International football

poppy

FIFA Bring Disciplinary Charges Against Wales For Allowing Fans To Wear Poppies In Crowd

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After launching probes into the various instances of rule-defying poppy display over the course of the international break, FIFA have today brought charges against the Football Associations of both Wales and Northern Ireland.

FIFA have specifically begun disciplinary proceedings against Wales pertaining to their 1-1 draw against Serbia on 12th November.

FIFA deny ‘poppy ban’ ahead of England-Scotland clash

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London (AFP) Football global governing body FIFA insisted Friday it was a "distortion of the facts" to suggest they would punish British national associations determined to mark this weekend's World Cup qualifiers with poppy tributes.

Both England and Scotland pan to defy what they believe to be a FIFA ban on the wearing of poppies, a national symbol honouring war dead, when their teams meet at Wembley on Friday.

FIFA deny ‘poppy ban’ ahead of England-Scotland clash

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London (AFP) Football global governing body FIFA insisted Friday it was a "distortion of the facts" to suggest they would punish British national associations determined to mark this weekend's World Cup qualifiers with poppy tributes.

Both England and Scotland pan to defy what they believe to be a FIFA ban on the wearing of poppies, a national symbol honouring war dead, when their teams meet at Wembley on Friday.

England

England: FA Take No Action Against Adam Lallana And Jordan Henderson Over ‘Strip Club’ Reports

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In an usual change of pace for the organisation, the FA have confirmed that they won't be taking any action against Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson over reports the pair visited a strip club while on international duty.

Lallana and Henderson both found themselves dragged into the tabloid mire in the wake of Wayne Rooney's scandalous visit to the England team's hotel bar just 24 hours after last Friday's win over Scotland.

England: Joe Hart Did The ‘Mannequin Challenge’ All On His Lonesome Against Spain (Video)

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Pies havebeen pointedly trying to steer clear of the Mannequin Challenge of late, but even we curmudgeonly sticks in the mud found footage of Lonely Joe Hart's attempt amusing.

Indeed, while England teammates Jamie Vardy, Raheem Sterling and Theo Walcott all lulled everybody into thinking their teles had frozen afterthe former's goal against Spain on Tuesday night, Hart performed his own version of the viralchallenge up at the other end of the Wembley pitch.

‘I’m Trying To Channel My Passion’ – Joe Hart Admits He Was Too Pumped Up To Save Anything At Euro 2016

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Joe Hart has admitted that his shortcomings at Euro 2016 were probably a result of being overly excited about the whole thing.

Despite all the pre-match tunnel bluster, the patriotic chest thumping and the national anthem bellowing, Hart dropped a couple of clangers as Roy Hodgson's dreary rabble went plummeting out in the group stages.

England U21: Duncan Watmore And Lewis Baker Net Stunners But Young Lions Lose To France (Video)

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Aidy Boothroyd's England U21 side saw their 15-game unbeaten run come to an end on Monday night, with the Young Lions losing 3-2 to France in a friendly clash in Bondoufle.

However, both the England goals were crackers, with Sunderland striker Duncan Watmore opening the scoring via a superb chipped effort.

‘Walloped At Wembley’ – Scottish Newspaper Sums Up Dismal England Defeat With Sombre, Blacked-Out Back Page (Photo)

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A fair-to-middling performance from England was good enough to earn the win over Scotland at Wembley last night, with the home side coasting to a 3-0 victory while registering just three attempts on goal (all headers) in the space of 90 minutes.

Scotland mustered 12 shots (two on target) but were flaccid for the most part, with the dreary defeat leaving them second bottom,six points behind leaders England,in World Cup Qualifying group F with four games played.

World Cup Qualifying: England Secure 3-0 Wembley Win Against Misfiring Scotland (Photos & Highlights)

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Defying FIFA by wearinga red poppy on their black armbands, England and Scotland played out a a decentWorld Cup qualifying clash at Wembley on Friday night, with the Three Lions' superior finishing ultimately makingthe difference.

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The visitors started strongly, hassling and harrying their hosts.

10 Players Who Have Scored One Goal In Just One Appearance For England

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Plenty of perfectly decent players have only managed to score once for England over the years, with the likes of Andy Cole, David Hirst, Rodney Marsh, Alan Mullery, Stan Bowles and Carlton Palmer all failing to double their tally over the varying courses of their respective international careers.

However, there are a select band of England internationals who went one better, by scoring on their debut for the Three Lions and then leaving their immaculate 1:1 ratio completely untainted by failing to win a second cap.

