Sanford's Soccer Net Archives for January 2009

England: Kettering or Leeds to visit Old Trafford following FA Cup third round draw

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The third round draw also features three all Premier League ties, with West Ham hosting Arsenal, Aston Villa facing Blackburn and Wigan playing Hull.

Steve Davis: 2009 MLS Season Wrap

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Major League Soccer's 14th season began with a flourish in Seattle as a packed house served up a teaser for great things ahead at the debuting franchise. The Sounders eventually set a single-season league attendance record, and then supplied a brilliant punctuation mark on 2009 as a grand and gracious MLS Cup host.

Funny Swedish Taxi Advertisement

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Thanks to Dave for passing this along...

Absurd Beach Soccer Dive

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(Summary is not available.)

Italy: Serie A Weekend Review + Team of the Week

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Inter Milan extended their lead at the top of Serie A to eight points on Sunday thanks to a 1-0 home win over Fiorentina.

City rivals AC Milan capitalised on Juventus' 2-0 defeat at Cagliari to climb to second.

Review

Team of the Week

Inter Fan In Coma After Falling From San Siro Stands During Fiorentina Match

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According to Sky.it, the 36-year-old man climbed onto the balustrade of the second tier where he lost his footing and fell down to the first tier, crushing a 46-year-old and his son in the process.
Sky

Ireland asked to be 33rd team at the World Cup, says Sepp Blatter

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The Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, has revealed that the Football Association of Ireland asked to be included in the World Cup as an extra team following the Republic of Ireland's controversial play-off defeat to France.

England: Premier League Special Reports

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Arsenal 0 - 3 Chelsea
Dominic Fifield: Ashley Cole makes his point
Harry Harris: Men against boys
Richard Williams:
Arsenal's flimsy title challenge torn apart

Everton 0 - 2 Liverpool
Richard Jolly: Kuyt industry key for Reds
Phil McNulty:
Everton and Moyes face testing times

Aston Villa 1 - 1 Tottenham
Harry Harris: Spurs edge ahead in top-four race

England: Premier League Weekend Review

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Birmingham City edged out Midlands rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers, Manchester United ruined Avram Grant's debut in charge of Portsmouth while Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur were forced to play out a 1-1 draw.

Review

Spain: La Liga Weekend Reviews

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Saturday





Sunday

Spain: Ibrahimovic Wins El Clásico For Barca

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Madrid's expensively-assembled superstars put up a good fight, but Barca have drawn first blood in the title race...

Barcelona 1 - 0 Real Madrid
Player Ratings

I'm Thankful for Footie

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Praise Jesus.


Amen.

England: Wednesday Premier League Reports + Table

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Fulham 3 - 0 Blackburn
Dempsey double downs Rovers


Hull City 3 - 2 Everton
Tigers hold on for vital victory






Chelsea1333Manchester United1328Arsenal1225Tottenham Hotspur1325Aston Villa1322Manchester City1221Liverpool1320Sunderland1320Stoke City1319Fulham1318Burnley1317Blackburn Rovers1316Birmingham1315Everton1315Hull City1415Wigan Athletic1314West Ham United1311Bolton Wanderers1211Wolverhampton Wanderers1310Portsmouth137

UEFA Champions League: Wednesday Reports

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Manchester United 0 - 1 Besiktas
United left with work to do
United's kids not quite ready



Bayern Munich 1 - 0 Maccabi Haifa
Olic gives Bayern hope





Bordeaux 2 - 0 Juventus
Chamakh seals top spot


AC Milan 1 - 1 Marseille
Lucho denies Milan


Porto 0 - 1 Chelsea
Anelka swoops late as Blues stroll


Real Madrid 1 - 0 FC Zurich
Ronaldo returns


The Path to the Knockout Stage + Complete Standings

UEFA Champions League: Team of the Week

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Goal.com runs through the best in show from matchday 5 of the Champions League...

Rustu


Alves Pique Sharonov Tremoulinas

Hleb Fabregas Cisse Krasic Pedro

Chamakh

Amy Lawrence: Europe's young managers show what they can do – everywhere but here

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The Champions League is full of recently retired players excelling in management. None of them works in England.

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday Reports

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Liverpool crashed out of the UEFA Champions League and Rangers tumbled out of Europe completely as Arsenal cruised into the last 16.

Debrecen 0 - 1 Liverpool
Reds win but crash out
Liverpool's bread and butter look stale
Uncertain future awaits

Fiorentina 1 - 0 Lyon
Viola through at Liverpool's expense

Barcelona 2 - 0 Inter Milan
Barca dominate Nerazzurri
A complete performance

Arsenal 2 - 0 Standard Liege
Gunners top group
Horror foul leaves Gibbs with broken foot

Rangers 0 - 2 Stuttgart
Germans too good

UEFA Champions League: Wednesday Preview

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Chelsea and Manchester United can win their respective UEFA Champions League groups with qualification to the knockout phase already assured.

There is significantly more at stake in Group C, where all four clubs retain hopes of qualification, although heavyweight duo AC Milan and Real Madrid currently occupy the top two berths.

Just the Basics Today

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A day of travel (over the river and through the woods) so just the basics today. Besides Paul Hart's sacking and the Champions League, there's not much going on. Be safe. -Sanford

Bottom of the table Pompey sack manager Hart

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Portsmouth have sacked manager Paul Hart after the club's poor start to the season left them rooted to the bottom of the Premier League.

World Cup 2010 Draw: All You Need to Know

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What:
Fifa World Cup 2010 draw
Where: Cape Town, South Africa
When: December 4, 2009 5pm GMT.

The 32 teams will be seeded in four pots to be confirmed, perhaps, as late as the eve of the draw itself.

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday Previews

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Liverpool, Barcelona and Rangers are all facing the prospect of crashing out of the UEFA Champions League in the penultimate round of group games.

