Sergio Ramos has hailed Harry Kane as “physically extraordinary” but is still backing Spain to extend the striker’s England goal-drought on Monday.
Despite scoring six times for Tottenham already this season, Kane is looking to avoid a seventh international match without a goal as England face Spain in the Uefa Nations League in Seville.
Luis Enrique’s side can secure top spot in Group 4 with a win, having already beaten England 2-1 at Wembley last month. England are fighting to avoid relegation from League A and could do with Kane finding his finishing touch.
“He did not break through against us last time and we will try to keep this scoring drought going because it will be a good sign for us,” Ramos said at a press conference on Sunday.
“The Premier League has a game that perhaps highlights more the physical side and Kane physically seems extraordinary. He surprises many people but not me.
“They have dangerous players and we have studied them well.” Continue reading “We can control ‘extraordinary’ Kane at bay – Sergio Ramos”
Spain coach Luis Enrique declared himself an admirer of England manager Gareth Southgate ahead of the two sides’ meeting on Monday in the Uefa Nations League, saying that he even studies his counterpart’s news conferences.
“I like Southgate as a coach and what he offers, he always wants the ball even though his team does not exactly dominate possession, and he adapts to his players,” Luis Enrique told reporters on Sunday.
“I have followed him, I even watch his conferences because I like what he says and I treat it as a free English lesson. I hope against Spain luck doesn’t fall on his side but once the game is over, I wish him all the luck in the world.”
Spain top the standings in Nations League A Group 4 with six points from two games and a win on Monday against the World Cup semifinalists would see them advance to the semifinals of the competition.
England has one point from their two games and look set to battle it out with Croatia, with whom they drew 0-0 on Friday, to avoid relegation to League B. Bet Now
Spain breezed to a 4-1 friendly win over Wales last week to make it three victories out of three since Luis Enrique took charge of the team. Continue reading “Spain coach Enrique heaps hails on Southgate”
Italy snatched a dramatic and deserved 1-0 win away to Poland in their Nations League match on Sunday thanks to a stoppage-time header from Cristiano Biraghi, his first international goal.
Biraghi gave Italy their first win in the competition and also their first in a competitive match since Roberto Mancini took over as coach in May.
It also meant that Poland, who have one point from three games after also losing at home to Portugal on Thursday, will finish bottom of Group Three in League A and will be relegated to the second-tier League B.
It was a richly-deserved win for Italy who produced one of their best performances in the last few years and twice hit the crossbar in the first half.
Italy have four points from three games while leaders Portugal, who remain firm favourites to win the group and qualify for the semifinals at the end of the season, have six from two.
“We dominated the match, we should have scored earlier and it would have been very unfair if the game had finished 0-0,” said Mancini who is rebuilding the side after their failure to qualify for this year’s World Cup.
“It’s a great win, we can still improve a lot but it needs patience — these lads need time.” Continue reading “Biraghi last minute goal gives Italy stoppage-time win in Poland”
Kylian Mbappe inspired a fightback from world champions France as they rallied from two goals down at home to earn a 2-2 draw with Iceland on Thursday.
Birkir Bjarnason swept Iceland ahead from the edge of the area on 30 minutes, and Kari Arnason’s excellent second-half header doubled their lead in Guingamp.
But Mbappe, brought on as a substitute for the final half-hour, gave France a lifeline when his shot was saved and then inadvertently turned in by Iceland defender Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward levelled from the penalty spot in the 90th minute after Kolbeinn Sigthorsson handled at a corner.
“The team saw we needed to do something else. I bring what I can do,” Mbappe said. Various Betting Options are available on Site for today’s games on NaijaBet
“We saw the fans were completely behind us even if it wasn’t a big stadium. We wanted to do everything for the people who were there.
“We got the draw, we didn’t lose, but we’re still a bit annoyed.” Continue reading “Mbappe’s last minute goal saves French to draw with Iceland”
Ligue 1 club AS Monaco fired coach Leonardo Jardim on Thursday following a poor start to the season which has left last season’s runners-up 18th in the 20-team table.
The 44-year-old Portuguese had been in charge for just over four seasons during which the team had performed consistently well with the high point in 2016-17 when they won Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League semifinals.
But, after winning 3-1 at Nantes on the opening day of the season, Monaco failed to win any of their subsequent eight league games and lost to Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in Champions League Group A, which also includes Club Bruges.
