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Goals galore as Belgium take giant step towards Russia



  • France move to the top of Group A with a stunning win over the Netherlands
  • Switzerland make it seven victories out of seven
  • Belgium are now within touching distance of Russia 2018

THE DAY REPLAYED – Thursday’s European qualifying matches for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ saw nets bulge continuously all over the continent, with 37 goals registered in just nine scheduled matches.

The largest win of the night came in Liege, where Belgium moved closer to securing an automatic qualifying slot with a 9-0 destruction of Gibraltar. France did not rack up quite as many goals, but their 4-0 triumph over the Netherlands was as ruthless as it was impressive. In Group B, Cristiano Ronaldo recorded a memorable hat-trick, but a rampant Switzerland continue to dominate the pool.

FIFA.com runs the rule over all of the day’s qualifiers.

Results
31 August
Group A: Bulgaria 3-2 Sweden, France 4-0 Netherlands, Luxembourg 1-0 Belarus

Group B: Switzerland 3-0 Andorra, Portugal 5-1 Faroe Islands, Hungary 3-1 Latvia

Group H: Belgium 9-0 Gibraltar, Greece 0-0 Estonia, Cyprus 3-2 Bosnia-Herzegovina

Match of the day
France 4-0 Netherlands

With France’s confidence having been dealt a blow following their 2-1 defeat in Sweden last time out, and the Netherlands looking reinvigorated since the return of Dick Advocaat to the helm, the Group A clash between the two nations in Paris promised to be a tight encounter.

In the end, it was nothing of the sort, as Les Bleus proceeded to dominate the game from start to finish. After breaking the deadlock via a well-worked Antoine Griezmann goal, the home side missed a number of chances, but they finally put the result beyond any doubt halfway through the second half courtesy of a scintillating Thomas Lemar strike.

The Monaco star then helped himself to his second of the night, before his former club team-mate Kylian Mbappe notched an excellent individual effort – his first goal for his country.

Elsewhere
Group A

Bulgaria’s 3-2 victory over Sweden improved France’s night even further, as Didier Deschamps’ men now move clear at the top of Group A. The result continued the Bulgarians’ fine run at home during this campaign; they have yet to drop points in front of their own fans. Luxembourg, meanwhile, pocketed three points for the first time in the section with a remarkable 1-0 win versus Belarus.

Group B

Switzerland continued their all-conquering march at the top of Group B, their 3-0 success over Andorra making it seven out of seven in these qualifiers. Portugal are still in with a shout, however, after a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick helped the Lusitanians to see off the plucky challenge posed by the Faroe Islands (5-1). It was the fourth successive qualifying match in which the Real Madrid man has scored at least a brace. Hungary remain a distant third, despite their 3-1 victory over Latvia in Budapest.

Group H

Following an astonishingly clinical performance against Gibraltar (9-0), Belgium now need just one more win to guarantee themselves a place in Russia next year. Both of their closest pursuers within the chasing pack slipped up: Greece could only draw at home to Estonia, while Bosnia-Herzegovina suffered a shock 3-2 reverse in Cyprus, despite leading 2-0 at one point.

Player of the day

Fans in the Stade du Sclessin in Liege witnessed a festival of goals on Thursday evening, with one player in particular raising eyebrows. Right-back Thomas Meunier enjoyed a night to remember, scoring a fantastic hat-trick and setting up another three goals. The Paris Saint-Germain defender has, over the past year, developed into a key player for Les Diables Rouges, and with performances like this one, it is easy to see why.   

What they said



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Phil Jones happy to keep improving at Manchester United after grand predicition


Phil Jones was once tipped by Sir Alex Ferguson to become Manchester United’s best ever player – comments met with a smile and trip to Nando’s by a level-headed defender now determined to make up for lost time.

Still only 25, the centre-back has enjoyed the highs of Premier League glory along with the lows of time on the sidelines due to injury or falling out of favour.

Jones has lost a grip on time since swapping Blackburn for Old Trafford, admitting it feels longer than six years, but the defender is feeling as good as ever.

“It’s weird, I feel like I have still done a lot at United, I still feel like have developed as a player,” he said. “I feel like I’ve grown into myself, if you like, and I’ve seen a lot of faces come and go.

“Some people say in pre-season ‘he might go here, he might be going there’, then you look at all the faces that have gone and you think to yourself ‘I can’t be doing too bad if I am still here at the best club, one of the best clubs in the world?’

“I have won the Premier League, the Europa League, albeit I was on the bench in the final, I have been involved in big games in the Champions League.”

But Jones knows he has yet to fulfil his full potential and, while confident of kicking on, it is unlikely he will ever become fulfil Ferguson’s prediction of perhaps becoming United’s “best ever player”

“At the time you are young and you just read the comments, but it just goes straight over your head, you’re not interested,” the defender said, with a smile.

“Four, five years ago, whenever it happened, you think ‘oh, that’s good’ and you go out to Nando’s with your mates.

“The manager says nice things but I don’t like to sit there and think ‘that’s nice’ because football is a very, very strange game.

“You can be up there one minute and you be down there the next.

“You have just have to – it sounds stupid – take each day as it comes and every day is a different day.”

Ferguson is one of only three managers Jones felt he had the belief of during his career, along with Sam Allardyce, his manager at Blackburn, and current United boss Jose Mourinho.

The 25-year-old has started all three Premier League matches this season under the Portuguese, who believes Jones has “potentially everything I like in a central defender”.

“I have obviously seen them and it’s nice to hear that from the manager, but I am under no illusions,” Jones said.

“It’s a long season ahead and things can change very quickly in football and I need to keep doing what I am doing, not just in the games but in training as well.”

The fact Mourinho’s comments came with the caveat of keeping him “safe from injuries” underlines Jones’ problems in recent years.

A string of issues has restricted the defender to 113 league starts in his six years with United, while he has just 21 caps to his name ahead of England’s World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia.

“I get that people are going to talk about it,” Jones said of his injuries.

“Obviously it looms over my head the whole thing, but I just concentrate on doing what I do best and that’s playing football.

“When I’m playing football, I’m enjoying it and if you’re happy outside of football then you’re happy on the pitch as well.

“Everything is nice at the moment. I’m in a good place and I just want to keep going.”

Jones will now hope to be protected by the guardian angel inked onto his right arm, with the tattoo featuring, among other things, an image of him as a child playing football and a compass to remind him of his roots.

Such grounding means the defender truly appreciates his time with United – a club he never felt the need to leave, despite being frozen out by Louis van Gaal not so long ago.

“When times are tough, I am not one for just chucking the towel in and saying ‘that’s me, I’m done’,” Jones said. “It was difficult towards the end of the second season under Van Gaal.

“Sometimes your face fits, sometimes it doesn’t – that’s football, that’s in every walk of life, that’s just the way things are.

“I took it with a pinch of salt and made sure that I could get myself in the best possible shape I could.

“I had a good pre-season and I always said to myself that if I can be strong, be mentally strong, I would have a chance under the new manager and thankfully he has given me that.”

Source: PA





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Deadline Day done! The complete list of Bundesliga summer transfers



After another hectic summer of transfer business in the Bundesliga, the latest window has slammed shut! For a comprehensive list of all the comings and goings in Germany’s top flight, look no further!

To find out who ended up where, simply scroll through below for every single confirmed deal, but not before clicking on the video below 😉

IN: Kingsley Coman (Juventus, loan deal made permanent), Serge Gnabry (Werder Bremen), James Rodriguez (two-year loan, Real Madrid) Sebastian Rudy (Hoffenheim), Niklas Süle (Hoffenheim), Corentin Tolisso (Lyon), Marco Friedl, Christian Früchtl, Felix Götze (all youth academy)

OUT: Xabi Alonso (retired), Holger Badstuber (out of contract), Medhi Benatia (Juventus, loan deal made permanent), Douglas Costa (one-year loan, Juventus) Gianluca Gaudino (Chievo Verona), Serge Gnabry (Hoffenheim, loan), Philipp Lahm (retired), Renato Sanches(Swansea City, loan)

IN: Jean-Kevin Augustin (Paris-Saint Germain), Bruma (Galatasaray), Kevin Kampl (Bayer Leverkusen), Ibrahima Konate (Sochaux), Philipp Köhn (Stuttgart), Konrad Laimer (RB Salzburg), Yvon Mvogo (Young Boys), Elias Abouchabaka, Nicolas Kühn, Kilian Senkbeil, Marc Dauter, Dominik Minz, Mert Yilmaz (all youth academy)

