Sad news arrived today as Bill Foulkes died at the age of 81.
The former Manchester United captain, who survived the horrific Munich air disaster in 1958 and captained United following the tragedy, leaves behind a magnificent legacy in a glittering career that spanned 18 successful years at Old Trafford.
For many Foulkes was the figurehead of United’s revival from the devastating plan crash that left one of England’s finest ever teams in ruins as several of his teammates lost their lives. After recovering from his own injuries, Foulkes was made captain by Sir Matt Busby and lead his team to victory in the 1968 European Cup final, four league titles and an FA Cup along the way. From 1952-1970, Foulkes made 688 appearances for United, a tally which has only been surpassed by Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Sir Bobby Charlton.
After his incredible career with United as a player, Foulkes headed Stateside and coached in the USA during the 1970s. In the old NASL he took charge of the Tulsa Roughnecks, Chicago Sting and then the San Jose Earthquakes in short spells before he left to manage in Norway.
Legends of the game in England and across the world have been paying their respects to Foulkes who was born in St Helens in Lancashire and rose to prominence as a no-nonsense full back after spending most of his early days working in the coal mines.
Sir Alex Ferguson had this to say about Foulkes.
“The story of his life was absolutely incredible,” Ferguson said, “and he’s assured of his place in our history by his appearances and by the way he performed, particularly in the aftermath of the Munich air disaster. Having gone through that, how he and Harry Gregg managed to perform a couple of weeks later, leading those young lads out against Sheffield Wednesday – and winning the game – was absolutely incredible. He was an exceptional man.”
The ongoing World Cup hasn’t halted the transfer talk across global soccer, and on Wednesday there are a number of potentially intriguing storylines.
Two Premier League sides are chasing Real Madrid attacker Marco Asensio, including Chelsea and Manchester United, while they will have to battle Paris Saint-Germain as well.
Although Asensio is prepared to stay in Spain next season, he wants to be assured of playing time under new manager Julen Lopetegui, who recently joined the club.
The 22-year-old scored 11 goals in all competitions last season for Los Blancos.
Juventus continues to have several players at the center of transfer rumors, and Miralem Pjanic is a name that keeps popping up.
The midfielder won’t come cheap though, with Juve reportedly set to ask for $92.6 million in the event that a club wants to acquire Pjanic.
Barcelona is rumored to be seeking a move for Pjanic with Andres Iniesta now heading to Vissel Kobe in the J-League.
New Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is reportedly looking to bring several of his former Napoli players to Stamford Bridge, including Belgium star Dries Mertens.
The Blues are seeking more attacking options ahead of the fall, and the veteran Mertens has become a proven commodity in front of goal over the course of his Serie A career.
The first two nations have advanced to the knockout phase out of Group A.
Uruguay reached the Round of 16 on Wednesday with a 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia, who has been eliminated from the 2018 World Cup.
Hosts Russia will also reach the knockout rounds with the Uruguay win, thus eliminating Egypt as well.
The Barcelona striker gave Uruguay the lead in the 23rd minute, after a poor read from Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais.
Suarez was given a wide-open finish at the far post off the corner kick for his first goal at the World Cup. The 31-year-old had scored a combined five goals during his last two World Cup appearances (2010 & 2014).
The Uruguyans dictated the tempo throughout much of the match, but Saudi Arabia’s back line held strong for the majority of the game.
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Uruguay will close out group play against Group A leaders and hosts Russia on June 25, while Saudi Arabia and Egypt will tango that same day.
Luis Suarez was clearly upset with his lack of finishing in Uruguay’s opener last Friday, but the Barcelona man is finally on the scoresheet at the 2018 World Cup.
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The veteran striker gave Uruguay the lead in the 23rd minute after a close-range finish off of a corner kick.
Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais came out to try and collect the cross, however, he was slow in his reaction, allowing the ball to slip through to Suarez for the easy finish.
The Uruguayans will reach the Round of 16 with one match remaining if they hold on to their 1-0 lead.
Wellington, New Zealand (AP) The coach of New Zealand’s women’s football team has been placed on leave pending an investigation of complaints about his conduct from members of the national team.
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The complaints centered around tactics Andreas Heraf used in a recent home international against Japan and his comments to media after that match. Players reportedly objected to the defensive nature of Heraf’s tactics in the 3-1 loss.
New Zealand Football chief executive Andy Martin said at a news conference on Wednesday that his organization had received a letter from the New Zealand Professional Footballers Association, containing letters of complaint from 13 national team members.
Defending his approach at a news conference after the match, Heraf said the New Zealand players would never have the “quality” to compete with a team of Japan’s ability and might have lost 8-0 if they had not adopted a defensive style.
Further reports have emerged of player concerns about Heraf’s behavior, including allegations of bullying.
Martin was repeatedly questioned at the news conference about when New Zealand Football first had notice of the players’ concerns about Heraf. He insisted he was not aware of any problems until the letter from the NZPFA containing the players’ complaints was released on Monday.
In a statement, New Zealand Football Chairman Deryck Shaw said player welfare was “of utmost importance.”
“We hold player welfare as a matter of utmost importance and that is why we are conducting a thorough, independent review. We want to ensure we better understand these issues in an objective review. There is no place for inappropriate behavior of any kind with New Zealand Football.”