World Cup Buzz Archives for January 2016

Zlatan takes just 190 seconds to make mark

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Gothenburg (Sweden) (AFP) New signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an acrobatic scissor kick within four minutes of pulling on a Manchester United shirt for the first time in a 5-2 friendly rout of Galatasaray on Saturday.

The superstar forward, who moved from Paris Saint Germain in the summer, was finally unleashed by new manager Jose Mourinho in Gothenburg in his native Sweden.

Messi quiet but Barcelona stroll past Celtic

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Dublin (AFP) A blond-haired Lionel Messi failed to get on the scoresheet but it hardly mattered as under-strength Barcelona taught Celtic a footballing lesson in a Dublin friendly on Saturday.

Strikes by Arda Turan and Munir El Haddadi, and an own goal by Efe Ambrose all before the break were enough to earn a 3-1 victory for Luis Garcia's men in what was their first game back after the summer.

Hurst reunited with hat-trick ball 50 years on

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London (AFP) Geoff Hurst was reunited with the ball he hit a hat-trick with in the 1966 World Cup final on Saturday as English football marked the 50th anniversary of the country's greatest football success.

It was on July 30, 1966 that Hurst scored three goals as hosts England beat West Germany 4-2 after extra-time at London's Wembley Stadium.

Gaza travel ban delays Palestinian Cup final

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Hebron (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) The final leg of Palestinian football's biggest cup was postponed on Saturday after Israel prevented players from Gaza travelling to the West Bank for the fixture, football authorities said.

Israel refused to let six players and the coach of Shabab Khan Yunis cross its territory to the West Bank for the Palestinian Cup final, said Jibril al-Rajoub, president of the Palestinian Football Association.

Viewing audience for MLS All-Star Game declines for 3rd year in a row

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For the third consecutive year in a row, TV ratings for the MLS All-Star Game have declined. This year's game between the MLS All-Star team and Arsenal generated only 513,000 viewers on ESPN during a primetime broadcast that was televised live on Thursday, July 28.

Compared to three years ago, the viewing figure for the MLS All-Star vs.

1966 World Cup still stirs English senses, 50 years on

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Paris (AFP) This Saturday marks 50 years since English football's finest hour, when Alf Ramsey's side beat West Germany 4-2 in an incident-packed 1966 World Cup final at Wembley.

It was England's first and only World Cup triumph and, not surprisingly, is still recalled with passion and fondness.

Germans still disputing England 1966 World Cup final goal

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Hamburg (AFP) Fifty years after THAT goal at Wembley, West Germany captain Uwe Seeler still insists England's Geoff Hurst's controversial shot never crossed the line in the 1966 World Cup final.

Hurst's second goal in the 101st minute of extra time which put England 3-2 ahead after the match had finished 2-2 over 90 minutes is arguably the most controversial goal in international football history.

Five facts about football at the Rio Olympics

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) Five things to know about football at the Olympics in Rio:

+ The men's football tournament runs from August 4-20 with the 16 nations split into four groups of four.

The top two teams from each group go into the knockout stages. There are only 12 teams in the women's tournament forming three groups of four which starts on August 3.

Atletico sign Kevin Gameiro from Sevilla

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Madrid (AFP) Atletico Madrid signed French forward Kevin Gameiro from fellow La Liga side Sevilla on Saturday, the Champions League runners-up announced.

Atletico have brought in Gameiro on a four-year deal, and he will join up with compatriot Antoine Griezmann in attack.

The 29-year-old joined Sevilla from Paris Saint-Germain in 2013 and was part of the side that won three consecutive Europa League titles.

PSG’s Krychowiak eyes Champions League glory

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Los Angeles (AFP) Poland international midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak said on Friday he had moved to Paris Saint-Germain to power the French giant to an elusive first Champions League trophy.

The Qatar-backed club dominates at home, having won four consecutive Ligue 1 titles, but has never progressed beyond the quarter-finals of Europe's elite competition.

Guatemala’s ex-chief pleads guilty in NY

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New York (AFP) Guatemala's former football chief pleaded guilty in New York on Friday to racketeering and wire fraud conspiracies in connection with the unprecedented FIFA corruption scandal rocking world soccer.

Brayan Jimenez, 62, negotiated and accepted bribes worth hundreds of thousands of dollarsin awarding media and marketing rights for his country's qualifier matches for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, prosecutors said.

Football: Guatemala’s ex-chief pleads guilty in NY

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New York (AFP) Guatemala's former football chief pleaded guilty in New York on Friday to racketeering and wire fraud conspiracies in connection with the unprecedented FIFA corruption scandal rocking world soccer.

Brayan Jimenez, 62, negotiated and accepted bribes worth hundreds of thousands of dollarsin awarding media and marketing rights for his country's qualifier matches for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, prosecutors said.

Ibrahimovic delighted to make United debut in front of fellow Swedes

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Veteran Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic said he is delighted his compatriots will get to see the moment 'everyone has been waiting for', namely his debut for new club Manchester United in his homeland on Saturday.

Ibrahimovic will lead United's frontline in the pre-season friendly with Turkish side Galatasaray in Gothenburg, Sweden, after missing the club's trip to China.

Man United target Pogba not a done deal – agent

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Paris (AFP) No deal has been reached between Juventus and Manchester United concerning the touted transfer of French international Paul Pogba, the player's agent Mino Raiola insisted Friday.

"Journalist = parrots. No deal done between clubs," Raiola wrote on Twitter. "It's a game between Italy press and UK press who announce it first and who is worse.

Leon Britton is planning for the future while playing a key role for Swansea City

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While Swansea City was on their US tour this month, World Soccer Talk had a chance to speak with Swansea City legend Leon Britton to discuss his future at the club.

Last season, the gifted midfielder began the season with a focus on helping train Swansea'su14 academy team. While the u14's showedlots of promise, Britton has also been impressed by the youngerplayerswho are trying to break into the first team.

Guatemala’s ex chief pleads guilty in NY

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New York (AFP) Guatemala's former football chief pleaded guilty in New York on Friday in connection with the FIFA corruption scandal rocking world football, months after being extradited to the United States.

Brayan Jimenez, 62, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy in connection with bribes received in exchange for awarding media and marketing rights to FIFA World Cup qualifier matches, prosecutors said.

Saints loan Argentina ‘keeper Gazzaniga to Rayo Vallecano

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London (AFP) Argentinian goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga will play second tier Spanish football this season after being sent on loan to Rayo Vallecano by his Premier League club Southampton on Friday.

The 24-year-old who has played just 21 times in the Premier League for Saints since the move he described as a 'dream' saw him join from Gillingham in 2012 already has experience of Spanish football having spent four years at the Valencia academy.

Ranieri sets survival target for champions Leicester

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Los Angeles (AFP) With a first Premier League title under their belts and a place secured among Europe's footballing elite, Leicester City could be forgiven for expecting the silverware to just keep coming.

But the Foxes' Italian boss Claudio Ranieri is keeping his players' feet firmly on the ground, insisting the goal for 2016-17 remains the same as 12 months earlier avoiding relegation.

Brazil coach hails ‘huge-hearted’ captain Neymar

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) Barcelona superstar Neymar was hailed as "a good guy with a huge heart" after being named captain of the Brazil Olympic team on Thursday.

Coach Rogerio Micale admitted that appointing the international star as skipper was an easy decision to make for a team who have never won football gold at the Olympics.

Kolo Toure to miss Barcelona friendly

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London (AFP) Kolo Toure will miss Celtic's friendly with Spanish giants Barcelona in Dublin on Saturday but could play for his new club in next week's key Champions League tie against Astana.

The 35-year-old Ivory Coast centre-back, formerly with Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool has yet to feature for his new side since joining the Glasgow club last week.

Sign up for 2016-17 Fantasy Premier League and join the World Soccer Talk private league

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Registration is now open for the 2016-17Fantasy Premier League season. The game is free to play. And, if you like, you can join the World Soccer Talk private league.

Here's how to join the World Soccer Talk private league today:

1. Visit theFantasy Premier League siteand log in
2.

Leicester’s Andy King signs new contract

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London (AFP) Welsh international midfielder Andy King signed a new four year contract with the only club he has played for Premier League champions Leicester City on Friday.

The 27-year-old who is the only player in the Premier League era to have won the league titles in the top three tiers joins England striker Jamie Vardy in committing to the Foxes since their stunning title win.

Argentina ‘need Messi’, says acting FA chief

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Buenos Aires (AFP) The acting head of Argentina's FA, Armando Perez, insisted he would do all he could to lure Lionel Messi out of international retirement during an upcoming visit to the Barcelona superstar in Spain.

"We need Messi," Perez stressed to AFP on Friday, with Argentina left in shock after the five-time world player of the year announced his retirement following a penalty shootout defeat to defending champions Chile in last month's Copa America Centenario final.

Nigeria football legend Keshi buried devoid of promised fanfare

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Abuja (AFP) Former Nigeria skipper and coach Stephen Keshi has been laid to rest in his village of Ilah, southern Nigeria, Friday afternoon, but without the fanfare promised by the country's government.

Keshi, 54, died on June 8 in Benin City.

However, it was not the state funeral that the Nigerian government first promised with oil-rich Delta State and Keshi's family organising his final passage beginning with a number of events on Thursday.

Di Matteo resigned to Gana joining Everton

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London (AFP) Aston Villa manager Roberto di Matteo has said he expects Idrissa Gana to join Everton after the Premier League club triggered a £7.1 million ($9.4 million, 8.4 million euros) release clause in the Senegal midfielder's contract.

The clause expires at the end of the transfer window but Everton are the only club to have so far launched an official bid.

Turkey’s Besiktas sign Adriano from Barcelona

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Istanbul (AFP) Turkish champions Besiktas on Friday announced the signing of Brazilian full-back Adriano Correia from Barcelona in a three-year deal for a transfer fee of 600,000 euros ($670,000).

Adriano had enjoyed six full seasons at Barcelona and his signing by Besiktas marks a major boost to their campaign for the Champions League in the coming season where they have Turkey's sole automatic spot.

Godin hits winner for Atletico against Spurs in Australia

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Melbourne (AFP) Spain's Atletico Madrid beat England's Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 in their International Champions Cup pre-season match in Melbourne with their goalkeeper Jan Oblak pulling off two magical saves on Friday.

Uruguayan defender Diego Godin scored the winner five minutes before halftime and the Atletico defence kept out Spurs in the second half.

Godin winner for Atletico over Spurs in Australia

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Melbourne (AFP) Spain's Atletico Madrid beat England's Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 in their International Champions Cup match in Melbourne with their goalkeeper Jan Oblak pulling off two magical saves on Friday.

Uruguayan defender Diego Godin scored the winner five minutes before halftime and the Atletico defence screened out Spurs in the second half to protect their lead.

La Liga scraps late Saturday kickoffs to offer EPL alternative to Asian market

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La Liga President Javier Tebas has confirmed a major change in kickoff times for the upcoming 2016-17 season. The league is eliminating the 22:00 local time kickoff (4:00pm ET) on Saturday's and introducing a new 13:00 local time Saturday match (7:00am ET). Heads of La Liga are open about the reason for the new Saturday kickoff time, dubbed ‘horario ingles' as its intended to compete directly with the Premier League in the Far East television market.

Akpom strikes as Arsenal down MLS All-Stars

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San Francisco (AFP) Chuba Akpom scored a late winner as English giants Arsenal defeated the Major League Soccer All-Stars 2-1 in San Jose.

England Under-21 striker Akpom pounced three minutes from time at the Avaya Stadium as the Premier League side snatched victory in an entertaining game.

Bastian Schweinsteiger retires from Germany duty

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Berlin (AFP) Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger on Friday announced his retirement from international duty with immediate effect.

The 31-year-old Manchester United midfielder won his 120th cap in Germany's 2-0 defeat to France in the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

He announced the news on his official Twitter account.

2014 World Cup final: Bastian Schweinsteiger’s finest hour

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Berlin (AFP) Germany's midfield general Bastian Schweinsteiger walks away from international football two years after his crowning moment at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Bloodied but unbowed, Schweinsteiger was magnificent at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium in the final, ensuring Germany controlled the midfield before Mario Goetze's extra-time winning goal against Argentina.

Juventus boss Allegri ‘can’t wait’ to work with new boy Higuain

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Hong Kong (AFP) Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri says he can't wait to start working with his 90 million euro man Gonzalo Higuain but warned the striker not to come to Turin expecting his place in the side is assured.

"It will not be easy for us to win the championship again," said Allegri, whose team are going for a sixth straight Serie A title.

Rooney hails Mourinho’s ‘winning mentality’

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London (AFP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney believes new manager Jose Mourinho has restored a "winning mentality" at Old Trafford.

Mourinho was brought in after the end of last season following the sacking of Louis van Gaal.

United have failed to win the league since legendary manager Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, with David Moyes and Van Gaal, who oversaw an FA Cup final victory last season, failing to live up to the exacting standards set by the Scot.

Arsenal vs. Chivas friendly to be televised live on FOX Sports 1

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Arsenal's second and final friendly of their 2016 US summer tour will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, July 31.

The Gunners' friendly against Chivas, which will beplayed at the StubHub Center in Carson, outside Los Angeles, will be shown live on FOX Sports 1 as well as streamed live in the United States across FOX Sports GO, FOX Soccer 2GO and Sling Blue(a free 7-day trial is available).

FIFA’s reputation needs fixing, says Samoura

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Geneva (AFP) FIFA's new general secretary, Fatma Samoura, said Friday her priority was restoring trust including among the organisation's corporate sponsors, with FIFA in "a very turbulent moment" after more than a year of scandal.

Samoura took over as the number two at world football's governing body last month, after her appointment by President Gianni Infantino.

MLS’s improved TV ratings on FOX and ESPN are welcome, but they’re only baby steps

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Major League Soccer has been touting a TV ratings increase this season on ESPN and FOX platforms as the league breaks for its annual MLS All-Star Game. The ratings have gone up, and that is good news for soccer in America. But a quick peek behind the ratings indicates the league got a boost from the international "summer of soccer.

Ireland ‘legend’ Given retires from international football

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London (AFP) Shay Given earned the tribute "legend" from the Football Association of Ireland after the goalkeeper announced his retirement from international football on Thursday after a 20-year career.

The 40-year-old capped 134 times made his first appearance for his country against Russia in 1996 and played at the 2002 World Cup finals, where they reached the last 16, and Euro 2012.

Neville, Giggs unveil Manchester building plan

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London (AFP) Former football stars Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs on Thursday unveiled their plan for a multimillion-pound development in Manchester city centre, including a 200-bed hotel, two skyscrapers and a synagogue.

Neville, a former England full-back and Manchester United legend, said it would create 1,300 jobsand regenerate a historic part of the northwestern English city.

Higuain offers olive branch to Napoli coach, fans

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Milan (AFP) Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain offered an olive branch to disgruntled Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri and well as fans of the club amid claims his controversial move to the Turin giants was motivated by money.

Higuain, who hit a new Serie A record of 36 league goals last season, joined Juventus earlier this week on a five-year deal worth 90m euros ($98.

Argentine FA hope for Messi international U-turn

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Buenos Aires (AFP) The acting head of Argentina's FA, Armando Perez, will travel to Spain to try and convince star striker Lionel Messi to reconsider his international retirement, according to reports in Argentina on Thursday.

"I spoke with Leo's father, we have agreed to meet next week," said Perez, in quotes published by Argentine sports daily Ole.

Higuain answers critics, targets Juventus title deluge

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) Gonzalo Higuain hit back at critics of his controversial move to Juventus as he prepares to justify his 90million-euro price tag by helping the Italian champions to as many titles as possible.

"In life, you have to make the best decisions and I made mine by choosing Juventus," Higuain told a small gathering of media at his official unveiling in Turin on Thursday.

Manchester City beat Dortmund on penalties in Shenzhen

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Shenzhen (China) (AFP) Pep Guardiola got his first taste of victory as Manchester City's manager Thursday night after beating Borussia Dortmund on penalties in a friendly, but expressed concern about the looming English Premier League season.

"Football today is tough," said Guardiola, whose side beat their German opposition in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

Top 5 Premier League problems to be solved next season

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Taking a closer look at five Premier League clubs (Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Southampton and Spurs), we delve into what needs they have for the upcoming season.

1) Arsenal: A striker

Towards the end of last season, when he was asked about his future at Arsenal, Mesut Özil said that he had unfinished "goals" at the club.

5 reasons Seattle Sounders can’t blame Sigi Schmid for 2016 shortcomings

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Photo credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

After more than seven years in Major League Soccer, the Seattle Sounders finally cut ties with coach Sigi Schmid. The two parties agreed to a mutual parting following Seattle's thrashing at the hands of Western Conference rivals Sporting KC.

Dortmund faces Man City as transfer rumours swirl

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Shenzhen (China) (AFP) Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel takes a philosophical approach when it comes to dealing with the distraction of off-season transfer speculation that keeps swirling around his club.

"I can't predict the future," shrugged the German, on the eve of his clash Thursday with Manchester City at the Shenzhen Universiade Stadium.

Atletico Nacional win Copa Libertadores

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Medellín (Colombia) (AFP) Colombian giants Atletico Nacional won the Copa Libertadores for only the second time in their history after a 1-0 victory over Ecuadoran minnows Independiente del Valle secured a 2-1 aggregate triumph.

Newly acquired striker Miguel Borja was the hero for Atletico, ramming home a low shot in the ninth minute as the Medellin-based side lifted South America's premier continental club competition for the first time since 1989.

Fabregas sees red as Chelsea beat Liverpool

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Pasadena (United States) (AFP) Chelsea's Cesc Fabregas was sent off for a reckless lunge at Liverpool new boy Ragnar Klavan, overshadowing a 1-0 win for the Blues in a friendly at the Pasadena Rose Bowl.

The Premier League giants locked horns in the pre-season International Champions Cup in a match which was more remarkable for its clumsy fouls than free-flowing football.

German defender Shkodran Mustafi would be an ideal fit at Arsenal

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When it was announced that Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker underwent surgery for a significant knee injury on Tuesday, one thing was for certain: a new center back would have to be brought in as cover this summer. While the Gunners were reportedly already in the market for an additional central defender prior to the unfortunate news, the BFG's injury will force manager Arsene Wenger into making a swift move for a new recruit.

MLS Direct Kick offers free preview to soccer fans this weekend

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As the MLS All-Star Gameon Thursday marks the halfway point of the 2016 season, fans get to experience MLS Direct Kick for free as the teams return to action over the weekend. MLS Direct Kick is a pay TV sports package that allows fans to follow out-of-market MLS matches.

All the major cable and satellite providers that offer MLS Direct Kick will participate, including DirecTV, DISH, Comcast, Time Warner, RCN, Bright House, Blue Ridge and others.

The game that sparked the fall of Seattle Sounders and Sigi Schmid

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Sigi Schmid finally met his end on Tuesday, fired after seven-and-a-half seasons in Seattle with his Sounders 21 points behind Western Conference-leading FC Dallas, ten points below the red line, and just one point out of last place.

It was a position that even a manager of Schmid's stature couldn't survive – especially not after Seattle failed to register a single shot until the 88th minute on Saturday against Sporting Kansas City in an unforgivably indifferent 3-0 loss.

Griffiths puts struggling Celtic in Champions League driving seat

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Astana (Kazakhstan) (AFP) Leigh Griffiths levelled 12 minutes from time to give struggling Celtic a 1-1 draw at Astana in their Champions League third qualifying round first leg clash on Wednesday.

The result gave Brendan Rodgers's side the upper hand ahead of their return clash in Glasgow next week, but the Kazakh side were unfortunate not to have finished with the advantage.

Aubameyang targets titles with Dortmund

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Berlin (AFP) Star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is targeting titles next season with Borussia Dortmund, who have spent 117 million euros ($128.5m) in making eight new signings, to break Bayern Munich's stranglehold in Germany.

Aubameyang, 27, has been linked to a bumper move to Pep Guardiola-led Manchester City, but poured more cold water on any speculation by saying he wants to win titles with Dortmund, where he has a contract until 2020.

Schedule of NBC Sports’ commentators for Olympics soccer tournament

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It's going to be a busy summer for NBC Sports. During the month of August, they'll be broadcasting over 55 soccer games from the 2016 Summer Olympics, and the vast majority of them will be announced by NBC Sports talent.

To put together such a task, NBC Sports is relying on a team of announcers —many of whom will be commentating 2-3 games per day in order to deal with the significant amount of games across both the men's and women's competitions.

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

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch Chelsea vs. Liverpool in the International Champions Cup, you've come to the right place.

With Chelsea featuring a new manager (Antonio Conte) and Liverpool fresh with several new signings (Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum, Joel Matip, the two Premier League clubs will be jostling for positions near the top of the Premier League this season.

Barcelona unveil new signing Andre Gomes

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona paraded Portuguese midfielder Andre Gomes at the Camp Nou on Wednesday after his 55-million-euro capture from Valencia on a five-year deal.

The 22-year-old, part of Portugal's European Championship-winning side, has a release clause of 100 million euros ($110 mn, £84 mn) and will cost an initial 35 million euros, with 20 million in add-ons.

No Manchester City players overweight: Pep Guardiola

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Shenzhen (China) (AFP) Pep Guardiola has denied dictating to his Manchester City squad exactly what they can eat and said no player is overweight, after Gael Clichy claimed the new manager had banned junk food and exiled out-of-shape stars.

Speaking in China, where City are on a money-spinning pre-season tour, the French defender told the Guardian newspaper and other British media that former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach Guardiola had wasted no time in laying down the law.

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

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch Bayern Munich vs. AC Milan in the International Champions Cup, you've come to the right place.

Both Bayern Munich and AC Milan play their first games of the 2016 International Champions Cup. It'll be an opportunity to see players such as Julian Green, Arturo Vidal, Phillip Lahm, Franck Ribery, Riccardo Montolivo, Alessandro Matri, Mbaye Niang and others.

Where to find Real Madrid vs. Paris Saint-Germain on US TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch Real Madrid against Paris Saint-Germain in the International Champions Cup, you've come to the right place.

Real Madrid plays its first game of the 2016 International Champions Cup against Paris Saint-Germain in a match that'll be played at Ohio Stadium, a college football ground with a capacity of 104,000.

Arsenal defender Mertesacker ruled out of MLS All-Star game

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Los Angeles (AFP) Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker will be "out a few months" with the knee injury that prevented him from joining the Gunners' North American tour, manager Arsene Wenger said Tuesday.

In a press conference looking ahead to Thursday's Major League Soccer All-Star Game in San Jose, where Arsenal will take on a collection of the North American league's top players in its' annual mid-season showcase, Wenger indicated he'd be looking for a way to compensate for the absence of the German World Cup winner, who picked up the injury in last Friday's friendly at Lens.

Higuain betrayed Napoli by joining Juve: club owner

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Milan (AFP) Gonzalo Higuain "betrayed" Napoli by joining rivals Juventus, claimed club owner Aurelio De Laurentiis despite pocketing 90m euros ($98.8m, £75.3m) for the sale of the Argentine striker.

In the most unlikely move of the Serie A summer transfer period, Higuain ended his fairytale three-year spell with Napoli on Tuesday when he agreed to a record five-year deal with the Italian champions that is expected to earn him 7.

Ex-German FA boss Niersbach to appeal FIFA ban

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Berlin (AFP) Wolfgang Niersbach, the former president of the German Football Association (DFB), said on Wednesday that he will appeal the one-year ban imposed on him by FIFA's ethics committee.

The 65-year-old was banned on Monday over misconduct surrounding Germany's successful 2006 World Cup bid.

Higuain goes from hero to zero in record Juve deal

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Milan (AFP) On 36 occasions last season, Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain boosted Napoli dreams of ending a 26-year title drought as he inspired with goalscoring feats in the Scudetto race with Juventus.

On Tuesday, Higuain went from hero to zero after completing the world's third most expensive transfer to join Napoli's rivals in a move that has underlined his quest for succcess, yet prompted swift criticism.

Brazilian striker Pato joins Villarreal

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Sao Paulo (AFP) Brazilian international striker Alexandre Pato has joined Spanish club Villarreal from Corinthians, the Sao Paulo outfit announced on Tuesday.

No details were given on the transfer fee or length of the contract, although local media reported the Spanish club paid an estimated three million euros ($3.

Struggling Sounders say goodbye to Schmid

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Los Angeles (AFP) The struggling Seattle Sounders parted ways with Sigi Schmid on Tuesday, bidding farewell to the only coach they've known since their Major League Soccer debut in 2009.

The Sounders dropped to ninth next to last in the Western Conference after a lackluster 3-0 defeat to Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.

Higuain completes sensational Juventus move

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Milan (AFP) Gonzalo Higuain completed a sensational move to Juventus after the Italian champions agreed to pay a 90 million euros ($98.8m) fee, the third highest in history, to wrest the Argentine striker from Napoli on Tuesday.

In what is the biggest ever transfer fee recorded between two Serie A clubs, Higuain's move to Turin on a five-year deal was confirmed by Juventus two hours after being published by Serie A league bosses on their official website.

World Cup winning skipper Moore’s home honoured

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London (AFP) England's 1966 World Cup winning captain, the late Bobby Moore, was honoured with a blue plaque installed where he lived on Tuesday.

The ceremony for the unveiling of the plaque on Moore's childhood home in east London was attended by family, friends and footballing figures.

It comes just days before the 50th anniversary of English football's greatest moment, the 4-2 defeat of West Germany, with Moore the only English captain to lift a major trophy.

Lille snap up Sankhare from Guingamp

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Lille (France) (AFP) Senegal international midfielder Younousse Sankhare has joined Lille on a four-year contract from fellow Ligue 1 side Guingamp, the buying club announced on Tuesday.

France-born Sankhare, who started his career with Paris Saint-Germain, spent the past three seasons with Guingamp and scored six goals last year to help the Brittany club in their battle against relegation.

La Liga’s TV schedule for 2016/17 season aims to challenge Premier League

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If the opening weekend of Spain's La Liga season is any indication, La Liga aims to give the Premier League some tough competition this season in the battle for TV ratings.

Instead of La Liga's typical schedule, which includes several games across the weekend that overlap with each other, the opening weekend of the 2016/17 La Liga season scheduled to kick off on Friday, August 19 will feature 9 out of 10 games that will be played in a block one after the other across the entire weekend.

Gonzalo Higuain completes Juventus move

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Milan (AFP) Gonzalo Higuain completed his move to Juventus after the Italian champions reportedly agreed to pay a 94.7m euros ($104m) buyout clause to wrest the Argentine striker from Napoli on Tuesday.

Juventus and Napoli have yet to officially announce the move, which was instead published on the "transfers" section of the official Serie A website www.

Liverpool’s Sakho sent home early from US tour

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London (AFP) France international defender Mamadou Sakho's future at Liverpool may be in doubt after he came home early from the club's tour of the United States on the orders of manager Jurgen Klopp.

The 26-year-old, who missed the Europa League final as he was serving a doping suspension and was then omitted from France's Euro 2016 squad, is ostensibly returning for more treatment on a troublesome Achilles injury.

Mamelodi Sundowns one point away from CAF semi-finals

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Johannesburg (AFP) Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa can continue an amazing four-month transition from flops to tops if they avoid defeat at home to Zamalek of Egypt on Wednesday in the CAF Champions League.

A point at Lucas 'Masterpieces' Moripe Stadium near Pretoria will suffice to seal first place in Group B and take the South African side to the semi-finals of the premier African club football competition.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino not interested in Argentina job

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London (AFP) Mauricio Pochettino says he is not interested in the vacant coaching post with his native Argentina because he is happy at Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.

The 44-year-old who turned Spurs into title contenders last season before they faded in the final few weeks and ended up third said it was natural that being in charge of a high-profile club would see him linked with his country's top job.

Israel arrests 56 far-right football supporters

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Jerusalem (AFP) Israel has arrested 56 members of La Familia, a group of far-right football fans of the Beitar Jerusalem team over "violence and weapon smuggling", the police said on Tuesday.

"The arrests, carried out overnight Monday to Tuesday, were decided after acts of violence were committed by members of La Familia across the country," the police said in a statement.

Lyon reject Arsenal bid for Lacazette

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Lyon (AFP) French club Lyon said Tuesday they had rejected a 35-million-euro (£29 million, $39 million) bid from Arsenal for star striker Alexandre Lacazette.

Lyon called the 25-year-old, who has long been linked with a move to the Premier League having scored 48 goals over the last two seasons, "irreplacable" and said he would not be sold.

Dortmund dismiss City’s Aubameyang interest

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Berlin (AFP) Borussia Dortmund have dismissed reports that Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are poised to offer at least £58 million (70m euros, $77m) for star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

According to British media, City are in advanced talks with the Gabon international, who scored 39 goals for Dortmund in all competitions last season as they finished runners-up to Bayern Munich in Germany's top flight.

Juventus strike early to beat Spurs in Australia

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Melbourne (AFP) Italian champions Juventus scored two early goals and held off a strong finish from their opponents to beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 in the International Champions Cup in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The Turin giants, who won a fifth consecutive Serie A championship last season, struck early through Paulo Dybala and Medhi Benatia to lead 2-0 at half-time.

