Friday, April 01, 2011

Paolo Bandini on the Milan Derby

With so little between the sides and the pack chasing, the derby will not be decisive but that makes it all the more fascinating.

Milan vs. Inter will not settle tight title race but impact will be huge.

U.S. TV: 2:45pm EDT on FSC

Absolutely Wacko! Fulham stars ordered to perform Moonwalk goal celebration on day of Jackson statue unveiling

In the countdown to Fulham's controversial unveiling of the Michael Jackson statue, Sportsmail can reveal the extraordinary lengths the club are going to in order to mark the occasion.

Club officials have secretly organised a series of mini tributes for Sunday's match against Blackpool at Craven Cottage that could further anger the Fulham fans who are already fuming over the statue that has been erected outside the ground.

Sportsmail can reveal that every member of Fulham's first-team squad have been told they must celebrate any goals in Sunday's clash by performing the Moonwalk in front of the home fans. Although the order initially went down like a lead balloon, it is believed the players have now warmed to the idea and have been enthusiastically practising behind closed doors at their Motspur Park training base.

Huge Jacko fans Bobby Zamora and Clint Dempsey have taken charge of the sessions, with coaching staff barely able to hide their amusement while watching on.

Friday MLS Forecast

Jeff Cunningham hosts his former FC Dallas teammates on Friday, while Colorado and D.C. United meet in's Match of the Week on Sunday.


England: Premier League Weekend Previews & Predictions

Fresh from the international break, the Premier League returns and tensions are increasing at the top and the bottom of the table. Leaders Manchester United travel to London to take on relegation-threatened West Ham in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off, while Sir Alex Ferguson's title rivals, Arsenal, host Blackburn in the evening. Saturday's 3pm matches include Liverpool's reunion with Roy Hodgson at West Brom, Tottenham's trip to rock-bottom Wigan, and Stoke welcoming Chelsea. Newcastle take on Wolves at St James' Park, Bolton visit Birmingham, and Everton and Aston Villa meet. On Sunday, Fulham play Blackpool at Craven Cottage in the lunchtime match, and Manchester City see Sunderland arrive at Eastlands later in the afternoon.


Manchester United vs. West Ham
Paul Merson's Preview

Martin Lipton's Previews & Predictions

Lawro's Predictions

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic must settle for being a observer on Saturday when the Rossoneri go up against his former team Inter Milan.

The Swede has to complete a two-match ban and that means the Serie A leaders will be without their leading scorer for one of the most important games of the campaign.

Adding spice to the encounter is that Inter coach Leonardo will square off for the first time against AC Milan, the team he spent many years playing for, and coached last season.

Napoli go into this weekend's games in third and just one point behind Inter.

The club have won back-to-back league games going into their clash with Lazio at the Stadio San Paolo. Napoli have not lost at home since October 25. Roma are running out of time if they are going to have a top-four finish. They host Juventus at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday night.

Fiorentina have not given up hope of playing in Europe next season.

They go into this weekend's game at Cesena trailing Roma by nine points.


Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview + Eduardo Alvarez's Quiniela

Barca resume league action following the international break with a trip to Villarreal on Saturday. At the moment they have the comfort of a five-point gap back to second-placed Real Madrid.

Villarreal are locked on 54 points with third-placed Valencia as the two battle to be the best of the rest.

Valencia travel to Getafe on Saturday, while Real Madrid host Sporting Gijon, with everyone present at the Bernabeu set to pay tribute to recently retired Brazil striker Ronaldo, a former Real player.


Eduardo Alvarez's Quiniela

Sid Lowe: Pep's Transfer Dealings Largely Disastrous

Pep Guardiola said it was the last thing he wanted to see, but no one really believed him. Sure, the trip east won't be much fun, but a matchup against Shakhtar looked like the perfect draw for his Barcelona team in the Champions League quarterfinals.

As the details sunk in, it appeared more daunting. But on the face of it, Barcelona had drawn one of the weakest teams left. And a team that opens up: Shakhtar scores goals, true, but it concedes them as well. Guardiola's men had avoided the defensive tough nuts, the teams that, in Xavi Hernandez's words, come to frustrate them. Barcelona had also avoided the most dangerous sides: Chelsea and Manchester United and Inter Milan. And Real Madrid, of course.

