World Cup Buzz Archives for January 2017

USA vs. Ghana preview, TV times and team news

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The summer is certainly off to a good start for the USMNT. They got four out of a possible six points in World Cup Qualifying (which included a draw at the always formidable Azteca Stadium in Mexico City) and threw in a draw against Venezuela for good measure. While the World Cup Qualifying campaign certainly appears to be back on track, it’s time for the US to shift gears and start preparing for the Gold Cup which is just around the corner.

Germany beat Spain to win under-21 Euro

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Kraków (Poland) (AFP) – Mitchell Weiser scored with a looping first-half header to hand Germany the under-21 European Championship title after a 1-0 win over Spain in the southern Polish city of Krakow on Friday.

It is Germany’s second title in the age group following their triumph in 2009, while Spain failed to expand their collection of four titles.

Liverpool home jersey for 2017/18 season commemorates 125th anniversary with retro design

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Liverpool’s home jersey for the 2017/18 season features a retro design that celebrates the club’s 125th anniversary.

The new home kit pays homage to the Club’s 125th anniversary, revealing the commemorative crest for the first time. The Liverbird emblem flanked with ‘1892’ and ‘2017’ is embroidered onto the breast of the shirt; a unique feature of the New Balance kits for the 2017/18 season.

Shakira, football stars to dance at Messi’s wedding

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Rosario (Argentina) (AFP) – Footballers and celebrities including pop singer Shakira gathered Friday for the “wedding of the century” in Lionel Messi’s Argentine hometown as the Barcelona superstar prepared to marry his childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo.

Shakira and her husband, Messi’s teammate Gerard Pique, arrived at the airport and headed to the wedding venue to join 260 guests including numerous footballers such as Messi’s Barcelona strike partners Neymar and Luis Suarez.

Sunderland’s Borini signs Milan deal

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Milan (AFP) – AC Milan on Friday announced the signing of mercurial Sunderland striker Fabio Borini on a one-year loan deal the Italian giants must make permanent at the end of next season.

Borini, who has played for Chelsea, Liverpool and Sunderland as well as Roma, is the second striker to be signed by the resurgent Serie A giants this close season following the capture of Andre Silva from Porto on a five-year deal two weeks ago.

Premier League Pass FAQ: NBC’s replacement for Premier League Extra Time

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With NBC Sports’ launch of Premier League Pass, soccer fans will no longer be able to get “every game, every weekend, all season long” of the Premier League unless they’re willing to pay extra.

The surprising change means that the Premier League will no longer be as accessible as what we’re accustomed to.

Deulofeu returns to Barcelona

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Barcelona (AFP) – Spain winger Gerard Deulofeu is returning to Barcelona from English Premier League outfit Everton on a two-year deal, the Spanish giants announced on Friday.

“FC Barcelona have activated the buy-back clause for Gerard Deulofeu,” the Catalans said in a statement on their website.

Football, showbiz stars to dance at Messi’s wedding

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Rosario (Argentina) (AFP) – Football and showbiz stars gathered on Friday for the celebrity “wedding of the century” in Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi’s Argentine hometown as he prepared to marry his childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo.

Pop star Shakira and her husband, Messi’s teammate Gerard Pique, were expected among the 260 guests, according to sources close to the event and local media, which dubbed it the biggest wedding in decades in the city of Rosario.

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for June 21-28, 2017

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Telemundo concluded their coverage of the FIFA Confederations Cup Group Stage averaging 1 million total viewers across all 12 matches. Mexico unsurprisingly led the way as the most popular team during the group stages by averaging 2.1 million viewers per match on Telemundo and an additional 521,000 on FOX and FS1.

Messi’s bride Antonella, ‘first lady of football’

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Rosario (Argentina) (AFP) – Celebrity magazines have dubbed brunette mother-of-two Antonella Roccuzzo “the first lady of football” - her man, Lionel Messi, is widely considered the best player on the planet.

Showbiz and football stars will attend their wedding on Friday in the couple’s hometown of Rosario, Argentina.

Football, showbiz stars gather for Messi’s wedding

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Rosario (Argentina) (AFP) – Football and showbiz stars gathered in Argentina for Latin America’s celebrity wedding bash of the decade as Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi prepared to marry his childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo on Friday.

Pop star Shakira and her husband, Messi’s teammate Gerard Pique, were expected among the 260 guests, according to media and locals close to the event.

Shanghai SIPG coach Villas-Boas, Hulk banned over Oscar protests

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Shanghai (AFP) – Shanghai SIPG coach Andre Villas-Boas and Brazilian striker Hulk were suspended for two Chinese Super League games on Friday after they protested against the eight-match ban handed to midfielder Oscar over a mass brawl.

Extending what has been a rocky season for China’s newly imported football talent, Villas-Boas was banned for making an “irresponsible comment” on social media, while Hulk was suspended for wearing a T-shirt backing Oscar.

Bournemouth pay record fee for Dutchman Ake

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London (AFP) – Dutch international Nathan Ake became Premier League side Bournemouth’s record signing on Friday as they paid a reported £20 million ($26m, 22.8m euros) to champions Chelsea for his services.

The 22-year-old central defender - who is Bournemouth’s third signing of the close season following those of Bosnian international goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and veteran England striker Jermain Defoe - shone for the “Cherries” when on loan from Chelsea last season.

Manchester United’s Pogba says terror attacks ‘not Islam’

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London (AFP) – The world’s most expensive footballer Paul Pogba says the four terror attacks that have killed dozens and left scores injured in England this year have nothing to do with religion.

The 24-year-old Manchester United star - who is Muslim and went on a pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest site in Mecca after the end of the season - told the latest issue of Esquire magazine people must not give in to terror.

Arsenal fans must get behind Wenger, says chief executive Gazidis

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London (AFP) – Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis on Friday urged fans to cease their heckling of Arsene Wenger and unite behind the long-serving manager.

Despite speculation about his future the 67-year-old French coach finally signed a new two-year contract after the end of last season in which Arsenal finished fifth.

Why an Alexis Sanchez-Sergio Agüero swap deal makes sense for Arsenal and Man City

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Several English media outlets recently revealed that Sergio Agüero could possibly be traded to Arsenal in a swap deal for Alexis Sánchez. Sánchez’s current contract with Arsenal expires at the end of next season, and he has repeatedly expressed his frustration with Arsenal’s lackluster performances and underwhelming season.

NBC’s Premier League Pass will hurt growth of EPL in USA: World Soccer Talk Podcast

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

In the NEW episode, number 33, Kartik Krishnaiyer and Christopher Harris cover a range of topics including:

• NBC’s big change to next season’s Premier League coverage,

• Which massive soccer competition is going to be debut games on Facebook Live,

• Our latest analysis of the Confederations Cup TV coverage,

• News about the Gold Cup TV schedule, and more.

Rapid-fire Goretzka puts Germany in Confed Cup final

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Germany booked their place in the Confederations Cup final as Leon Goretzka scored twice in a devastating opening spell to Thursday’s 4-1 semi-final win over Mexico.

Attacking midfielder Goretzka ran riot in Sochi with goals on six and eight minutes before Timo Werner and substitute Amin Younes netted in the second half.

Montpellier football club founder Nicollin dies on 74th birthday

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Montpellier (France) (AFP) – French industrialist Louis Nicollin, the iconic president of Montpellier and the Ligue 1 side’s founding father, died Thursday as he celebrated his 74th birthday, the club announced on Twitter.

“It’s with immense sadness that we have learnt of the death of of our president Louis Nicollin,” tweeted the club.

US meets World Cup football nemesis Ghana ahead of Gold Cup

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New York (AFP) – A United States national team that’s unbeaten since Bruce Arena replaced Jurgen Klinsmann as coach entertains World Cup nemesis Ghana on Saturday as a tuneup for next month’s Gold Cup.

The Americans play host to the Black Stars - whom they have beaten once and lost to twice in the past three World Cups - in a Saturday friendly at East Hartford, Connecticut.

Football stars land in Argentina for Messi’s wedding

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Rosario (Argentina) (AFP) – Lionel Messi’s Barcelona teammates landed in private jets in his Argentine hometown on Thursday on the eve of the star striker’s celebrity wedding.

Curious locals watched stars such as Luis Suarez and Carles Puyol as well as ex-Barca and current Chelsea player Cesc Fabregas disembark at the small airport in the northern city of Rosario.

Daddy’s home – Ronaldo exits Confed Cup to meet newborn twins

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Kazan (Russia) (AFP) – Portugal’s superstar captain Cristiano Ronaldo revealed Thursday he will not play in the Confederations Cup third-place match this weekend so he can finally meet his newborn twins.

Hours after Wednesday’s 3-0 semi-final defeat to Chile in a penalty shoot-out in Kazan, Ronaldo said he had been given permission to miss Sunday’s play-off in Moscow, against either Germany or Mexico, to meet his new arrivals.

ESPN to televise Arsenal, Dortmund, Bayern, Lyon and Milan games from International Champions Cup China

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This summer’s International Champions Cup tournament in China will feature Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan, Lyon and Inter Milan, with all of the games televised across a myriad of ESPN networks.

The six teams will clash in four contests in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen & Nanjing in this July.

Barcelona to face Brazil’s Chapecoense on August 7

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona will play Brazilian side Chapecoense, whose team was all but wiped out in an air crash last November, in a friendly match at the Camp Nou on August 7.

The match will “help pay tribute to the 71 people who died in the accident on November 28th, 2016, as well as their families,” the Spanish giants said on their website.

Gomis signs for Galatasaray from Swansea

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Istanbul (AFP) – French international striker Bafetimbi Gomis Thursday signed for Turkish top flight side Galatasaray from Swansea City of the English Premier League in a three year deal for a 2.5 million euro transfer fee.

Gomis, 31, who spent the past season on loan at Marseille, had the day earlier received an ecstatic welcome in Istanbul when he was mobbed by hundreds of fans of the “Lions” and then passed a medical.

Jermain Defoe delighted with Bournemouth return

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London (AFP) – Veteran England striker Jermain Defoe signed for Premier League side Bournemouth on a free transfer on Thursday the club announced on its website.

The 34-year-old - who scored 15 goals in the Premier League for Sunderland last season and was able to leave for free as he had an escape clause in his contract should they be relegated - signed a three year contract and said he is delighted to be returning to one of his former clubs.

ESPN to televise Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Inter matches from International Champions Cup Singapore

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Fans of Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan need to circle their calendars for late July as all of their matches from the 2017 International Champions Cup tournament in Singapore will be shown in the United States via a range of ESPN networks.

Scheduled to take place at the National Stadium July 25-29, the ICC Singapore will feature Chelsea FC, FC Bayern and FC Internazionale in a round-robin three-match tournament.

FXX, FOX and FS1 to broadcast USA’s Gold Cup group stage games

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All three group stage games for the US Men’s National Team in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold will be televised on FXX, FOX and FS1 in the United States, which should help give the USMNT some big viewing numbers in the first week of the tournament.

Pitting North American, Central American and Caribbean neighbors and rivals against each other every two years, CONCACAF Gold Cup includes a total of 25 matches and 12 teams competing to earn a right to compete in the playoff to qualify for the 2021 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Football, showbiz stars set for Messi’s wedding

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Rosario (Argentina) (AFP) – Football and showbiz stars gather in northern Argentina on Friday for Latin America’s celebrity wedding bash of the decade when Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi marries his childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo.

Pop star Shakira and her husband, Messi’s teammate Gerard Pique, are expected among the 260 guests, according to media and locals close to the event.

Chile’s impressive rise continues at Confed Cup

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Kazan (Russia) (AFP) – Chile’s indestructible team spirit and unyielding attitude have laid the foundations for a hugely successful run that will see them contest a third straight international final at the Confederations Cup.

Claudio Bravo proved Chile’s hero on Wednesday as the Manchester City goalkeeper saved all three penalties to eliminate Portugal in a semi-final shootout following a 0-0 draw after extra time in Kazan.

Where to find Mexico vs. Germany Confederations Cup on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Mexico vs. Germany in the Confederations Cup semi-final, you’ve come to the right place.

Will it be Mexico or Germany that will play Chile in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup final on Sunday? While some may favor Mexico in this game especially against a younger German side, this should be an entertaining game between two teams that love to go forward.

Bravo is Chile’s hero in Confed Cup shoot-out win

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Kazan (Russia) (AFP) – Claudio Bravo was Chile’s hero on Wednesday as they beat Portugal 3-0 in a penalty shoot-out in the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

The Manchester City goalkeeper saved all three penalties from Portugal’s Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho and Nani, while Arturo Vidal, Charles Aranguiz and Alexis Sanchez nailed their spot-kicks for the South Americans.

Gold Cup TV schedule announced for Spanish-language broadcasts on Univision Deportes

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Univision Deportes will televise every single match in the 2017 Gold Cup, which is scheduled to run from July 7-26 with games to be played across the United States.

Pitting North American, Central American and Caribbean neighbors and rivals against each other every two years, CONCACAF Gold Cup includes a total of 25 matches and 12 teams competing to earn a right to compete in the playoff to qualify for the 2021 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Swansea captain Britton signs new deal

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London (AFP) – Swansea City captain Leon Britton signed a new one-year contract with the Premier League club on Wednesday.

Britton’s new deal is on improved terms and has the option of a further 12-month extension if he reaches a certain amount of appearances next season.

The 34-year-old midfielder has also been guaranteed a coaching role with the club once he has finished playing.

Cologne reject Chinese offers for Modeste

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Berlin (AFP) – French striker Anthony Modeste will stay at Cologne for next season, despite offers from Chinese outfit Tianjin Quanjian, the Bundesliga club said on Wednesday.

Tianjin Quanjian had reportedly offered the German side 35 million euros ($39.8m), and Modeste an annual salary of 10 million euros.

Dutch youngster Karsdorp signs for Roma

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Milan (AFP) – Dutch international defender Rick Karsdorp joined Serie A runners-up Roma on Wednesday in a five-year deal worth 14 million euros ($15.9 million) to his former club Feyenoord.

Full-back Karsdorp, 22, arrived in Rome on Tuesday for a medical and after signing his contract on Wednesday said: “Joining Roma is a great move for me.

Galatasaray set to sign Swansea’s Gomis

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Istanbul (AFP) – French international striker Bafetimbi Gomis on Wednesday arrived in Istanbul to sign for Turkish top flight side Galatasaray from Swansea City of the English Premier League in a reported three million dollar deal.

Gomis, 31, was mobbed by hundreds of excited Galatasaray fans chanting club songs and brandishing its yellow and red colours after arriving at Istanbul’s main airport.

Former England midfielder Scott Parker retires

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London (AFP) – Former West Ham United and England midfielder Scott Parker announced his retirement on Wednesday.

Parker began his career at Charlton Athletic before playing for Chelsea, Newcastle United, West Ham, Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham in a career spanning two decades.

The 36-year-old won the 2004-05 League Cup while with Chelsea and was capped 18 times by England.

NBC Sports: Premier League Pass needs to feature all 380 games to be relevant

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NBC Sports may have been unprepared for the backlash against Premier League Pass as soccer fans voiced their frustration at NBC’s paid subscription service that will create a walled garden around 34% of the games in the 2017/18 season.

From September 2016 to March 2017, NBCSN alone has lost 730,000 TV subscribers.

Saints rule out Van Dijk sale

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London (AFP) – Southampton have warned clubs interested in Virgil van Dijk that the Netherlands defender is not for sale at any price.

Van Dijk saw a potential move to Liverpool fall through earlier in the close-season after the Reds were forced to apologise for their pursuit of the centre-back after Saints complained to the Premier League.

Messi’s star-studded Argentine wedding: what we know

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Rosario (Argentina) (AFP) – Football and showbiz stars will gather in northern Argentina on Friday for Latin America’s celebrity wedding of the decade when Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi marries his childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo.

Here is what we know from the few details given by Messi’s spokespeople as well as media reports and local people close to the event in his home city of Rosario.

Where to find Portugal vs. Chile Confederations Cup on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Portugal vs. Chile in the Confederations Cup semi-final, you’ve come to the right place.

The first semi-final of the Confederations Cup kicks off today with the champions of Europe against the champions of South America. The Copa America champs (Chile) face the Euro 2016 winners (Portugal) for a chance to advance to the final where they’ll play the winner of Germany against Mexico.

Germany confident ahead of Confederations Cup Mexico semi

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Germany are the kings of the penalty shoot-out - but the world champions hope to see off Mexico in Thursday’s Confederations Cup semi-final without needing dreaded spot kicks.

The Germans have won all five penalty shoot-outs they have faced since 1976 at either World Cup finals or European championships.

Football: Japan’s Verdy make bold swoop for Italy legend Totti

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Tokyo (AFP) – Italian superstar Francesco Totti, who recently made a tearful farewell to Roma after 25 years at his boyhood club, is wanted by Japan’s Tokyo Verdy, officials told AFP on Wednesday.

The J-League second division side have made an audacious offer to the 40-year-old World Cup winner, although they face competition from Major League Soccer’s Miami FC among others for Totti’s signature.

Oscar leads big names behaving badly in China

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Shanghai (AFP) – Oscar is suspended for eight games after a brawl. Carlos Tevez riles fans with a trip to Disneyland while his club are playing. Ezequiel Lavezzi and Hulk deny being anti-Chinese.

As the Chinese Super League (CSL) hits the halfway point of the season this weekend, the megabucks lavished on imported players has triggered unprecedented interest, but the headlines have been dominated by foreigners behaving badly.

Qatar says Garcia report ‘vindicates’ 2022 World Cup bid

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Doha (AFP) – Qatar World Cup organisers said on Wednesday that the surprise publication of FIFA’s Garcia report “vindicated the integrity” of its successful bid to host the 2022 tournament.

In a statement, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy also questioned the timing of the publication, which comes as Qatar faces political isolation from many neighbouring countries.

Football: Hulk in hot water as Brazilian goes before China FA

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Shanghai (AFP) – Hulk was hauled before the Chinese Football Association (CFA) on Wednesday as the fallout from an eight-game ban handed to Shanghai SIPG team-mate Oscar rumbles on.

SIPG manager Andre Villas-Boas travelled with the Brazilian striker to CFA headquarters in Beijing and another Shanghai player, Wu Lei, was also present, a club spokeswoman told AFP.

Russians hit by fresh doping allegations

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Berlin (AFP) – Russian football was the target of fresh doping allegations on Wednesday with claims of widespread urine sample tampering levelled by Richard McLaren, author of an explosive report into Russian doping.

The Canadian lawyer told German TV channel ARD he had fresh evidence indicating that positive tests taken from Russian players were swopped with clean samples.

Mexico wary of Germany’s young guns in Confederations Cup semi

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio warned against underestimating a youthful Germany in Thursday’s Confederations Cup semi-final because of the wealth of experience many of them have already gained.

Of the eight teams at the tournament the Germans brought the youngest squad to Russia’s Confed Cup with an average age of just over 24.

Bristol pay record fee for Senegalese international

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London (AFP) – Senegalese international forward Famara Diedhiou will lead second tier Bristol City’s line next season after the Championship side paid a club record £5.3million (5.9m euros, $6.8m) to prise him away from French outfit Angers.

The 24-year-old - who attracted City’s attention after scoring nine times in 36 Ligue 1 appearances for Angers last term - signed a four year contract with the west country team who flirted with relegation last season.

Germany’s Loew wants dopers named and shamed

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Germany manager Joachim Loew wants the names of any players caught doping to be made public, after Russian football was on Wednesday accused of tampering with urine samples.

A year before they host the World Cup, Russian football has come under the spotlight amidst fresh allegations of drug abuse.

PlayStation Vue loses access to Premier League games via NBC Sports App authentication

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Just weeks after PlayStation Vue subscribers lost access to the beIN SPORTS networks, Vue customers have been dealt another blow this week due to a new product from NBC Sports.

With the pending launch of NBC’s paid subscription service Premier League Pass, PlayStation Vue customers will no longer be able to watch the non-televised Premier League games that have been available in the past by using the PS Vue login credentials to authenticate with the NBC Sports App.

Alves confirms Juventus football club departure

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – Juventus full-back Dani Alves has confirmed that he is leaving the Italian champions after a season in Turin in a posting on his Instagram account on Tuesday.

“Today our professional relationship ends and I will carry away with me all those who truly make Juve a great club,” said the 34-year-old Brazilian in a lengthy post.

Facebook to livestream Champions League football games

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New York (AFP) – Facebook will broadcast Champions League matches for American internet users under a deal with Fox Sports, which will host the livestreams on its pages, the channel said Tuesday.

The partnership will involve two group matches per day, four round of sixteen games and the four quarter-finals of the 2017-18 season, in the social media giant’s latest foray into sportscasting.

Premier League Pass marks a giant step backward for NBC’s coverage of EPL

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In their announcement about the pending launch of Premier League Pass, the paid digital subscription service that will offer 130 games per season to soccer fans in the US, NBC Sports have made a giant miscalculation.

On paper, Premier League Pass seems like a harmless attempt to monetize the games that were shown previously on the Premier League Extra Time overflow TV channels.

Game, set and match for AC Milan legend Maldini

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Milan (AFP) – Five-time European Cup-winning footballer Paolo Maldini’s tennis career ended abruptly on his debut on Tuesday when the AC Milan legend lost 6-1, 6-1 in a first-round doubles match.

Maldini stepped onto the court at the Milan challenger event as its most decorated sportsman.

Super-agent Mendes denies in court creating shell companies

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Pozuelo de Alarcón (Spain) (AFP) – Football super-agent Jorge Mendes denied Tuesday he helped creat shell companies for his clients during questioning by a Spanish court investigating alleged tax evasion by Monaco striker Radamel Falcao.

He told the closed door hearing in Pozuelo de Alarcon, an upmarket suburb of Madrid where many football stars live, that he “never” advised players in tax matters”, his company Gestifute said in a statement.

Ex-France forward Paille dies aged 52

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Lyon (AFP) – Former France international forward Stephane Paille, once a teammate of Eric Cantona, has died at the age of 52 following a “devastating illness”, press in the city of Lyon announced on Tuesday.

Newspaper Le Progres reported Paille had died in a Lyon hospital on Tuesday morning.

FIFA discloses damaging Qatar World Cup bid report

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Lausanne (AFP) – FIFA on Tuesday released a long-witheld report on the decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup after more leaks deepened the controversy surrounding the vote.

World football’s governing body had previously declined to publish in full the report into the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 edition to Qatar drawn up by US independent investigator Michael Garcia.

Bayern football star Coman to plead guilty to domestic violence

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Melun (France) (AFP) – Bayern Munich’s French international forward Kingsley Coman will go before a judge later this year accused of domestic violence in an incident involving his ex-girlfriend, sources said on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old was arrested and held by police on Monday morning in the Paris suburb of Chessy, the public prosecutor in Meaux told AFP, confirming an earlier report on Europe 1 radio.

NBC Sports announces Premier League Pass, a new digital streaming subscription service

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NBC Sports has announced a brand-new digital streaming subscription service that will allow soccer fans to be able to watch Premier League games without requiring a cable or satellite subscription.

The new service, Premier League Pass, will launch in time for the 2017/18 Premier League season.

Goal-king Klose helps nurture German hot-shots

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Miroslav Klose, the all-time top scorer at World Cup finals, is nurturing Germany’s latest crop of forwards - who all hope to emulate his goal-scoring prowess in the famous white shirt.

Germany face Mexico on Thursday in Sochi in the second semi-final of the Confederations Cup and Klose, now an assistant to coach Joachim Loew, has been passing on tips about how to unpick the Mexican defence.

Chile out to curb Portugal goal-king Ronaldo at Confed Cup

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Kazan (Russia) (AFP) – Copa America champions Chile will try to curb Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in Wednesday’s Confederations Cup semi-final with the goal-ace in rich form despite a tax storm brewing in Spain.

The 32-year-old converted a penalty in Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of New Zealand to claim his 75th international goal.

PSG’s Sirigu joins Torino

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Milan (AFP) – Italy goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu left Paris Saint-Germain to join Torino on a three-year deal on Tuesday that means he should take over as the club’s number one from England’s Joe Hart.

Sirigu spent the last of his six seasons with PSG on loan in Spain with Sevilla and then Osasuna and, with the 2018 World Cup on the horizon, the Sardinian was looking for more playing time.

Average reported attendances for MLS through gameweek 17 of the 2017 season

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Seattle and Minnesota had strong weekday turnouts last week, while DC United and Colorado had soft showings. The rest of the week had good reported attendances with sellout crowds in Houston, New Jersey, Chicago, San Jose and Portland. Seattle and Atlanta continue to lead the way with 42,000+.

Ghost of football past stalks abandoned Ukraine arena

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Donetsk (Ukraine) (AFP) – In its halcyon days, the Donbass Arena in eastern Ukraine was a gleaming temple to football, welcoming some of the sport’s biggest names through its portals.

But while star players are now lining up in the Confederations Cup tournament across the border in Russia, the Arena is wasting away.

‘All-powerful’ African football club hit by DR Congo political feud

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Lubumbashi (DR Congo) (AFP) – The training pitches and classrooms are fit for one of Africa’s most illustrious football clubs, but the political battles rife in Democratic Republic of Congo have stopped Tout Puissant Mazembe from using their new academy.

The teenagers who are meant to be the future stars of African football are losing weight because food rations have been cut back.

Capello frustrated as fists fly at China football game

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Shanghai (AFP) – New manager Fabio Capello told players to cool it after scuffles marred Jiangsu Suning’s 0-0 draw with Beijing Guoan, in just the latest outbreak of violence in the Chinese Super League.

Capello, who picked up his first league point with struggling Jiangsu, watched as players came to blows at the end of Monday’s game - days after heavy punishments were handed out for a similar incident.

