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Ronaldo missed by Portugal, says Santos: ‘No team can be better without the best in the world’ – football news

Portugal boss Fernando Santos dismissed suggestions that Portugal put in an improved performance due to Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence from their 3-2 win over Poland.

Andre Silva and Bernardo Silva scored either side of Kamil Glik’s own goal to seal a second win in the Nations League for Portugal, who top their group.

Ronaldo was not picked for this round of international fixtures, amid rape allegations – which the 33-year-old has strongly denied – following an incident in a Las Vegas hotel in 2009.

But Santos insisted that his side were not better off without the Juventus star.

“No team can be better without the best in the world, it’s not worth talking about who’s not there,” Santos told reporters.

“When Cristiano plays, he is more advanced on the left side and gives us more ability to finish.

“When he plays we have to find a solution to get the ball to him and when he comes inside we have to have a player to cover on the left. This is how we will continue.

“We started well, controlled the ball, but conceded a goal. It could have been a difficult time but the team stayed calm, controlled the rhythms.

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“We scored the third goal and then there was a little issue with losing the ball in dangerous zones. We had a lot of problems.

“Portugal has only one focus, to win, the results in official matches show this.

“We do not get to be a European champion without wanting to win. A few times [we are] more defensive, others more offensive, but you have to defend well, otherwise you will not win.”

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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.

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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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Who does Cristiano Jr play for? How Juventus & Italy youth systems work – football news

Cristiano Ronaldo recently admitted that he would dearly love to see his son, Cristiano Jr., follow in his footsteps.

“He’s very competitive, like me when I was young, and he doesn’t like to lose,” the Portuguese superstar revealed after being unveiled as DAZN’s Global Ambassador.

“He will be like me I am sure, 100 per cent. I hope that with my experience, with my motivation, my goals, I can teach him some stuff, but you know he is going to be whatever he wants.

“I’m always going to support him, but of course I want Cristiano to be a football player because I think he has that drive.

“He has a good body, he’s fast, he has skills, he can shoot, but as you know he’s going to make his decision and he’s so young, I’m not going to pressure him. 

“But that is of course a dream, to see my boy become a football player.”

That dream could well become a reality, with Cristiano Jr. having adapted to Italian football even quicker than his old man.

Indeed, whereas the senior Ronaldo has yet to get off the mark for new club Juventus – despite already having had 23 shots in his first three Serie A games – the eight-year-old Cristiano Jr. racked up a remarkable four goals on his debut for the Bianconeri’s Under-9 team last week against Lucento.

 

A post shared by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

Young Cristiano’s skills have been showcased in numerous social media videos over the past year and he certainly seems to have inherited his father’s fancy footwork and dead-ball accuracy.

The sensational start to his fledgling football career will also generate huge publicity but, as his father knows only too well, progressing through the youth team ranks is no easy task.

Indeed, the path to the first team at a club like Juventus, in a country like Italy, is longer and more arduous than most…


PICCOLI AMICI & PRIMI CALCI


HD Marchisio

The Juventus youth sector is based in Vinovo, just outside of Turin, and is made up of 17 boys’ teams, the youngest of which are known as ‘piccoli amici’ (‘little friends’).

They have to be at least five years of age to participate in games of two against two, or three against three (with or without goalkeepers), which usually last 30 minutes (three periods of 10 minutes). 

As for the ‘primi calci’ (‘first kicks’), the players are aged between six and eight. They play four- or five-a-side games, again for half an hour, but on a slightly larger pitch.

The most famous recent academy graduate to have started out with Juve’s youngest teams is Claudio Marchisio, who joined the club as a seven-year-old and only left this summer, to join Zenit, at the age of 32.


PULCINI


The kids who play for the ‘pulcini’, which literally means ‘chicks’, are aged between eight and 10 years of age when the season starts and line out for three separate teams.

Giuseppe Comito, Stephan Saporito and Silvia Piccini – the first woman to be handed a coaching role by the Old Lady – are in charge of the 2010 Pulcini.

