to impress Neville
The coach promised rotation and these World Cup debutantes certainly justified their selection in the 2-0 defeat of Japan

Phil Neville is known as a bit of a tinkerman but even those most used to his mix-it-up style balked at the eight changes for such a statement game against Japan. He has made 12 in the three games. As England had already qualified, only top of the group was up for grabs but, with the USA and France both throwing down their title credentials, the former in some style, this was a chance for Neville’s team to announce themselves as serious contenders in a side of the draw where they could meet either team.

Dropping the “crot” (cross/shot) queen Beth Mead, the Women’s Super League record goalscorer Nikita Parris and the “mini-Messi” Fran Kirby certainly turned heads. But with England struggling to create, something had to be done. Making their World Cup debuts, Georgia Stanway and Rachel Daly were two of those to come in.

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» I was punished for calling Sweden cowards, but now rawness is accepted | Hope Solo

I did not express myself well after USA’s loss to Sweden at the Rio 2016. But US Soccer made sure it exploited my comments for its own ends

This World Cup is about championing emotion – especially in a lot of the marketing and ads surrounding the tournament. Nike’s Dream Further campaign captures the emotion and drama of playing in a World Cup very well, with Joan Jett’s Bad Reputation providing a badass soundtrack. It’s great that kind of attitude is celebrated right now in the fantasy world of advertising and TV. In real life, it’s a little different.

I have always been passionate about my sport and passionate about playing for my country. I wore my heart on my sleeve when I was benched in the 2007 World Cup for believing in my own ability and showing confidence, and again when I was heartbroken and raw about losing to Sweden at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

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» Fifa’s dirty laundry does not cause such a stench in murky times of today | Marina Hyde
In a world of pee tapes, poisonings and cybersecurity attacks, news such as Michel Platini’s detention does not feel quite the full-spectrum scandal it once would have been

I’m so glad that sporticidal Fifa president, Gianni Infantino, got to enjoy his second-term victory speech two weeks ago entirely free of spoilers. “Nobody talks about crisis at Fifa any more or rebuilding it from scratch,” he announced from the stage. “Nobody talks about scandals or corruption – we talk about football. We can say that we’ve turned the situation around. This organisation has gone from being toxic, almost criminal, to being what it should be – an organisation that develops football and is now synonymous with transparency, integrity.”

Mmm. Following the detention of the former Uefa boss Michel Platini on Tuesday, this now joins the ever-lengthening list of things Infantino is wrong about. Or does it? Platini is in some way the most disheartening of all the Fifa round-ups. We had so long come to expect certain behaviours of professional leeches such as Jack Warner, whose only true talent brought joy to no one but their bank managers. That the corruption machine could be even alleged to have devoured perhaps France’s greatest player is a much more tragic state of affairs. Platini has been released without charge and denies all accusations. As he put it: “I feel totally foreign to any of these matters.”

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» ‘We never got that money’: the inside story of Bury’s road to financial ruin

We show how loans, a car park and a collapsed business helped drive Bury to the brink as a winding-up petition is adjourned

Bury’s historic 6-0 win in the 1903 FA Cup final was remembered last month when Manchester City eviscerated Watford by the same score, a jolting reminder of the gulf between these neighbouring clubs now, and what they represent about English football and modern Britain. While City have become a vehicle for Abu Dhabi oil wealth to harness the Premier League’s global power, Bury are in financial ruins, at the centre of a collapsed business which built student flats with fringe and fragile borrowings.

A winding-up petition against the club led by HMRC for unpaid tax was adjourned for a further six weeks on Wednesday, to allow time for a settlement of its debts or a sale. The owner, Steve Dale, who has complained since his takeover about the club’s dire finances, says he has paid the players to the end of March and half of April, intends to pay the rest of April’s wages this week, is planning some staff redundancies and is still bullishly vowing to avoid administration.

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» Manchester United should sell Paul Pogba even if they make a loss | Paul Wilson
Talk of increasing the French midfielder’s wages to ensure he stays at Old Trafford is silly and misses the point

Manchester United should not bother waiting for an astronomical offer for Paul Pogba, whatever Ed Woodward seems to be saying. If any reasonable bid comes in they should accept it, because the time has come to sell if a long-running story is not to end up running into next season.

