Rashford in Euro squad, Townsend out

Manchester United’s teenage striker Marcus Rashford was included in England’s final 23-man Euro 2016 squad announced on Tuesday as Danny Drinkwater and Andros Townsend dropped out.

Rashford, 18, scored within three minutes of his England debut in Friday’s 2-1 win over Australia, having netted eight times in 18 games since making his United debut in February.

His emergence was thought to have cast doubt on Daniel Sturridge’s place, but the Liverpool player was named as one of five strikers despite missing the Australia game with a calf problem.

Originally named in manager Roy Hodgson’s provisional 26-man squad, Leicester City midfielder Drinkwater and Newcastle United winger Townsend made way. Naija and Bet

Injury victim Fabian Delph, the Manchester City midfielder, had previously been omitted.

England 23-man squad for Euro 2016

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Reus left out of Germany’s final Euro squad

Winger Marco Reus was left out of Germany’s final Euro 2016 squad on his 27th birthday on Tuesday over injury concerns, missing out on his second consecutive major tournament.

Coach Joachim Loew also cut 20-year-old midfielder Julian Brandt along with his Bayer Leverkusen team mate Karim Bellarabi and defensive midfielder Sebastian Rudy.

Borussia Dortmund’s Reus, who was ruled out of the 2014 World Cup after sustaining an injury in the final warmup game, would struggle to get through a one-month tournament due to long-standing fitness problems, Loew said.

The 27-year-old, considered among the most talented German players of his generation, had another injury-plagued season with Dortmund and went into the German training camp nursing an adductor muscle injury. Naijabet

“The medical staff could not give a clear prognosis for Marco,” Loew told reporters.

“He has massive injury problems and the medical staff was very skeptical about his ability to last through the coming weeks and such a grueling tournament.

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Kane always the best

As the young Harry Kane dominated the penalty area with a dazzling display, the future spearhead of England’s attack presented his coach with a welcome thought – ‘fantastic I’ve got a goalkeeper’.

Hot on the heels of another brilliant season with Tottenham Hotspur, Kane heads to Euro 2016 established as one of the Premier League’s most feared forwards and a key figure for his country.

But the 22-year-old, who has scored 59 goals for Tottenham over the last two years, appeared set for great things in a completely different position when he took one of the first significant steps at Ridgeway Rovers, the junior club that helped David Beckham on the road to stardom.

Kane was born close to Ridgeway’s base in Chingford, a modest commuter town located just beyond the urban sprawl of east London.

So when Kane and his parents saw an advert taken out by Ridgeway in a local paper, he immediately set off to emulate Manchester United and England legend Beckham.  Naija and Bet

But as Dave Bricknell, who was then Ridgeway’s chairman and coach, recalls, it was not as a striker that Kane first caught his eye.

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Messi tax fraud trial begins in Barcelona

Barcelona’s five-times soccer World Player of the Year Lionel Messi went on trial on Tuesday along with his father on accusations of defrauding the Spanish state of millions of euros (dollars).

Argentinian-born striker Messi and his father Jorge Horacio Messi, who have both denied the allegations, were due to appear in the Barcelona court on Thursday, according to a judicial document.

A previous court ruled that Messi, 28, could have known about and approved the creation of a web of shell companies allegedly used to evade taxes on income from image rights. Spain’s tax office accused both men in 2013 of defrauding the government of 4.2 million euros ($4.67 million) between 2007 and 2009. Naija and Bet

According to the prosecutor’s office, which has proposed jail terms of up to 22 months, revenue was hidden using shell companies in Uruguay, Belize, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Messi and his father paid five million euros to the tax authorities as a “corrective” measure after being formally investigated in June 2013.

Messi has been resident in Barcelona since 2000 and has had Spanish citizenship since 2005.

Nigeria draw Brazil, others at WC

Nigeria’s Flamingoes will campaign in difficult Group C at the forthcoming Fifa U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan.

The draws for the biennial football showpiece at the Al-Hussein Cultural Centre in downtown Amman saw the nation’s campaigners pitched in a clearly tough group together with Brazil, England and Korea DPR.

Other Africa’s representatives at the football event, Cameroon and Ghana, the best African performers in the competition, were pitched in Group B and D respectively.

