News of all that's transpired on and off the football field
Wayne Rooney grabbed the headlines in Major League Soccer on Wednesday when he scored an incredible goal for DC United with a strike from inside his own half for the second time in his career.
Rooney scored the stunning goal from 70 metres out -- well inside his own half -- in the 10th minute of Wednesday's game against OrlandoCity.
Rooney had scored from inside his own half for Everton against West Ham United in 2017, three years after a memorable strike from near the halfway line against the same opponents while playing for Manchester United.
"I spotted the 'keeper maybe a couple minutes before we scored and I'd seen that he was quite high," Rooney said in comments published on the MLS website.
"I knew if the ball fell to me near the halfway line, then the opportunity would be there for me to shoot it.
"He was probably a bit further out than normally because they were in possession of the ball, and it was through them losing it that it fell straight into my path. I knew immediately I was going to shoot it and, thankfully, I got it right."
Pele famously tried and failed to score from the centre circle in Brazil's 1970 World Cup match against Czechoslovakia but England's David Beckham succeeded in a 1996 game for Manchester United against Wimbledon.
Rooney's goal on Wednesday proved to be the winner and kept DC United in third place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Salah on target as Egypt progress to last 16
Egypt forward Mohamed Salah scored his first goal of this year's Africa Cup of Nations to help the hosts to a 2-0 win over Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday which guaranteed them a place in the round of 16.
Ahmed Elmohamady broke the deadlock in the 25th minute, turning the ball in following a corner, before Salah netted a clinically-taken goal two minutes before halftime, sparking delirious celebrations at the Cairo International Stadium.
The result was harsh on the Congolese who twice hit the crossbar in the first half and spent most of the second on the attack in the Egyptian half.
Egypt, with six points from two games, guaranteed a top-two finish in Group A while Congo, who have no points, must beat Zimbabwe in their final match to have any chance of going through as one of the best third-placed teams.
"I want to congratulate our opponents, who played a good match, they played very well, created chances, I think in the second half they were better than us," said Egypt coach Javier Aguirre.
"We scored two, we could have scored a couple more, we have six points."
The match was played in stifling heat and even at halftime, at 2300 local time, it was still 29 degrees Celsius.
The Congolese made a bright start as Tresor Mputu's free kick was flicked on by Jonathan Bolingi and Marcel Tisserand touched it onto the crossbar.
They also shut out the hosts but, just as Egypt seemed to be running out of ideas, they went ahead from a set-piece.
A corner was taken short to Salah and he sent an inviting cross into the area. Elmohamady and Christian Luyindula both went for it and it rebounded for Elmohamady to turn into the net.
Congo hit the woodwork again as Bolingi outjumped his marker, only to see leader bounce off the crossbar.
Throughout all this, Salah looked as if he was in for a frustrating night after his disappointing evening in the 1-0 win over Zimbabwe.
The Egyptian icon had an early chance when he was given a clear run on goal but Tisserand managed to get a foot to his shot and deflected it wide.
Shortly after Egypt's first goal, Salah had a free kick brilliantly saved by Ley Matampi but his frustration ended two minutes before halftime.
Mahmoud Trezeguet charged out of defence and released Salah who cut inside a defender and planted the ball in the net.
Congo dominated the second half and were again unlucky not to score their first goal of the tournament. Bolingi had a header brilliantly saved by Mohamed El Shenawy and Yannick Bolasie sent a free kick centimetres wide of the post.
"Unfortunately, we didn't score but we hit the bar twice and had other chances," said Democratic Republic of Congo coach Florent Ibenge. "I feel bad for the players."
Nigeria beat Guinea to book place in next round of Cup of Nations
Nigeria became the first side to advance to the knockout stage of the Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday as they beat Guinea 1-0, having taken more than an hour to break the deadlock for the second straight match.
Nigeria centre back Kenneth Omeruo scored the only goal of the game after 73 minutes, rising unchallenged to head home a corner from Moses Simon at the Alexandria Stadium.
