International football

World Cup

Rubbing It In: Diego Maradona Gives Signed Argentina Shirt To 1986 World Cup ‘Hand Of God’ Referee

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Diego Maradonapopped in to visit an old friend after finding himself in Tunisia over the weekend an old accomplice whohad a major influence on the wee fella's career despite barely anybody knowing his name.

We're talking aboutAli Bennaceur, the referee in charge of the 1986 World Cup quarter-final between Argentina and England.

World Cup 2018: England Face Scotland, Wales Meet Republic Of Ireland As Qualifying Draw Throws Up Mouth-Watering Clashes

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By Alan Duffy

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The EURO 2016 qualifying campaign is yet to finish but already plans for afoot for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. On Saturday afternoon, the draw was made for the qualifying stages with some intriguing combinations thrown up.

Most fascinating of all is Group F, which sees England go head to head with Scotland.

New York Holds Ticker Tape Parade For Triumphant USA Women’s Football Team (Photos)

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By Alan Duffy

Fresh from battering Japan in the final of the 2015 Women's World Cup, the triumphant USA squad were rewarded with an incredible ticker-tape parade in New York. The UNSWNT became the first female sports teamto ever garner such a parade in NYCafter bagging their third world title.

Videos

Things Get Emotional As Lucas Moura Discovers He’s Back In Brazil Squad For First Time In Over A Year (Video)

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Halfway up the stairs is the stair where I sit...

Along with the likes of Kaka and Hulk, yesterday Lucas Moura found himself included in aBrazil squad for the first time since Dunga's re-appointment in July of last year ahead of the upcoming friendlies against Costa Rica and the US.

Former Man City Striker Paulo Wanchope Involved In Full-On Touchline Scrap With Security Guards (Video)

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He of that classic mazy, dribbly goal at Old Trafford for Derby County, the gangly Paulo Wanchope, got himself into a spot of bother recently during Costa Rica's U23 Olympic qualifier against Panama.

The 39-year-old, who is the current boss of the senior Costa Rican national side, wanted to go onto the pitch to complain to the fourth officalabout a decision.

Zinedine Zidane Scores Try During Madcap Football/Rugby Hybrid Charity Match (Video)

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By Chris Wright

Just as they did two years ago, Toulon rugby club staged another bizarre football/rugby hybrid charity match yesterday evening, this time with theveterans of France's1998 World Cup-winning side providing the opposition.

The likes of Zinedine Zidane, Didier Deschamps, Robert Pires and Claude Makelele all reunited to turn out for Les Bleus XI, withZizou even coming down an acute case of white line fever at one point, going over for an impressive solo try that began in his own half.

Aaron Ramsey And Erik Lamela Join Messi, Ronaldo And Scots Teen Robbie Muirhead On UEFA’s Goal Of The Season Shortlist (Video)

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By Alan Duffy

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Two Premier League stars have made it onto the UEFA shortlist for their 2014/15 Goal of the Season. Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey gets the nod for his cracking long-range volley against Galatasaray in the Champions League while Spurs schemer Erik Lamela's fabulous 'rabona' againstAsteras Tripolis in the Europa League is also included.

Gold Cup: Defeated Semi-Finalists Panama Brand CONCACAF ‘Thieves’ After Mexico Benefit From Yet More Dodgy Penalties (Photos & Video)

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By Chris Wright

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Having just about squeaked through to the last four of the Gold Cupthanks to a decidedly iffy/convenient 124th-minute penalty decision against Costa Rica in the quarters, Mexico repeated the feat to see off plucky Panama in thesemi-finals in Atlanta and it did not go down well, not one little bit.

Gold Cup: Trinidad & Tobago Salvage Remarkable 4-4 Draw As Group Finale Against Mexico Ends In Minute Of Rubbish-Strewn Madness (Photos & Highlights)

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By Chris Wright

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After a fairly mundanefirst-half that saw just one goal plundered,the second half of last night's CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage tie between Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago proved to be an absolute jamboree.

Indeed, all holy hell broke loose after the break with sevenfurther goals scored in total goalsthat saw El Tri wind up squandering a 2-0 lead to draw 4-4 in the very last minute of the game.

Gold Cup Gaffe: Canada Striker Cyle Larin Files Truly Horrendous Open-Goal Miss Against El Salvador (Video)

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By Chris Wright

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Canada drew 0-0 in their openingCONCACAF Gold Cup game against El Salvador last night.

