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NFL clubs were informed Tuesday that a private workout will be held for free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick on Saturday in Atlanta, according to a copy of a memo obtained by ESPN.

The session will include on-field work and an interview. All teams are invited to attend, and video of both the workout and the interview will be made available to them.

Several clubs have inquired about Kaepernick’s current football readiness. He has been out of the NFL since 2016, the year he began protesting police brutality and racial injustice by kneeling during the pregame national anthem.

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In the memo, the league said: “Earlier this year, we discussed some possible steps with his representatives and they recently emphasized his level of preparation and that he is ready to work out for clubs and be interviewed by them. We have therefore arranged this opportunity for him to work out, and for all clubs to have the opportunity to evaluate his current readiness and level of interest in resuming his NFL career.”

Kaepernick tweeted about the workout Tuesday night:

Colin Kaepernick

@Kaepernick7
I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.

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As Kaepernick suggested in the tweet, the proposed workout on Saturday came as a surprise to the QB and his representatives.

Sources told ESPN that Kaepernick and his reps weren’t alerted until Tuesday morning. When notified, the quarterback’s reps asked for the workout to be on a Tuesday, which typically is when all NFL workouts take place, since head coaches and general managers can more easily attend. This Saturday, almost half of the NFL teams will be traveling to games, and most of the rest of the coaches and players will be heading to their team hotels to prepare for their games the next day.

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But the NFL said the workout had to be on a Saturday, sources told ESPN. When the league was asked if it could be on the following Saturday — by making it this Saturday, the 32 teams only have about three days to make a decision on whether to attend and who to send — the NFL said no and didn’t provide a reason why.

Sources told ESPN that the NFL league office also said that none of the 32 teams had been made aware of the workout prior to the memo being sent. When Kaepernick’s representatives asked if a team or teams had asked for the workout, they explained that the NFL league office said, “We can’t tell you that.”

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Because of the shroud of mystery around the workout and because none of the 32 NFL teams had been informed prior to Tuesday, Kaepernick’s representatives began to question the legitimacy of the workout and process and whether it was just a PR stunt by the league, sources told ESPN. The NFL league office was told that because GMs and head coaches make personnel decisions, especially as important as the quarterback position is, that they wanted to see a list of personnel executives and coaches who would be attending the workout.

As it stands now, the ball is in the NFL’s court to submit the list of personnel executives and coaches who will attend on Saturday.

One source from an NFC team told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that the team will review whether to attend the Kaepernick workout on Wednesday morning. “We have nothing to lose by attending Kaepernick’s workout, but I still think for us it would just be an information-gathering trip,” the source said. Another source told Anderson that there is interest in the Dallas Cowboys organization to send at least one representative to the workout.

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Kaepernick, who turned 32 on Nov. 3, opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March 2017, following the season in which he first began the protests.

Within the past two years, Kaepernick and former Niners teammate Eric Reid filed grievances against the league through the NFL Players Association, alleging collusion among team owners to deny jobs to both players. In February, it was announced that both players had reached a settlement with the NFL. Terms were not disclosed.

Reid, a safety, is in the midst of his second season with the Carolina Panthers.

Last month, Kaepernick’s representatives said he has been “working out five days a week, for three years, in preparation to play again” but that the opportunity hasn’t presented itself.

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HOUSTON — All-Star swingman Paul George is leaning toward making his LA Clippers debut on the road against the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, league sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Clippers have back-to-back road games against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday and the Pelicans on Thursday. George is listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game.

George went through his first full live contact practice of the season Saturday, and coach Doc Rivers said the Clippers pushed him in the practice to ramp up his conditioning.

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George, 29, underwent rotator cuff surgery to repair a partially torn tendon in his right shoulder in May and minor surgery to repair a partial tear of his left labrum in June. The Clippers traded for the perennial All-Star in July with the expectation he’d miss training camp and potentially the start of the season as he recovered from his injuries.

He averaged a career-best 28 points for the Oklahoma City Thunder last season and was a finalist for both NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. He led the league with 2.21 steals per contest.

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Meanwhile, an MRI performed on Clippers guard Landry Shamet’s left ankle showed he suffered a grade 2 high ankle sprain, league sources told ESPN. A timeline for his return is to be determined.

Shamet is listed as out for Wednesday’s game against the Rockets. Kawhi Leonard, who did not play in the first game of the back-to-back sets in each of the previous two weeks, is not on the injury report for that game.

SAN FRANCISCO — Gabe Kapler has been hired as manager of the San Francisco Giants, a month after being fired from the same job by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Kapler received a three-year contract to replace Bruce Bochy, who retired at the end of the season following 13 years and three championships with San Francisco.

The Giants made the announcement late Tuesday and planned a formal introduction Wednesday afternoon at the ballpark. Kapler is the second big hire in a matter of days by Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, who on Monday introduced new general manager Scott Harris, most recently an assistant GM for the Chicago Cubs.