Super-agent Mendes in court over Falcao ‘tax evasion’

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Madrid (AFP) – Football super-agent Jorge Mendes is due to be questioned by a Spanish judge for the first time Tuesday as part of a probe into striker Radamel Falcao’s alleged tax evasion, just one of his clients to fall foul of the country’s judiciary.

As Spanish authorities tighten the net around footballers - with Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, another Mendes client, the latest to be accused of tax evasion to the tune of 14.

Shanghai SIPG warn fans over Oscar protest

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Shanghai (AFP) – Shanghai SIPG told fans to “be free of arrogance and rashness” after angry supporters of the Chinese Super League club lashed out at an eight-game ban slapped on star player Oscar.

The Brazilian international was hit with the ban last week for triggering an all-out brawl in a CSL clash at Guangzhou R&F, while three others were also handed lesser suspensions.

Super-agent Jorge Mendes in court over Falcao ‘tax evasion’

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Pozuelo de Alarcón (Spain) (AFP) – Football super-agent Jorge Mendes arrived in court near Madrid Tuesday for questioning over a probe into striker Radamel Falcao’s alleged tax evasion, just one of his clients to fall foul of Spain’s judiciary.

As Spanish authorities tighten the net around footballers such as Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, another Mendes client suspected of fiscal fraud, their advisers and agents are coming under scrutiny too.

$2 mn sent to child of FIFA member before 2022 World Cup award: report

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Berlin (AFP) – A sum of $2 million was sent to the 10-year-old daughter of a FIFA official prior to Qatar being awarded the hosting of the 2022 World Cup, according to Bild.

The German daily is publishing from Tuesday American independent investigator Michael Garcia’s report into alleged bribery and corruption during the bidding for the hosting of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Chile out to curb Portugal’s Ronaldo in Confederations Cup semi

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Kazan (Russia) (AFP) – Copa America champions Chile will try to curb Portugal’s superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in Wednesday’s Confederations Cup semi-final with the goal-ace in rich form despite a tax storm brewing in Spain.

The 32-year-old converted a penalty in Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of New Zealand to claim his 75th international goal.

British football club make landmark bid for safe standing

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London (AFP) – Third tier Shrewsbury have become the first English club to apply for right to install safe standing in their stadium.

The League One team want to create a safe standing area, which would have a capacity of around 500, in their Greenhous Meadow arena.

Shrewsbury’s stadium was built 10 years ago and is one of 29 in the Football League which are eligible to apply for safe standing.

Anti-piracy group warns of risks of watching illegal streams of soccer games

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In the last several months, there have been numerous developments by rights holders such as La Liga and the Premier League in their fight to shut down sites and prosecute pirates who are profiting off illegal streams of soccer games.

One of the companies who are deploying anti-piracy technology is TMG, who have been appointed to monitor beIN SPORTS’ streaming content globally.

Bertrand Traore leaves Chelsea for Lyon

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Lyon (AFP) – Chelsea forward Bertrand Traore has joined Lyon for 10 million euros (£8.8m, $11.2m) on a five-year deal, the French club announced on Monday.

Chelsea will earn 15 percent of any profit from a future sale of the player and the English champions will have first refusal on Traore should he eventually move on, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas said at a press conference to announce the signing.

FIFA referees chief wants shorter video delays

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Saint Petersburg (AFP) – FIFA’s referees chief said Monday he wants less delays caused by the video assistant referee and to reduce disruptions from the system being tested for next year’s World Cup.

World football’s governing body is using the Confederations Cup in Russia to test the video assistant referee (VAR) system for the first time at a major senior international tournament.

Montpellier admit striker Steve Mounie set for Huddersfield

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Montpellier (France) (AFP) – Giant Montpellier striker Steve Mounie is on the verge of completing a transfer to English Premier League newcomers Huddersfield Town, the French side announced on Monday.

“Steve Mounie has left. He will have a medical before signing in England,” said the new Montpellier coach Michel Der Zakarian as the Ligue 1 club began pre-season training.

Fiorentina’s owners put club up for sale

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Rome (AFP) – Fiorentina’s owners said fan dissatisfaction had driven them to putting the Italian Serie A side up for sale on Monday.

Fiorentina, who finished eighth last season, have been owned since 2002 by the Della Valle family, Italian industrialists.

They have come in for recent criticism by supporters over their management and declared their intention to sell on the club’s official website.

Forget what I did at Leicester, says new Nantes coach Ranieri

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Nantes (France) (AFP) – Claudio Ranieri insists his incredible achievements at Leicester City count for nothing now that he has taken over at sleeping French giants Nantes, where he was unveiled as their new coach on Monday.

“I have missed being out on the pitch. But we must forget what I did at Leicester.

Review of FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup

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Coming just a year after an underwhelming spectacle in the Copa America, the worst was expected from some critics regarding FOX’s coverage of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. But surprisingly for some, FOX Sports has come through with solid coverage.

As we have now finished the group stage of the competition and enter the knockout phase, the time is right to give a full accounting of FOX’s coverage and how it impacts next summer’s World Cup.

Chile wait on Aranguiz’s fitness for Confed Cup semi-final

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Moscow (AFP) – Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi hopes Charles Aranguiz will be fit for Wednesday’s Confederations Cup semi-final against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal after the midfield enforcer suffered a knock against Australia.

A hard challenge from Socceroos veteran Tim Cahill clattered Aranguiz, who had to be substituted at half-time of Sunday’s 1-1 draw in Moscow.

Dutch great Frank de Boer given Palace job

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London (AFP) – Former Dutch international great Frank de Boer is the new manager of English Premier League side Crystal Palace it was announced on Monday.

The 47-year-old - who guided Ajax to four successive league titles before a disappointing short spell at Serie A giants Inter Milan - signed a three year contract.

10 things we learned from MLS gameweek 17 of the 2017 season

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Here are the ten things we learned from Week 17 of the 2017 MLS season.

1. Dempsey Saves Seattle in Portland

The continent’s best soccer rivalry didn’t disappoint – and on a scorching night in Portland, it was that rivalry’s greatest recent figure who stole all the headlines.

Germany’s Timo Werner eyes Confederations Cup glory

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Ambitious Timo Werner is eyeing Confederations Cup glory with Germany and hopes his two goals against Cameroon are enough to see him start Thursday’s semi-final with Mexico.

The 21-year-old sealed the world champions’ 3-1 win in Sochi with a second-half brace by heading home Joshua Kimmich’s cross, then drilled in a second to calm German nerves just after Vincent Aboubakar netted Cameroon’s consolation goal.

Chile wait on Aranguiz’s fitness for semi-final

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Moscow (AFP) – Chile coach Juan Antonio Pizzi hopes Charles Aranguiz will be fit for Wednesday’s Confederations Cup semi-final against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal after the midfield enforcer suffered a knock against Australia.

A hard challenge from Socceroos veteran Tim Cahill clattered Aranguiz, who had to be substituted at half-time of Sunday’s 1-1 draw in Moscow.

Crystal Palace appoint Frank de Boer as new boss

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London (AFP) – English Premier League side Crystal Palace on Monday appointed Dutch international Frank de Boer as their new manager

The 47-year-old - who guided Ajax to four successive league titles before a disappointing short spell at Serie A giants Inter Milan - signed a three-year contract.

Loew relishes Mexico test at Confederations Cup

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Germany’s Joachim Loew said he is looking forward to facing Mexico on Thursday in the Confederations Cup semi-finals after the world champions pipped Chile to top spot in Group B.

The Germans play Mexico in Sochi for a place in next Sunday’s final in Saint Petersburg while Chile meet Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in the other last-four clash on Wednesday in Kazan.

Resurgent Balotelli extends Nice contract

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Nice (France) (AFP) – Italian international striker Mario Balotelli signed a new deal with French Ligue 1 outfit Nice on Sunday after spearheading their qualification for the Champions League in his first season.

“OGC Nice are delighted to confirm that Mario Balotelli has signed a new contract with the club,” Nice wrote on their Twitter account, without revealing the length of the deal.

US sets Gold Cup lineup with eye on World Cup

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Chicago (AFP) – US national team coach Bruce Arena named a 23-player roster Sunday for next month’s Gold Cup, using the North American championship to evaluate talent for next year’s World Cup.

A squad dominated by talent from Major League Soccer features 13 players with less than 10 caps, four of them making their first appearance at a US team training camp.

Werner brace fires Germany into semis against Mexico

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Timo Werner netted twice as Germany set up a Confederations Cup semi-final against Mexico with a 3-1 win on Sunday against 10-man Cameroon, who initially had the wrong player sent off.

Germany midfielder Kerem Demirbay opened the scoring just after the break before Werner struck either side of Vincent Aboubakar’s consolation effort for Cameroon on 78 minutes.

Chile book Portugal semi at Confederations Cup

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Moscow (AFP) – Martin Rodriguez rescued a 1-1 draw for Chile against Australia on Sunday to send the South American champions through to a Confederations Cup semi-final against Portugal.

James Troisi steered Australia ahead on 42 minutes in Moscow, but Chile replied through half-time substitute Rodriguez on 67 minutes to advance as Group B runners-up behind Germany.

Chile book Portugal clash at Confederations Cup

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Moscow (AFP) – Martin Rodriguez rescued a 1-1 draw for Chile against Australia on Sunday to send the South American champions through to a Confederations Cup semi-final against Portugal.

James Troisi steered Australia ahead on 42 minutes in Moscow, but Chile replied through half-time substitute Rodriguez on 67 minutes to advance as Group B runners-up behind Germany.

Arsenal shouldn’t panic over wage bill rule

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According to various reports, the Premier League now has a rule in which club wage bills cannot be £7 million higher than they were during the 2016/17 season. If a particular team happens to exceed the additional £7 million limit, then they would have to make up the difference through external revenue (i.

Homophobia permeates football world in Spain

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Madrid (AFP) – Death threats and insults: Homophobia remains omnipresent in Spain’s sacred football world, where players don’t dare “come out” in an otherwise gay friendly country whose capital hosts the WorldPride until July 2.

“First, they refused to take their showers with me,” says Jose Manuel Garoz, who was sidelined from his amateur local team in his teens when his co-players found out he was gay via social networks.

Ronaldo hits milestone as Portugal sink New Zealand

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Saint Petersburg (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 75th international goal as Portugal trounced New Zealand 4-0 in Saint Petersburg on Saturday to advance to the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup.

The Real Madrid star struck from the penalty spot on 33 minutes to fire the European champions in front before Bernardo Silva turned in a second goal four minutes later.

Russia tries to put brave face on early Confed Cup exit

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Moscow (AFP) – Russia struggled for positives Sunday after they crashed out of the Confederations Cup on home soil in an ominous sign of how the hosts might fare at next year’s World Cup.

Football bosses shrugged off fans’ fears after the team’s early exit following a 2-1 defeat by Mexico in Kazan on Saturday, insisting the squad was making progress despite the disappointing results.

Russia slams 2014 World Cup squad doping probe report

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Moscow (AFP) – Russian deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko on Sunday shrugged off a report that the country’s entire 2014 World Cup squad was under FIFA investigation for doping.

British newspaper The Mail on Sunday wrote that the Russian players are being probed by FIFA as part of a broader scandal over allegations of state-backed doping in the country.

Demotivated Spanish football defender Arbeloa quits

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Madrid (AFP) – Spanish international defender Alvaro Arbeloa revealed Saturday he was quitting football despite the possibility of playing in China or the United States.

The 34-year-old former Real Madrid, Liverpool and West Ham player told Spanish sports daily Marca he has lost his motivation.

Ronaldo delight as Portugal reach Confed football semis

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Saint Petersburg (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo expressed his delight at firing Portugal into the Confederations Cup semi-finals after netting his 75th international goal in Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of New Zealand.

“I’m very happy to be in the semi-finals. We’re confident and want to win,” said Ronaldo, who picked up his third straight man-of-the-match award in Russia.

Football: Ronaldo hits milestone as Portugal sink New Zealand

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Saint Petersburg (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 75th international goal as Portugal trounced New Zealand 4-0 in Saint Petersburg on Saturday to advance to the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup.

The Real Madrid star struck from the penalty spot on 33 minutes to fire the European champions in front before Bernardo Silva turned in a second goal four minutes later.

Brave Lozano heads Mexico into Confed Cup football semis

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Kazan (Russia) (AFP) – Hirving Lozano’s courageous second-half header sealed Mexico’s 2-1 comeback win over 10-man Russia on Saturday and fired them into the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

Hosts Russia took a deserved 25th-minute lead in Kazan through Aleksandr Samedov, but Nestor Araujo equalised for Mexico with a looping header on the half hour.

Brave Lozano heads Mexico into Confed Cup semis

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Kazan (Russia) (AFP) – Hirving Lozano’s courageous second-half header sealed Mexico’s 2-1 comeback win over 10-man Russia on Saturday and fired them into the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

Hosts Russia took a deserved 25th-minute lead in Kazan through Aleksandr Samedov, but Nestor Araujo equalised for Mexico with a looping header on the half hour.

Germany coach wary of Cameroon threat

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Joachim Loew remains wary of the threat posed by Cameroon as the Germany coach bids to maintain his decade-long record of reaching the semi-finals at major tournaments in the Confederations Cup on Sunday.

The world champions take on Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions at Sochi’s Fisht Stadium while Chile play Australia in Moscow in the final round of Group B games.

Ronaldo hits milestone as Portugal sink New Zealand

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Saint Petersburg (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 75th international goal as Portugal trounced New Zealand 4-0 in Saint Petersburg on Saturday to advance to the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup.

The Real Madrid star struck from the penalty spot on 33 minutes to fire the European champions in front before Bernardo Silva turned in a second goal four minutes later.

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for June 13-19, 2017

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The FIFA Confederations Cup kicked off last Saturday with the opening four matches averaging 1.3 million viewers across the networks of Telemundo. The highest viewership for the first round of play was unsurprisingly found on the second day as nearly 2.9 million people tuned in to FOX Sports 1 and Telemundo for Mexico’s opening match of the tournament.

Germany’s Goretzka brushes off Arsenal rumours

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Germany’s rising star Leon Goretzka on Saturday brushed off reports that Arsenal are set to swoop for the midfielder who has impressed at the Confederations Cup.

With Germany’s World Cup-winning stars all rested for the Confed Cup, the 22-year-old is one of those who has seized his chance to shine in Russia.

Germany hope Liverpool’s Emre Can fit for Cameroon

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Liverpool midfielder Emre Can is Germany’s only injury concern for Sunday’s Confederations Cup match against Cameroon after a training knock.

The 23-year-old, who impressed in Thursday’s 1-1 draw against Chile, went down ahead of the German’s final Group B match in Sochi.

Chile’s Claudio Bravo poised for Confed Cup return

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Moscow (AFP) – Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo could play for the first time since April in Sunday’s Confed Cup clash against Australia, says Chile’s coach Juan Antonio Pizzi.

Bravo, 34, has not played since injuring his calf in April during a derby against Manchester United.

Where to find Mexico vs. Russia Confederations Cup on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Mexico vs. Russia in the Confederations Cup, you’ve come to the right place.

After a draw and a win in the FIFA Confederations Cup, Mexico needs a draw or more to advance to the semi-finals of the competition. At the same time, Russia needs a win to go through to the next round.

Loew looks to add to Germany’s strong Confed Cup semis record

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Joachim Loew can maintain his proud decade-long record of steering Germany to the semi-finals at major tournaments with a draw against Cameroon on Sunday enough to reach the last four of the Confederations Cup.

Since Loew took charge as head coach after Germany finished third at the 2006 World Cup on home soil, the team has always reached the semi-finals at either European championships or World Cup finals.

Celtic won’t sell tickets for match in Northern Ireland

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Glasgow (AFP) – Fears of sectarian clashes have prompted Scottish champions Celtic to refuse to make tickets available to their own fans for a potentially explosive European match in Belfast as it clashes with a key Protestant celebration, the club said Friday.

Celtic, traditionally a Catholic supported club, will face overwhelmingly Protestant-backed Linfield if the Northern Ireland team see off La Fiorita of San Marino in their opening Champions League qualifier.

‘Passionate’ Pellegrino gets Saints job

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London (AFP) – English Premier League side Southampton named Argentinian coach Mauricio Pellegrino as their new manager on Friday to replace Claude Puel, who was sacked after just one season.

The 45-year-old Pellegrino, who had been in charge of Alaves in Spain, has agreed a three-year contract at St Mary’s and will officially join up with Southampton next week, the club said.

Southampton name Pellegrino as new manager

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London (AFP) – English Premier League side Southampton named Argentinian coach Mauricio Pellegrino as their new manager on Friday to replace Claude Puel, who was sacked after just one season in charge.

The 45-year-old Pellegrino, who had been in charge of Alaves in Spain, has agreed a three-year contract at St Mary’s and will officially join up with Southampton next week, the club said.

Southampton name Mauricio Pellegrino as new manager

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London (AFP) – English Premier League side Southampton on Friday named Argentine coach Mauricio Pellegrino as their new manager to succeed Claude Puel who was sacked after just one season in charge.

The 45-year-old Pellegrino, who had been in charge of Alaves in Spain, has agreed a three-year contract at St Mary’s and will officially join up with Southampton next week, the club said.

Impact of the Video Assistant Referee on the TV-viewing experience: World Soccer Talk Podcast

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

In the NEW episode, number 32, Kartik Krishnaiyer and Christopher Harris cover a range of topics including:

• Pros and cons of the video assistant referee system,

• Our thoughts on the TV coverage of the Confederations Cup thus far,

• Our memories of a man who was a pioneer in US Soccer who died this week.

The Early Season Numbers Are in on Televised MLS Games

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In the more than 20 years since MLS soccer debuted on TV in 1996, the league has seen its share of highs and lows in viewing audiences. While recent years have been marked by a distinct upward trend in viewership, glance at this season’s numbers and you might notice a slight dip compared to 2016.

Loew’s Confederations Cup policy pays off for Stindl

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Lars Stindl is undoubtedly the winner in regards to Joachim Loew’s decision to leave Germany’s World Cup winning stars at home and blood fringe players at the Confederations Cup.

After the first two rounds of matches, Borussia Moenchengladbach’s captain is the tournament’s unlikely top-scorer in Russia.

Prosecutors not against replacing Messi jail term with fine

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Barcelona (AFP) – Prosecutors in Barcelona say they are not against replacing football star Lionel Messi’s 21-month jail sentence for tax fraud with a fine, a spokeswoman announced Friday.

They said they were willing to give the 29-year-old a fine of 400 euros ($450) a day for the duration of the sentence - an option that the defence of the Argentina international has also proposed.

Portugal, Mexico, Russia eye Confederations Cup semi-final berths

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Portugal are set to rest Cristiano Ronaldo for Saturday’s clash against New Zealand as the Euro 2016 winners look to confirm their passage into next week’s Confederations Cup semi-finals.

Ronaldo brushed off allegations of tax evasion in Spain with man-of-the-match performances in the 2-2 draw with Mexico and 1-0 win over Russia, when he scored the winner.

Sanchez blanks Arsenal talk as Chile, Germany set for semis

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Kazan (Russia) (AFP) – Alexis Sanchez refused to be drawn on his Arsenal future after becoming Chile’s all-time top-scorer in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Germany at the Confederations Cup.

The Gunners’ star, voted man of the match, became Chile’s all-time top-scorer with his 38th international goal after capitalising on an early mistake in the German defence.

Sanchez makes history as Chile draw with Germany in Confederations Cup

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Kazan (Russia) (AFP) – Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez became Chile’s all-time top-scorer with his 38th international goal in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Germany at the Confederations Cup.

The Gunners’ star, voted man of the match, wrote himself into the record books by capitalising on an early mistake in the German defence.

Sanchez makes history as Chile draw with Germany

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Kazan (Russia) (AFP) – Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez became Chile’s all-time top scorer with his 38th international goal in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Germany at the Confederations Cup.

Sanchez capitalised on an early mistake in the German defence before Lars Stindl equalised for the world champions just before the break in the Group B clash in Kazan.

Liverpool sign Mohamed Salah from Roma

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Liverpool (AFP) – Liverpool on Thursday completed the signing of Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah from AS Roma for a fee reported to be 39 million euros ($43.5 million).

The 25-year-old agreed a five-year contract with the Premier League giants.

Salah, who has also played for Basel, Chelsea and Fiorentina, has been capped 52 times, scoring 29 international goals.

Bastia in double relegation nightmare

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Paris (AFP) – Bastia were condemned to the third division by French football’s financial watchdog on Thursday, just over a month after the club was relegated from Ligue 1 after finishing rock bottom.

The DNCG gave no reason for the decision, but Bastia released a brief statement saying it was a “provisional relegation” and that they would look to offload players to balance the club’s accounts before the next hearing.

Paraguayan fans build stadium for beloved club

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Asuncion (AFP) – Fans of Paraguayan football club Cerro Porteno have taken up tools to help build a new stadium for their beloved team in a project seeking to destigmatize hardcore supporters’ groups.

“I’m not doing it for the money. I just want my name to be recorded as a Cerro fan who built the stadium,” one of them, Rodrigo Millan, told AFP.

Milligan penalty rescues Confederations Cup draw for Australia

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Saint Petersburg (AFP) – Australia captain Mark Milligan converted a second-half penalty in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Cameroon in Saint Petersburg that left both teams heading for an early Confederations Cup exit.

Cameroon midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa scored with a superb flick on the stroke of half-time, but Milligan slotted home a spot-kick on 60 minutes as both sides picked up their first point in Group B.

Safety fears raised over Qatar World Cup death

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Doha (AFP) – An initial investigation into a British worker’s death at a Qatar World Cup stadium has raised concerns over the construction of the high platform from which he fell.

Zac Cox, a rope-access technician, plunged 39 metres (128 feet) to his death in January this year while working on a catwalk at Khalifa International Stadium.

Queiroz, from Man Utd enforcer to Mr. World Cup

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Seoul (AFP) – Carlos Queiroz was once Alex Ferguson’s formidable number two at Manchester United, but he has now carved out a new reputation: the man who can take your team to the World Cup.

After Queiroz’s Iran became only the second team to qualify for Russia 2018, he is savouring the unique feat of reaching four World Cups with three different teams.

Portugal’s Guerreiro confirms fractured leg

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Moscow (AFP) – Portugal left-back Raphael Guerreiro will miss the rest of the Confederations Cup after revealing on Thursday that he has been playing with a fractured leg for months.

The Borussia Dortmund defender had to be helped off in the second-half of Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Russia in Moscow when Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winner.

Where to find Germany vs. Chile Confederations Cup on US TV and streaming

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

Both Germany and Chile won their opening games in the Confederations Cup, so the winner of this one could determine who will win Group B. Will the youth of Germany be able to defeat the current Copa America champions from South America?

Germain set to follow father’s footsteps in Marseille

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Marseille (AFP) – Monaco’s French forward Valere Germain is set to follow in his father’s footsteps and play for Marseille next season, former defender Bruno Germain said Thursday.

“It’s Valere’s choice. He made the decision a while ago to join OM,” Germain Snr, a defender with Marseille during the club’s golden era in the 1990s, told La Provence newspaper.

Le Guen appointed Bursaspor coach

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Istanbul (AFP) – Frenchman Paul Le Guen was on Thursday officially appointed coach of Turkish top flight club Bursaspor on a two-year deal.

Bursaspor - who last won the Turkish league title in 2010 - finished 15th last season only avoiding relegation by two points.

The 53-year-old Le Guen said he was looking at bringing in “two or three players, why not French”.

FA terminates bookies sponsorship deal

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London (AFP) – Leading English bookmaker Ladbrokes saw their four-year sponsorship deal with the English Football Association (FA) terminated after just a year on Thursday.

FA Chairman Greg Clarke thinks it is incompatible for his body to preach about enforcing severe anti-gambling laws - no player, coach or indeed club staff are allowed to place a bet even on matches not concerning their own teams - whilst accepting money from a bookmaker.

Huddersfield set to sign Mounie from Montpellier

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Montpellier (France) (AFP) – Montpellier forward Steve Mounie is expected to sign for newly-promoted Premier League club Huddersfield Town this week, according to a source close to the French club.

The 22-year-old Benin international, who scored 14 goals in Ligue 1 last season, will have a medical before the two clubs officially confirm the move for a reported 13 million euros ($14.

Balotelli ‘ready to make financial effort’ to stay in Nice

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Nice (France) (AFP) – Italian international striker Mario Balotelli is determined to stay at Ligue 1 outfit Nice next season, club president Jean-Pierre Rivere revealed on Thursday.

“I can tell you three things – one, he’s a player who wants to continue with us; two, he’s ready to make a financial effort; three, discussions are continuing,” said Rivere.

What problems? Ronaldo on target in Portugal football win

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Moscow (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo brushed aside his off-field problems by scoring the winner as Portugal edged out hosts Russia 1-0 at the Confederations Cup on Wednesday, before Oribe Peralta gave Mexico a come-from-behind 2-1 win over New Zealand.

Ronaldo’s eighth-minute header in Moscow gave Portugal their first win in the tournament and victory over New Zealand on Saturday would secure a semi-final spot.

Mexico’s Osorio ‘sorry’ for bust-up with Kiwi football bench

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Mexico’s coach Juan Carlos Osorio has apologised for losing his temper during a bust-up with the New Zealand bench during his team’s 2-1 Confederations Cup win on Wednesday.

Osorio, 56, got into a heated argument with one of New Zealand’s assistant coaches after Mexico’s Carlos Salcedo went down with a shoulder injury in the first-half.

Peralta seals Mexico’s comeback win over Kiwis in Confederations Cup

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Striker Oribe Peralta hit Mexico’s winner in their 2-1 comeback victory over New Zealand on Wednesday to leave them on the verge of the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

After Leeds United striker Chris Wood gave the All Whites a shock first-half lead, second-half goals by Benfica’s Raul Jimenez and Peralta sealed the win.

