International football


World Cup Qualifying: Jermain Defoe On Target As England Ease To Victory v Lithuania (Photos &

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Jermain Defoe justified his re-call to the England side with a goal against Lithuania on Sunday, with the Three Lions cruising to a 2-0 win against a mediocre opposition.

Defoe has been one bright spot in Sunderland's dismal Premier League campaign, with the 34-year-old scoring 14 goals for the Black Cats this season.

Greek Tweak: Belgium Forward Dries Mertens Picks Up Weirdest Yellow Card Of The International Break (Video)

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Saturday night's World Cup qualifier between Belgium and Greece was a feisty old affair, with the away side ultimately finishing the night with nine men on the pitch.

The game also saw a blizzard of yellow cards administered throughout, though you'll have to go some way to find an infringement weirder than the one that landed Dries Mertens in the book.

World Cup Qualifying: Seamus Coleman Broken Leg Overshadows Dour Encounter As Rep Of Ireland Draw With Wales (Photos & Video)

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The Republic of Ireland and Wales played out a dismal draw at the Aviva Stadium on Friday night, with the goalless game overshadowed by an horrific injury sustained by Seamus Coleman.

The hosts provided little attacking threat, instead dropping deep to stifle the likes of Gareth Bale.

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Real Madrid star did go close on a couple of occasions, but overallWales themselves struggled to create enough decent chances in a dour encounter.

Blizzard: Icelandic Cup Match Abandoned After Being Engulfed By Snow Storm Of Biblical Proportions (Photo & Video)

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Photo: @blikar_is/Twitter

The Icelandic League Cup match between Fram andBreidablik had to be abandoned with 20 minutes left to play when ahuge snowstorm engulfed the game.

Breidablik live-tweeted updates as the weather began to turn, including this snippetof their substitutes looking just a little bit cold around the edges.

Xherdan Shaqiri Scores Several Stonking Volleys During Switzerland Training Session (Video)

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Having not featured for Stoke since January, Xherdan Shaqiri was keen to remind folks of his existence and as such posted a couple of highlights mustered during yesterday's Switzerland training session.

With a qualifier against Latvia to limber up for, Shaqiri pulled a fewstunners out of the bag, lashing home threestonking acrobatic volleys over the course of the afternoon.

Friendly: Scotland Labour To Embarrassing Draw At Home To Canada (Photos & Video)

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Easter Road played host to another underwhelmingperformance from Scotland on Wednesday night, with Gordon Strachan's men only managing a draw against minnows Canada.

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Fraser Aird scored the opener for the visitors, who are ranked 117th in the world, with the Falkirk man capitalising on some appalling defending to fire home on 11 minutes.

Friendly: England Narrowly Beaten By Germany In Lukas Podolski’s International Swansong (Photos & Video)

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England were narrowly pipped by Germany in what ultimately transmogrified into a glorified international testimonial for Lukas Podolski.

Indeed, kick-off in Dortmund was delayed by several minutes while the man of the hour entertained the crowd with a dramatic reading of his farewell poem.

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On the occasion of his 130th and final appearance for Die Mannshaft,Podolskisigned off by scoring the only goal of the game a 69th-minute dazzler that rocketed into Joe Hart's left-hand top corner.

‘I Call My Daughter My Girlfriend’ – Mohammed Anas Successfully Explains Post-Match Interview Blunder

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Image: SuperSport

Move over Gordon Banks, for your acrobatic denial ofPele at the 1970 World Cup has been usurped as the greatest last-gasp save of all time.

Mohammed Anas now claims that title, after conjuring up the mother of all excuses for thanking both his wife and his girlfriend during a recent post-match interview.

Andy Townsend Recalls Moment He Attempted To Console Gareth Southgate After Euro ’96 Penalty Miss, Only To Be Upstaged By Liam Gallagher (Video)

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With England set to take on Germany on Wednesday night, the chatter in the BBC 5Live studio inevitably turned to manager Gareth Southgate's most well-trodden previous dalliancewith Die Mannshaft.

We are of course talking about the semi-finals of Euro '96, wherein Southgate fluffedthe crucial penalty to send the Germans through to the final.

Chip Off The Old Block: Dirk Kuyt’s Five-Year-Old Son Scores Skillful Solo Goal For Dutch Youth Side (Video)

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Following in his old man's footsteps, Dirk Kuyt's young son is currently on the books atQuick Boys Katwijk the very same youth team Kuyt Senior represented as a nipper.

