Sanford's Soccer Net Archives for January 2010

England: Wednesday's Premier League Reports

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Chelsea 1 - 0 Bolton
David Hytner at Stamford Bridge
Paul Hayward at Stamford Bridge

Wigan 2 - 2 Arsenal
Richard Jolly at DW Stadium
Paul Wilson at DW Stadium

Liverpool 0 - 1 Wolves
Tim Rich at Anfield

The Mill +

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Thursday's Rumours




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Five things we learned from watching the Premier League this week

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Liverpool's Roy Hodgson must go now and Gérard Houllier's Aston Villa side are not too good to go down.

Grant Wahl: From Princeton to Pretoria, a year of fútbol across the world

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The final days of 2010 are upon us, so it's natural to look back on the year in sports -- or, in my case, the year of soccer. It was a memorable year if you're a fútbol fan, and it was for me too. Here are some of my stories behind the stories, my memories of chasing the game in 2010:

Quotes of the Year

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This year has seen Diego Maradona lead Argentina to the World Cup, Ian Holloway make his debut in the Premier League and Rafael Benitez reinvent himself as a poet.

ESPNsoccernet puts together a selection of some of the year's finest quotes.

"Messi can do some amazing things, but anything he can do Joe can do as well, if not better.

Carlo Garganese's Calcio Debate: 10 Reasons Why Rafa Benitez Was A Failure At Inter

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With Rafa Benitez now gone from San Siro, Carlo Garganese dissects the reasons for his failure at Inter...

England: Tuesday's Premier League Review & Reports

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Manchester United regained top spot in the Premier League on Tuesday but there were no celebrations from Alex Ferguson after his team gave up another late goal in a 1-1 draw at Birmingham City. Earlier Mario Balotelli hit a hat-trick, including two penalties, to help Manchester City beat Aston Villa 4-0 and briefly occupy top spot.

Manchester City move for Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko

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Manchester City are in talks with Wolfsburg over the transfer of Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko.

Reports in Germany have suggested that the Premier League outfit are now on the verge of signing the 24-year-old forward for a record Bundesliga fee.

The Mill +

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Wednesday's Rumours




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England: Wednesday's Premier League Previews

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Chelsea vs. Bolton

Wigan vs. Arsenal

Liverpool vs. Wolves

Football Review 2010

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As the ice sets on another year of drama in the football calendar skysports.com's team of journalists recount all that has passed to dish out the gongs that really matter. 2010 was the year that the 'Special One' stole the coaching plaudits, Chelsea reclaimed their crown as English football's top dogs, England slumped depressingly in South Africa and Manchester City made light of these austere times to splash the cash.

Spain: Guillem's Gold Stars

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2010 was another vintage year in La Liga - and for the Spanish national team - and our resident expert Guillem Balague has whittled down the contenders and handed out his annual awards.

Norman Hubbard: Premier League Top Performers

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Some Premier League playes have started as they mean to carry on. Top of their particular class at the half-way stage of the season are:

Americans In The UK: Boxing Day Freeze Out

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Clint Dempsey, Fulham

Vs. West Ham United, 1-3, (54 minutes)

Dempsey started but was curiously removed after just 54 minutes. The removal of Dempsey sparked chants of "You don't know what you're doing" from the supporters, in reference to manager Mark Hughes. The 3-1 loss dropped Fulham into the relegation zone and Hughes' job is seriously in jeopardy.

England: Tuesday's Premier League Preview & Predictions

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Birmingham host Manchester United, Manchester City go to Villa, Stoke face Fulham, Sunderland welcome Blackpool, Tottenham host Newcastle, West Brom welcome Blackburn and Everton go to West Ham.

Preview

Lawro's Predictions

2010's Five Best Moments in U.S. Soccer

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It's been a big year for American men's soccer. The national team surprised most everyone by winning its group -- with England, Algeria and Slovenia -- at the World Cup in South Africa. It also had a legitimate shot to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 1930, when a mere 13 countries participated.

Tim Vickery in South America

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When he was first making his name with Santos, former Manchester City striker Robinho often spoke of his big ambition to be elected Fifa World Player of the Year.

True, he was seeking to place himself in a tradition of some of his illustrious compatriots, but even so I always found it a depressing declaration.

Cassano, Ronaldinho head for Milan training camp

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Italy forward Cassano, whose move from Sampdoria will be made official when the January transfer window opens, was cheered by fans at Milan's main airport when he turned up in a Rossoneri tracksuit.

England: Monday's Premier League Reports & Analyses

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Arsenal
3 - 1
Chelsea









Kevin McCarra at Emirates Stadium
Phil McNulty at Emirates Stadium
Richard Williams at Emirates Stadium
David Hytner at Emirates Stadium

Player Ratings

The Mill

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Tuesday's Rumours

Norman Hubbard: Premier League Underperformers

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As the season approaches the mid-way point, there are plenty of players with reasons to hope the second half goes rather better than the first. With "could do better" by their names in their managers' mid-term reports are:

The Mill +

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Monday's Rumours




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Martin Rogers: Controversial Benitez shows up in Liverpool

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The bizarre saga of Rafa Benitez and Inter Milan is soccer's most compelling current soap opera, and the most outrageous plot twist of all could be yet to come.

