AP Photo/Claude Paris

Sweden holds off England comeback to claim third place (video)

Leave a comment

After suffering heartbreak at the hands of the Netherlands in the semifinals, Sweden finished their run at the 2019 Women’s World Cup with a 2-1 victory over England in the third-place game in Nice, France, on Saturday.

[ PREVIEW: USWNT faces Netherlands in World Cup final ]

Sweden jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before England appeared to realize they were facing an opponent who very badly wanted to finish third. By that time, Sweden had hunkered down and it was too late.

Kosovare Asllani opened the scoring in the 11th minute after Alex Greenwood failed to clear the ball in the box and touched it to no one near the penalty spot. Asllani hit her shot hard and low, with just enough pace to power through the outstretched hands of Carly Telford.

Sofia Jakobsson doubled the Swedes’ lead barely 10 minutes later, and this was the moment it became crystal clear that England were not yet up to full speed. Stina Blackstenius played simple ball to Jakobsson in acres of space down the left side of England’s penalty area. No one made an attempt to close her down, so she waltzed into the box before unleashing a screamer toward the far post.

[ PREVIEW: Brazil v. Peru, Copa America’s unlikely final ]

Once England awoke, they were quickly back in the game. Fran Kirby scored a spectacular solo goal in the 31st minute, weaving in and out and back in to set up an effortless finish, to cut the Three Lionesses’ deficit in half.

The comeback appeared complete just five minutes later, when Ellen White put the ball in the back of the net for the seventh eighth time, only to have her goal wiped off the board for the second time in as many games. She was deemed to have gained an advantage by touching the ball with her forearm during the build-up.

Nilla Fischer saved the day for Sweden with a last-gasp goal-line clearance in the 90th minute. Lucy Bronze had a look from close range, but Fischer put her body — and her head — on the line to preserve her side’s lead and help Sweden over the finish line.

Report: Man United plotting January move for Sancho

Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jadon Sancho has made it known that he intends to return to England and the Premier League in the not-so-distant future, and Manchester United appear to be weighing up a January move for the 19-year-old Borussia Dortmund star, according to a report from the Guardian.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

With Sancho struggling early in his second full season in the Dortmund first team, Man United chief executive Ed Woodward could see this as an opportunity to acquire an exciting, young English talent at a cut-rate price.

Just last month, Sancho was dropped and fined by Dortmund for returning late from England duty. Last weekend, he was subbed off after 34 minutes — without an injury — and harshly criticized by manager Lucien Favre after the game.

[ MORE: Sterling backs Gomez after boos were heard at Wembley ]

Woodward and United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are said to be interested in signing Sancho, who they see as a summer transfer target ahead of the 2020-21 season, in January to allow the player an additional six months to settle into his new surroundings before the massive weight of expectations are fully thrust upon him.

Sancho scored 13 goals in 43 appearances (all competitions) for Dortmund last season. The former Watford and Manchester City academy product has four goals in 16 games this season.

Man City’s attempt to block UEFA investigation denied in court

Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MONTREUX, Switzerland (AP) Manchester City lost its attempt Friday to block an investigation into allegations it deceived UEFA while violating rules that monitor soccer club finances.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that City’s appeal against UEFA’s handling of the investigation was inadmissible. The two-time defending Premier League champions tried to stop UEFA’s club finance panel from handling a referral by investigators to impose a punishment.

“At CAS we can only hear appeals against final decisions,” said Matthieu Reeb, the court’s secretary general.

UEFA investigators had called for a severe penalty — that City be excluded from the Champions League for one season.

The file will now proceed to UEFA’s club finance judges. Any sanction they impose can also be challenged at CAS.

The latest UEFA investigation started after leaks of City’s internal correspondence and documents to German news outlet Der Spiegel last year.

The leaks implied City deceived UEFA for several years, including by hiding information that revenue from potentially overvalued commercial deals came from the club’s owners in Abu Dhabi to curb losses.

[ MORE: Report: LA Galaxy want Cavani to replace Zlatan ]

City has never disputed the authenticity of the documents.

“There was absolutely no examination of the merits,” Reeb said of the three-judge panel’s ruling. “We cannot say whether the decision of the alleged breach of financial fair play rules are real or not.”

Friday’s ruling extends a long-standing conflict between City and UEFA in the era of “Financial Fair Play” rules which began in 2009 after consultation with clubs. The project was intended to protect clubs from reckless overspending.

UEFA rules limit cash injections from wealthy owners, which critics say penalize emerging clubs with big ambitions. Commercial deals such as shirt sponsorships that are suspected of being inflated are also assessed for the fair market rate.

City was deducted $22 million of Champions League prize money by UEFA in 2014 in the first round of FFP judgments.

Report: Bruce hopes to bring Xhaka to Newcastle in January

Photo by Visionhaus
1 Comment

Steve Bruce has prioritized a loan move to bring Granit Xhaka to Newcastle United in January, according to a report from Sky Sports.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

Xhaka, now the former captain of Arsenal after his recent confrontation with the club’s fans, is expected to leave Arsenal in January and Bruce hopes that Fabian Schar, a longtime teammate of Xhaka with the Swiss international team, will be able to persuade the 27-year-old midfielder to choose the Magpies over what will surely be a long list of clubs desperate to acquire his services.

According to the report, a number of clubs in Italy have already expressed an interest in signing Xhaka — whether or loan or permanently — therefore Bruce and Co., are likely to face plenty of competition. However, the chance to remain in the Premier League and prove his detractors — many of them Arsenal fans — wrong could be appealing to Xhaka.

[ MORE: Report: LA Galaxy want Cavani to replace Zlatan ]

Xhaka, who is not currently injured, hasn’t made an appearance for Arsenal since the incident occurred late last month. Schar recently said that he “can’t wait to give [Xhaka] a hug” next time the two players see each other.

VIDEO: Each PL team’s best and worst player of October

Leave a comment

PST’s Joe Prince-Wright looks at the best (and worst) player of October for each Premier League team as the league enters its final international break of 2019.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

With Liverpool and Leicester City flying high, picking the Reds’ or Foxes’ best player presented plenty of worthy candidates. As for terribly underperforming sides like Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Southampton, it was a challenge for the opposite reason, though JPW wasn’t short on options when it came to worst performers.

Hit Play on the above video to see who graded out well — and not so well — for your club, and feel free to agree or disagree all you want in the comments below.