After going down 2-1 at home to Rennes in Ligue 1 on Sunday, they are stuck in the relegation playoff spot with six points, one more than bottom side Guingamp. Bet Now on NaijaBet
“Monaco has ended their collaboration with Leonardo Jardim,” the club said in a statement. “The entire club wish Leonardo and his coaching staff all the best for the next stage of their careers.” Continue reading “Monaco sack coach Jardim, Thierry Henry might take over”
Just three months on from the bitter disappointment of losing a first World Cup semifinal for 28 years, England visits Croatia on Friday in the Nations League seeking not only revenge, but also a long-term solution to a familiar shortcoming.
For all the progress made by the Three Lions in a glorious Russian summer, a familiar lack of midfield authority ultimately undid England as Croatia’s Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic took control of their semifinal to come from a goal down in Moscow.
It was a similar story when Spain came to Wembley last month to puncture England’s feel-good factor by dominating the ball in a 2-1 Nations League win.
A run to the last four with the third youngest squad at the World Cup raised expectations of what is to come from a richly talented generation under Gareth Southgate’s tutelage.
However, Southgate has gone even younger in his search for the midfield maestro he believes England have lacked since the days of Paul Gascoigne.
Jadon Sancho, 18, and Mason Mount, 19, who made moves to get more first team football, and James Maddison, who jumped to the Premier League, are all rewarded with a first call-up. Continue reading “England looks up to next generation against Croatia”
The 55 national teams currently participating in the inaugural Uefa Nations League will see a 50 percent increase in solidarity fees paid to them, European soccer’s governing body Uefa has said.
The 12 strongest teams based on Uefa rankings – divided into four groups of three in League A – will each receive €2.25 million in solidarity fees, an increase of €750 000 from the amount announced in March.
Each group winner in League A will be given an additional €2.25 million as a bonus, up from €1.5 million.
“The decision to increase the solidarity and bonus payments were taken by the Uefa executive committee and was made possible by Uefa’s solid financial situation,” Uefa said in a statement. Bet Now
Uefa added the financial boost was also due to their earnings from Euro 2016 that were set aside for future investment. Continue reading “Uefa increases Uefa Nations League participation fees”
France and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba said in an interview that his international teammates give him the freedom to express himself and be the team’s leader.
Pogba has faced criticism for failing to repeat his impressive performances at the World Cup for United, who have slumped early in the season.
The subject of Pogba’s reportedly fraught relationship with United boss Jose Mourinho was strictly off the table for the interview at France’s international training base.
United’s difficult start in the Premier League all seems a long away from France’s glory in Russia, but reunited again with his France teammates, Pogba was happy to recall that defender Adil Rami had described him as the team’s “real leader” at the World Cup.
“It really pleased me to hear Adil say that,” Pogba said. “I would never say it’s me, it’s the squad who put me in that position, who gave me the freedom to express myself. They gave me confidence as well.
“I couldn’t have done it without them. It all began like that, from our training camp. I spoke with Hugo (Lloris), Blaise (Matuidi), (Raphael) Varane, to say that this World Cup we really had to put everything in place to win it. I was really determined.” Continue reading “Armband doesn’t make you to become a leader – Pogba”
Libya coach Adel Amrouche has resigned just days before his side are to due face Nigeria in an African Nations Cup qualifier.
His departure has been confirmed by the Libyan Football Federation and on Wednesday by Belgian Amrouche, said that he was frustrated by working conditions with the team.
The 50-year-old, who was born in Algeria, was only appointed in May and his first match in charge last month saw Libya force a 0-0 draw in South Africa. Various AFCON qualifier Betting options are available on site
Forced to play all their home qualifiers at a neutral venue because of the tenuous security situation in the North African country, Libya travel to face Nigeria on Friday and then play them again in the return in Sfax, Tunisia on Monday.
Libya has four points from their first two games in their bid to qualify for the 2019 finals in Cameroon, ahead of South Africa on goal difference with Nigeria one point behind.
Seychelles are last in the group without any points.
The top two teams qualify for the finals next June
Barcelona’s Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal says he is not happy because of his lack of playing time at his new club.
Vidal joined from Bayern Munich this summer but has had just two starts for the Catalans – and been substituted both times.
“How can I be happy if I don’t play, and me of all people?” Vidal told reporters after joining up with his national team, on Tuesday.
“I am somebody who has always fought, been at the best teams in the world, won everything and who wants to continue winning at Barcelona,” Vidal said. Place bet on tonight’s games on NaijaBet
Coach Ernesto Valverde has opted to start young Brazilian midfielder Arthur in the team in recent matches, with Vidal not playing at all in Barca’s 1-1 draw at Valencia in La Liga on Sunday and appearing for just three minutes against Tottenham in the Champions League last week.
