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Liverpool hero Daniel Agger is back in football and has taken the first step in his management career.

The former centre-back has taken the helm at Danish side HB Koge, who finished mid-table in the second tier last season.

Agger became a cult hero at Anfield due to his admiration for the club, even going so far as to have ‘YNWA’ tattooed on his knuckles.

The defender, who was capped 75 times by Denmark, retired in 2016 after a stint at Brondby, and left football afterwards.

Shortly after retiring, he started up a sewer company in Denmark and has managed it since 2016.

But now, he has stepped back into the footballing world by taking the top job at Koge.

Agger was officially unveiled at the second-tier side on Wednesday after signing a three-year contract.

The Dane explained why he felt the timing was right for him to make his first step into management

The former centre-back said: “The idea of returning to a new role in the football industry, and testing myself, has matured over the past year.

“HB Koge is the perfect place for me to start.

“The club has sound values and a solid foundation.

“What matters to me is that I personally know several of the people who run HB Koge.

“I’m very much looking forward to getting started – and I look forward to coming under pressure once more.”

Agger will also be reuniting with former Brondby sporting director Per Rud, who is Koge’s chief executive.

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The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has recalled its previous ruling on the 30-percent volume of spectators’ attendance from the overall capacity of hosting stadiums, the organization’s press office said in a statement on Wednesday.

In November 2020, the UEFA issued a ruling on the 30-percent audience attendance based on the total capacity of stadiums, which were set to host European football matches. UEFA’s decision at that time was conditioned by safety measures against the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Earlier this month, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin was quoted by Daily Record web portal as saying that the European governing football body would make a decision on April 20 regarding the allowed attendance at matches of the UEFA Euro Cup this summer. The organization stated earlier its plans to have the attendance at matches at 50% from each stadium’s total capacity.

On March 17, 2020, UEFA announced a decision to postpone the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup for exactly one year as a preventive measure against the ongoing global spread of the novel coronavirus.

The championship was rescheduled to be held between June 11 and July 11, 2021 and Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg is among 12 cities in Europe to host the European championship’s matches.

A decision to hold the 2020 Euro Cup, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2020, in various European countries instead of in one or two hosting countries was made at the UEFA Executive Committee’s meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on December 6, 2012.

The matches of the 2020 Euro Cup were scheduled to be held at stadiums in 12 different cities across Europe, namely in London (England), Munich (Germany), Rome (Italy), Baku (Azerbaijan), Saint Petersburg (Russia), Bucharest (Romania), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Dublin (Ireland), Bilbao (Spain), Budapest (Hungary), Glasgow (Scotland) and Copenhagen (Denmark).

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Teams will be able to make five substitutions at Euro 2020 after approval was given by UEFA’s executive committee on Wednesday.

The measures, designed to help balance player workload in a season compressed by the coronavirus pandemic, will also apply for the UEFA Nations League finals and relegation play-offs, UEFA said.

The ruling committee of European football’s governing body has also approved the lifting of the 30 per cent capacity limit on venues hosting UEFA matches.

Capacity limits will now be determined by the relevant local authority, UEFA said.

However, the decision to bar visiting spectators taken in October last year was extended until prior to the UEFA club competition finals in May.

The committee had been expected to approve a new, expanded Champions League format to come into effect in 2024 at Wednesday’s meeting, but said on Tuesday that a “final decision” would instead be taken at the next ExCo meeting on April 19.

UEFA said the new timeframe had been unanimously approved by the committee, which includes members from the European Club Association and European Leagues representative bodies.

UEFA has not commented publicly on the reason for the delay in approving the new format, but the PA news agency understands clubs are seeking greater commercial control of the Champions League.

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola insists Sergio Aguero is “irreplaceable” and “helped to put the club in a higher level”, as the striker prepares to leave the Etihad Stadium at the end of the season.

City’s all-time record goalscorer will leave when his contract expires this summer and Guardiola has paid a glowing tribute to the 32-year-old, who has won four Premier League titles, an FA Cup, and five League Cups during his decade-long stay.

