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29 Cdo Regt Ra »
The Royal Citadel, Plymouth, Devon
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Afc Bodmin »
Lostwithiel Road, Bodmin, Cornwall
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Afc Plympton Girls »
Plymouth
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Afc Sidford »
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Anchor Chiefs »
Park Lane, Bideford, Bideford
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Argyle Legends »
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Ashbeck Fc »
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Astro-Noughts »
Dunheved Road, Launceston, Launceston
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Average Joes »
Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall
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Axmouth United »
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Barley Wanderers »
St Thomas, Exeter, Devon
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Barnstaple »
Fremington, Devon
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Barnstaple Town »
Mill Road, Barnstaple, Barnstaple
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Beacon Knights »
Bettysmead, Exeter, Devon
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Besley And Copp »
Summer Lane, Exeter, Devon
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Boca Seniors »
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Bodmin Saints »
Lostwithiel Road, Bodmin, Cornwall
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Boscastle Veterans »
Green Lane, Boscastle, Boscastle
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Boyzone »
Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall
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Braunton »
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Carlyon Arms »
Eastcliffe Road, Par, Cornwall
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Carpeteers »
Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall
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Chard United »
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Charlestown Saints »
Nanphysick, Nr Sticker, Cornwall
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City Boys »
Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall
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City Police »
Plymouth, Devon
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Cm Punks »
Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall
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Colaton Raleigh »
Back Lane, Newton Poppleford, Devon
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Dawlish United »
Elm Grove Road, Dawlish, Devon
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Deeside »
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Devon & Somerset Fire And Rescue Service »
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Devonport Boys »
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Dream Team »
Dunheved Road, Launceston, Launceston
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Dynamo Buddy's »
Brimlands Playing Fields, Hillsborough Road, Ilfracombe
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Equalizers »
Taw Vale, Barnstaple, Devon
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Exe Tc »
Hatherleigh Road, Exeter, Devon
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Exeter Phoenix Fc »
Countess Wear, Exeter, Devon
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Exeter University Otc »
Exeter, Devon
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Fc Manadon »
Plymouth, Devon
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Fitters »
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Football Furions »
Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall
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Heavitree Associates »
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Heavitree Social United 3Rds »
Topsham Road, Exeter, Devon
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Hit & Hopers »
Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall
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Hm Naval Base »
Wyvern Centre, Hm Naval Base, Plymouth
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Hms Argyll »
Wyvern Centre, Hm Naval Base, Plymouth
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Hms Chatham »
Wyvern Centre, Hm Naval Base, Plymouth
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Hms Cumberland »
Wyvern Centre, Hm Naval Base, Plymouth
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Hms Echo »
Wyvern Centre, Hm Naval Base, Plymouth
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Hms Monmouth »
Wyvern Centre, Hm Naval Base, Plymouth
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Hms Northumberland »
Wyvern Centre, Hm Naval Base, Plymouth
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Hms Penzance »
Wyvern Centre, Hm Naval Base, Plymouth
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Hms Roebuck »
Wyvern Centre, Hm Naval Base, Plymouth
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Hms Somerset »
Wyvern Centre, Hm Naval Base, Plymouth
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Horrabridge Rangers Sunday »
Fillace Park, Horrabridge, Devon
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Hot Shots »
Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall
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Hurdon Crew »
Dunheved Road, Launceston, Launceston
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Ilfracombe Town »
Ilfracombe, , Devon
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Inter Yanan »
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Jolly Miller »
Efford, Plymouth, Devon
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Landmark »
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Liskeard Athletic »
St Cleer Road, Liskeard, Cornwall
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Lotrain »
Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall
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Marjon »
College Of St Mark And John, Derriford, Plymouth
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Mean Machine »
St Cleer Road, Liskeard, Cornwall
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Mike Hunts Massive »
St Cleer Road, Liskeard, Cornwall
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Millbrook »
Millbrook, Torpoint, Cornwall
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Morchard Bishop »
Morchard Bishop, , Devon
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Morley Rangers »
Church Road, Plymstock, Plymouth
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Neil Truran Motors »
Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall
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North Devon Police »
Seven Brethren Bank, Barnstaple, Devon
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One Missing »
Dunheved Road, Launceston, Launceston
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Park United »
Sandymere Road, Northam, Bideford
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Pilton Academicals »
Tavy Vale, Barnstaple, Barnstaple
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Plymouth Argyle »
Home Park, Outlands Road, Plymouth
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Plymouth Command »
Wyvern Centre, Hm Naval Base, Plymouth
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Plymouth Marjon »
Ucp Marjon, Derriford Road, Plymouth
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Plymouth Parkway »
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Plymouth Rmt Fc »
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Plymouth Ymca »
Ringmore Way, Plymouth, Devon
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Plymstock United »
Dean Cross Road, Plymstock, Plymouth
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Poltair Predators »
Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall
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Post Office Inn »
St Mary's, Plympton, Devon
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Prince Rock »
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Rail Madrid »
Exwick, Exeter, Devon
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Real Tuff »
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Rm Stonehouse »
Rmb Stonehouse, Durnford Street, Plymouth
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Robins »
Tavy Vale, Barnstaple, Barnstaple
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Sidbury United »
Byes Lane, Sidford, Devon
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South West Rovers Vifc »
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Sporting Barum »
Tavy Vale, Barnstaple, Barnstaple
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St Blazey »
Station Road, St Blazey, Cornwall
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St Blazey Friendly A »
Station Road, St Blazey, Cornwall
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St Cleer »
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St Thomas Social Club »
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Super Six »
Landrake Road, Launceston, Launceston
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Tamarside Veterans »
Ernesettle Lane, Plymouth, Devon
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Tarka Athletic »
Rock Park, Barnstaple, Devon
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Team Supreme »
Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall
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Team Taxifast »
Ernesettle Lane, Plymouth, Devon
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The Bank Street Boys Fc »
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The Galleon Inn »
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The Koogars »
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The Navy Inn »
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The Rampant Rabbits »
St Cleer Road, Liskeard, Cornwall
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Tipton St John »
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Tornadoes »
Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall
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Torrington »
School Lane, Torrington, Devon
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Treggie Trotters »
Dunheved Road, Launceston, Launceston
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Tregonissey Wmc »
Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall
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Tywardreath R B L »
Eastcliffe Road, Par, Cornwall
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University Of Plymouth Futsal Club »
Drakes Circus, Plymouth, Devon
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Wadebridge Town »
Bodieve Road, Wadebridge, Cornwall
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Whimple »
Whimple, , Devon
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Whipton & Pinhoe »
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White Cobras »
Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall
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Windsor Car Sales »
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Yealm Old Boys »
Newton Ferrers, Devon
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Football News

» Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira "no longer at ease" under Unai Emery
Lucas Torreira has started just four Premier League games under Unai Emery this term and his long-term future is far from certain
» Four Liverpool stars make Alan Shearer's team of the season so far as Man Utd miss out
Alan Shearer has selected four players from Liverpool, three from Leicester City, two from Sheffield United and one from Man City. No Man United nor Arsenal player makes the cut
» Ed Woodward addresses Man Utd's January plans and suggests there will be no transfers
Man United have had an indifferent start to the season and transfers in the January window looked likely - but Ed Woodward has suggested that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won't get any additions
» Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson injury updates ahead of Crystal Palace vs Liverpool
Liverpool stars Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson, Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson were all taken home early from international duty
» Unai Emery told of the mistakes he made when replacing Arsene Wenger at Arsenal
Unai Emery spent big in the January transfer window, with Arsenal signing Nicolas Pepe for a club record £74million, but so far there has been little improvement
» Man Utd handed huge Bruno Fernandes transfer boost and could land midfielder 'in January'
Man Utd had their sights set on Bruno Fernandes in the summer and Sporting Lisbon's financial issues may open the door in January
» Dutch prosecutors open investigation after match suspended over racist abuse
FC Den Bosch and Excelsior Rotterdam has suspended up for half an hour after striker Ahmad Mendes Moreira was called "negro and cotton-picker" in sickening scenes
» England face potential group of death with Portugal and France - despite topping qualifying group
England face potential group of death with Portugal and France - despite topping qualifying group
» England boss Gareth Southgate told he has 'missed the boat' with Jack Grealish omission
Aston Villa midfielder Grealish continues to be overlooked by England boss Southgate - and Tim Sherwood believes that is a mistake
» Richard Keogh shows off car crash knee scars as he trains after Derby sacking
Richard Keogh suffered a horrific knee injury after he was involved in a drink-driving car crash with former Derby County team-mates Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett
» Bayern Munich chiefs travel to England amid Pep Guardiola and Leroy Sane speculation
Two of Bayern Munich's hierarchy were seen in England as doubts over the futures of Pep Guardiola and Leroy Sane at Man City persist
» Roy Keane lauds Man Utd striker Marcus Rashford after latest England goal
Man Utd's Marcus Rashford found the net for England after coming off the bench and impressed Roy Keane which is no easy feat
» Pep Guardiola's agent responds to Bayern Munich return reports
Manchester City boss Guardiola has been linked with a return to Bayern but agent Josep Maria Orobitg has played down reports he could go back to the Allianz Arena
» Man Utd to take £67m hit after failing to qualify for the Champions League
Manchester United have released their latest financial figures with Old Trafford chief Ed Woodward also providing an update for supporters
» Ed Woodward outlines Man Utd's "clear vision" ahead of January transfer window
Manchester United chief Ed Woodward gave an update on their vision and direction ahead of the January transfer window as he addressed the New York Stock Exchange
» Lucky punter turns £5 into £17,000 after remarkable 18-match bet
One Ladbrokes customer made a fortune off over a £5m punt with 18 selections across the international weekend including Scotland, Wales, Spain and Italy
» Emre Can speaks out on Juventus future amid Man Utd transfer interest
Emre Can has struggled for football at Juventus but remains determined to play at the highest level with Man Utd and Bayern Munich both interested
» Wayne Rooney warned Harry Kane is a "shoo-in" to surpass his England goal record
Harry Kane is closing in on Wayne Rooney's goalscoring record after scoring against for England in their win against Kosovo
» Steve Walsh claims Everton snubbed Harry Maguire and Andy Robertson for combined £20m
Walsh was director of football at Everton when the Toffess - according to him - rejected the opportunity to sign Maguire and Robertson for a knockdown price
» Eden Hazard's work-rate criticised by former Chelsea teammate John Obi Mikel
Eden Hazard was Chelsea's leading light for much of his time at Stamford Bridge but has had his work rate criticised
» Man City 'plot January bid' to hijack Arsenal's Dayot Upamecano transfer move
Man City are eyeing a January swoop for Red Bull Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano who has been tracked by Arsenal and Tottenham
» Unwanted Arsenal flop Mohamed Elneny rejected by AC Milan as he seeks transfer
Elneny has been farmed out on loan to Besiktas by Arsenal and his prospects over a long-term future at the Emirates look bleak - but Milan are not interested
» Karim Benzema told he is not wanted by Algeria after plea over France snub
Karim Benzema was eyeing a return to international football with Algeria having been axed by France, but his hopes look to have been dashed
» Rennes boss confirms talks with Man Utd transfer target Eduardo Camavinga
Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga is on the radar of Man Utd, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Man City, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Atletico Madrid
From

Other sport news:

» Republic of Ireland v Denmark: Euro 2020 qualifying – live!

The teams are in, and here are the starting XIs:

Republic of Ireland: Randolph, Doherty, Stevens, Duffy, Egan, Whelan, Browne, McGoldrick, McClean, Hendrick, Hourihane.
Denmark: Schmeichel, Dalsgaard, Zanka, Kjær, Stryger, Schöne, Delaney, Eriksen, Poulsen, Cornelius, Braithwaite.

David McGoldrick returned to the Republic of Ireland starting line-up for Monday night’s Euro 2020 decider against Denmark.

The Sheffield United striker, who missed last month’s double-header in Georgia and Switzerland through injury, was included in one of three changes to the side which lost 2-0 in Geneva as he, Matt Doherty and Conor Hourihane replaced Aaron Connolly, the suspended Seamus Coleman and James Collins.

M’learned friend Barry Glendenning, in his preview of this game, described the recent spate of Ireland-Denmark encounters as “a never-ending series of mind-numbingly tedious football matches”. So that’s encouraging, yes?

This will be the teams’ sixth meeting in the last two years plus a week, with the previous five ending, in order of excitement, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 1-1 and 1-5, with one rogue Christian Eriksen-inspired Denmark thumping in Dublin interrupting an otherwise humdrum sequence.

Related: Republic of Ireland v Denmark and an unlikely circle of footballing hell

Continue reading...
» ‘There is an anger’: where did it all go wrong for Scotland? | Ewan Murray
It’s 21 years and counting since Scotland last qualified for a major tournament – if they don’t reach Euro 2020 it would be the most severe blow yet

The latest depressing snapshot – for the greater good see alien concept – preceded the conclusion to a Scotland Euro 2020 section that will be met equally with sighs of relief and shrugs. The Scottish Professional Football League is resisting a call to postpone matches immediately before Steve Clarke guides his team into the March play-offs. Twenty-one years have passed since Scotland played in a finals; with attitudes like this, no wonder.

