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Qatar eliminated by Holland, England shuts out Wales

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Senegal and Ecuador put on a show,

Senegal and Ecuador put on a show,
Image: Getty Images

And this is where the plot thickens. For the next four days, teams will move on, teams will meet the sword, and the drama ramps up to 11. I’m here to be your space coyote for it!

Game of the day

Ecuador 1 – 2 Senegal

As U.S. fans learned the hardest way, when you have a game where one team only needs a draw and the other needs a win, it’s better for storytelling purposes if the team that needs to win scores first. Because then just a single goal can swing emotions completely the other way and back again, and the team in the lead now has to balance defending with looking for a second to clinch it.

Senegal got the first goal, and deservedly so when Ismaila Sarr was fouled and then proceeded to bury the penalty. Senegal had Ecuador under their thumb for the whole half, as the latter struggled to figure out how to play for a tie without PLAYING FOR A TIE. They only managed two blocked Enner Valencia shots in the first half.

But then Ecuador made two subs at half, got on the front foot way more, Moises Caicedo equalized off a corner, taking advantage of Senegal having a man on the line to just loiter behind the pack going for the initial header off a corner to bury the second ball.

And this is where that balance, that heart-down-to-your-ankles feeling kicks in. Because in the midst of trying to figure out how to play the rest of the match, Kalidou Koulibaly scored off another second ball off a corner, a true captain’s goal that he lashed into the net.

And this is where the World Cup is special, as it’s the only tournament that can swing you from ecstasy to despair or in the other direction in an instant like this. Ecuador were clearly shellshocked and never really had it. In some ways it’s worse than holding on and giving it up in the last minute. By only getting a glimpse of going through for just two minutes, having it snatched away before they could even see the whole shape of it left them in a stupor. They only had three shots after going behind, and never looked like they would tie it up. Having two enormous events that spring up the opposite emotions happen so quickly together paralyzed them, as it would to anyone. How do you come to terms with going behind again when you haven’t even had time to come to terms with the new state of the match after you’ve tied it?

Senegal are full value for advancing, having pretty much pinned the Dutch to nothing for most of that match and completely nullifying Ecuador for the most part. They will be a challenge for England.

Other results

Holland 2 – 0 Qatar

This was a match that happened. The Dutch haven’t been impressive in any of their matches, but didn’t have to be to finally put the complete waste-of-time hosts out of their and our misery. The second gear the Oranje have been stuck in was more than enough for this one.

USA 1 – 0 Iran

We obviously have a ton on this one already.

England 3 – 0 Wales

This one wasn’t much more of an event than the Holland-Qatar staff meeting, and Wales weren’t really any more impressive than Qatar for the tournament. England were able to rotate their lineup to start a little, and then a lot throughout the match. The first half was basically a funeral dirge, until England got bored in the second half and decided to have Marcus Rashford scorch the Welsh defense with his speed.

Goal of the day

Come on…

Let’s eulogize the departed

Wales and Qatar – Oh they got it! Wales and Qatar! They ate it! Way way too bad! They got it! Wales and Qatar! (that’s a little Sleater-Kinney joke for all you lovely people).

Ecuador – They should have beaten The Dutch but couldn’t find a winner and got their chins above the bar for just an instant before crashing to Earth. They will likely be back, as a majority of the squad was under 25 and Ecuador has been one of the hotbeds of development lately. But it’s a lesson in that in a short tournament, you better win the games you dominate, as they did against the Netherlands. With Qatar being so terrible, everyone got a free spot on the bingo card and the sample for everyone was down to just two games. Ecuador, quite simply, didn’t score enough while doing most everything else right.

Iran – I would love to touchdown dance on Carlos Quieroz ending up on his ass again, just as he did in the AFCON, just as he did in African qualifying, because he’s one of the last true authors of sufferball that is such a chore to watch. Hopefully more nations will move on from the Quieroz type and attempt to play their way out of the group stage instead of just trying to repel, repel, repel. But limited teams will always think this is their surest way to gaining points in a group stage, and because of that managers like Quieroz will still have jobs.

