Anyone who has ever seen German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher absolutely pummel poor Patrick Battiston in the 1982 World Cup knows who should have been the first goalkeeper ejected from a World Cup finals contest. For whatever reason, he wasn’t. Instead, that dubious distinction belongs to Gianluca Pagliuca, who was dismissed from the a World Cup 1994 match against Norway for handling a ball beyond his 18.
Pagliuca, who returned for Italy’s last three matches in that runner-up summer, turns 46 on Tuesday.
Speaking of turning 46: Les Ferdinand, whose best days came at Spurs in the late 1990s and thereabouts, also turns 46 on Tuesday. He had 17 full England caps.
Just for fun, though … let’s look back at Schumacher’s assult:
Big Important Stories of the Day:
Lionel Messi, Xavi and Carles Puyol have agreed new deals with Barcelona.
RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day: Richie Williams
*Ahead on the blog today:
Since U.S. final round World Cup qualifier venues seem to be topical, we’ll have more to say about that.
What you should watch on TV today:
Slim Pickins’. So watch this instead: It’s the Red Bulls video Christmas card. (Which you may have already seen; I posted it last night at ProSoccerTalk.)
We’ll leave you with this:
Noticed someone asking this randomly on Twitter this morning: Has Leo Messi offered the most return on investment for any player ever? Interesting question, eh?
Jurgen Klopp has made his frustrations with Daniel Sturridge‘s injury history very clear, but he still knows the England international is a crucial part of his squad, and he will be patient, no matter how frustrating it is.
Sturridge has been out since early December, and has made just five appearances all season due to a number of recurring injuries that have sapped him of his consistency for the last two years.
But with the 26-year-old back in training the last two days, the English media has speculated that Sturridge is looking to leave Liverpool, and that the club is trying to rid themselves of him as well. Klopp does not see it that way.
[ RELATED: Daniel Sturridge says he’s “good to go” ]
“I have no feeling that Daniel is thinking like this so stop thinking about it,” Klopp said in his pre-match press conference, speaking ahead of the match Saturday against Sunderland. “I spoke to him but not about this. I didn’t ask: ‘do you want to leave?’ “Why should I? He’s been back in training for two days. I don’t go over and say: ‘Daniel, I hear you want to leave? Is there truth in it?’ I don’t believe that it is like this.”
Klopp called the rumors a “non-story” and believes as soon as Sturridge is out on the field, the rumors will stop. He just has to get out on the field first.
“Since I was here I’ve had a normal relationship with Daniel Sturridge,” Klopp said. “The only problem is I have only had him 10 or 12 times on the training pitch – that is the truth. Now he is back we hope he can stay in team training and everything will be good. If everything is normal from now on then he is in the race.”
The German said that just having returned to training, Sturridge won’t be ready for Saturday’s game, but he could potentially be back to action for the FA Cup match against West Ham on Tuesday.
BERLIN (AP) — The German football federation has opened legal proceedings against Franz Beckenbauer, former members, and FIFA in a bid to limit potential damages arising from the 2006 World Cup corruption affair.
The DFB tells The Associated Press in a statement that it has “taken the necessary measures to prevent a possible limitation of claims” against former head of the German World Cup organizing committee Beckenbauer and his then vice-president Fedor Radmann, former DFB presidents Theo Zwanziger and Wolfgang Niersbach, former DFB general secretary Horst R. Schmidt, the executors of Robert Louis-Dreyfus’ estate, together with FIFA.
Central to the affair is a suspect 6.7 million euro payment made to FIFA by the DFB before the 2006 World Cup was awarded. The money was loaned to the German federation by Dreyfus.
Shakhtar Donetsk striker Fred, a regular for the Brazilian national team, has seen his CONMEBOL doping ban extended worldwide to all competitions.
A FIFA disciplinary committee announced that Fred’s suspension now covers “all types of matches, including domestic, international, friendly and official fixtures.”
The 22-year-old tested positive for the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide during last summer’s Copa America, and has not played for the Brazilian national team since, having been banned for a year by CONMEBOL. He had been playing for his Ukranian club while FIFA was reviewing the case, making 12 appearances in league play and scoring two goals. He also played six times in the Champions League without scoring a goal.
The one-year ban is back-dated to Fred’s last international squad appearance, when he was on the bench for the Copa America quarterfinals on June 27 of last summer. That date will allow Fred to be eligible for the Rio Olympics, which start August 5.
Rog talks with “Trainspotting” author Irvine Welsh about his new novel “A Decent Ride,” unconventional career arc, and love for West Ham United/Hibernian.
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