Peralta seals Mexico’s comeback win over New Zealand in Confederations Cup

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Striker Oribe Peralta hit Mexico’s winner in their 2-1 comeback victory over New Zealand on Wednesday to leave them on the verge of the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

After Leeds United striker Chris Wood gave the All Whites a shock first-half lead, second-half goals by Benfica’s Raul Jimenez and Peralta sealed the win.

Peralta seals Mexico’s comeback win over Kiwis

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Veteran striker Oribe Peralta hit Mexico’s winner in their 2-1 comeback victory over New Zealand on Wednesday to leave them on the verge of the Confederations Cup’s semi-finals.

After Leeds United striker Chris Wood gave the All Whites a shock first-half lead, second-half goals by Benfica’s Raul Jiminez and Peralta sealed Mexico’s win.

Ronaldo delights in handing Portugal victory over hosts Russia

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Moscow (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo said Portugal were worthy winners after scoring his first goal of the Confederations Cup to steer his country to a 1-0 victory over hosts Russia on Wednesday.

The Real Madrid star brushed off the tax storm clouding his club future by heading in the only goal in Moscow after just eight minutes to send the Euro 2016 champions above Russia at the top of Group A.

Arsenal have an Olivier Giroud conundrum

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Olivier Giroud is undoubtedly one of, if not the, most polarizing striker in the top five European leagues at the moment. Many fans and pundits alike believe the France international front man is subpar and wasteful, while others think he is a very capable player when deployed in the right situation.

Ronaldo strikes as Portugal down Russia at Confederations Cup

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Moscow (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo brushed off the tax storm clouding his Real Madrid future by scoring the only goal of the game as Portugal beat hosts Russia 1-0 at the Confederations Cup on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old netted after just eight minutes to give the Euro 2016 winners their first victory in Group A as they leapfrog Russia in the standings.

Di María fined for Spanish tax fraud

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Madrid (AFP) – Argentina and Paris Saint-Germain star Angel di Maria has been handed a hefty fine and a prison sentence over a charge of tax fraud of 1.3 million euros ($1.4 million), Spanish authorities announced on Wednesday.

According to a court document seen by AFP, Di Maria will pay around two million euros to the Spanish authorities after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud committed in 2012 and 2013 when he was a Real Madrid player.

Di María given fine for Spanish tax fraud

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Madrid (AFP) – Argentina and Paris Saint-Germain star Angel di Maria has been handed a hefty fine and a prison sentence over a charge of tax fraud of 1.3 million euros ($1.4 million), Spanish authorities announced on Wednesday.

According to a court document seen by AFP, Di Maria will pay around two million euros to the Spanish authorities after pleading guilty to two counts of fraud committed in 2012 and 2013 when he was a Real Madrid player.

fuboTV upgrades Cloud DVR to include 10 DVR slots

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fuboTV recently upgraded their Cloud DVR functionality for subscribers.

In the latest upgrade of fuboTV, the legal streaming service now offers 10 DVR slots. Plus recordings can be stored for 10 days. Even if you forget to set a DVR to record a program on fubo, you can use the Look Back feature to replay an event up to 72 hours after the program airs.

Where to find Mexico vs. New Zealand Confederations Cup on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Mexico vs. New Zealand in the Confederations Cup, you’ve come to the right place.

After Mexico’s late equalizer against Portugal, El Tri will be confident going into the game against New Zealand. A win will put Mexico in the driving seat to qualify for the next round of the FIFA Confederations Cup.

FIFA clear Man Utd, target Juve over Pogba deal

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Lausanne (AFP) – FIFA have cleared Manchester United but opened disciplinary proceedings against Juventus over Paul Pogba’s world record transfer, football’s governing body announced on Wednesday.

The France midfielder returned to United in a deal worth more than $111 million, 105.

Germany, Chile set for heavyweight Confederations Cup clash

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Germany and Chile clash for control of Group B at the Confederations Cup on Thursday with die Mannschaft’s head coach Joachim Loew talking up the south American champions.

“They have shown in the past few years that they belong to the elite of world football,” said German boss Loew ahead of the encounter in Kazan, Russia.

Banned Jerome Valcke gets October CAS appeal date

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Lausanne (AFP) – Former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke will have his appeal over his 10-year ban from football heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport on October 11.

Sepp Blatter’s former righthand man was suspended in September 2015 over the 2014 World Cup tickets scam and was sentenced by FIFA’s ethics committee in February 2016 to a 12-year ban from football.

Germany’s rising stars relishing chance to shine

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – With their World Cup winners absent in Russia, Germany’s rising stars are relishing their chance to shine at the Confederations Cup.

None of the side that won the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil is present in coach Joachim Loew’s squad in Russia, with some having retired and others either injured or rested.

Manchester United boss Mourinho refutes tax fraud accusations

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Madrid (AFP) – Jose Mourinho’s advisers have hit back at accusations that the Manchester United manager failed to pay millions of euros in taxes to the Spanish authorities during his time in charge of Real Madrid.

The 54-year-old Portuguese, who coached Madrid from 2010 to 2013, has been accused of “two offences against the public treasury”, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Tuesday.

Ronaldo can handle tax scandal pressure: Pepe

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Moscow (AFP) – Pepe says his Portugal and Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo can handle the pressure of the tax-evasion scandal clouding his club future, ahead of Wednesday’s Confederations Cup clash against hosts Russia.

Having opened their Confed Cup campaign with a 2-0 win over New Zealand, Russia face a step up against Euro 2016 winners Portugal and their troubled captain.

‘No investigation’ opened into Infantino: FIFA

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Lausanne (AFP) – Football’s world governing body FIFA assured Tuesday that “no investigation” had been opened into president Gianni Infantino after sources said his role in the Confederation of African Football’s presidential elections was being looked into.

Maria Claudia Rojas, the new president of the investigatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee, “has confirmed that all files have been handed over to her and that there are no open preliminary or investigation proceedings involving the FIFA President”, the organisation said in a statement.

Red Bull duo Leipzig, Salzburg admitted into Champions League

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Lausanne (AFP) – German outfit RB Leipzig and Austrian champions Salzburg, both owned by energy drinks giant Red Bull, will be allowed to play in next season’s Champions League, UEFA confirmed on Tuesday.

The possibility of one of the teams being forbidden from competing in Europe’s elite club competition had been raised because they have the same owner.

All Whites must be brave against Mexico at Confederations Cup: Hudson

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson says the All Whites must be brave against Mexico, knowing defeat on Wednesday will see them eliminated from the Confederations Cup.

Their 2-0 loss to hosts Russia in Saturday’s opening Group A match means Oceania champions New Zealand have now gone a record 10 games without a win at the tournament having left the 1999, 2003 and 2009 editions empty-handed.

Osorio expects All Whites to show All Blacks spirit in Confederations Cup

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio expects New Zealand’s footballers to show the same battling spirit as their nation’s rugby team in Wednesday’s Confederations Cup, Group A clash.

Mexico take on New Zealand in Sochi as firm favourites having held Euro 2016-winners Portugal to a 2-2 draw, while the All Whites lost 2-0 to Russia in their opening game.

Manchester United boss Mourinho accused of tax fraud in Spain

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Madrid (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was on Tuesday accused by Spanish authorities of failing to pay 3.3 million euros ($3.7m, £2.9m) in taxes during his time in charge of Real Madrid.

The 54-year-old Mourinho, who coached Madrid from 2010 to 2013, was accused of “two offences against the public treasury,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

FOX Sports needs to select Aly Wagner to co-commentate World Cup 2018 games

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Here at World Soccer Talk, we will continue to take the lead by identifying the new generation of candidates for soccer television commentary positions on major national television networks in the United States, with particular emphasis on English-language broadcasts.

In March 2013, we identified John Strong as the best home-grown English-language soccer play-by-play commentator and we voiced our opinion to FOX Sports President and COO Eric Shanks, who had assigned Gus Johnson to the number one soccer play-by-play position instead.

Troubled Ronaldo gets Madrid court date

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo’s woes deepened Tuesday when the star striker was summoned to appear before a judge investigating tax fraud.

Ronaldo, 32, said to have vowed that he would never play for Real Madrid again, was ordered to appear in a Madrid court on July 31 to answer four counts of tax evasion of 14.

Ronaldo’s Portugal take on Confederations Cup hosts Russia

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Moscow (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal take on Confederations Cup hosts and Group A leaders Russia on Wednesday with a tax storm scandal clouding the superstar’s Real Madrid future.

Having opened their Confed Cup campaign with a 2-0 win over New Zealand, Russia face a step up against Euro 2016 winners Portugal and their troubled superstar captain.

Jose Mourinho accused of tax fraud, Ronaldo before judge

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Madrid (AFP) – Jose Mourinho was on Tuesday accused by Spanish authorities of failing to pay 3.3 million euro ($3.7 million) in taxes at Real Madrid as star player Cristiano Ronaldo was summoned to appear before a judge next month.

The 54-year-old Mourinho, who coached Real Madrid from 2010 to 2013, was accused of “two offences against the public treasury,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Mourinho accused of tax fraud, Ronaldo before judge

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Madrid (AFP) – Jose Mourinho was on Tuesday accused by Spanish authorities of failing to pay 3.3 million euro ($3.7 million) in taxes at Real Madrid as star player Cristiano Ronaldo was summoned to appear before a judge next month.

The 54-year-old Mourinho, who coached Real Madrid from 2010 to 2013, was accused of “two offences against the public treasury,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Troubled Ronaldo summoned for July 31 tax hearing

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo’s woes deepened Tuesday when the star striker who reportedly wants to quit Real Madrid was summoned to appear before a judge investigating tax fraud.

Ronaldo, 32, said to have vowed that he would never play for Real Madrid again, was summoned to appear in a Madrid court on July 31 to answer four counts of tax evasion of 14.

Socceroos boss glum after Germany defeat in Confederations Cup

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Australia head coach Ange Postecoglou cut a disappointed figure after their 3-2 opening Confederations Cup defeat to Germany, but expects the Socceroos to bounce back against Cameroon on Thursday.

Having been hammered 4-0 by Brazil in Melbourne last week in a friendly ahead of the tournament in Russia, Australia stumbled again, losing to the world champions, who fielded an inexperienced side on Monday in Sochi.

No offer received for Ronaldo, says Real Madrid boss

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Madrid (AFP) – There has been no interest from any club in Real Madrid’s star player Cristiano Ronaldo, who has threatened to leave Spain after running into problems with tax authorities, according to club president Florentino Perez.

“No one has sent us an offer for either Cristiano or anyone else,” Perez told Onda Cero radio station.

Inside Senegal’s Premier League football incubator

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Dèni Biram Ndaw (Senegal) (AFP) – Long before Sadio Mane and Diafra Sakho battled for Premier League supremacy, the two footballers made their mark at a Senegalese club increasingly recognised as a west African pipeline to the top of the game.

Generation Foot began life as an academy in 2000 and the side became national champions for the first time on June 11, seeing off every adult club in Senegal after being promoted to the elite national league this year.

Pork, sweets off menu for ‘fat’ Chinese footballers as Spanish take charge

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Beijing (AFP) – Chinese investors have spent millions acquiring storied European football clubs such as AC Milan, Inter Milan and Aston Villa. But when Europeans finally took a stake in a Chinese club they aimed lower. Much lower.

A group of Spanish investors, including the former president of Barcelona, recently bought into the team of the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT), making them the first Chinese club with foreign investors.

Ronaldo won’t quit Real Madrid, says Florentino Perez

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo will be staying at Spanish giants Real Madrid and no offer has been received to tempt him away, club president Florentino Perez insisted Tuesday.

Unhappy Ronaldo has been linked to Manchester United and other top clubs after reportedly threatening to leave Real and quit Spain after running into problems with tax authorities.

New Zealand face Mexico battle to stay alive in Confederations Cup

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson says the All Whites must be brave against Mexico, knowing defeat on Wednesday will effectively end their Confederations Cup hopes.

Their 2-0 loss to hosts Russia in Saturday’s opening Group A match means Oceania champions New Zealand have now gone a record 10 games without a win at the Confederations Cup having left the 1999, 2003 and 2009 editions empty-handed.

Jose Mourinho accused of tax fraud in Spain

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Madrid (AFP) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho was on Tuesday accused of evading 3.3 million euro ($3.7 million) in tax at Real Madrid, the public prosecutor’s office in Madrid announced.

Portuguese Mourinho, who coached Real Madrid from 2010 to 2013, was accused of “two offences against the public treasury,” the office said in a statement.

Cristiano Ronaldo summoned for July 31 tax hearing

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, accused of evading 14.7 million euro ($16.5m) in tax, has been summoned to appear before a judge in Spain, judicial sources told AFP on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old Portuguese star is facing four charges of fraud through offshore companies between 2011 and 2014.

No other club offer for Ronaldo: Real boss

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Madrid (AFP) – There has been no interest from any club in Real Madrid’s star player Cristiano Ronaldo, who has threatened to leave Spain after running into problems with tax authorities, according to club president Florentino Perez.

“No one has sent us an offer for either Cristiano or anyone else,” Perez told Onda Cero radio station.

Maradona prefers Messi, but dubs Ronaldo ‘incredible’

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Buenos Aires (AFP) – Argentinian footballing legend Maradona said Monday that he preferred compatriot Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo all the while dubbing the Portugal captain an “incredible” player.

“I can’t remember having seen Lionel Messi play badly,” Maradona told TyCSports.

Video technology is the future of football: Infantino

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Kazan (Russia) (AFP) – FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Monday strongly defended the use of video assistant referees (VAR) during the first round of group-stage matches at the Confederations Cup in Russia.

The latest of the five decisions to go to review was when the video assistant awarded Australia a goal in their 3-2 defeat to Germany on Monday, despite replays appearing to show a handball from eventual scorer Tomi Juric in the build-up.

Youthful Germany squeeze past Australia Confederations Cup

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – A youthful Germany side weathered a second-half fightback by Australia to open their Confederations Cup campaign with a 3-2 win over the Socceroos on Monday in Sochi.

Goals by Lars Stindl and Leon Goretzka, either side of a penalty by Julian Draxler, saw Germany home to leave them second in Group B behind Chile, who they face in Kazan on Thursday.

Ousted FIFA ethics heads were investigating Infantino: sources

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Lausanne (AFP) – FIFA’s ethics team had been investigating the role played by the organisation’s president, Gianni Infantino, in the Confederation of African Football’s presidential elections before being removed from office, sources said on Monday.

Swiss prosecutor Cornel Borbely, who was chairman of the ethics committee’s investigatory chamber, had opened an invstigation into suggestions Infantino might have sought to influence the election of Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad as president of CAF in March.

Youthful Germany squeeze past Australia in Confederations Cup

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – A youthful Germany side weathered a second-half fightback by Australia to open their Confederations Cup campaign with a 3-2 win over the Socceroos on Monday in Sochi.

Goals by Lars Stindl and Leon Goretzka either side of a penalty from captain Julian Draxler saw Germany home to leave them second in Group B behind Chile, who they face in Kazan on Thursday.

Average reported attendances for MLS through gameweek 16 of the 2017 season

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With no weekday matches in MLS last week, the reported attendances were decent considering the games were played across the weekend.

Colorado was the only outlier with a reasonable soft 15,400+. The year-to-year decrease in Orlando is due to the move from the Citrus Bowl to their new stadium.

Real Madrid boss Florentino Perez tackles Ronaldo problem

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Madrid (AFP) – Florentino Perez’s first task after being reelected unopposed as Real Madrid president on Monday will be to appease superstar Cristiano Ronaldo amid speculation the four-time world player of the year wants to leave.

“As no other candidature was put forward to the board … it is proclaimed that Mr Florentino Perez Rodriguez is president of Real Madrid,” the Spanish and European champions said in a statement.

Bayern Munich rubbish reports of Cristiano Ronaldo swoop

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Berlin (AFP) – Bayern Munich on Monday rubbished reports they are set to swoop for Cristiano Ronaldo - with the German giants’ chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insisting it’s pure fantasy.

The 32-year-old Real Madrid star has threatened to leave Spain after running into problems with tax authorities.

Real Madrid’s Modric probed over false testimony

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Zagreb (AFP) – Croatian prosecutors said Monday they were opening an investigation into whether Real Madrid’s Luka Modric gave false testimony at the trial of Dinamo Zagreb’s powerful former boss, Zdravko Mamic.

The 31-year-old midfielder is suspected of “committing the criminal offence of giving false testimony” on June 13 at the tribunal in eastern Croatia, according to the prosecutors’ statement.

Real Madrid’s Modric probed over false testimony – prosecutors

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Zagreb (AFP) – Croatian prosecutors said Monday they were opening an investigation into whether Real Madrid’s Luka Modric gave false testimony at the trial of Dinamo Zagreb’s powerful former boss, Zdravko Mamic.

The 31-year-old midfielder is suspected of “committing the criminal offence of giving false testimony” on June 13 at the tribunal in eastern Croatia, according to the prosecutors’ statement.

10 things we learned from MLS gameweek 16 of the 2017 season

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Photo credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the ten things we learned from Week 16 of the 2017 MLS season.

1. Is Columbus’ Season Falling Apart?

It was a bad week for the Columbus Crew, who lost to Cincinnati in the US Open Cup and then were handily beaten by Atlanta on Saturday night.

Real Madrid boss Perez tackles Ronaldo problem

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Madrid (AFP) – Florentino Pérez’s first task after being reelected unopposed as Real Madrid president on Monday will be to appease superstar Cristiano Ronaldo amid speculation the four-time world player of the year wants to leave.

“As no other candidature was put forward to the board … it is proclaimed that Mr Florentino Pérez Rodríguez is president of Real Madrid,” the Spanish and European champions said in a statement.

Football: Oscar sparks mass brawl in Chinese league

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Shanghai (AFP) – Brazilian international Oscar triggered a mass brawl in the Chinese Super League as players and staff from his Shanghai SIPG side and opponents Guangzhou R&F scrapped on the pitch.

After the former Chelsea midfielder appeared to fire the ball deliberately twice at Guangzhou players, he was rushed by several opponents, fell to the ground and a melee broke out.

Angry Shenhua fans turn on misfiring Tevez

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Shanghai (AFP) – Carlos Tevez faced growing calls Monday to be shipped out as angry Shanghai Shenhua fans turned on the Argentine forward and under-pressure manager Gus Poyet.

Shenhua fans are fast losing patience with Tevez, who only moved to the Chinese club at the start of the year from Boca Juniors on a reported 38-million-euro ($42 million) salary that makes him one of the highest-rewarded footballers on the planet.

Oscar sparks mass brawl in Chinese league

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Shanghai (AFP) – Brazilian international Oscar triggered a mass brawl in the Chinese Super League as players and staff from his Shanghai SIPG side and opponents Guangzhou R&F scrapped on the pitch.

After the former Chelsea midfielder appeared to fire the ball deliberately twice at Guangzhou players, he was rushed by several opponents, fell to the ground and a melee broke out.

Where to find Germany vs. Australia Confederations Cup on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Germany vs. Australia in the Confederations Cup, you’ve come to the right place.

Both Germany and Australia play their first games of the Confederations Cup today. While Germany is favored to win, they’ll be playing with a lot of up-and-coming footballers that will face a difficult test against an unfavored Australia side.

Oscar sparks mass brawl in Chinese Super League

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Shanghai (AFP) – Brazilian international Oscar triggered a mass brawl in the Chinese Super League as players and staff from his Shanghai SIPG side and opponents Guangzhou R&F scrapped on the pitch.

After the former Chelsea midfielder appeared twice to fire the ball deliberately at Guangzhou players, he was rushed by several opponents.

Perez to remain as Real Madrid president until 2021

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Madrid (AFP) – Florentino Pérez will remain as president of Real Madrid until 2021 after no other candidates ran against him, the Spanish champions announced on Monday.

“As no other candidature was put forward to the board … it is proclaimed that Mr Florentino Pérez Rodríguez is president of Real Madrid,” the club said in a statement.

Video referee in focus as late strikes see Chile past Cameroon in Confederation Cup

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Moscow (AFP) – Arturo Vidal’s late header helped Chile to a 2-0 win over Cameroon in their Confederations Cup Group B opener in Moscow on Sunday, as the video assistant referee played a prominent role.

Chile dominated an entertaining, but goalless, first half as Eduardo Vargas saw his strike ruled out by the video assistant.

‘Worthy son’ Tiote laid to rest

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Abidjan (AFP) – Ivory Coast international Cheick Tiote, whose sudden death in China at just 30 years old shocked his country, was laid to rest Sunday as he was hailed a “worthy son” of the African nation.

Tiote, a 52-time capped player who featured at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, was honoured with a military funeral at the Williamsville cemetery in Abidjan where hundreds of people gathered to mourn.

Video in spotlight as late strikes see Chile past Cameroon in Confederations Cup

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Moscow (AFP) – Arturo Vidal’s late header helped Chile to a 2-0 win over Cameroon in their Confederations Cup Group B opener in Moscow on Sunday.

Chile dominated an entertaining, but goalless, first half as Eduardo Vargas saw his strike ruled out by the video assistant referee.

The Copa America champions had to wait until the 81st minute though to find a breakthrough, which was provided by a flying header from Bayern Munich midfielder Vidal, and Vargas added a second in added time.

Video referee in focus as late strikes see Chile past Cameroon in Confederations Cup

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Moscow (AFP) – Arturo Vidal’s late header helped Chile to a 2-0 win over Cameroon in their Confederations Cup Group B opener in Moscow on Sunday, as the video assistant referee played a prominent role.

Chile dominated an entertaining, but goalless, first half as Eduardo Vargas saw his strike ruled out by the video assistant.

Confed Cup is ‘a gift’ for Germany’s Loew

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Germany coach Joachim Loew described the Confederations Cup as ‘a gift’ in his side’s bid to defend the World Cup next year, ahead of Monday’s clash against Australia.

Loew has left most of his World Cup-winners at home and brought an inexperienced squad, who have made just 179 international appearances between them, to Russia.

Green Germany expect tough Confed Cup start

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – World champions Germany will field an inexperienced line-up against Australia in their Confederations Cup opener on Monday with striker Timo Werner fearing a robust challenge from the Socceroos.

With an average age of just 24 years, four months, and a combined total of 179 international appearances, Germany have the most youthful squad of the eight Confed Cup teams.

Ronaldo’s Real rage genuine or a cunning ploy?

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Madrid (AFP) – Enraged by Spanish tax authorities and a perceived lack of support from Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo is threatening to leave the European champions, but is it genuine or part of a greater ploy?

Ronaldo’s departure from Real, reportedly a given according to a Portuguese newspaper, triggered an avalanche of speculation over the potential destination of the world’s highest-paid athlete.

Ronaldo’s Portugal held by Mexico at Confederations Cup

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Kazan (Russia) (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo brushed off speculation about his Real Madrid future, although Portugal conceded a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Mexico at the Confederations Cup on Sunday.

Ronaldo teed up Ricardo Quaresma to fire Portugal ahead in the first half in Kazan, but the goal was cancelled out before the break by Mexico striker Javier Hernandez’s bullet header.

Ronaldo’s Portugal held by Mexico at Confed Cup

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Kazan (Russia) (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo brushed off speculation about his Real Madrid future although Portugal conceded a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Mexico at the Confederations Cup on Sunday.

Ronaldo teed up Ricardo Quaresma to fire Portugal ahead in the first half in Kazan, but the goal was cancelled out before the break by Mexico striker Javier Hernandez’s bullet header.

Time right for Socceroos at Confed Cup: Cahill

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – Socceroos veteran Tim Cahill says the time is right for Australia to shock inexperienced Germany on Monday and prove themselves at the Confederations Cup.

The ex-Everton midfielder, 37, is just three short of winning his 100th cap - a milestone he could reach in the three Group B games against Germany, Cameroon and Chile.

Footballers’ advisers under scrutiny over tax evasion

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo under suspicion, Radamel Falcao investigated, Lionel Messi sentenced… Spain’s courts have been busy tackling the alleged and real multi-million-euro tax evasion of football’s greatest stars.

But while they may be aware of what they are doing, footballers rely on expert go-betweens like big banks to help them manage their finances, and the European Commission is looking into measures that would dissuade these intermediaries from assisting wealthy individuals in avoiding tax.

Germany expect tough Confed Cup start for inexperience side

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – World champions Germany will pit an inexperienced line-up against Australia in their Confederations Cup opener on Monday with striker Timo Werner anticipating a robust challenge from the Socceroos.

With an average age of just 24 years, four months, and a combined total of 179 international appearances, Germany have the most youthful squad of the eight Confed Cup teams.

Zidane pleads with Ronaldo after ‘I quit’ bombshell

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane broke off his holiday to call Cristiano Ronaldo in a bid to persuade his unsettled star not to quit the club, Spanish sports daily Marca claimed on Sunday.

Ronaldo, on Confederations Cup duty in Russia with Portugal, is reportedly furious over a tax probe into the off shore accounts dealing with his image rights, and has reportedly vowed to leave Spain.

Where to find Mexico vs. Portugal Confederations Cup on US TV and streaming

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If you’re trying to find out how you can watch Mexico vs. Portugal in the Confederations Cup, you’ve come to the right place.

Mexico and Portugal kick off their first games in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup with the champion of CONCACAF meeting the winner of the 2016 European Championship.

Villa scores 50th, 51st career MLS goals

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New York (AFP) – David Villa scored twice to lift New York City FC to a 2-1 win Saturday over the Seattle Sounders, becoming the fifth fastest player in MLS history to reach 50 career goals.

The reigning MLS MVP Villa needed just 78 games to score 50 goals as he leads all MLS players with 14 multi-goal games since he joined the league two years ago.

