Setting the scene in South Wales ahead of Cardiff vs. Swansea

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As I headed towards the Welsh Capital on the train this morning, the sleepy foothills of the valleys to my right acted as a juxtaposed precursor to the atmosphere brewing in Cardiff.

Excitement, bedlam and anticipation all neatly packed into the first-ever South Wales derby being played in the Premier League on Sunday. Wales and its biggest city has come alive to a soccer rivalry that promises to produce fireworks, fervor and passion on and off the field.

To help set the scene, it’s worth nothing that a massive police presence is evident as I pull into Cardiff Central station. Heddlu (meaning Police in Welsh) are everywhere, mounted on horses, dressed in riot gear and no doubt these guys have been up since the crack of dawn helping to escort the 2,000 plus Swansea fans along the M4 and into Cardiff safely in the revolutionary tactic known as ‘the Bubble.’

(MORE: Rivalry and passion define soccer’s heyday in South Wales – Part I)

As I got off the train at Cardiff, it was evident that the party had been going on around here for most of the morning already. Outside many of the pubs lining the city center streets were groups of middle-aged men who already seemed to be two or three beers deep… at least. Usually rivalry games likes this have earlier kick off times to stop fans drinking before the game… the South Wales derby begins at 4pm local time. The decibel levels should be through the roof with the inhibitions gone after a few pints and local bragging rights at stake.

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Cardiff fans congregate in the local pubs ahead of the game.

Around the stadium men of a certain age are lingering around, with locals waiting for the Swans fans to arrive on buses but the whole ‘Bubble’ operation had averted any ugly scenes that have marred this fixture in the past.

(MORE: A tale of two cities in South Wales – Part II)

The pitch looks immaculate, the segregation is in place and the PA system is booming with music to liven things up. Fans from both teams are starting to filter into the stadium, as Cardiff and Swansea will kick off the first-ever game in the Premier League that will not have an English team in action…

At last, South Wales has arrived in the PL. The stage is set for Cymru to show it’s true identity as a soccer nation.

We’re ready here at the Cardiff City Stadium… are you?

Heartbroken Karius issues apology to Liverpool

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Liverpool’s disappointing result in Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final can be chalked up to many factors, but all anyone will ever remember is Loris Karius‘ performance… and the goalkeeper knows it.

[ MORE: Bale brace guides Real Madrid to third straight UCL title ]

Karius issued this series of tweets on Sunday, declaring his disappointment from the team’s 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid, as well as an apology to the supporters and his entire club.

Of the two errors Karius made, the Real Madrid equalizer from Karim Benzema was certainly the more glaring.

After receiving the ball on a routine grab, Karius rushed his distribution from goal while Benzema read the play perfectly and stepped in front of the throw to get a foot on the ball.

The ball then deflected into the back of the Liverpool net, and changed the complexion of the match drastically.

While Karius’ mistakes cannot, and won’t, go unnoticed, the Reds were still reeling from Mohamed Salah‘s gruesome shoulder injury in the first half — which leaves the Egypt international’s availability uncertain for the summer’s World Cup in Russia.

Rotherham gains promotion to Championship

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After one season down in League One, the Millers are returning to the Sky Bet Championship in 2018/19.

[ MORE: Tammy Abraham rescues England in Toulon opener ]

Rotherham United defeated Shrewsbury Town, 2-1, in extra time on Sunday at Wembley Stadium to reach the Championship.

Regulation wasn’t enough to decide the League One playoff final, but Richard Wood brace ensured his side, Rotherham, would reach the English second division ahead of the 2018/19 season.

Wood did superbly to volley home his squad’s second goal in the first half of extra time, after a brilliant Joe Newell set piece curled into the path of the defender.

Shrewsbury equalized around the hour mark when Alex Rodman calmly placed the ball beyond goalkeeper Marek Rodak from close ranger after a perfectly-executed set piece that caught the Millers off guard.

The first half went largely in favor Rotherham though, having taken the lead in the 32nd minute through Wood’s header to the bottom left corner.

The lead should have been larger though heading into halftime, but David Ball’s early penalty kick was saved by Shrews keeper Dean Henderson in the ninth minute to keep the match scoreless at the time.

Transfer rumor roundup: Man United plans Joe Hart move and more

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Pro Soccer Talk takes a glance at some of the biggest transfer rumors on Sunday…

[ MORE: Bale brace guides Real to third straight UCL title ]


We start in Manchester, where the Red Devils are reportedly interested in raiding their cross-town rivals for a back-up goalkeeper.

Man United is said to have interest in Manchester City’s Joe Hart, who missed out on being called up to England for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Hart has spent the last two seasons on loan from the Citizens, spending 2016/17 in Serie A with Torino and this past season with West Ham United.


Sticking with United, the Red Devils are preparing a new contract for Anthony Martial, according to the Sun.

Martial has become a regular for United since joining from Monaco in 2015, scoring 36 goals in all competitions.


Finally, Danny Rose could be making a Merseyside move if Everton has it their way.

The Toffees are eyeing up the Tottenham left back, although Manchester United has also expressed its interest in the England international.

Rose missed a significant portion of the 2017/18 season due to a knee injury, and the 27-year-old could be on the move this summer despite spending the last 11 seasons in London with Spurs.

Tammy Abraham rescues England in Toulon opener

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It took a late finish to nab three points on Sunday, but England’s title defence at the Toulon Tournament is off an running.

[ MORE: Bale brace guides Real Madrid past Liverpool ]

The Three Lions’ Under-21 squad picked up a 2-1 win in their Group A opener against China, after having fallen behind to the Asian nation inside the opening half hour.

England, winners of the last two editions of the competition, conceded in the 20th minute to Yan Dinghao, and went into the halftime break behind 1-0.

Manager Paul Simpson and his side came out strong in the second stanza, though, and found an equalizer five minutes in through Middlesbrough defender Dael Fry‘s header.

It seemed as though England would be destined for a point, however, Tammy Abraham‘s tap-in finish in the 85th minute ensured a crucial victory to open the tournament for the Three Lions.

England will round out Group A with matches against Mexico and Qatar on March 28 and June 1, respectively.

At the Toulon Tournament, the three group winners automatically reach the semifinals, while the best second-place nation also receives a bid into the final four.