Germany must seize chances against Italy

World champions Germany must seize any opportunities they get against Italy in Saturday’s Euro 2016 quarterfinal as their foes’ rock-like defence was unlikely to offer many chances, coach Joachim Loew said.

Germany did not under-estimate Italy, he added, even though going into the tournament, Antonio Conte’s team were considered one of the least talented sides they had fielded for decades.

“We have analysed Italy. They don’t have only defensive quality but also in attack. That is what we have prepared our side for, we are aware of what we are going to confront tomorrow,” Loew told a news conference on Friday.

“You must take your chances against Italy because you might not have so many as against Northern Ireland.”

In the battle between Europe’s top two traditional powers, the Germans must break down a defence built around the Juventus quartet of Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli. Italy have conceded one goal in four games.

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Giggs to leave Man United after 29 years

Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs will leave Old Trafford after rejecting Jose Mourinho’s offer of a reduced backroom role, according to British media reports on Friday.

Giggs is the most decorated player in United’s illustrious history and he amassed a record 963 appearances and 35 major trophies before going on to serve as an assistant to David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.

But the 42-year-old is set to quit United because he feels snubbed both by the club’s hierarchy, who reportedly told him he would be offered the chance to succeed Van Gaal when the Dutchman left, and Mourinho, who opted not to give him a senior role in his coaching team.

Giggs had one more year on his contract as assistant manager, but Mourinho was said to be concerned the former Wales winger had distanced himself from both Moyes and Van Gaal rather than offering public support during the team’s struggles in recent years.

Mourinho was also believed to be worried that Paul Scholes, a close friend and former United colleague of Giggs, had become a very vocal critic of Moyes and Van Gaal.

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Kompany confident of Belgium’s chances

Belgium’s improving potency in front of goal at the European Championship will fill them full of confidence ahead of their quarterfinal clash against Wales in Lille later on Friday, injured defender Vincent Kompany has said.

After losing their opening game 2-0 against Italy, Belgium scored eight goals in their next three matches, including a 4-0 rout of Hungary in the last 16 in Toulouse.

“Our squad is on a cloud right now and the players have every right to be positive about our form going into the quarterfinals, and about our chances of going much further in this tournament,” Kompany wrote on the BBC website.

The Manchester City captain, who missed the tournament with a thigh injury, however acknowledged that Wales beat the Belgians 1-0 in Cardiff and drew in Brussels in qualifying.

“The Wales team will not need to watch a lot of videos before the game, because they know us so well – and we know them so well too,” Kompany added.

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Del Bosque quits after Spain fail in Euro 2016

Vicente del Bosque quit as Spain’s coach after the defending champions crashed out of Euro 2016, ending one of football’s most successful managerial dynasties.

Del Bosque, 65, won a World Cup and a European Championship in a glorious era for Spanish football. He also won the Champions League twice with Real Madrid.

His legacy was tainted by Spain’s disastrous first round exit at the 2014 World Cup and now their defeat in the last 16 at the European Championship. Some of the team’s greatest players are also expected to retire soon. Naijabet

“Without a doubt, I have no intention to remain as coach, but you have to be discreet,” Del Bosque told Spanish public radio RNE late on Thursday.

“No matter what the result of the Euros, I had no doubt about what my future would be.

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Neymar to sign five-year contract with Barca

Brazilian striker Neymar will sign a new five-year contract with Barcelona this week, his agents said on Thursday, ending speculation over his future at the Spanish champions.

The international, 24, is widely regarded as one of the finest talents in world football and is part of the much-feared attacking trident alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez at Barcelona.

“The athlete, along with his family, has decided to stay with FC Barcelona and will renew his contract for five more years,” said NN Consultoria, the agency representing the international forward, 24.

“The contract will be formalised this week. The decision puts an end to speculation about the star’s future.” Naijabet

Neymar wrote on Twitter: “I am very happy to continue living this dream. Long live Barca and long live Catalonia!”

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Ronaldo’s Euro dream still alive after shootout win

Cristiano Ronaldo took his dream of an international title another step closer when Portugal beat Poland in a penalty shootout to reach the European Championship semifinals.

Robert Lewandowski scored barely 100 seconds into the latest night of Euro 2016 drama before Portugal unleashed the player who many say could lead the country’s post-Ronaldo era.

Making his first start at Euro 2016, Renato Sanches, a powerful 18-year-old and already a 35 million euro ($38 million) player, smashed home a 25 metre drive to equalise the match that went into extra time and then penalties.

Sanches followed Ronaldo in hitting home his spot kick as Portugal won 5-3, having again failed to win a game in the alloted 90 minutes. That did not prevent relieved Portuguese celebrations.

Ronaldo said it had been an “unforgetable” night as Portugal had reached their target of a semifinal place. “Everyone should be congratulated.”

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