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Spain’s genius outweighs lack of star power in dazzling Euro 2024 run

MUNICH — The last time Spain were in a major tournament final was 12 years and eight days ago. All but one of the XI starters who demolished Italy in Kyiv to win Euro 2012 that day played for either Real Madrid or Barcelona. And those were peak El Clasico times too: Pep Guardiola vs. Jose Mourinho, European trebles and 100-point seasons, Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo. Most had been…

Socceroos star caught playing amateur soccer

Daniel Arzani is expected to escape sanction from club side Melbourne Victory after a photo was circulated which showed the Australia international playing for an amateur team in Sydney. Arzani turned out for Coogee United, his junior club, in a sixth division game last Saturday. Victory declined to comment but informed AAP that Arzani’s behaviour would be addressed when players begin to return to preseason training later this week. The…

Why Spain vs. France is a battle for the soul of soccer

Both of the past two explosive tournament matches between Spain and France have distinctly felt like a battle for the very soul of football was taking place. And it’ll be no different when they meet in Munich on Tuesday night in the Euro 2024 semifinals. La Roja have reached the Allianz Arena having barged doors open and then stormed through with laughter, music, joie de vivre and the kind of…

Ødegaard: Arsenal will be ‘rewarded’ with trophy

Martin Ødegaard is confident Arsenal will be “rewarded with a trophy” next season and has vowed they can come back stronger after last season’s heartbreak. Mikel Arteta’s side set new Premier League-era club records in registering 28 league wins and scoring 91 goals but still fell short as Manchester City claimed their fourth title in succession by two points. Arsenal have begun their preparations for the 2024-25 season ahead of…

Brazil’s burden of history weighs heavier with every tournament exit

It would probably have been better to scrap Saturday’s Copa América quarterfinal between Brazil and Uruguay and skip straight to the penalty shootout. There was barely an outbreak of football between the two teams in Las Vegas, as a much-anticipated clash was punctuated by fouls and misplaced passes. In some part, this is a product of the pitches being used at this Copa, which are considerably smaller than usual —…

Turkey captain regrets defensive tactics in collapse

Turkey captain Hakan Çalhanoglu was left with a bitter aftertaste despite a tenacious display as his side let a one-goal lead against Netherlands slip in their Euro 2024 quarterfinal on Saturday, sending them home from the tournament. In front of a raucous crowd of Turkish fans at Berlin’s Olympiastadion, Turkey took a first-half lead through Samet Akaydin, but a header from Stefan de Vrij and an own goal by Mert…

Southgate: Criticism hurts but we keep fighting

DÜSSELDORF, Germany — Gareth Southgate has admitted he has found the personal criticism of his management “difficult” in recent weeks but hailed his “streetwise” England side as they beat Switzerland on penalties to reach the Euro 2024 semifinals. Bukayo Saka’s 80th-minute equaliser cancelled out Breel Embolo’s opening goal five minutes earlier as Gareth Southgate’s side were forced into extra time for the second consecutive game. Switzerland edged the additional 30-minute…

Southgate’s ‘streetwise’ England learn how to grind out wins

DÜSSELDORF, Germany — Welcome to the grind. Anyone expecting England to suddenly turn on the style at Euro 2024 seems destined for an eternal wait. It may not matter if they keep finding a way like this, but Saturday’s penalty shootout victory over Switzerland following an attritional 1-1 draw was another improvised scramble for answers. The extent to which manager Gareth Southgate is searching for more attacking potency is beginning…

Man Utd, City cleared to play European football

Manchester City and Manchester United have been cleared to take part in European competition next season by UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB). Doubts had been raised after both Man City and LaLiga side Girona, who are both part of the City Football Group, both qualified for the UEFA Champions League. Manchester United, meanwhile, earned a place in the Europa League by winning the FA Cup along with Nice, the…

Nagelsmann fumes at handball rule, wants AI help

Germany manager Julian Nagelsmann railed against the decision not to award his side a handball in Friday’s Euro 2024 quarterfinal defeat to Spain that saw the hosts exit the competition. Germany equalised in the 89th minute to send the game to extra time at 1-1, only for Spain’s Mikel Merino to score a 119th-minute winner. However, the game could have been set on a different course had Germany’s appeals for…