Debrecen vs. Liverpool
Victory in Hungary may not be enough
Carragher remembers past failures
U.

Jonathan Wilson in Eastern Europe

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The Dutchman's ignoring of Rubin players may have helped them retain the title and cost Russia a World Cup finals place.

Rubin Kazan have good reason to thank the blinkered Guus Hiddink.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

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After seeing off Fiorentina 3-2, Parma find themselves fifth in the table and that certainly is an extraordinary achievement.

Seventh sister back on the scene as Parma perk up sibling rivalry.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

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A masterful display at Freiburg confirmed Mesut Özil's status as the best player in the league, a one-man source of creativity.

Mesut Özil streets ahead of rivals to inspire Werder to greater heights.

Sid Lowe in Spain

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It's not supposed to be this way. Carlos Marchena's not supposed to score and he's certainly not supposed to score the same day David Albelda does.

Even the most evil men are capable of beauty once in a while.

Sepp Blatter calls emergency Fifa meeting after Ireland's controversial defeat

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Sepp Blatter has called an emergency meeting of Fifa's executive committee to discuss the fallout from Ireland's World Cup qualifying play-off elimination by France.

The meeting will be held only two days before the draw for the finals in South Africa.

Ljungberg Wants to See Arsenal Steel

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Freddie Ljungberg knows all the questions about Arsenal's durability. Do they have substance to go with their undoubted style? Character as well as creativity? Depth as well as desire? In short, when the going gets tough, can Arsenal get going?

Second-tier soccer league dubs itself the NASL

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The new NASL has nine teams: Carolina RailHawks, Atlanta Silverbacks, Crystal Palace Baltimore, Miami FC, Minnesota Thunder, Montreal Impact, St. Louis Soccer United, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Fernando Torres: exclusive interview with Liverpool and Spain's 'El Nino'

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Spanish striker Fernando Torres talks about life at Liverpool and in the Premier League, and how he had managed to avoid the limelight despite his football superstar status.

Grant Wahl: Q&A with MLS Commish Garber

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Our discussion addressed a number of topics, including his views on using instant replay in soccer officiating (in the wake of the controversy in Wednesday's World Cup Ireland-France World Cup qualifier), the MLS salary cap, Landon Donovan's future in MLS, a move to a single table, consensus-building with MLS owners, and his thoughts on my book, The Beckham Experiment.

Phil Ball in Spain

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The trouble with the 'clásico' (Barcelona v Real Madrid, in case you didn't know) is that in the week preceding this apocalyptic fixture everything seems conditioned by its looming presence. It might have been better for the clubs themselves to have played the game on a weekend which neither preceded nor succeeded a Champions League midweek, but the gods of destiny preferred to keep things boiling over, sitting up there in the clouds this summer, poring over the fixture list.

Italy: Serie A Team of the Week

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Ronaldinho (Milan): Arguably the former Barcelona star's best match this season. A full ninety minutes of ingenuity and creativity. His one-touch assist for Pato was sublime and his penalty was dispatched with confidence. He is thriving in Leonardo's system and enjoying his football again.

England: Top 10 Drubbings

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Goals fly in from all angles, with scoreboards threatening to blow a fuse and reporters racing through pencils as they frantically scribble away in an effort to keep up with the action unfolding in front of them.

These are the games which really capture the imagination - at least for the players and supporters of the side in the ascendancy.

Fifa shows Iraqi footballers the red card after Sunni-Shia struggle

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Iraqi football teams have been banned from all international competitions after sectarian infighting among the country's sports officials.

Bobby McMahon Column

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Not since Zinedine Zidane lined up Marco Materazzi's chest with his head in Berlin over three years ago have so many opinions, distortions, hyperbole and hypocritical utterances been spewed forth.

The "Henry Incident" has provided an opportunity for outlandish stereo-typing and xenophobia.

England: Premier League Weekend Review

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Tottenham Hotspur went scoring bananas in a humiliation of Wigan Athletic, their North London rivals Arsenal saw their title aspirations suffer a blow while struggling pair Hull City and West Ham United played out a six-goal thriller.

Review

Italy: Serie A Weekend Round-ups

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Inter Milan stretched their lead at the top of the table as Parma prevailed in a five-goal thriller at Fiorentina.
Saturday


AC Milan edged a seven-goal thriller against Cagliari, while Francesco Totti was the hero for Roma.
Sunday

Spain: La Liga Weekend Round-ups

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Real Madrid have moved to the top of the Liga table after beating Racing Santander while Barcelona were held at Athletic Bilbao.
Saturday


Valencia moved back into the Primera Liga's top four on Sunday with a convincing victory on their travels.
Sunday

Monday MLS Breakdown: RSL's MLS Cup Triumph Is No Overnight Success

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Few gave Real Salt Lake much of a shot to defeat Los Angeles and win its first MLS Cup. Kyle McCarthy explains how RSL positioned itself for glory and grasped the opportunity in the Monday MLS Breakdown.

England: Premier League Special Reports

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Kevin McCarra at Anfield
Liverpool 2 - 2 Manchester City


Richard Jolly at Old Trafford
Manchester United 3 - 0 Everton


Kevin Palmer at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 4 - 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers


Dominic Fifield at White Hart Lane
Tottenham 9 - 1 Wigan

Weekend previews

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Shockingly there's a full weekend of soccer action about to start. I know, how can that be?!?! Have the authorities lost their minds? With Thierry Henry roaming the streets, handling a ball, destroying a nation's economy, causing cancer and eating children, it's hard to believe European governments are allowing people out of their houses.

Argh -- been busy today

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Blame it on my Liverpool supporting Uncle who is in from his retirement compound in Thailand. Hopefully I'll get some previews up later today. Thankfully countries playing countries is behind us for a spell and we can focus on the true beautiful game: club football. -Sanford










His fault.