Rooney still key to England plans, says Allardyce

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London (AFP) New England manager Sam Allardyce admitted Wayne Rooney has a significant part to play in his plans but refused to give assurances about the player's future as captain.

Rooney recently expressed a desire to continue as skipper, despite criticism following England's disastrous campaign at the 2016 European Championship in France.

Liverpool’s Allen makes Stoke switch

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London (AFP) Stoke City have signed Wales international midfielder Joe Allen from Liverpool on a five-year deal, the two Premier League clubs announced on Monday.

Stoke paid £13 million (15.5 million euros, $17 million) to make Allen the club's second signing of the pre-season after tying up a deal for Egyptian teenager Ramadan Sobhi earlier in the day.

FIFA president hopes Africa gets two more World Cup slots

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Abuja (AFP) FIFA president Gianni Infantino said on Monday he hopes Africa gets two more spots at the World Cup if his proposal for the tournament to be expanded to 40 teams goes through.

There are presently 32 finalists for the World Cup with Africa represented by five teams.

Infantino, elected in February this year, arrived in Abuja on Sunday on a two-day visit to Nigeria.

Liverpool and Sevilla fined over Europa League trouble

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London (AFP) Liverpool and Sevilla were fined by UEFA on Monday following crowd trouble before and during the Europa League final against Sevilla in Basel in May.

Sevilla, who won the match 3-1 for a third successive Europa League title, were fined 17,000 euros (£14,242) while Liverpool were fined 16,000 euros.

How to watch Newcastle United matches in the Championship on US TV this season

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With an estimated fanbase of 6 million supporters worldwide, Newcastle United fans will be watching their favorite team in the Championship this season, and not in the Premier League.

Unfortunately for the Toon Army, you're not going to be able to watch as many Newcastle games as you did when they played in the Premier League.

Dortmund out to break ‘monsters’ Bayern’s hold

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Berlin (AFP) Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis believes it's high time Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich were knocked from the top of the German league after four years with an iron grip on the title.

Bayern have won the Bundesliga title for a record four consecutive seasons, but it is all change in Munich for 2016/17 with Carlo Ancelotti replacing Pep Guardiola as head coach while director of sport Matthias Sammer has resigned on health grounds.

No Napoli or film role for Inter’s Icardi: club

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Milan (AFP) Inter Milan on Monday insisted captain Mauro Icardi is not for sale amid reports Napoli have tabled a generous offer including a future role in a film for the Argentine striker.

Icardi, who scored 16 goals in 33 league games last season, is a reported target for Arsenal as well as Serie A runners-up Napoli, who are expected to sell star striker Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus this week.

10 things we learned from MLS gameweek 20 of the 2016 season

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Here are the ten things we learned from Week 20 of the 2016 MLS season.

1. Seattle Hits Rock Bottom

It might go down as the week that brought the curtain down on the Seattle Sounders' remarkable first MLS era.

On Wednesday night, the Sounders were 2-1 up in Carson against the LA Galaxy with a spot in the US Open Cup semifinals on the line, only to concede three times in the final fifteen minutes and lose 4-2.

FIFA bans ex-German football boss Niersbach over World Cup bid

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Geneva (AFP) FIFA's ethics committee on Monday banned Wolfgang Niersbach, former president of the German Football Association (DFB), for one year over misconduct surrounding the country's successful 2006 World Cup bid.

"Mr. Niersbach has been banned for one year from all football-related activities," a statement from FIFA's in-house court said, noting that the German official "failed to report findings about possible misconduct concerning the awarding of the 2006 FIFA World Cup".

FIFA bans ex-German football boss over 2006 World Cup bid

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Geneva (AFP) FIFA's ethics committee on Monday banned Wolfgang Niersbach, former president of the German Football Association, for one year over misconduct surrounding the country's successful 2006 World Cup bid.

"Mr. Niersbach has been banned for one year from all football-related activities," a statement from FIFA's in-house court said, citing his "awareness" that bribes may have been paid during the bidding "and his failure to report them to the Ethics Committee in a timely manner".

Ex-England international Wilkins admits drink problem

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London (AFP) A British court handed Ray Wilkins a four-year driving ban on Monday, as the former England international midfielder and ex-Chelsea assistant revealed his battle with alcoholism.

The 59-year-old pleaded guilty at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court after being found to have been three times over the drink-drive limit.

New England football boss Sam Allardyce targets fear factor

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) New England manager Sam Allardyce vowed on Monday to break the psychological barrier hindering the performance of the country's big-name players at international level.

Allardyce also revealed he has not yet made a decision on who will captain England, which leaves the Manchester United skipper Wayne Rooney heavily criticised for his performances at Euro 2016 sweating on whether he will retain the armband.

Aurier bags brace as PSG down Inter 3-1 in friendly

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Los Angeles (AFP) Serge Aurier's two goals lifted Paris Saint-Germain to a 3-1 victory over Iter Milan on Sunday in an International Champions Cup friendly in Eugene, Oregon.

Layvin Kurzawa also scored for the French champions, while Stevan Jovetic converted a penalty for the Italian outfit in first-half injury time.

India’s red light youngsters go for football gold

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Kolkata (AFP) In a break from training for one of the world's largest football tournaments, Yakub Ali swells with pride at the idea of putting a smile on the face of his mother back in Asia's biggest red light district.

"We've grown used to peoplesneering about where we come from and telling us that our mothers are worthless," says 15-year-old Yakub.

Win or bust for goal-shy Medeama in CAF Cup

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Johannesburg (AFP) Victory for hosts Medeama of Ghana over Young Africans of Tanzania Tuesday will bring them into contention for a CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals place.

The clash of two goal-shy teams in Sekondi is among four midweek matchday 4 fixtures in the African version of the Europa League.

Manchester derby in China canned over weather

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Beijing (AFP) Manchester United said on Monday that its pre-season friendly with Manchester City in Beijing has been cancelled after torrential rains soaked the turf at the Bird's Nest Stadium venue.

"Due to recent weather events, tournament organisers and participating clubs have decided to cancel tonight's International Champions Cup game," scheduled for Monday, Manchester United said in a statement.

Sam Allardyce ‘very proud’ to be England manager

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London (AFP) Sam Allardyce said Monday that he was "very proud" to be named England manager and felt confident that he "fitted the chair".

The 61-year-old Englishman who succeeds Roy Hodgson, who stepped down after England lost to minnows Iceland in the last 16 of Euro 2016 refused to confirm Wayne Rooney would remain as captain, saying it was too early to do so.

Kuwait top court acquits IOC powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad

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Kuwait City (AFP) Kuwait's supreme court on Monday upheld the acquittal of Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah one of the most powerful men in world sport on charges of insulting the judiciary.

The ruling, which cannot be appealed, cleared Sheikh Ahmad a member of the FIFA executive committee, a top International Olympic Committee member and head of Asia's Olympic body of insulting the public prosecutor and inciting public unrest.

‘Dangerous’ pitch scuppers China Manchester derby

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Beijing (AFP) Manchester United's showpiece pre-season derby against Manchester City was cancelled just hours before kick-off Monday because the Beijing pitch was "too dangerous" for players.

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany said club staff had been working to get the game on after days of heavy rain in the Chinese capital, but had been defeated.

After Guardiola, Ancelotti delights Ribery at Bayern

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Berlin (AFP) Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery claimed Monday that he has finally felt trusted again since Carlo Ancelotti took over as head coach from Pep Guardiola.

With Guardiola now coaching Manchester City after three years in Munich, Italian Ancelotti has taken charge of Bayern, who have won the Bundesliga title in each of the last four seasons.

Gray slams ‘stone-age’ Burnley fans after racism row

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London (AFP) Burnley striker Andre Gray has condemned two of his own club's fans as living in the stone age after an incident of alleged racist abuse during the Premier League club's friendly win at Bradford.

One of the Burnley supporters was ejected from Saturday's clash at Valley Parade and the Clarets on Sunday confirmed a Bradford player reported the individual to the match officials, claiming he had been repeatedly racially abused.

How to watch Aston Villa matches in the Championship on US TV this season

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For the first time since 1988, Aston Villa won't be playing in the top flight of English football. The last time the club was relegated from the top division to the second flight was in 1987. The Villans soon returned to the top flight, now known as the Premier League, where they've been for the past 28 years.

China chaos has Mourinho pining for home comforts

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Beijing (AFP) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said Sunday he was ready to go home as the club's pre-season tour of China threatened to descend into farce.

The final match of their China tour is first Manchester derby outside the UK against City on Monday and Mourinho suggested he couldn't wait for it to be over.

Galaxy end Timbers’ MLS unbeaten run

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Los Angeles (AFP) Robbie Keane and Gyasi Zardes scored early goals and the Los Angeles Galaxy ended the Timbers' nine-match unbeaten streak with a 2-1 Major League Soccer victory in Portland.

Zarek Valentin scored for reigning MLS Cup champions Portland, who lost veteran defender Nat Borchers to what looked like a left ankle injury in the first half.

‘Polite guys’: Guardiola to shake hands on renewed Mourinho rivalry

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Beijing (AFP) Pep Guardiola rejects any suggestion he would not shake hands with arch-rival Jose Mourinho and insisted relations would be friendly when Manchester City play Manchester United in Bejing on Monday.

"We are polite guys, why not?" Guardiola said Sunday when asked if the pair would extend hands, despite an acrimonious rivalry which stretches back to 2010 when the Catalan had stewardship of Barcelona and Mourinho took the reins at Real Madrid.

What Sam Allardyce’s appointment as manager means for England

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After the disappointment of Euro 2012, World Cup in 2014 and Euro 2016, Roy Hodgson's position as England manager had become untenable. If anything, he had been given too long a rope. The team's tactics were confused and difficult to fathom. Plus difficult selection questions, such as what to do about Wayne Rooney, were repeatedly dodged.

Toure set for Rodgers reunion at Celtic

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Glasgow (AFP) Ivory Coast defender Kolo Toure is poised to be reunited with his former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers at Celtic although the 35-year-old won't feature in the forthcoming marathon trip to Kazakhstan for a Champions League tie.

Toure, who has also played in the English top flight with Arsenal and Manchester City, was at Parkhead on Saturday to watch the Scottish side beaten by Leicester City on penalties in the International Champions Cup.

England’s Euro 2016 exit can be motivation for future – Allardyce

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London (AFP) New England manager Sam Allardyce told his players to use their shock Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Iceland as motivation for the future on Saturday.

The 61-year-old was named on Friday as the successor to Roy Hodgson, who resigned after his team bowed out of the Euros in France with a 2-1 defeat to Iceland in the last 16.

Leicester City beat Celtic on penalties in friendly

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Glasgow (AFP) English Premier League champions Leicester City secured a penalty shoot-out victory over Celtic after a 1-1 draw in an International Champions Cup friendly in Glasgow on Saturday.

Last season's PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez grabbed the opener for Claudio Ranieri's Leicester in the opening minute of the second half with a wonderful individual goal.

Louis van Gaal is the manager Belgium needs to lead the national team

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Louis van Gaal's tenure at Old Trafford ended with a trophy, the FA Cup no less, but you'd be hard pressed to find a Manchester United fan labeling the Dutchman's two seasons at the club a success.

Sandwiched in between the dreaded ‘P's ‘philosophy' and ‘process' was a serving of sterile, unambitious football that found no favor with the United faithful.

David Moyes appointed Sunderland manager – club

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London (AFP) Sunderland have appointed former Manchester United and Everton manager David Moyes to replace Sam Allardyce as boss at the Stadium of Light, the Premier League club said on Saturday.

The 53-year-old Moyes signed a four-year contract with the Black Cats and was chairman Ellis Short's "first choice" to take over after Allardyce was named the new England manager this week.

Sunderland appoint ‘first choice’ Moyes as manager

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London (AFP) Sunderland have appointed former Manchester United and Everton manager David Moyes to replace Sam Allardyce as boss at the Stadium of Light, the perennial Premier League strugglers said on Saturday.

Moyes the northeast England club's ninth permanent boss in less than eight years signed a four-year contract with the Black Cats and was chairman Ellis Short's "first choice" to take over after Allardyce was named the new England manager this week.

Ronaldo opens own “CR7” hotel, gives name to airport

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Funchal (Portugal) (AFP) Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo inaugurated his own hotel on Friday called "CR7" after his initials and shirt number, while the airport on his home island of Funchal was renamed in his honour.

Just two weeks after leading Portugal to the Euro 2016 title in France, the national team skipper appeared on a terrace of the red-coloured building overlooking the sea, wearing a white baseball cap.

Bundesliga TV schedule for first month of 2016/17 season revealed

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The Bundesliga TV schedule for the first several weeks of the 2016/17 season on US TV and streaming can now be revealed.

Bayern Munich kicks off the new season with a home match against Werder Bremen on Friday, August 26. From the opening weekend of the new season, the other match to keep an eye on is Borussia Monchengladbach against Bayer Leverkusen, which will be shown live on the FOX over-the-air network on Saturday, August 27, which will be at the same time that NBC televises Manchester United against Hull City.

Welcome on board ‘Big Sam’, tweet football fraternity

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London (AFP) Sam Allardyce will hopefully prove the England job is not an impossible one tweeted former England striker Gary Lineker as the football world reacted to his appointment on Friday.

The 61-year-old Englishman has been given a two year contract with the priority of first guiding England to the 2018 World Cup finals and then be judged on how they fare in Russia as they seek to end what will be by then a 52-year trophy drought.

Steve Bruce resigns as Hull City manager

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London (AFP) Steve Bruce resigned as manager of Premier League newboys Hull City on Friday, just days after he was being linked with the England national job.

The 55-year-old Englishman, who lost out to compatriot Sam Allardyce for the England post, had taken Hull up for the second time into the Premier League last season but was said to be unhappy about the lack of investment in new players.

Bruce resigns as Hull manager

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London (AFP) Steve Bruce resigned as manager of Premier League newboys Hull City on Friday only days after he held talks over the then vacant England job.

The 55-year-old Englishman, who lost out to compatriot Sam Allardyce for the England post, had taken Hull up for the second time into the Premier League last season but is said to be unhappy about the lack of investment in new players.

Three candidates to succeed Platini as UEFA chief

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Paris (AFP) Three candidates to succeed the disgraced Michel Platini as president of UEFA made the shortlist on Friday for the vote to take place in Athens on September 14.

The three are Slovenia's Aleksander Ceferin, Michael van Praag of the Netherlands and Spain's Angel Maria Villar.

Spanish football federation chief Villar, 66, is currently the interim president of UEFA following the ban handed down to Platini in May.

Liverpool snap up Dutch ace Wijnaldum from Magpies

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Liverpool (AFP) Dutch international Georginio Wijnaldum's eye-catching performances for Newcastle in their failed battle against relegation last season saw Premier League giants Liverpool sign him for a reported £25million on Friday.

The 25-year-old, who scored 11 goals in 38 Premier League appearances for the Magpies last term after signing from PSV Eindhoven, said he was delighted to be joining such a historic club.

Olympics soccer TV schedule for games on US TV and streaming

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All of the details for the Olympics soccer TV schedule have been announced for viewers in the United States. And with Copa America and Euro 2016 behind us, we now have a third and final major soccer tournament to look forward to.

In the women's tournament, the United States is favorites to win gold.

Allardyce gets England coach job at second time of asking

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London (AFP) Sam Allardyce is the new England manager after the Football Association officially appointed him on Friday, 10 years after he failed to convince them he was the right man for the job.

The 61-year-old Englishman who lost out to Steve McClaren 10 years ago after Sven-Goran Eriksson left signed a two-year contract with his task to guide England to the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

Manchester’s Mourinho relaxed despite Dortmund drubbing

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Shanghai (AFP) Jose Mourinho said he would not be rushing into judgement on his players as a result of Manchester United's 4-1 drubbing by Borussia Dortmund in Shanghai on Friday.

"Unfair to make any decision. Day by day they are starting to win my trust," Mourinho said of his players, who only returned to pre-season training 10 days ago.

Bruce resigns as Hull boss – reports

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London (AFP) Steve Bruce resigned as manager of Premier League newboys Hull City on Friday, according to several media outlets, just days after he held talks over taking the England job.

The 55-year-old, who lost out to compatriot Sam Allardyce for the England post, had taken Hull up for the second time into the Premier League but is said to be unhappy about the lack of investment in new players.

Mourinho’s United stunned 4-1 by Dortmund in China

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Shanghai (AFP) New Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho saw his side get off to a poor start on their tour of China when they lost 4-1 to Borussia Dortmund on Friday.

Temperatures of 35 Celsius (95 Farenheit) at the 8:00 pm kick-off time in Shanghai meant the International Champions Cup match was largely played at a pedestrian pace with frequent breaks to take on water.

Sam Allardyce gets England football job at second time of asking

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London (AFP) Sam Allardyce was confirmed as the new England manager on Friday, a decade after he failed to convince the Football Association he was the right man for the job.

The 61-year-old Englishman who lost out to Steve McClaren 10 years ago after Sven-Goran Eriksson left signed a two-year contract with his task to guide England to the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

Divine intervention took Big Sam from ‘Stab City’ to England job

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London (AFP) When Sam Allardyce received the call from an Irish priest that set him on the long road to becoming England manager, his initial reaction was foul-mouthed mockery.

Father Joe Young spent his spare time working as chairman of Irish club Limerick and was willing to take a gamble on a veteran defender who had just been forced to leave his role on Bury's coaching staff.

Sam Allardyce confirmed as England football manager

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London (AFP) Sam Allardyce was confirmed as the new England manager on Friday, a decade after he failed to convince the Football Association he was the right man for the job.

The 61-year-old Englishman who lost out to Steve McClaren 10 years ago after Sven-Goran Eriksson left signed a two-year contract with his task to guide England to the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

Bruce ‘resigns from Hull job’

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London (AFP) Steve Bruce resigned as manager of Premier League newboys Hull City on Friday, according to several media outlets, just days after he held talks over taking the England job.

The 55-year-old Englishman who looks set to lose out to compatriot Sam Allardyce for the England post had taken Hull up for the second time into the Premier League but is said to be unhappy about the lack of investment in new players.

Dortmund sign Andre Schurrle from Wolfsburg

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Berlin (AFP) Borussia Dortmund have signed Germany international winger Andre Schurrle from Wolfsburg on a five-year deal, the two Bundesliga clubs announced on Friday.

Reports in Germany indicate Dortmund will pay around 30 million euros ($33 million) for the World Cup winner, which would make Schurrle the club's record signing.

Demba Ba surgeon confident striker will play again

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Shanghai (AFP) Demba Ba's surgeon arrived in Shanghai and declared he was confident the former Chelsea striker would return to competitive football.

French orthopaedic surgeon Olivier Bringer touched down in the Chinese megacity late Thursday and immediately went to Putuo District People's Hospital where the Senegalese striker has been treated since suffering a horror left leg fracture playing for Shenhua in the Shanghai derby against SIPG last Sunday.

No smoke without fire Mourinho says on Pogba affair

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London (AFP) French midfielder Paul Pogba is a target for Manchester United their manager Jose Mourinho all but confirmed to the BBC in an interview given in China.

The Portuguese handler told the BBC it would be pointless to pull the wool over their eyes and say he and United weren't courting Italian champions Juventus's 23-year-old playmaker who could cost the English club a world record £100million ($131m, 119m euros) just four years after he left them for £800,000.

Barcelona agree deal for Valencia midfielder Andre Gomes

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona on Thursday agreed a deal to sign Portuguese midfielder Andre Gomes from Valencia. Also believed to be a target of bitter rivals Real Madrid, Gomes will cost around 50 million euros, according to media reports.

The 23-year-old, who started his career with Benfica, signed a five-year deal with Barcelona.

Irish striker Long pens new four-year deal at Saints

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London (AFP) Republic of Ireland international striker Shane Long became the latest player to pledge his future to English Premier League side Southampton on Thursday, signing a new four-year contract.

The 29-year-old, part of the Ireland side that lost 2-1 to eventual finalists France in the last 16 at Euro 2016, said he was more than happy to be staying on at the club who finished a best ever sixth in the table last term.

US consortium complete takeover of Swansea

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London (AFP) A consortium headed by American businessmen Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan completed its takeover of Swansea, the Premier League club announced on Thursday.

Levien, who is managing general owner of MLS side DC United, and Kaplan, executive vice-chairman of NBA franchise the Memphis Grizzlies, are believed along with their consortium to have bought a 60% stake at a reported cost of £110million (132m euros, $145m) in the only Premier League club based in Wales.

New Spain coach Lopetegui vows ‘evolution’

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Las Rozas de Madrid (Spain) (AFP) Newly named Spain coach Julen Lopetegui, who led Spain's youth teams to international success, vowed Thursday to build upon the groundwork already laid by outgoing manager Vicente del Bosque as he took over the squad.

The Spanish football federation on Thursday named the 49-year-old former goalkeeper as the new coach, just weeks after Del Bosque resigned following Spain's defeat to Italy in the last 16 of Euro 2016.

Italian mayor apologises for racism towards football star Keita

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Milan (AFP) Keita Balde has been offered apologies by the mayor of Padova after the Lazio striker fell victim to racist monkey chants during a pre-season friendly on Wednesday.

Keita, a Senegalese born in Spain, is one of several black players in Italy's Serie A to have faced racist abuse in the past.

Pogba agent says United world record deal not done

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London (AFP) Paul Pogba's agent denied on Thursday a potential world record transfer sending the France star to Manchester United from Juventus had been finalised as Jose Mourinho looks to reinforce the Premier League giants.

United have reportedly had an £86 million offer ($113 million, 102 million euros) turned down by the Italian champions as they try to lure France international Pogba back to Old Trafford four years after allowing him to leave on a free transfer.

Santander bank to sponsor Spanish football league

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Madrid (AFP) Santander, the eurozone's largest bank, will sponsor the Spanish league for at least the next three seasons, the two sides announced Thursday.

The Spanish bank will take over from BBVA, its main domestic rival, which has held the naming rights to La Liga since the 2008/09 season but decided last year not to renew its contract.

Lopetegui picked to breathe new life into Spain

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Madrid (AFP) Julen Lopetegui, who led Spain's youth teams to international success, was tasked Thursday with breathing new life into La Roja after they crashed out of the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016.

The Spanish football federation announced the 49-year-old former goalkeeper would take over from Vicente del Bosque as manager of the national team, weeks after the latter resigned following Spain's defeat to Italy in the last 16 of Euro 2016.

Julen Lopetegui appointed Spain’s new football manager

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Madrid (AFP) Former Porto boss Julen Lopetegui was appointed manager of Spain on Thursday, replacing World Cup and European Championship-winning head coach Vicente del Bosque.

"The Royal Spanish Football Federation has named Julen Lopetegui as new national manager," the national team announced in a brief statement on its official website.

Chinese group completes Wolves takeover

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London (AFP) Chinese group Fosun International completed their takeover of English Championship club Wolves for an estimated £45 million ($59 million, 53 million euros on Thursday.

Fosun, one of the largest investment groups in China, are the latest Asian consortium to snap up an English club as they look to cash in on the huge financial rewards on offer to teams promoted to the Premier League.

Man Utd to cut Pogba deal, says player’s barber

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Milan (AFP) Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba will join Manchester United this weekend, according to the barber who styled the French star's hair blonde ahead of an expected move to Old Trafford.

Pogba's return to the club he left for free in 2012 was placed under doubt on Thursday after his agent Mino Raiola posted a message on Twitter.

Luke Shaw dubs ’emotional’ comeback ‘best feeling ever’

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Shanghai (AFP) England defender Luke Shaw Thursday described his "emotional" comeback after 10 months out with a career-threatening injury as the "best feeling ever".

The Manchester United left-back returned from a double leg fracture to play 45 minutes during last weekend's friendly at Wigan Athletic.

Julen Lopetegui appointed Spain’s new manager

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Madrid (AFP) Former Porto boss Julen Lopetegui was appointed manager of Spain on Thursday, replacing World Cup and European championship winning head coach Vicente del Bosque.

"The Royal Spanish Football Federation has named Julen Lopetegui as new national manager," the national team announced on its official website in a brief statement.

Mario Goetze heads back to Dortmund from Bayern

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Berlin (AFP) Germany's World Cup winning goalscorer Mario Goetze has returned to Borussia Dortmund after a frustrating three seasons with Bayern Munich, the clubs announced Thursday.

The 24-year-old has never established himself with the German champions. The clubs did not give a transfer fee but Bild newspaper said Dortmund paid between 22 and 25 million euros ($24-27.

All eyes on Pogba as Manchester United chase world record swoop

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London (AFP) Manchester United have stepped up their world record chase for Paul Pogba by reportedly thrashing out a huge financial package with his agent while the Juventus midfielder eagerly awaits developments in sun-kissed Miami.

United manager Jose Mourinho has made Pogba his top transfer target as he bids to make a big impact in his first season at Old Trafford and a record-breaking £100 million ($130 million, 119 million euros) deal looks to have moved closer on Wednesday.

Allardyce set for England job confirms FA chairman Dyke

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London (AFP) Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has confirmed Sam Allardyce will be hired as England's next manager at an FA board meeting at Wembley on Thursday.

Allardyce has been selected by a three-man panel who decided the Sunderland boss was the best bet on a short-list that also included Hull manager Steve Bruce, Bournemouth chief Eddie Howe and USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

Wolves set for Chinese takeover – reports

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London (AFP) Chinese group Fosun International are on the verge of completing a takeover of English Championship club Wolverhampton Wanderers, according to reports on Thursday.

Wolves have been up for sale since 2015 and it has been widely reported they will confirm the buy-out for an estimated £45 million ($59 million, 53 million euros) in the next 24 hours.

Manchester United boss Mourinho tight-lipped on Pogba swoop

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Shanghai (AFP) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho admitted on Thursday the club needs one more signing before the season starts but would not confirm it would be record target Paul Pogba.

Media reports in the UK Wednesday suggested United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward had pulled out of the club's pre-season tour to China so he could meet and agree personal terms with Pogba's agent Mino Raiola.

Sam Allardyce ‘more than ready’ for England, says Mourinho

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Shanghai (AFP) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho Thursday backed Sam Allardyce's impending appointment as England manager saying he is a "good choice" for the job.

"I think it's the right person for that job," Mourinho told a news conference in Shanghai on the eve of his side's International Champions Cup match against Borussia Dortmund.

Paul Pogba’s agent says no Manchester United deal yet

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London (AFP) Paul Pogba's potential world record transfer to Manchester United is not yet finalised, the Juventus midfielder's agent said on Thursday.

United have reportedly had an $86 million offer ($113 million, 102 million euros) turned down by the Italian champions as they try to lure France international Pogba back to Old Trafford four years after allowing him to leave on a free transfer.

Allardyce set to be named new England football manager

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London (AFP) Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce is expected to be named the new England manager inside the next 24 hours, British press reports said Wednesday, tasked with guiding the under-performing national side to the 2018 World Cup.

The 61-year-old former Bolton, Newcastle and West Ham manager will take over from Roy Hodgson, who stepped down after England's humiliating last-16 exit to Iceland at the European championships in June.

Guardiola’s Manchester City reign starts with 1-0 defeat at Bayern

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) Pep Guardiola's reign as Manchester City boss started with a 1-0 defeat in a friendly at his former club Bayern Munich on Wednesday in a game watched by 68,000 fans.

Erdal Ozturk scored the only goal of the game in the 76th minute although both sides were under-strength and under-cooked at the Allianz Arena with many of the leading players enjoying longer summer vacations following Euro 2016 and the Copa America.

Olympic football pressure on Neymar ‘inhuman’, says coach

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) Brazil's national football coach warned Wednesday against over-pressuring Neymar, just a day after the Olympic coach said he was glad to depend heavily on the star forward.

"It's inhuman to put all the responsibility on one person. The responsibility should be on the trainer and on the other team members and, when the time comes, on the one who has the quality to take responsibility," national coach Tite told journalists.

Allardyce set to be named England football manager – reports

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London (AFP) Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce is expected to be named the new England manager inside the next 24 hours, British press reports said Wednesday, and tasked with guiding the under-performing national side to the 2018 World Cup.

The 61-year-old former Bolton, Newcastle and West Ham manager will take over from Roy Hodgson, who stepped down after England's humiliating last-16 exit to Iceland at the European championships in June.

Germany’s Gomez quits Besiktas after Turkey coup

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Istanbul (AFP) German striker Mario Gomez, the top scorer in Turkey's Super Lig last season, on Wednesday said he was leaving Istanbul club Besiktas after just one season due to the political situation in the wake of the failed coup.

"I will not be playing for this great club... anymore. The reason for this is completely down to the political situation!

Woodward misses China trip as Man Utd eye record Pogba deal

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London (AFP) Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward hasn't travelled to China for the club's pre-season tour, as the Premier League giants try to secure the world record capture of Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.

United reportedly had a record-breaking £86 million ($113 million, 102 million euros) offer for Pogba rejected this week, but they are expected to return with an improved bid that could reach £100 million.

English footballers told to show respect in discipline clampdown

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London (AFP) Premier League stars have been warned they must show more respect to referees in a wide-ranging clampdown on petulant behaviour ahead of the new season.

Frustrated by the growing trend for players to harass officials with foul-mouth abuse and aggressive posturing, the Football Association, the Premier League and the Football League on Wednesday announced they have joined forces in a bid to stamp out the problem.

