Rooney says farewell as England sink United States

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”

Batshuayi shines as Belgium beat Iceland 2-0

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”

Return of home fans will help in Spain clash – Luka Modric

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”

Croatia keen to avoid another defeat from Spain

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”

Solari set to become Real Madrid permanent manager

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.

Europa League Match Preview: Arsenal vs Sporting CP

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.

Team News

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”

CAF Champions League, Al Ahly eyes ninth title

Al Ahly host Esperance Sportive de Tunis in the first-leg of the 2018 Caf Champions League final at the Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria tonight.

The Red Devils will be aiming to win an unprecedented ninth Caf Champions League crown with victory over their North African rivals this month, having fallen just short of adding to their record of eight titles last year – losing to Wydad Casablanca in the showpiece event.

Al Ahly booked their place in a 12th Caf Champions League final with a 3-2 aggregate win over ES Setif. The Egyptian giants suffered a 2-1 defeat in Algeria, but advanced thanks to a 2-0 win in the first-leg.

Esperance booked their place in a seventh Caf Champions League final following a controversial 4-3 aggregate win over Primeiro de Agosto.

The Tunisian’s suffered a 1-0 defeat in the first-leg in Luanda, resulting in the dismissal of Khaled Ben Yahia shortly after the encounter. His assistant, Mouine Chaabani, duly stepped into the hot-seat and safely guided the club into the final following a 4-2 win in the return-leg. Bet Now on NaijaBet

In the build-up to the final, Chaabani admitted that his troops suffered in their final-four showdown and hopes for an improved performance as they aim to get their hands on what will be a third Caf Champions League crown. Continue reading “CAF Champions League, Al Ahly eyes ninth title”

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Tsitsipas sets up Medvedev clash; Federer winning powers on

Roger Federer won his 17th consecutive match at the Swiss Indoors on Thursday, dispatching Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals.

The top seed, unbeaten in Basle since 2013, is an eight-time winner of his home event and will next play Frenchman Gilles Simon, who defeated Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis 7-6 (7/4), 7-6 (7/0).

Federer admitted he was not satisfied with his slow start, going down a break in the third game.

“I didn’t really get into the game. It’s been a long time since I’ve played a match a match without being broken.

“I have to improve in the next round.”

The 37-year-old, ranked third in the world, trailed to the early break but soon recovered for 3-all in the opening set.

He then broke for 5-3 before closing out the opener in 27 minutes.

The second set stayed on serve until a fifth double-fault from Struff, which opened the door for Federer to move 6-5 ahead.

Continue reading “Tsitsipas sets up Medvedev clash; Federer winning powers on”

Europa League Match Preview: Chelsea vs BATE Borisov

Chelsea are unbeaten in all competitions this season but required a stoppage-time equaliser at home to Manchester United on Saturday to preserve that run.

Maurizio Sarri’s side has won their first two Europa League games, albeit both by 1-0 scorelines.

BATE Borisov followed up their 2-0 win over Vidi FC with a 4-1 defeat against PAOK.

Chelsea has not lost a European group game at Stamford Bridge since September 2013, unbeaten in 12 matches since then. Place bet on LIVE matches 24/7 on NaijaBet

Team News

Chelsea- Eden Hazard had a back injury against Manchester United on Saturday and is ruled out on Thursday. Youngsters Ethan Ampadu, Isaiah Brown and Callum Hudson-Odoi are also sidelined. Continue reading “Europa League Match Preview: Chelsea vs BATE Borisov”

UCL Match Preview: Paris Saint Germain vs Napoli

Paris Saint-Germain has won six matches in a row in all competitions and has scored at least five goals in each of their last three outings.

Napoli has won three in a row since losing 3-1 to Juventus at the end of September and have not conceded a goal in that time.

Thomas Tuchel is now the PSG manager tasked with taking them to Champions League glory. Tuchel and Ancelotti have faced each other four times in the past, both winning two matches each.

Team News

Paris Saint Germain –Gianluigi Buffon is free to make his Champions League debut for Paris Saint-Germain after completing a two-match ban.

Neymar and Thomas Meunier were given the weekend off and will start against Napoli on Wednesday night. Continue reading “UCL Match Preview: Paris Saint Germain vs Napoli”

UCL Match Preview: Borussia Dortmund vs Atletico Madrid

A fourth successive league win sees Borussia Dortmund sit at the top of the Bundesliga and they’ll look to maintain their good European form in the welcome of Atletico Madrid.

Level on points with their Spanish counterparts, they’ll need to make home advantage count before their trip to Madrid next month.

After a slight hiccup at the start of the season, Atletico Madrid are unbeaten in their last eight. However, they have won only two of their last six away matches, but are unbeaten in their last six Champions League outings.

We can expect to see a vintage resolute Atletico Madrid showing here, but the hosts should have enough to secure all three points. Various betting options are available on site

Teams News

Borussia Dortmund- Jeremy Toljan and Marcel Schmelzer will both be assessed ahead of the welcome of Atletico Madrid, with Raphael Guerreiro in line to make his first Champions League start of the season.

Manuel Akanji is sidelined for the home side, which means Dan-Axel Zagadou should get the nod ahead of Omer Toprak to start in defence. Continue reading “UCL Match Preview: Borussia Dortmund vs Atletico Madrid”

Goals will come back for Lukaku – Mourinho

Romelu Lukaku extended his scoring drought to eight games as Manchester United lost to Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday but while manager Jose Mourinho admits the Belgian is not firing on all cylinders he is confident the goals will come.

