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Five Things: Football’s weird and wonderful rituals and habits

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People involved in football are continually looking for ways to gain an advantage over their opposition.

Whether it’s superstitions, compulsions or psychology, the sport has some weird and wonderful stories of the ways its stars seek to gain a competitive edge.

Read on for our top five strange rituals and habits of some of football’s most famous names.

This Weekend's Soccer on TV

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France takes center stage in what's another busy week of soccer on your television.

Fresh off thumping Celtic in the Champions League, Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain face their toughest test in France to date. The French leaders travel south to face AS Monaco on Sunday, the defending Ligue 1 champions, in a match that will put their unbeaten record to the test.

On This Day in Football: Chelsea play two games in one day, Henry hands it to Ireland

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Founded in March 1905, Chelsea joined the Football League the same year.

The Blues had to play the qualifying rounds of the FA Cup but due to fixture congestion the club was forced to play two games on the same day. Chelsea’s first team entertained Burnley at Stamford Bridge in a Second Division tie and won 1-0 while the reserves were sent to play the FA Cup qualifier.

Videos

Defender maintains he turned down Barcelona to join Spurs

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Tottenham Hotspur right-back Serge Aurier has doubled down on his claims that Barcelona tried to sign him in the last transfer window. The Ivory...

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Brazil: Roberto Carlos Admits His Famous ‘Banana’ Freekick Against France In 1997 Was A Wind-Assisted Fluke

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Like arriving at the stark realisation that the middle-aged man doling out Kinder Eggs and cuddles in the back of his boarded up Transit van probably wasn't the Easter Bunny after all, Roberto Carlos has delivered a thundering hammer blow to Pies' already faltering grasp of all we assume to be true.

Video: Future Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita destroys Monaco

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It hasn't been the best night for Liverpool fans after they watched their side throw away a 0-3 lead against Sevilla to end up with a 3-3 draw....

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Ligue 1: Hundreds Of Lyon Supporters Hold Shirts Aloft In Unison As Tribute To Nabil Fekir And His Riot-Inducing Derby Goal Celebration (Video)

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It looks like Nabil Fekir has earned himself instant cult hero status at Lyon thanks to his little riot-instigating goal celebration stunt against rivals Saint Etienne earlier this month.

On a choppy old derby night at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, the Lyon winger reacted to the incessant booing of the home fans by celebrating his side's fifth goal (in a 5-0 rollicking) in defiant fashion.

International Friendly: Anthony Martial Provides Silky Smooth Assist For Alexandre Lacazette As France Draw 2-2 With Germany (Photo & Video)

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France and Germany played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in Cologne on Tuesday evening, with the latter thereby extending their unbeaten streak to21 matches.

The opening goal came 33 minutes in when Anthony Martial went slithering through the German defence.

The Manchester United forward feinted past Nicklas Sule, put Kevin Trapp on his backside and then laid a luscious assist on a silver platter for Alexandre Lacazette to ram into the vacant net.

Video: Anthony Martial, Moussa Sissoko and Arsenal stars report for France duty

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A host of Premier League players reported at Clairefontaine on Monday to link up with France for international duty. Arsenal stars Laurent Koscielny,...

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AFP

World Cup draw ‘could have been worse’ for France – Deschamps

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Moscow (AFP) – France coach Didier Deschamps said his side “have to win their group”, after Friday’s World Cup draw in Moscow pitted the 1998 champions against Australia, Peru and Denmark in Group C.

“I’m going to give a classic answer: It could have been worse,” Deschamps, who captained France to World Cup glory 19 years ago on home soil, told BeIN Sport.

Bielsa suspended by struggling Lille

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Lille (France) (AFP) – Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa was suspended by Lille on Wednesday after a dreadful start to the French season, the struggling Ligue 1 club announced.

Ligue are second from bottom after just three wins in 13 matches under Bielsa, with the 62-year-old “suspended momentarily as coach” pending further announcement, according to a statement on the Lille website.

Ibrahimovic, Pogba back for Man Utd – Mourinho

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Paul Pogba and long-term injury victim Zlatan Ibrahimovic will make their Manchester United returns against Newcastle United on Saturday, manager Jose Mourinho announced on Friday.