Cristiano Jr., though, has joined the Under-9s, meaning he is managed by David Perri and Fabio Cuccinello.

The Under-11s, meanwhile, are guided by Alessio Gibin, who has arrived from Juve’s football school Sisport, and Alessandro Calcia, a long-time member of the club’s coaching team.

At this level, there are only seven players on each team and the games consist of three periods of 15 minutes

There is no offside but coaches do have the option of calling one time-out per half. 


ESORDIENTI


The Esordienti (‘beginners’ or ‘novices’) are all aged between 10 and 12 when the season kicks off.

At Juve, Claudio Marchese has been brought in this summer to run the Under-12s alongside Pietro Magri, while Massimiliano Marchio and Fabio Moschini have been paired together to look after the 2006 brigade.

The games are nine-a-side and last an hour, featuring three periods of 20 minutes. The pitch is 60-75 metres long and 40-50 metres wide, with offside only coming into play in the final 13m.


GIOVANISSIMI


Juventus Under-15s

The Giovanissimi (‘youngsters’) range from 13 to 15 years of age and are divided into two groups. There are 11 players on each team and the games are 70 minutes long (two halves of 35 minutes).

Juve’s Under-15s (or ‘Giovanissimi B’) will this season be coached by Alberto Lampo and Edoardo Sacchini, while the class of 2004 will be led by the highly-rated Giovanni Valenti.


ALLIEVI


The Allievi (‘rookies’) are aged between 15 and 17 years old and are divided into two groups, who play 11-a-side games featuring two halves of 40 minutes.

The Allievi Regionali are the Under-16s and have been taken over by Paolo Beruatto, with Francesco Pedone once again at the helm of the Allievi Nazionali (Under-17s).


PRIMAVERA


Alessandro Del Piero Juventus

The Primavera (which literally translates as ‘spring’) remains the pinnacle of youth-team football in Italy, the last rung on the professional football ladder for players ranging from anywhere between 15 and 19 years of age.

Giuseppe Furino, Roberto Bettega, Paolo Rossi and Alessandro Del Piero (although he was signed from Padova) all represented the Bianconeri’s Primavera before going on to become legends in Turin.

Francesco Baldini is the man tasked with developing Juve’s next superstar, having been appointed as the new Primavera coach during the summer, succeeding Alessandro Dal Canto at the helm, after the former defender departed during the summer to take charge of Arezzo.


UNDER-23s


Leandro Fernandes Juventus

Always looking for ways to stay ahead of their rivals, Juventus became the first club in Italy to set up an Under-23 team this summer.

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In a bid to provide young players more opportunities to play senior football, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) decided to reintroduce reserve sides into calcio for the 2018-19 campaign but on the proviso that the second-string would not be allowed to play in the same division as the first team.

Juve were the only club to take up this offer and this season their Under-23s will compete in Serie C, the third tier of the Italian game.

The team is coached by Mauro Zironelli and features players such as Leandro Fernandes, who featured for Massimiliano Allegri’s first team during pre-season.

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‘Portugal strong even without world’s number one Ronaldo’ – Santos praises squad depth after Italy win – football news

Fernando Santos believes Portugal will be a different prospect with the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, but says his side will be stronger in the long term for having more options.

Juventus star Ronaldo was absent during the international window, choosing to rest up having played the World Cup and with the domestic season set to truly kick into gear with the return of the Champions League.

In the absence of their talisman, Portugal registered a 1-1 friendly draw against Croatia before starting their Nations League campaign with a 1-0 win over Italy on Monday.

Andre Silva was the difference maker in Lisbon and head coach Santos, while eagerly anticipating the return of his leading marksman, is happy with how his team stepped up without Ronaldo.

“I think my team gets stronger with the best in the world [Ronaldo]. Obviously. We will always be strong with the world’s number one,” he said. 

“But he was not there. Therefore, I think the players who have been called up took advantage of the opportunity to play here, knowing the great confidence I had in them. 