Brazil's World Cup 2014 preparations hit by new blow as Maracana project is delayed by at least a year

Alarm bells are ringing over Brazil’s preparations for the 2014 World Cup. Plans have already been criticised by Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, and it emerged on Thursday that the Maracana stadium, which is to host the final, will require a new roof and may not be ready until 2013.

Paul Gascoigne ready to tell the sobering truth after 15 years as an alcoholic

The last time Gascoigne addressed the public was last spring, when, dishevelled, distracted and more than a little confused, he arrived at the scene where the fugitive Geordie gunman Raul Moat had been cornered by police.

Armed only with a takeaway, he was offering his services as a mediator. When his approach was turned down, he responded with a barely coherent radio interview in which he blathered on about Moat being someone who could use a chicken curry.

Real Madrid Stars Out of Spurs Clash

Speaking ahead of Saturday's La Liga clash with Sporting Gijon, Mourinho claimed Ronaldo, Benzema and Marcelo would not be available until next weekend game against Athletic Bilbao.

Fifa and Uefa suspend Bosnia-Herzegovina from all world football

Fifa and Uefa have suspended Bosnia-Herzegovina from world football, because its federation refuses to replace its three-member presidency with a single leader.

Dominic Raynor: Off The Ball

Off The Ball never rests in its mission to scratch around the underbelly of professional football to find the most bizarre, humorous and inexplicable stories.

This week, Colombian fans smuggle a dead man into their stadium, the unfathomable mind of Mario Balotelli, a Russian club pays £156k compensation for beating up their own player, Shakira is banned at the Bernabeu and Sao Paulo goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni scores his 100th goal.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Father Jack! Wilshere's ex-girlfriend pregnant with England star's child

England star Jack Wilshere is to become a father at the age of 19.

The Arsenal midfielder has been told that his ex-girlfriend is pregnant - although the pair recently ended their three-year relationship.

Cheerleaders The Crystals reject claims sexy dances are to blame for Crystal Palace's form

CRYSTAL Palace Football Club’s cheerleaders have hit back at claims their saucy routines are to blame for the team’s poor form.

With The Eagles hovering just above the relegation zone, some fans on online forums have claimed cheerleaders The Crystals are to blame because they distract the players with their revealing outfits.

Perhaps SSN's resident Palace fan Dr. Payne will weigh in? Hmmm...?

In pictures: Sports grounds trading on a name

What will become of Anfield...?

Has Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney lost his spark for good?

A year ago on Thursday, Wayne Rooney was lifted onto a plane at Munich airport, his right foot encased in a protective boot and with more questions than answers about the Manchester United forward’s ability to shoulder the hopes of club and country.

The Big Interview: Gareth Southgate

The FA's new head of elite development intends to change how young talent is nurtured and to improve relationships between clubs and England. Apart from a few "geniuses" who came through despite the weaknesses of the English grass-roots and coaching structures – he cites Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney and Paul Gascoigne – Southgate says: "We definitely realised we were inferior. We played so many teams who could keep the ball better, their technique was better."

Oops. Wrong Gareth...

Norman Hubbard: Everton Focus

Jack Rodwell is the most gifted player produced at Goodison Park since Wayne Rooney. He is also David Moyes' best chance of the sort of windfall that would enable him to overhaul his side. It puts the Scot in an unenviable position, pitting his idealism and his fierce pride in all things Everton against the pragmatic recognition of his club's financial position.

David Rocastle Remembered: 10 Years On

The midfielder – as loved for his warmth and charm off the pitch as for his skilful contribution to two title-winning sides on it – passed away a decade ago.

The day of his passing, 31 March 2001, happened to coincide with another north London derby. There were fears that the planned minute's silence would not be observed, given the rivalry between the two sides, and even David Pleat, then caretaker manager of Tottenham had advised the referee, Paul Durkin, to blow his whistle to bring it to an end as soon as any there was any interruption from the crowd. In the event, however, the silence was broken only by the sounds of some in the crowd crying.

I was lucky enough to attend that Derby in 2001. The moment of silence was a wonderful tribute...

Def Jef & DJ Eric Vaughn with the 1990 USA World Cup Soccer Team - Victory

With special guests Marcus Allen and O.J. Simpson...