Roman Abramovich's Tab at Nello's

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(Summary is not available.)

2010 FIFA World Cup Qualifying: Uruguay 1 - 1 Costa Rica

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Uruguay struggled to tame Costa Rica before booking their place in the World Cup finals with a 1-1 draw at home in the second leg of their South America/CONCACAF play-off on Wednesday. The match was held up for nearly five minutes near the end because of fighting between a Uruguay camera crew near the touchline and the Costa Rica bench amid a nervous denouement.

2010 World Cup Qualifying: Bosnia-Herzegovina 0 - 1 Portugal

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Portugal belatedly secured their place at next summer's World Cup with an impressive performance in Zenica. After scraping a 1-0 win in Lisbon at the weekend with a laboured showing on home turf, Carlos Queiroz's side upped their game to close out the qualifying play-off and book a ticket to South Africa.

2010 World Cup Qualifying: Slovenia 1 - 0 Russia

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Slovenia reached the 2010 World Cup finals at the expense of nine-man Russia thanks to Zlatko Dedic's 44th-minute goal on a dramatic night in Maribor. Russia, who had Aleksandr Kerzhakov and Yuri Zhirkov sent off in the second half, were left to rue some poor defending and an overall disjointed performance.

International Friendly: Denmark 3 - 1 United States

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Take one look at the scoreline from the United States' 3-1 defeat by Denmark, and it's tempting to assume that the more inexperienced elements of manager Bob Bradley's lineup were to blame. But closer inspection reveals that some veteran performers should bear most of the responsibility.


Winners and Losers

Lessons learned from Denmark and Slovakia

2010 FIFA World Cup: Line-up For The Finals

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Hosts South Africa

Europe England, Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Denmark, Greece, Portugal, Slovenia, France

Africa Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria

Asia Japan, Australia, South Korea, North Korea

Oceania New Zealand

Concacaf United States, Mexico, Honduras

South America Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay

Interactive Guide

2010 World Cup Qualifying: Ukraine 0 - 1 Greece

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Dimitris Salpigidis scored the only goal as Greece clinched a place at the 2010 World Cup courtesy of a narrow victory over Ukraine at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk.




Agony for Sheva...

2010 World Cup Qualifying: France 1 - 1 Ireland

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Trap's dreams denied by missed chances and underhand tricks



Cascarino: Henry is an insincere cheat


Richard Williams: How Henry could have handled it all so differently



Maher: Ireland hard done by



Barclay: Lucky Domenech spared trial by video



Lee Dixon: Henry has tainted his reputation





Amy Lawrence: Trap finds no luck


Bitter Keane blasts FIFA, UEFA & Platini


Fifa rejects calls for replay after Henry handball

2010 World Cup Qualifying: Algeria 1 - 0 Egypt

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Algeria qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 with a disciplined if patchy display, in a match as testy as it was tense. Antar Yahia's winner emphasised the commitment to attack the Algerians have shown throughout qualifying: the scorer was a right-back on a far from unusual foray.

Twittering...Tweeting...Twitting?

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Forgot to mention that I'm all a twit today as the matches progress. Here's my name:
SanfordssoccerI think that's all you need, but I might be wrong.

-Sanford

2010 FIFA World Cup Playoff Previews

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Bloody hell. It finally all comes down to this. After today, we're done.

CAF
Egypt vs. Algeria
12:30 EST
Khartoum Stadium, Khartoum, Sudan
Preview
Preview II
Battle for final African spot at fever pitch

UEFA
France vs. Ireland (1-0 agg.)
3pm EST
U.

Samuel Eto'o rewards winning Cameroon squad with £29,000 watches

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The Internazionale striker Samuel Eto'o has celebrated Cameroon's qualification for next summer's World Cup in South Africa by buying every member of the squad a £29,000 watch.









Nice watch...

Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher risk film row

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Liverpool have risked a furore over a film starring Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher that portrays Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, as a whisky-guzzling drunk and Gary Neville, the club's captain, as a rat who "hates Scousers".

Gerrard and Carragher were joined by Rafael Benítez, the Merseyside club's manager, at the premiere of Fifteen Minutes That Shook The World in Liverpool on Monday evening.

Top 10 Worst Players To Ever Wear The No.10 Shirt?

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Carlo Garganese runs down the Top 10 list of players who should never been allowed to wear the sacred No.10 shirt...

Arsenal problems mount as Kieran Gibbs suffers foot injury

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Gibbs becomes the 12th player on Arsenal's ever lengthening injury list – he had been the club's first-choice left-back due to a stress fracture of the back suffered by Gaël Clichy.

Gibbs was forced out after only 21 minutes of the game against Lithunia, with initial reports suggesting he may have broken a metatarsal.

West Ham United club shop to sell limited-edition Katy Perry lingerie

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The American singer appeared at the ceremony in a West Ham basque, complete with the team's badges on her chest, prompting the club to commission a special limited-edition range of underwear for sale to fans. West Ham say they were "responding to huge demand".

Some Scotland players 'too thick' to understand tactics, says Craig Burley

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Some of Scotland's players are "too thick" to understand George Burley's coaching methods, according to the sacked manager's nephew, Craig.

International Friendly: U.S. faces another test on European soil against Denmark

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When the United States originally set up this Wednesday's friendly against Denmark, it was thought that the encounter would provide a fair assessment of where the Americans stood in comparison to another World Cup contestant. The chance to look at some fringe members of the team was also a benefit.

Ten Things Wrong with Scottish Football

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5. The stick-it-right-up-'em Scottish crowd
When I was a kid watching games at Ibrox, Parkhead or Hampden I sensed even then "the angry Scottish football crowd". To this day the Scots aren't too keen on the type of football which tends to succeed, ie, methodical, studied and careful in the build-up.

