Please click and browse through the reports below:
Just for a change, the Coupe de France final did not involve Paris Saint-Germain.
Instead, past three-time winners Nice and Nantes battled for their first such title in over twenty years.
The outcome was decided by a penalty early in the second half before 78,000 in the Stade de France.
A small margin but it resulted in plenty for the Canaries to celebrate, including entry into the Europa League....more
UEFA Europa League quarter-finals preview.
RB Leipzig v Atalanta
Eintracht Frankfurt v Barcelona
West Ham v Lyon
Braga v Rangers...more
UEFA Champions League quarter-finals preview.
Featuring analysis of the ties between:
Chelsea v Real Madrid
Manchester City v Atletico Madrid
Villarreal v Bayern Munich
Benfica v Liverpool....more
Cameroon 0 Egypt 0 (Egypt won 3-1 on penalties) AFCON 2021
In the end Mohamed Salah didn’t need to take a penalty as Gabaski in the Pharaoh's goal proved the ultimate hero after he saved two Cameroon spot-kicks.
Egypt’s win set up an intriguing final matchup between a pair of Liverpool stars in Sadio Mane and Salah.
Meanwhile, the fans of the hosts drifted home disappointed despite their team's first-half efforts.
So on Sunday Egypt will be bidding for yet another record number of titles while Senegal will be aiming for their first.
Senegal 3 Burkina Faso 1 AFCON 2021.
Favourites Senegal confirmed their place in the AFCON final by beating a spirited Burkina Faso team in Yaounde.
The Teranga Lions are bidding for their first such title and with Liverpool star Sadio Mane as an inspiration, they may well do it.
While the Stallions, with trouble back home, gave an exceptional account of their talents.
Cameroon 2 Gambia 0
Many fans arrived early both to get covid tested and to, hopefully, enter the stadium without incident.
Thankfully that seemed to have happened after the chaos and sadly, deaths, at the last Cameroon match, in Olembe.
In noisy, hot conditions this last eight encounter matched the hosts against debutants Gambia.
The Scorpions, under the experienced coach Tom Saintfiet, had certainly overperformed but this would be a game too far for them....more
Ivory Coast 0 Egypt 0 (Egypt won 5-4 on penalties)
Egyptian superstar Mohamed Salah delivers the knockout blow after Manchester United defender Eric Bailly fails to convert his spot-kick.
Allowing the multiple winners to progress into a quarter-final matchup with Morocco in Yaounde.
Cameroon 2 Comoros 1
The AFCON hosts made it through to the quarter-finals despite the heroics of the depleted Comoros team.
In particular, their replacement ‘goalkeeper’ Chaker Alhadhur who normally plays at left-back.
Alhadhur was brought in because his side had lost their regular goalies to covid and injuries.
As per the CAF rules Comoros were forced to fulfill the fixture.
And they certainly stepped up when everything seemed to go against them....more
FIFA Men's Player of the Year 2021 discussion.
Three players made the shortlist for FIFA Men’s Player of 2021.
Prior to the result being announced the decorated German international Sami Khedira was asked, by FIFA and journalists, his views on who should gain the ultimate accolade.
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich and Poland),
Lionel Messi (Barcelona, PSG and Argentina), and
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool and Egypt) made the shortlist.
AFCON 2021 Preview.
Originally scheduled for June 2021 this 33rd edition was delayed, due to the local conditions and the ongoing pandemic, until January 2022.
Cameroon were to stage the event in 2019 but organisers CAF decided to put back their hosting until now.
This will be the first such tournament in which 24 teams will participate.
They will be divided into six groups of four teams playing in six stadiums spread across five cities.
Criticised for its lack of atmosphere and perceived general apathy, the Etihad Stadium experience is world-class.
Even visiting the home of Manchester City on a snowy day in the winter offers above-average comforts.
And virtually guaranteed world-class football.
Review of the FIFA Arab Cup 2021
Algeria won their first Arab Cup title at their third attempt.
They defeated Tunisia in the final with two extra-time goals.
The competition was played in Qatar partly as a dry run for the upcoming World Cup.
Sixteen teams participated in this Arab Cup, the most since it began in 1963.
This tenth edition was also the first under the FIFA banner....more
Watched by new Rangers coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst, sitting high up in the South Stand at Hampden, his new charges lost comprehensively to Hibernian.
The Light Blues, with most of their hordes of fans wearing orange, produced an incoherent, tepid performance.
