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.

FIFA has abandoned plans to increase the number of teams at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48.

World football's governing body said there was insufficient time to consider the proposed expansion of the tournament due to logistical concerns.

A plan backed by president Gianni Infantino had been put forward that would have seen some of Qatar's Gulf neighbours stage some of the extra matches, having conceded it would be "difficult" to host all such games in Qatar alone.

However, in a statement released on Wednesday, FIFA confirmed it would need more time to consider all possible requirements of an expanded tournament, with a deadline on the decision set for next month.

It therefore says the 2022 finals will consist of 32 teams, as originally planned.

"In line with the conclusions of the feasibility study approved by the FIFA Council at its last meeting, FIFA and Qatar have jointly explored all possibilities to increase the number of participant teams from 32 to 48 teams by involving neighbouring countries at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022," the statement said.

"Following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process with the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, it was concluded that under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now.

"Additionally, FIFA and Qatar have once again explored the feasibility of Qatar hosting a 48-team tournament by in particular lowering certain key FIFA requirements.

"A joint analysis, in this respect, concluded that due to the advanced stage of preparations and the need for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact on the host country, more time would be required and a decision could not be taken before the deadline of June.

"It was therefore decided not to further pursue this option.

"The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will therefore remain as originally planned with 32 teams and no proposal will be submitted at the next FIFA Congress on 5 June."

Guanghzou Evergrande beat Daegu 1-0 to usurp the South Korean side in AFC Champions League Group F and book a place in the knockout phase.

The Chinese Super League club looked set for a shock group-stage exit, but Paulinho's effort went in off Jeong Tae-wook to move Guangzhou a point ahead of their visitors.

Defending champions Kashima Antlers also ran things a little close as they had to come from behind to secure a 2-1 home win against Shandon Luneng.

Marouane Fellaini gave Shandong an early lead and for a while that looked like it would be enough to prevail in the Group E clash.

But Sho Ito struck twice in quick succession in the second half, the winner coming in the 70th minute, meaning Antlers finished two points ahead of Gyeongnam.

They too were victorious on the day as Dutch striker Luc Castaignos helped Kim Jong-boo's side to a 2-0 victory over Johor Darul Ta'zim, with Takahiro Kunimoto also on target.

The day's other game saw Sanfrecce Hiroshima – already assured of top spot in Group F – dispatch Melbourne Victory comfortably, winning 3-1 in Australia, leaving the A-League side bottom with just one point.

Antlers will be Hiroshima's opponents in the round of 16, while Shandong face Guangzhou.

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.

 

Borussia Dortmund have signed Julian Brandt from Bayer Leverkusen for a reported fee of €25million.

The Germany international midfielder has agreed a five-year contract with Lucien Favre's side and will complete his move once the two clubs finalise the details of the transfer.

"Although Julian Brandt has played in the Bundesliga for a long time and has a lot of experience both nationally and internationally, he is still a very young professional with potential for development at the age of 23," Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said via the club's official website.

"He can be used in several attacking positions and will enrich our play with his creativity."

Brandt had been linked with a number of European clubs after a standout season for Leverkusen under former Dortmund head coach Peter Bosz.

Explaining his decision to join BVB, he said: "I am a person who sometimes decides things from the gut, and for whom a good feeling is important.

"In the case of Borussia Dortmund, I have a very good feeling.

"One of the main reasons for my change is that BVB narrowly missed out on the title last season, so there is room for improvement.

"I am very motivated and optimistic about my personal development, but especially that of the whole team."

Brandt has been a key figure for Leverkusen since 2014, having made his senior debut in the Bundesliga in February that year.

Initially a winger, he thrived in the latter part of the past season after being moved into a more central midfield role by Bosz, his seven goals and 11 assists helping Leverkusen clinch a Champions League spot.

Rudi Garcia has announced he is stepping down as Marseille coach after a disappointing season in Ligue 1.

Hired in October 2016, Garcia steered Marseille to a fifth-place finish that term, before building on that in his first full season.

The club ended the 2017-18 campaign fourth in Ligue 1, narrowly missing out on Champions League football, finishing just a point adrift of Lyon in third.

But they were unable to maintain that level this season and Garcia had been under pressure for several weeks after a top-three finish appeared to look beyond them.

With the best Marseille can hope for going into the last game of the season now being 61 points – 16 fewer than last season – and a fifth-place finish, Garcia has opted to stand aside.

Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, former Roma boss Garcia said: "I decided to leave.

"I proposed this solution to my president, who accepted it. If I listen to reason, I must stop this adventure. For the good of the project, it is better that we separate now."

Garcia is contracted to the club until 2021, but he will not see out the remaining two years and shall preside over his final game against Montpellier at Stade Velodrome on Friday.

Guingamp and coach Jocelyn Gourvennec have parted ways "by mutual agreement" following the club's relegation from Ligue 1.