Egypt-Algeria: When Fair Play Died

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The first rock was thrown with such force that it traveled through the bus, smashing windows on its way in and out, Michel Gaillaud, a French doctor, recalls. Panicked, he and the football players he treats dived for cover. "We were bombarded with stones," says Gaillaud. "People were screaming. We were lying on the floor.

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard fit to face Manchester City

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Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is on course for a return to action against Manchester City in the Premier League this weekend after recovering from a groin injury.

Quotes & Chants of the Week

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"I offered to shave off my beard and put on some make-up and then I'd have looked like my missus!"
Derby County's Robbie Savage after turning up at the airport with his wife's passport for a friendly in the Netherlands.

"I was joking on the sidelines saying 'You Americans have been dying to get it to four quarters and you finally got it!

Tim Vickery in South America

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You had to feel sorry for those fringe England players pushing their claims for a World Cup squad place against Brazil. There were few chances to shine and they were outgunned individually and collectively.

Unsurprisingly England's under-strength line-up looked like a collection of players.

Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger in Germany

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I'll be frank. The main reason you're reading this column is that it's due. And yes, I did think about taking this week off and not sending anything. Obviously, nearly everybody who makes a living covering German football has talked or written about Robert Enke's death these past days. I intend to remain an exception, and you'll know why.

FIFA World Cup 2010: Dramatic Finale for Africa

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If it was drama you wanted, African World Cup qualifying was the place to be this weekend. Nigeria and Cameroon became the latest teams through to the finals - joining Ghana, Ivory Coast and hosts South Africa - but in very different circumstances.



The scene in Cairo. Wednesday's match will be in "nuetral" Sudan.

Phil Ball in Spain

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After the Brazil v England game in Doha on Saturday night, Fabio Capello remarked, amongst other things, that Brazil were a better side than Spain and were more likely favourites for the crown in South Africa. In justifying this view, he said that Brazil were physically stronger, and that they defended better.

Dominic Fifield: Andrey Arshavin central to radical plan after Van Persie calamity

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The Arsenal manager will need to change his strategy now that his gifted forward has joined the casualty list.

Van Persie visiting Serbian healer

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The Dutchman will have placenta rubbed into the damaged area by a Serbian housewife who successfully healed a former Feyenoord team-mate Danzo Lazovic.

Burley sacked as Scotland manager

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Burley won just three of his 14 games in charge and his sacking follows the 3-0 friendly defeat in Cardiff on Saturday.

World Cup Qualifying Playoffs

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Costa Rica 0-1 Uruguay
Crucial Lugano Goal Brings South Americans Closer To World Cup 2010

Ireland 0-1 France
Anelka Gives France Away-Goal Boost

Greece 0-0 Ukraine
Stalemate In Athens As Visitors Leave Happier



New Zealand players celebrate after booking trip to South Africa.

Road To Africa: The Path To World Cup 2010 Qualification

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The World Cup of 2010 is already taking shape, with twenty-six of the 32 teams on offer having already staked a claim towards a tournament berth.

Lassana Diarra's low blow brings out Ireland's fighting spirit

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Giovanni Trapattoni, the Ireland manager, said Lassana Diarra's verbal attack on Keith Andrews, which precipitated a confrontation of a more physical nature with players from both teams forming a melee, was an "insult to the Irish people". "I cannot say the sentence," the Italian added.

The forgotten story of ... the France football captain who murdered for Hitler

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Alex Villaplane said captaining France was 'the happiest day of his life'. Fourteen years later he was shot dead for being a traitor.

The Big Interview: Roy Hodgson

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Roy Hodgson on managing levels of expectation at Fulham and his position as a potential successor to Fabio Capello.

'It's always been a crowning glory to be asked to coach your national team'.

Diego Maradona Banned From Football For Two Months

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The Argentina coach is banned from all football related activity for two months and has been fined 25 thousand Swiss francs for his post-match rant following the World Cup qualifier against Uruguay last month...

Six weeks out for Van Persie

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The striker suffered an ankle injury 10 minutes into Holland's goalless draw with Italy on Saturday and had to be stretchered from the field.

Match Report: MLS Eastern Conference Finals

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For the second season in a row the Fire had a chance to make a trip to the MLS Cup Final and once again they came up short. The home fans at Toyota Park showed up in force, but they didn't see the same commitment and coherence from their team that they got in last week's 2-0 home win over Prince and the New England Revolution.

Taking the Day Off

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I hung out with Lilian Thuram last night. I'm taking a day off to let that sink in. More over the weekend. -Sanford

AC Milan's Gattuso Stolen Car Found in Albania

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Police are currently investigating how the stolen vehicle entered Albania. Luxury vehicles stolen from Western Europe often end up on Albania's streets after their plates are changed and are then sold on with falsified documents. The car, a Range Rover SUV, stolen from the Italian football player three years ago, had Tirana plates and was registered to an Albanian national.

Norman Hubbard: The Truth Behind Benitez

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He has won the Champions League, but only one of his last nine fixtures. He still appears adored by many on the Kop, but is derided by still more on messageboards and phone-ins. He is one of the most divisive figures in football. But how many of the criticisms commonly levelled at Rafa Benitez stand up to analysis?

Football's Forgotten Superstar

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Remember Freddy Adu? Of course you do. In 2004, he was the 14-year-old who was seen as the future of the game in the United States and a potential new global star. The subject of gargantuan hype when he made his Major League Soccer bow in April of that year for DC United, Adu still holds records as the youngest player and goalscorer in the MLS's short history and is also the youngest player to appear for the senior US team.

Football Unites, from Tanzania to Tottenham

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When future historians look back at the age of globalisation, it is not the Americanisation of the planet's culture that will amaze them most, nor the pervading presence of brands such as Coca-Cola and Nike. No, it is the global conquest of football.