And that meant Jack Ross's Hibees will now play Celtic in the final on December 19th....more
York City moved through to the next qualifying round of the FA Cup principally thanks to the 37-year-old Clayton Donaldson.
The tall Jamaican striker scored a double for the Minstermen to complete a comfortable victory against their visitors from the North East.
On a very mild September day at the brand new LNER (York) Community Stadium....more
Italy win Euro 2020.
Roberto Mancini’s Azzurri won their second Euro Championship after they overcame England on penalties at Wembley.
It was a major disappointment for the hosts who had reached their first-ever senior final since their 1966 World Cup victory.
The tournament was completed despite being played during a global pandemic.
Although the teams had to endure restrictions and, in some cases, unparalleled travelling between matches....more
Delayed a year because of the epidemic the Euros are scheduled to begin on June 11th in Rome.
Adding to the chaos is the decision to spread this ‘romantic’ (according to Michel Platini) tournament around Europe.
That never looked like a particularly good idea and it looks even less so given the current circumstances.
Anyway, after some rearrangements, eleven venues will now stage the event.
With Wembley stadium now hosting both semis and the final.
Allowing for reduced capacities in many stadiums and travel rules varying from country to country it will be a potential nightmare for travelling fans.
But on a more positive note, it will bring together many of the best players in the world to strut their stuff (assuming they don’t get covid)
The main focus in this final game of the league season was whether Eastleigh could take a place in the play-offs.
Ultimately they fell short against a solid performance by the home side.
Solihull Moors ended with six out of seven wins to the evident enjoyment of their fans in Damson Park....more
Manchester City v Chelsea Porto 29th May 2021.
Two leading Premier League meet in Porto to decide who wins the Champions League.
With Pep Guardiola's City side strongly favoured to deliver a first-ever UCL title for the Emirati-funded Etihad team.
If so it would be a triumph for what some have called the 'best team in the world'.
And for the many millions watching on TV and the limited number of fans in the stadium it would be the stage on which to realise their apparent destiny....more
An improved performance from Barnet who may not now finish as the effective bottom team in the National League.
Goals from Harry Taylor and Anthony Wordsworth gave the Bees the deserved victory before 560 fans at the Hive.
Against an under-par Maidenhead side who could be ready for the end of the season....more
Big Favourites Manchester United meet Villarreal in the UEFA Europa League final in Gdansk, Poland.
On paper, it looks like a foregone conclusion that the men from Old Trafford will claim another title.
But the Spanish side, under far less pressure, are coached by a triple-title winning coach in Unai Emery and might cause a big upset....more
The Non-League finals day produced a feast of football at Wembley with epic wins for Warrington Rylands and Hornchurch.
Essex team Hornchurch won the FA Trophy on their first visit to Wembley after scoring three second-half goals to beat higher level Hereford.
And Warrington Rylands navigated nine rounds of the FA Vase before overcoming a spirited Binfield 3-2 in an entertaining final....more
Sutton United returned to the top of the National League table with this home defeat of lowly Woking.
The U's needed a couple of fine strikes from forwards Wilson and Adiboye to overcome a spirited Cards side.
Now with just three games remaining Sutton are still on course for that historic promotion to the Football League....more
Sutton needed this win over the bottom side to maintain their push for the National League title.
They took their time before Omar Bugiel crashed in the decider with twenty minutes remaining at Gander Green Lane.
The home side had to overcome a stubborn Barnet team that had gone four unbeaten under coach Simon Bassey....more
In the aftermath of the short-lived European Super League, action from the last four of the UCL and UEL begins on April 27th.
With the second legs scheduled for one week later.
Premier League clubs feature prominently in both competitions with Manchester clubs, City and United, considered favourites for the respective titles.
Sadly, because of the ongoing pandemic few, if any, fans will be able to watch the games from inside the stadiums....more
An analysis after the initial rounds of European (UEFA) qualifiers.
A total of 13 places are available to the 55 UEFA national teams including the ten group winners plus three others via a second round of play-offs.
The groups are divided into 5 or 6 participants.
And so far the countries have played either two or three matches up until March this year.
With the first round expected to be completed by November.
League leaders Sutton continued their progress towards entry into the Football League with this hard-fought draw at Solihull.
The goalless draw provided something for both sides with Mark Yates' Moors having not conceded for four and Matt Gray's Sutton being unbeaten in 14 games.
Not helped by a very chill wind this was a match of limited goalmouth incident....more
What to make of Barnet?
As they go down to yet another 2-0 home defeat.
With fourteen games to play this felt like an end-of-season encounter at the Hive.