Benitez was fired by Inter on Wednesday after a series of disputes came to a head last weekend, when he criticized owner Massimo Moratti in a public rant.

Soccer Star Landon Donovan Wants His Soon To Be Ex-Wife To Cut The Check

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Citing "irreconcilable differences," Donovan is seeking spousal support from Kajlich, who appears on CBS' Rules of Engagement. He is also requesting she pay his attorney's fees.

Monday Night Football

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Who: Arsenal vs. Chelsea When: 3pm EST Where: Emirates Stadium, London U.S. TV: ESPN2
Preview I
Preview II

Alan Smith:
Return of Cesc does not solve problems

Phil Thompson:
Arsenal will come up short again

England: Premier League Weekend Review, Reports & Analyses

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Manchester United remain in charge at the summit after seeing off Sunderland, with Manchester City on their heels following victory away to Newcastle, while Wolves' home defeat to Wigan saw them fall to the foot of the table.

West Ham came from behind to beat Fulham as the Cottagers slipped into the drop zone, Tottenham won away to Aston Villa with just 10 men, new Blackburn boss Steve Kean watched his side come unstuck at home to Stoke and Bolton overcame West Brom at the Reebok Stadium.

Barcelona announce US trip

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Barca's summer schedule is:

21 and 22 July: Audi Cup matches (Munich)

25 July: Friendly (Split)

30 July: Manchester United v Barcelona (Washington DC)

3 August: AC Milan v Barcelona (Miami)

6 August: America (Mexico) v Barcelona (Dallas)

Inter, the Leonardo era has begun

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The Brazilian has replaced Benitez, becoming the 15th coach of the Moratti era: he has signed a contract until June 30, 2012. On December 29 he will preside over his first practice as the head coach of Inter. Moratti: "His arrival is a slap in the face to AC Milan? I would regret it if it were perceived in that way"

Freddie Ljungberg poised to sign for Celtic

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The former Arsenal midfielder Freddie Ljungberg is due in Glasgow tonight to hold talks about a possible contract at Celtic. The 33-year-old has been without a club since leaving the Major League Soccer side Chicago Fire in October. Celtic officials have been keen to play down the notion that Ljungberg will be on trial, although he is expected to train with the first-team squad this week.

Michael Essien receives a hero's welcome on his return to his hometown in Ghana

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When Michael Essien was growing up, he was told that only "street boys" played football. In Ghana — a country that places huge value on education — the barefoot games, on scraggy, rock-strewn pitches in his hometown were seen as a distraction from the serious business of studying.

The Fifth Official

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Players and managers hate Christmas, but we, the salivating footy public, love it. While we fill ourselves to the stitching with turkey, roast potatoes and, for the freaks among you, sprouts, all washed down with a concoction of wine, beer and port, the Premier League's finest have to put their chiselled limbs through the trauma of four games in ten days.

Inter confirm Benitez dismissal

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A club statement read: "Inter Milan and Rafael Benitez can announce that they have reached a mutually satisfactory agreement for the early termination of his contract.

Happy Holidays!

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(Summary is not available.)

Americans In The UK: Snow Days

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Only Stuart Holden and Jonathan Spector saw action last week as snow ravaged the soccer schedule across the pond.

The Rest

The Mill +

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Tuesday's Rumours





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Martin Rogers: Galaxy willing to work with Beckham

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The Los Angeles Galaxy hope to reach a compromise with David Beckham over the England midfielder's wish to return to Europe for a loan during the MLS offseason. Instead of allowing Beckham to embark upon a full loan which would see him play matches for another team, the Galaxy may permit him to train in Europe, like he did with Arsenal in 2007, which should be enough to keep him happy.

Sid Lowe in Spain

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The 5-1 win was the kind of brilliant that often goes unnoticed, the kind that destroys the clichés and facile assumptions.

Barcelona were brilliant at Espanyol. But this was another kind of brilliant.

Phil Ball in Spain

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It's true that there's been a lot of focus on Barcelona recently, so I'll try to keep them to a minimum this week. Their 5-1 away win in the Catalan derby, however, warrants an early mention for several reasons - the least significant of which (perhaps) was the fact that they scored five again. It's the fourth occasion in this season's league programme that they've managed 'a little hand', not forgetting the extra three fingers for the eight-goal romp at Almeria.

England: Monday's Premier League Report

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Manchester City
1 - 2
Everton

Richard Jolly at City of Manchester Stadium

Guardian.co.uk readers' Premier League team of the season so far

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Analysis of your player ratings for every league game so far this season ranks Bolton's Stuart Holden as the No1.

