18
Feb

Manchester clubs battle for Mangala

In January it was rumored that Manchester City missed out on Porto star Eliaquim Mangala. This summer they look set to go back for the highly-coveted defender and could be rivaled by Manchester neighbors United for his signature. The France under-21 international is thought to be valued at around £35 million by the Portuguese club.

For this rumor and the rest of Tuesday’s transfer gossip, click here.

28
Jan

Everton fan gets “You’ll Never Walk Alone” tattoo for charity

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Image via Team George (Facebook)

There are few local derbies as passionate as the one on Merseyside between Liverpool and Everton. The two clubs’ stadiums are just one short mile apart, and the players have a distinct distaste for one another. No fixture between the two has yielded more red cards since the inception of the Premier League than this one.

But as this story reminds us, the intense passion of the Merseyside derby can be used to do really, really amazing things.

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Image via Team George (Facebook)

This is 4-year-old George Johnson. He suffers from a very rare motility condition, which means that he can’t eat, drink or swallow, and is currently fed directly through his heart. His family needs to bring him to the USA to seek further treatment, but couldn’t afford the trip. So they’ve been fundraising.

But they needed some help. That’s where diehard Everton fan Matty Bowman stepped in. He pledged to have “You’ll Never Walk Alone” tattooed on his back to help raise awareness about George’s story.

It worked.

Team George has now surpassed their goal of £15,000, and the number grows every minute. For Bowman, it’s a small price to pay in order to see that George gets the treatment he needs.

"If I didn’t want to do it, I wouldn’t have done, but I did it for a reason — it was for George, I’ve got a boy the same age," Bowman told the Liverpool Echo.

Bowman may be a lifelong Everton fan, but we’re pretty sure he’s got his own diehard fans in George and his family, too.

H/T WAAP

19
Nov

Setting the table for England vs Germany

imageWayne Rooney will lead Roy Hodgson’s side in attack on Tuesday night (Images: Reuters).

The classic rivalry between England and Germany will write another chapter Tuesday night at Wembley Stadium (live, FOX Sports 1, 3 p.m. ET), so let’s run down a few things to know:

1. Twice as nice: Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge will be paired together up top, with Rooney playing in the No. 10 role. This is great news for England, who need Rooney to be in top form and utilized in his best position in order to make a run at the top teams. You can read more about what this means for England in Patrick Barclay’s match preview.

2. Taking it easy: You’ll notice that while the Three Lions are fielding their best XI, more or less, the Germans will miss a lot of key players. Captain Philipp Lahm and Manuel Neuer have been left behind in Germany to rest for Bayern Munich’s upcoming clash at Borussia Dortmund, while Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil will be rested as well. Also absent are injured playmakers Bastian Schweinsteiger, Ilkay Gundogan and Sami Khedira, as well as strikers Miro Klose and Mario Gomez. Joachim Low will have to give his side a new look, including Lars and Sven Bender in holding midfield.

imageWith his team hampered by injuries, Low will be forced to experiment vs. England (Images: Reuters).

3. Players to watch: Don’t feel bad for Germany, they still have plenty of weapons. Watch Marco Reus and Mario Gotze closely today; the two  wingers are competing with Ozil and Thomas Muller for starting spots next summer. The same thing goes for Max Kruse, who starts as the lone striker today.  On the other side, keep an eye on Adam Lallana and Andros Townsend. Still new to the national side, they, too, need to present themselves to the manager.

4. History lesson: The old rivalry has been a story of two eras. From their first meeting in 1908 through the legendary 1966 World Cup final, England completely dominated Germany (10W-2D-0L). It’s been a different story since then; Germany is 13-2-5 against England after ‘66. However, the Three Lions won the last meeting, 2-1, in November 2008 in Berlin.

5. Going tubing: Yesterday, the German national team took the Tube to Wembley Stadium for their final practice. This would be unfathomable if not for the well-known fact that getting to Wembley any other way actually takes ten times as long. This just speaks to Joachim Low’s thorough preparation. A video of the team’s unique transport is below:

16
Oct

The morning after: Mexico thanks the United States for saving their bacon

Judging by the headlines across Mexico, El Tri know exactly who is responsible for keeping their World Cup hopes alive by a whisker.

After a disappointing 2-1 loss to Costa Rica, Mexico’s World Cup lives were at the mercy of the Americans — their greatest, most bitter rivals — who themselves had fallen behind Panama midway through the second half. Had the result held up, Mexico would be eliminated from next year’s summer classic, but a pair of stoppage time goals by Graham Zusi and Aron Johannsson marked an incredible comeback that kept Mexico ahead of Panama in fourth place of the qualifying group, good for a two-legged playoff tie with New Zealand to determine one of the last World Cup berths.

As it happened, Mexican commentator Christian Martinoli encapsulated the incredible night while covering both games side-by-side for Azteca TV, screaming:

“We love you for ever and ever! God bless America!

The USA puts us in the playoffs!

It is because of the USA that we are being placed in the playoff … because of them, not due to you! Not any of you in the green shirts. It was them! Not you! They did it, not you!

Remember this forever. Keep this clearly in mind for the rest of your lives. You do nothing for the shirt, you do not put any effort for the team, you have not placed us in the World Cup, you would not have kept us alive.

Mexico is a horror, just terrible. A failure.”

His words, not ours.

27
Sep

Stockholm police speed up escalator to clear out hooligans

That’s one way to send the fans home!

Sweden’s fiercest soccer derby between Stockholm clubs AIK and Djurgården (both were formed just weeks apart in 1891) ended in a 2-2 draw Thursday, but angry fans from both sides weren’t quite ready to go on with their lives after the match.

Looking to shout as many Swedish obscenities at one another as possible, rather than peacefully going on their way, the hooligans left the police with little choice but to turn to plan B: Speed up those escalators from hell!

There’s really only one way to put it:

H/T Pies

6
Sep

Five things to watch during Mexico vs. Honduras

Months of waiting and weeks of speculation will end when Mexico finally takes the field against Honduras at Estadio Azteca tonight. It is the most significant game of the Hexagonal to date for El Tri, a chance to atone for the three scoreless draws in Mexico City and ease the tension ahead of the final three Hex matches.

The buildup to the game included plenty of discussion about its overall significance and the particular selection quandaries facing José Manuel de la Torre ahead of the encounter (please add link from secondary preview when posted). Here are five more points to watch as the tense affair unfolds this evening.

1. How will Mexico process the pressure?

El Tri crumbled under the pressure to dictate terms and sweep aside its opposition in its previous three home matches. It cannot afford a similar display against the Hondurans. This group must exude confidence from the opening whistle and stamp its intent on the game early to calm the inevitable nerves and set the tone for the affair.

Read More

14
Aug

Scottish fans take over London’s Trafalgar Square, fill fountain with soap

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Photo via 101GG

In the build-up to Wednesday’s “friendly” match between longtime rivals England and Scotland — in fact, it is the oldest football rivalry in the world — the traveling Scottish fans took over one of London’s most famous downtown spots, Trafalgar Square.

Given that this was the first match between the two nations in 14 years, the Scots were particularly riled up for this one, with more than 25,000 reportedly traveling down the British Isles to, mainly, stir up trouble. And to make lots of bubbles.

Yes, the “Tartan Army”successfully turned Trafalgar Square into one giant bubble bath by squirting large quantities of dish soap into the famous fountains (and perhaps some other, non-cleaning liquid):

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Photos by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

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Photo via 101GG

Not a bad prank to pull on the old enemy. We’re not sure how cheery the Scots were after this, though:

England won the match 3-2 on debutant Rickie Lambert’s winner in the second half.