But for Solihull, it was their third successive victory....more
Part-time Essex side Hornchurch made history by knocking out Notts County on penalties to reach Wembley for the first time ever.
The Urchins continued their unbelievable run in the FA Trophy to edge out the Magpies in their eighth such cup tie.
Under ex-league player Mark Stimson Hornchurch have continually overcome the odds, this time scoring late equalisers in both halves before converting all their spot-kicks.
As well as having to compete without any league games in the last three months due to the covid lockdown restrictions....more
European leagues roundup March 2021.
As the leading European leagues take a break for the internationals this is their current status, particularly in relation to the respective title races.
In this (hopefully) unique season some things are the same as usual whereas some leagues are experiencing atypical contests.
The latter would apply especially to France, Italy, and to some extent in Spain....more
Football in England in lockdown. March 2021.
How has football changed during the covid pandemic?
With fans unable to watch from inside the stadiums the experience for everyone is radically different from the previous 150 years.
Hopefully, this scenario will be unique or at least a once-in-a-lifetime event for most of us.
But what has changed?...more
UEFA Europa League 2021 Preview
Will the Europa League end with a clash between Manchester United and Arsenal in Poland?
These two Premier League teams seem to dominate the quarter-final lineup which also comprises a couple of mid-table Spanish sides, and one each from Italy, Croatia, Czech Republic, and the Netherlands.
With Manchester City favoured to win the Champions League this could be a special season in Europe for the EPL, and possibly the city of Manchester....more
UEFA Champions League 2021 quarter-finals preview.
The eight remaining teams comprise three from the Premier League, two from the Bundesliga, plus Porto, Paris Saint-Germain, and just one Spanish side in Real Madrid.
The odds consider the title favourites to be Manchester City and the holders, Bayern Munich.
And the games begin on April 6th, as usual in the prevailing covid situation, behind ‘closed doors’....more
A change of coach for Barnet but it was the same result for the unfortunate Bees.
They were missing a number of key players and that meant it was a relatively easy afternoon for Chesterfield at the Hive.
Assuming there is no relegation, Barnet will need some new recruits if they are to compete in the National League next season....more
This National League encounter matched a team created in the twenty-first century with one that was formed 150 years ago.
At a chilly Damson Park, the current covid secure conditions precluded any fans attending including those from the nearby Jaguar Land Rover plant.
They would have seen an even contest where both goals came from defensive errors.
Which left both the Moors and Alan Devonshire's Maidenhead just below mid-table.
Viva the Urchins!
A nine-goal thriller in Essex kept Hornchurch in the spotlight as they knocked out another higher level opponent in the FA Trophy.
This match had no shortage of goals with the visitors consistently fighting back before a very late winner gave them no chance of responding....more
Two ex-league clubs met on a cold afternoon at the Hive, in North London.
And it was the team from the English Riviera who came out on top to enhance their chances of returning to the Football League.
Barnet had invested in a new coach and some new players but unfortunately the result was still negative and sadly for their chairman Tony Kleanthous it's hard to see them evading relegation.
A team from Essex hosted a team from Norfolk two levels higher and it was Hornchurch, with their league suspended for the foreseeable, that deservedly came out on top.
Joe Wright in the Urchins goal proved the hero as he saved all three of the visitor's spot-kicks to ensure their season will continue into the next round of the FA Trophy.
And in a battle between two coaches with vast Football League experience it was Mark Stimson who prevailed....more
A review of the leading European leagues as they stand at the end of 2020.
In what has been a unique time for mankind and the world of football the situation at the top of these leagues is unusually competitive.
Taken in turn this is the way it is as we look forward to a better 2021, beginning with the English Premier League.
UEFA Europa League knockout draw.
The draw for the Round of 32 was made in Switzerland on December 14th and it comprises the top two from each of the eight qualifying groups plus eight teams dropping down from the Champions League.
What follows is an analysis of what could be the more interesting matchups.
The UEFA Champions League knockout draw has matched Barcelona against PSG, Liverpool versus the progressive RB Leipzig, Frank Lampard's exciting Chelsea team against the pragmatic Simeone's Atletico Madrid amongst other intriguing ties.
Here is an analysis of what could happen next in February/March 2021....more
The second iteration of the UEFA Nations League has produced a heavyweight semi-final lineup.
That comprises world champions France, top-ranked Belgium, Spain, and hosts Italy.
These four will battle it out for who follows Portugal as the title winners at the iconic San Siro and the superb Juventus Arena.
