U.S. soccer extends lengthy partnership with Nike, what kits do we want to see?

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If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

So the U.S. Soccer Federation and Nike have kept their partnership going, as on Friday the U.S. announced a new nine-year deal between the sports apparel company from Oregon.

The long-standing linkup began in 1995 and Nike have gone hand-in-hand with both the USMNT and USWNT ever since, across all levels from the development squads to the full national teams.

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati was delighted to extend the deal.

“Nike has been an outstanding partner and shares our long-term vision for progress, innovation, and player development” said Gulati. “We have enjoyed a tremendous history together that began as we both looked to elevate soccer in this country to new heights, and we look forward to building on our progress.”

Of late, Nike has really stepped up their game, with the designs of several USMNT jerseys’ and other apparel being extremely well-received by fans. The latest batch of kits, which has celebrated the national teams centenary year, has gone down swimmingly as old school crests and simple designs have ruled the roost.

But what can we expect now this new deal is in place? I’m looking forward to this…

source:
Remember these beauties from 1994? Should Nike bring back huge stars on gray shirts…

With the World Cup on the horizon, here are some photos of a leaked jersey for the 2014 World Cup campaign, I’d love to see a shirt-design that pushes the boundaries. We’ve had the plain white jersey and the red and white hoops, both of which I love, but what about something completely different with a return to the blue with white pinstripes?

Or, what about some huge stars and stripes emblazoned across the kit like that gray away jersey from 1994? I like the idea of stripes returning too, and I can’t wait to see what cool and innovative designs the guys at Nike will come up with during this next mega-deal between themselves and U.S. Soccer. Some argue that the U.S. kits should be kept solid white as the national side keep losing their identity as they often change the color and design of their shirts, and I understand that argument too.

Let us know what you would like to see from the next U.S. jerseys. Personally lets go for it and have something really out there.

Khedira laughs off Swedish reporter’s offer of tickets home

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
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Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira brushed off a gesture from a Swedish reporter, trading a bit of banter ahead of Germany’s big World Cup match against Sweden on Saturday.

Germany fell 1-0 to Mexico in its opener while Sweden beat South Korea, leading a playful Swede to hand Khedira boarding passes for a flight home to Germany.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Khedira’s reply? He joked that Sweden won’t be a problem and he’ll use the tickets after the World Cup Final.

From Goal.com:

“After this bad start, we know that it’s super difficult, but we know that we are a strong team. We analysed the game, we saw Sweden play and we are sure that we are winning this game.

“I think we’ll need them [plane tickets] on the 16th of July.”

Report: Newcastle’s Clark knocked out on Spanish dance floor

Scott Heavey/PA via AP
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A wild story out of Spain says an Englishman knocked Newcastle United defender Ciaran Clark unconscious at a night club.

[ MORE: Sampaoli defends Messi ]

Clark was on vacation in Spain, where he was spending time at Crystal’s Bar in Punta Ballena, Magaluf very early Sunday morning.

Clark and a man “in his 30s” got into an argument that saw the Irish defender knocked out, according to the BBC.

Clark was left unconscious and taken to hospital after an argument between him and the suspect broke out on the dance floor.

The 28-year-old suffered cuts and bruises to his face.

Clark, 28, scored twice in 20 Premier League appearances this season, his second at St. James’ Park.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 9 — Iceland’s next step, Brazilian bounce back?

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Brazil is one of the favorites of the 2018 World Cup, while Iceland is the smallest nation to qualify for the world’s biggest tournament.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

On Friday, both enter their second match days feeling quite different after 1-1 draws.

They won’t face each other, of course, but the contrast is striking nevertheless.

Brazil opens the day’s action when it squares off with Costa Rica, who fell to Serbia in the opener. For Serbia, a dark horse of the tournament, it will be a meeting with Switzerland.

Then there’s Iceland’s bid to climb into the Group D driver’s seat by knocking off Nigeria. A win from Iceland would make Lionel Messi and Argentina’s task of qualifying for the knockout rounds extremely unlikely.

Below is Friday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20

Group D
Nigeria vs. Iceland: Volgograd, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group E
Brazil vs. Costa Rica: Saint Petersburg, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Serbia vs. Switzerland: Kaliningrad, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Sampaoli defends Messi, blasts Argentina

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Jorge Sampaoli is lambasting his team after a 3-0 loss put Argentina on the edge of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup’s knockout rounds.

“The reality of the Argentina squad clouds Lionel Messi’s brilliance,” Sampaoli said. “The team doesn’t gel as well as it should.”

[ MORE: Modric urges humility ]

Sampaoli said his players could not find a way to get the ball to Messi, and that the introduction of Boca Juniors youngster Cristian Pavón was aimed at opening up the field a little bit.

And Sampaoli is not shying away from the long-discussed comparison between Messi and Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo. From the BBC:

“Cristiano is a great player and he has achieved a lot with club and country. Right now it is hard to compare these two players because of the ability in the Argentinian squad clouds the judgment. Leo is in a difficult position because the squad doesn’t gel with him. As coach I have to accept that. I don’t feel shame but I definitely feel pain. It has been a long time since I have gone through this experience as a coach and obviously it is more painful when I’m wearing the colours of my country.

“We have no alternative but to give it our all in the final match. We have not performed at the level the country expects. We were ambitious ahead of the game but now it is harder for us as a group. We did think this would be the match we can take off as a team, but it wasn’t in the end. I think this is an excellent squad but we didn’t gel or come together. We need to take advantage of the next match, when the pressure will be on, and hope to progress.”

Now, of course Sampaoli is going to defend Messi, but Argentina’s team is not chopped liver. The side certainly isn’t as deep or solid as Croatia, but 1-1 with Iceland preceded this one.

That said, Argentina’s performance once Croatia essentially decided to surround Messi was unacceptable. If favored Nigeria doesn’t handle its business against Iceland, the World Cup finalists won’t have a prayer of going back.