U.S. earns 1-1 draw with France, keeps hope alive in U-20 World Cup


Following Friday’s disappointing 4-1 loss to Spain, the U.S. U-20 national team needed a result to salvage any hope of advancing in this summer’s World Cup. On Monday, they did just that, earning a fantastic 1-1 draw with France after substitute Daniel Cuevas fired home the equalizer in the 85th minute.

The effort today was a vast improvement on last week’s contest, with the U.S. defense staying compact and battling hard against a physically imposing France side.

The match kicked off with France’s high-powered offense steadily attacking the Yanks’ defense. As the half wore on, however, the U.S. attack gained confidence with some solid link-up play and Luis Gil producing two promising efforts on frame.

After the break, France’s attack came out firing and within three minutes Javan Torre committed a foul that appeared to be just outside the penalty area but the referee pointed to the spot. Yaya Sanogo, a long-time transfer target of Arsenal, stepped up to the spot and unleashed a good effort that Cody Cropper did well to get a hand on but could not prevent from hitting the back of the net.

With the lead in hand, France took their foot off the accelerator, confident that they had the three points. But the Americans were not done.

In the 65th minute Mario Rodriguez took his dribble down the left side and cut sharply between two defenders, drawing a penalty. It looked to be a soft call, likely a makeup for the earlier penalty that Sanogo converted. Gil stepped up to the spot but his soft effort was telegraphed and French goal-keeper Alphonse Areola saved easily.

The miss seemed to motivate Tab Ramos’ men, who looked to take on defenders and get forward in numbers. In the 85th minute, U.S. found their equalizer when Gil’s free-kick from 25 yards out ricocheted off the French defense and fell nicely to Cuevas, who smashed home a first-time volley into the far post.

The U.S. face Ghana on Thursday in their final group match where a victory could see the Americans through to the knock-out stage.

Ronaldo: “I always believe I am the best”

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You’ve got to appreciate the over-sized ego of Cristiano Ronaldo, even if it is deserved.

The 33-year-old Real Madrid striker was bestowed the 2017 Player of the Year award from the Portugal FA, earning 65 percent of the vote. But more than winning yet another trophy to add to his burgeoning case was what he told the media after accepting the award.

“We have to defend what is ours because there is always a Portuguese in the fight (for the top awards),” Ronaldo said, via AS. “I always believe and say that I am the best, whatever they say, and then I show it in the field. We are in the fight year after year.”

Ronaldo did score 42 goals last year for Real Madrid and has scored 18 goals in 2018 alone already for Los Blancos as the club look to go back-to-back-to-back in the UEFA Champions League.

Miazga: “We’re all ready to make an impression” with USMNT

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Last October, for reasons unknown, Matt Miazga didn’t make the U.S. Men’s National Team squad for its final two World Cup qualifiers.

Five months later, he’s risen to the top of the centerback depth chart.

[MORE: Digging into the USMNT roster]

The hulking centerback spoke on Tuesday as the USMNT started off its training camp in Cary, N.C., noting that the youth-laden squad wanted to make an impression to stay in the picture moving forward. With four years until the next World Cup and still more than a year until competitive matches, there is still plenty of shuffling and expanding of the player pool to do before then.

Have a listen to Miazga and enjoy the sights and sounds of the USMNT training camp ahead of its friendly match against Paraguay.


Banker Gaetano Micciche elected Serie A president

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MILAN (AP) Bank boss Gaetano Micciche has been elected president of Serie A.

Micciche, the president of Banca IMI, was chosen unanimously on Monday by the Italian league’s 20 clubs.

He succeeds Maurizio Beretta, who left the position nearly a year ago.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

The league has been under emergency leadership, first by former Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio then by Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago.

Malago recommended Micciche for the position.

The federation remains under emergency leadership following Tavecchio’s resignation in the wake of Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.

Report: Liverpool to resist all offers for Salah

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Liverpool has a message for any club looking to sign Mohamed Salah this summer: Not gonna happen.

The Merseyside club has reportedly said it will “not sell Salah under any circumstances this summer” as the Reds look to hold off the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, according to The Telegraph. Salah’s four-goal tally against Watford on Saturday took his goal total to an incredible 28 in 32 Premier League games, with another seven goals in cup competitions.

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Liverpool famously kept Barcelona – and Arsenal – off Luis Suarez after the Uruguayan striker wanted to leave in 2013, but Liverpool was only able to stop Barcelona from signing Philippe Coutinho for six months.

As things stand, Liverpool are qualified for the 2018-2019 UEFA Champions League with the club sitting in a top four Premier League place, and keeping Salah is absolutely vital if the Reds want to make a deep run in the competition and compete for a Premier League title. It remains to be seen though if Salah is happy to stay at Liverpool or if a big-money offer from Spain or France can tempt him otherwise to set himself and his family financially for life.