This past Saturday, Spain hosted Italy in a World Cup qualifier at the Bernabeu in Madrid. Both sides have won the competition in the post-millennial age and can justifiably feel bitter about being drawn in the same group. Italy, who have a well-established tradition of being utterly awful in the qualifying rounds of international tournaments yet miraculously not losing, are now at risk of finishing second in the group.
August was not a kind month to two of the world’s biggest clubs, Barcelona and Arsenal. There were shock departures, shock non-departures, cringe-worthy losses and unimpressive victories.
Barcelona and Arsenal went their separate ways after the 2005 Champions League final: Barcelona won and has been winning ever since, while Arsenal hasn’t sniffed a league title (let alone a Champions League semifinal) since. But the clubs are still two of the richest, most popular teams, each ranking in the top six in attendance for European clubs.
Warning: Game of Thrones spoilers below (and Jean Michael Seri transfer spoilers if you're somehow DVRing that)
Transfer season is nearing its grand finale and storylines are all over the place and no one knows what will happen but everyone is excited. Similarly, America's favorite fantasy dragon incest jamboree has reached the conclusion of its penultimate season, and storylines are just as all over the place as the summer transfer window. In fact, I have noticed some striking similarities between the two.
Confirmation bias, the human tendency to solely interact with information that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs while simultaneously firebombing any real sort of learning or personal growth, has long been a massive hinderance to humanity.
When do we begin to take Milan seriously?
Before we continue with this week’s column, it’s essential that we pause for a moment. On Sunday evening, Andrea Belotti did something. Something fantastic. The goal he scored — a first-time overhead volley — deserves a moment of reverence. That’s why the man has a $120 million release clause in his contract. Let’s take a pause here and appreciate the goal.
Simon Mignolet is a solid guy. The 29-year-old Belgian shot-stopper isn’t renowned for his incredible reflexes, an impeccable command of his area or world-class distribution, but he’s pretty dependable. “He is solid, he is like a machine. You can always rely on him,” says Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
After finishing 12th in the 2014-15 La Liga season, it’s been onwards and upwards for Real Sociedad ever since. In 2015-16 they finished 9th, and last season they were the surprise European qualifiers after finishing 6th, only eight points back from Sevilla in Spain’s final Champions League spot.
Sociedad have been placed with Zenit, Rosenborg and Vardar in Europa League group play, and the club has every right to believe they can make a serious impact in the competition and even improve on their La Liga finish.
With Liverpool’s 6-3 aggregate pasting of Hoffenheim on Wednesday, the English Premier League put five clubs in the Champions League for the first time. That’s five chances for English fans to cry over their clubs failing to come through in the continental competition.
Chelsea won the Champions League in 2012 but since then English clubs have barely sniffed the final. In 2015, no EPL team even made it past the Round of 16. The days of 2008 — when the EPL had three of the four semifinalists, including both teams in the final — are barely visible in the rearview mirror.
Wayne Rooney announced his retirement from international football on Wednesday, bringing a close to a tumultuous 14-year England career. While Rooney goes down in the record books as England’s all time leading goalscorer and most capped outfield player, his legacy is still a polarizing one given the profligacy of the Three Lions during that period.
Hey, so this is going well, don’t you think? To be honest, it's really going too well. Our Pulisic-O-Meter wasn't designed well enough to withstand this breakneck pace of USMNT wins in the Bundesliga.
After scoring against Bayern Munich in the German Super Cup to jump-start his 2017-18 season, Christian Pulisic opened his league campaign with a goal and an assist against Wolfsburg on Saturday.