The 44-year-old Kapler was fired Oct. 10 after going 161-163 over two seasons with the Phillies. With slugger Bryce Harper their blockbuster acquisition, the Phillies finished 81-81 this year for their first non-losing season since 2012.

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Zaidi and Kapler are now reunited from their time with the Los Angeles Dodgers, with whom Kapler served as director of player development and Zaidi the general manager.

Last week, the Giants narrowed their managerial search to three finalists: Kapler, Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro.

Harris said he was impressed with the reference checks done on Kapler around the game. The Giants also received feedback from current San Francisco players.

Still, there will be scrutiny.

The Washington Post reported in February that Kapler did not alert police of an alleged sexual assault by one of his Dodgers players in 2015. The newspaper said Kapler received an email from a 17-year-old girl saying she had been sexually assaulted during a night of partying with two Los Angeles minor leaguers. Kapler tried to arrange a dinner with the girl and the two players, and engaged in discussions with the girl’s grandmother, but he never alerted authorities. Kapler told the newspaper his actions were in line with club policy and advice offered by the Dodgers’ lawyers and human resources personnel. He also said he was not aware of the sexual assault allegation.

Zaidi said Tuesday he wishes he had handled the matter differently.

LOS ANGELES — Left winger Ilya Kovalchuk was a healthy scratch for the Los Angeles Kings in a 3-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night, and general manager Rob Blake refused to say how long the veteran will be out of the lineup.

Sportsnet Canada reported the team informed Kovalchuk that he was being benched for an extended period. The 36-year-old Russian had two goals and four assists in Los Angeles’ first four games, but he had only one goal and two assists in his next 13.

Tuesday’s win snapped a three-game losing streak for Los Angeles, but the Kings are still at the bottom of the Pacific Division with 13 points. Before Tuesday, Los Angeles had only three points in the past eight games (1-6-1).

Blake said he met with Kovalchuk before the game but that the decision to bench him was made by coach Todd McLellan.

“We’re in last place, right? We changed a lot of lineups,” Blake said. “We’re trying to find combinations that work, try to score some goals.”

Kovalchuk is in his second season with the Kings after leaving the New Jersey Devils, and the NHL overall, in 2013 to play in the KHL. He had 16 goals in 64 games with Los Angeles last season in his NHL return.

A three-time All-Star, Kovalchuk scored 37 goals in 2012, helping the Devils to the Stanley Cup Final.

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Group I of qualifying for next years European Championships has been one of the simplest when it has come to qualification. Russia and Belgium have run away with the group and the pair meet in Saint Petersburg on Saturday evening.

Russia (Odds of 11/4 for victory)
Contents [show]

The home side has enjoyed a very impressive qualifying campaign. They currently site second-place in the group, three points behind leaders Belgium. The group leaders are the only team in Russia’s eight games that have avoided defeat against Stanislav Cherchesov’s team.

The Red Devils defeated the home side in the opening game of the group. Since the defeat Russia have won all seven of their qualifiers. They have also conceded just once in the seven straight wins, so have been formidable in defence of late in qualifiers. They have not been too bad at the other end of the pitch either, scoring at least two goals in three of their last four qualifiers.

Russia really have been strong on home soil in qualifiers of late, winning their last six games at home, while not conceding a goal. Those clean sheets have been a big factor in six of their last eight qualifiers on home soil producing under 2.5 goals.

In giant striker Artem Dzyuba, the home side has the second top scorer in qualifying with nine goals. He has also produced five assists for his national team.

Belgium (Odds of 19/20 for victory)
Roberto Martinez’s team have done what they were expected to do by winning all eight of their games in Group I so far. The visitors have been superb at both ends of the field in qualifying, scoring at least two goals in all eight wins, while keeping clean sheets in their last seven qualifiers. Russia are the only team so far to score against Belgium in Euro 2020 qualifying.

The Red Devils good form has not just started in this qualifying campaign, as they have now won 14 of their last 15 qualifiers, suffering just one defeat, a 1-0 defeat in Wales in 2015. Since the defeat, Belgium have recorded 12 straight victories.

Unsurprisingly considering their qualifying record in general, Belgium’s recent away results have been good. The Red Devils have now recorded six wins on their travels in qualifying, keeping clean sheets in their last four wins, while also scoring at least two goals in the four victories.

Belgium’s star striker Romelu Lukaku has been in good scoring form for club side Inter. The former Manchester United star also scored six times in the current qualifying campaign. The Russian defence will be a tough barrier to overcome.

Conclusion
Russia have been the only team near Belgium in this group and undoubtedly deserve their place at Euro 2020. Their recent record in qualifying and on home soil means that game is unlikely to be an easy one for Belgium.

However, we are backing Belgium to record a victory at odds of 19/20. However, it could be a tight game. Despite Russia’s defensive record, we are also backing the over 2.5 scored at odds of 4/5, as both teams have very rarely come up blank when it comes to scoring games in qualifying.

Verdict: Back the away win at odds of 19/20 and/or the over 2.5 goals scored at odds of 4/5. (All odds are taken from Bet365).

