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England’s Southgate labels Maguire treatment ‘ridiculous’

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Gareth Southgate has labelled criticism of Harry Maguire as a “a joke” and claimed the “ridiculous treatment” of the Manchester United defender is “beyond anything I’ve ever seen.”

Maguire came on for the second half of Tuesday’s 3-1 friendly win over Scotland at Hampden Park and was jeered throughout by the home supporters.

England were leading 2-0 through strikes from Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham before Maguire scored a 67th-minute own goal to prompt further ironic cheers.

Harry Kane settled the contest with his 59th international goal nine minutes from time as England supporters continued to chant Maguire’s name in response to sustained abuse.

Maguire was also cheered by Arsenal fans when appearing as a substitute for Manchester United at Emirates Stadium earlier this month and Southgate believes the negativity is the product of unfair coverage.

“From a Scotland fan’s point of view, I get it and I have absolutely no complaints with what they did,” began Southgate. “It is a consequence of ridiculous treatment of him for a long period of time, frankly. I think our fans recognised ‘OK, there might be a bit of heat from our own supporters but we’re not going to have it from others getting into him.’

“But it’s a joke. I’ve never known a player treated like he is, not by the Scottish fans but by our own commentators, pundits whatever it is. They’ve created something beyond anything I’ve ever seen. He’s been an absolute stalwart in the second most successful England team in decades.

“He’s been an absolutely key part of that. I’ve talked about the importance of our senior players, he’s been crucial amongst that. Every time he goes on the field, the resilience he shows, the balls he shows is absolutely incredible. He’s a top player, we are all with him and our fans were brilliant with him tonight.”

He added to beIN Sports: “The reaction tonight is a consequence of idiots really from our side who have created that environment.”

Asked how Maguire was, Southgate continued: “He’s good, he’s great. We’ve had a good win. He’s been a big part of that. He’s gone and spoken with the media because that’s the sort of lad he is. He’s fronted up as he always does. Enormous credit to his character.”

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Man City suffer Haaland injury scare ahead of FA Cup semi-final

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Pep Guardiola has revealed Erling Haaland could miss Manchester City’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola has revealed Erling Haaland could miss Manchester City’s FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday.

Haaland was substituted before the start of extra time in City’s Champions League quarter-final second leg defeat against Real Madrid on Wednesday.

Guardiola said after the penalty shoot-out loss that the Norway striker asked to be withdrawn but did not give a reason why.

The City boss has now confirmed Haaland suffered an injury against Real and suggested it was not certain his leading scorer would recover in time for the FA Cup holders’ clash with Chelsea.

“We will see. It was a tough game, a lot of action, high intensity for both sides,” Guardiola told reporters on Friday.

“Erling felt something, a muscular issue. That’s why he told me he could not continue.

“The doctor said he had a little bit of niggles, a little problem, we will see how his evolution is in the next hours.”

While Guardiola sweats on Haaland’s fitness, City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne should be involved against Chelsea after being taken off during extra time against Real due to fatigue.

Given City’s hectic schedule, Guardiola conceded it is understandable that players are tired at this stage of the season.

“It’s normal with the amount of games we are playing this season and the previous seasons and not much recovery, and extra time and high intensity,” he said.

“We put a lot of pressure in our game and that’s why the fatigue is there. They are human beings. They are not a machine. We are used to it.”

The agonising shoot-out defeat by Real ended City’s hopes of winning a Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup treble for a second consecutive season.

But they remain on course to repeat the domestic double and Guardiola is determined to ensure the Premier League leaders bounce back from their European frustration.

“We don’t have another option. I don’t want us to feel sorry for ourselves,” he said.

“In football, you lose games. We performed at our best and we were not able to win. You have to accept it.

“We did everything. We know it, they know it, all the world know it, but it was not enough. When it’s not enough, it’s a bad night. So congratulations (to Real) and, tomorrow, FA Cup.”

 

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Sports federations condemn Olympic prize money for athletics

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An organisation of Olympic sports federations on Friday said the decision by World Athletics to award prize money to gold medallists

An organisation of Olympic sports federations on Friday said the decision by World Athletics to award prize money to gold medallists in its events “undermines the values of Olympism”.

The Association of Summer Olympic International Federations (ASOIF) released a statement which made clear how unhappy it was at the announcement by World Athletics president Sebastian Coe that track and field gold medallists at the Paris Games will receive $50,000 (47,000 euros).

