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Italy – The End of The World As We Know It

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Italy – The End of The World As We Know It

Monday night in Milan sounds like a perfect setting for a glorious evening doesn’t it? That is until a bus load of Swedes arrive and spoil your party in the grandest way possible.

The Blue-Yellow carrying a one goal lead from the first leg stunned the San Siro and held out for a goalless draw to qualify for their first World Cup since 2006. Leaving the hosts to ponder a summer without football in a World Cup year since 1958!

It wasn’t alright on the night and a nation appears to be in mourning. As a league, Serie A has taken a noticeable dip in the past couple of seasons. However, a resurgence does appear on the horizon, just take Roma’s recent demolition of Chelsea as an example. They stopped producing players and relied on the old guard and various out-of-form players to see them through. Upon reflection it always looked certain to fail in the end. Spain were virtual certainties to win the qualifying group leaving second place and a difficult play off as the only option.

The repercussions of Monday will see a number of the Azzuri announce their retirements earlier than planned. Andrea Barzagli, Daniele De Rossi have confirmed along with the legend that is Buffon and with Giorgio Chellini and others expected to follow suit. It could mean the disappearance of over 450 caps in one fell swoop.

There is little doubt that we are not witnessing one of the best teams to come out of the country over the past decades, but a World Cup without Italy is like a pizza without cheese.

So it’s very much a case of start again and rebuild for the 4 time winners.

First up is a new manager after the departure of Gian Ventura. With two glaringly obvious candidates, this should be a straight forward choice between the unemployed Carlo Ancellotti and the unhappy Antonio Conte.

The next stage is to adopt a tradition…Build from the back. Any nation losing a goalkeeper of Buffon’s calibre would be searching high and low for someone to replace him between the sticks, no such problem here with the stunning emergence of AC Milan’s 18 year old Donnarumma. Here we have a man to rival the retired skipper’s caps tally and provide safe hands for decades to come. With the Juventus backline unavailable for selection, the new gaffer will need to find the cover to make them equally strong in defence.

Finally, they need to get the fans and the media back on side. The reaction since the Sweden defeat has been horrific towards the national team and the IFF. Qualifying for Euro 2020 is an absolute must in a couple of months’ time.

Love them or hate them, looking back these guys provide us with some of the World Cup’s most memorable moments, both good and bad.

The ecstasy of Rossi’s hat-trick and Tardellis screams to the despair of Baggio’s penalty and South Korean woe.

In football circles Italy are one of the finest representatives of the game, we’re convinced it won’t be long until they are back on the big stage and competing for honours once again. The Azzuri not qualifying for a World Cup. Italy – The End of The World As We Know It

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Alexis Sanchez – Manchester Money

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It feels like a prolonged January already and we still have 2 weeks of the transfer window but for the sake of us all let’s just get this Alexis Sanchez transfer put to bed!
There is no doubt that the Chilean will be departing the Emirates – it’s just a simple case of when.
It would also be a case of where, but Manchester appears to be the destination and to whoever offers the most money, modern day footballing greed at its very finest.
Red or Blue? Old Trafford or the Etihad? Pep or Jose? The usual questions asked on a derby day in the North West not necessarily when it comes to an incoming player.
A few days ago it was done and dusted, Sanchez was to be reunited with his former Barca gaffer Guardiola and further enhance his Manchester City juggernaut. Then from nowhere there was Mourinho interest and you could hear an agent rejoicing.
Generally when it comes to Man City, money is no short supply. Pep and those before him have been readily backed in the transfer market but this time they appear to be standing strong and playing hardball with a player they are quite rightly interested in.
An offer was reportedly made of £250K per week with a decision to be made in terms of a January or a summer transfer. An immediate transfer would command a reasonable fee and a later one would command a phenomenal signing on one.
Sources are now suggesting that City have dropped their interest and you can only assume that its due to the perceived player / agent greed and the silly mistake to attempt to play them off against their nearest rivals.
He made it clear that it was trophies he craved, given the current climate surely Man City are streets ahead of the rest.
The path is clear and its Man Utd or bust for the frontman. Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be the makeweight in the mega money deal, a basic £350K per week has been agreed and that is before image rights and signing on fees. Is a 29 year old really worth that much of an outlay?
For us, Sanchez has simply opted for the highest bidder. Some may even agree with Martin Keown’s sentiments calling him “the biggest mercenary in football”
One this is for certain though, Arsenal and their fans must be sick of being a feeder club to their richer rivals. Their No 7 will follow RVP, Adebayor, Clichy, Sagna, Nasri and Toure in moving to Manchester.
All we can hope is that we soon see that yellow breaking news bar confirming this deal sooner rather than later, as all the talk is has become rather boring.

