Manuel Neuer: As so often against deep-lying sides, Germany’s No1 had little to do, only making three saves all game. One was eye-catching to deny Kovalev, one was routine and the other prevented Stasevich from reducing the arrears from the penalty spot. 8 Lukas Klostermann: The 23-year-old had a lot of joy down the right wing, but despite regularly getting into dangerous areas, struggled to produce the all-important final pass. 5 Matthias Ginter: The football gods shone on Ginter in Mönchengladbach. On home turf, the centre-back let little get past him and scored a goal that would have made Lionel Messi blush. His dummy set up Germany’s second, while his square ball teed up Kroos for the third. 9 Robin Koch: Koch had acquitted himself well at the heart of Germany’s backline before getting wrong side of Nekhaychik and giving away a penalty with a clumsy challenge. Neuer spared his blushes, but not his rating. 4 Nico Schulz: The most impactful thing the … [Read more...] about Germany vs. Belarus: Player ratings
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Just when Plymouth fans were thinking their day could not got any better after their side secured a goalless draw and a replay against Liverpool at Anfield, they were given free beer on their return to Home Park. Argyle turned in arguably the performance of the round in front of 8,500 of their fans on Merseyside who had each made the 580-mile round trip. Former Reds goalkeeper David James was on hand to supply the free Budweiser, but the ex-England shot-stopper almost didn't make it. The helicopter in which he was due to travel from London to Plymouth was grounded due to adverse weather conditions, and his back-up plan of a flight to Exeter was delayed. James missed his ETA of 8.30pm, but a taxi up the A38 from Exeter to Plymouth saw him arrive at Home Park around an hour later to greet supporters and provide their refreshments. He said: "The Emirates FA Cup Third Round is one of the most exciting moments of the competition – as anything can happen! "And it did this weekend, with … [Read more...] about Plymouth fans given free beer by David James on jubilant return to Home Park after Liverpool draw
Again, it should have been the week that the Bundesliga title was finally decided and once more, it wasn’t. Borussia Dortmund’s dream has been living on borrowed time since they were soundly thrashed in Der Klassiker more than a month ago and on Saturday, the buzzer sounded to indicate that time was up. Briefly. The 50th minute of Bayern Munich’s trip to RB Leipzig should have been the minute that won it and it briefly almost was, before the VAR team whispered in referee Manuel Gräfe’s ear and put an untimely end to the party. “It was a Supertor,” defender Niklas Süle later lamented and it had been, thrashed in on the volley by Leon Goretzka, who sprinted away towards the corner flag and into the perfect knee slide to celebrate. “I felt like an idiot afterwards,” he admitted. The Goretzka goal was ruled out for an offside against Robert Lewandowski, described by coach Niko Kovač as “close but correct” and by … [Read more...] about RB Leipzig keep the title wolf from the door in Bundesliga for one more week
A filthy night in the Bronx. Pep Guardiola is at Yankee Stadium to watch the last of a six-game Major League Baseball series between New York Yankees and New York Mets. The Manchester City manager is taking a break from the club’s summer tour, his side having lost the opener against Borussia Dortmund in Chicago two days earlier. Guardiola was to throw the opening pitch of the decisive game in the Subway Series, which the Yankees are leading 3-2 but incessant rain forces a postponement and he heads for the exit. What Guardiola does next signifies where his and City’s focus is going to be when the 2018-19 season begins a few weeks later. Before leaving to be driven back to the hotel Guardiola catches sight of the Carabao Cup and Premier League trophies, won by his team the previous season and on display at the stadium. He approaches them and, ignoring the Carabao Cup, leans forward and kisses the Premier League trophy. “I love this one,” he says, eyes sparkling. … [Read more...] about New York kiss to Brighton bliss: the story of Manchester City’s triumph
“Any ideas on the most completed passes ever recorded in a football match?” asks Charlie Welton. Despite locking all our finest boffins into rooms tasked with watching every football match of the last 120 years to add up every pass, we could not get the answer. Instead we fired up the Stat-Signal and Opta mercifully saved us decades of work to review Europe’s top five leagues since 2006-07. Where better to start than at a Barcelona game, as ball-hogging has become a pastime for the Catalonians in the past two decades. Their short-passing heroics has brought them many wins, trophies and kudos, peaking at 988 completed passes in May 2011 against Levante. Inexplicably, they were only able to secure a 1-1 draw. Manchester City collectively tippy-tapped the ball around 942 times in their 5-0 pummelling of Swansea in April 2018. It was not their most successful day of passing, which happened just one month prior when they played Basel off the park in the Champions League in … [Read more...] about Which football team have completed the most passes in a match?