Ireland

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Kelleher reacts to decisive penalty save in Liverpool-Arsenal thriller

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Caoimhin Kelleher‘s first senior start for Liverpool didn’t give him much to do, but his second was a whopper.

Kelleher was under siege over 90 minutes in a 5-5 thriller with Arsenal in the League Cup before making the only save of the shootout, denying Dani Ceballos to put the Reds in the quarterfinals.

[ MORE: Liverpool 5-5 (5-4 pens) Arsenal ]

The character needed to stand tall after allowing five goals at home is immense, and the 20-year-old Kelleher found it in him to make the decisive play of the day.

“I’ve done a lot of work with the keeper coach on saving penalties,” Kelleher said. “It was a crazy game to be a keeper, I didn’t have time to blink. It’s what dreams are made of, winning a shootout in front of the Kop. The atmosphere was amazing, I’ve never experienced anything like it.”

What a moment for the youngster, and it will be interesting to see whether Jurgen KIopp makes him his goalkeeper for the tournament now that the Reds are just three wins from silverware. Either way, he’ll have this night in his pocket for the rest of his life.

Britain, Ireland to discuss 2030 World Cup bid

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A meeting between the football associations of England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will occur after the UEFA congress in Rome on Friday, with the main aim being to put together a bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

Hosting the 2030 World Cup just in Britain had previously been the aim, but support is growing to include both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in the bid.

The main aim of this meeting is to select 16 potential venues for the tournament, which will see 48 teams compete as the larger format will start from the 2026 World Cup in the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

This kind of World Cup bid is the future for the competition. With the tournament growing in terms of the number of teams competing, larger nations, or joint hosts, are needed to cope with the huge amounts of fans attending the events.

In this situation, spreading the World Cup across the UK and Ireland makes perfect sense as all of the host cities would be within a 90 minute flight of one another. The train system in the UK would mean the longest trip would probably be from London to Glasgow, which can be done in around four hours.

With EURO 2020 being spread across Europe, it will be intriguing to see if this model will be used for future World Cups so that entire countries do not carry the whole burden of having to build new stadiums and infrastructure to cope with hosting it.

Even in England it is believed the likes of Anfield, Old Trafford and Tottenham’s new stadium at White Hart Lane would need upgrades to reach certain standards FIFA require in terms of media facilities, having a certain distance around the pitch between fans and players and things of that nature.

Irish soccer team sorry for falsely reporting player’s death

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DUBLIN (AP) A death notice for a soccer player was posted in a local newspaper. A game was postponed. Teams across the league held a minute’s silence.

Soccer clubs in the Leinster Senior League in Ireland united over the weekend to honor the memory of a player who was thought to have been killed in a traffic accident last week.

Turns out it was all one big mistake.

[READ: Champions League wrap-up]

Amateur team Ballybrack FC has apologized for a “gross error of judgment” after falsely reporting that one of its players, Fernando Nuno La Fuente, died on Thursday.

La Fuente is, in fact, still alive, the team said.

“This grave and unacceptable mistake was completely out of character and was made by a person who has been experiencing severe personal difficulties unbeknownst to any other members of the club,” Ballybrack said in a statement posted on its Facebook page .

The club said the person in question was fired after an emergency meeting.

The league offered its “sincerest apologies for any distress caused as a result of notifying clubs as to the demise of a valued player.”

Ballybrack, a team based in Dublin, postponed its game against Arklow Town on Saturday, while other teams in the league held a minute’s silence in honor of La Fuente.

David Moran, chairman of the league, said the story began to be exposed after inquiries were made regarding offering support to La Fuente’s family.

“We were told he was flown back to Spain on the Saturday. Straight away, that rang alarm bells for us,” Moran told Irish broadcaster RTE. “We checked the hospitals, we checked everywhere. Nobody could find anything about this young fellow.”

Moran said some of La Fuente’s friends said he had gone to Spain four weeks ago.

“The club has contacted Fernando to confirm his whereabouts, wellbeing,” Ballybrack said, “and (is) thankful for his acceptance of our apology on this matter.”

UEFA Nations League: Germany trounced by Netherlands

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League…

[ MORE: Thierry Henry announced as AS Monaco manager ]

Netherlands 3-0 Germany

Germany’s disastrous 2018 continued on Saturday with a 3-0 defeat in Amsterdam, dropping Joachim Loew’s side to the bottom of League A Group 1 with just one point from its first two games.

Virgil Van Dijk opened the scoring with a header in the 30th minute, and the score remained 1-0 for nearly an hour, until Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum made it 2-0 and 3-0 in the 86th and 92nd minutes, respectively.

Germany’s 2018 record now stands at 3W-2D-5L in all competitions (1W-1D-3L in competitive fixtures). Saturday was the first time Germany lost a game — competitive or otherwise — since Oct. 17, 2007.

Ireland 0-0 Denmark

The home side, Ireland conceded 65 percent of possession to the visiting Danes, were out-shot 15-3 (3-1 on target), and completed barely 70 percent of their passes, but managed to hold on for an invaluable home point — their first in League B Group 4 play. Alas, the Boys in Green sit bottom of the group with their solitary point from two games and appear headed for relegation to League C.

Elsewhere in UEFA Nations League action

League B Group 1

Slovakia 1-2 Czech Republic — MORE

League C Group 3

Norway 1-0 Slovenia
Bulgaria 2-1 Cyprus

League D Group 1

Latvia 1-1 Kazakhstan
Georgia 3-0 Andorra

League D Group 4

Armenia 0-1 Gibraltar
Macedonia 4-1 Lichtenstein

Sunday’s UEFA Nations League schedule (all games start at 2:45 p.m. ET, unless noted)

League A Group 3

Poland vs. Italy

League B Group 2

Russia vs. Turkey — 12 p.m. ET

League C Group 1

Israel vs. Albania

League C Group 4

Romania vs. Serbia — 9 a.m. ET
Lithuania vs. Montenegro

League D Group 3

Azerbaijan vs. Malta — 12 p.m. ET
Faroe Islands vs. Kosovo — 12 p.m. ET

Man City reportedly lands Irish keeper ahead of Spurs, Chelsea

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Manchester City has reportedly added a young goalkeeper to its squad.

Gavin Bazunu, 16, would join City from Irish side Shamrock Rovers.

[ MORE: USMNT-Brazil preview ]

The 6-foot-2 Bazunu has allowed just two goals in six matches with Rovers, both of those coming in Europa League qualifying.

In League of Ireland play, he went 4-for-4 in clean sheets. Sky Sports says the fee is around $500,000, and that both Spurs and Chelsea wanted to add the youngster.

With Claudio Bravo injured for the next couple months, Bazunu joins Ederson, Daniel Grimshaw, and Arijanet Muric on Man City’s depth chart.

Bazunu is still listed on the Rovers’ web site as a First Team backstop.