OUT: Felix Beiersdorf (Wiener Neustadt, loan), Benjamin Bellot (Brondby IF), Massimo Bruno (RSC Anderlecht, loan), Oliver Burke (West Bromwich Albion) Agyemang Diawusie (Wehen Wiesbaden, loan), Anthony Jung (Brondby, loan), Naby Keita (Liverpool, end of season), Rani Khedira (out of contract), Marius Müller (1. FC Kaiserslautern, loan), Atinc Nukan (Besiktas, loan), Nils Quaschner (Arminia Bielefeld), Davie Selke (Hertha Berlin)

IN: Jacob Bruun Larsen (youth academy), Mahmoud Dahoud (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Maximilian Philipp (Freiburg), Jadon Sancho (Manchester City), Neven Subotic (Cologne), Jeremy Toljan (Hoffenheim) Ömer Toprak (Bayer Leverkusen), Dan-Axel Zagadou (Paris Saint-Germain), Andrey Yarmolenko (Dynamo Kyiv)

OUT: Sven Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Dzenis Burnic (Stuttgart, loan), Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Mikel Merino (Newcastle United, loan), Emre Mor (Celta Vigo), Felix Passlack (Hoffenheim, loan), Adrian Ramos (Dangdai), Pascal Stenzel (Freiburg) 

IN:Kevin Akpoguma (Fortuna Düsseldorf, loan return), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich, loan), Florian Grillitsch (Werder Bremen), Justin Hoogma (Heracles), Havard Nordtveit (West Ham), Felix Passlack (Borussia Dortmund, loan) Nico Schulz (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Robert Zulj (Greuther Fürth), Robin Hack, Stefan Posch, Meris Skenderovic (all youth academy)

OUT:  Russell Canouse (DC United), Baris Atik (Kaiserslautern, loan), Antonio Colak (Ingolstadt), Benedikt Gimber (Jahn Regensburg, loan), Nicolai Rapp (Erzgebirge Aue), Sebastian Rudy (Bayern Munich), Fabian Schär (Deportivo La Coruna), Pirmin Schwegler (Hannover), Danilo Soares (Bochum), Niklas Süle (Bayern Munich), Marco Terrazzino (Freiburg), Jeremy Toljan (Borussia Dortmund)

IN: Jhon Cordoba (Mainz), Tim Handwerker (Bayer Leverkusen), Jannes Horn (Wolfsburg), Jorge Mere (Sporting Gijon), Joao Queiros (SC Braga)

OUT: Marcel Hartel (Union Berlin), Anthony Modeste (Tianjin Quanjian), Neven Subotic (loan return to Borussia Dortmund)

IN: Jonathan Klinsmann (unattached), Valentino Lazaro (RB Salzburg, loan) Mathew Leckie (Ingolstadt), Karim Rekik (Marseille), Davie Selke(RB Leipzig), Florian Baak, Julius Kade, Arne Maier (all youth academy)

OUT:  Sami Allagui (St. Pauli), Alexander Baumjohann (Coritiba), John Anthony Brooks (Wolfsburg), Marius Gersbeck (Osnabrück, loan), Florian Kohls (out of contract), Nils Körber (Preußen Münster, loan), Mike Owusu (out of contract)

IN: Bartosz Kapustka (Leicester City, loan), Ryan Kent (Liverpool, loan), Robin Koch (Kaiserslautern), Philipp Lienhart (Real Madrid, loan), Florian Niederlechner (Mainz, loan deal made permanent), Yoric Ravet (Young Boys), Pascal Stenzel (Borussia Dortmund), Marco Terrazzino (Hoffenheim)

OUT: Amir Falahen (out of contract), Jonas Föhrenbach (Karlsruher, loan), Vincenzo Grifo (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Sebastian Kerk (1. FC Nürnberg), Havard Nielsen (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Maximilian Philipp (Borussia Dortmund), Fabian Schleusener (Karlsruher, loan), Marc Torrejon (Union Berlin)

IN: Ludwig Augustinsson (FC Copenhagen), Ishak Belfodil (Standard Liege, loan), Jerome Gondorf (Darmstadt), Jiri Pavlenka (Slavia Prague), Yuning Zhang (Vitesse, loan)

OUT: Levent Aycicek (Greuther Fürth), Marnon Busch (Heidenheim), Clemens Fritz (retired), Santiago Garcia (Toluca FC), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Florian Grillitsch (Hoffenheim), Leon Guwara (Kaiserslautern, loan), Laszlo Kleinheisler (Astana, loan), Melvyn Lorenzen (ADO Den Haag), Thanos Petsos (Rapid Vienna, loan), Claudio Pizarro (out of contract), Lennart Thy (VVV Venlo, loan), Felix Wiedwald (Leeds United), Raphael Wolf (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Luca Zander (St. Pauli, loan)

IN: Raul Bobadilla (Augsburg), Mickael Cuisance (AS Nancy), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Dortmund), Vincenzo Grifo (Freiburg), Florian Neuhaus (1860 Munich), Reece Oxford (West Ham United, loan), Julio Villalba (Cerro Porteno, loan return), Denis Zakaria (Young Boys)

OUT: Tom Baller (Hannover), Andreas Christensen (loan return to Chelsea), Mahmoud Dahoud (Borussia Dortmund), Andre Hahn(Hamburg), Julian Korb (Hannover), Tsiy William Ndenge (Roda), Florian Neuhaus (Fortuna Düsseldorf, loan), Marvin Schulz (FC Luzern), Nico Schulz (Hoffenheim), Djibril Sow (Young Boys)

IN: Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham Hotspur, loan deal made permanent), Amine Harit (Nantes), Pablo Insua (Deportivo La Coruna), Michael Langer (free agent), Yevhen Konoplyanka (Sevilla, loan deal made permanent), Bastian Oczipka (Eintracht Frankfurt), Fabian Reese (Karlsruher, loan return), Weston McKennie, (youth academy)

OUT: Dennis Aogo (Stuttgart), Abdul Rahman Baba (loan return to Chelsea), Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting (Stoke City FC), Fabian Giefer (Augsburg), Luke Hemmerich (Bochum, loan), Benedikt Höwedes (Juventus, loan), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Ajax), Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal), Phil Neumann (Ingolstadt), Felix Platte (Darmstadt), Sascha Riether (out of contract), Bernard Tekpetey (Altach, loan), Sidney Sam (Bochum), Atsuto Uchida (Union Berlin), Timon Wellenreuther (Willem II), Haji Wright (Sandhausen, loan)

IN: Kevin-Prince Boateng (Las Palmas), Danny da Costa (Bayer Leverkusen), Jonathan de Guzman (Napoli), Simon Falette (FC Metz), Gelson Fernandes (Rennes), Sebastien Haller (Utrecht),  Luka Jovic (Benfica, loan), Daichi Kamada (Sagan Tosu), Ante Rebic (Fiorentina, loan), Carlos Salcedo (Guadalajara, loan), Jetro Willems (PSV Eindhoven), Marius Wolf (Hannover 96, loan), Jan Zimmerman (1860 Munich), Renat Dadashov, Noel Knothe, Nelson Mandela (all youth academy),

OUT: Michael Hector (loan return to Chelsea), Heinz Lindner (Grasshoppers Zurich), Bastian Oczipka (Schalke), Ante Rebic (loan return to Fiorentina), Haris Seferovic (Benfica), Shani Tarashaj (loan return to Everton), Jesus Vallejo (loan return to Real Madrid), Guillermo Varela (loan return to Manchester United), Furkan Zorba (VfL Osnabrück)

IN: Sven Bender (Borussia Dortmund), Dominik Kohr (Augsburg), Andre Ramalho (loan return from Mainz), Panagiotis Restos (Olympiakos)

OUT: Joel Abu Hanna (1. FC Kaiserslautern) Hakan Calhanoglu (AC Milan), Danny da Costa (Eintracht Frankfurt), Aleksandar Dragovic (Leicester City, loan), Patrick Dzalto (Jahn Regensburg), Javier Hernandez (West Ham), Roberto Hilbert (out of contract), Kevin Kampl (RB Leipzig), Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Hamburg), Ömer Toprak (Borussia Dortmund)

IN: Sergio Cordova (Caracas), Fabian Giefer (Schalke), Michael Gregoritsch (Hamburg), Marcel Heller (Darmstadt), Kilian Jakob (1860 Munich), Rani Khedira (RB Leipzig)

OUT: Albian Ajeti (St. Gallen, loan deal made permanent), Halil Altintop (Slavia Prague), Raul Bobadilla (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Dominik Kohr (Bayer Leverkusen), Tim Matavz (Vitesse), Takashi Usami (Fortuna Düsseldorf, loan), Paul Verhaegh (Wolfsburg)