We have all heard far too much already about the French player’s hopes and desires, and his club’s determination to keep hold of him rather than lose face by admitting they cannot offer the level of football he craves. Pogba has had his moments in a United shirt but he has not been the sort of stellar performer who would leave a gaping hole, so it would surely be better to accept the inevitable and get some business done rather than continue to pretend this stormy marriage is somehow going to sail into a serene and productive future.

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» ‘It’s a perfect fit’ – Steve Cooper intent to be successful the Swansea way

Former England Under-17s coach talks about the challenge of managing senior players for the first time, his football philosophy and his father being a Cardiff City fan

Steve Cooper has been coaching for a couple of decades, held the pro licence since the age of 26, worked at Liverpool as their academy manager and won the World Cup with England Under-17s, yet the Welshman knew there was something missing from his CV when he applied for the Swansea job and met Trevor Birch, the chairman. For all his achievements Cooper has next to no experience of working with senior players.

Related: Swansea fill managerial vacancy with England Under-17 coach Steve Cooper

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» Maurizio Sarri: coaching Ronaldo will be a 'step up' from Chelsea – video

Maurizio Sarri says his move to Juventus from Chelsea is a ‘step up’ as he will have the opportunity to coach players such as Cristiano Ronaldo. Speaking at his unveiling, the Italian said it was his aim to help the forward ‘break some new records’. Acknowledging the scepticism among some fans at his affiliation with rivals Napoli, he said: ‘To win is to convince them’

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» 'We've learned a lot from him': Luis Rubiales after Luis Enrique steps down as Spain coach - video

Spain coach Luis Enrique stood down on Wednesday for 'personal reasons' after 11 months in charge. The former Barcelona coach will be replaced by his assistant Robert Moreno, who has been in temporary charge since March when Enrique was granted absent to deal with a family matter.

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» 'I'm hurt': Platini says questioning over Qatar World Cup was painful – video

Former Uefa president Michel Platini said he was hurt by questioning from French authorities after he was detained over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Platini, who has never denied voting for the Gulf state in December 2010, was questioned by anti-corruption officers in a Paris suburb on Tuesday. He has always rejected claims of wrong doing and was released in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The executive committee of Fifa awarded Qatar the hosting rights over bids from Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States, but more than half of that 22-person panel have now been accused of receiving bribes. 

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» 'We don't need smaller goals,' says USA's Crystal Dunn at Women's World Cup – video

USA left-back Crystal Dunn has spoken out against her former manager, Chelsea's Emma Hayes, saying the women's game does not need smaller pitches and goals to make it more appealing.

The USA put 13 goals past the Thai goalkeeper Sukanya Chor Charoenying in their opening Group F game – the biggest victory in a Fifa Women's World Cup match

The result has sparked debate about whether the height of goals in women's football should be reduced to make the game fairer, something Hayes said last week that she favoured. But Dunn disagrees, arguing that the only way for the women's game to improve is by playing under the same conditions as men.

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» Maurizio Sarri: a look back at the Italian's highs and lows at Chelsea – video

Maurizio Sarri has joined Juventus on a three-year contract after securing his release from Chelsea. The 60-year-old had a turbulent tenure as manager, winning the Europa League in a comfortable 4-1 victory over Arsenal and suffering the Blues' worst ever Premier League defeat, at the hands of Manchester City. Chelsea are eyeing up club legend Frank Lampard as his replacement

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» 'It could be a good time for a new challenge': Pogba hints at move from Manchester United – video

The Manchester United midfielder and former world record signing Paul Pogba says the time may have come for a move away from the Premier League club. The Frenchman told reporters in Tokyo that now 'could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else'.

The 26-year-old, who moved to Old Trafford from Juventus for a then-world record transfer fee of £89.3m in 2016, has been linked with a possible move to Real Madrid to work with Zinedine Zidane, or with a return to his former club Juventus.

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» How Real Madrid snatched Takefusa Kubo from under the noses of Barcelona
The Japanese prodigy is one of a new generation of players who have been scooped up by Real Madrid

Takefusa Kubo joined Barcelona when he was 10, spent four years at the club and was singled out as a future star but that future now belongs to their greatest rivals after Real Madrid announced the signing of the Japan international.

Just 18, Kubo was forced to leave Barça in 2015 after the club was investigated for breaking Fifa regulations on signing young players, returning to Japan and joining FC Tokyo’s youth system. Barcelona had hoped to bring the attacking midfielder back when he came of age but instead it is Madrid who have agreed a €2m deal with Tokyo and handed Kubo a six-year contract believed to be worth €1m a season. He will initially join the club’s B team, Castilla, but the plan is he will be incorporated into the first team in his second season.