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In his first game in international soccer since picking up a ban during the Copa America, Lionel Messi returned for Argentina to beat Brazil 1-0 in Riyadh. Here’s what we learned from the tie.

The Superclassico is for sale

Or Superclasico, depending on which language you’re writing or saying it in. As part of the Brasil Global Tour, international football’s greatest derby is for sale to the highest bidder and even came with its own logo for Saudi Arabia’s latest sportswashing spectacle.

Lucas Paquetá began brightest for Brazil

Offered a rare start for the Seleção, the AC Milan midfielder did initial justice to the number 10 jersey and was at the forefront of Brazil’s attacks. Unfortunately he could not maintain these standards and fizzled out as poorly as his teammates had been from the offset.

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Gabriel Jesus made one of recent history’s worst penalty misses

The foul that spawned it was soft in the first place, and perhaps justice was served by how poorly the Manchester City target man hit it several feet wide of Esteban Andrada’s left post. His confidence will have hardly been done many favours after also fluffing one against Peru in the Copa America, though that particular wrong was righted with the winning kick to dump Paraguay out at the quarter final stage.

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Yet the one that brought Messi down was just as soft, and so was his penalty

Messi has been round the block a few times and fooled the ref by slightly breaking free from Alex Sandro but pushing into the Juventus left back to go down. His penalty, straight into a grounded Alisson, was just as poor but the five time Ballon d’Or winner tapped home the rebound to put Argentina ahead.

Brazil tightened up after that

Not just at the back, but also heading forward by playing more of a team game and attempting to thread faster and more meaningful passes together. It was short-lived however, and only a temporary wake up after falling behind.

They also began to pick up yellow cards at will

First it was Casemiro and then Danilo. After 26 minutes, Brazil had two players one more incident away from an early bath and playing with 10 men.

The Alex Sandro v Messi battle turned into quite something

After the penalty, the pair continued to hack at each other and Lucas Paquetá was seen dropping deep from attacking midfield to help contain the Barcelona icon.

Messi had a good chance to make it two

A block from Eder Militão to Rodrigo De Paul’s cross dropped perfectly for the captain on the edge of the box, but further yellow and green bodies throwing themselves in the way prevented the inevitable around the half hour mark.

And then again

When breaking through on goal with Alisson to beat on the stroke of half time. Getting one over on the world’s best shotstopper is not exactly the easiest of tests, mind you.

Argentina went down the tunnel on top

Not just in relation to the scoreline, but also psychologically and technically. They had been the better team, with Lucas Ocampos and of course Messi a particular danger down the right flank. Yet with how poor Brazil were, they didn’t need to be at the height of their game to achieve this.

Tite saw fit to bring on Phil Coutinho for the second half

Messi’s former club colleague has dipped at Bayern Munich, but something had to be done and Paquetá was put out of his misery.

Nine minutes later, he was joined by Fabinho

It had been another Brazil performance to forget for Arthur, who was subbed for in-form Liverpool ace Fabinho.

Alisson denied Messi his fifth successful free kick of the season

The Liverpool shot stopper was fooled by Messi once at the Nou Camp in their two club side’s Champions League semi-final first leg, but he then learned his lesson to keep him at bay with a similar dead ball effort at Anfield. Once more, Big Ali was there in the top left corner waiting and kept the scoreline down.

Rodrygo made his Brazil senior debut

It was a crowning moment for the 18-year-old when coming on with Richarlison to make a double substitution for Jesus and Willian. His rise to the Real Madrid senior team has been astronomical and led him to this moment to represent the senior edition of his country’s national team at such a tender age – the youngest to have done so under Tite.

Brazil clearly miss Neymar

As much as Messi and company do at the Camp Nou. At least FC Barcelona still have the likes of Messi and Suarez, whereas Brazil look very pedestrian lately without their star player. They won the Copa America unable to count on his genius, but on evenings such as these, that gamechanging talent he possesses for his counry was sorely missed.

Alisson was Brazil’s best player

Not just having to deal with Messi, he also stopped a Nicolas Gonzalez header and tipped a Leandro Paredes shot over in the second half. Matters could have ended far worse for his team had he not saved their blushes.

Brazil’s bad streak continues

The record World Cup winners are now winless in five games for the first time in 28 years.

And because of that, Tite’s job is at risk

Already singing for his supper before the Copa America, landing Brazil their first major silverware in 12 years saved his bacon. Following that, though, they are, as mentioned, winless in five with poor displays abound. This was by far the worst, and the CBF may now be looking for someone else to take their pride and joy to next year’s Copa America and the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Argentina’s confidence will have been given a major lift

A team in transition, they were dumped out of the Copa America by eventual winners Brazil in the semis and tonight will have been a major lift. Granted this was only a friendly, yet it is still a sign of major progress for a young side headed by an aging icon that is arguably the greatest to ever lace up a pair of boots.

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CAIRO (AP) Egypt’s soccer federation says Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah will miss two Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Salah has an ankle injury and was ruled out of the Egyptian squad for games against Kenya on Thursday and Comoros on Monday.