Tom Adams: Rewind to 1996

Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of one of the greatest games in the history of the Premier League. Liverpool 4-3 Newcastle, on April 3, 1996, was a night of high drama at Anfield and was also the decisive defeat that all but ended Newcastle's thrilling title challenge as Manchester United's young team reeled in their rivals.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hooligans at Euro 2012 co-host Poland worry UEFA

Hooliganism is causing a “huge image problem” for European Championship co-host Poland with every round of league matches marred by crowd trouble, a UEFA executive said on Wednesday.

Ahead of the influx of football fans in the country next year, Polish authorities have vowed to adopt a zero tolerance toward hooliganism.

They don't look so bad, do they...?

Uli Hesse in Germany

More often than not, Germany games have gripped (or at least moved) the nation in the recent past. But the two internationals of the past five days - against Kazakhstan on Saturday and against Australia on Tuesday - seemed at best unwelcome, at worst like a pointless interruption of a tremendously entertaining league season.

Roberto Gotta in Italy

As Cesare Prandelli approaches his tenth month in charge of Italy (in Italian parlance, he's the 'CT', commissario tecnico), his outlook on the potential of his side has grown ever more positive by the day. Wins in Slovenia and Ukraine in vastly different circumstances within the past five days have vindicated his optimism, and that they were achieved with a different formation and philosophy from the one he had set out to pursue last summer is even more remarkable.

Troubled giants struggle in Euro and African Nations Cup qualifying

With the qualifying series for both next year's European Championships and the African Cup of Nations roughly half-complete, a number of big names are in danger of missing out.

Jones, Pope and Stewart selected for Hall of Fame

Cobi Jones, who played more games for the U.S. men's team than anyone else, was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame on Tuesday along with three-time World Cup veterans Eddie Pope and Earnie Stewart.

The Hall of Fame itself is actually closed, but inductions continue...

Liverpool actively seeking stadium naming rights deal as Anfield may be rebranded

Liverpool's newly-appointed managing director Ian Ayre has revealed the club are actively seeking stadium naming rights partners, raising the possibility that Anfield may be rebranded.

Soon to be "This is Home Depot Stadium"...

Fans take boy to 'watch' his favourite team... even though he's dead and in a coffin

A young soccer fanatic was gunned down on the eve of a big match as he played football in a park.

But his friends decided not to let a simple thing like murder get in the way of his plans and took him to 'watch' his favourite team anyway.

They collected the coffin containing the body of 17-year-old Christopher Jacome from the funeral home and marched it into the General Santander stadium in Cucuta, Colombia, to join the 42,000-strong crowd ahead of their match with Envigado.

International Friendly Reports

Ireland 2 - 3 Uruguay
Gareth Maher at the Aviva Stadium

England 1 - 1 Ghana
Kevin McCarra at Wembley
Mark Lomas at Wembley
Phil McNulty at Wembley

Germany 1 - 2 Australia
Brett Taylor at Borussia-Park

International Friendly Report & Analyses: USA vs. Paraguay

It's still early, of course, but the chances are more likely that we'll remember this week's two U.S. national-team friendlies less for the results -- a 1-1 tie against Argentina and Tuesday's 1-0 loss to Paraguay -- than for the initial impacts made by some young American players.

After the Argentina game the name on the lips of most observers was Juan Agudelo, the 18-year-old forward who scored his second goal in three U.S. games. But the name that stood out on Tuesday was Timmy Chandler, the German-American speed merchant who celebrated his 21st birthday by making a significant impact as a right-sided defender and midfielder in his first U.S. start.

Davis: U.S. Player Ratings

Wahl: Three Thoughts

Euro 2012 Qualifying and International Friendlies: Tuesday Review

The Netherlands survived a scare Tuesday to beat Hungary 5-3 and maintain its perfect record in European Championship qualifying, while Spain extended its unblemished start to Group I with a 3-1 win at Lithuania.

Spain's 15 points puts it six ahead of the Czech Republic, which beat Liechtenstein 2-0.

Belgium beat Azerbaijan 4-1 to keep second place in Group A by a point from Turkey, which beat Austria 2-0. In Group C, Serbia drew 1-1 at Estonia and shares second place with a Slovenia side that drew 0-0 at Northern Ireland.

Adrian Mutu scored twice as Romania beat Luxembourg 3-1 for its first Group D win, while Israel won 1-0 at Georgia in Group F.


