Sweden cruise past Thailand to make Women’s World Cup last 16


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Nice (France) (AFP) – Sweden cruised into the knockout stages of the Women’s World Cup on Sunday after comfortably seeing off Thailand 5-1 to move top of Group F.

Peter Gerhardsson’s side are three points ahead of tournament favourites the USA, who take on Chile later on Sunday in Paris, after a routine win that however saw emotional scenes when Kanjana Sung-Ngoen scored a late consolation goal for the Thais.

Linda Sembrant and Kosovare Asllani put the Swedes two up after 19 minutes with Fridolina Rolfo rifling a long-range finish three minutes before the break.

Lina Hurtig headed home at the end of a flowing move with nine minutes left before the Thais, reeling from a humiliating record 13-0 defeat to the Americans in their opening match, restored pride through captain Sung-Ngoen’s drilled near post finish.

The goal sparked wild celebrations and even tears from the Thai players and coaching Continue reading “Sweden cruise past Thailand to make Women’s World Cup last 16”

Sarri takes charge at Juventus after leaving Chelsea


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Milan (AFP) – Maurizio Sarri was named new coach of Juventuson Sunday after his exit from Chelsea following a troubled single campaign in London was confirmed by both clubs.

Sarri returns to Italy on a three-year deal just a season after leaving Napoli for Stamford Bridge, where he failed to garner fan support despite winning the Europa League and returning the Blues to the Champions League thanks to a third-placed finish in the Premier League.

“Maurizio Sarri has returned to Italy, where he has coached for the majority of his career. And from today, he will take over the reins at Juventus with a contract until June 30, 2022,” Juventus said in a statement.

The Europa League win last month was Sarri’s first major trophy as a coach, but he will be expected to deliver far more in Turin.

Juventus have won Serie A for the past eight seasons, denying Sarri’s former Continue reading “Sarri takes charge at Juventus after leaving Chelsea”

Pogba says ‘timing right’ for summer United exit


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Tokyo (AFP) – Paul Pogba has given the strongest indication yet that he wants to leave Manchester United this summer to seek a “new challenge”.

The French World Cup winner rejoined United from Juventus for a then world record £89 million ($112 million) fee three years ago, but has largely failed to live up to expectations.

Pogba has been linked with a move to Real Madrid or a return to Juventus with United having failed to qualify for the Champions League next season.

“There is a lot of talking and a lot of thinking,” the 26-year-old told reporters in Tokyo on Sunday.

“I have been for three years in Manchester and have been doing great — some good moments and some bad moments, like everybody and like everywhere else.

“I think for me it could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else. I am thinking of Continue reading “Pogba says ‘timing right’ for summer United exit”

Pogba looking for new challenge away from Man Utd


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London (AFP) – Paul Pogba has given a strong indication that he wants to leave Manchester United this summer to seek a “new challenge”.

The French World Cup winner rejoined United from Juventus for a then world record £89 million ($112 million) fee three years ago, but has largely failed to live up to expectations.

Pogba has been strongly linked with a move to Real Madrid or even a return to Juventus with United having failed to qualify for the Champions League next season.

“For me I have been for three years in Manchester and have been doing great; some good moments and some bad moments, like everybody. Like everywhere else,” Pogba was quoted as telling reporters in Tokyo by The Guardian on Sunday. 

“I think for me it could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else. I am thinking of this: to have a Continue reading “Pogba looking for new challenge away from Man Utd”

Mexico, Canada off the mark at Gold Cup


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Los Angeles (AFP) – Favourites Mexico and group rivals Canada cruised to lopsided wins on Saturday as the CONCACAF Gold Cup got under way.

Mexico, who are chasing a record eighth title in the championship for teams from North America, Central America and the Caribbean, thrashed Cuba 7-0 at the Pasadena Rose Bowl.

Canada, the only team to have broken Mexico and the United States’ dominance of the Gold Cup since the tournament was rebooted in 1991, had earlier trounced Martinique 4-0 in their Group A game.

Mexico, playing in their first tournament under former Argentina coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino, are without several regular players including Carlos Vela, Javier Hernandez, Hector Herrera and Jesus Corona.

But the absentees were barely noticed as Mexico cut loose against a feeble Cuba side in front of around 65,000 spectators at the famous old stadium which hosted the 1994 World Cup final.

Los Angeles

Continue reading “Mexico, Canada off the mark at Gold Cup”

David double as Canada rout Martinique


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Los Angeles (AFP) – Canada kicked off the CONCACAF Gold Cup with an emphatic win over Martinique on Saturday, outclassing the Caribbean minnows 4-0 at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in California.