The federation’s statement says Egypt coach Hossam el-Badry met with Salah, who stressed his commitment to play for the Pharaohs. That’s despite occasionally strained relations with the federation that go back to the World Cup in Russia last year.

Salah watched his teammates train near Alexandria on Tuesday with the federation tweeting a photo of Salah wearing a protective boot on his left foot.

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The 27-year-old Salah has struggled with a nagging ankle injury the last month. He started and scored in Premier League leader Liverpool’s 3-1 win over defending champion Manchester City on Sunday, coming off in the 87th minute.

Egypt is in Group G, which also includes Togo.

Custom Colombia Soccer Jerseys

Neither the soggy weather nor the absence of injured James Rodriguez dampened the party atmosphere at Hard Rock Stadium Friday night. A fun-loving crowd of 36,063 fans danced in parking lot puddles and feasted on savory South American food before watching Colombia edge past Peru 1-0 with an injury-time goal by Alfredo Morelos.

Just before the final whistle, Morelos headed the ball into a scrum in front of Peru’s goal and it slid just past the line with a little help from Morelos’ teammate Davinson Sanchez.

Both teams were eager for a victory after subpar performances in recent games. Colombia lost to Chile in penalties in the quarterfinals of Copa America and had been shut out four games in a row, including a humbling 3-0 loss to Algeria last month in Lille, France. The last time Colombia scored a goal was in a 2-2 tie with Brazil at Hard Rock Stadium on Sept. 6.

Peru, meanwhile, went 1-5 in its previous five matches. Its lone win was 1-0 over Brazil on Sept. 10.

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James, as Rodriguez is known, was the most famous name on the pre-game publicity posters, and was expected to start before tweaking his knee at the team’s final training session. He was having tests done Friday before flying back to Spain to rejoin Real Madrid.

“James was evaluated by the medical body and his first diagnosis is reserved,” according to a team statement. “For now, and as a precaution, James Rodriguez is ruled out for the match against Peru. A detailed imaging study will be carried out to confirm the definitive diagnosis.”

The 28-year-old arrived at Real Madrid with much hype after starring at the 2014 World Cup, but he has had numerous injuries and has had trouble breaking into the Real Madrid starting lineup. He also missed the Sept. 6 friendly against Brazil in Miami because of a calf injury.

Four months into the Real Madrid season, he has played just 422 minutes in nine games. He has started just five games. Word is he may be shopped around during the winter transfer window, with Premier League clubs Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea said to be interested.

Other top Colombian players who did play in the Peru game included Juan Cuadrado of Juventus, goalkeeper David Ospina of Napoli, Santiago Arias of Atletico Madrid, Davidson Sanchez of Tottenham and Yerry Mina of Everton. Ospina reportedly owns a condo in downtown Miami, and may be interested in some day joining Inter Miami.

The Peruvian roster included five Major League Soccer players, including midfielder Raul Ruidiaz, who led the Seattle Sounders to the MLS Cup championship last weekend with a 3-1 win over Toronto FC.

Colombia came out more aggressive Friday night and controlled the ball in the early minutes. Morelos, who plays for Rangers in the Scottish league, took a shot from close range in the 13th minute, but it was saved by Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

Peru got organized by midway through the first half and started to give the Colombians trouble. The most dangerous player on the field through 45 minutes was Peru captain Paolo Guerrero, a forward with Brazilian club Internacional. Guerrero squeezed through two Colombian defenders in the 26th minute, and was in great position to score, but Ospina dove for the ball and had his ear clipped by Guerrero’s cleat.

Guerrero had another chance in the 43rd minute, but was unable to finish. Cristian Benavente came off the bench for Peru after intermission and nearly scored in the 51st minute.

Other Peruvian players from MLS teams were defender Alex Callens (NYCFC), midfielder Andy Polo (Portland), midfielder Carlos Ascues (Orlando City) and 19-year-old defender Marcos Lopez (San Jose Earthquakes).

A Peruvian fan ran onto the field in the 82nd minute and made some nice moves to elude security guards, leading reporters in the press box to joke that maybe he should play for the Peruvian team. Colombia’s Stiven Mendoza nearly scored on a header in the 89th minute, but Gallese denied him.

Defender William Tesillo #6, of Colombia, drives against defender Luis Advicula #17 of Peru, during the first half of a friendly match between Colombia and Peru at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Friday, November 15, 2019. Defenders Santiago Arias and Johan Mujica of Colombia defend against Peru midfielder Edison Flores (20) during the first half of Friday night’s friendly. Defender William Tesillo #6, of Colombia, drives against defender Luis Advicula #17 of Peru, during the first half of a friendly match between Colombia and Peru at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Friday, November 15, 2019. Defenders Santiago Arias and Johan Mujica of Colombia defend against Peru midfielder Edison Flores (20) during the first half of Friday night’s friendly.
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Defenders Santiago Arias and Johan Mujica of Colombia defend against Peru midfielder Edison Flores (20) during the first half of Friday night’s friendly. PEDRO PORTAL PPORTAL@ELNUEVOHERALD.COM
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Miami Herald sportswriter Michelle Kaufman has covered 14 Olympics, six World Cups, Wimbledon, U.S. Open, NCAA Basketball Tournaments, NBA Playoffs, and has been the University of Miami basketball beat writer for 20 years. She was born in Frederick, Md., and grew up in Miami.
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Custom Croatia Soccer Jerseys

In July, the world watched in awe as Croatia battled their way through the 2018 FIFA World Cup and made it to country’s first ever championship. Though Croatia lost to France in the finals, the team’s accomplishments were widely celebrated, and much of the team’s success can be attributed to the nation’s “Golden Generation,” a group of powerhouse players like Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic, Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric.

