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I’m no wizard – Mancini seeks patience for Italy revival – football news

Italy boss Roberto Mancini has asked fans to be patient with him and the national side while he seeks to reverse their recent poor fortunes, stressing that he cannot improve them like a wizard.

The Azzurri ended a five-match winless streak on Sunday with a last-gasp 1-0 triumph away to Poland in the UEFA Nations League to keep their distant hopes of a spot in next year’s finals alive.

Cristiano Biraghi snatched the winner late on after Italy looked like they would be frustrated, having dominated their lacklustre hosts throughout.

Mancini was impressed with his team’s performance throughout and was adamant that they were fully deserving of the three points they picked up, though he still felt the need to temper the expectations of supporters following their first away win since a 1-0 victory against Albania over a year ago.

“We dominated,” the 53-year-old told Rai Sport. “We should have scored earlier and it wouldn’t have been fair if the match had finished 0-0.

“All the boys gave it their best. We know it’ll take time, but this win is an excellent one. We can improve a lot, but we must have patience.

“This is football. You suddenly get a goal right at the end, a goal you deserved, but the game could have also ended scoreless, as it was for some time.

Article continues below

“A new era has already started, but there is no such thing as wizards.”

Defeat for Poland condemned them to relegation from League A Group 3 in the Nations League while Portugal remain at the top of the table two points clear of Italy with a game in hand.

Mancini’s side will host the European champions next month in the final international break of the year, before they close out 2018 with a friendly against the USA, knowing that their fate will be out of their own hands.

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Asensio, Balotelli and the winners and losers of international week – football news


WINNER: MARCUS RASHFORD


Marcus Rashford England 2018-19

Many England players emerged from the World Cup with their reputations enhanced. It must be said that Marcus Rashford wasn’t one of those.

While the country fell in love with the likes of Kieran Trippier and Harry Maguire, Rashford was somewhat on the fringes and did not contribute a lot to the English charge to the semi-finals.

He has however started the new cycle in fine form.

England may have lost against Spain on Saturday in their UEFA Nations League opener but Rashford was bright and busy, scoring the opener and serving a reminder of his capabilities to the onlooking Jose Mourinho.

He was efficient in front of goal on Tuesday as well when England beat Switzerland in a friendly at the King Power Stadium, scoring the only goal of the game.

It’s been a difficult start to the Premier League season for Rashford – and indeed for Manchester United as a whole – but goals in back-to-back games for the first time for his country will do his confidence the world of good.


WINNER: GEORGE WEAH


George Weah

Some 15 years after his retirement, the president of Liberia George Weah made an incredible international comeback in a 2-1 home defeat to Nigeria.

Weah, Africa’s only Ballon d’Or winner, was to be honoured at the game in the Samuel Doe Stadium in Monrovia where his legendary No. 14 shirt was to be retired.

Those in attendance were taken by surprise when Weah – now aged 51 – led the Lone Stars out with the captain’s armband instead of merely watching from the stands.

He lasted an impressive 79 minutes and by all accounts put in quite a shift despite a paunch reflecting his years of good living. James Debbah – one of Weah’s former international team-mates – also played aged 48.

There are repercussions in Nigeria where many are demanding answers on why the NFF agreed to send a senior representative team to play in a glorified friendly.

For the president – elected in a runoff last December – it was a fond farewell on the same night his son Timothy played for the United States against Mexico.


WINNER: RICHARLISON


Richarlison Brazil El Salvador Friendly 11092018

A strong start to the season for new club Everton preceded a first call-up to the Brazil squad for Richarlison, who took Pedro’s place late in the day.

And having been handed the legendary No. 9 shirt by Tite, the £50 million man made quite the impression on his first start for his country.

He won an early penalty against El Salvador in a Stateside friendly – which Neymar converted – before Richarlison stole the show himself in front of goal.

Brazil won 5-0 – to add to their 2-0 win last week over the United States – and Richarlison provided the pick of the bunch.

He scored in either half; the first a curler into the top corner and the second a powerful effort from the edge of the box.