Russia football fan leader barred from Confederations Cup

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Moscow (AFP) – Russian fan leader Alexander Shprygin has been barred from the Confederations Cup before the opening match in Saint Petersburg on Saturday which saw the hosts beat New Zealand 2-0.

The issue of hooliganism is a major concern for organisers after ugly clashes between Russian and English fans at the European Championship in Marseille last summer.

Russia get off to winning start in Confederations Cup

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Saint Petersburg (AFP) – Hosts Russia got off to a winning start at the Confederations Cup on Saturday, Fedor Smolov’s second-half goal sealing a 2-0 win over New Zealand in Saint Petersburg in the tournament opener.

Russia went ahead in the first half of the Group A encounter through what was credited as an own goal from New Zealand defender Michael Boxall, and Smolov - top scorer in the Russian league last season - wrapped up the points in the 69th minute.

Arturo Vidal, the humble road to football stardom in Chile

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Santiago (AFP) – In one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Santiago, Yvo and his friends lace up their boots and throw on their Rodelindo Roman club jerseys in the hope of emulating the path to stardom of Chile’s Arturo Vidal.

Twenty years ago, it was Vidal emerging from a pitchside hut at this modest club in the San Joaquin district of the Chilean capital, allowing him to briefly forget the cold and hunger.

Penalty goals among radical proposals up for debate

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London (AFP) – Penalty goals for handling the ball on the line could be a thing of the future if proposals compiled by the International Football Association Board’s (IFAB) technical director are accepted.

The proposals in a document titled ‘Play Fair’ - which also include players being able to play freekicks and corners to themselves - are to be debated over the next nine months and could be added to at a meeting of Ifab, football’s global rule making body, next month.

Troubled Ronaldo eyes more silver at Confederations Cup

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Kazan (Russia) (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo will put speculation over his club future firmly to one side as he leads European champions Portugal into their Confederations Cup opener against Mexico in Kazan on Sunday.

The 32-year-old Real Madrid superstar’s build-up to the tournament in Russia has been overshadowed after he was this week accused by prosecutors in Spain of defrauding the authorities of 14.

Keizer to ink deal as Ajax coach

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The Hague (AFP) – Top Amsterdam club Ajax on Saturday said it will appoint the relatively inexperienced as new head coach following the departure of Peter Bosz for Borussia Dortmund after a single season.

“He (Keizer) will shortly sign a contract starting 1 July 2017 with a span of two years,” Ajax said in a statement.

Troubled Ronaldo eyes more silverware at Confederations Cup

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Kazan (Russia) (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo will put speculation over his club future firmly to one side as he leads European champions Portugal into their Confederations Cup opener against Mexico in Kazan on Sunday.

The 32-year-old Real Madrid superstar’s build-up to the tournament in Russia has been overshadowed after he was this week accused by prosecutors in Spain of defrauding the authorities of 14.

Alaves appoint Argentine Zubeldia as new coach

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Madrid (AFP) – Alaves have named Argentine Luis Zubeldia as their new coach after his fellow countryman Mauricio Pellegrino stepped down, the Spanish club announced.

In a statement, Alaves said the 36-year-old was joining from Colombia’s Independiente Medellin and was “one of the most prominent coaches in South American football.

English Football League apologises for Carabao Cup livestream farce

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Bangkok (AFP) – The English Football League apologised on Saturday after error-riddled graphics appeared on their online broadcast of the first round draw for the Carabao Cup, including inaccurately announcing an extra Charlton Athletic match.

Glitches in the draw, which took place in Bangkok on Friday night, caused confusion and much merriment among fans but is a major publicity gaff for the EFL and the cup’s new sponsor, Thai energy drinks firm Carabao.

Russia set for World Cup stress test in Confed Cup

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Saint Petersburg (AFP) – Russia faces a stress test of its readiness to host the 2018 World Cup as the Confederations Cup kicks off Saturday amid concerns over hooliganism and security.

World Cup holders Germany and the FIFA confederations champions compete in the eight-team tournament which will put Russia’s ability to handle thousands of visiting and home fans under the spotlight.

Sunderland in talks over potential sale of football club

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London (AFP) – Sunderland confirmed on Friday that they are in talks with several groups over the potential sale of the Championship club.

Black Cats owner Ellis Short has been keen to sell up for some time and it was recently reported the American is in advanced talks with a German consortium.

Football: Arsenal must spend more, but lay off Wenger says Petit

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Bangkok (AFP) – Arsenal must spend more on wages if it hopes to keep players away from global competitors, former midfielder Emmanuel Petit told AFP Friday, adding fans also needed to lay off embattled manager Arsene Wenger.

It is 13-years since Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’ won the last of his three Premier League titles and the club has just come through their worst season in two decades.

Ronaldo thinking only of Confederations Cup, says Silva

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Kazan (Russia) (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo, battling accusations of tax evasion and speculation over his club future, is concentrating only on the Confederations Cup, his Portugal teammate Andre Silva said Friday.

“He takes this tournament very seriously and is focussed. He is motivated, just like me,” said the 21-year-old Silva at a news conference in Kazan ahead of Portugal’s opening Confederations Cup match against Mexico on Sunday.

Fan dies after Champions League stampede in Turin

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Rome (AFP) – A woman left in a coma after a crowd stampeded in Turin at a screening of the Champions League final on June 3 died overnight, the hospital where she was being treated said.

Erika Pioletti, 38, who had come to watch the match with her boyfriend, was among more than 1,500 people injured in a mass panic caused by a bomb scare that was triggered by fireworks being let off.

Loew to blood Germany’s rising stars at Confederations Cup

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – World champions Germany head to the Confederations Cup with coach Joachim Loew looking to nurture his next generation of stars after leaving his top names at home.

With a year to go before the World Cup, Loew has given a host of key players the summer off and picked seven newcomers in his squad for Russia, which has a combined total of just 104 international appearances.

Football still a bit player in rugby-mad New Zealand

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Wellington (AFP) – For New Zealand’s All Whites, the Confederations Cup represents a rare chance for football to emerge from the huge shadow cast by rugby union’s All Blacks and test themselves against top opposition.

Unlike the top nations at the eight-team tournament in Russia, football is not the most sporting popular code in New Zealand, where rugby dominates to a degree unmatched anywhere else.

Argentine banker pleads guilty in FIFA scandal

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New York (AFP) – A 56-year-old Argentine banker pleaded guilty in New York on Thursday to transferring more than $25 million in bribes in the massive FIFA corruption scandal that has rocked world soccer.

“I deeply regret what I did. I am ashamed and I wish I could express in words what I feel,” Jorge Arzuaga told Federal Judge Pamela Chen in Brooklyn, speaking in slow but perfect English.

Rooney in focus as China transfer window opens

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Shanghai (AFP) – Some of football’s biggest names remain linked with a move to China but a 100 percent tax on transfer fees looks likely to hit spending when the country’s transfer window opens on Monday.

Wayne Rooney, Diego Costa and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are among the stars rumoured to be considering big-money moves to the Chinese Super League (CSL), which has been smashing spending records in recent seasons.

Japan football coach yellow-carded over car prang

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Tokyo (AFP) – Japan’s under-fire football coach Vahid Halilhodzic has picked up a caution from his employers after he was involved in a minor traffic accident, local media reported Friday.

The 65-year-old’s car collided with another vehicle in Tokyo on Thursday afternoon, his second fender-bender in two years after running into a taxi in August 2015.

Fan dies after June 3 football stampede in Turin

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Rome (AFP) – A woman left in a coma after a crowd stampeded in Turin at a screening of the Champions League final on June 3 died overnight, the hospital where she was being treated said Friday.

The patient, identified as Erika, a 38-year-old local woman who had come to watch the match with her boyfriend, was among more than 1,500 people injured in the panic.

Tottenham striker Son has ‘successful’ op on broken arm

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Seoul (AFP) – Tottenham striker Son Heung-Min underwent successful surgery on his broken right arm on Friday and will take about a month to recover, the Korean Football Association said.

“The operation was successful,” KFA Spokesman Cho Jun-Heon told AFP, adding that Son will stay in South Korea to focus on his recovery.

France striker Antoine Griezmann weds in secret

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Madrid (AFP) – France striker Antoine Griezmann tied the knot with his long-term partner Erika Choperena in a secret ceremony at a beauty spot in Toledo, Spanish media revealed on Friday.

The 26-year-old, who last week extended his Atletico Madrid contract until 2022, met Choperena in San Sebastian when she was studying and he played at Real Sociedad.

Russia, New Zealand primed for Confederations Cup opener

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Moscow (AFP) – Hosts Russia kick off the Confederations Cup against New Zealand in Saint Petersburg on Saturday, targeting victory in their opening match to set the tone for a successful tournament.

“We’ve worked hard and I believe now we’re well-prepared for the opening game,” Zenit midfielder Igor Smolnikov told Russian TV.

Security under spotlight at Russia’s Confed Cup

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Sochi (Russia) (AFP) – The Confederations Cup kicks off on Saturday when Russia play New Zealand in St Petersburg, with the hosts promising there will be no repeat of the violence which marred Euro 2016.

A year before Russia holds the World Cup, the behaviour of fans and concerns over racism are topics the host nation hopes will not be a factor at the eight-team Confederations Cup.

Telemundo goes ‘all in’ with Confederations Cup TV coverage: World Soccer Talk Podcast

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

In the NEW episode, number 31, Kartik Krishnaiyer and Christopher Harris cover a range of topics including:

• Telemundo’s plans for their coverage of the 2017 Confederations Cup,

• Our opinions about the coverage of the US-Mexico game,

• How the Premier League could change the weekend kickoff times,

• Plus questions from YOU, the listeners and much more.

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for June 7-11, 2017

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The World Cup Qualifier between the United States and Mexico was unsurprisingly the most-watched soccer match of the week with over 6.8 million viewers tuning in between FOX Sports 1 and Univision. The match was the most-viewed soccer match for 2017 on both networks individually, with FOX Sports 1 contributing 2.

Everton in double swoop for Pickford, Klaassen

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London (AFP) – Everton made Jordan Pickford Britain’s most expensive goalkeeper on Thursday as they signed the Sunderland star in a deal worth up to £30 million ($38 million, 34 million euros).

England Under-21 international Pickford will cost Everton an initial £25 million, surpassing the £10 million Southampton paid to sign his international colleague Fraser Forster from Celtic in 2014.

Hungary coach Storck keeps job despite Andorra loss

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Budapest (AFP) – Hungary’s national football coach Bernd Storck narrowly avoided the sack Thursday after the local federation decided to keep him on despite a shock defeat against minnows Andorra last week, widely seen as the Magyars’ worst ever result.

“We are giving Bernd Storck another chance” said Sandor Csanyi head of the Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) in a statement after a marathon board meeting also attended by the German.

Football: Argentine banker pleads guilty in FIFA scandal

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New York (AFP) – A 56-year-old Argentine banker pleaded guilty in New York on Thursday to transferring more than $25 million in bribes in the massive FIFA corruption scandal that has rocked world soccer.

“I deeply regret what I did. I am ashamed and I wish I could express in words what I feel,” Jorge Arzuaga told Federal Judge Pamela Chen in Brooklyn, speaking in slow but perfect English.

Ranieri sees great season ahead at Nantes

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Nantes (France) (AFP) – Claudio Ranieri assured fans at his new club Nantes he was ready to work hard to get results and said the French club had the players and the passion to make next season a success.

Ranieri, the architect of Leicester City’s fairytale Premier League triumph in 2016, signed a two-year deal to become Nantes coach earlier Thursday.

Thousands mourn as body of Tiote brought home

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Abidjan (AFP) – Around a thousand fans and some twenty international teammates were present at Abidjan airport on Thursday to pay their respects as the body of football star Cheick Tiote, who died in China earlier this month aged 30, was brought home.

A key member of the Ivory Coast team which ended a 23-year drought in winning the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, his manager from that time Herve Renard had made the trip as had teammates Salomon Kalou, Kader Keita and Wilfried Bony.

AC Milan rage as top keeper Donnarumma eyes exit

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Rome (AFP) – AC Milan were left fuming Thursday when their highly-rated 18-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma said he would not sign an extended contract with the Italian giants.

Considered the heir to Italy and Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, Donnarumma is a target for a number of top clubs and making him the pillar of the club’s future with an extended contract had been Milan’s number one priority.

Nantes confirm Ranieri as new coach

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Nantes (France) (AFP) – Former Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri, the architect of the Foxes’ fairytale Premier League triumph, has signed a two-year deal to become the coach of Nantes, the French club confirmed on Thursday.

“FC Nantes are delighted to announced the arrival of Claudio Ranieri,” the club said on its website as the appointment of the 65-year-old Italian was made official.

Leicester land Maguire from Hull

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London (AFP) – Leicester signed Hull defender Harry Maguire for a reported fee of £17 million ($21 million, 19 million euros) on Thursday.

Maguire was keen to leave Hull following the club’s relegation from the Premier League last season and he has agreed a five-year contract with Leicester.

Everton seal record swoop for goalkeeper Pickford

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London (AFP) – Everton made Jordan Pickford Britain’s most expensive goalkeeper on Thursday as they signed the Sunderland star in a deal worth up to £30 million ($38 million, 34 million euros).

England Under-21 international Pickford will cost Everton an initial £25 million, surpassing the £10 million Southampton paid to sign his international colleague Fraser Forster from Celtic in 2014.

Tottenham star Son Heung-Min set for surgery on arm

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London (AFP) – Son Heung-Min could miss the start of Tottenham’s pre-season preparations after his club revealed the South Korea forward will have surgery on his fractured arm on Friday.

Son suffered the injury after landing awkwardly following an aerial challenge during South Korea’s World Cup qualifying defeat with Qatar on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi pledges ‘fight’ as Argentina eye World Cup

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Buenos Aires (AFP) – Lionel Messi vowed to “keep fighting” as Argentina attempt to overcome their World Cup qualifying struggles and seal their place in next year’s tournament in Russia.

The two-time world champions are fifth in South American qualifying, with only the top four teams guaranteed a place in the 2018 World Cup.

Christiansen named new Leeds manager

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London (AFP) – Former Spanish international Thomas Christiansen is the new manager of fallen English football giants Leeds United, the second-tier club announced on Thursday.

The 44-year-old - born in Denmark but who qualified to play for Spain through his Spanish mother - replaces Garry Monk, who shocked the club by rejecting a new contract last month.

Tottenham’s Son Heung-Min to have surgery on broken arm

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Seoul (AFP) – Tottenham striker Son Heung-Min will have surgery this week after breaking his right arm during South Korea’s World Cup qualifying 3-2 defeat to Qatar, the Korean Football Association said on Thursday.

The 24-year-old left the field in obvious pain in the 33rd minute of Tuesday’s match in Doha, clutching his right forearm after an aerial challenge.

South Korea axe coach Uli Stielike after Qatar shock

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Seoul (AFP) – South Korea axed coach Uli Stielike on Thursday after a shock defeat to Qatar left their World Cup qualification hanging in the balance.

Stielike, who has been in charge since 2014, paid the price for a run of poor results including qualifying defeats to China and Iran.

Cristiano Ronaldo ‘silent’ amid tax evasion accusations

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo reacted to accusations that he evaded paying taxes of 14.7 million euros ($16.4 million) by saying that remaining silent was the “best answer”.

“Sometimes the best answer it’s to be quiet,” the Real Madrid star forward said on Instagram with a photo of himself in a Portugal polo shirt and right forefinger raised to his lips.

Southampton sack Puel after just one season

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London (AFP) – Claude Puel was sacked as Southampton manager on Wednesday after just one season in charge, the English Premier Club announced.

Puel, 55, took Southampton to a respectable eighth-place finish in the table and to the League Cup final where they were defeated by Manchester United.

French football sensation Mbappe surprised by meteoric rise

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Paris (AFP) – At just 18 years of age, Kylian Mbappe is the hottest property in football and the French sensation admits that he has been surprised by how quickly his star has risen.

“I always had lots of imagination when I was little, so I am not going to say that I hadn’t imagined it,” Mbappe told AFP in an interview when asked if he expected to have won a league title and become a full international at such a young age.

French federation president tips Zidane for future France job

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Paris (AFP) – The president of the French Football Federation has said he expects Zinedine Zidane to eventually manage France.

“That is a logical continuation. It is likely that one day he will be interested,” Noel Le Graet told RMC radio on Wednesday when asked about the prospect of Zidane coaching Les Bleus in the future.

Manchester United complete £31 million signing of Lindelof

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United on Wednesday completed the signing of Swedish international centre-back Victor Lindelof from Benfica for a fee believed to be £31 million (35m euros, $39.6m), the English Premier League side announced.

“I am thrilled to be joining Manchester United,” said the 22-year-old after penning a four-year deal.

Bayern break transfer record to sign Tolisso from Lyon

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Lyon (AFP) – France midfielder Corentin Tolisso has moved to Bayern Munich from Lyon for a record fee that could reach 47.5 million euros ($53.5 million), the Bundesliga champions announced on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old signed a five-year deal with Bayern to bring an end to his 10-year association with Lyon.

Leipzig snap up Portuguese winger Bruma

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Berlin (AFP) – RB Leipzig have signed talented Portuguese winger Bruma from Galatasaray on a five-year deal, the German Bundesliga runners-up announced on Wednesday.

German football magazine Kicker reported the transfer fee for the 22-year-old as 12 million euros ($13.5 million), with three million in potential bonuses.

Tolisso joins Bayern Munich from Lyon

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Lyon (AFP) – France midfielder Corentin Tolisso has moved to Bayern Munich from Lyon for a reported 35 million euros, the Bundesliga champions announced on Wednesday.

The 22-year-old signed a five-year deal with Bayern to bring an end to his 10-year association with Lyon.

Tolisso, who made his senior France debut against Spain in March, had been contracted to stay at Parc OL until 2020.

Telemundo plans comprehensive Confederations Cup coverage unlike FOX Sports

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Featuring proud soccer nations such as Mexico, Chile, Germany, Portugal and others, the 2017 edition of the FIFA Confederations Cup will be televised in the United States by both FOX Sports (English language) and Telemundo and Universo (Spanish language). But it’s the Spanish-language counterparts that are planning wall-to-wall coverage of this tournament, with plans to far exceed what their rival FOX Sports is planning.

Ronaldo has ‘clear conscience’ amid tax evasion accusations

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo insisted Wednesday he had a “clear conscience” after Spanish prosecutors accused Real Madrid’s star forward of evading 14.7 million euros in tax through offshore companies.

“Conscience clear, always,” Ronaldo told reporters at Lisbon airport as he and his Portuguese teammates prepared to fly out to the Confederations Cup in Russia.

Barcelona unveil Eric Abidal as ambassador

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Barcelona (AFP) – Former France and Barcelona defender Eric Abidal, who returned to top-flight football despite a liver transplant, was on Wednesday named as an ambassador for the Catalan club.

Barca said they had reached an agreement with the 37-year-old “to be an ambassador and representative of the club at different events in the next few years”.

Image rights a minefield for foreign footballers, says tax expert

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London (AFP) – Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo stands accused in Spain of evading 14.7 million euros in tax, highlighting the thorny issue in football of image rights.

He is not the only player to have been caught up in the issue, with arch rival Lionel Messi having already been convicted of tax fraud in Spain.

Lack of black managers frustrating – female FA board member

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London (AFP) – Football Association (FA) board member Heather Rabbatts voiced her frustration on Wednesday at the lack of black coaches in the English game as she announced she would stand down next month.

The 61-year-old - who became the FA’s first female non-executive director in 2012 - said it had been a privilege to be the “first woman of colour” to be on the FA board and conceded that some progress had been made.

Uniting Inter dressing room Spalletti’s priority

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Milan (AFP) – Luciano Spalletti said on Wednesday that bringing the dressing room together will be one of his priorities in leading embattled Inter Milan “back to where they belong”.

“First and foremost we have to be united,” said Spalletti at his official unveiling in Milan following his appointment last week as the successor to sacked Stefano Pioli.

Qatar keep FIFA World Cup hopes alive after defeating South Korea

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Doha (AFP) – World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar improbably kept alive their slim hopes of qualifying for next year’s tournament in Russia with a thrilling victory over South Korea on Tuesday.

On a politically charged night in Doha, a Hasan Al-Haydos goal, his second of the match, secured a 3-2 win after Qatar had squandered a two-goal lead and looked to be heading out of the competition.

HRW slams ‘abuse’ of Russia World Cup workers

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Moscow (AFP) – Human Rights Watch in a report released on Wednesday highlighted exploitation of workers on 2018 World Cup construction sites and accused FIFA and host Russia of taking insufficient action to halt abuse.

The New York-based group accused world football governing body FIFA of failing to effectively monitor labour conditions ahead of the Confederations Cup starting June 17 and the World Cup that kicks off in a year’s time.

‘Big crisis’ leaves South Korea football coach facing axe

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Seoul (AFP) – South Korea coach Uli Stielike was facing the axe after a turbulent World Cup qualifying defeat to Qatar plunged the team into a “big crisis” on Wednesday.

The Taeguk Warriors weren’t the only team to drop points in Tuesday’s qualifiers, with Japan also conceding a late equaliser in their 1-1 draw with Iraq.

Australians in Confed Cup ‘to win it’ despite Brazil drubbing

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Sydney (AFP) – Australia departed for the Russia and FIFA’s Confederations Cup Wednesday insisting they can still win it, despite a crushing 4-0 demolition by Brazil in a lopsided warm-up.

The Socceroos were thrashed by the South Americans in a friendly in Melbourne on Tuesday, but coach Ange Postecoglou preferred to look on the bright side.

Tears, anger as China’s World Cup dream fades

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Shanghai (AFP) – Marcello Lippi’s China vowed to fight on after their 2018 World Cup hopes were all but destroyed when Syria’s late equaliser left them bottom of their qualifying group and with their captain in tears.

The Italian coach angrily blamed the referee after Ahmad Al Salih’s injury-time free-kick secured a 2-2 draw, dealing a hammer blow to China’s already remote chances.

Sven-Goran Eriksson sacked by China’s Shenzhen FC

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Shanghai (AFP) – Former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson was shown the door at China’s second-tier Shenzhen FC on Wednesday after a run of poor results.

The club hailed Eriksson despite parting ways with the much-travelled Swede, who leaves with the team fourth in China League One.

Chelsea first opponents for Spurs at new ‘home’ Wembley

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London (AFP) – Premier League champions Chelsea will be the first opponents for runners-up Tottenham at their temporary home of Wembley on the second weekend of the 2017/18 campaign it was revealed on Wednesday when the fixtures were published.

Spurs - who were beaten by Chelsea in their FA Cup semi-final at Wembley and lost two of their four European matches last season when they played ‘home’ matches there instead of White Hart Lane - are using Wembley while their new state of the art ground is developed in north London.

Cheick Tiote’s agent calls for end to speculation over death

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London (AFP) – The agent of the late Ivory Coast midfielder Cheick Tiote on Wednesday called for the media to cease making unsubstantiated claims about the reasons for his death.

The 52-time capped star - a member of the Ivory Coast squad that ended a 23-year drought in winning the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations - died after fainting during training with second division side Beijing Enterprises on June 5.

Japan coach faces review after Iraq World Cup qualifying draw

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Tokyo (AFP) – Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic was facing a performance review on Wednesday after a 1-1 draw with Iraq set back his team’s World Cup qualifying campaign.

Japan’s football chief was left fuming by the result in neutral Tehran, saying hot conditions were no excuse for the disappointing result.

Football: Xi meets FIFA boss as China eyes World Cup

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Beijing (AFP) – Chinese President Xi Jinping met with FIFA chief Gianni Infantino on Wednesday as the football world watches for signs that the Asian giant will make a bid to host a World Cup.

Xi greeted Infantino in the capital’s palatial Great Hall of the People but the two men did not mention China’s World Cup ambitions as they exchanged pleasantries before their closed-door meeting.

Super-agent Mendes summoned over Falcao tax evasion

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Madrid (AFP) – Footballing super-agent Jorge Mendes, who manages Cristiano Ronaldo among others, has been summoned before a Spanish court as part of the probe into Colombian striker Radamel Falcao’s alleged tax evasion, legal sources said on Wednesday.

Monaco’s Falcao is suspected of failing to correctly declare 5.

FOX Soccer 2GO becomes FOX Soccer Match Pass

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FOX Sports has rebranded their paid streaming service FOX Soccer 2GO to FOX Soccer Match Pass.

The more unique name for the streaming service will help avoid confusion with the free (but authentication required) streaming service named FOX Sports GO.

FOX Soccer Match Pass is currently in beta, and more details regarding the service should be released in the coming days.

Southgate gauges gap to best as England lose in France

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Paris (AFP) – England manager Gareth Southgate admitted Tuesday’s 3-2 friendly defeat to France in Paris provided further evidence of how far his side still have to go before they can be considered contenders at next year’s World Cup.

They were unable to hold onto an early lead given to them by Harry Kane and ended up conceding defeat despite the hosts playing most of the second half with 10 men at the Stade de France.

Late blows jolt China, Qatar shock South Korea

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Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Ahmad Al Salih’s late strike dealt a body blow to China’s faltering quest to reach a second World Cup on Tuesday, as blockaded Qatar kept their slimmest of hopes alive with a shock 3-2 victory over South Korea.

Marcello Lippi’s China were within reach of only their second win in Group A when Al Salih curled home a free-kick in injury time to leave the scores at 2-2 in their Group A match.

France edge thrilling friendly against England

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Paris (AFP) – Ousmane Dembele capped a thrilling performance with the deciding goal as 10-man France beat England 3-2 in a friendly in Paris on Tuesday in which the video assistant referee played a central role.

Captain Harry Kane had earlier scored twice for the visitors at the Stade de France, including from a penalty early in the second half.