Retro Football: Uri Geller Claims To Move Ball As Gary McAllister Misses Penalty Against England At Euro ’96 (Video)

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It was the 15th of June, 1996, and England were playing Scotland at Wembley in their second group match of the European Championships.

As you may remember, the host nation went on to win 2-0on the day: Alan Shearer, Paul Gascoigne, Colin Hendry getting trapped in a prismic maze of his own mind's making, the dentist's chair.

The Black-And-White Years: 15 Brilliant Vintage Photos Of England’s Age Auld Rivalry With Scotland

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In deepest, darkest November of 1872, England played Scotland in the first ever official international football match at the Hamilton Crescent cricket ground in Partick.

A crowd of 4,000 spectators paid a shilling apiece to watch the match finish goalless.There's more here.

The two nations had actually played each other fives time previous, but FIFA refuse to acknowledge those early games as full internationals as all five of the Scotland teams were merely made up of players draftedfrom the London area.

England: Jack Wilshere Named In Gareth Southgate’s Squad To Face Scotland And Spain

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Interim England boss Gareth Southgate has named his latest squad ahead of the Three Lions' games against Scotland and Spain, with midfielder Jack Wilshere returning to the senior set-up and Spurs striker Harry Kane also named.

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Wilshere failed to make an impact during England's dismal Euro 2016 campaign after yet another season ruined by injury.

Danny Mills Thinks He Has The Solution To England’s Poppy Problem And It Involves ‘Temporary Tattoos’

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It's that time of year again. England have an international game scheduled around Armistice Day (11th November) and

As you well know, FIFA have blocked the FA from embroidering poppies onto England's shirts for next Friday's World Cup qualifier againstScotland at Wembleyin accordance with their law that no country is allowed to alter their registered kit design in order to make an overt political statement.

Scott Brown Drags Himself Out Of International Retirement As Scotland Announce Squad For England Qualifier

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Photo: AMA/Corbis/Getty Images

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan has announced his squad for next week's World Cup qualifier against the Auld Enemy at Wembley.

The big (well, big-ish) news is that Scott Brown has reversed his international retirement in order to spend the evening kicking Englishmen, having last played for Scotland back in August.

World Cup: Joe Hart Shines For England In Flaccid Draw With Slovenia (Video)

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With Wayne Rooney banished to the bench, Gareth Southgate's England played out a disappointing goallessaway to Slovenia on Tuesday night, with Joe Hart's heroics saving the Three Lions from an even worse result.

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Hart, on loan with Torino after being usurped by Pep Guardiola fave Claudio Bravo at Manchester City, had to be at his very best to keep out the hosts.

Kits & fashion

Join Us In Praying That This ‘Van Gogh-Inspired’ Monstrosity Isn’t Holland’s New Home Shirt (Photo)

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A cursory flick back through the archives has shown that the Netherlands have never really suffered with a duff kit.

Sure, there have been some slightly drab incarnationsof the famous Oranje over the years, butthe Dutch have never actually endured what you might call a 'bad' strip.

Till now, that is.

Confederations Cup: Russia’s New 2017 Shirt Is Soviet-Styled And Rather Lovely (Photos)

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Photo: Adidas

Russia have just released their new kit for the 2017 Confederations Cup and it looks as though the hosts may just be the most smartly-turned out team at the ball.

Kit makers Adidas have taken style pointers from the Soviet kits of the 1980s and knocked out an absolute beauty (which, admittedly, doesn't look unlike the little red number Wales wore at Euro 2016).

Shit Football Ink: Lionel Messi Covers Up Entire Leg Tattoo With Giant Black ‘Sock’ (Photos)

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Not that it was a peerless work of art to begin with, but Lionel Messi has gone and covered up his enormous leg tattoo with atruly hideous enormous leg tattoo.

Occupying some of the most expensive real estate in the game, Messi's original ink took up the entirety of his lower left leg and comprised of angel wings, flowers, swords, little penny floater footballs, his squad number and the handprints of his firstborn son, Thiago.

Shit Football Kits: DR Congo Unveil Incredible New Shirt, Complete With Huge Leopard On The Front (Photos)

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Photos: O'Neills

DR Congo have unveiled their brand new home shirt and to be quite honest we're torn on it.

On one hand it's a total mess, with clashing red and blue geometric vomit all over the place and a cheapo badge resembling the non-licensed national teams from Pro Evolution Soccer.

Just Eight Months On, FIFA Charge Republic Of Ireland Over Commemorative ‘1916 Easter Rising’ Shirt

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FIFA have metered out their usual brand of swift, forthright justice by charging the Republic of Ireland for using their kitto commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising earlier in the year.

