England drawn to face Netherlands in Nations League semi-final

England will play the Netherlands in the semi-final of the Uefa Nations League on 6 June 2019 at Estadio D Afonso Henriques in Guimaraes. Hosts Portugal face Switzerland on 5 June at Porto’s Estadio do Dragao. The final will be played on 9 June in Porto, with the third-place play-off game taking place the same day. Uefa confirmed Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology will be used in the competition. The winner of the tournament will receive £6.67m in prize money while the fourth-placed nation will earn around £4m. Gareth Southgate’s side…

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Southampton sack Mark Hughes after slow start to season

Southampton have sacked manager Mark Hughes, the club confirmed on Monday afternoon. Hughes leaves the club after winning just one of 14 matches so far this season. “We would like to express our thanks to Mark and his staff for all of their efforts during their time at St Mary’s,” a statement read. The search for a new manager to take the club forward is already underway. “First team assistant coach Kelvin Davis will lead the team for Wednesday’s Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.” #SaintsFC can today confirm it…

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Uefa announces introduction of ‘Europa League 2’ from 2021

UEFA Europa League

A third European club competition with the working title ‘Europa League 2’ will be introduced from 2021. One English team will enter the play-offs of the new tournament, while Scottish sides may miss out on Europa League places in a reshuffle. As part of Uefa’s 2021-2024 cycle, the Europa League will be halved in size to 32 teams with an extra play-off round between the group stage and last 16. The new tournament will be played on Thursdays alongside the Europa League. Every country’s champions will still enter the Champions…

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Tottenham face FA inquiry after fan throws banana skin at Aubameyang during fiery derby

Tottenham face a Football Association investigation after one of their supporters was arrested for throwing a banana skin at Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during Arsenal’s 4-2 derby win at the Emirates Stadium. The Arsenal striker had scored the first of his two goals from the penalty spot when he ran to celebrate in front of the travelling supporters. A host of projectiles were thrown at him, with still photography showing that a banana skin was among them. CCTV footage was used to confirm the identify of the fan who threw it and he was arrested. The…

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Postponed Copa Libertadores final to be played at Santiago Bernabeu

Conmebol has confirmed that the postponed second leg of the Copa Libertadores final between River Plate and Boca Juniors will be played at the Bernabéu stadium, more than 6,000 miles away from the original venue, on 9 December. Fans of both sides will be given an equal allocation of tickets. Argentina’s two biggest teams drew the first leg 2-2 at Boca’s ground and were due to play the second match in South America’s equivalent of the Champions League final at River’s El Monumental stadium on Saturday. However, three Boca players, including the former Manchester…

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Manchester United activate one-year extension on David de Gea contract

Manchester United have triggered the one-year option on goalkeeper David de Gea’s contract to avoid any uncertainty over his future heading into the January transfer window, according to a report in the BBC. His contract was due to end in the summer, allowing him to talk to overseas clubs from 1 January and sign a pre-contract agreement. However, United have extended his deal for another year. As manager Jose Mourinho confirmed after Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Young Boys, United are keen to hold on to the keeper, who has won…

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Arsenal’s Europa League match with Vorskla Poltava in doubt after venue switch

Arsenal’s Europa League match against Vorskla Poltava on Thursday is in doubt after the Ukrainian side said they could not guarantee they would be able to fulfil the fixture after a late venue change. Thursday’s fixture was moved from Poltava to Kiev on Tuesday after the Ukrainian parliament voted to introduce martial law in parts of the country, not including either city. Vorskla vice president Oleh Lysak says the club hasn’t received confirmation from the Olympic Stadium that it will host the game. There are also unresolved questions about how…

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Chelsea’s Eden Hazard to miss Europa league clash

Chelsea will be without Eden Hazard as they look to secure first place in their Europa League group. The Blues qualified for the last 32 with a 1-0 win against Bate Borisov earlier this month so there is no need to risk the Belgian forward, who has an ankle injury. Victor Moses – who has only played 176 minutes all season – is out with a back injury. Chelsea need a point from their final two games to win Group L. Hazard should be fit to face Fulham on Sunday but…

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Robbie Keane announces retirement from football