Many expect the winner to be decided between France, who include the world's most highly valued player Kylian Mbappe, and Roberto Martinez' very talented Belgian squad....more
Barnet left their fairly cramped Underhill ground in 2013 and moved into the Hive Stadium in the Canons Park area of North London.
Some four years earlier a centre of excellence and training complex was created on the site before the 6500 capacity stadium was opened.
The Hive has staged various international matches, rugby league and often acted as a training ground for visiting foreign sides.
Offering such a comprehensive range of modern facilities it also benefits from being close to Wembley Stadium.
On the field the team has become somewhat of a yo-yo club moving between the Football League and the National League.
After initially being promoted under the legendary Barry Fry’s management. Their last relegation FL relegation coming in 2018.
A review of the leading contenders for the Premier League title.
Four teams are likely to compete for the 2020/21 title - Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, and Manchester United....more
The best ever Liverpool team?
The current Liverpool team has dominated the Premier League this season and they could well go on to clock up a record points tally.
Could it be that Jurgen Klopp’s men are better than all those outstanding Anfield winners from the past?
This Champions League group game produced an entertaining encounter in chilly Riyadh.
Including another goal from Moroccan striker Abderazak Hamdallah and a stunning equaliser from Nassr's defender Al-Obaid....more
Liverpool win their first FIFA Club World Cup.
A Brazilian scores the decisive goal against a famous Brazilian team.
Jurgen Klopp’s team need extra time to beat Flamengo before 45,000 fans in Qatar....more
This was a minor triumph for the Tunisians who easily beat the local Qatari representatives to secure 5th place at the CWC.
It was a result that gave their large number of boisterous fans plenty to cheer on a showery evening at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.
The game was also a personal milestone for Libyan forward Hamdou Elhouni who scored a hat-trick something only previously achieved at the CWC by the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, and Gareth Bale.
FIFA Club World Cup 2019 - Will Liverpool triumph?
UEFA Champions League winners Liverpool bid for their first Club World Cup (CWC) title.
Can Jurgen Klopp’s team add another prize to their well-stocked Anfield trophy room?
England confirmed their qualification for Euro 2020 with this facile victory against Montenegro before 77,000 fans at Wembley.
The Three Lions have now completed 1000 senior internationals and this win was one of their easiest....more
England lose a main tournament qualifier for the first time in ten years.
This defeat in Prague could serve as a wake-up call for Gareth Southgate's team who are not quite as good as they thought they were....more
Spirited Welsh performance gains a point in Slovakia.
Wigan striker Keiffer Moore epitomises a battling effort by Ryan Giggs' men....more
Albania needed this victory to maintain hopes of Euro 2020 qualification from Group H.
In a battle of contrasting styles the home team prevailed much to the enjoyment of the local fans in Elbasan....more
Lamina Kone (Ivory Coast) - 30-year-old central defender, rated 3 mil, was part of a Strasbourg back three, found it tough at times against Rebic as Frankfurt pressed, his defence looked a bit ragged at times, goes up for corners, was substituted in second half as his team switched to a back four.
Kevin Lucien Zohi (Mali) - 22-year-old, played wide left, rated at 2mil, limited in the first half but showed some pace in breaks forward in the second, left-footed, had one chance blocked, kept going in losing side.
Nuno Da Costa (Cape Verde) - 28-year-old, rated 5 mil, came on after 68 minutes to play wide right, never got in a serious threat, one header went wide.
Lebo Mothiba (South Africa) - 23-year-old, rated 7 mil, very late sub. unable to affect the outcome.
A dramatic penalty shoot-out decides this quarter-final.
As Algeria keep their nerve to set up a meeting with Nigeria in the last four....more
Harrison Afful (Ghana) - 32-year-old, rated 600k euros, right back, smallish, moves forward readily and often leads the home attacks down his flank, dangerous crosses, but his game ended early with a red card after he held back Gerso.
David Accam (Ghana) - 28-year-old, rated 910k euros, will join Nashville next season, wide left, sadly had to go off with a hamstring injury early in the match.
Gerso (Guinea-Bissau) - KC wide man/forward, 28-year-old, rated 1.5m euros, dangerous pace on the break, setup Nemeth at least once, better second half beginning with a nutmeg and cross for the winning goal, brought down by Afful later on....more
Kekuta Manneh (Gambia) - 24-year-old, rated 800k euros, left midfield, one of the more dangerous home players, early pacy run, good deliveries from left, testing shot late on, overall solid game.
