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Swansea City player Leon Britton named caretaker coach

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Leon Britton will take charge of Swansea City for their huge clash with relegation rivals Crystal Palace on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com) after Paul Clement was fired on Wednesday.

Britton, 35, has been working on the coaching staff for the post few months at Swansea and the midfielder has been with the club for 15 years as a professional and has risen with them through the leagues. He is a fans favorite and will earn the respect of his players immediately.

The elegant English midfielder will take charge on a caretaker basis, with the likes of Tony Pulis, Ronald Koeman and Ryan Giggs already being ruled out of the running for the position.

Although he admitted now is not the right time for him to be given the role on a permanent basis, Britton believes he can help lift the Swansea squad and his fellow teammates in the next few weeks.

“That’s one of the reasons I agreed to take this role – because I believe I can have an effect on the team in the immediate future,” Britton said. “I am sure the fans will be behind the team on Saturday and hopefully I can help lift the players. We have to make sure we’re in the right frame of mind and hopefully that will lead to a result.”

With Swansea sitting bottom of the Premier League table with just 12 points and three wins from their first 18 games of the season, Britton and whoever comes in on a permanent basis have a huge job on their hands.

On a lighter note, let’s focus on Britton’s team talk ahead of the Palace game: “Leon. Captain. Leon. Penalty kick taker. Set pieces. Leon…” That would be amusing if it happened, but Britton confirmed he’s struggling with a calf injury and unavailable.

Joking aside, if Britton does well then it isn’t inconceivable he will be given the job on a permanent basis. Look at the Bundesliga and how well young coaches have done in tough circumstances in recent years, plus Swansea did think outside the box in the past when it came to managerial appointments as young coaches like Roberto Martinez and Garry Monk were given chances.

Since they were promoted to the PL in 2011, the Swans have been proponents of attacking, entertaining soccer with the “Swansea Way” leading them to the top 10 under Michael Laudrup, a League Cup trophy and European action.

However, the Swansea Way has become somewhat muddled in recent seasons with the South Wales side now going through three managers in the past 12 months in Francesco Guidolin, Bob Bradley and Clement. In each of the last two campaign they’ve survived relegation with a late season surge and it will be another struggle this season.

Without Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente, who were both sold in the summer, it is tough to see where Swansea’s goals will come from. They are the lowest scorers in the PL with just 10 goals this season and with Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Bony struggling for form, Tammy Abraham has done his best in his first season in the PL but it seems like that won’t be enough.

If Swansea lose to Crystal Palace at home this weekend, they could be as much as seven points from safety. They’ve been in worse situations than this and survived but the situation is getting pretty desperate.

Real Monarchs beat Louisville City to win first ever USL Cup

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Real Monarchs scored three unanswered goals as they routed Louisville City 3-1 at Lynn Stadium to win their first ever USL Cup title.

Noah Powder’s goal in the 66th minute sealed the deal for the visitor’s, adding to the goals scored by defenders Erik Holt and Konrad Plewa in the first half.

Surprisingly enough, it was Lou City who got off to a superb start on Sunday night, though.

Only six minutes after the initial whistle, Lou City’s leading goalscorer, Magnus Rasmussen, scored the game’s first goal, breaking a record for the fastest goal in a USL Cup final.

The defeat brings an end to Lou City’s historic run of consecutive USL Cup-winning seasons.

On July 1, former Real Salt Lake defender, Jamison Olave, took over as the Monarchs interim coach following Martin Vasquez’s unexpected resignation.

Man arrested after English soccer player reports homophobia

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TRANMERE, England — A footballer in England’s third tier reported being subjected to homophobic abuse from the stands, leading to police making one arrest.

Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop told the referee of the abuse at halftime of the League One soccer game at Tranmere as his team won 2-0.

Tranmere says it is very disappointed to learn of a homophobic comment made.

In a statement, Merseyside Police condemned abhorrent incidents.

Police Chief Inspector Jason Crellin added that “hate crime has no place in our communities, and not least at a showcase sporting event attended and watched by many people.”

Brazil beat Mexico to win U-17 World Cup (video)

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Brazil became Under-17 world champions for a fourth time in dramatic fashion as Lazaro Vinicius Marques’ scored a 93rd-minute winner to edge Mexico 2-1 at Estadio Bezerrão on Sunday.

Brazil’s comeback started in the 84th minute when Kaio Jorge converted from the penalty spot, following VAR’s decision which ruled contact on the tournament’s Golden Ball winner, Gabriel Veron, inside the 18-yard box.

With Brazilian legends Ronaldo and Cafu in attendance, the host’s had the better of chances throughout the first 45 minutes. Without any luck, however, Brazil were unable to get the ball past Eduardo Garcia, instead hitting the bar on several occasions.

Then in the 66th minute, Mexico – winners of the tournament in 2005 and in 2011 – stunned the home crowd when Bronze Ball winner Eugenio Pizzoto’s cross into the box was headed into the back of the net by Bryan Alonso Gonzalez Olivan, breaking the deadlock between two sides that had met in the same game back in 2005.

What was going to be a stunning, underdog victory for El Tri, turned into a heartbreaking night for Marco “Chima” Ruiz and company.

Brazil, on the other hand, are now only one championship away from tying Nigeria’s record of five championships.

EURO qualifying wrap: France, Iceland, Turkey earn wins

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With their tickets already booked to next summer’s big tournament, France and Turkey picked up wins in Sunday’s Euro qualifying action, which saw defending champions Portugal clinch qualification.

[ READ: Defending champions Portugal qualify to EURO 2020 ]


Albania 0-2 France

Albania opened their new, 22,500-seat stadium with a hard-fought loss against France.

Early on, Bayern Munich’s Corentin Tolisso gave the impression that the home fans were in for a long night at the inaugurating Air Albania Stadium, opening the score just eight minutes in with a well-placed header. In the 31st minute, an unfamiliar face, Leo Dubois, connected with Antoine Griezmann, who slotted the ball into the bottom-right corner. France finish the qualifiers leaders of Group H with 25 points. Throughout the 10 matches, the world champions lost only once, a 2-0 loss against Turkey.

Andorra 0-2 Turkey

Real Valladolid’s Enes Unal scored a first-half brace as Turkey coasted past Andorra 2-0. Turkey, who clinched a spot next summer after finishing Group H two points behind France, controlled possession and chances at goal.

Moldova 1-2 Iceland

Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson scored the visitor’s second and winning goal in the second half, as Iceland walked away from Zimbru Stadium with a 2-1 win on Sunday.

With 19 points throughout 10 games, Rúnar Kristinsson and company felt five points short of qualifying directly for next year’s competition. That said, they’ll partake in the Euro 2020 playoffs, looking to squeeze their way in.

Elsewhere

Luxembourg 0-2 Portugal

Serbia 2-2 Ukraine

Kosovo 0-4 England

Bulgaria 1-0 Czech Republic