Category Archives: England

Italy’s Luigi Di Biagio puts on a brave face but his time may be limited | Paolo Bandini

Ancelotti, Mancini and Ranieri are being sounded out for permanent role, with the major requirement to bring through a new generation of talent after World Cup failure

Italy’s footballers will not play in Russia this summer but for the man in charge of their national team, visits to the Etihad Stadium and Wembley represent the next best thing. Speaking at the start of this international break, Luigi Di Biagio likened the Azzurri’s friendlies against Argentina and England to a “mini-World Cup”.

He was clutching at straws, yet few would fault him for doing so. As the caretaker manager of a football team still recovering from their first failure to qualify for the real tournament in six decades, Di Biagio needed, at a minimum, to bring a little fresh optimism to the role.

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Source: gad

How absurd to boycott World Cup when Russia is so bound up in our economy | Barney Ronay

Politicians were quick to jump on the World Cup and turn it into a political football in the week when 23 Russian diplomats were expelled from the UK

As Anglo-Russian relations grow ever more fraught it seems a good moment to consider just how upset Russia will really be, how deep its pit of anguish, if Prince William and other members of the British royal family refuse to attend the World Cup.

There are some clues here. By an odd coincidence, the day after the World Cup final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium is also the exact 100-year anniversary of the Russian government-sanctioned murder of the country’s own royal family.

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Source: gad

I’ve followed England around the world, but Russia is too risky | Philip Cornwall

Fan violence, blatant racism, politicians backing thugs – I had doubts about the World Cup long before Salisbury

As Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, struggle for life, it should not need saying that any collateral damage suffered by England football fans this summer at the World Cup as a result of the political fallout is a relatively minor concern. But we should also remember there are supporters of the national team who in France during Euro 2016 were subject to horrific assaults, including life-changing brain injuries in two cases, at the hands of Russian hooligans who had the barely concealed encouragement – and quite possibly the military training – of the Putin regime.

There were already good reasons not to make the trip to Russia, even for people like me who have not missed a major finals in Europe since 1990. But thousands of England fans have spent non-refundable four-figure sums on getting to this summer’s World Cup and the chances that they will not, in fact, be following their team in Kaliningrad, Volgograd and beyond have certainly increased.

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Source: gad

Premier League winter break moves a step closer as FA Cup switch agreed

• Premier League clubs would rest for first two weeks in February
• FA Cup fifth round would be midweek in plans for 2019-20 season

A winter break in the English top flight is another step closer to being agreed after the Football Association, Premier League and Football League reached a provisional agreement to play a round of the FA Cup in midweek.

The deal would mean players take off the first two weeks of February from the 2019-20 season in the hope it will improve England’s chances in Euro 2020, should they qualify, and major tournaments in the future.

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Source: gad

Uefa Nations League: home nations get tough test in new competition

• England draw Spain and Croatia, Wales v Rep Ireland and Denmark
• Northern Ireland play Austria and Bosnia-Herzegovina
• Scotland drawn against Israel and Albania

England have been drawn to play Spain and Croatia in Group Four of League A in the Uefa Nations League.

Wales, under new manager Ryan Giggs, will face Republic of Ireland and Denmark in League B Group Four.

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Source: gad