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Category: Football

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Premier League at 25: the best match – Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle, April 1996

Roy Evans described Liverpool’s win as ‘kamikaze football’ but Kevin Keegan, during his time as Newcastle’s manager, helped to light up the Premier League

History is not always written by the winners. Manchester United were unquestionably the best team in the land in 1996; they proved it by landing the league and Cup Double. The triumphant return of Eric Cantona, the flowering of the Class of ’92, you can’t win anything with kids, all that … there is plenty to go on. And yet this particular story is not theirs to tell.

Occasionally the narrative is dominated by those who fell short. And that year there was clearly something in the air. Germany emerged triumphant at the European Championship, a tournament principally remembered for England’s dreaming, their 31st year of hurt. In golf the Green Jacket was draped around Nick Faldo’s shoulders at the Masters, the great man’s third win, an achievement back then bettered only by Jack and Arnie, though all everyone has talked about ever since is Greg Norman’s view-through-fingers collapse. And as for the Premiership …

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Euro 2017: Holland beat Belgium to qualify as Norway crash out to Denmark

• Belgium 1-2 Holland: hosts win all three games to top Group A
• Norway 0-1 Denmark: goal from Katrine Veje sees off 2013 finalists

Holland became the first team to qualify for the quarter-finals of Euro 2017 with a 2-1 win over neighbours Belgium.

The tournament hosts took the lead through their captain, Sherida Spitse, who scored a 27th-minute penalty, before Belgium’s Tessa Wullaert hit a bizarre long-range strike to level the scores, the first goal that Holland have conceded all tournament.

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Swansea reject second Everton bid worth £45m for Gylfi Sigurdsson

• Swansea stand firm in £50m valuation for Iceland international
• Everton’s initial £40m bid rejected but negotiations remain open

Swansea City remain resolute in their £50m valuation of Gylfi Sigurdsson, having rejected a second bid worth up to £45m from Everton for the Iceland international.

Everton had a £40m offer for the 27-year-old rejected a fortnight ago, when Sigurdsson stunned Swansea officials and team-mates by pulling out of the club’s pre-season tour of the United States, and an improved deal met a similar fate on Monday. That bid is understood to have been £40m plus £5m in add-ons.

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Premier League’s missing men: where have all the Scottish managers gone?

For the first time since England’s top division rebranded there will not be a Scottish manager in charge of one of its clubs when the season gets under way. In 2011 there were seven, so why has their star fallen?

It was a high point at the most curious of times. In 2011, long after Scotland’s national team had slid away from finals participation and its players had been revered in the English top flight, a mini coaching phenomenon was in play. Seven of the Premier League’s 20 managers were Scottish.

To say nothing lasts forever is gross understatement in these short-term football times but the onset of season 2017-18 still provides a grim line in the sand. There will not be a single manager from north of the border when England’s top division gets under way, breaking a record of at least one per seasonal start which stretches back to the league’s 1992 rebranding. The run is technically even longer, given Sir Alex Ferguson took over at Manchester United six years earlier. Context is of course necessary; only five of those in Premier League office are English.

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Transfer roundup: Juventus sign Federico Bernardeschi for £35.7m

• Italy forward signs five-year deal after leaving Fiorentina
• Crystal Palace complete the signing of Jairo Riedewald from Ajax

Juventus have confirmed the signing of the Italy international Federico Bernardeschi from Fiorentina for €40m (£35.7m). The 23-year-old has signed a five-year contract with the Italian champions.

Bernardeschi, who starred for Italy at the European Under-21 Championship in Poland last month, is expected to fly to the US on Tuesday where he will join his team‑mates in Boston ahead of Juventus’s next friendly against Paris Saint-Germain.

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Transfer roundup: Juventus sign Federico Bernardeschi for £35.7m

• Italy forward signs five-year deal after leaving Fiorentina
• Crystal Palace complete the signing of Jairo Riedewald from Ajax

Juventus have confirmed the signing of the Italy international Federico Bernardeschi from Fiorentina for €40m (£35.7m). The 23-year-old has signed a five-year contract with the Italian champions.

Bernardeschi, who starred for Italy at the European Under-21 Championship in Poland last month, is expected to fly to the US on Tuesday where he will join his team‑mates in Boston ahead of Juventus’s next friendly against Paris Saint-Germain.

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Transfer roundup: Juventus sign Federico Bernardeschi for £35.7m

• Italy forward signs five-year deal after leaving Fiorentina
• Crystal Palace complete the signing of Jairo Riedewald from Ajax

Juventus have confirmed the signing of the Italy international Federico Bernardeschi from Fiorentina for €40m (£35.7m). The 23-year-old has signed a five-year contract with the Italian champions.