World Athletics’ move, announced last week, was a first for a federation at an Olympics. It said it would extend prize money to all medallists in Los Angeles in four years’ time.

ASOIF, which has 30 full members and two associate members, said: “This move undermines the values of Olympism and the uniqueness of the Games. One cannot and should not put a price on an Olympic gold medal.

“This disregards the less privileged athletes lower down the final standings.”

It said other Olympic sports cannot afford to offer prize money.

“Not all sports could or should replicate this move, even if they wanted to,” said ASOIF.

The organisation added that it accepted schemes by National Olympic Committees and governments to “reward athletes for outstanding performances…for purposes of national pride and …consistently across all the sports at the Olympic Games.”

It also said that there had been a consensus that, where sports had a surplus, Olympic revenue should “be invested as a priority into development and integrity.”

The organisation was also unhappy that Coe had announced the move without warning to its fellow federations, although it had informed the International Olympic Committee on the day of the announcement.

“ASOIF was neither informed nor consulted in advance of the announcement, which was made one day after the ASOIF General Assembly,” it said, adding “it is important and fair to discuss the matter at stake with the other federations in advance”.

World Athletics responded in a statement to AFP that its decision to award prize money was “about underscoring our unwavering commitment to empowering the athletes and recognising the critical role they play in the success of any Olympic Games”.

It said it agreed it was impossible to put a “marketable value” on winning an Olympic medal.

“But we think it is important to make sure some of the revenues generated by our athletes at the Olympic Games are directly returned to those who make the Games the global spectacle that it is,” World Athletics added.

The total World Athletics prize fund of $2.4 million will come from the International Olympic Committee’s revenue share allocation that the federation receives every four years.

 

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Nagelsmann to remain Germany national football coach till 2026

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Julian Nagelsmann has signed a contract extension with the German men’s national team, the domestic football association

Julian Nagelsmann has signed a contract extension with the German men’s national team, the domestic football association said Friday, putting to bed speculation of a quick return to club football.

The new deal keeps Nagelsmann with Germany for an additional two years and will see him coach the team at the 2026 World Cup in North America.

“This is a decision from the heart. It is a great honour to coach the national team,” Nagelsmann said in a statement.

The announcement comes just a few weeks before Germany is set to host the 2024 European championships over June and July.

Nagelsmann said he was “moved by the enthusiasm of the fans” after victories in recent friendlies against France and the Netherlands.

“Together, we now want to have a successful home Euros,” said Nagelsmann, whose deal with the national team was set to run out after the summer tournament.

The German Football Association (DFB) was already “absolutely convinced” of the need to retain Nagelsmann’s services, national team director Rudi Voeller said in the statement.

Nagelsmann was a “brilliant tactician, who not only has great knowledge of the game, but has the passion to motivate and inspire each and every one of his players”, said the legendary German striker turned executive.
– Bayern links –

Nagelsmann’s decision to stick with Germany sent a “strong signal”, DFB president Bernd Neuendorf said in the statement.

The extension meant Germany “can plan with a degree of stability” beyond Euro 2024, Neuendorf said.

It also silenced rumours that Nagelsmann could make a quick return to club football after the tournament and little more than a year after leaving Bayern Munich.

The 36-year-old coach was “on the wish list” for a lot of top clubs in Europe, Neuendorf said.

Nagelsmann was strongly linked with a return to Bayern, who sacked the native Bavarian in March last year after a run of poor results.

Bayern jumped at the chance to replace Nagelsmann with former Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel but things have only gone from bad to worse for the German giants.

This season under Tuchel, Bayern surrendered their Bundesliga crown to Bayer Leverkusen, ending a streak of 11 straight titles.

The failure in the league means Tuchel will leave Bayern at the end of the season.

A successor has yet to be named but two widely touted candidates, Leverkusen’s Xabi Alonso and Nagelsmann, are now out of the running.

Germany will be looking to perform on home turf after being dumped out of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar at the group stage.

A miserable run of results following the tournament was enough for DFB management to decide they could not continue with coach Hansi Flick.

Germany’s fortunes have since picked up with Nagelsmann at the helm, boosted by the return to the fold of experienced midfielder Toni Kroos.

Euro 2024 kicks off in Munich on June 14, when Germany face Scotland at Bayern’s Allianz Arena.

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