Robert Lewandowski staying at Bayern Munich, says Ancelotti

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Munich (Germany) (AFP) New Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted on Wednesday that he would not allow striker Robert Lewandowski to leave the German champions for Real Madrid.

Italian Ancelotti, who led Real to their 10th European crown in 2014, took over at the Allianz Arena from Pep Guardiola, who left for Manchester City, at the end of last season.

Jason Kreis taking major risk in Orlando City job

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When Jason Kreis announced that he was leaving Real Salt Lake to become the first manager of New York City FC after the 2013 MLS season, he said part of him wanted to take the type of risk he never got around to taking during his playing career.

It was an admirable and perfectly understanding sentiment from a man who scored 108 MLS goals but never tested himself overseas or played in the World Cup.

England boss won’t be ‘short-term mercenary’: FA exec

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London (AFP) Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn claimed on Wednesday that the new England manager won't be a "short-term mercenary".

Glenn is on a three-man panel tasked with finding a replacement for Roy Hodgson and the group have so far formally interviewed Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce and Hull City manager Steve Bruce.

Pogba ‘set for £100 mn Man Utd return’

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London (AFP) Juventus andFrance midfield star Paul Pogba looks set to be thesubject of a £100 million ($130 mn, 119 mn euros) bid by his former club, English Premier League giants Manchester United, British media reported on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old will cost United dear as he left them for Juventus for nothing in July 2012 after making just a handful of appearances prompting then manager Alex Ferguson to slam him for showing no respect to the club.

Footballers told to show respect in discipline clamp down

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London (AFP) Premier League stars have been warned they must show more respect to referees in a wide-ranging clamp down on petulant behaviour ahead of the new season.

Frustrated by the growing trend for players to harass officials with foul-mouth abuse and aggressive posturing, the Football Association, the Premier League and the Football League on Wednesday announced they have joined forces in a bid to stamp out the problem.

Defender Matthias Ginter would be a quintessential signing for Arsenal

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There is little doubt that Arsenal are in need of an additional center back heading into the future. While Laurent Koscielny is widely considered as one of the top players at his position in the Premier League, the team's depth chart in central defense gets a bit murky after the Frenchman. Per Mertesacker has mostly been deployed as Arsenal's second center back opposite Koscielny since his arrival to north London in 2011; however, the former Germany international will soon be turning 32 and has noticeably lost a step or two during the last season.

Brazil happy to rely on Neymar for Olympic gold

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Teresópolis (Brazil) (AFP) Brazil's Olympic coach admitted on Tuesday that he was relying on Barcelona star forward Neymar to shoot the hosts to a first Games gold in Rio next month.

Current under-20s coach Rogerio Micale has been charged with rejuvenating Brazilian football in Rio after Dunga was fired following Brazil's shock first-round exit from the Copa America.

Portugal extend Santos deal to 2020

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Lisbon (AFP) Coach Fernando Santos has extended his contract with Portugal until 2020 after leading them to a shock Euro 2016 title, Portuguese football bosses said on Tuesday.

The 61-year-old, who has been in charge since September 2014 and masterminded a huge reversal in fortunes, guided Portugal to their first major international tournament win despite having to do without Cristiano Ronaldo for most of the final against hosts France earlier this month.

Leicester ‘warrior’ Morgan signs new deal

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London (AFP) Towering Leicester City captain Wes Morgan has signed a new contract with the club to June 2019, the Premier League champions said on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old played every minute of Leicester's title-winning campaign and was a key part of their shock success, forming a rock-solid central defensive partnership with Robert Huth.

Italy warning for Pelle, Balotelli

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Milan (AFP) New Italy coach Giampiero Ventura hinted Tuesday that striker Graziano Pelle could risk his Azzurri place following a recent move to China, and gave Mario Balotelli little chance of returning to the national team.

Pelle, 31, scored 30 goals in 81 appearances for Southampton following his arrival from Feyenoord in 2014 and was an integral part of the Italy team that reached the Euro 2016 quarter-finals in France.

Spanish football boss to run for UEFA top job

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Madrid (AFP) Spain's football association said Tuesday that its boss Angel Maria Villar would seek to replace the banned Michel Platini as the president of UEFA, the third official candidate for the top job.

"Angel Maria Villar has made official his candidacy for the next elections for the UEFA presidency," the Royal Spanish Football Association said in a brief statement of the vote that takes place in September.

‘We never said Le Guen had Super Eagles job’ – NFF

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Abuja (AFP) The Nigeria Football Federation on Tuesday backtracked on its announcement of Frenchman Paul Le Guen as Super Eagles manager, saying he had rejected a contract during final discussions.

The former Cameroon boss was announced as the new technical advisor (head coach) on Monday evening, with caretaker manager Salisu Yusuf as his assistant.

Ventura aims to entertain as new Italy football coach

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Milan (AFP) New Italy coach Giampiero Ventura pledged to continue the good work of his predecessor Antonio Conte and "entertain" fans on their way to securing a place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Ventura was on Tuesday unveiled as the successor to Conte, who led Italy to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 before taking over at Premier League giants Chelsea, and is now tasked with steering Italy through a qualifying Group G that notably includes Spain.

Conte plans to keep hold of Costa

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London (AFP) Chelsea manager Antonio Conte insisted Tuesday he has no intention of letting Spain striker Diego Costa leave the Premier League club.

Costa, 27, has been linked with a return to former club Atletico Madrid after a troubled second season in England.

Conte's decision to sign Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi from Marseille increased speculation the temperamental Costa may be allowed to quit Stamford Bridge.

Spain’s Angel Maria Villar to run for UEFA top job

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Madrid (AFP) Spain's football association said Tuesday that its boss Angel Maria Villar would seek to replace the banned Michel Platini as the president of UEFA, the third official candidate for the job.

"Angel Maria Villar has made official his candidacy for the next elections for the UEFA presidency," the Royal Spanish Football Association said in a brief statement of the vote that takes place in September.

Leicester’s title-winning season could give smaller clubs confidence to aim for glory

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The new Premier League season is dawning on us and many are wondering what to expect and whether it is even worth trying to expect anything from this season. From the wonders (or woes if you're a Newcastle fan) of last season with Chelsea finding themselves outside of the top four and Leicester City winning the title, it's anyone's guess as to what kind of ride we're in for.

Ventura succeeds Conte as new Italy coach

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Milan (AFP) Giampiero Ventura was officially unveiled as Italy's new manager on a two-year contract designed to make sure the Azzurri qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Ventura replaces Antonio Conte, who led Italy to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 before taking over at Premier League giants Chelsea.

Leicester or Iceland: Which is the best cinderella story of 2016?

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Photo credit: AFP

The world of sport has been truly blessed in the year of 2016, I don't think anyone can argue that. But more importantly the game of soccer, the Beautiful Game if you will, has been completely transformed. Just like 2010 gave us tiki-taka, 2016 has given us hope. Whether you're a player or a fan, the stories of this year have given us reason to believe!

Didier Deschamps’ mismanagement led to France’s downfall at Euro 2016

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Didier Deschamps could not have mismanaged his France team any worsethan he did at the Euros.

First, after late winners obscured two otherwise unconvincing performances that brought his team safe passage to the knockout phase of the tournament, Deschamps was presented with a golden opportunity: a quasi-dead-rubber match, against Switzerland, to settle on a formation and identify his best lineup, before (cutthroat) competition begins in earnest.

Rodgers faces up to task of turning ‘Bhoys’ into men

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Glasgow (AFP) If Brendan Rodgers had wondered about the size of the task that lies in front of him at Celtic then last week's 1-0 defeat to Gibraltar part-timers Lincoln Red Imps would have left him in no doubt.

When the former Liverpool boss was paraded at Parkhead back in May as the high-profile replacement to Ronny Deila it was a signal from the board Celtic would be getting down to serious business again to coincide with the return of bitter rivals Rangers to the Scottish top flight.

Steve Bruce holds talks over England job

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London (AFP) Hull boss Steve Bruce has held talks with the Football Association over the vacant England manager's job, several media outlets reported Tuesday.

A three-man FA panel made up of former Manchester United chief executive David Gill, FA technical director Dan Ashworth and chief executive Martin Glenn are seeking a successor to Roy Hodgson who stepped down after England's disappointing Euro 2016 campaign.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic to miss Manchester United China tour

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London (AFP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic will miss Manchester United's pre-season tour of China as the Sweden striker takes an extended break following Euro 2016.

Ibrahimovic joined Jose Mourinho's side on a free transfer after leaving French champions Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season, but the Premier League club's legion of fans in China will not get a first glimpse of the marquee signing in a United shirt.

Ronaldo vows to come back stronger after injury

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Madrid (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo said Monday that he intends to come back stronger for the upcoming season despite the injury he sustained while playing for Portugal in their victorious Euro 2016 final.

The Real Madrid striker, who played a key part in leading his country to a maiden major title, limped off in tears with a knee injury in the first half of the final against hosts France earlier this month.

Le Guen appointed new Nigeria boss

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Abuja (AFP) Nigeria have appointed Frenchman Paul Le Guen to lead their qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup, where they are drawn in a difficult group along with Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia.

Former Cameroon coach Le Guen was chosen ahead of Belgian Tom Sainfiet and Salisu Yusuf, who has been the country's caretaker coach since May.

Swansea sign Aussie ‘keeper

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London (AFP) Australian international goalkeeper Mark Birighitti signed for Premier League side Swansea on a free transfer on Monday to become the fourth senior stopper on the club's books.

The 25-year-old capped once signed a two-year contract with the "Swans" after leaving A-League outfit Newcastle Jets.

Le Guen appointed new Nigeria head coach

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Abuja (AFP) Nigeria have appointed Frenchman Paul Le Guen to lead their qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup, where they are drawn in a difficult group along with Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia.

Former Cameroon coach Le Guen was chosen ahead of Belgian Tom Sainfiet and Salisu Yusuf, who has been the country's caretaker coach since May.

Liverpool poised to compete at top level in 2016/17 season

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Liverpool's 2015-2016 season ended in utter disappointment. Domestically, the Reds finished in as poor a position as 8th in the league table while they were beaten in the Capital One Cup final on penalties. Their Europa League campaign produced some remarkable moments, but they ultimately fell short of a place in next season's Champions League after a disastrous loss to Sevilla in which they were completely undone in the second half.

10 things we learned from MLS gameweek 19 of 2016 season

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Here are the ten things we learned from Week 19 of the 2016 MLS season.

1. Timbers Crush Seattle

The best rivalry in American soccer took its 2016 bow at a deafeningly loud Providence Park on Sunday, where the Portland Timbers dismantled the Seattle Sounders by a score of three goals to one.

Man jailed for Mourinho burglary attempt

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London (AFP) A man has been jailed for four weeks after attempting to break into Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho's London home, British police said Monday.

Gabor Roman, a 25-year-old of no fixed address, was arrested on July 10 in the plush London street where the Portuguese boss lives.

Lampard strikes as New York City FC top Montreal in MLS

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Montreal (AFP) Thomas McNamara set up first-half goals by David Villa and Jack Harrison, and Frank Lampard delivered the killing blow in New York City FC's 3-1 Major League Soccer victory over the Montreal Impact.

Spain's Villaon Sunday opened the scoring with his MLS-leading 12th goal in the 35th minute.

Demba Ba’s Shanghai derby leg-break ‘could end career’

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Shanghai (AFP) Former Chelsea striker Demba Ba suffered a horror broken leg in the Shanghai derby at the weekend, with his coach warning the injury could end the 31-year-old's playing career.

The Senegalese former Premier League marksman, who now plays for Shanghai Shenhua, tangled with Shanghai SIPG captain Sun Xiang as they both raced for the ball in the second half of Sunday's Chinese Super League clash.

Juve to break bank for Higuain, reports claim

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Milan (AFP) Italian champions Juventus are set to pay a hefty 94.7 million euros ($105m) release clause in Gonzalo Higuain's contract with Napoli to lure the Argentina star to Turin, reports claimed Monday.

Higuain joined Napoli for 40 million euros from Real Madrid in 2013 and has since gone on to become one of the most exciting, and bankable stars in Italy's top flight.

Ronaldo, Bale on UEFA best player shortlist

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Paris (AFP) Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale headlined a 10-man shortlist announced on Monday for the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award.

Ronaldo struck the winning spot-kick as Real claimed an 11th Champions League title, beating city rivals Atletico Madrid on penalties in May, before leading his country to Euro 2016 glory.

Mazembe force draw at Bejaia to retain lead

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Johannesburg (AFP) TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo forced a 0-0 draw at Mouloudia Bejaia of Algeria Sunday to stay top of Group A in the CAF Confederation Cup.

The winners of nine African titles, including five successes in the premier CAF Champions League competition, have seven points after three rounds.

Height not big issue for Leicester new boy Musa

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London (AFP) Leicester's record signing Ahmed Musa admits the best decision he ever made was giving up goalkeeping to become a striker so feared that he is looking to make an immediate impact on the Premier League.

The 23-year-old Nigeria international moved to the King Power Stadium for £16.

Semi-finals in sight as Sundowns upset Zamalek

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Johannesburg (AFP) South African club Mamelodi Sundowns upset Zamalek 2-1 in Egypt Sunday to all but clinch a CAF Champions League semi-finals place three months after being eliminated from the competition.

The Pretoria club need one point from a return match against Zamalek this month or a visit to Nigerian team Enyimba during August to be certain of a last-four spot.

5 Reasons Colorado Rapids are MLS Supporters’ Shield contenders

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In six of the last nine Major League Soccer seasons, Colorado Rapids have failed to reach the playoffs. Since winning the MLS Cup in 2010 against FC Dallas, the Rapids have made the playoffs twice, and in each of those five seasons, finished fifth or lower in the MLS's Western Conference.

The 2016 season has been surprisingly different, especially after so many fans, journalists and pundits called for coach Pablo Mastroeni's firing after two less than impressive seasons.

Dallas bounce back with 3-1 MLS win over Fire

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Los Angeles (AFP) Maximiliano Urruti and Mauro Diaz scored in the first half as FC Dallas bounced back from a mid-week defeat with a 3-1 Major League Soccer victory over the Chicago Fire.

Saturday's home win in suburban Frisco, Texas, was the fourth in five matches for FC Dallas, who head the Western Conference table and with 12 wins lead the race for the Supporters' Shield as the top team overall.

Pros and cons of PlayStation Vue for soccer fans

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I took the opportunity to test drive PlayStation Vue recently, to see how it works and whether soccer fans may find it useful to watchthe Beautiful Game.

Here are the pros and cons:

CONS

1.PlayStation Vue is more expensive than Sling TV. The cheapest plan PlayStation Vue has is $29.

What Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante signing means for Cesc Fabregas

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Cesc Fabregas has had an interesting career thus far. Bursting on to the scene at Arsenal as a 17 year old creative midfielder, he became one of the most exciting players in the Premier League. In the five years before he moved to Barcelona, he created 466 chances, scored 48 times, and had 86 assists.

Mourinho hails fit-again Shaw after holiday ‘sacrifice’

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Wigan (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jose Mourinho paid tribute to England left-back Luke Shaw as he continued his comeback from a 10-month injury lay-off in the new Manchester United manager's first game in charge of the club.

Shaw, out since suffering a double leg break in a Champions League tie at PSV Eindhoven, came through the first 45 minutes of a 2-0 victory at Championship side Wigan as the Portuguese manager began the latest chapter of his career in winning style.

Ahly staring at CAF Champions League elimination after home draw

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Johannesburg (AFP) Record eight-time title-holders Al Ahly were held 0-0 in Egypt by Moroccan club Wydad Casablanca Saturday, leaving them with little hope of reaching the CAF Champions League semi-finals.

Only the top two finishers in Group A qualify for the semi-finals and Ahly are bottom of the table halfway through the six-round mini-league phase, five points behind second-place Zesco United from Zambia.

Chelsea coach Conte lauds Kante signing after debut defeat

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Vienna (AFP) Chelsea coach Antonio Conte hailed the signing of N'Golo Kante after the France international joined from Premier League champions Leicester City on Saturday.

Kante, 25, became Chelsea's second major signing this month, following the arrival of Michy Batshuayi from Marseille, after the Blues paid a reported £32 million (38 million euros, $42 million) for the defensive midfielder.

Benatia targets more titles with Juventus

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Rome (AFP) Morocco defender Medhi Benatia is targeting more success with Juventus after joining the Serie A champions on a season-long loan from Bayern Munich.

Benatia, 29, completed his move to the Turin giants on Friday in a deal that gives Juventus the option to make the signing permanent.

Mourinho off to winning start with Manchester United

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Wigan (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jose Mourinho's first game as manager of Manchester United ended in a short trip and comfortable 2-0 victory over newly-promoted Championship side Wigan Athletic at their DW Stadium on Saturday.

Goals early in the second half from Will Keane and Andreas Pereira secured victory for United who parted company with former manager Louis van Gaal after winning the FA Cup on their last competitive outing two months ago.

Chelsea seal Kante capture from Leicester

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London (AFP) Chelsea on Saturday announced the signing of Leicester City's all-action defensive midfielder N'Golo Kante on a five-year deal to become new boss Antonio Conte's second capture of the summer.

The fee for the French international was about £32 million (38 million euros, $42 million), British media said, and comes after Chelsea snapped up Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi from Marseille for a similar fee.

Chelsea sign Kante from Leicester

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London (AFP) Chelsea on Saturday announced the signing of Leicester City's defensive midfielder N'Golo Kante on a five-year deal to become new boss Antonio Conte's second capture of the summer.

The fee for the French international was about £32 million (38 million euros, $42 million), British media said, and comes after Chelsea snapped up Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi from Marseille for a similar fee.

Celtic introduce groundbreaking safe-standing to Britain

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Glasgow (AFP) Celtic have become the first British club to introduce safe-standing after the completion of a 2,600 capacity rail seating area at Celtic Park.

The Glasgow club will open the area in the Lisbon Lions Stand, home to the Green Brigade supporters group, on Saturday when they take on German side Wolfsburg in Brendan Rodger's first home game in charge of the Hoops which he will hope shows a marked improvement after the humiliating 1-0 loss to Gibraltar part-timers Lincoln Red Imps in their Champions League clash earlier this week.

Midfield general Drinkwater waits for Leicester offer

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Stegersbach (Austria) (AFP) Leicester City midfielder Danny Drinkwater admits he is still waiting for a new contract offer despite the Premier League champions moving to secure the futures of other stars.

The 26-year-old England international, who played a pivotal role in last season's remarkable title success, has seen contracts offered this summer to key trio Jamie Vardy, N'Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez.

France defender Umtiti grieves for Nice victims

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Barcelona (AFP) France defender Samuel Umtiti shared his sorrow with the mourning families of the victims of the Nice terror attack as he was officially presented as a Barcelona player on Friday.

"Even if it's a happy day for me, I'm full of sadness," Umtiti said at a press conference, just a day after Thursday's truck attack on the French riviera city which killed at least 84 people.

Ranking Arsenal’s five best transfers since 2012

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Since the summer transfer window opened in 2012, the Gunners have brought 29 total players into the fold. Of these 29 players to arrive at the Emirates, let's take a look at the five top performers during this timeframe. The compiled list below is not rated by transfer fees, but by performance on the pitch.

Andriy Shevchenko named as new Ukraine coach

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Kiev (AFP) Former AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko was on Friday appointed coach of Ukraine, the 2004 Ballon d'Or winner's first job as a manager.

The 39-year-old replaces Mykhaylo Fomenko who resigned after Ukraine were knocked out of Euro 2016 without scoring a single goal.

The former Soviet republic's side was the first to be knocked out of the European championships after losing to Germany, Northern Ireland and Poland.

Shevchenko named as new Ukraine coach

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Kiev (AFP) Former AC Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko was on Friday appointed coach of Ukraine, the 2004 Ballon d'Or winner's first job as a manager.

The 39-year-old replaces Mykhaylo Fomenko who resigned after Ukraine were knocked out of Euro 2016 without scoring a single goal.

The post Shevchenko named as new Ukraine coach appeared first on World Soccer Talk.

Belgium part company with Marc Wilmots after Euro 2016 failure

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Brussels (AFP) Belgium have parted company with coach Marc Wilmots after a below-par Euro 2016 where they suffered quarter-final elimination to Wales, federation president Francois De Keesmaecker said on Friday.

With top-quality players throughout the side such as goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and midfielders Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyn, hopes for Europe's top-rated side were sky high going into Euro 2016 in France.

ESPN to broadcast 3 Everton preseason games this July

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Photo credit: AFP

Three of Everton's preseason matches will be available via ESPN3 and Sling Orange this July.

With new manager Ronald Koeman and goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg on board at the club, Everton fans in the United States will be able to watch the Toffees' friendlies against Jablonec, Barnsley and MK Dons via the legal streaming sites.

Dimitri Payet pledges future ‘100%’ to West Ham

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London (AFP) France playmaker Dimitri Payet handed West Ham a huge boost ahead of the new Premier League season by telling the club he is "100 per cent staying" with the Hammers.

Payet had been linked with a move away from West Ham after backing up a superb debut season in England with several impressive performances for his country as France reached the final of Euro 2016.

Problems mount for Ahly before must-win game

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Johannesburg (AFP) A blunder-prone goalkeeper and the loss of star attackers have added to the problems confronting Al Ahly coach Martin Jol ahead of a must-win CAF Champions League clash this weekend.

The Egyptian and African giants host Group A leaders Wydad Casablanca from Morocco Saturday desperate for maximum points after a disastrous start to the mini-league phase.

Payet pledges future ‘100%’ to West Ham

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London (AFP) France playmaker Dimitri Payet handed West Ham a huge boost ahead of the new Premier League season by telling the club he is "100 per cent staying" with the Hammers.

Payet had been linked with a move away from West Ham after backing up a superb debut season in England with several impressive performances for his country as France reached the final of Euro 2016.

South Africa overlook Habana for Olympic sevens

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Johannesburg (AFP) Former World Rugby Player of the Year Bryan Habana was overlooked Thursday when South Africa named a 12-man squad for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games sevens tournament.

Club commitments with French giants Toulon limited the seven-a-side appearances of the Springbok winger, who has scored 320 points in 117 Tests.

Make your mind up, Leicester boss Ranieri tells Kante

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Stegersbach (Austria) (AFP) Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri has called on French midfield enforcer N'Golo Kante to decide quickly on his future as the Premier League champions plan the defence of their title.

Kante's future is uncertain with a new contract from Leicester on the table amid interest from a host of rival clubs including Chelsea.

Spanish-language viewing numbers for Euro 2016 on ESPN Deportes

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Earlier this week we reported the viewing figures for ESPN's coverage of Euro 2016.

Here are the English-language viewing figures for Copa America on FOX vs. Euro 2016 on ESPN:

Teams Channel Viewing avg.
France vs. Romania ESPN Deportes 129,000
Albania vs.

Liverpool starlet Ibe becomes Bournemouth’s record signing

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London (AFP) Flying England Under-21 winger Jordon Ibe cost Bournemouth a reported record £15million (17.9m euros, $20m) when he signed on Thursday from their Premier League rivals Liverpool.

The 20-year-old capped four times at Under-21 level signed a four year contract with the 'Cherries' before joining them on their tour of the United States having given up hope of regular first team football at Liverpool.

Marseille president ‘out’ before new season

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Marseille (AFP) Marseille president Vincent Labrune says he will leave the club before the start of the new season, regional daily La Provence reported on Thursday.

The club is owned by Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, widow of the former owner Robert Louis-Dreyfus, and with no potential buyer in sight ahead of the August 8 Ligue 1 season opener.

Maradona TV series planned

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Buenos Aires (AFP) Diego Maradona's larger-than-life exploits are coming to the small screen, producers said Thursday, announcing the Argentine football legend will be the subject of a new TV series targeting international audiences.

"Every month of my life could make 100 episodes. Everything I've lived surpasses any kind of fiction," Maradona said in a press release from Argentine TV channel Telefe, the producer of the new series.

Prosecutor appeals dropped Neymar fraud case

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Madrid (AFP) Spanish prosecutors have appealed a judge's decision to shelve a fraud case against Brazilian superstar Neymar and his father in relation to the player's 2013 transfer to Barcelona.

A week ago a judge ruled that irregularities in the high-profile transfer were detected, but said it was an issue for a civil court, not a criminal court to settle.

Hungary midfielder Nagy signs for Bologna

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Budapest (AFP) After impressing at Euro 2016, Hungary midfielder Adam Nagy has signed for Serie A side Bologna, his club, current Hungarian champions Ferencvaros, confirmed on Thursday.

"Adam Nagy will continue his career in the Italian top flight with Bologna, who have signed him for 1.5 million euros ($1.

Conte hopes to light a fire under the Premier League

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London (AFP) Antonio Conte says he hopes Chelsea under his stewardship will light up the Premier League title race this season.

The 46-year-old who guided Italy to the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 only losing on penalties to world champions Germany said Chelsea may not be top of everyone's list to challenge for the crown after finishing 10th in their title defence last term.

Digne hails ‘perfect’ Barca move

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Barcelona (AFP) France international Lucas Digne hailed the start of a "big adventure" at his unveiling as Barcelona's latest signing on Thursday.

The 22-year-old defender joined the club on Wednesday from Paris Saint-Germain on a 16.5 million, $18.26m (plus bonuses) five-year deal after a successful loan spell at Serie A's Roma.

Bangoura gets Guinea job and World Cup target

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Conakry (AFP) Guinea have appointed their caretaker coach Mohamed Kanfory Bangoura on a permanent basis and charged him with qualifying them for their first World Cup.

Bangoura, known commonly as Lappe Bangoura, was chosen ahead of highly-rated Belgian coach Paul Put and German journeyman Gernot Rohr.

Bayern olive branch for repentant Hoeness – report

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Berlin (AFP) After serving 21 months in prison for tax evasion former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness could be soon back in his old job, German football magazine Kicker reported on Thursday.

Kicker said Hoeness may be offered the honorary job of president on Friday after a supervisory board meeting, with the real power remaining in the hands of managing director Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Swansea kicks off American tour with win against Charlotte Independence

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On a beautiful summer evening in Charlotte, Swansea City played its first preseason match Wednesday in front of a sold-out crowd of 4,116, which set an attendance record for the USL Club's Ramblewood Stadium.

Swansea began its preseason campaign in comfortable fashion with a 4-0 victory against the third-tier opposition.

CNBC to televise many Premier League games for first weeks of 2016/17 season

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NBC Sports has announced several of the games that'll be televised during the first weeks of the 2016/17 season, and many of them will be on CNBC instead of NBCSN.

The dependence on CNBC is due to NBC's coverage of the Summer Olympics, where their wall-to-wall coverage will take up most of the programming on NBC and NBCSN.

Five leading candidates for England manager

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London (AFP) AFP Sports looks at the five leading candidates for the England manager's job vacated by Roy Hodgson when he resigned after losing to Iceland at Euro 2016 (according to the bookmakers):

Sam Allardyce (Sunderland) odds 2/5 on

The one surefire candidate as his club helpfully revealed on Wednesday he had held talks with the three wise men on the FA panel.

Jordan women take to football pitch to end stereotypes

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Amman (AFP) Line's dream is about to become a reality, the 14-year-old Jordanian girl will make history later this year when she takes part in her first ever football world cup.

FIFA's U-17 Women's World Cup will kick off on September 30 in Jordan, the first time a Middle Eastern country hosts an international women's football competition.

Stiff CAF Cup challenge looms for Mazembe

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Johannesburg (AFP) Leaders TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo face their toughest CAF Confederation Cup Group A test when they tackle second-place Mouloudia Bejaia in Algeria this weekend.

Both are unbeaten after two matchdays in the second-tier African club competition with Mazembe winning at home to Medeama of Ghana and away to Young Africans of Tanzania.

Wales soar up FIFA rankings after Euro 2016 heroics

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Paris (AFP) Wales's memorable charge to the Euro 2016 semi-finals has lifted Chris Coleman's side up 15 places to 11th in the latest FIFA World Rankings published on Thursday.

Wales lost to England in Group B but went on to beat Northern Ireland and Belgium, the second best team in the world, before a 2-0 loss to Portugal.

Spanish football league chief happy for Messi to stay

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Madrid (AFP) Spanish League president Javier Tebas said Wednesday he does not consider Lionel Messi to be a criminal and was happy for the Barcelona star to remain in La Liga.

"About Messi, I have said I do not consider him a criminal and I am happy for him to continue in the league," Tebas said in Madrid at a sponsor's presentation.

PSG start summer with laboured win over West Brom

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Schladming (Austria) (AFP) French champions Paris Saint Germain laboured to a 2-1 win over West Brom in their first pre-season friendly on Wednesday with mercurial midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa making his debut.

Not helped by torrential rain and a soggy pitch in Austria, PSG defender David Luiz managed to give the English Premier League club the lead after 15 minutes, putting the ball past his own keeper Kevin Trapp off a cross from Saido Berahino.

Brazilian footballer gets Russian citizenship

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Moscow (AFP) CSKA Moscow's Brazilian right-back Mario Fernandes will be able to play for Russia after he was just the latest foreign player to be granted citizenship, a presidential decree published Wednesday said.

