UEFA

World Cup qualifying

Moving past friendlies in UEFA and CONCACAF

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By J Hutcherson (Nov 16, 2017) US Soccer Players - Peru finally gave the World Cup playoffs what it needed, a game worth watching. With all due respect to Australia's win over Honduras much earlier in the day on Wednesday, that game quickly became an obvious conclusion.

Italy draw Sweden, miss first World Cup since 1958

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The 2018 World Cup will be missing another global giant.

Italy have failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958 after a scoreless draw against Sweden at the San Siro in Milan concluded a 1-0 aggregate loss in the UEFA qualification playoffs.

The Azzurri had their chances to draw level in this match.

Prolific: Robert Lewandowski Becomes Poland’s All-Time Top Goalscorer With Hat-Trick Against Armenia (Photos & Video)

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Bang in form, Robert Lewandowski enjoyed a productive night of national service as Poland eviscerated Armenia to the tune of 6-1 in Yerevan.

The Bayern Munich striker helped himself to a hat-trick to leave Poland needing to take just one point against Denmark in their final qualifier to book a berth at Russia 2018.

David Villa makes Spain cameo, leaves camp with training injury

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David Villa came on near the end of Spain's 3-0 thumping of Italy in Madrid to roaring applause from the Spanish faithful, but will not feature in their upcoming match in Vaduz against Liechtenstein.

The once World Cup champion came on for Isco in the 89th minute of Saturday's match. He didn't do much aside from make a couple passes, but the fans were happy to see their nation's all time leading goal scorer make brief cameo anyway.

Soccer TV: Spain vs Italy

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A big game at the top of their group in UEFA World Cup qualifying. Spain hosts Italy with NYCFC player David Villa back in Spain's squad for the first time since the 2014 World Cup. Also on the schedule, MLS plays through the international window with Saturday's Dallas vs Red Bulls game available nationally.

UEFA Europa League

UEFA: Patrice Evra Banned For Seven Months And Given €10,000 Fine For Kicking Marseille Fan Dans La Tête

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UEFA have ordained that Patrice Evra will be banned from taking part in their matches for seven months as punishment for kicking a Marseille fan in the head a week or so ago.

Evra became embroiled in a pitchside confrontation with the supporter before Marseille'sEuropa League game against Vitoria Guimaeres on 1st November a skirmish that concluded swiftly when the veteran full-back lashed out with a high boot.

Europa League Group Stage Draw: Arsenal And Everton Get Tough, But Not Insurmountable Draws In Monaco…

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Henrik Larsson and Eric Abidal have done UEFA's bidding in Monaco and the draw for the 2017/18 Europa League group stage has been completed.

Fans of tired old smutty puns will no doubt by glad to learn that Arsenal will need to master BATE if they want to finish first in Group H, which also contains Cologne and Red Star Belgrade.

‘He Told Me I Was A F**ker’ – UEFA Doping Official Reveals Precise Nature Of Phil Jones’ Angry Europa League Final Rant

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Phil Jones is currently serving a three-match European ban afterbeing found guilty of abusing language toward UEFA officials in the aftermath of the Europa League final.

Jones was an unused substitute in Manchester United's 2-0 win over Ajax in Stockholm but was still selected to undergo a random drug test after the final whistle.

Man Utd: Phil Jones Given Two-Match Ban For Using ‘Abusive Language’ In Front Of UEFA Drug Test Officials

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"So I says to him, 'F**k off, you white-coat, p*ss-bottling UEFA tw*tshaft! There's no f**king way I'm widdling in that f**king cup so you can f**k yourself right off!'"

Phil Jones will be banned for the first of Manchester United's Champions League group games after being found guilty of abusing UEFA officials in the aftermath of the Europa League final.

FIFA

The Nations League concept spreads

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We start the soccer news with Reuters' Simon Evans reporting that CONCACAF is planning for their version of a Nations League potentially starting in the September international window. The Nations League is a UEFA concept, put in place to replace friendlies with games that count. It's a multiple league structure for national teams with promotion and relegation and playoffs for a champion.