Equatorial Guinea coach first Nations Cup victim

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Johannesburg (AFP) – Equatorial Guinea coach Esteban Becker has become the first casualty of 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying after a 3-0 loss in Senegal at the weekend.

A national football federation spokesman in the small, oil-rich central African state confirmed Tuesday that the out-of-contract Argentine would not be offered a new one.

Qatar keep World Cup hopes alive

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Doha (AFP) – World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar improbably kept alive their slim hopes of qualifying for next year’s tournament in Russia with a thrilling victory over South Korea on Tuesday.

On a politically charged night in Doha, a Hasan Al-Haydos goal, his second of the match, secured a 3-2 win after Qatar had squandered a two goal lead and looked to be heading out of the competition.

Liverpool target Costa in Juventus talks: report

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Milan (AFP) – The agent of Bayern Munich’s Douglas Costa, a reported transfer target for Liverpool, met with Juventus on Tuesday as the Italian giants look to bolster for next season, say reports.

Costa, who is known for his ball control and mazy runs up the wing, is reported to be looking for a way out of Bayern after a frustrating season under Carlo Ancelotti.

Qatar risks FIFA action in Emir T-shirt protest

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Doha (AFP) – Qatar’s national team could face disciplinary action from FIFA after players warmed up for a World Cup qualifier against South Korea Tuesday in T-shirts showing support for the country’s emir.

The players prepared for the crucial game in Doha wearing white shirts emblazoned with a profile portrait of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

France honours terror victims as Macron, May attend England friendly

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Paris (AFP) – An emotional tribute was paid to the victims of the recent terror attacks in the United Kingdom prior to England’s friendly match with France in Paris on Tuesday evening.

French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May attended the match at the Stade de France, to the north of the capital, as the hosts offered their solidarity to their visitors.

Nantes president sings Ranieri praises

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Nantes (France) (AFP) – Nantes president Waldemar Kita heaped praise on former Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri, who opted to take over as coach of the Ligue 1 outfit despite being linked to teams in China and England.

The Ligue I side received special dispensation from French league (LFP) officials on Tuesday to hire the popular Italian as he has reached the manager’s age limit of 65 years.

Roma confirm Di Francesco as new coach

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Milan (AFP) – Former Sassuolo coach Eusebio Di Francesco signed a two-season deal at Roma on Tuesday after the clubs agreed a compensation package.

Roma have been looking for a new coach since Luciano Spalletti left last week to join fellow Serie A outfit Inter Milan.

“We wanted someone who could come in and get the very best out of our first team players and also help bring through some of the great young talent coming out of our academy,” said Roma president James Pallotta.

Ronaldo accused of evading millions in taxes

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Madrid (AFP) – Spanish prosecutors on Tuesday accused Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo of evading 14.7 million euros in tax through offshore companies, the latest footballer to fall foul of fiscal authorities.

The 32-year-old - the world’s highest paid athlete according to Forbes magazine - follows in the steps of FC Barcelona forward and Argentina star Lionel Messi, who was found guilty of the same offence last year although the sums involved were allegedly smaller.

PSG starlet faces jail for air gun shooting

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Toulouse (France) (AFP) – Toulouse’s pubic prosecutor on Tuesday called for teenage football star Odsonne Edouard to be jailed for four months for shooting a random passer-by with an air gun.

Prosecutor Christine Chastenet also asked for a fine of 6,000 euros ($6,700) for the 19-year-old.

Late blows jolt China, Japan in World Cup qualifying

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Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Ahmad Al Salih’s late strike dealt a body blow to China’s faltering quest to reach a second World Cup on Tuesday, as Japan’s serene progress received a jolt from Iraq.

Marcello Lippi’s China were within reach of only their second win in Group A when Al Salih curled home a free kick in injury time to leave the scores at 2-2.

Late Syria strike dims China’s World Cup hopes

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Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Ahmad Al Salih’s injury-time free kick dealt China’s already faint World Cup hopes another body blow as they were held 2-2 by Syria on Tuesday.

China had fought back from Syria’s first-half penalty to lead 2-1 before the bearded Al Salih skilfully converted from the edge of the ‘D’ in the third added minute.

Palestinians take FIFA to court over Israeli clubs

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Lausanne (AFP) – The Palestine Football Association (PFA) appealed to the world’s top sports court on Tuesday, seeking to force FIFA to rule on the future of Israeli clubs playing in the West Bank.

The case filed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) is aimed at voiding a FIFA resolution, passed at its Congress last month, to push back a decision on the Israeli clubs until March 2018 at the latest.

‘Green’ Keizer set to become Ajax coach: reports

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The Hague (AFP) – Top Amsterdam club Ajax are set to name the relatively inexperienced Marcel Keizer as new coach following the departure of Peter Bosz for Borussia Dortmund after a single season, Dutch media reports said Tuesday.

“Ajax are going to name Marcel Keizer as new trainer, to follow Peter Bosz,” both popular daily tabloids Algemeen Dagblad and De Telegraaf reported.

Messi-less Argentina smash six past Singapore

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Singapore (AFP) – Argentina shrugged off Lionel Messi’s controversial absence by thumping six goals past minnows Singapore in a one-sided friendly on Tuesday.

Messi’s pre-game departure - reportedly to prepare for his wedding - prompted grumbles among fans but Argentina were not short of firepower as six different players found the net.

Iraq dent Japan’s World Cup bid

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Tehran (AFP) – Diminutive midfielder Mahdi Kamil’s late equaliser jolted Japan’s World Cup qualifying bid as they were held to an unexpected 1-1 draw with Iraq on Tuesday.

The Blue Samurai seemed to be cruising to victory in neutral Tehran after Yuya Osako’s first-half goal, before the 164cm (5ft 4in) Kamil poached the equaliser on 73 minutes.

Lyon confirm sex-tape victim Valbuena’s Fenerbahce transfer

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Lyon (AFP) – Lyon confirmed on Tuesday the transfer of attacking midfielder Mathieu Valbuena to Turks Fenerbahce for 1.5 million euros.

Istanbul giants Fenerbahce had announced on Monday an agreement in principle between the two clubs for the 32-year-old France international, who has been at the centre of a sex-tape blackmail scandal for the last two years.

UAE score last-gasp equaliser in Thai World Cup qualifier

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Bangkok (AFP) – Ali Mabkhout’s stoppage-time equaliser gave the United Arab Emirates a stay of execution but a 1-1 draw with Thailand left their World Cup bid hanging by a thread on Tuesday.

The UAE were seconds from dropping out of the running for Russia 2018 when Mabkhout scored from close range after a knockdown in the third minute of added time.

Modric testifies as star witness in Croatia graft trial

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Osijek (Croatia) (AFP) – Luka Modric swapped his football kit for a suit on Tuesday as he appeared in the witness box to testify in a multi-million-euro corruption trial against Dinamo Zagreb’s former boss.

The 31-year-old star midfielder, who is not a suspect, was visibly uncomfortable as he gave evidence at the trial of controversial Zdravko Mamic, considered the most powerful man in Croatian football.

Australia skipper Jedinak out of FIFA Confederations Cup

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Sydney (AFP) – Australia skipper Mile Jedinak has withdrawn from Tuesday’s friendly with Brazil and this month’s Confederations Cup with a groin injury, Football Federation Australia said.

The Aston Villa midfielder pulled up sore after Australia’s 3-2 World Cup qualifier win over Saudi Arabia last week and coach Ange Postecoglou said with the Socceroos to play at least four games in 13 days an unfit Jedinak was too much of a risk.

Star midfielder Modric appears as star witness in Croatia graft trial

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Zagreb (AFP) – Luka Modric will swap his football kit for a suit on Tuesday as he appears in the witness box to testify in a multi-million-euro corruption trial against Dinamo Zagreb’s ex chairman.

The 31-year-old star midfielder is to give evidence at the trial of controversial Zdravko Mamic, considered the most powerful man in Croatian football.

Australia bid for 2023 Women’s World Cup

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Sydney (AFP) – Australia unveiled a government-backed bid on Tuesday to host the 2023 Women’s World Cup, saying it would be an economic boon for the country and inspire a new generation footballers.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Australia’s history of successfully holding major sports events meant it was well-placed to host the football showpiece.

South Korea urges talks on joint football World Cup

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Seoul (AFP) – South Korea’s football association Tuesday said it wanted talks with China and Japan about a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup along with North Korea, an initiative aimed at easing tensions in the region.

The South’s new President Moon Jae-In first proposed the ambitious idea to FIFA chief Gianni Infantino in a meeting Monday, although Korean officials acknowledge China is likely to be lukewarm.

Everton set to land goalkeeper Jordan Pickford

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London (AFP) – Everton have agreed a £30 million ($38 million, 34 million euros) deal to sign Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, according to British media reports on Tuesday.

Pickford was Everton manager Ronald Koeman’s top target to take over from Maarten Stekelenburg and Joel Robles, who both endured inconsistent spells last season.

Cristiano Ronaldo accused of 14.7 million euro tax evasion

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo was on Tuesday accused of a 14.7 million euro tax evasion through offshore companies, the public prosecutor’s office in Madrid announced.

The Portuguese footballer was accused of “four crimes against the public treasury between 2011-14… which involves tax fraud of 14,768,897 euros ($16.

Ranieri takes over as Nantes coach

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Nantes (France) (AFP) – Italian Claudio Ranieri is the new coach of Nantes, the Ligue 1 side said on Tuesday, just four months after he was sacked by Leicester City.

Nantes had to ask for - and received - special dispensation from French league officials to hire the popular Italian as he has reached the manager’s age limit of 65.

Antoine Griezmann extends Atletico deal until 2022

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Madrid (AFP) – French star Antoine Griezmann has extended his contract with Atletico Madrid by a year, the Spanish club announced on Tuesday.

Griezmann’s contract now runs until June 30, 2022, and ends rumours linking him with a move away from Atletico.

“The first thing that I want to do is apologise to the people who misunderstood my statements,” the 26-year-old said.

Football: Australia skipper Jedinak out of Confederations Cup

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Sydney (AFP) – Australia skipper Mile Jedinak has withdrawn from Tuesday’s friendly with Brazil and this month’s Confederations Cup with a groin injury, Football Federation Australia said.

The Aston Villa midfielder pulled up sore after Australia’s 3-2 World Cup qualifier win over Saudi Arabia last week and coach Ange Postecoglou said with the Socceroos to play at least four games in 13 days an unfit Jedinak was too much of a risk.

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

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

After France’s surprise defeat in the last minute against Sweden where Hugo Lloris made a critical mistake, France will want to get a confidence boost in their friendly against France at Stade de France.

Korea’s Stielike wary of Qatar threat

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Doha (AFP) – South Korea’s coach Uli Stielike admitted on Monday that he was concerned by the threat posed by Qatar ahead of a crucial World Cup qualifier in Doha.

If South Korea manage to win on Tuesday, they will take a huge step to joining Iran in next year’s World Cup in Russia.

Bruce Arena dials U.S. in for massive result at the Azteca

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When the United States began the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying against Mexico in Columbus last November, then-U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann gambled – sending the Americans out in a never-before-used 3-5-2 formation.

The result was a disaster. The 3-5-2 was abandoned after a half hour, with Mexico ahead 1-0.

Ranieri set to join French club Nantes

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Rennes (France) (AFP) – Nantes closed in on former Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri on Monday after agreeing a two-year contract, but are awaiting French Professional League approval because of his age, a club source said.

The LFP does not allow coaches aged over 65 to join French clubs.

Late football star Tiote’s body flown back to Ivory Coast

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Abidjan (AFP) – Cheick Tiote’s body will arrive back in the Ivory Coast on Thursday where tributes will be paid to the international by his former teammates, the Ivorian Football Federation (IFF) said on Monday.

Tiote - who was a member of the Ivory Coast squad that ended a 23-year drought by winning the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations - died on June 5 aged 30 years after ‘suddenly fainting’ during a training session with his second-tier Chinese club Beijing Enterprises.

Portugal can win Confederations Cup: Santos

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Lisbon (AFP) – Portugal coach Fernando Santos said on Monday that the European champions are expecting to challenge for the title at the Confederations Cup in Russia.

Powered by four-times world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal kick off their Group A campaign on Sunday against Mexico in Kazan.

Griezmann extends Atletico deal until 2022: reports

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid’s French star Antoine Griezmann has extended his contract with the Spanish club by a year, according to press reports in Spain on Monday.

“Antoine Griezmann signed a contract with Atletico until 2022,” Madrid sports daily Marca reported.

According to As newspaper, “Atletico has revised the player’s salary to reward his performance” and made an “economic effort” to convince the player to stay.

Iran book ticket to 2018 World Cup

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Tehran (AFP) – Sardar Azmoun and Mehdi Taremi were on target as Iran confirmed their spot in the 2018 World Cup finals with a 2-0 victory over Uzbekistan at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran on Monday.

It was Iran’s sixth win from eight matches in Group A which took the table-toppers to 20 points, while South Korea are second on 13 ahead of their match against Qatar on Tuesday.

Buffon reaffirms 2018 as final season playing football

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Milan (AFP) – Juventus and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon reaffirmed he is “99.9 %” sure of retiring at the end of next season - unless he finally ends his quest to win the Champions League.

“Yes, I’m 99.9 % sure that’s how it will go,” said Buffon when asked by Sky Sport if he would keep to an earlier promise to hang up his gloves at the end of the 2017-2018 campaign.

France keep faith in Lloris after costly blunder

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Paris (AFP) – Hugo Lloris will start and will wear the captain’s armband for France against England on Tuesday despite a costly mistake in World Cup qualifying at the weekend, coach Didier Deschamps has confirmed.

“I have spoken about it with him. I think it is best for him and he thinks the same thing,” Deschamps said on Monday when asked if the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper would line up at kick-off against England.

Qatar says World Cup plans continue ‘as normal’

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Doha (AFP) – Qatar’s World Cup preparations continue “as normal” and organisers remain confident that stadium construction deadlines will be met, a source close to the 2022 tournament has told AFP.

Despite the country being at the centre of a diplomatic crisis which has seen Qatar cut off politically - and economically - from neighbouring Gulf countries, organisers were unworried, said the source.

Sky TV sees 14% drop in Premier League viewers

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London (AFP) – Television viewing figures for Sky’s live Premier League football matches fell by an average of 14 percent last season, the company confirmed Monday against a backdrop of a huge hike in broadcasting costs.

Although the drop was partially down on viewers switching to watching games online and more matches being broadcast compared with the previous season, the data published by the Financial Times (FT) and confirmed by Sky indicates a drop in interest for live Premier League fixtures being shown on the pan-European satellite television platform in Britain.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal’s financial as well as football star

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Lisbon (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo’s CR7 brand is worth more than 100 million euros and is on a par with port in terms of its importance to Portugal, according to a marketing school.

“Along with port, Cristiano Ronaldo is the most well-known Portuguese product in the world,” Daniel Sa, the director of the Portuguese Institute for Administration and Marketing (IPAM), told AFP.

Kante suffers from French strength in depth, says Southgate

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Croissy-sur-Seine (France) (AFP) – N’Golo Kante’s inability to claim a regular starting berth at international level sums up the strength in depth France have at their disposal, admits England manager Gareth Southgate.

The midfielder won both the Players’ Player of the Year and Football Writers’ Association award after helping Chelsea land the Premier League title this season.

England’s Hart confident Man City won’t price him out of market

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London (AFP) – Under-pressure England goalkeeper Joe Hart believes Manchester City won’t make it difficult for him to find another club by demanding a prohibitive transfer fee.

The 30-year-old - who was subjected to criticism for conceding two free-kicks in the 2-2 World Cup qualifier draw with Scotland on Saturday - has returned to City after spending last season on loan with Serie A outfit Torino.

Heaton to replace Hart for England-France friendly

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Croissy-sur-Seine (France) (AFP) – Tom Heaton of Burnley will replace Joe Hart in goal for England in Tuesday’s friendly against France in Paris, manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed.

The 31-year-old Heaton will win his third international cap in the match at the Stade de France, as Hart - criticised following his performance in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Scotland - is left out.

Terror victims to be honoured as Macron, May attend France-England

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Paris (AFP) – A minute’s silence will be held prior to France’s home friendly with England on Tuesday as a tribute to the victims of recent terror attacks in England, the French Football Federation (FFF) confirmed on Monday.

French president Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May are both expected to attend the match at the Stade de France, according to Macron’s own diary.

Tunisia defeat Egypt in Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers

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Johannesburg (AFP) – Tunisia captain Youssef Msakni starred in a 1-0 victory over Egypt Monday that completed the first series of qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

The Qatar-based midfielder set up the only goal three minutes after half-time at the national stadium in Rades on the outskirts of Tunis.

Southgate to study options as England set foot in France again

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Paris (AFP) – England come full circle on Tuesday as Gareth Southgate’s side finish their season with a trip to France, scene of their disastrous showing a year ago at Euro 2016.

Twelve months ago England were ousted from the European Championship in humiliating fashion by Iceland, depriving them the chance to face the hosts at the Stade de France in the quarter-finals and precipitating the departure of manager Roy Hodgson.

Capello to coach China’s Jiangsu Suning

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Shanghai (AFP) – Former England, Real Madrid and Russia manager Fabio Capello was named on Sunday to lead China’s Jiangsu Suning, one of the biggest coaching signings yet in a spending binge by the Chinese domestic league.

Jiangsu Suning said the disciplinarian Italian would “bring some of the world’s most advanced ideas and methods to drive the elevation of Jiangsu football, and Chinese football overall”.

Russia readies for FIFA World Cup with a year to go

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Moscow (AFP) – Despite fears over security and construction delays at several stadiums, Russia looks largely on course one year from the kick-off of the World Cup in June 2018.

There was already a whiff of scandal around the first World Cup to be held in Eastern Europe after Swiss authorities opened a probe into possible corruption during the bidding for the event.

Sampaoli charged with preventing Messi-less World Cup

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Buenos Aires (AFP) – A year out from the final World Cup of Lionel Messi’s prime years, Argentina are just beginning a new era as Jorge Sampaoli attempts to turn around the two-time world champions’ faltering qualifying campaign.

Sampaoli’s first match in charge since leaving Sevilla to answer his country’s call gave cause for optimism as Argentina saw off an under-strength Brazil 1-0 in Melbourne on Friday.

Southgate confronts ghosts in England machine

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London (AFP) – By dropping Wayne Rooney and dragging his players out of their comfort zones, England manager Gareth Southgate has attempted to draw a line beneath the team’s calamitous 2016 and propel them to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Humiliated by Iceland at Euro 2016, England then saw Sam Allardyce, Roy Hodgson’s successor as manager, farcically brought down by a newspaper sting after just one game in charge.

US, Mexico battle to draw after Bradley wonder strike

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Mexico City (AFP) – Michael Bradley scored a spectacular long-range goal as the United States battled to a 1-1 draw with arch-rivals Mexico in their 2018 World Cup qualifier on Sunday.

Mexico’s former Arsenal striker Carlos Vela cancelled out Bradley’s sixth-minute chip to give the hosts a point which saw them extend their lead at the top of the CONCACAF standings to six points.

One-time denier Smertin tackles Russia racism in football

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Moscow (AFP) – Alexei Smertin once denied the existence of racism in Russia but now the former national team captain and Chelsea midfielder is in charge of tackling the problem as the World Cup looms.

Back in 2015 Smertin told the BBC that “there’s no racism in Russia, definitely, because, you know, it doesn’t exist” as the country marked 1,000 days to the tournament that kicks off in June 2018.

Xi to meet FIFA boss as China harbours World Cup ambition

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Beijing (AFP) – China’s football-mad President Xi Jinping will meet with FIFA chief Gianni Infantino in Beijing on Wednesday as the world’s most populous nation harbours ambitions of hosting the World Cup.

Xi will greet the president of football’s world governing body Infantino at the palatial Great Hall of the People, the government said, without providing any details about the agenda.

Souza gets Brazil chance against Australia

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Melbourne (AFP) – Diego Souza will replace injured striker Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho is line to lead Brazil in Tuesday’s friendly with Australia in Melbourne.

A replacement had to be found for Manchester City’s Jesus, who has returned home after suffering a fractured eye socket in Brazil’s 1-0 Superclasico loss to Argentina at the MCG on Friday.

Porto starlet Silva set for AC Milan signing

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Milan (AFP) – AC Milan are on the verge of capturing Portugal sensation Andre Silva from Porto as the resurgent Serie A giants continue to build for next season.

Television pictures early on Monday showed Silva, often described as the “the new Cristiano Ronaldo”, on his way to undergo a medical in Milan.

Coutinho to lead revamped Brazil against Australia

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Melbourne (AFP) – Diego Souza will replace injured striker Gabriel Jesus and Philippe Coutinho will lead rejigged Brazil in Tuesday’s friendly with Australia in Melbourne.

A replacement had to be found for Manchester City’s Jesus, who has returned home after suffering a fractured eye socket in Brazil’s 1-0 Superclasico loss to Argentina at the MCG on Friday.

Sex-tape victim Valbuena to join Fenerbahce

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Istanbul (AFP) – Mathieu Valbuena, the France international at the centre of an interminable sex-tape scandal, has agreed to join Istanbul giants Fenerbahce from Lyon, the Turkish club said on Monday.

Fenerbahce said in a statement that an agreement in principle had been reached for the 32-year-old attacking midfielder’s transfer and the signing would follow later.

Ventura fires Spain warning after Liechtenstein rout

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Milan (AFP) – Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura has warned that failure to get it right against Spain in a crucial World Cup qualifier next September could prove costly.

Goals from Lorenzo Insigne, Andrea Belotti, Eder, Federico Bernardeschi and Manolo Gabbiadini in a 5-0 rout of Liechtenstein sent unbeaten Italy to their fifth win in Group G in Udine on Sunday.

Historic club Orient get stay of execution

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London (AFP) – Historic English football club Leyton Orient avoided being wound up on Monday when the Registrar hearing the case dismissed all the bids seeking such a judgement.

Orient - whose 112-year stay in the English football league ended in April with relegation from League Two - has had a turbulent time under controversial Italian owner Francesco Becchetti.

Silva, Costa keep Spain in front of Italy in World Cup qualification

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Skopje (AFP) – Spain kept their noses in front of Italy in the fight for automatic qualification for next year’s World Cup as David Silva and Diego Costa were on target in a 2-1 win in Macedonia on Sunday.

The two European giants remain locked on 16 points at the top of Group G of UEFA qualifying after Italy saw off Liechtenstein 5-0 in Udine.

Under-fire England goalkeeper Hart to sit out France game

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Glasgow (AFP) – England manager Gareth Southgate has defended Joe Hart after the goalkeeper was beaten by two Leigh Griffiths free-kicks during his side’s 2-2 draw against Scotland.

Griffiths caught Hart out from 25 yards twice in the space of three minutes in the latter stages of Saturday’s World Cup qualifier in Glasgow, before Harry Kane’s 93rd-minute equaliser rescued a point for the visitors.

Wales draw as Spain, Italy stay neck and neck in World Cup qualifying

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Paris (AFP) – Aaron Ramsey’s penalty helped Wales to a precious 1-1 draw in Serbia in World Cup qualifying on Sunday as they kept their hopes of a place at the finals in Russia alive.

Chris Coleman’s side were missing star man Gareth Bale due to suspension in Belgrade but Arsenal midfielder Ramsey inspired the visitors into a half-time lead when he floated in a 35th-minute penalty, sending goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic the wrong way.

Silva, Costa keep Spain in front of Italy

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Skopje (AFP) – Spain kept their noses in front of Italy in the fight for automatic qualification for next year’s World Cup as David Silva and Diego Costa were on target in a 2-1 win in Macedonia on Sunday.

The two European giants remain locked on 16 points at the top of Group G of UEFA qualifying after Italy saw off Liechtenstein 5-0 in Udine.

Zimbabwe’s Musona bags treble while Ghana hit five

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Johannesburg (AFP) – Knowledge Musona celebrated his first match as Zimbabwe captain with a sensational hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Liberia in Harare on Sunday.

And it was all smiles for Ghana who crushed Ethiopia 5-0 as qualifying for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon got underway this weekend.

Portugal’s Sa Pinto named coach of Standard Liege football club

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Brussels (AFP) – Former Portuguese international Ricardo Sa Pinto, 44, has been named as the new coach of Standard Liege, the Belgian giants announced on Sunday.

Sa Pinto played for Standard towards the end of his playing career. Last season, he coached Greek outfit Atromitos, while he previously coached Sporting Lisbon amongst others.

Walters snatches point for Irish against Austria in World Cup qualifier

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Paris (AFP) – Jon Walters smashed in a late equaliser as the Republic of Ireland fought back to draw 1-1 with Austria in their World Cup qualifier in Dublin on Sunday.

Stoke City forward Walters chased a long ball downfield by Robbie Brady and held off Aleksandar Dragovic before volleying into the far corner with five minutes remaining at the Aviva Stadium.

Matuidi calls on France football fans to sing English anthem

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Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines (France) (AFP) – France midfielder Blaise Matuidi has called on home fans to join in the singing of the English national anthem when the nations meet in a friendly on Tuesday out of solidarity following recent terror attacks.

“I encourage those who will be at the stadium - if the English anthem is sung, everyone should join in,” said the 30-year-old Paris Saint-Germain star.

Tens of thousands rally in Barcelona for Catalan independence vote

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Barcelona (AFP) – Tens of thousands of demonstrators including Pep Guardiola, the revered former manager of Barcelona’s football club, rallied in the city on Sunday to support the Catalonia independence referendum called for October 1.

Carles Puigdemont, leader of Catalonia’s regional government, defied Madrid on Friday by setting a date for a binding vote even though the referendum has been ruled illegal by Spain’s Constitutional Court.

