By J Hutcherson (Oct 12, 2021) US Soccer Players - As big moments go, Sunday's UEFA Nations League final produced a major one. With the score tied 1-1 at the San Siro, France's Kylian Mbappe put on a display of skill to slot the ball past Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon. It was the kind of goal made for the big stage, starting with Theo Hernandez finding Mbappe with a pass that took multiple defenders . . .
The soccer news starts with the UEFA Nations League. The Netherlands knocked out England 3-1 in extra time. The Dutch advance to play Portugal in Sunday's final while England meets Switzerland in the 3rd-place game. England took the lead through a Marcus Rashford penalty in the 32nd minute with Matthijs de Ligt equalizing in the 73rd. That 1-1 score held through regulation. A 97th minute own-goal . . .
We start the soccer news with the final four of the first ever UEFA Nations League set for Porto and Guimaraes. Portugal plays Switzerland on Wednesday and the Netherlands vs England is on Thursday with the final set for Sunday at the Estadio do Dragao. The competition might feel like an after thought just days following the Champions League final, with the quick switch from club to country. That . . .
Over the weekend, reports linked CONMEBOL with the latest proposal for FIFA holding the World Cup every other year. How seriously FIFA decides to take that proposal is an open question, but it does raise a simple issue. If FIFA wants a global Nations League in the even years between World Cups, how is that different from a World Cup? It's CONMEBOL asking. “The proposal we have made to FIFA is to . . .
We start the soccer news with the end of the November international window and the return to the club schedule. For the USMNT, the losses to England and Italy is the latest prelude to an announcement of the new coach. For the players, it's once again assuming that club performance will predict national team opportunity. In Europe, that puts the pressure on players who aren't getting time with . . .
The soccer news starts with an obvious point about the Nations League. It's going to take more than UEFA adding it to the schedule to make the games count. Everybody involved has to buy in. That's the challenge for any new competition, something that the Nations League is already struggling with at some levels. For all the upside when two big teams meet in League A, there's leagues B through D to . . .
By J Hutcherson (Sep 11, 2018) US Soccer Players - For anybody with an ESPN+ subscription, the wonders of the UEFA Nations League awaited during the September friendly window. The idea that hardly any soccer fans would've come up with on their own sprang to life with varying returns. Big games designed to count did what big games designed to count tend to do. Down the divisions, the enthusiasm . . .
Thursday's soccer news starts with the beginning of the Nations League era in Europe. UEFA's attempt to make more games count begins today and with it pressure to change the friendly system all over the world. It's no small project, with the league system a new idea in soccer. ESPN's Simon Kuper explains the importance of a global Nations League. Soccer America's Paul Kennedy explains the money . . .
By J Hutcherson (Nov 16, 2017) US Soccer Players - Peru finally gave the World Cup playoffs what it needed, a game worth watching. With all due respect to Australia's win over Honduras much earlier in the day on Wednesday, that game quickly became an obvious conclusion. Though Peru was the stronger team by any metric, New Zealand gave them a game. Peru's goals and both teams' near misses were . . .
We start the soccer news with Reuters' Simon Evans reporting that CONCACAF is planning for their version of a Nations League potentially starting in the September international window. The Nations League is a UEFA concept, put in place to replace friendlies with games that count. It's a multiple league structure for national teams with promotion and relegation and playoffs for a champion. UEFA's . . .