IN: Andre Hahn (Gladbach), Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Pollersbeck (Kaiserslautern), Bjarne Thoelke (Karlsruher SC), Rick van Drongelen (Sparta Rotterdam)

OUT: Rene Adler (Mainz), Batuhan Altintas (Malatyaspor), Nabil Bahoui (Grasshoppers Zurich), Johan Djourou (out of contract), Ashton Götz (unknown), Michael Gregoritsch (Augsburg), Arianit Ferati (Erzgebirge Aue), Pierre-Michel Lasogga (Leeds United, loan), Matthias Ostrzolek (Hannover 96), Finn Porath (Unterhaching, loan)

IN: Rene Adler (Hamburg), Abdou Diallo (AS Monaco) Viktor Fischer (Middlesbrough), Kenan Kodro (CA Osasuna), Alexandru Maxim (VfB Stuttgart)

OUT: Pierre Bengtsson (was on loan at Bastia, now at Copenhagen), Jhon Cordoba (Cologne), Besar Halimi (Brondby, loan), Bojan Krkic (loan, return to Stoke City), Jonas Lössl (Huddersfield Town, loan), Todor Nedelev (Botev Plovdiv)  Florian Niederlechner (Freiburg, loan deal made permanent), Devante Parker (St. Pölten, loan), Andre Ramalho (loan, return to Bayer Leverkusen), Aaron Seydel (Holstein Kiel, loan)

IN: John Anthony Brooks (Hertha Berlin) , Ignacio Camacho (Malaga CF), Landry Dimata (Oostende), Kaylen Hinds (Arsenal), Divock Origi (Liverpool, loan), Marvin Stefaniak (Dynamo Dresden), Marcel Tisserand (Ingolstadt, loan), Felix Uduokhai (1860 Munich) Paul Verhaegh (Augsburg), William (Internacional), Elvis Rexhbecaj (youth academy)

OUT: Ismail Azzaoui (Willem II, loan), Diego Benaglio (Monaco), Amara Conde (Holstein Kiel, loan), Ashkan Dejagah (unknown), Orrin McKinze Gaines (Darmstadt), Luiz Gustavo (Marseille), Hendrik Hansen (Würzburger Kickers), Jannes Horn (Cologne), Borja Mayoral (loan return to Real Madrid), Leandro Putaro (Arminia Bielefeld, loan), Ricardo Rodriguez (AC Milan), Paul Seguin (Dynamo Dresden, loan), Sebastian Stolze (Jahn Regensburg, loan), Christian Träsch (Ingolstadt), Vieirinha (PAOK FC), Philipp Wollscheid (loan return to Stoke City)

IN: Dennis Aogo (Schalke), Andreas Beck (Besiktas) Ailton Ferreira Silva (Estoril Praia), Chadrac Akolo (Sion), Takuma Asano (Arsenal, loan), Santiago Ascacibar (Estudiantes De La Plata), Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich, free agent), Dzenis Burnic (Dortmund, loan), Anastasios Donis (Juventus), Benjamin Hadzic (Bayern Munich), Orel Mangala (Anderlecht), Alexander Meyer (Energie Cottbus), Ron-Robert Zieler (Leicester City)

OUT: Julian Green (Greuther Fürth, loan) Florian Klein (out of contract), Jan Kliment (Brondby, loan), Mitchell Langerak (Levante), Alexandru Maxim (Mainz), Jerome Onguene (FC Salzburg, loan), Toni Sunjic (Dynamo Moscow), Boris Tashchy (Duisburg), Benjamin Uphoff (Karlsruher), Tobias Werner (Nuremberg, loan), Jean Zimmer (Fortuna Düsseldorf, loan)

IN: Tom Baller (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Ihlas Bebou (Fortun Düsseldorf), Yousef Emghames (Bayern Munich), Michael Esser (Darmstadt), Jonathas Jesus (Rubin Kazan), Julian Korb (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Matthias Ostrzolek (Hamburg), Pirmin Schwegler (Hoffenheim)

OUT: Mevlüt Erdinc (Istanbul Basaksehir), Babacar Gueye (VV St. Truiden, loan), Andre Hoffmann (Fortuna Düsseldorf), Marko Maric (loan return to Hoffenheim), Artur Sobiech (out of contract), Stefan Strandberg (loan return to FK Krasnodar), Marius Wolf (Eintracht Frankfurt, loan)

Click right here to recap deadline day as it happened!



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Jadon Sancho joins Borussia Dortmund from Man City



Borussia Dortmund have reinforced their attack on deadline day, signing English youngster Jadon Sancho from Manchester City.

Sancho, 17, has put pen to paper on a permanent, long-term deal at the SIGNAL IDUNA PARK and will wear the number seven shirt vacated by Ousmane Dembele, who recently joined Barcelona.

“We’re really pleased that Jadon Sancho, one of Europe’s brightests young talents, will be a Dortmund player,” said Michael Zorc, BVB sporting director. “We’re convinced that we could help this still-young player to develop his game and – in the medium term – he will become a real addition.”

The attacking midfielder was chosen as player of the tournament as the UEFA Under-17 European Championship in May, contributing at least a goal or an assist every game as England finished runners-up to Spain.

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Barkley blow for Chelsea as player changes mind on move


Everton midfielder Ross Barkley changed his mind about moving to Chelsea despite undergoing a medical with the Premier League champions, according to Toffees’ majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.

Moshiri said Everton had accepted a £35million offer for the England international and were left “surprised” by Barkley’s decision to opt against the move.

The 23-year-old’s snub is the latest blow in a string of transfer window disappointments for Chelsea – who have missed out on a number of summer targets.

Their former striker Romelu Lukaku was heavily linked with a return to Stamford Bridge but instead chose to join rivals Manchester United.

In recent days Chelsea had an offer accepted by Arsenal for midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who rejected the move in favour of a transfer to Liverpool.

Antonio Conte had also been keen to recruit experienced striker Fernando Llorente from Swansea having worked with the 32-year-old at Juventus but the Spaniard joined Tottenham instead.

Barkley emerged as a late candidate for Conte’s side, who have added Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata in the window, having been told by Everton boss Ronald Koeman he could leave this summer.

But Moshiri told Sky Sports News the player had a change of heart and will now return to Goodison Park to continue rehabilitation on a hamstring injury.

“After the medical we heard from Paul Martin, Ross Barkley’s agent, that he changed his mind and wanted to reconsider his position during the January window, that is the latest,” he said.

“He is currently injured so I think technically he will be with us because he is under contract for another year. So it is a big surprise, but that is football.”

The apparent u-turn is the latest in a string of transfer frustrations for Conte, although Chelsea did complete a deal for Italy defender Davide Zappacosta.

The 25-year-old arrives from Torino, with the Serie A club announcing the deal on their website moments after the 11pm deadline.

There could be another late arrival with Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater reportedly close to signing.

Source: PA





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Borussia Dortmund’s 12-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko called up to German U-16 squad- bundesliga.com



Borussia Dortmund’s 12-year-old sensation Youssoufa Moukoko has been called up to the Germany Under-16 squad after hitting 10 goals in just four games for BVB’s Under-17 side this season.

“[Moukoko] is a win for team,” said Dortmund’s U17 coach Sebastian Geppert of the Cameroon-born prodigy, who has scored four fifths of his age group’s goals so far this season. “He’s done a fantastic job. He provides an incredible goal-threat and is often unstoppable for opposing defenders when going forward.”

Watch: Skip to 2:20 in this video from the DFB below to see Moukoko strut his stuff

Germany’s U16s play Austria on 11 and 13 September, with the squad of 22 players born almost exclusively in 2002 aside from Moukoko. Geppert, though, has no doubt the youngster will succeed.

“In addition this his threat, he is also playing very well team-wise and finds himself in the right place through teamwork.”

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Divock Origi joins Wolfsburg on loan from Liverpool for 2017/18 season



Wolfsburg have strengthened their attacking options with the Deadline Day signing of Belgium international Divock Origi on a season-long loan from Liverpool.

The powerful striker, who can also operate from wide, is coming to Wolfsburg and the Bundesliga eager to earn regular game time.

Origi has scored 21 goals in 77 appearances for English Premier League side, as well as collecting 23 caps for the Belgian national team.

The signing of Origi, as support for club captain and last season’s top scorer Mario Gomez, means that Wolfbsurg’s forward line is formidable, particularly considering the early-summer arrival of Landry Dimata.