With that performance and those goals, he will have served notice of his abilities to Tite, who is plotting the next stage of Brazil’s cycle after a disappointing World Cup.


WINNER: MARCO ASENSIO


Marco Asensio Spain 2018-19

Long heralded as one of the coming forces in world football, this is expected to be the season Marco Asensio stands among the elites.

He has won two Champions Leagues with Real Madrid but now with Cristiano Ronaldo gone he will step up to become one of the European champions’ key players.

And for his country too, Asensio looks ready to become a superstar.

Spain have won six points from six in their opening Nations League fixtures and on Tuesday night Asensio ran the game against Croatia.

The World Cup semi-finalists were smashed 6-0 by Spain with Asensio providing three assists as well as a stunning long-range strike of his own.


LOSERS: ITALY AND BALOTELLI


Balotelli Italy Poland

This was supposed to mark the start of a new era under Roberto Mancini.

The 2006 World Cup winners failed to qualify for this year’s tournament and so a new regime took over. Italy, however, look scarcely better for swapping Giampiero Ventura for the former Inter manager.

They were lacklustre and out of ideas in a 1-1 draw against Poland before succumbing to a 1-0 loss against Portugal on Sunday. 

Alarmingly, they have won a total of two matches in a year of football – a World Cup qualifier against Albania and a friendly against Saudi Arabia. They are a team bereft of confidence and ability.

One thing they have been lacking is firepower in front of goal. Mario Balotelli being sent back to his club for being a reported 15 kilograms over weight will not have helped the cause and they are already looking at Nations League relegation.


LOSERS: IRELAND AND ROY KEANE


Roy Keane Ireland

Controversy is raging in Ireland with assistant manager Roy Keane predictably at the centre of things.

A leaked WhatsApp voice message from left-back Stephen Ward detailed two extraordinary training camp rows between Keane and Irish internationals Jonathan Walters and Harry Arter. It has led to calls for Keane’s sacking given the manner in which he addressed the players and brought questions about exactly what it is he does in Martin O’Neill’s regime.

That overshadowed things to such an extent that it was easy to forget Ireland were hammered in their opening Nations League fixture against Wales before giving up a late draw away to Poland in a friendly.

The Irish public has simply been turned off the national team given the poor levels of performance in recent games and the lack of anything approaching a shake-up – in the boardroom, the dugout or on the pitch.

The rot has well and truly set in.


LOSERS: ICELAND


Iceland Belgium Nations League

The surprise team of Euro 2016 have long since shed their underdog tag and are struggling with life at a higher level.

Article continues below

They qualified well for the World Cup but could not get out of their group. Now their failings are being exposed in the Nations League.

They were annihilated 6-0 by Switzerland on matchday one before the boos rang out in Reykjavik on matchday two as Belgium ran riot with a 3-0 victory.

It was their first home defeat since June 2013 and a demoralising one at that given they were in the game until Eden Hazard scored from the penalty spot.

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Poland vs Republic of Ireland: TV channel, live stream, squad news & preview – football news

Republic of Ireland travel to Poland for an international friendly on Tuesday evening at the Stadion Miejski Wroclaw.

The two sides last played each other in Euro 2016 qualification, with the most recent fixture seeing Poland defeat Ireland 2-1. 

Ireland’s first UEFA Nation’s League game against Wales ended in 4-1 thrashing, with their only goal coming from Millwall’s Shaun Williams. Meanwhile, Poland’s trip to Italy ended in a 1-1 draw. 

Game Poland vs Republic of Ireland
Date Tuesday, September 11
Time 7:45pm BST / 2:45pm ET

TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch


In the United States (US) the game will available to stream live online using ESPN+.

US TV channel Online stream
N/A ESPN+

The game can be watched live on television in the United Kingdom (UK) via Sky Sports Mix or can be streamed live online using Sky Go.