This is despite striker Cyle Larin finding himself 12yards out from a completely abandonedEl Salvadorian goal-mouth at one point during the first half.

Women’s World Cup – The Best Bits: Germany 0-1 England (Photos & Highlights)

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By Alan Duffy

England secured a historic third-place finish after narrowly beating Germany on Saturday night, courtesy of yet another Fara Williams spot-kick.

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Tinkerman Mark Sampson started with three centre-backs for the game, with Jo Potter dropping in alongside Steph Houghton and Laura Bassett.

Alexis Sanchez Seals Historic Copa America Success For Chile With Cheeky Panenka Penalty (Video & Vine)

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By Alan Duffy

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In Santiago on Satruday night, Alexis Sanchez became the second player to win a major tournament courtesy of a Panenka penalty after, er,Antonin Panenka.

After a tight and tense final between the hosts and Argentina, which saw Chile edge proceedings but Gonzalo Higuain miss a good chance late on, the 2015 tournament went to penalties.

Classic Moments: Luis Suarez Makes ‘The Best Save Of The 2010 World Cup’ (His Words) To Send Ghana Packing

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By Chris Wright

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First of all, apologies are due as this was originally intendedto go out as an'On This Day' piece yesterday but yours truly completely bungled it. May the good Lord strike me asunder as penance for my sins.

Anyway, July 2nd not 3rd markedthe fifth anniversary of the dark and stormy day that Luis Suarez truly ascended to the upper echelon of global sporting pantomime villainy.

‘I Love You All As Players’ – Al Pacino Records Special Copa America Message For Argentina (Video)

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By Chris Wright

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It would appear that Al Pacino has been seriously getting into the Copa America these past few weeks, with the veteran actor even feeling compelled to record a special video message for the Argentina squad going into their semi-final against Paraguay.

Women’s World Cup – The Best Bits: Japan 2-1 England (Photos & Highlights)

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By Alan Duffy

England suffered semi-final heartbreak late in the early hours of Thursday after losing 2-1 to Japan, courtesy of a last-minute freak own-goal.

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Mark Sampson's side started brightly, with Jodie Taylor going close early on.

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On This Day In 2002: Record-Breaking Brazilians Lift Fifth World Cup Out In Japan (Video)

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By Martin Cloake

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On this very day in 2002, Brazil won a record-breaking fifth World Cup title by beating Germany 2-0 in front of 69,029 spectators at Yokohama's International Stadium.

Both goals were scored by Ronaldo, whose eight tournament goals secured him the Golden Boot and finally laid to rest the memory of his mysterious failure to turn up at the 1998 final in France.

On This Day In 2002: Hakan Sukur Scores The Fastest Goal In World Cup History (Video)

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By Martin Cloake

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11 seconds. That's all it took for Turkey's all-time top goalscorer Hakan Sukur to score the fastest goal in World Cup history on 29th June 2002.

The goal came in the third-place play-off as Turkey played co-hosts South Korea.

Copa America: Edinson Cavani Sent Off After Gonzalo Jara Jams His Fingers Where The Sun Don’t Shine (Video)

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By Chris Wright

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Mad scenes in the Copa America last night, where Edinson Cavani was shown a second yellow card on the hour mark of Uruguay's quarter-final clash against Chile.

His crime? Giving Gonzalo Jara a quick rap across the face after the Chilean defender subjected him to the old 'Santiago Stinkfinger' behind the referee's back before going down theatrically when the Uruguayan striker took umbrage at being rectally violated.

EURO U21s – The Best Bits: England 1-3 Italy (Photos & Highlights)

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By Alan Duffy

England crashed out of the EURO U21 group stagesafter losing 3-1 to Italy inOlomouc, a result which will no doubt spark another debate over the future of the English game.

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Boss Gareth Southgate brought inBrighton's Jake Forster-Caskey, with Everton'sJohn Stones also starting along with Danny Ings and Jesse Lingard.

Women’s World Cup – The Best Bits: Norway 1-2 England (Photos & Highlights)

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By Alan Duffy

England secured their first-ever Women's World Cup knockout stages victory after a hard-fought 2-1 win against Norway.

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The Norwegians dominated the first-half, with Karen Bardsley saving from Isabell Herlovsen and Ada Hegerberg.