The 25-year-old defender, who has won three Russian Premier League titles, is the third foreign-born football player to receiveRussian citizenship over the past year.

Atletico Madrid ‘sign’ film star Matt Damon

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Madrid (AFP) Atletico Madrid on Wednesday unveiled their latest big summer "signing" the Hollywood star Matt Damon.

The actor, in the Spanish capital to promote his new film "Jason Bourne", was presented with a shirt of the Champions League finalists by club president Enrique Cerezo, a respected film producer, complete with Damon's name on the back.

Egypt’s top goalscorer faces assault trial

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Cairo (AFP) Egypt's all-time top goalscorer Hossam Hassan will go on trial Saturday for allegedly assaulting a government photographer during clashes after a match involving his club, a court official said.

Scuffles broke out on Friday between players of Al-Masry the Port Said team where Hassan is now head coach and Ghazl el-Mahalla, following their 2-2 draw in a league match.

Mario Balotelli’s future is away from Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp

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Liverpool (AFP) Italian striker Mario Balotelli's unhappy spell at English Premier League side Liverpool is over, with manager Jurgen Klopp saying Wednesday he should find a new team.

Balotelli, 25, has scored only four times for Liverpool since Klopp's predecessor Brendan Rodgers bought him from Manchester City in 2014.

Injured Sakho to miss start of Liverpool season

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Liverpool (AFP) Mamadou Sakho's tale of woe continues with the revelation by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp the French international defender is set to miss the beginning of the Premier League campaign.

The 26-year-old who missed the Europa League final and Euro 2016 over a failed drugs test which he learnt last week UEFA would not be pursuing him over is suffering from a niggling Achilles problem.

Viewing audiences for ESPN’s Euro 2016 end in a dead heat against FOX’s Copa America

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Despite having a less than favorable time window that featured most games during office hours, as well as zero games featuring the US Men's National Team and a competition that ran 19games longer than Copa America Centenario, ESPN's live coverage of Euro 2016 averaged 997,392 viewers compared to FOX Sports' average of 1,002,226for the 2016 Copa America.

Lucas Digne joins Barcelona from PSG

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Paris (AFP) France international defender Lucas Digne has joined Barcelona on a five-year deal from Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint Germain, the Catalan club said on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old left back spent last season on a successful loan deal at Serie A's Roma and had been expected to move there permanently.

Digne joins Barcelona from PSG

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Paris (AFP) France international defender Lucas Digne has joined Barcelona on a five-year deal from Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint Germain, the Catalan club said on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old left back spent last season on a successful loan deal at Serie A's Roma and had been expected to move there permanently.

Press make merry over ‘Shock of Gibraltar’

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London (AFP) Celtic gave Scotland their proudest moment in European football by winning the 1967 European Cup, but the 2016 side has now handed the country their most embarrassing in losing to Gibraltar part-timers Lincoln Red Imps on Tuesday.

"Shock of Gibraltar" will be a headline the humiliated players and their manager Brendan Rodgers, who will wish to forget his first competitive game in charge, will see screaming from several newspapers after they lost 1-0 in their Champions League qualifier first leg.

Allardyce interviewed for England manager job

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London (AFP) Sam Allardyce looks to be in pole position to become the next England manager after his club Sunderland revealed Wednesday they granted at his request permission to speak to the Football Association.

The 61-year-old Englishman, who was interviewed for the England job 10 years ago but lost out to Steve McClaren, spoke with the three-man FA panel on Tuesday about succeeding Roy Hodgson, who resigned after England were beaten by Iceland in their Euro 2016 last-16 clash.

Ryan Giggs signs up for Indian futsal league

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New Delhi (AFP) Welsh football legend Ryan Giggs will return to the pitch as a player in the inaugural Premier Futsal starting in India this week, the organisers announced Wednesday.

Brazilian star Ronaldinho and former AC Milan striker Hernan Crespo have also signed up for the event beginning in Chennai on Friday.

Mamadou Sakho to miss start of season

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Liverpool (AFP) Mamadou Sakho's tale of woe continues apace with the revelation by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp the French international defender is set to miss the beginning of the Premier League campaign.

The 26-year-old who missed the Europa League final and Euro 2016 over a failed drugs test which he learnt last week UEFA would not be pursuing him over is suffering from a niggling Achilles problem.

Celtic crash to Gibraltar part-timers Lincoln

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Paris (AFP) Scottish giants Celtic crashed to a 1-0 Champions League defeat to Lincoln Red Imps on Tuesday with the goal scored by Lee Casciaro, a policeman in his day job.

Manager Brendan Rodgers' first competitive match in charge was a humiliating affair, with 34-year-old Casciaro inflicting the hammer blow in the 48th minute.

Football: Celtic crash to Gibraltar part-timers Lincoln

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Paris (AFP) Scottish giants Celtic crashed to a 1-0 Champions League defeat to Lincoln Red Imps on Tuesday with the goal scored by Lee Casciaro, a policeman in his day job.

Manager Brendan Rodgers' first competitive match in charge was a humiliating affair, with 34-year-old Casciaro inflicting the hammer blow in the 48th minute.

Brazil names Marta to women’s Olympic football team

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Rio de Janeiro (AFP) Brazil named star playmaker Marta, known as "Pele in skirts," and veteran defender Formiga to its Olympic women's team Tuesday.

Marta, 30, is a key figure not just in Brazil but women's football in general. She was selected five times (2006-2010) as world player of the year.

Egypt record holder Hassan held for assault

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Cairo (AFP) A court on Tuesday handed Egypt's all-time leading goalscorer Hossam Hassan four days' detention after he allegedly assaulted an interior ministry photographer during clashes after a match involving his club.

Scuffles broke out on Friday between players of Al-Masry the Port Said team where Hassan is now head coach and Ghazl el-Mahalla, following their 2-2 draw in a league match.

Portugal invites bereft France football fan to visit

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Lisbon (AFP) Portuguese tourism officials on Tuesday invited the France supporter who was consoled by a young Portugal fan following the hosts' narrow Euro 2016 defeat in images that have taken the internet by storm.

Video footage of the heartwarming moment when the boy offered kind words, a shoulder to cry on and a hug to the tearful France fan in a Paris fan zone has gone viral.

TV money lures Thierry Henry away from beloved Gunners

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London (AFP) France and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry ended his association with the English Premier League club on Tuesday preferring to focus on his burgeoning media career.

The 38-year-old former striker part of the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 winning teams could have coached the Gunners' under-18 side but declined the offer when Arsene Wenger told him he would have to give up his lucrative Sky Sports TV contract for which he is reportedly paid £4 million ($5.

Bordeaux’s Poko fined over shisha selfie…in a Marseille shirt

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Bordeaux (AFP) An ill-judged selfie of Andre Poko smoking a shisha and wearing a Marseille shirt has cost the Bordeaux midfielder the wrath of his club.

The Gabon international was summoned on Tuesday for a dressing down by Bordeaux president Jean-Louis Triaud and club director Alain Deveseleer.

Willian signs new contract with Chelsea

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London (AFP) Chelsea rewarded their player of the year, Brazilian international midfielder Willian, with a new four-year contract on Tuesday, the Premier League club announced.

The 27-year-old who Chelsea beat off London rivals Spurs to buy for £32million three years ago from Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala professed himself delighted to be continuing his career with the club.

Disgraced footballer Adam Johnson refused leave to appeal

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London (AFP) Shamed former England international footballer Adam Johnson will serve his six-year sentence for sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl after a judge refused him leave to appeal against his conviction.

The 28-year-old, once a winger with Sunderland and Manchester City, was jailed in March after beng found guilty following the illegal act which took place in his Range Rover last year.

Sakho doping case ‘horrendous’: French football president

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Paris (AFP) The doping case that caused Mamadou Sakho to miss Euro 2016 was "horrendous" for the defender, the French football president said Tuesday, days after the Liverpool man was cleared.

Noel Le Graet told reporters that the centre-back "wants to get back playing as soon as possible without talking about the case".

Sakho doping case ‘horrendous’

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Paris (AFP) The doping case that caused Mamadou Sakho to miss Euro 2016 was "horrendous" for the defender, the French football president said Tuesday, days after the Liverpool man was cleared.

Sakho was left out of France's European Championship squad after he tested positive for a fat-burning product following a Europa League tie against Manchester United in March.

Joachim Loew stays as Germany coach despite Euro 2016 semi defeat

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Berlin (AFP) Joachim Loew ended speculation about his immediate future when he confirmed Tuesday that he would stay on as coach of Germany despite the disappointment of the Euro 2016 semi-final defeat by France.

Loew, who took Germany to World Cup glory in Brazil in 2014, said in a statement issued by the German football federation: "We were disappointed after the semi-final, but despite our disappointment, the Mannschaft did not disappoint.

Barcelona complete deal for Lyon’s Samuel Umtiti

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona have completed the signing of France defender Samuel Umtiti from Lyon in a deal worth 25 million euros ($27.7 million), the Spanish champions announced on Tuesday.

Umtiti, 22, will pen a five-year contract with Barcelona which includes a buy-out clause of 60 million euros, the club said in a statement.

Jose Mourinho arrival motivates Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Skipper Wayne Rooney says Jose Mourinho's appointment as Manchester United manager has given him extra motivation for the new Premier League season.

Mourinho, tasked with making United title contenders once more after the sacking of Louis van Gaal in May, has signalled that he sees Rooney playing up front rather than the deeper midfield position he took up for England and United at the back end of last season.

Spurs sign hotshot Dutch striker Vincent Janssen

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London (AFP) Prolific Dutch international striker Vincent Janssen signed for English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday from AZ Alkmaar for a reported fee of £17 million ($22.3m, 20.1m euros), the buying club announced.

The 22-year-old well known to English football fans having scored in a 2-1 friendly win over England in March this year signed a four-year contract.

Payet worth his weight in gold, says West Ham co-chairman

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London (AFP) French star playmaker Dimitri Payet's impressive performances at Euro 2016 will cost potential suitors at least £50million ($65m, 58m euros) David Gold the co-chairman of his Premier League club West Ham told the BBC on Monday.

The 29-year-old Frenchman who sparkled for The Hammers last season scoring nine goals in 30 appearances had a memorable Euro campaign scoring some spectacular goals with his tears when he came off in the opening victory over Romania one of the standout moments.

Five facts on Graziano Pelle

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London (AFP) Five facts on Italian international striker Graziano Pelle after he became the latest high profile player to move to China signing for Shandong Luneng on Monday from Southampton:

Strictly Come Dancing.....

Not necessarily the thing one would own up to in the macho world of football but Pelle was a national Under-12 champion dancer with his sister.

Newspaper reactions to Portugal winning Euro 2016 against France [PHOTOS]

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It was a night when history trumped beauty in a European Final that didn't come to life until late. In time, few will remember the torpid tenor that preceded the late-stage drama. This was a night to join in Portugal's jubilation at finally breaking through after so many close calls while marveling at France's missed chances.

BBC and ITV’s coverage of Euro 2016 fails to impress viewers

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Soccer viewers are short changed by the quality of analysis and punditry they are forced to experience, of this there can be no doubt. The sport has a variety of excellent play-by-play men such as Martin Tyler, who does a great job calling the action and informing viewers about who is doing what. But there's a lack of decent color commentators who add to the action and offer insights that the viewers wouldn't notice otherwise.

Danish tyro Hojbjerg signs for Southampton

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London (AFP) Highly-regarded Danish international midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg became manager Claude Puel's first signing for Premier League side Southampton on Monday as he joined from German champions Bayern Munich.

The 20-year-old signed a five year deal with Saints reportedly paying £12.

Barcelona defend Messi social media campaign

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona have defended their campaign on social media in support of Lionel Messi after the Argentine superstar's 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud.

"We are involved in a controversy in which there is the feeling that FC Barcelona has committed a tax crime whereas that is not the case," said club spokesman Josep Vives on Monday.

Gibraltar trip kicks off Rodgers’ Celtic tenure

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Paris (AFP) Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers will take charge of his first competitive game with the Scottish champions on Tuesday away to Lincoln Red Imps of Gibraltar in the second round of Champions League qualifying.

The former Liverpool boss replaced Ronny Deila at Parkhead in May and is aiming to lead the 1967 European champions back into the group stage for the first time since 2013-14.

5 reasons FC Dallas is the class of Major League Soccer

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FC Dallas is the class of Major League Soccer in 2016, and the club has done it with few – if any – big named players. Excellent coaching, brilliant defending and timely scoring have all pushed Dallas to the top of MLS's overall points table, three points more than nearest Western Conference rival Colorado Rapid, and seven more than the Eastern Conference's New York City FC.

Portugal unleashes national celebrations for Euro heroes

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Lisbon (AFP) After a night of rowdy celebrations Portugal's European champions led by Cristiano Ronaldo returned home to a heroes' welcome on Monday and a country overjoyed by their upset win over France.

Tens of thousands of fans took over the streets of Lisbon waving red and green national flags to mark the historic victory set up by substitute Eder's extra-time goal that stunned the hosts on Sunday night in the Euro 2016 final at the Stade de France.

Euro 2016’s unlikely champions Portugal cap a disappointing tournament

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It was almost fitting that Cristiano Ronaldo, the last vestige of Portugal's great attacking tradition, only lasted twenty-five minutes before coming off – injured and in tears – at the Euro 2016 final on Sunday.

If Portugal were going to win their first major tournament championship at the Stade de France – which they somehow did, in extra time, thanks to a magical strike from substitute striker Eder – it was always going to be with hard work, defense, and little else.

Pelle leaves Southampton for China for undisclosed amount

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London (AFP) Italy striker Graziano Pelle has joined Chinese side Shandong Luneng from Southampton for an undisclosed fee, the Premier League club announced on Monday.

Pelle, 30, was part of the Italy team that reached the Euro 2016 quarter-finals and scored 30 goals in 81 appearances for Southampton following his arrival from Feyenoord in 2014.

What Portugal’s Euro 2016 victory means for the near-term future of soccer

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Dark memories of that brutal night in Lisbon 12 years ago have haunted Portuguese soccerever since. The dying embers of their golden generation sparked one last charge in 2006, but since then Ronaldo's Portugal hasn't been able to find the guile and the drive outside of their run four years ago.

Portugal unleashes national celebrations for Euro 2016 heroes

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Lisbon (AFP) After a night of rowdy celebrations Portugal's European champions led by Cristiano Ronaldo returned home to a heroes' welcome on Monday and a country overjoyed by their upset win over France.

Tens of thousands of fans took over the streets of Lisbon waving red and green national flags to mark the historic victory set up by substitute Eder's extra-time goal that stunned the host country on Sunday night in the final of Euro 2016.

Deschamps to stay on for France World Cup campaign

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Paris (AFP) Didier Deschamps will remain as coach of France and lead them into the looming 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign despite their stunning upset by Portugal in the European Championship final.

France turned to Deschamps when the pressure was on and he narrowly missed a triumph that would have made him one of French football's true greats.

Ancelotti vows to keep Bayern on the attack

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Berlin (AFP) Bayern Munich's new coach Carlo Ancelotti said Monday he would stick to his predecessor Pep Guardiola's offensive strategy for the Bundesliga giants, pledging to "try to win every competition".

"I come after a fantastic manager ... and I will try to follow (him with) good football, and offensive football," Ancelotti said in his first press conference as head coach of the German champions.

Griezmann named best player of Euro 2016

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Paris (AFP) UEFA on Monday named French forward and tournament top scorer Antoine Griezmann as the best player of Euro 2016, a day after the hosts' 1-0 final defeat to Portugal.

"Antoine Griezmann was a threat in every game he played. He works hard for his team and possesses technique, vision and quality finishing," said UEFA chief technical officer Ioan Lupescu, who led the panel that picked the striker.

Bitter disappointment for French fans in Euro loss

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Paris (AFP) French football fans slumped in disappointment after their team fell at the final hurdle on home soil, losing in extra-time to Portugal in Euro 2016.

In the fan zone at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, 90,000 supporters went silent as Eder scored the goal that crushed the hopes of the host nation.

Griezmann suffers double final agony

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Paris (AFP) Euro 2016 golden boot Antoine Griezmann suffered a second heartbreaking defeat in weeks when France lost to Portugal in Sunday's final.

"It's frustrating, it sucks, but that's football," said the 25-year-old marksman who also missed a penalty when his Atletico Madrid club side lost to arch-rivals Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

40 arrested in Paris over Euro 2016 violence

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Paris (AFP) Around 40 people were arrested in Paris after police used tear gas and water cannon against football fans hurling glass bottles at officersat the Eiffel Tower during the Euro 2016 final.

Crowds of supporters, some donning French or Portuguese flags, gathered at the base of the Paris landmark before and after Portugal's stunning 1-0 victory over France after they were refused entry to the fan zone which was packed to its 90,000 capacity, Paris police said.

‘Healing’ France suffers football blow

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Paris (AFP) The open-top bus for the victory parade was ready and President Francois Hollande said France's success at Euro 2016 was helping the country to heal from the Paris attacks, but the party fell flat.

Authorities had braced for mass celebrations if France a country still on high terrorist alert won Sunday's final against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal, but the 1-0 defeat crushed the host nation's hopes.

What now for France’s ‘Griezmann Generation’?

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Paris (AFP) Tipped to emulate France's1984European champions and 1998 World Cup winners, the 'Griezmann Generation's bitter Euro 2016 final defeat by Portugal will take some getting over.

After sweeping past world champions Germany in the semi-finals, the stage was set for Antoine Griezmann and his team-mates to lead France to a third major tournament triumph on home soil.

Ronaldo’s Portugal deliver final knockout in Euro 2016 of shocks

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Paris (AFP) A thundering out-of-the-blue shot by substitute Eder gave Portugal a shock 1-0 win over France in the European Championship final, delivering the country's first international title as superstar Cristiano Ronaldo watched injured from the touchline.

Ronaldo was stretchered off in tears in the first half and limped on crying with joy again after his side delivered the final knockout blow in the month-long tournament of upsets.

A Euro of giantkillers, Ronaldo and hooligans

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Paris (AFP) The European Championship ended Sunday with Portugal's stunning victory over France in the final the last shock in a tournament of giant-killing romance, vicious and gentle fans, the rise of Antoine Griezmann as an international star and Cristiano Ronaldo stretchered off in tears and still winning.

Hong Kong court rejects Birmingham City ex-boss appeal

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Hong Kong (AFP) Former Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung on Monday lost his appeal in Hong Kong's top court against a six-year prison sentence for money laundering.

The 56-year-old was jailed for six years in March 2014 on five charges of laundering HK$721 million (US$93 million) in a case that gripped the southern Chinese city and fans of the English football club.

Lampard strikes but N.Y. City downed by Kansas in MLS

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Los Angeles (AFP) Frank Lampard scored his fourth goal in five games but it was not enough to stop New York City FC from slipping to a 3-1 defeat at Sporting Kansas City in Major League Soccer.

Former Chelsea and England star Lampardon Sunday stroked in a 14th-minute equaliser for City after Brazilian midfielder Benny Feilhaber had given Sporting an early lead after only eight minutes.

Elated Portugal fans dance to sweet victory

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Lisbon (AFP) Central Lisbon was taken over by dancing fans, faces painted red, green and yellow and waving national flags after Portugal's stunning win over France in the Euro 2016 final Sunday.

Tens of thousands of screaming supporters flooded the streets to celebrate Portugal's 1-0 victory the country's first international title delivered even as superstar Cristiano Ronaldo watched injured from the touchline.

Hulk scores, injured in incredible China debut

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Shanghai (AFP) Record Asian signing Hulk scored on his Chinese Super League debut but was carried off injured minutes later as Shanghai SIPG smashed Henan Jianye 5-0 at the weekend.

The muscle-bound Brazilian forward, who moved to Shanghai from Zenit St Petersburg for an eye-watering 55 million euro ($61 million) last month, bundled home a low cross from Chinese international Wu Lei after nine minutes.

‘Healing’ France sees Euro 2016 party fall flat

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Paris (AFP) The open-top bus for the victory parade was ready and President Francois Hollande said France's success at Euro 2016 was helping the country to heal from the Paris attacks but the party fell flat.

Authorities had braced for mass celebrations if France a country still on high terrorist alert won Sunday's final against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal, but the 1-0 defeat crushed the host nation's hopes.

Portugal set for hero’s welcome after Euro 2016 triumph

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Lisbon (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo's victorious Portugal team prepared to return home to a triumphant welcome Monday after their shock 1-0 win over France in the European Championship final, the country's first international title.

The Real Madrid superstar was stretchered off the Stade de France pitch in tears in the first half late on Sunday, and could only watch from the sidelines as substitute Eder fired a thundering extra time winner to cap a month-long tournament of upsets.

Portugal set for heroes’ welcome after Euro 2016 triumph

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Lisbon (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo's victorious Portugal team prepared to return home to a triumphant welcome Monday after their shock 1-0 win over France in the European Championship final, the country's first international title.

The Real Madrid superstar was stretchered off the Stade de France pitch in tears in the first half late on Sunday, and could only watch from the sidelines as substitute Eder fired a thundering extra time winner to cap a month-long tournament of upsets.

Portugal heroes return to Lisbon after Euro 2016 triumph

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Lisbon (AFP) The Portugal football team led by Cristiano Ronaldo returned home to a heroes' welcome Monday after their upset triumph over France in the Euro 2016 final.

Tens of thousands of fans waited for the team at Lisbon airport when their special flight arrived. There have been joyous nationwide celebrations since the 1-0 win at the Stade de France in Paris on Sunday night.

Euro 2016 — five of the best goals

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Saint-Denis (France) (AFP) Following Portugal's victory over France in Sunday's Euro 2016 final, here are five of the best goals scored at the tournament:

Dimitri Payet (France 2 Romania 1)

France were heading towards a dispiriting 1-1 draw against Romania in their opening match when the ball found its way to Dimitri Payet on the right-hand side of the penalty area in the 89th minute.

Eder fires Portugal to Euro glory

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Paris (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo wept with sadness and joy as substitute Eder's extra-time goal saw Portugal beat hosts France 1-0 in Sunday's Euro 2016 final to win their first major tournament.

Ronaldo was stretchered off in the first half after being injured by Dimitri Payet, but returned to the touchline to see Eder's long range strike settle the game at Stade de France.

French police arrest 40 for violence around Euro 2016 final: official

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Paris (AFP) French police arrested around 40 people for violence and other offences before and after France's defeat to Portugal in the Euro 2016 final in Paris on Sunday, police said.

Police used teargas and rounded up supporters who pelted them with bottles at the foot of the Eiffel Tower after they were refused entry to the fan zone, which was closed after it was packed to its 90,000 capacity, Paris police said.

Ronaldo says Euro triumph for all Portuguese and immigrants

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Paris (AFP) Star striker Cristiano Ronaldo devoted Portugal's Euro 2016 triumph over France on Sunday to "all Portuguese and all immigrants".

Ronaldo said he found it impossible to come back after being injured in the Paris final which Portugal won 1-0. "I tried to come back. My knee was swelling up and I couldn't.

The stars of Euro 2016

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Paris (AFP) At the end of the European Championships, AFP looks at five players who shone over the last month in France:

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)

This will be remembered as Ronaldo's tournament, for good and for bad. It did not start well for him and he was stretchered off injured in the first half of the final but Portugal still lifted their first major international trophy.

Ronaldo’s Euro final turns from despair to joy

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Paris (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo cried twice in the Euro 2016 final on Sunday, once when he was stretchered off injured and again when he ran back on in joy after his Portugal teammates claimed a famous win over France.

French star Dimitri Payet floored Ronaldo with a heavy challenge in the eighth minute of the game which Portugal won 1-0.

Portugal won it for Ronaldo, says Pepe

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Paris (AFP) Portugal's man of the match Pepe said that his team had been inspired to beat France in Sunday's Euro 2016 final after talisman Cristiano Ronaldo was forced off by injury.

Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo was stretchered off to a standing ovation in the 25th minute at Stade de France after jarring his knee in a challenge by Dimitri Payet.

Santos inspires Portugal to ultimate ‘ugly’ win

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Paris (AFP) Portugal coach Fernando Santos said he did not mind how his team won and they claimed the European Championship title on Sunday with another "ugly" victory.

Santos hugged his injured star player Cristiano Ronaldo when the Stade de France spectacle finally ended after 120 minutes.

France loss an ‘immense disappointment’ – Deschamps

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Paris (AFP) France coach Didier Deschamps said his team had wasted "a big chance" to become Euro 2016 champions after falling 1-0 to Portugal in Sunday's final.

"The disappointment is there and it's immense," Deschamps told French television channel M6 at Stade de France.

"We've let a big chance to be champions pass us by.

Ronaldo tears as Eder brings Portugal Euro glory

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Saint-Denis (France) (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo was stretchered off in tears but an extra-time goal by Eder saw Portugal beat hosts France 1-0 in Sunday's Euro 2016 final to win their first major tournament.

The victim of a heavy challenge by Dimitri Payet, Ronaldo went off in the first half, but returned to the touchline to see Lille striker Eder settle the game with a low 25-yard strike at Stade de France.

Five moments in a crazy Euro 2016 final

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Paris (AFP) Portugal beat hosts France 1-0 in the Euro 2016 final on Sunday night thanks to substitute Eder's dramatic strike in extra-time at the Stade de France. Here are AFP Sport's five moments from an incident-filled match:

Eder the hero

A final that appeared to be heading for penalties suddenly swung Portugal's way thanks to Eder's tremendous strike in the 109th minute at the Stade de France.

Portugal beat France to win Euro 2016

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Paris (AFP) Portugal won their first European Championship title on Sunday after a low drive from striker Eder in extra-time gave them a 1-0 victory over France despite the absence of injured superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Eder's goal came after Andre-Pierre Gignac almost gave France victory in added time at the end of 90 minutes when he hit the post with a scuffed shot.

Eder’s goal for Portugal beats France to win Euro 2016

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Paris (AFP) Eder's low shot in extra-time gave Portugal their first European Championship title on Sunday with a 1-0 victory over France despite the absence of injured superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Eder's goal came after Andre-Pierre Gignac almost gave France victory in added time at the end of 90 minutes when he hit the post with a scuffed shot.

Tim Howard’s role at Colorado Rapids is hurting Zac MacMath’s career

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Photo credit: AFP

On July 4, 2016, Tim Howard made his return to Major League Soccer, debuting with his new team the Colorado Rapids in a match against the Portland Timbers. Normally, only paid subscribers are able to access games on MLS Live, but Major League Soccer decided to stream the game on its website in order to draw more attention to Howard and the league itself.

Ronaldo’s Euro final ends in more despair

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Paris (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo suffered new heartbreak in a European Championship final on Sunday, stretchered off in tears as Portugal battled France in the Euro 2016 final.

French star Dimitri Payet floored Ronaldo with a heavy challenge in the eighth minute. The Portuguese superstar rolled on the turf in agony, was led off for treatment and came back.

Clashes outside Eiffel Tower fan zone during Euro final

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Paris (AFP) French police fired tear gas during clashes Sunday evening with a group of football supporters denied entry to a packed Eiffel Tower fan zone showing the Euro 2016 final between France and Portugal.

The clashes took place outside the fan zone, which was closed before kick-off after reaching a maximum capacity of 90,000, causing disappointment and anger among those waiting to be admitted.

Portugal’s Ronaldo stretchered out of Euro 2016 final

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Paris (AFP) Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo was forced off injured in tears just 25 minutes into Sunday's Euro 2016 final against France in Paris.

The Real Madrid forward had attempted to play on with a heavily bandaged knee after hurting himself in an eighth-minute collision with France's Dimitri Payet.

Moths invade Stade de France before Euro final

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Paris (AFP) The Stade de France was invaded by swarms of moths ahead of Sunday's Euro 2016 final between Portugal and France.

Hundreds of large black moths flew around the stands of the 80,000-capacity stadium north of Paris as well as by the pitch in temperatures which even at 1830 GMT hovered around 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit).

Sammer leaves post as Bayern sporting director

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Berlin (AFP) Former Germany international Matthias Sammer has left his position as Bayern Munich's sporting director following a health scare earlier this year, the club announced on Sunday.

Sammer, 48, suffered a blood circulation problem in his brain in April and has since regained full health, but said he no longer had the desire to continue in his role.

Hollande says France healing around Euro 2016 final

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Paris (AFP) President Francois Hollande said Sunday that France's success at Euro 2016 was helping the country to heal from the Paris attacks and that even the national team had been scarred by the events in November.

Authorities are bracing for mass celebrations if France a country still on high terrorist alert win Sunday's final against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal.

Juventus are primed for continued success in upcoming Serie A season

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After consecutive domestic doubles, Juventus has plenty to look forward to this upcoming season.

For the second time in two years, Juventus have dominated Italy, clinching the Serie A and Coppa Italia titles. After their poor start to the 2015-2016 Serie A campaign, a number of supporters feared that the Bianconeri would not lack the ability to launch a fifth consecutive title campaign.

Heat, high security ahead of Euro 2016 final

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Saint-Denis (France) (AFP) Supporters of hosts France and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal sought shade as they were met by baking temperatures and high security upon arriving at Stade de France for Sunday's Euro 2016 final.