As the Croatian team’s captain, Modric showed tremendous leadership, providing excellent passes and crucial motivation during the team’s several overtime appearances. Now, he’s been awarded the prestigious Ballon d’Or, a prize given to the world’s best soccer player by FIFA as determined by national team captains, national team coaches and journalists from participating countries. Cristiano Ronaldo came in second place for the title, according to the BBC.

“Modric’s tireless running, key goals and outstanding leadership qualities helped guide Vatreni to the Final against France, his nation’s finest performance at the global finals,” writes FIFA.

“In my career I’ve realized that hard work and persistence in difficult moments sets the foundation to show your talent,” Modric said, according to BBC. “One phrase I like to say: ‘The best things never come easy.’ For me to achieve all this, nothing was easy.”

The superstar may have developed these leadership qualities during his uniquely challenging childhood. When Modric was just six years old, his family became refugees. Yahoo Sports recounts that Serbian militants attacked Modric’s hometown of Modrici, on December 8th, 1991. His grandfather was shot, his home was burned to the ground and his family was forced to flee for their lives.

Premium: Luka Modric of Croatia
Luka Modric of Croatia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Semi Final match between England and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 11, 2018 in Moscow, Russia.Jean Catuffe/Getty Images
“When the war started we became refugees, and it was a really tough time,” The Sun reports Modric saying in 2008. “I was six years old. These were really hard times. I remember them vividly, but it’s not something you want to remember or think about.”

After being uprooted from their home, Modric and his family moved to the city of Zadar, Croatia, and struggled to make ends meet. “We lived in a hotel for many years as we struggled financially, but I always loved football,” he recalls. “I remember my first shin pads had the Brazilian Ronaldo on them, and I loved them.”

According to Canadian media organization The Loop, Modric grew up practicing soccer in empty parking lots and remembers hearing grenades in the background. But despite these difficulties, the captain says he is stronger today because of the challenges he has faced.

“The war made me stronger, it was a very hard time for me and my family,” reports The Sun. “I don’t want to drag that with me forever, but I don’t want to forget about it either.”

This is an updated version of a post that originally published on July 14th, 2018.

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Nov. 10, 2019) – The U.S. Women’s National Team closed out an historic 2019 that saw the team win its fourth World Cup title with a 6-0 win vs. Costa Rica in front of 12,914 fans at TIAA Bank Field.

Lynn Williams had a pair of second half strikes while Carli Lloyd, Morgan Brian and Christen Press also scored. The final tally came via Costa Rica own goal.

The USA heads into 2020 on a winning note after compiling a 20-1-3 record this year, marking 12th time in 35 years of WNT play the team has won 20 or more games in a calendar year.

Like in many matches this year, the USA once again wasted no time taking control of the match. For the second straight game captain Carli Lloyd scored an early goal, this time in just the fourth minute. With 16 goals in 2019, Lloyd finishes the year as the WNT’s top scorer, marking the third time she has led the team in scoring during a calendar year. She tied as the leading scorer once.

Brian, who was playing in the city where she spent almost her entire youth soccer career, then doubled the USA’s advantage in the 10th minute and the USA cruised into the break sporting the 2-0 lead.

U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski, who handed debuts to defenders Midge Purce and Alana Cook when he included them in the USA’s starting XI, made a trio of subs at half time, bringing on goalkeeper Adriana Franch for Ashlyn Harris, Andi Sullivan for veteran defender Becky Sauerbrunn and Williams for Lloyd.

Within five minutes of the restart, Williams had made an impact by scoring the USA’s third and Press added a tally for a second consecutive game with a solo effort in 56th minute to put the U.S. up 4-0. Williams would add her second and the WNT’s fifth in the 68th and nearly had a hat trick but her attempt was cleared off the line by Costa Rica goalkeeper Noelia Bermúdez.

Costa Rica was not without its opportunities throughout the game, twice hitting the cross bar and at times possessing the ball well, but ultimately Harris and Franch record just one save a piece while in net for the U.S.

The USA did not let up as the curtain began to come down on the match and their triumphant year, continuing to attack until the final whistle. The pressure paid off in the 86th minute when a Purce cross was deflected for an own goal by Costa Rica defender Stephanie Blanco to provide the final 6-0 margin of victory.