Guardiola believes Aguero was one of the players who established the club as a force in the Premier League and has backed him to score some important goals in what remains of this season, with City chasing an unprecedented quadruple.

“Sergio is irreplaceable,” the City boss told Sky Sports. “I could say in terms of numbers he can be replaceable, it’s not easy when you see more than 360 games played and more than 250 goals, the amount of titles…

“So it’s the legend, the best striker this club has ever had for this century through the years, but is irreplaceable in the souls, in the hearts, in the minds of our fans, of our people, of the players that played alongside him and all the managers who worked with him.

“We were so lucky, the guys who came after him – me as a manager for example. We took over the club and he was one of the guys like Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, David Silva, many players helped this club make a step forward and of course he was one of them.

“He helped us find a club organisation in a higher level. When he came here the club was in one level, and he helped to put the club in a higher level. And that’s why all the people are still here, and of course the fans always will be grateful.

“Without them, what we achieved in the past four or five years would not be possible, that’s for sure.

“I think he still has interesting goals to score this season.”

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Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero will leave the club this summer when his contract expires, the Premier League outfit have confirmed.

The Argentina international is City’s record goal-scorer having amassed 257 goals in 384 appearances since arriving from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2011 and is the highest-scoring overseas player in Premier League history.

Aguero, who turns 33 in June, is most famous for his added-time goal in the final league match of the 2011-12 season against QPR which secured the club’s first Premier League title.

“Sergio’s contribution to Manchester City over the last 10 years cannot be overstated,” said City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

“His legend will be indelibly etched into the memories of everyone who loves the club and maybe even in those who simply love football.

“This is not yet the moment for farewell words and speeches. There is still much to achieve in the remainder of the time we have with Sergio, and we look forward to his contributions to the challenges which lay ahead.

“In the meantime, it gives me great pleasure to announce that we will be commissioning an artist to create a statue of Sergio to live at the Etihad Stadium alongside the ones under construction for Vincent (Kompany) and David (Silva).

“And we look forward to the opportunity to bid Sergio a fitting farewell at the end of the season.”

City are working on plans to mark his departure on the final home game of the season against Everton and they are hopeful thousands of supporters will be permitted to attend Etihad Stadium when lockdown measures are eased further.

In addition to becoming the club’s record goal-scorer – which he achieved by overtaking Eric Brook’s 78-year record with a goal in the 4-2 win at Napoli in 2017 – he also has a Premier League high 12 hat-tricks which he achieved with a treble against Aston Villa in January 2020 to surpass Alan Shearer’s landmark.

Aguero has won four Premier League titles – with a fifth looking likely in his final season. He could also still add to his tally of one FA Cup and five League Cups before his departure.

“When a cycle comes to an end, many sensations arise,” Aguero, who has struggled with injuries and Covid-19 this season, wrote on Twitter.

“A huge sense of satisfaction and pride remains in me for having played with Manchester City for a whole 10 seasons – unusual for a professional player in this day and age.

“Ten seasons with major achievement, throughout which I was able to become the top historic goalscorer and forging an indestructible bond with all those who love this club – people who will always be in my heart.”

He added: “I was to join during the reconstruction era of 2011, and with the guidance of the owners and the contribution of many players, we earned a place among the greatest in the world.

“The task to maintain this well-deserved privileged position will remain on others.

“As for myself, I will continue to give it my utmost for the rest of the season to win more titles and bring more joy to the fans.

“Then, a new stage with new challenges will begin and I am fully ready to face them with the same passion and professionalism that I have always dedicated to continue competing at the highest level.”

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Goals from Christian Pulisic and Giovanni Reyna fired the United States to a 2-1 win over Northern Ireland in Sunday’s friendly.

Gregg Berhalter’s side took control of the game early on but found Northern Ireland’s stubborn defence tough to break down, and the hosts actually enjoyed more shots on goal in a tricky opening 45 minutes.

However, despite being behind on the stats sheet, it was the US who were in charge at the break as Borussia Dortmund starlet Reyna fired in an effort from long range that found the back of the net after a wicked deflection off Ciaron Brown and into the back of the net.