UK TV channel Online stream
Sky Sports Mix Sky Go

Squads & Team News


Position Poland squad
Goalkeepers Szczesny, Skorupski, Fabianski
Defenders Pietrzak, Reca, Kaminski, Bednarek, Rybus, Kedziora, Glik, Bereszynski, Dzwigala
Midfielders Goralski, Krychowiak, Klich, Blaszczykowski, Makuszewski, Zielinski, Szymanski, Kurzawa, Frankowski, Kadzior, Romanczuk
Forwards Milik, Lewandowski, Piatek

Captain Robert Lewandowki starts on the bench and will earn his 100th senior cap for the country if he is subbed in. 

Poland’s starting XI: Szczesny, Kedziora, Glik, Kaminski, Reca, Blaszczykowski, Krychowiak, Linetty, Kurzawa, Milik, Piatek

Position Ireland squad
Goalkeepers Randolph, McDermott, Doyle
Defenders Ward, Coleman, Duffy, Clark, Christie, Keogh, Long, Doherty, Egan, Stevens
Midfielders Hendrick, Meyler, O’Dowda, Hourihane, Judge, Horgan, Williams
Forwards Walters, Burke, O’Brien, Robinson

A number of players are absent from Martin O’Neill’s squad including captain Seamus Coleman who has returned back to Everton with a foot injury.

Other players absent from tonight’s game include Robbie Brady, Shane Long, James McClean and Alan Browne, who have all been ruled out with injuries.

Ireland’s starting XI: Randolph, Christie, Keogh, Egan, Long, Stevens, Hendrick, Williams, O’Dowda, Robinson, O’Brien


Betting & Match Odds


Home side Poland are considered 4/7 favourites to win by bet365, while Ireland’s chances of winning are rated 6/1. A draw between the teams is priced at 3/1. 


Match Preview


Shaun Williams, Republic of Ireland

Ireland travel to Poland to take part in a friendly following on from both sides Nations League games, ending in a defeat for the Boys in Green and a draw for the Eagles 

Despite the 4-1 defeat to Wales, Ireland’s full-back Enda Stevens believes that they will be able to bounce back from the loss,

“Thursday was obviously disappointing. Heads were down,” Stevens told reporters after the game on Thursday.

“It was an all-round tough night. Every time they went forward they seemed to score and it’s a tough ask to come back from 3-0 down at half-time but we’ve got to get over it as quickly as possible.”

Polish forward Lewandowski could earn his 100th senior cap for the national team if playing tonight but manager Jerzy Brzeczek has warned the squad not to start celebrating too soon. 

Article continues below

“Even thinking that you can win against Ireland without full engagement could be a huge mistake,” Brzeczek said ahead of tonight’s game. 

“We have huge respect and we know that 90 minutes of a very good game will decide who is going to leave the pitch as a winner.”

Poland are the favourites to win tonight and will be keen to win after a disappointing World Cup where they finished bottom of their group. 

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‘Zielinski chased me around the pitch’ – Jorginho has last laugh in Italy draw – football news

Jorginho was glad to have shaken Piotr Zielinski by the time he secured a 1-1 draw for Italy at home to Poland in the Nations League.

Roberto Mancini’s Italy were playing their first game since watching the 2018 World Cup from a distance and fell behind when in-form Napoli midfielder Zielinski profited from a Jorginho error and slammed home Robert Lewandowski’s 40th-minute cross.

Zielinski had already drawn a sharp save from Gianluigi Donnarumma by that stage but his defensive work, seeking to disrupt former club colleague Jorginho’s playmaking from deep, also caught the eye and irritated the recipient.

The 24-year-old made way for Karol Linetty midway through the second half and in the 78th minute Jorginho nonchalantly dispatched a penalty after Jakub Blaszczykowski brought down Federico Chiesa.

“Zielinski chased me around the pitch the whole time and wasn’t really paying attention to the rest of it,” the Chelsea midfielder told Rai Sport.

“In the second half he came out because he could not take it anymore and those who replaced him continued to play only on me.

“When you have a man who does not watch the game and only looks at you, you can only try to make room for your team-mates.

