World Cup captains want to wear rainbow armbands in Qatar
GENEVA — (AP) — FIFA came under pressure Wednesday from several European soccer federations who want their captains to wear an armband with a rainbow heart design during World Cup games in Qatar to campaign against discrimination. FIFA rules prohibit teams from bringing their own armband designs to the World Cup and insist they must use equipment provided by the governing body. "A request to FIFA has also been submitted asking that permission be provided for the armbands to be worn throughout the FIFA World Cup," the Welsh soccer federation said in a statement. The five European qualifiers for the World Cup not taking part Wednesday were Croatia, Poland, Portugal, Serbia and Spain. Poland refused to play Russia, the 2018 World Cup host, in a playoff match in March.wftv.com
Champions League live: Bayern-Barcelona and Robert Lewandowski's homecoming headline Tuesday matches
The UEFA Champions League resumes on Tuesday with a near-must-win game for Liverpool, a tricky away test for Tottenham, and Robert Lewandowski's grand return to Bayern Munich. Barcelona's clash with Bayern headlines a seven-game slate that has been weakened slightly by the postponement of Rangers-Napoli to Wednesday. Bayern, however, has won the last three meetings between the two clubs by an aggregate score of 14-2. Champions League Matchday 2 live updatesHow to watch Champions League in the U.S.All Champions League games are on Paramount+ in English in the United States, with whip-around coverage of the 3 p.m. Tuesday's Champions League fixtures, odds, start times(Odds via BetMGM.wftv.com
Barcelona gets tough Champs League group with Bayern, Inter
ISTANBUL — (AP) — Barcelona faces another tough Champions League group after being drawn with Bayern Munich and Inter Milan on Thursday as it tries to avoid a second straight group-stage exit since losing Lionel Messi. Inter Milan is another former champion in a group that boasts a combined 14 European Cup or Champions League titles. Each team gets a basic fee of 15.6 million euros ($15.5 million), plus 2.8 million euros ($2.78 million) per win and 930,000 euros ($924,000) for each draw in the group stage. It all adds up to the eventual champion getting around 125 million euros ($124 million) in UEFA prize money. GROUP C: Bayern Munich (Germany), Barcelona (Spain), Inter Milan (Italy), Viktoria Plzeň (Czech Republic).wftv.com
Barcelona sells more assets to clear Lewandowski for opener
(AP Photo/Joan Monfort) (Joan Monfort)BARCELONA, Spain — (AP) — Working against the clock, Barcelona sold off even more of its club assets on Friday so it could meet the Spanish league's financial rules and clear Robert Lewandowski and other summer signings to play in its season opener. But, by late Friday, the league had yet to declare eligible France defender Jules Koundé, who arrived to Barcelona from Sevilla last month. All told, the heavily indebted Catalan club has mortgaged its future for 870 million euros ($895 million) in order to sign Lewandowski, Raphinha and Koundé for a combined 160 million euros ($165 million). Roures was a major financial backer of Barcelona club president Joan Laporta when he returned to run the financially troubled club in 2021. “If the 100 million euros are enough, I don’t know.wftv.com
Lionel Messi misses cut for Ballon d’Or list of nominees
Israel Soccer French Super Cup PSG's Lionel Messi, right, controls the ball as PSG's Neymar runs during the French Super Cup final soccer match between Nantes and Paris Saint-Germain at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, July 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) (Ariel Schalit)Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi was omitted from the 30-man list of nominees for the prestigious award on Friday for the first time since 2005. The Argentina great edged out Poland striker Robert Lewandowski for the Ballon d’Or last year but wasn't nominated this time after an underwhelming first season at Paris Saint-Germain. The 35-year-old forward also won the prize in 2019 — it was not held in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Liverpool also has six nominees: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Luis Diaz, Fabinho, Darwin Nunez, Salah and Virgil van Dijk.wftv.com
Madrid starts Spanish league defense aiming for title sweep
Real Madrid won 2-0. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni) (Antonio Calanni)BARCELONA, Spain — (AP) — Real Madrid starts the Spanish league season overflowing with confidence that it can retain the domestic title despite Barcelona spending big to add top talent to its team. Barcelona hosts Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, a day before Madrid visits the newly promoted Almería in the opening round of the league. We’ve won one title and we’re aiming for the next five.”Madrid will start its league title defense on Sunday in southern Spain at Almería, which won the second division last season. The deadline is the end of August to play in the 2022-23 league season.wftv.com
Poland, Sweden refuse to play Russia in World Cup playoffs
