Wayne Rooney brought down the curtain on his England career, but a youthful Three Lions proved the future is bright by sweeping aside the United States 3-0 at Wembley in a friendly on Thursday.
Jesse Lingard, Trent Alexander-Arnold and debutant Callum Wilson grabbed the goals in a dominant England display despite Gareth Southgate fielding a very inexperienced side.
“It’s my opinion that England are in very safe hands from what I’ve seen this week,” said Rooney, who came out of international retirement for his final farewell.
“The way they are being coached is brilliant, it’s a great group of young players who have a bright future.
“They will go close to being the next team to bring a trophy back for England.” Play Now on NaijaBet
The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Rooney’s introduction just before the hour mark to win his 120th cap. Continue reading “Rooney says farewell as England sink United States”
Stand-in striker Michy Batshuayi scored twice as Belgium laboured to a 2-0 victory over Iceland on Thursday to propel them to the top of their Uefa Nations League pool.
The hosts, No 1 in Fifa’s world rankings, were missing several players due to injury, with striker Romelu Lukaku ruled out a day before the match to bring Batshuayi into the starting line-up.
Belgium had the vast majority of possession, but struggled for over an hour to break through a dogged and organised Iceland back line in a game shrouded most of the time by thick mist.
Eden Hazard, who played alongside his brother Thorgan on the left, finally unpicked the visitors’ defence in the 65th minute when his perfectly-weighted cross found Thomas Meunier, who only had to stroke the ball across to Batshuayi in front of an open goal. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet
Iceland, who knew they were relegated before Thursday’s match, showed more intent in the second half and might have equalised, but Belgium keeper Thibaut Courtois saved Albert Gudmundsson’s shot with his legs. Continue reading “Batshuayi shines as Belgium beat Iceland 2-0”
Croatia captain Luka Modric has welcomed the return of home fans for Thursday’s difficult Nations League meeting with Spain in Zagreb.
The World Cup finalists have been forced to play their last two competitive home matches behind closed doors as part of their punishment imposed by Uefa after a swastika was marked on their pitch before a Euro 2016 home qualifier against Italy.
That was just the latest in a litany of offences for racism that has seen Croatia consistently punished.
“We are facing a very difficult match,” Modric told reporters on the eve of the game at the Maksimir stadium.
“We need to be patient, wise and not to rush,” added the 33-year-old Real Madrid midfielder. Bet Now on NaijaBet
“Playing in front of full stands is an additional motivation. The fans will certainly be of major importance for us, we will give our best and try to win.”
Croatia certainly needs a win if they are to press their hopes in the nascent Nations League. Continue reading “Return of home fans will help in Spain clash – Luka Modric”
The Bafana Bafana squad is shaping up well ahead of their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Nigeria on Saturday.
Coach Stuart Baxter was more than happy following Wednesday’s practice game at Steyn City School in which he tried what might be his preferred starting 11.
Without giving much away with three days to go before the crunch game against the Super Eagles of Nigeria, the Bafana Bafana coach said he had an idea of his starting lineup although one or two changes might still come to mind.
“I have an idea of what I need to do although there might be one or two changes and I also need to fine-tune a few areas ahead of Saturday’s game. But I must say that I was very happy with the training today,” he told journalists on Wednesday.
He said Thulani Serero who carries a lot of the home crowd’s expectation on his shoulders had been very comfortable on the ball although he was tentative in the beginning. Place bet on today matches on NaijaBet
“As I said earlier, we have not yet picked the final team for Saturday’s game but Thulani is doing well and as the match progressed during the practice game, he became very comfortable on the ball.”
With Dean Furman and Kamohelo Mokotjo, the regular pairing in the field of play, all out injured, the team will pick a new pairing and are confident that whoever is picked will rise to the occasion. Continue reading “Nigeria vs South Africa, Rohr wants quick AFCON qualification”
Fulham appointed Italian veteran Claudio Ranieri as manager on Wednesday after sacking Slavisa Jokanovic in a bid to beat the drop from the Premier League.
Jokanovic led Fulham back into England’s top flight in May 2018 but the 50-year-old Serbian has struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League.
After 12 games, Fulham sit bottom of the pile with just five points and one win from 12 games.
Ranieri, who famously led Leicester to a fairytale Premier League title in 2016, was a free agent after being sacked by French Ligue 1 club Nantes one game before the end of last season.
He has been given a “multi-year” contract by Fulham chairman Shahid Khan.