Two goals from Belgium-based forward Jonathan David set the Canadians on the way to a straightforward three points in Group A before strikes from Junior Hoilett and Scott Arfield boosted the scoreline.

Canada — the only team to break Mexico and the United States’s dominance of the Gold Cup since the tournament was rebooted in 1991 — were always in control against Martinique, an overseas region of France who are not members of FIFA.

But it took a blunder from Martinique goalkeeper Loic Chauvet and midfielder Daniel Herelle to give Canada the breakthrough on 33 minutes.

A loose pass from Chauvet was miscontrolled by Herelle, and Gent striker David pounced on the loose ball before coolly lifting his finish Continue reading “David double as Canada rout Martinique”

Messi ‘bitter’ as Colombia stun Argentina


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Salvador (Brazil) (AFP) – Lionel Messi said his team was feeling bitter after Argentina lost their opening Copa America match 2-0 to Colombia despite dominating the second half.

Goals from Roger Martinez and Duvan Zapata in the final 20 minutes gave Colombia their first tournament victory over Argentina in 20 years as Messi’s hopes of finally landing a major international tournament after losing in four finals suffered a serious blow.

“We leave here feeling bitter,” said Messi following the Group B clash in Salvador.

“In the second half we had our chances.”

One of the best of those fell to the 31-year-old Barcelona icon but he headed wide after Colombia’s goalkeeper David Ospina got down quickly to push out a header from center-back Nicolas Otamendi.

But although Argentina dominated possession and created more chances in the second period, they rarely caused Ospina any serious concerns.

“We didn’t want to Continue reading “Messi ‘bitter’ as Colombia stun Argentina”

Namibia warn Group D giants: ‘Even small dogs have teeth’


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Johannesburg (AFP) – The assumption is that former champions the Ivory Coast, Morocco and South Africa will wage a private war in Group D at the Africa Cup of Nations with Namibia helpless onlookers.

But Namibia coach Ricardo Mannetti questions that belief ahead of the June 21-July 19 tournament in Egypt.

“I would like to remind the big boys that even small dogs have teeth,” warned the former national team midfielder.

Namibia have met all their Group D rivals before at the Cup of Nations without success — conceding five goals against Morocco and four each against the Ivory Coast and South Africa. 

Here, AFP Sport looks at a group considered the strongest of the six in the first round with only the winners and runners-up guaranteed round-of-16 places

Ivory Coast

The Ivorians experienced ecstasy and agony in the last two editions, winning the 2015 final in Equatorial Guinea Continue reading “Namibia warn Group D giants: ‘Even small dogs have teeth’”

A captain named Desire: Nigeria skipper relishes France showdown


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Rennes (France) (AFP) – For Nigeria captain Desire Oparanozie, her country’s meeting with hosts France at the women’s World Cup on Monday will be like playing on “home soil”.

“I’m excited playing in France and playing against France as well. I will have a couple of my friends in the French team,” the 25-year-old tells AFP.

This is her third World Cup, and it has a special flavour given she plays her club football in France for Guingamp.

Monday’s match, which is crucial for Nigeria as they seek to join France in the last 16, will be played not far from Guingamp, in Rennes.

“When you’re playing against the host nation, you’re not just playing against 11 players, you’re playing against the crowd,” warned Oparanozie, who helped her team to a 2-0 win over South Korea on Wednesday to claim their first points in Group A.

After a 3-0 loss Continue reading “A captain named Desire: Nigeria skipper relishes France showdown”

From superstar to psychologist: Prinz helping Germany’s new generation


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Berlin (AFP) – There was a time when Birgit Prinz was the undisputed superstar of the German women’s national team. These days, the 41-year-old prefers to work in the shadows.

Prinz was both captain and star striker when Germany won back-to-back World Cups in 2003 and 2007, but now she is taking a backroom role as team psychologist. 

The one-time superstar has steered clear of media attention as Germany have reached the knockout stages with 1-0 wins over China and Spain in the opening week of the World Cup. 

Where once she led the line for her country, she is now tasked with ensuring that Germany’s young side are mentally prepared to challenge for their first World Cup title since Prinz’s second triumph in 2007.

“We have a team who don’t have a lot of caps and 15 of our players are playing at their first World Cup, so Continue reading “From superstar to psychologist: Prinz helping Germany’s new generation”

Colombia’s Martinez and Zapata stun Messi’s Argentina at Copa


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Salvador (Brazil) (AFP) – Roger Martinez and Duvan Zapata put a dent in Lionel Messi’s hopes of finally landing a major international title as Colombia began their Copa America campaign with a 2-0 win over Argentina on Saturday.