Capello to skipper China’s Jiangsu Suning

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Shanghai (AFP) – Former England, Real Madrid and Russia manager Fabio Capello was named on Sunday to lead China’s Jiangsu Suning, one of the biggest coaching signings yet in a spending binge by the Chinese domestic league.

Jiangsu Suning said the disciplinarian Italian would “bring some of the world’s most advanced ideas and methods to drive the elevation of Jiangsu football, and Chinese football overall”.

Football: Capello to skipper China’s Jiangsu Suning

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Shanghai (AFP) – Former England, Real Madrid and Russia manager Fabio Capello was named on Sunday to lead China’s Jiangsu Suning, one of the biggest coaching signings yet in a spending binge by the Chinese domestic league.

Jiangsu Suning said the disciplinarian Italian would “bring some of the world’s most advanced ideas and methods to drive the elevation of Jiangsu football, and Chinese football overall”.

Thousands rally in Barcelona for Catalan independence vote

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Madrid (AFP) – Several thousand demonstrators including Pep Guardiola, the revered former manager of the city’s football club, rallied in Barcelona Sunday to support the Catalonia independence referendum called for October 1.

Carles Puigdemont, leader of the regional government, defied Madrid on Friday by setting a date for the vote even though it has been ruled illegal by Spain’s Constitutional Court.

Out of crises, good times are rolling for the U.S. and Mexico

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At various points in the last year, both the national soccer teams of both Mexico and the United States have been in crisis.

Last summer, Mexico was an excellent start to the centennial Copa America – beating Uruguay 3-1, winning its group, and being touted as a contender to raise the trophy in New Jersey.

Chastened Brazil to take no chances against Australia

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Melbourne (AFP) – The world’s number one team Brazil will not be under-estimating Australia as they bid to rebound from their Superclasico loss to Argentina, officials said Sunday.

The five-time World Cup champions are eager to bounce back from their 1-0 loss to their great South American rivals in Tuesday’s friendly against the Confederations Cup-bound Socceroos in Melbourne.

Infantino ‘confident’ in 2022 despite Qatar crisis

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Lausanne (AFP) – FIFA is confident the diplomatic crisis sweeping Qatar will normalise and not threaten the 2022 World Cup, the organisation’s president, Gianni Infantino, said in an interview published Sunday.

“We are facing a diplomatic crisis,” Infantino told Switzerland’s Le Matin Dimanche newspaper.

Young Lions win England’s first world title in 51 years

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Suwon (South Korea) (AFP) – Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored and Freddie Woodman saved a penalty as England beat Venezuela 1-0 to win their first Under-20 World Cup title and end the nation’s 51-year wait for a global trophy on Sunday.

Everton striker Calvert-Lewin became the third England player to score in a World Cup final after Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters in 1966 - the last time England won any world title.

Southgate heartened by England’s resolve

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Glasgow (AFP) – England manager Gareth Southgate said his team’s last-gasp 2-2 draw against Scotland demonstrated the kind of mental fortitude he is trying to instil in his players.

England shipped two late Leigh Griffiths free-kicks in Saturday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park, only for new captain Harry Kane to rescue a point by volleying in a 93rd-minute equaliser.

Where to find Mexico vs. USA on US TV and streaming

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

The biggest match of the year for the United States is Sunday night when they face Mexico at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. It’s imperative that the US gets either a win or a draw from this game.

Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Zambia suffer shock losses

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Abuja (AFP) – Former African champions Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Zambia all lost at home Saturday on a day of upsets in the first qualifying round for the 2019 Cup of Nations.

Three–time champions Nigeria lost a competitive game against South Africa for the first time when they fell 2-0 in the southern Nigerian town of Uyo in Group E.

Mexico vs. USA preview, TV times and team news

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It’s probably safe to say that, despite being just 18 years old, Christian Pulisic is the real deal. He’s got just 15 caps to his name but already has seven goals, basically averaging a goal every other game. None of those seven goals were more important than the two he scored on Thursday night in a crucial World Cup Qualifier against Trinidad & Tobago to give the US a 2-0 win over the Socca Warriors and move them up to third place in the Hex.

Germany hit seven as Kane saves England’s blushes

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Paris (AFP) – Germany ran up an expected goal avalanche in thrashing San Marino 7-0 as Harry Kane celebrated his first start as England captain with a late equaliser to deny Scotland on Saturday.

Having already trounced San Marino 8-0 in the reverse fixture, Germany’s almost second string line-up quickly set about running up another rugby score in Nuremberg.

Cristiano Ronaldo ‘father to twins with surrogate mum’

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Lisbon (AFP) – Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has become a father to twins with a surrogate mother, Portuguese media reported Saturday.

Reports said the babies - a girl and boy named Eva and Mateo - were born on Thursday to a woman living on the US West Coast.

The captain of Portugal’s victorious Euro 2016 team had his first son Cristiano Junior in June 2010 - also reportedly with a surrogate mother, although he has never confirmed it.

Manchester United agree to sign Swedish defender Lindelof

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London (AFP) – Manchester United have reached an agreement to sign Swedish international centre-back Victor Lindelof from Benfica, the Europa League champions announced on Saturday.

“Manchester United is pleased to announce that it has reached agreement with Benfica for the transfer of Victor Lindelof, subject to a medical examination, international clearance and personal terms,” United said in a statement.

South Africa shock Nigeria in CAN qualifier

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Abuja (AFP) – South Africa recorded their first-ever competitive victory over Nigeria on Saturday, winning in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Uyo 2-0.

Nigeria and South Africa had clashed 12 times before, during which time Bafana Bafana’s only victory was in a friendly 13 years ago.

Bayern Munich home jersey for 2017/18 season pays homage to notorious kit from 1970s

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Bayern Munich’s home jersey for the 2017/18 season pays homage to the notorious kit they played in during the 1970s. The inspiration for the design is from one of the most iconic shirts in the club’s history, a jersey worn by the likes of Franz Beckenbauer, Uli Hoeness and Gerd Müller in the successful period of the 70’s.

Captain Kane rescues England against Scotland

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Glasgow (AFP) – Harry Kane marked his first game as captain with a stoppage-time equaliser as England denied Scotland a famous victory in Saturday’s 2-2 World Cup qualifying draw in Glasgow.

England were heading for a first qualifying defeat since October 2009 after Leigh Griffiths struck two fine late free-kicks to wipe out substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s 70th-minute opener.

Messi to skip Singapore friendly

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Singapore (AFP) – Superstar Lionel Messi will skip a friendly against Singapore next week for “personal reasons”, organisers said late Saturday.

Gonzalo Higuain and Nicolas Otamendi will also be absent from Tuesday’s “Superclassico” match, UNICESS said in a statement.

“While we share the disappointment of football fans in Singapore and elsewhere at the absence of these players, we still very much look forward to what will be an exciting football match against a team that will continue to feature a world class line-up of players,” UNICESS said.

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for May 29-June 4, 2017

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Real Madrid and Juventus led in the ratings this week as over 3 million people tuned in for the UEFA Champions League final on FOX and FOX Deportes. Viewership was up 3% on the FOX broadcast network when compared to 2016 (1.762M vs 1.7M) while FOX Deportes underperformed ESPN Deportes by 4% against the 2016 final (1.

England midfielder Lallana relishes ‘historic’ Scotland clash

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London (AFP) – Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana believes time has done nothing to wear away the lustre of the rivalry between England and Scotland ahead of Saturday’s World Cup qualifying match in Glasgow.

Beginning with their first encounter in November 1872, the two neighbours faced off almost every year until 1984, when the British Home Championship was abolished.

Team coach Advocaat rekindles Dutch football World Cup dream

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Rotterdam (Netherlands) (AFP) – Dick Advocaat got off to a winning start as the Netherlands kept their slim hopes of qualifying for next year’s World Cup alive with a 5-0 win over Luxembourg Friday.

Advocaat began his third stint as Dutch coach this week insisting the flagging national side could still beat the odds and qualify for Russia.

US eye revenge in Mexico World Cup test

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Mexico City (AFP) – Christian Pulisic admitted the United States are looking for revenge when they face bitter regional rivals Mexico in a crucial 2018 World Cup qualifier on Sunday.

Borussia Dortmund star Pulisic, still only 18, has breathed fresh life into the US qualifying campaign this year and scored twice in a 2-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago in Colorado on Thursday.

Brazil coach Tite ponders changes for upcoming Australia match

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Melbourne (AFP) – Brazil manager Tite says he is considering changes for Tuesday’s game against Australia after blasting his side’s poor finishing in the loss to Argentina in Melbourne.

The world’s number one ranked team wasted several scoring opportunities as Argentina hung on for a 1-0 win in their Superclasico at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.

Where to find Scotland vs. England on US TV and streaming

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

Harry Kane will captain England on Saturday in the important World Cup qualifier against Scotland at Hampden Park. If England wins, they’ll be seven points ahead on top of Group F.

Ronaldo fires Portugal, France complicates path to Russia

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Paris (AFP) – France complicated their task of ensuring automatic qualification to next year’s World Cup in Russia after falling to a dramatic 2-1 defeat in Sweden on Saturday.

Sweden snatched victory with an Ola Toivonen goal from the half-way line in extra time after a poor clearance from France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

Devilish Alli confronts his England demons

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Glasgow (AFP) – England midfielder Dele Alli says he and his team-mates have had to revisit some “dark places” in order to come to terms with their humiliating Euro 2016 elimination by Iceland.

Alli was one of the 11 players who traipsed from the pitch in Nice last June after Iceland had condemned England to their most galling defeat since a 1-0 loss to the part-timers of the United States at the 1950 World Cup.

Sweden beats France with dramatic goal from half-way line

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Stockholm (AFP) – Hugo Lloris was left red faced Friday as a dramatic last gasp Ola Toivonen goal from the half-way line gave Sweden a 2-1 win over France in their World Cup qualifier.

The France ‘keeper will watch replays in horror after he dribbled out of his box and made a dreadful cut back intercepted by Toivonen, who lofted a snap lob from just inside his half and watched Lloris lose his desperate run to stop the ball rolling into an empty goal.

Football: Argentine town braces for Messi’s wedding

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Rosario (Argentina) (AFP) – Soccer superstar Lionel Messi’s Argentine hometown is preparing to host footballing and showbiz celebrities when he marries childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo this month in Latin America’s wedding of the decade.

Colombian popstar Shakira, wife of Messi’s Barcelona teammate Gerard Pique, has said she hopes to attend.

Russia rally for a 1-1 draw with Chile

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Moscow (AFP) – Confederations Cup hosts Russia and Copa America holders Chile played out a 1-1 draw here on Friday in a first ever meeting between the sides in the post-Soviet era.

Mauricio Isla of Cagliari was on target for the South Americans, while CSKA Moscow full back Viktor Vasin fired his side level.

Kane to captain England against Scotland

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Glasgow (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane will captain England in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland in Glasgow, manager Gareth Southgate announced on Friday.

With Wayne Rooney having again been overlooked, England do not currently have a permanent captain and Southgate said Kane, 23, would wear the armband at Hampden Park.

Football: Strachan calls for calm heads against England

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Glasgow (AFP) – Scotland manager Gordon Strachan has warned his players not to lose their cool in Saturday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier at home to old enemies England.

Scotland-England encounters have traditionally been blood-and-thunder affairs, but Strachan says the evolution of the sport means players can no longer afford to go clattering into challenges.

Barcelona home jersey for 2017/18 features updated interpretation of Blaugrana stripes

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After winning the Spanish Supercup and Copa del Rey in the 2016/17 season, Barcelona will be ready to embark on their 2017/18 season with a brand new jersey that features an updated interpretation of the traditional Blaugrana stripes.

On the jersey, vertical red bands are cast against a deep royal blue to form the updated stripe composition.

Kane to captain England football against Scotland

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Glasgow (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane will captain England in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland in Glasgow, manager Gareth Southgate announced on Friday.

With Wayne Rooney having again been overlooked, England do not currently have a permanent captain and Southgate said Kane, 23, would wear the armband at Hampden Park.

Russia rally for a 1-1 draw with Chile in football

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Moscow (AFP) – Confederations Cup hosts Russia and Copa America holders Chile played out a 1-1 draw here on Friday in a first ever meeting between the sides in the post-Soviet era.

Mauricio Isla of Cagliari was on target for the South Americans, while CSKA Moscow full back Viktor Vasin fired his side level.

Porto fall foul of financial fair play rules

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Paris (AFP) – Porto will be limited to 22 players instead of 25 in their Champions League squad next season and fined around 700,000 euros ($784,000) after breaking financial fair play rules, UEFA said on Friday.

The ruling comes after operational costs rules were infringed and UEFA may increase the fine by up to a further 1.

Menez to join Antalyaspor from Bordeaux

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Bordeaux (AFP) – France international and former Roma and AC Milan playmaker Jeremy Menez is set to join Turkish outfit Antalyaspor, the player’s current club Bordeaux said on Friday.

Antalyaspor came fifth in the Turkish top flight last season and also have Samuel Eto’o on their books.

Spalletti takes reins at embattled Inter Milan: official

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Milan (AFP) – Inter Milan on Friday announced the appointment of former Roma coach Luciano Spalletti on a two-year deal as they target a long-awaited return to the Champions League.

“F.C. Internazionale is delighted to announce that Luciano Spalletti has been appointed as head coach of the first team,” said a statement by the Serie A giants.

Premier League to toughen ownership rules: reports

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London (AFP) – Potential investors in English Premier League clubs will be subject to greater financial scrutiny, the 20 teams’ owners agreed unanimously at their annual meeting, British media reported on Friday.

The Press Association and Financial Times explained that measures had been taken so as to prevent suspect foreign buyers gaining control of clubs in the lucrative top league.

Football: Ibrahimovic future at United up in the air

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London (AFP) – Swedish star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s future at Manchester United is in some doubt after he was listed as being released by the club on an official list published by the Premier League on Friday.

The 35-year-old - who starred for United last season scoring 28 goals in 46 matches before a knee ligament injury ended his campaign prematurely - could still be retained by United should they decide to renew his contract which is up on June 30th.

Impact of a David Beckham Miami team on MLS and TV ratings: World Soccer Talk Podcast

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

In the NEW episode, number 30, Kartik Krishnaiyer and Christopher Harris cover a range of topics including:

• Who will be FOX’s lead commentary team for World Cup 2018,

• Latest news from FOX and Telemundo about their Confederations Cup coverage

• Analysis of the UEFA Champions League TV coverage in the USA,

• Our thoughts on what impact the MLS Miami team can have on the league and TV ratings,

• Plus questions from YOU, the listeners and much more.

Schalke sack Weinzierl, hire rookie coach

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Berlin (AFP) – After a poor season Bundesliga outfit Schalke 04 fired coach Markus Weinzierl Friday and revealed they had replaced him with a little known rookie.

After Schalke failed to qualify for Europe this season the club cast an envious eye at the spectacular relegation escape act carried out by 31-year-old Domenico Tedesco at second flight Erzgebirge Aue.

Ex-Russia boss Leonid Slutsky named Hull City coach

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London (AFP) – Relegated Hull appointed Leonid Slutsky as their new coach on Friday, the ex-CSKA Moscow boss becoming the first Russian to hold a managerial position in English football.

The 46-year-old, who also was in charge of Russia at Euro 2016 whilst still at CSKA, replaces Marco Silva, who left after City were relegated from the Premier League last season and has since joined Watford.

Player ratings for USA’s performance in 2-0 win against Trinidad and Tobago

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Photo credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The United States continued on the path to the 2018 World Cup Finals, beating Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 in Commerce City behind a pair of goals from eighteen-year-old wunderkind Christian Pulisic. Here are the player ratings.

United States

Tim Howard, 6: Wasn’t convincing on the early cross that Kenwyne Jones headed off the crossbar, but was steady from there to collect another qualifying clean sheet.

Football: Messi’s Argentina down Brazil in Australian ‘Superclasico’

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Melbourne (AFP) – Argentina gained a confidence-boosting 1-0 win over Brazil in their Superclasico in Melbourne Friday ahead of their make-or-break World Cup qualifiers later in the year.

A goal from Sevilla defender Gabriel Mercado right on half-time proved the eventual winner as Argentina matched the world’s number one ranked Brazilians before 95,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Saudi snub to minute’s silence ‘a disgrace’

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Sydney (AFP) – The Saudi Arabia football team was accused of “a disgraceful lack of respect” Friday for failing to observe a minute’s silence in honour of victims of the London terror attack ahead of a game in Australia.

When the stadium announcer in Adelaide called for a pause before the World Cup qualifier kicked off Thursday evening, the Australian team lined up at the centre circle with arms on their teammates’ shoulders.

Fires still burn for England and Scotland

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London (AFP) – Harry Kane believes the years have done nothing to dull the rivalry between England and Scotland ahead of Saturday’s World Cup qualifier between the old foes in Glasgow.

Beginning with their first encounter in November 1872, the neighbours faced off almost every year until 1984, when the British Home Championship was abolished.

Saudis apologise over ‘disgraceful’ snub of minute’s silence

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Sydney (AFP) – Saudi Arabia football chiefs apologised Friday after the national team was accused of “a disgraceful lack of respect” for failing to observe a minute’s silence in Australia in honour of victims of the London terror attack.

When the stadium announcer in Adelaide called for silence before their World Cup qualifier against the Socceroos on Thursday evening, the Australian team lined up at the centre circle with arms on their team-mates’ shoulders.

Magic Rogic ‘owed us one’, says Socceroos boss

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Adelaide (Australia) (AFP) – Coach Ange Postecoglou says Tom Rogic owed Australia some magic after his spectacular winner kept alive the Socceroos’ automatic qualifying hopes for next year’s Russia World Cup finals.

The Celtic midfielder hit a thunderous strike to give the Australians a 3-2 win over Saudi Arabia in Adelaide on Thursday to join Japan and the Saudis at the top of Asia Group B.

Pulisic double as US beat Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico march on

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Los Angeles (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund star Christian Pulisic scored twice as the United States grabbed a vital 2-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago in their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign on Thursday.

Bundesliga-based Pulisic slid home a close-range finish from DeAndre Yedlin’s low cross in the 52nd minute to give the Americans the lead in their CONCACAF zone qualifying battle.

England eye first global football title since 1966 at U-20 World Cup

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Seoul (AFP) – England have shrugged off a dire record in the Under-20 World Cup to stand on the verge of ending a 51-year wait for a global title dating back to their World Cup win in 1966.

When England landed in South Korea, they were looking to reverse 20 years of failure in the tournament going back to their last win in 1997, when a 17-year-old Michael Owen scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Mexico.

Jeju players suspended after violent scenes in AFC Champions League

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Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Three Jeju United players were suspended for up to six months on Friday after an AFC Champions League knock-out game against Urawa Red Diamonds descended into violence.

Cho Yong-Hyung was banned for six months and fined $20,000 for pushing the referee after he was sent off in the last-16 game on May 31, which ended in a mass brawl.

Ex-Sunderland boss Moyes fined over ‘slap’ comment

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London (AFP) – Ex-Sunderland manager David Moyes was on Friday fined £30,000 ($38,000, 34,000 euros) for suggesting to a female reporter in March she might “get a slap”, England’s Football Association announced.

Moyes, 54, made the remark, for which he apologised, to BBC reporter Vicki Sparks following Sunderland’s 0-0 draw with Burnley in the Premier League on March 18.

Ex-Russia boss Slutsky named Hull City coach

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London (AFP) – Relegated Hull are pinning their hopes on a quick return to the Premier League on ex-Russia and CSKA Moscow boss Leonid Slutsky who was named as their new coach on Friday.

The 46-year-old replaces Marco Silva, who left after City were relegated from the Premier League last season and has since joined Watford.

Football: Saudi snub to minute’s silence ‘a disgrace’

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Sydney (AFP) – The Saudi Arabia football team was accused of “a disgraceful lack of respect” Friday for failing to observe a minute’s silence in honour of victims of the London terror attack ahead of a game in Australia.

When the stadium announcer in Adelaide called for a pause before the World Cup qualifier kicked off Thursday evening, the Australian team lined up at the centre circle with arms on their teammates’ shoulders.

PlayStation Vue not willing to pay fair-market value for beIN SPORTS, says exec

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EXCLUSIVE: beIN SPORTS says that the reason why the popular sports network has been removed from the PlayStation Vue platform is due to Sony Interactive Entertainment being unwilling to pay a fair market value for the beIN SPORTS channels that carry La Liga, World Cup qualifying and other popular sports programming.

Conte had 3-4-3 in mind from start – ex-Chelsea coach

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – The seeds of Chelsea’s Premier League title triumph were sown at the end of their dismal 2015-16 campaign, former assistant coach Steve Holland has revealed.

Incoming manager Antonio Conte’s mid-game switch to a 3-4-3 system during Chelsea’s 3-0 loss at Arsenal last September was widely identified as the pivotal moment in their season.

Spurs hotshot Kane reveals Ballon d’Or dream

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – He has established himself as the most lethal finisher in the Premier League and now Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane has set his sights on winning the Ballon d’Or.

Kane, 23, has won the Premier League Golden Boot for the past two seasons and is the first Spurs player since Jimmy Greaves to have scored 20+ top-flight goals in three successive campaigns.

Joy for Venezuela in U20 final vs England

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Caracas (AFP) – They are suffering hunger and violence, but baseball-mad Venezuelans found unexpected solace in football as their under-20 team won through to Sunday’s World Cup final against England.

The “claret reds” or “chamos” (“lads”) squeaked through on penalties in Thursday’s semi-final in South Korea, after holding Uruguay to 1-1 at the end of extra time.

Ivory Coast must beat Guinea to ‘honour’ Tiote: Wilmots

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Bouaké (Ivory Coast) (AFP) – The Ivory Coast must beat Guinea on Saturday to “honour the memory of Cheick Tiote”, the former international who died in China this week, according to Elephants coach Marc Wilmots.

“We must do it, we have no choice, I hope to win it for him,” Wilmots said ahead of the game that is the opening qualifying fixture for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019.

Best alternatives to PlayStation Vue for beIN SPORTS and other vital channels

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PlayStation Vue subscribers were rocked this week with the news that beIN SPORTS, beIN SPORTS en Español and beIN SPORTS Connect have been dropped from the legal streaming service.

The result has caused many Vue subscribers to cancel their subscriptions and begin looking for an alternative that not only fits their budget but also features all of the channels they want to watch.

AC Milan sign Rodriguez from Wolfsburg

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Milan (AFP) – AC Milan on Thursday announced the signing of Swiss left-back Ricardo Rodriguez, the third player captured by the resurgent seven-time European champions, on a four-year deal expiring in 2021.

Rodriguez, a 24-year-old who has 45 caps for Switzerland, joins the Serie A giants from Bundesliga side Wolfsburg, where he has played since 2011.

Juventus unveil new 2017/18 home jersey featuring new logo

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Adidas has revealed the new Juventus home jersey for the 2017/18 season.

The new Juventus kit features the club’s new logo and brand identity: ‘Black and White and More.’ The Italian club will wear the jersey as they chase a record seventh straight Scudetto title.

The club continues to reinvent itself while honoring the past, as the new kit features inspiration from classic Bianconeri shirts.

Average reported attendances for MLS through gameweek 14 of the 2017 season

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Photo credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The attendance numbers for last week’s MLS games were a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Midweek numbers were typically poor in Columbus and Houston. New York City FC’s was okay while Orlando City SC had over 24,000. The weekend games drew well with the exception of FC Dallas who drew its smallest crowd of the season.

Messi to wed childhood sweetheart in Rosario

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Barcelona (AFP) – Football superstar Lionel Messi is to marry his long term partner and mother of his two children, Antonella Roccuzzo, in their hometown of Rosario on June 30, the Argentina striker revealed on Thursday.

“The wedding will be held in Rosario, Argentina, on June 30,” Messi’s personal communications agency 6Pointer said.

Shakespeare pens permanent Leicester deal

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London (AFP) – Craig Shakespeare has signed a three-year contract as manager of Leicester City, the former Premier League champions announced on Thursday.

Shakespeare, 53, was promoted from his role as assistant coach on an interim basis following the shock dismissal of Claudio Ranieri in February.

Manchester United supporters, don’t miss out on the US summer tour with One United USA

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If you’re a red-blooded Manchester United fan in the United States, you’ll want to sit or stand in the Red Devils’ supporters section to cheer on your team when they play several key matches across the country this summer.

As you can imagine, interest in the International Champions Cup matches is high with more than 100,000 tickets sold, thus the only remaining tickets available within dedicated United-supporters sections are available via One United USA, the official Manchester United USA Membership and Supporters Club.

PlayStation Vue loses beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Español

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In a big blow to the PlayStation Vue streaming service, the Sony-owned company has dropped beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Español from its programming.

The removal of beIN SPORTS, beIN SPORTS en Español and beIN SPORTS Connect goes into effect today (June 8). PlayStation communicated the changes in an e-mail sent to subscribers (see above screengrab).

Football: Solanke blasts England into U20 World Cup final

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Jeonju (South Korea) (AFP) – Dominic Solanke struck twice as England beat Italy 3-1 to reach the Under-20 World Cup final for the first time in their history on Thursday.

Liverpool-bound Solanke cancelled out Riccardo Orsolini’s early opener when he scored in the 66th minute, before Everton’s Ademola Lookman put England 2-1 up 11 minutes later.

Costa says Conte ‘doesn’t want me’ at Chelsea

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Murcia (Spain) (AFP) – Diego Costa insists he will look for an exit route out of Chelsea after being told by manager Antonio Conte he is not in the Italian’s plans for next season.

Costa was an integral part of Chelsea’s Premier League winning campaign this season, scoring 22 goals.