“It is an honour to accept Mr Khan’s invitation and opportunity to lead Fulham, a fantastic club with tradition and history,” Ranieri told the club’s official website. Play Now on NaijaBet
“The objective at Fulham should never be to merely survive in the Premier League. We must at all times be a difficult opponent and should expect to succeed.” Continue reading “Claudio Ranieri set to rescue Fulham from relegating”
Having finally shaken off their World Cup hangover, finalists Croatia are aiming for their first Nations League victory when they face Spain on Thursday, the side who inflicted a 6-0 drubbing in September.
Coach Zlatko Dalic has named a 25-man squad, including three new faces, to face Spain at Zagreb’s Maksimir stadium and England on November 18 at Wembley.
“I’m focused on the match against ‘La Furia (Roja)’, we need that victory,” Dalic said earlier this month.
“I know that many people do not believe that our team is capable of winning both games but I reply – we will do now as we did in Russia, step by step.
“First, Spain,” he told the Jutarnji List newspaper. Place bet on LIVE EVENTS 24/7 on NaijaBet
Croatia, a country of 4.2 million people, reached the World Cup final for the first time, inspired by playmaker Luka Modric, and despite losing 4-2 to France Dalic and his players were welcomed home as heroes. Continue reading “Croatia keen to avoid another defeat from Spain”
AC Milan forward Gonzalo Higuain has apologised for getting dismissed against Juventus, the club that sent him to San Siro on loan this season, during a 2-0 defeat on Sunday in which he also missed a first-half penalty.
Enraged after being penalised following a collision with Juventus defender Medhi Benatia, the former Real Madrid and Napoli forward was booked for dissent, then given another yellow immediately afterward for continuing to protest.
“First of all, I want to apologise to the team, the coach, the supporters and the referee for my reaction,” Higuain said.
“I take responsibility for what happened. Obviously, I hope that it doesn’t happen again. It was one of those moments — we were losing, I missed a penalty and we aren’t robots but people. But I don’t want to try and justify my actions.” Bet Now on NaijaBet
Juventus loaned Higuain to Milan for one year — with an option to buy — in August after signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid, and the Argentine reiterated that it was not his decision to leave. Continue reading “Higuain apologises for sending off against Juventus”
In a bid to deal with Brexit and boost the number of homegrown players, the English Football Association (FA) is planning to reduce the number of overseas players in Premier League squads to 12 from 17, the Times newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The proposal, to be put to the clubs this week, would mean significant changes to a number of sides. Thirteen clubs have more than 12 overseas players in their first team squads this season.
The FA did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment. Place bet on today’s games on NaijaBet
The FA would in return agree to give a governing body endorsement, usually issued for a non-EU/European Economic Area elite player to help the development of football in England, for a work permit for every foreign player who gets a contract with a Premier League club, the report said. Continue reading “English FA to reduces foreign players in EPL squads”
Santiago Solari will become Real Madrid’s permanent coach until the end of the season, according to papers filed with the Spanish football association, the sports channel ESPN reported on Monday.
The 42-year-old Argentine has led the team to four wins in four games since replacing Julen Lopetegui at the helm of the European champions two weeks ago.
Spanish rules prevent an interim coach from staying in charge for longer than 15 days, which expire on Monday, without being appointed on a permanent basis.
The Spanish Football Association (RFEF) said that Madrid had filed papers to hire Solari on that basis.
With victories over Melilla in the Copa del Rey, Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League, and Real Valladolid and Celta Vigo in La Liga, Solari has enjoyed the best start of any manager in the club’s history. Place bet on Live matches 24/7
Lopetegui was sacked after a run of form that saw Madrid sink to ninth in the table, but after Sunday’s 4-2 win at Celta, the capital club are sixth, four points behind leaders Barcelona.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored as Juventus bounced back from their midweek Champions League defeat by Manchester United with a 2-0 win over 10-man AC Milan in Serie A on Sunday, as Gonzalo Higuain missed a penalty before being sent off for the hosts.
Mario Mandzukic headed in the opener in the eighth minute at the San Siro with Ronaldo adding a second on 81 minutes as Juventus maintained their six-point cushion ahead of the international break.
It got the defending seven-time Serie A champions back on track after suffering their first defeat of the season by United following two late goals despite Ronaldo’s stunning volley.
“Winning tonight was the only way to put aside what happened in the final five minutes of the Champions League game,” said Juve coach Massimiliano Allegri.
“It was important to win without conceding a goal and to regain the six-point advantage over Napoli who are having an excellent championship.”
