A-League 2018-19 preview part one: Adelaide United to Melbourne Victory | Jonathan Howcroft

Keisuke Honda has made headlines but there are plenty of other reasons to get excited about season 14 With the help of a World Cup and seismic change in the corridors of power, the usually interminable A-League offseason has flown by. We can now look forward to the first “straightforward” domestic campaign in yonks, one unencumbered by off-field distractions. The early signs are promising. There’s plenty of upbeat and meaningful publicity, some belting new signings, and a realistic possibility every club has strengthened since the end of last season. Continue reading...

The Fiver | Old-timers have seen this movie before

Sign up now! Sign up now! Sign up now? Sign up now! And to think there were some who thought England’s march to the Ethics World Cup semi-finals was a false dawn! Sure, they triumphed over Tunisia, pummelled Panama, conquered Colombia and smothered Sweden before capitulating against Croatia (despite playing well for a bit), but the actual football hadn’t really been that good, had it? On Monday night in Seville that idea was buried in an avalanche of first-half goals. England’s march was but a false distant glimmer of light on a fake far horizon. Maybe some car headlights or a bloke with a torch or something. This – this – was the false dawn. Continue reading...

West Ham under pressure after coach attends Democratic Football Lads Alliance march

• Under-18s coach Mark Phillips facing awkward questions
• Kick It Out monitoring situationWest Ham are under pressure to take action after one of their youth coaches said he went on a march organised by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance, a group condemned by anti-racism campaigners. Mark Phillips, who coaches West Ham’s Under-18s, is facing some awkward questions after his support for the DFLA was brought to the attention of Kick It Out, football’s anti-discrimination charity. Phillips posted on Twitter about attending the DFLA’s march through central London last Saturday and defended the right-wing organisation in subsequent tweets. Continue reading...

Spanish press reaction: ‘Lord’ Harry Kane brought Spain to their knees | Sid Lowe

‘We hadn’t cocked it up like this against England since the 16th century’ said El Mundo while Marca felt Kane showed he was ‘a classic striker who is good at absolutely everything’ “I was great at half-time,” said the Spain manager Luis Enrique. “The logical thing would have been to kick something, crap on everything and kill them, but I didn’t.” He didn’t need to: Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane – especially Harry Kane – had already done so. That was the verdict from the Spanish media in Seville. If Luis Enrique didn’t kill his players, nor for the most part did they. After three wins out of three, 12 goals scored, “the spell was broken” said Sport and there was criticism of course, a lot of it. Luis Enrique had expected that: “I’m ready for the ‘party’,” he insisted. Mostly, though, there was Kane, the man Continue reading "Spanish press reaction: ‘Lord’ Harry Kane brought Spain to their knees | Sid Lowe"

Six of the best England performances since Euro 96 | Philip Cornwall

From drawing in Rome to that night in Munich, one England fan recalls half a dozen great displays over the last 22 years Goalless draws are rarely treasured but, given the rarity with which England get the better of elite teams, the 0-0 at the Stadio Olimpico, pushing the hosts into the France 98 play-offs, stands out. Against a side that had won 1-0 at Wembley, Glenn Hoddle’s team more than held their own. It being England, the glory is tinged with regrets: Ian Wright, who struck a post in added time, did not make the cut for the finals on his return from injury; Paul Gascoigne likewise, albeit more explosively; and Paul Ince, the bloodied hero here, missed a penalty in the shootout against Argentina. Still, rich memories, albeit from the sofa. Continue reading...

Glasgow City dream of Champions League upset against Barcelona | Suzanne Wrack

The Scottish champions face a grandstand finish to their domestic season but first visit Spain in search of a last-16 shock This is a season-defining week for the Scottish champions, Glasgow City. A 2-1 defeat by their title rivals, Hibernian, in the Scottish Women’s Cup semi-final was not the ideal start to the crunch period, which reaches its climax on Sunday with the two teams – separated by two goals only – meeting in their penultimate league outing. Hibs have won their last five knockout games against City but have not beaten them in the league for a staggering 11 years. Now, the amateur side head to Spain for a David v Goliath style match-up with star-studded Barcelona. It is hard to overstate the task at hand and the delicate decisions their manager, Scott Booth, has to make. With a packed fixture schedule, the former Aberdeen player’s squad is being Continue reading "Glasgow City dream of Champions League upset against Barcelona | Suzanne Wrack"

Football transfer rumours: Frenkie de Jong to Manchester City for £62m?

Today’s piffle is blinding you with its brilliance Pep Guardiola has seen the future of football – and it’s orange! Actually, it’s usually red and white but it has worn orange three times, for the resurgent Netherlands, and goes by the name of Frenkie de Jong. The jinky playmaker has got Manchester City hot and bothered with his Pep-approved pop-pop-pop passing style in Ajax’s midfield this season and the club are said to be readying a £62m bid for the 21-year-old. They will have stiff competition from Barcelona and Spurs tho… Oh, hang on, let’s do that again. They’ll have stiff competition from Barcelona though who, according to Mundo Deportivo, have had a bid of around £45m rejected. In other disheartening news for Phil Foden’s future playing opportunities at City, the club has a buyback clause for Jadon Sancho, Foden’s one-time contemporary who is ripping it up at Dortmund. Continue reading "Football transfer rumours: Frenkie de Jong to Manchester City for £62m?"