Readers' ratings team of the season so far (4-4-2) ...

Richard Kingson (Blackpool); Bacary Sagna (Arsenal), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), Leighton Baines (Everton); Samir Nasri (Arsenal), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Luka Modric (Tottenham), Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham); Johan Elmander (Bolton), Andy Carroll (Newcastle).

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

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German football heroically defied the big freeze, while snood-infested, big-girl's-blouse-kind-of-leagues packed it in.

Bayern beat Stuttgart and the cold as Bundesliga delivers goal avalanche.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

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'Benítez is out,' proclaims today's Gazzetta dello Sport as Inter hog the headlines despite a Serie A weekend off.

Has Rafael Benítez picked a fight he has no chance of winning at Inter?

Manchester City striker and Golden Boy award winner Mario Balotelli says 'only Lionel Messi better than me'

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"There's only one that is a little stronger than me: Messi," he said. "All the others are behind me. I am delighted to receive the award, but who else would have won if not me?

Americans On The Continent: Back in Uniform

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It was a landmark day for Charlie Davies as he dressed for Sochaux for the first time since October after his terrible accident.

The Rest

The Mill +

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Monday's Rumours




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Monday Night Football

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Manchester City
vs.
Everton

Preview

Snowballs stop play and tempers rise during Club Brugge v Anderlecht

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Club Brugge fans forced visiting Anderlecht players to return to the dressing room for cover after pelting them with snowballs during the early stages of today's Jupiler League match.

England: Premier League Weekend Reports

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Sunderland 1 - 0 Bolton
Louise Taylor at the Stadium of Light

Blackburn 1 - 1 West Ham
Richard Gibson at Ewood Park

Five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

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Why snow makes us pine for orange balls, how Danny Welbeck could help England and why Blackburn may be in trouble.

Spain: La Liga Weekend Review

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Angel Di Maria struck 13 minutes from time to sink Sevilla and lift Real Madrid back to within two points of Barcelona. On Saturday, Pedro and David Villa struck a brace apiece as Barcelona brushed aside Espanyol 5-1 in the Catalan derby at Cornella to end their city rivals' perfect home record in the league this season.

Italy: Serie A Weekend Review

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AC Milan saw their lead cut to three points as Napoli and Lazio both took advantage of a slip from the 17-time champions. Juventus failed to join Napoli and Lazio on 33 points as they were pegged back to a 1-1 draw by Chievo.

Review

Team USA: January camp a chance to impress

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Most of us gaze with only passing interest as U.S. Soccer begins each year with a national team training camp in January -- a month ranking low in domestic soccer happenings.

These January camps may serve a purpose, but they mostly fall into the category of "covering all the bases.

Georgina Turner on Arsene Wenger

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The sacking season is upon us. In the past couple of weeks, Newcastle has fired Chris Hughton and Blackburn Rovers has dismissed Sam Allardyce. It's difficult to believe that at least one more chairman won't mark the turn of the year by pulling the trigger -- Hughton and Allardyce were in mid-table, after all.

The Fifth Official

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Few of us like Mondays but The Fifth Official does, for it brings with it a chance for him to point the finger and laugh. Here he pulls out the pretty, the puzzling and the downright pig-ugly from the past week in football.

UEFA Champions League: Final 16

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Draw for Champions League last 16

AS Roma (ITA) v Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)

AC Milan (ITA) v Tottenham (ENG)

Valencia (ESP) v FC Schalke (GER)

Inter Milan (ITA) v Bayern Munich (GER)

Lyon (FRA) v Real Madrid (ESP)

Arsenal (ENG) v Barcelona (ESP)

Marseille (FRA) v Manchester United (ENG)

Copenhagen (DEN) v Chelsea (ENG)

Dominic Raynor: Off The Ball

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Off The Ball never rests in its mission to scratch around the underbelly of professional football to find the most bizarre, humorous and inexplicable stories.

This week, Adriano wins a his third Bidone d'Oro, Cristiano Ronaldo has no mates, an Ecuadorian player is suspend after faking his identity for seven years, the Peruvian cup final descends into a brawl and Carlos Tevez says goodbye to Manchester.

The Mill +

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Friday's Rumours




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Sid Lowe: Valencia's Joaquín on the way back

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And in October 2006, soon after joining Valencia, he lost his place in the Spain squad. After the selección lost to Northern Ireland, he was asked if the national team had become a despelote, a shambles. He said that it had, that Luis Aragonés was not sure how to turn things round.

U.S. striker Buddle training with Birmingham

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Birmingham manager Alex McLeish is searching for a new forward with the central England club two points above the three-team relegation zone after scoring just 17 goals in 17 matches.


UEFA Champions League: Final 16 Thoughts

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Simon Burnton:
Draw unkind to Arsenal and Spurs

Tom Adams:
Arsenal destined for early exit

Phil McNulty:
Can Arsenal turn Barca tide?

