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Nations League: Netherlands comes back, beats England in extra time

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In a wild match decided by numerous defensive errors, it was the Netherlands that made the most of its opportunities.

Despite trailing early, the Netherlands came back from a goal down to defeat England, 3-1 after extra time on Thursday in Guimaraes, Portugal. With the win, the Netherlands advances to the UEFA Nation’s League Final, where it will face host nation Portugal. England, meanwhile, will face Switzerland in the third-place game back in Guimaraes.

With the match coming at the end of a long season for many of the players on the pitch, whether they played for Tottenham, Liverpool or Ajax, it seemed that there were moments of lost focus, which enabled both team’s attacking talent to flourish.

England and the Netherlands traded blows early, with Jadon Sancho taking on Netherland’s right back Denzel Dumfries and former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay taking strikes on Jordan Pickford in goal.

It was Matthijs de Ligt who made the game’s first crucial mistake, turning the ball over right on the edge of the box. Rashford pounced on the error and drove towards goal before de Ligt took Rashford down from behind with a slide tackle, leading to a penalty kick.

After a long wait, Rashford stepped to the spot and calmly sent Jasper Cillessen the wrong way to put England in front in the 32nd minute.

Although the Netherlands was creating chances, England seemed comfortably on its way to the Nation’s League final until a mistake on corner kick marking. In the 73rd minute, de Ligt made up for his earlier mistake by rising highest on a corner kick and scoring to tie the match.

The back and forth match came to life after de Ligt’s goal as England had a goal ruled out by VAR and the Netherlands thought they may have earned a penalty kick but it was waived off after a VAR check.

A beautiful move, started by Ben Chillwell down the left wing with a silky smooth Raheem Sterling backheel and a Jordan Henderson through ball saw Jesse Lingard look to have put England up 2-1. However, Lingard’s goal was called back for offside after a lengthy check.

Minutes later at the other end, Ben Chillwell had the ball ricochet off his hip and arm in the box, leading the Dutch players to call for a handball. However under the new IFAB rules, it was ruled unintentional and the appeals were waived off.

In extra time, it was yet another defensive error that effectively decided the match. John Stones got caught with his eye off the ball and Depay stole it before taking a shot on goal. Pickford made an incredible save but after Quincy Promes dashing run into the box, Promes shot deflected off Kyle Walker and in for an own goal to give the Netherlands a one goal lead in the 97th minute.

Promes made it 3-1 to the Orange in the 114th minute, firing into an empty net after another England miscue gave the Netherlands a great opportunity.

USMNT prospect Ledezma earns praise from van Nistelrooy

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Even for talents of the highest levels with top soccer education, sometimes a kid’s gotta learn how to eat.

Richard “Richie” Ledezma, 18, is in the midst of his first year at Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven, a spot which beckoned after a five-match, one-goal season in the USL with Real Monarchs of the USL.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Ledezma starred for U.S. U-20 team at the World Cup after his first half-season with PSV, which saw him play with the U-19s while trying to lose some weight.

From Goal.com:

“PSV help me with my nutrition, with my food and how I eat. It’s the quantity of food you eat, I guess,” he added. “Because I came a little chubby, when I got here, I guess. They all called me ‘fatty’ and stuff, so I was like, cool, you know? So no more McDonald’s.”

Goal’s James Westwood had a wide-ranging interview with Ledezma and also spoke with soccer royalty: longtime Real Madrid and Manchester United scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy was Ledezma’s coach with the U-19s.

“He’s making a difference in midfield with very quick-thinking passes, movement, can score a goal, play people in, he’s creating chances for the whole team.”

That’s not just good praise from a legend, but a solid sign for fans of the United States men’s national team. A proper No. 10 or playmaking midfielder could allow Gregg Berhalter or another future USMNT coach to use Christian Pulisic on the wings.

Ledezma has some work to do before he breaks into the first team of the Dutch runners-up, who have signed former Stoke City man Ibrahim Afellay and has Gaston Pereiro in the fold as well.

Newcastle reportedly in for $28M mercurial Nice attacker

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L’Equipe says that Newcastle United have returned to Nice in the hopes of landing Allan Saint-Maximin.

The Ligue 1 outfit wants $28 million for the playmaker, who could team up with Miguel Almiron and (maybe) Joelinton to give the Magpies a much-improved attack.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Saint-Maximin, 22, has 10 goals and 10 assists across his last two seasons with Nice, and played everywhere in attack for Patrick Vieira: both wings, center forward, second striker, attacking mid… even some left and right midfield.

The player, however, has been a headache for Vieira at times, with the manager saying Saint-Maximin believes that he has enough talent to reach the highest level without the required amount of work.

That said, the youngster’s skill set is electric. He’s a March birth date, too, so a relatively young 22. That $28 million would be another transfer record broken for Newcastle, assuming it happens ahead of the Joelinton move.

Or… as Newcastle fan knows, neither could go through.

Clark County “declines to prosecute” Ronaldo for rape

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Cristiano Ronaldo will not face sexual assault charges for a June 2009 incident in the United States, attorneys say.

An American woman filed a civil lawsuit against the Juventus superstar last year, claiming that Ronaldo forced himself upon her while she was in a prone position in his hotel room.

[ MORE: Bayern keen on Zaha ]

Ronaldo had expressed belief that he would be cleared of the claims, and claimed that graphic documents produced by German publication Der Spiegel were altered and fabricated.

Las Vegas police issued a warrant in a bid to get Ronaldo’s DNA, and the DA’s office says the woman’s refusal to name her attacker stopped them for collecting “vital evidence.” The woman reached a civil settlement with Ronaldo in 2010.

From News3LV.com:

“Based upon a review of the information presented at this time, the allegations of sexual assault against Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” the D.A.’s office said. “Therefore, no charges will be forthcoming.”

Bayern Munich kicking the tires on big Zaha bid

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A sensational report is linking Wilfried Zaha not just with a move away from Crystal Palace, but a move clear of the Premier League altogether.

90min.com says that Bayern Munich has turned to Zaha, having been rebuffed in their pursuit of Manchester City’s Leroy Sane.

Palace wants $100 million for Zaha, but so far has only received a $50 million offer from Arsenal for his services. Reports Monday said Arsenal is upping its bid, and offering a loan of Reiss Nelson as a make-good. Palace has had good Fortune with loans from the big boys of the PL, in particular with Ruben Loftus-Cheek two seasons ago.

A lot of this makes sense for all parties, apart from Sane, and it will be interesting to see if the report brings a bigger bid from the Gunners.

Zaha is a sensational player, and has created chances year-after-year for the Eagles. He wants to taste the Champions League, but Palace is not willing to let him go for (much) less than its asking price given its sale of Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Manchester United.

Bayern will spend less on Zaha than it would on Gareth Bale or Sane, and get a determined player who is very much in his prime. Zaha would also get the chance to showcase himself with actual breathing room on the pitch, thanks to Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski, and others.

And Palace, of course, will end up with between $80-100 million and the knowledge that it won’t need to mark Zaha on a Premier League pitch. More importantly, the money raised from Zaha and Wan-Bissaka will allow them to strengthen at nearly every position (above what they have now, not above AWB and Zaha).