“I tried to talk, to give directions to my team-mates about how to move on the field. It was not the best game, but we have to be calm and keep playing.”

Jorginho again unfurled the skip-step penalty technique he used to open his Chelsea account against Huddersfield Town last month, doing so nervelessly.

“I had zero fear. I was confident. I knew the team needed to equalise,” he added.

“If you go there with fear, you’ve got more chance of making a mistake.”

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September 2018 international break: Every match, kick-off times & competition details – football news

Following a month of World Cup action over the summer, the first international break of the 2018-19 season has arrived.

Premier League and Ligue 1 teams have so far played out four fixtures each, La Liga and Serie A three, while the new Bundesliga campaign is only two games in as we head into a 10-day rest period.

The 2018 September break sees the introduction of the new, bi-yearly UEFA Nations League, where 55 teams are split into four leagues (A-D), each consisting of four groups.

The winners of Group B, C and D will win promotion, while those who finish bottom of Groups A, B and C will be relegated. Then, in June 2019, the four league winners of Group A will contest the semi-finals, a third-place play-off and a final for the title of Nations League champions.

The England national team will meet for the first time since their World Cup semi-final run at the Russia World Cup ahead of their opener against Spain at Wembley on Saturday, before travelling to face Switzerland in a friendly on Tuesday.

And while manager Gareth Southgate has explained the tournament format to his Three Lions squad, not all of them are yet familiar with the system.

“It is quite confusing – I don’t know what you guys think of it?” said Harry Maguire when asked for his opinion of the new concept. “The boss tried to explain it to us the best he could the other day. I think he has got his head around it now, but it took a lot of studying.

“It is confusing, but we are trying to get our heads round it. For us players, we just go into each game trying to win it and see where it takes us. So we will see after the game.”

Article continues below

There are also a host of friendlies across the international break, as well as the second round of fixtures from the African Cup of Nations qualifying.

Goal runs through a day-by-day guide of which games are being played before the return of domestic football next weekend.


WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 5


Fixture Competition Time (UK)
Slovakia vs Denmark Friendly 19:00
Fiji vs Solomon Islands Friendly 07:30

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 6


Fixture Competition Time (UK)
Germany vs France UEFA Nations League 19:45
Czech Republic vs Ukraine UEFA Nations League 19:45
Wales vs Republic of Ireland UEFA Nations League 19:45
Slovenia vs Bulgaria UEFA Nations League 19:45
Norway vs Cyprus UEFA Nations League 19:45
Kazakhstan vs Georgia UEFA Nations League 15:00
Armenia vs Liechtenstein UEFA Nations League 17:00
Latvia vs Andorra UEFA Nations League 19:45
Gibraltar vs Macedonia UEFA Nations League 19:45
Austria vs Sweden Friendly 19:45
Netherlands vs Peru Friendly 19:45
Portugal vs Croatia Friendly 19:45
Trinidad and Tobago vs UAE Friendly 11:00
Bahrain vs Philippines Friendly 15:00
Kyrgyzstan vs Palestine Friendly 15:00
Uzbekistan vs Syria Friendly 16:00
Jordan vs Lebanon Friendly 17:00

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 7


Fixture Competition Time (UK)
Italy vs Poland UEFA Nations League 19:45
Turkey vs Russia UEFA Nations League 19:45
Albania vs Israel UEFA Nations League 19:45
Lithuania vs Serbia UEFA Nations League 19:45
Romania vs Montenegro UEFA Nations League 19:45
Azerbaijan vs Kosovo UEFA Nations League 17:00
Faroe Islands vs Malta UEFA Nations League 19:45
Japan vs Chile Friendly 11:00
Korea Republic vs Costa Rica Friendly 12:00
Qatar vs China Friendly 17:00
Scotland vs Belgium Friendly 19:45
Chinese Taipei vs Malaysia Friendly 12:00
Singapore vs Mauritius Friendly 12:30

