Spain remains the favorite for the European Championships, followed by Germany, Holland, England, France and Italy, more or less in that order according to the wise guys.
But the reigning champs’ chances took a little hit with today’s news that center back Carles Puyol will miss the tournament with arthroscopic surgery set for later this week.
The Barcelona man has been a Spanish centerpiece for years, a starter as the reigning gold standard of European sides claimed trophies at Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010. He even scored in the 2010 semis as Spain toppled a quality German side.
But Puyol, 34, missed three months of the La Liga season with knee trouble, and officials determined that minor surgery was needed after recent issues arose.
Spanish manager Vicente Del Bosque is expected to announce his provisional squad on May 15. The tournament begins June 8.
Not a bad way to start the Premier League weekend…
12 minutes into the first game of Matchweek 9, Chelsea’s Pedro curled home a stunning effort into the far corner and off the far post after a corner was played short to him.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
A simply stunning goal from the Spaniard which you can watch in the video above.
Chelsea host Watford at Stamford Bridge on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as fifth and fourth clash.
WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE
Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea are without a win in three games in all competitions and some pressure is starting to build on the Blues as they’ve fallen further behind the two Manchester clubs atop the PL table.
As for Watford, Marco Silva‘s men are in fourth place and aiming to keep up their impressive away form in the PL this season with three of their four wins coming on the road.
In team news Chelsea’s injuries are piling up with Victor Moses and N'Golo Kante missing but Alvaro Morata does start after recovering from his hamstring injury, while Watford start Troy Deeney up top after his impressive cameo against Arsenal last week.
Chelsea: Courtois; Rudiger, David Luiz, Cahill; Azpilicueta, Bakayoko, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro, Morata, Hazard. Subs: Caballero, Christensen, Ampadu, Zappacosta, Musonda, Willian, Batshuayi
Watford: Gomes; Mariappa, Kabasele, Britos; Femenia, Cleverley, Doucoure, Holebas; Pereyra, Deeney, Richarlison. Subs:
CHICAGO (AP) Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr has been named the National Women’s Soccer League’s Most Valuable Player for this season.
Kerr, a standout on the Australian national team, had a league-record 17 goals and became the league’s fifth Golden Boot winner to also be named MVP.
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She became the first NWSL player to score four goals in a game on Aug. 19 against the Seattle Reign. Kerr rallied Sky Blue from a 3-goal deficit to beat the Reign 5-4.
Kerr’s award was announced Friday. The league had earlier announced the season’s other award winners: North Carolina’s Abby Dahlkemper was named Defender of the Year, teammate Ashley Hatch was named Rookie of the Year, Portland’s Adrianna Franch was named Goalkeeper of the Year and the Thorns’ Mark Parsons was named Coach of the Year.
Full back Benjamin Mendy cost Pep Guardiola and Manchester City $68 million, but perhaps he’ll be just as valuable as a very expensive sports psychologist.
The “Shark Team” member was amusing on social media even before his ACL injury sent him to the sidelines until at least April, but he’s become a must-follow Twitter fixture with his in-game messages (See some of his work below).
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City faces Burnley at 10 a.m. ET Saturday (Watch live on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com).
It’s fairly clear his act has translated in private, too, as apparently Mendy is just as good in group messages (Let us in, Pep. We won’t tell anyone). From ManCity.com:
“Usually, players who are out for a long time with injury are sad. They sometimes train apart and feel isolated.
“Mendy decided to be present. He is communicating on social media, WhatsApp and he calls his teammates and messages me. He is going to be so important outside the pitch because people like him make the atmosphere much better.”
It’s not surprising for anyone who’s been following the former Le Havre, Marseille and Monaco man.
Keep in mind, these Tweets below are from the last few days alone!