UEFA goes ahead with the Nations League

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By J Hutcherson (Sep 21, 2017) US Soccer Players - UEFA is pushing ahead with the Nations League, officially announcing the competition. It's a concept to make friendlies count... or something. It's tough to judge what UEFA really wants from their new competition, except maybe a good enough reason to keep scheduling international games during the club season.

Financial Fair Play Be Damned: PSG Welcome Kylian Mbappe On Board In Yet Another Exorbitant Cash-Spluff

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Monaco have been plundered once again as PSG have announced that their convoluted deal to sign Kylian Mbappe has now officially gone through.

The transfer basically boils down to a long-term contract, beginning with a bullshit one-season loan, presumably to allow the young lad to gain a vital bit of experience.

AFP

Football: Karate kick Evra suspended by Marseille, charged by UEFA

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Marseille (AFP) – Patrice Evra was handed an initial one-match ban by UEFA and suspended by his club Marseille on Friday after the veteran defender aimed a karate kick at the head of one of his team’s own supporters.

The former Manchester United star was red-carded for the assault during the pre-match warm-up at Thursday’s Europa League clash at Guimaraes in Portugal.

Marseille’s Evra charged by UEFA for kicking fan

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Marseille (AFP) – Marseille’s Patrice Evra was handed an initial one-match ban by UEFA Friday prior to a disciplinary hearing following his sending-off for launching a karate-style kick at a fan’s head before a Europa League match against Vitoria Guimaraes.

Marseille announced they had opened an inquiry after the 36-year-old full-back was handed a red-card on Thursday following the heated altercation with a group of the French club’s fans on the touchline before kick-off in Portugal.

Four Euro 2020 spots up for grabs in Nations League

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Paris (AFP) – Four Euro 2020 places will be on offer during UEFA’s new Nations League tournament, which starts next year, after European football’s governing body announced the schedule on Wednesday.

The four-division format means that one of Europe’s 16 lowest-ranked teams is guaranteed to qualify for the Euros.

UEFA call on European leaders to help regulate transfer market

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Geneva (AFP) – UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has called for greater support from Europe’s political leaders to help introduce measures to regulate the transfer market on the continent.

“I have heard some very prominent politicians, such as the German Chancellor Angela Merkel just a few days ago, condemning financial developments in football and calling for greater sporting balance,” Ceferin said in a speech to open the UEFA Congress in Geneva on Wednesday.

Celtic charged by UEFA over pitch invasion

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London (AFP) – European football’s governing body UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Celtic following a pitch invasion during their Champions League tie against Paris Saint-Germain.

A supporter raced onto the Parkhead pitch late in the first half on Tuesday with the hosts 3-0 down and darted towards 18-year-old superstar Kylian Mbappe.

Celtic charged by UEFA over pitch invasion

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London (AFP) – European football’s governing body UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Celtic following a pitch invasion during their Champions League tie against Paris Saint-Germain.

A supporter raced onto the Parkhead pitch late in the first half on Tuesday with the hosts 3-0 down and darted towards 18-year-old superstar Kylian Mbappe.

Merkel urges tougher rules to end sky-high transfers

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Berlin (AFP) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel Friday urged football governing bodies UEFA and FIFA to tighten rules governing transfers and stamp out spiralling record spending on players.

“I view the financial developments in professional football as critically as many people,” she told Mittelbayerische Zeitung daily.

Merkel urges tougher rules to end sky-high transfers

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Berlin (AFP) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel Friday urged football governing bodies UEFA and FIFA to tighten rules governing transfers and stamp out spiralling record spending on players.

“I view the financial developments in professional football as critically as many people,” she told Mittelbayerische Zeitung daily.

UEFA probes PSG after Neymar, Mbappe deals

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Paris (AFP) – UEFA opened a “formal investigation” into Paris Saint-Germain on Friday after the French club broke the world transfer record to sign Neymar.