With the mercury hitting 31 degrees Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit) in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, fans arriving early at the ground gathered together in the shadows of walls and buildings as they waited to be granted entry.

Victor Wanyama’s arrival at White Hart Lane puts Nabil Bentaleb’s future in doubt

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On June 23, Tottenham Hotspur announced their first major signing of the season:Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama. Victor signed under a 5 year contract and, without add-ons, his move to North London could cost as much as $13.4 million.

Wanyama's appointment to the Spurs should excite fans.

Sepp Blatter has surgery ‘for skin cancer’

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Paris (AFP) Disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter underwent successful surgery after being diagnosed with skin cancer and has been released from hospital, his spokesman and a report said Sunday.

The 80-year-old required the operation in Zurich but was in no danger at the time, Swiss daily Schweizer Illustrierte reported, saying the procedure was needed for skin cancer.

France, Portugal head for Euro 2016 final showdown

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Paris (AFP) The Euro 2016 final on Sunday sees a match between hosts France and Portugal that will unleash a clash between one of the world's greatest players ever Cristiano Ronaldo and would be pretender Antoine Griezmann.

After 50 matches over a month of football that has seen stunning shocks by Iceland and Wales, Ronaldo is counting on his side producing one more upset so he can finally win an international trophy.

The pain and the glory – the tattoo champions of Euro 2016

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London (AFP) Ricardo Quaresma's eyecatching teardrop tattoo may be coated with real tears come the final whistle of the Euro 2016 final on Sunday but it could do wonders for the burgeoning body art business.

The Portuguese star has never explained why he has two drops under his right eye a tattoo which in gangland culture can mean someone has been killed.

Euro 2016 violence shines spotlight on Russia World Cup

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Moscow (AFP) Russia's footballers failed to leave a mark on Euro 2016 but brutal violence by hardcore hooligans in France sparked fears about the World Cup that Russia will host in two years.

Images of Russians in organised groups in Marseille and Russian far right football fan chief Alexander Shprygin taunting French authorities with his Tweets before being expelled shocked many in Europe.

Watch France vs. Portugal Euro 2016 Final for free with Sling TV

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The Euro 2016 final between France and Portugal features two talented teams who have both shown glimpses of brilliance during this tournament.

While Portugal have been criticized for being too defensive at times, they'll need to get past a French team that defeated Germany in the semi-final, putting them in the pole position as favorites to win the competition.

Where to find France vs. Portugal on US TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch France vs. Portugal Euro 2016 final, you've come to the right place.

After a month of entertaining games, we're down to the final two —France and Portugal —to determine who will be crowned Euro 2016 champions. France had the tougher route to the final, so fitness and match sharpness could be a factor.

France vs. Portugal preview and predicted lineups for Euro 2016 final

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Both semifinals at Euro 2016 were games of a few isolated moments. There was Cristiano Ronaldo's header, and Bastian Schweinsteiger's inexplicable handball, along with flashes of fortune and industry from Nani and Antoine Griezmann.

Neither Portugal nor France truly dominated against Wales and Germany, but at this level, total domination is rare.

Keane on target as Galaxy down Seattle

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Los Angeles (AFP) Robbie Keane scored his second goal in as many games as the Los Angeles Galaxy defeated the Seattle Sounders 1-0 to maintain their Major League Soccer playoff push on Saturday.

Irish international Keane, who scored a stunning goal in Monday's victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps, rounded off a fine passing move to fire Galaxy ahead in the 15th minute at CenturyLink Field.

Hope Solo posts 100th clean sheet with USA football team

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Chicago (AFP) US goalkeeper Hope Solo earned her 100th clean sheet in international play Saturday as the Americans defeated South Africa 1-0 in a Rio Olympics warm-up match.

The crowd of 19,272 fans at Soldier Field also saw Solo earn her 150th career win, with Crystal Dunn producing the game-winner in the 35th minute.

Stade de France attack victim’s daughter hopes for tribute

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Paris (AFP) The daughter of Manuel Dias, who was killed by a suicide bomb blast outside the Stade de France on November 13, is hoping her father's memory will be honoured at Sunday's Euro 2016 final.

The encounter between hosts France and Portugal is particularly poignant for the Dias family, with Manuel Dias born in Portugal before later emigrating to France as a teenager.

Football great Pele marrying for third time at 75

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Sao Paulo (AFP) Brazil football legend Pele is getting married Tuesday for the third time, tying the knot with his girlfriend of six years Marcia Cibele Aoki.

Pele, 75, told O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper that this time, he has found "love forever."

Pele and Aoki met in New York in the 1980s but only started seeing each other in 2010, when they crossed paths in an elevator in Sao Paulo.

Painful lesson of 2004 can be inspiration for Portugal

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Paris (AFP) Portugal may have experience of a European Championship final, but Sunday's Euro 2016 showpiece against France will be a role reversal for them.

Cristiano Ronaldo was a teenager when Portugual, with Luis Figo as their talisman, suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Greece before a disbelieving crowd in Lisbon in the Euro 2004 final.

France and Portugal make rival claims for Euro 2016 ‘history’

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Paris (AFP) France want to write football "history" by winning the Euro 2016 final against Portugal on Sunday to bury team scandals and help the country recover from the Paris attacks, captain Hugo Lloris said.

Portugal's coach Fernando Santos insisted however that his side were also determined "to write a new chapter in our history" by winning a first major title.

Key factors that will decide the Portugal-France Euro 2016 final

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Paris (AFP) Key factors that could decide the Portugal-France Euro 2016 final on Sunday:

How do France contain Cristiano Ronaldo?

Ronaldo became the first player to score in four European Championship finals and despite failing to fire on all four cylinders the Real Madrid star is an omnipresent danger.

Santos scoffs at Ronaldo football retirement question

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Saint-Denis (France) (AFP) Portugal coach Fernando Santos laughed off a suggestion that Sunday's Euro 2016 final against hosts France could be Cristiano Ronaldo's last for his country.

Ronaldo's great rival Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international football after Argentina lost on penalties to Chile in the Copa America final in June.

France want to make ‘history’ after team strife: skipper Lloris

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Paris (AFP) France want to write football "history" by winning the Euro 2016 final at home six years after a damaging player revolt and as the country recovers from the Paris attacks, captain Hugo Lloris said Saturday.

With Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal also riding a wave of national fervour ahead of Sunday's final at the Stade France, the home team are suddenly national heroes after several years of scandal and disappointment.

Portugal’s Pepe fit for Euro 2016 final

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Saint-Denis (France) (AFP) Portugal centre-back Pepe declared himself fit on Saturday for Sunday's Euro 2016 final against hosts France at Stade de France.

The wily Real Madrid defender, 33, missed Portugal's 2-0 semi-final win over Wales on Wednesday due to a thigh injury, with Bruno Alves taking his place, and trained separately on Friday.

Deschamps looking to join history-maker Vogts

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Paris (AFP) If Didier Deschamps steers France to a Euro 2016 triumph against Portugal he will become only the second man to have won the competition as a player and a coach.

Former Germany coach Berti Vogts was the first to have won the tournament as a player and a coach, 24 years apart.

Vogts won the European Championship with Die Mannschaft in 1972, although he missed the 3-0 win over Russia in the final due to injury.

5,000-1: A review of a first hand account of the Leicester City story

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Covering a team over the course of a soccer season is tough, in the sense that you see your team in a different way than a fan who attends the same games. Despite rules against cheering and journalistic standards that demand an air of neutrality when writing about the squad, you cannot help but grow closer to the players and staff as the long year continues.

Senegal striker Cisse leaves Newcastle for China

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Newcastle (United Kingdom) (AFP) Senegalese international striker Papiss Cisse became the latest high-profile player to quit Europe for China on Saturday, signing for Shandong Luneng from Championship side Newcastle United.

The 31-year-old, who scored 44 goals in 131 appearances for the Magpies in four-and-a-half years, signed for the Chinese Super League side for an undisclosed fee, the clubs said.

Bielsa blames Lazio for shock 48-hour exit

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Rome (AFP) Marcelo Bielsa, who pulled out of coaching Lazio in a shock move just 48 hours after his appointment was announced, has blamed the club for his exit saying it had failed to sign a single player.

The intense Argentine, known as "El Loco" (the Madman), called Lazio boss Claudio Lotito overnight Thursday to say he had decided not to come to Rome after all, triggering threats of legal action from the Italian club and denials it had broken any promises.

Bielsa blames Lazio for shock exit

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Rome (AFP) Marcelo Bielsa, who pulled out of coaching Lazio in a shock move just 48 hours after his appointment was announced, has blamed the club for his exit saying it had failed to sign a single player.

The intense Argentine, known as "El Loco" (the Madman), called Lazio boss Claudio Lotito overnight Thursday to say he had decided not to come to Rome, triggering threats of legal action from the Italian club.

France face Ronaldo in poignant Euro 2016 final

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Paris (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo's battle-hardened Portugal stand between hosts France and a cathartic victory in Sunday's Euro 2016 final at Stade de France.

The stadium was targeted by suicide bombers during France's friendly against Germany last November in attacks across Paris that left 130 people dead.

Pogba overshadowed as transfer saga dominates

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Marseille (AFP) Euro 2016 was meant to be Paul Pogba's tournament, putting the seal on what could be a world record setting transfer away from Juventus.

But Antoine Griezmann's match-winning performances against Germany and Iceland have made him the darling of the host nation.

Pogba was expected to light up his maiden European Championship with the silky skills and long-range goals that have become his trademark at the Italian champions.

Euro final extra special for Portugal’s ‘French’ trio

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Paris (AFP) Talented left-back Raphael Guerreiro is one of three members of the Portuguese squad who will be facing the country of his birth in Sunday's Euro 2016 final against France.

Guerreiro and goalkeeper Anthony Lopes were born and brought up in France, which is home to a huge Portuguese migrant population.

Griezmann v Ronaldo — duel of the magnificent sevens

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Paris (AFP) The Euro 2016 final will feature a duel between boyish poster boy Antoine Griezmann and preening superstar Cristiano Ronaldo to be the dominant number seven.

Griezmann, 25, is the tournament's top scorer bidding to deliver success for the home nation in his first major international final.

Portugal seek revenge for past agony against France

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Paris (AFP) For Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal the Euro 2016 final on Sunday offers a golden opportunity to end a miserable record in meetings with France.

As well as having home advantage and history on their side from wins in their last two major tournament finals on home soil, Les Bleus can claim to be Portugal's bete noire.

French people needed ‘an escape’ – Lloris

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Saint-Denis (France) (AFP) France's run to the Euro 2016 final on home soil has given the country "an escape" after the horror of last November's Paris attacks, captain Hugo Lloris said on Saturday.

The rolling attacks on the French capital, claimed by the Islamic State group, left 130 people dead and led to calls for the tournament to be cancelled.

Ronaldo lethal by land and air, says Deschamps

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Saint-Denis (France) (AFP) France coach Didier Deschamps urged his players to be constantly mindful of Cristiano Ronaldo in Sunday's Euro 2016 final and insisted that the Ballon d'Or will be a battle between the Portugal captain and Lionel Messi.

Deschamps said he wanted France's rising star Antoine Griezmann to be on the world player of the year list but he would have to wait to get the honour.

Coleman to call time on Wales job after 2018 World Cup

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) Chris Coleman, basking in the success of Wales's run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals, said Friday the upcoming 2018 World Cup campaign will be his last as manager.

The 46-year-old, who took Wales to their first finals since the 1958 World Cup and then oversaw a superb campaign only ended on Wednesday by a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Portugal, said he would have been in the job long enough.

Newspaper reactions to France’s victory against Germany in semi-final [PHOTOS]

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Germany vs. France. The rare marquee matchup that delivered on its massive potential. How would Europe react to such an epic night and rare result? Let's take a look.

Germany's Bild forlornly shouts the name "Weini!" as one of its most accomplished players failed his country. The subheadline incredulously exclaims, "Of all people Schweinsteiger, of all people our captain!

Welsh get rapturous welcome home after Euro football heroics

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) Welsh star Gareth Bale and his team-mates paraded through the streets of Cardiff packed with an estimated 200,000 fans raucously cheering them on Friday as they returned from their Euro 2016 heroics.

Having exceeded even the wildest dreams of the Welsh more used to seeing their rugby team triumph and exposed England's manifest failings at not even reaching the quarter-finals, the semi-finalists were expecting a good turnout.

Leeds teenage football star Cook joins Bournemouth

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London (AFP) Talented teenage midfielder Lewis Cook will get a chance to shine in the Premier League after Bournemouth signed him from fallen English giants Leeds United on Friday.

The 19-year-old the Football League Young Player of the Year last season after impressing for the struggling second-tier outfit signed a four-year contract for an undisclosed fee.

Spanish judge drops Neymar fraud case

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Madrid (AFP) A Spanish judge on Friday dropped a fraud and corruption case against Brazilian superstar Neymar and his father in relation to the player's 2013 transfer to Barcelona.

However, the judge said that irregularities in the high-profile transfer were detected, but it was an issue for a civil court, not a criminal court to settle.

Mexico could open at USA in WC2018 final qualifying

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Miami (AFP) Mexico could open the final round of qualifying for the 2018 Russia World Cup at arch rival United States as a result of Friday's draw for the six-team, round-robin schedule.

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) conducted the draw for the "hexagonal"ahead of September's concluding semi-final round qualifying matches.

UEFA drops doping case against Liverpool’s Sakho

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Paris (AFP) UEFA on Friday dropped proceedings against Liverpool and France international defender Mamadou Sakho over a doping infringement, it said.

"Following a hearing with the lawyers of the player and experts of the WADA-accredited laboratories on this case, the CEDB has decided to dismiss the case," UEFA said in a statement, referring to its independent Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body.

Euro 2016 success gets France smiling again

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Paris (AFP) After 12 traumatic months buffeted by terror attacks, political turmoil and floods, France finally has something to shout about with its team's success in Euro 2016.

As the host nation's new sweetheart Antoine Griezmann and his team-mates prepare to do battle with Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in Sunday's final, an unfamiliar feeling of national expectancy has spread.

Premier League’s 2016/17 TV coverage heralds earlier start time and Friday games

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For soccer fans in the United States, the 2016/17 Premier League will herald two major changes.

First, the early kickoffs for Premier League games on Saturdays will begin at 7:30am ET instead of 7:45am ET. That'll impact soccer fans on the west coast of the United States most who will need to ensure that they're awake before 4:30am PT to watch the early Saturday matches.

Trio competes for Nigeria coaching job

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Abuja (AFP) Nigeria have shortlisted caretaker manager Salisu Yusuf among three candidates for the job as Super Eagles coach, the country's football federation said on Friday.

Yusuf, former Togo coach Tom Saintfiet and Paul Le Guen, who has managed Cameroon, will be interviewed on Monday, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said.

Nigeria star Musa joins Leicester City

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Leicester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Nigerian international winger Ahmed Musa became Premier League champions Leicester City's second acquisition in a week on Friday for what is believed to be a club record fee of £16.6 million ($22 million, 20 million euros).

The 23-year-old, who announced his talent globally in scoring a brace against Lionel Messi's Argentina at the 2014 World Cup, signed a four-year contract in England, ending a successful spell at CSKA Moscow.

Marseille sign Dynamo Moscow defender

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Marseille (AFP) Slovakian international defender Tomas Hubocan has joined Marseille from Dynamo Moscow, the French League 1 outfit said on Friday.

The 30-year-old played twice for Slovakia at Euro 2016 and spent six years at Zenit St Petersburg before his move to Dynamo two seasons ago.

Marseille have already snapped up over the summer Cameroon defender Henri Bedimo from rivals Lyon, Japanese international Hiroki Sakai from Hannover and midfielder Saif-Eddine Khaoui from Tours.

NBC’s Premier League TV schedule revealed for first month of 2016/17 season

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The preliminary TV schedule for the first month of Premier League action of the 2016/17 season can now be revealed. With it, we've got a much better idea of which matches will be shown at what time and where the games can be watched online and on television.

Leicester City will be featured in the first game of the 2016/17 season when they play Hull City on Saturday, August 13.

Spanish judge drops Neymar case

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Madrid (AFP) A Spanish judge on Friday dropped a fraud and corruption case against Brazilian superstar Neymar and his father in relation to the player's 2013 transfer to Barcelona.

The case had been brought by the Brazilian investment fund DIS, former owners of the rights of the player, now 24 and who moved to the Camp Nou from Santos in his homeland.

Mourinho presence can help me at Man City: Guardiola

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Pep Guardiola believes his rivalry with Jose Mourinho will help push him on to achieve success at Manchester City.

The two managers were bitter foes when they were in charge at Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid respectively.

Now they have started work at the same time in Manchester, with Guardiola taking over at City and Mourinho returning to the Premier League as Manchester United's new manager.

Euro fever grips France, Portugal as final looms

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Paris (AFP) Patriotic fervour gripped Euro 2016 hosts France and Portugal on Friday with Antoine Griezmann and Cristiano Ronaldo cast as the rival superheros ahead of the tournament final.

France saw a return to the feverish days of 1998 when Zinedine Zidane guided the country to a World Cup triumph.

CAS to hear Sepp Blatter case on August 25

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Paris (AFP) FIFA's disgraced former president Sepp Blatter's appeal against his six-year ban from football will be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on August 25, it was announced Friday.

The CAS made no official statement on Friday but released a list of hearings with Blatter pencilled among a number of other cases.

Wales boss Coleman calls for World Cup focus after Euro 2016 run

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Dinard (France) (AFP) Wales will climb to 11th in the FIFA rankings following their stunning semi-final showing at Euro 2016, but manager Chris Coleman said on Friday that the team must now focus on the World Cup.

Gareth Bale and his team-mates returned to a heroes' welcome in Cardiff after their shock exploits in France, where they fell 2-0 to Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in the last four.

Cech ends international football career

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Prague (AFP) Veteran goalkeeper Petr Cech has announced his retirement from international football after a record 124 games for the Czech Republic over an eventful 14-year career.

"I would hate to end up in a situation when I would start feeling tired midway through a qualifying campaign," the 34-year-old told reporters in Prague on Friday.

Neymar corruption case dropped by Spanish investigators

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Madrid (AFP) Spanish investigators on Friday dropped a corruption case against Brazilian superstar Neymar and his father in relation to the player's 2013 transfer to Barcelona.

The case had been brought by the Brazilian investment fund DIS, former owners of the player's rights.

But a judge ruled that the case "cannot be pursued in the criminal courts", according to a statement by Spain's High Court.

Pepe remains on the sidelines but Portugal ‘believe’ at Euros

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Marcoussis (France) (AFP) Portugal's veteran defender Pepe remained on the sidelines Friday as his team prepared to face the daunting challenge of taking on France on home territory in Sunday's Euro 2016 final.

The 33-year-old Real Madrid star, who has played a key role in Portugal's advance to the final, stretched and did warm-up exercises away from the main training group during a 15-minute period when Portugal allowed media access.

Skrtel set to join Fenerbahce from Liverpool

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Istanbul (AFP) Fenerbahce are set to sign the fiery Slovakian international defender Martin Skrtel on a free transfer from Liverpool, the Istanbul giants said on Friday.

Last season's Turkish runners-up said in a brief statement they were in advanced talks with Liverpool and the player, who made a strong showing in helping Slovakia to the last-16 at Euro 2016.

Beaten coach Loew keeps Germany future open

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Marseille (AFP) Germany coach Joachim Loew refused to commit himself to stay beyond the next World Cup campaign as he picked through the wreckage of the country's Euro 2016 exit.

Antoine Griezmann scored twice in Marseille on Thursday to guide France to a 2-0 win and a place in Sunday's European Championship final against Portugal.

Griezmann double sends determined France to Euro 2016 final

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Marseille (AFP) Antoine Griezmann took up the mantle as challenger-in-chief to Cristiano Ronaldo with two goals that crushed world champions Germany and saw France into Sunday's Euro 2016 final against Portugal.

A penalty awarded seconds before half-time caused turmoil in the German camp. Griezmann took his chance and added a second strike to extend his lead as the tournament's top scorer and become France's new football hero.

Griezmann is France’s new ‘Mr Extra’

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Marseille (AFP) He rejected comparisons with Michel Platini but Antoine Griezmann is fast becoming a France legend after a two-goal haul against Germany fired the hosts into Sunday's Euro 2016 final against Portugal.

Amid the controversial absence of Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, France have founda new hero in the diminutive striker.

Euro success helps Les Bleus win back the love of fans

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Paris (AFP) France has rediscovered its love for the national football team after years of scandal and disappointment.

Antoine Griezmann's two goals that saw France to a landmark 2-0 win over Germany in the Euro 2016 semi-final set off football fever that has not been seen since the country won the World Cup in 1998.

Fernando Santos the power behind ‘King’ Ronaldo

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Paris (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo reigns over the football pitch but Fernando Santos calls the shots behind the scenes.

The dynamic goalscorer and coach duo have taken Portugal to the Euro 2016 final and given it a chance to become the latest little nation to upset the continent's giants.

After Denmark beat Germany in 1992 and Greece beat Portugal in Lisbon in 2004, the Portuguese now dream of upsetting France in their national stadium on Sunday under Santos' guidance.

Independiente stun Boca in Copa Libertadores semi-final

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Quito (AFP) Ecuadoran minnows Independiente del Valle upset Argentinian giants Boca Juniors 2-1 in the first leg of their Copa Libertadores semi-final clash.

Independiente, playing in the semi-finals of South America's most prestigious club competition for the first time,on Thursday came from a goal down to give themselves a fighting chance of reaching the final in next week's return leg in Buenos Aires.

Clattenburg to referee Euro 2016 final

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Paris (AFP) English referee Mark Clattenburg was on Friday named as the man in charge of Sunday's Euro 2016 final between France and Portugal.

European football's governing body UEFA have called on the 41-year-old's experience for the championship decider at the Stade de France.

A former electrician, Clattenburg became a professional referee in 2007.

Bielsa quits Lazio job after just 48 hours

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Rome (AFP) Former Argentina boss Marcelo Bielsa has abruptly pulled out of coaching Lazio in a shock move which the club said could result in legal action.

"We note with amazement the resignation of Marcelo Bielsa in clear violation of the commitments and agreements signed last week and filed with the Italian Football Federation," the Serie A club said in a statement on Friday.

Marcelo Bielsa quits Lazio job after 48 hours

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Rome (AFP) Former Argentina boss Marcelo Bielsa has abruptly pulled out of coaching Lazio in a shock move which the club said could result in legal action.

"We note with amazement the resignation of Marcelo Bielsa in clear violation of the commitments and agreements signed last week and filed with the Italian Football Federation," the Serie A club said in a statement on Friday.

Anger at German right-wing’s ‘national team’ football tweet

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Berlin (AFP) A politician from Germany's right-wing populist AfD party sparked outrage Friday with a Twitter message suggesting the German side could have beaten France in the Euro 2016 semi-final with fewer non-white players.

"Maybe next time the German NATIONAL TEAM should play again," the party's deputy leader Beatrix von Storch tweeted after Germany's 2-0 defeat in Marseille.

Where now for beaten Germany after Euro 2016 exit?

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Marseille (AFP) World champions Germany fly home from Euro 2016 on Friday for a post-mortem into what went wrong after they lost 2-0 to hosts France in the semi-finals.

Antoine Griezmann's double strike in Marseille sealed victory for the hosts and sent them to Sunday's final against Portugal.

Klopp rewarded with new Liverpool deal

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Liverpool (AFP) Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has signed a new "long-term" contract after an impressive first nine months in charge when he guided the team to the Europa League and League Cup finals.

Klopp succeeded Brendan Rodgers at Anfield last October, leading the side to a eighth-placed Premier League finish, defeat to Sevilla in the Europa League final and Manchester City in the English League Cup final.

Lazio manager Marcelo Bielsa quits after 48 hours

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Rome (AFP) Former Argentina boss Marcelo Bielsa has pulled out of coaching Lazio in a shock move 48 hours after his appointment, which the Serie A club said could result in legal action.

"We note with amazement the resignation of Marcelo Bielsa in clear violation of the commitments and agreements signed last week," the Serie A club said in a statement on Friday.

Anger at German right-winger’s ‘national team’ football tweet

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Berlin (AFP) A politician from Germany's right-wing populist AfD party sparked outrage Friday with a Twitter message suggesting the German side could have beaten France in the Euro 2016 semi-final with fewer non-white players.

"Maybe next time the German NATIONAL TEAM should play again," the party's deputy leader Beatrix von Storch tweeted after Germany's 2-0 defeat in Marseille.

Police use tear gas on Champs Elysees after France win

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Paris (AFP) Riot police fired tear gas in clashes with youths on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris early Friday after France's qualification for the Euro 2016 final, an AFP reporter said.

Police staged several charges at youths who hurled fireworks, bottles, stones and other objects at them.

Youths and police clash on Champs Elysees after French football win

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Paris (AFP) Riot police clashed with groups of youths on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris early Friday after France's qualification for the Euro 2016 final, an AFP reporter said.

Police staged several charges at youths who hurled fireworks, stones and other objects at them. Dustbins were also set on fire on the renowned avenue in the French capital.

France rejoices after reaching Euro 2016 final

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Paris (AFP) From the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the Vieux Port in Marseille, French supporters erupted in joy after the national side beat Germany to reach the Euro 2016 final.

Horns blared out of car windows on the Champs Elysees avenue in the capital in scenes reminiscent of when France won the World Cup in 1998.

France break Germany’s 50-year hold over hosts at finals

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Marseille (AFP) Antoine Griezmann's double for France in Thursday's 2-0 semi-final win over Germany at Euro 2016 broke die Mannschaft's 50-year winning streak against host nations at major tournaments.

The French victory in Marseille was the first time Germany had lost to the hosts at a major finals since their famous 4-2 defeat to England in the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley.

France never gave up in Euro 2016 semi, says Deschamps

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Marseille (AFP) France coach Didier Deschamps said the Euro 2016 hosts had beaten world champions Germany to reach the final by never giving up despite suffering relentless pressure.

"We found it tough but we didn't give up," Deschamps said as he celebrated the 2-0 win in Marseille.

Deschamps hailed Germany as "a great team.

Euro 2016 goal hero Griezmann dismisses Platini comparisons

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Marseille (AFP) Antoine Griezmann brushed off comparisons with French football legend Michel Platini after his two goals sent the host nation into the final of Euro 2016.

His two goals in the 2-0 win made him by far the tournament's top scorer with six goals, three behind Platini's record of nine in one Euro tournament.

Germany’s Euro 2016 exit ‘bitter’, says goalkeeper Neuer

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Marseille (AFP) Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said the 2-0 semi-final defeat to France at Euro 2016 was a bitter pill for the world champions to swallow following a controversial penalty decision.

Man-of-the-match Antoine Griezmann scored twice on Thursday as France's win sealed a place in the Euro 2016 final against Portugal.

Griezmann double sends France into Euro 2016 final

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Marseille (AFP) Two goals from Antoine Griezmann propelled host nation France into the final of Euro 2016 with a 2-0 win over world champions Germany on Thursday.

France will now play Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal at the Stade de France in Paris on Sunday.

Griezmann scored a hotly contested penalty in first-half injury time after Bastian Schweinsteiger was adjudged to have handled and the Atletico Madrid striker increased France's lead with apoked effort in the 72nd minute.

Griezmann double puts France into Euro 2016 final

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Marseille (AFP) Antoine Griezmann scored twice Thursday as France beat world champions Germany 2-0 to seal a place in the Euro 2016 final against Portugal.

Having converted a controversial first-half penalty for Bastian Schweinsteiger's handball, Griezmann put the result beyond doubt with a sweetly struck second half shot.

Newspaper reaction to Portugal’s semi-final win against Wales [PHOTOS]

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Both Wales and Portugal are relatively small coastal nations that have spent much of their history tangled up with their larger and more powerful neighbors to the east. But whereas rugby-mad Wales has accomplished little as a team in football despite producing world-class footballers like John Charles, Ian Rush, Ryan Giggs, and now Gareth Bale, football-mad Portugal has traditionally ridden stars like Eusébio, Rui Jordão, Luis Figo, and now Cristiano Ronaldo to the very brink of glory at international tournaments.

Griezmann penalty fires France in front in Euro 2016 semi

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Marseille (AFP) France forward Antoine Griezmann gave the hosts a first-half lead from the penalty spot in the Euro 2016 semi-final against Germany on Thursday.

France had goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to thank for keeping a clean sheet as Germany threatened to break the deadlock on several occasions.

Romania appoint first foreign coach

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Bucharest (AFP) Romania appointed their first foreign coach in the form of experienced Christoph Daum on Thursday, replacing the sacked Anghel Iordanescu after he failed to get them past the group stages of Euro 2016.

The 62-year-old German has coached clubs in Germany, Belgium, Austria and Turkey in a managerial career spanning four decades.

Mourinho unveils United coaching team

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London (AFP) Faithful lieutenant Rui Faria will be Jose Mourinho's assistant manager at Manchester United a role that club icon Ryan Giggs had hoped in vain to retain for the upcoming season.

Faria, who has followed Mourinho from Barcelona when the 'special one' was the late Bobby Robson's interpreter in 1996 to all his subsequent clubs, is joined by others who have experience of working with the United boss.