Pulisic, who was handed the captain’s armband for the game, made it two after the break as he tapped home from the penalty spot, bagging the goal the Chelsea man’s excellent performance deserved.

Perhaps the best highlight of the game came from Northern Ireland’s Niall McGinn, whose outstanding strike in the 88th minute created a nervy atmosphere towards the end of the match, but the US were too strong and held on for the victory.

“What I say about Christian is to forget about all the great stuff he does on the ball,” Berhalter said of Pulisic’s performance. “He just competed today, and, when he’s in that type of mode, he’s just an unbelievable player.

“That’s what I was most happy with today: the relentless pressing. He just kept going and going and going, and then he’s so good on the ball, he can unbalance a team. To me, he had an overall really strong performance.

“In my opinion, that’s the next level for Christian: just that type of performance all the time. When he does that, the rest speaks for itself.

“He’s such a creative player, he’s such a good player and I was really impressed with his performance, really impressed with how he handled himself today before the game, during the game and after the game. So overall, I really liked his performance.”

The match was the USMNT’s last until May, when they’ll face Switzerland ahead of the CONCACAF Nations League semi-final against Honduras.

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Scotland rescued a 1-1 draw against Israel as Ryan Fraser netted in the second half of Sunday’s World Cup qualifier in Tel Aviv.

Steve Clarke’s side fell behind when Scotland keeper David Marshall palmed Dor Peretz’s long-range strike into the net just before half-time

Newcastle winger Fraser silenced around 5,000 fans at the Bloomfield Stadium with a fine finish in the second half.

Having qualified for this year’s delayed Euro 2020 — their first major tournament appearance since the 1998 World Cup — Scotland are bidding to make it two in a row.

But Scotland’s second successive draw leaves them already trailing four points behind Group F leaders Denmark as they bid to reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

“We are disappointed. We didn’t start well. We were disappointed to lose the goal before half-time but the players showed good character,” Clarke said.

“There was a time in the first half where it was too easy for the Israelis to get out. They caused us a few problems.

“It’s another point on the road to where we want to go. Lets see what happens later in the group. I can’t foresee the future.”

Scotland threatened an early goal when Manchester United’s Scott McTominay headed wide from six yards after rising to meet Andrew Robertson’s corner.

Just one minute before half-time, former Celtic defender Hatem Abd Elhamed put Scotland on the back foot and Israel quickly worked the ball inside to Peretz.

Peretz’s 25-yard blast should have been saved by Marshall, but he could only palm the ball into the top corner after getting two hands on it.

Clarke made a crucial change at the break, bringing on Ryan Christie for Jack Hendry and moving to a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Scotland came out with more purpose, in and out of possession, and Christie played his part in the equalizer when he played a ball down the line for Che Adams.

The Southampton forward drove to the edge of the area and squared for Fraser, who fired into the corner.

Clarke’s men pressed for a winner and McTominay’s effort from Kieran Tierney’s low cross was scrambled clear.

Robertson saw a shot diverted wide in stoppage-time as Scotland had to settle for a point.

Israel’s soccer team last week lost to Denmark 2-0 in another World Cup qualifier in Tel Aviv.

Israel has gradually rolled back restrictions on public events as its COVID-19 infection rates plummeted amid its world-leading vaccination campaign.

Sports fans who have been vaccinated or recovered from the coronavirus were allowed back into stadiums earlier this month, with some restrictions remaining.

On Thursday Israel hit the milestone of fully vaccinating over half of its population.

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Pandemic blamed for lack of VAR after Ronaldo’s complaints

UEFA said it intended to use VAR in the World Cup qualifying campaign that began last week but decided it was too complicated to do so.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s tears and rage over the absence of VAR already hastened the introduction of the technology in one competition.

He’ll now be hoping UEFA takes note of his video-review protests once again.

Portugal’s path to the 2022 World Cup has been complicated by Ronaldo being denied a stoppage-time winner against Serbia on Saturday. The ball crossed the line, despite Serbia defender Stefan Mitrovic’s attempt to sweep it clear. But with no goal-line technology or VAR to confirm that to the referee, the goal was not given.

