‘Germany needs Ozil’ – Wenger hopes playmaker makes international return

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hopes Mesut Ozil can be convinced to return to the Germany team after his retirement following the World Cup. Ozil cited the “treatment he received from the DFB” in his statement following the tournament, in which Germany flopped. Joachim Low’s team were unable to qualify from their group, and suffered humiliating defeats to Mexico and South Korea in Russia. Their poor form has only continued after the Russian showpiece, losing to both the Netherlands – who did not qualify for the World Cup – and world…

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Laurent Koscielny criticises Deschamps and retires from international football

France and Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny has retired from international duty after criticising manager Didier Deschamps for his treatment while recovering from injury. The defender ruptured an Achilles in the Europa League semi-final in May and missed out on France’s World Cup-winning campaign in Russia. Koscielny, 33, said “lots of people disappointed him” during his lay-off. “It feels like a hit on the back of the head,” he said. “When you are in good form, you have lots of friends. When you are injured… after a certain period of time,…

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Gareth Bale out of Wales friendly with Spain, doubtful for Ireland clash

Gareth Bale is out of Wales’ friendly against Spain on Thursday and is “50-50” for the Nations League match with the Republic of Ireland on 16 October. The 29-year-old forward was replaced in the 80th minute of Real Madrid’s 1-0 La Liga loss at Alaves on Saturday. “Gareth has got a little bit of muscle fatigue and he won’t be involved against Spain,” Wales manager Ryan Giggs confirmed. “We don’t want to take any risks and we are monitoring it every day.” Bale sat out training with the Wales squad…

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Thierry Henry on manager shortlist to replace Leonardo Jardim at Monaco

Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry is being considered as a replacement for manager Leonardo Jardim at Monaco. The French club are expected to sack their Portuguese boss, 44, with the team third from bottom in Ligue 1 with six points from nine games. Henry, 41, who is on the shortlist for a similar role at Aston Villa, began his professional career at Monaco and helped them win Ligue 1 in 1997. Jardim led the club to another French title in 2017, their first since 2000. The former Sporting Lisbon manager…

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Christian Eriksen could have chronic abdominal problem, says Hareide

Denmark manager Åge Hareide has suggested that Christian Eriksen’s stomach problem could be a chronic condition in what would be a major blow to an already injury-hit Tottenham Hotspur squad. The 26-year-old has not played since his club’s 2-1 Premier League win at Brighton on 22 September. Spurs had expected Eriksen to return after the international break this week but Hareide said it was unlikely the midfielder would travel for the Nations League match against Ireland on Saturday. “Christian has an abdominal problem … Such an injury can be chronic,…

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Dutch manager Koeman criticises Liverpool’s Van Dijk for being ‘too laid back’

Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk has come under fire from current Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman for being ‘too laid back’. Van Dijk moved to Anfield in a £75million deal from Southampton in January, and almost cost his side when he conceded a late penalty against Manchester City on Sunday. In addition, the Dutchman made an error against France last month which allowed Olivier Giroud to net in a 2-1 defeat for Holland. Now, former Everton boss Koeman, who also managed the defender during their time together at Southampton, has told…

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Borussia Dortmund teenager Jadon Sancho gets England squad call

Borussia Dortmund teenager Jadon Sancho was a surprise selection when England manager Gareth Southgate named a 25-man squad on Thursday for this month’s Nations League matches away to Croatia and Spain. Mason Mount and James Maddison were also given their first senior England call-ups by Southgate as it was announced that the 48-year-old had signed a new contract that will keep him with the national side until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The 18-year-old Sancho was called up having already played in the Champions League for German club Dortmund, with…

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Maradona urges Lionel Messi to quit Argentina and ‘send them to hell’

Diego Maradona has advised Lionel Messi to walk away from the Argentina national team and send everyone “to hell.” Messi has been omitted from the last two Argentina squads in the wake of a fraught World Cup campaign and doubt surrounds the Barcelona star’s international future. Argentina icon and former coach Maradona was asked what advice he would give Messi. “What would I tell Messi? To not come back any more. To retire,” Maradona told Clarin. “The Under-15s lose and it is Messi’s fault, the fixture list in Argentina puts…

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Gareth Southgate set to sign contract to stay as England manager until 2022