Kazakhstan’s visit to Hampden Park on Tuesday may just draw more than the official (and questionable) attendance of 20,699 who watched the recent dismissal of San Marino. This campaign frittered out long ago but has the curious subplot of Scotland being two wins away from clawing their way back towards relevance courtesy of the Nations League.

Continue reading...
» No sweat for England, Ronaldo's 99th and the WSL weekend – Football Weekly

Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning, Jonathan Wilson and John Brewin discuss England winning at a canter, Wales’s Hungarian shootout, Ireland’s Groundhog Day, debutants scoring goals and keepers hitting light fittings

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and email.

We take a look back at the weekend’s football, starting with England’s two Euro 2020 qualifying wins over Montenegro and Kosovo.

Continue reading...
» Gareth Southgate has made England likable again but slackness remains | Richard Williams
The manager has brought decency and modesty back but even a 4-0 win in Kosovo showed defensive quality is still lacking

To these eyes, at least, it was not in a stadium that the saga of the England football team in the modern era reached its lowest point. It was not Kevin Keegan resigning in the Wembley washroom in 2000, or Steve McClaren watching helplessly from beneath an umbrella as Croatia denied his team a place in the Euro 2008 finals, or the stumbling capitulation to Iceland in Nice three years ago under Roy Hodgson. It came one afternoon in the middle of Fabio Capello’s four-year reign, in the very different surroundings of a Knightsbridge shopping street.

At the behest of the Football Association’s PR department, the notoriously aloof Capello had invited a large group of senior sports writers from national newspapers to lunch. This was a rare event, with the additional lure of the location: San Lorenzo, the famous Italian restaurant favoured by Princess Diana, Jack Nicholson, Joan Collins and other celebs whose presence ensured the entrance was habitually patrolled by paparazzi.

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

Broken records, Arsenal’s missing link from Austria and what Phil Neville could learn from Manchester United

The Women’s Football Weekend proved a brilliant milestone for the game, a week on from that record-breaking crowd at Wembley for the Lionesses. A combined attendance of more than 74,000 fans at six venues across the country, four of which were played at men’s stadiums, was a superb turnout, with more than 23,000 at Anfield and a record Women’s Super League crowd at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where 38,262 supporters watched the north London derby. Last weekend at Wembley was an emotional occasion, with around 70 former Lionesses – many of whom had never been to the national stadium – invited along. Participation figures in the women’s game have risen to 2.3 million this year, in line with the 50% growth the Football Association targeted by 2020 three years ago.

Continue reading...
» The Fiver | The 10th anniversary of that famous night in Paris

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Hell hath no fury like a knobbly stick-waving, Riverdancing Irish relative whose national team has been cheated out of a place at a major football tournament and Monday marks the 10th anniversary of the famous night in Paris that sent The Fiver’s cousin, Theme Pub O’Fiver, over the abyss and into the madness. With O’Ireland level on aggregate with France in a play-off for the 2010 World Cup finals and deep into the first half of added time, the ball was crossed into their crowded penalty area, where Thierry Henry controlled it with his hand, spun it for a good 30 seconds on one finger Harlem Globetrotter-style, before sending a pinpoint wraparound pass into the path of William Gallas, who headed past Shay Given to score the winner.

Continue reading...
» Gareth Bale says Wales attack in better shape now than at Euro 2016
• Kieffer Moore, Harry Wilson and Daniel James add to options
• ‘To qualify is the main goal – you can’t qualify with one player’

Gareth Bale has said Wales’s attacking armoury is stronger than when they reached the Euro 2016 semi-finals and denied there is a burden on him to help his country to a third major tournament.

Bale played 60 minutes as Wales beat Azerbaijan 2-0 in Baku on Saturday and will start against Hungary in Cardiff on Tuesday, when victory would secure automatic passage to Euro 2020.

Continue reading...
» Grimsby Town: Michael Jolley left club after expletive-laden rant at reporters
• Club director: Jolley was due to attend disciplinary hearing
• Manager reportedly swore 58 times in four-minute tirade

Michael Jolley’s foul-mouthed tirade towards local journalists played a part in him losing his job as Grimsby Town manager, director John Fenty has said.

The League Two side announced on Friday that Jolley had left the club by mutual consent following a seven-game winless run. Fenty, the club’s majority shareholder, has revealed that Jolley’s departure followed an expletive-laden rant at BBC Humberside reporters.

Continue reading...
» Football quiz: leading international goalscorers

How much do you know about some of international football’s sharpest shooters?

Cristiano Ronaldo has moved up to second in the list of all-time goalscorers in the men's international game after scoring 99 goals for Portugal. Which player stands above him?

Ferenc Puskás (Hungary/Spain)

Ali Daei (Iran)

Kunishige Kamamoto (Japan)

Hussein Saeed (Iraq)

Who is the all-time leading women's international goalscorer with 184 goals in 256 games?

Marta (Brazil)

Christine Sinclair (Canada)

Carli Lloyd (USA)

Abby Wambach (USA)

Godfrey Chitalu is fifth on the list of all-time men's international scorers with 79 goals in 108 matches. Which nation did he represent?

Malawi

Nigeria

Zambia

South Africa

Andy Selva is San Marino's all-time leading scorer. How many goals did he plunder in 74 appearances?

12

11

8

2

Neymar has scored 61 goals for Brazil and is closing on the all-time record of 77 held by Pelé. There is one player just above him on 62 goals, though. Who is it?

Romário

Ronaldo

Zico

Bebeto

Who is the England women's team all-time leading scorer?

Hope Powell

Fara Williams

Kelly Smith

Ellen White

Ali Daei played for three German clubs in his career: Arminia Bielefeld, Hertha Berlin and which other?

Borussia Dortmund

Bayern Munich

Borussia Mönchengladbach

Hamburg

Miroslav Klose is Germany's leading scorer with 71 goals in 137 games. Second on the list is Gerd Muller, who raced to 68 goals in how many games?

68

66

64

62

Robbie Keane is the Republic of Ireland's record scorer on 68 goals and is streets ahead of the next player on the list. Who is it?

John Aldridge

Niall Quinn

Tony Cascarino

Frank Stapleton

Who is international football's highest-scoring goalkeeper with eight goals?

Rogério Ceni (Brazil)

José Luis Chilavert (Paraguay)

René Higuita (Colombia)

Jorge Campos (Mexico)

10 and above.

Move aside Ali Daei, there's a new record scorer in town

9 and above.

You're up there with Cristiano Ronaldo

8 and above.

You're red-hot in front of goal aren't you?

7 and above.

You're pretty good in front of goal aren't you?

6 and above.

Not bad. With a bit of extra shooting practice you could go far

5 and above.

It's not a dreadful score but you still might want to brush up on your finishing

4 and above.