Gourvennec was hired in November after the sacking of Antoine Kombouare following a difficult start to the season, but he was unable to guide the team to safety.

Guingamp's fate was sealed on May 12 due to a 1-1 draw away to Rennes, with Marcus Thuram – son of World Cup winner Lilian – saw a late penalty saved.

Although the club reached the Coupe de la Ligue final, losing on penalties to Strasbourg after a 0-0 stalemate, they only won two matches in all competitions in the regulation 90 minutes since January 16.

It is the first time the club have suffered relegation since 2003-04 and Gourvennec paid the price, even if Wednesday's statement insists it was a mutual decision.

The statement read: "It's always difficult to recover from a disappointment like the one the club has just experienced.

"After taking the time for reflection, but after having taken all the time necessary to exchange serenely and honestly, the two parties decided by mutual agreement to end their collaboration.

"The club thanks Jocelyn for his unforgettable contribution to our recent history, and wishes him the best for the rest of his career.

"This honest decision for both parties marks the departure of each to a new project."

Philippe Coutinho has returned to Barcelona training ahead of the Copa del Rey final against Valencia on Saturday.

Brazil international Coutinho sustained a hamstring injury in the 2-0 victory over Getafe on May 12 and was expected to be out for 10 days.

The 26-year-old sat out Sunday's 2-2 draw against Eibar and in the aftermath coach Ernesto Valverde was not optimistic about his availability – and that of Ousmane Dembele – for the clash in Seville.

However, Coutinho returned to the training field on Wednesday and will hope to prove his fitness before LaLiga champions Barca go in search of a domestic double.

Jean-Clair Todibo did not participate in the session due to "general discomfort", according to a tweet posted by the club, while Arthur and Marc-Andre ter Stegen are doubts for the match.

Aritz Aduriz has signed a contract extension at Athletic Bilbao that will see him play beyond his 39th birthday.

Veteran striker Aduriz on Wednesday agreed a one-year deal to take part in a 12th season for Athletic, which have been split between three separate spells.

The former Valencia player has made 390 appearances and scored 171 goals for the club, four of which came over two legs in the 2015 Supercopa de Espana victory over Barcelona - the only trophy he has won at San Mames.

Aduriz, who turns 39 in February, has twice been the highest-scoring Spanish player in LaLiga but only notched two in 2018-19 as he transitioned to being more of a squad player.

Athletic also announced on Wednesday that goalkeeper Alex Remiro will not return next season and midfielder Benat requires a finger operation.

Ghana's all-time leading scorer and most-capped player Asamoah Gyan has made a sensational U-turn on his international retirement following a request from the country's president.

Gyan announced on Monday he had withdrawn himself from consideration for Black Stars duty ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations, which starts in Egypt next month, over a disagreement relating to his captaincy with coach James Kwesi Appiah.

However, the 33-year-old went back on his decision just two days later after holding talks with Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo.

Ghana will face Cameroon, Benin and Guinea-Bissau in Group F when they look to claim their first AFCON title since 1982.

"A presidential request is one that cannot be disregarded," Gyan said in a statement.

"I have had the opportunity to speak with the father of the nation, the president of the Republic, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who, though respecting my wishes as spelt in my letter of May 20, has asked me to rescind my decision to retire permanently from the Black Stars.

"I have taken the request of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in good faith, and will make myself available for selection by coach Kwesi Appiah.

"My desire to help Ghana end the over-three-decade long wait to annex the AFCON trophy still burns strong, and I remain committed to serving this great nation and the people of Ghana."

Zinedine Zidane's return as Real Madrid coach less than a year after quitting was nothing short of "heroic", according to club great Jorge Valdano.

The former France international left the club shortly after guiding them to a third successive Champions League title last May, with Cristiano Ronaldo subsequently following him out of the door at the end of an era.

Things did not go to plan under Zidane's successor Julen Lopetegui, who lasted until October, and his replacement Santiago Solari was dismissed in March following Champions League elimination to Ajax.

Zidane's return did not produce a huge improvement, as Madrid still only finished third in LaLiga and 19 points adrift of champions Barcelona.

But coming back in president Florentino Perez's hour of need should – Valdano believes – earn him two statues and the right to build the squad he wants for next season.

"Zidane's return was, for me, almost an heroic act," Valdano told ESPN. "He knew it was risky, but he did it.

"The president, and the club, must be very grateful. He should have a statue here at the Santiago Bernabeu, and another in Florentino's garden.

"Just from his presence, the season ended much more peacefully than it could have. When there is no sporting director, it is the coach who must make the decisions.

"The risk he took would be in exchange for having the power to design the squad for next season.

"Things are different now from his first spell in charge, when he had clear leaders – Sergio Ramos for spirit, Luka Modric for football, Cristiano Ronaldo being decisive, and all at the height of their careers.

"Now Zidane must put together something new, with new players coming in. We don't know how they will adapt to a new city and the unique nature of this club.