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» Ahmed ‘Kouka’ Hassan: ‘Salah is a brother. He is a role model for me and all Egyptians’

After missing out on last year’s World Cup the Egypt striker Ahmed ‘Kouka’ Hassan is looking forward to lining up alongside Mohamed Salah on home turf in the Africa Cup of Nations

Ahmed Hassan has made a career out of bouncing back from disappointment and this summer he hopes to use those negative experiences to inspire Egypt – the hosts and favourites – to Africa Cup of Nations glory.

The Braga striker, affectionately known as Kouka due to a childhood love of Coca-Cola, was in a very different position last summer when he was surprisingly cut from Egypt’s World Cup squad by then manager, Héctor Cúper, despite being part of the group throughout qualification and his close friend Mohamed Salah struggling with the shoulder injury the Liverpool man had sustained in the Champions League final.

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» Portugal win Nations League as Gonçalo Guedes does for the Netherlands

At the final whistle the celebrations from Cristiano Ronaldo were joyous but relatively restrained compared to the other occasions when he has added a trophy to his collection. He hugged his teammates. He even embraced the referee. Two arms raised to the skies, but nothing too elaborate. Ronaldo did not even mark the occasion by peeling off his top to remind us of the contours of his six-pack. Which was highly unlike him but a reflection, perhaps, that the Nations League is not quite up there with some of his other achievements.

At the same time, Ronaldo and his team could still reflect on another highly satisfying achievement to win the inaugural competition following Portugal’s success at Euro 2016. They still had a lot of fun celebrating the latest triumph. Ronaldo was the man to lift the new trophy, sealed with a kiss. Gonçalo Guedes, a 22-year-old Valencia attacker, scored the decisive goal and, yet again, it was difficult not to marvel at the country’s ability to produce gifted footballers.

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» Toothless USA booed as they lose for second time in five days
  • Venezuela score three in first-half against sloppy defenders
  • USMNT have now failed to score for 266 minutes

Sloppy defense and careless goalkeeping sent the United States to another disconcerting defeat on Sunday, as they lost 3-0 to Venezuela in the Americans’ final warm-up before this month’s Gold Cup.

Venezuela were 3-0 up after only 36 minutes, the first time the US had trailed by three goals in the first-half since June 2011 – although that time at least they had the excuse of playing the world champions, Spain. Salomon Rondon scored two of the Venezuela’s goals, to become his country’s all-time leading scorer, and La Vinotinto beat the Americans for the first time after three defeats and two draws.

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» Euro 2020 roundup: Turkey shock France, Northern Ireland comeback win
  • Artem Dzyuba scores four goals in record Russia win
  • Germany, Belgium and Italy all cruise to victory

World champions France slumped to a shock 2-0 defeat in Turkey as their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign suffered a blow.

Didier Deschamps was scathing about his side’s performance. “When you play like that on a collective level there’s nothing positive to take from the game,” France coach told broadcaster TF1. “We didn’t play the way we should have against a team which played the way it likes to.”

After full-back Benjamin Pavard gave away a free-kick on the left in the 30th minute, Cengiz Ünder whipped the ball to the far post where it was headed back across goal for defender Kaan Ayhan to nod powerfully past Hugo Lloris. Ünder put Turkey further ahead 10 minutes later with a fine finish after Samuel Umtiti and Paul Pogba each lost the ball clumsily in quick succession.

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» USA eliminated by Ecuador in Under-20 World Cup quarter-finals
  • USA ousted from U-20 World Cup with 2-1 loss to Ecuador
  • Jhon Espinoza scores winner for Ecuador in 43rd minute

The United States were knocked out of the Under-20 World Cup in the quarter-finals for the third straight tournament, losing to Ecuador 2-1 Saturday at Gdynia, Poland.

Jhon Espinoza scored the tie-breaking goal in the 43rd minute for Ecuador, which next plays South Korea or Senegal on Tuesday. Italy meets Ukraine in the other semifinal.

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» It’s the Bandinis 2019! The complete review of Serie A's 2018-19 season

Ronaldo could not elevate the league’s standing in a season that mirrored recent ones, including ugly events off the pitch

Not even an alien invasion could change the narrative for Italian football. Cristiano Ronaldo was hailed as an extra-terrestrial when he touched down in Turin, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner arriving in a country where no player had got close to the award since Kaká claimed it in 2007. The Portuguese forward was supposed to carry Juventus to European glory. Instead, they won an eighth consecutive Serie A title, and nothing more.