UEFA Rules Force England U21s To Board Team Bus For 130 Metre Journey Between Hotel And Stadium (Video)

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By Chris Wright

Just when you were thinking football's top brass couldn't make themselves look any more ludicrous, something happens that reminds you we're dealing with a special breed of stupid here.

To wit, UEFA protocol demands that all teams arrive for UEFA-sanctionedmatches on their official coaches.

On This Day In 1986: Diego Maradona Scores With The Hand Of God And The Feet Of A Genius (Video)

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"What hand of God? It was the hand of Diego, and it was like pickpocketing the English too."

It's 28 years ago today since one of the most iconic, or infamous – depending on your point of view – goals in the entire footballing pantheon.

The 1986 World Cup quarter-final between England and Argentina at Mexico's Azteca Stadium was watched by 114,580 spectators and a global TV audience of millions.

Copa America: Jamaica Striker Deshorn Brown Bags Post-Match Selfie With Lionel Messi (Photo & Video)

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By Chris Wright

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"Say 'queso'..."

Realising that there was, in all likelihood, no Earthly way he'd ever share a pitch with him again, Jamaica striker Deshorn Brown seized his once-in-a-career chance to bag a sweaty post-match selfie with Lionel Messi just minutes after the final whistle of Jamaica's 1-0 Copa America defeat against Argentina last night.

retro

On This Day In 2006: David Beckham Dropped From The England Squad Just Six Caps Short Of His Century

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David Beckham had a dream. He wanted to get 100 England caps. However, he was stuck on 94 and looking in serious danger of falling short of his vaunted tally after new England manager Steve McClaren, just 11 days into the job, left Beckham's name off the team sheet for a friendly against Greece.

"I told David I was looking to change things, looking to go in a different direction, and he wasn't included with that," said McClaren at the time.

On This Day In 1952: The Original Red Army Kicks Off In Helsinki

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You can trace the origins of football back to the year 476 BC and a sport called ‘cuju' in China – which translates roughly as "kick the ball with foot". In those days teams of up to 16 players would hoof a bag of leather stuffed with feathers around a rectangular pitch.

Much had changed, of course, by 1952, when modern China took its first steps on the international stage of the game that had now become known throughout the world as simply ‘football'.

On This Day In 1957: Pelé Makes His Debut On The World Stage, Aged Just 16

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By Martin Cloake

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A lifetime of record-breaking began on 7th July 1957 when Edson Arantes do Nascimento made his international debut for Brazil against Argentina, aged just 16 years and 9 months.

The goal the player better known as Pelé scored that day made him the youngest person ever to score in international competition at that time.

On This Day In 1960: Yugoslavia Shock France With Extraordinary Comeback In Nine-Goal Euro Thriller (Video)

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By Martin Cloake

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One of the most dramatic matches in international competition history took place on 6th July, 1960, at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

The occasion was the semi-final of the first ever European Championships, then called the European Nations Cup.

Mundial Magazine Presents: Toto Schillaci At Italia ’90 – The Flame That Burned Twice As Bright

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By Naomi Accardi

(Illustration : Davey Blackett,@daveyblackett)

25 years ago, on Saturday 9th June in Rome's Stadio Olimpico, Italy were 75 minutes into a dour 0-0 against Austria. With the host fans restless and Gianluca Vialli and Andrea Carnevale unable to break the deadlock, Azzuri coach Angelo Vicini whistled to Salvatore Schillaci and told him to get warmed up.

Random Great Goals: Oktay Derelioglu Single-Handedly Destroys Belgium With An Absolute Whopper, 1997 (Video)

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By Chris Wright

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Thenames of several of the last greatTurkey squad of the late 90'swill forever be laser-etched in our memory: Hakan Sukur,Emre Belozoglu, Tugay Kerimoglu, Rustu Recber, Sergen Yalcin, YildirayBasturk, Alpay, etc, etc but sadlyOktay Derelioglu's just isn't one of them.

photos

Nike England Euro 2016 Away Kit Leaked, And It Looks Super Duper Naff! (Photos)

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The new England away kit for 2015/16 has supposedly been leaked and, if the evidence before us is anything to go by, it's shaping up to be a bit of a stinker.

It would appear thatNike are ditching traditional red in favour of something that looks like an old England training top (circa2002-ish) that you might expect to crop up in a bin bag at a car-boot sale.

We’re Not Quite Sure Where To Start With Germany’s New Euro 2016 Away Kit (Photo)

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By Chris Wright

Presenting Germany's new away kit for Euro 2016...