European football’s governing body said it would look at whether PSG had violated its Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

“The investigation will focus on the compliance of the club with the break-even requirement, particularly in light of its recent transfer activity,” UEFA said in a statement.

UEFA probes PSG after Neymar, Mbappe deals

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Paris (AFP) – UEFA opened a “formal investigation” into Paris Saint-Germain on Friday after the French club broke the world transfer record to sign Neymar.

European football’s governing body said it would look at whether PSG had violated its Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

“The investigation will focus on the compliance of the club with the break-even requirement, particularly in light of its recent transfer activity,” UEFA said in a statement.

UEFA probes PSG over Neymar deal

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Paris (AFP) – UEFA opened a “formal investigation” into Paris Saint-Germain on Friday after the French club broke the world transfer record to sign Neymar.

European football’s governing body said it would look at whether PSG had violated its Financial Fair Play rules.

“The investigation will focus on the compliance of the club with the break-even requirement, particularly in light of its recent transfer activity,” UEFA said in a statement.

UEFA probes PSG over Neymar deal

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Paris (AFP) – UEFA opened a “formal investigation” into Paris Saint-Germain on Friday after the French club broke the world transfer record to sign Neymar.

European football’s governing body said it would look at whether PSG had violated its Financial Fair Play rules.

“The investigation will focus on the compliance of the club with the break-even requirement, particularly in light of its recent transfer activity,” UEFA said in a statement.

Manchester United’s Jones baffled by ‘insults’ ban

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London (AFP) – Manchester United defender Phil Jones has expressed bemusement over the two-game suspension given to him by UEFA for insulting a doping official after last season’s Europa League final.

Jones was also fined 5,000 euros ($6,020) for “insulting and abusive language towards the doping control officer” and a “lack of cooperation and respect” following United’s 2-0 win over Ajax in Stockholm in May.

Manchester United’s Jones baffled by ‘insults’ ban

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London (AFP) – Manchester United defender Phil Jones has expressed bemusement over the two-game suspension given to him by UEFA for insulting a doping official after last season’s Europa League final.

Jones was also fined 5,000 euros ($6,020) for “insulting and abusive language towards the doping control officer” and a “lack of cooperation and respect” following United’s 2-0 win over Ajax in Stockholm in May.

Ronaldo named UEFA player of season for 2016-2017

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Monaco (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo was named UEFA Player of the Season for 2016-2017 on Thursday after a campaign which saw the Portuguese superstar help Real Madrid to the La Liga and Champions League double.

It was the third time that Ronaldo had won the award which was presented on the sidelines of the Champions League group stage draw.

Ronaldo named UEFA player of season for 2016-2017

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Monaco (AFP) – Cristiano Ronaldo was named UEFA Player of the Season for 2016-2017 on Thursday after a campaign which saw the Portuguese superstar help Real Madrid to the La Liga and Champions League double.

It was the third time that Ronaldo had won the award which was presented on the sidelines of the Champions League group stage draw.

Buffon joins Messi, Ronaldo on UEFA Player of the Year shortlist

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Paris (AFP) – Veteran Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has been named as one of three nominees for the 2016/17 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, European football’s governing body announced on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old Buffon was a key member of the Juventus side that reached last season’s Champions League final, but he missed out on a first winner’s medal as the Italians were beaten 4-1 by Ronaldo’s Real Madrid in Cardiff.

Buffon joins Messi, Ronaldo on UEFA Player of the Year shortlist

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Paris (AFP) – Veteran Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has been named as one of three nominees for the 2016/17 UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, European football’s governing body announced on Tuesday.

The 39-year-old Buffon was a key member of the Juventus side that reached last season’s Champions League final, but he missed out on a first winner’s medal as the Italians were beaten 4-1 by Ronaldo’s Real Madrid in Cardiff.