Ronaldo, for the most part, delivered. He did not hit those otherworldly heights of his best years in Madrid, but 28 goals and 10 assists are hardly a pittance. His hat-trick bailed the Bianconeri out after a catastrophic first leg against Atlético Madrid in the Champions League last-16, and he struck in both legs of the quarter-final defeat by Ajax.

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» The Englishman looking to make football bigger than cricket in Bangladesh | Ben Fisher

Jamie Day, a former Arsenal trainee, goes into World Cup qualifiers aiming high as manager of Bangladesh

South Korea, Indonesia, Cambodia and then Thailand, for a training camp. The past 12 months read like a backpacker’s paradise but, for Jamie Day, those Asian countries equate to business, pit stops on his journey as the head coach of a cricket-mad nation: Bangladesh.

For the majority of the last year Day has been in Dhaka, one of the world’s densest cities, preparing his side for the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign, which begins on Thursday against Laos – who are 184th in the Fifa rankings, four places above Bangladesh.

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» Valladolid v Valencia on final day of La Liga ‘was fixed’, says judge
• El Mundo says up to seven Valladolid players were involved
• No suggestion that Valencia players were aware

The final-day victory against Valladolid that secured Valencia’s place in the Champions League was prearranged by a criminal gang and up to seven players from the losing side, according to allegations from the judge investigating match fixing in Spain.

Wire taps carried out by police over the past six months, following suspicions raised by a second division game between Huesca and Gimnastic de Tarragona at the end of the 2017-18 season, have now allegedly caught the former footballer Carlos Aranda, suspected of being the leader of the conspiracy, outlining the result required and claiming that seven players had been bought.

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» David Squires on … the Women's World Cup and arms in unnatural positions

Our cartoonist on handball shenanigans, scary celebrations and the Nations League

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» Eden Hazard to Real Madrid: a transfer almost 10 years in the making | Sid Lowe

Zinedine Zidane identified the Belgian in 2010. Finally he has his man and Hazard will start despite hefty competition

“I would take Eden Hazard with my eyes closed.” Zinedine Zidane’s words are not from this week or last. They are not from last year, the year before or even the year before that. Real Madrid’s manager said that in April 2010, almost a decade ago, when the Frenchman was just about to return to the Bernabéu as presidential adviser and Hazard was 19 and playing for Lille. He was also, Zidane said, “the star of the future”. Now, aged 28, he is Madrid’s present, not just their latest galáctico but their first for five years. He has been a long time coming.

This is the chronicle of a signing foretold, one in which both sides have been open about their mutual attraction. There is an honesty about the way Hazard has spoken and a certain loyalty too – not just to Madrid or to Zidane but to Chelsea. He made no secret of his wish to go and, although his public pronouncements may not always have pleased, they were invariably framed with respect, a promise to do things the right way and a willingness to stay. He did not rebel, as Madrid would have liked, and that is partly why it has taken so long. Instead he embraced his commitment to Chelsea, insisting they would decide. And then he waited.

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» England trips are being co-opted by the right but football has resisted before | Barney Ronay

Tommy Robinson made an appearance in Guimarães on Thursday night and there are reports of England fans chanting his name in bars but together we can fight this influence

Back in the mid-1980s, when English football was a wild, rust-caked, occasionally frightening place, a group of Leeds United supporters noticed that the National Front had gained a small but significant foothold around Elland Road.

Football was seen as a fertile seeding ground for far-right politics. On matchdays the NF had begun to sell its magazine, Bulldog, outside the ground. They became a visible presence, gained a little traction, took a share of the day.

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» Premier League 2018-19 review: our predictions versus reality

We thought Manchester City would pip Liverpool to the title, but we also said Watford would go down

What we said: “Pep Guardiola’s talented side look well placed to become the first team to retain the Premier League title since Manchester United did it in 2009.”

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» Premier League 2018-19 season review: our writers’ best and worst

The best players, greatest games and standout signings – plus those that didn’t work out, and what needs to change

Ed Aarons: Virgil van Dijk. Raheem Sterling runs him close but in terms of impact and influence, the big Dutchman has been peerless.