Rocking the International Boat

So it may be that international football chiefs need to act quickly to protect their money-spinning road show and the following radical framework is being floated as a solution in a long-running argument that will be won by club sides sooner rather than later:

• Reduce the size of qualifying groups by forcing the international minnows to play a qualifying competition of their own to win the right to play top nations.
• Scrap friendly internationals during the domestic season and replace them with a handful of international squad get-togethers during the club season.
• Play all qualifiers in a one-month period during the summer. This would stop the interruptions during the domestic season.
• The extra weeks created in the domestic season could mean a later kick-off to the Premier League programme, with a late September start a possibility.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ochocinco earns reserve spot on MLS team

After a five-day tryout proved that he was a good teammate who lacked enough soccer skills, NFL star Chad Ochocinco got what he was hoping for Tuesday — a spot on the reserve team for Sporting Kansas City.

Now he'll work out a couple of times a week with the MLS team's reserve squad, which is what he was hoping for all along.

"This is so awesome I'm an honorary member of SportingKC and can train with the reserve team as long as I want," Ochocinco said in a tweet. "Totally awesome ILuvKC."

I guess this is what you get to do when you are rich and famous. Suck at soccer and get a spot on the Wizards' reserve team...

German teenager admits throwing banana during Brazil v Scotland match

The mystery of who tossed a banana onto the field during Sunday's friendly meeting between Brazil and Scotland has been solved, with confirmation that the object was thrown by a German tourist with no racist intent.

Quite possibly the legs of the individual in question...

International Friendly Previews: USA vs. Paraguay

Tuesday's friendly in Nashville comes with the usual roll call of unknowns: Who might play? Who will rise or shine? Which side can muster greater motivation, etc.?

But we can safely predict this about the U.S. meeting with Paraguay down in The Volunteer State: it won't look much like Saturday's night's memorable occasion in New Jersey, when Bob Bradley's U.S. team fell under siege for 45 minutes, then rose admirably to punch back after intermission for an unlikely 1-1 draw.

A coming wave of U.S. lineup changes will alter the look Tuesday, for one thing.


Another Test for the U.S.

U.S. TV: 8pm EDT on Fox Soccer Channel

Ochocinco looks unimpressive in practice match with Sporting K.C.

The six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver seemed willing but unpolished during a practice game Monday, the fifth day of his tryout with Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer.

He will meet with coach Peter Vermes on Tuesday and neither man sounded optimistic that his hope of playing professionally would go much further than Monday's reserve game against the Kansas City Brass, a local development team.

It was his first organized soccer outing since the 10th grade.

Euro 2012 Qualifying: Tuesday Preview

Spain have a tricky trip to Lithuania, while the Netherlands are firm favourites against Hungary as a host of countries meet in Euro 2012 qualifying on Tuesday.

S. Darius and S. Girėnas Stadium, Kaunas, Lithuania

US businessman arrives in Italy to conclude £67.7m Roma takeover

The head of a group of American investors have arrived in Italy with the aim of concluding a deal to buy Roma. The Boston executive Thomas DiBenedetto is leading a group which is reportedly prepared to pay €77m (£67.72m) for a 67% share of the club.

DiBenedetto was mobbed by reporters and photographers upon arrival at Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport, saying "Forza Roma," before being ushered into a waiting car.

Hanging with Henry

We go behind the scenes with Thierry in New York.

Special Report's Georgie Thompson has spent a week with one of the greatest footballers of all time - Thierry Henry.

Georgie flew across the Atlantic and was given unprecedented access to the Red Bull New York striker as he prepared for the first game of the MLS season.

That's for you, Virginia...

Jonathan Wilson on Ghana

Ghana are ranked 16th in the world and what sets them apart in Africa is the quality of their young players.

Ghana graft new generation on to Africa's top side.

Jonathan Wilson on Russia

All is not well in the Russian national team and critics are blaming Andrey Arshavin and Dick Advocaat.

Russia seem to be going backwards as the sun sets on 'golden age'.

Fabio Capello hits out at José Mourinho over England job claim

Fabio Capello has brushed off claims by José Mourinho that the Portuguese was the Football Association's preferred choice to become England manager three years ago, pointedly saying he would never comment publicly on another job out of "respect" for the incumbent.

The build-up to Tuesday evening's friendly against Ghana saw Capello forced to justify his decision to field an experimental side at a sold-out Wembley and to defend his command of the English language. The 64-year-old insisted he needs only "100 words maximum" to express his instructions to his players, although he was reluctant to use many of them when confronted by Mourinho's comments.