A third loss of the campaign, however, saw AC Milan drop out of the Champions League places behind Lazio who moved back into fourth despite a 1-1 draw at Sassuolo. Continue reading “Ronaldo scored, as Juventus keeps flying high”
Manchester City starts the weekend top of the league but they could be as low as third by the time the derby starts. Pep Guardiola’s side are unbeaten in the league this season and have kept a clean sheet in six of their last seven in the competition.
City have only conceded four league goals all season and three were by defenders and the other was a Danny Ings penalty.
Manchester United have conceded the first goal in each of their last three away matches but have avoided defeat in all three games (W2, D1) after producing a remarkable comeback against Juventus in midweek, winning 2-1. Jose Mourinho’s side are also the only side to beat City at the Etihad in the Premier League in the last 37 games there.
Despite showing signs of revival in recent weeks, it would be a huge surprise if United even managed a draw on Sunday. City are producing jaw-dropping football on a weekly basis and should prove too much for Mourinho’s men. There will certainly be no way back for United if they continue to start games poorly. City are too ruthless for that and will certainly punish any mistakes. Various betting options are available on site for this weekend games
Manchester City- Vincent Kompany and Benjamin Mendy were given the night off in Wednesday’s 6-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk. The latter will certainly start here, while Kompany, who has a great derby record, will also hope to feature. Continue reading “EPL Match Preview: Manchester City vs Manchester United”
AC Milan has won five of their last six games in Serie A and has only lost one of their last 10 in the league. Alessio Romagnoli has scored dramatic stoppage-time winners in their last two league outings.
Juventus slipped to a shock 2-1 defeat to Manchester United on home soil in midweek, their first defeat of the season in any competition. In Serie A they have won 10 of their first 11 matches, drawing the other.
There is a reason the Old Lady have not lost successive matches since August 2015 and they should respond in typical Juventus fashion on Sunday night.
AC Milan- Ivan Strinic, Mattia Caldara, Davide Calabria and Lucas Biglia are all sidelined for AC Milan, while Gennaro Gattuso has a raft of other injury concerns as well. Bet Now
Gonzalo Higuain is the main one and the Argentina international will be desperate to recover from injury in time to face off against his former club.
Juventus- With Federico Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa both at risk of missing out for the second game in a row, Massimiliano Allegri may be limited in what he can do in attack. Continue reading “SerieA Match Preview: AC Milan vs Juventus”
Dortmund sit top of the Bundesliga table, four points ahead of Bayern, and looked much improved this season under new manager Lucien Favre. They are unbeaten at the Signal-Iduna-Park this season in all competitions and have scored three or more goals in six of their seven home games in the Bundesliga and Champions League.
Bayern Munich has endured a rough start under new manager Niko Kovac and their rather old and thin squad seems past their peak, with younger players like Kingsley Coman, Corentin Tolisso and Thiago out injured. They have picked up positive results returned since mid-October, but they are not performing to their best, illustrated by several narrow wins against lesser sides.
Dortmund has a huge chance to extend the gap between themselves and Bayern to seven points here and the 2-0 Champions League defeat at Atletico in midweek might have served as a timely wake-up call. Their impressive home form against strong opposition and the relentless support from their crowd could carry them to another victory here and set the ground for a tense title race this season.
Borussia Dortmund- Dan-Axel Zagadou and Ömer Toprak compete for a spot at centre-back.
Raphael Guerreiro could get a chance on the left flank, with Christian Pulisic not in his best form and Jadon Sancho possibly switching to the right.
Mario Gotze and Jacob Bruun Larsen offer further alternatives in attacking positions. Continue reading “Bundesliga Match Preview: Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich”
Teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe said on Thursday that Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi remain football’s greatest players but that his own World Cup heroics could help crown him as the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner.
Mbappe, 19, helped France to World Cup victory in Russia as his four goals included one in the 4-2 final victory over Croatia as he became just the second teenager after Pele in 1958 to score in the championship match.
He was also voted Young Player of the tournament and has since become Ligue 1’s leading scorer with 11 goals as Paris Saint-Germain run away with the French championship.
Messi and Ronaldo have won the last 10 Ballon d’Or awards and Mbappe believes that they are still the sport’s top A-listers. Start forecasting your weekend games Now on NaijaBet
“Nobody is doing better at the moment and we can’t say it’s the end of their era because it will only end when somebody else does better than them,” Mbappe said. Continue reading “‘Ronaldo, Messi still best but won’t win Ballon d’Or’ – Mbappe”
Arsenal has a 100 per cent record in Group E after three matches and have already won their hardest fixture on paper: away to Sporting. The Gunners will guarantee a place in the next round with a win, while a draw would be enough if Vorskla loses at home to Qarabag.