Next on the Schedule: The WNT’s first games of the team’s 2020 schedule will be at the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, which will begin on Jan. 28 with group play in Houston and Edinburgh, Texas before culminating with the semifinals and title game in Carson, California. The USA will hold its traditional training camp in January to begin the year and prepare for Olympic qualifying, which will send two teams to the 2020 Olympic Women’s Football tournament in Japan next summer.
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GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
USA – Carli Lloyd (Rose Lavelle), 4th minute: Rose Lavelle evaded a defender near midfield and from the center circle sent a sumptuous pass scything through the heart of the retreating Costa Rica defense that deflected into the stride of Lloyd who was making a run around the left flank. The USA’s leading scorer lifted a one-time shot over the charging goalkeeper into the upper right corner to give Lavelle’s amazing pass a worthy finish. USA 1, CRC 0 [WATCH]

USA – Morgan Brian (Rose Lavelle), 10th minute: Julie Ertz won the ball in midfield and pushed it forward to Lavelle, who danced past a few defenders before slipping the ball into the path of the overlapping Brian. She took one touch into the left side of the box before picking out the lower right corner with a textbook left-footed finish. USA 2, CRC 0 [WATCH]

USA – Lynn Williams (Tobin Heath), 50th minute: The USA countered Costa Rica with Heath collecting the ball in midfield and sending a perfectly weighted ball behind the visitors’ defense for Williams to run down. With a burst of pace, she zipped by one defender to reach the ball before cutting into the middle of the box, drawing out the goalkeeper and then snapping a low drive into the lower left corner. USA 3, CRC 0 [WATCH]

USA – Christen Press, 56th minute: Margaret Purce beat two defenders in the right side of the box and got to the end line to hit a low cross into the heart of the box that was cleared directly to a lurking Press. Having missed an a closer-range opportunity seconds earlier, Press left no doubt by faking to her right before cutting to her left past a defender and drilling a left-footed shot into left corner of the goal. USA 4, CRC 0 [WATCH]

USA – Lynn Williams (Jessica McDonald), 68th minute: Emily Sonnett lofted a cross from the left touchline toward the back right post when McDonald outjumped her defender to nod the ball down to the feel of Williams in the middle of the box. The speedy forward crushed a first-time shot into the underside of the crossbar and it bounced down into the right side of the goal. USA 5, CRC 0 [WATCH]

USA – Own Goal (Stephanie Blanco), 86th minute: As she had throughout the night from her right back position, Margaret Purce made an overlapping run, received the ball and beat a defender in the Costa Rica box. After driving to the end line, her cross attempt was deflected by Costa Rice defender Stephanie Blanco and arched high through the goal box before falling perfectly into the left side netting. USA 6, CRC 0 FINAL

ADDITIONAL NOTES:
With the win, the USWNT is now 15-0-0 all-time vs. Costa Rica, which the USA will play in the final match of Olympic qualifying group play on Feb. 3, 2020 in Houston.

With her goal, Carli Lloyd now has 121 in her WNT career and finishes 2019 with 16 total, the most on the team. It is third most goals she has scored in a calendar year and the third time she has let the team outright scoring in a calendar year. She had 18 goals in 2015 and 17 in 2016 to lead the team.

Morgan Brian scored her second goal of 2019 and eighth of her career.

Lynn Williams scored her fifth and sixth career goals. They were her first tallies for the USA since she scored against Korea Republic on Oct. 22, 2017. Tonight marked her first multi-goal game for the USA.

Christen Press’ goal is her fifth of 2019 and 51st of her WNT career.

Today, two players will earn their first cap as starters: Margaret Purce and Alana Cook.

The last time this happened was Oct. 29, 2016 against Switzerland in Utah when five players earned their first caps: Casey Short, Andi Sullivan, Ashley Hatch and Abby Dahlkemper. Two of them started: Short and Sullivan.

The last time before that was 1/16/08 against Canada in China when Ali Krieger & Becky Sauerbrunn earned their first caps.

In making her debut in the starting XI for the USA, Purce became the first player to have played collegiately at Harvard to earn a WNT cap.

Custom England Soccer Jerseys

LONDON, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Harry Kane scored a first half hat-trick as England booked their place in the finals of Euro 2020 with an easy 7-0 victory over Montenegro at Wembley Stadium on Thursday.

England lead Group A on 18 points with just one game remaining and can now look forward to next year’s tournament in which the semi-finals and final will be played at Wembley.

Montenegro, level on three points with Bulgaria at the bottom of the table, offered no examination of the credentials of Gareth Southgate’s side for the tournament, which begins in June, but England’s total of 33 goals from their seven games so far certainly shows the potency of their attack.

Southgate again put his faith in youth, with the starting line-ups average age of 23 years and 255 days, the youngest Three Lions side since 1959.

As expected, Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling was left out by Southgate as punishment for his role in an altercation with Liverpool’s Joe Gomez at England’s training camp on Monday.