French Revelations: The Team To Send France Past Ireland To The World Cup

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Using the squad that Raymond Domenech has picked for the World Cup play-offs, Goal.com's Robin Bairner has picked his starting XI to send France to South Africa. In addition, he has selected a wildcard player to keep an eye on...




The wildcard...

The Big Interview: Kaká

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Brazil's playmaker on Steven Gerrard, Cristiano Ronaldo and why England can triumph in South Africa.

'I have no doubt England can win the World Cup' says Kaká.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

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Post-war Germany is traditionally reluctant to dwell on the past. But, as the country mourns the loss of a great footballer, for once the show cannot go on.

Robert Enke's death has cast a long shadow over German football.

Premier League Rejects Old Firm

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The Premier League has rejected a plan to bring Celtic and Rangers into English football's top flight.

Rebel clubs plan breakaway North American league

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North America will have a new soccer league from April after rebel clubs broke away from the established second tier league to form a new competition.

The seven include USL champions Montreal Impact and the team they beat in the league's final game -- Vancouver Whitecaps.

The Carolina Railhawks, Miami FC and Minnesota Thunder have also split from USL to form the new league along with former USL team the Atlanta Silverbacks and a new team from St.

'Sad' Nani lifts lid on fiery Sir Alex Ferguson outbursts

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"Ferguson is a very complicated man," Nani said. "He's tough. If things are all right, then they are all right. But when he thinks something is wrong, everything is screwed.

"He can go from complimenting you to just plain trashing you in a matter of minutes. Has it happened to me? Hell, yes!

World Cup Qualifying: Gourcuff and Benzema fear play-off date with Ireland

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France stars Yoann Gourcuff and Karim Benzema give off the impression that they have been pinned back on the ropes for a little too long as they prepare for Saturday's World Cup play-off against the Republic of Ireland.

Bayern Munich turn into FC Hollywood again

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One suspected it was bound to happen. Every year we are presented with a new edition of the internal drama at Bayern Munich. It's a phenomenon that takes place frequently at Saebener Strasse and leaves the club's management in sheer disillusion and the fans in astonishment while blood-thirsty journalists start sharpening their pens.

Quotes & Chants of the Week

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"He'd clean my shoes, make me cups of tea and even came to one of my fan club afternoons...he may be a global superstar but has he ever sold out Discotheque Royale on a Sunday afternoon?"
Lee Sharpe on the days when he was king and David Beckham was his bootboy.

"Phil's having a Guinness in his office at the moment - and he deserves one.

Roman Pavlyuchenko demands to leave Tottenham Hotspur

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The 27-year-old striker says he wants to hold talks with Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham manager, after becoming disillusioned with life at White Hart Lane.

Gabriele Marcotti Column

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I don't really want to go back to the Michael Owen issue, but, since with eerie regularity people mention his "great goalscoring record for England" I might as well chip in. First of all, a "goalscoring record for England" is put together over a long period of time, especially in his case, since he made his debut back in February of 1998.

U.S. striker released from hospital after car crash

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United States and Sochaux striker Charlie Davies has been released from hospital after being injured in a car crash last month near Washington DC.

Germany goalkeeper Robert Enke commits suicide

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The 32-year-old was hit by the train as it passed through a crossing at Neustadt-Eilvese on its route between Hamburg and Bremen. Police said the Hannover 96 captain's car, parked metres away from the tracks, was unlocked and his wallet still inside. The two train drivers reported seeing a man on the tracks but could not stop in time, police reported.

Manchester United Comment: Trailing By Five Points...It Was Worse Last Season

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Alex Ferguson has the experience to close the gap on Carlo's Ancelotti's table-toppers...

Spanish Inquisition: Real Madrid Edge Alcorcon, But There’s Still Egg On Their Face

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What's a bigger embarrassment? Real Madrid labouring to a 1-0 home win over Alcorcon with their big guns out on show, or Alcorcón demolishing Real Madrid 4-0 at their 3,000-capacity Santo Domingo stadium with half of the mini-Galacticos day-dreaming out on the pitch?

The answer? Both are equally disgraceful.

EPL Top 10: Referee Gaffes

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Skysports.com takes a look at some of the biggest refereeing gaffes of the season so far.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

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With no win in 10 games and their best players frozen out by the club, Lazio's players have been ordered to attend a training camp.

Lazio retreat as their ship starts sinking.





Such a shame that their club isn't doing well...

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

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Instead of acting on Philipp Lahm's criticisms, Bayern are glossing over their failings in Europe and, at the moment, the Bundesliga.

Philipp Lahm slaughters his own club to leave Bayern Munich ranting and railing.


He would help...



"Top teams in the Champions League have first-class players in seven, eight positions – we don't," Lahm said.

Jonathan Wilson in Eastern Europe

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Guus Hiddink's side are favourites to make it through the play-offs to South Africa, but his selection problems give Matjaz Kek hope of masterminding an upset.


Slovenia hoping for another play-off miracle against the might of Russia.

Sid Lowe in Spain

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Over 50 clubs from Saudi Arabia to Merseyside have beaten Real since 1999. Agonised Atlético still aren't one of them.

Groundhog day for Atlético as Real dish out familiar Madrid derby pain.

Americans In The UK: Trio Of Goals For Yanks

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Not one. Not two. But three Americans scored in England last week, as every goal either secured a victory or equalized the score.

Onyewu plans a speedy recovery from knee surgery

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"The surgery went well, I was told afterwards that it was textbook," said Onyewu, who is now rehabbing in California. "Everything went along well, I am feeling better each day."

Onyewu recalls looking down and seeing that his kneecap was in his quadriceps muscle. "It looked pretty bad," he said.