Ronaldo stays atop Forbes list of richest athletes

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New York (AFP) – Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo remained atop Forbes magazine’s list of 100 highest-paid athletes, with Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James moving up to second on a list heavy on NBA players.

The 32-year-old Portugal forward is estimated to have earned a total of $93 million between his football salary of $58 million and $35 million in endorsement income.

Auld Enemy showdown headlines in football qualifying weekend

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Paris (AFP) – England will look to close in on a place at the 2018 World Cup when they face auld enemy Scotland in qualifying this weekend, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal are in action before heading to the Confederations Cup.

AFP Sports looks at the key games and the state of play in European qualifying ahead of matches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday:

Can Scots thwart England?

Japan’s Kagawa out of Iraq football World Cup clash

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Tokyo (AFP) – Japan suffered a blow Thursday when playmaker Shinji Kagawa was ruled out of next week’s World Cup qualifier against Iraq after dislocating his shoulder.

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder fell awkwardly in the 1-1 friendly draw with Syria in Tokyo on Wednesday, a warm-up for Tuesday’s match in neutral Iran.

Spurs striker Harry Kane ready for England captaincy

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane says he is ready to succeed Wayne Rooney as England’s long-term captain.

England manager Gareth Southgate has eased Manchester United forward Rooney, 31, out of the picture and says he will decide who captains his side on a match-by-match basis.

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford stakes claim to central role

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United and England prodigy Marcus Rashford has reiterated that he sees his long-term playing future at centre-forward.

Rashford, 19, was mainly used in wide positions by United manager Jose Mourinho this season, before an injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic saw him moved to a central role, where he thrived.

Manchester United’s Chris Smalling says he has played through pain

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Centre-back Chris Smalling believes he has proved he is willing to play through the pain for Manchester United, despite manager Jose Mourinho’s claims to the contrary.

Mourinho has accused Smalling of not putting his body on the line, suggesting he would only play when he felt “100 percent” and claiming “brave” players played “at any cost”.

Argentina’s Sampaoli banking on Messi for World Cup revival

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Melbourne (AFP) – New manager Jorge Sampaoli says he is looking to superstar Lionel Messi to revive Argentina’s World Cup fortunes starting with Friday’s friendly with Brazil in Melbourne

Sampaoli has been installed to kick-start the two-time world champions’ ailing South American campaign where they lag outside the automatic qualifying positions in fifth spot with four games left.

Brazil, Argentina set for money-spinning Australia showdown

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Melbourne (AFP) – Argentina’s Superclasico showdown with arch-rivals Brazil is set to pump tens of millions of dollars into the Australian economy when they play in front of 100,000 fans on Friday.

Although Neymar is missing from Brazil’s line-up, his Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi will light up the occasion at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Manchester City complete move for goalkeeper Ederson

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London (AFP) – Manchester City have completed the signing of Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson from Benfica, the Premier League club announced on Thursday.

The announcement came a week after Benfica said they had agreed to sell the 23-year-old to City for 40 million euros ($45 million, £34.

Real Madrid call presidential election

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Madrid (AFP) – Spanish and European champions Real Madrid announced on Thursday that they will hold a presidential election over the close season, provided somebody comes forward to challenge the incumbent Florentino Perez.

“The Electoral board…have agreed to an election for the club president and board of directors,” read a statement published on the English version of the club website.

Rogic stunner reignites Australia’s World Cup bid

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Adelaide (Australia) (AFP) – A spectacular long-range strike from Tom Rogic delivered Australia a crucial 3-2 win over Saudi Arabia on Thursday to stay on track for next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.

The stylish midfielder reprised his match-winning exploits for Celtic in last month’s Scottish Cup final when he scored the Socceroos’ winner in the 64th minute.

Sevilla hire Berizzo to replace Sampaoli

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Madrid (AFP) – Eduardo Berizzo will take charge of Sevilla next season after the Spanish club announced the agreement of a two-year deal with the Argentine on Thursday.

“Sevilla FC and Eduardo Berizzo have reached an agreement in principle for the Argentine to be the club’s new coach for the next two seasons,” Sevilla said in a statement.

USA vs. Trinidad and Tobago preview, TV times and team news

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Well, there wasn’t too much to be gained from the USA’s friendly against Venezuela on Saturday night and now that it’s been played, it’s safe to say that not much was gained from it, with the possible exception of going a full 90 minutes at high altitude (which will be critical for the upcoming trip to Mexico City).

Morata saves Spain in four-goal Colombia thriller

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Murcia (Spain) (AFP) – Alvaro Morata came off the bench to salvage Julien Lopetegui’s unbeaten record as Spain coach in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Colombia in Murcia on Wednesday.

After Edwin Cardona had cancelled out David Silva’s opener for the hosts, Radamel Falcao’s first international goal for two years had Colombia on course for a famous win.

Rashford stakes claim to central football role

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United and England prodigy Marcus Rashford has reiterated that he sees his long-term playing future at centre-forward.

Rashford, 19, was mainly used in wide positions by United manager Jose Mourinho this season, before an injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic saw him moved to a central role, where he thrived.

I’ve played through pain for Manchester United football team – Smalling

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Centre-back Chris Smalling believes he has proved he is willing to play through the pain for Manchester United, despite manager Jose Mourinho’s claims to the contrary.

Mourinho has accused Smalling of not putting his body on the line, suggesting he would only play when he felt “100 percent” and claiming “brave” players played “at any cost”.

Italy cruise past Uruguay in football as Gimenez has disaster

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Nice (France) (AFP) – Italy beat Uruguay for the first time in 27 years with a comfortable 3-0 success in Nice, France on Wednesday, as the South Americans’ defender Jose Gimenez had a shocker.

While this victory will be no consolation for the Italians, who were eliminated from the 2014 World Cup at the group stage after a 1-0 defeat by the South Americans, it does offer Giampiero Ventura’s team a timely boost ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Lichtenstein in Udine on Sunday.

Russian coach names home-based Confederations Cup squad

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Moscow (AFP) – Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov on Wednesday named an entirely home-based 23-man squad for the Confederations Cup, which the country will host from June 17.

Cherchesov chose five players from newly-crowned champions Spartak Moscow, although full back Roman Zobnin is not amongst them as he is sidelined with a knee injury sustained in Monday’s 3-0 friendly win over Hungary.

Liverpool apologise to Saints and drop Van Dijk interest

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London (AFP) – Dutch international defender Virgil van Dijk will not play for Liverpool next season after the Premier League giants apologised to Southampton on Wednesday and said the matter had ended their interest in him.

Liverpool’s announcement came in the wake of media reports they were prepared to pay £60million (69m euros, $77m) for Van Dijk, easily breaking their record outlay for a player.

Simone Inzaghi extends Lazio coaching contract

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Rome (AFP) – Simone Inzaghi has signed a two-year contract extension tying him to Lazio until 2020, the Romans said on Wednesday.

The 41-year-old coach enjoyed a positive 2016/17 season, guiding Lazio to fifth in Serie A and the Italian Cup final, which they lost to Juventus, meaning they will play in next season’s Europa League.

Monaco coach Jardim to stay until 2020 – club

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Monaco (AFP) – Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim on Wednesday extended his contract with the French champions until 2020.

The Portuguese, 42, had been linked with jobs in the English Premier League after inspiring Monaco to their first French title since 2000 and the Champions League semi-finals.

Kagawa injury hits Japan World Cup qualifying preparations

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Tokyo (AFP) – Japan’s World Cup qualifying preparations were dealt a blow Wednesday when playmaker Shinji Kagawa suffered a shoulder injury in a 1-1 home draw with Syria.

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder was stretchered off just nine minutes into the Tokyo friendly clutching his left shoulder after an awkward fall, and could be in doubt for next week’s Asian qualifier against Iraq.

Fans petition to retire Tiote’s Newcastle number

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London (AFP) – The sense of loss in Newcastle at the death of Ivory Coast midfielder Cheick Tiote has been reflected by over 1,000 Newcastle United fans signing a petition to have his shirt number of 24 retired the BBC reported Wednesday.

Tiote - who was a member of the Ivory Coast squad that ended a 23 year drought winning the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations - died on Monday after ‘suddenly fainting’ during a training session with his second tier Chinese club Beijing Enterprises.

No foul play at Inter, as Pioli targets Viola trophy

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Milan (AFP) – Italian Stefano Pioli brushed off suggestions of foul play at Inter Milan and said he has already targeted winning a trophy with his new charges Fiorentina.

Pioli, who made a career-high 154 appearances with Fiorentina as a centre-back, on Tuesday signed a two-year deal with the option of an extra year, to coach the Florence-based club.

Russian club renamed after Chechen strongman’s father

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Moscow (AFP) – Russian Premier League outfit Terek Grozny is to change its name to ‘Akhmat’ in honour of the slain father of the strongman Chechen Republic leader Ramzan Kadyrov, the club said on Wednesday.

Kremlin loyalist Kadyrov - who has ruled the region with an iron-fist for a decade - said the move came after a petition by supporters.

Massimiliano Allegri extends deal with Juventus

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Milan (AFP) – Massimiliano Allegri has signed a two-year contract extension as coach of Juventus, less than a week after the Turin giants lost the Champions League final for the second time in three years.

Allegri’s deal with the club was set to expire in June 2018, but on Wednesday he agreed the two-year extension that will see him remain at the helm until 2020.

FIFA sponsors ‘accelerate’ China’s World Cup chances

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Beijing (AFP) – China’s footballers may be struggling on the pitch but its companies are proving to be a big player, signing sponsorship deals with FIFA as the giant Asian nation looks to boost its chances of hosting the World Cup.

In the space of a year, football governing body FIFA has gained three major Chinese sponsors in conglomerate Wanda, Hisense - the world’s number three television manufacturer - and smartphone maker Vivo, who concluded a deal just a week ago.

Rashford determined to show Manchester unity

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United youngster Marcus Rashford says his recent hospital visit to see victims of the Manchester terror attack was motivated by a desire to show the city remains united.

Manchester native Rashford, 19, and his United team-mate Jesse Lingard, 24, went to Manchester Children’s Hospital on Monday and spent time with children hurt in the May 22 attack, which left 22 dead and 119 injured.

Australia face Saudis in must-win World Cup qualifier

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Adelaide (Australia) (AFP) – Australia face a must-win qualifier against Saudi Arabia in Adelaide on Thursday if they are to keep alive their direct qualification hopes for next year’s World Cup finals.

The Socceroos, who have qualified for last three editions, trail the Saudis and group leaders Japan by three points with three games left in Asia Group B.

US seek breathing space in World Cup push

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Los Angeles (AFP) – The United States will aim to exploit the mile-high mountain air of Colorado on Thursday when they host Trinidad and Tobago in a key 2018 World Cup qualifier in Denver.

After a sluggish start to the final round of CONCACAF qualifiers, the Americans remain just outside the automatic qualifying places with only four points from four games.

Modric to testify at key Croatia corruption trial

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Zagreb (AFP) – Real Madrid midfield star Luka Modric will appear as a witness next week at a multi-million-euro corruption trial involving former top Dinamo Zagreb officials, a judge said on Wednesday.

Modric will provide testimony at the trial of former Dinamo chief Zdravko Mamic on Tuesday, the judge at a court in the eastern town of Osijek told AFP.

Manchester United away jersey for 2017/18 season inspired by 1990-92 away kit

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Manchester United’s new away kit for the 2017/18 season features a design inspired by one of the club’s most iconic kits.

Manchester United fans of all ages will recognize the bold graphic pattern from the 1990-92 away jersey that defined soccer shirt design for an era. Connecting the past to the future, the new jersey pays homage to the historic design, celebrating the rich history of the club.

CONMEBOL accuses ex-presidents of money laundering

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Asuncion (AFP) – The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) on Tuesday formally accused two of its ex-presidents of money laundering, forgery and other criminal charges it lodged with Paraguayan prosecutors.

It said in a statement on its website that it was pressing charges against Nicolas Leoz and Eugenio Figueredo.

fuboTV adds on-demand programming functionality with ‘Look Back’ feature

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fuboTV has added an on-demand feature called “Look Back,” which allows fuboTV subscribers on desktop and mobile web to easily go back and watch live sports and entertainment that aired during the previous three days.

The feature is available for most channels and can be found by clicking on the electronic program guide.

Kimmich grabs late equaliser for Germany ‘B’

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Brøndby (Denmark) (AFP) – Bayern Munich right-back Joshua Kimmich earned Germany a come-from-behind 1-1 draw against Denmark on Tuesday in a warm-up for a World Cup qualifier and Confederations Cup campaign.

Germany coach Joachim Loew opted to rest a clutch of stars including goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boeteng in defence, Toni Kroos in midfield and Thomas Mueller in attack.

Kimmich bicycle kick earns equaliser for Germany ‘B’

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Brøndby (Denmark) (AFP) – Bayern Munich right-back Joshua Kimmich earned Germany a 1-1 draw against Denmark on Tuesday with an acrobatic bicycle kick in a warm-up for a World Cup qualifier and Confed Cup campaign.

Germany coach Joachim Loew opted to rest a clutch of stars including goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boeteng in defence, Toni Kroos in midfield and Thomas Mueller in attack.

Balotelli must change for Italy future, says coach

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Nice (France) (AFP) – Mario Balotelli has “a choice to make” if he wants to resurrect his international career, Italy coach Giampiero Ventura said on Tuesday.

Ventura has never picked the controversial Nice forward since taking over the Italy reins following Euro 2016.

And even though the Azzurri are playing Uruguay in Nice on Wednesday, where Balotelli has just enjoyed a successful season, the notorious combustible striker will play no part.

Beckham Miami team edges closer after land deal

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Miami (AFP) – David Beckham’s hopes of launching a Major League Soccer franchise in Miami took a giant step towards becoming reality Tuesday after city officials approved the sale of land crucial to a proposed stadium project.

Miami-Dade County commissioners voted by 9-4 to approve the transfer of a three-acre parcel of land worth $9 million to Beckham’s consortium, which reportedly hopes to launch its MLS team by 2021.

Colombia’s ‘Exceptional’ James has to make right decision – Pekerman

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Murcia (Spain) (AFP) – Colombia coach Jose Pekerman defended star midfielder James Rodriguez’s quality, but said the 2014 World Cup top scorer has an important decision to make over his future at club level.

Rodriguez was left out of Real Madrid’s 18-man squad for Saturday’s 4-1 thrashing of Juventus in the Champions League final, further fuelling rumours that his time at the Santiago Bernabeu is coming to an end.

Case against Real-bound Hernandez dismissed

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Madrid (AFP) – No charges were brought against French wonder kid Theo Hernandez on Tuesday after a complaint of sexual assault had been made against the 19-year-old whilst on holiday in Marbella, a judicial source confirmed.

The court in the southern Spanish city “decided to provisionally dismiss the case,” indicating there “had been no signs of a crime,” a spokesperson for the Andalusian High Court of Justice told AFP.

Giroud warns Arsenal over playing time

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Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines (France) (AFP) – France forward Olivier Giroud said on Tuesday he will not accept a bit-part role with Arsenal next season.

The 30-year-old was often a substitute over the last campaign as Gunners manager Arsene Wenger preferred to line up Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott in attack.

Veteran Defoe set for Bournemouth move

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London (AFP) – Veteran England striker Jermain Defoe is set to join Premier League side Bournemouth after undergoing a medical, he told BBC Radio on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old - who scored 15 goals in the Premier League for Sunderland last season but is able to leave for free as he had an escape clause in his contract should they be relegated - said it would be announced officially in July.

Manchester United world’s most valuable club – Forbes

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New York (AFP) – Manchester United have overtaken Real Madrid as the world’s most valuable football team, US magazine Forbes announced on Tuesday in its annual global list ranking the sport’s wealthiest clubs.

United’s enduring brand appeal and aggressive sponsorship strategies had helped the Premier League side reclaim top spot for the first time in five years, with a worth estimated at $3.

England football’s Butland relishes taste of Marine life

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Burton-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Goalkeeper Jack Butland says a surprise trip to a military boot camp with the England squad had been “one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had”.

England manager Gareth Southgate surprised his players when they reported for international duty last Friday by whisking them away for a weekend at the Royal Marines’ Commando Training Centre in Devon, southwest England.

Real Madrid-Juventus Champions League final totalled 3 million viewers on FOX and FOX Deportes

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More than 3 million viewers watched the 2017 UEFA Champions League final on FOX and FOX Deportes combined, according to Showbuzz Daily.

The Real Madrid-Juventus final was shown live on both the English-language FOX network and Spanish-language FOX Deportes channel. The FOX network broadcast averaged 1,762,000 viewers, while the FOX Deportes broadcast had 1,241,000 people tuning in to watch the 4-1 victory for Real Madrid.

Turkey’s Arda Turan quits international football after bust-up

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Istanbul (AFP) – Turkey captain Arda Turan announced his retirement from international football on Tuesday, hours after being kicked out of a training camp by coach Fatih Terim for allegedly verbally and physically abusing a journalist.

“I think the time has come…I am ending my career with the national team,” said the 30-year-old Barcelona midfielder, capped 96 times, at a brief press conference in Slovenia, broadcast on Turkish television.

Bosz unveiled as new coach of Dortmund

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Berlin (AFP) – Dutchman Peter Bosz has been named as the new coach of Borussia Dortmund, the German giants announced on Tuesday.

“Peter Bosz is the new BVB Head Coach. Contract will last until 2019,” Dortmund said on their Twitter account, announcing the appointment.

Bosz, 53, arrives from Ajax after leading the Dutch side to the final of the Europa League, where they lost 2-0 to Manchester United last month.

Tragic Tiote ‘suddenly fainted’, says Beijing Enterprises FC

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Beijing (AFP) – Ivory Coast international Cheick Tiote “suddenly fainted” at training and died later in hospital, his Chinese club said on Tuesday, as tributes flooded in for the player.

Tiote, 30, who had only moved to China in February from England’s Newcastle United, collapsed at training on Monday, second-tier Beijing Enterprises said.

From Foe to Tiote – five footballers’ deaths

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Beijing (AFP) – Ivory Coast international and former Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote died while training for his Chinese club on Monday. Here are five players who died during their careers:

– Marc-Vivien Foe, June 2003 –

Cameroon midfielder Foe collapsed after a heart attack during a Confederations Cup semi-final against Colombia in Lyon, France.

McClaren recalls Tiote’s ‘beautiful smile’

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London (AFP) – Ivory Coast midfielder Cheick Tiote who died on Monday aged 30 was the ‘kind of player everyone wants in their team, said former England manager Steve McClaren who managed him at two clubs.

According to his second tier Chinese club Beijing Enterprises, Tiote “suddenly fainted” during training on Monday and was rushed to hospital, where he died.

Extra security for Scotland v England World Cup qualifier

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Glasgow (AFP) – Robust extra security measures are to be implemented for Saturday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier between old rivals Scotland and England in Glasgow after recent terror attacks in Britain.

The Scottish Football Association (SFA) said gates at Hampden Park would open earlier than usual - at 1400GMT for the 1600GMT kick-off - ahead of the sold out clash and there would be body and bag searches.

China giants set for blockbuster AFC Champions League quarter-final

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Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – Two-time winners Guangzhou Evergrande were drawn against Shanghai SIPG in a blockbuster, all-Chinese AFC Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday.

Evergrande, who won the Asian title in 2013 and 2015, will play SIPG - their closest rivals in the Chinese Super League - over two legs in August and September.

Liverpool set to smash transfer record to sign Virgil Van Dijk

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London (AFP) – Dutch international defender Virgil van Dijk is set to become the world’s most expensive defender and join English Premier League giants Liverpool from rivals Southampton, according to British media reports.

The 25-year-old - who joined Southampton in 2015 after impressing at Scottish champions Celtic - will cost around £60million (69m euros, $77m), according to reports.

Chinese football ‘sack race’ claims six coaches in a month

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Beijing (AFP) – High expectations in the big-spending Chinese Super League have triggered a spate of departures, with six coaches shown the door in the space of just one month.

More than a third of teams in the 16-strong Super League have been affected, in a season which has also been rocked by claims of racism and violence.

Pepe unhappy with Real Madrid exit

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Madrid (AFP) – Portugese defender Pepe confirmed he has had offers from Premier League clubs after announcing he will leave Real Madrid when his contract expires this summer.

Pepe, 34, has spent 10 years with the European champions, but has fallen down the pecking order under Zinedine Zidane this season as Madrid won a La Liga and Champions League double for the first time in 59 years.

Peter Bosz named new coach of Borussia Dortmund

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Berlin (AFP) – Dutchman Peter Bosz has been named as the new coach of Borussia Dortmund, the German giants announced on Tuesday.

“Peter Bosz is the new BVB Head Coach. Contract will last until 2019. Further info in a press conference this afternoon,” Dortmund said on their English-language Twitter account.

Pioli takes over at Fiorentina

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Milan (AFP) – Former Inter Milan and Lazio coach Stefano Pioli has agreed terms to take over at Fiorentina on a two-year deal, the Serie A club announced Tuesday.

Pioli was sacked three games before the end of a rollercoaster Serie A campaign with Inter that saw a quality-packed Nerazzurri side go from Champions League qualification contenders to missing out on European football altogether.

Former Rangers owner Whyte cleared of fraud

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Glasgow (AFP) – Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte walked free from court on Tuesday after a jury delivered a not guilty majority verdict on two charges of fraud in the takeover of the Scottish club.

It took the jury just two hours to clear the 46-year-old Scottish businessman - who was charged following an investigation into his purchase of the club in May 2011, after which the Glasgow giants entered administration.

FOX Deportes to televise Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana tournaments again on US TV

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FOX Deportes has announced that Spanish-language broadcasts of Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana will be returning to US airwaves through the end of the year.

The Group Stages of the Copa Libertadores competition were aired on FOX Soccer 2GO streaming service earlier this year, but FOX Sports stopped broadcasting the games in February with no warning and no explanation.

Telemundo to air 200+ hours of programming for Confederations Cup

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Telemundo will air over 200 hours of programming of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup this June, including live broadcasts and streams of all the games.

Plus Telemundo and Universo will broadcast news and entertainment programs from Russia throughout the tournament, including “Un Nuevo Día,” “Al Rojo Vivo” and “Noticias Telemundo.

Africa Cup of Nations winner Tiote dies aged 30

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London (AFP) – Ivory Coast international midfielder Cheick Tiote has died aged 30 while training with his Chinese club Beijing Enterprises, his spokesman announced in a statement on Monday.

Tiote, who was part of the Ivory Coast squad that delivered the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations after a 23 year drought although he was injured for the final, had only moved to China in February after ending a seven year stay with English outfit Newcastle United.

Hazard ruled out for three months

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London (AFP) – Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard is likely to miss the beginning of next season as the Premier League champions announced on Monday he is sidelined for three months after undergoing ankle surgery.

The Belgium international fractured his ankle training ahead of the friendly with the Czech Republic and the 2018 World Cup qualifier with Estonia on Friday.

France’s Mbappe back training for Sweden clash

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Clairefontaine-en-Yvelines (France) (AFP) – France received a boost on Monday as star young striker Kylian Mbappe joined training following a slight thigh strain.

The Euro 2016 runners-up face a crucial trip to Sweden on Friday in their quest to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Liverpool away jersey for 2017/18 season to celebrate club’s 125-year anniversary

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Liverpool and kit manufacturers New Balance have unveiled the new 2017/18 Liverpool FC away jersey, which will help celebrate the club’s 125th anniversary celebrations.

This year’s away jersey takes inspiration from Liverpool’s founding jersey worn in 1892, which featured a blue and white quartered pattern.

Africa Cup of Nations winner Tiote dies: spokesman

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London (AFP) – Ivory Coast international midfielder Cheick Tiote has died aged 30 while training with his Chinese club Beijing Enterprises, his spokesman announced in a statement on Monday.

Tiote, who was part of the Ivory Coast squad that delivered the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations after a 23 year drought although he was injured for the final, had only moved to China in February after ending a seven year stay with English outfit Newcastle United.

Schedule of World Cup qualifiers, friendlies and Africa Cup of Nations 2019 qualifiers on US TV

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In the next week, there’ll be more than 50 soccer games televised live on television and/or streaming to viewers in the United States featuring a huge variety of matches.

There will be World Cup qualifiers such as Mexico against USA, Brazil versus Argentina and Scotland vs. England.

Football: Gulf crisis could hit Qatar 2022

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Doha (AFP) – The diplomatic crisis sweeping the Gulf could invigorate a campaign by critics of Qatar to strip Doha of the 2022 World Cup, experts said Monday.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen were among those to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on the grounds that Doha supported extremist groups “that aim to destabilise the region”.

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard suffers ankle fracture on Belgium duty

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Brussels (AFP) – Chelsea’s Belgium international star Eden Hazard has fractured his ankle, the Belgian football federation confirmed late Sunday.

The 26-year-old playmaker sustained the injury training with the national side and will miss Monday’s friendly against the Czech Republic and a 2018 World Cup qualifier in Estonia on Friday.

Adoring Madrid fans demand Ballon d’Or for hero Ronaldo

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Madrid (AFP) – Thousands of delirious Real Madrid fans called for Cristiano Ronaldo to win a fifth Ballon d’Or on Sunday as the Spanish giants paraded the Champions League trophy for a record 12th time.

Ronaldo scored twice in Real’s 4-1 thrashing of Juventus in Cardiff on Saturday as Madrid became the first side to retain the Champions League.

Confidence boosting friendly wins for Dutch, Ireland

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Paris (AFP) – The Netherlands warmed up for a vital 2018 World Cup qualifier next week with an emphatic 5-0 friendly win against Ivory Coast on Sunday.

The Dutch are struggling to make it to Russia next year, placed only fourth in Group A on seven points behind leaders France (13) Sweden (10) and Bulgaria (9).