But England have no shortage of options in attack with Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford lining up alongside Kane in a three-pronged attack.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose progress with the national team has been hampered by injury, put England ahead in the 11th minute, drilling into the bottom corner after left-back Ben Chilwell found him with a clever chip over the defence.

Leicester City full-back Chilwell then created the second, seven minutes later, with a free-kick that picked out Kane, who smartly glanced home a header.

The same pair combined for the third, in the 24th minute, with Kane losing his marker to simply head in a corner from Chilwell.

Manchester United striker Rashford drove home the fourth, after Montenegro goalkeeper Milan Mijatovic parried out a Harry Maguire header.

Kane wrapped up his hat-trick in the 37th minute, with a sharp turn and shot into the bottom corner as England went into the break 5-0 up.

Mason Mount had a goal disallowed for offside after the break but an own goal from Aleksandar Sofranac made it six after a scramble in the box.

Substitute Tammy Abraham grabbed his first England goal, six minutes from the end, sliding in at the near post to convert a low cross from Sancho.

(Reporting by Simon Evans; editing by Ken Ferris and Pritha Sarkar)

((simon.evans@thomsonreuters.com;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Custom Brazil Soccer Jerseys

Between them, Brazil and Argentina share seven World Cups and have produced arguably the three greatest players in soccer history. When they meet, it is one of the most significant matches in the world. Or at least it should be.

But 48 hours before the two teams met on Friday afternoon – a dour 1-0 win for Argentina decided by Lionel Messi’s close-range goal – a quick perusal of the Brazil’s most popular sports websites would have given you little indication that there was even a game happening.

For a fixture that should mean the world, Brazil was utterly disinterested.

There was one article about Tite’s potential team selection on Globo Esporte. Elsewhere, the meeting was buried beneath a plethora of reports on the upcoming Copa Libertadores final, Lewis Hamilton and Rafael Nadal.

In a supposedly soccer-mad country, the lack of attention was striking. But the populations discontent with the Seleção has been simmering for some time.

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Brazil’s coach Tite speaks to his players during the friendly football match between Brazil and … [+]AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
The most obvious indicator of the reasons for this disenchantment is where the game was played. Instead of in Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires, the two teams took to the field at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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Playing friendlies in far-flung lands has become common for Brazil. In the last international break, they traveled to Singapore to play Senegal and Nigeria. In September, the national team was found playing games in the USA.

The Seleção play their friendlies outside Brazil because the CBF, Brazil’s soccer federation, outsourced the organization of the matches to a British firm called Pitch International.

Brazil v Peru – 2019 International Champions Cup
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 10: Luis Abram #2 of Peru defends against Roberto Firmino #20 … [+]GETTY IMAGES
Pitch holds the rights to organize everything, from the location of the match and the opposition to the team hotels and training facilities. They then sell the opportunity to host the world’s most marketable soccer team to the highest bidder.

This month, that means travelling to Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, where Brazil plays South Korea on Tuesday.

The deal was put in place in 2012, towards the end of the reign of former CBF president Ricardo Teixera, who resigned after a series of corruption and money laundering allegations, and runs until 2022.

The effect for fans is that it distances them, both physically and emotionally, from the team. They cannot see the team playing live in the stadium and with games taking place on the other side of the planet, they are often difficult to watch on television. The match against Senegal in Singapore, for example, took place at 9 a.m. Brasília time on a working day.

Brazil v Senegal – International Friendly
SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE – OCTOBER 10: Sadio Mane of Senegal holds off Neymar of Brazil during the … [+]GETTY IMAGES
After that game, Brazil manager Tite made his displeasure with Pitch clear. “What upset me most was the lack of respect Pitch showed to Brazil and Senegal,” he complained, “not letting us practice on the field [before the game]. High-level players need more respect.”

After Brazil’s game against Peru in September, played at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, he made a similar point, “Pitch needs to take care of this. There must be a better field to play on. We can’t put on a great show on turf like this.”

Despite the issues, there is no getting out of the contract with the British firm. No severance clause was inserted into the initial deal and refusing to comply with Pitch’s demands would incur a legal battle that could cost the CBF hundreds of millions of dollars.

In addition to the games being played in distant venues and at inconvenient times, the feeling of disinterest is heightened by the fact that most of the squad do not play for Brazilian clubs.

Paris Saint-Germain v Olympique Lyon – Ligue 1
Neymar Jr,Killian Mbappe,Marquinhos,Thiago Silva,Angel Di Maria during the french Ligue 1 match … [+]NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
The money, and therefore the highest level of soccer, is to be found in Western Europe, so the continent draws the finest players from South America’s largest country. As Brazilian fans do not see them playing on a regular basis, they feel little emotional attachment.

And even when players from Brazilian clubs do get called up, it is often seen as an inconvenience more than a reward or privilege.

The Brazilian soccer calendar is so full of games that domestic competition continues during the Fifa international dates, meaning that players who are playing for Brazil are doing so at the expense of the institutions that pay their wages.

