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Fri, 22 Mar 2019 14:09:33 GMT
Football | The Guardian
Football news, results, fixtures, blogs, podcasts and comment on the Premier League, European and World football from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice [ + ]
Fri, 22 Mar 2019 14:00:06 GMT
‘Everyone seems a bit happier’: Mick McCarthy starts again with Ireland
On Saturday in Gibraltar, Mick McCarthy begins his second spell as Republic of Ireland manager. A nation wants and needs him to do well

No matter how much Mick McCarthy says it is not about completing unfinished business, his second coming as Republic of Ireland manager demands a happier ending than his first.

Nearly 17 years ago, after “fighting a war I never wanted” with Roy Keane and suffering a bad start to the qualifiers for Euro 2004, McCarthy recognised he was still being scalded by the fires of rage ignited by the conflict with Keane so terminated his six-year reign. On Saturday, in Gibraltar, he starts anew, with time and increased exposure to Keane having softened many people’s views of McCarthy. A nation wants and needs him to do well.

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Fri, 22 Mar 2019 12:30:57 GMT
Peter Beardsley charged by FA with using racist language towards youth players

Peter Beardsley has been charged by the Football Association with using racist and abusive language towards youth team players during his time in charge of Newcastle Under-23s.

“It is alleged Mr Beardsley used abusive and/or insulting words towards Newcastle United FC Under 23 players, which were contrary to FA Rule E3(1), whilst employed as their coach,” said a statement from the FA.

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Fri, 22 Mar 2019 13:59:07 GMT
The Joy of Six: classic Germany v Netherlands encounters | Paul Wilson
From the 1974 World Cup final to a Nations League hammering, we pick half a dozen great matches between the two giants

Historians disagree over the extent to which the five-year occupation of the Netherlands by Germany in the second world war was responsible for the enmity that built up between the nations, but what is certain is that this World Cup final was the first competitive meeting between the teams since 1945. The Netherlands side featuring Johan Cruyff was still an emerging force, they did not really expect to beat their all-powerful opponents, although they did believe the English referee Jack Taylor was conned by Bernd Hölzenbein for the penalty that allowed West Germany to equalise, before Gerd MĂŒller scored the winning goal.

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Fri, 22 Mar 2019 12:00:06 GMT
Inside Stuttgart: a fallen giant in search of a fresh-faced identity

The five-times Bundesliga champions find themselves fighting relegation and it is up to former midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger to rescue them, in the short and long term

It was proving to be a miserable Monday in Stuttgart. Overcast but cool conditions had given way to snow and then, around 10am, howling winds. Yet the mood among the locals was bright and upbeat, which was hardly surprising given events of the previous afternoon.

VfB Stuttgart 5 Hannover 1. A first victory in nine games for Markus Weinzierl’s side as well as their biggest of the season by some distance. Crucially, it was against fellow relegation candidates, fuelling hopes that Die Roten may stay up after all. Cue smiles and laughter among the 60 or so people who had braved the wintery weather in order to watch the players go through an open-to-public warm-down session at the club’s training base, located on the east bank of the river Neckar and in the shadow of the 60,000-seater Mercedes-Benz Arena, named after the car manufacturer which, like Porsche, is a source of great pride as well as employment in the city.

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Fri, 22 Mar 2019 10:59:35 GMT
The forgotten story of 
 the striker saved by football in Saddam’s Iraq
Sahib Abbas was locked up, tortured and forced to cope with the state-organised murder of his brother and four friends but thrived in remarkable circumstances

Just as he had done after every game, Sahib Abbas took the journey back to Karbala by bus. This time, however, there was no sign of his brother Fadhil. An amputee who had lost part of a leg during the Gulf War, his hobbling brother liked to quiz Sahib about the result as they made the 200-yard walk home, rejoicing with him when they won and commiserating when they lost. But, four matches into Sahib’s fledgling career with the top-division side Salahaddin, Fadhil was nowhere to be seen.