England: Premier League Reports, Video & Table

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Liverpool 2 - 2 Birmingham City

Richard Jolly: No glory for Reds in Anfield draw
Andy Hunter: Ngog's embarrassing case of cheating gets draw
Kevin McCarra: Gerrard returns to curb humiliation


November 10, 2009 P Pts Chelsea1230Arsenal1125Manchester United1225Tottenham Hotspur1222Aston Villa1221Manchester City1120Liverpool1219Sunderland1217Stoke City1216Burnley1216Fulham1115Everton1115Wigan Athletic1214Blackburn Rovers1113Birmingham1212Bolton Wanderers1111Hull City1211West Ham United1210Wolverhampton Wanderers1210Portsmouth127

Phil Ball in Spain

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The fact that Sporting Gijón lie seventh in the league, with a quarter of the games now played, is probably the fairest thing to highlight at the start of this week's column. After beating Espanyol 1-0, they have garnered sixteen precious points from the ten games so far played, and as averages go would be very happy to end the season on something around 60 points, their present haul multiplied by four.

Thuram Comes to Durham, NC

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Lilian Thuram, Caribbean-born French soccer player, activist and writer, is well-known both for his successes on the turf and for his frequent political interventions off of it. During his week-long residency at Duke, he will participate in several events, sharing his thoughts on sport, racism, and immigration as well as discussing the work of his new foundation.

Major League Soccer: Playoff Reports

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Los Angeles 1 - 0 Chivas USA
Donovan penalty sends Galaxy to semis

Chicago 2 - 0 New England
Blanco leads Fire surge

Houston 1 - 0 Seattle
Ching strikes in extra time to end Seattle's dream

Monday Night Football Preview: Liverpool vs. Birmingham City

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When: Monday, November 9, 2009 - 3:00 EST
Where: Anfield, Merseyside, England
U.S. TV: ESPN2
Preview

Italy: Serie A Weekend Review + Team of the Week

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Inter Milan were held to a 1-1 draw by a determined Roma at the San Siro on Sunday night - but still moved five points clear at the top of Serie A. In-form city rivals AC moved up to third after inflicting a 2-1 home defeat on Lazio which leaves the Rome side hovering just above the relegation zone.

England: More on Chelsea vs. Manchester United

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Kevin McCarra's Match Report


Defeat hurts Sir Alex hard


Chelsea's belated revenge leaves Manchester United nursing grievances.



Sir Alex screams blue murder: "It was a bad decision, but what can you do? You lose faith in the refereeing sometimes.

Calcio Debate: Jose Mourinho’s 150 Game Record, Patrick Vieira Is Batman, Viva Vargas & Thi Amo Silva

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Carlo Garganese looks back over another explosive weekend of Serie A action, paying tribute to an incredible Jose Mourinho record and coining a new nickname for elbow-attacker Patrick Vieira...

England: Premier League Special Reports

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Harry Harris at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 1 - 0 Manchester United


Richard Jolly at the KC Stadium
Hull City 2 - 1 Stoke City


Kevin Palmer at Molineux
Wolves 1 - 4 Arsenal

England: Premier League Weekend Review

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Manchester City played out a six-goal thriller with Burnley at Eastlands, Everton returned to winning ways, as did Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur - the former in a more convincing manner than the latter - while an inspired double substitution helped Blackburn Rovers fight back against Portsmouth.

Spain: La Liga Weekend Review

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Sevilla and Valencia maintained their pursuit of title favourites Barcelona and Real Madrid with wins on Sunday. On Saturday, 10-man Real Madrid continued their remarkable run of success against city rivals Atletico at the Vicente Calderon, but they were given a huge scare after almost surrendering a 3-0 lead in an incident-packed derby they won 3-2.

MLS Playoffs Match Report: Fire 2 Revs 0

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The Fire came into the second leg down 2-1 in aggregate goals facing an opponent that they've faced a huge number of times in the playoffs over the years, lately with good results. I could go on about the challenges that the Revs faced this year, but frankly it's not worth the time. This Fire team came into the playoffs in mediocre form, with rumors of trouble in the locker room and using a patchwork lineup.

Vive le Foot!

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Ligue 1 teams had an amazing week in the Champions League (not so much in the Europa) that somewhat validated my prediction of French teams being real contenders this year. While Bordeaux won with class and Lyon once again upset Liverpool in the same manner they did 2 weeks ago, Marseille destroyed Zurich and are now in a position to make Real and Milan sweat.

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

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Bayern face Schalke, Hoffenheim host Wolfsburg and Dortmund head to Werder in Round 12...

Friday
Bayer Leverkusen – Eintracht Frankfurt

Saturday
Bayern Munich – Schalke
Borussia M'gladbach – Stuttgart
Mainz– Nuernberg
Hoffenheim – Wolfsburg
Bochum – Freiburg


Sunday

Hannover – Hamburg
Hertha Berlin – Koeln
Werder Bremen – Borussia Dortmund

England: Premier League Previews & Predictions

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Fireworks are expected on Sunday when Premier League leaders Chelsea host second-placed Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. Elsewhere, Phil Brown is under pressure for his Hull City side to pick up a positive result against Stoke City, in-form Arsenal travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers, Manchester City welcome North West rivals Burnley to Eastlands while Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland clash at White Hart Lane.

Spanish Inquisition: Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid - A Tale Of One City

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Goal.com's Subhankar Mondal looks ahead to the key clash between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid in La Liga on Saturday night...

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

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The Madrid derby takes centre stage this weekend as big-spending Real travel to struggling Atletico.

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

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Roma face a daunting trip north this weekend in Serie A when they travel to the San Siro to face a reinvigorated Inter Milan.

MLS Playoffs: Major Upset In Columbus As RSL Advance

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Real Salt Lake had scored just nine goals on the road all season, and the Columbus Crew had scored a single goal in the last five games, but throw that all out the window – this is the playoffs.

Friday MLS Forecast: Conference Semifinals, Second Leg

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The Forecast discusses Real Salt Lake's upset victory in Columbus on Thursday night before it reviews the decisive second legs ahead in the three remaining conference semifinal series.