Republic of Ireland’s record goalscorer Robbie Keane has officially confirmed he has hung up his boots days after being unveiled as part of Mick McCarthy’s management team. The 38-year-old netted 68 goals in 146 appearances for the Boys in Green and enjoyed a decorated career that included spells at Wolves, Coventry City, Inter Milan, Leeds United, Tottenham Hotspur (twice), Liverpool, Celtic, West Ham, LA Galaxy, Aston Villa and most recently, ATK in India. In a prolific club career, Keane scored 325 goals in 737 club appearances. The Dubliner was confirmed as…

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Borussia Dortmund bus attacker sentenced to 14 years in prison

A German court has convicted a man on 28 counts of attempted murder during last year’s attack on the Borussia Dortmund bus. The defendant, identified only as Sergej W in line with German privacy rules, was sentenced to 14 years by the Dortmund state court on Tuesday. The Dortmund defender Marc Bartra and a police officer were injured when three explosions hit the team’s bus as it left a hotel for a Champions League home game on 11 April 2017. Prosecutors alleged that W took out a loan to place a bet that Dortmund’s…

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LA Galaxy release Ashley Cole as contract expires

Former England left-back Ashley Cole has been released by LA Galaxy after his contract at the Major League Soccer club expired. The club decided not to exercise an option to re-sign Cole, 37, along with seven other players. The former Arsenal and Chelsea defender joined LA Galaxy in 2016 and was named captain in March, two months after signing a one-year contract extension. Cole scored three goals in 86 appearances for the club, who narrowly missed out on progression to the MLS playoffs this season. Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was one of…

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Chelsea legend Gianluca Vialli reveals year-long cancer treatment

Former Chelsea and Watford manager Gianluca Vialli has revealed he was treated for cancer for almost a year but is now “very well”. The 54-year-old has written about his illness in a new book, and told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that he hid the illness because of “a sense of shame”. “It’s been a year and I’m back to having a beastly physique,” the former Juventus and Chelsea striker said. “But I still have no certainty of how this match will end.” Vialli, who won Serie A and the Champions…

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Eden Hazard drops hints at 2019 Chelsea exit

Eden Hazard has dropped his biggest hint yet he could leave Chelsea at the end of the season. The Belgium international has 18 months remaining on his contract and has been linked with both Real Madrid and Paris St Germain and admits a summer departure from Stamford Bridge is possible. Football punters have also been backing his exit with an offer from betdaq, at odds that are surely likely to only get shorter as the summer nears. Hazard himself has played up his interest in joining Real in the past, saying…

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N’Golo Kante signs new Chelsea deal until 2023

Midfielder N’Golo Kante has signed a new five-year contract with Chelsea running until 2023, the club confirmed on Friday. The France international signed for Chelsea in the summer of 2016, following a debut season in the Premier League which ended with a title medal with Leicester City. “I’m happy to extend my time with Chelsea, it has been two beautiful years and I wish for more to come,” Kante told Chelsea’s official website. “Since I came, I completely improved as a player, challenged myself and got some awards I never…

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Liverpool’s Sadio Mane signs new long-term contract

Liverpool and Senegal forward Sadio Mane has agreed terms on a new long-term deal at Anfield. The 26-year-old joined the club from Southampton on a five-year contract in June 2016 for a fee of £34m. Since then he has gone on to make 89 appearances in all competitions for Jurgen Klopp’s side, scoring 40 goals. “I am very happy to extend my time at Liverpool. It is a great day for me and I have made the best decision in my career,” he said. Talks over the new deal, which…

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Premier League opposed to post-Brexit player quotas

The Premier League has opposed the FA’s post-Brexit proposal limiting the number of non-homegrown players clubs can include in their senior squads. The Premier League, EFL and the SPFL are in agreement that Brexit should not be used “to weaken playing squads in British football, nor to harm clubs’ ability to sign international players”. It is believed the FA is pushing for the number of non-homegrown players to be restricted to 13 per Premier League club. The plan aims to maintain the Premier League’s current quality while offering more opportunities…

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Pep Guardiola escapes with FA warning over referee comments

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has been warned by the Football Association after he spoke about referee Anthony Taylor before the Manchester derby. Guardiola broke FA rules by discussing the suitability of the Cheshire official, who is from Wythenshawe. Although Guardiola backed Taylor and dismissed accusations of potential bias, managers are not permitted to talk about refereeing appointments. Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho was fined for a similar charge in 2016. In November of that year, the United manager was fined £50,000 for talking about Taylor before a game against Liverpool. However, Mourinho…