Bernardeschi, who starred for Italy at the European Under-21 Championship in Poland last month, is expected to fly to the US on Tuesday where he will join his team‑mates in Boston ahead of Juventus’s next friendly against Paris Saint-Germain.

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Euro 2017: Mark Sampson’s England enjoy benefits of thorough homework

• England first in Group D with two wins from two matches
• Lionesses need only a point against Portugal to top table

Mark Sampson’s England are arguably football’s equivalent of the ‘Straight A’ student whose assiduous revision camouflages the reality that they are not necessarily the most naturally brilliant pupil.

The Lionesses have done so much homework, so meticulously, that they feel confident of answering any tactical or stylistic question thrown at them during Euro 2017.

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Lovingly taking turns to land a punch on their new friend | The Fiver

Today: Mr Wimpy, Ronald McDonald, Antonio Cassano, Phil Jones and Skegness

When The Fiver was young and bright-eyed in the early 1990s, it would sometimes attend birthday parties at Wimpy restaurants. Its own parties, obviously, because the dog apparently ate any invites to others’ as soon as they came through the letterbox. Halfway through the salty feast a weirdly taciturn character in oppressive layers of plasticky fancy dress would emerge from a doorway and engage in mime-based badinage with the children present, some of whom would lovingly take turns to land a punch on their new friend. The Fiver mentions Mr Wimpy because it therefore knows exactly how Manchester United and Real Madrid’s players must have felt when, undertaking the deadly serious business of pre-match handshakes before their under-attended friendly in Santa Clara, they were obliged to clench flesh with a certain Ronald McDonald – which sadly wasn’t the name of a Scottish referee flown in for the occasion.

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Lovingly taking turns to land a punch on their new friend | The Fiver

Today: Mr Wimpy, Ronald McDonald, Antonio Cassano, Phil Jones and Skegness

When The Fiver was young and bright-eyed in the early 1990s, it would sometimes attend birthday parties at Wimpy restaurants. Its own parties, obviously, because the dog apparently ate any invites to others’ as soon as they came through the letterbox. Halfway through the salty feast a weirdly taciturn character in oppressive layers of plasticky fancy dress would emerge from a doorway and engage in mime-based badinage with the children present, some of whom would lovingly take turns to land a punch on their new friend. The Fiver mentions Mr Wimpy because it therefore knows exactly how Manchester United and Real Madrid’s players must have felt when, undertaking the deadly serious business of pre-match handshakes before their under-attended friendly in Santa Clara, they were obliged to clench flesh with a certain Ronald McDonald – which sadly wasn’t the name of a Scottish referee flown in for the occasion.

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Benjamin Mendy: It’s a dream to play in the Premier League – video

Manchester City’s latest signing Benjamin Mendy says he has dreamed of playing in the Premier League since he was a child. The full-back joins City from Monaco on a five-year contract in a deal worth £52m, a world record fee for a defender. ‘I bring a lot of creativity to the game,’ the Frenchman says

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Championship, League One and League Two: how will your club do this season?

The new Football League season kicks off in less than a fortnight. How will your club fare this year?

With the arrival of August comes the promise of another Football League season. It’s time to draw a line under disappointments from last year and find new optimism before your club’s first fixture. We’d like to hear your thoughts on the new campaign.

Has a successful pre-season instilled a new belief that this might be your year to shine? Maybe a necessary change of manager or an inspired bit of transfer business has changed your club’s prospects? Whether you’re a Forest Green Rovers fan preparing for your first Football League season or a Sunderland supporter preparing to watch your team slog it out in the Championship, we’d like to hear your views on the season ahead. We’ll use the best submissions to put together a club-by-club guide before the big kick-off in August.

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‘His head isn’t right’: Antonio Cassano leaves Verona but vows to play on

• Former Italy striker looking for new cub after leaving Serie B side
• ‘There’s an up and a down with him, he talks and then he’s silent’

Antonio Cassano’s shortlived spell at Verona is at an end after the Italian club’s president confirmed the veteran striker has left the club because “his head isn’t right”.

Cassano, who won 39 caps for Italy, joined Verona on 10 July but decided to retire from football a week later, before being persuaded to perform a dramatic U-turn within hours of announcing his decision. Less than seven days later, however, the 35-year-old has now decided to go through with his threat to leave the Serie B club.

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Manchester City sign £52m Benjamin Mendy to take spending over £200m

• Mendy signs five-year contract from Monaco
• Transfer fee is world record for a defender

Manchester City have announced the signing of Benjamin Mendy from Monaco on a five-year contract for a fee of around £52m (€57.5m). The France international had been identified as a key target by Pep Guardiola following the departure of left-back Gaël Clichy, while Aleksandar Kolarov also left for Roma last week.