Ronaldo, the Portugal captain, ripped off his armband and tossed it onto the field, storming off the field in disgust.

It brought back memories of Ronaldo’s Champions League debut for Juventus in September 2018 when he was sent off for appearing to pull at an opponent’s hair in a decision that could not be reviewed by VAR. Juve protested and UEFA announced within a week that VAR would be introduced by the following season.

UEFA said it intended to use VAR in the World Cup qualifying campaign that began last week but decided it was too complicated to do so despite it being used in recent Champions League and Europa League knockout phase games. VAR relies on a couple of video assistant referees receiving a live feed of multiple angles from matches and a direct connection to the referee.

“In 2019 UEFA had proposed to FIFA the implementation of VAR in the current World Cup qualifiers,” UEFA said in a statement. “The impact of the pandemic on operational and logistical capabilities led UEFA to delay the implementation of VAR in the Europa League group phase (to 2021-22 instead of 2020-21) as well as to withdraw the proposal to implement VAR in the 2022 European qualifiers.

“VAR was also not in use in the UEFA Nations League group stage in the autumn of 2020 and has therefore to-date never been used in UEFA national team qualifying group stage matches.”

That explanation is not satisfactory for Portugal, which is level on four points with Serbia in Group A rather than being ahead.

“I told the referee on the pitch, with great respect, that it’s unacceptable to play a World Cup qualifying match without VAR and goal-line technology,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said.

Portugal has support from its neighbor with Spain also complaining about the lack of VAR when Greece was awarded a penalty that led to the qualifier being drawn on Thursday.

Spain looked in control but defender Iñigo Martínez’s foul inside the area led to Greece’s equalizer from the penalty spot in the 57th.

Spain loudly complained about the penalty call, which could not be reviewed but it was not a clear-cut error like Ronaldo’s goal not counting. A video review of the incident could even have resulted in a red card for Martinez for dangerous play in planting his raised studs into an opponent’s leg.

FIFA, which organizes the World Cup, said it was informed by UEFA in January that VAR could not be used in qualifiers due to the “issues and restrictions” caused by the coronavirus.

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Joshua Kimmich says calls to boycott FIFA World Cup in Qatar are ’10 years too late’

Germany midfielder Joshua Kimmich said calls to boycott the 2022 World Cup in Qatar over the Gulf state’s alleged treatment of migrant workers building stadiums have come “10 years too late”.

Britain’s Guardian reported last month that at least 6,500 migrant workers – many working on World Cup projects – had died in Qatar since it won the right 10 years ago to stage the event, according to the newspaper’s calculations from official records.

Players of Germany, Norway and the Netherlands wore shirts before their World Cup qualifiers voicing concern over human rights in Qatar following the report.

“I think we’re 10 years too late to boycott the World Cup,” Kimmich said before Germany’s Group J World Cup qualifier away to Romania later on Sunday.

“It wasn’t allocated this year, but a couple of years ago. One should have thought about boycotting back then.

“Now we need to take the opportunity and use our publicity to raise awareness about things. But it’s not just down to us footballers … we should work together.”

The German Football Association (DFB) said on Friday it is opposed to boycotting the World Cup but will get behind the national team’s protest.

The German government also supported the players’ move, saying it reflected their commitment to democratic values.

“As footballers we have a certain responsibility,” Kimmich added. “We have the responsibility to talk about things. Regarding this topic, we tried that with a very spontaneous shirt activity.

“In football, you have the chance to point things out and we should continue doing that.”

Earlier, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said it would be a mistake for teams to boycott the World Cup in the wake of player protests.

On Thursday, a representative of the Qatari World Cup organisers said they had “always been transparent about the health and safety of workers”.

“Since construction (of stadiums) began in 2014, there have been three work-related fatalities and 35 non-work-related deaths,” the representative added.

“The SC has investigated each case, learning lessons to avoid any repeat in the future.”

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Europe top teams win WCup qualifiers as Swiss move goalposts

World Cup qualifying in Europe took a quirky turn when the goalposts were removed before a match between Switzerland and Lithuania because they were deemed the incorrect size.

