World Cup Buzz

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Updated:
May 30, 2017 12:01 UTC
Added:
August 17, 2008 11:24 UTC

Wagner taunts critics as Huddersfield hit promotion jackpot

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London (AFP) – David Wagner’s arrival at Huddersfield Town was greeted with scorn, but just 18 months later the German has silenced the critics by masterminding his club’s fairytale promotion to the Premier League.

When Wagner was plucked from his role as Borussia Dortmund’s reserve team coach by Huddersfield owner Dean Hoyle in November 2015, many pundits claimed his lack of experience in the cut-throat world of the second-tier Championship meant the appointment was doomed to failure.

Five problems for Wenger and Arsenal

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London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger looks set, according to the British media, to be offered and agree to a new contract at an Arsenal board meeting on Tuesday, ending months of uncertainty which the Frenchman admitted affected performances.

Here AFP Sports looks at five problem areas which will need addressing in order to make next season a less bumpy ride for the 67-year-old and for the Gunners supporters:

Transfer policy

This has been a perennial gripe for fans and pundits alike, that Wenger doesn’t like to get involved in bidding wars with the Gunners’ major rivals and resorts to what appear to be last-minute panic buys and paying over the odds.

Buffon knocking on Ballon d’Or door

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Milan (AFP) – As Juventus look to end a 21-year-wait for the Champions League title, there are those who believe goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon can end a 54-year wait and be officially crowned the top shot-stopper in Europe.

The rock of a team that recently embellished its growing pedigree with a record sixth consecutive title and record third successive league and Cup double, Buffon, many believe, is in firm contention for the Ballon d’Or.

Wolfsburg win play-off to stay in Bundesliga

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Berlin (AFP) – VfL Wolfsburg guaranteed their Bundesliga survival on Monday as Euro 2016-winner Vieirinha scored to secure a 1-0 win away at Eintracht Braunschweig that sealed a 2-0 aggregate victory in their relegation play-off.

Having won last Tuesday’s home leg 1-0 thanks to a Mario Gomez penalty, Wolfsburg were safe as Vieirinha smashed home the winning goal on the night just after the break.

Valverde’s poise to be tested by Barca pressures

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Madrid (AFP) – In the worst kept secret in European football, Ernesto Valverde was officially named Barcelona coach on Monday.

Valverde follows in a long and famous line of former Barcelona players to manage the club.

However, unlike two of his more recent predecessors, Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique, Valverde is little known outside of Spain having had a far less distinguished playing and managerial career thus far.

Valverde hired as new Barcelona boss

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Barcelona (AFP) – Spanish coach Ernesto Valverde is the man charged with reviving Barcelona’s fortunes after being confirmed as the Catalan giants’ new boss on a two-year deal on Monday.

“Valverde has the ability, the judgement, the knowledge and the experience. He promotes the youth players and he has a Barça way,” club president Josep Maria Bartomeu said at a press conference.

Huddersfield promoted to Premier League after penalty drama

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London (AFP) – Huddersfield Town won promotion to the Premier League in dramatic fashion as Christopher Schindler’s penalty sealed a 4-3 shoot-out victory over Reading in the Championship play-off final on Monday.

David Wagner’s side will play in the English top-flight for the first time in 45 years after holding their nerve in the nerve-shredding penalty shoot-out that followed a tense 0-0 draw at Wembley.

Time for Juventus to bring trophy home – Allegri

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Turin (Italy) (AFP) – Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has labelled 11-time winners Real Madrid favourites for the Champions League final, but said the “optimistic” Italians intend on bringing the trophy home from Cardiff on Saturday.

Fresh from securing a record third consecutive league and Cup double, Juventus are looking to complete a treble this season when they face Real in the Welsh capital.

10 things we learned from MLS gameweek 13 of the 2017 season

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Photo credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the ten things we learned from Week 13 of the 2017 MLS season.

1. The Once And Future King?

The Seattle Sounders held off the Portland Timbers to win the first meeting of the storied rivals in 2017 by a score of 1-0 on Saturday.

Dortmund confirm Reus tore cruciate ligament

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Berlin (AFP) – Marco Reus’ injury misery continued Monday when Borussia Dortmund confirmed the winger partially tore his cruciate ligament in Saturday’s German Cup final – a set-back which could sideline him for months.

“In the coming days, there will be further tests and a decision will be made on the necessary treatment,” said Dortmund in a statement.

Barcelona set to confirm Valverde as new coach on Monday

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona are expected to confirm Ernesto Valverde as their new coach later on Monday after club president Josep Maria Bartomeu called a press conference for 1900 local time (1700 GMT).

Bartomeu said after Saturday’s Copa del Rey final win over Alaves that there would be a board meeting on Monday afternoon where he will “examine the options and announce who will be our next coach”.

Ter Stegen extends Barcelona contract to 2022

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Barcelona (AFP) – German international goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen tied his future to Barcelona by extending his contract with the Catalan giants to 2022 on Monday.

“FC Barcelona have reached an agreement with Marc-Andre ter Stegen to extend and improve his contract until June 30, 2022,” Barca said in a statement.

Pellegrino steps down as Alaves boss

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Madrid (AFP) – Argentine coach Mauricio Pellegrino announced on Monday he will not remain in charge of La Liga side Alaves next season.

Alaves lost out 3-1 to Barcelona in Pellegrino’s last game in charge in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday.

“I will not be here next season,” said the former Liverpool and Valencia defender.

Barcelona to make coach appointment on Monday

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona are expected to confirm Ernesto Valverde as their new coach later on Monday after club president Josep Maria Bartomeu called a press conference for 1900 local time (1700 GMT).

Bartomeu said after Saturday’s Copa del Rey final win over Alaves that there would be a board meeting on Monday afternoon where he will “examine the options and announce who will be our next coach”.

Wagner eyes fairytale promotion for Huddersfield at Wembley

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London (AFP) – David Wagner insists Huddersfield are ready to hit the Premier League jackpot as his unfashionable club face Reading in a £200 million ($256 million) shoot-out in Monday’s Championship play-off final.

Wagner is aiming to take his team into the English top-flight for the first time in 45 years and the Huddersfield boss is well aware how out of place the Terriers would look among the Premier League aristocracy.