“I am fine physically and happy. In the past few games I have been a bit annoyed but that is how it is, we will keep battling. There are a lot of important games ahead and we will see,” Vidal was quoted as saying.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho wishes that instead of chanting his name, fans would change their tune and sing about the club.
It was looking like the curtain was about to close on Mourinho’s tenure at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon after Newcastle United went 2-0 ahead in the first 10 minutes.
That looked even more likely when you consider the reported rumour earlier on Saturday morning that the beleaguered Portuguese tactician would be shown the door regardless of what transpired against the Magpies that evening.
However, in a throwback to the Sir Alex Ferguson era, the Red Devils mounted a spirited comeback in the second half, winning the match 3-2 after strikes from Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and a winning header from Alexis Sanchez.
Even when Mourinho’s side went 2-0 down, the majority of United fans huddled inside Old Trafford didn’t lose their singing voices, and after the game, they were chanting Mourinho’s name in unison, but Mourinho would rather they didn’t.
“I’m happy for the fans and for the players,” he said. LIVE Bet are available on NaijaBet 24/7
“I’m amazed by that response [from the crowd]. I don’t want that, and if I could tell them to not do it, I would, because it is not about me. It is about the football club they love and the football club we represent with honour and dignity.” Continue reading “I would prefer United fans stop singing my name – Jose Mourinho”
Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici said on Monday it was not easy to replace a player of the calibre of Cristiano Ronaldo as he also dismissed a return to Italy for Manchester United’s French World Cup winner Paul Pogba.
Ronaldo, 33, joined Juventus from Real Madrid last summer for €100 million.
The Spanish club has lost three and drawn one of their last four matches and are currently fourth in La Liga.
“Ronaldo is probably the best player in the history of the game so he isn’t easy to replace,” Paratici told journalists at the Manlio Scopigno ceremony at Rieti in central Italy after receiving a “Manager of the Year” award. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet
Paratici revealed that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner had been keen from the outset to join Juventus.
“We talked about it initially, and straight away we got the feeling he wanted to join us, which was a huge advantage,” he said.
“Real Madrid had a gentleman’s agreement with him, the ownership kicked things off and negotiations began.” Continue reading “Cristiano Ronaldo is not easy to replace – Fabio Paratici”
Real Madrid and Wales forward Gareth Bale and Manchester City’s Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne were among the first 10 nominees for the Ballon d’Or award announced on Monday.
Bale, who scored two goals in Real’s triumph in the final of the Champions League against Liverpool, joins his club teammate Karim Benzema among the first wave of 30 nominees for the year’s best player.
De Bruyne was nominated for helping his club win the Premier League and his country reach the World Cup semifinals.
The winner of the prestigious award organised by France Football magazine will be announced on December 3. Naija and Bet
Having lost out in the Fifa best player of the year award to Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo takes his place among the 30 nominees for the Ballon d’Or that were being unveiled in stages throughout Monday.
The Juventus forward, currently facing allegations of rape dating back to 2009 that he strenuously denies, has already won the Ballon d’Or five times and is the current holder of the award. Continue reading “Ballon d’Or nominees: Bale, De Bruyne in first 10 list”
Teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe insisted that he “should have scored more” despite netting four times in a magnificent individual display as Paris Saint-Germain thrashed Lyon on Sunday.
The 19-year-old scored four goals in the space of 13 second-half minutes as a 5-0 victory saw PSG set a new French top-flight record of nine straight wins to start a season.
But Mbappe did miss several earlier chances as he was thrice denied when one-on-one with Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes and struck the post before grabbing his first goal just after the hour mark.
“I missed opportunities, I should have scored more,” he told Canal+.
“I keep working and I never doubted. I knew I had the support of my teammates. I often say that as long as an attacker is creating chances, everything is fine.” Play Live & Virtual games on NaijaBet
Mbappe took the World Cup by storm in the summer, becoming the first teenager since Pele in 1958 to score twice in the final and winning the award for the tournament’s best young player. Continue reading “Mbappe scored four goals as PSG thrashed Lyon”
Pep Guardiola took responsibility for placing his trust in Riyad Mahrez as the Algerian’s missed penalty five minutes from time cost Manchester City victory in a disappointing 0-0 draw at Liverpool on Sunday.
The draw preserved both sides’ unbeaten Premier League records, but they failed to lay down an early marker in the title race as Chelsea moved into a three-way tie at the top on 20 points after eight games.