With relentlessstamina and a shock of blonde hair,little Aidan Kuyt certainly looks to be a chip off the old block, and he's already fairly decent with his feet too.

Fenerbache: Martin Skrtel Scores Impressive Solo Goal After Dribbling From Inside His Own Half (Video)

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Hardly what you might call his stock-in-trade, Martin Skrtel scored a superb solo effort in Fenerbahce's Friday night Super Lig outing against Konyaspor.

Picking the ball up in his own half, the ex-Liverpool centre-back embarked on a powerful chargeup-field, bursting past two or threedefenders before lashing a shot past the goalkeeper from 20 yards.

Pies Classics: St Patrick’s Day Special – 10 English-Born Footballers Who Played For Republic Of Ireland

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As a doff of the wax cap to it beingSt Patrick's Day and all, Piesthought we'd have a little look-see at those gentlemen who, despite being born upon the sceptred shores of Albion, decided to represent the Republic of Ireland with pride at international level much like old Saint Paddy himself.

Adorable: Terminally Ill Sunderland Fan Bradley Lowery Reacts To Jermain Defoe’s England Call-Up (Video)

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The news of Jermain Defoe's long-awaited recall to the England squad was welcomed by many fans, who were glad to see the veteran striker rewarded for his resurgent form at club level.

However, Defoe's inclusion in Gareth Southgate's latest ensemble came as positively joyous news to his youngest friend, wee Sunderland fanatic Bradley Lowery.

Diego Maradona Recreates The ‘Hand Of God’ During Kick-About With Korean Schoolkids (Photos & Video)

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At FIFA's behest, both Diego Maradona and Pablo Aimar flew into Suwon today to help publicise the draw for the upcoming Under-20 World Cup being staged in South Korea.

As part of the event,the Argentinian pair took part in a kick-about inHwaseong Haenggung Square, which included a series of skill challenges and a mini 5-a-side match involving two teams of local kids.

King Kazuyoshi Miura Scores Winning Goal For Yokohama At Grand Old Age Of 50 (Video)

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Kazuyoshi Miura celebrated his 50th birthday in style by scoring Yokohama FC's winning goal in their 1-0 win overThespakusatsu Gunma in the J2 League on Saturday afternoon.

The veteran striker, who officially overtook Sir Stanley Matthews to become the oldest professional football in history in the week, slotted home in the 40th minute to snaffle the narrow victory forYokohama.

FAIL: Silkeborg Captain Dennis Flinta Delicately Chips ‘Keeper To Score Delightful Own-Goal (Video)

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Nordsjaelland absolutely panned Silkeborg in the Danish Superliga on Friday night to leapfrogabove their vanquished opponents in mid-table.

The home side ran out 5-1 winners thanks in part to a helping hand from Silkeborg captainDennis Flinta, who scored their third goal of the evening with a delightfully deft chip over his own goalkeeper.

Czech First League: Togolese Striker Francis Kone Saves Goalkeeper’s Life After Accidental Collision (Video)

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Togolese international Francis Kone was the hero of the hour when his quick-thinking quite possibly saved the life of an opponent during a Czech First League game at the weekend.

Bohemians goalkeeper Martin Berkovec was knocked out cold when he accidentally collided with a teammate on the edge of his penalty area.

A-League: Western Sydney Wanderers Ban 14 Members Of Supporters Group Responsible For ‘Oral Sex’ Tifo Banner

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Western Sydney Wanderers have issued banning orders to severalmembers of their most prominent supporters' group after an offensive banner was unfurled during last week's feisty derby encounter against Sydney FC.

In fact, Wanderers confirmed that 14 members of their Red and Black Bloc (RBB) fan group have beengiven 18-month stadium bans for their parts in organising and performing the mini-tifo in question.

Mass Sulk: Vietnamese Team Stop Playing Entirely In Protest Over Dubious Late Penalty Call (Video)

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The Vietnamese top-flight game between Ho Chi Minh City and Long An came to a surreal conclusion on Sunday evening when the away side simply refused to play for the final few minutes.

With the score level at 2-2 and the game entering its final stages, Ho Chi Minh were awarded a dubious penalty whichlooked about as soft as they come.

Egypt Players Belly Dance In Changing Room After Reaching AFCON 2017 Final (Video)

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It took a penalty shoot-out, but Egypt beat Burkina Faso in midweek to reach the final of AFCON 2017.

Veteran 44-year-old goalkeeper Essam El Hadary was the hero of the hour, saving Bertrand Traore's decisive spot-kick to secure a record ninth final berth forThe Pharaohs, whoare chasing a record eighth title win.


