knock out

group stage

High hopes of Celtic after European draw

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Celtic have been gifted a chance to make the knock-out stage of this season's Champions League after being drawn in a group they are capable of overcoming. Neil Lennon's side will fancy their chances against Benfica and Spartak Moscow, although a scalp over Barcelona may be beyond them.

Nevertheless, Group G looks like it will go down to the wire and Celtic, who beat Helsingborgs 4-0 on aggregate in the play-off round, are in with a chance of progressing to the latter stages.

UEFA 2012-13 Champions League Group Stage Draw

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Here are the groups and match dates for the Champions League:

GROUP A
Porto
Dynamo Kyiv
Paris St Germian
Dinamo Zagreb
GROUP B
Arsenal
Schalke
Olympiacos
Montpellier
GROUP C
AC Milan
Zenit St Petersburg
Anderlecht
Malaga
GROUP D
Real Madrid
Manchester City
Ajax
Borussia Dortmund
GROUP E
Chelsea
Shakhtar Donetsk
Juventus
Nordsjaelland
GROUP F
Bayern Munich
Valencia
Lille
BATE Borislav
GROUP G
Barcelona
Benfica
Spartak Moscow
Celtic
GROUP H
Manchester United
Braga
Galatassaray
CFR Cluj

dN

Here is when the Group Stage games will be played:
Matchday 1: Sep 18-19
Matchday 2: Oct 2-3
Matchday 3: Oct 23-24
Matchday 4: Nov 6-7
Matchday 5: Nov 20-21
Matchday 6: Dec 4-5

dN

And the Knock-out Stage dates:
Round of 16-1st leg: Feb 12-20
Round of 16-2nd leg: Mar 5-13
Quarterfinals-1st leg: Apr 2-3
Quarterfinals-2nd leg: Apr 9-10
Semifinals-1st leg: Apr 23-24
Semifinals-2nd leg: Apr 30 - May 1
Final: Sat May 25 at Wembley Stadium in London England

Arsenal

The English Premiership’s Wake

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riverrun, past Oxford and London, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodity vicious of recirculation back again and backin and agack. Tamesas, you dark bastard! Why do we drink from you? Wealth hen. Howbootinotherzip?

I.

Sir Monseur, violer d'amores, fr'over sea and land, had passen-core arrived from the Gulf on this side of the scraggy isthmus of Europe Minor to wielderfight is peearrr wore.

Just ten more minutes!

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You know those mornings where you lie in bed and doze through the alarm, but it doesn't matter because you've not really got anything to do anyway, so you just snooze and snooze, in your warm comfy bed until you're entirely ready to wake up? I love those days.

Today is not one of them. I woke up at half past four, was much more awake than anyone should ever be at half past four, but decided to go back to sleep until my alarm went off at six, and now I really do want to doze and doze all day, but instead of that I have some meetings with some people, pretty much all day long, which means I won't get any proper work done.

Olympics

Women’s Olympic Tournament – Match Recaps – 28 July 2012

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The United States, Brazil, Great Britain, Canada, and France all won in the second group stage matchday of the 2012 Women's Olympic Tournament.

New Zealand 0-1 Brazil

A 86th minute Cristiane goal was the difference as Brazil booked their spot in the quarterfinals. New Zealand could still possible advance on one of the best third best finishers but will need a win against Cameroon.

Who needs Brazil when you've got New Zealand?

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Paddy has jumped on the Kiwi bandwagon for the Olympics, predicting the A-League contingent will guide them to the knock-out stages. Nick Cumpston and Nick Amies are less optimistic about their chances, but everyone is looking forward to the Matildas clash with world champions Japan tomorrow night. All this and more on the Nearpost!

Who needs Brazil when you've got New Zealand?

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Paddy has jumped on the Kiwi bandwagon for the Olympics, predicting the A-League contingent will guide them to the knock-out stages. Nick Cumpston and Nick Amies are less optimistic about their chances, but everyone is looking forward to the Matildas clash with world champions Japan tomorrow night. All this and more on the Nearpost!

Espinoza, the Open Cup, and a Double Header

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photo courtesy of Jarred Donalson

Catching up on some news that was announced today regarding Sporting Kansas City.

Espinoza Named to Olympic Team

Honduras named their team for this summer's Olympics in London. Sporting KC midfielder, Roger Espinoza has been named as one of the team's 3 overage players.