Phil Ball in Prague

I arrived in Prague last Wednesday night and wandered through customs into the arrival zone. A chap waved a banner that had 'Ball' written on it, and although I thought it was a tad rude to just use the surname, I was relieved to see that someone had come to pick me up. The young chap had a dark suit and an electric green tie and he ushered me into his black Mercedes - very nice. And after the usual formalities, he realised that half an hour in silence (the airport is some way from the city) was not his cup of tea. "You must be the top dog for the conference," he quipped in excellent English, judging my reaction in the mirror. "Only the top dogs get the black Mercedes," he added. "If I'm the top dog," I replied, "I wouldn't like to see the other breeds that are coming"- which got a laugh from behind the steering wheel.

Monday, March 28, 2011

SSN Match Report: Chicago Fire Opening Day

Early season is generally a time for optimism in sports but for Fire fans of the last four years who've seen multiple management teams and huge roster overhauls it's generally a pessimistic period and this season started no differently; a returning coach who never started the same lineup twice, a roster returning three starting players and shorn of name value, replaced with a bunch of cheap foreign players nobody had ever heard of and a front office which seems to have been gutted for the third time in four years. The team looked decent in winning a point on the road to MLS Cup-finalist Dallas last weekend so Fire fans headed to Toyota Park Saturday with a curious sense of optimism. The lack of 38 degree weather and pouring rain provided contrast to our last few opening weekends but the beautiful sunshine came accompanied by 29 degree temperatures and high winds resulting in the traditional disincentive for walk-up crowds.

The Fire this year are a curious mix of cheap B-grade foreign talent, (Josep Mikulic, Bratislav Ristic and Marko Maric from Eastern Europe, Gaston Puerari and Diego Chavez from Uruguay), young American washouts from Europe (Mike Vidiera, Gabriel Ferrari), seasoned vets returning to MLS, (Cory Gibbs, Gonzalo Segares returning from Cyprus) and mid-level NCAA talent. Returning midfield players Patrick Nyarko and Marco Pappa are supposed to provide the supply lines from midfield but both have somewhat spotty records - Nyarko is great with the ball at his feet but seemly afraid to shoot when through on goal and Pappa is the Arjen Robben of MLS - dangerous on the dribble and a terror when shooting from distance but seemingly unwilling or unable to combine with the players around him, failing to make the team better as a whole. Fans used to seeing management splash out cash for name players have been wary of Head Coach Carlos De Los Cobos' tactical approach and team selection but the decent start on the road had fans buzzing about the work rate of our new imported strike team after watching years of Brian McBride, Collins John and Cuauathemoc Blanco amble about with little drive or energy.

Section 8 was in fine form from the beginning. Our new fan relations team has taken a lot of initiatives to put butts in the seats; some dubious, (Groupon!), and some quite savvy like providing incentives to Section 8 to sell a larger block of seats, supposedly 800 in all. The newly expanded section was packed and in good voice with a now-typical array of flags and banners. Healthy derision was heaped on the KC franchise including chanting, ("You are still the Wizards"), and a couple hilarious banners - one showing the old KC Wiz logo from the beginning of MLS next to a banner of the Simpsons Nelson Muntz pointing and laughing. The Fire started play well, winning the majority of possession in midfield and quickly moving the ball up to the forwards. Our defense, shifting between a three and four man line depending on Segares' positioning on the field, mostly looked solid but provided a new notable scares including a near own goal by rookie defender Jalil Anibaba which elicited a fantastic save from Sean Johnson. Just before halftime the Fire took a lead after Puerari beat Mexican Wizard Omar Bravo and was hauled down. The result was a red card to Bravo with the penalty converted with gusto by Chavez. The Fire doubled their lead just before the half thanks to an astute ball from Vidiera and a wonderful finish by Puerari. Up 2-0 with a man advantage at halftime and Fire fans were smiling despite the frigid conditions.

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Sadly the second half saw the Fire revert to the kind of form which saw them barely eke out a point despite having a man advantage in Dallas. Sean Johnson spilled an easy shot after a corner and the loose ball was easily finished by KC. Shortly afterward Marco Pappa scored a slow-motion golazo which will be in consideration for MLS goal of the season, taking a ball from Vidiera and dribbling through the entire defense before slotting the ball past KC's fat Danish albino lab rat of a keeper, Jimmy Nielsen. Shortly afterward Segares sent an appalling back pass to Johnson which was easily intercepted by Teal Bunbury, who took it past a jogging Mickulic for an easy goal. Fortunately that was all that KC had to offer and the Fire were able to wrap up the full three points after watching a somewhat pointless display from substitutes Dominic Oduro and Orr Barouch.