“I see him every day in the training sessions, I see him everyday practice penalties and it gave me a lot of confidence,” said Guardiola after he instructed Gabriel Jesus, who earlier replaced regular penalty taker Sergio Aguero, to hand the ball to Mahrez.
However, Mahrez’s miserable record from the spot continued as City’s club record £60-million ($79 million) signing missed for the fourth time in his last six penalties by blasting well over the bar. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet
Unlike the four enthralling encounters between the two last season when Liverpool beat the English champions three times, a highly-anticipated clash fell flat with neither side managing to register a shot on target until after the hour mark.
However, Guardiola admitted his plan for a slower tempo to stop Liverpool springing onto the counter-attack had worked. Continue reading “Guardiola admits blame for Mahrez’s missed penalty against Liverpool”
Liverpool suffered their second defeat in three matches in midweek, going down 1-0 to Napoli. They didn’t even manage a shot on target in Naples. Jurgen Klopp’s side are unbeaten in the league but their performances have not been good over the last three matches.
Manchester City starts the weekend above Liverpool on goal difference but have a poor record at Anfield, last winning there in the Premier League in 2003. They have conceded seven goals in their last two visits, including last season’s Champions League mauling.
Guardiola has suffered more defeats against Klopp than any manager in his career (8) but the Liverpool boss will need a big response from his players after a really flat midweek performance.
Liverpool- Naby Keita has been cleared of any serious injury after being forced off in the first half of Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat to Napoli on Wednesday with severe back pain. It would be a surprise if he started here. Naija and Bet
Liverpool’s performances have dipped considerably in recent weeks, which will be a concern for Jurgen Klopp ahead of Sunday’s mouthwatering clash with reigning champions Manchester City. Continue reading “EPL Match Preview: Liverpool vs Manchester City”
Manchester United are winless in four matches and their supporters booed the team off after a 0-0 draw with Valencia on Tuesday night. There are suggestions Jose Mourinho will be sacked if they lose to Newcastle on Saturday.
Things aren’t going well for Newcastle, either. Rafa Benitez was also booed following a 2-0 defeat to Leicester last weekend and the Magpies are still looking for their first win all season. They have lost six of eight matches in all competitions.
Newcastle won at Old Trafford in 2013 but lost 4-1 on their last visit. Do not expect a similar result in favour of United this time around, as Mourinho appears to have lost a large section of the dressing room. The crisis will deepen if they fail to win on Saturday evening. Bet Now
Manchester United- Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard are all expected to miss out for Manchester United, while Ashley Young is a doubt.
Jose Mourinho’s side are winless in four matches and struggling for the right balance in attack and defence. Continue reading “EPL Match Preview: Manchester United vs Newcastle United”
Italian champions Juventus on Thursday broke their silence over rape allegations against their superstar player Cristiano Ronaldo, saying the claims made by an American model do not change their opinion of the Portuguese striker, but US sportswear giant Nike said it was “deeply concerned”.
“Cristiano Ronaldo has shown in recent months his great professionalism and dedication, which is appreciated by everyone at Juventus,” the defending Serie A champions said on Twitter.
“The events allegedly dating back to almost 10 years ago do not change this opinion, which is shared by anyone who has come into contact with this great champion.”
Juventus later posted a video on You Tube and Twitter showing Ronaldo working up a sweat as he trained with his teammates at the team’s Continassa centre in Turin for Saturday’s league game against Udinese.
“Juventus go for goal. Cristiano Ronaldo finds the target!,” read the caption beside the video.
Juventus’s tweets were widely panned on social media as “shockingly dismissive and insensitive”. Continue reading “‘Rape allegations do not change opinion of Ronaldo’- Juventus”
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has backed forward Alvaro Morata to “restart” his season after the Spaniard scored in the 1-0 Europa League victory over Hungarian champions Vidi on Thursday.
The goal was Morata’s second in 10 appearances this season but the striker also had a glaring miss in the first half, shooting wide when one-on-one with the goalkeeper to underline his continuing crisis of confidence.
Morata missed several other chances before scoring 20 minutes from time and Sarri is hopeful the striker will gain enough confidence from the goal to kickstart his season.
“It’s very important for him to score,” the Italian said. “He played a very good match. I think Alvaro can restart from this performance.” Various betting Options are available for today’s games on Site
Morata became Chelsea’s record signing when he joined the club under Sarri’s predecessor Antonio Conte last year, but the forward has struggled to adapt to the pace and physicality of the English game. Continue reading “Sarri hopes Morata Europa league goal can spark return to form”
Qarabag has won five of their opening six league matches but were beaten 2-0 by Sporting, their first opponent of any significant quality this season.