Girona promoted to La Liga for first time

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Madrid (AFP) – Girona will play in the Spanish top flight for the first time next season after a mutually beneficial 0-0 draw with Real Zaragoza sealed their promotion on Sunday.

The Catalan side needed just a point to be assured of glamour ties against newly crowned European giants Real Madrid and neighbours Barcelona next season.

Returning Real Madrid received as living ‘legends’

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Madrid (AFP) – Thousands of delirious Real Madrid fans poured onto the streets of the Spanish capital to catch a glimpse of Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates on Sunday as they paraded the Champions League trophy for a record 12th time.

Ronaldo sported a newly cropped haircut and he and captain Sergio Ramos led the traditional festivities for a major Real celebration as the players greeted local government dignitaries before parading the famous trophy in an open top bus around the Cibeles fountain in the city centre.

‘Insatiable’ Real Madrid hailed masters of Europe

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid were labelled “insatiable” and “masters of the universe” by an adoring Spanish press on Sunday after writing more Champions League history by thrashing Juventus 4-1 to win the trophy for the 12th time.

Led by two goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Madrid became the first side in the Champions League era to retain the trophy and claimed a third Champions League in just four years.

‘Young boy’ Ronaldo still hungry for glory

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo said he had no intention of slowing down after spearheading a 4-1 victory over Juventus that made Real Madrid the first team to retain the UEFA Champions League.

Ronaldo’s double in Saturday’s final at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, allied to goals by Casemiro and Marco Asensio, earned him a fourth Champions League win and gave Madrid their third in four years and 12th in total.

Injured tally from Turin stampede rises to 1,000: police

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – At least 1,000 people were injured, seven seriously, after a bomb scare triggered a stampede among Juventus fans assembled to watch the Champions League final in Turin, police said Sunday.

AFP reporters at the scene said chaotic scenes ensued in a packed square 10 minutes before the end of the match on Saturday evening, with the panic apparently triggered by fireworks being let off and one or more people shouting that a bomb had exploded.

Turin bomb scare sparks stampede, leaving 1,000 injured

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – At least 1,000 people were injured, seven seriously, after a bomb scare triggered a stampede among Juventus fans watching he Champions League final in Turin, local authorities said Sunday.

AFP reporters witnessed the chaotic scenes that ensued in a packed square 10 minutes before the end of the match on Saturday evening.

I’m staying at Atletico, insists Griezmann

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Paris (AFP) – Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann intends to stay at the Spanish club next season amid ongoing speculation about his future, the striker told French television station TF1 on Sunday.

Griezmann has been heavily linked with a move away from Atletico, all the more so since the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) upheld a transfer ban that means the club will not be able to sign any new players until January next year as a punishment for irregularities in the signing of foreign players under 18.

Turin bomb scare sparks stampede, leaving 1,500 injured

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – More than 1,500 people were injured, three seriously, after a bomb scare triggered a stampede among Juventus fans watching the Champions League final in Turin, local authorities said Sunday.

In an update on Saturday’s dramatic events in a square packed with supporters watching the Cardiff match on a giant screen, the local prefecture said 1,527 had been treated for mainly minor injuries.

Zidane back among the immortals

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Feted as one of the finest talents of his generation, Zinedine Zidane has made the transition to management so smoothly that he has already eclipsed some of the game’s most hallowed names just 17 months into his spell as Real Madrid boss.

When Zidane’s majestic strike flashed into the net to give Madrid victory in the 2002 Champions League final against Bayer Leverkusen, the French star must have believed he would never surpass that golden moment in Europe’s top tier tournament.

Ronaldo heroics spark Madrid street party

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo was once again hailed as Real Madrid’s hero as fans crammed into the club’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium and streets across the Spanish capital to wildly celebrate a record 12th European Cup win on Saturday.

Whilst Ronaldo’s double sentenced Juventus to a comprehensive 4-1 defeat at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, nearly 2,000 kilometres away over 70,000 supporters congregated to watch the match of eight giant screens erected on the Bernabeu turf.

Zidane joy as Madrid reign supreme

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Zinedine Zidane hailed Real Madrid’s unquenchable thirst for success after his side crushed Juventus 4-1 on Saturday to win the Champions League for the third time in four years.

Thanks to Madrid’s majestic demolition of the Italian champions at the Principality Stadium, Zidane is the first manager to win successive European Cups since AC Milan’s Arrigo Sacchi in 1989 and 1990.

Buffon hails Madrid class after final heartbreak

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon conceded Real Madrid’s superior ability had made the difference after his side crashed to a 4-1 defeat in Saturday’s Champions League final in Cardiff.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Madrid overwhelmed Juventus at the Principality Stadium to become the first team to retain the European Cup since AC Milan in 1990.

200 injured in Juventus fan panic after bomb scare: police

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – A bomb scare triggered panic among Juventus fans assembled to watch the Champions League final in Turin on Saturday, leaving some 200 supporters injured, according to local police.

AFP reporters at the scene said chaotic scenes ensued ten minutes before the end of the match, apparently triggered by fireworks being let off and one or more people shouting that a bomb had gone off.

‘Spectacular’ Ronaldo revels in Madrid’s dream finale

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo soaked up the acclaim after his brace fired Real Madrid to a 4-1 Champions League final demolition of Juventus and capped his “spectacular” end to the season.

Ronaldo led Madrid to their first La Liga and Champions League double since 1958 by scoring 16 goals in his last 10 games of a memorable campaign even by his sky-high standards.

30 injured in Juventus fan panic after bomb scare

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – A bomb scare triggered panic among Juventus fans assembled to watch the Champions League final in Turin on Saturday, leaving some 30 supporters injured, AFP reporters at the scene said.

Chaotic scenes ensued ten minutes before the end of the match, apparently triggered by fireworks being let off and one or more people shouting that a bomb had gone off.

Five great sides that dominated Europe

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Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid made history on Saturday by beating Juventus to become the first side to retain the Champions League for 27 years.

Victory also means Madrid have won three Champions Leagues in the past four years to solidify their status as Europe’s most successful club with 12 European Cups in total.

Bale hails Madrid’s history boys

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Gareth Bale saluted Real Madrid’s historic Champions League final victory over Juventus as the Spanish giants became the first side to retain the trophy for 27 years.

Bale has been hampered by ankle and calf injuries for much of the season, but the Wales forward was able to play a part in Madrid’s 4-1 demolition of Juventus in his hometown after coming on as a 77th minute replacement for Karim Benzema.

Ronaldo comes full circle to cement legacy

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Back on the Cardiff turf where he won the first major silverware of his astonishing career, Cristiano Ronaldo cemented his legacy as one of the game’s all-time greats with a decisive brace in Real Madrid’s 4-1 victory over Juventus in the Champions League final.

Tops and flops in Champions League final

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Following Real Madrid’s 4-1 win over Juventus to win a third Champions League crown in four years, AFP Sport looks at who were the Tops and Flops on the night in Cardiff.

TOPS

– Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

The Portuguese maestro bagged a brace to leapfrog Lionel Messi as top scorer in this season’s Champions League - to earn that accolade for the fifth season in a row.

Real Madrid beat Juventus to win Champions League

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Spanish giants Real Madrid beat Juventus 4-1 to win the Champions League final in Cardiff on Saturday, the first team to retain the title in 27 years.

The sides were level 1-1 at half-time after Ronaldo scored in the 20th minute and Juve’s Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic equalised seven minutes later.

Two-goal Ronaldo keeps Madrid kings of Europe

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice as Real Madrid crushed Juventus 4-1 in Cardiff on Saturday to become the first team to retain the European Cup in the Champions League era.

The Portugal superstar’s opener was cancelled out by an astonishing Mario Mandzukic strike, but goals from Casemiro, Ronaldo and Marco Asensio secured Madrid’s third Champions League triumph in four years and 12th in total.

USA vs. Venezuela preview, TV times and team news

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June is an extremely critical month for the USMNT. Bruce Arena has come in for his second stint as manager and settled things down after a disastrous start to World Cup Qualifying that resulted in the firing of Jurgen Klinsmann. Arena got a win and a draw in the January Camp and managed to grab four out of a possible six points in the last two World Cup Qualifiers to move the US out of last place in the Hex.

‘History’ awaits Madrid and Juventus, says Real captain Ramos

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos says an “appointment with history” awaits his side and Juventus in Saturday’s glamour Champions League final at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.

Ramos is hoping to lift the trophy for the third time in four years, which would make Zinedine Zidane’s team the first to have successfully defended it in the Champions League era.

Europe deserves to host 2030 Football World Cup – UEFA president

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Europe should host the 2030 World Cup, not the country who is the highest bidder, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has told the BBC.

The 49-year-old Slovenian, who replaced disgraced Frenchman Michel Platini at the top of European football last September, added he didn’t want to single out China with regard to the money factor.

Ravanelli keen to return to Middlesbrough as manager

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London (AFP) – Former Italy striker Fabrizio Ravanelli would love to manage his former club Middlesbrough, freshly relegated from the Premier League, he told Britain’s Press Association on Saturday.

The 48-year-old, who scored 33 goals in 52 appearances for unfashionable Boro in the 1996/97 season after surprisingly leaving then European champions Juventus, has not had a wealth of coaching experience since hanging up his boots in 2005.

Win it for me, legend Pirlo tells Juventus

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Rome (AFP) – Juventus and Italy legend Andrea Pirlo has told his former team-mates to win Saturday’s Champions League final for him.

“Here we are: Juve-Real in the Champions League final. I say ‘we’ because even if this time I will not be on the pitch, I will be the number one supporter,” the veteran midfielder wrote in a column for La Stampa, the daily based in Juventus’s home city of Turin.

Boyce the difference as Northern Irish beat Kiwis

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Belfast (AFP) – Liam Boyce’s first international goal gave Northern Ireland a 1-0 win over New Zealand on Friday and an ideal boost ahead of a pivotal 2018 World Cup qualifier with Azerbaijan.

The 26-year-old Ross County striker - who finished top scorer in the Scottish Premiership with 23 goals - struck in the sixth minute of the friendly for his maiden goal in his ninth appearance for his country.

Giroud hat-trick lifts France past Paraguay

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Rennes (France) (AFP) – An Olivier Giroud hat-trick helped France brush aside Paraguay 5-0 in an international friendly at Rennes on Friday.

The Arsenal striker became the first France international to score a treble since David Trezeguet achieved the feat in 2000.

He opened the scoring for Didier Deschamps’s team in the sixth minute, doubling up in the 13th and getting his hat-trick and his 16th international goal in as many games in the 69th minute.

Guatemalan pleads guilty in FIFA scandal

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New York (AFP) – A 63-year-old former official in Guatemala’s Football Federation broke down in tears as he pleaded guilty in New York Friday to wire fraud and conspiracy in the massive corruption scandal that has rocked world soccer.

Hector Trujillo, who served as general secretary of the Guatemalan federation from 2009 to 2015 and also was a judge on the country’s constitutional court, admitted to one count of wire fraud and one count of wire fraud conspiracy.

‘Born leader’ Ronaldo will drive Real to Champions League glory: Zidane

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Zinedine Zidane believes Cristiano Ronaldo’s inspirational leadership will be the decisive factor when Real Madrid bid for Champions League final history against Juventus on Saturday.

Ronaldo is firmly in the spotlight as Zidane’s side try to become the first club to win consecutive European Cup finals since AC Milan 27 years ago.

Ramos ready for Real’s date with destiny

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Sergio Ramos says Real Madrid are ready for their appointment with history as the Spanish club aim to become the first team for 27 years to win consecutive Champions League titles.

Not since AC Milan in 1989 and 1990 has a side conquered Europe two years in a row, but holders Real can equal that impressive feat if they defeat Juventus in Cardiff on Saturday.

Buffon eyes final ‘fairytale’ football match with Juventus

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Veteran Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon says Saturday’s Champions League final against Real Madrid will have “special” personal significance as he approaches the end of his storied career.

A world champion with Italy in 2006 and eight-time Series A winner with Juventus, Buffon finished on the losing side in his two previous Champions League finals in 2003 and 2015.

Dortmund hit bump in bid for quick Tuchel replacement

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Berlin (AFP) – The messy sacking of Thomas Tuchel just three days after winning the German Cup has left Borussia Dortmund scrambling around for a new coach, with main target Lucien Favre set to stay at Nice.

Dortmund denied that Tuchel’s departure was sparked by a public spat with CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke but that painfully-strained relationship seemed to finally crack on Tuesday when the coach was fired.

Buffon eyes Champions League final ‘fairytale’ with Juventus

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Veteran Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon says Saturday’s Champions League final against Real Madrid will have “special” personal significance as he approaches the end of his storied career.

A world champion with Italy in 2006 and eight-time Serie A winner with Juventus, Buffon finished on the losing side in his two previous Champions League finals in 2003 and 2015.

Man in custody leads Czech FA after failed vote

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Prague (AFP) – Despite being in custody on embezzlement charges, Miroslav Pelta has retained the helm of the Czech Football Federation (FACR) following a failed attempt to replace him on Friday.

At a general meeting broadcast on the FACR website, the delegates refused to give priority to one of three candidates, leaving Pelta in charge until the next general meeting which must take place this year.

Catalonia TV ad’s Juventus support stirs Spain anger

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Madrid (AFP) – A public TV channel in Spain’s Catalonia region, where a separatist movement is raging, has drawn criticism for broadcasting an ad supporting Juventus, the Italian team facing Real Madrid in Saturday’s Champions League final.

The television spot announcing the final in Cardiff opens on footage of the white-clad players of Real Madrid - arch-rivals of Barcelona in Catalonia - lifting the trophy of a previous edition.

Real Madrid vs. Juventus Champions League final predicted lineups, TV times and preview

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Since the turn of the year, the European football season always feels as though it’s building towards UEFA Champions League final. With Real Madrid and Juventus facing off in Saturday’s spectacle in Cardiff, the hype is warranted.

Because while finals involving teams from the same country can be special-Real have faced Atletico Madrid in two of the last three-there’s something wonderful about seeing two juggernauts from two different nations go head-to-head.

Juventus bar Zidane’s path to history with Real Madrid

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London (AFP) – Only Zinedine Zidane’s former club Juventus stand between the Real Madrid coach and football history in Saturday’s star-studded Champions League final in Cardiff.

A head coach for only 17 months, the former France playmaker can become the first manager to win back-to-back European Cups in the post-1992 Champions League era.

Five key duels in Champions League final

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Real Madrid face Juventus in Saturday’s Champions League final in Cardiff aiming to become the first side ever to retain the trophy in its current format.

However, the Italian champions have already shown their might in dumping out Real’s bitter rivals Barcelona on route to the final.

Record pay-out for English champions Chelsea

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London (AFP) – English champions Chelsea received a record Premier League pay-out of more than £150 million ($190 million, 172 million euros) this season, nearly £60 million more than their predecessors Leicester, after new TV deals came into force.

The broadcast deals, including a bumper domestic contract, ensured generous end-of-season payments for all 20 Premier League clubs who shared a total of £2.

Chinese flops Jiangsu FC part ways with coach

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Shanghai (AFP) – Chinese big-spenders Jiangsu Suning have parted ways with their coach Choi Yong-Soo after a disappointing season was compounded by elimination from the AFC Champions League.

Jiangsu - who share owners with Italy’s Inter Milan - announced the South Korean’s departure late Thursday, one day after their Champions League exit at the hands of Shanghai SIPG.

Six-shooting USA take aim at first Under-20 football world title

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Seoul (AFP) – The United States have raised hopes of a surprise Under-20 World Cup win after they stormed into the quarter-finals with a 6-0 win over New Zealand.

Seventeen-year-old Josh Sargent equalled the American record with his fourth goal at the tournament as the USA ran riot late on Thursday.

What MLS can learn from Liga MX: World Soccer Talk Podcast

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

In the NEW episode, number 29, Kartik Krishnaiyer and Christopher Harris cover a range of topics including:

• Revelations about how FOX and Telemundo got the 2026 World Cup rights,

• Preview of this weekend’s Champions League coverage from FOX,

• Which streaming service is offering a free Amazon Fire TV stick for signing up,

• What MLS can learn from Liga MX,

• Plus questions from YOU, the listeners and much more.

Where to find Real Madrid vs. Juventus Champions League final on US TV

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

The two best teams in Europe compete on Saturday to win the UEFA Champions League crown, the most competitive club soccer tournament in the world.

Iraq play first post-ban friendly at home

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Basra (Iraq) (AFP) – Iraq faced Jordan in the southern city of Basra on Thursday in their first match at home since football’s governing body FIFA lifted a multi-year ban on international friendlies.

Iraqis’ passion for football cuts across the deep religious and political divisions that have fuelled horrific violence in the country for years, but that same violence has led to periodic bans on matches being held in the country.

Bouhaddi earns Lyon women’s Champions League

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi scored the winning spot-kick as Lyon retained the women’s Champions League against domestic rivals Paris Saint Germain in Cardiff on Thursday.

Moments after PSG’s own shot stopper Katarzyna Kiedrzynek had scuffed her effort wide, Bouhaddi stepped up to seal a fourth Champions League triumph for Lyon.

Most-watched soccer games on US TV for May 24-29, 2017

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Univision’s broadcasts of the Liga MX Clasura final topped this week’s charts as UDN’s broadcast of the 1st leg delivered 1.236 million to make it the most0watched Liga MX final ever on the network. Univision’s broadcast of the 2nd leg delivered 2.8 million viewers to make it the most-viewed club soccer match on any network in 2017 thus far.

Falcao extends Monaco deal

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Monaco (AFP) – Monaco’s Colombian international Radamel Falcao has extended his contract with the newly-crowned Ligue 1 champions until 2020, the club announced on Thursday.

The 31-year-old club skipper - who scored 30 goals this season with six decisive passes in all competitions - said he was “happy to continue the adventure with Monaco”.

Juventus stadium finally given name after 6 years

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Rome (AFP) – Six years after its inauguration, Champions League finalists Juventus’s home stadium in Turin has finally been given a name: the Allianz Stadium.

As of July 1, the German insurance firm’s name - which already adorns a number of other sports stadiums, including Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena, Nice’s Allianz Riviera, and the Allianz Park in London of rugby club Saracens - will be emblazoned on a ground until now simply known as the Juventus Stadium.

Most popular Premier League clubs on US television based on average viewership

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Liverpool Football Club is the most popular Premier League team on US television.

That’s according to research generated by @US_Spurs that has averaged all of the viewership numbers from their TV appearances during the 2016/17 season. The Reds averaged 481,943 viewers for the 36 matches that were broadcast live on US television.

France’s Mbappé doubtful, Dembele returns to Brittany

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Rennes (France) (AFP) – France coach Didier Deschamps revealed on Thursday that Kylian Mbappé was uncertain for Friday’s friendly against Paraguay as fellow wunderkind Ousmane Dembélé returns to the grounds of his former club Rennes.

The match in Brittany will allow the 2016 Euro finalists a warm-up for their World Cup qualifier against Sweden in Stockholm on June 9, followed by a friendly against England on June 13 at the Stade de France.

Toure rewarded with new Manchester City football contract

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London (AFP) – Ivory Coast legend Yaya Toure signed a new one year contract with Manchester City on Thursday, a reward for sterling performances after returning to favour mid-November.

The 34-year-old midfielder - a four-time African Footballer of the Year - had fallen out with City manager Pep Guardiola but regained his trust and has been retained, unlike several other players who like him were out of contract and had been allowed to leave.

Fletcher joins Stoke after snubbing West Brom offer

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London (AFP) – Scotland international midfielder Darren Fletcher joined Stoke City on Thursday on a free transfer after rejecting an offer of a new contract from their Premier League rivals West Brom.

The 33-year-old former Manchester United star - who will join fellow former West Brom team-mate Saido Berahino at Stoke - signed a two year contract with his new club ending a two-and-a-half year stay with West Brom.

Top 10 most-watched Premier League games on US television for 2016/17 season

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Now that the 2016/17 Premier League season has been put to bed, it’s time to take a look back to see which games were the top 10 most-watched matches of the EPL season.

Not surprisingly, the matches featured in the 12:30-2:30pm ET time slot on the over-the-air NBC network ruled the airwaves, making the Premier League games more accessible than any other channels in the United States.

Messi to launch amusement park in China

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Madrid (AFP) – Argentina superstar Lionel Messi is to branch out into the leisure industry and launch an amusement park in China in 2019, his partners in the venture said on Thursday.

The “Messi Experience Park” will have more than 20 attractions spread out on a site covering more than 80,000m2 in Nankin, south east China.

Video refereeing ‘good for honesty’: Van Basten

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Zurich (AFP) – FIFA’s plans to use video refereeing during the 2018 World Cup in Russia will be a positive development in football, former Dutch star Marco Van Basten insisted on Thursday.

“It helps football a lot, it’s good for the honesty,” Van Basten told AFP after a workshop organised at FIFA headquarters by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), which determines the laws of the game.

Valverde vows to ‘revisit’ Barca’s tiki-taka

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Barcelona (AFP) – Newly-installed Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde vowed Thursday to “deepen” and “revisit” the renowned slick passing game of the Catalan giants in a bid to lead the club to success in all possible competitions next season.

“I know the style because I played here” between 1998-2000, Valverde said at his first press conference after being named successor to Luis Enrique on a two-year contract with the option of a further year.

New Barcelona boss Valverde vows to ‘revisit’ tiki-taka

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Barcelona (AFP) – Newly installed Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde vowed Thursday to “deepen” and “revisit” the renowned slick passing game of the Catalan giants in a bid to lead the club to success in all possible competitions next season.

“I know the style because I played here” between 1998-90, Valverde said at his first press conference after being named successor to Luis Enrique on a two-year contract with the option of a further year.

Manchester City sign goalkeeper Ederson: Benfica

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Lisbon (AFP) – Pep Guardiola’s summer recruitment drive continued apace on Thursday as Manchester City signed the up-and-coming Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson Moraes from Benfica, the Portuguese champions announced.

The 40-million-euro (£34.85m, $44.87m) deal makes the 23-year-old the most expensive goalkeeper since Juventus paid Parma 52 million euros for Gianluigi Buffon back in 2001.

Germany boss warns of ‘dangerous game’

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Berlin (AFP) – Joachim Loew, who has rested all of his Germany stars for this month’s Confederations Cup, says football’s governing bodies are risking over-loading the sport’s top players with too many games.

“It’s a dangerous game – we mustn’t pull too hard on the rope,” Germany’s head coach warned in Thursday’s interview with SID, an AFP subsidiary.

Man Utd cool interest in Griezmann – source

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London (AFP) – Manchester United have cooled their interest in signing Atletico Madrid’s French forward Antoine Griezmann, a source close to the club confirmed on Thursday.

Europa League winners United were reported to be plotting an approach for 26-year-old Griezmann.

But a source confirmed reports in several British media outlets that United have shifted their focus.

Zenit appoint Italian coach Mancini

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Moscow (AFP) – Russian Premier League side Zenit St Petersburg on Thursday appointed Italian Roberto Mancini as manager in their quest to claw their way back after a third place league finish.

“Zenit football club welcomes Roberto Mancini to Saint Petersburg and wishes him success as manager of the white-and-blues,” the club wrote on its website.

Ballon d’Or in play as Ronaldo bears down on Messi

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Madrid (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo heads to Saturday’s Champions League final against Juventus on the brink of realising a burning ambition of matching Lionel Messi’s record of winning the Ballon d’Or five times.

“I want to catch Messi,” Ronaldo confessed when collecting his third World Player of the Year crown back in 2015.

Real Madrid and Juventus, the business plans

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Cardiff (United Kingdom) (AFP) – On one side, one of the world’s most powerful clubs and the reigning champions, Real Madrid. On the other, Juventus, a club without the same financial means, yet.

AFP looks at the business models of the two sides who will clash in Saturday’s Champions League final in Cardiff.

CAS upholds Atletico Madrid transfer ban

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Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid will be unable to sign new players until January 2018 after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday upheld their transfer ban.

Atletico and city rivals Real Madrid were barred from registering new players for two transfer windows in January 2016 for irregularities in the signing of foreign players under 18.

Juventus v Real Madrid — the Welsh connection

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London (AFP) – Real Madrid’s Welsh star Gareth Bale will hope for a triumphant homecoming in Saturday’s Champions League final against Juventus in Cardiff.

Ahead of the game, AFP Sport looks at four Welsh figures who, to greater or lesser degrees, have marked the histories of the two clubs:

John Charles (Juventus, 1957-1962)

One of British football’s most successful exports, Charles joined Juventus from Swansea City in 1957 and proved a huge hit, scoring 108 goals in 155 appearances and winning three Serie A titles.

Austria’s oldest football club First Vienna FC lives on after reprieve

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Vienna (AFP) – Austria’s oldest football club First Vienna FC, started by British expats in 1894 but a shadow of its once-mighty self, has escaped bankruptcy after creditors agreed to a rescue plan.

“Austria’s oldest football club lives!” it said in a statement, calling the investors’ green light on Wednesday “a major step towards a future full of hope for our Vienna”.

Cardiff on Champions League final alert after Manchester attack

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London (AFP) – Saturday’s Champions League final between Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid and Gianluigi Buffon’s Juventus will take place amid taut security in Cardiff following last week’s terror attack in Manchester.

The suicide attack at Manchester Arena, which left 22 dead and scores injured, means vigilance will be heightened, but unprecedented security measures were already in place for the game.

Man Utd cool interest in Griezmann – reports

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London (AFP) – Manchester United have cooled their interest in signing Atletico Madrid’s French forward Antoine Griezmann, according to British media reports on Thursday.

Europa League winners United were reported to be plotting an approach for 26-year-old Griezmann.

But several media outlets, including the BBC and Britain’s Press Association, said United were instead shifting their focus towards a more conventional centre-forward, citing an internal source.