‘I’ll Headbutt Somebody On The Pitch Like Zidane’ – Gianluigi Buffon Plans To Retire In Style As And When The Time Comes

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Having already been on this Earth for 39 wholeyears, Gianluigi Buffon has reluctantly acknowledged that he might notactually be able to play on forever.

Indeed, Buffon is all set to makethe 1,000th appearanceof his career when Italy play Albania on Friday evening 220 for Parma, 612 for Juventus and 168 for the Azzurri.

Benjamin Mendy Politely Reminds TV Pundit About Promise To ‘Eat A Rat’ If Monaco Defender Ever Received France Call-Up

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TwoFrench pundits are facing a less than appetising prospect after making a foolhardy wager about the international prospectsof Monaco full-back Benjamin Mendy.

Almost three years ago, RMC Sport analysts Eric di Meco and Daniel Riolodeclared that they'dgladly "eat a rat" if the then-19-year-old, who had struggled in his debut season at Marseille, ever found his way into the France squad.


‘F**king Brilliant’ – Lukas Podolski Reveals What Joe Hart Said To Him After Scoring Only Goal In Germany’s Win Over England

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Lukas Podolski brought a formal end to his international career last night in what panned out like a scripted evening of light entertainment.

Indeed, the 31-year-old signed off by scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over England an absolute cannon from 25 yards that left Joe Hart with no chance.

Marcus Rashford The Poster Boy As England Launch Startlingly Dull New Away Kit (Photos)

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England have press-ganged Marcus Rashford into modelling their new away kit, which is to be worn for the first time against Germany duringWednesday night's friendly in Dortmund.

It's another largely plain, fairly dull, two-tone offering from Nike, this time in navy blue sorry, "midnight".

England Squad Announced: Jermain Defoe Back In The Pack As Gareth Southgate Calls Up Raft Of New Faces

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England have announced their squad for the upcoming friendly against Germany and the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania thereafter and the headline news is that Jermain Defoe has played his way back into the fold.

Having scored 14 goals for Sunderland so far this season, 34-year-old Defoe is now in line to win his first international cap since November of 2013.

You Might Notice Something Incredibly Familiar About USA’s Groundbreaking New Red Kit (Photos)

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Photo: US Soccer

The USA have proudly unveiled their new kit for 2017, with both the men's and women's teams finding themselves furnished with new wares under the slogan "One nation, one team."

According to the Nike blurb, the strip features "a bold red colour palette" with a "pervasive red aesthetic" and "patriotic flares".

Get Ready For The Nations League: UEFA Confirm Format Of New Sprawling 55-Team International Tournament

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Concerned about the dwindling appetite for meaningless friendlies, UEFA have decided to take a pro-active step byintroducing a brand new international competition.

Starting in 2018, European nations will compete in the UEFA Nations League a tournament featuring 55 teams, four leagues (split into mini-groups), promotion, relegation and a 'Final Four' showpiece.


Doing The Man Utd Shuffle: Japanese Side FC Gifu Change Kit At Half-Time After Passing To Opposition For 45 Minutes (Video)

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Down in the Japanese second division, FC Gifu were forced to invoke the 'Manchester United shuffle' and change their kit at half-time after a colour clash disrupted their game plan.

On Sunday afternoon, Gifu,wearingtheir traditional green, were onhosting duties against Matsumoto Yamaga, who turned out in their dull grey away strip.

Fit For A King: Legendary Japanese Veteran Kazuyoshi Miura Breaks Sir Stanley Matthews Record To Become Oldest Professional Footballer

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Japanese veteran Kazuyoshi Miura passed yet another milestone over the weekend when he became the oldest player to feature in a professional, FIFA-recognised match.

Theweek after his birthday, 'King Kazu' took to the pitch aged 50 years and 7 days on Sunday, playing 54 minutes of Yokohama FC's J2 League tie againstV-Varen Nagasaki and edging past the record held by Sir Stanley Matthews since 1965.

AFCON 2017

Asamoah Gyan (And 45 Other Players) Found Guilty Of Sporting ‘Unethical Hair’ By UAE Football Assocation

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Asamoah Gyan is one of 46 players deemed to have "unethical hair" according to theUnited Arab Emirates Football Association (UAEFA) guidelines.

As per BBC Sport, Gyan, who currently plays for Al-Ahli in Dubai, is guilty of sporting a 'Qaza' barnet, which are forbiddenby some of the stricter strains of Islam adhered toin Saudi Arabia.