The current Fire roster, especially the hard work and happy attitudes of our new Uruguayan front line, has most Fire fans feeling pleasantly surprised. There are a lot of questions still to be answered especially in midfield where we have solid players who don't seem to combine particularly well to keep the ball and in defense where the roles still seem fuzzy and Sean Johnson needs to take better command. Still this is MLS, where we've learned that depth is often more important than star power, and it's quite possible that the doom and gloom which were forecast by many (myself included) is unfounded.

Grow up, Mario! Italy chiefs warn Balotelli as Man City launch darts prank investigation

Mario Balotelli has been warned he must 'mature' before he can return to the Italy team as Manchester City launch an internal investigation over an alleged training ground incident.

The 20-year-old Italy striker faces potential disciplinary action after it was reported that he threw at least 'one dart' in the direction of youth-team players at the club's Carrington HQ.

Manchester United set to play American all-star team in summer friendly

Manchester United could take on David Beckham and Thierry Henry in the same game later this year after agreeing a deal to face the MLS All-Stars at New Jersey’s Red Bull Arena in July.

United are due to confirm the final details of their summer plans when Ferguson attends a press conference in New York on Tuesday. But plans are understood to be in place for United to launch their trip on the west coast with a game against Seattle Sounders.

United are also due to play in Chicago before ending their trip with a clash against Barcelona in Washington D.C following the All-Stars game.

Rogério Ceni: 100 Goals and Counting

The goalscoring keeper may not be a new concept, but the São Paulo stopper stands alone among hot shots between the sticks.

Monday MLS Breakdown

Lots of people offered their counsel when Charlie Davies started to ponder his next professional move last fall.

Davies' coach at Sochaux thought he should move elsewhere on loan to find the first team action he needed after returning from life-threatening and body-mangling injuries suffered in a October 2009 car accident. His agent, his family members and his friends all had their say as well.

In the end, Davies relied on that advice and used his own broadened perspective to select his destination.

International Friendly Reports & Fallout: USA vs. Argentina

United States
1 - 1

Report I
Report II

Wahl: Three Thoughts
Wahl: Agudelo the one to watch

USA Winners & Losers
USA Player Ratings

Euro 2012 Qualifying: Weekend Review, Reports & Current Tables

England, Germany and the Republic of Ireland all recorded victories in their Euro 2012 qualifying fixtures. Group G leaders England and Montengro received a huge boost as Bulgaria and Switzerland drew 0-0 in Sofia. The result leaves the pair six points adrift at the halfway stage with Wales anchored at the foot of the table. It will take a miracle for either side to overturn the deficit and progress to next summer's tournament. In Group F, Georgia maintained their superb form under coach Temuri Ketsbaia as Levan Kobiashvili struck the only goal in the last minute to condemn Croatia to their first Euro 2012 qualifying defeat. Group B leaders Russia were again left frustrated in front of goal as Armenia secured a battling goalless draw at the Yerevan Republican Stadium. Bosnia-Herzegovina boosted their hopes of qualification by coming from behind to beat Romania 2-1.


Wales 0 - 2 England
Richard Williams at the Millennium Stadium
Phil McNulty at the Millennium Stadium
Tom Adams at the Millennium Stadium
Five Things We Learned

Ireland 1 - 2 Macedonia
Gareth Maher at Aviva Stadium

Serbia 2 - 1 Northern Ireland

Norway 1 - 1 Denmark

Group Tables

International Friendly Reports & Fallout: Scotland vs. Brazil

Scotland 0 - 2 Brazil
Tom Adams at
The Emirates Stadium

Ewan Murray at
The Emirates Stadium

Racists? Rubbish! Scotland fans deny Neymar's claims after banana is thrown

Ewan Murray: Jeering Neymar does not make Scottish football fans racist

The Fifth Official: Captain calamity and no never Neymar

Few of us like Monday but The Fifth Official does, for it brings with it a chance for him to point the finger and laugh. Here he pulls out the pretty, the puzzling and the downright pig-ugly from a week brimming with potential victims.