Europa League Wrap

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Benfica handed Everton another painful lesson at Goodison Park. The two-goal margin of victory could actually have been larger, the Portuguese side missing several chances to increase the embarrassment for Moyes's men. In the event, Benfica settled for two second half goals, one from Saviola and one from Cardozo.

The Joy of Six: Great European Upsets

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From Metz feeding Bernd Schuster ham to Aberdeen lighting up the north, here are some of the great European shocks.

Chelsea vs. Manchester United: Six of the Best

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The two top sides in the Premier League in recent years, United and Chelsea have unearthed a rivalry that has been fought on all fronts. While geographical location may not play a part in their feelings towards each other, the chance to establish themselves at the top is the main motivation for success.

Premier League Heroes: Patrick Vieira: He came from Senegal...

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As French Revolutions go, Arsene Wenger's transformation of Arsenal in 1996 was decidedly less brutal than its 1789 predecessor. But at the beating heart of a side that espoused the values of a liberated style of football was a totemic figure who struck fear into the hearts of opponents thanks to his formidable talent and fiery competitiveness.

Little Girlies Playing Soccer

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Women, girls, ladies...they're just a little too soft and weak to play soccer. Take New Mexico Lobos player Elizabeth Lambert, seen in this clip on the Marca website. She really needs to toughen up her game...ouch.

UEFA Champions League Team Of The Week: Matchday 4

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Goal.com highlights the best performers of Matchday 4.









Bosnia and Herzegovina's and Wolfsburg's Zvjezdan Misimovic...

Roma vs. Fulham: Clint Dempsey relishing chance to play on stage of his heroes

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Clint Dempsey, who grew up in a trailer park in Texas, has admitted he was in awe of Italian greats during his childhood and will relish the chance to play at Rome's Olympic Stadium. The Fulham winger, who was on the bench when Roma stole a draw at Craven Cottage a fortnight ago, is set to start as Roy Hodgson's team look for the win that would put them in a strong position in Group E of the Europa League.

UEFA will probe into Rangers fans

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Rangers supporters were involved in a half-time disturbance at the Ghencea Stadium in Bucharest.

Fans were seen on TV destroying seats and challenging match stewards.


Video

Blow for Real Madrid as Cristiano Ronaldo injury shows no improvement

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Cristiano Ronaldo may face a further three months out if he is forced to have another operation on his injured ankle. Real Madrid have announced that the Portuguese winger has not showed enough improvement to join the first team squad in training and that he has travelled to Amsterdam to see the Dutch ankle specialist Niek van Dijk.

England: Premier League Report + Table

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Three points, two injuries, one hero: this was a mixed night for West Ham United that ended in pure joy. When injuries to Carlton Cole and Hérita Ilunga were followed by a freakish equaliser for Aston Villa, the scene seemed set for yet another promising performance to end in another disappointing result.

UEFA Champions League: Wednesday Reports

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Arsenal virtually booked their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, while Liverpool and Rangers' hopes continue to hang in the balance. Inter Milan staged a dramatic comeback win in Kiev while Rubin Kazan once again frustrated Barcelona.

Lyon 1 - 1 Liverpool
Lopez strikes at the death
Richard Williams Column
Player Ratings

Dynamo Kiev 1 - 2 Inter Milan
Late goals gain priceless victory
Player Ratings


Rubin Kazan 0 - 0 Barcelona
Blaugrana frozen out in Russia
Fiorentina 5 - 2 Decrecen
Viola cruise

Arsenal 4 - 1 AZ Alkmaar
FÃ bregas Masterclass
Player Ratings

Norman Hubbard on Hull City

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For more than two years, they formed the public face of Hull City, each gravitating towards the limelight in a manner that endeared them to some but increasingly irritated others. As chairman and manager, Paul Duffen and Phil Brown tried to project a positive image, regardless of results.

2009 FIFA U-17 WORLD CUP: Recurring theme of missed chances as U.S. falls to Italy

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With the American team eliminated from the FIFA U-17 World Cup after a 2-1 loss to Italy, an evaluation of the team's performance -- in their knockout round match Wednesday with Italy and in the tournament in general -- is really a matter of recognizing that there are two sides to every coin.

UEFA Champions League: Wednesday's Previews

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Liverpool and Rangers are drinking in the last-chance saloon while Arsenal are hoping to toast their progress into the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League. Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan, who have not won in the Champions League for over a year, must drop their reputation as draw specialists when they face Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine where the former Chelsea boss will once again be up against ex-Blues striker Andriy Shevchenko.

Riots

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Germany
Police reacted when about 500 violent supporters of Hansa Rostock tried to breach a police barrier and threw bottles and firecrackers after their club had lost to visiting St. Pauli 2-0. About 1,500 police were on hand for the game between the clubs whose supporters have a history of animosity.

Sale of Xabi Alonso left me 'devastated', says Liverpool's Steven Gerrard

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"Devastated, yeah. Devastated. But there was nothing I could do about it. Xabi said a long time ago that he wanted another chapter in his career and finally he got it and his team-mates and the coaches couldn't stand in his way. We just have to say thanks and move forward without him.

FAT footballers to receive free Big Macs in Thai sponsorship deal

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Thailand's top footballers will receive free burgers as part of their new three-year, £545,000 sponsorship deal with the fast food giant McDonald's.











Sawadee Kop, indeed...

Quotes & Chants of the Week

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"With and without the ball at the moment we're very on the ball."
Frank Lampard has a ball after Chelsea's thumping of Bolton.

"Jermaine is really generous - he bought me some Christian Louboutin shoes for Christmas which I love. But the best present he ever got is priceless - a tattoo of my face on his forearm.