“We’ve really strengthened our forward line with Divock Origi,” said Wolfsburg sporting director Olaf Rebbe. “Divock has proved his abilities at club and international level and is very experienced for a player of his age. He’s quick, can beat a man and is dangerous. He’ll make us more unpredictable up top.”

The 22-year-old becomes the Wolves’ 10th signing of the summer.

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Guinea earn first win in World Cup qualifiers – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Guinea international Naby Keita

by
Brian Lee

Thursday Aug 31, 2017. 21:27


Guinea earned their first win in Group A of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers after beating Libya 3-2 at the Stade du 28 Septembre in Conakry on Thursday night.

Guinea got off to the perfect start with Naby Keita giving Guinea the lead after only eight minutes, 1-0.

The Syli Nationale continued to dictate terms and managed to double their lead in the 23rd minute when Demba Camara found the back of the net, 2-0.

Guinea could not add to their goal tally and took a two goal lead into half time.

The home side should have put the game beyond doubt in the 72nd minute when they were awarded a penalty, but Naby Keita failed to score.

Libya threw men forward as they tried to get back into the game and made their pressure tell in the 87th minute when Motasem Sabbou found the back of the net, 2-1.

A minute later Libya managed to level matters when Akram Zuway scored, 2-2.

Guinea, though, managed to steal victory with a goal from Aboubacar Bangoura in the 93rd minute, 3-2.

The two countries will face off again in four days’ time on September 4 when Libya host Guinea another Group A, World Cup qualifier.

Guinea (2) 3 (Keita 8’, Camara 23’, Bangoura 93’)

Libya (0) 2 (Sabbou 87, Zuway 88’)

Teams

Guinea: Yattara, Balde (Sankhon 74’), Alseny Bangoura, Aboubacar Bangoura, Demba Camara (S. Camara 81’), Fode Camara, Diallo (Landel 74’), Kamano, Keita, Konde, Sylla.

Libya: Hassan, Al Mani, Abboud, Allafi (Ghanudi 81’), Al Musrati (Elgadi 64’), Al Tabal, Hussein, Nashnush, Sabbou, Saltou (Zuway 67’), Warfali.



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Everton sign Hajduk Split winger Nikola Vlasic for £8million


Everton have completed the signing of Hajduk Split winger Nikola Vlasic.

The 19-year-old Croatia international signed a five-year contract after an £8million fee, which could rise to £10m, was agreed.

Vlasic, who impressed Toffees boss Ronald Koeman during the Europa League qualifier against Everton earlier this month, left Croatia’s Under-21 squad on Thursday in order to complete the move.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to play for this big club,” he said.

“The Premier League is the best league in the world and this is one of the top clubs in England. It is such a big honour for me to be here.

“When I heard that Everton were interested in me, I knew straight away I wanted to come here. Whenever someone called my manager or my father, I told them I only wanted to come to Everton.

“When there is a manager like Ronald Koeman who wants you, there is no need to talk about it much.

“I wanted to come here because of the manager, because of the big players, because of the reputation of the club. It is the opportunity of a lifetime.

“The ambition of the club is to ultimately play in the Champions League and I want to help achieve that goal. I believe in myself and in this team – I think we can do great things together.”

Koeman believes he has secured the services of “one of the big young talents in Europe”.

“He showed that quality when we played Hajduk in the Europa League and he is only 19, so he will develop,” said the Dutchman.

“Nikola is one of those players who can play a big part in Everton’s future and in what we want to achieve as a club.”

Source: PA





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Why Paris made their move for Kylian Mbappé – UEFA Champions League – News


One of the summer’s most intriguing transfer stories has finally drawn to a close after Paris Saint-Germain agreed a one-season loan deal for Kylian Mbappé, luring the 18-year-old striker from Monaco with the option to make his stay permanent next summer. But just how good is Mbappé, who just over a year ago was starring for France at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship? It’s been some rise.

Name: Kylian Mbappé
Club: Paris Saint-Germain (on loan from Monaco)
Debut: 2 December 2015 v Caen (Ligue 1)
Position: forward
Nationality: French
Date of birth: 20 December 1998
Preferred foot: right
Height: 178cm

Current tally

International: 4 appearances, 0 goals
UEFA club competition: 10 appearances, 6 goal
Domestic top division: 41 appearances, 16 goals


Mbappé gets off the Monaco bus©Getty Images

They say …

“My word, he is good. Ooh la la. I met him, and he gave me the impression he has a good head on his shoulders. l really like watching him play. He thinks. Yes, he’s quick, but he’s thinking and that is the sign of a kid who can go a long way in the game.”
Thierry Henry, former France striker

“Mbappé is a very good player. He is an 18-year-old talent and he has got the right temperament. He is a great player; he showed it throughout the year.”
Zinédine Zidane, Real Madrid coach

“Mbappé is not exactly the same as Thierry Henry, but it’s true he has similar qualities. The talent is similar. After that, does he have the same level of motivation, desire and intelligence that Thierry had? The next two years will tell us that, but the first signs are very promising.”
Arsène Wenger, Arsenal manager

Mbappé speaks to UEFA.com


Mbappé speaks to UEFA.com

“He knows his strengths – he knows he is only 18. He has had a great year, but he will come on as he has the determination and the ability to do so.”
David Trezeguet, former France striker

“He is mature on and off the field. He is fast and reacts quickly. What he is doing at his age is remarkable … You would never guess he is only 18.”
Didier Deschamps, France coach

“He’s more than passionate [about football] – he’s crazy. I work in football and he almost puts me off it because he’s always into it 24/7. He watches everything; he can watch four or five matches in a row.”
Wilfried Mbappé, Kylian’s father

Background …

Mbappé was born into a sporting family – his father was a coach at his first club, Bondy, his brother played for Rennes and his mother was a top handball player. After Bondy, he went to Paris to join the revered Clairefontaine academy, and moved to Monaco in 2013.

Highlights: Watch stunning Mbappé finish


Highlights: Watch stunning Mbappé finish

An obvious star in waiting as he featured in France’s success at the 2016 UEFA European U19 Championship in Germany, he proceeded to be one of the stars of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League season. As Monaco reached the semi-finals, he became the first player to score in his first four knockout phase games – and ended his maiden campaign in Europe’s top club competition with six in ten appearances.

Playing style …

His former coach at Clairefontaine, Jean-Claude Lafargue, has described him thus: “He’s a wide forward, he can dribble well and cause panic in the final third. He is an explosive player. He doesn’t have the same touch as other players – he can pass the ball very well with both feet. He can pick passes that others won’t necessarily see.” Though not physically imposing, his speed and low centre of gravity make him a real threat with the ball at his feet.

Highlights: ten youngest French scorers


Highlights: ten youngest French scorers

Shades of …

Thierry Henry, another Monaco product who also came through Clairefontaine, is an obvious point of reference: Mbappé became Monaco’s youngest debutant, aged 16 years and 347 days, beating the record set by Henry, who was 17 years and 14 days when he first turned out for the club.

Ludovic Batelli, Mbappé’s coach with France’s U19s, feels the 18-year-old is already in a field of his own, saying: “Kylian does not want to emulate Thierry Henry. Soon, he will make it so no one can compare him to anyone else.”

He says …

“I am not a phenomenon. Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar are phenomena. I’m still far away from them. When I hear people call me that, I smile. I watch those players, I work, I learn from players like Falcao and Bernardo Silva.”

Radamel Falcao is a fine role model for Mbappé


Radamel Falcao is a fine role model for Mbappé©AFP/Getty Images

“I have always worked for the chance to play with and against the best players. When you play in the UEFA Champions League, you meet players like that and you learn fast.”

“Coming to training in the morning is a total pleasure. Time has flown by between the U19 EURO and now. It really has been a brilliant campaign.”

“In football, as long as you believe in yourself and your ability, everything is possible. I have always believed in myself, but that was not enough. I knew I had to work hard to achieve my goals. I am not surprised by what has happened to me. I knew I could make it.” 



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Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho has Palace medical after bid accepted


Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho is undergoing a medical at Crystal Palace after they had a £26million bid accepted.

The France defender spent the second half of last season on loan at Selhurst Park having fallen out of favour with manager Jurgen Klopp over a number of disciplinary issues last summer, and a return south was always the player’s preferred option.

Liverpool had been holding out for £30m but after turning down £22m plus £3m in add-ons on Wednesday – Palace’s third offer – the Reds decided to cut their losses on a player whom they have been trying to offload for a year.