England: Premier League Previews & Predictions

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A busy weekend of Premier League action sees title rivals Chelsea and Manchester United lock horns on Sunday, among a number of other intriguing fixtures. Sunderland and Bolton contest the first top-flight game of the weekend at the Stadium of Light, there is a Midlands derby as West Brom host Wolves, while managerless Blackburn take on struggling West Ham and Roy Hodgson faces his former side when Fulham travel to Liverpool.

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

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Barcelona's 21-match unbeaten run in all competitions could come under serious threat this weekend as they face in-form Espanyol.

Barca hold a two-point advantage over second-placed Real Madrid heading into the final round of league fixtures in 2010.

Madrid could be without at least eight players for Sunday's visit of Sevilla but still remain firm favourites to beat the out-of-sorts Andalusians.

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

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AC Milan's Scudetto credentials will be tested when they come up against a strong Roma team on Saturday night.

Juventus, Lazio and Napoli each have 30 points in joint second and are trying to keep the pressure on Milan.

Juve are unbeaten in 12 league games and visit Chievo on Sunday.

Focus on Greece

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This is undoubtedly a great era for Spain. After the Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010 triumphs, it's hard to think of another side at the moment who can boast such a wonderful chapter in their history given the context of perennial underachievement. Greece, though, is one team that can rival the Spaniards in that regard.

Premier League success has strong correlation to one's transfer spending

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In the Premier League, clubs operate on very different budgets. And the more time that passes, the more predictable the league becomes. Although this season is providing unusually unpredictable, richer teams continue to gravitate to the top, and poorer ones sink to the bottom.

Until now, as noted in Simon Kuper's Soccernomics, there was believed to be no evidence of a relationship between transfer spending and success; wage bills were seen to be the only key factor.

Martin Tyler's Column

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Every week he will be here to offer you statistical gems to make your day, impress your mates and, on occasion, to settle the odd bet.

Sky Sports' voice of football and his back-up team of experts are here to answer your questions and queries on all things statistical and historical from the beautiful game.

Human rights? Women? Heat? FIFA didn't look at issues with Qatar

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The heat is sure to be a nightmare, but it's a different kind of oppression I'm concerned about.

As a female sportswriter who may be at the 2022 World Cup as a working journalist traveling solo, how will I be treated? Will thousands of female visitors be accepted? Will gay football fans be harassed?

The Mill +

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Wednesday's Rumours




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Mario Balotelli speaks out about Italian culture of racism in new book

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Juventus supporters once held up a banner about Balotelli with the words: "A Negro cannot be Italian." Another bearing the message "No to a multi-ethnic national team" was confiscated at the international match against Romania.

England's faulty powers leave Premier League needing European bailout

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As they mangled Real Sociedad 5-0, Pep Guardiola's team held on to the ball as if it were attached by invisible thread to their boots.

Twenty-one passes preceded a goal from Lionel Messi, while Andrès Iniesta alone completed more than 100 passes in the game. And he was substituted with 20 minutes to go.

Martin Rogers: Value aside, Iniesta is Barca’s debt solution

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Andres Iniesta likely is just weeks away from being crowned the world's greatest soccer player, but his days at Barcelona may be numbered, a club source told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday.

Iniesta's spectacular year included the winning goal for Spain in the World Cup final, and the 26-year-old is a strong favorite to win the FIFA Ballon D'Or award for player of the year on Jan.

England: Monday's Premier League Reports, Analyses + Table

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Manchester United
1 - 0
Arsenal








Richard Jolly at Old Trafford
Kevin McCarra at Old Trafford
Richard Williams at Old Trafford
Henry Winter at Old Trafford

Five Things We Learned
Player Ratings

P W D L GD PTS Man Utd169702034Arsenal1710251532Man City179531132Chelsea179441931Tottenham17764327Bolton17683626Sunderland17593224Newcastle17647122Liverpool17647-122Blackpool16646-522West Brom17647-522Stoke17638-121Blackburn17638-521Aston Villa17557-920Everton17395-218Birmingham17395-318Fulham172105-416Wigan17377-1516Wolves174310-1215West Ham17269-1512

Blackburn Sack Allardyce

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A statement on the Blackburn website read: ''The Venky's Group, owners of Blackburn Rovers Football Club, has today [Monday] confirmed the departure of manager Sam Allardyce and assistant manager Neil McDonald with immediate effect. ''We have taken this decision as part of our wider plans and ambitions for the club.

Phil Ball in Spain

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The news that January's Ballon d'Or will be handed to one of the three musketeers, Andres Iniesta, Leo Messi or Xavi Hernandez, is significant in various ways.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

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The player with the nickname Michael Jackson helped Juve overcome Lazio and keep them in the hunt behind leaders Milan.

Juventus win a thriller as Milos Krasic moonwalks into the limelight.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

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It's already the best-ever first half of the season in the history of the club after their win against struggling Stuttgart.

