EPL Talk Archives for January 2017

Surging Manchester City eye title charge, Chelsea need a lift

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London (AFP) – Manchester City will be aiming to continue their recent scintillating form when the free-scoring Premier League leaders host Burnley on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s side are two points clear of second-placed Manchester United as they chase a first English title since 2014.

Where to find West Ham vs. Brighton on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch West Ham vs. Brighton in the Premier League, you’ve come to the right place.

Friday night Premier League soccer returns today with West Ham United facing Brighton and Hove Albion at the Olympic Stadium in London.

Match: West Ham vs.

Lyon beat Everton to pile pressure on Koeman

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Paris (AFP) – Lyon piled the pressure on Everton manager Ronald Koeman with a 2-1 Europa League win at Goodison Park on Thursday, while Olivier Giroud’s acrobatic late strike snatched Arsenal a 1-0 victory over 10-man Red Star Belgrade.

Nabil Fekir’s penalty put French side Lyon ahead early on as Everton struggled for inspiration with Wayne Rooney rested and watching on from the stands.

Top 5 must-see soccer games on US TV this weekend

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The Premier League dominates the soccer landscape in Europe once again this weekend, with a trio of fascinating fixtures to savor from Week 9 of the 2017-18 season.

On Saturday the champions take on this season’s surprise package in what should be an absorbing clash of styles. Then on Sunday two teams from Merseyside take on two from north London in a pair of eyecatching encounters.

Giroud overhead kick edges Arsenal past Red Star Belgrade

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Paris (AFP) – Olivier Giroud scored a fantastic late winner as Arsenal edged to their third straight Europa League win by beating 10-man Red Star Belgrade 1-0 in Serbia on Thursday.

Arsene Wenger’s men rode their luck at times in an uninspiring performance, before Giroud struck in the 85th minute after Red Star had seen Milan Rodic sent off.

Manchester United to aid football development in Saudi Arabia

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London (AFP) – Manchester United have agreed a deal with the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia to help develop football in the country.

United will lend business and sporting expertise to clubs and sporting organisations in Saudi Arabia to boost the game’s growth.

The partnership forms part of Saudi Vision 2030 - the plan to diversify the Saudi economy and to develop its public sectors, announced last year by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Giroud overhead kick edges Arsenal past Red Star

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Paris (AFP) – Olivier Giroud scored a fantastic late winner as Arsenal edged to their third straight Europa League win by beating 10-man Red Star Belgrade 1-0 in Serbia on Thursday.

Arsene Wenger’s men rode their luck at times in an uninspiring performance, before Giroud struck in the 85th minute after Red Star had seen Milan Rodic sent off.

US World Cup disaster exposes USSF, FOX Sports and MLS: World Soccer Talk Podcast

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World Soccer Talk is the weekly soccer podcast on the topic of watching soccer on TV, online and apps.

In the NEW episode, number 47, Kartik Krishnaiyer and Christopher Harris cover a range of topics including:

• How FOX Sports reported on one of the biggest weeks in US Soccer history,

• Our experiences with YouTube TV and whether it’s a winner for soccer fans,

• Latest TV rights news for Serie A and LaLiga, as well as

• Our thoughts on Facebook Live’s latest coverage of the UEFA Champions League.

FIFA in deal to end FIFPro transfer complaint

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Zurich (AFP) – FIFA on Thursday reached a deal it hopes will lead to footballers union FIFPro withdrawing its complaint to the European Commission over “transfer market madness”.

World football’s governing body FIFA plans to launch an investigation into transfers after this summer’s record-breaking window sparked renewed unease at FIFPro.

Lloris feels vindicated by Spurs progress

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London (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris says his decision to stay at the club has been vindicated by the major progress made under manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Lloris was considering his future when Pochettino arrived at the club in 2014 after two seasons of upheaval during which managers Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood were sacked.

Bayern flourish under ‘father-figure’ Heynckes

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Bayern Munich’s stars have been reminded of their 2013 treble under “father-figure” coach Jupp Heynckes after scoring eight goals without reply in their two games following his return.

“He’s brought the energy and passion which he had in 2013,” enthused Bayern captain Thomas Mueller, who scored in their 3-0 Champions League win against Celtic on Wednesday.

beIN SPORTS to televise Galatasaray-Fenerbahce derby on US TV and streaming

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One of the greatest, most intense and often bitter derbies in the world will be shown on US television and streaming this Sunday between Galatasaray and Fenerbahce.

It’s the first time the Intercontinental Derby has been shown on US television in years.

Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, both based in Istanbul, will face off against each other on beIN SPORTS en Español on Sunday at 2:45pm ET.

English clubs bite back in Champions League

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London (AFP) – After several years in the doldrums, English clubs have returned to the fore in the Champions League with a succession of attention-grabbing performances.

Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur top their respective pools at the group phase’s halfway point and all are currently unbeaten.

Northern Ireland coach O’Neill admits drink-driving

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London (AFP) – Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill was banned from driving for 16 months on Thursday after pleading guilty to drink-driving in the Scottish city of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard O’Neill, 48, was stopped by police on the outskirts of the city in the early hours of September 10 and found to be three times over the legal drink-drive limit.

Conte takes blame for Chelsea’s sloppy show

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London (AFP) – Antonio Conte took the blame for Chelsea’s failure to protect their lead in a thrilling 3-3 draw against Roma in the Champions League.

Blues boss Conte opted to deploy Brazil defender David Luiz in midfield in a bid to solidify his injury-hit team.

Luiz gave Chelsea the lead at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, but although Eden Hazard doubled the hosts’ advantage before half-time, Roma hit back impressively.

Where to find Red Star Belgrade vs. Arsenal on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Red Star Belgrade vs. Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League, you’ve come to the right place.

With Arsenal undefeated in their first two Europa League matches, the Gunners can move five points clear at the top of their group with a victory against Red Star Belgrade on Thursday.

Landon Donovan mulls run for US Soccer presidency: reports

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Los Angeles (AFP) – Landon Donovan, the all-time goals co-leader for the United States national team, is considering running for president of the US Soccer Federation, Sports Illustrated and ESPN reported Wednesday.

The 35-year-old striker, who last played for the American squad in 2014, would be a potential challenger to incumbent Sunil Gulati, who last week refused to resign in the wake of the US men failing to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia.

Shanghai SIPG coach Villas-Boas under pressure after loss to Urawa

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Shanghai (AFP) – Chinese media piled pressure on Shanghai SIPG coach Andre Villas-Boas on Thursday after their stinging defeat to Urawa Red Diamonds in the AFC Champions League semi-finals.

The Portuguese coach promised silverware in his debut season but after Urawa’s 2-1 aggregate win, his best remaining hope seems to be next month’s CFA Cup final against city rivals Shanghai Shenhua.

English FA bosses face calls to quit over Sampson affair

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London (AFP) – English Football Association bosses were facing growing calls to quit on Thursday over their “shambolic” handling of the Mark Sampson affair following a damaging grilling from lawmakers.

Wednesday’s session opened with the publication of a reopened investigation into Chelsea player Eni Aluko’s claims of bullying and discrimination against the former England women’s manager.

Senegal pick injured Mane for World Cup ties

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Johannesburg (AFP) – Senegal chose Liverpool star Sadio Mane Wednesday for World Cup qualifiers against South Africa next month just eight days after his club said he could be sidelined for six weeks.

The striker was among 25 players named by coach Aliou Cisse for crucial back-to-back fixtures with South Africa.

Juventus battle past Sporting in Champions League

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – Juventus rallied from a bizarre Alex Sandro own goal to battle past Sporting Lisbon 2-1 on Wednesday and move second behind Barcelona in Champions League Group D.

The Portuguese visitors surged ahead after 12 minutes in the Allianz Stadium when the ball accidentally bounced off the Brazilian left-back and into his own net after Gianluigi Buffon had saved from Gelson Martins.

‘MCN’ all score as PSG thump Anderlecht

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Brussels (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain’s front three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani all scored as the French side romped to a third straight Champions League win by thrashing Anderlecht 4-0 in Brussels on Wednesday.

Mbappe put PSG ahead inside three minutes and Cavani grabbed his fourth goal in three Champions League outings before half-time.

Bayern down Celtic on Heynckes’ Champions League return

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Jupp Heynckes enjoyed a successful Champions League return on Wednesday as Bayern Munich got their Group B campaign back on track with a 3-0 home win against Celtic.

Bayern captain Thomas Mueller put the hosts ahead after 17 minutes before Germany defender Joshua Kimmich made it two with a header just before the half-hour mark.

10-man Barca cruise as club plead for Catalonia dialogue

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona shrugged off an early Gerard Pique red card and the distractions of a first match at the Camp Nou since a violent crackdown of an independence referendum in Catalonia to beat Olympiakos 3-1 on Wednesday.

A Dimitrios Nikolaou own goal and second-half strikes from Lionel Messi and Lucas Digne ensured a comfortable evening for the hosts on the field, while the political tension sweeping across Catalonia was seen in the stands despite a low turnout due to torrential rain.

Chelsea snatch draw as Man Utd edge Benfica

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Paris (AFP) – Chelsea were grateful to Eden Hazard for grabbing a 3-3 draw in a Champions League thriller against Roma on Wednesday, while Manchester United, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Juventus all won.

Hazard headed in his second goal of the night from a Pedro Rodriguez cross with quarter of an hour left at Stamford Bridge to rescue Chelsea after they had earlier blown a two-goal lead against the Italians.

Hazard rescues Chelsea in six-goal Roma thriller

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London (AFP) – Eden Hazard came to Chelsea’s rescue after his side blew a two-goal lead in a dramatic 3-3 draw with Roma in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Antonio Conte’s team looked on course for a comfortable victory at Stamford Bridge thanks to first half goals from David Luiz and Hazard at Stamford Bridge.

No Pique, no problem as 10-man Barca cruise

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona shrugged off an early Gerard Pique red card and the distractions of a first match at the Camp Nou since a violent crackdown of an independence referendum in Catalonia to beat Olympiakos 3-1 on Wednesday.

A Dimitrios Nikolaou own goal and second-half strikes from Lionel Messi and Lucas Digne ensured a comfortable evening for the hosts on the field, while the political tension sweeping across Catalonia was seen in the stands despite a low turnout due to torrential rain.

Goalkeeping gaffe hands Man Utd win at Benfica

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Lisbon (AFP) – Manchester United took a huge stride towards the Champions League knockout stages on Wednesday, seeing off an uninspired Benfica 1-0 to make it three wins out of three thanks to a goalkeeping howler.

Marcus Rashford broke the deadlock midway through the second half when an inswinging free-kick from the left was carried over his line by teenage goalkeeper Mile Svilar.

Downpour drowns out Barcelona’s plea for dialogue

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Barcelona (AFP) – A near 50-metre banner pleaded for “Dialogue, Respect, and Sport” as Barcelona’s Camp Nou opened its doors Wednesday for the first time since a violent crackdown of an independence referendum in Catalonia on October 1.

However, heavy rain in the hours before kick-off against Olympiakos in the Champions League turned thousands of fans away with almost two thirds of the 99,000-capacity stadium left empty.

Montella looking for Milan ‘spark’ against AEK

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Milan (AFP) – AC Milan coach Vincenzo Montella defended blundering skipper Leonardo Bonucci and said his team just needed to find a “spark’ ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash against AEK Athens.

“It’ll come, right now we need a flame, and we have to be good to spark it,” said Montella ahead of the game in the San Siro.

Atletico on brink of early European exit

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Baku (AFP) – Atletico Madrid suffered a fresh blow to their chances of progressing to the Champions League last 16 as 10-man Qarabag held on for a 0-0 draw to secure their first ever point in the competition in Baku.

It could have been even worse for the 2014 and 2016 finalists had South African striker Dino Ndlovu won a penalty rather than being shown a second yellow card for diving 15 minutes from time.

Madjer named new Algeria coach

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Algiers (AFP) – Algeria have brought back former player Rabah Madjer as their new national coach, succeeding the sacked Lucas Alcaraz, the Algerian federation confirmed on Wednesday.

Madjer, 58, becomes the country’s fifth national coach in three years and must pick up the pieces after their failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Atletico Champions League bid suffers blow in Azerbaijan

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Baku (AFP) – Atletico Madrid suffered a fresh blow to their chances of reaching the Champions League last 16 as 10-man Qarabag held on for a 0-0 draw to secure their first ever point in the competition in Baku.

It could have been even worse for the 2014 and 2016 finalists had South African striker Dino Ndlovu won a penalty rather than being shown a second yellow card for diving 15 minutes from time.

Ex-Uruguay defender Lopez named Cagliari coach

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Milan (AFP) – Uruguayan Diego Lopez has been appointed coach of Serie A strugglers Cagliari in place of the sacked Massimo Rastelli, the club said on Wednesday.

The 43-year-old Lopez played for the club for 12 seasons from 1998 to 2010, and previously coached the Sardinian outfit from 2013 to 2014, with a spell also in charge of the youth teams.

Sampson made ‘ill-judged’ racial remarks: report

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London (AFP) – Former England women’s football coach Mark Sampson made remarks that were “discriminatory on grounds of race” towards two black players but was not racist, a report published on Wednesday said.

Sampson, who guided the team to the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup and this year’s European Championships, was sacked last month after FA chiefs were alerted to what it termed an “inappropriate” relationship he had with a player in a previous job.

Koeman feels secure as Everton boss after Moshiri talks

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London (AFP) – Everton manager Ronald Koeman believes he is not in immediate danger of being sacked after holding talks with the club’s majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.

The Dutchman has been under pressure after his team’s poor start to the campaign despite extensive transfer spending in the close season.

Sampson made ‘ill-judged” racial remarks: report

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London (AFP) – Former England women’s football coach Mark Sampson made remarks that were “discriminatory on grounds of race” towards two black players but was not racist, a report published on Wednesday said.

Sampson, who guided the team to the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup and this year’s European Championships, was sacked last month after FA chiefs were alerted to what it termed an “inappropriate” relationship he had with a player in a previous job.

PSG’s Khelaifi to be quizzed in Swiss World Cup probe on October 25: lawyer

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain president and beIN Media chief Nasser al-Khelaifi will be questioned by Swiss prosecutors on October 25 in a World Cup media rights probe, his lawyer told AFP Wednesday.

Khelaifi, a Qatari, “wanted to be heard as soon as possible by the Swiss attorney general’s office”, the lawyer said, adding that his client “denies any corruption” over the sale of rights for future World Cups.

PSG’s Khelaifi to be quizzed in Swiss WCup probe in October: lawyer

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain president and beIN Media chief Nasser al-Khelaifi will be questioned by Swiss prosecutors on October 25 in a World Cup media rights probe, his lawyer told AFP Wednesday.

Khelaifi, a Qatari, “wanted to be heard as soon as possible by the Swiss attorney general’s office”, the lawyer said, adding that his client “denies any corruption” over the sale of rights for future World Cups.

Japan’s Reds stun Shanghai to reach Asian final

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Saitama (Japan) (AFP) – Brazilian Rafael Silva snatched the winner as Japan’s Urawa Reds shocked star-studded Shanghai SIPG 1-0 at home on Wednesday to reach the Asian Champions League final.

The Reds advance to face Saudi giants Al Hilal in next month’s two-leg championship clash after holding on for a 2-1 aggregate win that ended Japan’s miserable recent run in Asia’s premier club competition.

‘Don’t hit’ foreign fans, Russian Cup mayor tells locals

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Moscow (AFP) – The mayor of the Russian World Cup host city of Kaliningrad advised locals Wednesday to leave the city on match days - and not to hit fans.

“Be hospitable and friendly - don’t hit anyone,” said the city’s mayor Alexander Yaroshuk.

“If you speak English, have a chat,” he added, giving his tips to residents on a talk show at local station Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Schedule of Europa League games on US TV and streaming for Thursday, October 19

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For matchweek 3 of the UEFA Europa League, there’s a ton of action in store that includes a top-of-the-group battle between Nice and Lazio, a chance for Everton to lift themselves off the bottom of Group E, as well as an opportunity for Arsenal to move five points ahead in their group if they beat Red Star Belgrade.

Guardiola proud to beat ‘best opponents’ Napoli

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola described his side’s 2-1 victory over Napoli in the Champions League group phase as one of the proudest moments of his storied career.

City took a quick-fire 2-0 lead in Tuesday’s game through Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus, but Amadou Diawara’s penalty - after Dries Mertens had squandered an earlier spot-kick - made for a nervy finale.

Everton, AC Milan look for Europa League morale boost

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Paris (AFP) – Under-fire Everton will hope to kickstart their campaign when they play host to Lyon on Thursday looking for a first win in the Europa League group stage.

The Premier League side have just one point from their opening two matches in Group E, following up a comprehensive 3-0 loss to Atalanta in Italy by drawing 2-2 at home to the Cypriots Apollon Limassol last month.

Tottenham manager hails ‘huge’ potential after Madrid draw

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Madrid (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino hailed his side’s maturity after taking a huge step towards the Champions League last 16 by holding defending champions Real Madrid 1-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.

The English side had to rely on two stunning second-half saves from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to deny Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo, but were good value for a point that keeps them level with Madrid on seven points at the top of Group H.

Football: Papua’s ‘Black Pearls’, the athletic gems of Indonesia

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Sorong (Indonesia) (AFP) – Boaz Solossa, Indonesia’s football captain, is known for his quick turn of pace and sharp instincts - as well as his eye for goal.

But he’s not alone: Solossa is just one of many outstanding players born and bred in the far-flung, rebellious province of Papua, which has become known as a breeding ground for athletic talent.

Where to find Chelsea vs. Roma on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Chelsea vs. Roma, you’ve come to the right place.

After a shock defeat against Crystal Palace at the weekend, Chelsea will want to bounce back against Roma on Wednesday in their third game in the UEFA Champions League this season.

Game: Chelsea vs.

Dortmund under pressure after Spurs-Real draw

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Berlin (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund coach Peter Bosz admits the Germans face an uphill Champions League battle after struggling to a draw at APOEL Nicosia while Tottenham Hotspur earned a point at Real Madrid.

Bosz said Dortmund have now got their work cut out in their next two home games - against APOEL in a fortnight and Spurs on November 21 - before facing holders Real away.

Where to find Club America vs. Chivas Súper Clásico on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Club America vs. Chivas, you’ve come to the right place.

In this clash between the two clubs with the most Liga MX titles, Las Águilas del America seek to retain advantage over Chivas de Guadalajara after losing 1-0 on the last Súper Clásico on February 18, 2017.

Jesus earns Man City narrow win over Napoli

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City conceded two penalties - one that was squandered, one that was scored - as they edged Napoli 2-1 on Tuesday to tighten their grip on Champions League Group F.

In a much-hyped clash of the highest-scoring teams in Europe’s five major leagues, City swiftly went 2-0 up through Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus at the Etihad Stadium and looked set for another breezy win.

Spurs hold Real as City down Napoli

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo scored a penalty but holders Real Madrid were held 1-1 at home by Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League on Tuesday, while Manchester City overcame Italian high-flyers Napoli 2-1.

Raphael Varane’s own goal gifted Spurs the lead on 28 minutes at the Bernabeu, but Ronaldo converted a spot-kick shortly before half-time after a foul by Serge Aurier on Toni Kroos.

Jesus earns Manchester City narrow win over Napoli

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City conceded two penalties - one that was squandered, one that was scored - as they edged Napoli 2-1 on Tuesday to tighten their grip on Champions League Group F.

In a much-hyped clash of the highest-scoring teams in Europe’s five major leagues, City swiftly went 2-0 up through Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus at the Etihad Stadium and looked set for another breezy win.

Real held by Lloris masterclass in Madrid

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Madrid (AFP) – A pair of stunning second-half saves from Hugo Lloris salvaged a precious point for Tottenham Hotspur as they held European champions Real Madrid 1-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.

