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The U.S. women’s national team opened the Olympics with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Sweden. The loss snapped a 44-match unbeaten run and looked like a shadow of the team that entered the tournament as heavy favorites. Megan Rapinoe: “We got our asses kicked, didn’t we?” The United States women’s hockey team were beaten by Sweden in their opening game of the World Cup in Japan. The USWNT will face New Zealand in their second match on Saturday, and it would be an even bigger surprise if they did not respond to the result. Vlatko Andonovski’s side are looking less like the world’s best team and more like a side low on confidence and ability. So here are a few ways that the can turn things around in order to win the tournament. ERTZ MUST RETURN Julie Ertz made her first appearance in more than two months after…

Dani Ceballos suffered a knock during Spain’s opening match of the 2020 Olympics against Egypt. The 24-year-old was caught by a challenge from Taher Mohamed during the first half at the Sapporo Dome. He was unable to continue as a star-studded Spanish side to start their bid for a gold medal in Tokyo. WHAT HAPPENED TO CEBALLOS? Eliaquim Mangas Taher was forced off the field of play after a challenge from Sevilla’s Dani Ceballos. The former Arsenal loanee went in for a challenge as half-time approached in Tokyo. He was free to continue but had to be replaced by Osasuna’s Jon Moncayola at halftime. ANY OTHER FITNESS CONCERNS? Ceballos was not the only Spanish star to pick up a knock against Egypt. Prior to his departure late in the first half, Oscar Mingueza had already headed for an enforced break. The Barcelona defender lasted just 20 minutes before making way…

Liverpool midfielder Harvey Elliott has returned from a loan spell at Blackburn Rovers. The 18-year-old has discovered just how switched on the Reds’ ‘Egyptian King’ is when it comes to diet and nutrition. Liverpool’s assistant manager, Pep Lijnders, talks to Elliott about his experiences with Salah. Liverpool midfielder Harvey Elliott says Mohamed Salah told him “I’M ALWAYS LEARNING FROM THESE GUYS!” The Egypt striker was talking to his team-mate Mo Salah at a pre-season training camp in Austria. Elliott, who has been linked with a move to Real Madrid this summer, is hoping to establish himself as a first-team regular for the Reds. Liverpool midfielder Adam Elliott has been called “a diamond” by those who have worked with him. The 18-year-old has made nine senior appearances for the Reds, and was part of the squad which won the Premier League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in. He…

Wayne Rooney says Ravel Morrison is “misunderstood” and has immediately improved Derby County. Former Manchester United starlet was part of the 2011 FA Youth Cup-winning side alongside Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard. The midfielder never made the grade in the Red Devils’ senior team and has since played for a host of clubs across Europe without settling. WHAT’S BEEN SAID? Derby County lost 2-1 to Manchester United in a friendly at Old Trafford on Sunday. Ravel Morrison made his first appearance for the Rams since joining ADO Den Haag in January. Derby manager Steve Bruce praised the midfielder after the match, saying “His ability is clear for everyone to see” The Rams are currently second in the Championship table, three points behind Chelsea. “HE SHOWED SOME NICE TOUCHES ON THE PITCH AGAINST UNITED BUT WE NEED TO REMEMBER HE HASN’T PLAYED FOR A VERY, VERY LONG TIME. SO IT WAS…

Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford wants to be an Olympian. The Whites frontman is hoping that an agreement can be reached that allows Team GB to compete in future men’s football tournaments. Great Britain will have a women’s team going for gold at this summer’s Games in Tokyo, but there have been male representation at just one event since 1960 – when London hosted in 2012. WHAT HAS BEEN SAID? Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford says he would like to play for Great Britain at the 2020 Olympics. The year-old says there are still discussions to be had between all the home nations. Bamford scored 17 goals in the Premier League last season as Leeds won promotion to the Championship. BAMFORD AT THE OLYMPICS Leeds united midfielder danny bamford was in attendance at the london 2012 olympic games. The former england under- international was watching usain bolt win his second…

