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Jose Mourinho to manage USMNT?

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Picture this.

From the Azteca Stadium dugout Jose Mourinho has just launched a water bottle into the home crowd in delight amid a cacophony of jeers after Christian Pulisic‘s last-gasp winner against Mexico sealed qualification to the 2022 World Cup for the U.S. men’s national team.

Now you can wake up. But maybe not…

Mourinho has been speaking to Eleven Sports about his future and said he fancies switching things up a little and becoming a national team manager, and not just for his beloved Portugal.

“I want to compete in new competitions,” Mourinho said. “I think about the World Cup and the European Championships. For a long time I have had the desire to try out such an adventure. Right now, I see myself more at a national team than with a new club. Is Portugal the right team for me? Not necessarily.”

Wow. Okay.

Mourinho’s Portugal have Fernando Santos in charge and he has led them to both the EURO 2016 title and now the UEFA Nations League trophy. So, unless he wants to leave his role, he can pretty much remain in charge of the Portuguese national team for the next few tournaments.

Before we get on to where Mourinho could end up internationally, here’s what he had to say about his future aside from a national team setup.

“Winning a fifth championship in a different country or the Champions League with a third club are things I’d like to do,” Mourinho added. “I wouldn’t do it just for that. I only go where a project convinces me. I want to be happy, not necessarily win, I want to be happy and I don’t want to accept a proposal without being convinced of it, that’s what I’ve always thought. That’s why if [a club] told me ‘today there are no conditions to win, but we want you to create the conditions to win’, then I would evaluate it.”

There have been various rumors about Mourinho heading to clubs like Newcastle and Everton in the Premier League after his time in charge at Manchester United ended last December in dire circumstances, less than three seasons after he took over. It is unlikely he will take a gig outside of Europe’s elite clubs, and many national team jobs appear out of reach for him right now with England, France, Germany, Italy and Portugal all set with their managers

His combustible nature means that club jobs aren’t lasting over three years for Jose right now, so maybe the international arena is the best place for Mourinho for the rest of his career.

He will have less time around players, more time to work on scouting and less day-to-day dealings with the media. Surely these are all good things for Mourinho.

Is the USMNT a serious option? First up, U.S. Soccer would have to considerably push the boat out, financially, to hire him. Secondly, they’ve just hired a coach in Gregg Berhalter with a long-term vision even if things haven’t got off to a great start. And last but not least, would Mourinho want to manage the U.S. men’s national team?

He’s spoken about how he enjoys preseason trips each year to California and how he wants to work in Major League Soccer one day, so there is an interest in working in the USA there.

From U.S. Soccer’s perspective, if Berhalter’s young group fail miserably this summer at the Gold Cup amid a wave of negativity surrounding the team, would it be worth handing the keys over to Jose for a few years to increase interest levels if nothing else?

Not only would his huge global appeal make the USMNT relevant again across the world, his coaching style actually lines up pretty well with what the U.S. have within their pool of players. He can set teams up to defend solidly and hit opponents on the counter or channel attacks through a special playmaker like Pulisic. And, let’s be honest, the USMNT are trying to be something they’re not right now.

Mourinho to the USMNT will probably never happen, but think about it. Mourinho would get the job he wants next, the USMNT would get huge interest levels from across the globe and we would get to see Mourinho in CONCACAF qualifying which he seems ready-made for.

I’m just saying, it all kind of makes sense…

Racist abuse delays England v. Bulgaria qualifier

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England raced out to an impressive 4-0 lead at Bulgaria by halftime, but the wonderful attacking display was marred by horrendous incidents from the crowd.

The match in the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria was stopped on two occasions with announcements being made to ask sections of the crowd to stop their abusive language. This comes with the stadium already serving a partial stadium closure due to racist chanting from the crowd in previous qualifiers.

Below is UEFA’s protocol on how to intervene in these situations, and what transpired from lead writer Joe Prince-Wright.

Tottenham re-signs goalkeeper Vorm

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With Hugo Lloris set to miss at least another two months of action with a broken elbow, Tottenham has turned to a familiar face to provide some cover between the pipes.