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» Unforgettable photos: the best of the 2018-19 Premier League season

Photo editor Jonny Weeks reviews a tumultuous football season through some of its best, weirdest and most defining images

On an average weekend, The Guardian receives around 12,000 photographs from Premier League matches via its staff, agency and contributor photographers. That’s almost half a million images per season. Some capture extraordinary joy and despair; some bear witness to defining moments in the title race; some owe greatly to the creativity of the men and women behind the lenses; and some, like this first one from August, feature the rare but always amusing sight of a referee nearly getting thwacked by a ball.

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» Premier League 2018-19 review: the big quiz of the season

Who can’t wait to get out? Who sees trains? And who lost 6-0?

Which team suffered the heaviest defeat of the season?

Cardiff City




Which team lost 10 London derbies?

West Ham


Crystal Palace


Three players shared the golden boot with 22 goals each. Which continent are they from?


South America



Which team won the majority of their points from away matches?

Tottenham Hotspur

Crystal Palace

Huddersfield Town


Who scored 37.1% of his team’s goals – the highest percentage in the league?

Glenn Murray

Aleksandar Mitrovic

Jamie Vardy

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

What is the missing word in this quote: "It is like a **** that, every day in 10 years, sees the train cross in front at the same time. If you ask the **** what time is the train going to come, it is not going to know the right answer. In football, it is the same. Experience, yes, but hunger, motivation, circumstance, everything is so important."





Four clubs had stints at the top of the league. Liverpool were top for 141 days; Manchester City were top for 125 days; and Chelsea were top for nine days. Which club was top for one day?

Manchester United

Leicester City

West Ham


A 38-year-old set up a goal for a 35-year-old in October. Which team were they playing for?

West Ham


Newcastle United


Who said: “We are going to make much more points in the second part of the season than we did in the first part”?

Mark Hughes

Claudio Ranieri

David Wagner

José Mourinho

What was the state of play in the title race at the start of 2019?

Liverpool and Manchester City were level on points and goal difference

Liverpool were two points clear

Liverpool were four points clear

Liverpool were seven points clear

Two managers started their reigns by going unbeaten for 12 league games. Ole Gunnar Solskjær and …

Unai Emery

Maurizio Sarri

Brendan Rodgers

Ralph Hasenhüttl

Which club started the season with three defeats and finished it with three victories?




West Ham

There are currently five English managers in the league. How many of them finished in the top half?





Who was talking about what when he said: “I can't wait to get out of it, if I'm honest. I think we'll be far better out of the bloody thing”?

Sean Dyche on the Europa League

Mauricio Pochettino on the League Cup

Jürgen Klopp on the FA Cup

Neil Warnock on the European Union

What did Harvey Elliott do this season?

He became the youngest referee in Premier League history

He made two appearances and picked up two red cards

He became the youngest player in Premier League history

He scored five goals without starting a game

Southampton, Manchester United, Huddersfield and Leicester did it once. Who did it twice?





Who was the top scoring Englishman in the league this season?

Harry Kane

Callum Wilson

Jamie Vardy

Raheem Sterling

Who has joined a group of players that contains Henning Berg, Ashley Cole, Gaël Clichy, Robert Huth, Nicolas Anelka, Kolo Touré, Carlos Tevez and N'Golo Kanté?

Raheem Sterling

Riyad Mahrez


Virgil van Dijk

Huddersfield only won three games all season. Which team did they beat twice?


Tottenham Hotspur



1 and above.

You are the Fulham of football quizzes

2 and above.

You've been relegated

5 and above.

You've avoided relegation – but only just

3 and above.

You've been relegated

4 and above.

You've avoided relegation – but only just

6 and above.

You've avoided relegation – but only just

7 and above.

A solid, midtable finish

8 and above.

A solid, midtable finish

9 and above.

A solid, midtable finish

10 and above.

You've earned a place in the Europa League

11 and above.

You've earned a place in the Europa League

12 and above.

You've earned a place in the Champions League

13 and above.

You've earned a place in the Champions League

14 and above.

That's a top-four finish

15 and above.

That's a top-four finish

16 and above.

You've been pipped to the title – just like Liverpool

17 and above.

You've been pipped to the title – just like Liverpool

18 and above.

You've been pipped to the title – just like Liverpool

0 and above.

You are the Huddersfield of football quizzes

19 and above.

You are the Manchester City of football quizzes!