Hannover counterattack their way into the Bundesliga's rarefied spheres.

Americans On The Continent: Quiet on the Home Front

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Carlos Bocanegra and St. Etienne picking up their first win in nine matches and Steve Cherundolo going down with a knee injury were the main headlines in a largely uneventful week for the Americans on the Continent.

The Rest

Americans In The UK: Holden’s Heroics

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The American scored a sensational late winner for Bolton as they defeated Blackburn in a heated derby affair.

The Rest

Bus carrying PAOK fans set alight by Zagreb gang

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Zagreb police say several people have been injured after a bus carrying football fans from Greek club PAOK was set on fire by rival supporters.

Adriano wins Italy’s Golden Bin award for third time

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AS Roma striker Adriano won Italy's infamous Golden Bin award for a third time on Monday after again being voted Serie A's worst player by fans.

The burly Brazilian, given the Rai Radio 2 prize by listeners in 2006 and 2007 while playing for Inter Milan, returned to Italy with Roma at the start of the season after a stint at Brazil's Flamengo but has made only three appearances.

Carlos Tevez trains with Manchester City despite dispute with the club

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City officials have rejected a transfer request from the Argentina international and are keen to keep hold of the striker despite his claim that his relationship "with certain executives and individuals at the club has broken down and is now beyond repair".

Sepp Blatter in hot water for making 'gay joke' when discussing Qatar World Cup 2022

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Fifa president Sepp Blatter is at the centre of more controversy after suggesting that homosexual supporters should "refrain from any sexual activities" during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Football's most expensive shirt sponsorship deals

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No 1: Barcelona, £25m-a-year, five year deal with Qatar Foundation

Barcelona agree a five-year deal worth £125m with the Qatar Foundation in Dec 2010, becoming the most expensive deal of its kind in football. After five years paying for the priviledge of having 'Unicef' on their shirts, the economic realities of the game have forced the Spanish giants' hand.

Sid Lowe in Spain

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Gregorio Manzano was supposed to be the coach that rescued Sevilla; instead, their record is worse than before.

Sevilla: a crisis runs through it.

The Mill +

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Tuesday's Rumours





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Let's Try For Tuesday

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(Summary is not available.)

Vacation Day

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I'll be back on Monday with a wrap-up of all the weekend's action...

UEFA Champions League: Wednesday's Round-Up & Reports

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Arsenal survived a nervous night at Emirates Stadium to defeat Partizan Belgrade and book a place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, but already-qualified Chelsea suffered their first defeat of the campaign at Marseille. Elsewhere, Roma reached the knockout stages after a draw with CFR Cluj, while Bayern Munich made light work of Basel, and Spartak Moscow came from behind to defeat MSK Zilina in a match affected by crowd trouble.

Paul Gascoigne's car pushed out of snow outside court

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The 43-year-old was given an eight-week sentence, suspended for a year after he admitted driving while more than four times over the legal limit.

First XI: Harshest Dismissals

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Having restored stability to a club many believed to be in freefall and taken them back to the Premier League, Newcastle owner Mike Ashley decided to sack Chris Hughton with the club sitting comfortably in mid-table after 16 games. Hughton is not the first manager to have been on the wrong end of a harsh dismissal, though.

Sir Alex Ferguson calls for end to sick chants aimed at Arsène Wenger

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Sir Alex Ferguson is to make a personal plea to Manchester United's supporters to put an end to the sick chants that are aimed at Arsène Wenger whenever Arsenal visit Old Trafford.

United are so embarrassed by the nature of the songs Ferguson has decided to take the matter into his own hands to back the man he used to regard as a sworn enemy.

Tom Adams: Rewind to 2004

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On Monday night, Arsenal visit Old Trafford to take on a Manchester United side that are still unbeaten in the Premier League this season. Due to their unconvincing form, Sir Alex Ferguson's side have been dubbed 'The Crap Invincibles' in ironic homage to the Arsenal side that went the season unbeaten in 2003-04.

The Mill +

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Thursday's Rumours



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Phil McNulty: Is Pardew Right for Newcastle?

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Alan Pardew walks into Newcastle United with his personal rating plunging off a cliff and an atmosphere of simmering unrest swirling around St James' Park.

Pardew will have got the hint that the welcome mat is unlikely to be thrust out before him on Tyneside after collecting less that 2% of more than 1,000 votes cast in local newspaper poll to find out who Newcastle fans wanted as their new manager.

Norman Hubbard: Clubs benefit from World Cup absentees

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Being Welsh may permanently preclude Bale from participating in a World Cup. Others who didn't qualify include the Swedish striker Johan Elmander, who has been reinvigorated at Bolton, Marouane Chamakh, whose excellence for Arsenal has been camouflaged by Nasri's luminous displays, and Vincent Kompany, staking a claim to be the division's most solid defender.