Martinez struck a stunning opener on 72 minutes and fellow substitute Zapata sealed the win three minutes from the end after Argentina had dominated the second half of this Group B encounter in Salvador.

On paper at least, this promised a thrilling attacking spectacle between two star-studded forward lines.

For Argentina, five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi was joined by Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria, while Colombia could count on James Rodriguez, Radamel Falcao and Juan Cuadrado.

But it was two players who began the game on the bench that took the chance to steal the headlines.

It was a fast and furious opening that proved too helter skelter to produce any Continue reading “Colombia’s Martinez and Zapata stun Messi’s Argentina at Copa”

Netherlands and Canada cement second-round places, USA poised to join them


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Valenciennes (France) (AFP) – The Netherlands and Canada ensured they would finish in the top two in Group E of the women’s World Cup with victories and on Sunday the United States and Sweden can join them if they win in Group F.

In Valenciennes on Saturday, Vivianne Miedema became the all-time Dutch women’s record goal-scorer with a brace as the Netherlands saw off a spirited Cameroon 3-1 to secure a place in the last 16.

Miedema’s goals came either side of a close-range Dominique Bloodworth strike for the European champions in Valenciennes, with Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene netting for Cameroon.

Canada then laid siege to the New Zealand goal with 22 total strikes in Grenoble, 11 of them on target and scored with goals from Jessie Fleming after 48 minutes and Nichelle Prince 30 minutes later.

Miedema’s double means the 22-year-old forward already has 60 international goals, making her the Continue reading “Netherlands and Canada cement second-round places, USA poised to join them”

VAR denies Peru in stalemate with 10-man Venezuela


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Porto Alegre (Brazil) (AFP) – Ten-man Venezuela held on following the dismissal of Luis Mago to claim a 0-0 draw with Peru, who had two goals chalked off by VAR, in their opening Copa America match on Saturday.

The point left the two sides joint second in Group A behind hosts Brazil, who kicked off the tournament on Friday night with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Bolivia.

Peru had the better of the match at a near empty Gremio Arena in Porto Alegre but were twice denied victory after offside decisions taken following consultation with the video assistant referee.

As expected for an early tournament match it was a cagey affair, although Venezuela’s Wuilker Farinez got the pulses racing at times with some erratic goalkeeping.

Peru had the ball in the net after just seven minutes when Farinez came for and spilled an inswinging free-kick from Yoshimar Yotun, allowing Christofer Continue reading “VAR denies Peru in stalemate with 10-man Venezuela”

Canada beat New Zealand to reach women’s World Cup second round


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Grenoble (France) (AFP) – Canada beat New Zealand 2-0 in a women’s World Cup Group E game in Grenoble on Saturday to cement a place in the second round and leave the Kiwis on the brink of elimination.

Earlier in Valenciennes, the Netherlands saw off a spirited Cameroon 3-1 to also move to six points in the group and secure their place in the last 16.

Canada had beaten Cameroon 1-0 in their opening game while New Zealand had battled hard before losing to an injury-time Dutch goal.

On Saturday, Canada again dominated and bombarded the New Zealand goal with 22 total strikes, 11 of them on target. 

The Canadians took the lead after 48 minutes.

Nichelle Prince raced down the left wing, where the New Zealand defence had struggled even before right back C.J. Bott went off injured in the 17th minute. 

Prince cut in along the Continue reading “Canada beat New Zealand to reach women’s World Cup second round”

Vidal says Chile are team to fear ahead of Japan Copa clash


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Sao Paulo (AFP) – Chile midfielder Arturo Vidal on Saturday vowed to strike fear into Japan when the two sides meet in their Copa America opener on Monday.

The two-time reigning champions are not among the favourites this time around having lost some of the players who took them to the 2014 World Cup and back-to-back Copa titles in 2015 and 2016.

But Barcelona’s Vidal is convinced the remnants of Chile’s golden generation still have much to offer in this tournament.

“This squad should be feared, from the beginning to the final. We hope it’s going to be something amazing, but we’re going to take it game by game,” he told reporters from Chile’s hotel in Sao Paulo, where they will play tournament guests Japan.

The Blue Samurai have brought an inexperienced squad to Brazil with an average age of just 22. When it was announced last month, 17 of

Continue reading “Vidal says Chile are team to fear ahead of Japan Copa clash”

Ramos marries TV personality in Galactico wedding ‘like no other’


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Seville (Spain) (AFP) – Sergio Ramos, the Real Madrid captain, married Spanish TV presenter Pilar Rubio in Seville on Saturday in a ‘Galactico’ wedding that he said would be “like no other” although he was coy on whether AC/DC were playing.