It was Nigeria's second Group B win from two games, but was another testing encounter after they beat Burundi 1-0 in their opener having taken 77 minutes to break down the resilient rookies.
Nigeria’s six points guarantees progress to the last 16 after a major improvement in their form from the opening game of the tournament.
Nigeria changed their approach and sought to use the flanks with Simon on the right wing and Ahmed Musa on the left among five changes to the starting lineup made by coach Gernot Rohr.
The impact was almost immediate as Simon beat his marker to deliver an inviting square pass inside the second minute, but Alex Iwobi hesitated and the chance was lost.
Musa then gave notice of the threat he might pose with a surging run and delivery from which Odion Ighalo could have scored had his first touch not allowed the ball to bounce away from him.
Simon got away again down the right just after the half-hour mark, with Ighalo galloping up in tandem. Simon did not deliver the pass, however, and chose to go on his own instead, hitting the side netting from a tight angle.
After the break, Iwobi’s shot forced a save from Guinea goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone, who was included in the team after coach Paul Put criticised the performance of Aly Keita in Guinea’s 2-2 draw with debutants Madagascar in their opening game.
Kone also punched away a free kick just after the hour mark from Nigeria midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo.
Guinea’s Naby Keita started his first match since he suffered an adductor injury playing for Liverpool against Barcelona on May 1, but he was taken off after 70 minutes having received several knocks in the game.
FIFA defends VAR ahead of women's World Cup quarter-finals
FIFA on Wednesday defended its VAR review system, saying referees had reached a 98% accuracy rate in decision-making during the group stage of the women's World Cup in France.
The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system has made a controversy-filled debut in the women's game at World Cup level, baffling players and coaches, and frustrating fans.
Scotland and Nigeria exited the tournament after their opponents were awarded penalty retakes when VAR ruled their goalkeepers had stepped centimetres off their line. When France knocked out Brazil in the last 16, three goals were disallowed following reviews.
Cameroon's players were so indignant at the VAR interventions during their match against England that they appeared to stop playing on several occasions. A competitive Japan side went out in the last 16 after a controversial penalty decision.
A French sports newspaper described VAR's interventions as "incomprehensible".
"VAR cannot be blind, cannot ignore," said Pierluigi Collina, Chairman of FIFA's Referees Committee. "If you have a tool that offers you the possibility to check, you have to check."
Although it has no power of adjudication, VAR's viewing ability enables minor infractions -- sometimes imperceptible to the human eye, Collina admitted -- to impact a game.
FIFA says that without VAR the group-stage accuracy rate would be a less impressive 92.51 percent and officials have expressed surprise at the anger directed at the system.
"We can never be perfect. No one player, no one coach is perfect," Massimo Busacca, Head of FIFA’s Refereeing Department, said on Wednesday. "We are not perfect. What’s the problem?"
At a similar point in last year’s men's World Cup – the first time the video replay system was used in the global showpiece event -- FIFA celebrated a major controversy-free tournament, thanks in large part to VAR.
FIFA said 99.3 percent of match-changing plays -- those leading to goals, penalties, red cards or instances of mistaken identity -- were called correctly in Russia, a number that would have been 95 percent without the observational power of VAR.
But it has been a different story at the women's tournament and questions have been raised over the lack of exposure women players have had to the system and the training women referees received before the tournament.
No women's leagues have implemented VAR, and referees attended only four FIFA-organised seminars.
Still, Collina refuted the idea world soccer's ruling body was still testing the technology.
"We are not experimenting," said the Italian who refereed the 2002 men's World Cup final. "We are simply implementing the laws of the game."
FIFA begin disciplinary action against Cameroon after England defeat
FIFA opened disciplinary proceedings against Cameroon after an ill-tempered 3-0 loss to England in the last 16 of the women's World Cup on Sunday, during which they reacted furiously to two VAR decisions.
Several Cameroon players remonstrated with the referee and for a long time refused to restart the match after England's second goal was ruled offside and then allowed after a VAR review.
Cameroon then thought they had pulled a goal back early in the second half, but VAR again ruled against them for a marginal offside - sparking more chaotic scenes.
Cameroon defender Augustine Ejangue also spat on the arm of England forward Toni Duggan.
The FIFA proceedings against the Cameroonian Football Association cover "alleged breaches related to article 52 (team misconduct) and article 57 (offensive behaviour and fair play) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code," world soccer's governing body said in a statement on Wednesday.
Cameroon coach Alain Djeumfa pointed the finger at the referee, calling the defeat a "miscarriage of justice".
England manager Phil Neville heavily criticised the behaviour of his side's opponents after the contest, which involved strong challenges throughout including one horrific tackle on England's Steph Houghton.
"I am completely and utterly ashamed of the opposition," the former Manchester United player said. "If that was my team - and it will never be any of my players - they would never play for England again."
US beat Panama to set up Curacao tie in last eight
Jozy Altidore scored a memorable second half goal to help the United States to a 1-0 win over Panama on Wednesday and set them up for a quarter-final match against Curacao.
Altidore's 42nd strike for the national side with an overhead kick just four meters from goal broke the deadlock 19 minutes into the second period and guaranteed the United States first place in Group D.
The result meant the Gold Cup champions will play Group C runner-up Curacao in Sunday's quarter-final in Philadelphia.
The tiny Caribbean island qualified for the Gold Cup for the first time in 2017 but had never scored a goal until this year's edition.
"Curaçao is a team we can't take lightly, we know that for sure," United States coach Gregg Berhalter said on Twitter. "To me it's a Cinderella story... it's what the @GoldCup is about."
Panama, who finished second in the group with six points, will take on Group C winners Jamaica the same night.
The United States completed the first stage with three clean sheets and scored 11 goals without conceding any in a group that also included Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago.
Berhalter started the match with a completely different team from their previous two games, meaning the side have used 22 of their 23-man squad in the three matches.
"The decision to start 11 new players was an easy one," the coach said. "We believe in the group... we wanted to show that."
Trinidad and Tobago draw 1-1 with Guyana in Gold Cup
Kevin Molino got Trinidad and Tobago’s first goal of the Gold Cup in a 1-1 draw with Guyana on Wednesday but the point was not enough for either team as they both bowed out the competition.
Both Caribbean sides lost their first two Group D games to Panama and the United States and had already been knocked out of the competition before Wednesday’s game in Kansas City.
Neil Danns put Guyana ahead in the 54th minute when he cut in from the left and hammered his and Guyana’s third goal of the tournament into the top corner of the net.
Molino equalised with 10 minutes remaining to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago did not finish the tournament with no goals and no points.
The top two teams in Group D, the United States and Panama, meet later in the evening at the same Children’s MercyPark to decide who will go into the quarter-finals in pole position.
Man City's Silva hailed as a 'European great' by Guardiola
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has said that David Silva is a "European great" and he hopes the club can have another successful season before the Spanish midfielder bids farewell in 2020.
Silva said on Tuesday that he will leave the English champions at the end of the 2019-20 season, bringing the curtains down on a 10-year spell at the club he joined in 2010 from Valencia.
The 33-year-old has won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups and the League Cup four times with City while, on the international stage, he won the World Cup in 2010 and the Euros in 2008 and 2012 with an all-conquering Spain side.
"We have to enjoy him in the year that he has left," fellow Spaniard Guardiola was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
"He has been one of the greats not only in Spanish football, but in European football as well.
"He has played for 10 years in Manchester and it is not easy to perform in that league for someone with his qualities. He has done incredibly well."
Silva, who has played 396 times for City in all competitions scoring 71 goals, was a key member of their domestic treble-winning side last season.
"He helped me personally, he has helped us a lot in these three years we have been together," Guardiola added.
"We have another year more and I hope we can live another good year together."
The new season begins on Aug. 9 and the champions begin their title defence at West Ham a day later.