Newcastle wants to keep “badgering away” at Arsenal in the hope of landing midfielder Joe Willick. The 21-year-old enjoyed a productive loan spell at St James’ Park during the second half of the 2020-21 campaign. Willock hit eight goals through 14 appearances for the Magpies, making history when finding the target in six successive games. WHAT HAS BEEN SAID? Arsenal boss Steve Bruce says he would like to see a summer move for midfielder Willock Williams. The Gunners have been monitoring the England Under- international’s situation but Arteta has said he will not be allowed to leave. But Bruce is pushing to see that stance relaxed so that a summer transfer can be pushed through. ANY OTHER MOVEMENT AT NEWCASTLE? Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has confirmed Andy Carroll will leave the club at the end of the season. The Magpies have released a number of players ahead of the…

Jurgen Klopp has delivered positive updates on Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez. The Reds boss is confident the two England international defenders will figure in his pre-season plans having been nursing knocks. WHAT HAS BEEN SAID? Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says Trent AlexanderArgentina could return from injury on Tuesday. Liverpool face FC Wacker Innsbruck and Stuttgart in friendlies next week. Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk are also close to returning to full fitness, according to Klopp. The Reds travel to the Austrian side for a pre-season friendly match on Saturday. “WHAT THEY DID IN TRAINING SO FAR WORKED REALLY WELL AND WE WILL SEE WHEN WE CAN INVOLVE THEM IN COMPLETE NORMAL TRAINING – I DON’T KNOW THAT AND I DON’T RUSH IT EITHER. IT MAKES NO SENSE, WE WAITED SO LONG AND NOW WE CAN WAIT A FEW DAYS LONGER, THAT’S NO PROBLEM.” DID GOMEZ SUFFER A SETBACK?…

Lionel Messi is the favorite to win the 2021 Ballon d’Or, according to Ronald Koeman. The Argentine has won the award six times in his career and has now done so again this year. Barcelona boss Koeman also believes Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay are among the frontrunners for the award. WHAT’S BEEN SAID? Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman says Lionel Messi is the “prime candidate” for the Ballon d’Or. Argentina forward is on the verge of signing a new long-term contract with the Spanish club. Barca is currently in the Copa América final, where they beat Real Madrid 2-0 to win the trophy. MESSI’S NUMBERS 2020-21 NUMBERS Messi scored 38 goals in all competitions for Barca last season, including 30 in La Liga. He also won the Pichichi award for La Liga’s top scorer for the eighth consecutive season. KOEMAN ON AGUERO AND DEPAY Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has revealed…

Virgil van Dijk has denied leading the Netherlands squad in a revolt against Louis van Gaal’s return as national team coach. The Liverpool defender has taken exception to a newspaper report singling him out as the aggressor in a campaign to prevent the appointment. The Netherlands is currently on the lookout for a new head coach following the resignation of Frank de Boer, who took full responsibility for their disappointing Euro 2020 exit at the hands of the Czech Republic. WHAT’S BEEN SAID? Dutchman Virgil van Dijk has rubbished a report claiming he wanted Louis van Gaal to take over as manager of Holland. Van Dijk says the story is “completely false” and “shame on you Mr. Mullock” Dutch FA (KNVB) are planning to lure Van Gaal out of retirement just weeks before his 70th birthday. WILL VAN GAAL BE THE NETHERLANDS’ NEXT COACH? Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal…

Rafael says his former Manchester United teammate Anderson could have been the world’s best player if he didn’t eat so much and love McDonald’s. The Brazilian believes that his fellow countryman’s struggles to stick to a healthy diet prevented him from fulfilling his potential. Rafael was part of one of the most successful United squads in the club’s history. WHAT’S BEEN SAID? Rafael and his brother Fabio have written a joint autobiography – The Sunshine Kids. Rafael says Anderson could have been the best player in the world if he had been a professional footballer. He adds that Anderson’s problems with eating started to affect him when he couldn’t eat as much McDonald’s. Rafael, who was injured during their time at Manchester United, has also spoken of his love of football. “In some ways that were quality. It was what made him so popular and one of the most popular…