Press Association Sport understands earlier in the day Palace made a bid in excess of £20m for Manchester City centre-back Eliaquim Mangala but Sakho was always their number one target this summer, having impressed in his four-month stay last season before a knee injury prematurely ended his campaign.

Source: PA





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Deal to take Dallas’ Urruti and Barrios to San Lorenzo falls through – sources


The deal that would see Max Urruti, as well as Michael Barrios (not pictured) leave Dallas for San Lorenzo has fallen through.

The FC Dallas duo of midfielder Michael Barrios and forward Max Urruti will remain with the MLS club, at least through the end of this season, and will not be transferred to Argentinian side San Lorenzo, according to FC Dallas owner Dan Hunt.

The two teams have been engaged in talks over the course of the past week, and on Tuesday multiple sources confirmed to ESPN FC that the odds of either player moving to San Lorenzo were “50-50”. With the transfer window in Argentina closing, those negotiations have ceased, allowing Dallas to hold on to both players for at least the remainder of this season.

Hunt divulged that Dallas received an initial offer on Tuesday, which was turned down. San Lorenzo came back with what Hunt called “a much improved offer” of $5 million total for both players. That offer was subsequently rejected as well.

Hunt said the situation was discussed with both players, and that both Urruti and Barrios had expressed a desire “not to abandon their teammates” in the middle of the season.

“It would be a very difficult situation because we first and foremost want to win MLS Cup this year and deliver that championship to our fans,” he said via telephone. “Given the difficulty of the timing plus the actual desire of the club and the desire of the players, this wasn’t the right time.”

The news amounts to a boost for FCD in terms of its on-field fortunes, given that Barrios and Urruti are two of team’s biggest attacking pieces. Urruti — who was acquired prior to the 2016 season in the MLS Re-entry Draft after the Portland Timbers declined the option on his contract — is Dallas’ leading scorer this season with 12 goals and five assists. Barrios has scored just twice, but has 12 assists, a mark that is tied for second in the league behind Victor Vasquez of Toronto FC.

Dallas has also been struggling mightily for results of late, going winless in its last six games. The spell has seen FCD fall into seventh place in the Western Conference, though it has two games in hand on sixth place San Jose. Still, Dallas’ fall is a shocking development for a team predicted by many to be an MLS Cup contender at the start of the season.

Had FCD transferred both players, it would have amounted to a huge blow in terms of its postseason aspirations. It also would have marked the second consecutive year in which an important player or players had left the club in midseason. Last year, winger Fabian Castillo departed amid a contentious transfer to Turkish club Trabzonspor.

Now with Urruti and Barrios both staying in Dallas, the team’s playoff hopes look more promising.

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.



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Torino sign AC Milan’s M’Baye Niang on initial season-long loan


ESPN FC’s Gab Marcotti discusses AC Milan’s impressive start and VAR’s debut in the first week of Serie A action.

Torino have completed the signing of M’Baye Niang from AC Milan on a season-long loan with an obligation to make the move permanent in 2018 for a reported fee of €20 million.

The club announced the arrival of the 22-year-old, who had also been linked with Everton and Fenerbahce, on their official website.

“I’m pleased to be a Torino player,” Niang said. “What I had hoped for has come true, and I would like to thank everybody for this.

“I really wanted to come here because I feel everybody’s faith, and this is very important.

“And it’s not a secret that I have an excellent relationship with [his former Milan coach Sinisa] Mihajlovic. I expect to do well in the league and in the Coppa Italia. The objective is to go as high as possible with this shirt.”

Niang played 67 times for Milan, scoring eight goals and spent the second half of last season on loan at Watford, where he scored twice in 16 games.

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.



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Ghana dealt a blow as Raphael Dwamena withdraws – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


by
Graeme Jackson

Thursday Aug 31, 2017. 19:00


Striker Raphael Dwamena will play no part in Ghana’s 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Congo after withdrawing from their squad.

The FC Zurich player has opted to stay in Switzerland to undergo tests, having failed a medical assessment with Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion last week.

Dwamena reportedly failed the medical with the Seagulls due to an issue with his heart, and he is seeking a second opinion on his health status.

A statement on the Ghana FA website read: “Raphael Dwamena pulls out of Ghana squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Congo. He is undergoing further medical tests in Switzerland.”

The Black Stars have called up Red Star Belgrade striker Richmond Boakye as a replacement.

Coach James Kwesi Appiah is also sweating on the fitness of defender John Boye, who will undergo tests on his thigh injury.

Ghana will host Congo in the teams’ first Group E match in Kumasi on Friday night, with the return set for Brazzaville next week Tuesday.



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Hopes of Arsenal deal for Lemar fading


Arsenal are now highly unlikely to complete the signing of Monaco forward Thomas Lemar before the closure of the summer transfer window, Press Association Sport understands.

The 21-year-old France international has been a target for the Gunners for much of the summer, with Liverpool also interested in him.

It is understood Arsenal made a late push to sign Lemar after Manchester City made an improved offer for their forward Alexis Sanchez.

While Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has been insisting for months that Sanchez, whose contract expires at the end of the season, would not be sold, it is believed the Chile forward would have had a chance of a move if Arsenal could have signed a replacement.

Some reports suggest Arsenal offered as much as £92million for Lemar, who joined Monaco from Caen in 2015.

But, with the deadline set for 11pm, it is understood the club are now not expecting to get the deal over the line on time.

That ultimately means Sanchez is likely to stay put, even though it is understood City launched an improved bid earlier on Thursday.

Arsenal had already lost Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to a Premier League rival earlier in the day as the England international completed a move to Liverpool.

Kieran Gibbs was sold to West Brom on Wednesday while the futures of players such as Lucas Perez, Jack Wilshere and Mathieu Debuchy remain up in the air.

Leicester reportedly made a big-money move for Calum Chambers but Arsenal are adamant the defender will not leave in this window.

Source: PA





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Mexico on brink of reaching Russia



  • Qualification in sight for Mexico
  • USA and Costa Rica vying to solidify automatic qualification spots
  • Four matchdays remain in the Hexagonal round

The headline going into the seventh matchday of Round 5 of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifying in CONCACAF is that Mexico is on the brink of reaching the tournament for the seventh consecutive time. 

Elsewhere, perennial qualifiers Costa Rica and USA will be playing to strengthen their respective positions on the table as both sides look to book a place to Russia 2018 without having to go through an intercontinental play-off.

The match 
Mexico-Panama, Mexico City 
Hexagonal leaders Mexico can book their ticket to Russia next year with victory against Panama, provided Honduras fail to win in Trinidad and Tobago. Motivated after missing out on Brazil 2014 in dramatic and heartbreaking circumstances, Panama will walk out at the Estadio Azteca with belief.

Defender Adolfo Machado said as much to the Panamanian press: “Mexicans are living off history, they think they are the last Coca-Cola in the desert. They have to understand that all has changed. Panama has developed a lot. Mexico is a great team, but it isn’t invincible. We’ve scored on them and given them good games in the Azteca and we’re going with the idea of picking up a good result.”

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio will look to Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Hirving Lozano and Jesus “Tecatito” Corono to bring their fine European club form – playing for West Ham United, PSV Eindhoven and Porto respectively – as El Tri seek to continue an almost flawless Round 5 campaign. The odds are stacked in their favour. Not only will they be playing in front of their home crowd, but Panama has yet to beat Mexico in a World Cup qualifier.

The other attractions 
Costa Rica have the chance to build a six-point gap between themselves in second and their opponents when they travel to New Jersey to face USA. La Sele head coach Oscar Ramirez and his side will be facing a different looking Stars and Stripes team to the one they demolished 4-0 in San Jose last November. USA are now led by veteran coach Bruce Arena after Jurgen Klinsmann was sacked mere days after that demoralising defeat.

So far during Arena’s tenure in World Cup qualifying, USA defeated both Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago with ease on home soil, while grinding out two draws away to Panama and Mexico. USA will also have a slight mental edge at Red Bull Arena having beaten Costa Rica in the semi-finals of the recent CONACACAF Gold Cup.

Down in Couva, Trinidad and Tobago and Honduras meet in shaping as a must-win match for both sides if they are to keep their qualification dreams alive. The ‘must-win’ tag can be used more so for head coach Dennis Lawrence’s side as Trinidad and Tobago sit at the bottom of the table and have failed to pick up a single point in their last three qualification matches. The importance of the match will not be lost on Jose Luis Pinto and his side either as their only win of the Hexagonal round came against Trinidad and Tobago last November. 