Euro 2012

Pass Accuracy and Possession Supremacy At Euro 2012

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Preface
With Spain's (and Barcelona's) successes in recent years, possession is one of those concepts that people have been spending a lot of time talking about - though what exactly possession is or how it should be measured is less clear. In the post below, Andrew Brocker takes a look at two dimensions of possession-based analyses: the amount of possession and pass accuracy.

England at Euro 2012 (Statistics)

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A handful of attacking statistics for the eight teams to qualify for the knock-out rounds seems an apt illustration of where England stands after the quarterfinals.



Congratulations, you're better than Greece and the Czech Republic! And a couple other countries in a couple of categories.

Germany vs Greece Online Match Preview

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So in the 2nd Quarter Finals of the Euro 2012 competition the favourites Germany will face perhaps the biggest underdogs left in the competition Greece, with the winner of this match heading into a semi-final with either England or Italy.

Germany seem to be in a different class from other nations this year, comfortably winning their group which included the likes of Holland (whom were surprisingly poor), Denmark (unsurprisingly nothing special), and Portugal (occasionally excellent, more often average).

Brave Hart happy to take England penalty

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England goalkeeper Joe Hart has revealed that he will happily step up to take a penalty for the Three Lions if needed at any point during the knock-out stages.

Penalty shoot-outs have been one of England's weak points in major international tournaments and as Roy Hodgson's men prepare for Sunday's tricky quarterfinal against the gritty Italians, concerns over spot-kick situations are inevitable.

Juve star: Italy are favorites over England

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Italy defender Leonardo Bunucci has offered his respect to England's consistent form of late but believes that the Azzurri will go into Sunday's quarterfinal as the more fancied team.

The Italians only managed to finish second in Group C after claiming their first Euro 2012 win with a 2-0 defeat of the Irish on Monday.

Clutch Ron sends Portugal into semis

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Cristiano Ronaldo converted a late header to help Portugal claim a scrappy 1-0 win over Czech Republic and progress to the UEFA Euro 2012 semifinals.

In a toughly contested match between Group A winners Czech Republic and Group B runners-up Portugal, the latter created more chances but thanks to the heroics of Petr Cech, they could only score once.

England star: Expectations not exceeded

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Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker is unsure if England players should even listed to suggestions that they have exceeded what was expected of them in Euro 2012.

The Three Lions unquestionably arrived with very low expectations as new manager Roy Hodgson was criticized for his squad selection and the absence of injured stars such as Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry had to be of concern.

Rooney back with a bang

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Wayne Rooney announced his first appearance at Euro 2012 by scoring England's winning goal to secure their place in the quarter-finals with a narrow 1-0 victory against co-hosts Ukraine. The result, combined with France's 2-0 defeat to Sweden, ensures England won Group D, avoiding Spain the quarter-finals and instead drawing Italy in their final-eight clash.

Time to Play Quarters!

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After three days of fitful, calculating contests, the knock-out rounds have come just in time. Check out Christophe Silvey's preview of the upcoming matches.

Germany’s Low talks up Greece meeting

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The Euro 2012 group stages are approaching conclusion and as the quarterfinals picture continues to become clearer, one manager who is ready to talk about his side's destination next is Germany's Joachim Low.

Low saw his men dominate the highly competitive Group B with three wins out of a possible three.

Don’t Write England Off In The Euros

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England will go into their final Group D game against Co-hosts Ukraine knowing that a draw or win will see them progress to the knock out stages of Euro 2012 with a Quarter Final tie likely against holders and world champions, Spain.

Englandcurrently sit in second place behindFranceon goal difference but to avoidSpainin the last eight, they will need to defeatUkraineemphatically and hope thatFranceslip up in some way in their final match againstSweden.

Euro 2012: Holland sombre after Germany defeat but still hopeful

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This article titled "Euro 2012: Holland sombre after Germany defeat but still hopeful" was written by Amy Lawrence, for guardian.co.uk on Thursday 14th June 2012 12.44 UTC

As usual in sport, it's the hope that kills you. On the morning of the showpiece that would bring together the might of Holland and Germany, the polls in Voetbal International declared plenty of confidence.

Euro 2012: Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo aims dig at Lionel Messi

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This article titled "Euro 2012: Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo aims dig at Lionel Messi" was written by Stuart James in Lviv, for guardian.co.uk on Thursday 14th June 2012 09.20 UTC

Cristiano Ronaldo has had a dig at Lionel Messi after the Portugal international was mocked by Denmark supporters during the 3-2 victory in Lviv on Wednesday night, when the Real Madrid forward once again failed to deliver for his country.