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» Premier League 2018-19 review: what we learned tactically from the season | Jonathan Wilson
For the elite clubs press-and-possess remains the dominant mode and the league’s less wealthy simply cannot compete

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, football was a game in which two teams battled for the ball and, when they had it, tried to score a goal. Teams had different ways of doing that. They used strength and they used pace and they used skill. They tried different shapes. They tried to win the ball back in different parts of the pitch. The ball could be capricious and hard to tame, but pretty much everybody agreed that it was safer not to let your opponents have too much of it.

Related: Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City can be judged with England’s very best | Richard Williams

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» The Fiver | Paul Scholes and that breach of football betting regulations

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Reading the story detailing how Paul Scholes was hauled before the Football Association beaks to answer questions about his fondness for an occasional punt on football, one sentence leapt out at The Fiver. “The FA became aware of Scholes’s behaviour after being informed of his betting history by the bookmaker Paddy Power at the turn of this year,” it read. Paddy Power, eh? How heartwarming to learn that, for all their zany, b@nterific attention-seeking and in-no-way-tasteless dedication to jolly japes, this behemoth of the bookmaking industry was quick to flag up what they recognised as a potential breach of football betting regulations to the FA, as they are duty-bound to do.

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» Which footballers have had unlikely guests at their weddings? | The Knowledge

Plus: captains born close to the scene of trophy-lifting success, more Davids v Goliaths and the lowest-ranked international Premier League players. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU

“After Mesut Özil’s government-endorsed nuptials, have any other players had an equally unlikely or high-level wedding guest?” asks Tony Crawford.

We should point out that Turkey’s president clearly loves a footballer’s wedding. Perhaps it’s the tasty canapés on offer or, more likely, the effect such appearances can have on his popularity. Just over a year before he was best man for Mesut Özil, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan played the same role on Arda Turan’s big day. Erdoğan was also present at Hakan Şükür’s wedding in 1995. But on this occasion, as the mayor of Istanbul, he actually conducted the ceremony. Curiously, the best man was Fethullah Gülen, the leader of the Gülen movement, now a vocal critic and enemy of Erdoğan who is exiled in the United States.

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» Football quiz: the many managers of Chelsea Football Club

Who won the World Cup? Who played a final? Who liked eggs?

How many Italians have managed Chelsea since they last had a (permanent) English manager?





Chelsea have played in the top flight since 1989. Which manager earned them promotion that year, winning the Division Two title with a huge total of 99 points?

Glenn Hoddle

Bobby Campbell

Pat Nevin

John Neal

What does Chelsea's first manager, John Tait Robertson, have in common with Glenn Hoddle, Ruud Gullit and Gianluca Vialli?

All four won the FA Cup in their first season in charge

All four captained their national teams in a World Cup final

All four won the European Cup (but not with Chelsea)

All four were player-managers at Chelsea

Luiz Felipe Scolari won the World Cup as a manager. Which former Chelsea manager won the World Cup as a player?

Carlo Ancelotti

Roberto Di Matteo

Antonio Conte

Geoff Hurst

Chelsea were the first club in the history of the Football League to put out a team without a British player. Which manager selected that team?

Ruud Gullit

Gianluca Vialli

Avram Grant

José Mourinho

Arsenal have changed managers twice since Bruce Rioch left in the summer of 1996. How many appointments have Chelsea made in that time (not including caretakers who only led the team for a few games)?





Who was the Chelsea manager when Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003?

José Mourinho

Gianluca Vialli

Claudio Ranieri

Ray Wilkins

Which Chelsea manager gave this speech a few days before he was sacked: “Omelettes, eggs. No eggs, no omelette. And it depends on the quality of the eggs. In the supermarket, you have eggs class one, class two, class three. Some are more expensive than others and some give you better omelettes. So when the class one eggs are in Waitrose and you cannot go, there you have a problem”?

Antonio Conte

José Mourinho

Claudio Ranieri

Avram Grant

Which Chelsea manager won two thirds of his games, never lost a league match at home, only lost six times and was sacked straight after he took the club to a European final?

Maurizio Sarri

Carlo Ancelotti

Avram Grant

Antonio Conte

Rafa Benítez won the Europa League as Chelsea manager in 2013. Who did they beat in the final?


Atlético Madrid



Gianluca Vialli won the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1998 with Chelsea. What was special about that triumph?