Flamingoes have reached the quarterfinals in the last three editions of the biennial football competition namely Trinidad and Tobago 2010, Azerbaijan 2012 and Costa Rica 2014 and qualified for this year’s finals after overwhelming the Southern African sides, Namibia and South Africa on home and away. Naijabet

The Bala Nkiyu-tutored side are expected to put up a brilliant performance in Jordan at least to better their past performances.

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Time is now for weary Messi, Argentina

Lionel Messi must shrug off the gruelling demands of a globe-trotting schedule if he is to fulfill his dream of leading Argentina to a first major tournament victory in 23 years at the Copa America Centenario.

The Barcelona superstar heads into the tournament having barely had a moment’s rest for four years, with commitments for club and country meaning he has not had a summer off since 2013.

The punishing nature of Messi’s commitments are illustrated by his hectic preparations for the Copa, where Argentina open against Chile at Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers, on June 6.

Messi left Spain after Barcelona’s Copa del Rey victory over Sevilla on May 22 in order to be in Argentina for the Albiceleste’s friendly against Honduras in San Juan five days later.

The 28-year-old was then due to return to Spain after that friendly to attend the opening of his trial for tax fraud this week.

Following that hearing, Messi faces another long-haul journey to California to link up with Argentina’s Copa squad. Naijabet.com

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Ronaldo not missed as Portugal win

Portugal made sure the absence of top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo, resting the day after after Real Madrid’s Champions League triumph, went unnoticed as they thrashed Norway 3-0 in a Euro 2016 warm-up on Sunday.

Ronaldo would have been impressed with the finishing of his international teammates as Ricardo Quaresma and Raphael Guerreiro netted spectacular goals before Eder added a clinical third at the Dragao stadium.

The Portuguese started in an adventurous 4-3-3 formation and it soon paid off as 32-year old winger Quaresma fired them ahead against Norway, who failed to make the Euros, with a viciously swerving shot from the edge of the area in the 13th minute.

Giving his markers a roasting all night with dazzling footwork before he was substituted on the hour, the unsettled and often inconsistent Quaresma rolled back the years to show why he was once regarded as one of Europe’s hot prospects. Naijabet

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Bale wants more European glory

Wales winger Gareth Bale has set his sights on next month’s Euro 2016 in France after playing an integral role in helping Spanish side Real Madrid claim their 11th European Cup on Saturday.

Zinedine Zidane’s men overcame local rivals Atletico Madrid 5-3 on penalties after the tense Champions League final finished 1-1 at the San Siro in Milan.

Bale has been pivotal for Wales, scoring seven goals during the European qualifiers, and led the country to their first international tournament finals since 1958.

The 26-year-old suffered from cramp during Real’s victory but he reassured Wales he would be fit when the 24-team tournament kicks off on June 10. Naijabet

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Busquets signs new contract with Barcelona

Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets has renewed his commitment to the Catalan club by signing a new five-year contract, the club said on Friday.

The defensive midfielder and Spain international made his Barcelona debut in 2008 under then-coach Pep Guardiola, a former teammate of his father Carles.

Busquets has won six La Liga titles, five King’s Cups and three Champions Leagues in eight seasons with Barca, and has committed to stay at the club until 2021, with an option to extend his contract to 2013. Naijabet

Barcelona also announced the new contract contains a buy-out clause of 200 million euros ($223 million).

Barca are expected to hand a new deal to Brazil international Neymar before the start of the new season.

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Rio welcomes “true winner” Mourinho

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has welcomed Friday’s appointment of “true winner” Jose Mourinho as manager at Old Trafford, saying the Portuguese’s latest challenge will be his most exciting.

The 53-year-old replaces Louis van Gaal who was sacked on Monday, two days after his side won the FA Cup, United’s first trophy in three years.

Ferdinand, who won six Premier League trophies with the club, said Mourinho would have to teach the team how to start winning again after the club missed out on Champions League football for the second time in three years. Naija and Bet

“This is Jose Mourinho’s most exciting and most challenging job yet,” the former England centre half wrote on his Facebook page.

“The first thing he needs to do is instil a ‘winning mentality’ back into the club. One thing I can tell Manchester United fans is that they have got themselves a true winner in all aspects. His CV shows success.”

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