But the Iranian players will be missed, who risked so much in this tournament. Their no-selling their own anthem in the first game reportedly got their families back home threatened. They showed everyone what place sports can hold in a society, and gave more oxygen to the protests and movements back home that will hopefully author significant change there. They took on far more than just trying to get Iran to the Round of 16 for the first time, which is more than enough pressure for any player. Applause to them.

Did Alexi Lalas say anything stupid?

He was definitely feeling his oats at halftime, claiming Iran “wanted no part of this game,” given the way they had sat back and tried to defend and created nothing. Which makes one wonder if Lalas had watched Iran or a Quieroz-led team play before. But would it make any difference if Lalas actually watched any other games?

Also his power rankings bit every day is a Geneva Convention violation.

Did VAR fuck anything up?

Boy we sure thought it was going to with the handball on Shaq Moore or the late penalty shout on Carter-Vickers, didn’t we? But neither were anywhere close to being worth a look, and thankfully we didn’t get the one ref in the booth having a bad day who just wanted to fuck shit up. Phew.

Did Qatar fuck anything up?

More stories of fans with rainbow attire being detained before ultimately being let go, which just smacks of doing it to do it because all the security must know how this ends by now. They just want to harass fans now.

Anything else?

THE FUCKIN’ YANKS ARE MOVIN’ ON!!!!!!





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Malo Gusto transfer news: Chelsea agree £26.3m deal for Lyon right-back with player returning to France on loan | Football News

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Chelsea have reached an agreement in principle with Lyon for the signing of right-back Malo Gusto.

The west London side have agreed to pay £26.3m plus add-ons for the services of the 19-year-old, who will join the club in the summer.

Lyon head coach Laurent Blanc said that the board had guaranteed to him that Gusto would stay at the club for the rest of the season.

“The board have guaranteed to me that (Rayan) Cherki and Malo Gusto will be here until the end of the season,” Blanc told reporters on Friday.

The statement echoed the thoughts of president Jean-Michel Aulas Aulas who took to social media and declared Gusto would continue with the French giants beyond this transfer window.

But it appears the club has bowed down to the player’s wishes and while Chelsea have agreed the deal, Gusto will now be loaned back to Lyon for the remainder of this campaign.

GRAPHIC

Chelsea wanted a deal now as they are aware other clubs – such as Manchester United and Tottenham – are interested in the France U21 international.

Reece James has played just once for Chelsea since October 11 due to a knee injury, with the sole appearance – against Bournemouth last month – seeing him aggravate the issue and return to the sidelines.

The England international also missed several months of the 2021/22 season with a hamstring injury.

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The Transfer Show’s Dharmesh Sheth and Kaveh Solhekol round up the latest transfer news from all 20 Premier League clubs.

Chelsea are determined to sign a midfielder and right-back this month, despite already spending almost £500m on new players this season.

The Blues have signed 16 players since Todd Boehly’s consortium purchased the club last summer, but remain keen to add to head coach Graham Potter’s squad during the January window.

Enzo Fernandez is still a target and Chelsea are considering making a new bid for the Benfica and Argentina midfielder.

How much have Chelsea spent in January so far?

Chelsea have splashed the cash under Todd Boehly
Image:
Chelsea have splashed the cash under Todd Boehly

Chelsea’s January spending has risen to £190m now the Noni Madueke signing has been completed.

Here are the deals the Blues have made:

  • Benoit Badiashile – Monaco, £35m
  • David Datro Fofana – Molde, undisclosed (reported £10m deal)
  • Andrey Santos – Vasco da Gama, undisclosed (reported £18m deal)
  • Joao Felix – Atletico Madrid, £9.7m loan
  • Mykhailo Mudryk – Shakhtar Donetsk, £88.5m
  • Noni Madueke – PSV Eindhoven

Chelsea have now spent around £460m since Todd Boehly became the new owner of the club, having spent £270m in the summer transfer window.

Follow the January transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move this winter? The January transfer window closes at 11pm on Tuesday January 31, 2023.

Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.