He became the first Chelsea manager to win a European trophy

He scored the winning goal in the final

He became the youngest manager to win a Uefa competition

He was the last manager to win the Cup Winners’ Cup before it was abolished

1 and above.

Oh dear. More of a Fulham fan?

2 and above.

Oh dear. More of a Fulham fan?

3 and above.

Oh dear. More of a Fulham fan?

4 and above.

Oh dear. More of a Fulham fan?

5 and above.

That's a decent score but Abramovich would still sack you

6 and above.

That's a good score but Abramovich would still sack you

7 and above.

That's a good score but Abramovich would still sack you

8 and above.

That's a very good score but Abramovich would still sack you

9 and above.

That's a great score. Abramovich might even give you another season

10 and above.

That's a great score. Abramovich might even give you another season

0 and above.

Oh dear. More of a Fulham fan?

11 and above.

Perfection! Abramovich might even give you another season

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» Football transfer rumours: Real Madrid to bid for Christian Eriksen?

Today’s fluff better take my direction

If Real Madrid really wanted to buy Paul Pogba, they would be selling a few players and saving up a bit of cash so they could perhaps meet Manchester United’s £150m asking price, or get near enough to it. Instead they have been putting together a package for Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen, with the Sun reporting that they are prepared to hand over £45m in cold, hard cash plus the 22-year-old Spanish Under-21 midfielder Dani Ceballos. Spurs apparently want £100m, but with the player entering the final year of his contract and not minded to renew it they may decide to take what they can get at this stage, rather than nothing at all 12 months hence.

Related: Who should Manchester United sign if Paul Pogba leaves?

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» David Squires on … the Women's World Cup, goals and good old VAR

Our cartoonist looks at the second week of France 2019, thrashings, goal sizes and that instant replay magic

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» What is football's biggest David v Goliath victory? | The Knowledge

Plus: golden oldie top scorers, Zs in names and a Derby County curiosity. Mail us or tweet @TheKnowledge_GU

“Curaçao beat India 3-1 in the King’s Cup last week,” notes Bas van Eldonk. “Curaçao has a population of 162,000 v India’s 1.367 billion, which means there is one person in Curaçao for every 8,438 in India. Let’s call this ratio (1:8438) the David/Goliath number. Has there even been a victory in men’s international football with a higher D/G number?”

In Fifa rankings terms, Curaçao’s victory over India wasn’t a shock at all: it was the 82nd best team in the world beating the 101st. But in population terms, it was seismic stuff. India is the second most populous country in the world, Curaçao the 192nd.

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» India v Pakistan, Boris Johnson's street rugby and US Open memories

This week’s roundup also features a goalkeeper’s calamitous loss of focus, USA goal gluts and office chair racing

1) There’s no doubt what the most watched Cricket World Cup match will be this weekend (if the rain holds off): India v Pakistan excites passions like few other sporting contests, and it will offer Virat Kohli’s side a chance to atone for their Champions Trophy final defeat in 2017. India have fonder memories of meeting Pakistan in recent World Cups, however, beating them four years ago in the group stage and in the 2011 semi-final. And then there was this Sachin Tendulkar masterclass in 2003.

2) Great own goals dept: over in the MLS, the San José goalkeeper Daniel Vega pays the price for a lack of concentration against Dallas.

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» Karel Poborsky: ‘They put me into a coma. All my face muscles were paralysed’
The former Manchester United winger talks about a visit from Ferguson, his relationship with Beckham and the brain infection that could have killed him

“If I arrived at the hospital one day later than I did, this interview would not happen. I arrived at the hospital too late to find out the root of the infection; they put me straight into a coma. After I woke up, they asked me what my name was and the seven times table. All of my face muscles were paralysed – it was an infection of the brain. I spent three weeks quarantined in hospital on powerful antibiotics, directly to the veins. I couldn’t eat, I had to keep my eyes covered because I was so sensitive to light. I was very scared.”

Karel Poborsky still does not know how he got ill in the summer of 2016 – one theory is that a tick living in his beard bit him – but the important thing is that he is now healthy and well. Sitting in the reception of a plush London hotel alongside his long-term partner, Andrea Tomsu, his eyes dance brightly behind a pair of horn-rimmed glasses and he talks animatedly about his life and career.