Both sides remain unbeaten in this season’s Champions League and well placed to progress to the last 16.

Liverpool hit seven to silence Klopp critics

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Maribor (Slovenia) (AFP) – Liverpool eased the pressure on Jurgen Klopp as Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah inspired a 7-0 thrashing of Maribor in the Champions League on Tuesday.

After drawing their first two European fixtures and spluttering in the Premier League, Liverpool arrived in Slovenia with critics questioning Klopp’s signings and tactics.

Spartak ease to Sevilla victory

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Moscow (AFP) – Russian champions Spartak Moscow chalked up their first win of the Champions League campaign in style on Tuesday with a 5-1 drubbing of Sevilla at Moscow’s Otkrytie Arena.

Quincy Promes netted a brace, while Lorenzo Melgarejo, Denis Glushakov and Luiz Adriano added one apiece to set Spartak on course for a well-deserved win.

Leipzig claim landmark Champions League success

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Leipzig (Germany) (AFP) – Jean-Kevin Augustin scored what proved to be the winner as RB Leipzig secured their first ever victory in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, beating Porto 3-2.

Willi Orban and Emil Forsberg also scored for the hosts in a five-goal first half as Leipzig claimed a win that keeps alive their dream of reaching the knockout stages in their debut Champions League campaign.

Saudis Al Hilal into AFC Champions Lea gue final

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Muscat (AFP) – Omar Kharbin scored twice as Saudi giants Al Hilal eased into the AFC Champions League final with a 6-2 aggregate victory over Iran’s Persepolis following a 2-2 draw in their semi-final second leg on Tuesday.

Al Hilal already had one foot in the final after an emphatic 4-0 victory over the leading Iranian side in the first leg, but Tuesday’s match proved much tougher with Persepolis taking the lead on two occasions only for Al Hilal to bounce back twice and clinch a draw.

La Liga TV rights on hold due to Catalan crisis

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Madrid (AFP) – The Spanish league have delayed putting out to tender their international television rights amid uncertainty over what the Catalonia crisis could mean for Barcelona, La Liga president Javier Tebas said on Tuesday.

It has been a tumultuous few weeks in Catalonia following an independence referendum on October 1 that was deemed illegal by the Spanish government and was marred by violence.

La Liga TV rights on hold due to Catalonia uncertainty

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Madrid (AFP) – The Spanish league have delayed putting out to tender their international television rights amid uncertainty over what the Catalonia crisis could mean for Barcelona, La Liga president Javier Tebas said on Tuesday.

It has been a tumultuous few weeks in Catalonia following an independence referendum on October 1 that was deemed illegal by the Spanish government and was marred by violence.

Heynckes back as Bayern regroup for Celtic

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Bayern Munich are looking to regroup in the Champions League at home to Celtic on Wednesday as Jupp Heynckes coaches his first European game since winning the 2013 final.

The 72-year-old steered Bayern to the Champions League title four years ago by beating Borussia Dortmund at Wembley to complete the treble of European, Bundesliga and German Cup titles in the 2012/13 season.

Hungary coach out after poor World Cup campaign

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Budapest (AFP) – Hungary said Tuesday it has parted company with national football coach Bernd Storck after a disappointing 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

“The Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) board has agreed unanimously to accept Bernd Storck’s mutually agreed departure,” Jeno Sipos, an MLSZ spokesman, told reporters in Budapest.

Honestly, I have no PSG plans, Mourinho says

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Lisbon (AFP) – Jose Mourinho insists he has no plans to join Paris Saint-Germain despite admitting he will not be signing a new contract with Manchester United in the immediate future.

Mourinho triggered talk of a potential switch to Paris when the United manager spoke admiringly about the Qatari-owned French club in a recent television interview.

History boys Italy confident of reaching World Cup

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Paris (AFP) – Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura insisted Tuesday the four-time world champions could overcome a tricky play-off draw against Sweden to reach the 2018 World Cup finals.

Italy will travel to Stockholm on Friday, November 10 and play at home at the San Siro in Milan three days later as they look to avoid missing out on the World Cup for the first time in 50 years.

Leicester confirm Shakespeare sacking

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London (AFP) – Leicester City have confirmed the sacking of Craig Shakespeare, just four months after handing him a permanent contract to manage the former Premier League champions.

Shakespeare, 53, was promoted from his role as assistant coach on an interim basis following the shock dismissal of Claudio Ranieri in February and in June he was handed a three-year contract.

Marcelo accused of half a million euro tax fraud

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Madrid (AFP) – Spanish prosecutors have accused Real Madrid’s Brazilian left-back Marcelo of tax fraud totalling nearly half a million euros, a judicial source confirmed on Tuesday.

The tax authorities believe Marcelo hid 490,917 euros ($578,000) earned from his image rights using a network of shell companies outside of Spain.

Juventus not in crisis, insists Allegri

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri insisted Tuesday that the Serie A champions were not in crisis despite recent setbacks.

Italian title-winners in the last six seasons, Juventus lost to Lazio on Saturday - a first home defeat in over two years - to trail leaders Napoli by five points.

Leicester sack manager Craig Shakespeare – reports

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London (AFP) – Leicester City sacked manager Craig Shakespeare on Tuesday after just four months in charge of the former Premier League champions, British media reported.

Shakespeare, 53, replaced Claudio Ranieri on a caretaker basis in February and was handed a three-year contract in June.

Conte blames Chelsea’s injury woes on hectic schedule

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London (AFP) – Antonio Conte says the injury problems that threaten to derail Chelsea’s season have been caused by his side’s increased workload.

Conte’s team have lost their last two Premier League matches against Manchester City and Crystal Palace as the injury bug bites ahead of Roma’s visit to Stamford Bridge in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Alonso says Chelsea have no margin for error

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London (AFP) – Chelsea defender Marcos Alonso admitted Tuesday that the Premier League champions cannot afford to lose another match if they want to successfully defend the title.

Antonio Conte’s side are lagging nine points behind leaders Manchester City after losing their last two league matches.

Hope TV rights scandal ‘will not disrupt’ Qatar WCup: FIFA Sec Gen

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Madrid (AFP) – FIFA’s number two Fatma Samoura said Tuesday she hoped the criminal investigations into the sale of World Cup rights to the Qatari-owned beIN Media group will not “disrupt” Qatar’s hosting of the 2022 World Cup.

Swiss prosecutors said last week they had launched a criminal corruption probe targeting Paris Saint-Germain president and beIN media chief, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, and disgraced former FIFA executive Jerome Valcke over the sale of media rights for World Cups in 2018-2030.

Chelsea star Hazard aims to seize Champions League spotlight

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London (AFP) – Frustrated by his past failures, Chelsea star Eden Hazard has been urged to finally stamp his mark on the Champions League.

While Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar have cemented their legendary status with headline-stealing performances in Europe’s elite club competition, Hazard remains one of the tournament’s biggest enigmas.

United, Chelsea aim to stamp Champions League authority

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Paris (AFP) – Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United will be looking to maintain their robust start to their Champions League campaign when they head to Benfica on Wednesday while Antonio Conte’s Chelsea entertain Roma.

Barcelona and Lionel Messi meanwhile play their first home match at the Camp Nou since the Catalonia independence referendum that plunged Spain into chaos, when Olympiakos visit.

Camp Nou reopens amid political confusion in Catalonia

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Madrid (AFP) – For the first time since playing to an empty stadium in protest at a violent crackdown of an independence referendum in Catalonia, Barcelona’s Camp Nou opens its doors when Olympiakos visit on Wednesday.

On the field, Barca should have little problem sweeping aside an Olympiakos side without a point in the Champions League so far this season to consolidate their position atop Group D.

Italy among play-off hopefuls waiting to learn World Cup fate

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London (AFP) – Italy will learn their World Cup play-off fate on Tuesday as the four-time winners join seven other European countries in the draw for the decisive two-legged ties.

Gian Piero Ventura’s side have been forced to take their chances in the treacherous play-offs after finishing second in their qualifying group behind Spain.

Rocky road for Higuain to resurrect Argentina career

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – On the night Lionel Messi sensationally booted Argentina into next year’s World Cup finals in Russia, Gonzalo Higuain was watching thousands of kilometres away in Turin.

There was a touch of envy as the 29-year-old Juventus player took to Instagram to congratulate the national team: “Thanks a lot guys for taking Argentina where they should be, great effort, congratulations and enjoy.

Echoes of George Best as Manchester United and Benfica collide

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London (AFP) – Manchester United’s Champions League encounter with Benfica on Wednesday represents a resumption of hostilities with foes who have provided a yardstick for their European standing for over half a century.

Benfica, famously, were the team United defeated at Wembley in 1968 to become the first English side to win the European Cup.

Australia coach linked with Tevez club in China

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Sydney (AFP) – Australia coach Ange Postecoglou was urged to stay loyal to the World Cup hopefuls Tuesday after he was linked with a big-money move to Carlos Tevez’s Shanghai Shenhua in China.

The 52-year-old has failed to confirm or deny reports that he is considering quitting the Socceroos, who face a two-legged playoff with Honduras next month for a place at Russia 2018.

Where to find Maribor vs. Liverpool on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Maribor vs. Liverpool, you’ve come to the right place.

After two draws from the first two Champions League matches, it’s crucial that Liverpool get their first 3 points by defeating Maribor, the club team from Slovenia.

For soccer fans in the United States, the game will be shown live on FOX Soccer Plus, which can be streamed with a free 7-day trial to fuboTV.

Where to find Manchester City vs. Napoli on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Manchester City vs. Napoli, you’ve come to the right place.

Out of all of the games on Tuesday, the one that should be the most entertaining for neutrals is the clash between Premier League top-of-the-table Manchester City against Serie A first place club Napoli.

Where to find Real Madrid vs. Spurs on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Real Madrid vs. Spurs in the UEFA Champions League, you’ve come to the right place.

Originally scheduled to air on FS1, the Real Madrid-Tottenham match has been moved to FS2 because of the MLB playoffs. If you don’t get FOX Sports 2 through your TV provider or you want to watch the game from work or home with a free 7-day trial, read below for more details.

Romulo rescues Verona with first Serie A win

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Verona (Italy) (AFP) – Romulo fired Verona to their first success of the Serie A campaign on Monday with a 1-0 win over 10-man Benevento.

Luca Antei was shown a straight red card in the first half after a rough challenge on Mattia Valoti, and after missing a string of chances Brazilian full-back Romulo volleyed in on 74 minutes.

Mahrez snatches draw for struggling Leicester City

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Riyad Mahrez’s first Premier League goal of the season secured Leicester a 1-1 draw with West Brom on Monday but it was not enough to lift the 2016 champions out of the bottom three.

The Algerian international - who had missed a sitter earlier in the match - struck 10 minutes from time but the draw extended the Foxes winless streak to six which was the same run that saw Claudio Ranieri sacked months after delivering them their remarkable title triumph.

Chiellini recalls Champions League pain

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini revealed Monday the pain of two Champions League final defeats as he looked back on his long career on Monday with the Turin giants.

Chiellini, 33, said he had felt pride at replacing Pavel Nedved on his debut 12 years ago to the day, as the Turin side prepare to face Sporting Lisbon in this year’s Champions League campaign midweek.

Zaccheroni named UAE coach

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Dubai (AFP) – Italian Alberto Zaccheroni was Monday named coach of the United Arab Emirates football team, the Gulf state’s federation announced.

“The Emirati football federation has named the Italian coach Alberto Zaccheroni to lead our national team,” it said in a tweet.

According to local media reports, Zaccheroni signed a contract until 2019, the year when the UAE is scheduled to host the AFC Asian Cup, which he won with Japan in 2011.

Sterling never considered Arsenal move

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Raheem Sterling said on Monday he sees his long-term future at Premier League leaders Manchester City and has no interest in a move to Arsenal.

Sterling was linked with a cash-plus-player move to the Emirates Stadium at the end of August as City tried to secure a deal for Alexis Sanchez.

Kane can be Tottenham’s Totti – Pochettino

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Madrid (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino hopes the emotional images of Francisco Totti’s farewell after a 24-year career at Roma could inspire the on-fire Harry Kane to remain a one club man.

Ahead of Spurs’ trip to face Real Madrid on Tuesday, Kane has been linked with a move to the European champions thanks to his stunning form in 2017, scoring as many goals (43) in fewer appearances this calendar year for club and country as Real’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

Lovren blasts Lukaku over Anfield clash

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London (AFP) – Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren claims Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku deliberately kicked him in the face in Saturday’s Premier League clash at Anfield.

Lovren was involved in a first-half collision with Lukaku that ended with the Liverpool star falling to the turf and holding his face after the Belgian’s boot appeared to make contact with his head.

Alexi Lalas defends US Soccer status quo on FOX Sports broadcast [VIDEO]

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On Sunday’s MLS broadcast that was televised live on FS1, leading US Men’s National Team analyst Alexi Lalas gave a stirring two-minute speech that championed the status quo in US Soccer.

Lalas defended Sunil Gulati and the US Soccer Federation. “No one person has the answers,” said Lalas.

USA to face Portugal in football friendly

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Chicago (AFP) – The United States will face Portugal next month in the team’s first game since their shock failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, the United States Soccer Federation announced Monday.

A statement said the USA, who were sensationally dumped out of World Cup contention last week following a loss to Trinidad & Tobago, will face Portugal on November 14 in Faro.

Ashley puts Newcastle up for sale

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London (AFP) – Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is ready to end his controversial reign after putting the Premier League club up for sale on Monday.

Ashley has been a polarising figure at Newcastle since taking over at St James’ Park in 2007 and the sports retail tycoon has decided now is the time to step down.

Inter in title chase, Milan in freefall

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Milan (AFP) – Mauro Icardi’s heroics proved Inter Milan are ready to reclaim the Serie A title for the first time since 2010, club president Massimo Moratti insisted Monday, as AC Milan were left in crisis.

Captain Icardi fired Inter to a dramatic 3-2 victory in the Derby della Madonnina, which moved them 10 points clear of city rivals AC Milan and just two behind leaders Napoli, with champions Juventus in third after losing at home for the first time in two years.

Pepe ‘the boss’ makes mark at Istanbul’s Besiktas

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Istanbul (AFP) – After winning three Champions League titles and three La Liga titles with Real Madrid and Euro 2016 with Portugal, star defender Pepe could have been forgiven for resting on his laurels at new club Besiktas.

But not a bit of it.

Since joining the Black Eagles in Istanbul from Real Madrid over the summer, Pepe, 34, has stamped his authority on the Turkish champions and emerged as their standout player.

Man City’s Sterling never considered Arsenal move

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Raheem Sterling said on Monday he sees his long-term future at Premier League leaders Manchester City and has no interest in a move to Arsenal.

Sterling was linked with a cash-plus-player move to the Emirates Stadium at the end of August as City tried to secure a deal for Alexis Sanchez.

Manchester United game against Benfica to stream live on Facebook

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Manchester United’s UEFA Champions League match against Benfica on Wednesday will be streamed on Facebook Live.

The match, which will be played at Estádio da Luz in Portugal, is scheduled to kick off at 2:45pm ET. On television, the game is only available via FOX Deportes, which can be streamed through fuboTV.

Zidane wary of ‘complete’ Kane

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane highlighted the threat posed by Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane as the English side travel to the European champions on Tuesday battling for top spot in Champions League Group H.

Kane has scored as many goals (43) this year for club and country as Cristiano Ronaldo but in fewer games, sparking rumours Real could try to poach another rising star from Spurs after taking Luka Modric and Gareth Bale to the Bernabeu in recent years.

Schedule of UEFA Champions League matches on US TV and streaming (Oct. 17-18)

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Matchday three in the UEFA Champions League kicks off this Tuesday and Wednesday with all of the games available to soccer fans in the United States.

Due to baseball playoffs, a few of the games have been moved from their originally scheduled TV spots.

Here’s the schedule of UEFA Champions League games on US TV and streaming this week (all times listed are Easter United States):

Tuesday, October 17

Real Madrid vs.

MLS attendances through gameweek 32 of the 2017 season

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Photo credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado Rapids drew its smallest crowd of the season in its final home match, a Rocky Mountain Cup game against Real Salt Lake, with just a reported attendance of 13,102.

On the flip side, the Revs had its largest turnout in its final home match versus New York City FC.

Milan chief backs under-fire Montella

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Milan (AFP) – AC Milan chief Marco Fassone has backed under-fire coach Vincenzo Montella despite the club falling to a third straight Serie A defeat to fierce city rivals Inter on Sunday night.

“Vincenzo is staying with us. When you change this much, as we did, you need time,” said Fassone.

Guardiola aims to keep Man City players humble

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola says there is no chance that his Manchester City players will fall into the trap of over-confidence in their Champions League clash against Napoli despite their swaggering Premier League form.

City demolished Stoke City 7-2 on Saturday to move two points clear at the top of the table and are attracting rave reviews for the quality of their attacking football, with 37 goals in 11 games in all competitions so far.

Kane’s Champions League rise faces Real acid test

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Madrid (AFP) – Harry Kane is an admitted follower of Cristiano Ronaldo’s stratospheric stats as he pursues the Portuguese’s status as the best in the world, but for once it is Ronaldo who trails in the race to be the Champions League’s top marksman.

An inspired Kane has transformed Tottenham Hotspur’s European form from last season’s failure to a flying start with five of Spurs’ six goals in victories over Borussia Dortmund and APOEL Nicosia.

10 things we learned from MLS gameweek 32 of the 2017 season

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Here are the ten things we learned from Week 32 of the 2017 MLS season.

1. What Is MLS’s Role In The USMNT’S World Cup Failure?

It’s huge.

Whether you think MLS is an underlying cause of the U.S.’s failure to get the 2018 World Cup, there’s no denying this: MLS played a bigger role in this edition of the USMNT than any other since its founding.

Baseball spoils Champions League coverage on FOX, bumping games to other channels

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The Major League Baseball playoff between the Astros and Yankees has bumped the UEFA Champions League programming this week off FS1, which has ended up causing a domino-effect for soccer games that will cause confusion and havoc for many soccer fans in the United States.

Tuesday’s match between Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur was originally scheduled to be televised live on FS1, but due to the baseball game, the Champions League match has been bumped to FS2.

Icardi hat-trick as Inter reign in Milan

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Milan (AFP) – Mauro Icardi scored a hat-trick as Inter Milan kept pace with leaders Napoli with a 3-2 defeat of city rivals AC Milan in a fiery Serie A derby clash on Sunday.

Inter skipper Icardi sealed victory from the spot in the final minute in front of 80,000 spectators at the San Siro to complete his hat-trick after also scoring on 28 and 63 minutes.

Mitroglou rescues Marseille as Mandanda sets record

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Paris (AFP) – Greece striker Kostas Mitroglou netted a late equaliser on his first Marseille start to salvage a point in Sunday’s 3-3 draw at Strasbourg as Steve Mandanda made a club record 453rd appearance.

Dimitri Payet gave Marseille the lead on five minutes, but Jean Eudes Aholou’s deflected shot pulled Strasbourg level before Morgan Sanson’s cross made it 2-1 to the visitors just after the break.

Valencia storm to second in nine-goal thriller

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Madrid (AFP) – Valencia withstood a late onslaught from Real Betis to move up to second with an enthralling 6-3 win at the Benito Villamarin on Sunday.

The visitors looked to be cruising to a fifth win in eight games this season as Geoffrey Kondogbia, Goncalo Guedes, Rodrigo and Santi Mina fired them into a 4-0 lead with just over 10 minutes to go.

Leverkusen stumble to draw against Wolfsburg

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Berlin (AFP) – Bayer Leverkusen’s poor start to the Bundesliga season continued on Sunday, as they twice threw away a lead to draw 2-2 with Wolfsburg.

