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Iceland pulled off a massive soccer upset on Monday
Iceland defeated England, 2-1
Iceland pulled off a massive soccer upset on Monday
Boston Globe:

Iceland pulled off one of the biggest shocks in European Championship history by beating England 2-1 in the round of 16 on Monday, continuing the astonishing run of the smallest nation at the tournament.

England slumped to its most embarrassing loss in a generation after taking the lead in the fourth minute through Wayne Rooney’s penalty.

Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson took advantage of defensive shortcomings by England to put Iceland ahead by the 18th minute, and the Icelanders defended superbly in the second half to earn the biggest victory in their history.

The country of 330,000 — in its first major tournament — next plays host nation France in Saint-Denis on Sunday, while England heads home early again for another post-tournament inquest. England’s players slumped to the ground after the final whistle, their heads in their hands.

England manager Roy Hodgson said after the game he would not return as coach.

For a soccer nation of England’s standing, its record in major tournaments is woeful. The English have still never won a knockout-stage game abroad in the European Championship in eight attempts and haven’t won a match beyond the group stage of a major tournament since 2006.

This defeat will probably go down as England’s most humiliating since losing 1-0 to the United States in 1950 World Cup.

Even more so since its team of Premier League stars took the lead on a balmy night at the Stade de Nice after Raheem Sterling — a contentious pick by Hodgson on the left wing — was clipped by goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson as he prodded the ball past him. Rooney converted the penalty into the bottom-left corner.

Iceland struck back immediately through Sigurdsson, volleying in at the far post after Kari Arnason’s flick-on from a long throw. Sigthorsson then took advantage of more slack defending by England, getting time and space to shoot from just inside the area. Goalkeeper Joe Hart got a hand to the effort but the ball squirmed in.

Iceland was relatively untroubled in the second half as England’s passing and touch deserted its players, with Rooney especially culpable.

Posted by Staff on 06/27/2016 at 5:33 PM - PERMALINK | EMAIL | DISCUSS | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
Soccer Shocker: Lionel Messi Says He's Retiring From Argentina's National Team
Lionel Messi after losing to Chile
Soccer Shocker: Lionel Messi Says He's Retiring From Argentina's National Team

Lionel Messi says it's over. He's retiring from Argentina's national team.

After losing three previous Copa America finals, Lionel Messi on Sunday night had another chance to win. Argentina and Chile were locked in a scoreless tie, and the match would be decided by penalty kicks. Messi bent down to adjust the ball and backed up to get a running start. The five-time FIFA Ballon d'Or winner licked his lip, gave the goalie a quick appraising glance, and sent a cannonball-like shot over the goal, missing for Argentina when it mattered most.

In a promo video before the game, Sports Illustrated called Messi the "greatest soccer player ever" and compared him to Muhammad Ali, Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan. He has had a celebrated career with FC Barcelona in Spain. He's famous for breathtaking shots, often taken after a blur of footwork to get past defenders.

But aside from an Olympic gold in 2008, Messi has never been able to bring home a major international championship playing for his home country.

He was clearly devastated by Sunday night's 4-2 loss to Chile and the part he played in it. The BBC quoted Messi after the game as saying:

" 'For me, the national team is over,' he said after defeat by Chile in the Copa America final. 'I've done all I can. It hurts not to be a champion.' ...

" 'It's been four finals, I tried,' added Messi, who made his debut for Argentina in 2005 and has played 113 times for his country.

" 'It was the thing I wanted the most, but I couldn't get it, so I think it's over.' ...

" 'It's very hard, but the decision is taken. Now I will not try more and there will be no going back.' "

Posted by Staff on 06/27/2016 at 5:05 PM - PERMALINK | EMAIL | DISCUSS | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
USA Defeated 1-0 by Colombia in 2016 Copa America Centenario Third Place Match
USA Defeated 1-0 by Colombia
USA Defeated 1-0 by Colombia in 2016 Copa America Centenario Third Place Match
US Soccer:

The U.S. Men’s National Team secured a second fourth place finish in its Copa America history after a 1-0 loss to Colombia at University of Phoenix Stadium in the teams’ final match of the 2016 Copa America Centenario.

The USA had to once again shuffle its defense, this time due to injury, as Matt Besler was drafted into the middle alongside Geoff Cameron and Michael Orozco came in at right back. Additionally, veteran goalkeeper Tim Howard saw his first action of the competition, starting in goal in place of No. 1 ‘keeper Brad Guzan.

The reshuffled defense was breached in the 31st minute as Colombia attacked down the right wing before sending the ball into the center of the pitch just outside the U.S. box for James Rodriguez to play in right back Santiago Arias, whose headed pass was bundled across the line by a sliding Carlos Bacca.

While the U.S. had its chances to score in the second half, notably on a Clint Dempsey free kick and a Bobby Wood shot that hit the right post, the Yanks were unable to find the net despite U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann also bringing on attacking talents Christian Pulisic and Darlington Nagbe late in the match.

Posted by Staff on 06/25/2016 at 5:23 PM - PERMALINK | EMAIL | DISCUSS | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
Chile embarrasses Mexico, 7-0, in Copa America quarterfinal
Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa
Chile embarrasses Mexico, 7-0, in Copa America quarterfinal
Los Angeles Times:

Chile, perhaps more than any other team, came into this month’s Copa America Centenario feeling it had something to prove.

Although it is the defending champion, it wasn’t one of the four teams seeded into the tournament. Although it’s ranked fifth in the world, most of the pre-Centenario attention focused on Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay and Brazil.

But if Chile was overlooked, Saturday it made sure it could no longer be ignored, dominating Mexico, 7-0, Saturday before a stunned pro-Mexico crowd of 70,547 at Levi’s Stadium.

With the win Chile moves on to the Centenario semifinals Wednesday in Chicago, where it will meet Colombia. Unbeaten Argentina plays the U.S. in the other semifinal Tuesday in Houston.

Mexico, meanwhile, goes home embarrassed, its national-record 22-match unbeaten streak – and its pride – both broken by the most one-sided loss in a competitive match in Mexican history.

Posted by Staff on 06/18/2016 at 5:13 PM - PERMALINK | EMAIL | DISCUSS | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
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