Steve Davis: U.S. domestic soccer will continue to grow despite World Cup bid loss

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What does the U.S. Soccer establishment require to progress? Two measures essentially establish a country's place in the global soccer order: strong national team programs and a strong professional game, starting with a robust, tier-one association. Every nation you might view as a "strong soccer land" has one or both, right?

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday's Round-Up & Reports

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Tottenham progressed to the knockout stages as Group A winners with a thrilling 3-3 draw away to FC Twente, while Manchester United's defence was finally breached as they hit back against Valencia to top Group C following their 1-1 draw. Inter Milan missed the chance to claim the leadership of Group A as they were humbled 3-0 away to Werder Bremen, who finished bottom of the pile.

Roberto Gotta: Benitez must bring home the World

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There's an old Italian song, which people born before the '80s will recall with ease, whose first sentence goes "If you're nice, they'll stone you". However difficult it may be to label someone as nice simply based on his exchanges with the media, those lyrics may well apply to Rafael Benitez.

Russia 2018 Fifa World Cup: Artist's Impressions of Stadiums

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The Stadiums

Fifa's Goal of the Year List

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With Glentoran's Matthew Burrows nominated alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Samir Nasri on Fifa's shortlist for the Goal of the Year 2010 award, Telegraph Sport looks at all 10 nominees.

The Mill +

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Wednesday's Rumours



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UEFA Champions League: Wednesday's Previews

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Arsenal will be hoping that they can secure a safe passage into the knockout stages, with the Gunners having made hard work of Group H. Arsene Wenger would have hoped to have had a top-two finish sewn up by now, but the Frenchman knows his side must take three points from a home date with Partizan Belgrade to guarantee scraping through and avoid becoming the most notable scalp of this season's competition.

This season's competitive Premier League table doesn't add up

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Sir Alex Ferguson believes the lower clubs are condensing the Premier League into a much tighter competition.

Pardew Set For Newcastle job

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Alan Pardew is set to be named the new manager of Newcastle United in the next 48 hours. ESPNsoccernet sources have revealed that Mike Ashley decided to bring in the former West Ham and Southampton manager "some time ago".

Italy: Strike 'very likely' to be called off

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Serie A fixtures this weekend are expected to go ahead after talks to avert a players' strike were described as ''positive'' by the league's president, Maurizio Beretta. The row centres around a collective bargaining contract between the Italian Players' Association (AIC) and Serie A, which expired in the summer.

Phil Ball in Spain

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I've been waiting three years for the Basque derby between Real Sociedad and Athletic de Bilbao to be played again. The last time was in Anoeta in San Sebastian, and Athletic won 2-0 with a brace by Andoni Iraola, a player who should really have ended up at Real Sociedad but who decided as a young man to travel west, to the bright lights of Bilbao.

England: Monday's Premier League Reports + Table

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Liverpool 3 - 0 Aston Villa
Phil McNulty at Anfield
Richard Jolly at Anfield
Paul Wilson at Anfield






P W D L GD PTS Arsenal1610241632Man Utd158701931Chelsea169341930Man City16853929Tottenham16754326Bolton16583523Sunderland16583223Liverpool16646122West Brom16646-422Stoke16637021Blackburn16637-421Newcastle16547-119Blackpool15546-619Birmingham16394-218Everton16385-217Aston Villa16457-1017Fulham16295-415Wigan16367-1515Wolves163310-1312West Ham16268-1312

Qatar's World Cup: Engineering Marvel, PR Nightmare?

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If you thought building 12 open-air, air-conditioned stadiums was hard, try shipping them abroad when you're done. And then try to explain why one of your top architects is called Albert Speer.

Yesterday Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup, based on a bid with some wild ambitions.

Richard Williams: Just another dismal decision from Mike Ashley, a disgrace to football

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So Mike Ashley has now seen off five managers in just under three years as the owner of Newcastle United. Perhaps he is in a race with Milan Mandaric, who went through six managers in his three-and-a-half years at Leicester City. These people are a disgrace to football.

Americans On The Continent: Off The Mark

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Carlos Bocanegra scored his first goal for St. Etienne as they drew 2-2 against Bordeaux over the weekend.

The Rest

Americans In The UK: Jonathan Spector’s Breakout

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The scarcely used defender was tremendous last week, scoring twice in a win over Manchester United.

The Rest

Paolo Bandini in Italy

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With his side now 10 points behind Milan, Inter's manager could be gone by Christmas unless he wins the Club World Cup.

Rafael Benítez 'walking with a pistol at his temple' after Inter lose again.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

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The Germany goalkeeper could soon be snapped up by the Bavarian giants after frustrating Louis van Gaal's team this week.

Schalke's Manuel Neuer shows Bayern Munich his true worth.

Sid Lowe in Spain

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The ridiculous delays and politicking before Barcelona's game with Osasuna again showed that Spanish football lacks leadership.

La Liga: Played by geniuses, run by idiots.