Dominant in the opening half an hour, Leverkusen finally broke the deadlock on 29 minutes. Lars Bender fired the ball in from close range to score his first goal since April 2016.

Rooney rides to Everton’s rescue, Gabbiadini saves Saints

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London (AFP) – Wayne Rooney came to Ronald Koeman’s rescue as the Everton striker’s last-gasp penalty salvaged a 1-1 draw at Brighton, while Manolo Gabbiadini’s brace gave Southampton a 2-2 draw against Newcastle on Sunday.

Everton boss Koeman was on the brink of another damaging defeat after Anthony Knockaert put Brighton ahead eight minutes from full-time at the Amex Stadium.

Rooney rides to Everton’s rescue

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London (AFP) – Wayne Rooney came to Ronald Koeman’s rescue as the Everton striker’s last-gasp penalty salvaged a 1-1 draw at Brighton on Sunday.

Everton boss Koeman was on the brink of another damaging defeat after Anthony Knockaert put Brighton ahead eight minutes from full-time at the Amex Stadium.

Wenger rues Arsenal panic after penalty dispute

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Watford (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Arsene Wenger believes a “scandalous” penalty was the main reason why his Arsenal side ended up losing 2-1 at Watford on Saturday.

The result lifted Marco Silva’s Hornets into fourth place in the Premier League on a day when Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea also all dropped points.

Atletico-Barca ‘spectacle’ overshadows political backdrop

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Madrid (AFP) – Players and coaches of both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona hailed the atmosphere at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday as the thrills of a 1-1 draw drowned out fears the match would be overshadowed by political tension sweeping across Spain.

Barca’s previous match was played behind closed doors as a protest to a violent police crackdown on an independence referendum in Catalonia, deemed illegal by the Spanish government, on October 1.

Where to find Inter vs. AC Milan on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Inter vs. AC Milan in the Premier League northwest derby, you’ve come to the right place.

Based on the respective focus each of these two teams had on them during the summer transfer window, it’s a surprise to many that on the brink of this Derby della Madonnina Inter Milan are looking in better shape than AC Milan.

FIFA grants extra day for New Zealand, Peru play-off

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Wellington (AFP) – New Zealand and Peru’s intercontinental World Cup play-off will begin in Wellington on November 11 with an extended four-day break before the return match in Lima, according to dates released on Sunday.

The two-legged play-off has been extended by a day to take into account the huge distance between the two countries.

Australia unity call as dates set for World Cup play-off

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Sydney (AFP) – Australian football chiefs called for unity as the dates were confirmed for their World Cup play-off against Honduras, with the team rattled by reports coach Ange Postecoglou could quit.

A brace from veteran striker Tim Cahill in a 2-1 win over Syria last week moved the Socceroos a step closer to a place at the 2018 Russia tournament.

Guardiola hails City’s magnificent seven

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City produced the best performance of his reign in their swaggering 7-2 thrashing of Stoke City on Saturday.

Kevin De Bruyne was outstanding, producing two assists and playing a part in three more goals as City scored seven goals for the first time since Guardiola took charge in July 2016.

Pochettino relieved after Spurs end Wembley woes

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London (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino has called on his Tottenham side to kick on at Wembley after finally breaking their Premier League hoodoo at their temporary home.

Christian Eriksen’s goal shortly after half-time ensured Spurs beat Bournemouth 1-0 for their first home league win of the season at their fourth attempt.

Mourinho, Klopp at odds over Anfield stalemate

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Liverpool (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp pointed the finger of blame at each other after their teams’ much-anticipated showdown ended in a forgettable 0-0 draw.

Having averaged 3.2 goals per game prior to Saturday’s game, United changed tack for the trip to Anfield, producing an extremely cautious display that moved Klopp to assert the visitors had played for a point.

Chelsea in a ‘difficult moment’ admits Conte

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London (AFP) – Antonio Conte admits Chelsea are going through a “difficult moment” after the Premier League champions crashed to a shock 2-1 defeat at lowly Crystal Palace.

The loss left Conte’s side nine points adrift of leaders Manchester City and the pain was compounded by a hamstring injury to Victor Moses that will rule the wing-back out of Wednesday’s Champions League meeting with Roma.

Napoli pull clear as Lazio topple Juventus

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Milan (AFP) – Ciro Immobile’s second-half brace for Lazio condemned Serie A champions Juventus to a first home defeat in over two years, a 2-1 loss on Saturday that allowed Napoli to pull clear by beating Roma 1-0.

Paulo Dybala missed a late penalty as the Turin giants lost at home for the first time since August 2015 - ending a run of 38 wins and three draws for the six-time consecutive Serie A winners.

Suarez earns Barca point at Atletico, Ronaldo rescues Real

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Madrid (AFP) – Luis Suarez saved Barcelona’s unbeaten La Liga record this season by salvaging a 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid on Saturday in a match laced with political tension amid Catalonia’s drive for independence.

Saul Niguez’s spectacular strike had given Atletico an early advantage.

Cleverley strikes late as Watford rock Arsenal

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Watford (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Arsenal’s four-game winning run came to a stunning end at Watford as Tom Cleverley’s stoppage-time strike sealed a dramatic 2-1 victory over the Gunners on Saturday.

Per Mertesacker’s first Premier League goal in 1,400 days had given Arsene Wenger’s side the platform to maintain their recent surge.

PSG fight to go six clear in France

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Paris (AFP) – A Thomas Meunier brace gave Paris Saint-Germain a hard-fought 2-1 win at Dijon in Ligue 1 on Saturday after the hosts thought they’d earned a late draw through Benjamin Jeannot’s stunning volley.

The result gives PSG, whose chairman Nasser al-Khelaifi is under investigation in his capacity as beIN Media chief over the sale of World Cup broadcasting rights, a six-point lead over second-placed Monaco who lost 3-2 at Lyon on Friday.

Barca met with wash of Spanish flags in Madrid

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid ultras waved hundreds of Spanish flags and shouted “Viva Espana” (long live Spain) ahead of their clash with Barcelona on Saturday in a match laced with political tension amid Catalonia’s drive for independence.

The game is Barca’s first trip to the Spanish capital since an independence referendum, deemed illegal by the Spanish government, was marred by violence on October 1.

Immobile brace ends Juventus run

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Milan (AFP) – Ciro Immobile scored a second-half brace as Lazio won 2-1 in Turin to inflict a first home defeat in two years on Serie A champions Juventus on Saturday.

Juventus’ top scorer Paulo Dybala missed a late penalty as Juventus lost at home for the first time since against Udinese in August 2015.

Football: Bayern thrash Freiburg on Heynckes return

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Berlin (AFP) – Jupp Heynckes made a perfect start to his fourth spell as Bayern Munich coach with a 5-0 thrashing of Freiburg at the Allianz Arena on Saturday, as Borussia Dortmund’s Bundesliga lead was cut by a 3-2 home loss to RB Leipzig.

An own goal from Julian Schuster put Bayern in front on seven minutes, and a flying header from Kingsley Coman doubled the lead shortly before half-time.

Seven up City put Stoke to the sword

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Gabriel Jesus scored twice as Manchester City produced an outstanding display to thrash Stoke 7-2 and move two points clear at the top of the Premier League on Saturday.

City scored seven goals for the first time under Pep Guardiola, and for only the second time in the Premier League, as Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Fernandinho, Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva were also on target at Eastlands.

Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman illustrate stark contrast in their analysis of USA’s World Cup disaster

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In the wake of the disastrous World Cup qualifying campaign that culminated in a 2-1 loss Tuesday night against Trinidad and Tobago, it was surprising to see the differing approaches from the two most high-profile analysts of the US Men’s National Team. In one corner, you had FOX Sports Alexi Lalas, guardian of the status quo and US Soccer system.

Late Ronaldo winner rescues Real at Getafe

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo struck his first La Liga goal of the season five minutes from time to save Real Madrid from losing more ground in the title race with a hard-fought 2-1 win at Getafe on Saturday.

Real looked on course for a comfortable three points when Karim Benzema fired the visitors into a deserved half-time lead.

City crush Stoke with magnificent seven, Palace stun Chelsea

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London (AFP) – Manchester City maintained their blistering start to the season as the Premier League leaders demolished Stoke City 7-2, while champions Chelsea crashed to a shock 2-1 defeat at lowly Crystal Palace on Saturday.

With second-placed Manchester United settling for a drab stalemate at Anfield earlier in the day, it was their Manchester rivals who provided the thrills as City moved two points clear at the top.

Bayern thrash Freiburg on Heynckes return

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Berlin (AFP) – Jupp Heynckes made a perfect start to his fourth spell as Bayern Munich coach with a 5-0 thrashing of Freiburg at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

An own goal from Julian Schuster put Bayern in front on seven minutes, and a flying header from Kingsley Coman doubled the lead shortly before half-time.

Zaha inspires Palace to Chelsea win

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London (AFP) – Wilfried Zaha returned to inspire bottom club Crystal Palace to their first win and first goals of the Premier League campaign with a shock 2-1 defeat of champions Chelsea on Saturday.

Hodgson’s side finally broke their seven-game goal drought when Yohan Cabaye’s 11th-minute shot deflected in off Cesar Azpilicueta, prompting a huge outpouring of relief around Selhurst Park.

Eriksen strike ends Spurs’ Wembley hoodoo

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London (AFP) – Christian Eriksen ensured Tottenham Hotspur ended their Wembley hoodoo with a 1-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday, after three Premier League games at their temporary home without a victory.

Tottenham were not at their best and rode their luck at times, but for manager Maurico Pochettino the victory will come as a welcome relief, while Bournemouth continue to struggle at the wrong end of the table.

Palace score first league goal of the season

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London (AFP) – Crystal Palace finally scored their first Premier League goal this season as Cesar Azpilicueta’s own goal put them ahead against champions Chelsea on Saturday.

Palace had failed to score a single goal as they lost their first seven league games, but Roy Hodgson’s side gave their fans something to celebrate in the 11th minute at Selhurst Park.

Mourinho stifles, Liverpool misfire in snore draw

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Liverpool (AFP) – Manchester United ceded the initiative in the Premier League title race after drawing 0-0 with arch foes Liverpool in a drab game at Anfield on Saturday.

Despite his side having previously matched leaders Manchester City stride for stride, United manager Jose Mourinho resorted to familiar spoiling tactics that meant his team registered just one shot on target.

Cabaye ends Palace’s wait for first league goal

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London (AFP) – Crystal Palace finally scored their first Premier League goal this season as Yohan Cabaye put them ahead against champions Chelsea on Saturday.

Palace had failed to score a single goal as they lost their first seven league games, but Roy Hodgson’s side gave their fans something to celebrate in the 11th minute at Selhurst Park.

Man Utd held at Liverpool as Mourinho parks bus

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Liverpool (AFP) – Manchester United ceded the initiative in the Premier League title race after drawing 0-0 with arch foes Liverpool in a drab game at Anfield on Saturday.

Despite his side having previously matched leaders Manchester City stride for stride, United manager Jose Mourinho resorted to familiar spoiling tactics that meant his team registered just one shot on target.

Where to find Juventus vs. Lazio on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Juventus vs. Lazio in Serie A, you’ve come to the right place.

Juventus faces Lazio Saturday in the first Derby della Madonnina of the season. The Turin teams are only separated by three points near the top of the Serie A table.

Match: Juventus vs.

Where to find Dijon vs. PSG on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Dijon vs. PSG in Ligue 1, you’ve come to the right place.

After a two week international break, the stars from around the world return to club soccer action this weekend highlighted by Paris Saint-Germain traveling to Dijon in Ligue 1.

Where to find Wolves vs. Aston Villa on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Wolves vs. Aston Villa in the Championship, you’ve come to the right place.

The first Wolves-Aston Villa derby of the season kicks off in the Championship at 12:30pm ET on Saturday for viewers in the United States. While the game isn’t on television, you can stream it to your TV, smartphone, tablet or computer by following the steps below.

Milan football derby fever rages from Chinatown to Beijing

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Milan (AFP) – Italy’s traditional derby match between footballing giants Inter and AC Milan now has a distinct Asian flavour and following, fuelled by multi-million dollar investments by the Chinese owners of the two clubs.

Sunday’s derby has gripped Milan including the city’s Chinatown district - and the football fever has spread as far as the Chinese capital Beijing.

‘No impact’ on PSG from president’s probe

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Paris (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain are unaffected by the World Cup corruption investigation launched against chairman Nasser al-Khelaifi, a source close to the club has told AFP.

Swiss prosecutors revealed this week they are probing Khelaifi, who heads the Qatari-owned beIN Media group, and disgraced former FIFA executive Jerome Valcke over the sale of media rights for World Cups from 2018-2030.

Where to find Liverpool vs. Manchester United on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Liverpool vs. Manchester United in the Premier League northwest derby, you’ve come to the right place.

Manchester United, who are coming off a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace, are level on points with first-place Manchester City, and remain unbeaten in the Premier League this season (six wins, one draw).

Monaco beaten by late Lyon thunderbolt goal

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Paris (AFP) – Nabil Fekir’s last-gasp free-kick delivered three crucial points to Lyon in Ligue 1 Friday as their captain sealed a 3-2 home win over champions Monaco.

The defeat of the second-placed southerners offers Paris Saint-Germain the chance to climb six points clear at Dijon on Saturday.

Mourinho surprised by Martinez handling of Fellaini

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Mourinho has admitted his surprise that Marouane Fellaini was used by Belgium manager Roberto Martinez in a World Cup qualifier which ended with the Manchester United midfielder suffering an injury.

Prior to the last international break, Mourinho had said he expected Fellaini to be rested by Martinez.

Guardiola tries to heal Pochettino rift

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola has moved to placate Mauricio Pochettino after the Manchester City manager was accused of disrespect by his Tottenham Hotspur counterpart.

Pochettino is annoyed that Guardiola recently described Spurs as “the Harry Kane team” after citing Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United as City’s main rivals for the Premier League title.

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for October 5-11, 2017

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The United States Men’s National Team’s 4-0 victory over Panama in the penultimate round of the “Hex” last Friday was the most-watched soccer match of the week as 1.152 million viewers tuned into the English-language broadcast on ESPN2 and another 1.5 million watched Univision’s Spanish-language broadcasts.

Russian champions Spartak edge Akhmat

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Moscow (AFP) – Russian champions Spartak Moscow claimed a 2-1 win at Akhmat Grozny on Friday, as substitute Lorenzo Melgarejo scored the winner.

Captain Denis Glushakov gave the visitors an early lead, and although Brazilian Rodolfo equalised from the penalty spot for Akhmat, Paraguayan Melgarejo grabbed all three points just four minutes after coming off the bench.

EPL commentator assignments on NBC Sports, Gameweek 8

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Second-place Manchester United visit Liverpool in a match between the two most successful clubs in the history of English football, this Saturday, October 14, at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and Universo, kicking off NBC Sports Group’s Premier League coverage this week. Manchester United, who are coming off a 4-0 win over Crystal Palace, are level on points with first-place Manchester City, and remain unbeaten in the Premier League this season (six wins, one draw).

Arena resigns as US soccer coach after World Cup failure

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Chicago (AFP) – Bruce Arena, called upon last November to replace Jurgen Klinsmann as coach of the United States, resigned Friday, three days after the Americans failed to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia.

The 66-year-old Arena, who guided the US team into the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals and also coached the squad into the 2006 World Cup, said failing to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1986 was a “major setback.

Italian police seize villa in World Cup corruption probe

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Rome (AFP) – PSG chairman and beIN Media chief Nasser al-Khelaifi faced new accusations Friday as Italian police seized a villa in Sardinia used as “a means of corruption” in a World Cup media rights scandal.

Italian police, who have searched the luxury villa in Porto Cervo, said Khelaifi had put the property at the disposal of disgraced ex-FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke.

PSG chairman and BeIN media chief Khelaifi faces fresh accusations

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Rome (AFP) – PSG chairman and beIN Media chief Nasser al-Khelaifi faced fresh accusations Friday as Italian police said he had put a Sardinian villa at the disposal of disgraced ex-FIFA executive Jerome Valcke.

Italian police, who searched the villa on Thursday, said Khelaifi had used the property as “a means of corruption”.

Spain to play Russia in friendly: Spanish football federation

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Madrid (AFP) – Spain will play 2018 World Cup hosts Russia on November 14 as part of their build-up for next summer’s finals, the Spanish football federation (RFEF) announced Friday.

The RFEF said they had also organised a game against 2014 World Cup quarter-finalists Costa Rica on November 11 in Malaga.

Guardiola wants Mendy replacement in January

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has indicated his main priority in the January transfer window will be to buy a replacement for injured defender Benjamin Mendy.

France left-back Mendy will be out for the next six months after suffering cruciate knee ligament damage during City’s victory over Crystal Palace on September 23.

Newcastle punch up pair make peace

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London (AFP) – Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez says Jamaal Lascelles and Mohamed Diame have patched up their differences after a training ground flare up.

Senegal international Diame and Newcastle’s combative English captain Lascelles came to blows during a recent training session.

Qatar World Cup official hits back at criticism

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Doha (AFP) – A senior Qatar World Cup official took to social media Friday to re-assert the Gulf state will host the 2022 tournament, even as it faces a torrent of fresh criticism.

A defiant Nasser al-Khater, assistant secretary-general at Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, responded on Twitter after a noted critic claimed bookmakers had shortened odds on the World Cup being taken away from Qatar.

Zidane hungry for more ahead of Real century

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Madrid (AFP) – On the eve of his 100th match in charge of Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane insisted he maintains the same desire to succeed having already won seven trophies in his short coaching career.

Zidane’s Madrid became the first side to retain the Champions League in May, whilst he also ended a five-year wait to win La Liga last season on top of two European Super Cups, a Club World Cup and Spanish Super Cup.

Klopp unhappy over England’s use of Henderson

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London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has criticised England boss Gareth Southgate for overusing Jordan Henderson during the recent World Cup qualifiers.

Klopp is frustrated that Liverpool captain Henderson played the full 90 minutes in England’s matches against Slovenia and Lithuania.

Mackay hired as Scotland interim boss after World Cup woe

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Glasgow (AFP) – Malky Mackay has been appointed as Scotland’s interim manager as the search for Gordon Strachan’s successor starts after the team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.

Mackay was working as Scottish Football Association’s performance director and, following Strachan’s exit on Thursday, he will now oversee the friendly against the Netherlands at Pittodrie on November 9.

Mourinho says relishing United’s trip to ‘beautiful’ Anfield

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jose Mourinho has described Liverpool’s Anfield stadium as a ‘beautiful place’ and insisted his Manchester United stars will relish playing in such an intense atmosphere on Saturday.

Former United players Gary Neville and Mikael Silvestre spoke this week about the extraordinary hostility generated by their club’s visits to Anfield, and the tension that goes with it.

Why Tata Martino should be hired as Bruce Arena’s replacement for USMNT

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With Bruce Arena announcing that he has stepped down as US Men’s National Team coach, now is the time for the US to start looking for a permanent new manager. They need someone who can get them back on track and start winning games again and get the US to the World Cup in 2022 and quite honestly they need someone who can do it with some sizzle and panache.

Chelsea’s Kante ruled out for three weeks

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London (AFP) – Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says that France midfielder N’Golo Kante will be sidelined for three weeks after suffering a hamstring injury on international duty.

Kante was forced off in the first half of France’s World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria last weekend and Conte expects him to be out for the rest of October.

Pochettino slams ‘disrespectful’ Guardiola over Kane jibe

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London (AFP) – Mauricio Pochettino accused Pep Guardiola of being disrespectful after the Manchester City manager claimed Harry Kane’s prolific form is the only reason for Tottenham Hotspur’s success.

Kane has scored 11 goals in his last six appearances for Spurs to keep Pochettino’s side in touch with Premier League leaders City.

