Sports Burst - Land of Confusion

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by Tim Stannard

 

Nations League begins with bafflement and boredom 

 

When the deliberations and machinations for the new 'Nations League' from those eggheads at UEFA - Europe's governing body for soccer - were completed and the finishing product was presented, something was missing from all the meticulous planning - comprehension.

The reality that the rules for this new-fangled competition that gets underway on Thursday require epic explanation videos, as well as week-long intensive training seminars should have been a giveaway that it doesn't quite work.  

"It's confusing," admitted England's Harry Maguire who revealed that his coach Gareth Southgate is still struggling with the concept. "I think he has got his head around it now," joked the centerback. 

 

The 'it' is a convoluted scheme to end pointless international friendlies by setting up a four tier league / group system setting up promotion and relegation between the tiers...and...see, lost you already. 

And that's about as much as Sports Burst understands anyway. The Nations League is to this column to what trade policy is to a certain world leader. A blur that not even flashcards can fix.

The one certainty is that Germany will be playing France on Thursday in a clash between one team that had a woeful World Cup and another that won it. Nations, Schmations. 

Catch the best of the day's action in the Old Country on the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT.

 

 

Marcelo dismisses Juventus rumors madness 

 

TRANSFER TRACKER 2019!

Just 24-hours after we all got excited about the concept of Marcelo joining Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus in January, the Brazilian fullback dismissed the idea as the crazy one it was in the first place. "I've heard so many stupid things, I'm here till the end," promised the Real Madrid man. 

However, Marca is reporting that his compatriot, Vinicius Junior, could return to his former club Flamengo in January to get regular football for the rest of the season, as the Brazilian is not part of Julen Lopetegui's long term plans at Madrid. 

Actually we have time for TRANSFER TRACKER 2020! England's Daily Express is writing that David Beckham is targeting both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gerard Pique for his Inter Miami team. Not sure too many arms will have to be twisted there to make that move. 

 

 

Fun-Lovin' NFL returns for another season of smiles 

 

The ultimate in fun-loving, tree-hugging, happy-go-lucky competitions gets underway in Philadelphia on Thursday night.

Yes, it's the 'if a sport was literally a huge smile on a face it would be the NFL' - a sport that seems to generate nothing but joyous headlines and storylines that unite the country across all divides. 

 

All nonsense of course, but to open the hellmouth door of this particular league would lead to Sports Burst having to sit on it for six months to keep it closed. 

But on the purely sporting side the defending champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, will host the Atlanta Falcons in the season-opener when the main talking point will concern what the players do shortly before the kick-off rather than during the game itself. 

 

 

Comeback Queen Serena makes stand in semis 

 

On Wednesday night at the US Open, Novak Djokovic showed that he was not going to let John Millman deliver the same knock-out fate suffered by Roger Federer. 

 

A three-set win puts the Serbian into the semis where he will face Kei Nishikori. Rafa Nadal against Juan Martin del Potro completes the bracket. 

Thursday is a huge day for women's tennis with Serena Williams looking to complete a remarkable journey to a second Grand Slam final this year Anastasija Sevastova. Madison Keys faces Naomi Osaka in the second semi with an all-American final quite possible.

 

WHAT IS SPORTS BURST?

The life philosophy of Sports Burst is that if you are not upsetting someone, then you are not trying hard enough. Sports Burst is a daily trawl and troll through the morning's sports news to bring you fact-nuggets to make you both smile and swear. Hopefully at the same time.