France midfielder Pogba has been out since September with a hamstring injury, while former Sweden striker Ibrahimovic has not played since damaging knee ligaments against Anderlecht in April.

Ibrahimovic, Pogba back for Man Utd – Mourinho

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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Paul Pogba and long-term injury victim Zlatan Ibrahimovic will make their Manchester United returns against Newcastle United on Saturday, manager Jose Mourinho announced on Friday.

France midfielder Pogba has been out since September with a hamstring injury, while former Sweden striker Ibrahimovic has not played since damaging knee ligaments against Anderlecht in April.

Stindl equaliser saves Germany’s 21-match unbeaten run

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Cologne (Germany) (AFP) – Substitute Lars Stindl extended world champions Germany’s unbeaten run to 21 matches with a 93rd-minute equaliser in a 2-2 friendly draw against France in Cologne on Tuesday.

A first international double by Alexandre Lacazette put France on the verge of a deserved victory in a clash of two of the favourites for next year’s World Cup.

Stindl equaliser saves Germany’s 21-match unbeaten run

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Cologne (Germany) (AFP) – Substitute Lars Stindl extended world champions Germany’s unbeaten run to 21 matches with a 93rd-minute equaliser in a 2-2 friendly draw against France in Cologne on Tuesday.

A first international double by Alexandre Lacazette put France on the verge of a deserved victory in a clash of two of the favourites for next year’s World Cup.

Prove yourselves, Loew tells Germany

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Berlin (AFP) – Joachim Loew has told his Germany side to prove themselves in Tuesday’s friendly against France as the defending champions sharpen their preparations for next year’s World Cup.

Security will be tight in Cologne as the friendly takes place almost two years to the day since the Paris terror attacks of November 13, 2015, when 130 people were killed and over 400 injured.

Prove yourselves, Loew tells Germany

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Berlin (AFP) – Joachim Loew has told his Germany side to prove themselves in Tuesday’s friendly against France as the defending champions sharpen their preparations for next year’s World Cup.

Security will be tight in Cologne as the friendly takes place almost two years to the day since the Paris terror attacks of November 13, 2015, when 130 people were killed and over 400 injured.

Prove yourselves, German stars told for French test

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Berlin (AFP) – Joachim Loew has told his Germany side to prove themselves in Tuesday’s friendly against France as the defending champions’ sharpen their preparations for next year’s World Cup.

Security will be tight in Cologne as the friendly takes place almost two years to the day since the Paris terror attacks of November 13 2015, when 130 people were killed and over 400 were injured.

Prove yourselves, German stars told for French test

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Berlin (AFP) – Joachim Loew has told his Germany side to prove themselves in Tuesday’s friendly against France as the defending champions’ sharpen their preparations for next year’s World Cup.

Security will be tight in Cologne as the friendly takes place almost two years to the day since the Paris terror attacks of November 13 2015, when 130 people were killed and over 400 were injured.

Deschamps in charge means no World Cup for me, says Benzema

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Paris (AFP) – Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema admitted Sunday that he had no hope of playing at the World Cup next year as long as Didier Deschamps remains as France coach.

“Of course I believe it (playing for France again), I still believe in it,” the 29-year-old Benzema told Canal+.

Deschamps in charge means no World Cup for me, says Benzema

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Paris (AFP) – Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema admitted Sunday that he had no hope of playing at the World Cup next year as long as Didier Deschamps remains as France coach.

“Of course I believe it (playing for France again), I still believe in it,” the 29-year-old Benzema told Canal+.

France lose Giroud for Germany clash

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Paris (AFP) – Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud will miss Tuesday’s friendly against world champions Germany in Cologne due to injury, the French football federation said on Sunday.

The 31-year-old suffered a right thigh strain during Friday’s 2-0 victory over Wales at the Stade de France, where he scored his 29th international goal.

Loew to test German World Cup hopefuls

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Berlin (AFP) – Germany’s friendly against France on Tuesday offers Joachim Loew a chance of revenge, but the coach appears to be looking forward to the 2018 World Cup rather than back at Euro 2016.

“There are certain players that I want to see tested against the best,” Loew said ahead of the meeting in Cologne with Les Bleus, whose 2-0 victory in the Euro semifinals was Germany’s last defeat.