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Liverpool fans calling for Flanagan to be sacked after assault sentencing

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Liverpool defender Jon Flanagan has been handed a 40 hour community service sentence to 40 and a 12-month community order after being charged with the assault of his girlfriend Rachael Wall.

The 25-year-old defender pleaded guilty earlier this month at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court  to the charge of common assault.

The court heard that Flanagan repeatedly kicked his partner during the drunken brawl with his partner in Liverpool city centre at around 3.20am on Friday December 22.

The District Judge Wendy Lloyd sentenced him earlier today to the 12-month community order, which includes 15 rehabilitation activity days, 40 hours of unpaid work, £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

She said: “You are, of course, a young man of previous good character and therefore it’s undoubtedly sad that you have brought yourself here by your behaviour.”

The prosecuting lawyer , said a witness had seen the incident from his flat.

” man saw Flanagan place one hand on his partner’s neck and one on her throat before he slammed her against the wall”.

He then shouted from his balcony to Flanagan that he was “out of order” to which the Liverpool defender replied: “Shut the f*** up d***head, I’ll come and knock you out.”

Flanagan’s defence lawyer stated that the incident was short but unpleasant.

claiming that Flanagan was not proud of what had happened and had not enjoyed the “negative press intrusion” that followed.

“He deeply regrets his behaviour and there is genuine remorse.”

both parties were under the influence of alcohol at the time and there was no suggestion there had been any previous violence in the relationship.

He said: “They are back together and working very hard at the relationship and supporting one another.”

The court was shown CCTV of the incident as part of the prosecution which showed Flanagan hitting Ms Wall before pushing her against a wall twice and then kicking her.

Liverpool statment

Liverpool released a statement to condemn Flanagan’s actions and state the would wait for sentencing before taking any internal actions within the club. After sentencing many Liverpool fans took to social media showing outrage at their defenders actions and calling for him to be sacked by the club.

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VIDEO | Ryan Giggs dire final team talk as Man Utd interim adds to Wales fans doubts.

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A video that has emerged of Ryan Giggs’s last ever team talk as interim manager of Man Utd is going to do little to settle the Welsh supporters’ doubts about his abilities… Mainly because it’s bloody dire!

(Image credit – Rebecca Naden)

Gigg’s dulcet tones do little to inspire, in fact it’s a wonder no one drifted off. The video that was taken for an ITV documentary shows the ex-Utd midfielder giving what would be his final team talk as interim manager before a game that would be Utd’s last chance to secure a place in the Europa League or miss out on European football for the first time in 25 years.

With all that at stake you would expect the manager’s team talk to be a fiery, passionate affair…

Not Giggs. His pre-match team talk rivalled his punditry…boring as dry toast.

The news of Giggs’s appointment as the new national manager of Wales brought mixed reaction from fans, and who can blame them? Giggs 44 has little to no experience in management and, despite playing 64 times for Wales between 1991 and 2007, he was often criticised by both pundits and supporters for regularly pulling out of squads.

The video of Giggs’s team-talk is going to do little to settle the Welsh fans’ doubts.

The United legend has spent much of the past two years complaining about the lack of  managerial opportunities and, although he has been linked with numerous vacancies, including Bolton and Bury, Giggs has seemed reluctant at the idea of dropping down a division to manage.

It almost comes across as a touch of ‘Rich Kid Syndrome’ from Giggs. Spending his whole professional career living the high life amongst Europe’s elite but not wanting to get his hands dirty when it comes to managerial experience.

 

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