The Offside Flag rises again.


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It’s been a while, but here we go: throw the Flag in the air and wave it like you just don’t care. On Monday, a Werder Bremen supporter site claimed that Seattle was a summer move option for Aron Jóhannsson (who is set to run out of contract to end a rough injury-decimated spell with the Bundesliga side).  However, his agent tells me this is incorrect. So that’s that, at least for the time being.

Pamela Anderson and French World Cup-winning boyfriend split by Instagram


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Marseille (AFP) – Former “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson has revealed she has broken up with France World Cup-winning defender Adil Rami, saying he had “scammed” her by seeing another woman.

Anderson’s two-year romance with the Marseille player 18 years her junior has been closely followed in France, especially when Rami became a cult hero of the 2018 World Cup campaign in Russia despite not playing a single minute.

But the couple’s romance appears to have ended abruptly, with Anderson accusing Rami of cheating on her.

“The last (more than) 2 years of my life have been a big lie,” Anderson, 51, said on Instagram. “I was scammed, led to believe… we were in « big love »?”

“I’m devastated to find out in the last few days that he was living a double life.”

Rami responded with a long Instagram post of his own.

“A breakup is never easy,” he Continue reading “Pamela Anderson and French World Cup-winning boyfriend split by Instagram”

Nigeria call off Nations Cup bonus strike


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Abuja (AFP) – Nigeria on Tuesday suspended a training strike over unpaid bonuses at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt following last-minute pleas by the country’s football officials.

The team finally agreed to train in Alexandria, 30 minutes after schedule, after the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) promised to pay a win bonus from their 1-0 victory over Burundi on Saturday, by the end of the week.

NFF spokesman Ademola Olajire told AFP “the matter has been resolved”, conceding that funds for the tournament had arrived late.

“The NFF received part of the money meant for the tournament today and is in the process of converting it to dollars to pay the players and officials”, he said. 

“The only money they’re owed is the win-bonus for the Burundi match”, he added.

The bonuses were expected to be paid by the NFF after Saturday’s game ended.

Officials close to the Continue reading “Nigeria call off Nations Cup bonus strike”

Error-prone England Under-21s leave Boothroyd with questions to answer


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After a winless European Championship, defensive frailties and the coach’s handling of Phil Foden will be high on the agenda

England’s winless and error-prone Under-21s boarded a private plane for home on Tuesday while Romania, Germany, France and Spain prepared for European championship semi-finals. Players dispersed on arrival in Birmingham but Aidy Boothroyd could not escape so easily. The inquest into what wentwrong throughout England’s 12 days in Italy and San Marino is about to intensify.

The England head coach and his back‑room staff will convene at St George’s Park on Friday for a debrief into a tournament approached with high hopes but ruined with two defeats in four days. Should their diaries allow, Boothroyd will also hold talks with Gareth Southgate to hear the senior manager’s opinions on the development – or lack of it – of the next generation of English talent. As Boothroyd admitted after Monday’s 3-3 Continue reading “Error-prone England Under-21s leave Boothroyd with questions to answer”

A soft penalty and questionable selection: the US got lucky against Spain | Hope Solo


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Questions remain over the US defense and goalkeeping. When they face France in the quarter-final they may need to rely on their talented attack

The United States got lucky against Spain. They didn’t score from open play and their second penalty was very soft – if it was a penalty at all. I watched the replay in the broadcasting booth over and over again, and none of us could see if Rose Lavelle was touched or not.

Spain’s quality should not have been a surprise. If you’d been properly prepared and watched their recent games – and then re-watched their games – you would know that this team was going to cause the US trouble, and could beat them.

Continue reading…

Italy v China: Women’s World Cup 2019 last 16 – as it happened


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Penalty drama as Chinese giants Evergrande reach Asia’s last eight


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Beijing (AFP) – Zhong Yihao netted the decisive spot-kick as Chinese giants Guangzhou Evergrande reached the Asian Champions League quarter-finals after a nerve-shredding penalty shoot-out against Shandong Luneng on Tuesday.

Brazil international Paulinho scored twice as the second leg ended 4-4 on aggregate after extra time, but it was Zhong who struck the killer blow as Evergrande shaded their Chinese rivals 6-5 on penalties.

The 2013 and 2015 winners reached the last eight alongside reigning champions Kashima Antlers, who squeezed past fellow Japanese side Sanfrecce Hiroshima courtesy of the away goals rule.

Evergrande were in the driving seat after their 2-1 home win in last week’s first leg, and Paulinho put them on cruise control when he struck in the 13th minute.

The ex-Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder was on hand to stab home the rebound when Yang Liyu’s shot cannoned off the base of the post.

