Euro 2016 Pick 'Em Champion: Bender: With Portugal's 1-0 victory over France Sunday, the SportsFilter Euro 2016 pick 'em contest has been won by Bender, followed by rcade and owlhouse. Yerfatma claims the Costanza.
Euro 2016 Pick 'Em: Final: The Euro 2016 final will be played Sunday at 3 p.m. EDT when Portugal faces the host nation France. SportsFilter's pick 'em contest is led by Rcade, Owlhouse and Grum@work. Pick the winning team, score and other categories.
Euro 2016 Pick 'Em: Semifinals: The Euro 2016 semifinals begin today at 3 p.m. EDT when Wales faces Portugal. After the quarterfinals, SportsFilter's pick 'em contest is led by Owlhouse, followed by Billsaysthis and Tron7. For this round, pick the winner of each game, the score of each game and one goal scorer per game.
Euro 2016 Pick 'Em: Quarterfinals: The Euro 2016 quarterfinals begin Thursday at 3 p.m. EDT when Poland faces Portugal. After the group phase and round of 16, SportsFilter's pick 'em contest is led by Owlhouse, followed by Bender and Yerfatma. For this round, pick the winner of each game, the score of each game and one goal scorer per game.
Copa America Pick 'Em Champion: Rcade: With Chile's 4-2 victory over Argentina on penalty kicks after a 0-0 match, the SportsFilter Copa America Centenario Pick 'Em has been won by Rcade, followed by Billsaysthis in second and Tron7 in third. I congratulate you all, but mostly myself.
Lionel Messi retires from Argentina after Copa America final loss to Chile: Asked if he were retiring, the 29-year old said, "I tried my hardest. It's been four finals, and I was not able to win. I tried everything possible. It hurts me more than anyone, but it is evident that this is not for me. I want more than anyone to win a title with the national team, but unfortunately, it did not happen." The news comes off the back of Messi's criticising the Argentine football federation (AFA) ahead of the final and revealing in a news conference on Friday that he had a backlog of complaints with the AFA.
Copa America Pick 'Em: Finals: The Copa America Centenario finishes this weekend with a U.S./Colombia third-place game at 8 p.m. EDT on Saturday and an Argentina/Chile championship game on 8 p.m. Sunday. Billsaysthis leads our contest with Tron7 3 points behind. For this round, pick the winner of each game, the score of each game, one goal scorer per game and some additional props.
Euro 2016 Pick 'Em: Round of 16: The Euro 2016 round of 16 begins Saturday at 9 a.m. EDT when Switzerland faces Poland. After the group stage, the top 3 are Yerfatma, Flannelenigma and Holden. For this round, pick the winner of each game, the score of each game and one goal scorer per game.
Copa America Pick 'Em: Semifinals: The Copa America quarterfinals begin at 9 p.m. EDT Tuesday night when the U.S. hosts Argentina. After the quarterfinals, Rcade leads our contest followed by Tron7 and Billsaysthis. For this round, pick the winner of each game, the score of each game and one goal scorer per game.
Copa America Pick 'Em: Quarterfinals: The Copa America quarterfinals begin at 9:30 p.m. EDT Thursday night when the U.S. hosts Ecuador. After the group stage, Tron7 leads our contest followed by Billsaysthis and Rcade. For this round, pick the winner of each game, the score of each game and one goal scorer per game.
Brazil Knocked Out of Copa Centenario by Handball Goal: Brazil was eliminated in the Copa America Centenario in the group stage Sunday night in a 1-0 defeat by Peru. The only goal was a blatant handball that somehow the refs missed, despite halting play for 3 minutes and 23 seconds while they talked to each other. Peru's victory is the first over Brazil in 31 years. Replay showed Raul Ruidiaz swung an arm to bat the ball into the goal. The result means the U.S. will play Ecuador in the quarterfinals.
