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France duo miss training ahead of World Cup semi-final

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Aurelien Tchouameni and Dayot Upamecano have both sat out France training ahead of their World Cup semi-final against Morocco.

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Les Bleus are bidding to win back-to-back World Cups, which is a feat not achieved since Brazil did it 60 years ago.

They overcame a major hurdle in defeating England 2-1 in the last eight, with Tchouameni scoring a brilliant opener. Upamecano was less influential, though, and was fortunate to not give away a first-half penalty.

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Both now face a nervous wait to see if they are cleared to play in the semi-finals against surprise package Morocco, although neither player’s absence is understood to be serious.

Tchouameni is suffering from a calf injury sustained against England, while Upamecano is dealing with a minor illness.

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Harry Symeou hosts Andy Headspeath, Quentin Gesp and Jack Gallagher to look back on the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia – join us!

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Manager Didier Deschamps, meanwhile, says he won’t allow his players to take anything for granted against Morocco. The North African side have knocked out both Spain and Portugal to get this far, and Deschamps does not want France to join that list of World Cup upsets.

“Few people expected to see Morocco in the semi-final, they have surprised everyone and have deserved to be there,” the boss said. “We very much respect our opponents and to get this far they have deserved it. No one can take that away from them.

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“Morocco will be very, very difficult to beat. It is fantastic what they have achieved. They have played and beaten some of the best teams in the world. It is a historic achievement.”



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EPL

Tottenham weighing up decision on Antonio Conte future

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Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is weighing up whether to sack manager Antonio Conte this week, 90min understands.

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While Spurs remain fourth in the Premier League, limp exits in the FA Cup and Champions League threw the Italian’s future into doubt and his meltdown at Southampton plunged the club further into crisis.

90min revealed earlier on Monday Tottenham could be forced to pay Conte a whipping £15m if they dismiss him before the end of the season.

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Now, sources have confirmed Conte is back in Italy for a routine trip to his homeland having held talks with Spurs boss Levy. A final decision has not yet been reached but a number of officials at the club believe Conte’s position is untenable.



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Football

Players of the MLS Matchday 4

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Another weekend of MLS saw action-packed scenes on the field from coast to coast.

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From one-sided blowouts to records being broken, week four of MLS lived up to the expectations set by week three. On the field, many players stood out for their teams, making them worthy of praise for their efforts.

Here at the top five players from week four…

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Junior Moreno is a vital part of FC Cincinnati.

Junior Moreno is a vital part of FC Cincinnati. / Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

FC Cincinnati started off the season well; They are currently sitting third in the Eastern Conference with eight points through four games. Their latest match against the Chicago Fire was an all-out attacking spectacle.

Junior Moreno led the way for Cincinnati with a two-goal performance that saw the men in Orange take a point home. Though Moreno isn’t the most well-known player on the roster, his impact was felt on match date four.  

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Jesus Ferreira helps FC Dallas win.

Jesus Ferreira helps FC Dallas win. / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Jesus Ferreira is a man in form. The 22-year-old was on the score sheet once again for FC Dallas as they beat Sporting KC 2-1. 

Ferreira had a complete game, scoring once and also creating for his teammates. With this win, Dallas is now fourth in the Western Conference on seven points. 

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Joao Klauss is propelling St. Louis to success.

Joao Klauss is propelling St. Louis to success. / Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports

Here comes Joao Klauss!

The 26-year-old Brazillian notched his third goal in four games for St. Louis City as they beat the San Jose Earthquakes 3-0. Despite being a forward, Klauss was active on both sides of the pitch, ending the game with five passes into the final third, two interceptions, and three recoveries. 

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Talk about a well-rounded player. 

Romell Quioto is vital for CF Montreal.

Romell Quioto is vital for CF Montreal. / Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

CF Montreal got their first win of the season with a shock victory against defending Eastern Conference champions, the Philadelphia Union.

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Romell Quioto led the way for Hernan Losada’s men scoring a brace to lift them over a struggling Union side. The Honduras international finished the game with four total shots, two passes into the final third on just 27 touches, the least of any outfield player. 

Thiago Almada is on fire for Atlanta United.

Thiago Almada is on fire for Atlanta United. / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

What more can be said about Thiago Almada?

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Arguably the best player in the league, the World Cup winner is having an incredible start to the year for Atlanta United. Not only did the Stars and Stripes put on a clinic against the Portland Timbers, but Almada scored a Goal of the Year candidate in the 45th minute with a looping free kick to beat Timbers netminder Aljaz Ivacic. 

With performances like these, it’s only a matter of time before big European clubs come knocking for the young Argentine’s talents. 

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Charlotte FC quiet the Lions as they pick up their first win of the season

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Charlotte FC picks up their first win of the season with a challenging 2-1 win away at Orlando City. 

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With the pressure mounting after three straight losses to start the season, Charlotte FC broke their winless streak with a 2-1 triumph over Orlando City SC. Head coach Christian Lattanzio lined up his side in a slightly different starting XI, leaving Designated Players Karol Swiderski and Kamil Jóźwiak on the bench due to bad form. In their place were 21-year-old Kerwin Vargas and 25-year-old McKinze Gaines. 

Since arriving in MLS, Jozwiak has fallen short of expectations, with the Poland international failing to score in the league and only assisting three times in 23 matches. This personnel switch saw Charlotte play an attacking brand of football with much more cohesion as a team.

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“…I am very, very proud of the boys because they played a complete game in the sense that they attacked when they had the possibility to do it. They defended when they had to. In football, you need to fight to impose your game and impose yourself into the game. And I think that this has to be a part of our DNA.”

Lattanzio spoke about the lineup changes after the match, saying that he gave specific players chances to show their quality, but their on-field performances fell flat.

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“I made the changes because we played three games and I gave certain players opportunities to play and I think it’s only fair to give other players opportunities when things don’t work the way we’d like them to work.”

He also touched on their roster depth and how it’s important to give chances to players who will perform well.

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“It’s part of the team, that’s why we have a roster and on many occasions I said that I really trust all the players on the roster because they train well. We decided to give opportunities to guys that trained well, and they proved it.”

Though it is a massive win for Charlotte, rookie goalkeeper George Marks pumped the brakes on the hype train and said in his post-game comments that the team needs to continue to work hard if they want results like this to come.

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“…Tomorrow it’s back to the grindstone, try to look at the performance objectively, not just throw it to the side because we won the game and try to look at the little details, what we could do better, what we need to continue to do, so we can get this thing rolling in the right direction.

“I said during the week not to talk, to put the head down, keep working. And despite the win, for me it’s the same. We keep the head down, we let other people talk now. We let people talk, we listen, whatever, but we are very determined to improve on a weekly basis”.

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Charlotte FC will continue their MLS campaign this weekend as they take on the New York Red Bulls.



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