Euro 2012: Moving on to Poland, Russia, and Matchday Five

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Monday gave us the final two games of the first group stage round, and for Liverpool fans the main attraction was France versus England, where two of the club's players started and another four were available from the bench. We took an extended look at England's draw yesterday, which means it's time now for a quick look back at the exciting Ukraine-Sweden match and a look ahead to the start of the second set of group games, including the dominant Russians taking on hosts Poland, desperate for a result to keep any hopes of advancing alive.

Snapshot: Euro 2012 – Ireland Fans Give German Chancellor Angela Merkel A Cheeky Message

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By Alan Duffy

Personally I think that the Republic of Ireland should automatially qualify for every major tournament on the strength of their always entertaining fans. Although after saying that Ireland fans will probably now go on a bloody, violent rampage in the streets of Poznan.

Euro 2012: Russia 4-1 Czech Republic – Rampant Reds Back In The Euro Zone (Photos & Highlights)

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By Alan Duffy

In a flowing, potent performance remiscent of Euro 2008, Russia outplayed a disappointing Czech Republic side in the second game of Group A.

CSKA Moscow's gifted young playmaker Alan Dzagoev bagged a brace (one in each half) while Roman Shirokov also scored before sub Roman Pavluchenko netted a superb solo goal late on for a rampant Russian side.

[Event] MOF to help to RID the "itch" off during EURO 2012

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(The entry is formulated based on the materials and information from Ministry of Football - MOF, images depicted in this entry belong to MOF)

From the people who are the prime movers of Freestyle Football in Singapore, the Ministry of Football (MOF) will initiate two tournaments in coming weeks, as the footballing world is getting ready for the Euro 2012 craze.

Who will win Euro 2012?

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The European Championships are now only a few days away, so we at Spirit of Mirko have decided to predict the entire tournament. Rather than predicting the results by analysing each individual side, their players, formations, recent form, we have decided to use hard, cold facts. So, for this set of predictions we have used the previous meeting for each side to predict which side will win.

The Rest

Peñarol’s Goalkeeper Juan Castillo Get’s a Little Bit Dizzy Following Save With His Face

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Peñarol's goalkeeper Juan Castillo didn't know to much about this save which he made with his face and judging by his reactions afterwards which was that of a boxer after getting a right hook to the chin!

Thankfully for him there were no obvious effects and Peñarol went on to win 4-1 against Santos Laguna in their Copa Libertadores clash last night.

So We're in the Champions' League Next Year

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When Eddie Johnson skied the final PK of the US Open Cup final over the bar, it gave Sporting KC their first trophy under their new name, and the team's first trophy since 2004. Before we continue on, let's relive that night again with a video that still gives me goosebumps.



Now that we've relived that.

Some Soccer News for Mon Jul 30, 2012

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STARTERS

Huge congrats to the men's + women's teams of Up Top from Minneapolis who both won the Street Soccer US Cup in New York City on Sunday!
-Read this great profile of the team at The Shin Guardian.

dN

Hon! Du! Ras! Did you see the MLS connection that scored the goal for Honduras that sent Spain spinning right out of the Olympic Men's Soccer Tourney?

Superb GB can only get better

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They may not be in a position to defy Betfair Premier League tips, but Team GB's women's football team could be on course to a medal finish after a convincing victory over New Zealand in their first match of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Steph Horton's superb curling free kick was enough to confirm victory and surely propel GB to the quarter-final stage.

¡Tricampeones! Spain complete their cycle

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"Years have gone by and I've finally learned to accept myself for who I am: a beggar for good football. I go about the world, hands outstretched, and in the stadiums I plead: ‘A pretty move, for the love of God.' And when good football happens, I give thanks for the miracle and I don't give a damn which team or country performs it.

Anemic France shoot off target, lose convincingly, limp through

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Sweden 2, France 0

The no-hopers from Sweden had all the joy tonight against a dull France side.

France lined up something like this:

Benzema
Ribery Nasri BenArfa
M'Vila Diarra
Clichy Mexes Rami Debuchy
Lloris

Blanc got it wrong, but France are still through to the quarterfinals, against Spain on Saturday.

Blaszczykowski stunner seals deserved point for Poland

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Poland captain Jakub Blaszczykowski's fantastic strike earned his side a share of the spoils against Russia in the lively Group A encounter in Warsaw.

The draw means the co-hosts keep their hopes of progressing to the knock-out stages alive after Russia had taken the lead through Alan Dzagoev.