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Jun 4, 2015

Profile: Allegri goes from pariah to brink of immortality

BERLIN (Reuters) – When Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri was greeted with a hail of eggs and spat at on his first day at work he could not have imagined he would lead them to the brink of an unprecedented treble of titles in his first season.

Yet that is what the phlegmatic 47-year-old Italian has achieved since succeeding Antonio Conte in July last year, with Juve already crowned Serie A champions and Italian Cup winners and facing Barcelona in Saturday’s Champions League final.

Jun 4, 2015

Soccer-Allegri goes from pariah to brink of immortality

BERLIN, June 4 (Reuters) – When Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri was greeted with a hail of eggs and spat at on his first day at work he could not have imagined he would lead them to the brink of an unprecedented treble of titles in his first season.

Yet that is what the phlegmatic 47-year-old Italian has achieved since succeeding Antonio Conte in July last year, with Juve already crowned Serie A champions and Italian Cup winners and facing Barcelona in Saturday’s Champions League final.

Jun 4, 2015

Soccer-Debutant Luis Enrique riding high with Barcelona

BERLIN, June 4 (Reuters) – The enduring image of Luis Enrique for many soccer fans is the Spain player with blood gushing from his nose after a vicious elbow from Italy defender Mauro Tassotti in the 1994 World Cup quarter-finals in Boston.

That could now be replaced by a picture of the beaming Barcelona coach proudly showing off the treble of trophies the Catalan club are on course to win in his hugely impressive first season in charge at the Nou Camp.

Jun 4, 2015

Soccer-Morata looking to strike a blow for Juve – and Real

BERLIN, June 4 (Reuters) – Juventus forward Alvaro Morata seemed genuinely apologetic after he netted the goal that knocked his former club Real Madrid out in the Champions League semi-finals and he wants to try to make amends.

The 22-year-old Spain international scored in both legs of Juve’s 3-2 aggregate success over the holders and is hoping to lead his side to victory against Real’s bitter rivals Barcelona in Saturday’s Champions League final.

Jun 4, 2015

Spain captain frank about chances in World Cup debut

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain captain Veronica Boquete is refreshingly honest about her nation’s chances of lifting the trophy when they make their debut at a Women’s World Cup finals in Canada this month.

“We could say they are zero,” Boquete told Reuters in an interview. “It’s the first time we are playing in a World Cup and there is still a big gulf between us and the main powers due to conditions in the professional game but not due to quality.”

Jun 4, 2015

Veteran Spain coach finally makes it to World Cup

MADRID (Reuters) – It has been a long, hard road for Ignacio Quereda but after almost three decades at the helm the Spain coach will finally see his charges debut at a Women’s World Cup when the tournament in Canada gets underway on Saturday.

Spain, ranked 14th in the world, had a relatively easy run in securing qualification for the first time, finishing top of European Group 2, three points ahead of Italy with nine wins and a draw from 10 games.

Jun 4, 2015

Interview: Spain captain frank about chances in World Cup debut

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain captain Veronica Boquete is refreshingly honest about her nation’s chances of lifting the trophy when they make their debut at a Women’s World Cup finals in Canada this month.

“We could say they are zero,” Boquete told Reuters in an interview. “It’s the first time we are playing in a World Cup and there is still a big gulf between us and the main powers due to conditions in the professional game but not due to quality.”

Jun 4, 2015

Soccer-Spain captain frank about chances in World Cup debut

MADRID, June 4 (Reuters) – Spain captain Veronica Boquete is refreshingly honest about her nation’s chances of lifting the trophy when they make their debut at a Women’s World Cup finals in Canada this month.

“We could say they are zero,” Boquete told Reuters in an interview. “It’s the first time we are playing in a World Cup and there is still a big gulf between us and the main powers due to conditions in the professional game but not due to quality.”

Jun 4, 2015

Soccer-Veteran Spain coach finally makes it to World Cup

MADRID, June 4 (Reuters) – It has been a long, hard road for Ignacio Quereda but after almost three decades at the helm the Spain coach will finally see his charges debut at a Women’s World Cup when the tournament in Canada gets underway on Saturday.

Spain, ranked 14th in the world, had a relatively easy run in securing qualification for the first time, finishing top of European Group 2, three points ahead of Italy with nine wins and a draw from 10 games.

May 28, 2015

Proud Basques Bilbao eyeing Cup upset against Barca

MADRID (Reuters) – Athletic Bilbao have proudly resisted pressure to abandon their policy of only recruiting players of Basque origin, making it all the more impressive that they are the club standing between Barcelona and a record-extending 27th King’s Cup.

Treble-chasing Barca host Bilbao, who are second on the all-time winners list with 23 Cups, in the final on Saturday (1930 GMT) having already wrapped up a fifth La Liga title in seven years.