Germany bring in Liverpool’s Can for Euro 2016 debut in semis

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Marseille (AFP) Liverpool's defensive midfielder Emre Can made his first start at Euro 2016 for injury-hit Germany in Thursday's semi-final against hosts France.

France coach Didier Deschamps meanwhile kept faith with the same starting side which beat Iceland 5-2 in the quarter-finals, retaining Samuel Umtiti and Moussa Sissoko.

Middlesbrough sign up goalkeeper Valdes

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London (AFP) Three-time Champions League winning goalkeeper Victor Valdes will get another chance in the English Premier League after signing a two-year contract with new boys Middlesbrough on Thursday.

The 34-year-old who won European club football's most prestigious trophy with Barcelona had a miserable time at Manchester United under then-manager Louis van Gaal, playing just twice before falling out with the Dutchman and being loaned out to Standard Liege in Belgium.

Umtiti, Sissoko start for France against Germany in Euro 2016

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Marseille (AFP) Samuel Umtiti and Moussa Sissoko retained their places in France's starting line-up as coach Didier Deschamps named an unchanged side for Thursday's Euro 2016 semi-final against Germany in Marseille.

Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger and Emre Can were handed their first starts of the tournament in a midfield three alongside Toni Kroos.

Seedorf takes over at Chinese club Shenzhen

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Beijing (AFP) Former Dutch international Clarence Seedorf has taken over as coach of low-ranked Chinese football team Shenzhen FC, the club said on Thursday.

The squad, which is based in the southern province of Guangdong and plays in China's second league, said on its website that the former AC Milan coach would take over immediately.

France, Germany set for Euro 2016 semi-final blockbuster

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Marseille (AFP) Captain Bastian Schweinsteiger will make his first start of Euro 2016 as Germany take on France in a semi-final battle of European superpowers on Thursday.

The two fancied teams will be playing for the right to play Portugal in Sunday's final at theStade de France after Cristiano Ronaldo's men beat Wales 2-0.

Where to find France vs. Germany on US TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch France vs. Germany in Euro 2016, you've come to the right place.

Two of the most talented teams in Europe face off against each other today in the semi-finals of the Euro 2016 competition. The winner will play Portugal in the Euro 2016 final on Sunday.

Watch France vs. Germany for free with Sling TV

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The Euro 2016 semi-final between France vs. Germany has the potential to be a modern day classic between two attacking teams with tons of exciting players and skill.

The winner of France against Germany plays Portugal in the final on Sunday. Plus the winner of France-Germany will likely be the favorite to win the competition due to the fact that they had to emerge from the strongest side of the bracket.

Wales ‘devastated but proud’ after Euro 2016 defeat

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) Wales fans danced and partied with pride into the night despite a heartbreaking Euro 2016 semi-final defeat in the nation's biggest football match ever.

Some 27,000 impassioned fans who watched the 2-0 loss to Portugal on giant screens in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on Wednesday swallowed their devastation and streamed out voicing unabashed delight at how far Wales had come.

‘Dragon-slayer’ Ronaldo shatters Wales big night at Euro 2016

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Lyon (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo became the "Dragon-slayer" as his record-equalling ninth European Championship goal helped power Portugal past Real Madrid teammate Gareth Bales' Wales and into the Euro 2016 final.

Ronaldo brilliantly rose above the Wales' defence to score his country's first goal in the 2-0 win in front of 50,000 fans in the Stade de Lyon on Wednesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo dreaming as Portugal glory beckons

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Lyon (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo hopes to fulfil a lifelong dream and lead Portugal to their first ever international tournament win by shocking hosts France or world champions Germany in Sunday's Euro 2016 final.

Ronaldo equalled Michel Platini's record of nine goals in European Championship finals matches by powering home the opener as Portugal overcame Wales 2-0 in Lyon on Wednesday to book their place in the final.

Neuer out to resist France’s Griezmann in Euro 2016 semi

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Marseille (AFP) Euro 2016's most miserly goalkeeper Manuel Neuer must keep out the tournament's top scorer Antoine Griezmann in a landmark semi-final clash between Germany and France on Thursday.

The prize from the Marseille battle in front of 65,000 fans will be a final against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in Paris on Sunday.

Atletico Nacional sink Sao Paulo in Copa Libertadores semis

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Sao Paulo (AFP) Colombia champions Atletico Nacional took a giant stride towards their first Copa Libertadores final appearance in more than two decades after scoring a stunning 2-0 away leg victory over Brazilian giants Sao Paulo.

Sao Paulo's challenge began to unravel midway through the second half on Wednesday when captain and centre-half Maicon was shown a straight red card for a needless slap on the back of debutant Miguel Borja's head as tempers frayed.

Frank Lampard on target as New York City FC march on

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Los Angeles (AFP) Frank Lampard scored the only goal as New York City FC beat the New England Revolution 1-0 to record their fourth consecutive victory and take a four-point lead at the top of Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference.

Lampard struck in the 58th minuteon Wednesday, fortuitously diverting a firm cross from Tommy McNamara into the net at Gillette Stadium as City's resurgent run of form continued following their derby win over the New York Red Bulls last weekend.

Pressure also on France, says Germany midfielder Kroos

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Marseille (AFP) Germany midfielder Toni Kroos said the pressure is also on hosts France when they meet in a mouthwatering Euro 2016 semi-final clash on Thursday that will set up a July 10 final with Portugal.

Kroos was an integral part of the Germany team that ousted France from the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup as Die Mannschaft romped to glory at the Maracana in Rio De Janeiro.

Gareth Bale and Wales eager to build on Euro 2016 legacy

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Lyon (AFP) As Gareth Bale and his Wales team-mates bade farewell to Euro 2016, a commonly expressed hope was that their achievements in France would represent a beginning and not an end.

Having waited 58 years to play at a major tournament, Wales made up for lost time in style, topping their group above England and sinking Belgium in the quarter-finals before falling to Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal.

Sakho doping judgement in coming days, say UEFA

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Paris (AFP) Liverpool and France defender Mamadou Sakho goes before a UEFA disciplinary panel in Paris on Thursday and will learn his fate for a doping infringement within a few days, the European game's governing body told AFP.

Sakho tested positive after a Europa League tie with Manchester United on March 17 after taking a product to reduce body fat.

Euro 2016 journey not the end for ambitious Wales, says Bale

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Lyon (AFP) Gareth Bale believes Wales made a nation proud in their unprecedented run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals and backed Chris Coleman's men to reach the World Cup in Russia in two years' time.

Bale's Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo ended Welsh dreams of reaching Sunday's final as he powered home the opener before teeing up Nani for a quickfire second as Portugal emerged 2-0 victors in Lyon.

France vs. Germany preview: Euro 2016 semi-final pits two favorites against each other

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We're down to the last four at Euro 2016. France and Germany vie for a spot in the July 10 final at the Stade de France on Thursday. Here's the preview and prediction for Thursday's semi-final.

France vs. Germany

The heavyweight clash of the semifinals: The hosts against the World Champions at the incomparable Stade Velodrome in Marseille.

Wales hurt but proud of Euro 2016 semi-final run – Coleman

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Lyon (AFP) Wales manager Chris Coleman heaped praise on his players for a historic run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals after they bowed out 2-0 to Portugal on Wednesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring and then teed up Nani as two goals in three minutes early in the second half in Lyon condemned Wales to defeat in their first ever major tournament semi-final.

Wales fans proud despite Euro 2016 semi-final defeat

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) Some 27,000 Wales fans who massed in Cardiff for the biggest football match in the country's history showed their pride in the team's historic run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals despite Wednesday's heartbreaking defeat.

As Wales lost 2-0 to Portugal in the French city of Lyon, supporters gathered at the Millennium Stadium in the Welsh capital to watch every second of the action on giant screens.

Wales hurting but proud at Euro 2016 semi-final run, says Coleman

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Lyon (AFP) Wales boss Chris Coleman heaped praise on his players for a historic run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals before bowing out 2-0 to Portugal on Wednesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring and then teed up Nani as two goals in three minutes early in the second half condemned Wales to defeat in their first ever major tournament semi-final.

Portugal celebrates Ronaldo’s new Euro 2016 epic

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Lisbon (AFP) Tens of thousands of fans packed into one of Lisbon's main squares exploded with joy as Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal completed their landmark win over Wales to reach the Euro 2016 final.

Horns blared out and flags were hurled in the air as the final whistle ended the match with a 2-0 win in which Ronaldo scored the opening goal.

Ronaldo hopes for tears of joy in Euro final

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Lyon (AFP) Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo said he hoped he would cry tears of joy at Sunday's Euro 2016 final after his goal inspired his team to a 2-0 semi-final win over Wales.

The Real Madrid superstar scored a brilliant 50th-minute header in Lyon on Wednesday and then teed Nani up for a quick-fire second goal as Portugal qualified for the final against Germany or France.

Ronaldo ends Wales’s Euro fairytale with record goal

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Lyon (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo made European Championship history as Portugal ended Wales's extraordinary Euro 2016 journey with a 2-0 semi-final win on Wednesday that sent them into the final.

In what was billed as a shootout between Ronaldo and his Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale, it was the Portugal captain who prevailed, opening the scoring in Lyon with a majestic 50th-minute header that saw him tie France great Michel Platini's record of nine goals at the Euro finals.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s nine European Championship goals

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Lyon (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo matched Michel Platini's record of nine goals in European Championship finals matches by scoring in Portugal's Euro 2016 semi-final win over Wales on Wednesday.

Here, AFP Sports looks at Ronaldo's nine goals across four separate Euros that saw him match yet another goalscoring record.

Ronaldo hopes for tears of joy in Euro 2016 final

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Lyon (AFP) Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo looked forward to crying tears of joy following Sunday's Euro 2016 final after his goal inspired his team to a 2-0 semi-final win over Wales.

The Real Madrid superstar scored with a brilliant 50th-minute header in Lyon on Wednesday and then teed Nani up for a quick-fire second goal as Portugal qualified for only their second major final.

Record hoarder Ronaldo betters Bale to reach Euro 2016 final

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Lyon (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo beat Gareth Bale in a battle between Real Madrid's superstar duo and registered more European Championship records as Portugal progressed to the Euro 2016 final win a 2-0 win over Wales.

Ronaldo's bullet header from Raphael Guerreiro's cross five minutes into the second-half blew open a cagey encounter and brought the three-time world player of the year level with Michel Platini's record of nine goals in European Championship finals.

No regrets, says Bale after Wales Euro run ends

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Lyon (AFP) Gareth Bale said Wales should have no regrets after their remarkable Euro 2016 run ended in a 2-0 defeat to Portugal in the semi-finals in Lyon on Wednesday.

"We're obviously massively disappointed. We've got to be proud of ourselves first and foremost," Bale told ITV.

"We've given everything, on the pitch, off the pitch.

Record man Ronaldo ends Wales’s Euro fairytale

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Lyon (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo made European Championship history as Portugal ended Wales's extraordinary Euro 2016 journey with a 2-0 semi-final win on Wednesday that sent them into the final.

In what was billed as a shootout between Ronaldo and his Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale, it was the Portugal captain who prevailed, opening the scoring in Lyon with a majestic 50th-minute header that saw him tie France great Michel Platini's record of nine goals at the Euro finals.

Ronaldo scores to equal Platini record in Euro 2016 match

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Lyon (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo equalled French legend Michel Platini's record of nine goals in the European Championship finals with a bullet header to give Portugal the lead over Wales in their Euro 2016 semi-final.

The three-time World Player of the Year rose highest to head home Raphael Guerreiro's cross and open the scoring in the 50th minute in Lyon.

France thirst for revenge against wounded Germany in Euro 2016

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Marseille (AFP) Didier Deschamps' talented France side block the path of Germany's spluttering juggernaut in Thursday's second Euro 2016 semi-final with the world champions missing some of their stars.

With an element of revenge in the air, hosts France can expect fanatical backing from their home fans in Marseille.

Euro 2016 semi-final – Portugal 0 Wales 0 at half-time

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Lyon (AFP) The first Euro 2016 semi-final between Portugal and Wales in Lyon remained goalless at half-time after an opening 45 minutes of few chances.

Wales, in their first major tournament semi-final, tested Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio via a long-range Gareth Bale effort.

That was the only attempt on target in the first half though, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal kept quiet at the other end.

Barcelona’s Messi to appeal tax fraud sentence

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Barcelona (AFP) After a court in Spain on Wednesday sentenced Barcelona striker Lionel Messi and his father to 21 months in jail for tax fraud, the footballer vowed to appeal the sentence and clear his name.

The prison sentences are likely to be suspended as is common in Spain for first offences for non-violent crimes carrying a sentence of less than two years.

Germany’s Schweinsteiger to start in Euro semi-final

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Marseille (AFP) Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger will make his first start of Euro 2016 in Thursday's semi-final against France, coach Joachim Loew has confirmed.

The Manchester United star suffered a knee strain in Saturday's quarter-final penalty shoot-out win over Italy, but has recovered in time to face France in Marseille.

Messi to appeal guilty tax fraud ruling

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona star Lionel Messi will appeal a Spanish court decision that sentenced him to 21 months jail for tax fraud and slapped them with a fine of 3.7 million euros ($4.1 million) on Wednesday.

The Argentine's lawyers feel an appeal would eventually succeed in persuading the court that Messi and his father have behaved correctly, the players representatives told AFP.

Wales Euro 2016 football fans ‘going crazy already’ in Cardiff

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) Wales fans massing in Cardiff were trying and failing to keep a lid on their excitement in the build-up to the biggest football match in the country's history on Wednesday.

As Wales prepared to take on Portugal in their 2016 European Championship semi-final in the French city of Lyon, some 27,000 supporters were heading to the Millennium Stadium in the Welsh capital to party and watch every second of the action on giant screens.

The sports world falls foul of the taxman

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Barcelona (AFP) From former German tennis champion Boris Becker to Barcelona's star striker Lionel Messi, many sports stars and bodies have fallen foul of the taxman over the past few years.

Messi became the latest star on Wednesday to be nabbed for tax evasion, when a Spanish court sentenced him and his father to 21 months in jail.

The legal woes of Barcelona football club and its players

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona, the second richest football club in the world after Real Madrid, has been tainted by a series of legal woes in recent years involving its players and management.

Here is a recap of the most significant cases:

Messi

Under investigation since 2013 for tax fraud, the club's Argentine striker Lionel Messi and his father Jorge Horacio were sentenced to 21 months in prison and slapped with a fine of 3.

Portugal’s Pepe out of Wales Euro 2016 semi-final

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Lyon (AFP) Real Madrid centre-back Pepe was not selected for Portugal's Euro 2016 semi-final against Wales in Lyon on Wednesday due to a thigh injury, with Bruno Alves taking his place.

Pepe was unable to train on the eve of the game and ceded his place to Alves in one of three changes made by Portugal coach Fernando Santos to the team that edged Poland on penalties in the last eight.

Maradona angles for Argentina role in football crisis

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Buenos Aires (AFP) Argentine football was in crisis Wednesday after the national coach followed star striker Lionel Messi in quitting weeks before the Olympics, with legend Diego Maradona eyeing a return to a role with the squad.

The country's President Mauricio Macri himself slammed the way the sport was being run by the Argentine Football Association (AFA), branding it corrupt and badly managed.

Portugal and Wales wait for Bale-Ronaldo Euro 2016 showdown

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Lyon (AFP) Thousands of Portugal and Wales fans poured into the French city of Lyon on Wednesday to see Real Madrid teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale go head to head in the Euro 2016 semi-final between the countries.

For Ronaldo, 31, the match is the latest stage of his battle to get a first trophy at a major international tournament.

Barcelona’s Messi sentenced to 21 months’ jail for tax fraud

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Barcelona (AFP) A court in Spain on Wednesday sentenced Barcelona striker Lionel Messi and his father to 21 months in jail for tax fraud, in the latest case of tax avoidance involving a top footballer in the country.

But the prison sentences are likely to be suspended as is common in Spain for first offences for non-violent crimes carrying a sentence of less than two years.

France must attack Germany in Euro 2016 semi, says Deschamps

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Marseille (AFP) France coach Didier Deschamps has called on Les Bleus to go on the attack to end a 58-year wait to beat Germany in a major tournament and book a spot in the Euro 2016 final.

"We can't change past history, but we've got our own page to write," Deschamps said in Marseille on Wednesday.

France need Pogba in peak form at Euro 2016, says Deschamps

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Marseille (AFP) France need midfield star Paul Pogba to hit peak form when Les Bleus take on Germany for a Euro 2016 final place, coach Didier Deschamps said Wednesday.

Juventus star Pogba started the European Championship finals amid high expectations but has not consistently sparkled.

"Paul is someone who needs tranquility and serenity.

Manchester United complete Mkhitaryan deal

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United confirmed on Wednesday that the Premier League giants had completed the signing of Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund.

Mkhitaryan, 27, has penned a four-year deal with United with the option to extend the contract for a further year, the club announced in a statement.

ESPN’s commentators for Euro 2016 semi-finals and final

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The match commentators for the Euro 2016 final games have been announced. They are:

Semifinal I (POR-WAL): Jon Champion/Stewart Robson

Semifinal II (GER-FRA): Ian Darke/Taylor Twellman

Final Darke and Twellman

The post ESPN's commentators for Euro 2016 semi-finals and final appeared first on World Soccer Talk.

Schweinsteiger back training for Germany ahead of Euro 2016 semi

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Evian (France) (AFP) Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger returned to training on Wednesday, boosting his chances of getting a starting place for his country's Euro 2016 semi-final against France.

The 31-year-old Manchester United midfielder hurt knee ligaments during Germany's penalty shootout win over Italy on Saturday and missed training on Tuesday.

S. Korea’s Chung vows to fight FIFA ban to the end

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Seoul (AFP) South Korean tycoon Chung Mong-Joon on Wednesday said he would use every available avenue to fight a FIFA ban imposed over his lobbying for Seoul's bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

The former FIFA presidential candidate said he would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport if necessary to overturn the ban after FIFA's Appeal Committee partially confirmed an earlier suspension and reduced his ban from six years to five.

Bielsa appointed Lazio coach

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Rome (AFP) Serie A club Lazio confirmed on Wednesday the appointment of Argentine Marcelo Bielsa as their new coach.

"Lazio can now announce that the contract of Mr Marcelo Bielsa and his assistants has been signed," a club statement read. "The coach and his staff will be in Rome on Saturday July 9.

Arsenal’s search for a new striker

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Arsenal's striker search over the last couple of years has been widely publicized. Last summer, the Gunners failed in their attempt to pry Karim Benzema away from Real Madrid. Not only did the north London outfit lose out on their number one summer target, but it seemed as if the club did not necessarily have a contingency plan.

Portugal and Wales wait for Bale-Ronaldo showdown

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Lyon (AFP) Thousands of Portugal and Wales fans poured into the French city of Lyon on Wednesday to see Real Madrid teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale go head to head in the Euro 2016 semi-final between the countries.

For Ronaldo, 31, the match is the latest stage of his battle to get a first trophy at a major international tournament.

Where to find Portugal vs. Wales on US TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch Portugal vs. Wales in Euro 2016, you've come to the right place.

Both teams are one game away from a Euro 2016 final against Germany or France, but will it be Wales or Portugal who will be celebrating after this match? While Portugal are favorites in this game, the team hasn't won a game in 90 minutes in this tournament.

France thirst for revenge against wounded Germany

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Marseille (AFP) Didier Deschamps' talented France block the path of Germany's spluttering juggernaut in Thursday's Euro 2016 semi-final and the world champions have mounting personnel problems.

With an element of revenge in the air, France can expect near-fanatical support from home fans in Marseille as they seek a place in Sunday's Paris final.

Bale vs Ronaldo – let the Euro 2016 duel commence

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Lyon (AFP) Real Madrid teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale have not spoken since the start of Euro 2016 but they will go face-to-face when Portugal take on Wales in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

Thousands of followers of the rival nations are heading for the French city of Lyon hoping to see the clash at 1900 GMT.

Watch Portugal vs. Wales for free with Sling TV

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The Euro 2016 semi-final between Portugal vs. Wales promises to be an entertaining game featuring two of Real Madrid's star players —Cristiano Ronaldo against Gareth Bale.

The winner of Portugal against Wales will play Germany or France in the Euro 2016 final this weekend. But both Wales and Portugal will be focused on Tuesday's game first.

Barcelona’s Messi sentenced to 21 months for tax fraud

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Barcelona (AFP) A court in Spain on Wednesday sentenced Barcelona striker Lionel Messi and his father to 21 months in jail for tax fraud and slapped them with a fine of 3.7 million euros ($4.1 million).

But these prison sentences are likely to be suspended as is common in Spain for first offences for non-violent crimes carrying a sentence of less than two years.

Rising Serbia star Zivkovic, Benitez sign for Benfica

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Lisbon (AFP) Serbian international Andrija Zivkovic and Argentine winger Oscar Benitez have both signed five-year deals with Benfica, the reigning three-time Portuguese champions confirmed on Wednesday.

Zivkovic's contract with Partizan Belgrade, the club where the player dubbed the 'Serbian Messi' began his career in 2013, expired at the end of last season.

Portugal vs. Wales preview: Euro 2016 semi-final pits experience against first-timers

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We're down to the last four at Euro 2016. Wales and Portugal vie for a spot in the July 10 final at the Stade de France on Wednesday, and then its France and Germany for the same prize on Thursday. Here's the preview and prediction forTuesday's match:

Wales vs. Portugal

Bill it as Cristiano Ronaldo against Gareth Bale if you want, but there's plenty more to the story of Wales against Portugal than the two Real Madrid superstars.

Argentina football coach resigns in Olympic chaos

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Buenos Aires (AFP) Argentina head coach Gerardo Martino resigned on Tuesday, deepening the chaos in the frustrated squad a month before the Olympics after its star striker Lionel Messi also quit.

In a statement published by the Argentina Football Association (AFA), Martino said he and his coaching staff quit due to management disputes in the body and difficulties in getting the squad together in time for the Olympics.

Welsh fans begin invasion of Lyon for Euro 2016 match

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Lyon (AFP) Buoyed by their team's surprise success at Euro 2016, thousands of Wales fans have descended on Lyon, ready to cheer Chris Coleman's Dragons in Wednesday's semi-final against Portugal.

"Just to be here, and to experience this, is something we will all never forget," life-long Newport County fan Rob Santwris told AFP.

Steve Bower to host NBC’s Premier League coverage for first two weeks of season

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NBC's lead Premier League host Rebecca Lowe will miss the first two weeks of the 2016/17 season, and will be temporarily replaced by Steve Bower, who will be a familiar face to many soccer fans in the United States.

Instead of hosting coverage from NBC's studio in Stamford, Connecticut, Lowe will be in Brazil as one of the hosts of NBC's coverage of the Rio Olympics.

Portugal’s Pepe doubtful for Euro 2016 meeting with Bale’s Wales

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Lyon (AFP) Portugal could be without key defender Pepe for their Euro 2016 semi-final with Wales on Wednesday after the Real Madrid stopper did not take part in training on Tuesday.

Pepe has been an ever-present for Portugal during the tournament and losing his know-how in handling club teammate Gareth Bale would be a huge blow to Fernando Santos's side.

Gourcuff prolongs Rennes deal with dad as coach

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Rennes (France) (AFP) Former France international Yoann Gourcuff has extended his deal with Brittany outfit Rennes, coached by his father, for a further two seasons, the Ligue 1 club said on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old former AC Milan midfielder, described as the new Zinedine Zidane on his arrival in Serie A in 2006, has been out of contract since June 30.

Argentina football coach Martino resigns

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Buenos Aires (AFP) Argentina head coach Gerardo Martino announced his resignation on Tuesday, days after losing the Copa America Centenario final and a month before the Olympics.

In a statement published by the Argentina Football Association, Martino said he quit due to management disputes in the association and difficulties in getting the squad together in time for the Olympics.

Valencia sign Portugal winger Nani

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Madrid (AFP) Portuguese international winger Nani has reached an agreement to join La Liga side Valencia from Fenerbahce on a three-year deal, the Spanish club confirmed on Tuesday.

The 29-year old left Manchester United in 2015 for the Turkish outfit following a loan spell at his former club Sporting Lisbon.

Cheapest tickets for 2018 World Cup priced at $105

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Moscow (AFP) The cheapest tickets for the 2018 World Cup in Russia will cost $105 (94 euros, £80.50), with a place in the stands for the final costing at least $455, FIFA announced on Tuesday.

For Russian residents, a special price is in place of $19.75 for the group stages, and $109 for the final.

No goals, no problem for Germany’s Mueller in Euro 2016

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Evian (France) (AFP) He is the big-name forward yet to score at Euro 2016, but Thomas Mueller says his main concern is helping Germany beat France in Thursday's Euro 2016 semi-final.

Mueller, top scorer at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and who hit 32 goals for Bayern Munich last season, has yet to open his account at the European Championship finals.

Euro 2016 rivals Ronaldo, Bale ‘share mentality not just talent’ – Coleman

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Lyon (AFP) Wales boss Chris Coleman hailed Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale's mental strength ahead of the showdown between the Real Madrid stars when Wales face Portugal in the Euro 2016 semi-finals on Wednesday.

Coleman said he has received glowing reports about the three-time world player of the year from Welsh legend Ryan Giggs and Ronaldo's former manager at Manchester United Alex Ferguson.

Euro 2016 rivals Ronaldo, Bale ‘share mentality not just talent’

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Lyon (AFP) Wales boss Chris Coleman hailed the mental strength of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale ahead of a Wednesday showdown between the two Real Madrid stars in the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

Coleman said he has received glowing reports about three-time Player of the Year Ronaldo from Welsh legend Ryan Giggs and Ronaldo's former manager at Manchester United, Alex Ferguson.

1982 – the ‘scar’ on France-German football relations

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Marseille (AFP) It was the match that had everything spectacular goals, a brutal clash and a dramatic comeback, before finally, a nail-biting penalty shootout.

For many, West Germany's 1982 World Cup semi-final against France in Seville remains the ultimate match, an engrossing duel providing new plot twists at every turn.

Italy’s Zaza sorry as Euro 2016 dancing penalty goes viral

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Montpellier (France) (AFP) Juventus striker Simone Zaza has pleaded for leniency from angry social media users after a crucial but comical penalty miss in a Euro 2016 quarter-final shootout with Germany.

"What happened will stick with me for the rest of my life," Zaza said in a post on his Instagram account.

FIFA cuts Valcke, Chung bans on appeal

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Geneva (AFP) A FIFA appeals committee has cut the suspension of former secretary general Jerome Valcke from 12 years to 10 and reduced Asian football powerbroker Chung Mong-joon's ban from six years to five, a statement said Tuesday.

Valcke, who served as ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter's right hand man for nearly a decade, was sacked in January and banned from football over misconduct in television deals and World Cup ticket sales.

What channel is the Premier League on DirecTV?

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We often get questions from soccer fans wondering what channel thePremier League is on DirecTV. Here's the information you need.

For DirecTV subscribers in the United States, the TV rights to the games are owned by NBC Sports (through until the end of the 2021/2022 season). On a typical weekend during the Premier League season, here's what times the games are shown live and on which specific channels:

Fridays, 2:45-4:45pm ET, NBCSN (DirecTV channel number 220)

Saturdays, 7:45-9:45am ET, NBCSN (DirecTV channel number 220)

Saturdays, 10am-Noon ET, NBCSN (DirecTV channel number 220)

Saturdays, 10am-Noon ET, USA Network (DirecTV channel number 242)

Saturdays, 12:30-2:30pm ET, NBC or NBCSN(DirecTV channel number 392 or 220)

Sundays, 8:30-10:30am ET, NBCSN (DirecTV channel number 220)

Sundays, 11am-1pm ET, NBCSN (DirecTV channel number 220)

Mondays, 3-5pm ET, NBCSN (DirecTV channel number 220)

The Premier League season begins in August and ends in May.

Schweinsteiger skips Germany training as Euro 2016 semi-final nears

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Evian (France) (AFP) Germany are waiting on the fitness of captain Bastian Schweinsteiger for their Euro 2016 semi-final against France in two days' time, as the Manchester United star sat out Tuesday's training.

Schweinsteiger strained his right knee in Saturday's quarter-final win over Italy, firing his spot-kick over the bar, as Germany won 6-5 in a penalty shoot-out after it finished 1-1 after extra-time.

No goals, no problem for Germany’s Thomas Mueller

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Evian (France) (AFP) He is the only big-name forward yet to score at Euro 2016, but Thomas Mueller says his main concern is helping Germany beat France in Thursday's Euro 2016 semi-final.

Stars like Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Poland's Robert Lewandowski found the net in France after initially struggling to score at the European Championship finals.

Jose Mourinho says winning is his only aim at Manchester United

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jose Mourinho ridiculed predecessor Louis van Gaal's reliance on having a philosophy and said on Tuesday his only aim as Manchester United manager will be to win.

The 53-year-old self-anointed "Special One" who replaced the sacked Van Gaal as United boss at the end of last season was facing the media for the first time since taking the reins at Old Trafford.

Barcelona hit by 47 mn euro property ruling

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Barcelona (AFP) Barcelona must pay 47 million euros ($52.2 million) to a real-estate firm for a cancelled land sale after a court ruling, the club said Tuesday, in the latest financial blow to the Spanish football giants.