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» Pochettino hands Spurs shopping list to Levy and counts on him to deliver | David Hytner
Tottenham manager desperate to refresh squad amid falling points totals and work out how to improve results on bad days

Mauricio Pochettino is back in Barcelona – the city he calls home – and he is waiting. The Tottenham manager is waiting to see whether the chairman, Daniel Levy, and the club’s recruitment staff can deliver on any of his transfer targets, who include Tanguy Ndombélé, Donny van de Beek, Nicolò Zaniolo and Ryan Sessesgnon.

Pochettino has made it plain he wants to refresh at Spurs and a part of that means introducing new players for the first time since January 2018. There has even been the subtext that he would consider his position if Levy were to disappoint him.

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» 'We're small but mighty': Bermuda's plan to emulate Iceland's World Cup run

The island has a population of a little over 65,000 but with an expanded World Cup in 2026, qualification for the tournament is not out of the question

Kyle Lightbourne has been involved with Bermudan soccer for 30 years. Lightbourne’s playing career began on the island in the late 80s and ended there in 2009 – in between he had a solid career in England – and he has been managing ever since. Bermuda’s debut in this month’s Concacaf Gold Cup would be the culmination of his life’s work, except his ambitions go further.

“I always believed that anything that is given to us is easy but the things that you work for are harder and you appreciate them more,” Lightbourne tells the Guardian. “That’s the way I’ve lived my life, I’ve had to work to get whatever I’ve achieved and that’s what I want the team to work for and believe that we belong at this level.”

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» Me, my dad and Spurs: what happened next (spoiler alert – not good) | Max Rushden

I flew back from Madrid to watch the Champions League final on TV, but other travel plans went awry. See you next season

I recently wrote an article explaining how I’d given up my Champions League final ticket to watch the game with my dad. He gave me a love of Spurs that meant it was the right thing to do. It was well received. Real journalists slid into my DMs to praise me. Ex- pros texted me (well, one ex-pro texted me). What an altruistic gesture. What a moving piece. You should write more they all said. I was a hero.

A cynic might argue that writing an article about liking both your own father and football was likely to resonate with an audience of people – many of whom also have, or had, fathers and also like football.

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» Justin Edinburgh will be missed for his spirit as much as his success

The 49-year-old led Leyton Orient to title-winning glory in part by restoring a sense of pride at the club. His death is a personal and collective tragedy

Fans and players at Leyton Orient and beyond are in mourning following the sudden death of their manager, Justin Edinburgh, aged 49. Edinburgh died on Saturday following a cardiac arrest only six weeks after leading the east London club to the National League title.

First and foremost it’s a personal tragedy for Edinburgh’s family and friends, but it also snuffs out a managerial career of huge potential. When the former Tottenham defender arrived at Orient in November 2017 the team were on the floor. Six months earlier, the club were relegated from the Football League and becoming regulars in the high court, facing winding-up orders and fighting for their very survival under the belligerently negligent ownership of Francesco Becchetti. Salvation off the field had come that summer in the form of lifelong fan Nigel Travis and Texan investor Kent Teague but the football side of things needed considerable turning around.

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» Lionel Messi penalty salvages Copa América point for Argentina
  • Spot kick cancels out Richard Sánchez opener
  • Colombia qualify for quarter-finals with win over Qatar

Lionel Messi scored from the penalty spot to salvage a 1-1 draw for Argentina against Paraguay in the Copa América as his side rode their luck to cling on to hope of reaching the quarter-finals.

Richard Sánchez put Paraguay ahead in the 37th minute after a lung-bursting run from Miguel Almirón before Messi levelled in the 57th minute after a handball by Paraguay’s Iván Piris which no-one appealed for but was spotted by a VAR review.

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» Plenty of room for improvement as Matildas turn attention to Norway | Richard Parkin

Nothing but a complete performance – in defence, midfield and attack – will be enough in the World Cup knockout stage

In terms of the spectacle, you could not have asked for more from Australia’s 4-1 win over Jamaica. A pulsating end-to-end clash, enlivened by spells of break-neck attacking intent, slick interplay in midfield, and committed recovery in defence. For opposition video analysts however, the Matildas showed plenty to cause consternation, but offered equally as much to raise hopes.

Ahead of the Brazil clash Ante Milicic was at pains to point out the need for his side to control tempo against an opponent that could be dangerous on the counter-attack. Despite identifying this, the match went end-to-end. Against Jamaica, a team blessed with remarkable individuals irrespective of the lack of preparation that dogged the collective, Australia again failed to maintain sustained possession, dictate the tempo, and exert calm game management for large portions of the match.

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