Arsenal and England still crossing their fingers over Jack Wilshere’s fitness

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Occasional England international Jack Wilshere has certainly endured his fair share of injuries during his professional career. Since making his first team debut with Arsenal during the 2008/09 campaign, he has only managed to play more than 25 Premier League matches just twice (including last year’s loan spell at Bournemouth).

Chelsea’s Kante out for three weeks with hamstring injury

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London (AFP) – Chelsea manager Antonio Conte says France midfielder N’Golo Kante will be sidelined for three weeks after suffering a hamstring injury on international duty.

Kante was forced off in the first half of France’s World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria last weekend and Conte expects him to be out for the rest of October.

Barcelona travel to Atletico Madrid amid Catalan crisis

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Madrid (AFP) – The biggest game of the La Liga season so far is shrouded in political tension as Barcelona visit Atletico Madrid on Saturday in their first trip to the Spanish capital since a Catalan independence referendum marred by violence.

Barca played their last match behind closed doors as the October 1 referendum, deemed illegal by the Spanish government, took place amid chaotic scenes as police seized ballot papers and clashed with voters leaving 92 injured, among nearly 900 who sought medical attention.

Bayern Munich boss Heynckes starts fourth stint

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Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich will play their first game under returning coach Jupp Heynckes when they host Freiburg this Saturday.

The 72-year-old, who won the treble with the club in 2013, is tasked with reviving Bayern’s stuttering season after his predecessor Carlo Ancelotti was dismissed two weeks ago.

AC Milan to face Inter in Chinese-owned city derby

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Milan (AFP) – Vincenzo Montella will be in the firing line as AC Milan look to kick-start their season against city rivals Inter in the highly-anticipated derby of the Chinese-owned sides on Sunday.

The clash takes on even more significance as both teams are now under Chinese ownership - Inter on the payroll of the Suning Group and Milan, the Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux Group.

Russian leaders Zenit bidding to stay unbeaten

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Moscow (AFP) – Russian Premier League leaders Zenit St Petersburg return from the international break looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign against Arsenal Tula on Sunday.

Roberto Mancini’s men unexpectedly dropped points in a 2-2 draw at bottom club Anzhi Makhachlala in their previous league match, but are two points clear of second-placed Lokomotiv Moscow, who visit Ufa.

Unfounded arrogance cost US Soccer place at World Cup

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In the aftermath of the United States’ stunning failure to quality for the World Cup for the first time in more than thirty years, it’s clear that U.S. Soccer has serious structural problems that need fixing.

We need to lower costs and remove barriers to entry for young players across the country – especially in lower-income, urban areas.

Tottenham Hotspur lack financial might – Pochettino

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London (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino admitted that Spurs cannot compete with the two Manchester clubs, who are level on points at the top of the Premier League, in the transfer market.

Pochettino’s side face struggling Bournemouth at Wembley on Saturday, hoping to close the five-point gap to leaders Manchester City and second-placed Manchester United.

Swiss target PSG boss, ex-FIFA exec in World Cup rights probe

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Geneva (AFP) – Swiss prosecutors have opened a criminal corruption probe targeting the head of Paris Saint-Germain football club Nasser Al-Khelaifi and disgraced former FIFA executive Jerome Valcke over the sale of media rights for upcoming World Cups.

The Swiss attorney general’s office (OAG) said the probe opened in March and centres on allegations including bribery, fraud, criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document.

Toure pledges help to fight racism at World Cup

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Paris (AFP) – Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has warned that the World Cup in Russia could be a “big mess” if the tournament is blighted by racism, but vowed to help tackle the problem.

The 34-year-old Toure has personal experience of racial abuse in Russia after he was targeted by chants in 2013 when playing for City against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.

beIN graft claims test limit of Qatar’s soft power

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Doha (AFP) – Thursday’s bombshell announcement that the Swiss are investigating Qatar’s Nasser Al-Khelaifi and a disgraced former senior FIFA executive on corruption charges places the emirate and world football back under scrutiny.

Investigators are examining allegations of bribery surrounding Khelaifi, head of the Doha-based beIN media group, and ex-FIFA secretary general, Jerome Valcke, over the sale of World Cup media rights for football’s flagship tournament.

Mascherano to quit Argentina after World Cup

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Buenos Aires (AFP) – Veteran Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano said Thursday he will step down from international duty after the 2018 World Cup.

The versatile Barcelona star, who turns 34 next June, is Argentina’s second most-capped player with 139 appearances for his country and played in the 2014 World Cup final defeat to Germany.

Ghana knock India out of U-17 World Cup with 4-0 thrashing

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New Delhi (AFP) – Forward Eric Ayiah scored twice as Ghana crushed India 4-0 to knock the hosts out of the Under-17 FIFA World Cup in New Delhi on Thursday.

Ayiah scored a goal in each half - in the 43rd and 52nd minute - to lead the two-time champions into the last-16 stage of the 24-nation event.

Aboubakar extends Porto deal

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Lisbon (AFP) – Cameroonian international striker Vincent Aboubakar has signed a contract extension that will keep him at Porto until 2021, the Portuguese side announced on Thursday.

The 25-year-old is Porto’s top scorer so far this season with eight goals, two of which came in a 3-0 Champions League win at Monaco.

Ex-Marseille player Diawara sent back to court

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Digne-les-Bains (France) (AFP) – Former Marseille defender Souleymane Diawara is expected to be tried in France for a case of extortion that saw him held in custody for two-and-a-half months in 2015, a judicial source said Thursday.

The 38-year-old was arrested in April 2015 on suspicion of trying to take the law into his own hands by attempting to recover 49,800 euros ($58,950) from a car dealer who allegedly sold him a stolen Porsche.

Strachan steps down as Scotland football manager

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London (AFP) – Gordon Strachan has stepped down as Scotland manager following the team’s failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup, the Scottish Football Association announced on Thursday.

The SFA said Strachan and his assistant Mark McGhee would leave “with immediate effect” to give his successor maximum time to prepare for the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.

Swiss probe PSG’s Al-Khelaifi and ex-FIFA executive over corruption

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Geneva (AFP) – Switzerland said Thursday it has opened a criminal corruption probe targeting the head of Paris Saint-Germain football club and BEIN media, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, and disgraced former FIFA executive Jerome Valcke.

The allegations against the powerful Qatari sports executive Al-Khelaifi and Valcke, who was Sepp Blatter’s long-serving right-hand man at FIFA, relate to the sale of media rights for upcoming World Cups.

Bad hair day but Khedira set for Juventus return

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – Sami Khedira has taken a swipe at the makers of FIFA 18 on Thursday for getting his hair wrong in the latest edition of the popular video game.

While many players such as Chelsea’s Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi and Manchester City’s France defender Benjamin Mendy are unhappy with their FIFA ranking, Khedira is unhappy with his look.

Top 5 must-see soccer games on TV this weekend

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In recent years Serie A has shed its reputation as a league of defensively-minded and one-paced soccer. Now the Italian top flight is packed with enterprising and aesthetic outfits, and with so many illustrious names in the division, regular big-name clashes.

This weekend there are three of those.

Bayern have ‘no more excuses’, says Mueller

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Ingolstadt (Germany) (AFP) – Bayern Munich have “no more excuses”, interim captain Thomas Mueller told AFP after veteran German coach Jupp Heynckes took over as manager of the Bundesliga champions.

Heynckes, 72, came out of retirement to take charge of the squad - his fourth stint with Bayern - when Carlo Ancelotti was sacked after a stinging 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

Adrien Silva trains with Leicester as club mulls transfer appeal

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London (AFP) – Adrien Silva is now training with Leicester City while the Premier League club consider going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over his transfer saga.

The Foxes’ appeal to FIFA to secure the registration of the Portuguese midfielder was last week rejected by world football’s governing body.

When a soccer culture depends too much on a national team, it’s doomed to failure

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When the final whistle sounded in Trinidad and Tobago Tuesday night, and the United States failed to qualify for its first World Cup since the lamentable era of the 1980’s American soccer, the predictable “soccer will die in the US” comments began being made.

Not so fast.

The mistake so many have made in the marketing of sport in this country from FOX Sports to MLS to other media entities is to link perceptions of the sport’s popularity and importance to the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) .

Strachan steps down as Scotland manager

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London (AFP) – Gordon Strachan has stepped down as Scotland manager following the team’s failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup, the Scottish Football Association announced on Thursday.

The SFA said Strachan and his assistant Mark McGhee would leave “with immediate effect” to give his successor maximum time to prepare for the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.

Swiss open corruption probe against PSG’s Al-Khelaifi, ex-FIFA executive Valcke

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Geneva (AFP) – Switzerland has opened a criminal probe targeting Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the president of Paris Saint-Germain, and FIFA’s former secretary general Jerome Valcke, over alleged corruption in the sale of World Cup media rights.

“The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland has opened a criminal proceeding against the former Secretary General of FIFA and against the Chief Executive Officer of the BEIN MEDIA GROUP LLC in connection with the award of World Cup media rights,” said the statement on Thursday from Swiss prosecutors, referring to Valcke and Al-Khelaifi.

Derek Rae joins NBC Sports to boost its Premier League TV coverage

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In a period of dark and depressing news for soccer fans in the United States, the best news this week is that Derek Rae has been signed by NBC Sports to be a match commentator.

Rae’s debut for NBC Sports will be the Liverpool-Manchester United match, which will be televised live in the United States on NBCSN at 7:30am ET on Saturday.

Falcao-less Monaco bid to put pressure on PSG

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Paris (AFP) – French champions Monaco will make the tricky trip to Lyon on Friday without red-hot striker Radamel Falcao, as they look to keep up the pressure on Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

Leonardo Jardim’s side dropped two points with a 1-1 home draw against Montpellier before the international break to slip three points adrift of PSG at the top of the table.

Dutch ponder total flopball after World Cup failure

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The Hague (AFP) – Dutch football fans are in mourning after the once mighty Oranje failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, plunging the inventors of “total football” into a collective bout of soul-searching.

Not even two goals from retiring legend Arjen Robben against Sweden could save the stuttering Dutch football machine, which now has the dubious distinction of failing to make it to two major football competitions in a row.

Ousted FIFA executive Warner rejoices in US World Cup flop

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Washington (AFP) – Disgraced former FIFA vice president Jack Warner, the Trinidad businessman banned for life from football after charges in a US corruption investigation, was joyful at the Americans ouster from the 2018 World Cup.

“I wanted to party,” Warner said in a Trinidad radio interview, according to a story on the Trinidad Express newspaper website.

Iraqi football fans united by love of European teams

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Baghdad (AFP) – Iraqi football supporters decked out in red cram into a cafe in Baghdad to cheer on their shared love - Manchester United.

Shouting, cursing and - eventually - celebrating, they watch as the team from the north of England notches up a win half way around the globe.

Calls abound for Gulati ouster after US World Cup failure

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New York (AFP) – Calls to oust US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati abounded on Wednesday as the humiliation sunk in of the Americans failing to qualify for the 2018 Russia World Cup.

A 2-1 loss Tuesday at Trinidad and Tobago combined with triumphs by Honduras and Panama eliminated the US squad, which had not misssed a World Cup since 1986.

Arnold, Muscat named as potential Socceroos coaches

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Sydney (AFP) – Graham Arnold and hardman Kevin Muscat were named as potential Australia coaches on Thursday after Ange Postecoglou failed to allay fears he’ll quit even if the Socceroos qualify for the World Cup.

Postecoglou declined to confirm or deny reports Wednesday that he planned to walk, either before or after the Socceroos face Honduras in a critical home-and-away play-off next month for a place at the 2018 Russia tournament.

Wenger admits Ozil, Sanchez could leave in January

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London (AFP) – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger conceded on Thursday he may have no option but to sell star players Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in the January transfer window.

The pair are both out of contract at the end of the season and are yet to agree new deals.

As things stand, they will be able to leave the Emirates Stadium for free, meaning January will be Arsenal’s last opportunity to cash in on their two most high-profile players.

Swiss club chief banned after slapping pundit

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Lausanne (AFP) – Sion club president Christian Constantin, caught on tape slapping a prominent critic in the face after a match last month, has been banned for 14 months, the Swiss Football League said Thursday.

Constantin’s assault of former Swiss national team coach and current TV pundit Rolf Fringer on September 21 also earned him a 100,000 Swiss franc ($103,000, 87,000 euros) fine.

Football: China drafts in foreign refs to halt controversies

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Shanghai (AFP) – The Chinese FA said Thursday it will bring in foreign referees to officiate selected Super League games starting this weekend and later introduce the use of video replay in response to recent pitch controversies.

Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson will oversee Saturday’s game between Tianjin Quanjian and Shandong Luneng, accompanied by another two Swedish assistants, the Chinese Football Association said on its website.

Inside Germany’s football factory

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Gelsenkirchen (Germany) (AFP) – Schalke 04 are a sleeping giant in the German league, yet their youth academy is one of Germany’s most successful, producing World Cup winners, Bundesliga stars and Premier League exports.

Germany has just qualified for Russia 2018, where they will defend the World Cup title they won in Brazil when four former members of Schalke’s academy were in the squad.

MLS cannot escape blame for US implosion in World Cup qualifying

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The United States’ failure to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is a devastating blow for the sport in this country, but it’s also a clear reflection of how much of a damaging effect the top-flight league has had on the national team in the last number of years.

Coached by Bruce Arena, who has never coached a professional club team outside of the United States, he fielded a team on Tuesday night that was made entirely out of current MLS or former MLS players, except one - Christian Pulisic, the one star that continues to be light years ahead of anyone in the US player squad.

Chile’s ‘warrior’ Vidal backtracks over retirement

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Paris (AFP) – Arturo Vidal produced a 180-degree turn on Wednesday insisting he was a “warrior” who would “never abandon” Chile, just hours after seemingly announcing his retirement.

“Every time I’m called, I’ll be available to the national team,” the 30-year-old said on Twitter.

Larsen returns injured from Denmark World Cup duty

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Milan (AFP) – Udinese’s Danish international defender Jens Stryger Larsen has returned injured from World Cup duty, the Serie A club said on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old limped off just before half-time with a hamstring injury in Tuesday’s shock 1-0 World Cup qualifying defeat at home to Montenegro.

After US World Cup disaster, the USMNT players that should stay or leave player pool

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The US isn’t going to the World Cup. As shocking as that is, it’s the reality of the situation. The US were quite frankly terrible throughout the entirety of qualification (even going back to the semi-final round where they needed a 4-0 win against Guatemala to avoid being dumped out) and honestly deserved this fate.

Scholes interviewed for Oldham manager job – reports

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London (AFP) – Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has been interviewed for the vacant manager’s job at English third-tier club Oldham Athletic, British media reported on Wednesday.

The 42-year-old is a life-long Oldham supporter, but has never held a full-time coaching job.

The northwest club declined to comment on the reports they had spoken to the former England midfielder about the job.

Real keeper Navas suffers groin injury

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas suffered a groin injury while on international duty with Costa Rica, the La Liga club announced on Wednesday.

The European champions confirmed that Navas had a “swollen adductor muscle in his right groin” in a statement on their website, but did not say how long the 30-year-old would be out of action.

No Colombia pact, insists Peru’s Tapia

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Lima (AFP) – Peru’s Renato Tapia admitted discussing World Cup qualification with Colombia captain Radamel Falcao during their match on Tuesday night but denied making a pact.

Falcao, who plays his club football for French Ligue 1 side Monaco, was seen in discussion with Peruvian players with his hand covering his mouth towards the end of the 1-1 draw in Lima.

The darkest day in US Soccer history: World Soccer Talk Podcast

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World Soccer Talk is the weekly soccer podcast on the topic of watching soccer on TV, online and apps.

In the NEW episode, number 46, Kartik Krishnaiyer and Christopher Harris cover a range of topics including:

• Dissecting one of the darkest days in US Soccer history,

• How the World Cup crash may impact FOX Sports,

• We reveal which legendary commentator has joined NBC Sports to boost their Premier League coverage,

• What FOX Sports has in store for the penultimate day of the MLS season and much more.

Valcke at CAS to appeal 10-year corruption ban

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Lausanne (AFP) – FIFA’s former secretary general Jerome Valcke was at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne on Wednesday to appeal his 10-year ban from football.

Valcke was given an initial 12-year ban, reduced by two years on appeal, by FIFA’s ethics committee over a ticket scam at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Panama president declares World Cup national holiday

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Panama City (AFP) – Panama president Juan Carlos Varela declared a national holiday in celebration at the central American country’s first ever qualification for the World Cup.

“It’s a historic day for the country. Tomorrow (Thursday) will be a national holiday for public and private sector workers,” Varela said on Twitter on Wednesday.

Sevilla’s Pareja to undergo groin operation

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Madrid (AFP) – Sevilla’s Argentine international centre-back Nico Pareja will go under the knife on Thursday to fix a groin injury, his La Liga team said on Wednesday.

Pareja, the Sevilla captain, faces “several weeks” on the sidelines following his operation in Barcelona, Sevilla said.

Barca promise to try again for Liverpool’s Coutinho

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona are planning a fresh assault on Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho in the January transfer window, the Catalan club’s CEO Oscar Grau promised on Wednesday.

Barca were thwarted in their attempt to prise Coutinho away from Anfield during the summer with Liverpool placing a reported 200 million euros ($238 million) asking price on the midfielder.

Portugal legend Figo becomes UEFA advisor

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Nyon (Switzerland) (AFP) – Former world player of the year Luis Figo has joined UEFA as a football advisor, European football’s governing body said on Wednesday.

The 44-year-old former Portugal star will work with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and UEFA’s Football Divison “across a variety of matters including technical aspects of the game, laws of the game and the overall attractiveness of the sport”.

Four Euro 2020 spots up for grabs in Nations League

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Paris (AFP) – Four Euro 2020 places will be on offer during UEFA’s new Nations League tournament, which starts next year, after European football’s governing body announced the schedule on Wednesday.

The four-division format means that one of Europe’s 16 lowest-ranked teams is guaranteed to qualify for the Euros.

Rose, Lamela return to Spurs training

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London (AFP) – Danny Rose and Erik Lamela are back in training with the Tottenham Hotspur first-team squad after long injury lay-offs, the Premier League club said Wednesday.

England full-back Rose has been sidelined since late January with a knee injury and Argentine midfielder Lamela has not played for nearly 12 months due to hip problems.

FIFA hits Pakistan with ban over ‘interference’

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Islamabad (AFP) – FIFA announced on Wednesday it has suspended the Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) for “third-party interference”, in a rare move by the sport’s governing body to issue a blanket ban targeting a country.

The suspension centres on an internal feud at the PFF.

What next for Barcelona FC in case of Catalan independence?

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Madrid (AFP) – Catalonia’s drive for independence from Spain could have wide-reaching consequences for the region’s football clubs, including the world famous Barcelona.

Catalan leaders signed a declaration of independence from Spain on Tuesday but immediately put it on hold and called for talks with Madrid to resolve the country’s worst political crisis in decades.

Messi hat-trick fires Argentina into World Cup

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Quito (AFP) – Lionel Messi scored a brilliant hat-trick as Argentina sealed their place at the 2018 World Cup with a 3-1 victory over Ecuador here Tuesday.

Barcelona superstar Messi single-handedly rescued Argentina’s World Cup hopes as the South American giants came from behind to win in Quito.

Football: 2018 World Cup CONCACAF qualifying results

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Los Angeles (AFP) – Results from 2018 World Cup qualifying games in North America, Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF) on Tuesday:

At Couva, Trinidad & Tobago

Trinidad & Tobago 2 (Gonzalez 17-og, Jones 37) United States 1 (Pulisic 47)

At Panama City

Panama 2 (Torres 52, 88) Costa Rica 1 (Venegas 36)

At San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Honduras 3 (Elis 34, Ochoa 53-og, Quioto 60) Mexico 2 (Peralta 17, Vela 37)

Trinidad and Tobago enact revenge on US with shock win in Caribbean

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Couva (Trinidad and Tobago) (AFP) – The United States failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 on Tuesday, crashing to a shock 2-1 defeat against already-eliminated Trinidad and Tobago.