Barca received 35.4 million euros in 2005 after agreeing to sell 10,000 square metres (25 acres) of land at L'Hospitalet de Llobregat in the south of the city.

Euro 2016 pitch will be ‘good’ but ‘not excellent’

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Paris (AFP) The Stade de France pitch for the Euro 2016 final will be good but not excellent, a top UEFA official warned Tuesday.

The pitches at three Euro venues have been criticised and the Lille pitch had to be relaid in mid-tournament.

The pitches at Marseille, to be used for Thursday's semi-final between France and Germany, and the Stade de France have also been attacked by coaches.

Wales jibes fire Bale for Euro 2016 semi-final

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Dinard (France) (AFP) Gareth Bale will have the taunts of team-mates past and present echoing in his memory when he takes to the field for Wales in Wednesday's Euro 2016 semi-final against Portugal.

Bale saw five major tournaments come and go over the first 10 years of his career, but with Wales having ended their 58-year wait on the international sidelines, the 26-year-old is making up for lost time.

Bale battles Ronaldo for ticket to Euro 2016 final

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Lyon (AFP) Gareth Bale leads Wales into battle against Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal in the Euro 2016 semi-finals on Wednesday hoping to become the first British side to reach a major tournament final in 50 years.

Wales are have already surpassed all expectations on their first ever appearance at the European Championship finals by reaching the last four with a rousing 3-1 win over the highly-fancied Belgium.

Antoine Griezmann leads French goals charge at Euro 2016

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Montpellier (France) (AFP) He boasts a Germanic name, Portuguese roots and learned his football in Spain, but France are counting on Antoine Griezmann's loyalty to take them to a Euro 2016 triumph.

Going into Thursday's semi-final with Germany, the 25-year-old Atletico Madrid striker is the tournament's leading scorer with four goals.

Ukraine soldiers stage own frontline football tournament

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Kurakhove (Ukraine) (AFP) As football fans prepare for the climax of the Euro 2016 tournament in France, battle-hardened Ukrainian troops are playing their own tournament against locals near the front in the war-scarred east.

"After completing your watch at the front with a machinegun in your hands, standing knee-deep in mud in the trenches, you think about only about getting some sleep, not training,"said 37-year-old Ukrainian soldier Oleksandr Demchenko, as exploding shells reverberated around him.

Five landmarks in Ronaldo-Bale’s relationship

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Lyon (AFP) Real Madrid teammates Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale go head-to-head hoping to carry Portugal and Wales respectively to the Euro 2016 final on Wednesday. Here are five key factors in the often tricky relationship between the two most expensive players in football history:

Bale's first day

After prolonged transfer talks with Tottenham Hotspur, Gareth Bale finally arrived in the Spanish capital on September 2, 2013 amid much speculation at how Cristiano Ronaldo would treat the pretender to his crown as king of the Santiago Bernabeu.

Brazil memories buoy battered Germany for France in Euro 2016

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Evian (France) (AFP) Germany face hosts France in the Euro 2016 semi-finals on Thursday in the midst of an injury crisis, but buoyed by memories of their flooring of Brazil at the same stage of the 2014 World Cup.

The Marseille clash will be another test of Germany's mettle after their historic quarter-final defeat of Italy.

Bale takes full part in training before Portugal Euro 2016 semi

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Dinard (France) (AFP) Wales talisman Gareth Bale played a full part as Chris Coleman's squad trained on Tuesday on the eve of their Euro 2016 semi-final against Portugal in Lyon on Wednesday.

Bale, 26, had trained separately on Monday, explaining that he felt "a bit stiff" following Friday's 3-1 quarter-final win over Belgium in Lille.

Mourinho chasing Fergie’s Champions League record

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jose Mourinho said the Manchester United job had come at just the right time in his life and he would be targeting legend Alex Ferguson's two Champions League trophies.

The 53-year-old self anointed 'special one' who replaced the sacked Louis van Gaal as united boss at the end of last season was facing the media on Tuesday for the first time since taking the reins at Old Trafford.

Pepe trains alone for Wales semi-final

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Marcoussis (France) (AFP) Portugal's veteran defender Pepe trained alone Tuesday as he battles to be fully fit for his country's Euro 2016 semi-final against Wales.

While coach Fernando Santos took control of the main group of players, Pepe worked with Portugal's physiotherapist Antonio Gaspar.

Berlusconi ready to sell AC Milan to Chinese investor

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Milan (AFP) Italy's billionaire former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said Tuesday he was ready to sell AC Milan to a Chinese investor as long as 400 million euros are invested in the struggling Serie A giants over two years.

"I gave up all claims to the price, I accepted what was offered to me, which does not even take into account the importance of the brand," Berlusconi said.

Time for Giggs to stand on his own feet: Ferguson

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London (AFP) Ryan Giggs did the right thing leaving Manchester United, the club he served so loyally for nearly 30 years, his mentor Alex Ferguson said on Monday.

Ferguson, 74, and who guided Giggs and United to 13 Premier League title successes, two Champions League wins, four FA Cup triumphs and four League Cup crowns before retiring in 2013, added he felt Giggs possessed the qualities to make it as a manager.

Wales jibes fire Bale as Euro semi-final looms

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Dinard (France) (AFP) Gareth Bale will have the taunts of team-mates past and present echoing in his memory when he takes to the field for Wales in Wednesday's Euro 2016 semi-final against Portugal.

Bale saw five major tournaments come and go over the first 10 years of his career, but with Wales having ended their 58-year wait on the international sidelines, the 26-year-old is making up for lost time.

EU tells Barcelona, Real to repay state aid

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Brussels (AFP) The EU on Monday ordered seven Spanish football clubs including Barcelona and Real Madrid to pay back millions of euros (dollars) in illegal state aid.

The European Commission said Spanish government support, including tax breaks and overpriced land transfers,gave the clubs an "unfair advantage" over others.

Rapturous Reykjavik reception for Iceland’s Euro heroes

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Reykjavik (AFP) Iceland's footballers received a heroes welcome on returning home on Monday following their astonishing run to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals in France.

Their plane flew low over the capital Reykjavik before landing at Keflavik airport where the local fire services gave them a fire hose guard of honour with shooting water creating a rainbow.

Where and how to watch Premier League streams

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The popularity of streaming continues to grow year after year, providing soccer fans with more choices of how to cut the cord and save money, as well as watching games when you want, where you want and on what devices you want.

While illegal streaming sites can infect your computer with viruses, malware and pop-up ads, there are many legal streaming services that offer HD picture quality as well as a ton of options to watch your favorite team, game or league on different devices.

Poland’s Glik joins Monaco

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Monaco (AFP) Polish international central defender Kamil Glik has left Torino to join Monaco on a four-year deal, the French Ligue 1 outfit said on Monday.

The 28-year-old captain of Serie A side Torino was a key figure in Poland's run to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals where they lost on penalties to Portugal.

Forget Zlatan, we start from zero says new PSG boss Emery

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Paris (AFP) After a week in the Paris Saint-Germain hot-seat Spanish coach Unai Emery unveiled three new signings on Monday as he told fans to forget the past and focus on the future.

PSG's star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic signed with Manchester United on Friday after bagging 51 goals last season, but dazzling dribbler Hatem Ben Arfa, Belgian international defender Thomas Meunier and holding midfield general Grzegorz Krychowiak have all joined since Emery took over.

Nigerian World Cup star Musa set for record move to Leicester

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Moscow (AFP) English champions Leicester City are set to break their record transfer fee for the second time in a matter of days by buying Nigerian international attacking midfielder Ahmed Musa on Wednesday, his agent told the BBC on Monday.

The 23-year-old, who scored a brace for Nigeria in a 3-2 defeat of Lionel Messi's Argentina at the 2014 World Cup, will see his present side Russian outfit CSKA Moscow receive £16.

Spanish football chiefs confirm Del Bosque departure

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Madrid (AFP) Spanish football chiefs confirmed the resignation of World Cup and European Championship-winning head coach Vicente del Bosque on Monday.

The 65-year-old announced he was to retire on Thursday, after his side had been beaten in the last-16 of Euro 2016 by Italy.

Former Real Madrid boss Del Bosque led Spain to the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 titles, after taking over from Euro 2008-winning coach Luis Aragones.

Wales star Bale dismisses Ronaldo focus ahead of Euro 2016 semi

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Dinard (France) (AFP) Gareth Bale said Monday he has not spoken to his Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo since Euro 2016 began but insisted the semi-final between them on Wednesday should not be seen as a clash of the superstars.

Bale, 26, and Ronaldo, 31, will be the centre of attention at Stade de Lyon on Wednesday, when Wales confront Portugal for a place in the final against Germany or hosts France.

Gareth Bale’s Wales charm Dinard as they push for Euro 2016 glory

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Dinard (France) (AFP) Gareth Bale's Wales have captured imaginations across Europe with their run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals and nowhere are they more popular than in their Dinard base in northwest France.

The sleepy Brittany resort town, which has a population of around 10,000, has played host to Chris Coleman's squad for a month and the mutual affection between players and locals has been clear to see.

Wales star Bale dismisses Ronaldo focus

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Dinard (France) (AFP) Gareth Bale said Monday he has not spoken to his Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo since Euro 2016 began but insisted the semi-final between them on Wednesday should not be seen as a clash of the superstars.

Bale, 26, and Ronaldo, 31, will be the centre of attention at Stade de Lyon on Wednesday, when a place in the final against either Germany or hosts France will be on the line.

Africa Cup of Nations hosts Gabon sack manager Jorge Costa

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Libreville (AFP) Gabon have sacked their manager Jorge Costa six months before hosting the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Portuguese coach, hired in July 2014, was let go following the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw, with Gabon in a tricky group alongside Ivory Coast, Mali and Morocco.

Costa was the best paid manager of any national side on the continent, news website Gaboneco revealed in May.

Iceland supporter stabbed in Paris

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Paris (AFP) A British supporter of Iceland's team in the Euro 2016 football championship was stabbed in Paris, police said Monday, adding that the injury was not life-threatening.

The assault occurred late Sunday near the Gare du Nord rail station, police said, adding that the victim underwent surgery at a Paris hospital and the assailant was arrested.

Pepe misses Portugal training at Euro 2016 with muscle problem

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Marcoussis (France) (AFP) Centre-back Pepe missed Portugal training on Monday for the Euro 2016 semi-final against Wales because of muscle pain, the Portuguese Football Federation said.

But pulling the Real Madrid player out of the session was just a precautionary measure ahead of Wednesday's match in Lyon, the federation said.

France re-establish themselves as Euro 2016 favorites

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Wednesday's match between France and Iceland in Saint-Denis, the fourth and last quarterfinal of Euro 2016, figured to set up very nicely for an Iceland team that had already captured the hearts of the watching soccerworld.

Iceland's qualities – organized, hard working, dangerous in isolated moments – were well established.

Jose Mourinho starts work as Manchester United manager

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Jose Mourinho officially started work as Manchester United manager at the club's Carrington training base on Monday.

The Portuguese travelled to Manchester by train on Sunday night and posted a video on Instagram showing his arrival at Picadilly station, saying: "I am here/UNITED we can".

Euro 2016 quarter-finals review and semi-finals preview: EuroCopa Podcast

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Welcome to the latest episode of the EuroCopa Soccer Podcast, the digital download focused on Copa America Centenario and Euro 2016.

In this episode, the EuroCopa Podcast host Nipun Chopra is joined by Kartik Krishnaiyer, Robert Hay Jr. and Kristan Heneage to review the Euro 2016 quarterfinals (Poland-Portugal, Wales-Belgium, Germany-Italy and France-Iceland) as well as to look ahead to this week's Euro 2016 semi-finals between Portugal-Wales and Germany-France.

France into Euro 2016 semis, Iceland finish with a bite

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Paris (AFP) Olivier Giroud scored twice to take man-of-the-match honours as France marched into the Euro 2016 semi-finals but even after a 5-2 hammering, Iceland departed with pride having struck new underdog blows.

France now play Germany aiming to settle old scores from past World Cups and Euros.

Bashful Bale has ruthless Ronaldo in his sights for Euro semis

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Lyon (AFP) The two most expensive players in football go head-to-head on Wednesday when Cristiano Ronaldo leads Portugal against club teammate Gareth Bale and Wales in a Euro 2016 semi-final which could lead one to unprecendented glory.

Bale is junior partner when the two line up for Real Madrid, despite winning two Champions Leagues in three years since arriving in Spain for a world record fee to team up with Ronaldo.

Manage England – ‘never’, says Wales’ coach Coleman

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Dinard (France) (AFP) Wales manager Chris Coleman would "never, ever" consider taking charge of beleaguered rivals England but as he plots the downfall of Portugal in Wednesday's Euro 2016 semi-final he said a move abroad is possible.

Having guided Wales to a first ever major tournament semi-final by masterminding a stirring 3-1 win over Belgium last Friday, Coleman's star is firmly in the ascendant.

Iceland football team hungry for more of the ‘big stage’

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Paris (AFP) Gylfi Sigurdsson has promised Iceland will not be content to bask in the glory of their Euro 2016 heroics having had a taste of the highs and lows of tournament football.

The smallest nation ever to take part in the European championship with a population of just 330,000 stunned England to reach the last eight.

Shanghai SIPG return to winning ways in Chinese Super League

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Shanghai (AFP) Shanghai SIPG grabbed their first Chinese Super League victory in six games, just days after reportedly breaking the Asian transfer record to land Brazilian forward Hulk.

Sven-Goran Eriksson's side beat Hebei China Fortune 2-0 away from home, as the team's new 55 million euro ($61 million) signing from Zenit St Petersburg stayed behind in Shanghai to regain match fitness, having yet to make his debut.

Barcelona, Real Madrid ordered to repay state aid by EU

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Brussels (AFP) The EU on Monday ordered seven Spanish football clubs including Barcelona and Real Madrid to pay back millions of euros (dollars) in illegal state aid.

The European Commission said Spanish government support, including tax breaks and overpriced land transfers,gave the clubs an "unfair advantage" over others.

Germany’s Joachim Loew relishes France Euro 2016 semi-final

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Evian (France) (AFP) Germany coach Joachim Loew is relishing facing hosts France in Thursday's Euro 2016 semi-final despite a mounting injury list.

"It's great that there's a game like this. I love playing knockout games against teams of this calibre," said Loew in Evian on Monday.

Loew's cause for optimism over the Marseille semi-final is not obvious, with three key players definitely ruled out, while captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is doubtful with a new knee injury.

Bale trains apart as Wales gear up for Portugal Euro 2016 semi

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Dinard (France) (AFP) Gareth Bale trained apart from his team-mates on Monday as Wales continued preparations for their Euro 2016 semi-final against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal on Wednesday.

While Bale's team-mates warmed up on the pitch at the team's training base in Dinard, northwest France, the Real Madrid star and midfielder David Edwards were put through their paces by a fitness coach.

More than 1,000 arrests linked to Euro 2016: minister

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Paris (AFP) French police have made more than 1,000 football-related arrests since the start of Euro 2016 and 34 people have been ordered expelled, the interior minister said in an interview published Monday.

"Since the start of the competition, (police) have carried out more than 1,000 arrests, leading to 600 custody orders and 56 convictions," Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told La Provence newspaper.

Proud Iceland say Euro giantkilling gives small nation ‘hope’

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Paris (AFP) Gylfi Sigurdsson highlighted Iceland's pride at confounding expectations at Euro 2016 despite the disappointment of a 5-2 quarter-final defeat by France on Sunday.

Sigurdsson was one of Iceland's stars as they shocked England in the last 16 to reach the last eight on their first ever appearance in a major finals.

Giroud nets twice as France book Germany showdown

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Paris (AFP) Olivier Giroud scored twice to take man-of-the-match honours as France thrashed Iceland 5-2 on Sunday to set up a Euro 2016 semi-final clash against world champions Germany.

Giroud fired France ahead after just 12 minutes at a rain-drenched Stade de France and got his second after the break as the hosts put down the tournament giantkillers who beat England 2-1.

I’ll never manage England, vows Coleman

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Dinard (France) (AFP) Wales manager Chris Coleman would "never, ever" even consider taking charge of his team's beleaguered British rivals England, he said ahead of Wednesday's Euro 2016 semi-final against Portugal.

Having guided Wales to a first ever major tournament semi-final by masterminding a stirring 3-1 win over Belgium last Friday, Coleman's star is firmly in the ascendant.

Sigurdsson proud, positive for Iceland’s future

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Paris (AFP) Gylfi Sigurdsson highlighted Iceland's pride at confounding expectations at Euro 2016 despite the disappointment of a 5-2 quarter-final defeat by France on Sunday.

Sigurdsson was one of Iceland's stars as they shocked England in the last 16 to reach the quarters on their first ever appearance in a major finals.

France did reconnaissance on Iceland marauders – Payet

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Paris (AFP) France did their homework to make sure they did not follow England's example and fall to giantkillers Iceland, said goalscorer Dimitri Payet.

"We worked on their weaknesses and their strengths," Payet said after the 5-2 quarter-final win at Stade de France. "That is what allowed us to win tonight.

Pogba propels five-star France back into form

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Paris (AFP) An extended 24-team format was always going to make Euro 2016 a marathon not a sprint and, inspired by pre-tournament golden boy Paul Pogba, hosts France may be timing their run for the line perfectly.

Pogba was to the fore, scoring his side's second goal as France dismantled England's conquerors Iceland 5-2 at Paris' Stade de France in the quarter-finals Sunday, a week to the day from the final at the same venue.

Euro 2016 – five key points from France’s Euro win

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Paris (AFP) Five key points from France's 5-2 hammering of Iceland in the European Championship quarter-final on Sunday:

+ Fast and furious

After a series of wins that needed last-minute goals, France took control of the game from the start. Olivier Giroud fired the tournament hosts ahead in the 12th minute the first time France have scored in the first half.

France hammer Iceland to book Germany showdown

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Paris (AFP) Olivier Giroud scored two goals and set up another as the Euro 2016 hosts France thrashed Iceland 5-2 on Sunday to set up a semi-final clash against world champions Germany.

Giroud fired France ahead after just 12 minutes at a rain-drenched Stade de France with Paul Pogba then heading in his first goal of the tournament to double the hosts' lead.

Umtiti debuts for France, Iceland unchanged

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Paris (AFP) France coach Didier Deschamps handed Samuel Umtiti his international debut as the Euro 2016 hosts made two enforced changes for Sunday's quarter-final against Iceland in Paris.

Umtiti, 22,who is set to join Barcelona from Lyon later this month replaces the suspended Adil Rami in central defence alongside Laurent Koscielny.

Arsenal sign promising Japanese striker

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London (AFP) Arsenal have agreed a deal to bring 21-year-old Japanese international striker Takuma Asano to North London from J-League side Sanfrecce Hiroshima, the Premier League club said on Sunday.

Capped five times by Japan, Asano is in line for the Japanese squad at the Rio Games, was rookie of the year in Japan last season and has won the J-League title twice.

PSG bolster defence with Belgian star Meunier

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Paris (AFP) French champions Paris Saint Germain have fought off rivals across Europe to snap up giant Belgian international defender Thomas Meunier from FC Bruges, the Qatar-backed club said on Sunday.

The 6ft 3in (1.9m) right-back, 24, who featured twice for Belgium at Euro 2016, has signed a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

Italy’s Conte backtracks on ‘most difficult’ day

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Montpellier (France) (AFP) An emotional Antonio Conte admitted Italy's exit to Germany at the quarter-final stages of Euro 2016 had left him facing his "most difficult" day, opening the door to a return as coach of the Azzurri one day.

Italy exited the tournament after an epic 18-kick penalty shootout that saw players from both sides hit and miss the target before Germany advanced to the last four 6-5 after a 1-1 draw in Bordeaux.

Germany’s Gomez out of Euro 2016, Khedira, Schweinsteiger doubtful

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Evian (France) (AFP) Germany's Mario Gomez has been ruled out of the rest of Euro 2016 through injury while Sami Khedira and captain Bastian Schweinsteiger are doubts for Thursday's semi-final, the German Football Federation (DFB) said Sunday.

Gomez underwent a scan on Sunday that showed the striker suffered a torn thigh muscle in the quarter-final victory over Italy and he can play no further part in the tournament, the DFB said.

Loew takes flak despite decade of German success

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Evian (France) (AFP) In reaching the Euro 2016 semi-finals, Joachim Loew has maintained his impressive record of consistently steering Germany to the final stages of major tournaments yet is still facing criticism at home.

Germany face France or Iceland in next Thursday's Marseille semi-final as die Mannschaft look to add a fourth European crown to their World Cup title.

Vikings storm Paris as Iceland dream big

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Paris (AFP) Iceland fans staged a Viking invasion of Paris on Sunday, hoping that their team can pull off another giant-killing feat against host nation France in the Euro 2016 quarter-final.

Several thousand fans turned bars near the Paris landmark Moulin Rouge into a sea of blue and red Iceland shirts as the surprise package of the tournament enjoyed what they hope will not be their last party in France.

Gomez out of Euro 2016, Khedira, Schweinsteiger doubtful

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Evian (France) (AFP) Germany striker Mario Gomez has been ruled out of the rest of Euro 2016 through injury while Sami Khedira and captain Bastian Schweinsteiger are doubts for the semi-final, the German Football Federation (DFB) said Sunday.

Gomez underwent a scan on Sunday that showed a torn thigh muscle, the DFB said, while Khedira has a partially torn groin muscle and Schweinsteiger suffered knee ligament sprain.

Guardiola lays down the law on Man City arrival

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players that they have to prove themselves all over again following his arrival at the club.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach was making his first public appearance as City handler on Sunday in front of thousands of fans at a festival held at their Academy Stadium.

Bale, Ronaldo will put friendship aside: Coleman

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Dinard (France) (AFP) There will be no love lost between Real Madrid team-mates Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo when Wales face Portugal in Wednesday's Euro 2016 semi-final, Welsh manager Chris Coleman said on Sunday.

The clash between 26-year-old Bale, the tournament's joint-top scorer with three goals, and Portuguese superstar Ronaldo, 31, will be the intriguing subplot to the game in Lyon.

Gary Neville slams talk of Hodgson rift

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London (AFP) Former England assistant coach Gary Neville has blasted reports he fell out with Roy Hodgson during Euro 2016.

The Observer newspaper reported on Sunday that then England manager Hodgson and Neville had disagreed over tactics during the tournament which ended for England when they suffered a humiliating loss to Iceland in the last 16.

Former chairman slams ‘amateur’ English FA

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London (AFP) A former chairman of England's governing Football Association has said the organisation has "failed" over the last 10 years because of its "amateur structure".

England's humiliating exit from Euro 2016 at the hands of rank outsiders Iceland sparked the resignation of manager Roy Hodgson and led to a fresh bout of soul-searching regarding the state of the English game.

Infantino governance, lifestyle slammed in FIFA memo

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Geneva (AFP) The governance of new FIFA president Gianni and his lifestyle have drawn criticism in an internal memo of world football's governing body, published online by the Swiss weekly SonntagsZeitung.

The 11-page memo, dated May 23 last, concerns the first two months of Infantino's presidency and its unnamed author sent the document to Sindisiwe Mabaso-Koyana, acting chairperson of FIFA's audit and compliance committee.

Khedira ‘ruled out of Euro 2016’

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Berlin (AFP) Germany look set to be without key midfielder Sami Khedira for the rest of Euro 2016 due to a groin muscle tear, according to reports in the German media on Sunday.

Khedira limped out of Saturday's quarter-final win over Italy on penalties after just 15 minutes to be replaced by captain Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Man City in Olympic stand off with Nigeria

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Kelechi Iheanacho will miss the Olympics because new Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wants him to stay at the English club for pre-season training instead of .

The 19-year-old striker was selected in Nigeria's 35-man provisional squad for the football tournament at next month's Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Chelsea sign Batshuayi on five-year deal

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London (AFP) Marseille's Belgian international striker Michy Batshuayi has signed a five-year contract with Chelsea, the Premier League club confirmed on Sunday.

A 6.5-million-euro signing from Standard Liege in 2014, Batshuayi scored 17 goals in Ligue 1 last season, and 23 times in all competitions.

No regrets for teary Buffon as Italy exit Euros

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Bordeaux (AFP) Tears rolled down the cheeks of Gianluigi Buffon but the legendary Italy 'keeper said there were "no regrets" despite the Azzurri missing a golden chance to beat Germany to a Euro 2016 semi-final spot.

"The tears are for my disappointment. It was a magical experience that revived something in all of us and our fans, but it's come to an end," an emotional Buffon told media after Germany's 6-5 penalty shoot-out win in Bordeaux.

Germany win on penalties to reach Euro 2016 semi-finals

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Bordeaux (AFP) Germany moved into the semi-finals of Euro 2016 but their un-German-like inefficiency in a penalty shootout with Italy almost cost them dear before Jonas Hector kept his head.

Germany missed three penalties before triumphing 6-5 in a rollercoaster 18-penalty shootout as Hector slotted home his kick under the diving Gianluigi Buffon and raced into his teammates' arms.

Most-watched Copa America Centenario teams on US TV

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For some, the country that has been the most-watched Copa America Centenario team on US television may be a surprise. It's not, as you would expect, the United States as the host country.

Others won't be surprised that it's the Mexico national team that was the most popular Copa America Centenario team on US shores.

France wary of giant-killers Iceland in Euro quarter-final

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Paris (AFP) Hosts France have their sights set on a place in the semi-finals of Euro 2016 but must be wary of falling victim to another Icelandic giant-killing when the teams clash on Sunday.

Didier Deschamps' side come into the last quarter-final at the Stade de France as the overwhelming favourites against a country with a population of just 330,000, and with a semi-final against Germany the reward for the winner.

It’s bye-bye Italy, hello Chelsea for Conte

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Bordeaux (AFP) Italy coach Antonio Conte insisted his battling players left their mark on Euro 2016 but after a quarter-final penalty shootout defeat to Germany he is already looking towards his "new adventure" with Chelsea.

"I think the lads really left their mark on this tournament," an emotional Conte said on Saturday after seeing his side suffer their first loss to the World Cup holders in nine outings at major finals.

Where to find France vs. Iceland on US TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch France vs. Iceland in Euro 2016, you've come to the right place.

The final game of the Euro 2016 pits David vs. Goliath —Iceland, entering the tournament for the first time and with a population of less than 400,000 —face France, the host of Euro 2016.

Hoddle waiting for England call

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London (AFP) Former England manager Glenn Hoddle said Sunday he would be interested in talking to the Football Association (FA) about taking over from Roy Hodgson after the team's Euro 2016 exit to Iceland.

Hoddle, 58, previously held the position from 1996 to 1999 when he was sacked following comments he made about disabled people.

Watch France vs. Iceland for free with Sling TV

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The match between France and Iceland promises to be an emotional afternoon with the host country taking on the Cinderella story at Euro 2016. This is a match you don't want to miss.

The winner of France against Iceland in the Euro 2016 quarterfinal will play Germany in the semi-final of the competition on Thursday.

Poland’s Krychowiak signs for PSG from Sevilla

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Paris (AFP) Poland international midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak has signed for French champions Paris Saint-Germain from Sevilla, both clubs confirmed on Sunday.

The 26-year-old, who started his career at Ligue 1 side Bordeaux, has spent the last two seasons at Spanish La Liga outfit Sevilla.

Sevilla’s Krychowiak pens five-year PSG deal

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Paris (AFP) Poland international midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak has signed for French champions Paris Saint-Germain from Sevilla on a five-year deal, both clubs confirmed on Sunday.

The 26-year-old, who started his career at Ligue 1 side Bordeaux, links up again with former Sevilla coach Unai Emery, now at the helm of PSG.

Arteta joins Man City coaching staff

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London (AFP) Former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta confirmed on Sunday he has accepted a coaching role under new Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

The 34-year-old Spaniard is retiring after a five-year stint with the Gunners, during which time he won two FA Cups.

"Following recent media speculation surrounding my future I can confirm that I will be leaving Arsenal and retiring from playing to take up a coaching position at Manchester City," Arteta wrote on Twitter.

Bonucci revenge motivated German stopper Neuer

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Bordeaux (AFP) Manuel Neuer says his determination to stop Leonardo Bonucci's second spot-kick was the key to Germany's dramatic 6-5 penalty shootout win over Italy in Saturday's Euro 2016 quarter-final.

Neuer, voted the world's best goalkeeper for the last three years, saved shots from Bonucci and Matteo Darmian in the marathon 18-penalty shootout after it had finished 1-1 after extra-time in Bordeaux.

German Euro 2016 penalty king Hector had ‘heart in mouth’

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Bordeaux (AFP) Jonas Hector, who scored the decisive spot-kick as Germany beat Italy 6-5 in a penalty shootout to reach the Euro 2016 semi-finals on Saturday, admitted his nerves had been jangling.

"I knew I had to take one at some point and I had my heart in my mouth," Hector said.

"It's hard to put it into words, but I am overjoyed that it went in.

Germany beat Italy 6-5 on penalties in Euro 2016 quarter-final

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Bordeaux (AFP) Jonas Hector struck the winning penalty as Germany progressed to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 with a 6-5 win over Italy on penalties after a marathon shootout.