2009 FIFA U-17 WORLD CUP: U.S. U-17s Match Up Well Against Italy

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If the round-of-16 matchup between the United States and Italy at the Under-17 World Cup (Wednesday, 10 a.m. ET, ESPN360.com) were to be decided in terms of soccer history, it would be over before it began. If the match turned on the number of international superstars produced by each country, the quality of the professional league or World Cup finishes, there would be no need to take the field.

South Africa Diary: Day One

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The 2010 World Cup will take place in stunning surroundings but there are local concerns about its long-term impact.

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday Reports

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Manchester United and Chelsea came from behind on Tuesday evening as they booked their places in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League. Group C is the most evenly contested affair as just one point separates the top three. AC Milan remain on top after they a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid at the San Siro.

Tim Vickery in South America

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The candidates were announced last week for the Fifa World Player of the Year award. Am I the only one out there who's not too interested?

The point is proved by a brief look at the performances this year of one of the favourites. Based on what he has done for Barcelona, Lionel Messi would be a worthy winner - but that would certainly not be the case if the criteria was restricted to his form with Argentina.

What became of Gaizka Mendieta?

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As the cream of Europe do battle once more this week, a man who twice inspired his team to the Champions League final will be nothing more than an interested spectator.

In 2000 and 2001, unfashionable Valencia - driven forward by their brilliant midfield general Gaizka Mendieta - reached the final of the world's premier club competition, only to suffer defeat both times.

Liverpool rocked by news that Fernando Torres is facing hernia surgery

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Rafael Benítez learns the full extent of Liverpool striker's injury before crucial Champions League match against Lyons.

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday Previews

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Chelsea and Manchester United can book their place in the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League with victories on Tuesday night.

AC Milan vs. Real Madrid
Pellegrini's last chance?

Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea
Shamed Drogba returns

Manchester United vs. CSKA Moscow
Fergie shares blame for Rio woes

Bayern Munich vs.

Jonathan Wilson in Eastern Europe

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Following the ill-fated reigns of Zico and Juande Ramos, CSKA Moscow finally believe they have the right man in charge ahead of tonight's game at Old Trafford.

CSKA Moscow go Russian with Leonid Slutsky after foreign experiment fails.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

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Consistently good displays have put Aaron Hunt on course for a cap or two. But will they be for Germany or England?

Is Fabio Capello on the Hunt for Werder Bremen's young attacker?

Paolo Bandini in Italy

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The difference in the Partenopei's performances since Walter Mazzarri replaced Donadoni has been like night and day.

Unshackled Napoli prosper with Walter Mazzarri's fresh approach.



Napoli's solid midfield...

Sid Lowe in Spain

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With nine coaches in six years, no trophies since 1996 and 'encouragement' from extreme-right ultras Frente Atlético, what crisis will hit the club next?

Are 'madhouse' Atlético Madrid the worst run club in Europe?

Americans On The Continent: Foals Stride to Victory

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Continuing his strong return to the Borussia Monchengladbach first team, Michael Bradley helped lead his side to an exciting 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Hamburger SV.

Phil Ball in Spain

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One of the most intriguing aspects of Spanish football is the way in which the different sets of supporters around the country react to defeat.

It's becoming better known nowadays that Spain is really a loose collective of chalks and cheeses, where you can cross a regional border and suddenly feel as though you are on a different planet - so it comes as no surprise that each football club in the country is un mundo (its own world).

Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger in Germany

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Guido Erhard tried to write a book. The working title, he said, was: "Truth Be Told - A Life on the Brink". He said the book would "give other people hope and courage". He didn't say it was also a way of coming to grips with his own demons, but he didn't have to.

"Truth Be Told" was never published, because on a cold, dark and snowy Thursday in February 2002, Erhard hurled himself in front of an incoming high-speed train at Offenbach main station.

Americans In The UK: Dempsey Continues Assault

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Fulham shocked even their own fans on Saturday, as they defeated Liverpool rather easily 3-1, with Dempsey providing the final dagger.

North London Derby Analyses

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Dominic Fifield: Van Persie comes of age

Tom Dart: Fearless Fabregas exposes flaws in Redknapp's plan

David Pleat: Fluid Arsenal too much for Spurs

Phil McNulty: Spurs learn silence is golden

Phil Brown wins backing of Adam Pearson

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Under-pressure manager Phil Brown can boast the "full support" of Adam Pearson despite a desperately poor run of form, according to Hull City's new chairman.

Monday MLS Breakdown: Playoff Openers Deliver The Unexpected

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The opening weekend of the 2009 MLS Playoffs provided surprise after surprise when few shocks were expected. Kyle McCarthy runs through the unexpected occurrences before reviewing the first leg ties in the Monday MLS Breakdown.

Calcio Debate: The Best Domestic Team In Europe, But Who Thinks Inter Will Be Knocked Out Of The Champions League?

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Inter increased their lead at the top of Serie A to seven points at the weekend. Carlo Garganese looks at some of the domestic records the Nerazzurri are setting, but fears they will be eliminated from the Champions League unless they beat Dynamo Kiev in midweek.

England: Premier League Weekend Review

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Liverpool undid their hard work of last week after they slumped at Fulham, leaders Chelsea avoided another away day upset while Arsenal claimed the North London derby spoils.

Review

Italy: Serie A Weekend Review

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Full review of the weekend's action in the Serie A which saw Internazionale extend their lead at the top.

Spain: La Liga Weekend Review

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Full review of the weekend's La Liga action which saw Real Madrid close the gap on league leaders, Barcelona.

Barcelona appeared destined to take maximum points from their trip to Osasuna in La Liga on Saturday, but were ultimately forced to settle for a 1-1 draw.

England: Premier League Special Reports

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Richard Jolly at Old Trafford
Manchester United 2 - 0 Blackburn


Kevin Palmer at Emirates Stadium
Arsenal 3 - 0 Tottenham


Harry Harris at St. Andrews
Birmingham 0 - 0 Manchester City