It was one of the few things that didn’t go to script on Sunday.

All of the continent’s heavyweight countries secured victories, though Spain left it late — the second minute of stoppage time, to be precise — to see off Georgia 2-1 after falling behind.

Like Spain, France started its qualification campaign with an unexpected draw at home but also got back on track in its second game, easing to a 2-0 win at Kazakhstan.

Italy stretched its unbeaten streak to 24 games with a 2-0 win in Bulgaria, and England also moved onto a maximum six points in group play with a 2-0 victory at Albania. Germany made it two straight wins to open qualifying, too, by beating Romania 1-0 away.

Meanwhile, Denmark became the latest European team to use the World Cup qualifiers to direct attention to workers’ rights in 2022 host Qatar. Its players wore red T-shirts with the slogan “Football supports change” for the team photo before kickoff against Moldova, which Denmark went on to beat 8-0.

The Danish soccer federation said the shirts will be signed and auctioned to raise money for projects with Amnesty International that help migrant workers in Qatar.


Dani Olmo came off the bench to snatch a come-from-behind win for Spain, his long-range shot getting palmed into the top corner of the net by flailing Georgia goalkeeper Giorgi Loria.

Ferran Torres’ fifth goal in six starts gave Spain, the 2010 world champion, the equalizer in the 55th after Georgia went ahead a minute before halftime.

Sweden looks like being Spain’s biggest challenger in Group B for the one automatic qualifying place after sealing a second straight win by beating Kosovo 3-0.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, freshly out of international retirement, had a hand in two of the goals having also claimed an assist on his first game back, the 1-0 win over Georgia on Thursday.

Spain started out by drawing 1-1 with Greece.


A missed penalty by Kylian Mbappe had little effect for France in its comfortable win in Kazakhstan.

The world champions were already two goals ahead by then, through Ousmane Dembele — one of a raft of changes by Didier Deschamps — and an own-goal by Sergey Malyy in the first half.

Mbappe came on after Anthony Martial appeared to hurt his knee getting his studs caught in the synthetic turf at Astana Stadium, and the Paris Saint-Germain star won the penalty himself — only to see his shot tipped around the post.

Ukraine and Finland drew 1-1 and have two points each to sit behind France in Group D.


England plays Poland in a key Group I qualifier at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday and both of their world-class strikers look in good shape for it.

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski scored for a 10th straight game for club and country, netting a double in Poland’s 3-0 win over Andorra. The Poles opened by drawing with Hungary.

Harry Kane scored one goal and set up another for Mason Mount in England’s 2-0 win in Albania, which built on the 5-0 thrashing of San Marino on Thursday.

England leads the group with six points. Hungary is level with Poland on four points after beating San Marino 3-0.


Italy’s back-to-back wins to open World Cup qualifying come after a perfect 10 wins in qualifying for Euro 2020.

Goals from Andrea Belotti, from the penalty spot, and Manuel Locatelli, the first for his country, followed up a victory over Northern Ireland on Thursday.

Switzerland is only behind Italy on goal difference after its 1-0 win over Lithuania, secured by an early goal from Liverpool winger Xherdan Shaqiri. The start of the game was delayed by 10 minutes because one of the goals was not regulation size and had to be changed.


Germany tops Group J on goal difference after Serge Gnabry finished off a team move in the 16th minute that involved Chelsea players Antonio Rüdiger and Kai Havertz.

The Germans are rebuilding after a 6-0 Nations League loss to Spain in November.

Armenia is also on six points after beating Iceland 2-0, while North Macedonia cruised to a 5-0 win over Liechtenstein for its first points of qualifying.


Denmark earned its biggest win in a World Cup or European Championship qualifier.

Kasper Dolberg and Mikkel Damsgaard both scored twice in Herning for the Danes, who were 5-0 up after 39 minutes.

Denmark is the only team in Group F with six points. Austria is two back after coming from behind to beat the Faroe Islands 3-1, while Israel and Scotland drew 1-1.