Euro 2016 Begins with 3 Days of Violence in France: This is why we can't have nice sports. Violence between fans of England and fans of France and Russia has occurred for three days. Two English fans were seriously injured Saturday, including one kicked repeatedly in the head by a Russian fan. "We were in the old port town and the Russian ultras ganged up with the Marseilles ultras and attacked the English supporters that were sitting there drinking beers,"claimed Michael Tashall of London. The Guardian reports that after the riot police swept in, English fans threw bottles, chairs and tables at them.
SportsFilter Euro 2016 Pick 'Em: Euro 2016 begins at 3 p.m. EDT Friday when France plays Romania. SportsFilter is holding a pick 'em contest over the tournament. For the first round, pick the two teams that will advance out of each group and the winner of the group. For a bonus, pick one goal scorer per group and get a point per goal.
SportsFilter Copa America Centenario Pick 'Em: The Copa America begins at 9:30 p.m. EDT Friday night when the U.S. hosts Colombia. SportsFilter is holding a pick 'em contest over the tournament. For the first round, pick the two teams that will advance out of each group and the winner of the group. For a bonus, pick one goal scorer per group and get a point per goal.
AFC Wimbledon Win Promotion to League One: Fourteen years ago, fans in Wimbledon lost their football club to Milton Keynes in a franchise relocation -- something that never happens in England. Fans held public tryouts and began a new club, AFC Wimbledon, which started at the ninth level of the English football pyramid, the Combined Counties Football League. Today, the AFC Wimbledon Dons won a playoff at Wembley to earn promotion to the third level, League One. They will share a division next season with MK Dons. AFC Wimbledon have plans underway to build a 20,000-seat stadium at the site of their old Plough Lane ground.
Putting the Journey Into Journeyman: One man's path into professional football, from Manchester City to Tulsa.
Manchester United Match Cancelled by Bomb Scare: The last weekend of the Premier League season is supposed to be played with 20 matches that all start at the same time, but there was no match at Old Trafford today between Manchester United and AFC Bournemouth. An "incredibly lifelike explosive device" was found in the stands before kickoff. A delay for a security sweep turned into a cancellation and a "controlled explosion" was performed. Security concerns at soccer venues in Europe are high after the Stade de France was a target in the Paris attacks last November in which 130 were killed.
'So, letâ€™s build a pro soccer team from scratch ...': Foursquare founder (and Boston Marathon cheater) Dennis Crowley founded Kingston Stockade FC this year. It's a 4th-tier semi-pro soccer team based in slightly-upstate Hudson Valley, New York, and he did it all for about $50K. He writes about why he did this, how he went about it, and how this sort of thing will end in a U.S. Men's World Cup win.
One Night in Leicester: ESPN sent Wright Thompson to Leicester on the day the Premier League title was clinched. He found a city among the most demographically mixed in England, with different groups who kept to themselves until an impossible run brought them together: "For some lifelong Leicester fans, this season is a kind of requiem, the glory reminding them of glories past, one more piece of their pre-World War II lives that never returned after the bombs stopped falling and the nation buried its dead. 'They're in their estates,' [local sociologist John] Williams said. 'They're in the Saffron Lane area and the Braunstone area. They're in the white housing projects on the edge of the city, and they used to be connected to the game and now they're disconnected. They can't afford to go, and other people have come in to take their places.'"
Leicester City One Step Closer to Immortality: Leicester City drew 1-1 at Man United Sunday, bringing the Foxes to the brink of the Premier League championship. Tottenham must beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday to keep their hopes alive, something Spurs hasn't done in 24 straight matches. Bookmakers offered 5,000-to-1 odds before the season on Leicester City winning the title, which will cost them $14 million if it happens. One of the people who made that bet is the actor Tom Hanks, who bet £100 pounds and stands to win £500,000 ($730,000).
The Fall: It's ostensibly about diving, but that's like saying Moby Dick is about the whale. A great read about how football has changed and is still changing.