You're never going to be a striker are you?

3 and above.

You might want to do some extra shooting practice

2 and above.

Your shooting was wildly off target. Have you considered another career?

0 and above.

Go home. You couldn't hit a cow's backside with a banjo

1 and above.

You're never going to make it in this game. Pack your bags, it's time to go home

Continue reading...
» Record crowd sees Miedema seal 2-0 Arsenal win in WSL north London derby

The joint Tottenham manager Karen Hills hopes that interest in the women’s game will continue to grow. Goals from Kim Little and Vivianne Miedema earned victory for Arsenal in the first Women’s Super League north London derby that attracted a league-record attendance of 38,262.

“The players deserve to be playing in front of these big crowds,” she said. “Hopefully it won’t just be an occasion, hopefully it will be the norm.”

Continue reading...
» Philippe Albert: ‘Keegan would buy fish and chips and the drinks for our Newcastle team’
The former Newcastle defender on Asprilla, that goal against Manchester United and working as a greengrocer after football

“When we travelled back to Newcastle from London, we often had five or six hours to kill on the coach. On the way Steve Watson used to bring videos and Viz comics. Even if we didn’t understand everything, Kevin and the whole team were always laughing. On the way back, before we got on the motorway, Kevin used to stop the coach at a petrol station, go and buy some drinks out of his own pocket and bring them back for the team: red wine, white wine, lager, water, soft drinks. Then, when we passed a certain place on the M1, he would buy us all fish and chips.”

Related: Pierre van Hooijdonk: ‘I told Ron Atkinson he was a pub manager’

Continue reading...
» Mick McCarthy backs Ireland’s steel to stop history repeating against Denmark
• Glenn Whelan praises manager for ‘keeping everything simple’
• McCarthy admits having ‘butterflies with boots on’ for key clash

Now for something completely different – but with more or less the same players and against all too familiar opposition. The Republic of Ireland have played Denmark five times in the past two years and not won once but if they beat the Danes in Dublin on Monday, then they, rather than the visitors, will qualify for Euro 2020.

It is not quite do or die for the Irish because they are assured of a place in a play-off next March in the event of a defeat. But with direct qualification within reach, they are excited about the possibility of grabbing it. The manager, Mick McCarthy, says being so close has given him “butterflies with boots on”.

Continue reading...
» Netherlands ‘back where we belong but must be humble’, says Van Dijk
Liverpool defender relieved to reach major finals after two failures but says Dutch still have room for improvement

It is heartening that the scaling of individual and domestic heights have not doused Virgil van Dijk’s appetite for a national cause. Qualification by the Netherlands for next summer’s European Championship marked another milestone for the Liverpool centre-back, who barring injury will appear in a major tournament for the first time. Dutch failure to reach Euro 2016 and the World Cup two years later provided an itch Van Dijk was anxious to scratch. These failures provided deep embarrassment.

“I’m delighted that we are back at the Euros, back where we belong I think,” said Van Dijk, who made his international debut in 2015. “We’ll not look too far ahead but we are looking forward to this. It means a lot to the people. I’ve heard we’re going to probably play all our group games in Amsterdam. It will be massive.

Continue reading...
» Man arrested after Wycombe goalkeeper alleges he was target of homophobic abuse
• Ryan Allsop reports incident during 2-0 win over Tranmere
• FA awaiting the referee’s report before deciding on action

A man has been arrested after the Wycombe Wanderers goalkeeper, Ryan Allsop, alleged homophobic abuse was aimed at him during Sunday’s League One game at Tranmere.

The Merseyside club confirmed an incident did occur during the match at Prenton Park - which Wycombe won 2-0 to move to the top of the division - and is being dealt with by police. It is understood that Allsop, 27, reported the abuse to the referee during the interval after he had kept goal at the Kop end in the first half.

Continue reading...
» Everton’s Lucy Graham strikes to sink Liverpool in first WSL game at Anfield

Everton’s encouraging start to the Women’s Super League season continued with a victory over their neighbours in a derby at Anfield – something their male counterparts have been unable to manage so far this millennium.

A single goal at the end of the first half from the captain Lucy Graham allowed the visitors to climb to fourth in the table and left a Liverpool side still looking for their first win of the season stuck at the bottom with a single point. That was actually harsh on a home side who produced many of the game’s best moments only to run up against an Everton defence in miserly mood.

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» ‘You can see the confidence’: Southgate hails England after Kosovo victory

• Manager says side are more advanced than for 2018 World Cup
• England end Euro 2020 qualifiers with record 37 goals

Gareth Southgate believes England are more advanced at this point of their Euro 2020 campaign than they were for the World Cup in 2018, when they reached the semi-final, as he relished the conviction that is running through his young team.

The manager watched them round off qualification for the finals next summer with a 4-0 win over Kosovo in Pristina, a result that was gilded by three goals in the final 11 minutes and ensured they will enter the group phase draw in Bucharest on Saturday week as one of the top six seeds.

Continue reading...
» Euro 2020 roundup: Portugal qualify after Cristiano Ronaldo’s 99th goal
• Portugal win 2-0 in Luxembourg to seal finals place
• Germany beat Belarus 4-0 to seal finals spot

The defending European champions Portugal edged past Luxembourg 2-0 away from home on Sunday to qualify for Euro 2020.

Bruno Fernandes broke the deadlock in the 39th minute and Cristiano Ronaldo added the second with four minutes remaining to ensure that Portugal finished second in Group B with 17 points, three ahead of Serbia who drew 2-2 with Ukraine.

Continue reading...
» Vincent Kompany: ‘You never learn as much as when you get your arse kicked’
The former Manchester City captain – ‘100% Congolese, 100% Belgian, 100% Manc’ – on the ‘beautiful adversity’ of his new challenge at Anderlecht, racism and Brexit

“Every chapter in my life has started with a setback and a struggle,” Vincent Kompany says, “but there has been success or glory at the end. That doesn’t come by doubting yourself. It doesn’t come by giving up in difficult circumstances. Quite the opposite. It’s learning and staying calm in adversity. There is such a beautiful side to adversity.”

Kompany’s eloquence and intelligence light up a drab Monday morning in Manchester as we begin an interview that is unlike any other I’ve done with a footballer. The former Belgium and Manchester City captain, who now works as a player-manager at his boyhood club, Anderlecht, addresses systemic racism and the bleak rise of populism. He talks about Brexit, the lessons of vulnerability in his last season at City and the spatial awareness of Pep Guardiola.

