KIEV — PST proprietor Steve was nice enough to let me chronicle my trip to the Ukraine for the European Championship, so I’ll be bringing you lovely people dispatches throughout the next week from the ground. A friend and I are headed into the stadiums for Netherlands-Germany (suddenly so much more important for the Dutch) and England-Sweden, and we’ll also be bouncing around various cities trying to get a lay of the land and find Jimmy Conrad.
A couple quick thoughts before I crash for a bit since the last time I slept in a proper bed was before the United States-Antigua and Barbuda match
* There are lots of Swedish fans streaming into Kiev for tomorrow’s opening match against the home country. I’m sure they will be significantly outnumbered, but it’s nice to see them arrive regardless. Plus, both teams are blue and yellow anyway, so how can you tell who’s rooting for who?
* The aforementioned Swedish fans have quite the appetite for Jagermeister.
* The dedicated Euro 2012 lines (see above) at customs in the Kiev airport are amazingly convenient.
* It poured earlier today. It’s hard to tell from the video below, but trust us. Even our cab driver was impressed.
High-flying left back Benjamin Mendy‘s Manchester City takeoff has been delayed by a thigh injury.
Pep Guardiola revealed Thursday that Mendy is doubtful for City’s Aug. 12 Premier League opener at Brighton and Hove Albion despite passing a medical to push through a $68 million move from Monaco.
Saying Mendy is “a little bit injured,” Guardiola said to expect an absence of two to three weeks.
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The depth chart behind Mendy is incomplete, though City has added two right backs this offseason in Kyle Walker and Danilo.
The latter would be the front-runner to start in Mendy’s place, as he did in a 3-5-2 as Man City beat Real Madrid 4-1 on Wednesday.
Man City follows its opener at Brighton with a visit from Everton and a trip to Bournemouth.
Hard-nosed midfielder Rajda Nainggolan has been linked to Manchester United and Chelsea for some time, but Thursday linked up long-term with his present club.
Nainggolan, 29, signed a new deal with AS Roma through the 2020-21 season, putting the Belgian box-to-box mid at the heart of i Lupi‘s plans to chase down Juventus.
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Nainggolan has been in the last two Serie A Best XIs.
The 29-times capped Belgian has six goals for his national team, and has 255 Serie A appearances between Cagliari and Roma. Nainggolan has 31 goals and 18 assists in those matches, scooping 62 yellows and two send-offs but never being handed straight red.
While it’s a perceived blow for his Premier League suitors, it’s a welcome retention for Roma. He’s arguably the reason Roma was ready to part with Michael Bradley in 2014, and you can see why: He plays right up to the line but knows right where it lies.
ST. VEIT, Austria (AP) Local authorities in southern Austria have called off Sunday’s friendly match between Udinese and Hannover as the estimated number of spectators exceeds the capacity of the stadium.
The city of St. Veit says about 4,000 fans, including 280 potential football hooligans, were expected for the game at the ground of local amateur club FC Alpe Adria, which has a capacity of 2,430.
St. Veit mayor Gerhard Mock says “it’s a shame … but security comes first.”
It’s not immediately clear whether the match between the Italian and German top-flight teams can be moved to a larger venue. Both Udinese and Hannover are having their preseason training camps in the province of Carinthia.
Wayne Rooney will play his first competitive game for Everton in 13 years.
[ LIVE: Europa League scores ]
That storyline will dominate Everton’s return to Europe as they kick off their 2017-18 UEFA Europa League campaign in front of a packed house at Goodison Park on Thursday.
The Toffees welcome Slovakian side MFK Ruzomberok for the first leg of the third qualifying round as they aim to make it back to the group stage for the first time since 2014-15.
Click on the link above to follow not only Everton’s game but all of the Europa League qualifiers going on across Europe this afternoon with the likes of AC Milan, Fenerbache, PSV, Marseille and Athletic Bilbao all in action.
If Ronald Koeman‘s side successfully navigate their way past Ruzomberok then they will be in the play-off round which is the final hurdle before the group stage.