However, Shandong’s high-pedigree strike Continue reading “Penalty drama as Chinese giants Evergrande reach Asia’s last eight”

The Fiver | It’s a sorry farce that matches are being played at all


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And so to Africa, where the Cup of Nations has stumbled into action in conditions steamier than Weird Uncle Fiver’s rare collection of stamps. It’s made for some sticky pitches and the kind of ponderous football not even José Mourinho would be proud of. Mind you, with the thermometer set to reach a sizzling 41C (105.8F) in Ismailia when Cameroon kick off against Guinea Bissau later on, it’s a sorry farce that matches are being played at all. It’s the first tournament that has been held in summer after organisers could no longer bear listening to the loud and prolonged whinging noises emanating from Europe over the loss of players every other winter, so they gave in and voted to shift it. So much for player welfare!

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Fit-again Keita injects Guinea with timely boost


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Alexandria (Egypt) (AFP) – For a Guinea team with growing Africa Cup of Nations ambitions, the return of Naby Keita was a victory in itself after Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp had indicated the midfielder would miss the tournament with injury.

Hurt during the first leg of Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final showdown with Barcelona, Keita spent nearly two months out before making his comeback in the final 30 minutes of Saturday’s 2-2 draw with a plucky Madagascar.

His impact was immediate in Alexandria as Guinea equalised within four minutes of his introduction.

“His arrival hurt us, obviously. Guinea are a very good team,” said Madagascar coach Nicolas Dupuis. 

Now, with their playmaker back in the side Guinea have the chance to send a message against Nigeria on Wednesday.

“He gives a lot, he’s a leader in his own way. We need him. He helps us benefit from his experience in Continue reading “Fit-again Keita injects Guinea with timely boost”

Bizarre sit-down protest during promotion play-off in Argentina – video


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San Jorge de Tucaman players held a sit-down protest during a match against Alvarado de Mar del Plata in the second match of a promotion play-off in Argentina. The players protested against what they considered to be a bad performance by the referee, who sent off two San Jorge de Tucaman players in the first half. The referee suspended the game and gave the win to Alvarado de Mar del Plata, who were promoted to Nacional B, the second division of the Argentinian football pyramid

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Surprise in Group B


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The soccer news starts with an upset on the final day of group B at the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup. With Haiti and Costa Rica entering the finale tied on six points, the winner would take the group and avoid playing Mexico in the quarterfinals. That turned out to be Haiti, beating Costa Rica 2-1 to setup a date in the knockout round with Canada.

Costa Rica led from a 13th minute Alvaro Saborio goal, and it turned out that was it for the Ticos’ offense. Duckens Nazon equalized from the penalty spot in the 57th and Djimy Alexis scored in the 81st. With large sections of the crowd at Red Bull Arena there for the underdogs, they urged Haiti on in holding off any late equalizer from Costa Rica. Haiti advances with nine points to Costa Rica’s six.

For Costa Rica, that means Mexico in Saturday’s late game at Continue reading “Surprise in Group B”

Heat is on as women’s World Cup steps into the sauna


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Paris (AFP) – With the temperature in France soaring, organisers and teams are taking steps to adapt as the winter sport again faces the problem of playing its marquee tournaments in summer.

After often cool June weather for the group stages, temperatures have risen.

In Montpellier on Tuesday, when Italy play China in the early evening, the temperature will be 31 degrees Celsius (88 degress Fahrenheit). By Thursday in Paris, when the hosts play the USA in an evening quarterfinal, temperatures are forecast to top 35 degrees.

In a variation on a traditional theme when dealing with football fans, organisers are urging supporters to remember to drink. 

FIFA have even relaxed their ban on taking drinks into stadiums. 

Fans can bring their own bottles, provided the tops have been removed and no brand name is visible. 

– ‘No excuses’ –

Coca-Cola is one of the FIFA sponsorship

Continue reading “Heat is on as women’s World Cup steps into the sauna”

Nottingham Forest demand former owner return replica of 1959 FA Cup


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• Fawaz al-Hasawi hit with legal letter after taking trophy
• Kuwati prepared to oblige but insists he paid for silverware

It was the greatest achievement in the history of Nottingham Forest during what has become known as the years BC – Before Clough. Yet the Guardian has learned about an extraordinary legal wrangle involving the club, their former owner, Fawaz al-Hasawi, and a replica of the 1959 FA Cup that has gone missing from the City Ground’s trophy cabinet.

In another sign of the deteriorating relations between the club’s current and former regimes, the two-time European Cup winners have brought in lawyers to write to Hasawi saying their information is that he removed the FA Cup at some unspecified point – and stating that they want it back.

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Pamela Anderson splits with ‘monster’ French World Cup-winning boyfriend


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Marseille (AFP) – Former “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson has revealed she has broken up with France World Cup-winning defender Adil Rami, calling him a “monster” who “scammed” her.

Anderson’s two-year romance with the Marseille player 18 years her junior has been closely followed in France, especially when Rami became a cult hero of the 2018 World Cup campaign in Russia despite not playing a single minute.

