Europe top teams win WCup qualifiers as Swiss move goalposts
(AP Photo/Hektor Pustina)World Cup qualifying in Europe took a quirky turn when the goalposts were removed before a match between Switzerland and Lithuania because they were deemed the incorrect size. Like Spain, France started its qualification campaign with an unexpected draw at home but also got back on track in its second game, easing to a 2-0 win at Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, Denmark became the latest European team to use the World Cup qualifiers to direct attention to workers’ rights in 2022 host Qatar. ITALY FLYINGItaly's back-to-back wins to open World Cup qualifying come after a perfect 10 wins in qualifying for Euro 2020. RECORD WINDenmark earned its biggest win in a World Cup or European Championship qualifier.
Winning run ended by Man U but City running away with title
Manchester United won 2-0. Manchester United's 2-0 victory on Sunday halted City's winning run at 21 matches in all competitions. The most important number to Guardiola is 11 — the points advantage City holds over second-place United. City running away with the title seemed unimaginable in November when it lost to then-leader Tottenham. After a one-two with Marcus Rashford, the left back scored his first league goal since 2018, putting the ball through Rodri’s legs.
English soccer at breaking point over abuse on social media
Racist abuse. And social media accounts allowed to stay active even after spreading bile. English football has reached breaking point with players, coaches, referees and officials aghast at the ongoing proliferation of hate aimed at them on Instagram and Twitter. This is being enforced almost two years after players in England boycotted social media for 24 hours. The government is also introducing legislation — the online safety bill — that could see social media companies fined for failing to protect their users.
English soccer heads ask Zuckerberg, Dorsey to act on racism
The leaders of English soccer have asked the heads of Facebook and Instagram to show basic human decency by taking more robust action to eradicate racism and for users identities to be verified. There has been growing outrage that players from the Premier League to the Womens Super League have been targeted with abuse on Twitter and Facebook-owned Instagram. “The language used is debasing, often threatening and illegal,” the eight English soccer leaders, including from the Football Association and Premier League, wrote to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook chairman Mark Zuckerberg. The letter was signed by the CEOs of the English Football Association (Mark Bullingham), Premier League (Richard Masters), English Football League (Trevor Birch), Professional Footballers’ Association (Gordon Taylor) and League Managers’ Association (Richard Bevan). Threats of violence on social media have also alarmed English soccer this week.
Tottenham humiliates Man United with 6-1 Premier League win
Tottenham's Serge Aurier, left, celebrates after scoring his side's fifth goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. (Carl Recine/Pool via AP)MANCHESTER – Tottenham tore apart Manchester United for a 6-1 victory on Sunday, exposing the defensive weaknesses in Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side by inflicting the team's joint-heaviest Premier League defeat at home. Only once since 1930 has United conceded six at home — to Manchester City nine years ago. Not since 1986 has United opened the league season with back-to-back home losses. United can be aggrieved that Erik Lamela’s apparent playacting led to Anthony Martial being sent off in the 28th minute.
Mbapp, Sterling rediscover scoring touch in Nations League
England's Raheem Sterling celebrates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Iceland and England in Reykjavik, Iceland, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Brynjar Gunnarson)Kylian Mbapp and Raheem Sterling have started their new seasons a lot better than they finished their last. With an individual goal that combined fortune and inspired impudence, Mbapp earned France a 1-0 win at Sweden in the Nations League on Saturday. They rediscovered their scoring touch with their countries in the round of games in the Nations League, which marks the return of international football after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. From an acute angle, he found the gap between Olsen and the post with a left-footed shot for his 14th international goal.
Sevilla beats Man United 2-1 to reach Europa League final
(Ina Fassbender/Pool Via AP)COLOGNE Luuk de Jong scored the winning goal as Sevilla came back from a goal down to beat Manchester United 2-1 on Sunday and reach the final of the Europa League. Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou kept his team in the semifinal at 1-1 with a string of saves either side of halftime, before de Jong won it. With the game at 1-1 and heading for extra time, Sevilla substitute de Jong made the breakthrough in the 78th minute. United had taken the lead in the ninth minute with yet another penalty in a season packed with them. Diego Carlos tangled with Marcus Rashford as the United forward had his shot saved, and then Bruno Fernandes stepped up to send the penalty into the top-left corner.
Man United qualifies for Champions League, denies Leicester
Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes, left, scores his side's opening goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Manchester United at the King Power Stadium, in Leicester, England, Sunday, July 26, 2020. (Oli Scarff/Pool via AP)LEICESTER Manchester United will return to the Champions League at the expense of Leicester after winning 2-0 at the King Power Stadium on the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday. Having been 14 points behind Leicester in January, United finished four points above the 2016 champions. While most coronavirus restrictions have been lifted across England, Leicester is still in a local lockdown in an effort to contain infections. When the pandemic forced the Premier League into a 100-day shutdown in March, Leicester was third with an eight-point lead over then fifth-place United.
De Gea mistakes see Chelsea beat Man U to reach FA Cup final
(Andy Rain, Pool via AP)LONDON At least David De Gea was spared having a crowd inside Wembley to witness his latest mistakes in the Manchester United goal. Gifted goals to beat United 3-1 on Sunday, Chelsea will be returning to the national stadium on Aug. 1 to face Arsenal in an all-London FA Cup final. Olivier Giroud's close-range deft touch from Cesar Azpilicueta's cross was pushed into his own goal by De Gea. De Gea hadnt played in the competition since the 2018 final when Chelsea beat United. It means Frank Lampard's first season as Chelsea manager will end with a cup final.
Youngsters justifying the faith of top Premier League teams
Manchester United's Mason Greenwood celebrates after scoring a goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Bournemouth at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, July 4, 2020. (Peter Powell/Pool via AP)Some of the top Premier League teams are putting their faith in youth in the high-stakes finale to the longest-ever soccer season in England. Jamie Vardy passed the 100-goal mark in Premier League goals by netting twice as Leicester beat Crystal Palace 3-0 for its first win since the restart. With five more rounds left, Leicester stayed a point clear of Chelsea and three points ahead of fifth-place Manchester United. Finishing in sixth will earn the team a berth in the Europa League next season, as may seventh.
Rashford back to the day job after activism during pandemic
FILE - In this Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 file photo, Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates during an English Premier League soccer match against Manchester City at Etihad stadium in Manchester, England. Manchester United and England player Marcus Rashford is urging the government to provide free meals for needy students over the summer holidays. My day job, the Manchester United striker tweeted this week alongside a picture of him at practice at the teams training facility. They are qualities the United manager sees in Rashford the soccer player, too, having already made him his No. He has changed the lives of so many kids this summer, Solskjaer said, which is more important than any game of football he will probably play.