After a tricky start to the season, Arsenal has now won seven matches in a row in all competitions.
The Gunners triumphed 4-2 against minnows Vorskla in their first Europa League game.
Qarabag’s most recent encounter with English opposition was against Chelsea in last season’s Champions League group stage, where they lost 10-0 on aggregate across both meetings. Latest Odds
Qarabag FK- Dani Quintana is the only reported injury problem for Qarabag. The Spaniard is not back until the start of December, owing to ligament damage.
Expect a similar side to the one that started Qarabag’s last Europa League match, a 2-0 loss away to Portuguese giants Sporting. Continue reading “Europa League Match Preview: Qarabag FK vs Arsenal”
Frankfurt opened up their Europa League campaign with an away victory over last season’s finalists, Marseille. The German side also won 4-1 against Hannover at the weekend.
Lazio slipped to a 3-1 defeat in the Rome derby at the weekend, ending their five-game winning streak. The Serie A side overcame Apollon Limassol 2-1 in GW1 of the UEL.
Frankfurt hasn’t won successive matches this season but Lazio has conceded in each of their last four. This could prove a thoroughly entertaining match. Latest Odds are available on Site
Eintracht Frankfurt- Jetro Willems is suspended for Frankfurt after being sent off against Marseille in their Europa League opener. Simon Falette is tipped to deputise.
Frankfurt are expected to be missing up to eight players in total, owing to suspension and injuries. Continue reading “Europa League Match Preview: Eintracht Frankfurt vs Lazio”
Chelsea opened their Europa League account for the season with a 1-0 win away to Greek side PAOK. A more straightforward three points are expected on home soil.
Vidi lost 2-0 at home to BATE Borisov in GW1 and face a daunting trip to Stamford Bridge on Thursday.
Vidi has at least won successive matches heading into this match, but anything other than a comprehensive home victory would be a shock. Bet Now
Chelsea- Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Pedro and Andreas Christensen are doubts for Chelsea, with the former closing in on a return to first-team action.
Cesc Fabregas has recently returned and will hope to get some playing time under his belt on Thursday.
Gary Cahill will hope to start on Thursday after he was a surprise absentee from their starting XI last time out in the competition.
Alvaro Morata will start for the home side, while other fringe players like Ross Barkley will feature from the off. Continue reading “Europa League Match Preview: Chelsea vs Vidi FC”
Lorenzo Insigne struck late as Napoli snatched a 1-0 win over an outclassed Liverpool side described as “not good enough” by coach Jurgen Klopp in a Champions League Group C game at the Stadio San Paolo on Wednesday.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team had piled the pressure on last year’s finalists before finding a way through on 90 minutes when Jose Callejon broke down the right crossing for Insigne who beat Alisson in the Liverpool goal.
“We weren’t good enough,” said Klopp. “It’s a bad sign if you say that your goalkeeper was your best player.
“No attempt on target? I don’t remember when that happened last time. At the moment I have to accept a big part of their performance was my fault.
“It looked not like it should have looked.” Various Betting Options are available on Site for tonight’s Europa League games
The win puts Napoli top of Group C with four points from two games, with Paris Saint-Germain a point behind after thrashing Red Star Belgrade 6-1 earlier.
Liverpool had been top of the group after their 3-2 win over PSG two weeks ago with Napoli held 0-0 at Red Star. Continue reading “Napoli sinks Liverpool, Klopp admits Red weren’t good enough”
Tottenham was pegged back by Inter to lose 2-1 late on in their group stage opener. However, since that loss, Tottenham have won their last three and will hope to continue that good form with the welcome of Barcelona.
Barcelona, meanwhile, has endured a downturn in form having failed to win their last three, drawing two. A 2-1 loss at Leganes shows that the Blaugrana are beatable, but they can dominate any opponent on their day and a repeat of their 4-0 win over PSV would certainly go down well with their fans.
The hosts are in form but could be without two key men, and while Barcelona looks out of sorts, an entertaining draw could be on the cards at Wembley on Wednesday night.
Tottenham- Dele Alli has been ruled out of the welcome of Barcelona, and is joined on the sidelines by Mousa Dembele, Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Serge Aurier. Bet Now
Hugo Lloris is available and could replace Paulo Gazzaniga between the sticks, while Ben Davies, Erik Lamela and Victor Wanyama may all start. Continue reading “Champions League Match Preview: Tottenham vs Barcelona”