In a result that will be viewed as a catastrophe for soccer in the United States, Trinidad took all three points via an Omar Gonzalez own goal and a superb strike from Alvin Jones.

Football: 2018 World Cup South America qualifying table

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Montevideo (AFP) – Final standings from 2018 World Cup South American qualifying competition (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, against, points)

Brazil-q 18 12 5 1 41 11 41

Uruguay-q 18 9 4 5 32 20 31

Argentina-q 18 7 7 4 19 16 28

Colombia-q 18 7 6 5 21 19 27

------------–

Peru-x 18 7 5 6 27 26 26

------------–

Chile 18 8 2 8 26 27 26

Paraguay 18 7 3 8 19 25 24

Ecuador 18 6 2 10 26 29 20

Bolivia 18 4 2 12 16 38 14

Venezuela 18 2 6 10 19 35 12

q-qualified for World Cup

x-qualified for intercontinental playoff against New Zealand

US knocked out of World Cup after Trinidad defeat

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Couva (Trinidad and Tobago) (AFP) – The United States failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 on Tuesday, crashing to a shock 2-1 defeat against already-eliminated Trinidad and Tobago.

In a result that will be viewed as a catastrophe for soccer in the United States, Trinidad took all three points via an Omar Gonzalez own goal and a superb strike from Alvin Jones.

Football: 2018 World Cup CONCACAF qualifying table

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Los Angeles (AFP) – Final standings from 2018 World Cup qualifying competition for North America, Central America and the Caribbean after games on Tuesday (played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, against, points):

Mexico-q 10 6 3 1 16 7 21

Costa Rica-q 10 4 4 2 14 8 16

Panama-q 10 3 4 3 9 10 13

--------------–

Honduras-x 10 3 4 3 13 19 13

--------------–

USA 10 3 3 4 17 13 12

Trinidad & Tobago 10 2 0 8 7 19 6

q-qualified for World Cup

x-qualified for intercontinental playoff against Australia

Socceroos coach ready to quit, reports say

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Sydney (AFP) – Australia coach Ange Postecoglou is set to sensationally quit, regardless of whether the Socceroos qualify for next year’s World Cup, reports said on Thursday.

Football Federation Australia was due to comment later on the reports, which come after Australia beat Syria in extra time on Wednesday to reach an intercontinental play-off for Russia 2018.

‘Thank God for Messi’ says relieved Argentina

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Buenos Aires (AFP) – A nation exploded with relief on Tuesday as Lionel Messi single-handedly dragged his Argentina team into next year’s World Cup finals with a spellbinding hat-trick in Quito.

“Messi is E.T. He’s from another planet. He’s not from this world,” Marco Mouras, a 28-year-old Brazilian said in a crowded Buenos Aires bar as Argentinians around him went wild, beer and pizza spilling onto the floor.

FOX Sports suffers $200 million hangover after US fails to qualify for World Cup

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The worst nightmare has come true for FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The United States has failed to qualify for the tournament for the first time in 32 years.

Earlier this year, FOX Sports President Eric Shanks joked that if the US Men’s National Team didn’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup “that would [be] like $200 million flushed down the toilet [for FOX Sports].

Blame Sunil Gulati for USA’s failure, not the players nor Bruce Arena

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An era of arrogance and excess at US Soccer has yielded what in hindsight was a predictable result. The United States have missed the FIFA World Cup for the first time in over thirty years.

Despite the good fortune the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) received with the weakness of CONCACAF opposition – Honduras is going through a rebuilding phase and Panama’s aging “Golden Generation” seemed to have missed their best shot at qualifying for the World Cup or winning continental silverware in the last cycle – the USMNT still managed to miss qualification.

Socceroos coach refuses to deny quit reports

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Sydney (AFP) – Australia coach Ange Postecoglou failed to confirm or deny reports he’s about to quit on Thursday, raising speculation he’ll walk away even if they qualify for the World Cup.

Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop also hinted at possible changes when he said the Socceroos needed to “lock in our set-up” after next month’s play-off with Honduras.

Messi treble fires Argentina to World Cup as Chile exit

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Montevideo (AFP) – Lionel Messi fired Argentina into the World Cup with a brilliant hat-trick on Tuesday as South American champions Chile suffered a shock elimination.

Messi single-handedly resurrected Argentina’s hopes in a 3-1 win over Ecuador in Quito that drew a line under a chaotic campaign that had left the two-time champions in danger of failing to qualify.

Gulf rivals trade barbs over 2022 World Cup in Qatar

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Doha (AFP) – Qatar reacted angrily Wednesday after its Gulf rival the United Arab Emirates questioned whether it should be allowed to host the 2022 football World Cup without a change of policy.

A UAE minister had said on Tuesday that Doha’s hosting of the tournament should include a commitment to fighting extremism, comments that threatened to engulf the sport in the diplomatic crisis that has riven the region since June.

World Cup failure will leave US Soccer shellshocked for years to come

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The unthinkable has happened. The United States will miss the 2018 World Cup.

Needing just a point at Trinidad and Tobago – or even a slice of luck in Panama or Honduras – the U.S. fell behind 2-0 in the first half and watched a nightmare unfold.

Honduras came from 2-1 down to beat Mexico 3-2.

Ronaldo, Portugal lock down World Cup berth

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Lisbon (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal defeated Switzerland 2-0 in Lisbon on Tuesday to earn a place at the 2018 World Cup and consign their opponents to next month’s play-offs.

An own goal from Johan Djourou handed the European champions the lead on 41 minutes and Andre Silva netted a second before the hour as Portugal finished top of Group B ahead of Switzerland on goal difference.

Portugal and France clinch World Cup spots

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Paris (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal and Antoine Griezmann’s France booked spots at the 2018 World Cup finals on Tuesday while the Netherlands crashed out.

Portugal beat Switzerland 2-0 in Lisbon thanks to a Johan Djourou own goal and an Andre Silva strike.

France needed goals from Griezmann and Olivier Giroud in a hard-fought 2-1 win over Belarus at the Stade de France.

Robben retires from Netherlands duty

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Amsterdam (AFP) – Netherlands captain Arjen Robben signalled the end of his international career on Tuesday after his country failed to reach the 2018 World Cup finals despite a 2-0 win over Sweden.

The Bayern Munich star signed off by scoring both goals in Amsterdam as the Dutch fell well short of the unlikely 7-0 win they needed to make the play-offs after a desperately disappointing qualifying campaign.

Ronaldo, Portugal lock down World Cup spot

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Lisbon (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal defeated Switzerland 2-0 in Lisbon on Tuesday to earn a place at the 2018 World Cup and consign their opponents to next month’s play-offs.

An own goal from Johan Djourou handed Portugal the lead on 41 minutes and Andre Silva netted a second before the hour as the hosts finished top of Group B ahead of Switzerland on goal difference.

France pass test to clinch World Cup spot

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Paris (AFP) – France clinched qualification for the World Cup thanks to goals from Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud in a hard-fought 2-1 win over Belarus on Tuesday.

Didier Deschamps’s side successfully completed their tricky challenge of beating Bulgaria and Belarus in their final two qualifiers.

Make or break for Messi and Argentina

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Quito (AFP) – Lionel Messi and Argentina will be fighting for their World Cup lives here Tuesday as the South American heavyweights take on Ecuador aiming to avoid a humiliating failure to qualify for next year’s finals in Russia.

The eyes of the football world will turn to Quito’s Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa to see if the once unthinkable prospect of a World Cup without Messi is to become a stunning reality.

Iran hold World Cup hosts Russia in Kazan

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Moscow (AFP) – World Cup hosts Russia drew 1-1 with Iran on Tuesday in a friendly that did little to dispel doubts about their ability to challenge the elite next year.

Zenit St Petersburg striker Dmitry Poloz came off the bench to cancel out Sardar Azmoun’s 57th-minute opener for the visitors.

Telemundo Deportes has final day of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers covered

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On the final day of World Cup qualifiers in the CONCACAF region, Telemundo Deportes has you covered with broadcasts of the three final matches between Trinidad and Tobago-United States, Honduras-Mexico and Panama-Costa Rica.

All three games will be streamed live.

Trinidad and Tobago vs.

Strachan’s future to be discussed by Scottish FA

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Glasgow (AFP) – Scotland manager Gordon Strachan will have his future discussed at a Scottish Football Association board meeting on Thursday after the country’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.

Strachan is out of contract next month and his five-year reign could be over as calls increase for his dismissal.

Manchester City’s Aguero back in training after car crash

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London (AFP) – Sergio Aguero gave Manchester City a welcome boost on Tuesday as the Argentina striker returned to training following his recent car crash.

Aguero sustained a broken rib when a taxi he was passenger in crashed on its way to Amsterdam airport last month.

The accident sparked fears Aguero could be out of action for up to two months.

Israel police dismiss report of knife incident at Spain match

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Jerusalem (AFP) – Israeli police dismissed on Tuesday local media reports that a pitch invader who ran towards Spanish attacker Isco at a World Cup qualifier in Jerusalem was carrying a knife.

Israeli news website Ynet cited security officials in the stadium as saying six fans entered the field as the game was ending late Monday, with one of them carrying a small knife in his sock.

Where to find Peru vs. Colombia World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Peru vs. Colombia in the World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

A win for Peru or Colombia will guarantee qualification for the World Cup, so expect a lot of fireworks in this match. Any other result and it depends on what happens in the other World Cup qualifying games played at the same time.

Make or break for Messi and Argentina in World Cup qualifier

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Quito (AFP) – Lionel Messi and Argentina will be fighting for their World Cup lives on Tuesday as the South American heavyweights take on Ecuador aiming to avoid a humiliating failure to qualify for next year’s finals in Russia.

The eyes of the football world will turn to Quito’s Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa to see if the once unthinkable prospect of a World Cup without Messi is to become a stunning reality.

Where to find Brazil vs. Chile World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Brazil vs. Chile in the World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

Brazil has already qualified for the World Cup, so all eyes will be on Chile who, as Copa America champions, faces the prospect of qualifying for the World Cup on Tuesday night.

Clubs chasing Premier League dream ‘risk bankruptcy’

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London (AFP) – English Football League clubs are risking bankruptcy by chasing promotion to the Premier League where they face “economic exhaustion” trying to compete with established sides, financial experts said on Tuesday.

Between the 2008-09 and 2015-16 seasons, 19 clubs gained promotion from the Championship to the top flight, with Hull, Norwich and QPR going up twice and Burnley three times.

Scottish FA say no rush over Strachan future

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Glasgow (AFP) – Scottish football chiefs said on Tuesday they will not rush into a decision over manager Gordon Strachan’s future despite yet another failure to qualify for a major international tournament.

The Scotland boss is out of contract next month but is facing mounting pressure from fans to call time on his five-year reign after a draw with Slovenia on Sunday killed off their hopes of making it to next year’s World Cup in Russia.

Where to find Ecuador vs. Argentina World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Ecuador vs. Argentina in the World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

Could we miss out on Lionel Messi and Argentina competing in next summer’s World Cup? It’s possible. The race for the final qualification places from South America for the World Cup is going down to the wire.

Where to find Uruguay vs. Bolivia World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Uruguay vs. Bolivia in the World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

Unless a series of mathematical miracles goes against Uruguay in the other World Cup qualifiers Tuesday night, Uruguay will qualify for the World Cup after they finish their game against Bolivia.

Where to find Trinidad and Tobago vs. USA World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Trinidad and Tobago vs. USA in the World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

It all comes down to this. With a win or a draw, the United States will qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. But the US Men’s National Team faces a difficult game on a rain-soaked pitch in the Caribbean.

Gareth Bale at crossroads after Wales heartbreak

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – A powerless spectator as Wales’s World Cup dreams were crushed by the Republic of Ireland, Real Madrid star Gareth Bale has arrived at a crucial tipping point in his career.

Sidelined by the latest in a succession of calf injuries, Bale could only watch forlornly from the stands at Cardiff City Stadium on Monday as Ireland’s 1-0 win gave them a World Cup play-off berth at Wales’s expense.

Spanish coach insists politics won’t impact World Cup bid

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Jerusalem (AFP) – Spanish manager Julen Lopetegui has shrugged off suggestions his team would be affected by political turmoil in the build up to next year’s World Cup, ahead of a potential Catalan decision on independence.

Spain won their final qualifying game against Israel 1-0 in Jerusalem on Monday to finish top of their group, a day after hundreds of thousands of demonstrators rallied in Barcelona against plans by separatist leaders to declare Catalonia independent following a banned secession referendum.

Trinidad and Tobago vs. US Men’s National Team preview: Can USA qualify for World Cup?

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With their backs against the wall and a very real possibility of missing out on the World Cup for the first time since 1986, the USMNT came out guns blazing and gave one of their best performances (if not the best performance) so far this qualifying campaign. Christian Pulisic scored in the first ten minutes and from there the rout was on as the US ran out 4-0 winners (and quite frankly the US could have really named their number on the night).

US coach Arena confident despite pitch fears

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Couva (Trinidad and Tobago) (AFP) – United States coach Bruce Arena shrugged off fears concerning a waterlogged playing surface as his team prepare to seal their World Cup qualification against Trinidad & Tobago here Tuesday.

The US will clinch their ticket to next year’s finals in Russia with victory over already-eliminated Trinidad & Tobago at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva.

Prijovic sends Serbia to World Cup

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Belgrade (AFP) – Aleksandar Prijovic scored after coming on as a second-half substitute to steer Serbia to a 1-0 win over Georgia and secure a place at next year’s World Cup finals.

Prijovic struck the winner on 74 minutes in Belgrade as Serbia finished top of European qualifying Group D, with the Republic of Ireland heading to the play-offs after a 1-0 victory over Wales in Cardiff.

Candreva ensures Italy seeded in play-offs

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Shkodër (Albania) (AFP) – Antonio Candreva lifted Italy to a 1-0 win over Albania in their final World Cup qualifying game on Monday that assures the Azzurri are top seeds for November’s play-offs.

Gian Piero Ventura’s side were already through to next month’s play-offs, but desperately needed a win in Shkoder to be guaranteed the status of top seeds in the draw on October 17.

Iceland qualify for World Cup for first time

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Reykjavik (AFP) – Less than 18 months after sensationally knocking England out of Euro 2016, Iceland qualified for the World Cup for the first time on Monday following a 2-0 win over Kosovo.

Needing victory to guarantee top spot in European qualifying Group I, goals from Everton star Gylfi Sigurdsson and Johann Gudmundsson ensured Iceland would be on the plane to Russia 2018.

McClean breaks Welsh hearts as Ireland reach play-offs

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – The Republic of Ireland claimed a World Cup play-off spot at Wales’ expense after James McClean’s crisp second-half strike earned his side a 1-0 victory in Cardiff on Monday.

The West Bromwich Albion winger’s goal moved Ireland above Wales into second place in Group D below Serbia, meaning Martin O’Neill’s men will be one of the eight teams in the European play-off draw on October 17.

Trinidad insist US game on despite water-logged pitch

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Couva (Trinidad and Tobago) (AFP) – The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association insisted Monday the country’s 2018 World Cup qualifier with the United States would go ahead despite a heavily waterlogged pitch at the Ato Boldon Stadium.

The United States will seal their place at the World Cup on Tuesday with victory over already-eliminated Trinidad and Tobago following their 4-0 rout of Panama on Friday.

Mbappe needs more games, says Lloris

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Saint-Denis (France) (AFP) – Teenage France star Kylian Mbappe simply needs more matches under his belt to start shining on the international stage, according to goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Like the rest of his team-mates, Mbappe failed to impress on Saturday in France’s crucial 1-0 win in Bulgaria that kept their World Cup destiny in their own hands.

Ronaldo, Messi lead Ballon d’Or nominees

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Paris (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar headline an impressive 30-man shortlist unveiled on Monday for the 2017 Ballon d’Or world footballer of the year award.

Portugal superstar Ronaldo is attempting to match Lionel Messi’s record by winning the prize for a fifth time after his starring role in Real Madrid’s first La Liga and Champions League double in 59 years.

Gritty India lose to Colombia 2-1 in U-17 World Cup

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New Delhi (AFP) – India put up a spirited fight but suffered their second successive loss in the Under-17 FIFA World Cup after losing to Colombia 2-1 in New Delhi on Monday.

Mid-fielder Juan Penaloza’s brace kept Colombia’s hopes of advancing into the last-16 stage alive, but the hosts are all but out of the 24-nation event.

‘This time we’ve got Ronaldo’, Pepe warns Swiss

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Lisbon (AFP) – Portugal defender Pepe warned Switzerland that Tuesday’s decisive World Cup qualifying clash in Lisbon would be “completely different” with Cristiano Ronaldo available for the European champions.

Switzerland have won all nine Group B qualifiers so far, including a 2-0 victory over Portugal in their opening match when Ronaldo was out injured, and need just a draw to secure a place in next year’s finals.

Xavi open to being Qatar World Cup 2022 coach

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Doha (AFP) – Xavi Hernandez said he is open to being Qatar’s coach when it hosts the 2022 World Cup and rebuffed critics by claiming he is “very proud” to be in Doha.

The Barcelona great, 37, who currently plays in Qatar for Al Sadd, told AFP he is “90 percent” certain to retire at the end of this season and then launch his coaching career.

Young at heart Heynckes ‘back for Bayern’

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) – Jupp Heynckes said Monday that love for Bayern Munich, rather than any personal ambition, had lured him out of retirement for a fourth stint at the helm of the Bavarian giants.

The man who left the club in 2013 after leading them to the treble, making way for Pep Guardiola, on Monday stepped into the position vacated by Carlo Ancelotti, said his advanced age would be no obstacle.

World Cup hope brings relief and divisions in Syria

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Damascus (AFP) – The prospect of reaching football’s World Cup and creating one of the biggest shocks in the competition’s history is giving Syrians something else to think about after years of grinding war.

Syria’s underdog team, who because of the war are based in Malaysia, take on Australia in Sydney on Tuesday with the score from the first leg of their playoff poised at 1-1.

Heynckes’s Bayern return divides opinion

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Berlin (AFP) – Jupp Heynckes has come out of a four-year retirement to take charge of Bayern Munich for a fourth time, but opinions are divided as to whether the treble-winning coach can boost their flagging fortunes.

Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is convinced Bayern have the “ideal coach” for now in Heynckes, who will lead the team only until the end of the season - he took over after Italian Carlo Ancelotti was sacked 10 days ago.

Moment of truth as Argentina seek World Cup berth

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Montevideo (AFP) – The once unfathomable prospect of a World Cup without Lionel Messi and Argentina could become reality on Tuesday as South America’s thrilling 2018 qualification battle reaches its climax.

Two years after Argentina kicked off their troubled campaign with a 2-0 defeat at home to Ecuador, Jorge Sampaoli’s side travel to Quito to face La Tri once more with their hopes hanging precariously.

US, Pulisic poised to seal World Cup berth

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Miami (AFP) – United States coach Bruce Arena has challenged his team to finish the job and seal World Cup qualification against Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday after an emphatic rout of Panama which has transformed American fortunes.

Friday’s exhilarating attacking display against Panama, where Borussia Dortmund star Christian Pulisic excelled in a 4-0 thrashing of Los Canaleros, has left Arena’s side on the brink of a place in next year’s finals in Russia.

Miracle of Sydney? Weakened Syria eye World Cup upset

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Sydney (AFP) – Syria will rely on their trademark fighting spirit to keep their World Cup “miracle” alive against Australia on Tuesday, as the Socceroos look to ride a wave of home support.