Gareth Southgate is set to agree a new four-year contract on improved terms to stay as England’s manager to the end of the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar. The proposed deal will be put before the Football Association’s board on Thursday and, with the national side having achieved a fourth-place finish in Russia in the summer, is likely to be ratified without any issues. Southgate had been relaxed about his contract situation – his deal is due to expire after the 2020 European Championship – and although he has made no secret…

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Modric breaks Ronaldo-Messi dominance to win top FIFA award

Luka Modric ended Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s decade-long domination of football’s individual awards by being crowned FIFA’s best player of the year on Monday. The Real Madrid and Croatia midfielder starred for both club and country as Madrid won a third straight Champions League, and he inspired Croatia to reach the World Cup final for the first time. He beat Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah to the prize. Modric’s success means Ronaldo remains tied with Messi having won FIFA’s award in different guises five times each. At 33, Croatia’s run to the final was…

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Nations League – What is it and do we really need it?

2018 has seen the beginning of a new, not-so-exciting, national competition called Nations League. Many of us were left baffled, wondering what exactly it is and why FIFA felt the need to add it to the calendar of biennial competition. After all, we already have a European Championship every two years and didn’t necessarily feel the need to have another one. UEFA has said to have devised the competition to eliminate meaningless international friendlies”, which make a lot of sense. However, it really seems as if, after teams such as…

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Russia’s Cheryshev cleared of wrongdoing by Spanish anti-doping agency

Spain’s anti-doping agency said Thursday it has closed its probe into Valencia’s Russian striker Denis Cheryshev, one of the revelations of the 2018 World Cup, after it found no evidence he used a banned substance. The investigation stemmed from an interview which the player’s father, Dmitri Cheryshev, gave to Russian publication Sport Weekend in June 2017 in which he said his son had received growth hormone injections when he played at Spanish side Villarreal. Cheryshev, 27, shared a letter from Spain’s anti-doping agency on his official Twitter account which said…

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Leroy Sane withdraws from Germany squad after chat with Joachim Low

Leroy Sane will miss Germany’s friendly with Peru on Sunday after leaving the team’s hotel for “private reasons”, the German FA, DFB, has announced. The 22-year-old who was surprisingly left out of Germany’s World Cup squad in the summer made a seven-minute cameo in his side’s Uefa Nations League 0-0 opener against world champions France on Thursday. Sane has endured a difficult few months since being nominated for various individual Premier League awards at the end of last season and has lost his place in Manchester City’s starting XI. Germany confirmed Sane…

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Raheem Sterling to miss England games against Spain and Switzerland

Raheem Sterling is set to miss England’s first fixtures since the World Cup after the winger withdrew from the squad preparing to face Spain in the Nations League opener and a friendly against Switzerland with a back injury. The Manchester City forward, who has started the season in fine form including the first in his club’s 2-1 win over Newcastle at the weekend, will remain at his club for treatment, with England manager Gareth Southgate not intent on calling up a replacement. The other 22 players reported for duty at…

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Ronaldo, Modric and Salah nominated for FIFA The Best Men’s Player of the Year award

Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Mohamed Salah have emerged as the final three nominees for FIFA’s The Best Men’s Player of the Year award. Ronaldo and Modric both led Real Madrid to a third consecutive Champions League title in May while Salah scored 44 goals in a record breaking debut season for Liverpool. The final three means there’s no place for Lionel Messi whose Barcelona side won LaLiga last term but crashed out in the quarterfinals of the Champions League to Roma who overturned a 4-1 first leg defeat. Croatia…

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Arsenal’s Mustafi faces potential ban for goal celebration

Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi could be fined by the FA after celebrating by making the shape of the Albanian double-headed eagle against Cardiff City. The 26-year-old defender opened the scoring at the Cardiff City Stadium after rising highest to nod home Granit Xhaka’s corner and celebrated by making the political gesture. Xhaka and Switzerland team-mate Xherdan Shaqiri were both punished by FIFA at the World Cup for the celebration during their 2-1 win over Serbia. The Swiss duo could have faced match bans, but instead both were fined £7,600 ($9,850) for making the…

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South Korea reach Asian Games final to boost Son’s hopes of military exemption

South Korea defeated Vietnam 3-1 to reach the final of the ongoing Asian Games in Indonesia to boost Son Heung-min’s chances of avoiding compulsory military service. Under South Korean law all men have to carry out 21 months of military service before the age of 28 and the Tottenham winger, who is 26, had been running out of time. However, an Olympic medal earns sportsmen an exemption, as does winning the Asian Games. So if South Korea, the defending champions, can beat either Japan or United Arab Emirates in Saturday’s final,…