Sporting are still in a good position in the group despite losing at home to Arsenal. They are three points clear of Vorskla in second and are expected to progress even if they lose on Thursday.
Sporting has won just two of 11 matches in England (D2, L7) and are winless in their last six matches there (D1, L5). Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 14 competitive matches (W12, D2) and should maintain that run on Thursday.
Arsenal- Matteo Guendouzi missed Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Saturday through suspension and will start Thursday’s Europa League encounter with Sporting.
Sead Kolasinac returned from injury against Liverpool to make his first appearance in nearly a month. He could continue at left-back here, unless Granit Xhaka is asked to play there again.
Sokratis will start at centre-back if he recovers from injury in time, partnering up with Rob Holding. Petr Cech will hope to start in goal after missing the reverse fixture despite being fit. Continue reading “Europa League Match Preview: Arsenal vs Sporting CP”
Champions Bayern Munich are unusual with their backs to the wall as they travel to Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund on Saturday, with coach Niko Kovac quickly running out of time.
The Bavarians, who have won the last six league titles in dominant fashion, have been far from impressive this season, lying in third place on 20 points, four off leaders Dortmund.
Their nervous 2-0 win over minnows AEK Athens in the Champions League on Wednesday may have edged them closer to the knockout stage but it was further proof of their dip in form and their laborious style of play under the Croat.
“We know we need to improve for the match in Dortmund,” Kovac told reporters. “At the moment we are missing fluency and lightness in our game.
“We currently seem to have to earn everything with a lot of hard work. Obviously, it is Dortmund who are the favourites as they also play at home. We just need to look at the table and that clearly says four points difference.”
Kovac, in his first season in charge, has so far failed to make the most of his squad’s depth of talent as they struggle for form amid reportedly growing dissent in the changing rooms. Continue reading “Bayern under pressure to deliver ahead of Dortmund clash”
Chelsea has won their first three Europa League group stage matches and are the runaway leaders in Group L, six points clear of the chasing pack. A win on Thursday will secure a place in the next round.
BATE Borisov are bottom of the group but level on points with the other two teams. They are only bottom due to an inferior goal difference.
BATE Borisov still have a good chance of making the knockout stage of the competition and their objective should be to keep this a low-scoring match.
BATE Borisov- Vladislav Malkevich and Vladislav Mukhamedov remain sidelined for BATE Borisov ahead of Thursday’s welcome of Chelsea. Place bet on Live Events 24/7
Chelsea- Olivier Giroud missed Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace but Maurizio Sarri expects the Frenchman to return against BATE Borisov. Ethan Ampadu is the only other injury concern for Chelsea. Continue reading “Europa League Match Preview: BATE Borisov vs Chelsea”
Manchester United produced a stunning late comeback to beat Juventus 2-1 on Wednesday in what could be a turning point in their Champions League campaign, while a Gabriel Jesus hat-trick helped Manchester City all but secure a last-16 berth.
Pep Guardiola’s City crushed Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0 on a night which saw Real Madrid also win big, as Bayern Munich closed in on a place in the knockout stage.
Juventus were within seconds of confirming their spot in the last 16 after Cristiano Ronaldo put them ahead in Turin with a superb volley in the 65th minute.
The hosts had already hit the woodwork twice before that and should have been out of sight before Juan Mata equalised from an 86th-minute free-kick.
The turnaround was completed in the 90th minute when Leonardo Bonucci scored an own-goal, and United boss Jose Mourinho delighted in taking to the field at the end, cupping an ear towards the home support.
The former Inter coach said it was a response to insults from Juve supporters, and United are now two points behind the Italians in Group H.
“In a beautiful Italian city, they insulted me for 90 minutes. I didn’t insult them. I just made a little thing,” Mourinho said. Place bet on today’s Europa League games on NaijaBet
“It is a big victory for us, not just because we needed the points but because it was away from home against an amazing team.” Continue reading “United down Juventus as Man City, Real enjoys big winnings”
Juventus are top of Group H after winning their first three matches. The Old Lady are one of only two teams yet to concede in the competition and are overwhelming favourites to win on Wednesday after easily beating Manchester United last month.
United are still in second after Valencia surprisingly only managed a draw with group minnows Young Boys last time out. Valencia host the Swiss side in the group’s other game and United have to assume they will win this time. Jose Mourinho’s side could well be third by the end of play.
You sense the next five days will be huge for United’s season. After playing Juventus they have the first Manchester derby of the season and it’s highly likely they will lose both games. They have started matches poorly this season and need to change that quickly.