The Syrians were fortunate to grab a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Asian play-off in Malaysia last week, courtesy of a controversial late penalty that left Australia fuming.

Netherlands need World Cup miracle, says Robben

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Amsterdam (AFP) – Unless the Netherlands can beat Sweden by a seven-goal margin on Tuesday the inventors of the beautiful game will be absent from the 2018 World Cup finals.

Having missed the cut for Euro 2016 the Netherlands sit third in Group A and can make the play-offs only with a high-scoring win over second-placed Sweden after a poor start to their campaign.

Where to find Wales vs. Ireland World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Wales vs. Ireland World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

A playoff position is on the cards for either Wales or Ireland in a huge match for both countries. Playing at home in Cardiff, Wales needs a win and a Serbia defeat to finish in first place in the group.

Poland head to World Cup, perfection for Germany

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Paris (AFP) – Robert Lewandowski scored a European qualifying record 16th goal as Poland defeated Montenegro 4-2 on Sunday to reach next year’s World Cup, while reigning champions Germany secured a 10th successive win.

Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski struck again in what has been a remarkable qualifying campaign as Poland recovered from throwing away a two-goal lead in Warsaw to secure a first trip to the World Cup finals since 2006.

Germany win historic 10th World Cup qualifier

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Berlin (AFP) – Midfielder Leon Goretzka netted twice as Germany routed Azerbaijan 5-1 on Sunday to make history with a perfect World Cup qualifying record of 10 wins in as many games.

The reigning world champions had already sealed their ticket to Russia last Thursday with a 3-1 win over Northern Ireland, and finished their qualifying campaign in Kaiserslautern with a 10th straight victory.

Poland head to World Cup, agony for Scotland

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Paris (AFP) – Robert Lewandowski scored a European qualifying record 16th goal as Poland defeated Montenegro 4-2 on Sunday to reach next year’s World Cup, but Scotland missed out on the play-offs after a 2-2 draw in Slovenia.

Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski struck his 16th goal of the qualifying campaign as Poland recovered from throwing away a two-goal lead in Warsaw to secure a first trip to the World Cup finals since 2006.

Salah goals take Egypt to 2018 World Cup

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Cairo (AFP) – Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah converted a stoppage-time penalty to give Egypt a dramatic 2-1 win over Congo Brazzaville Sunday and a place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Salah put Egypt ahead during the second half in Alexandria only for Arnold Bouka Moutou to equalise two minutes from the end of regular time.

Scots shattered as Slovenia draw ends World Cup dream

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Ljubljana (AFP) – Scotland blew their last chance to remain in contention for a World Cup place as Slovenia hit back for a 2-2 draw that eliminated Gordon Strachan’s side on Sunday.

Needing a victory to guarantee second place in Group F and a spot in the play-offs for the remaining World Cup berths, Scotland took the lead through Leigh Griffiths’ first-half strike in Ljubljana.

Do it for Coleman, O’Neill tells Ireland ahead of World Cup qualifier

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill says injured right-back Seamus Coleman will be at the forefront of his players’ minds in Monday’s World Cup qualification shootout with Wales.

Everton defender Coleman remains sidelined after suffering a horrendous double leg break following a tackle by Neil Taylor during Ireland’s 0-0 draw with Wales in Dublin in March.

Spain’s Lopetegui puts politics aside ahead of Israel

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Jerusalem (AFP) – Spain coach Julen Lopetegui sought Sunday to downplay the potential impact of the Catalan independence bid on his team, ahead of the final game of their successful World Cup qualification campaign.

Lopetegui spoke in Jerusalem ahead of Spain’s match against Israel on Monday, while in Barcelona hundreds of thousands of demonstrators rallied against plans by separatist leaders to declare Catalonia independent following a banned secession referendum.

Where to find Slovenia vs. Scotland World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Slovenia vs. Scotland World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

After defeating Slovakia on Thursday, Scotland needs a win against Slovenia on Sunday to almost guarantee a spot in the playoffs for the World Cup. The fate of the Tartan Army is in their own hands.

Where to find Poland vs. Montenegro World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Poland vs. Montenegro in the World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

After beating Armenia 6-1 on Thursday, Poland still need a point against Montenegro in order to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. If Poland loses and Denmark wins in the other game, Denmark will qualify on goal difference, pushing Poland into a playoff spot.

Hear them roar: Afghan female football fans show their support

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Kabul (AFP) – Shiba Rahimi, a demure pale pink hijab covering her hair, sits forward in her seat and does a shrill two-finger whistle at the male footballers darting around the all-weather field in Kabul.

The university student is one of dozens of football-mad women sitting in the female section of the Afghan capital’s main stadium enjoying a rare opportunity to have fun in public in patriarchal Afghanistan.

Football: Sydney strike early blow as A-League returns

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Sydney (AFP) – Sydney FC struck an early blow in the defence of their A-League title on the opening weekend of the season with a hard-fought win over the team they beat in last year’s grand final.

Graham Arnold’s side enjoyed a record-breaking season last year, finishing with 66 points from 20 wins and just one defeat in 27 games.

Iwobi sends Nigeria to Russia, Ghana eliminated

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Abuja (AFP) – Alex Iwobi’s goal saw Nigeria become the first African team to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia, while Ghana were eliminated in the qualifiers.

A 73rd-minute strike by Arsenal forward Iwobi handed the Super Eagles a 1-0 success over Zambia in Uyo, ensuring top spot in Group B with a game to spare.

Matuidi keeps French World Cup destiny in own hands

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Sofia (AFP) – France kept their noses in front in the European Group A race to qualify for the 2018 World Cup as Blaise Matuidi’s early strike earned a 1-0 win in Bulgaria on Saturday.

Following Sweden’s crushing 8-0 thrashing of Luxembourg, this win was enough to keep Didier Deschamps’s team a point ahead of the Scandinavians, with one match to come.

France on brink of World Cup, Dutch hopes all but over

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Paris (AFP) – Blaise Matuidi’s early goal saw off Bulgaria 1-0 on Saturday and kept France top of European World Cup qualifying Group A, while the Netherlands’ hopes are hanging by a thread despite a 3-1 win in Belarus.

France took the lead in only the third minute as midfielder Matuidi curled home a fantastic shot from a tight angle into the far top corner.

Arsenal’s Iwobi fires Nigeria to 2018 World Cup

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Abuja (AFP) – Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi sent Nigeria to the 2018 World Cup finals with the winning goal in a 1-0 African qualifying victory over Zambia on Saturday.

The Super Eagles became the first African team to advance to Russia after taking an unassailable lead atop Group B.

Sweden thrash Luxembourg to pile pressure on France in European World Cup qualifying match

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Solna (Sweden) (AFP) – Sweden laid down the gauntlet to France in European World Cup qualifying as Marcus Berg scored four goals in an 8-0 thrashing of Luxembourg on Saturday.

The Swedes now lead France, who face Bulgaria later on Saturday, by two points in the race for top spot in Group A.

Korean scores own-goal double in Russia friendly win

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Moscow (AFP) – Kim Joo-Young scored two own goals in two minutes as Russia beat South Korea 4-2 in Moscow on Saturday in their first game since the Confederations Cup.

Krasnodar forward Fedor Smolov and Lokomotiv Moscow midfielder Alexei Miranchuk also scored for the 2018 World Cup hosts, who put in a much-improved display after their group-stage exit from the Confederations Cup in June.

Butland handed England start against Lithuania

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London (AFP) – Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland will replace Joe Hart for England’s final World Cup qualifier against Lithuania on Sunday.

Hart has been England’s first-choice goalkeeper under Gareth Southgate, but with England now qualified for the World Cup, Butland has been handed the shirt for the last match of the campaign.

Bayern stopper Neuer could be out till March

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Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich and Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said Saturday he could now be sidelined until March because he is taking longer than expected to recover from a foot operation.

Neuer was initially expecting to return in January, but he told the club’s TV station: “The wound in the foot is healing and it could take up to six months.

Where to find Nigeria vs. Zambia World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Nigeria vs. Zambia in the World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

Nigeria can qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a win against Zambia. But if the Super Eagles tie the match against Zambia, Nigeria will need to get a result against Algeria in their game next week, which will be a much tougher haul.

Where to find Guinea vs. Tunisia World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Guinea vs. Tunisia in the World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

Tunisia will be able to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup if they can get a win against Guinea and if the DR Congo can’t beat Libya in the other game in Group A of World Cup qualifying from Africa.

Where to find Bulgaria vs. France World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Bulgaria vs. France World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

After tying Luxembourg recently 0-0, France knows that they have to win this game against Bulgaria as well as getting a win against Belarus next week to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Sorry Italy condemned to World Cup play-offs

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – Giorgio Chiellini’s first-half goal was cancelled out by Aleksandar Trajkovski as Italy struggled to a 1-1 draw against Macedonia in Turin on Friday, condemning the four-time champions to the World Cup play-offs.

Gian Piero Ventura’s side were jeered off the pitch at the Stadio Olympico after failing to secure the three points demanded against the modest Macedonians as Spain qualified as Group G winners after beating Albania 3-0.

England must build bridges with fans – Southgate

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London (AFP) – Following England’s laborious qualification for the World Cup, manager Gareth Southgate has acknowledged there is a lack of empathy between his team and the country’s football fans.

A sparse Wembley crowd groaned at England’s poor football and amused themselves with paper aeroplanes during Thursday’s 1-0 win over Slovenia, which secured a place in Russia for Southgate’s men.

England aren’t a one-man show says Kane

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London (AFP) – Harry Kane insists he isn’t England’s only hope of a successful run at next year’s World Cup.

Gareth Southgate’s side booked their place at the finals in Russia with a lacklustre 1-0 win over Slovenia at Wembley on Thursday.

England’s wretched display somehow ended on an upbeat note when Kane stretched to convert Kyle Walker’s cross in stoppage-time.

Spain punch World Cup ticket, Serbia made to wait

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Paris (AFP) – Heavyweights Spain qualified for the 2018 World Cup with a routine 3-0 home win over Albania, but Serbia must wait to seal to their place following a 3-2 loss in Austria.

Rodrigo, Isco and Thiago Alcantara all scored inside the first 30 minutes in Alicante as the 2010 world champions locked up top spot in Group G as Italy were surprisingly held to a 1-1 draw by Macedonia in Turin.

Spain shrug off Catalonia crisis to qualify for World Cup

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Alicante (Spain) (AFP) – Spain sealed their place in next year’s World Cup by routing Albania 3-0 on Friday in a match laced with political tension amidst Catalonia’s drive for independence and blighted by more jeers for Gerard Pique.

Pique made his 92nd appearance at international level just days after voting in a referendum on Catalan independence deemed illegal by the Spanish government and marred by a police crackdown that left hundreds needing medical attention.

Pique jeers rain on Spain’s World Cup party

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Alicante (Spain) (AFP) – In the midst of Catalonia’s drive for independence, Gerard Pique was again centre of attention as he was met with a mixture of jeers and applause in Spain’s politicised World Cup qualifier against Albania on Friday.

Pique made his 92nd appearance at international level just days after voting in a referendum on Catalan independence deemed illegal by the Spanish government and marred by a police crackdown that left hundreds needing medical attention.

Brazil defender Silva suffers thigh injury

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Sao Paulo (AFP) – Brazil defender Thiago Silva will miss his country’s final 2018 World Cup qualifier against Chile on Tuesday with a thigh muscle injury he suffered in Thursday’s 0-0 draw against Bolivia.

The 33-year-old Paris Saint-Germain centre-back hobbled off in the 27th minute of the match in La Paz.

Argentina frets over possible Messi-less World Cup

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Buenos Aires (AFP) – Argentina awakened on Friday to the horrifying possibility of a World Cup without the “world’s best player”, Lionel Messi.

The Albiceleste drew 0-0 at home to Peru on Thursday to fall not only out of the four automatic South American qualifying places for next year’s finals in Russia, but also the fifth place that offers a play-off spot against New Zealand.

Lawrence leads Wales to crucial win in Georgia

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Tbilisi (AFP) – Tom Lawrence scored his first international goal to earn Wales a vital 1-0 victory in Georgia on Friday and keep them in the hunt for a place at next year’s World Cup.

The Derby Counter midfielder rifled in the winner four minutes after half-time in Tbilisi as Chris Coleman’s side pulled to within a point of Group D leaders Serbia, who would qualify with a win in Austria later.

Where to find South Africa vs. Burkina Faso World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch South Africa vs. Burkina Faso in the World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

After a decision was made to annul the result of South Africa’s win against Senegal in November, South Africa still has a lot of work to do if they want to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

India gives 27,000 free tickets to avert World Cup ’embarrassment’

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New Delhi (AFP) – India gave away 27,000 tickets for the opening games of the Under-17 World Cup in New Delhi on Friday in a bid to avoid the embarrassment of empty stands when Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends, an official said.

Thousands of children filled the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium to boost India’s first major sporting event since the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which was marked by vast open spaces in stadiums.

Robben ‘still believes’ Dutch can qualify

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The Hague (AFP) – Netherlands captain Arjen Robben still has hope that the struggling Dutch can reach next year’s World Cup, despite their perilous position in qualifying ahead of Saturday’s trip to Belarus.

Anything but a win in Barysaw would almost certainly see Dick Advocaat’s side miss out on back-to-back major tournaments for the first time since 1986, having failed to qualify for Euro 2016.

Heynckes to coach Bayern Munich to season’s end – club

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Berlin (AFP) – Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich confirmed Friday that veteran German coach Jupp Heynckes will take over as manager until the end of the season, replacing the sacked Carlos Ancelotti.

Heynckes, 72, will come out of retirement to take take charge of the squad from Monday, the fourth time he has coached Bayern.

Munich air disaster changed my life – Bobby Charlton

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London (AFP) – England and Manchester United legend Bobby Charlton says the Munich air disaster that claimed the lives of so many of his young team-mates in 1958 changed his life.

Charlton, a pivotal figure in England’s 1966 World Cup triumph, lost several close friends in the crash, which killed 23 of the 44 passengers and crew as United returned from a European Cup match in Belgrade.

Iniesta agrees first ‘lifetime’ contract at Barca

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona tied down captain Andres Iniesta for the rest of his career as the club announced on Friday the 33-year-old midfielder has agreed the first “lifetime contract” in Barca’s history.

“It is a way of rewarding an exceptional player,” said Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Football: India gives 27,000 free tickets to avert World Cup ’embarrassment’

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New Delhi (AFP) – India gave away 27,000 tickets for the opening games of the Under-17 World Cup in New Delhi on Friday in a bid to avoid the embarrassment of empty stands when Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends, an official said.

Thousands of children filled the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium to boost India’s first major sporting event since the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which was marked by vast open spaces in stadiums.

Japan narrowly beat New Zealand in friendly

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Tokyo (AFP) – Shu Kurata smashed a late winner on Friday to give Japan a narrow 2-1 victory over New Zealand in their first international football friendly since they qualified for the World Cup.

Following a scoreless first half, Cologne forward Yuya Osako netted a 50-minute penalty for Japan after a handball at Toyota Stadium.

beIN SPORTS will broadcast all of the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday

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The race to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup will go down to the wire on Tuesday night in South America as an incredible six teams still have a chance to qualify for the final three automatic qualification spots. Plus one team will end in a playoff place.

The good news for soccer fans in the United States is that all of the final World Cup qualifiers will be available for viewing.

Where to find Georgia vs. Wales World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Georgia vs. Wales World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

Wales’s fate is in their own hands with the final two games of World Cup qualifying. The Welsh team, without Gareth Bale, need to get a win against Georgia in Tblisi as well as a win against Ireland on Tuesday.

Argentina World Cup hopes in balance after Peru draw

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Buenos Aires (AFP) – The prospect of a World Cup without Lionel Messi edged nearer to reality on Thursday as Argentina struggled to a 0-0 draw with Peru which left their qualification hopes hanging in the balance.

Despite dominating possession in front of a raucous home support at Buenos Aires’ fabled “La Bombonera”
stadium, Messi and Argentina once again drew a blank to the dismay of their fans.

Football: Aussies slam ref after World Cup penalty blow

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Malacca (Malaysia) (AFP) – Australian players and media slammed the referee after Syria’s controversial late penalty dented their hopes of reaching next year’s World Cup following a 1-1 play-off draw in Malacca.

The Socceroos remain in the box seat ahead of Tuesday’s second leg in Sydney, where the eventual winner will go into a final play-off with the CONCACAF federation’s fourth-placed team.

Argentina in peril as World Cup race goes to wire

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Montevideo (AFP) – Lionel Messi and Argentina’s hopes of reaching the 2018 World Cup were left hanging in the balance on Thursday after another stalemate on a nail-biting day of South American qualifying action.

Argentina were held to a 0-0 draw in Buenos Aires by Peru, leaving the two-time world champions outside the automatic qualification places as they head into the final round of fixtures next Tuesday.

Southgate admits England have long way to go

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London (AFP) – England manager Gareth Southgate conceded his team were a “work in progress” after they qualified for next year’s World Cup with a desperately laboured 1-0 victory over Slovenia.

England’s fans had long given up on Thursday’s game at Wembley and were entertaining themselves by launching paper aeroplanes towards the pitch by the time Harry Kane stabbed in a predatory 94th-minute winner.

Where to find Italy vs. Macedonia World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Italy vs. Macedonia World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

After losing to Spain recently, Italy has the chance to cement their position as the runner-up in the group in order to enter the playoffs from Europe for the World Cup qualification.

India gives away 27,000 tickets to avoid World Cup ’embarrassment’

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New Delhi (AFP) – India has given away 27,000 tickets to the opening games of the FIFA U-17 World Cup to fill empty stands, an official said Friday, in a desperate bid to avoid an embarrassing repeat of the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The under-17 World Cup, which kicks off on Friday, marks India’s first attempt at hosting a FIFA tournament, but sales for the high-profile event have been poor, despite some seats costing less than a dollar.

Liverpool to unveil Dalglish Stand against Man Utd

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London (AFP) – Liverpool will officially unveil the newly named Kenny Dalglish Stand at their match with fierce rivals Manchester United next week, the club said on Friday.

The Premier League giants announced that Anfield’s Centenary Stand would be renamed the Kenny Dalglish Stand earlier this year to commemorate the player’s contribution to the club both on and off the field.

Where to find USA vs. Panama World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch USA vs. Panama in the World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

The US Men’s National Team faces a do-or-die game against Panama. They must win this match in order to keep their hopes alive of qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Chiellini aims to boost bruised Italy

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – Veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini is upbeat ahead of Italy’s crucial 2018 World Cup qualifying game against Macedonia on Friday despite fears the team could miss out on the tournament.

The Azzurri are in a fragile state mentally and physically after a crushing defeat to Spain last month left them facing the prospect of having to go through the play-offs to book their ticket to Russia next year.

USA vs. Panama preview: USMNT could miss out on first World Cup since 1986

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It’s crunch time now. It’s do or die. Everything is on the line. This is not really the place the USMNT wanted to be in or thought they’d find themselves in, but here they are: in danger of missing out on the World Cup for the first time since 1986. The good news is that the US controls its own fate and four points out of six should see the US qualify without having to go into a home and home playoff with a team from Asia in November (though results elsewhere in CONCACAF could change that).

Uruguay kept waiting after Venezuela stalemate

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San Cristobal (Venezuela) (AFP) – Uruguay were left waiting to confirm their 2018 World Cup qualification on Thursday after being held to a 0-0 by Venezuela.

The Uruguayans could have booked their ticket to Russia with victory over a Venezuelan side who had already been eliminated from contention.

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for September 25-October 1, 2017

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Club América’s 2-1 victory over Toluca was the most-watched soccer match of last week with 955,000 viewers tuning in across Univision and Univision Deportes. It was also the most-watched Liga MX match since Club América took on Veracruz on September 9 in the same timeslot.