Emmanuel Boateng (Ghana) - 23-year-old, rated 2.5m euros, LA midfielder, medium height, early left-foot cross, very nice finish for the opening goal, always looked lively across the pitch, booked later and then immediately substituted....more
LAFC qualify for the last eight of the Open Cup.
And one of their stars was young Ghana midfielder Latif Blessing....more
Costa Rica enjoy hosting their first match at the Gold Cup.
Easily beating a well supported but limited Nicaragua....more
Portugal win the inaugural Nations League with one strike from Goncalo Guedes (rather than Cristiano Ronaldo).
And England claim third place after winning a penalty shoot-out against Switzerland....more
Calamitous England defending contributes to the Dutch victory.
The mass ranks of England fans will have to wait at least another year before they might see the senior England team in a final....more
Another Cristiano Ronaldo masterclass.
Featuring a trademark free kick, an excellent cross conversion, and a brilliant run and finish.
Joel Matip (Cameroon) - right-sided centre back, 27-year-old, rated £18m, partnered MOM Virgil van Dijk, doesn't have the passing ability of the Dutchman but provides a solid combination, wins headers, dealt with Harry Kane, maybe fortunate not to be booked, part of a Liverpool side that gave Tottenham few chances.
Mohamed Salah (Egypt) - striker, 26-year-old, rated £135m, decisively converted the early spot-kick, always offered that forward outlet, though given few other chances since Liverpool conceded a lot of possession.
Sadio Mane (Senegal) - striker, 27-year-old, rated £77m, his forward break resulted in the penalty, looked sharp and often presented the most danger to the opposition, but again limited opportunities with LFC less coherent than usual.
Ben Naboulane (Comoros) - 29-year-old Red Star midfielder, rated £2.70m, medium height, part of a home side that generally failed to sparkle, switched sides but to limited effect, subbed on 69 minutes.
Ricardo Gomes (Cape Verde) - 27-year-old central striker for Partizan, rated £1.58m, some missteps at first but showed good skill and some pace later on, also nice control, came close with a lobbed chance.
A night of 1000 flares and a biblical thunderstorm.
Red Star celebrate winning the league and 30 years of their ultras....more
Paul Onuachu (Nigeria) - very tall 24-year-old Midtjylland striker. rated 2.2m in the transfer market, an Adebayor lookalike, missed a couple of half-chances including a stooping header, maybe could have own aerial duals, intermittent good touches, but certainly a presence up front. Subbed in extra time.
Frank Onyeka (Nigeria) - 21-year-old attacking midfielder for the winners, rated at 540K, appeared on 66 minutes, nearly reached a dangerous cross, has some pace and looked lively, pushed forward through the centre.
Bastos (Angola) - 27-year-old, rated at 4.5m in the transfer market, medium height, Lazio central defender, often involved early on with right and left-foot passes, mostly solid but some wayward, booked for a tackle from behind then substituted on 35 minutes (either for the booking or the odd misplaced pass - seemed a little harsh and he was applauded by the fans)
Musa Barrow (Gambia) - 20-year-old late substitute forward, rated at 5.4m in the transfer market, came on when Atalanta were reeling from a late Lazio goal, unable to affect the outcome.
Jerome Onguene (Cameroon) - Red Bull centre back, 21 years old, right foot pass, strong in the air, some good blocks, looked to organise back line, went up for corners, solid overall.
Diadie Samassekou (Mali) - Red Bull holding midfielder, 23 years old, a few early missteps, but kept in position as a defender in front of the back line, again solid overall.
Aliou Badji (Senegal) - tall, rangy Rapid striker who came on for the last 20 minutes, won some headers but struggled to affect the outcome.
Patson Daka (Zambia) - young forward substitute for Red Bull, missed a decent chance went put through just after coming on and scuffed a pass later on. But his team had already secured the win.
Ismaila Sarr (Senegal) - played wide right, has pace, combined with Traore, right foot cross, converted winning Rennes penalty.
N'Baye Niang (Senegal) - tall central striker, linked with Ben Arfa, some good touches, excellent turn and shot that clipped the post, looked a handful, booked later on. Scored the initial penalty in the shootout.
Remy Bensebaini (Algeria) - left back, talented left delivery, got forward, clashed with Neymar, booked later on for arguing. Converted penalty.
Hamari Traore (Mali) - right back, often drove forward, some skill, his cross caused the first Rennes goal.
Mexer (Mozambique) - centre back, managed to cope with Mbappe and Neymar though exposed at times, headed in from a corner for the equaliser, was booked, excused penalty duties.