Continue reading...
» Raheem Sterling stays cool as Kosovo warmth puts his week in perspective | Nick Ames
The England attacker consigned a dramatic few days to history on a poignant night that was about more than just football

It was, in more than one sense, an evening where everyone could play happy families. England may never again be welcomed into an opponent’s bosom as they were by the people of Kosovo in Pristina. Meanwhile, there will, one hopes, be no further occasions upon which Raheem Sterling is required to reintegrate after starting a fracas with a teammate.

There was never any doubt Sterling would start here after serving his time during the evisceration of Montenegro and the biggest concern, for those fearing the effects of any unrest in a generally docile camp, was that his return would go off without any hint of simmering tension. Job done, then, as far as anybody could tell.

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» Emergence of young talent helps ease W-League into post-Sam Kerr era | Ella Reilly

The performances of Mary Fowler and Shadeen Evans in the opening round point to a bright future

After an off-season which seemingly stretched for a lifetime, the 2019-20 W-League is finally underway – to quite some relief. The first round kicked off a mere 24 hours after Australia’s best player confirmed her move to Chelsea and heralded a league desperately readjusting in the post-Sam Kerr era.

The storylines thrown up by these opening exchanges – the face-off between last season’s premiers and champions in this year’s first Big Blue; a club legend returning to her old stomping ground in new colours; the blooding in of new import players – wrenched attentions immediately back onto the league and the players still in it.

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» Preparing players for life after football should begin before the final whistle | Sid Lowe

David Villa is ready to retire but many players battle with financial and emotional problems once they have stopped playing

“I prefer to leave football before football leaves me,” David Villa said this week. Spain’s all-time top scorer once claimed he would play until he was 55 if he could. In the end he will make it to 38. For the past six seasons Villa has signed annual deals, delaying the inevitable, competitive as ever, but no more: he has announced his retirement. Over 19 years he has scored 390 goals and played 716 games; he has four left. Five, if Vissel Kobe reach the Japanese cup final. And then he will lead a new football club, founded in Queens, New York.

Villa has prepared for retirement. “There are things I couldn’t give time to before; I can now,” he said. “It’s going to be fun, that’s the most important thing.” He has things to do for sure. And that, the former player, coach and director Jorge Valdano tells the Observer, is vital. “If I gave one piece of advice to a player retiring tomorrow, I’d say: ‘When you wake up, have something to do,’” he says. “Something, anything. It doesn’t matter what. Anything that helps you feel useful. Because the worst thing is the void.”

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» When Saturday Comes in peril should bother everyone who cares about football | Barney Ronay

The only independent national football magazine to make it through the game’s boom times is now in need of a lifeboat

Who are the good guys anyway? It can be hard to tell. Compromise, commercial interests, good intentions cut with contradictions. Professional sport exists within this nexus. And nobody gets out of it clean. Or almost nobody.

Often villainy is the whole point. Take, for example, Edmundo, bad-boy Brazilian goal ace of the 1990s. In June 1996 the São Paulo Federation called Edmundo to a disciplinary tribunal after another violent sending-off. Fearing a ban, his club, Corinthians, took along a video of the incident, promising to prove Edmundo had only unintentionally punched the Santos defender Sandro in the mouth.

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» Gerard Piqué says revamped Davis Cup is ‘project of my life’

The Barcelona defender and his company Kosmos Tennis have invested in giving international sport’s oldest team event a World Cup-style overhaul. It starts in Madrid on Monday

It is a wonder Gerard Piqué can accommodate all his activities in any 24-hour day. Or answer his phone. When we finally get around to talking after a few false starts he is voluble and polite and determined to make the revamped Davis Cup in Madrid next week a success, whatever the sceptics say.

This past week Piqué trained and played with Barcelona (against Cartagena to raise money for flood relief in the Mercia region), kept an eye on the assets of his global investment company as well as prepared for the “project of my life”, the relaunch of the oldest team event in international sport.

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» Gareth Southgate: 'Whoever plays us knows they're in for a tough game' – video

England finished their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a less than convincing victory over Kosovo, despite the heavy scoreline it wasn't until the 79th minute before Southgate's side got their second of the match. Goals from Winks, Kane, Rashford and Mount were the difference at the Fadil Vokrri Stadium

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» Nuneaton Borough keeper shanks his penalty into stands and breaks a light – video

With the scores still 0-0 in the 60th minute, Nuneaton Borough called upon an unlikely player to take a penalty in their Southern Premier Central clash with Stratford Town – step forward goalkeeper Tony Breeden. 

The bold move did not pay off, with Breeden hitting the penalty high and wide into the stands – and smashing a light in the process. The miss did not prove too costly for Nuneaton, who won 2-0 thanks to a goal from defender Joel Kettle and a late penalty from Callum Powell, who wisely took over spot-kick duties.

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» Southgate and Abraham disappointed in England fans over Gomez booing – video

England manager Gareth Southgate said he was disappointed in fans for booing Joe Gomez during his side's 7-0 demolition of Montenegro. 

Gomez was involved in a bust-up with Raheem Sterling earlier in the week. Despite both players considering the matter settled before England's Euro 2020 qualifier, some supporters still booed Gomez when he came on for Mason Mount in the second half. 

Speaking after the game, Tammy Abraham said the fans' reaction was 'unacceptable'. 

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» Zlatan Ibrahimovic: memorable goals from his time at LA Galaxy – video highlights

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has thanked LA Galaxy for making him feel 'alive again' before instructing the club’s fans to 'go back to watch baseball' now he has played his last MLS game for them. The Swedish striker will end a two-year spell at the club when his contract expires in December. In a tweet the Swedish international wrote: 'I came, I saw, I conquered … You wanted Zlatan. I gave you Zlatan. You are welcome.' The striker is linked with a move back to Serie A.

'I came, I saw, I conquered': Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaves LA Galaxy

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» England's 1,000th game: a look back at some of the first 999 – video

England will become the first international team to play 1,000 matches when they play Montenegro on Thursday. Here's a look back at memorable moments among the previous 999

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» 'Maradona in Mexico': watch a trailer for the new Netflix series – video

The trailer for the new Netflix series 'Maradona in Mexico'. The docu-series follows Argentinian footballing great Diego Maradona as he heads to Culiacán, the heart of the Sinaloa Cartel, to help the local Dorados team

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» Next Generation 2019: 60 of the best young talents in world football

Eidur Gudjohnsen’s son, the new Paul Pogba and Barça’s Ansu Fati are among our 60 most talented players in the world born in 2002. Check the progress of our 2018 picks | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

Photographs by DZfoot, BackpagePix, Club Atlético Belgrano, EFE, EPA, Getty Images, Uwe Gruen/Hoffenheim, AMA/Getty Images, Rex/Shutterstock, Zuma Press/PA, FIFA, Tigres, Damir Krajac/CROPIX, Alamy, Daniel Reyes/Ecuafutbol, Reuters, Atromitos, Imago/PA, fotoBERNAMA, New Straits Times, José Alonso Paredes Sánchez, Agencja Gazeta, David Price/Arsenal FC/Getty, AP, Asian Football Confederation, Danubio FC and Championat Asia