But the couple’s romance appears to have ended abruptly, with Anderson accusing Rami of cheating on her.

“The last (more than) 2 years of my life have been a big lie,” Anderson, 51, said on Instagram. “I was scammed, led to believe… we were in « big love »?”

“I’m devastated to find out in the last few days that he was living a double life.”

The actress and model said Rami “used to joke about other players who had girlfriends down the street Continue reading “Pamela Anderson splits with ‘monster’ French World Cup-winning boyfriend”

Nigeria’s Kalu ‘100% ready’ after collapse


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Alexandria (Egypt) (AFP) – Nigeria forward Samuel Kalu, who collapsed during training last week due to severe dehydration, is fully fit to play in Wednesday’s Africa Cup of Nations game against Guinea, coach Gernot Rohr said Tuesday.

“The very good news is that Kalu did again yesterday in Cairo an MRI and it is now 100% sure that he is fit and he will be available for the game,” he said.

“He already started training with the team so we are happy about that because everybody was a little bit scared when this happened.” 

The Bordeaux player was rushed to hospital Friday suffering from severe dehydration due to severe heat. Temperatures expected to hover between 35 and 38 Celsius (95-100.4 Fahrenheit) over the next month in Egypt.

He missed Nigeria’s 1-0 win over Burundi on Saturday in the opening match in Group B in Alexandria.

Arsenal hope to secure Kieran Tierney from Celtic for £18m


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• London club already had bid of £15m turned down
• Celtic value 22-year-old left-back closer to £25m

Arsenal are preparing to make a second offer to Celtic for Kieran Tierney, and they are hopeful that a figure of around £18m will get the deal done – even though the Scottish champions value the left-back at £25m.

The London club are in daily talks over Tierney and they believe that the 22-year-old wants to join them. Arsenal have already had one bid for him worth £15m turned down.

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Mulumbu, DR Congo look to rebound from Uganda ‘slap’


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Cairo (AFP) – Democratic Republic of Congo captain Youssouf Mulumbu has urged his team to move on from their surprise opening defeat by Uganda at the Africa Cup of Nations ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Egypt.

The experienced Celtic midfielder missed Saturday’s 2-0 loss — Uganda’s first tournament win since 1978 — through injury and knows it will only get tougher for the twice former champions against the host nation.

“After a defeat like that, a good slap because we didn’t expect to lose against Uganda,let’s see how we will react against Egypt in front of their own crowd,” said Mulumbu, who was part of the side that finished third in 2015.

“Let’s see how we can react and show that we are men. We want to qualify for the next round.”

“It was a bit tough for me to miss the first match but I’ve started running again Continue reading “Mulumbu, DR Congo look to rebound from Uganda ‘slap’”

USA relish ‘a total shitshow circus’ as they set up France World Cup showdown


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Arguably the two best teams at the World Cup will meet in the quarter-finals. And the reigning champions got the test they perhaps needed against Spain on Monday

The US are through to the quarter-final of the World Cup after a less-than-convincing 2-1 win over Spain. It wasn’t pretty for the Americans, and the reigning champions finally look vulnerable. Here are the key takeaways from Monday’s round of 16 match.

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Derby free Lampard to conclude Chelsea return


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London (AFP) – Frank Lampard’s return to Chelsea as the club’s new manager edged closer on Tuesday as Derby said they had granted permission for the Premier League club to conclude negotiations.

“Derby County Football Club can confirm that they have granted permission for Chelsea Football Club to speak to Frank Lampard about the vacant managerial position at Stamford Bridge,” Derby said in a statement.

“With pre-season fast approaching for both clubs it is hoped this will allow Chelsea to swiftly conclude their discussions.”

Lampard is Chelsea’s record goalscorer after netting 211 goals from midfield between 2001 and 2014 at Stamford Bridge, where he won three Premier League titles, the Champions League and Europa League in a 13-trophy haul.

However, he has just one season’s experience in management as he led Derby to the brink of a return to the Premier League, only to fall short in the Championship

Continue reading “Derby free Lampard to conclude Chelsea return”

Egypt boss Aguirre says hosts can improve


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Cairo (AFP) – Egypt coach Javier Aguirre admitted there is room for improvement as the Africa Cup of Nations hosts and title favourites head into their second group game against the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday.

Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ Hassan’s goal earned Egypt a 1-0 victory over Zimbabwe in the tournament’s curtain-raiser and a second straight win in Group A would leave the Pharaohs in pole position to finish top of their group. 

“Egypt can play better. For sure in the next game without the pressure of the first game we must play much better,” Aguirre told reporters at Tuesday’s pre-match news conference in Cairo.

“DR Congo were really unlucky against Uganda in my opinion. They deserved more than to lose 2-0. I hope both teams play better for the spectators, both teams have more to give to the fans.”

Star forward Mohamed Salah had a number of

Continue reading “Egypt boss Aguirre says hosts can improve”