Brazil v Peru: Final – Copa America Brazil 2019
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – JULY 07: Brasil players pose with Copa America during the Copa America … [+]GETTY IMAGES
Finally, there has been a severe drop off in Brazil’s performance in recent months. Since lifting the Copa América trophy in Rio de Janeiro in July, Tite’s team has played five games and has not won once. It the first time the Seleção has been on such a long winless streak since 1991.

For the most part, the displays have been as poor as the results suggest, which further discourages people from switching on their television sets.

On Wednesday, popular Globo Esporte journalist Victor Canedo carried out a poll on his Twitter account, asking his followers if they even knew that Brazil would play on Friday. With a total of 1,572 votes, the most popular response was, “No, and I don’t care”, closely followed by, “Yes, but I’m not bothered [about watching]”.

Custom Chile Soccer Jerseys

I cover stories from across the world of sport, with a focus on soccer in England and South America.

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Players of Chile pose for pictures before their Copa America football tournament third-place match … [+]AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
Chile’s national soccer team has announced that it is to pull out of its upcoming game with Peru. The match was scheduled to be played in the Peruvian capital, Lima, on Tuesday, but the Chilean players have decided that it is not appropriate for them to take to the field against the backdrop of widespread political protests that have engulfed their homeland in recent weeks.

In a short statement released on Wednesday afternoon, the ANFP, Chile’s soccer federation, said, “The players called up for the Chilean national team have decided not to play in the friendly against Peru, scheduled for next Tuesday, Nov. 19, in Lima. The decision was taken by the squad after a meeting held this morning.”

The reason for the players’ choice was not made clear by the ANFP immediately, but speculation was already rife that the players would refuse to play the match in solidarity with protesters after comments from midfielder Charles Aranguiz, who reportedly led the discussions inside the camp.

“My opinion is that we should not play the game out of respect for what is happening in the country,” Aranguiz had said upon his arrival in Chile earlier in the week, “We should march together because we are from the same place, we are of the people.”

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Gary Medel, who had already expressed strong opinions on the matter on social media, confirmed their motives in an Instagram post on Wednesday.

“We are soccer players, but above all we are people and citizens”, wrote the Bologna midfielder, “We represent an entire country and today Chile has other priorities… The most important match is the one for equality, for changing a lot of things so that Chileans can live in a fairer country.”

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SANTIAGO, CHILE – NOVEMBER 12: Demonstrators clash with riot police during a national strike and … [+]GETTY IMAGES
The protests were sparked in October by a rise in metro ticket prices but have since transformed into the largest and most widespread political demonstrations since democracy returned to the country in 1990. Concerns include rising living costs and the privatization drive of right-wing president Sebastián Piñera.

Despite being a relatively stable economy, social disparity remains profound in Chile. It has the worst level of economic inequality of any of the 36 members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Violent clashes have left 23 people dead and more than 2,500 citizens hospitalized since the start of the unrest and security forces have been accused of human rights abuses, including torture and rape.

As well as the national team, Chilean league and cup matches have been affected, with all competitions suspended since October 18.

Plans were in place for soccer to return this weekend, but on Wednesday the ANFP announced that the suspension would continue in the interests of “the security of all those who participate in a spectacle of this sort.”

“We will make the maximum effort,” the statement continued, “together with all the actors who participate in professional football, for the activity to return on the weekend of November 23 and 24.”

The country’s U-23 side has also withdrawn from a tournament it was scheduled to play in Tenerife this weekend.

Even before the national team announced that it would pull out of the Peru fixture, support for the protests had already been clear from those in the world of Chilean soccer.

In an interview with the Argentine television channel TyC Sports in October, Marcelo Salas, La Roja’s third all-time top goal-scorer, said that, “The complaints of the Chilean people are just. There have been injustices for many years”.

Custom France Soccer Jerseys

We are just less than a year away from the 2020 UEFA European Championship, and teams are already starting to qualify for next summer’s tournament. Entering the international break in November, six teams had booked their tickets to the tournament, and four more teams joined them as of Friday.

On Friday, it was Finland and Sweden’s chance. Finland clinched with a 3-0 win over Liechtenstein, while Sweden did the same with a 2-0 win at Romania.

Earlier in the week, Turkey drew Iceland 0-0 in Istanbul to book its spot, and that result also clinched France’s ticket to next year’s tournament, with the reigning World Cup champs looked at as one of the heavy favorites. Iceland is now six points behind in third and cannot catch France in the standings. France beat Moldova 2-1 on Thursday. Turkey has now qualified for three consecutive Euros, with its defense being key this time around. The team has allowed just one goal in its last five Euro qualifiers.

Over in Group A, England’s 7-0 win over Montenegro was enough to qualify, while Czech Republic defeated Kosovo 2-1 to lock up second place in the group. Harry Kane scored a hat trick for the Three Lions.

Keep in mind, no qualification spots are awarded to host nations, and that’s because for the very first time the tournament will be played all across Europe. That means each team has to earn the right to participate through Euro qualifying. Some teams will also have a chance through a playoff round that’s determined by their play in the UEFA Nations League.

Here’s a look at the teams who have qualified: