Why are EPL teams making such a big statement in the UEFA Champions League this season?

By March 13, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Jamaica names 22 of 23 players in Reggae Girlz World Cup squad Jamaica names 22 of 23 players in Reggae Girlz World Cup squad

    Jamaica on Wednesday named a 22-player squad that will campaign in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup that set to kick off on June 7 and conclude on July 7 in France. A 23rd player is to be named by Friday, May 24.

    There are a couple of new faces in the squad including Kayla McCoy, the former Duke University forward and Olufolasade Adamolekun, who played in an exhibition game against Nottingham Forest in late 2018. However, the majority of the players who competed at the CONCACAF Women’s Championships in October 2018, have retained their places.

    The squad was named less than 72 hours after the Reggae Girlz defeated Panama 3-1 before a crowd of about 10,000 at the National Stadium in Kingston on Sunday, May 19. The Reggae Girlz have not lost a match since they qualified for the World Cup in October 2018 after defeating Panama 4-2 on penalties. The teams were deadlocked at 2-2 after regulation and extra time at the Toyota Stadium in Texas.

    Since then, Jamaica defeated Chile 1-0 and 3-2 in Jamaica, drew 1-1 with South Africa and Sunday’s comprehensive victory.

    In light of the progress shown by the team under the coaching staff of Hue Menzies, Lorne Donaldson and Andrew Price, Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts said he was confident in the squad selected.

    “The JFF is extremely proud of the achievement of the Girlz who are a true representation of what makes us Jamaicans. We are also proud of the coaching and other supporting staff who together make a fantastic unit,” Ricketts said after the squad was announced.

    “Based on the makeup, capabilities and ambassadorial spirit of the players and staff, the Federation is absolutely confident that the country will be represented with pride.

    “We must also point out that none of this would have happened without the commitment and sacrifice of those Girlz, who battled for us in the qualifiers but will not be a part of the group for France, we express sincere thanks to those Girlz also.”

    The JFF president also paid tribute to the sponsors who have come on board with the JFF to make the trip to France possible.

    “The JFF expresses thanks to our loyal sponsors, football fans, the government and the media for the outpouring of support,” said Ricketts, who also had a special word for the young female footballers who are inspired by this achievement and the pioneers who started the movement in the country.

    The 22-member squad includes: Allyson Swaby, Ashleigh Shim, Chinyelu Asher, Chantal Hudson-Marks, Deniesha Blackwood, Dominique Bond-Flasza, Khadija Shaw, Lauren Silver, Marlo Sweatman, Nicole McClure, Sashana Campbell, Konya Plummer, Toriana Patterson, Trudi Carter, Yazmeen Jamieson, Chantel Swaby, Kayla McCoy, Chenya Matthews, Tiffany Cameron, Jody Brown, Sydney Schneider and Olufolasade Adamolekun.

  • Diego Costa a doubt for start of Atletico's pre-season with ligament sprain Diego Costa a doubt for start of Atletico's pre-season with ligament sprain

    Atletico Madrid have confirmed Diego Costa suffered a sprain to the lateral ligament of his left ankle in Tuesday's friendly defeat to Beitar Jerusalem.

    Diego Simeone's side were beaten 2-1 in their season-concluding exhibition game, but their biggest frustration was an injury suffered by Costa in the 28th minute.

    The striker turned his ankle and, although the club were able to rule out damage to the bone, further tests upon their return to Madrid discovered a ligament had been impacted.

    Having suffered a grade two sprain, Costa may take over two months to recover from the problem, meaning he could miss the start of Atletico's pre-season.

    The injury brings a difficult season to a disheartening end for Costa, who has struggled for form and missed the final seven matches of the LaLiga campaign through suspension after earning an eight-game ban having insulted a referee.

     

  • Deco: Valverde will be feeling heat at Barcelona after Liverpool loss Deco: Valverde will be feeling heat at Barcelona after Liverpool loss

    Barcelona could still win the domestic double again this season, but former Blaugrana midfielder Deco feels Ernesto Valverde is still under pressure because of the humiliating Champions League exit to Liverpool.

    Valverde won LaLiga and the Copa del Rey in his first campaign last season and, after retaining the domestic title, his side will achieve a double-double if they beat Valencia in Saturday's cup final.

    Yet the Barca boss' position still appears perilous because of the embarrassing way in which the club exited this year's Champions League.

    Despite holding a 3-0 advantage from the first leg against Liverpool, Barca were thrashed 4-0 in the return fixture of the semi-final at Anfield, leaving Deco uncertain over Valverde's long-term future.

    "I don't know the future because [at] Barcelona there's a lot of pressure," said Deco, who was speaking to Omnisport courtesy of the UEFA Europa League Trophy Tour - Driven by Kia.

    "When the competition starts one of my favourites to win was Liverpool because I knew they were strong, stronger than last season.

    "But they had problems in the beginning, the group phase, and then it's getting better in the competition.

    "Of course, after 3-0 in Camp Nou, no one could expect without two of the important players – [Mohamed] Salah and [Roberto] Firmino – that Liverpool could do that.

    "It was difficult for Barcelona because it was a very tough defeat – a loss against Liverpool, 4-0, is not normal."

    Deco played for Barca between 2004 and 2008, winning two LaLiga titles and the Champions League in 2005-06.

    He believes that the manner of the defeat to Liverpool would result in added scrutiny for any manager.

    "I know in Barcelona there's a lot of pressure, every year they need to win," he added.

    "I don't know what's happened. It's difficult, not just for Valverde but every coach who would be there in that moment."

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