Roche with her team-mates at French club ASPTT Albi.  Photograph: Remy Gabalda/AFP/Getty Images)

“I’d love people just to vote for the goal itself.” Sweeping everything else aside; her gender, her nationality, her then-amateur status, all S(...)

The match fixtures are shown on a panel following the draw of the round of 16 soccer matches of the UEFA Champions League 2014/15 in Nyon, Switzerland, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. The final is scheduled for June 6 at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. (AP Photo/Keystone,Jean-Christophe Bott)

This year’s draw for the knockout stage has thrown up some tantalising games, including Manchester City’s clash with Barcelona and a tough encounter (...)

Paris Saint-Germain player Edinson Cavani (right) walks past head coach Laurent Blanc before their friendly match against local team Kitchee in Hong Kong. Photograph: Tyrone Siu/Reuters

Paris St Germain striker Edinson Cavani has insisted he is happy at the club despite reports suggesting he had asked to leave this summer.The 27-year(...)

France’s  head coach Didier Deschamps kicks a ball during a training session at the Botafogo soccer club’s Santa Cruz stadium. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

For a man once belittled by Eric Cantona as “a water carrier,” Didier Deschamps has certainly made a habit of carrying lots of trophies. French repor(...)

Mathieu Valbuena (left) celebrates with Olivier Giroud during the last-16 match against Nigeria at Estadio Nacional in Brasilia. Photograph: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

It says something about the state they were in that a major footballing power like France can be regarded by so many as a surprise package at this Wor(...)

France coach Didier Deschamps: “My only concern is the match against Nigeria,” he said, talking down speculation about his team’s prospects of going all the way. Photograph: Shawn Thew/EPA.

If there was an upside for Didier Deschamps to the various disasters that had befallen the French side in the years before he took charge, it was that(...)

West German goalkeeper Toni Schumacher (right) jumps past the ball as he gets ready to collide with French defender Patrick Battiston during the 1982 World Cup semi-final in Stockholm. Battiston was carried off the field on a stretcher while Schumacher, unpunished,  resumed play with a goal-kick. Photograph: AFP

The semi-final stage of the World Cup has, on balance, not been particularly kind to France. In 1958, the free-scoring team of Just Fontaine and Raymo(...)

Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid celebrates scoring against Real Valladolid during the La Liga match  at Estadio Jose Zorilla  in Valladolid. Photograph: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

European round-up: Real Madrid’s La Liga title challenge was left hanging by a thread after a late Humberto Osorio header earned Real Valladolid a 1-1(...)

Manchester city owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan: Club may yet be excluded from next season’s Champions League. Photograph: Getty Images

OWEN GIBSONManchester City, furious at being bracketed with spendthrift Paris Saint-Germain, are considering taking on Uefa’s new financial fair play(...)

 Manchester United executives Joel Glazer (second left) and Avram Glazer (centre) and Ed Woodward prepare to ring the Opening Bell at the New York Stock Exchange on August 10th, 2012 in New York City. Despite the club’s woes since, and the huge chunks of revenue that will be missing from next year’s accounts, the shares were exchanging hands at a one-year high on  Wall Street yesterday. Photograph:  Dario Cantatore/Getty Images

Hiring David Moyes last year will end up costing Manchester United more than €243 million, experts estimate, as the Premier League champions now at(...)