Overall, Liga MX viewership is down over 40% when compared to the first 11 match days of the 2017 Clasura and down 32% compared to the 2016 Apertura.

Lampe denies Brazil as Bolivia grab draw

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La Paz (AFP) – A superb performance by Bolivia goalkeeper Carlos Lampe frustrated Brazil here Thursday as the five-time World Cup winners were forced to settle for a 0-0 draw in their dead rubber qualification game.

With Brazil already assured of top spot in South America’s 2018 World Cup qualification race, and Bolivia already eliminated from contention, neither side had much to play for in the thin air of La Paz.

Germany, England seal 2018 World Cup berths

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Paris (AFP) – Defending champions Germany clinched a place at next year’s World Cup in Russia with a 3-1 win in Northern Ireland on Thursday, while England beat Slovenia 1-0 to secure their finals berth.

Sebastian Rudy and Sandro Wagner struck brilliant first-half goals in Belfast before Joshua Kimmich added a late third as Joachim Loew’s team made it nine wins out of nine in European qualifying Group C.

Five things learned from England v Slovenia

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London (AFP) – England secured their place at next year’s World Cup after a 1-0 win against Slovenia on Thursday after an unconvincing display.

Here AFP Sport looks at five things we learned from the Wembley qualifier:

Southgate has work to do

Aware that England’s underwhelming progress toward the World Cup had left many fans cold, Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate saw his call for a show-stopping display fall on stony ground.

Kane sends lacklustre England to World Cup

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London (AFP) – Harry Kane toed in a 94th-minute winner as England secured their place at next year’s World Cup in Russia with a thoroughly lacklustre 1-0 victory over Slovenia on Thursday.

Gareth Southgate’s side looked utterly bereft of ideas at a somnolent, two thirds-full Wembley until skipper Kane converted Kyle Walker’s inviting cross to score his 14th goal in nine games for club and country.

Last-gasp Scotland keep World Cup dream alive

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Glasgow (AFP) – Scotland kept alive their hopes of reaching the World Cup finals for the first time since 1998 on Thursday, beating 10-man Slovakia 1-0 at Hampden Park with a goal in the dying seconds.

Martin Skrtel’s own goal, just two minutes from the end of normal time, leaves Scotland second in Group F on 17 points, six behind England after leapfrogging Slovakia and Slovenia, who lost 1-0 at Wembley.

Rudy stunner helps Germany ease into World Cup finals

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Belfast (AFP) – Sebastian Rudy, Sandro Wagner and Joshua Kimmich secured defending champions Germany’s place at the 2018 World Cup on Thursday with a clinical 3-1 win over Northern Ireland in Belfast.

Rudy and Wagner’s glorious first-half strikes had their place all but wrapped up before Kimmich scored late on to extend Germany’s remarkable unbeaten away record to 47 World Cup qualifiers dating back to 1934.

Equatorial Guinea women field 10 ineligible players

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Lausanne (AFP) – The Equatorial Guinea women’s team were disqualified from next year’s Women Africa Cup of Nations and the 2019 World Cup by FIFA on Thursday for fielding 10 ineligible players.

All 10 of the ineligible players were born in Brazil, although the majority have been playing for Equatorial Guinea since the 2011 World Cup.

FIFA pledges ‘transparent’ 2026 World Cup bid

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Lausanne (AFP) – FIFA has promised to deliver a “transparent” bidding process for the 2026 World Cup after the controversy surrounding the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments to Russia and Qatar.

In a column to appear on Friday in the FIFA magazine, president Gianni Infantino insists that world football’s governing body has “radically enhanced the mechanisms for selecting the location of our showpiece event”.

Record man Lewandowski fires Poland to brink of World Cup

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Yerevan (AFP) – Robert Lewandowski scored a hat-trick and became his country’s record goalscorer as Poland thrashed Armenia 6-1 on Thursday to leave them on the verge of qualifying for next year’s World Cup.

Kamil Grosicki struck after just two minutes in Yerevan before Lewandowski curled in a brilliant free-kick to draw level with Wlodzimierz Lubanski, who represented Poland from 1963 to 1980, on 48 international goals.

FC Barcelona, Iniesta urge dialogue in Catalonia crisis

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona Football Club and its captain Andres Iniesta on Thursday urged dialogue to resolve a volatile political crisis over Catalonia’s drive for independence.

“I have never before publicly commented on situations that are so complex and involve such diverse emotions, but this situation we are experiencing is exceptional,” the 33-year-old midfielder wrote in a Facebook message.

Arena wants fearless USA in World Cup crunch

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Orlando (AFP) – Bruce Arena has challenged his United States team to show no fear in the face of mounting anxiety, urging them to banish any doubts over their participation at the World Cup by seeing off Panama on Friday.

The US head into the crucial qualifier knowing maximum points from their final two games – they travel to bottom placed Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday – will be enough to book their ticket to Russia.

I’m no saviour, Mbappe warns ahead of Bulgaria trip

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Paris (AFP) – Teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe warned he is “not a saviour” ahead of France’s crucial trip to Bulgaria in their penultimate 2018 World Cup qualifier on Saturday.

The 1998 world champions lead Sweden by one point in Group A with two matches to play, but France need little reminding of the pain inflicted upon them by the Bulgarians in one of the national team’s darkest hours.

Football: Disputed penalty lifts Syria World Cup hopes

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Malacca (Malaysia) (AFP) – Omar al-Soma’s disputed late penalty kept Syria’s World Cup dream alive on Thursday as they came from behind to draw 1-1 with Australia and set up a nerve-jangling play-off second leg in Sydney.

Australia were left fuming by Soma’s crucial spot-kick in the 85th minute, after the towering forward was nudged mid-air by Mathew Leckie and Iranian referee Alireza Faghani pointed to the spot.

Premier League blowouts are sucking competitiveness out of the league: World Soccer Talk Podcast

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World Soccer Talk is the weekly soccer podcast on the topic of watching soccer on TV, online and apps.

In the NEW episode, number 45, Kartik Krishnaiyer and Christopher Harris cover a range of topics including:

• Why this Premier League season is sucking the enjoyment out of watching good soccer,

• News about the USA’s final two World Cup qualifiers on US TV,

• More details about FOX’s plans for next summer’s World Cup, as well as

• A big boost in TV ratings for the Bundesliga on US TV, as well as

• Feedback and questions from you in the Listener Mailbag section.

Video-assisted ref could be delayed until after 2018 World Cup

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Lausanne (AFP) – A trial period for the video assistant referee (VAR) system could be extended beyond next year’s World Cup, football’s lawmakers said Thursday, despite FIFA’s vow to include them in Russia 2018.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said “nothing is standing in the way” of the technology for next summer’s competition, but a spokesman for International Football Association Board (IFAB) told AFP the ongoing experiment could be “prolonged”.

Football: Syria’s Soma puts World Cup play-off on knife-edge

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Malacca (Malaysia) (AFP) – Omar al-Soma buried a late penalty as war-torn Syria drew 1-1 with Australia to put their two-legged World Cup play-off on a knife-edge on Thursday.

Australia were within sight of victory after Robbie Kruse’s first-half goal, but when Mathew Leckie nudged Soma on 84 minutes the towering forward made no mistake from the spot.

Depleted Ghana squad prepares to face Uganda

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Nairobi (AFP) – Ghana’s Black Stars left Kenya on Thursday for Uganda ahead of the crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier in the Ugandan capital Kampala at the weekend.

The Ghanaians arrived in the Kenyan capital this week for three days of acclimatisation training missing some of their top players who are out with injuries ahead of Saturday’s Group E clash.

Where to find Chile vs. Ecuador World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Chile vs. Ecuador in the World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

With Chile sitting in sixth place in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying group, Chile cannot afford to lose this match if they want to stay in the race to qualify for the World Cup.

Heynckes confirms offer to return to Bayern

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Berlin (AFP) – Veteran German coach Jupp Heynckes confirmed reports on Thursday that he is considering a return to Bayern Munich following Carlo Ancelotti’s dismissal.

“It’s not yet done and dusted,” the 72-year-old Heynckes told the Rheinische Post, the local paper near his home in Moenchengladbach.

Where to find Colombia vs. Paraguay World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Colombia vs. Paraguay in the World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

Colombia is a strong position in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying group, sitting in third place. A win against Paraguay would put them in pole position to advance.

Football: Blockbuster to open A-League season

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Sydney (AFP) – Australia’s domestic A-League kicks off Friday with dominant Sydney FC defending their title and Western Sydney Wanderers in turmoil, as a host of foreign imports look to make their mark.

Graham Arnold’s Sydney FC enjoyed a record-breaking season last year, finishing with 66 points from 20 wins and just one defeat in 27 games.

Moment of truth for USA as Panama eye World Cup qualifier first

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Miami (AFP) – The United States face their most important World Cup qualifying game in nearly 30 years on Friday when they take on a Panama side thirsting for revenge and chasing a historic first ever appearance at the finals.

Twenty-eight years ago, the Americans defeated Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 to book their place at the 1990 World Cup - the country’s first appearance at football’s biggest tournament since 1950.

Nigeria, Tunisia, Egypt eye World Cup places

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Johannesburg (AFP) – There are five places reserved for Africa at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and Nigeria, Tunisia, and Egypt could fill three of them this weekend.

Nigeria will secure a sixth appearance at the global football showpiece by winning in Uyo against Zambia, the only other Group B contenders.

Heynckes set for Bayern return after Ancelotti sacking – report

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Berlin (AFP) – Legendary German coach Jupp Heynckes will replace sacked Carlo Ancelotti as Bayern Munich’s manager until the end of the season, according to Sport Bild newspaper.

The interim appointment would see 72-year-old Heynckes return to his beloved Bayern which he famously led in 2013 to win the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup treble - the only German club to achieve the feat.

Ex-Barcelona star Stoichkov backs Catalans

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Sofia (AFP) – Former Barcelona favourite Hristo Stoichkov on Thursday backed the independence referendum in Catalonia and denounced the violence that marred the banned vote.

“The leaders of Catalonia and the people who voted decided that the moment has come to separate and I will back them,” Stoichkov, a Bulgarian, told his country’s public broadcaster BNT.

Where to find Venezuela vs. Uruguay World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Venezuela vs. Uruguay in the World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

Uruguay needs to get four points from the next two World Cup qualifiers in order to guarantee qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. With Venezuela bottom of the CONMEBOL group, they have nothing to play for so they may give Uruguay more trouble than usual.

Where to find Argentina vs. Peru World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Argentina vs. Peru in the World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

Argentina desperately needs a win against Peru to help their efforts in trying to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. If Argentina can defeat Peru, a draw against Ecuador in the next game should be enough to qualify automatically if Chile can’t beat Ecuador or Brazil.

Where to find England vs. Slovenia World Cup qualifier on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch England vs. Slovenia World Cup qualifier, you’ve come to the right place.

England will officially qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup if they can beat Slovenia on Thursday in the important World Cup qualifier. If England ties the game, then their fate will go down to the final qualifier next week against Lithuania.

Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay plan 2030 World Cup bid

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Buenos Aires (AFP) – Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay will form a joint bid to host the centenary World Cup in 2030, the presidents of the three countries confirmed on Wednesday.

Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes said in August that his country would join the shared bid by neighbours Argentina and Uruguay, which hosted and won the inaugural World Cup in 1930.

Infantino calls on Argentina to ‘do more’ for football

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Buenos Aires (AFP) – FIFA president Gianni Infantino asked Argentina to “do more” for football aside from producing star players like Lionel Messi on Wednesday, as the country announced a joint bid for the 2030 World Cup with Paraguay and Uruguay.

“The Argentine Football Association can do a lot for football and not just with the players on the pitch, with Messi and all his teammates,” Infantino said after a meeting with the presidents of the three South American countries who announced their bid for the centenary World Cup.

Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay confirm 2030 World Cup bid

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Buenos Aires (AFP) – Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay will form a joint bid to host the centenary World Cup in 2030, the presidents of the three countries confirmed on Wednesday.

Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes had said in August that his country would join the shared bid by neighbours Argentina and Uruguay, which hosted and won the inaugural World Cup in 1930.

Loew hoping to restore German football pride after club struggles

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Belfast (AFP) – Joachim Loew said Wednesday he hopes Germany - on the brink of qualifying for next year’s World Cup in Russia - can restore national pride in Northern Ireland after an “alarming” series of results for the nation’s club sides in Europe.

Germany, on 24 points, have won all eight of their qualifiers but have still not sewn up top spot in Group C because Northern Ireland have accrued 19 points themselves.

France lose Kurzawa for crucial qualifiers

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Paris (AFP) – France saw Layvin Kurzawa pull out of the squad for their final 2018 World Cup qualifiers on Wednesday with a knee injury suffered in training, joining fellow defenders Benjamin Mendy and Laurent Koscielny on the sidelines.

The Paris Saint-Germain left-back has sprained knee ligaments, leaving France with defensive troubles for their matches in Bulgaria on Saturday and against Belarus at the Stade de France three days later.

Fabregas admits hitting Alex Ferguson with pizza

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London (AFP) – Cesc Fabregas has admitted he threw the pizza that struck then Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson in the infamous “Battle of the Buffet” 13 years ago.

Arsenal, for many years locked in a titanic duel for Premier League supremacy with Manchester United, saw their 49-game unbeaten run come to an end at Old Trafford in October 2004 and a clash in the tunnel followed.

FIFA reject Leicester’s appeal to register Silva

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London (AFP) – Leicester City’s appeal to register Adrien Silva was rejected by FIFA on Wednesday despite support from the English Football Association after the paperwork was submitted 14 seconds late on deadline day.

The club and the FA had asked FIFA to ratify the midfielder’s transfer after the late delivery of the paperwork for the £22 million ($29 million, 25 million euros) move from Sporting Lisbon, but it was denied and he will now not be able to play until January.

US women’s soccer star Morgan apologises over drunken Disney shame

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Miami (AFP) – United States women’s soccer star Alex Morgan apologised on Wednesday following a drunken party with friends which ended with her being ejected from Disney World last weekend.

Morgan, one of the golden girls of the all-conquering US women’s team, was kicked out of Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park in Florida on Sunday after a row with other tourists.

Nigeria on the brink of World Cup

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Abuja (AFP) – Nigeria host Zambia in their penultimate 2018 World Cup qualifier on Saturday knowing that victory would secure a sixth finals appearance since first qualifying in 1994.

The 2-1 win in the reverse fixture in Ndola 12 months ago helped get the country behind a team who had failed to feature at back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations.

French lose Kurzawa for crucial qualifiers

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Paris (AFP) – Having already lost Benjamin Mendy and Laurent Koscielny France saw another defender pull out of their crucial World Cup qualifiers after PSG’s in-form Layvin Kurzawa cut his knee in training.

The left back would likely have started for France as they take on Bulgaria on Saturday and Belarus three days later knowing they may still need all six points to book a direct berth for the 2018 World Cup.

Football: Cahill relishing ‘cut-throat’ Syria play-off

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Malacca (Malaysia) (AFP) – Veteran forward Tim Cahill on Wednesday said Australia were relishing the “cut-throat” challenge of beating Syria over two legs as they look to reach next year’s World Cup via the nerve-jangling play-offs.

Australia’s record goal-scorer said the pre-match favourites would look to dictate play on Thursday in steamy Malacca, Malaysia, venue for Syria’s ‘home’ tie due to their country’s ongoing civil war.

‘Proud’ Pique to carry on for Spain despite Catalonia backing

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Madrid (AFP) – Under-fire Gerard Pique on Wednesday expressed his pride at playing for Spain, insisting he would continue with the Spanish national team despite his outspoken defence of the independence referendum in Catalonia.

“It is not incongruous,” said Pique of his intention to carry on despite his views on the wealthy northeastern Spanish region’s right to self-determination.

French lose Kurzawa for crucial World Cup qualifiers

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Paris (AFP) – Having already lost Bernard Mendy and Laurent Koscielny France saw another defender pull out of their crucial World Cup qualifiers after PSG’s in-form Layvin Kurzawa cut his knee in training.

The left back would likely have started for France as they take on Bulgaria on Saturday and Belarus three days later knowing they may still need all six points to book a direct berth for the 2018 World Cup.

‘There’s no impossible’ as war-torn Syria eye football World Cup

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Malacca (Malaysia) (AFP) – A qualifying campaign that has defied civil war and internal splits has brought Syria within sight of a miraculous World Cup berth - if they can overcome Asian champions Australia.

Syria were given little chance of making an impact in Asia’s qualifiers but after reaching the regional play-offs, they stand four games away from Russia 2018.

Coming out still taboo for players, say Arsenal’s Gay Gooners

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London (AFP) – The first active footballer to come out as gay will be an “icon” who could reap huge financial rewards but the British game remains a hostile environment for homosexual players.

That’s the view of gay British comedian Matt Lucas - best known for the series “Little Britain” - who spoke to AFP in his role as patron of Arsenal’s Gay Gooners supporters’ group.

England bank on ‘hot’ Kane to deliver World Cup spot

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London (AFP) – England will look to red-hot Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane to fire them to the World Cup finals when they tackle Slovenia in their penultimate qualifying match on Thursday.

After a barren August, 24-year-old Kane hit brilliant form in September, scoring 13 goals in eight matches for club and country.

Man City’s Stones keen to repay Guardiola faith

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London (AFP) – Manchester City centre-back John Stones says he is determined to repay manager Pep Guardiola for the faith he showed in him during his difficult first season at the Etihad Stadium.

Stones, 23, produced several error-strewn displays last season after joining City from Everton in a £47.

Totti drops out of coaching course

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Rome (AFP) – Roma legend Francesco Totti has dropped out of the coaching course he was due to start, the Italian Coaches Association (AIAC) confirmed on Tuesday.

Totti retired after 24 years with Roma at the end of last season, moving into a director’s role with the club and signing up for a UEFA B License coaching course.

Neymar penalty spat has calmed down, says Cavani

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Caracas (AFP) – Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani has played down his penalty-taking spat with Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar.

Cavani and Brazilian Neymar, the world’s most expensive player, reportedly fell out over penalty-taking duties for PSG in recent league matches.

The despite blew up a couple of weeks ago when Cavani, PSG’s regular penalty-taker, refused to let Neymar take a spot-kick against Lyon, only to then miss.

Chelsea’s Morata eyes quick return from injury

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London (AFP) – Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata has set his sights on a quick return from the hamstring injury that forced him to pull out of Spain’s World Cup qualifiers.

Morata was injured in the first half of Chelsea’s 1-0 Premier League defeat against Manchester City last weekend.

FIFA punish Africans for World Cup offences

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Johannesburg (AFP) – FIFA have punished numerous African nations for offences during 2018 World Cup qualifiers last month, the world football body said Tuesday.

Gabon forfeited by a mandatory 3-0 scoreline a match against Ivory Coast in Libreville for fielding suspended midfielder Merlin Tandjigora.

Preview of World Cup 2018 qualifiers: 80 broadcasts in six days (October 5-10)

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Over the next week, nearly twenty teams from around the globe will punch their tickets to Russia as 2018 World Cup qualifying builds to a grand finale some three years in the making.

Here’s what to watch for in the coming days, broken down by region.

EUROPE (UEFA)

Group A: Despite being held to a 0-0 draw Luxembourg in Toulouse in their last qualifier, France controls its destiny – needing only to beat Bulgaria and Belarus to clinch the group.

Mbappe could win Ballon d’Or, says Matuidi

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Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines (France) (AFP) – Kylian Mbappe is so good he could one day emulate the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by winning the Ballon d’Or, his France international team-mate Blaise Matuidi said on Tuesday.

While Mbappe and Matuidi have never been club team-mates, the former joining Paris Saint-Germain from Monaco in August only after the latter had left for Juventus, they have lined up on the same team sheet for the national side.