Poland is refusing to play its World Cup qualifier against Russia next month in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Polish soccer federation president said Saturday, Feb, 26, 2022. “The illegal and deeply unjust invasion of Ukraine currently makes all football fixtures with Russia impossible,” said Karl-Erik Nilsson, the Swedish federation’s chairman. “We therefore urge FIFA to decide that the playoff matches in March in which Russia participates will be canceled." Both FIFA and UEFA removed Yugoslavia from their competitions following sanctions imposed by the United Nations at the outbreak of war there. Previously, Poland had only said it did not want to play the qualifying playoff semifinal in Moscow.wftv.com
Poland refuses to play Russia in WC qualifier, cites Ukraine
Ukraine Invasion Sports FILE Poland's Robert Lewandowski controls the ball during the World Cup 2022 group I qualifying soccer match between Poland and England, at the Narodowy stadium in Warsaw, Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021. Poland is refusing to play its World Cup qualifier against Russia next month in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Polish soccer federation president said Saturday, Feb, 26, 2022. Poland striker Robert Lewandowski, the nation's all-time leading scorer, immediately responded to say it's the “right decision!” (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File) (Czarek Sokolowski)WARSAW, Poland — (AP) — Poland is refusing to play its World Cup qualifier against Russia next month in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Polish soccer federation president said Saturday. Previously, Poland had only said it did not want to play the qualifying playoff semifinal in Moscow. The winner is due to host Sweden or the Czech Republic on March 29 for a place at the World Cup being played in Qatar from Nov. 21-Dec. 18.wftv.com
Bayern, Juventus through to Champions League knockout rounds
APTOPIX Germany Soccer Champions League Bayern's Robert Lewandowski right, scores his side's fourth goal during the Champions League group E soccer match between Bayern Munich and Benfica Lisbon in Munich, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. The Poland star dominated on his 100th Champions League appearance to lead Bayern Munich into the last-16 after a 5-2 rout of Benfica. But it was an underwhelming performance from the Premier League team whose hopes rely on the brilliance of its Portuguese stars Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes. GROUP EThe 33-year-old Lewandowski took his goal tally to 81 goals in 100 Champions League games for Bayern and previous club Borussia Dortmund. Wolfsburg’s new coach Florian Kohfeldt enjoyed a winning Champions League debut.wftv.com
Löw limps closer to exit after Germany's latest painful loss
Germany's collapse at the World Cup in Russia the following month meant the final act of Löw's long tenure would be a rebuild. Germany's showing in Russia was its worst World Cup campaign since 1938, and there's been more unwanted history since. Losing to North Macedonia ended a 20-year, 35-game unbeaten run for the national team in World Cup qualifying. AdInjuries have played their part, too, leading Löw to use defensive midfielder Emre Can at left back and right back in successive World Cup qualifiers. Löw has done some useful groundwork for his successor, like persuading 18-year-old Bayern forward Jamal Musiala to choose Germany over England.
Poland protesters take weekend off for fundraiser
A child in a red costume collects money for Poland's most popular nationwide fundraiser for health purposes, the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, that was postponed by two weeks due to the pandemic, in downtown Warsaw, Poland, on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021. Anti-government protesters angry about a near-total abortion ban suspended their marches for the weekend to show solidarity and ensure that they didn't steal the spotlight from the event. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)WARSAW – From soccer star Robert Lewandowski to opposition politicians, Polish citizens on Sunday donated at least 71 million zlotys ($19 million) to a charity's fundraiser for health causes that has been criticized by the conservative government for its liberal agenda. Anti-government protesters angry about a near-total abortion ban suspended their marches for the weekend to show solidarity and ensure that they didn't steal the spotlight from the event. The 71 million zlotys ($19 million) collected is significantly less than over 180 million zlotys collected last year, but the event was to continue until midnight, and making donations was also possible later.
Sports in 2020: Disruptions aplenty, only constant was loss
FILE - In this Aug. 6, 2020, file photo, the Olympic rings for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 pass by on a barge by tugboats off the Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo. Tokyo Olympic officials said Thursday, Dec. 24, they have reached a basic agreement with all 68 domestic sponsors to extend their contracts into next year to support the postponed Games. Facing increasingly long odds, some mega-events — the Olympics, March Madness, the Boston Marathon and Wimbledon — pushed the starting line into 2021. … Continue to push (against) everything that’s the opposite of love.”If only for a moment, the pandemic receded into the background. “If we can continue to do that, all of us,” James concluded, “America would be a much better place.”