The match ended 1-1 at the end of extra-time as Leonardo Bonucci's penalty cancelled out Mesut Ozil's opener for Germany.

Hector the hero as Germany sink Italy in Euro 2016 shoot-out

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Bordeaux (AFP) Jonas Hector fired Germany into the semi-finals of Euro 2016 at Italy's expense after an epic round of 18 penalty kicks that saw players from both sides produce stunning misses in Bordeaux on Saturday.

World Cup holders Germany won the shoot-out 6-5 after a tense match finished 1-1 after 90 minutes and extra time, and their reward is a semi-final with the winner of Sunday's last quarter-final between hosts France and Iceland.

Euro 2016 quarter-final: Germany 1 Italy 1, goes to extra-time

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Bordeaux (AFP) World champions Germany's blockbuster Euro 2016 quarter-final against Italy went to extra-time in Bordeaux after Leonardo Bonucci's penalty 12 minutes from time cancelled out Mesut Ozil's opener.

Ozil made Germany's pressure count when he slotted home Jonas Hector's deflected cross midway through the second-half, but a needless handball from Jerome Boateng inside his own box handed Bonucci the chance to bury the resulting spot-kick.

Chelsea target Batshuayi confirms Marseille departure

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Marseille (AFP) Belgian international striker Michy Batshuayi, reportedly set for a 40 million-euro (£32.9m, $44.4m) switch from Marseille to Premier League side Chelsea, confirmed he was leaving the Ligue 1 outfit on Saturday.

Marseille had requested their 22-year-old top scorer from last season keep quiet on the move until details had been hammered out between the two clubs.

Viking invasion heads for Euro 2016 in France — without jerseys

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Reykjavik (AFP) Team jerseys are almost sold out, there is barely a seat left on a plane to Paris and the country's one fan zone has tripled in size Iceland is feverishly preparing for its surprise Euro 2016 quarter-final against France on Sunday.

One sentence has been on everyone's lips in Reykjavik in recent days "Once in a lifetime".

Hosts France wary of Iceland Euro 2016 pitfall

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Paris (AFP) Didier Deschamps' France will be wary of falling victim to the same trap that ensnared England as the Euro 2016 hosts take on rank outsiders Iceland for a place in the semi-finals on Sunday.

France are vying for a record-equalling third European Championship title and go into their quarter-final as overwhelming favourites against a country with a population of just 330,000.

‘Simple’ Iceland can imitate Wales in Euro 2016, says Gunnarsson

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Paris (AFP) Iceland captain Aron Gunnarsson said his side can draw inspiration from Wales when the North Atlantic nation take on Euro 2016 hosts France for a place in the semi-finals on Sunday.

Wales stunned Belgium 3-1 on Friday to reach the last four of a major tournament for the first time and Iceland are looking to match that achievement at the Stade de France.

Newspapers reaction to Wales defeating Belgium in Euro 2016 [PHOTOS]

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Wonder in Wales, awe in England, bitterness in Belgium, and shock across the Continent, these were the reactions across Europe after the legendary result in Lille. Let's take a look at how European papers covered footballing history.

Wales' Western Mail leads with a euphoric photo and a headline that perfectly sums up the national mood:

Hal Robson-Kanu has a name made for headlines and his Cruyff-ian goal inspired many to play off of his name, starting with The Times:

The Mirror did the Times one better by slyly referencing the late Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest:

The mood was more incredulous across the pond.

France won’t be caught cold by Iceland in Euro 2016, says Lloris

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Paris (AFP) France captain Hugo Lloris vowed the Euro 2016 hosts would not be caught out by surprise by quarter-finalists Iceland in Sunday's tie in Paris.

France are seeking to emulate their 1984 European Championship success on home soil, but goalkeeper Lloris is well aware of the dangers posed by Iceland after the North Atlantic islanders shocked England 2-1 in the last 16.

Most-watched Copa America Centenario games on US TV

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FOX Sports and Univision's coverage of the 2016 Copa America averaged more than 4 million viewers per game, but which games were the most-watched during the entire 32 game tournament?

Based on our research plus the help of Sports TV Ratings, we've compiled the list of the top 32 most-watched games on US television.

How brilliant managers and tactical systems have been the story of Euro 2016

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Tactics and systems matter. This really isn't shocking or that groundbreaking in terms of soccer analysis, but if there's any trend that has emerged from this summer in both the United States and France, it's that talent can only take a team so far.

While this hasn't been elaborated on all that much with regards to the Copa America Centenario, tactics, systems and charismatic managers have laid the groundwork for what turned out to be a relatively unsurprising result.

Germany face Italy in Euro 2016 battle of titans

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Bordeaux (AFP) In a match which could have graced the final of Euro 2016, Joachim Loew's world champions Germany take on Antonio Conte's Italy in a quarter-final clash of giants on Saturday.

The prize on offer in Bordeaux is a semi-final against host nation France or surprise package Iceland, who meet on Sunday.

Stiliyan Petrov’s fight against leukaemia

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The date June 23,2016 will go down in history as the day the people of the United Kingdom voted to get out of the European Union. As the referendum made big headlines all over world, one would be forgiven to miss the announcement, done on the same day, from newly-relegated Aston Villa Football Club that their former captain was returning for pre-season training.

Germany v Italy in Euro 2016 battle of titans

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Bordeaux (AFP) In a match which could have graced the final of Euro 2016, Joachim Loew's world champions Germany take on Antonio Conte's Italy in a quarter-final clash of giants on Saturday.

The prize on offer in Bordeaux is a semi-final against host nation France or surprise package Iceland, who meet on Sunday.

End of an era as United legend Giggs quits club

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs is to leave after almost 30 years of service, the English Premier League club announced on Saturday in a widely expected move following Jose Mourinho's appointment as manager.

The 42-year-old Welshman an integral part of the great side built by Alex Ferguson and who made a record 963 aoppearances is keen to pursue a managerial career, having been assistant manager during the unsuccessful spells of David Moyes and then Louis van Gaal.

United London FC brings Football Manager to life

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It sounds crazy, or perhaps so crazy it could work, that a soccer club would allow its fans to pick its weekly starting XI. Well, that is just what United London FC is doing. The start-up, non-league English side is working to bring fans back into the game, in a Football Manager meets fantasy sports way.

Manchester United legend Giggs quits club

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs is to leave after almost 30 years of service, the English Premier League club announced on Saturday in a widely expected move following Jose Mourinho's appointment as manager.

The 42-year-old Welshman an integral part of the great side built by Alex Ferguson is keen to pursue a managerial career, having been assistant manager during the unsuccessful spells of David Moyes and then Louis van Gaal.

Watch Germany vs. Italy for free with Sling TV

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The most eagerly anticipated Euro 2016 quarter-final features Germany against Italy in a game that could easily be a classic semi-final or final. Sadly, one of the teams will exit the tournament after today.

In this match, it's a rare game where Germany are the underdogs against an Italian side who have improved throughout each game they've played in this tournament.

Giggs savours Wales’s ‘greatest night’

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London (AFP) Ryan Giggs said it was the "greatest night in Welsh football history," after Wales beat Belgium to reach the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

Victory in Lille saw Wales into the last four of a major tournament for the first time in their history.

It was a result made all the more impressive by the fact that this was Wales's first appearance in a leading global event since they were beaten by eventual champions Brazil in the quarter-finals of the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.

Wales fight back to reach historic semi-final

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Lille (France) (AFP) Wales and unsung hero Hal Robson-Kanu completed a stunning fightback to beat Belgium 3-1 in Euro 2016 on Friday and reach their first major tournament semi-final.

The victory in Wales' first ever participation in a European Championship finals sets up a mouthwatering duel between their talisman Gareth Bale and his Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo when the tournament's last British representatives face Portugal in Lyon on Wednesday.

Portugal’s new hero Sanches stirs controversy at young age

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Paris (AFP) Renato Sanches is being hailed as Portugal's star of the future but the dreadlocked wonder kid is already causing controversy amid the rave reviews.

"Portugal's prodigal son" and "the golden kid" were two of the headlines after the rags-to-riches teenager's stunning equaliser and calm from the penalty spot kept Portugal on course for Euro 2016 glory as they saw off Poland 5-3 in a shootout to reach the semi-finals.

Guardiola, Mourinho and Ancelotti primed for new challenges

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London (AFP) The fat lady may be clearing her throat at Euro 2016 but the three tenors of the coaching world Carlo Ancelotti, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho are due for the first rehearsals with their new club sides.

All three are renowned not only for their coaching ability they have all won multiple Champions Leagues but also their vastly different characters.

Hosts France wary of Iceland pitfall

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Paris (AFP) Didier Deschamps' France will be wary of falling victim to the same trap that ensnared England as the Euro 2016 hosts take on rank outsiders Iceland for a place in the semi-finals on Sunday.

France are vying for a record-equalling third European Championship title and go into their quarter-final as overwhelming favourites against a country with a population of just 330,000.

World-beating Germany face Azzurri acid test

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Bordeaux (AFP) Joachim Loew's Germany face the acid test of their status as world champions against Italy on Saturday in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals.

The facts speak for themselves: Germany have never managed a win over the Azzurri in eight attempts on the big stage at either a World Cup or European Championship finals.

Where to find Germany vs. Italy on US TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch Germany vs. Italy in Euro 2016, you've come to the right place.

Without a doubt, Germany against Italy is the most eagerly anticipated game of Euro 2016 to date featuring two giants of world soccer battling against each other. Germany, so far, have not hit top gear, but perhaps Italy has?

Wales’ victory over Belgium is everything we love about soccer

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Wales' absolutely thrilling 3-1 victory over Belgium on Friday night at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille had everything.

It had Hal Robson-Kanu, a winger recently released by lowly English championship club Reading, scoring a game-winning goal fit for the greats – imagined with astonishing chutzpah and executed with imperious skill.

Mkhitaryan completes Man Utd move – Borussia Dortmund

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Berlin (AFP) Armenian international Henrikh Mkhitaryan became Jose Mourinho's third signing of the close season for Manchester United on Saturday, the midfielder's German club Borussia Dortmund announced.

The 27-year-old, who joins Ivory Coast defender Eric Bailly and veteran Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic as new faces at United, was given a curt farewell by Dortmund after ending his three-year stay with them.

Defensive naivety cost Belgium, says coach Wilmots

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Lille (France) (AFP) Belgium coach Marc Wilmots admitted lapses by his young makeshift defence proved costly as their Euro 2016 dreams ended in a 3-1 quarter-final defeat to Wales on Friday.

The Red Devils started well in Lille and took an early lead through a blistering Radja Nainggolan strike.

Coleman laments loss of Ramsey for Euro 2016 semi-final

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Lille (France) (AFP) The only disappointment on a historic night for Wales at Euro 2016 on Friday were the bookings picked up by both Aaron Ramsey and Ben Davies that will force them to miss next week's semi-final against Portugal.

Midfielder Ramsey and defender Davies were two of the three Welsh players who were already on a yellow card coming into Friday's quarter-final against Belgium in Lille, which Chris Coleman's side won 3-1.

US soccer star Donovan becomes part-owner of Swansea

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Washington (AFP) Retired US star striker Landon Donovan, the all-time Major League Soccer and American top scorer, revealed Friday his participation in the US consortium taking over Swansea of the English Premier League.

After the Premier League announced final approval of the takeover, Donovan sang his Swans song taking to Twitter to reveal his latest football undertaking.

NBC Sports to broadcast Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and new kit unveil on Sunday

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NBC Sports Appwill broadcast a live stream on Sunday of Manchester City's festivities that will include the unveiling of new manager Pep Guardiola to the City supporters.

In addition to the appearance by Guardiola, Manchester City will reveal their new crest, website and home jersey.

NBC Sports App, previously known as NBC Sports Live Extra, will begin the broadcast on Sunday, July 3 at 9:40am ET.

‘Hal-lelujah’ press hail Welsh Euro 2016 heroes

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London (AFP) "Princes of Wales", "Hal-lelujah" and "Welsh Wonders" splashed across the first editions of the British media as they saluted Wales' historic 3-1 victory over Belgium that sent them into the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

It is the first time Wales have ever reached the last four of a major tournament and comes on their debut appearance in the European championship.

Welsh unsung heroes allow Bale to keep dreaming

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Lille (France) (AFP) Gareth Bale's dream of winning Euro 2016 with Wales remains very much alive after he and his teammates dug deep to send Belgium packing in remarkable fashion in Friday's quarter-final.

Wales recovered from Radja Nainggolan's missile-like opener in the 13th minute to win 3-1 in Lille but it was unsung captain Ashley Williams, striker Hal Robson-Kanu and substitute Sam Vokes who got the goals rather than Bale.

Never give up on dreams, says Wales coach Coleman

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Lille (France) (AFP) Wales coach Chris Coleman said Friday his side's victory over Belgium in Euro 2016 to reach a semi-final of a major tournament for the first time in their history showed you must never give up on your dreams.

"Don't be afraid about dreams because four years ago I was as far away from this as you can imagine and look what has happened," Coleman told BBC TV.

Belgium Euro 2016 exit ‘terrible disappointment’ – Witsel

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Lille (France) (AFP) Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel described his side's Euro 2016 elimination as a "terrible disappointment" after they lost 3-1 to Wales in their quarter-final in Lille on Friday.

Belgium, the world's second-ranked team, took a 13th-minute lead through Radja Nainggolan, but goals from Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu and substitute Sam Vokes sent Wales into a quarter-final meeting with Portugal on Wednesday.

Wales on ‘cloud nine’ after Euro 2016 win, says Robson-Kanu

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Lille (France) (AFP) Wales hero Hal Robson-Kanu put his side's stunning victory over Belgium in Friday's Euro 2016 quarter-final down to years of collective hard work.

Robson-Kanu, Ashley Williams and Sam Vokes scored the goals as Chris Coleman's men came from behind to beat much-fancied Belgium 3-1 in a remarkable game in Lille.

What it feels like to be a proud Wales supporter

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Twomonths ago, Rodney Marsh and Tommy Smyth asked me on Sirius XM FC"s Grumpy Pundits how far I thought Wales would go in Euro 2016. My response was that we were happy to be in the tournament, but qualifying for the Second Round would be a huge achievement in a group featuring England, Russia and Slovakia.

Wales stun Belgium 3-1 to reach Euro 2016 semi-finals

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Lille (France) (AFP) Wales stunned Belgium 3-1 at Euro 2016 on Friday to reach their first ever semi-final of a major tournament.

Radja Nainggolan fired Belgium into a 13th-minute lead in Lille, but goals from Ashley Williams, Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Vokes sent Wales through to a last-four showdown with Portugal on their European Championship debut.

Germany coach Loew won’t be fooled by Italy in Euro 2016

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Bordeaux (AFP) Germany coach Joachim Loew said Friday he won't be fooled: when it comes to Italy and major finals, he is taking nothing for granted ahead of their battle for a semi-final spot at Euro 2016.

Barely four months after humbling Italy 4-1 in a friendly in Munich, Germany go into Saturday's quarter-final clash in Bordeaux as favourites to clinch a place in the last four and a match-up with France or Iceland.

Robson-Kanu fires Wales to historic Euro 2016 semi-final

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Lille (France) (AFP) Hal Robson-Kanu scored a sensational goal as Wales came from behind to stun Belgium 3-1 in Friday's Euro 2016 quarter-final in Lille and reach their first major tournament semi-final.

Radja Nainggolan gave Belgium a 13th-minute lead, but Ashley Williams equalised before a dazzling strike from Robson-Kanu, whose contract with English second-tier club Reading expired on Thursday, and a late header by substitute Sam Vokes earned Wales a historic victory.

Italy ready for ‘ultimate test’ of Germany in Euro 2016, says Conte

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Bordeaux (AFP) Italy coach Antonio Conte was full of praise for German counterpart Joachim Loew, but believes the Azzurri are ready to avenge a recent friendly thrashing to book their place in the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

Two years on from crashing out of a second successive World Cup at the group stage, Italy are in contention to win their first European championships since 1968.

Euro 2016 quarter-final – Belgium 1 Wales 1 at half-time

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Lille (France) (AFP) Wales captain Ashley Williams cancelled out Radja Nainggolan's stunning opener for Belgium to send the teams into half-time level at 1-1 in Friday's Euro 2016 quarter-final in Lille.

Nainggolan hammered a thunderous long-range strike past Wayne Hennessey in the 13th minute at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy, but Williams equalised on 31 minutes with a towering header from Aaron Ramsey's corner.

Spain’s Del Bosque turns on Casillas for poor Euro 2016 attitude

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Madrid (AFP) Outgoing Spain boss Vicente del Bosque has sparked controversy by signalling out veteran captain Iker Casillas's poor attitude as Spain's reign as European champions came to an end at Euro 2016.

A 2-0 defeat to Italy on Monday ended Spain's quest for a third consecutive European Championship crown with Casillas relegated to the substitutes bench behind Manchester United's David de Gea after captaining La Roja's previous two continental triumphs.

Dutch goalkeeper Stekelenburg joins Koeman at Everton

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Liverpool (AFP) Dutch international goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg signed for Premier League Everton on Friday from second-tier Fulham, becoming Ronald Koeman's first capture since he took over at Goodison Park.

The 33-year-old, who signed a three-year contract for an undisclosed fee, impressed compatriot Koeman when he played under him on loan at Southampton last season.

Iceland at a standstill for Euros, but tourism thrives

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Reykjavik (AFP) With a large part of its population in France for the Euro 2016, Iceland has pretty much come to a standstill except for its tourism sector, which is booming.

Ahead of Iceland's historic quarter-final match on Sunday against host France, estimates vary on how many Icelanders have travelled to France, ranging from 10,000 to 50,000.

Poland, Portugal face UEFA disciplinary probes

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Paris (AFP) Poland and Portugal's football authorities became the latest to come under scrutiny from UEFA as European football's governing body opened disciplinary proceedings against both federations on Friday.

Portugal progressed to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 with a 5-3 penalty shootout win in Marseille after the teams were tied at 1-1 after extra-time.

Belgian invasion for Euro 2016 clash with Wales

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Lille (France) (AFP) Swarms of Belgian fans made the short trip across the border into France on Friday ahead of their side's Euro 2016 quarter-final against Gareth Bale's Wales in Lille.

Barely 12,000 Belgian fans and a similar number of Wales supporters have tickets for the game at the 50,000-capacity Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille where the two will decide who plays Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in a semi-final next Wednesday.

Ibrahimovic reunited with Mourinho at Manchester United

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Swedish superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic completed his transfer to English Premier League giants Manchester United on Friday on a free transfer.

The 34-year-old who left French champions Paris Saint Germain at the end of last season having scored 156 goals in 180 appearances is reunited with Jose Mourinho, under whom he played at Inter Milan.

FOX and Univision’s Copa America games averaged over 4 million viewers per game

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Across the 32 games played during Copa America Centenario, FOX Sports and Univision collectively averaged over 4 million viewers per game.

The combined viewing average was 4,041,969 viewers. Univision's average was 3,099,625 per game, while FOX Sports averaged 1,009,839 per game.

From a TV ratings perspective, Copa America Centenario was a huge hit for Univision, delivering viewing numbers that were greater than World Cup 2014.

Sagna warns France to avoid last-minute heroics at Euro 2016

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Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines (France) (AFP) France risk being "punished" if they keep relying on last-gasp goals to win games at Euro 2016, defender Bacary Sagna warned Friday.

The Manchester City star said that Iceland France's quarter-final opponents on Sunday are the Leicester City of the European Championship and France's status as a favourite could be a handicap.

Most-watched Copa America Centenario games on FOX Sports

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Now that we've been able to collect all of the TV ratings data for Copa America Centenario, we can now reveal the most-watched Copa America Centenario games that were televised on FOX Sports.

Not surprisingly, the USA-Argentina semi-final was the most-watched game. Also, other than the Copa America Centenario final, the US Men's National Team ruled the roost in terms of the most-watched TV viewing audiences.

Barcelona tie Neymar down with 250 mn euro buyout clause

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Barcelona (AFP) Brazilian striker Neymar has signed a five-year contract extension that includes a buy out-clause of up to 250 million euros ($277.5 dollars), the Spanish club said Friday.

The deal will keep the 24-year-old international, widely regarded as one of the finest talents in world football, at Barcelona until June 30, 2021, the club said in a statement.

Giggs ‘to leave Manchester United’

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London (AFP) Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs will leave Old Trafford after rejecting Jose Mourinho's offer of a reduced backroom role, according to British media reports on Friday.

Giggs is the most decorated player in United's illustrious history and he amassed a record 963 appearances and 35 major trophies before going on to serve as an assistant to David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.

Iceland’s young footballers thrive despite winter chill

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Reykjavik (AFP) Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, whose goal sent England packing from Euro 2016, is a star example of Iceland's incubator clubs cultivating talent with top-notch coaching and indoor pitches.

When the striker joined Vikingur Reykjavik at the age of six, the club saw immediately that he had something special.

Italy’s De Sciglio relishing chance against Germany at Euro 2016

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Montpellier (France) (AFP) Italy's Mattia De Sciglio remembers watching Italy suffer joy and heartbreak at major finals, but he is hoping to play a role when the Azzurri bid to book their Euro 2016 semi-final spot against Germany on Saturday.

AC Milan midfielder De Sciglio was only a teenager when he watched Italy upset pre-tournament predictions to beat France in the final of the 2006 World Cup.

Hatem Ben Arfa makes ‘dream’ move to PSG

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Paris (AFP) France international midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa has signed a two-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain, the French champions announced Friday.

"PSG have signed Hatem Ben Arfa to a two-year deal through June 2018," the club said on its Twitter account.

The former Lyon, Marseille and Newcastle winger who joined from Ligue 1 rivals Nice is the club's first recruit since Spanish coach Unai Emery replaced Laurent Blanc this week.

FOX Sports averages 997k viewers for Copa America Centenario TV coverage

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Buoyed by the successful run that the United States made to the semi-finals of the competition, FOX Sports' coverage of Copa America Centenario averaged XXX,XXX viewers per game.

The most-watched game of Copa America Centenario for FOX Sports was the 3.29 million people who tuned in to see the United States play Argentina on Tuesday, June 21 from 9-11pm ET.

Barca ties Neymar down with 250 mn euro buyout clause

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Barcelona (AFP) Brazilian striker Neymar has signed a five-year contract extension which includes a buy out clause of up to 250 million euros ($277.5 dollars), the Spanish club said Friday.

The deal will keep the 24-year-old international, widely regarded as one of the finest talents in world football, at Barcelona until June 30, 2021, the club said in a statement.

Ben Arfa joins French champions PSG

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Paris (AFP) France international midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa has signed a two-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain from Ligue 1 rivals Nice, the French champions announced Friday.

"Paris Saint-Germain is happy to announce the signing of Hatem Ben Arfa's contract until June 30, 2018," the club said on its Twitter account.

Watch Belgium vs. Wales for free with Sling TV

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Belgium faces Wales today in the Euro 2016 quarter-final, which will be shown live on ESPN2 in the United States, but you can also watch it for free with a 7-day trial to Sling TV.

Between Belgium and Wales, there will be one winner today. And that team will play Portugal in the Euro 2016 semi-final next week.

Barca ties Neymar down with 250 mln euro buyout clause

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Barcelona (AFP) Brazilian striker Neymar has signed a five-year contract extension which includes a buy out clause of up to 250 million euros ($277.5 dollars), the Spanish club said Friday.

The deal will keep the 24-year-old international, widely regarded as one of the finest talents in world football, at Barcelona until June 30, 2021, the club said in a statement.

Giggs to leave United — reports

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London (AFP) Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs will leave Old Trafford after rejecting Jose Mourinho's offer of a reduced backroom role, according to British media reports on Friday.

Giggs is the most decorated player in United's illustrious history and he amassed a record 963 appearances and 35 major trophies before going on to serve as an assistant to David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.

Ben Arfa signs for PSG

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Paris (AFP) France international midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa has signed a two-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain from Ligue 1 rivals Nice, the French champions announced Friday.

"Paris Saint-Germain is happy to announce the signing of Hatem Ben Arfa's contract until June 30, 2018," the club said on its Twitter account.

Portugal’s Wonderkid Sanches leaves Ronaldo in shade at Euro 2016

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Marseille (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo found himself overshadowed by the rising star of Portuguese football, 18-year-old Renato Sanches as they booked their place in the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

Despite still having failed to win a game in 90 minutes, Ronaldo is just two victories away from delivering Portugal's first major tournament win after scraping past Poland 5-3 on penalties in Marseille.

Ronaldo’s ‘dream’ still alive after shootout win

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Marseille (AFP) Cristiano Ronaldo took his "dream" of an international title another step closer when Portugal beat Poland in a penalty shootout to reach the European Championship semi-finals.

Robert Lewandowski scored barely 100 seconds into the latest night of Euro 2016 drama before Portugal unleashed the player who many say could lead the country's post-Ronaldo era.

Belgian ‘invasion’ for Euro 2016 clash with Wales

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Lille (France) (AFP) At least 150,000 Belgian fans are expected to flood across the border into France on Friday to see their side take on Gareth Bale's Wales in the Euro 2016 quarter-final.

Barely 12,000 Belgian fans and a similar number of Wales supporters have tickets for the 50,000-capacity Lille stadium where the two will decide who plays Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in the European Championship semi-final next Wednesday.

Germany attempt to throw off Italian shackles

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Bordeaux (AFP) Europe's titans clash on Saturday when Germany and Italy meet in the plum Euro 2016 quarter-final with huge stakes for both countries.

Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is poised to make his first start in the Bordeaux match, while Italy's veteran defender Daniele de Rossi faces a race to be fit.

Poles rally round ‘Kuba’ after Portugal penalty miss at Euro 2016

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Marseille (AFP) Teammates rushed to rally round Polish midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski after a crucial penalty miss handed Portugal victory in their Euro 2016 quarter-final on Thursday.

"We lost as a team, and not just one player," said striker Robert Lewandowski, who gave Poland a second-minute lead with his first goal of the tournament.

Iceland’s Euro 2016 success is no laughing matter

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Annecy (France) (AFP) The jokes have been doing the rounds on social media since Iceland's stunning 2-1 victory over England put them in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals.

Kolbeinn Sigthorsson's winning goal made him a hero in Iceland while the last 16 defeat signalled the end of Roy Hodgson's career as England manager.

Wales boss Coleman promises Belgium ‘hell of a game’ at Euro 2016

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Lille (France) (AFP) Emboldened byBelgium's defensive selection problems, Wales manager Chris Coleman has told Eden Hazard and his team-mates to expect "a hell of a game" in Friday's Euro 2016 quarter-final.

Hazard starred as Belgium crushed Hungary 4-0 in the last 16, but his side have since lost Thomas Vermaelen to suspension and Jan Vertonghen to injury, robbing coach Marc Wilmots of the left half of his defence.

Where to find Wales vs. Belgium on US TV and streaming

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If you're trying to find out how you can watch Wales vs. Belgium in Euro 2016, you've come to the right place.

Favorites Belgium face Wales in a match to determine who will advance to the Euro 2016 semi-final to play Portugal next week. Wales have never advanced past the quarter-final of a major tournament, so a win here will be the country's greatest achievement in soccer.

Spain’s Nolito signs for Man City

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) Spanish international forward Nolito has signed for Manchester City from Celta Vigo, the Premier League club confirmed on Friday.

The 29-year-old has agreed a four-year contract and becomes new manager Pep Guardiola's second signing after Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.

Townsend pens Crystal Palace deal, Gayle joins Newcastle

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London (AFP) Crystal Palace have signed England international winger Andros Townsend from Newcastle for a club record £13 million ($17m, 15.5m euros), the Premier League club confirmed on Friday.

The 24-year-old has agreed a five-year contract with his transfer coming on the same day that striker Dwight Gayle moved in the opposite direction.

Iceland shirt is Euro 2016’s must-have item

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Annecy (France) (AFP) Iceland's march to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals has caught the football world by surprise and left new-found fans struggling to get their hands on a replica shirt.

Iceland's eye-catching blue playing shirt has become the tournament's must-have item after their shock 2-1 win over England in the last 16 thanks to Kolbeinn Sigthorsson's winning goal.

Brilliant Gareth Bale can lift Wales again in Belgium quarter-final

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Wales are not a one-man team. Chris Coleman and his players have proven that beyond any doubt both on the road to the European Championships and at the finals themselves.

In qualifying they defended tremendously, conjured chances at key moments and cultivated a team spirit that exudes from the camp.

Iceland’s Saevarsson wants maximum focus for France Euros clash

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Annecy (France) (AFP) Iceland defender Birkir Mar Saevarsson says the Euro 2016 minnows cannot afford to lose concentration for a second against hosts France in Sunday's quarter-final as they seek another huge upset.

Iceland shocked the football world by dumping England out of the European Championship finals with a shock 2-1 win in the last 16 to set up a last-eight clash at the Stade de France.

France goalkeeper Mandanda signs for Crystal Palace

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Paris (AFP) Marseille's French international goalkeeper Steve Mandanda has signed a three-year deal with Crystal Palace, both clubs announced on Friday.

France's number two keeper arrives in England after nine years in southern France where he won the Ligue 1 title in 2010 and three League Cup titles.