Juventus haven’t lost a Champions League group stage match at home since December 2009, emphasising the challenge United face in midweek. Bet Now on NaijaBet
Juventus- Max Allegri has confirmed Emre Can, Federico Bernardeschi, Douglas Costa and Moise Kean are all injured for Wednesday night’s clash with Manchester United. Continue reading “Champions League Match Preview: Juventus vs Manchester United”
Monaco coach Thierry Henry refused to look for excuses for his winless run at Monaco on Monday, insisting he and his players will dig deep against Brugge in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Henry has yet to win in four games since taking charge at Monaco, losing to Strasbourg and Reims and drawing with Dijon in the league and drawing at Belgian outfit Brugge in the last round of European matches.
“It’s a huge game,” said former Arsenal and Barcelona striker Henry, who was Belgium’s assistant coach in the last World Cup.
“We need the three points even if some might say we should have taken three in our last game too.”
Henry’s side are third in Group A, level with Brugge on a point with Dortmund on nine and Atletico on six.
“You can’t change everything in two weeks, but we shouldn’t think about it all too much,” said the smooth-talking Frenchman, who began his playing career at Monaco.
“Work is the key, each of us needs to look inside ourselves and work out what more we can do.” Continue reading “New Monaco manager Thierry Henry worried over winless run”
Napoli conceded a 93rd-minute equaliser against Paris Saint-Germain last time out in the Champions League and could live to rue that goal in their quest to progress out of Group C.
They are still in a good position in second and one point behind Liverpool but you have to assume the Reds will beat minnows FK Crvena Zvezda in the group’s other match. The winner of this match will likely go through to the next round.
This is a huge match for Paris Saint-Germain. They were largely dreadful against Napoli last time out and are currently third on four points after three matches. Failing to make it out of the group would be a disaster for Thomas Tuchel, Neymar and co. To make matters worse, the French giants have lost their last three away matches in the Champions League.
Aside from beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, the only teams PSG have managed to beat from home in the Champions League from their last 20 attempts are Anderlecht, Celtic, Basel, Ludogorets, Malmo, Shakhtar Donetsk and APOEL.
In that time, they have lost away to the likes of Barcelona three times, Real Madrid twice, as well as Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Manchester City. That is an incredibly bad record, which may continue in midweek.
Napoli- Carlo Ancelotti will have to decide between Dries Mertens or Arkadiusz Milik to partner Lorenzo Insigne up front against Paris Saint-Germain, though the former scored a hat-trick at the weekend and should get the nod here. Continue reading “UCL Match Preview: Napoli vs Paris Saint Germain”
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Inter are second in Group B and five points clear of Tottenham and PSV despite losing to Barcelona last time out in the competition. The Serie A giants have bounced back from that 2-0 loss with successive wins by an aggregate scoreline of 8-0.
Barcelona has a perfect record in Group B after three matches and have won five matches in a row in all competitions. Their last two outings have been a struggle, however, only beating Leganes 1-0 and Rayo Vallecano 3-2.
Barcelona are guarenteed a place in the next round with three points, while Inter will go through if they win on Tuesday and Tottenham and PSV draw in the group’s other match.
Inter are unbeaten in three home games against Barcelona (W1, D2). They are in great form at the moment and will be even more confident of getting a positive result if Lionel Messi is only named as a substitute.
Inter Milan- Joao Mario played a direct hand in three goals for Inter on Saturday and is surprisingly back in favour for the Italian side, though he is ineligible in the Champions League along with Dalbert and Roberto Gagliardini. Bet Now on NaijaBet
Inter have a clean bill of health heading into Tuesday’s match against Barcelona and Luciano Spalletti will field his strongest XI. Continue reading “Champions League Preview Match: lnter Milan vs Barcelona”
Pep Guardiola said managing in England is a “dream come true” as he was honoured by the Football Writers’ Association fresh from a 6-1 Premier League victory against Southampton.
The Manchester City manager was recognised for his side’s Premier League title last season and the club are again setting the pace this season, with nine wins in 11 games.
Speaking at Sunday’s ceremony in Manchester, he said: “I’m fortunate to be here in your country, in England. Play bet on LIVE events 24/7 on NaijaBet
“It’s incredible. It was a dream from a little boy for a young manager to come here to your country and be a manager here. It’s a dream come true.”
City won 32 of their 38 games last season, scoring a record 106 goals and amassing a record 100 points. Continue reading “Managing a Premier League club is ‘dream come true’ – Guardiola”