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» Next Generation 2019: 20 of the best talents at Premier League clubs

The Guardian selects the best young players at each club born between 1 September 2002 and 31 August 2003, an age band known as first-year scholars. Check the progress of class of 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

Photographs by David Price/Arsenal/Getty Images, Neville Williams/Aston Villa/Getty Images, AFC Bournemouth, Paul Hazlewood/BHAFC, Paul Dennis/TGS/Shutterstock, Clive Howes/Chelsea/Getty Images, Danny Loo/PPAUK, Emma Simpson/Everton/Getty Images, Nick Taylor/Liverpool/Getty Images, Manchester City/Getty Images, Ash Donelon/Manchester United/Getty Images, Jason Dawson/Jasonpix, James Wilson/Sportimage, Simon Bellis/Sportimage, Robin Jones/Digital South/Southampton FC, Tottenham Hotspur/Getty Images, Alan Cozzi/Watford, Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United and Sam Bagnall/AMA

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» Next Generation: after five years, how has our first full class of picks fared?

From Rashford to Tielemans, we check in on how our initial Next Generation players have got on before the 2019 ones are announced this week

In 2014 we decided that it would be interesting to pick the best young players from each Premier League club – as well as 40 from around the world – and follow them for five years to see how they progressed.

The idea was to try to get a sense of how difficult it is to become a professional footballer despite being one of the best in that country at the age of 16 or 17.

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» Harley Willard: ‘Iceland’s a good place just to concentrate on your football’

The winger, who was part of the Guardian’s first Next Generation in 2014, talks about rebuilding his career after being released by Southampton

Harley Willard made one of those sliding-doors decisions that can turn anyone’s life around last December. He had arrived at Heathrow airport, packed and ready for the 14-hour slog back to Phnom Penh, and at that point another season at the Cambodian club Svay Rieng felt like a trade-off he could just about stomach. The football there offered few real prospects but he had enjoyed the lifestyle and, after such an uncertain year and a half since leaving Southampton, surely his happiness was the most important thing.

Related: Next Generation: after five years, how has our first full class of picks fared?

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» Thierry Henry's Montreal landing tips MLS's rep as managerial incubator

Patrick Vieira and Jesse Marsch are exponents of Major League Soccer’s growing reputation as a proving ground for young managers, a path Henry hopes to follow in Montreal

He was the right man at the right time for the New York Red Bulls. Having just moved into their jewel of a new stadium in Harrison, New Jersey, they needed something to capture new fans and a local media market which had somewhat lost interest. The signing of Thierry Henry fit the bill, with the legendary striker not just going on to become one of the most influential figures in RBNY’s history, but Major League Soccer as a whole.

Related: Zlatan Ibrahimovic's legacy hard to define as he bids Hollywood farewell

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» Sam Silvera, Louis D’Arrigo underline exciting future for homegrown talent | Jonathan Howcroft

Their styles may be contrasting, but Sam Silvera and Louis D’Arrigo share a common bond. They are young, raw and the embodiment of an A-League future fuelled by local product

Whatever ‘it’ is, Sam Silvera has got it. When the ball goes near the Central Coast Mariner you expect something to happen. He takes the game on at every opportunity, usually at breakneck speed, often with dazzling close control. He’s just turned 19 and his career is at that precious moment where he’s coming to terms with his potential and the rest of us get to enjoy watching him figure it out, like an action-movie hero’s coming-of-age montage.

On Saturday against Adelaide, Silvera set the tone as early as the fifth minute, turning broken play 35 metres from goal into a penalty with just three touches. The first of those was the most exciting. With the ball bouncing awkwardly in his direction he declined the opportunity to bring it under control safely and retain possession; the default play. Instead, he allowed the ball to run across his body for a split second, enabling him to maintain momentum, reach out a right boot and wrongfoot the onrushing Michael Jakobsen. At a stroke United’s defence was checking off a list of things it never wanted to do: turn at speed, face its own goal, and confront an attacker moving with the ball at pace. All of this from just one touch.

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» Socceroos sit pretty in World Cup qualifying but tougher tests lie ahead | Richard Parkin

An excellent first half showing in Jordan gave way to a poorer second but Graham Arnold’s side still came away with all three points

For bleary-eyed Socceroos fans braving an inhospitable midmorning kick-off it was perhaps a tale of smug self-satisfaction, followed by increasingly bewildered self-accusation.

In what was billed as Australia’s toughest assignment of AFC second round qualifying, given Jordan’s status as the Socceroos’ bogey side, for 45 minutes Australia appeared imperious.

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» Hansi Flick to stay as Bayern Munich head coach 'at least until Christmas'
  • ‘We trust him,’ Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells club AGM
  • Herbert Hainer elected president, replacing Uli Hoeness

Hansi Flick will continue as Bayern Munich’s interim head coach “until further notice”, although the club have stopped short of offering the 54-year-old a permanent contract.

“Uli Hoeness, Hasan Salihamidzic and I publicly announced after the Dortmund match last Saturday that Hansi Flick is our head coach until further notice,” Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Bayern’s CEO, told the club’s annual general meeting.

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» Arsène Wenger lands new Fifa role as head of global football development
• Former Arsenal manager to oversee progress at all levels
• Wenger had been linked with Bayern Munich vacancy

Arsène Wenger has taken up a new role with Fifa as its chief of global football development, the game’s world governing body has announced.

Wenger, 70, will work full-time as head of all Fifa’s football development activities throughout the world for the men’s and women’s game, including its coaching, training and coach education programmes. His department will be involved in football elements of Fifa’s development projects through its Forward programme, under which $6m is being made available to every football association in the world.

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» David Squires on ... A-Pocalypse Now: the horror, the horror

Our cartoonist on Melbourne Victory’s poor start to the A-League season under coach Marco Kurz

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» Zlatan Ibrahimovic's legacy hard to define as he bids Hollywood farewell

The Swede has picked up and left LA Galaxy after a season and a half, but what legacy has North America’s most headline-worthy player since Pelé left behind for MLS?

In his own not-so-humble words: “Now go back to watch baseball.” Because a league without Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not a league worth watching, at least according to the man himself who confirmed his exit from LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer with a typically brash social media post on Wednesday. The show is over, or at the very least it has packed up and left Hollywood.

Ibrahimovic is now expected to return to Europe, Italy specifically, where Milan, Bologna and Napoli are all believed to be interested in taking on the Swedish striker. But what legacy has he left behind for MLS? As the most headline-worthy soccer player to have played in North America since Pelé, was Ibrahimovic a good or a bad influence on the league?