Africa Cup Of Nations Snapshot: DR Congo’s Team Photo Is A Thing Of True Beauty…

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Apologies for being slightly late on the uptake here, but we've only just discovered the majesty that is DR Congo's team photo.

The Leopards are already out of the Africa Cup of Nations after losing to Ghana in the quarters, but their fantastic pre-match 'conga' will live on in the footballing annals for eternity.

The Rest

Seamus Coleman Suffers Double Leg Break, Expected To Be Out For At Least Six Months

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It has been reportedtoday that poor Seamus Coleman suffered a double leg break in Republic of Ireland's goalless draw against Wales on Friday evening.

Colemanwas nobbled by a dreadful reckless lunge from Neil Taylor that left the Irish defender writhing in agony on the turf and his Welsh counterpart on the receiving end of a straight red card.

Nothern Ireland: Ballymena United Ball-Boy Sent Off For Celebrating Too Raucously In Front Of Opposition Dugout (Photo)

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Image: NIFL Premiership

Tuesday night saw Ballymena United take on rivals Coleraine in an eventful derby clash over in theNorthern Ireland Premiership.

As always, it fellto the official Ballymena United Twitter account to keep their fansabreast of the action in live-text form.

League Of Ireland: Derry City In Shock After Sudden Death Of 27-Year-Old Club Captain Ryan McBride

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Derry City are a club in shock this morning after their captain Ryan McBride passed away suddenly on Sunday at the heart-breakingly young age of just 27.

The League of Ireland Premier Division side said they were "devastated" to confirm that McBride died the day after leading his team to a 4-0 win over Drogheda United.

Swedish Club Osters IF Launch New Initiative To Punish Own Players For Diving, Play-Acting, Etc

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Photo: Osters IF/Facebook

Swedish side Osters IF have had it up to *here* with diving and play-acting and, as such, are taking matters into their own hands.

The second-tier club are launching a zero-tolerance initiative that will see them happily punish their own players if theyshouldpartake in any footballing skullduggery.

Eredivisie: PSV Knocked Out Of Title Race After ‘Keeper Jeroen Voet Concedes Farcical Own-Goal (Video)

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PSV were all but knocked out of the Eredivisie title race on Sunday afternoon thanks to a 2-1 defeat away against league leaders Feyenoord.

The scores were level at 1-1 until the 82nd minute when PSV 'keeper Jeroen Zoet conceded an own-goal that may take some explaining.

With Zoet having saved ashot right on thegoal-line, the Hawkeye systemconcluded the ball did not cross the whitewashand Feyenoord's protests were waved away.

Partizan’s Brazilian Midfielder Everton Luiz Leaves Pitch In Tears After Receiving Monkey Chants For Duration Of Belgrade Derby

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Photo: Starsport(via B92)

Partizan Belgrade midfielder Everton Luiz left the field in tears after being subjected to racist abuse from FK Rad fans for the entire duration of Sunday's Serbian top-flight derby matchbetween the cross-city rivals.

According to Serbian broadcasters B92, the Rad fans goadedLuizwith monkey chants every time hetouched the ball.

‘It’s Difficult To Adjust Sometimes’ – Johnny Heitinga Opens Up On Life Without Private Jets And Personal Shoppers

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Photo: @johnheitinga/Instagram

Ex-Everton defender Johnny Heitinga has been breaking hearts in his native Holland after giving an interview that exposed the hardships he and his family are facing since he retired from professional football.

Turns out that since calling time on his career at the end of last season, Heitinga has been scrimping and saving to get by, even having to forgo some of life's basics private jets, luxury villas, personal shoppers as a result.

What Robbie Keane Did Next: Irish Veteran Trains With Al-Ahli After Leaving LA Galaxy (Photos)

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Despite his advancing years (he's 36, you know!), it would appear that Robbie Keane isn't quite ready to call it a day.

The Republic of Ireland's all-time top scorer left LA Galaxy when his contract expired a couple of months ago and has since tendered offers from several prospective suitors, with Sunderland reportedly having a nibble a few weeks ago.

‘I’d Love To Go’ – Diego Maradona Formally Invited To Speak To Students At Harvard University (Photo)

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As unlikely at it may seem, it looks like Diego Maradona has been invited to speak at Harvard University.

The Argentinian dumpling shared a letter he received fromMariano Siskind, department chair and professor of 'romance languages and literature' at Harvard.

In the letter, Professor Siskind asks Maradona to lecture students at a class called 'The Global Game: Soccer, Politics and Popular Culture'.