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“They tried to do their best in training and games, they followed our ideas and that is good for Portuguese football. Well, Portuguese football is stronger with more options.

“I believe in this team, if we are in a favourable position, it is because we have more options and we can go further. I believe in this team and I always believed.”

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Silva’s switch to Sevilla is Portugal’s gain – football news

Portugal may not have had Cristiano Ronaldo when they took on Italy in their Nations League opener against Italy, but it did not matter because the European champions had Andre Silva to deliver the goods.

Silva’s stylish goal against the Italians demonstrated the potential he has to go on and become one of the greatest forward of his generation. Indeed his skill and talent has never been doubted since he burst onto the scene with Portuguese giants Porto.

However it was hard to imagine that during his time with AC Milan it was a different story altogether. In Italy Silva struggled. Serie A’s tactical focus and its organised defences made his time on the peninsular a living hell. Like Dennis Bergkamp at Inter, the 22 year old couldn’t find his feet and only managed to find the back of the net twice in 24 appearances.

Worst, his confidence was shattered and was increasingly sidelined by Gennaro Gattuso as the Italian preferred other forwards. Indeed there was a real danger of the former Porto player being a forgotten man and not being able to realise his potential.

Pundits and commentators felt that his move to Italy came too soon and that the teenage talent was not experienced enough to handle the rigours of a top league. In the end it was inevitable that he secured a loan move away from the San Siro to Sevilla.

In his first game for Sevilla, Silva bagged a hat-trick and has now continued his fine form with the national team. Safe to say, it could  not have happened should he have remained in Italy. As Portugal begin to rely less on the aging Cristiano Ronaldo, Silva will most definitely be an important pillar for his country. Let’s also hope that he has some important advice for Ronaldo when plying one’s trade in Italy.

 

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Mancini demands more from Italy forwards after Portugal loss – football news

Roberto Mancini is demanding more from his forwards after they struggled to threaten in Italy’s 1-0 Nations League defeat to Portugal on Monday.

Mancini started with two out-and-out strikers in Lisbon, but neither Simone Zaza nor Ciro Immobile made much of an impact as Portugal dominated.

Portugal scored the only goal of the game through Andre Silva early in the second half, with the 1-0 win the least Fernando Santos’ men deserved.

The result leaves Italy with a single point from two Nations League games, and Mancini accepts their problem lies in attack.

“Unfortunately, we are making errors and need to try to reduce them,” Mancini told Rai Sport after the game.

“But the boys gave everything they had. We have to score goals in order to win, so we must find new solutions and do more in attack.

“In the first half we had a lot more of the ball with the two forwards, as at least they can play between themselves up there, so it can be an important option.”

Mancini made a total of nine changes from the team which drew 1-1 with Poland last time out, but he defended his selections, adamant the only way Italy will improve is if he gives players chances.

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“We have to let them [the young players] grow, there is nothing else to it,” he said.

“When a player is young and he is just starting out at this level, he is going to have some problems, we knew that was going to happen.

“When our fitness levels get better, that will definitely be a positive, but the main issue we need to resolve is not scoring goals.”

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‘Portugal strong with or without Ronaldo’ – Mancini – football news

Italy head coach Roberto Mancini feels Portugal are stronger with Cristiano Ronaldo, though the European champions are still a great team without their star captain.

Ronaldo will miss Portugal’s Nations League opener against Italy in Lisbon on Monday after the five-time Ballon d’Or winner opted to skip this month’s internationals.

The 33-year-old forward – who is yet to open his account for Serie A champions Juventus since arriving from Real Madrid – is Portugal’s most-capped player and all-time leading scorer with 85 goals in 154 appearances.

While Portugal felt Ronaldo’s absence in a 1-1 friendly draw against Croatia, Mancini is not taking the Euro 2016 winners for granted.

“Portugal won the last European Cup. They are stronger when Ronaldo is playing,” Mancini said. “But even without Ronaldo the team is very good with lot of technical players.