Player to watch

Eighteen-year-old USA midfielder Christian Pulisic burst on to the international scene late last year and has been productive ever since. Pulisic has looked bright in Borussia Dortmund’s first two Bundesliga matches, scoring a goal and providing an assist, and in his last five matches for the Stars and Stripes, he has either scored or assisted in seven of the team’s 11 goals.

What they said 
“We’ve had a couple of World Cup cycles in which we’ve suffered a lot and this time we can do it in a less fraught way, without as much pressure and that’s something to appreciate.” Andres Guardado, Mexico midfielder

Matchday 7 fixtures 
1 September 
USA-Costa Rica 

Trinidad and Tobago-Honduras 

Mexico-Panama



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Samurai Blue through as quintet have to leave it late



  • Japan confirm Russia 2018 place with Australia victory
  • Korea Republic held at home against Iran
  • Two automatic berths, one play-off place up for grabs

Japan became the second Asian team to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, joining Iran at the global finals after beating Australia 2-0 at home. The Socceroos are, meanwhile, left to battle for Group B’s second qualifying spot against Saudi Arabia, who lost 2-1 in United Arab Emirates on Tuesday. 

In Group A, Korea Republic are still fighting for their Russia 2018 place after being held to a goalless draw at home to Iran. Syria, though, stunned Qatar 3-1 to move level on points with Uzbekistan, who lost 1-0 to China PR. It becomes a three-horse race for the section’s remaining automatic ticket, though the Taeguk Warriors are two points clear. Qatar’s Russia 2018 dreams are over, while China maintained their hopes of a play-off finish. 

Results
Group A: China PR 1-0 Uzbekistan, Korea Republic 0-0 Iran, Syria 3-1 Qatar
Group B: United Arab Emirates 2-1 Saudi Arabia, Japan 2-0 Australia, Thailand 1-2 Iraq


The match

Japan 2-0 Australia
Saitama Stadium 2002, Saitama
Goals: 41 Takuma Asano; 83 Yosuke Ideguchi 

Japan completed their mission in style, defeating Australia 2-0 at home to book their place at Russia 2018 with a game to spare. Having never defeated the Socceroos in FIFA World Cup qualifying, Samurai Blue broke the jinx with their first victory. With Japan claiming the top spot of Group B, Australia are left battling for the section’s remaining automatic berth with Saudi Arabia, who are leading on goal difference. Ange Postecoglou’s side must now beat Thailand on Tuesday and hope the other result goes their way if they are to secure their ticket to the FIFA World Cup. 


In what had been anticipated as a decider, Vahid Halilhodzic surprisingly made several changes to the line-up of their last 1-1 draw with Iraq, notably starting dynamic attackers Takashi Inui and Takuma Asano in preference to the likes of Shinji Kagawa and Shinji Okazaki. His tactical changes duly paid off, with the latter breaking the deadlock four minutes from break. The visitors pressed hard after the restart, desperately seeking to equalise. But it was the hosts who doubled the lead, with Yosuke Ideguchi striking late to seal the win and their sixth successive FIFA World Cup qualification. 

Elsewhere

Saudi Arabia’s hopeful campaign was dealt a heavy blow after they threw away a 1-0 lead to lose to hosts United Arab Emirates on Tuesday. Nawaf Al Abed put the visitors ahead with a spot-kick but Ali Mabkhout drew the hosts levelas the two sides finished the first half locked at 1-1. Ahmed Khalil then sealed the victory on the hour-mark with a spectacular long-range strike to keep their slim Russia 2018 hopes alive. The Saudis now face an all-but must-win scenarios when they entertain Japan in the closing game five days later. 


In Group A, Korea Republic were held to a goalless draw by Iran in Seoul. Both sides carved out a couple of chances but it was the hosts that looked more likely to break the deadlock with Jang Hyunsoo heading just wide of the post. Now two points clear of Uzbekistan and Syria, the Taeguk Warriors remain in the driving seat in the three-horse race for the remaining qualifying slot, with a victory in Uzbekistan enough to seal their passage through regardless of other results. 


Omar Kharbin struck in each half as Syria maintained their hopes of an automatic qualifying place to the next FIFA World Cup with a 3-1 defeat of Qatar. The 23-year-old striker opened the scoring on seven minutes after getting onto the end of Feras Al Khatib’s smart through-ball and despite seeing his opener cancelled out by Ali Assadalia, the Al Hilal frontman restored their lead with a second-half strike, before Mahmoud Al Mawas sealed the deal with a stoppage-time effort.  


Gao Lin scored the only goal as China PR defeated Uzbekistan at home to keep their slim World Cup hopes alive. Marcello Lippi’s side dominated the first half with 12 shots to one, only to fail to break the deadlock. Having weathered the hosts’ storm, though, the visitors hit back hard after the restart and looked the more dangerous side going forward. China PR were awarded a penalty when Feng Xiaoting was tripped in the area and from the consequent spot-kick, Gao Lin kept his cool to seal his side’s second victory under the Italian coach.

Player of the day

The surprise package in Asian qualifying, Syria have defied all odds to maintain their hopes of qualifying for a maiden World Cup. But Syrian fans are aware that their team would hardly have made it this far had it not been for their striking prodigy Omar Kharbin. In a sense, the emerging star has established his talismanic place, having scored ten times as his side continued their amazing run.

Did you know?
Japan are among Asia’s most successful team in FIFA World Cup qualifying and Russia 2018 marks their sixth appearance at the global extravaganza. The Samurai Blue are second only to Korea Republic, who have represented Asia for a record nine times at the FIFA World Cup.

What they said

“I know that losing is a part of sport, but for me this is the most disappointing moment of the past two years, from the beginning until now. In one game, we threw almost everything away with an unnecessary loss in Australia, and now we have another unnecessary loss,” Saudi Arabia head coach Bert van Marwijk.

Up next (Round Three, Matchday 10)
Group A – 5 September
Iran-Syria

Qatar-China PR

Uzbekistan-Korea Republic

Group B – 5 September

Australia-Thailand

Iraq-United Arab Emirates

Saudi Arabia-Japan



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Alexis Sanchez stays at Arsenal as move for Thomas Lemar falls through – source


ESPN’s Mattias Karen shares his thoughts on Arsenal’s transfer activity as they look to keep hold of Alexis Sanchez.
While Oxlade-Chamberlain may not fill a need for Liverpool, Mark Ogden feels it’s a big coup for Liverpool to beat Chelsea.
While Oxlade-Chamberlain may not fill a need for Liverpool, Mark Ogden feels it’s a big coup for Liverpool to beat Chelsea.
Glenn Price reports from Anfield after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain completes his move from Arsenal.

Arsenal have given up hope of signing Thomas Lemar despite making a late £90 million bid for the Monaco winger, meaning Alexis Sanchez is set to stay at the club, a club source has told ESPN FC.

The Gunners had been prepared to sell Sanchez to Manchester City for around £60m, but only if they could find a top-class replacement for the Chile international.

A source confirmed that Arsenal had made a club-record bid for Lemar but that a deal was now “very unlikely” to go through before the transfer window shuts at 11 p.m. BST.

Lemar is on international duty in Paris on Thursday evening, and was named in the starting lineup for France’s World Cup qualifier against Netherlands, further limiting time to get a deal done.

Liverpool are also unlikely to succeed in their attempts to bring in Lemar before the transfer deadline, according to the Liverpool Echo.

Manager Arsene Wenger had insisted all summer that Sanchez would not be sold, but that stance had softened after Sunday’s 4-0 loss to Liverpool, when the player’s mindset and performance were widely questioned.

Wenger also sanctioned the £40m sale of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with no replacement set to come in for the England international.

The only deals Arsenal expect to complete before the window shuts are to send Lucas Perez back on loan to his former club Deportivo La Coruna, while Joel Campbell is also expected to go on loan again despite still in recovery from a knee injury.

It makes for a frustrating finish to a transfer window that started in a very promising fashion for Arsenal with the signings of Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette. The club insist they’re happy to keep Sanchez but there have been fears that his attitude could have a negative impact on the squad after he made it clear he wants to leave.

Sanchez can now see out final year of his contract and leave on a free transfer next summer, if the Gunners do not accept a cut-price deal in January.

Mattias is ESPN FC’s Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.



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Borussia Dortmund snap up youngster Jadon Sancho from Manchester City


Borussia Dortmund have signed highly-rated England youth international Jadon Sancho from Manchester City, the Bundesliga club have announced.

Press Association Sport understands the German club have paid around £8million for the 17-year-old in a deal which also guarantees City will receive a substantial sell-on clause should he move on again.