Ireland took to the field against Switzerland back in March with a special logo embroidered onto the breasts of their shirts to pay tribute to the 485 people that lost their lives in the rebellion against British rule.

South America

Lionel Messi Leads Argentina Teammates In Media Boycott Over Ezequiel Lavezzi ‘Marijuana’ Claims (Video)

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Lionel Messi has led his international teammates on a boycott of the Argentinian media after growing tired of their continued attempts to undermine the national side at every turn.

Not for the first time, Messi and co. were barracked in the press after losing 3-0 against Brazil in last week's World Cup qualifier, only to bounce back with a convincing win over Colombia in their very next game a result which moved the Albicelesteback into the play-off spot.

RIP Carlos Alberto Torres – 14 Fantastic Photos Of Brazil’s Legendary Flying Full-Back In His Pomp

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Tuesday evening brought with it the sad news that Carlos Alberto, captain of Brazil's all-conquering 1970 World Cup team, passed away at the age of 72.

As well as scoring one of the most iconic goals of all time in the final of said tournament, Alberto was and forever will be cherished as true legend of the game the archetype of the modern flying full-back.

‘Leave! For The Love Of God, Leave!’ – Argentine Commentator Loses It After Sergio Aguero Fluffs Spot-Kick Against Paraguay (Video)

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Argentina's recent international woes continued this week, with theAlbiceleste losing to Paraguay in the World Cup qualfiers, a result which leaves the South American giants outside the automatic qualification places for 2018.

Not surprisingly, the football-mad locals are less than impressed, with a number of commentators unable to hide their frustration, particularly after Sergio Aguero's feeble penalty miss against the Paraguayans.

Videos

Andrej Kramaric Nets Stunner As Croatia End Northern Ireland’s Unbeaten Home Run (Video)

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Northern Ireland lost a home game for the first time in 11 games, as Croatia proved too strong for Michael O'Neill's mix-and-match side.

The pick of the visitors' goals at Windsor Park was Hoffenheim striker Andrej Kramaric's superb long-range piledriver, after goals from Mario Mandzukic and Duje Cop had already put the Croats 2-0 up.

Arsenal: Alex Iwobi Pulls Off Audacious Rainbow Flick As Nigeria Beat Algeria 3-1 (Video)

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Despite impressing at various youth levels for England, Lagos-born Alex Iwobi ultimately chose to represent for the country of his birth.

This weekend, the 20-year-old was in action for Nigeria in their World Cup qualifying clash with Algeria, with the young Gunner executing a wonderful piece of skill reminiscent of his uncle Jay-Jay Okocha.

World Cup Qualifying: Philippe Coutinho Scores 25-Yard Ripper As Brazil Give Argentina Jolly Good Tonking (Video)

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Argentina's dreary World Cup qualifying malaise continued with a 3-0 defeat against Brazil on Thursday night as Philippe Coutinho, Neymar and Paulinho did the damage in Belo Horizonte.

Coutinho opened the scoring in the 25th minute when, surprise surprise, he cut in from the left and lashed a 25-yard strike past Sergio Romero and into the top corner.

FAIL: Romelu Lukaku Misses Glaring Sitter As Belgium Squeak 1-1 Draw Against The Netherlands (Video)

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Mere hours after being told by his club manager that he could play for Barcelona if he wanted, Romelu Lukaku went and cemented his credentials by missing an absolute whopper of a sitter in Belgium's friendly against their beloved lowland neighbours, the Netherlands.

With Belgium trailing 1-0 to a first-half Davy Klaassen penalty, Roberto Martinez sent Lukaku and Thorgan Hazard on for the last 30 minutes or so.

North Korea U16 ‘Keeper Given 12-Month Ban After Conceding *That* Dodgy Goal Against Uzbekistan (Video)

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Not so very long ago, we showed you a decidedly dodgy goal conceded by North Korea's Under-16 team that subsequently raised more than a few quizzical eyebrows around the world.

The goal in question saw Uzbekistan 'keeper Jasurbek Umrzakov score past his opposite number, Jang Paek-Ho, from the far end of the pitch after the North Korean stopper stumbled at the most inopportune moment.

World Cup: Fahad Al-Muwallad Nets Wonder-Volley For Saudi Arabia v UAE (Video)

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Saudi Arabia went top of the Asian World Cup qualifying Group D on Tuesday, leapfrogging Australia after a 3-0 home win against United Arab Emirates. The game atJeddah's King Abdullah Sports Citywas lit up byFahad Al-Muwallad's stunning volley, which is surely a contender for goal of the season.