“They came and took him a week ago,” explained Sahib’s mother when he arrived home. “They” being the security officers. It had been only few months since Saddam Hussein ordered his army to invade neighbouring Kuwait before withdrawing under the pressure of the US-led coalition. President George Bush called on the Iraqi people to take matters into their own hands and force Saddam to step down. Along with his two brothers and a group of friends, the teenage Sahib would go out in his father’s Toyota Land Cruiser and attack checkpoints held by the army. But then the government declared a complete victory and Sahib was forced to flee for his life.

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Fri, 22 Mar 2019 10:04:04 GMT
PSG criticise Met Police and Chelsea after fans banned from women’s match
‱ Police claimed ‘knives and knuckledusters’ found on coach
‱ ‘The authorities have brought no evidence of wrongdoing’

Paris Saint-Germain have criticised the Metropolitan Police and Chelsea after several of their supporters were turned away from Thursday night’s Champions League tie at Kingsmeadow.

A 2-0 victory for Emma Hayes’s side was marred by events beforehand when a group of PSG’s “ultra” supporters were turned away from the ground before kick-off, with police later confirming reports that they had confiscated knives and knuckledusters when they searched the fans’ coach. One man was also arrested for possession of a Class A substance but rather than condemn their supporters, a statement from PSG on Friday appeared to blame the police and Chelsea for not allowing them to watch the game.

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Fri, 22 Mar 2019 09:07:44 GMT
Former Sunderland player Adam Johnson released from prison

The disgraced former England international Adam Johnson has been released from prison after serving three years for child sex offences.
The former Sunderland and Manchester City winger was sentenced to six years for engaging in sexual activity with a 15-year-old fan in 2016.
Witnesses said Johnson’s father, Dave Johnson, was seen driving a Mercedes people carrier with blacked-out rear windows out of HMP Moorland, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in the early hours of Friday morning.
The vehicle was followed out of the prison complex by a police van. The same car was later spotted arriving at Johnson’s mansion in Castle Eden, County Durham.
Friday’s release comes exactly halfway through the player’s six-year sentence.
Johnson admitted kissing the girl but denied her claim that he touched her inside her pants and that she then performed oral sex on him.
A jury found him guilty of sexual activity with a child in relation to “digital penetration” but cleared him of the same offence relating to the oral sex.
He had already admitted another charge of sexual activity with a child in relation to kissing and also of grooming the girl.
The judge said Johnson had lied repeatedly, referring to the controversy over whether he delayed his guilty pleas to enable him to continue his ÂŁ60,000-a-week career with Sunderland.
As a sex offender, Johnson will have to register his address and bank details with police and inform officers of any intention to travel abroad.
The children’s services department from the local council may also carry out risk assessments in relation to Johnson’s daughter Ayla, and could prevent Johnson from spending time alone with his daughter.

Speaking briefly at Johnson’s home, his father agreed it was good to have him back. Mr Johnson said his son may make a statement later and asked reporters to leave.

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Thu, 21 Mar 2019 22:30:21 GMT
Gareth Southgate lauds England’s youthful promise and creative options
‱ Hudson-Odoi and Sancho impress before Czech Republic game
‱ On England’s creative options: ‘We’ve got loads’

For Gareth Southgate it was a reminder that, however well he might have trained his players, however good the preparations have felt and reassuring it is to be back together, the life of the England manager is rarely straightforward.

Related: Declan Rice apologises over apparent support for IRA on social media

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Fri, 22 Mar 2019 08:30:33 GMT
Juan Fernando Quintero: a reminder of the glory days of football's No10

The Colombian tore his ACL last weekend. He brings back memories of a time when the game cared less about fitting players into boxes

In recent years, football has attempted to eliminate subjectivity. The rise of VAR is the most obvious example, but we also see players’ movements tracked by GPS and statistics such as expected goals abound. The pure No10 – a player trusted to organize chaos and produce results from the unknown – is a casualty of our era.

Until Sunday, Juan Fernando Quintero was one of the few remaining creators still allowed to work at his own pace. He was at the top of his form last year, lifting River Plate to their fourth Copa Libertadores title. But just before halftime in a 3-0 win over Independiente last weekend, he tore his ACL as he tried to beat the opposing fullback. His career is by no means over but the 26-year-old will likely miss the rest of the season and this summer’s Copa America.