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» How Bahia became the most progressive football club in Brazil

Bahia have cut prices, given fans a voice, tackled political issues and dedicated themselves to ‘affection, integration and love’

By Joshua Law for Yellow & Green Football

As the Bahia players walked on to the pitch for their Série A game against Ceará last month, there was something striking about their shirts. Their elegant blue, red and white stripes were covered by splotches of black around the neck, under the arms and on the hem. They had not accidentally spilled a pot of paint on the kit bag. Bahia were making a statement.

For the last 52 days, hundreds of tons of thick crude oil had been washing up on beaches in the north east of Brazil. Nobody knew where the oil was coming from and the government’s response was woefully inadequate. “We saw the news being spread,” says Bahia president Guilherme Bellintani. “But it was timid in relation to the scale of the disaster.” So the club decided to speak up.

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» Julen Lopetegui roars as the king of Seville and repays Monchi’s faith | Sid Lowe

This is the game you can’t afford to lose, and the Sevilla coach’s wild eyes showed what winning the 130th derby meant

When it was over, Julen Lopetegui started roaring, mouth so wide you could fit his half of Seville inside. He wore a wild look in his eyes and punched the air with the kind of force that dislocates shoulders. Which might not sound so unusual, but it is for him. Éver Banega was the first to leap into his arms, and then others followed, violence in the embrace.

Across the pitch, in the far corner where Banega was going now, the rest of Sevilla’s players hopped about, doing that disco thing, waving their arms up and down and shouting. Way above them at the Benito Villamarín were their fans: 6,000 had applied for tickets; 602 actually got them, and they were enjoying this. Now they were, anyway. The tension had gone with the whistle, and a 2-1 victory.

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» Premier League 2019-20: team of the season so far

Liverpool’s full-backs, the beating hearts of Chelsea and Sheffield United and an evergreen striker make our leading XI

The biggest compliment that can be paid to the Leicester goalkeeper is that he has gone unnoticed this season. The 33-year-old has kept goal with quiet authority as Leicester’s defence has become the stingiest in the league, conceding only eight times. Ederson might have been a more obvious choice but the Brazilian has not been as assured for Manchester City this season. Schmeichel has been error-free and solid with his distribution. An honourable mention should go to Ben Foster who has made some wonderful stops while being overworked at Watford.

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» Mark Bright: ‘You have to be lucky – bad things happen to people in care’
The former Crystal Palace forward on his tough childhood, being an outsider and his part in the fight against racism in football

‘I found myself a little bit,” says Mark Bright. “It was no secret.” We are sitting in a cafe around the corner from BBC Broadcasting House in central London after Bright has completed what he estimates is his 30th interview in five days to promote his autobiography My Story: From Foster Care to Footballer.

Having spent most of the week remembering what it was like growing up in a white family in Stoke-on-Trent after being placed into care at the age of seven with his brother, Bright seems slightly relieved to discuss his memories of joining Crystal Palace in 1986 and meeting strike partner Ian Wright.

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» Sam Kerr’s watershed move and the start of the new normal for women's football | Samantha Lewis

Chelsea’s signing of the Matildas striker should herald a push towards further investment by clubs and leagues

When Sam Kerr poked a reluctant toe at her first football at the age of 12, having been forced by her parents to abandon her first love – Australian rules – after coming home from a boys’ match with a black eye, few could have predicted the frustrated forward would sign for one of the biggest clubs in the world just over a decade later.

Rumours have swirled for months about Kerr’s European destination, particularly after Greg O’Rourke, the head of the W-League, confirmed she would not be returning to her home-town club Perth Glory for the 2019-20 season.

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» Football transfer rumours: Dayot Upamecano to Manchester City?

Today’s piffle is blinded by the light

Being a child of the 70s, The Mill knows that you can only build something meaningful with Mecano if you’re an absolute obsessive. So when we heard that Pep Guardiola was interested in Dayot Upamecano it made perfect sense. The Manchester City manager is is just the right kind of studious nerd to be able to grab his tools and bolt the Leipzig centre-back on to his broken defence in time for a renewed tilt at defending their Premier League title in January. The 21-year-old was a target for Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in the summer and would cost around £50m, which is about the the standard rate when City come calling for a defender.

And could City be the club who have had a £13m bid rejected by Barcelona for Ivan Rakitic? Probably not, but reports in Catalonia suggest the Spanish champions want £17m more from the Premier League club who threw a cheeky bid in for the Croatia international recently. Manchester United have had a firm interest in Rakitic this season – and Arsenal need someone to play in midfield if Granit Xhaka won’t, don’t they?

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» David Squires on … football and the poppy

Our cartoonist looks at football’s dignified, private reflection over the annual weekend of remembrance

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» Lamar Jackson bossing it, halfway line goals and the best of David Villa | Classic YouTube

Also featuring a Bundesliga brawl, a unique view of the Rugby World Cup final and college basketballers shocking the USWNT

1) Let’s start with a couple of halfway-line goals. First up, Sam Clucas punishes a woeful free-kick from Barnsley goalkeeper Bradley Collins with a sublime 50-yard wedge into the empty goal during Stoke’s 4-2 victory. But for us, nothing beats the cool indifference with which Conor McDermott sets himself up for this thronker during Cliftonville’s 4-0 win over Warrenpoint last weekend – and here’s the club’s own aerial shot of the wonder-strike.

What a goal!

⚽️ Cliftonville defender Conor McDermott scores from his own half!

⚽️ Sportsound @bbcradioulster
Live text, audio & ⚽️ goal clips
➡️ https://t.co/PMNHZOLunN#BBCIrishPrem pic.twitter.com/qtP7Ma8Ysl

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» Which football matches have featured TV show spoilers? | The Knowledge

Plus: footballers married to other footballers, leaders getting thumped (2) and a new leader in the longest spell away stakes

“Last week, there was uproar at Whitby Town when their PA announcer, Colin, revealed the winner of the Great British Bake Off over the Tannoy during the match,” writes Elliot Leaver. “Are there any other examples of TV spoilers being given at live football events?”

Chris Page and several others got in touch with one spectacular example from 23 February 1983. “On Coronation Street, Deirdre Barlow found herself having to make a choice between staying with her husband, Ken, or leaving him for Mike Baldwin. She would eventually choose [SPOILER ALERT] … the former, leading to an announcement at Old Trafford.

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» The Dozen: flares, zorbs and Maddison's delight – the best Premier League pics

Our picture editors chose their favourite pics from the weekend’s action

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» Football quiz: managers who won trophies ... then got sacked

Niko Kovac was sacked months after he won the double at Bayern. He’s not the first manager who has been treated harshly

Claudio Ranieri was sacked in February 2017, nine months after he led Leicester to their first ever league title. Where was his final game in charge?