The crowd, who had gathered at Seville’s famous 16th century cathedral to watch the many celebrity guests arrive, were delirious at the sight of ex-Real player David Beckham and his wife and former pop star Victoria, former and current La Liga stars Jordi Alba, Luka Modric, Keylor Navas, Roberto Carlos and Alvaro Morata, as well as matador El Cordobes.

The 33-year-old Ramos, who is from a suburb of Seville, arrived wearing a dark three-piece suit in a discrete check pattern, on the arm of his mother Paqui Garcia, who wore a traditional Andalusian mantilla, or raised head scarf.

The bride, who is 41, arrived a little later in a

Continue reading “Ramos marries TV personality in Galactico wedding ‘like no other’”

Ukraine sink South Korea to claim under-20 World Cup glory


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Lodz (Poland) (AFP) – Ukraine recovered from the shock of falling behind to an early penalty as they beat South Korea 3-1 to win the under-20 World Cup final in Poland on Saturday.

Vladyslav Supriaha was the star for Ukraine, the 19-year-old Dynamo Kiev player scoring twice as his country won the prestigious title for the first time, succeeding the England side who won in 2017.

The Koreans had taken an early lead in Lodz in central Poland, with Valencia starlet Lee Kang-in converting a fifth-minute penalty awarded following a VAR review after Kim Se-yun had been fouled right on the edge of the box.

However, Ukraine levelled in the 34th minute, Supriaha turning and prodding in after the Korean defence had failed to clear a free-kick.

The same player then gave Ukraine the lead eight minutes into the second half, firing home after Kim Hyun-woo had inadvertently played the

Continue reading “Ukraine sink South Korea to claim under-20 World Cup glory”

Ukraine sink South Korea to claim under-20 World Cup glory


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Lodz (Poland) (AFP) – Ukraine recovered from the shock of falling behind to an early penalty as they beat South Korea 3-1 to win the under-20 World Cup final in Poland on Saturday.

Vladyslav Supriaha was the star for Ukraine, the 19-year-old Dynamo Kiev player scoring twice as his country won the prestigious title for the first time, succeeding the England side who won in 2017.

The Koreans had taken an early lead in Lodz in central Poland, with Valencia starlet Lee Kang-in converting a fifth-minute penalty awarded following a VAR review after Kim Se-yun had been fouled right on the edge of the box.

However, Ukraine levelled in the 34th minute, Supriaha turning and prodding in after the Korean defence had failed to clear a free-kick.

The same player then gave Ukraine the lead eight minutes into the second half, firing home after Kim Hyun-woo had inadvertently played the

Continue reading “Ukraine sink South Korea to claim under-20 World Cup glory”

Ramos marries TV personality in Galactico wedding to the sound of AC/DC


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Seville (Spain) (AFP) – Sergio Ramos, the Real Madrid captain, married Spanish TV presenter Pilar Rubio in Seville on Saturday in a ‘Galactico’ wedding with hundreds of celebrity guests and AC/DC booked as the band.

The crowd who had gathered at a famous 16th century cathedral to watch the celebrities arrive were delirious at the sight of ex-Real player David Beckham and his wife and former pop star Victoria, former and current La Liga stars Jordi Alba, Luka Modric, Keylor Navas, Roberto Carlos and Alvaro Morata, as well as matador El Cordobes.

The 33-year-old Ramos, who is from a suburb of Seville, arrived wearing a dark three-piece suit in a discrete check pattern, on the arm of his mother Paqui Garcia, who wore a traditional Andalusian mantilla, or raised head scarf.

The bride, who is 41, arrived a little later in a floor-length white dress with a long train.

After

Continue reading “Ramos marries TV personality in Galactico wedding to the sound of AC/DC”

Ramos marries TV personality in Galactico wedding to the sound of AC/DC


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Seville (Spain) (AFP) – Sergio Ramos, the Real Madrid captain, married Spanish TV presenter Pilar Rubio in Seville on Saturday in a ‘Galactico’ wedding with hundreds of celebrity guests and AC/DC booked as the band.

The crowd who had gathered at a famous 16th century cathedral to watch the celebrities arrive were delirious at the sight of ex-Real player David Beckham and his wife and former pop star Victoria, former and current La Liga stars Jordi Alba, Luka Modric, Keylor Navas, Roberto Carlos and Alvaro Morata, as well as matador El Cordobes.

The 33-year-old Ramos, who is from a suburb of Seville, arrived wearing a dark three-piece suit in a discrete check pattern, on the arm of his mother Paqui Garcia, who wore a traditional Andalusian mantilla, or raised head scarf.

The bride, who is 41, arrived a little later in a floor-length white dress with a long train.

After

Continue reading “Ramos marries TV personality in Galactico wedding to the sound of AC/DC”