Mendy came through Le Havre’s youth system before a move to Marseille in 2013. The 23-year-old switched to Monaco last summer for £11m where he established himself as one of the best full-backs in world football with his powerful and direct style of play, during a season in which the club claimed the French title and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

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‘David slew Goliath’: Jamaica upset Mexico to reach Gold Cup final

  • Kemar Lawrence’s 88th minute free-kick seals game for Reggae Boyz
  • Jamaica will play USA in Wednesday’s final in Santa Clara

After Kemar Lawrence ripped an exquisite shot over Mexico’s wall and into the top corner for one of the biggest goals in Jamaican football history, the defender hushed his team-mates and refused to celebrate. Lawrence’s 25-yard free kick came in the 88th minute, and Jamaica advanced to the final with a 1-0 upset victory over Mexico on Sunday night.

“I think our guys were hungry,” Jamaica coach Theodore Whitmore said. “They needed it more than the Mexicans, and we did what we had to do.”

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If Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are to succeed, Ederson needs to hit ground running

City suffered for the wrong choice of goalkeeper last season and Guardiola’s hopes will be compromised if Claudio Bravo’s inexperienced replacement does not prove worth the £34.9m outlay

The success of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City tenure could hinge on a 23-year-old goalkeeper who is untested in English football and has only one full season behind him at a major Portuguese club.

Ederson Santana de Moraes was bought for £34.9m from Benfica this summer. The size of a fee close to the world record for his position indicates two things: how good the Brazilian is believed to be and how keenly Guardiola wishes to remedy his problem at No1.

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Chelsea’s Pedro suffered multiple fractures in collision with David Ospina

• Spain forward to wear mask when he returns to training in 10 days
• Álvaro Morata to make Chelsea debut against Bayern on Tuesday

Antonio Conte has revealed the injury suffered by Pedro in Chelsea’s pre-season friendly victory over Arsenal is more serious than he thought.

The 29-year-old was taken off in the first half of the 3-0 win in Beijing after a heavy collision with goalkeeper David Ospina, with the club later announcing that he stayed the night in hospital having sustained a concussion and facial injuries.

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Clint Dempsey’s taste for havoc shows he’s not done yet

Christian Pulisic may well be the future of US soccer but during the Gold Cup semi-final the Sounders striker showed he is integral in the short-term

Clint Dempsey’s star turn against Costa Rica in the Gold Cup semi-final did more than win his team the game and help the striker match the US goalscoring record — it may have extended his meaningful international career by another season.

There was a danger that by the time the Russia World Cup came around, Dempsey would represent the kind of selection headache for Bruce Arena that Landon Donovan became for Jürgen Klinsmann in 2014 — no longer a player a coach could build a team around, and potentially as much of a distraction as an asset on the sidelines.

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Premier League at 25: the best player – Eric Cantona | Paul Doyle

In the first of a five-part series we pick the division’s finest player. Cantona was the enigma who exploded the doubt at Manchester United, his arrival sparking a first title win for 26 years and a sustained run of success under Sir Alex Ferguson

We can’t be putting Tina Turner on for just any old hero, nor merely for the most skilful. And the toughest, longest-lasting or most prolific can go whistle because only one player can be serenaded as simply the best and it must be the one who has done more than any other to shape the Premier League years. Show us another player who has radiated as much influence as Eric Cantona and we will show you a figment of your imagination.

The rebranding of English football’s First Division as the Premier League coincided with the dawn of Manchester United’s imperial age. Before that they had been champions seven times in 89 years; since then they have won 13 of 25 available titles. There is a fair chance that followers of Manchester’s red team would be (much less numerous and) still harking back to the black-and-white era if it were not for Cantona, the enigma who exploded doubt.

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Football transfer rumours: Arsenal in for Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio?

Today’s rumours are enclosed

Even allowing for the fact that pre-season news cycles make each day seem like a month, and that for all we know they’ll be forced to play Steve Bould up front against Leicester on the opening day, this hasn’t felt like the most Arsenal-ish of transfer windows so far. Sead Kolasinac and Alexandre Lacazette were both nailed down early on and look fine signings; there hasn’t, when we cut to the chase, been too much sign of Alexis Sánchez or Mesut Özil leaving either and at the current rate of knots you might be forgiven for thinking Thursday really will be the next Friday in Islington from next month.

Especially if they can somehow get Marco Asensio through the door. What now? Yes, Real Madrid’s boy wonder is apparently on their radar and would go down just nicely as a long-term replacement for their want-away Chilean – who will presumably be high-fiving with Gunnersaurus for one more year. Manchester United and Juventus are among those interested too, though, while Real wouldn’t mind keeping hold of the gifted forward themselves – all of which files these links under “curious”.

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