‘A dream come true’: refugees Deng and Mabil make Socceroos debuts together

Childhood friends whose families fled conflict in Sudan represent Australia for first time against Kuwait From their early years in Kenya, to a shared childhood in suburban Adelaide, to the A-League and then the Socceroos, Thomas Deng and Awer Mabil have plenty of history in common. And in the unlikely location of Kuwait City, the pair of South Sudanese refugees etched out a splendid new chapter together, debuting on the same night for Australia. Graham Arnold handed the pair of next-generation Socceroos their first taste of international football in the 4-0 defeat of Kuwait. And when Mabil put the icing on the cake for Australia, scoring the evening’s fourth goal from a move that Deng started, fittingly his great friend was there first to embrace him. Continue reading...

Dazzle of front three sees England fill gap on Gareth Southgate’s CV | Dominic Fifield

Gareth Southgate’s young side were quickly into their stride against Spain and finally have a win against a team of pedigreeThere must have been times as the interval approached when even Gareth Southgate, such a staunch believer in the talent of this youthful group, found himself peering in disbelief up at the big screen at one end of this bowl of an arena. The list of English goalscorers had become cluttered by then, the board increasingly untidy if gloriously lopsided. The eerie silence in Rijeka last week had felt surreal but the stunned hush among the locals in Andalusia was far harder to comprehend. Related: Raheem Sterling’s double inspires England to stunning victory in Spain Continue reading...

Gareth Southgate: Beating Spain can be England’s reference point

• Manager praises Raheem Sterling after forward’s double
• ‘The quality was great. We used the ball with courage’Gareth Southgate praised his young side’s bravery and urged them to use the startling victory against Spain as a reference point for future progress as England kept alive their hopes of claiming their Nations League group. The Spanish were beaten at home for the first time in more than 15 years in a competitive fixture, a sequence stretching back 38 games, after England’s youngest starting lineup since 1959 swept into an eye-catching first‑half lead, sparked by Raheem Sterling’s first goals at this level in over three years. The World Cup semi‑finalists clung on thereafter to register their first win against recognised elite opponents under the manager’s tenure. Continue reading...

Usain Bolt offered European professional football deal – reports

  • Unconditional two-year contract reportedly tabled
  • Sprint champion currently training with Central Coast
Usain Bolt could walk out of his open-ended A-League trial with the Central Coast Mariners amid reports of an unconditional two-year offer from a European club. The Jamaican sprint champion received a formal offer to play for a top-flight team after his eye-catching brace in Friday night’s trial match against Macarthur South West United went viral, according to reports. Continue reading...

Nations League round-up: Northern Ireland face relegation after Dzeko double

• Michael O’Neill’s side beaten 2-0 in Sarajevo
• Switzerland relegate Iceland with 2-1 victoryNorthern Ireland were shown the value of clinical finishing as the Bosnia-Herzegovina captain, Edin Dzeko, condemned them to a third successive Nations League defeat in a match during which they hit the post three times. Dzeko scored in each half on the ground where he began his professional career but Northern Ireland will rue a shocking miss from Gavin Whyte and an early George Saville effort that came back off the frame of the goal. Continue reading...

Luis Enrique sees Spain’s optimism washed away in the Seville rain | Sid Lowe

After winning his first three matches he oversaw the country’s first competitive home defeat for 15 years as England won 3-2The inquiry began way before the game had finished. The stadium clock had not yet reached half an hour when to the right of it, high in the Benito Villamarín, England’s drenched fans began to chant: “Are you Scotland in disguise?!” They were not, of course, but nor, it seemed, were the team down below Spain. Luis Enrique has been swift to quieten comparisons to that Spain – the team who won three tournaments in a row, European, world and European champions – but nor, at that point, were they this Spain, the team who had recovered so well since Russia. Related: Raheem Sterling’s double inspires England to stunning victory in Spain Continue reading...

Wales to go on the offensive in Dublin without Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey

• Ryan Giggs missing key figures for Tuesday’s match
• Martin O’Neill looking to ease pressure in Nations League gameRyan Giggs, the Wales manager, has challenged his team to prove their strength in depth by winning in the Republic of Ireland without Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey. Giggs explained that Bale will miss the match because of “a bit of fatigue” but will probably be fit enough to play for Real Madrid on Saturday. Ramsey, meanwhile, is unavailable after becoming the father of twins on Sunday. Wales will also be without the injured teenager Ethan Ampadu, who controlled midfield when Wales thrashed Ireland 4-1 in Cardiff last month. Victory in Dublin would take Wales above Denmark to the top of their Nations League group while defeat would put them bottom. Wales have won only three competitive matches without Bale since he made his international debut in 2006. Continue reading...