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“When Ronaldo will not play football anymore, I hope as far as possible for him, Portugal will try to do something different and this is a good chance for them.

“But they are still a great team, even without Ronaldo.”

Italy’s Nations League campaign opened with a difficult 1-1 draw at home to Poland in Group Three on Friday.

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Dalic calls for Croatia improvement ahead of Nations League clash with Spain – football news

Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic said he knew his side’s first game since the World Cup final would not be their prettiest after a 1-1 draw with Portugal, but demands more against Spain.

Dalic’s men led the European champions after 18 minutes at Estadio Algarve, courtesy of Ivan Perisic’s clinical finish, but Pepe headed Portugal’s equaliser shortly after the half-hour mark in a game the home side dominated.

Portugal attempted 19 shots to Croatia’s five across the duration of the friendly but Dalic defended his side’s somewhat cagey approach.

“I did not even expect beautiful football from our side,” Dalic told reporters. “We played as well as we could.

“It was not easy this first game after everything. I knew it would be so.

“We made six changes, and Portugal is a very good, fast team.

“But that’s the preparation for the European Championship. Selection and training. Let’s see where we are, what individual players can do.”

Croatia were criticised at times during their World Cup campaign for playing drab, negative football and Dalic admitted his players did little to threaten Portugal’s defence.

He demanded more from his side ahead of his team’s Nations League opener in Spain on Tuesday, saying: “We were not aggressive enough.

“In the second half we stood firmly, but we were completely harmless in attack.

“Against Spain, however, we have to be better.”

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Dalic’s opposite number Fernando Santos, whose side will play Italy at home on Monday in the first of their Nations League games, said: “We gave a successful performance that met my expectations.

“We ended up dominating the game and in the first half the most fair thing was to end up winning for the opportunities that we managed to create.

“It was a good game for a friendly, and we played well against a powerful team.”

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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.”

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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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Bale, Ronaldo, Messi & Salah vie for FIFA’s Puskas award – football news

Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Mohamed Salah have all been nominated for the Puskas award.

The prize is given to the best goal scored in a season, and a total of 10 players are set to battle for the gong, with the likes of Benjamin Pavard and Ricardo Quaresma also nominated.

The winner will be decided by a fan poll, and will be announced at a ceremony in London on September 24.

Bale’s goal against Liverpool was beaten out by Cristiano Ronaldo for the Goal of the Champions League Tournament, but that could be flipped on his head at the Puskas Awards.

Indeed, the Welshman scored a staggering overhead kick against Liverpool in the final, while Ronaldo’s bicycle kick against Juventus led to a standing ovation from fans, and ultimately convinced the Portuguese to move to the Italian giants.

 

 

A number of World Cup strikes are included in the nominations, most notably defender Benjamin Pavard, who scored a stunning volleyed effort in France’s brilliant win over Argentina.

Denis Cheryshev’s super strike for Russia against Croatia is also a potential winner, while Messi’s slaloming run and finish against Nigeria is among the voting, along with Quaresma’s sublime outside of the boot effort versus Iran.

Back in the club game, Mohamed Salah, a beaten Champions League finalist, could have had a number of his 44 goals last season included in the nominations, but FIFA have settled on his strike in the Merseyside derby against Everton, where he beat two players before curling an effort into the top corner.

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A number of lesser-known players have also been given a chance to steal the limelight, with Riley McGree perhaps the player who posts the most danger to Ronaldo, Bale and Salah.

The Club Brugge midfielder is currently on loan at Melbourne City, but he scored his goal for Newcastle Jets, netting with a flick of his heel from outside the box against, ironically, the club who now have him on a short-term deal.

Lazaros Christodoulopoulos is also in the running, his world-class free kick from range stunning Olympiakos and his team-mates, and earning himself a move to the team he scored against, while Giorgian de Arrascaeta scored a superb flying scissor kick for Cruzeiro against America MG.

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