Exclusively from the Kölner Express, here is Germany's away kit for the 2016 @UEFAEURO. Not sure where to start. pic.twitter.com/rRsJsqYQns

- DW Sports (@dw_sports) July 31, 2015

It's as if vomit and diarrhoea somehow made a baby together.

Ding Dong: Edinson Cavani And Gonzalo Jara ‘Bum Poke’ Incident Immortalised In Doorbell Form (Photo)

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By Chris Wright

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As you no doubt recall, Chile's semi-final victory over Uruguay in the quarter-finals of the Copa America was somewhat overshadowed by the conduct of their centre-back Gonzalo Jara.

Jara attracted scornfor attempting to give Edinson Cavani a neighbourly prostate examination in the middle of the pitch.

‘Three-Nostriled Demon Child’ Mascot Terrifies Everybody Before England’s Euro U21 Championship Opener (Photo)

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By Chris Wright

The collective blood of the watching public suddenly rancold this evening as the camera panned along the England side shortly before their opening Euro U21 Championship group game against Portugal.

The reason? Their eyes hadall been met by the cold, dead glare of the 'three-nostriled Hitler demon child' stationedamongthe mascots.

Vine

Football Vine: Man City’s Natasha Flint Scores 50-Yard Cracker For England Women U19s vs Spain

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By Alan Duffy

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Women's football certainly seems to be the place for long-range wonder-strikes these days. Coming not long after Carli Lloyd's superb WWC final goal for the USA against Japan, England U19 star Natasha Flint bagged a long-range cracker of her own at the weekend.

Euro U21s: Jesse Lingard Nets Fine Volley As England Secure Vital Win Against Sweden (Video)

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By Alan Duffy

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Man Utd youngster Jesse Lingard kept alive England's hopes of qualification for the knockout stages of the EURO U21 finals with an 85th minute cracker against Sweden.

Calmly chesting the ball down from the Swedish goalkeeper's punch, the second-half subvolleyed home to move Gareth Southgate's charges into second place in Group B, courtesy of a 1-0 win.

The Rest

USA Women’s World Cup Star Alex Morgan Appears On FIFA 2016 Cover

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By Alan Duffy

Fresh from helping the USA to WWC glory in Canada, striker Alex Morgan now finds herselfalongside Lionel Messi on the cover of the US version of FIFA 2016 after winning a fans' vote (the same vote which put Liverpool'sJordan Henderson on the UK cover).

While some fans are disappointed that WWC final hat-trick hero Carli Lloyd won't be gracingthe cover, the decision to include women's teams in the actual game-play (as well as on the cover) is a big step in the right direction for the EA Sports franchise.

Upwardly Mobile Wales Enter FIFA Top 10 Rankings

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By Alan Duffy

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Chris Coleman's in-form Welsh side have made it into the Top 10 of the FIFa rankings for the first time in the country's history.Their current ranking bests their previous high of 22nd while they were outside the top 100 as recently as August 2011.

Pacific Games: Mighty Micronesia Manage To Concede 114 Goals In Opening Three Matches

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By Chris Wright

We are Micronesia, none shall pass

As you may or may not have heard, the Micronesianfootball teamhit thenewsover the weekend after finding themselves on the wrong end of the biggest winning scoreline ever recorded in international competition.

Euro U21s: Sweden Lift Trophy After Shoot-Out Win Against Favourites Portugal (Photos & Highlights)

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By Alan Duffy

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Portugal's highly-rated youngsters fell at the final hurdle in Prague on Tuesday night as outsiders Sweden won the EURO 21 final on penalties after a 0-0 draw.

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The much-covetedWilliam Carvalho, who was a star of the tournament, saw his spot-kick saved byPatrik Carlgren to give the hard-working Sweden a 4-3 shoot-out victory and seal the Scandinavians' first-ever success in junior football.

‘We Will Not Tolerate It’ – FSV Mainz To Offload Gonzalo Jara Over ‘Disgusting’ Copa America Oil Check Antics

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By Chris Wright

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Not only is he currently being probedby CONMEBOL but it also looks like Gonzalo Jara is on the verge of finding himself out of a job on the domestic front too.

The defendercaused uproar during Chile's recent Copa America win over Uuruguay when he gave Edinson Cavani a complimentary, though very much unsolicited oil-check with an hour of the match gone.