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Thu, 21 Mar 2019 20:10:02 GMT
Alex McLeish confident of ‘bouncing back’ after Kazakhstan debacle
‱ Scotland manager brushes off questions over future
‱ ‘I’ll continue doing my job ... I have to bounce back’

The Scotland manager, Alex McLeish, said he was “pretty good at bouncing back” as he brushed off questions over his future in the wake of his side’s 3-0 defeat in Kazakhstan.

McLeish’s team got their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign off to the worst possible start after losing two goals in the opening 10 minutes. They were three down before they forced the home goalkeeper into his only two saves, just before the hour.

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Thu, 21 Mar 2019 14:00:26 GMT
Sponsors queue up behind fans in huge week for women’s football | Eni Aluko
Hot on the heels of more than 60,000 attending a game in Spain, Barclays announced its ÂŁ10m sponsorship of WSL

With record attendances, multimillion-pound sponsorship deals and global brand announcements, this has been a monumental week for women’s football and I’m excited to be involved in the next historic moment when Juventus face Fiorentina in the first Women’s Serie A match to be held at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

Related: Wanda Metropolitano’s record crowd shows English football the way | Suzanne Wrack

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Fri, 22 Mar 2019 00:01:23 GMT
‘It’s phenomenal’: how six Londoners are on verge of glory with Montserrat
Players with roots on Caribbean island have helped transform its football fortunes and put a Gold Cup in reach

“You’d literally be playing out here and getting scraped up off the floor.” Bradley Woods-Garness is standing a few yards from one of the north London pitches that, when he was a youngster, tested mettle as much as skill. The five-a-side surface at Elthorne Park is now made of artificial turf, a far cry from the concrete that would shudder the bones of the Corinthian-Casuals forward and those who joined him. “There’d be scars all over your knees,” he says. “But we loved it.”

It is a chilly Sunday morning and, just behind him, a new generation is going through its own rite of footballing passage. Woods-Garness has returned with five of his oldest friends, all of whom cut their teeth in uncompromising surroundings here and at other venues around Islington. Each of them still lives locally. They could never have imagined it but all of them are international footballers now, playing for the same side, and they stand on the verge of something extraordinary.

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Thu, 21 Mar 2019 22:31:00 GMT
Declan Rice apologises over apparent support for IRA on social media
‱ Midfielder wrote ‘up the RA’ in 2015 social media post
‱ Gareth Southgate says it is not ‘representative’ of player

Declan Rice was forced to make a public apology on the eve of a potential England debut at Wembley after it emerged the West Ham midfielder had posted apparent support for the IRA on social media in 2015.

The midfielder was 16 and a member of the Republic of Ireland’s junior squads at the time of the Instagram comments in which he wrote “upthera” on one, and “my brudda. UP THE RA. Wait Till We Draw England” to a teammate on another.

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Thu, 21 Mar 2019 22:30:21 GMT
England’s Jordan Pickford adamant Newcastle gaffes were an aberration
‱ Fans’ barracking got to Everton keeper ‘a little bit too much’
‱ Pickford: ‘Apart from Newcastle, I’ve been doing well’

Jordan Pickford has defended his form before England’s opening Euro 2020 qualifier on Friday and said his error-strewn display at Newcastle, when he allowed the occasion “to get to me a little bit too much”, did not reflect recent performances for Everton.

The goalkeeper conceded a penalty at St James’ Park – which he saved – before shipping three times in the second half. The 25-year-old had appeared to play up to the crowd, who subjected him to incessant reminders of his Sunderland roots.

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Thu, 21 Mar 2019 21:57:45 GMT
Niall McGinn shows Northern Ireland the way in opening win against Estonia

Where it began 
 should Northern Ireland’s fanatical support, complete with recurring Sweet Caroline anthem, grace a second European Championship in succession, the nature of victory against Estonia in the opening qualifying fixture will not matter one bit. That does not make the win any less vital. Matches such as this can ruin a campaign before it is properly underway.

Northern Ireland fully merited three points from this Group C fixture but they had to scrap to secure them. For 55 minutes they huffed and puffed; thereafter came the kind of breakthrough that separates them from nations of similar size and resource.

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