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 8


Fixture Competition Time (UK)
Switzerland vs Iceland UEFA Nations League 17:00
England vs Spain UEFA Nations League 19:45
Northern Ireland vs Bosnia-Herzegovina UEFA Nations League 14:00
Finland vs Hungary UEFA Nations League 17:00
Estonia vs Greece UEFA Nations League 19:45
Belarus vs San Marino UEFA Nations League 17:00
Luxembourg vs Moldova UEFA Nations League 19:45
Comoros vs Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 13:00
Seychelles vs Nigeria Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 13:30
South Africa vs Libya Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 14:00
Kenya vs Ghana Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 14:00
Uganda vs Tanzania Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 14:00
Namibia vs Zambia Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 15:00
Equatorial Guinea vs Sudan Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 16:00
Gabon vs Burundi Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 16:00
Mozambique vs Guinea-Bissau Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 16:00
Gambia vs Algeria Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 17:30
Mauritania vs Burkina Faso Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 18:00
Egypt vs Niger Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 19:00
Morocco vs Malawi Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 21:00
United States vs Brazil Friendly 00:30
Venezuela vs Colombia Friendly 01:00
Ecuador vs Jamaica Friendly 01:00
Mexico vs Uruguay Friendly 03:00
Argentina vs Guatemala Friendly 04:00

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 9


Fixture Competition Time (UK)
France vs Netherlands UEFA Nations League 19:45
Ukraine vs Slovakia UEFA Nations League 14:00
Denmark vs Wales UEFA Nations League 17:00
Bulgaria vs Norway UEFA Nations League 17:00
Cyprus vs Slovenia UEFA Nations League 19:45
Georgia vs Latvia UEFA Nations League 17:00
Macedonia vs Armenia UEFA Nations League 17:00
Liechtenstein vs Gibraltar UEFA Nations League 19:45
Madagascar vs Senegal Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 12:30
South Sudan vs Mali Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 14:00
Etheopia vs Sierra Leone Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 14:00
Swaziland vs Tunisia Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 14:00
Lesotho vs Cape Verde Islands Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 14:00
Rwanda vs Ivory Coast Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 14:30
Angola vs Botswana Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 16:00
Togo vs Benin Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 17:00
Liberia vs Congo DR Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 17:00
Guinea va Central African Republic Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying 17:30
Germany vs Peru Friendly 19:45
Lebanon vs Oman Friendly 17:00

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 10


Fixture Competition Time (UK)
Portugal vs Italy UEFA Nations League 19:45
Sweden vs Turkey UEFA Nations League 19:45
Scotland vs Albania UEFA Nations League 19:45
Serbia vs Romania UEFA Nations League 19:45
Montenegro vs Lithuania UEFA Nations League 19:45
Andorra vs Kazakhstan UEFA Nations League 19:45
Kosovo vs Faroe Islands UEFA Nations League 19:45
Malta vs Azerbaijan UEFA Nations League 19:45
Russia vs Czech Republic Friendly 17:00
Saudi Arabia vs Bolivia Friendly 18:15

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 11


Fixture Competition Time (UK)
Iceland vs Belgium UEFA Nations League 19:45
Spain vs Croatia UEFA Nations League 19:45
Bosnia-Herzegovina vs Austria UEFA Nations League 19:45
Hungary vs Greece UEFA Nations League 19:45
Finland vs Estonia UEFA Nations League 19:45
San Marino vs Luxembourg UEFA Nations League 19:45
Moldova vs Belarus UEFA Nations League 19:45
Japan vs Costa Rica Friendly 11:00
Korea Republic vs Chile Friendly 12:00
Uzbekistan vs Iran Friendly 16:00
Poland vs Republic of Ireland Friendly 19:45
Northern Ireland vs Israel Friendly 19:45
England vs Switzerland Friendly 20:00
Singapore vs Fiji Friendly 12:30
Jordan vs Oman Friendly 17:00

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 12


Fixture Competition Time (UK)
Colombia vs Argentina Friendly 01:00
United States vs Mexico Friendly 01:30
Brazil vs El Salvidor Friendly 01:30
Panama vs Venezuela Friendly 02:00
Ecuador vs Guatemala Friendly 02:00

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