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Women’s leagues WNBA, etc. have ushered in sports’ golden age

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Image for article titled A rising tide lift all boats and it's time we threw Jason Whitlock’s ilk overboard

Image: Getty Images

Choosing between women’s and men’s sports is a false choice. If you’re a certain blogger for Glenn Beck’s conservative Blaze media, revisionist history can be a comfort zone that vilifies feminism in sports as your woke sports boogeyman, but makes you look like a headass instead. Jason Whitlock’s resentment-driven tweet on women’s basketball’s place at the bottom of the sports hierarchy eventually led to a longer missive against women’s societal advancements and the fall of masculinity.

Oddly enough, in a link I don’t care to share, Whitlock proceeded to blame feminism for everything ranging from drag queens, to the degradation of the nuclear family, and the decline of biblical values. In Whitlock’s opinion, the glass ceiling wasn’t sturdy enough.

He pontificated in his Wednesday column: “As technology advanced and curbed the natural hardships of basic survival, American men led the world in granting freedom and autonomy to women. Feminists have taken advantage of man’s instinct to please women, casting themselves as long-suffering victims of male supremacy, and reshaped American society into a culture that favors the weaker sex.”

In fairness to Whitlock, let’s analyze all the excellent points he made.

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Hold on a second. I read the entire screed. Something will squeeze out soon…

Whitlock spews more garbage

He did attempt to trace a crooked link between modern society and early man’s roles as hunter-gathers, but it doubled as a rant against evolution. Imagine beginning your argument for a return to medieval masculinity by bemoaning women’s sports on TV. As usual, the intellectual cupboard is bare. Whitlock’s fragility over women’s sports is indicative of the obstacles women in workplaces have always faced. For a contingent of dudes who take his word as gospel though, women’s sports are their bête noire.

Battling over an alternate view of history that makes a case for how sexism was good or opining that the women from the Greatest Generation who took occupations in defense plants and factories during the war effort of the 1940s defanged American culture is a fascinating insight into how a twisted mind justifies itself. Don’t give yourself hemorrhoids trying to mine wisdom from those thought turds, and never roll with a pig in his sty.

Women’s leagues have helped usher in sports’ golden age

If you’ve browsed the front page of Deadspin’s space lately, or any industry leaders like Fox Sports, ESPN, CBS Sports, or Yahoo Sports, you’d know the myth of the feminist agenda pushing men’s sports aside is a pile of crap. America’s Big 4 leagues, plus NASCAR, Formula 1, college football, and college basketball have reigned supreme since being given a 50 to 75-year year head start over organized women’s athletics.

In a few short months, the U.S. Women’s National Team will defend their World Cup so you can expect to see their faces plastered all over ESPN screens between now and then. The USWNT has won half of the first eight Women’s World Cups FIFA’s held, but had to grapple with U.S. Soccer for pay commensurate with men last year. Their decades-long push was reminiscent of Billie Jean King and the “Original Nine’s” early enterprising. Their revolutionary founding of the WTA is one of the impetus for women’s tennis being on a more equal footing with the men’s tour.

The most prominent leagues have had to share space in an increasingly crowded room (pickleball has entered the chat), but this is the golden age of live sports. The continued growth of women’s leagues has been nearly as monumental as streaming has been to prestige television. The only downside to the panoply of options at our disposal is the paradox of choice.

Dawn Staley and Kim Mulkey are college basketball titans

Today men’s college basketball is in a rut. It’s as rife with parity, as it is empty in name-brand, blue-chip talent, or upper-echelon teams. The inverse of men’s hoops’ suboptimal tornado of middle-of-the-road teams, is happening in the division where Dawn Staley’s South Carolina Gamecocks are cruising toward a repeat. Fans love dynasties and one may be building in Columbia.

UConn is still a threat on Feb. 5, however, its biggest obstacle resides within the SEC.

Kim Mulkey and Staley have taken the baton as college basketball’s preeminent rivalry. The juiciest storyline in college basketball, regardless of gender, is the upcoming tilt between the only undefeated teams left in the nation. Hopefully, someone informs Alfalfa’s He-Man Womun Haters club not to switch on the late-night SportsCenter shows on the night of Feb. 18.