Tim Vickery in South America

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A couple of weeks ago I was doing the translating when Dan Roan interviewed former Fifa president Joao Havelange at the Soccerex conference in Rio de Janeiro.

Still entirely lucid well into his 90s, the Brazilian was asked what needed to change in Fifa. "Nothing," he replied. "It's perfect.

The Mill +

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Tuesday's Rumours



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UEFA Champions League: Tuesday's Previews

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Manchester United and Tottenham will have their sights firmly set on the top spots in their groups in European action on Tuesday night. Rangers will visit Bursaspor in a dead rubber tie having already been eliminated from the competition last time out. Inter Milan will be keen on clinching pole position in Group A from Spurs when they make the trip to eliminated Werder Bremen.

The Fifth Official

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Few of us like Mondays but The Fifth Official does, for it brings with it a chance for him to point the finger and laugh. Here he pulls out the pretty, the puzzling and the downright pig-ugly from the past week in football.

UEFA Champions League Tables

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Uefa Champions League : Group A Table

P W D L F A GD PTS 1 Tottenham 5 3 1 1 15 8 7 10 2 Inter Milan 5 3 1 1 12 8 4 10 3 FC Twente 5 1 2 2 6 8 -2 5 4 Werder Bremen 5 0 2 3 3 12 -9 2

Tottenham and Inter Milan progress to the knockout stages, while FC Twente will play in the Europa League as Werder Bremen cannot topple them because of a poorer head-to-head record against the Dutch.

England: Premier League Weekend Review, Reports & Analyses

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Arsenal moved to the top of the Premier League table but Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion also impressed. However, Chelsea continued their recent struggles, when a late Jermaine Beckford goal earned Everton a well-deserved point in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge to leave Carlo Ancelotti's men with just one win in their last six league matches.

Chris Hughton sacked by Newcastle

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Newcastle United have parted company with manager Chris Hughton following a recent dip in the team's fortunes. The Magpies were beaten 3-1 at West Brom on Saturday, a week after holding Chelsea to a 1-1 draw, although that result followed a 5-1 defeat at Bolton.

Hughton guided Newcastle back into the Premier League in May after their relegation in the 2009-10 campaign.

Spain: La Liga Weekend Review

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Villarreal capped a fine week with a 1-0 victory over Sevilla, who slumped to their fourth successive defeat in all competitions. A Cristiano Ronaldo double saw Real Madrid bounce back from their Barcelona thrashing with a 2-0 victory over 10-man Valencia. Lionel Messi struck twice to give Barcelona a comfortable 3-0 win at Osasuna on Saturday after the Catalans had raced against the clock to arrive in Pamplona in time for the Primera Division fixture.

Italy: Serie A Weekend Review & Report

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Hernan Crespo scored twice to help Parma put some breathing space between themselves and the drop zone as they beat Udinese 2-1. Fiorentina beat Cagliari 1-0 to move up to 12th, with Adrian Mutu grabbing the only goal of the game.

Five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

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The best goals leave defenders on their backsides, Wolves are doomed and why are so many defenders scoring?

Five things we learned from Saturday's action in the Premier League

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Five things we learned from Saturday's action in the Premier League.

Players, Serie A officials to hold emergency talks

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The Italian Players' Association and Serie A officials have been summoned for emergency talks to try to avert a strike called for this weekend.

The Mill +

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Monday's Rumours



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Monday Night Football

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Who: Liverpool vs. Aston Villa
When: 3pm EST
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
U.S. TV: ESPN2
Preview



Hansen:
Houllier and Roy Hodgson will put a win above all other priorities

England: Premier League Previews & Predictions

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Arsenal host Fulham, Blackpool welcome Manchester United, Spurs go to Birmingham City, Bolton go to Manchester City, Chelsea host Everton, Wolves visit Blackburn, Wigan welcome Stoke, West Brom and Newcastle clash and Sunderland host West Ham.

Preview

Team News

Jon Carter Previews Chelsea vs.

Spain: Eduardo Alvarez's Quiniela

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This column couldn't possibly be accused of hyperbole or exaggeration if we say that the week has been simply catastrophic. On Monday, Leslie Nielsen died. On Wednesday and Thursday, the Spanish teams playing for the Europa League did terribly, with the only exception being Villarreal. And to make matters worse, the joint Iberian candidacy to organise the 2018 World Cup lost to Russia.

The Qatari Celebrate

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From our man on the ground in Doha:
The footage is really self explanatory. There are many things I want to say about this country but it is still a very closed society and there are many rules regarding the Qatari. We are forbidden to photograph, touch or speak to them "with loud words". This is very serious and some German's I work for can attest to this.