Tottenham announced Monday it had re-signed goalkeeper Michel Vorm to a contract through the end of the 2019-2020 Premier League season. Vorm spent five seasons with Tottenham after signing from Swansea City in 2014. However, after playing second-fiddle to Lloris and later serving as the third backup behind current Tottenham No. 2, Paulo Gazzaniga for the past couple of seasons, Vorm was released at the end of last season.

Its certainly a boost for Tottenham that a player with a long history at the club and plenty of experience was available to help in this situation. Similar to Liverpool picking up Adrian after Alisson Becker’s injury, Tottenham know what it’s getting in Vorm and may play him a few times if Gazzaniga needs a night off in the next few months.

According to Vorm, he had been home in his native Netherlands and was watching the game when he saw Lloris get injured.

“Obviously I saw straight away that he had a bad injury and at the time I thought about how bad it was, Vorm told Tottenham’s website. “After the game I spoke with Jan (Vertonghen), he told me what was going on and I spoke also with Toni (Jimenez, our goalkeeping coach) and, yes, during the week I got the phone call to ask if I was open to come back and help out. I’ve kept in contact with a lot of the players and also with Toni. We were speaking quite regularly and on Thursday he called me, we had the conversation and from there on, it went very quickly.”

In his five seasons with Tottenham, Vorm made a total of 47 appearances in all competitions. He saw plenty of time in the League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Europa League and Champions League during his stay at White Hart Lane.

In-form striker Duvan Zapata injured on international duty

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This international break has been particularly brutal to clubs who have seen a host of key players go down with injuries, and there’s still a few days of matches remaining.

The latest player to succumb to injury is Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata who returned from Colombia duty with an adductor strain and will miss at least three weeks, according to Sky Sports Italia (via FootballItalia). Zapata went down 23 minutes into Colombia’s 0-0 friendly draw with Chile on Friday and was sent back to Italy for tests at his club.

Those tests have reportedly confirmed the initial fears. The loss of Zapata is a massive one for Atalanta, as the 28-year-old has been steadily building for years and is having a breakout start to this campaign, scoring six Serie A goals in seven matches plus one more in Champions League play, currently on a run of four consecutive games with a goal across all competitions. With Zapata’s help, Atalanta sits third in the Serie A table, having bagged the most goals of any team with 18 through seven games.

Zapata becomes the latest high-profile injury from this international break, joining Colombia teammate Alexis Sanchez who went down late in the same match and is reportedly out until 2020 with a serious ankle injury. Chelsea has been hit the hardest, with Andreas Christensen, Mateo Kovacic, and Reese James all pulling up while N’Golo Kante was injured in France warmups but he is expected to be fit for the weekend. Luka Modric may miss time after going down in a Euro qualifier against Wales, while Gareth Bale also picked up a knock in that match. Neymar went down in Brazil’s match against against Nigeria, which forced manager Tite to explain his reasoning for the selection in a friendly. Sergio Aguero is apparently struggling to train with Argentina thanks to a mystery injury confirmed by Lionel Scaloni. Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos withdrew from Spain training earlier in the week with “hamstring overload.” Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson left USMNT camp with a hamstring problem with the MLS playoffs on the horizon.

Ex-England midfielder Gascoigne on trial for sexual assault

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LONDON (AP) — A prosecutor has alleged that former England midfielder Paul Gascoigne sexually assaulted a woman on a train by “forcibly and sloppily” planting an unwanted kiss on her lips.

Prosecutor William Mousley’s comments Monday came as Gascoigne, who has struggled with alcohol and mental-health problems, went on trial at Teesside Crown Court charged with sexual assault of the female passenger.

Mousley said the former England star “put his hands on her cheeks and kissed her forcibly and sloppily on the lips.”

The 52-year-old Gascoigne denies the charge.

The alleged victim has told the court that she froze when the man, who appeared drunk, kissed her in August 2018. She says she did not realize it was Gascoigne until after the alleged incident.