Loew to test German World Cup hopefuls

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Berlin (AFP) – Germany’s friendly against France on Tuesday offers Joachim Loew a chance of revenge, but the coach appears to be looking forward to the 2018 World Cup rather than back at Euro 2016.

“There are certain players that I want to see tested against the best,” Loew said ahead of the meeting in Cologne with Les Bleus, whose 2-0 victory in the Euro semifinals was Germany’s last defeat.

Brazil, France impress, England in Germany stalemate

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Paris (AFP) – Neymar starred as Brazil ramped up their World Cup preparations with a 3-1 win over Japan on Friday, while France saw off Wales 2-0 in Paris and a new-look England held Germany 0-0 at Wembley.

Elsewhere, Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku became his country’s equal all-time record goalscorer as Belgium played out a thrilling 3-3 draw against Mexico in Brussels.

Brazil, France impress, England in Germany stalemate

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Paris (AFP) – Neymar starred as Brazil ramped up their World Cup preparations with a 3-1 win over Japan on Friday, while France saw off Wales 2-0 in Paris and a new-look England held Germany 0-0 at Wembley.

Elsewhere, Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku became his country’s equal all-time record goalscorer as Belgium played out a thrilling 3-3 draw against Mexico in Brussels.

World Cup will be Koscielny swansong

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Paris (AFP) – Laurent Koscielny will retire from the France team after the 2018 World Cup, making way for a new generation of players, the Arsenal centre-back said on Tuesday.

“I’m starting to get a bit old at 32. With Sam (Umtiti of Barcelona) and the others in their twenties and on the lookout, the time has come,” Koscielny told a press conference at the French team headquarters.

World Cup will be Koscielny swansong

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Paris (AFP) – Laurent Koscielny will retire from the France team after the 2018 World Cup, making way for a new generation of players, the Arsenal centre-back said on Tuesday.

“I’m starting to get a bit old at 32. With Sam (Umtiti of Barcelona) and the others in their twenties and on the lookout, the time has come,” Koscielny told a press conference at the French team headquarters.

Transfer News and Gossip

Laurent Koscielny Arsenal exit plan revealed

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Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny wants to leave the club to finish his career at former club Lorient, according to the French club's...

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PSG approach Man Utd’s Marouane Fellaini

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Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has been approached by Paris Saint-Germain, according to French publication Le10Sport. The Ligue 1...

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Liverpool contact PSG over Julian Draxler transfer

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Liverpool have made contact with Paris Saint-Germain over a deal to sign Julian Draxler, according to French newspaper L'Equipe. The Reds are...

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Arsenal set to end Thomas Lemar interest

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Arsenal are ready to call off their pursuit of Monaco winger Thomas Lemar, according to the Daily Mirror. The Gunners made a £90m bid for the France...

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Philippe Coutinho asks Liverpool to reject PSG bids

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Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho has asked the club to turn down any bids for him from Paris Saint-Germain, according to Catalan newspaper Sport. The...

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United States

From Ruben Loftus-Cheek to Tyler Adams… 14 international football new boys – rated

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Not everyone shares the view that international football is the pinnacle of the sport for some, the money-flooded world of the Champions League takes that title but every player,...

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Where to find Germany vs. France friendly on US TV and streaming

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

Two of the best soccer national teams in the world compete on Tuesday in a friendly live from the Rhein Energie Stadion in Cologne, Germany. And the good news is that the match will be televised live to viewers in the United States.

Where to find Germany vs. France friendly on US TV and streaming

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

Two of the best soccer national teams in the world compete on Tuesday in a friendly live from the Rhein Energie Stadion in Cologne, Germany. And the good news is that the match will be televised live to viewers in the United States.

Arsenal

Arsenal star returns to club after suffering injury

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Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has returned to the club after sustaining a thigh injury on international duty with France. The French Football...

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Arsenal striker holds ‘no regrets’ after summer stay

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Olivier Giroud reaffirms his happiness at Arsenal, despite playing second-fiddle to Alexandre Lacazette this term. The Frenchman added to his already amazing goal record for his country this week, scoring against Wales in a friendly match. Giroud was then asked about his happiness with his club, in which he responded positively.

The Rest

Man Utd stars celebrate return from international wilderness

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Two Manchester United players have posted on social media to acknowledge and celebrate appearing for their national teams after extended periods of...

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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.