Mourinho said the 25-year-old is struggling with all aspects of his game but could not fault his effort.

“Not just with the goals he is not scoring but also in his confidence, in his movement, his touch,” Mourinho told reporters after the 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford.

“He is not linking the game well with the team.

“But he is our striker and he is a good striker we believe in. Continue reading “Goals will come back for Lukaku – Mourinho”

Messi injury will give Dembele chance to prove their worth at Barca

Barcelona’s lowest ebbs are invariably followed by questions about Lionel Messi but the issue of over-reliance may become clearer over the coming weeks.

The sight of Messi on the ground, grasping his right arm, during Barca’s win over Sevilla on Saturday prompted reactions inside Camp Nou normally reserved for the conceding of goals.

Hands behind heads, fingers over mouths, the concern became real shortly after the final whistle when the club confirmed Messi had fractured his radial bone.

His absence leaves Barca vulnerable when they need him most, for a run of fixtures that includes Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday, the Clasico against Real Madrid on Sunday, before a return match against Inter in Italy at the start of next month.

If he takes longer than expected to recover, he could miss tricky games against Real Betis and Atletico Madrid in La Liga too. Place bet on LIVE EVENTS 24/7 on NaijaBet

Barcelona has grown used to accusations of dependence, not least when results have taken a turn for the worse.

When Ernesto Valverde left Messi on the bench for the 1-1 draw at home to Athletic Bilbao last month, the argument was given added weight by him coming on and making the assist for their equaliser.

“This is Barcelona,” Messi afterwards. “We have a strong team and we have enough not to have to depend on one player.” Continue reading “Messi injury will give Dembele chance to prove their worth at Barca”

Roger Federer talks about his long-standing hand injury

Roger Federer has revealed that he has been suffering from a hand injury since the summer but said the problem is no longer a worry as he heads into his home Swiss Open starting on Monday.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner told Germany’s Sonntag Zeitung of the problem which began when he trained for the grasscourt season.

“I hurt my hand training at the start of the grass season,” Federer told the newspaper. “It’s had more consequences than I thought. I dragged this pain for about three months.

“It’s not an excuse and we’re not going to make a fuss over it.”

He added: “(Sometimes) I felt pain during the first 10 minutes of a match warmup. But now I can let go of my forehand normally without thinking of it.” Place bet on LIVE events 24/7 on NaijaBet.com

The 37-year-old Federer will start his bid for a ninth Basel title on Tuesday when he plays Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic and could face a revenge match in the second round if he and John Millman both advance. Continue reading “Roger Federer talks about his long-standing hand injury”

Griezmann’s goals helps France to sink Germany

Antoine Griezmann hit a pair of second-half goals as world champions France came from behind to beat Germany 2-1 in the Uefa Nations League on Tuesday and cast further doubt on Joachim Loew’s future.

Toni Kroos struck a 14th-minute penalty for Germany, but Griezmann engineered a rousing fightback in the first game between the nations at the Stade de France since the November 2015 friendly that was overshadowed by a series of terror attacks on the French capital.

France coach Didier Deschamps fielded an almost identical team to the one that started the World Cup final, Presnel Kimpembe the lone exception in place of the injured Samuel Umtiti.

Germany’s chastening 3-0 defeat by the Dutch on Saturday prompted Loew to make five changes, as he injected additional pace into the attack with the inclusions of Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry. Live matches are available online 24/7 on NaijaBet

Kylian Mbappe’s electrifying speed was soon on display, but Hugo Lloris initially proved the far busier of the two goalkeepers as Germany sought to end a run of three competitive matches without a goal.

Lloris, who missed last month’s opening 0-0 draw in Munich, was forced to hack clear early on when N’Golo Kante’s intervention sent the ball rolling towards his own goal. Continue reading “Griezmann’s goals helps France to sink Germany”

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England leave Spain shell-shocked on their home soil

England ran riot with three first-half goals, including two from Raheem Sterling, to stun Spain and earn a 3-2 away win in the Nations League on Monday as they moved back into contention in League A Group 4 of Uefa’s new competition.

Sterling gave England the lead against the run of play in the 16th minute by finishing off a swift counter-attack and Marcus Rashford fired into the top corner for the second on the half-hour after a superb pass from captain Harry Kane.

Sterling, who had not got an England goal for three years, struck again from another Kane assist to give Gareth Southgate’s side a big halftime lead against Spain, who had scored 12 goals in their last three games and beat England 2-1 last month. Various betting options are available on site for today’s Uefa Nations League

Spain hit back with a header by substitute Paco Alcacer just before the hour and were almost gifted another goal after an error from Jordan Pickford although the keeper managed to tackle Rodrigo Moreno, sparking fierce penalty appeals from the hosts. Continue reading “England leave Spain shell-shocked on their home soil”

We can control ‘extraordinary’ Kane at bay – Sergio Ramos

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 Enrique heaps hails on Southgate

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”

Biraghi last minute goal gives Italy stoppage-time win in Poland

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”

Mbappe’s last minute goal saves French to draw with Iceland

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”

Monaco sack coach Jardim, Thierry Henry might take over

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”

England looks up to next generation against Croatia

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”

Uefa increases Uefa Nations League participation fees

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”