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Didier Drogba announces retirement from football

Former Chelsea and Ivory Coast forward Didier Drogba has announced his retirement as a player. The 40-year-old scored 164 goals in 381 appearances in two spells at Stamford Bridge, helping them win the Premier League four times and the Champions League in 2012. He also won four FA Cups and three League Cup victories during his time in west London. Drogba had most recently been playing in the USA with Phoenix Rising, the second-tier club at which he is a co-owner. He had been expected to announce his retirement following…

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Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane leave Ireland roles by mutual consent

Manager Martin O’Neill and his assistant Roy Keane have parted company with the Republic of Ireland. The pair took over the reins in 2013 and arguably the most successful period of his time in charge was in 2016, when he guided the Republic to the last 16 of the European Championships. That competition saw them go through their group with a draw against Sweden and a historic win over Italy, before losing 2-1 to a strong France team in the last 16. However, they did not win a competitive game…

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Luis Suarez urges Ousmane Dembele to be ‘more responsible’

Luis Suarez has said Barcelona teammate Ousmane Dembele should be “more responsible” after he reportedly missed training following a marathon nocturnal video gaming session. Dembele was dropped by the Spanish champions for last week’s shock 4-3 home defeat to Real Betis following what coach Ernesto Valverde called a “sporting assessment”. But sports daily AS reports that the Catalans are worried not only that he might be addicted to gaming, but also that it might ruin his career at the club. And Suarez, no stranger to disciplinary issues himself, says that…

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UEFA president dismisses possibility of breakaway Super League

Proposed plans for a breakaway European Super League are “fiction” – according to the two most powerful officials in European football. Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin and Andrea Agnelli, the chairman of the influential European Club Association (ECA) which represents over 200 leading teams, say they are “united” – despite recently leaked documents claiming secret talks had been held over the creation of a new elite league. “The Super League will not happen. It is in a way a fiction now or a dream,” said Ceferin. Agnelli, who is also chairman…

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PSG sweat over Neymar and Mbappe fitness ahead of Liverpool clash

Paris St-Germain face an injury crisis after star forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappe went off injured playing for Brazil and France respectively in Tuesday’s round of international friendlies. Neymar played for only six minutes as Brazil edged out Cameroon in Milton Keynes as he suffered an adductor muscle injury while taking a shot and was replaced by Everton’s Richarlison. Brazil’s team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar said that while a scan was needed to confirm the exact diagnosis, he did not think the injury to Neymar’s adductor muscle would keep him out…

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Gareth Southgate says England have improved since World Cup

Gareth Southgate believes England are a better side than they were when they faced Sunday’s Nations League opponents Croatia at this summer’s World Cup. The two meet at Wembley, four months on from Croatia’s semi-final win in Russia, in a game that will settle both promotion and relegation from Group A4. The winner will top the group and seal a place in the last four, with the loser dropping to the second tier. “We’ve learned with every experience that we’ve had,” said Southgate. “We’ve added more depth to the squad…

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Some ex-players bitter about England’s success, says Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney says some ex-England internationals are struggling to embrace the current side’s success under Gareth Southgate. Rooney’s record-breaking international career finally came to an end on Thursday with his 120th cap against the U.S. national team at Wembley. The DC United striker was a member of England’s much-vaunted ‘golden generation’, who were often criticised for failing to live up to their reputation at major tournaments. Rooney insists he has no bitterness about how his international career panned out, but says it’s a different situation for some of his international teammates.…

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Barcelona confirm Ivan Rakitic hamstring injury

Barcelona have confirmed Ivan Rakitic has been diagnosed with a hamstring injury. Rakitic was substituted midway through the second half of Croatia’s 3-2 Nations League win against Spain, in which Tin Jedvaj scored a late winner. Coach Zlatko Dalic subsequently confirmed Rakitic would not travel with Croatia to London for Sunday’s decisive clash with England. And Barcelona announced on Saturday scans have found Rakitic has a hamstring injury in his right leg, with no timescale given for his recovery. ❗ [INJURY NEWS] @ivanrakitic has a hamstring strain in his right leg. His return…

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