Financial Fair Play, Neymar deal explained

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Paris (AFP) – Spain’s La Liga refused to accept a 220-million-euro ($260m) payment from Neymar for his move to Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona on Thursday, with league president Javier Tebas claiming the transfer would make it impossible for PSG to comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

Financial Fair Play, Neymar deal explained

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Paris (AFP) – Spain’s La Liga refused to accept a 220-million-euro ($260m) payment from Neymar for his move to Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona on Thursday, with league president Javier Tebas claiming the transfer would make it impossible for PSG to comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

Champions League

Tell Me About: UEFA’s Nations League

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UEFA announced the makeup of their four leagues that will compete in the new Nations League. Europe is dropping most of their friendly dates in favor of a promotions and relegation format that features a playoff for the title. The new Nations League begins on September 6, 2018.

Why Now?

Club vs country in Europe is an ongoing negotiation.

Champions League: Zlatan Ibrahimovic Included In Man Utd’s Official Group Stage Squad As Chelsea Scuttle Diego Costa

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It's like he never went away

Manchester United have included Zlatan Ibrahimovic in their 2017/18 Champions League group stage squad just weeks after it was announced that the monolithic Swede would be rejoining the club.

Ibrahimovic is still in the process of recovering from the cruciate knee injury that prematurely ended his 2016/17 campaign, but the paperwork has already been completed on a short-term contract that will see the 35-year-old return to United for the remainder of the current season as and when he makes it back to full fitness.

Quite Right: Mario Mandzukic Wins UEFA 2017 Goal Of The Season Award For Stupendous Overhead Kick Against Real Madrid In Champions League Final

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After Mario Mandzukic was controversially pipped to the 2017 Champions League Goal of the Season award, UEFA have bestowed their overall 2017 Goal of the Season trinket to the Juventus striker for his superb overhead effort against Real Madrid in the final.

Despite the ball not touching the ground in the build up and being scored against Real Madrid in the final and all, Mandzukic was beaten to the Champions League goal of the season award byBesiktas striker Cenk Tosun, whose similarly acrobatic effort against Benfica in the group stages took 41% of UEFA's online poll.

Champions League Group Stage Draw: Tottenham Buggered From The Off, Chelsea Get Atletico, Man Utd Pooled With Benfica…

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The deed is done. The draw for the Champions League 2017/18 group stage has been conducted and, latterly, completed.

There'll be five English representatives mixing it in the groups for the first time in the tournament's history, with Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham, Manchester United and Liverpool all in there Arsenal, of course, being conspicuous by their absence.

Arsenal

Should Arsenal be punished for struggling to handle Cologne encounter?

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Arsenal's match against Cologne in the Europa League opening group game was marred by trouble and disruption last week, and UEFA have now tasked somebody with investigating the issues. The encounter was delayed by an hour following the unexpected arrival of 20,000 Cologne fans to London and mass number of fans who travelled to the [.

Does Neymar transfer show Arsenal CANNOT compete with Kroenke in charge?

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In some ways I think we have to respect the way that Arsenal Football Club is being run and has been run in recent years. When the UEFA rules about Financial Fair Play came in it actually looked for a while as though the Gunners were about to be proved right and helped back to [...]

The Rest

Sit Tight, Pies Are Going To Try And Explain The UEFA Nations League Format To You…

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Honestly, Pies had completely forgotten about the imminent implementation of the UEFA Nations League, which is basically UEFA's attempt to address the dwindling appetite for the surfeit of meaningless friendlies that currently clog up the international calendar.

Initially announced several months ago, UEFA have confirmed that the inaugural Nations League will take place in 2018, with the official seedings revealed today and the draw scheduled for January (because you can never have too many draw ceremonies).

Liverpool Fans Still Cherish Rafa Benitez – Amazing Video

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Here's a video put out by Sky Sports which shows just how Liverpool fans appreciate what Rafa did for them when he was at Anfield from 2004 through 2010. And of course, [...]