Colchester

Seville

Glasgow

Tokyo

Manchester United sacked Louis van Gaal on 23 May 2016. Which player scored the final goal of his tenure two days earlier?

Daley Blind

Ander Herrera

Bastian Schweinsteiger

Jesse Lingard

Real Madrid won the Champions League in 1998 and sacked their manager, Jupp Heynckes, a week later. How did the club’s president, Lorenzo Sanz, try to justify the decision?

He said: “We only won the final 1-0 and it was boring”

He said: “If we had not won the European Cup, this would have been one of the worst seasons in recent years”

He said: “I would rather win the Copa del Rey”

He said: “Heynckes did not look good in front of the cameras. He never smiled”

José Mourinho left Chelsea in September 2007 after a disappointing 1-1 draw against Rosenborg in the Champions League. What happened to Chelsea in the competition that season?

They won it for the first time in their history

They finished bottom of their group

They finished third, fell into the Europa League and won that tournament instead

They reached the final and lost on penalties

Bobby Robson won the Cup Winners’ Cup and Copa del Rey in his first season at Barcelona, but it wasn’t enough to save his job. Who took his place?

Pep Guardiola

Louis van Gaal

Frank Rijkaard

Johan Cruyff

Three managers have won European trophies for Chelsea this century. Which of them made it through the summer and was still at the club when the following season began?

Rafa Benítez

Maurizio Sarri

Roberto Di Matteo

None of them

Which club replaced their manager in May 2015 straight after he had secured them promotion to the Premier League?

Fulham

Norwich City

Queens Park Rangers

Watford

In his four seasons as Real Madrid manager, Vicente del Bosque won La Liga twice and the Champions League twice. But apparently that wasn't good enough for the club. He was sacked in 2003, a few days after he had won the league title. What else happened at Real Madrid that week?

Del Bosque accused the Real Madrid president of fraud

They were beaten 4-0 by Barcelona in the final game of the season

They signed David Beckham

They lost the Champions League final to Milan

Carlo Ancelotti was sacked by Chelsea in 2011, a year after he had won the Premier League and FA Cup. In which two countries has he won league titles since leaving Chelsea?

Spain and Italy

France and Germany

Italy and Portugal

Spain and Qatar

Which club won the league title in 1975, sacked their manager in 1976 and have not been champions of England since?

Nottingham Forest

Derby County

Tottenham Hotspur

Newcastle United

1 and above.

It's time you picked up a P45

2 and above.

It's time you picked up a P45

3 and above.

It's time you picked up a P45

4 and above.

It's time you picked up a P45

5 and above.

Never mind the sack – you're due a promotion

6 and above.

Never mind the sack – you're due a promotion

7 and above.

Never mind the sack – you're due a promotion

8 and above.

Never mind the sack – you're due a big promotion

9 and above.

Never mind the sack – you're due a big promotion

0 and above.

It's time you picked up a P45

10 and above.

Never mind the sack – you're due a big promotion

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» Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 top scorers 2019-20

Keep up with the top scorers in European football’s leading five leagues, updated throughout the season

11 Jamie Vardy (Leicester)

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» The Joy of Six: football and the outside of the boot | Rob Smyth

From Brazilian screamers to an extravagant shank via Peruvian insouciance, we celebrate one of football’s most difficult skills

NB: The point of the Joy of Six is not to rank things, only to enjoy them

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» VAR – let’s press pause on Boxing Day and check if we want to rewind technology | Richard Williams

Like Brexit, whatever sensible arguments are made for VAR, they are swamped by the damage it has caused and we need time to reflect on what kind of football we want to see

Three minutes and 47 seconds is a long time in football. An awful lot can happen. Twenty years ago in the Nou Camp it was long enough to enable Manchester United to recover from a position of defeat at the end of 90 minutes against Bayern Munich and, with the German club’s ribbons already on the trophy, to use added time first to draw level and then to win the Champions League final. Those three minutes contained as much drama and emotion as some entire seasons.

At Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium on Saturday three minutes and 47 seconds was the length of time in which no football took place at all. On the hour, two minutes after Son Heung-min had put the home side ahead, Sheffield United celebrated an equaliser when David McGoldrick applied the finish to Enda Stevens’ cross from the left. But then the referee, Graham Scott, passed the decision over to the VAR room at Stockley Park. Twenty-two players stood around waiting as, 20 miles away in west London, it took almost four minutes of deliberation to conclude that John Lundstram had been offside by the length of his big toe when he received the ball on the right wing before sending in a cross that was half-cleared to John Fleck, who fed the ball to Stevens before it was turned across to McGoldrick.

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» Wilf McGuinness: ‘I thought Munich was the end, that United were finished’
The 82-year-old former Manchester United player and coach talks about the air disaster, Sir Matt Busby and playing for £20 a week

Wilf McGuinness is 82 but his face lights up with vivid memories of the man who had such an impact on his life. “Matt Busby was a god,” McGuinness says simply as he looks up with an expression of gratitude and awe and remembers the football manager who turned Manchester United into one of the world’s greatest clubs. “We used to look up at him when we were growing up. We thought: ‘There he is. That’s the boss.’ That’s what we called him. Boss. He was a wonderful man.”

McGuinness was one of the original Busby Babes, a team of youthful brilliance which was decimated by the Munich disaster of 1958. He was injured and so missed being on the plane which took the lives of many of his best friends and teammates, while scarring those who survived. McGuinness was part of the second wave of Babes with whom Busby created a new team that would eventually become the first English club to win the European Cup in 1968. Another bad injury had ended his career long before then but Busby respected him so much that he persuaded McGuinness to become a coach at Old Trafford.

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» Genesis, Revelation … Exodus: has Guardiola reached City endgame? | Barney Ronay

Guardiola is generally in one of three phases of engagement – it is tempting to conclude we are in this third stage now, that the Pep exodus has begun

This is the end, beautiful friend. Or rather, it may just be a vision of it. Watching Pep Guardiola capering on the Anfield touchline on Sunday – skinny legs splayed, arms flailing, black quilted jacket bouncing about like an angry rubber ball – was at least confirmation of one thing. Manchester City’s manager remains an extraordinarily agile and sprightly 48-year-old footballing obsessive.

Beyond that it was hard to interpret this reaction to a third Premier League defeat as a sign of good health, stability and plans for the future falling neatly into place. Instead Guardiola seemed oddly isolated, out there operating without restraint, still in the field, a manager who may just have entered the next phase in a familiar career parabola. So much so it is tempting to ask another question. Will he actually be back at Anfield for another league game?

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