"That will test him, but if anyone has won the confidence of the club, it is Zidane."

Paul Pogba, Eden Hazard, Kylian Mbappe and Luka Jovic are just some of the stars linked with moves to Madrid over the coming months, with many fans and commentators of the belief the squad needs serious refreshment.

Valdano is convinced Pogba would play a more central and constructive role at Madrid than at Manchester United, but the Argentine also feels the midfielder would need to be just one of five or six signings.

He added: "Pogba scores goals. He does not have so much influence in the construction of the play at Manchester United.

"But if Zidane is thinking of him for Real Madrid, for sure he would have a conducting role in the team.

"I have no idea what Zidane is thinking, but it is true that the team needs a big shake-up, they must move in the market in a much more decisive way than in recent seasons.

"There is a need for five or six really well-chosen players. You must choose very well, both the players to come in, and those who will leave."

Toni Kroos and Marc-Andre ter Stegen have been left out of the Germany squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers against Belarus and Estonia due to injuries.

Midfielder Kroos, who signed a new four-year contract at Real Madrid on Monday, will be absent due to a muscular issue, while Ter Stegen is struggling with a knee problem that has made him a doubt for Barcelona's Copa del Rey final against Valencia on Saturday.

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno consequently returns to the fold to provide competition for captain Manuel Neuer, whose spot will be determined by his recovery from the calf injury that curtailed his season in April.

Jonas Hector and Julian Draxler have also been recalled by Joachim Low.

Thilo Kehrer, Julian Brandt, Kai Havertz, Leroy Sane and Timo Werner will not take part in the European Under-21 Championship despite being eligible.

However, Jonathan Tah and Lukas Klostermann are available to link up with Stefan Kuntz's team for the tournament after the games against Belarus and Estonia on June 8 and 11 respectively.

Germany director Oliver Bierhoff said: "The challenge for Joachim Low and Stefan Kuntz is to find the right balance. On the one hand, we want to present competitive teams who can win their games.

"On the other hand, the coaches must always keep an eye on the individual situation and the best possible development of individuals. This only succeeds with close work.

"The ultimate goal is to return German football to a world-class level."

 

Germany squad in full:

Bernd Leno (Arsenal), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt); Matthias Ginter (Borussia Monchengladbach), Marcel Halstenberg (RB Leipzig), Jonas Hector (Cologne), Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig), Thilo Kehrer (Paris Saint-Germain), Nico Schulz (Hoffenheim), Niklas Stark (Hertha Berlin), Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich), Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen); Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (Paris Saint-Germain), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Leroy Sane (Manchester City), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig).

Thorgan Hazard has joined Borussia Dortmund on a five-year contract, the club have announced.

The Belgium international has been signed from Borussia Monchengladbach, where he spent five years – the first of which was on loan from Chelsea – and scored 46 goals in 182 appearances in all competitions.

Dortmund lost out to Bayern Munich by two points in the race to win the Bundesliga and Hazard's arrival follows that of Germany midfielder Nico Schulz, whose move from Hoffenheim was confirmed on Tuesday.

Hazard had been linked with a return to Chelsea and Premier League runners-up Liverpool, but he has signed a deal with BVB until 2024 for an initial fee reported to be €25.5million.

"I am grateful for five great years and Borussia Monchengladbach and the very nice memories," said Hazard in a statement.

"This was the perfect time to take the next step in my career. I am proud to play for Borussia Dortmund, a top club with incredible fans."

Sporting director Michael Zorc added: "We are delighted that Thorgan has decided to join Borussia Dortmund.

"He is a seasoned Bundesliga professional and Belgium international who will help us with his pace and finishing. He has proven his class in recent years."

Dortmund are also said to be close to signing Bayer Leverkusen attacking midfielder Julian Brandt, who is reportedly set to turn down interest from Liverpool and Tottenham to head to Signal Iduna Park.

Ilkay Gundogan has no doubt Manchester City will do their best to fight off reported interest from Bayern Munich and keep Leroy Sane.

Germany international Sane is said to be a target for the Bundesliga champions, who are expected to be busy in the transfer market during the close season.

Bayern will be looking to strengthen on the wings due to the departures of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben and the 23-year-old is thought to be a primary target after seeing his number of Premier League starts drop from 27 to 21 this season.

But Pep Guardiola last week said City are keen to extend Sane's contract beyond 2021 and Gundogan is unconcerned by the speculation about his team-mate's future.

"If players of his quality do not play at one time or another, it has become normal that there are automatic rumours," Gundogan told Sport Bild.

"As our manager has already said, the club wants to keep Leroy.

"I know Leroy very well and know that he can and will prevail anywhere."

Gundogan, whose own future had been shrouded in doubt, told Bild after City completed a domestic treble by adding the FA Cup to their Premier League and EFL Cup triumphs on Saturday he intended to re-open contract talks with the club.

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