The halcyon yesteryear of the UConn-Tennessee rivalry is long gone in the Vols’ post-Pat Summitt era. Even with former Naismith Player of the Year Paige Bueckers on the mend for the entire season and phenom Azzi Fudd in and out of the lineup, UConn has been firmly entrenched in the top 10. Tennessee is still on the road back to prominence under Kellie Harper and was promptly smacked down by the Huskies on Thursday night.

While we’re on that note, contrary to the Blaze TV blogger’s soliloquy about women’s advancements coming off the backs of men’s work, the infrastructure for modern women’s basketball was originally built by the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. At its peak, the AIAW’s membership consisted of 280 colleges that held championships across 19 sports, including women’s hoops. The AIAW was a women’s collegiate sports organization founded by women, but in 1981, the NCAA took over from the AIAW after 120 schools left for the more economically advantaged NCAA.

Breanna Stewart’s free agency

Over in the WNBA, free agency is in full bloom. Candace Parker is vacillating on whether to wind her career down in Chicago or with one last hurrah in Los Angeles. Free agent center Brionna Jones, the reigning Sixth Player of the Year, is essentially seeking to branch out after her second Finals appearance. Think of a bigger James Harden in 2012, trying to loosen himself from Oklahoma City’s bench.

The bulk of WNBA free agency attention is trained on Breanna Stewart’s movements. Reportedly, Stewart has whittled her choice down to approximately four teams, including her home state New York Liberty, a pairing with Elena Delle Donne in Washington, running it back with a depleted Seattle Storm roster, or zagging unexpectedly to the Minnesota Lynx.

There’s no planned primetime TV special starring Jim Gray, or Hannah Storm for the internet Whitlocks to carp about, but the Liberty are what everyone in the league office is undoubtedly rooting for. Imagine if LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh had chosen the Knicks in 2010. Or if Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Harden had been a more well-adjusted collection of personalities. Stewart linking up with 2020’s No. 1 overall pick, Sabrina Ionescu, recently acquired 2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones, and free agent Courtney Vandersloot would be the culmination of an arms race with the Las Vegas Aces.

In addition to looking out for her own future, Stewart is using her clout to engineer solutions to funding charter flights for the league’s 12 teams. Stewart’s efforts have reignited the discourse around the WNBA’s problematic travel arrangements. We’ve long known that cramming long athletes onto commercial flights dozens of times a season is a hindrance to peak performance, but the WNBA hasn’t quite taken it to heart yet and Stewart’s not keen on waiting until the CBA expires in 2028 to address it.

Ultimately, for every sports fan with Whitlock’s attitude, there’s Kobe Bryant. Kobe and others understood that a rising tide lifts all boats. In his final years, Kobe became an advocate for women’s hoops. Then, three years and a day ago, he perished on his way to coach his daughter’s AAU team. But if you’re having trouble choosing between living in a shared reality where the Black Mamba’s noblesse oblige spirit is considered ruinous to culture or one where internet Whitlocks signify strength, your worldview is bass-ackwards and you’ve got your head on the wrong side of your torso.



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Pep Guardiola jokes he’s ‘sorry’ that he stopped Mikel Arteta from becoming Manchester City manager

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Arsenal will face City at the Etihad Stadium tonight, with Guardiola’s former assistant back on his old North West stomping ground in the FA Cup fourth round.

The Gunners head north leading rivals City by five points with a game in hand atop the Premier League, but acutely aware of the challenging taking on the frustrated Guardiola and company.

Arteta left Guardiola’s City setup in December 2019 to take the Arsenal helm, transforming the Gunners in remarkable fashion since.

“I am pretty sure if I would have left here before, he would be here [at City] and he would be the best, absolutely,” said Guardiola, of Arteta.

“But I extended my contract, I am sorry, and he didn’t wait, so it could not happen. But definitely it could have.”

Arteta joined Manchester City’s coaching ranks on retiring as a player in 2016, learning his craft under master tactician and serial winner Guardiola.

City’s former Barcelona boss revealed how Arteta would never celebrate goals against the Gunners, the team he represented more than 100 times between 2011 and 2016.

“He loves the club; I remember when we were together here and we scored goals, he jumped a lot and celebrated – except with one team,” said Guardiola.

“One team, every time we score a goal, I jump, look back and he was sitting there. It was Arsenal.”



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