Rebecca Lowe Leaving NBCSN Premier League Desk for a While: The face of Premier League soccer in the U.S. is taking a leave of absence during a season that could make history. Rebecca Lowe would rather give birth to her first child than see whether Leicester City can shock the world or Tottenham take its first title since 1961. "Of all the seasons in the Premier League, it's typical that this is arguably been the best one and I won't be there for the end," said Lowe, who is eight and a half months pregnant. Her last game is Sunday's Manchester derby.
Bayer Leverkusen's game descended into chaos after coach Roger Schmidt refused to be sent to the stands: And sure enough, Schmidt is under investigation, as is his boss Rudy Voller. I was actually watching this and, thanks to Fox Deportes not having English SAP, had no idea what was happening until after the game; a very surreal experience.
U.S. Soccer Lawsuit Reveals Home Addresses of USWNT Players: When U.S. Soccer filed suit Wednesday against the player's union representing the U.S. women's national team, the court filing included the home addresses and personal email addresses of many of those players. "It’s very unsettling," said Megan Rapinoe. "To know that someone could show up at your door? That’s extremely unsettling, and it’s something that you can’t get back."
Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 23: The Premiership kicks off with an early Saturday match taking Norwich to Liverpool. Hillbilly F.C. wins the week to retake the lead from Liquid Football in SportsFilter's contest by a razor-thin margin of six points. Top pickups: Newcastle midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum (7.0), Man City forward Sergio Aguero (13.3) and defender Bacary Sagna (5.7).
James Fallows Learns Something about British Soccer and Sarcasm: James Fallows, a writer for The Atlantic, didn't get the message that British soccer matches are broadcast on NBC sometimes on Saturday mornings. When he encountered one on his tele-visual apparatus, his shock led him to post this sarcastic joke on Twitter: "We are having English pro soccer on a mainstream US TV network on Sat afternoon? Maybe Cruz/Trump are right. Give us back 'our' America." Guess how it went over.
Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 21: The Premier League returns Tuesday with three games, followed by seven more a day later. Liquid Football holds on to first place by 10 points over Maplewood Town. Players get two free transfers this week. The most popular adds are midfielders Willian of Chelsea, Bamidele Alli of Tottenham and Marko Arnautovic of Stoke City.
Rafael Benítez sacked by Real Madrid with Zinedine Zidane taking over: Florentino Perez, soccer clown extraordinaire, knifed Benitez in the back after just seven months (Okay, Rafa Benítez was not the solution for Real Madrid – he never had been, but still!). Can Zidane manage the superstar egos? Gab Marcotti and Graham Hunter have doubts.
Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 17: The Premier League weekend begins Saturday with six games at 10 a.m. Eastern, including Chelsea's first game without Jose Mourinho at the helm. Our league has a new leader: Liquid Football scores a week-best 78 to claim first and Hillbilly F.C. falls to third. The biggest pickup this week is Newcastle midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum (£7.0m) and the biggest drop Man U defender Chris Smalling (£6.9m).
Chelsea Sacks Jose Mourinho: Only 16 games after winning the Premier League, Jose Mourinho has been fired as manager of Chelsea. The Blues lost nine of those games, including a Sunday defeat to Leicester City that prompted Mourinho to say afterwards, "One of my best qualities is to read the game for my players and I feel like my work was betrayed." Mourinho won three title in two stints leading the club and also won the FA Cup and League Cup. In August, club owner Roman Abramovich gave Mourinho a new four year, $19 million a year deal.
U.S. Women's Soccer Wants a Level Playing Field: The World Cup-champion U.S. Women's National Team has been fighting to stop being asked to play on artificial turf -- something that never happens to the men's team. They cancelled a friendly in Honolulu shortly after player Megan Rapinoe tore her ACL on a terrible practice field when they discovered the playing surface was abysmal. The team wrote in an open letter, "We have become so accustomed to playing on whatever surface is put in front of us. But we need to realize that our protection -- our safety -- is priority No. 1. At the end of the day, we expect to be treated equally as our male counterparts. And we hope that, in the future, our fields and our venues will be chosen and inspected at the standard of an international match whether it's men or women playing on the field."
Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 16: Norwich at Everton opens the Premier League weekend early Saturday. In our league, Hillbilly F.C. stays on top for a fourth week, ahead of Liquid Football by 8. Maplewood Town scored a week's best 86 and is in third, 10 points down. Football Fan Cast offers three little-owned differential players for fantasy owners: Everton defender Leighton Baines (£6.1, 2.5% owned), Spurs midfielder Erik Lamela (£6.8m, 0.9%) and Manchester City midfielder David Silva (£10.0, 5.7%).
Fantasy Premier League: Gameweek 15: The Premiership begins with an early Saturday match sending Stoke to Man City. In the Spofiship, Hillbilly F.C.'s lead grows to 14 over Liquid Football. Michael Benson of TalkSport radio offers 10 tips on roster moves this week. Benson likes picking up Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld (£5.5m) and Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho (£8.4m) -- though the latter is only 25% likely to play this weekend due to a hamstring issue. He also suggests a Liverpudlian forward swap of Christian Benteke (£8.3m) for Daniel Sturridge (£10.1m). He writes, "Everybody knows what Sturridge can do; it's just a question of how long he can do it for until he next gets injured!"
Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 14: The Premier League weekend kicks off with five games today at 10 a.m. Eastern. In our contest, Hillbilly F.C. holds a nine-point lead over Liquid Football. Last week's best score was Merseyside Ziggurat's 80, which featured a captain-doubled 38 from Everton midfielder Ross Barkley (£7.0m) and 13 from Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho (£8.4m). The week's biggest acquisition target is Everton forward Romelu Lukaku (£8.9m), who has scored 34 points in the past three weeks.
Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 13: The Premier League weekend begins early Saturday when Watford visit those lovable upstarts Manchester United. Hillbilly F.C. keeps first place, leading Liquid Football by 11. But that story's importance is second to the news that my F.C. Conestoga had a week-best 67 points. I did not curse Jamie Vardy by adding him, as I feared would happen. The Leicester unstoppable goal machine's captain-doubled 18 and Man U midfielder Juan Mata's 9 led the squad. For this week, Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil is most-added and West Ham midfielder Dimitri Payet most-dropped. Good luck to all, but primarily me.
Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 12: The Premier League weekend opens early Saturday with Bournemouth at Newcastle. In SportsFilter's Fantasy Premier League Hillbilly F.C. retakes the lead from Polo XI. The week's best score comes from bottom-of-table Garland Bombers, whose 97 points were led by Everton forward Arouna Koné's captain-doubled 40 and Leicester midfielder Riyad Mahrez's 15. The Bombers began the season a week late and are creeping up on Outlaws FC.
U.S. TV viewers for the Premier League broken out by club: Not surprising to see Man United at #1, but Swansea atop City is.
Fantasy Premier League, Gameweek 11: Premier League play begins early Saturday with Chelsea at Liverpool. In the SportsFilter league PoloXI holds onto first place for a third week, 12 points ahead of Hillbilly F.C. Hagfish scores a week-best 72 with nine of the starting 11 scoring 5 or more. Top pickups this week: Spurs forward Harry Kane, Leicester forward Jamie Vardy and West Ham midfielder Dimitri Payet. I just picked up Vardy, which is a bad omen for his future success.
Sepp Blatter: Russia 2018 World Cup 'agreed before vote': The suspended FIFA chief continues to crash and burn on his way out, to the extent that I wonder if he will force the destruction/replacement of FIFA by the Feb. 26 vote for his replacement; Marina Hyde calls for exactly that today. Meanwhile, here are your seven
muppets candidates to replace Blatter.
U.S. Will Host 2016 Copa America Centenario: The United States will host the centennial 2016 Copa America, soccer's governing bodies for the Americas announced Friday afternoon. The tournament from June 3-26, 2016 will feature the 10 nations in South America's CONMEBOL along with invitees U.S. and Mexico. This is the first time the U.S. has ever hosted the event.