It’s been a quiet few days at Jersey Road with the summer break in full swing. What action that has been taking place has been gearing up to next month’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.
On Monday night, Chris Mepham put in a highly polished performance, on his full debut, as Ryan Giggs’ Wales drew 0-0 with Mexico in California. Wales lost captain Ashley Williams early on through injury but, in his absence, Chris and the rest of the defence thwarted everything the Russia-bound Mexicans could through at them.
Also in action last night was Alan Judge, who appeared as a late substitute in the Republic of Ireland’s 2-0 defeat to France in Paris. As one of the favourites for this summer’s World Cup, France proved too strong for Martin O’Neill’s men; Olivier Giroud and Nabil Fekir getting the goals just before the break at the Stade De France.
With the World Cup squad deadline coming up next Monday, Henrik Dalsgaard and Andreas Bjelland have both made the latest cut to the Danish squad. The Bees duo were included in Age Hareide’s 27-man group for Saturday’s game against Sweden, from which the final 23 will be chosen.
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The final two places in the second tier were confirmed over the weekend as Wembley played host to the Play-Off finals. On Saturday, Aston Villa were consigned to a third straight Championship season after losing 1-0 to Fulham; Tom Cairney getting the only goal for The Whites. Then, on Sunday, Rotherham United beat Shrewsbury Town 2-1 after extra-time to ensure an immediate return to the Championship. Richard Wood scored both goal for The Millers as they joined Blackburn Rovers and Wigan Athletic in returning to the second tier at the first time of asking.
Elsewhere in the Championship, Derby County are now on the lookout for a new manager after Gary Rowett left last week to take over the vacant managerial role at Stoke City. Rowett’s departure means that 15 of the 24 sides in next season’s second tier have replaced their manager within the past 12 months
Individual brilliance and goalkeeping howlers, that was the story of Saturday’s UEFA Championship League final in Kiev as Real Madrid ran out 3-1 winners over Liverpool. The Reds lost Mo Salah to injury early on and then fell behind as Loris Karius presented Karim Benzema with a gift at the start of the second-half. Sadio Mane levelled shortly after only for a Gareth Bale’s wonder-goal to restore Madrid’s advantage. Bale then confirmed the victory late on, his long-range effort bursting through the hands of Karius, as Real picked up a 13th Champions League crown.
Obsessed.— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 27, 2018
Gareth Bale 👏 pic.twitter.com/tAAfRiofVg
Two of the vacant managerial positions in the Premier League were filled last week with Unai Emery and Manuel Pellegrini taking charge at Arsenal and West Ham United respectively. Emery, who won seven trophies in two seasons at PSG prior to his move to The Emirates, signed a two-year deal on Wednesday while Pellegrini, a title-winner with Manchester City in 2014, agreed a three-year stay at the Olympic Stadium a day earlier.