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Ilkay Gundogan mounts impassioned defence of Ozil in Germany row

Ilkay Gundogan has offered his support to Mesut Ozil after his claims of racism in the German national football set-up. Ozil announced last month that he would no longer play for Germany so long as he felt like a victim of “racism and disrespect” from the German Football Association. The Arsenal midfielder was part of Germany’s failed World Cup squad this summer, with his participation in the tournament questioned by many after an image emerged of him posing with controversial Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Gundogan, who also posed for the pictures, and…

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Mohamed Salah reignites feud with Egypt FA over image rights

Mohamed Salah breathed new life into a dispute with Egypt’s football association by accusing them of ignoring his complaints over image rights. The 26-year-old Liverpool forward was upset in April when his image was used to promote Egypt’s official sponsor WE; Salah has a sponsorship deal with Vodafone. “It’s normal that a football federation seeks to solve the problems of its players so they can feel comfortable,” Salah wrote on Twitter. “But in fact, what I see is exactly the opposite. “It is not normal that my messages and my lawyer’s messages…

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Argentina coach Scaloni unsure if Lionel Messi will play for his country again

Argentina interim manager Lionel Scaloni has stated he doesn’t know if Lionel Messi will play for the national team again. Messi had a difficult summer with Argentina at the World Cup where they crashed out at the hands of eventual winners France at the Round of 16, and indicated he would not be available for the September friendlies against Guatemala and Colombia or indeed for the rest of the year, according to a report in Clarin newspaper. #SelecciónMayor Lionel Scaloni dio a conocer la lista de convocados para enfrentar a…

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Victor Moses retires from international football with Nigeria

Chelsea winger Victor Moses on Wednesday announced his shock retirement from international football with Nigeria. Moses made his debut for the Super Eagles in a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in February 2012 away in Rwanda. The debut indeed took a year before it happened due to a prolonged delay by FIFA in confirming his international switch of allegiance having already represented England at youth level, and a late minute withdrawal from a pair of international friendlies in 2011. The 27-year-old stated his desire to focus on his club career…

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Belgium vs England – Third Place Playoff – Preview, Predictions and Betting Tips

Sadly, Football is not coming home, but the Three Lions are not yet done in the FIFA World Cup. England will face other losing semi-finalists Belgium in the third-place play-off at Saint Petersburg Stadium on Saturday. England lost to Croatia in the extra time of their semi-final in a heart-breaking manner. Following an early goal from Kieran Trippier, England looked set for their first World Cup final after 1966. However, goals from Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic dumped England out of the competition. Despite their exit, the English side has…

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Luis Enrique named Spain coach on two-year deal

Spain have named Luis Enrique as their new head coach after Fernando Hierro stepped down from temporary charge following their last-16 World Cup exit to Russia, the Spanish Football Federation (SFF) announced on Monday. Enrique, who has been on a sabbatical since leaving Barcelona last year, signed a two-year contract. Spain sacked Julen Lopetegui just two days before their opening World Cup game against Portugal in Sochi because he took the Real Madrid job. Spain’s newly-installed sporting director, José Francisco Molina, said: “We need a successful coach, who’s modern and who knows the game…

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Paulinho rejoins Guangzhou Evergrande on loan 11 months after Barcelona move

Paulinho has sealed a loan move back to Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande just 11 months after joining Barcelona for €40 million, both clubs have announced. The Chinese Super League champions have an option to buy after the expiration of the loan deal. Paulinho’s move to Barcelona raised many eyebrows last summer and he was seen as a trailblazer for players who moved to China and could find their way back to European top flight football. He played 49 times during his solitary season at the Camp Nou scoring 9 goals in…

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Sweden vs England – Preview, Betting Tips and Predictions

England registered a rare penalty shootout win over Colombia to book a last-eight meeting with Sweden at Samara Arena on Saturday. It was the only second shootout win for the Three Lions in eight attempts in major tournaments since 1990. England are infamous for their inefficiency in shootouts, and their fans would argue that the win over Colombia proves that the footballing gods are with them this time. Maybe, it’s coming home. The English are on the verge of reaching the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1990,…

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