Ronaldo in doubt for Messi's visit to Juventus
Some talking points ahead of the second round of games in the Champions League:NO RONALDO VS. MESSI? The highly anticipated matchup of Cristiano Ronaldo against Lionel Messi likely won’t happen because Ronaldo has the coronavirus. Alvaro Morata replaced Ronaldo against Dynamo Kyiv last week and scored twice in a 2-0 win. Eden Hazard was added to the Madrid squad and could make his season debut after nursing a muscle injury. Diego Simeone's side was thrashed 4-0 by defending champion Bayern Munich and next hosts Salzburg in Group A on Tuesday.
Bayern cruises past Chelsea into Champions League quarters
Bayern's Robert Lewandowski celebrates after scoring his team's first goal from the penalty spot during the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)MUNICH Robert Lewandowski scored two goals and assisted two more as Bayern Munich cruised into the Champions League quarterfinals with a 4-1 win over Chelsea on Saturday, completing an overwhelming 7-1 victory on aggregate. The coronavirus-enforced suspension of the season didn't interrupt Bayern's charge to the Bundesliga title and it hasn't interrupted its Champions League bid either. Abraham did get a goal for Chelsea just before halftime when Bayern 'keeper Manuel Neuer gifted him the ball when clearing a cross. Corentin Tolisso added another for Bayern in the 76th before Lewandowski headed in the fourth eight minutes later.
How Germany did it: completing the soccer season in Europe
Munich's players celebrate in front of the empty stands after the German Bundesliga soccer match between VfL Wolfsburg and FC Bayern Munich in Wolfsburg, Germany, Saturday, June 27, 2020. A SEASON LIKE NO OTHERThe games were eerie as players shouts echoed off empty concrete terraces and the colorful fan displays were gone. It helped that Germany was a world leader in ramping up its coronavirus testing. Bundesliga players spent less time training at home than their counterparts in England or Spain because of Germany's quick move to socially distanced training in groups. The English Premier League and Spanish league are both heading into talks on new domestic TV rights cycles from 2022.
Bayern coach Flick the key to latest Bundesliga triumph
(AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)BERLIN Bayern Munich effectively won the Bundesliga title in November when it appointed Hansi Flick as coach. Bayerns defensive record was its worst since Jrgen Klinsmann was coach in 2008. Kovac had led Bayern to a league and cup double the season before but never had the full backing of the clubs leadership. Bayern is currently on a 14-game winning run including the 3-0 win over Chelsea in London in the Champions League. There are also other reasons Bayern has won an unprecedented eight consecutive title, mostly tied to the clubs financial might.
Black Lives Matter in Bundesliga, Bayern keeps winning
(Lars Baron, Pool via AP)BERLIN Germanys soccer league was marked by gestures against racism and support for the Black Lives Matter movement on Saturday as Bayern Munich took another step toward a record-extending eighth straight Bundesliga title. All of Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlins 22 outfield players took a knee in the center-circle together before the top tier's late game with no fans present. Bayern's players had Black Lives Matter printed on their armbands, partly covering sponsor Qatar Airways logo on the left arm. Robert Lewandowski scored Bayerns fourth to claim his 30th Bundesliga goal of the season, set up by Thomas Mller, who now has 20 assists. It also had to do without fans, as all Bundesliga games are being played without supporters amid strict hygiene measures against coronavirus.
Bayern wins on Bundesliga return in silent stadium
Robert Lewandowski of Munich celebrates his side's opening goal during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Union Berlin and Bayern Munich in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, May 17, 2020. The German Bundesliga becomes the world's first major soccer league to resume after a two-month suspension because of the coronavirus pandemic. Across eight Bundesliga games Saturday and Sunday, only one ended with a win for the home team, Borussia Dortmund, which beat Schalke 4-0 on Saturday. It was the first home Bundesliga game in 12 years for Cologne without its traditional live goat mascot. Some groups have taken the opportunity to call for changes in how German soccer is run.
Old-fashioned No. 9's are back in fashion in Serie A
9’s are back in vogue in Serie A. The last round of matches was a case in point, with a hat trick from Ronaldo and multiple goals from Lukaku, Immobile and Belotti. Meanwhile, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is only one game into his Serie A return with AC Milan. 9’s, his vertical moves have been in perfect synch with crossing specialists Sergej Milinković-Savić and Luis Alberto. Dubbed “LuLa,” the duo has scored 23 goals in Serie A this season — seven more than all of AC Milan.