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Best Moments of the 2019 Women’s World Cup

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What a tournament.

It’s reasonable to call the 2019 Women’s World Cup the best top-to-bottom showcase of women’s soccer in history, and it’s up there even if it’s not No. 1.

Here are the moments that stood above the pack, and since we’re not going to talk about VAR for a change — and also going to skip complaints about Cameroon’s physicality and American hotel surveying — we’ll keep things short and sweet.

Made-up Marta provides more inspiration

Marta has long been a hero to many young players, but she had three major moments in what could be her last World Cup.

The 33-year-old Brazilian became the all-time World Cup leader for goals and ran her career total to 17, but almost as many people were discussing her choice (two key words there) to wear bright red lipstick on the pitch. Others would follow suit.

But the magical playmaker really stood out in her post-elimination speech begging the girls of the world to dream big.

“The women’s game depends on you to survive,” she said. “Cry in the beginning so you can smile in the end.”

A Baker’s Dozen and Its After-Effects

If there were any questions regarding the USWNT’s desire to bring the proper motivation to defend its World Cup, the Yanks answered emphatically with an opening game 13-0 masterpiece versus Thailand.

Alex Morgan scored five goals. Five!

The storylines that would follow were many. Megan Rapinoe’s leg-pumping celebration came when the Americans put the game to bed three or four times early, and it wasn’t so classy (even if it was understandable. Those aren’t mutually exclusive concepts).

The next match for Thailand, though, saw a more respectable deficit of 4-0 turn into a joyous 4-1, and national team program benefactor Nualphan Lamsam. They finished with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Chile, but this was the moment for them:

We were kinda lying about not mentioning VAR as Argentina stuns, eliminates Scotland

When Erin Cuthbert scored a 69th minute goal to give Scotland a 3-0 lead in its final group stage game, Argentina would’ve been forgiven for climbing into its shell and congratulating Scotland on advancing into the knockout rounds.

That didn’t quite happen, did it? Argentina made it 3-1 five minutes later and got an own goal soon after that to pull to within one.

Stoppage time saw Argentina get a penalty through Video Assistant Referee. Lee Alexander saved the attempt, but was awarded a second when VAR deemed that Alexander left her line too early.

That one was converted, and Scotland went home. Bitter stuff, and the referees didn’t like it either.

Cameroon’s late show extends tournament too knockout rounds

Ajara Nchout scored early in the second half of a must-win match for Cameroon against New Zealand, but both teams looked set to go home early after the Football Ferns leveled the score and couldn’t find a second.

Nchout’s second marker, though, was leeee-git and came deep in stoppage time for one of the most memorable moments in France.

Megan Rapinoe and her pose

Okay, so this one’s easy; When you look back on the name to collect the most headlines at the tournament, what moment stands above the rest for your Golden Boot- and Golden Ball-winning World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe.

And it’s the pose. Here I am: Love me or hate me, I’m getting the job done.

A tournament which saw her create furor with an over-the-top celebration against Thailand before having to deal with a surprising release of unsurprising anti-presidential comments.

Rapinoe and her pink shock of hair were everywhere, and she cemented her status as a world star. What’s next for her is unknown, but what happened this summer won’t be forgotten.

(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Kane, Sterling star as England rout Bulgaria

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On a night where racist abuse from the stands in Bulgaria marred the overall spectacle, England’s players produced an incredible result and spectacle for the visiting fans, with all things considered.

Harry Kane scored once and assisted on three others as England rolled over Bulgaria, winning 6-0 on Monday evening in the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria. Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley both scored a brace for the Three Lions and Marcus Rashford’s thunderbolt from a tight angle gave England the opening goal it needed.

The blowout result was the perfect response after England had suffered its first loss in qualifying for a decade, losing on Friday, 2-1 at the Czech Republic. The six goals England put past Bulgaria was also the fourth time out of six games that England had scored at least five goals in a match. The only other time, aside from the defeat, was a 4-0 win last month at Wembley Stadium over Bulgaria.

This story will be updated.

 

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.