The winger has been tempted to move by the prospect of first-team football in Germany and will wear the number seven shirt recently vacated by Ousmane Dembele at Dortmund.

Sancho was one of the star players during the recent Under-17 European Championship, in which England finished runners-up, and had attracted interest from Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham.

City had hoped to persuade their Academy product to stay but he turned down the offer of a new contract.

Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc told the club’s website, www.bvb.de: “We are very pleased that Jadon Sancho, who is currently one of the greatest talents in European football, will definitely play at BVB.

“We are convinced that we can help this very young player continue to develop his game and become a real asset for our team.”

Source: PA





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Liverpool sign Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aurier to Spurs


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Diafra Sakho’s West Ham future up in air after passing Rennes medical


Diafra Sakho’s deadline day could become one to remember as the wantaway West Ham striker spent the afternoon at the races while angling for a move to Rennes.

The 27-year-old flew to France on Wednesday and passed a medical with the Ligue 1 side – even though the Hammers had not agreed to sell the Senegal international.

Crystal Palace are also believed to be interested in acquiring Sakho’s services but West Ham have remained firm over their policy of not selling the striker.

Sakho was seen at Chelmsford racecourse with his agent Mark McKay, who had a runner in the 3:20.

McKay’s horse, Siege of Boston, won the race in a photo-finish as The Happy Hammer was a non-runner in the same race.

Speaking from Chelmsford, McKay said: “No bid has been accepted.

“We are just waiting for (West Ham co-owner) David Sullivan. The medical has been passed. There is a lot of off-field stuff to sort out. “

Sakho moved to West Ham in 2014 and enjoyed a strong first season under Sam Allardyce, scoring 10 Premier League goals in his maiden campaign in England.

Since then he has suffered a number of injuries and fallen down the pecking order – featuring just four times for Slaven Bilic’s side in all competitions last season.

Now he appears to be set on leaving the club but he seems to have jumped the gun unless West Ham back down as deadline day enters the final furlong.

Source: PA





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Going home with Robles | Ep. 3 – Via Red Bulls


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Okwi fires Uganda to the top of Group E – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers


Marawan Mohsen of Egypt challenged by Murushid Juuko of Uganda (c) and Hassan Wasswa of Uganda (l) during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Egypt and Uganda at the Port Gentil Stadium in Gabon on 21 January 2017 ©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Aug 31, 2017. 17:23


Uganda overcame Egypt 1-0 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification (CAF) Group E match at the Mandela National Stadium in Kampala on Thursday.

As a result, the Cranes move to the top of Group E standings, while the Pharaohs drop to second spot with the return leg game scheduled to be played in Alexandria, Egypt next week Tuesday.

Egypt shot-stopper Essam El-Hadary was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the first-half as he produced good saves as he kept Uganda at bay.

Uganda winger Emmanuel Okwi came close to giving the Cranes the lead with a good effort from the right in the 13th minute, but El-Hadary denied him.

The former Al Ahly goal-minder then saved Uganda talisman Farouk Miya’s long range attempt in the 25th minute as the home side pressed Egypt.

Derrick Nsibambi, the Uganda forward, who had been booked, also saw his header saved by El-Hadary with the half-time break fast approaching.

Egypt managed to contain the Cranes in the closing stages of the first-half and score was 0-0 at half-time in the capital city of Uganda, Kampala.

El-Hadary was finally beaten six minutes into the second-half after the Pharaohs defence was caught ball watching inside their own box.

Okwi controlled the ball very well, before beating the 44-year-old shot-stopper with a powerful low shot to hand Uganda a well-deserved 1-0 lead.

Egypt should have equalized in the 63rd minute, but Uganda keeper Denis Onyango was alert and he saved Egypt attacker Mohamed Salah’s header.

Tarek Hamed was then introduced by Egypt head coach Hector Cuper 10 minutes later as the Pharaohs searched for the equalizing goal.

The midfielder had a chance to level matters with five minutes left on the clock, but his attempt was saved by Onyango, who made a fantastic save.

The Cranes then stood firm at the back in the closing stages of the encounter and the match ended in a 1-0 victory in favour of Uganda.

Uganda (0) 1 (Okwi 51′)

Egypt (0)

Uganda XI: Onyango, Wadada, Walusimbi, Isinde, Juuko, Mawanda, Aucho, Okwi (Sserunkuma 88′), Miya (Kizito 75′), Nsibambi, Ochaya (Muleme 93′).

Egypt XI: El-Hadary, Abdel-Shafi, Hegazy, Rabia, Fathi, Hamed, Elneny, El-Said (Hamed 73′), Trezeguet (Sobhi 46′), Salah, Kahraba (Gamal 67′).



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WCQ: Uganda 1-0 Egypt – As It Happened – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Khalid Aucho of Uganda challenged by Mohamed Elneny of Egypt during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Egypt and Uganda

by
Austin Ditlhobolo

Thursday Aug 31, 2017. 17:07


Hello and welcome to the live commentary of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualification (CAF) Group E match between Uganda and Egypt at the Mandela National Stadium in Kampala.

Line-ups:

Uganda XI: Denis Onyango, Nico Wakiro Wadada, Godfrey Walusimbi, Isaac Isinde, Murushid Juuko, Wasswa Hassan Mawanda,Khalid Aucho, Emmanuel Arnold Okwi, Faruku Miya, Derrick Nsibambi, Joseph Benson Ochaya.

Egypt XI: Essam El-Hadary; Mohamed Abdel-Shafi, Ahmed Hegazy, Rami Rabia, Ahmed Fathi, Tarek Hamed, Mohamed Elneny, Abdallah El-Said, Mahmoud “Trezeguet” Hassan, Mohamed Salah, Mahmoud ‘Kahraba’.

Commentary:

FULL-TIME! Uganda 1-0 Egypt

95′ – CHANCE! Egypt attacker Salah’s effort is blocked by his teammate Hegazy from close range.

93′ – Uganda sub: Muleme IN, Ochaya OUT.

90′ – The fourth has added seven minutes.

88′ – Uganda sub: Sserunkuma IN, Okwi OUT.

82′ – Caution: Uganda captain Onyango is booked for time wasting.

80′ – Uganda are now defending too deep as they look to contain Egypt in the remaining minutes of this encounter.

73′ – Egypt sub: Hamed IN, El-Said OUT.

75′ – Uganda sub: Kizito IN, Miya OUT.

70′ – Twenty minutes left on the clock for the Pharaohs to level matters.

66′ – Egypt sub: Gamal IN, Kahraba OUT.

65′ – GREAT SAVE! Egypt winger Salah’s header from close range is parried away by Uganda keeper Onyango as the Pharaohs continue to press the Cranes.

60′ – Uganda are leading 1-0 as we reach the hour-mark here in Kampala.

55′ – Egypt are now pressing Uganda as keeper Onyango gathers two long balls as the visitors look to respond with a goal.

51 – GOAL! Uganda 1-0 Egypt. Okwi cuts inside and he beats El-Hadary with a low shot.

50′ – GREAT SAVE! Uganda forward Miya forces Egypt keeper El-Hadary into a great save at the near-post.

46′ – The second-half is underway.

Egypt sub: Sobhi IN, Hassan OUT

HALF-TIME! Uganda 0-0 Egypt.

45′ – The fourth official has added one minute.

40′ – Pressure is mounting on the Egyptian defence as El-Hadary denies Uganda attacker Nsibambi, whose header was heading for the top corner.

35′ – GREAT SAVE! Egypt keeper El-Hadary makes a great save to deny Uganda winger Okwi, who had unleashed a powerful low shot from side the box.

30′ – It remains goalless here in Kampala and Uganda have been doing most of the attacking thus far.

25′ – Uganda keeper Onyango is called into action and he gathers Egypt winger Salah’s curling effort from a corner-kick.

20′ – Uganda attacker Okwi plays a cross into the Egypt box for Nsibambi, but the ball goes out for a goal-kick.

15′ – GOOD SAVE! Egypt goalkeeper El-Hadary tips Uganda forward Okwi’s effort over the crossbar as the Cranes press the Pharaohs.

10′ – Uganda attacker Miya makes a good run down the right-hand side, but Egypt defender Hegazy does well to stop him.

5′ – The Cranes of Uganda are enjoying more possession thus far as they search for an early goal.

CAUTION: Uganda’s Nsibambi is booked after elbowing Egypt attacker Salah.

1′ – The match is underway.