FIFA Fallout

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Old Charges Amid New FIFA Frontiers

Choices Raise Questions of FIFA Integrity

Choices Show Desire To Leave Legacy

How England's Bid Failed

Short Memories in South Africa

Russia Faces Major Hurdles

Deep Humiliation For English Game

Heat Means Games At Night in Qatar

FIFA's Ongoing Folly

World Media Reaction

Dominic Raynor: Off The Ball

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Off The Ball never rests in its mission to scratch around the underbelly of professional football to find the most bizarre, humorous and inexplicable stories. This week, Gary Lineker does an Italian job while Ian Holloway shows up Jose Mourinho's lack of ambition.

The Joy of Six: Brief Trends in Football

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From inflatable bananas to Dundee United playing in the USA, here are football fashions that didn't quite last the course.

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

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Lazio host Inter Milan, Juventus face Sampdoria, AC Milan host Brescia, Fiorentina face Cagliari and Napoli and Palermo clash.

Preview

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

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There will be no sympathy on show when Schalke face Bayern Munich this weekend with both clubs desperately needing a victory. If Hoffenheim win at Stuttgart, Eintracht Frankfurt win the Rhine-Main derby against Mainz, and the clash between Freiburg and Hamburg provides a winner, Bayern would drop down the table, although nowhere near as far down as Schalke are at present.

Russia to host 2018 finals, Qatar win 2022

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LINK

The Mill +

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Thursday's Rumours





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The race to host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022

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There are four bids on the table for the 2018 World Cup, with England hopeful of beating Spain/Portugal, Netherlands/Belgium and Russia for the right to host the competition for the first time since 1966.

Five bidders are vying for the 2022 tournament: Japan, Australia, United States of America, South Korea and Qatar.

World Cup 2018 & 2022 Insanity

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The World Awaits Decisions in Zurich

England impress in final pitch

Who are the FIFA 22?

FIFA World Cup Votes Explained



While England and the Low Countries provided a vision, Russia and Spain-Portugal presented only politics

Henry Winter: One vote will define a decade

England: Wednesday's Carling Cup Reports & Fallout

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Birmingham City
2 - 1
Aston Villa
Stuart James at St. Andrew's
Violence mars derby win
FA to investigate violence

















Ipswich Town
1 - 0
West Bromwich Albion
Jon West at Portman Road

Raphael Honigstein: Schalke's Jones draws Magath's ire

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Revenge, according to Felix Magath, is a dish best served frozen. The Schalke 04 coach had promised "immediate consequences" in the aftermath of the disastrous 5-0 defeat at Kaiserslautern on Saturday and didn't disappoint: The strict disciplinarian had his team training in shorts on Tuesday morning in 25-degree weather.

Grant Wahl: U.S. rests hopes on tireless Gulati

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The U.S. gave its formal bid presentation to host World Cup '22 here on Wednesday, and a list of bold-faced names spoke on the Americans' behalf, including former President Bill Clinton, the actor Morgan Freeman, President Obama (on videotape) and star player Landon Donovan.

But the least recognizable speaker was the man who has done more to spearhead the U.

Bari's Caputo celebrates goal by punching teammate in the face

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Sometimes when footballers score a goal, they'll celebrate by pretending to knock out their teammates. Well, Bari's Francesco Caputo didn't pretend.


Grant Wahl: U.S.' bid appears favored for 2022

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How convoluted are the politics surrounding this Thursday's FIFA vote to award the hosts for World Cups 2018 and '22? Well, the first person I saw upon leaving airport customs here was Bora Milutinovic, the peripatetic Serbian-born, Mexican-based coach who managed the U.S. at World Cup '94.


"The Body" is working for Australia.

José Mourinho and Real Madrid guilty of misconduct over bookings

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Mourinho has been banned from the touchline for two Uefa competition matches – the second of which is suspended for three years – with the club fined €120,000 (£100,000) after the two players seemed to deliberately incur second bookings, therefore wiping out previous cautions ahead of the Champions League knockout stage.

England: Tuesday's Carling Cup Reports

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West Ham 4 - 0 Manchester United
Jamie Jackson at Upton Park
John Brewin at Upton Park


Arsenal 2 - 0 Wigan Athletic
David Hytner at the Emirates Stadium

Hahnemann loses starting spot at Wolves

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American goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann has been dropped as Wolverhampton Wanderers' starter.

Steve Davis: World Cup decision critical for U.S.

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Whatever your opinion of Major League Soccer, almost everyone will agree the league is no cash cow. Far from it.

So why would the relatively frugal MLS happily fork over $2 million to the USA Bid Committee, the lead element in a chase to deliver World Cup 2022 to this country?

Martin Tyler's Column

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Martin Tyler's stats and facts column is here!

Every week he will be here to offer you statistical gems to make your day, impress your mates and, on occasion, to settle the odd bet.

Sky Sports' voice of football and his back-up team of experts are here to answer your questions and queries on all things statistical and historical from the beautiful game.

The Mill +

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Wednesday's Rumours



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World Cup D-Day: The Contenders

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The great and good of football, or what passes for such a category at present, has assembled in Zurich to decide which countries will be bestowed with the honour of hosting the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.