Play chess if you don’t want to get hurt, says Keane

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London (AFP) – Manchester United legend Roy Keane has responded to growing fears about the damage done by concussions in sport by telling stars to ‘play chess’ if they are worried about getting hurt.

Keane now serves as assistant to Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill and his country can no longer call on Kevin Doyle after the striker retired last week because of concussion issues.

Injured Bale out of Wales World Cup qualifiers

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London (AFP) – Gareth Bale has been ruled out of Wales’s final two crucial World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Ireland, the Football Association of Wales said on Tuesday.

Bale’s fitness has been a source of concern for the national side since he suffered a calf muscle strain against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League last week.

Argentina in danger, Syria target FIFA World Cup joy

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Paris (AFP) – As qualifying for the 2018 World Cup reaches its climax, Lionel Messi’s Argentina find themselves in trouble, Syria face a play-off to keep their remarkable dream alive and European champions Portugal have work to do.

AFP Sport looks at the state of play in each of the regions:

Argentina in danger

Brazil secured their place in next year’s finals back in March, but three automatic berths remain up for grabs in South America ahead of the final two rounds of qualifying matches.

Lithuanian girl, 10, takes women’s football by storm

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Vilnius (AFP) – In basketball-obsessed Lithuania, women’s football is gaining new fans after the sensational debut of 10-year-old Zemyna Lekaviciute as the Baltic state’s youngest-ever scorer in a second-division match.

After just five minutes on the pitch, Zemyna took a pass and sent the ball past goalkeeper Agne Ratkeviciute, who is more than twice her age, handing her Zalgiris Vilnius reserves team a 10-0 lead over Sesupe.

Rashford eager to banish Iceland memories

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United’s teenage forward Marcus Rashford says England’s dismal display at Euro 2016 means he is unable to look back at his first major tournament with any kind of fondness.

Rashford broke into the England squad in time for the tournament after exploding onto the scene with United in the second half of the 2015-16 season.

Italy’s Belotti out for four weeks

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Milan (AFP) – Italian international striker Andrea Belotti has been ruled out for four weeks after damaging ligaments in his right knee, his Serie A club Torino confirmed on Monday.

The 23-year-old will miss Italy’s two remaining World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia and Albania this month, and possibly the play-offs in mid-November.

Spurs’ Winks drafted into England squad

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Uncapped Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Harry Winks was brought into the England squad on Monday after Phil Jones and Fabian Delph withdrew through injury, the Football Association announced.

Winks, 21, was promoted from the England Under-21s squad for the senior team’s final two World Cup qualifiers at home to Slovenia on Thursday and away to Lithuania on Sunday.

Lukaku denies Beverly Hills party charge

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Los Angeles (AFP) – Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku entered a not guilty plea on Monday after being cited for holding a rowdy party at his rented Beverly Hills mansion in July.

A lawyer for Lukaku, who was not required to be in court in Los Angeles, entered the plea on the player’s behalf during a brief hearing before commissioner Jane Godfrey.

Proud Pique a lightning rod in Catalonia chaos

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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona star Gerard Pique’s tears of sadness and the vast empty stands as his team reluctantly played were two of the defining images of a violence-scarred independence referendum in Catalonia.

Pique, an outspoken defender of the wealthy northeastern Spanish region’s right to self-determination, had been able to cast his vote in an independence referendum deemed illegal by Madrid without obstruction on Sunday morning.

Barcelona board members resign over closed doors decision

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed on Monday two of the club’s board members resigned in the wake of his decision to play a match behind closed doors after a violent crackdown by police of an independence referendum for Catalonia on Sunday.

Police fired rubber bullets and forced their way into polling stations, often violently removing activists, to confiscate ballots leaving at least 92 people confirmed injured out of a total of 844 who needed medical attention, according to Catalan authorities.

Germany’s Werner out of N. Ireland qualifier

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Berlin (AFP) – Germany have injury woes up front for their key World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland after first-choice striker Timo Werner pulled out on Monday.

After eight straight wins, Germany need just a point in Belfast on Thursday to be sure of a place at Russia 2018.

Versatile Mbappe in Deschamps’s thoughts

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Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines (France) (AFP) – France coach Didier Deschamps enthused over the attacking versatility of teenage starlet Kylian Mbappe as Les Bleus look to secure World Cup qualification this weekend.

Deschamps’s team face Bulgaria and Belarus in their final two World Cup qualifiers, knowing a pair of victories would book France’s ticket to Russia.

Ribery out for ‘weeks’ over torn knee ligament – club

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Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich confirmed on Monday that veteran winger Franck Ribery will be out for “the coming weeks” after tearing a knee ligament.

The 34-year-old had to be helped off in the 62nd minute of Bayern’s 2-2 draw at Hertha Berlin on Sunday and German media expect the Frenchman to be out for up to three months.

Everton’s Moshiri backs under-fire Koeman

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London (AFP) – Everton manager Ronald Koeman still has the “total support” of majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri despite the club’s dismal start to the season.

The big-spending Toffees have won just twice in the league and their record of seven points from seven matches leaves them two points clear of the drop zone, in 16th place.

Schedule of World Cup qualifiers on US TV and streaming for October 5-10

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During the next week, soccer fans in the United States will have an incredible choice of 81 World Cup qualifiers to watch on television and/or streaming.

We’re coming down to the matches where the tire meets the road. Those include USA’s must-win games against Panama as well as Trinidad and Tobago.

Unified Arsenal can prove doubters wrong, says Wenger

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal are ready to silence the critics who wrote them off in the aftermath of their humiliating loss against Liverpool.

Wenger’s side have been revitalised since the 4-0 mauling at Anfield in August and they maintained that momentum with a 2-0 win over Brighton on Sunday.

Ribery sidelined for up to three months – report

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Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich can expect to be without veteran winger Franck Ribery for up to three months with Sky reporting on Monday he has torn a knee ligament.

The 34-year-old had to be helped off in the 62nd minute of Bayern’s 2-2 draw against Hertha Berlin on Sunday which left them five points adrift of leaders Borussia Dortmund in Germany’s top flight.

Spain replace injured Morata, Iniesta, Carvajal

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Madrid (AFP) – Spain coach Julien Lopetegui drafted in Alvaro Odriozola, Jonathan Viera and Aritz Aduriz on Monday to replace the injured Dani Carvajal, Andres Iniesta and Alvaro Morata respectively for World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Israel this week.

Lopetegui also has the task of calming tensions around the squad in the wake of Gerard Pique’s statement that he will retire from international football if Lopetegui or the Spanish Football Federation deem his defence of an independence referendum for Catalonia problematic.

Matic vows he has more to give for Man Utd

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London (AFP) – Nemanja Matic says Manchester United fans have not yet seen the best of him as he has been forced to play catch-up following a disrupted pre-season.

Matic joined United from Premier League title rivals Chelsea in the summer transfer window for £40 million ($53 million, 45 million euros) in a move that raised eyebrows, with many questioning the Stamford Bridge club’s decision to part with the player.

Juventus boss Allegri fears video ref turning soccer into baseball

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Bergamo (Italy) (AFP) – Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri fears the use of video refereeing is turning football into a long-drawn out American sports extravaganza after the Serie A champions drew 2-2 at Atalanta.

Sunday’s game in Bergamo was dominated by the use of VAR - video assistant referee - once to cancel a Mario Mandzukic goal for Juventus and the second awarding the Turin side a contentious penalty after a handball.

10 things we learned from MLS gameweek 30 of the 2017 season

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Photo credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the ten things we learned from Week 30 of the 2017 MLS season.

1. Toronto Clinches The Shield

In a coronation months in the making, Toronto FC won its and Canada’s first Supporters’ Shield on Saturday night at BMO Field with a resounding 4-2 win over the suddenly-reeling New York Red Bulls.

MLS attendances through gameweek 30 of the 2017 season

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Photo credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

In the latest reported attendance numbers for MLS, the league is averaging 21,781 this season, which is up 1.26% compared to 2016.

For Columbus Crew, who have concluded their home schedule of fixtures, the club’s average attendance dropped 9.

Klopp laments ‘unfair’ football after Newcastle draw

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Newcastle (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp assessed Liverpool’s latest failure to win a Premier League game after a 1-1 draw at Newcastle United by saying: “Football is not fair.”

Liverpool’s German manager found it difficult to accept that the visitors emerged with only a point thanks to a spectacular long-range goal from Philippe Coutinho after enjoying twice as much possession as Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle at St James’ Park on Sunday.

Napoli top as Atalanta fightback frustrates Juventus

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Milan (AFP) – Napoli took sole possession of top spot in Serie A on Sunday with a 3-0 win over Cagliari as champions Juventus’s winning run stalled 2-2 at Atalanta.

The stalemate ended the six-time defending champions’ run of six consecutive wins leaving them joint second with Inter Milan - who beat Benevento 2-1 - with big-scoring Napoli top on a maximum 21 points.

Isco stars in politicised Madrid win

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Madrid (AFP) – Isco scored twice as Real Madrid reduced the gap on La Liga leaders Barcelona to seven points courtesy of a 2-0 win over Espanyol on a day where football was dragged into violent political clashes in Catalonia.

Barca had earlier extended their perfect start in La Liga to seven games in extraordinary circumstances as they beat Las Palmas 3-0 behind closed doors at the 99,000 capacity Camp Nou following the police crackdown over an independence vote deemed illegal by the Spanish government.

Ocampos brace helps Marseille stun Nice

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Paris (AFP) – Ten-man Marseille moved up to third in Ligue 1 after Lucas Ocampos hit a brace in a thrilling come-from-behind 4-2 win at Mediterranean rivals Nice on Sunday.

Players joined fans in a minute’s applause in memory of the two victims of a knife attack in Marseille earlier on Sunday, after which the south coast rivals put on a sparkling show.

Etoile Sahel edge Ahly in Tunisia thriller

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Johannesburg (AFP) – Etoile Sahel edged Egyptian visitors Al Ahly 2-1 in a CAF Champions League semi-final first leg thriller on Sunday to succeed where fellow Tunisians Esperance failed.

Alaya Brigui gave the home team the lead on 16 minutes at the Stade Olympique in Mediterranean resort Sousse.

Johnson dropped for USA World Cup games

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Chicago (AFP) – Borussia Moenchengladbach defender Fabian Johnson was a notable omission as United States coach Bruce Arena named a 26-man squad on Sunday for his team’s crucial 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

Johnson has made only a handful of appearances for his Bundesliga club this season, but started in his team’s 2-1 win over Hanover96 on Saturday.

Verratti ruled out of Italy’s World Cup qualifier

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti has been ruled out of Italy’s World Cup qualifier against Macedonia in Turin next week, the Italian football federation announced Sunday.

Coach Giampiero Ventura has called up Cagliari midfielder Nicolo Barella in his place for the clash on October 6 and a friendly against Albania three days later, the federation said without giving any explanation.

Napoli, Inter keep pressure on Juventus

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Milan (AFP) – Marek Hamsik moved closer to Diego Maradona’s scoring record as Napoli stayed top of Serie A with a 3-0 win over Cagliari on Sunday as Inter Milan pulled ahead of Juventus with a 2-1 win at Benevento.

The pressure will now be on Juventus, who travel to Atalanta later on Sunday, with the champions looking to match Napoli’s unblemished seven wins in as many games.

Klopp frustrated as Newcastle hold Liverpool

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London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was left feeling “disappointed and frustrated” after a Newcastle side under the guidance of former Reds boss Rafael Benitez held his side to a 1-1 draw at St James’ Park on Sunday.

Victory would have seen Liverpool leapfrog champions Chelsea into fourth place.

Bizarre red card for Lyon in thrilling draw at Angers

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Paris (AFP) – Marcelo was controversially sent off as Lyon’s winless streak extended to five matches after letting a two-goal lead slip in a 3-3 draw at Angers on Sunday.

With Bruno Genesio’s visitors leading 3-1 in the 50th minute, defender Marcelo was booked for a foul on the edge of the box.

Tearful Pique haunted by ‘worst experience’

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Barcelona (AFP) – Gerard Pique broke down in tears describing Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Las Palmas in an empty stadium as the “worst professional experience” of his life on a chaotic Sunday in Catalonia.

At least 92 people were injured as Spanish riot police fired rubber bullets and forced their way into activist-held polling stations over an independence referendum for the north-eastern region of Spain deemed illegal by the Spanish government.

10-man Lyon held to thrilling draw at Angers

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Paris (AFP) – Marcelo was controversially sent off as Lyon’s winless streak extended to five matches after letting a two-goal lead slip in a 3-3 draw at Angers on Sunday.

With Bruno Genesio’s visitors leading 3-1 in the 50th minute, defender Marcelo was booked for a foul on the edge of the box.

Newcastle frustrate Liverpool despite Coutinho strike

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Newcastle (United Kingdom) (AFP) – A remarkable goal from Philippe Coutinho secured a 1-1 draw for Liverpool at Newcastle United on Sunday, but it was another hugely frustrating match for their manager, Jurgen Klopp.

On a day when victory would have lifted them above reigning champions Chelsea and into the top four in the Premier League, Liverpool struggled yet again to turn their superiority into goals.

Bayern’s Ribery injures knee

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Berlin (AFP) – Franck Ribery suffered a suspected knee ligament injury in Bayern Munich’s 2-2 draw at Hertha Berlin, according to the German giants’ caretaker coach Willy Sagnol on Sunday.

“It’s the knee, it will be necessary to have some additional tests to know more, but we suspect a rupture of the cruciate ligament,” said Sagnol at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium.

Post-Ancelotti Bayern surrender two-goal lead

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Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich again surrendered a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw at Hertha Berlin on Sunday in their first match since Carlo Ancelotti’s shock sacking, slipping to five points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund.

With Willy Sagnol in temporary charge after Ancelotti’s dismissal on Thursday, Bayern went 2-0 up at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium with goals from Mats Hummels and Robert Lewandowski.

Burnley win piles pressure on Everton boss Koeman

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Liverpool (AFP) – Everton manager Ronald Koeman was set for an uncomfortable international break after Jeff Hendrick’s goal gave visitors Burnley a 1-0 win in the Premier League at Goodison Park on Sunday.

Defeat left the big-spending Toffees, who have won just twice in seven league matches so far this season, a mere two points above the relegation zone.

Bayern surrender two-goal lead as post-Ancelotti era begins

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Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich again surrendered a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw at Hertha Berlin on Sunday in their first match since Carlo Ancelotti’s shock sacking as the German giants slipped five points behind leaders Borussia Dortmund.

With Willy Sagnol in temporary charge after Ancelotti’s dismissal on Thursday, Bayern went 2-0 up at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium with goals by Mats Hummels and Robert Lewandowski.

Barcelona win behind closed doors amid Catalonia clashes

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Barcelona (AFP) – Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona beat Las Palmas 3-0 in a match played behind closed doors after the Spanish league refused Barca’s plea to postpone the game on the day of the highly-charged Catalonia referendum.

At least 91 people were injured as Spanish riot police fired rubber bullets and forced their way into activist-held polling stations over the independence vote deemed illegal by the Spanish government on Sunday.

Empty stadium a protest not security related: Barcelona boss

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Barcelona (AFP) – Playing Sunday’s La Liga match against Las Palmas behind closed doors was a protest against violent clashes between police and activists in Catalonia rather than a security issue, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said.

At least 91 people have been injured as Spanish riot police fired rubber bullets and forced their way into activist-held polling stations over an independence referendum for Catalonia deemed illegal by the Spanish government.

France lose Koscielny for World Cup ties

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Paris (AFP) – Didier Deschamps has called up Marseille central defender Adil Rami, who was a succesful last minute draft for Euro 2016, after Arsenal star Laurent Koscielny pulled out of two upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

In their final two qualifiers for Russia 2018, France play in Bulgaria on October 7 and then host Belarus three days later, knowing six points would qualify them for the finals.

Wenger says ‘humility’ his biggest lesson in 21 years at Arsenal

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger said “humility” was the biggest lesson he had learnt as Arsenal marked the 21st anniversary of his appointment with a comfortable 2-0 win at home to Brighton in the Premier League on Sunday.

Nacho Monreal’s 16th-minute goal gave Arsenal the lead at the Emirates before Alex Iwobi’s second-half strike secured all three points for the Gunners

Arsenal’s sixth win from their last seven matches in all competitions saw them close to within six points of league leaders Manchester City heading into the international break, and meant Wenger marked his landmark match with a new record.

Barca match to be played behind closed doors amid Catalonia clashes

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona’s La Liga match against Las Palmas will be played behind closed doors on Sunday (1415GMT) after the Spanish league refused to postpone the match.

At least 91 people have been injured in clashes between police and activists in Catalonia on Sunday over an independence referendum for the region deemed illegal by the Spanish government.

Barca match against Las Palmas in doubt after Catalonia clashes

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Madrid (AFP) – Barcelona’s La Liga match against Las Palmas remained in doubt less than an hour before kick-off (1415GMT) on Sunday after clashes between police and activists in Catalonia over an independence referendum for the region deemed illegal by the Spanish government.

At least 91 people were injured in the clashes, officials said as Spanish riot police fired rubber bullets and forced their way into activist-held polling stations.

Wenger savours 21st anniversary as Arsenal sink Brighton

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger celebrated the 21st anniversary of his arrival at Arsenal in winning style as the Gunners cruised to a 2-0 home victory over Brighton on Sunday.

There are many reasons for Arsenal fans to look back fondly on the day Wenger was hired but, after several years of underachievement, the Frenchman finds himself engaged in a fight to restore his tarnished reputation.

Hamsik closes in on Maradona record as Napoli stay perfect

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Milan (AFP) – Marek Hamsik moved closer to Diego Maradona’s record as Napoli continued their perfect Serie A run this season with a 3-0 win over Cagliari on Sunday.

Skipper Hamsik opened for the hosts after just four minutes with his first goal of the season and 114th for Napoli, just one short of Maradona’s all-time club record.

29 hurt as French football stadium barrier collapses

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Amiens (France) (AFP) – Twenty-nine fans were hurt, five of them seriously, when a barrier collapsed Saturday at a stadium in the northern French city of Amiens as away supporters celebrated their opening goal.

A fence separating Lille fans from the pitch gave way as they surged forward to celebrate the goal against Amiens, a regional rival that has just been promoted to the top flight in French football.

CHAN failure reveals flailing Kenya football

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Nairobi (AFP) – The decision to strip Kenya of its right to host the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) has revealed the abject state of football in the country.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) governing body earlier this month withdrew the tournament from Kenya after an inspection team found just one out of four venues was ready ahead of the January start of the tournament.

Football: 29 hurt as French stadium barrier collapses

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Amiens (France) (AFP) – Twenty-nine fans were hurt, five of them seriously, when a barrier collapsed Saturday at a stadium in the northern French city of Amiens as away supporters celebrated their opening goal.

A fence separating Lille fans from the pitch gave way as they surged forward to celebrate the goal against Amiens, a regional rival that has just been promoted to the top flight in French football.

Las Palmas to wear Spanish flag on shirts against Barca

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Madrid (AFP) – Las Palmas will wear a Spanish flag on their shirts for Sunday’s La Liga clash at Barcelona (1415GMT) as shocking political events in Catalonia on Sunday overshadow action on the field.

Spanish riot police fired rubber bullets and forced their way into activist-held polling stations in Catalonia as thousands attempted to vote in an independence referendum deemed illegal by the Spanish government.

Row over French football stadium accident that left 29 hurt

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Amiens (France) (AFP) – The owner of French top-flight club Lille hit back at his rival at Amiens SC on Sunday, suggesting safety lapses were to blame for the collapse of a stadium barrier which left 29 fans injured during a game between the teams.

The chairman of Amiens, Bernard Joannin, initially blamed hundreds of “hardcore fans” among Lille supporters for the shocking scenes during Saturday’s Ligue 1 encounter in Amiens in northeast France.