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Kalou and I bring experience to the Elephants – Gervinho – 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – Africa


Salomon Kalou of Ivory Coast during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals match between Ivory Coast and DR Congo at the Oyem Stadium in Gabon on 20 January 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by
Phumzile Ngcatshe

Thursday Aug 31, 2017. 17:00


Ivory Coast veteran Gervinho insists he and fellow attacker Salomon Kalou will bring experience to the national team ahead of their World Cup qualifiers.

Gervinho and Kalou both missed the Elephants’ last competitive match, a 3-2 defeat at home to Guinea in qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations back in June.

In their absence, coach Marc Wilmots fielded Maxwell Cornet, Giovanni Sio and Seydou Doumbia in attack.

Yet the old guard is back for the Ivory Coast’s back-to-back 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Gabon on Saturday and Tuesday, with Kalou and Gervinho sharing the better part of 200 caps between them.

“We [Gervinho and Kalou] are not here to play the heroes. We came to bring a plus to the team,” said Gervinho earlier in the week.

“It’s normal that people rely on us because we have played for a long time in this team.

“The last time I was not there for personal problems. The defeat against Guinea is something that happens.”

The former Arsenal player added, “We did not come to tell the difference between us and the others.

“We are here to bring our experience to the team. We need to build a team that will qualify us for the World Cup.”

The Elephants will face Gabon in Libreville and Bouake on September 2 and 5 respectively.



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Liverpool striker Divock Origi makes Wolfsburg move


Liverpool have announced striker Divock Origi has joined Bundesliga side Wolfsburg on loan until the end of the season.

Belgium international Origi, 22, has had little game time at Anfield this season, making one substitute’s appearance for Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Liverpool FC can confirm that Divock Origi has completed a season-long loan move to Wolfsburg,” the Merseyside club confirmed on their official website.

Liverpool paid French side Lille £10million to sign Origi in July 2014 when he was still a teenager and in his three-year spell at Anfield he has scored 21 goals in 77 appearances.

But he has dropped down the pecking order in Klopp’s squad following the arrival of Dominic Solanke earlier this summer and was not included in the match-day squad for last weekend’s 4-0 defeat of Arsenal.

Marseille, Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen had also been reported to have shown an interest in Origi, who can expect regular game time under Wolfsburg boss Andries Jonker.

Source: PA





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Chelsea agree €25 million deal for Torino defender Davide Zappacosta – sources


Gab Marcotti sees full-back Davide Zappacosta fitting perfectly into Antonio Conte’s system at Chelsea.

Chelsea have agreed a €25 million deal for Torino defender Davide Zappacosta, sources in Italy have confirmed to ESPN FC.

After missing out to Liverpool on the signing of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal, Chelsea switched their attentions to the 25-year-old Italy international.

Antonio Conte has been searching for cover for Victor Moses all summer and he has found it in Zappacosta, who can play at right-back, right wing-back or on the right of midfield.

Conte knows all about Zappacosta, having given him his first call-up to the Italy squad last year during his time as national team manager.

Zappacosta joined Torino from Atalanta in 2015, and he has made 58 Serie A appearances for the Granata. He started their first game of the season but was only a late substitute last weekend.

Torino will make a huge profit on the defender after signing him for just €5 million.



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Portugal winger Nani joins Lazio on loan from Valencia


Nani joined Valencia last summer but is now set for a move to Serie A.

Lazio have announced the signing of Nani on a season-long loan from Valencia, with the Serie A club obtaining the option to make the move permanent in 2018.

Portugal international Nani arrived at Rome’s Ciampino airport on Thursday morning and passed his medical examination at the Paideia Clinic.

The former Manchester United winger joined the Biancocelesti ahead of the transfer deadline after just one season with Valencia, for whom he made 25 appearances and scored five goals.

Both the Serie A and La Liga club confirmed the deal, with Valencia writing in a statement on their website: “Valencia CF have reached an agreement this Thursday with SS Lazio for the loan of Luis Carlos Almeida da Cunha ‘Nani’ for one season. The Italian club will have the option to buy the Portuguese footballer at the end of the loan period.”

Valencia were keen to offload Nani because of the 30-year-old’s high wages of €2 million net per season. He was under contract there for two more seasons, and managed 25 league appearances last season, 22 as a starter, scoring five goals and setting up seven more, despite spending two months sidelined with a thigh injury.

Nani’s last goal for Manchester United came in September 2012, after which he made only a handful of appearances for the Red Devils before moving to Portugal on loan in 2014 and to Turkey on a permanent deal in 2015.

After scoring seven goals in 27 games for Sporting Lisbon, he scored eight in 28 outings for Fenerbahce. Valencia then signed Nani from the Turkish giants last summer after paying his €8.5m release clause. 

Nani was reluctant to leave Valencia this summer but the Euro 2016 winner has now agreed to join the Rome-based club in what will be his first experience in Italy and his fifth league following stints in Portugal, England, Turkey and Spain.

He was not included in Portugal’s squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Faroe Islands and Hungary.



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Burnley buy Nahki Wells from Huddersfield


Burnley have announced the signing of striker Nahki Wells from Huddersfield for an undisclosed fee.

Bermuda international Wells, currently recovering from minor ankle surgery, has put pen to paper on a three-year deal at Turf Moor.

“Burnley Football Club is delighted to confirm the signing of Nahki Wells on a three-year contract,” the Clarets said on their official website.

“The Clarets completed the deadline-day signing of the striker, 27, from Premier League rivals Huddersfield Town for an undisclosed fee.”

Wells had been linked with a move to Burnley since Huddersfield head coach David Wagner confirmed earlier this month that the club were open to offers for the former Bradford striker.

Wagner has drafted in fellow strikers Steve Mounie and Laurent Depoitre since the Terriers’ play-off final triumph at Wembley in May, while Elias Kachunga’s loan move from Ingolstadt was made permanent.

But Wells, who scored 48 goals in 152 appearances during his three-and-a-half-year spell at Huddersfield, believes good times lie ahead at Turf Moor.

“I have no doubt this is an ideal move for me,” Wells said.

“I have played at every level besides the Premier League. I achieved that by getting promoted (with Huddersfield) and it wasn’t something that was going to change. I have always wanted to play there.

“I’ve documented that way back, when I first broke into the game.

“Now the opportunity is here and I’m very thankful to the football club to give it to me. I feel I can go on and do great things.”

Wells had minor surgery to resolve an ankle problem earlier this month and has not featured this season for Huddersfield in the Premier League.

He had slipped down the pecking order at the John Smith’s Stadium when the Terriers paid club record fees, first for Depoitre to Porto and then Mounie to Montpellier in June and July respectively.

Wagner told Huddersfield’s offical website: “Nahki is a great character and has been a very important player for Huddersfield Town for a long time, but now this move works for everyone.

“He is a very good player, but at this moment in time we have a number of high quality players and options in our offensive line.

“Everyone here at Huddersfield Town would like to thank Nahki for what he has done for the club and wishes him all the best for the future.”

Burnley recently sold striker Andre Gray to Watford for a reported fee of £18.5million, but boss Sean Dyche had already boosted the club’s fire power by drafting in Jonathan Walters and Chris Wood, a club record £15m signing from Leeds.

Wells, who started out in the UK at Carlisle, joined Huddersfield from Bradford for a then-club record fee of £1.5m in January 2014.

Source: PA





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Japan qualify for sixth successive World Cup



  • Japan beat Australia 2-0 to seal their place
  • Vahid Halilhodzic’s side join Iran, Brazil and hosts Russia in qualifying
  • Australia level on points with Saudi Arabia in second

Japan have qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™, joining Iran, Brazil and hosts Russia in taking their place at the global finals.

They did so with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Australia in a high-stakes encounter at the Saitama Stadium. Both sides had gone into the match knowing that the victors would be guaranteed a spot in Russia and it was the hosts who seized the initiative just before half-time when Takuma Asano sprung the Australian offside trap to volley home from close range.

The Socceroos pushed for an equaliser in the second half but created precious few opportunities and saw their hopes evaporate with eight minutes remaining.

That was when Yosuke Ideguchi scored a goal worthy of winning any match, charging inside from the left flank and curling an unstoppable right-foot shot into the top corner from 25 yards.

The strike sealed Japan’s place at Russia 2018, maintaining their record of having qualified for every World Cup since 1998.

Australia, meanwhile, must hope to beat Thailand in their final match and pip Saudi Arabia – who are also on 16 points, and host the Samurai Blue in their concluding encounter – to second place. Should they finish third, Ange Postecoglou’s side will face a play-off against a team from Group A, with the winner progressing to an intercontinental play-off against an opponent from the CONCACAF region.



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