Germany

San Marino Press Officer Hits Back (With 10 Pithy Bullet Points) After Thomas Muller Complains About Having To Play Against Minnows

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San Marino have fired a return volley at Thomas Muller after the Germany forward questioned the relevance of having to play against them after Friday's World Cup qualifier between the two sides.

As was inevitable, the World champions walloped their hosts8-0, leadingMuller to complainthat "matches like [this one]have nothing to do with professional football.

Mesut Ozil Reveals Exactly What He Said To David Luiz After Germany’s 7-1 Humiliation Of Brazil At 2014 World Cup

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Because he is fundamentally incapable of doing anything bad, Mesut Ozil has revealed that he was an absolute gentleman in the wake of Germany's brutal massacreof Brazil's hopes and aspirations at the 2014 World Cup.

As you may well recall, the mighty Mannshaft eviscerated the host nation in a mercilesssemi-final, sauntering their way to a 7-1 trouncing.

The Man With The Golden CV: World Cup Legend Miroslav Klose Retires To Join Germany Coaching Staff

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Miroslav Klose hasofficially brought his playing career to an end today by announcing that he has agreed to embark on his coaching training with the German national team.

The DFB have said that, after consulting with Joachim Low and technical director Hansi Flick, Klose will undergo an individual training program "with the clear aim of embarking on a coaching career.

Mannschaft For All Seasons: Joachim Löw Extends Germany Contract Until After Euro 2020

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Reassuring to know that while the English national team continues its club-footed stumble from pillar to post, Germany have gone and ring-fenced their enviable stabilityfor another four years.

Joachim Löw has signed a new contract extension with the German Football Federation (DFB) that will see him remain as coach of dieMannschaftuntil the end of Euro 2020 at the very least.

The Rest

‘They Sent It To The Wrong Congo’ – Benik Afobe Reveals Paperwork Error Led To His International Debut Being Delayed

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Having represented England from Under-16 to Under-21 level, Benik Afobe recently decided to switch his senior international allegiance to the Democratic Republic of Congo, for whom he qualifies through his parents.

Indeed, the 23-year-old Bournemouth striker was hoping to play his way into DR Congo's Africa Cup of Nations squad, and was even called into the fold for a recent qualifying game against Guinea.

‘You Usually Only Get This After You Die’ – Zlatan Ibrahimovic To Be Honoured With Statue Outside Swedish National Stadium

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is to be honoured with a large statue outside Sweden's national football stadium after the Manchester United striker was presented with the11th Guldbollen award of his career on Monday evening.

The Guldbollen (i.e, Gold Ball) is awarded to Sweden's top male football player.

Kim Jong-Un Pledges To Produce North Korean Footballers Capable Of ‘Dominating The World’

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"He was f**king MILES offside, referee!"

It's been a while since North Korea last made an impact on the world football stage, with Pak Doo-ik's Italy-slaying heroics at the 1966 World Cup now but a fading memory.

However, supreme leader Kim Jong-Un is reportedly planning to reinstate North Korea as a footballing superpower by putting a grassroots plan into action that will see them begin to produce players of Lionel Messi's calibre.

Arsenal: Gunners Hit Back After Serge Gnabry Hat-Trick For Germany Prompts Cheeky Tweet From Werder Bremen

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After struggling to make the grade at Arsenal and enduring a fruitless loan spell with West Brom, German youngster Serge Gnabry is finally starting to make the most of his talent, netting four goals in nine league games with Werder Bremen this season.

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On Friday, the winger marked his senior international debut with a hat-trick, albeit in an easy 8-0 win against perennial minnows San Marino.

Indian Super League: Kerala Blasters Supporters Given 35,000 Zinedine Zidane Masks To Goad Rival Coach Marco Materazzi

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Over in the Indian Super League, Kerala Blasters fans are reportedly gearing up to don thousands of Zinedine Zidane masks to goadthe managerof their rival club,who just so happens to beMarco Materazzi.

Zidane and Materazzi famously clashed in the final of the 2006 World Cup, culminating in the former introducing his cranium to the latter's breastbone with significant vim and vigour.

Croatia: NK Dracice Striker Stjepan Lucijanic Sets New World Record After Scoring Five Consecutive Hat-Tricks (Photo)

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Photo: Praktoreio Sport

The elite sportsman you're looking at on the left of the photo above is Stjepan Lucijanic, superstar striker forCroatian regional league sideNK Dracice Dakovo.

As of Saturday afternoon, Lucijanic is now the proud owner of a Guinness World Record after helping himself to yet another hat-trick in NK Dracice's 10-0 thumping of NK Zrinski Drenje.