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Life at the bottom with one of Britain's worst teams: Newport County

Rodney Parade awaits Newport County's League Two clash vs. Luton Town on March 21.

NEWPORT, Wales -- "No!" screams a Newport County fan in anguish as the ball bounces unevenly in the six-yard box, as welcome a sight as a rat in the bath. "Nooooooo!"

There is a desperate melee of muddy legs, a distant thud of leather on leather, the ball pops up... and careens harmlessly away for a throw-in. The man -- sensible hair, sensible jacket, driven insensible by frustration with his team -- exhales loudly and shakes his head wryly. Too close. Far too close.

The margins for Newport County...

 By Tim Vickery

Argentina gain vital win vs. Chile but next lies a visit to Bolivia at altitude

Chile manager Juan Antonio Pizzi is proud of his team despite the defeat to Argentina.

It was thoroughly unconvincing and not really deserved, but Argentina's 1-0 win over Chile on Thursday was a result of massive importance. Come the end of the World Cup qualifying campaign it could mark the difference between a place in Russia and watching on TV.

Further, it took place in a context where nothing seemed to be going right for the Argentines, starting with events further north in South America.

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ChileChile
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Bolivia chose not to take some of their best players to Colombia, opting instead to save...

 By Sam Kelly

Argentina beat Chile but have plenty to improve after poor performance

Argentina pushed Chile out of the top five in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying thanks to a Lionel Messi penalty kick.
Messi celeb vs Chile 170323
Lionel Messi was about the only Argentina player to threaten.

BUENOS AIRES -- The most important thing, as Edgardo Bauza said in the days before the game, was for Argentina to get the win. And get the win they did. In an incredibly tight World Cup qualifying group, a 1-0 victory over Chile on Thursday night means Argentina move a little closer to Russia regardless of how they did it.

Beyond the result, it was also a chance for the country's fans to see whether this team are coming together, and whether Bauza is stamping his mark on them. However, the answers...

Real Madrid arrive in UK as kids 'taught to live and play the Real Madrid way'

Sid Lowe believes the ability of Real Madrid's stars to come through when it counts could prove vital for their La Liga title hopes.

LONDON -- Following a glittering career in which he bagged six La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys, two UEFA Cups and made it to 10th on the all-time list of Real Madrid top scorers (123 goals in 341 games), Emilio Butragueno is accustomed to stepping out onto more hallowed turf than a soggy south London football pitch surrounded by rowdy youngsters.

But for the former Real Madrid and Spain legend, who terrorised defenders and earned the nickname El Buitre (The Vulture) before retiring in 1998, this...

 By Nick Miller

Jack Wilshere's once promising career remains in limbo after England snub

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop has his say on Jack Wilshere and links with Pep Guardiola and Manchester City.

Eddie Howe seemed baffled. When he was asked about Jack Wilshere's omission from the England squad to face Germany and Lithuania, the Bournemouth manager said: "Am I surprised? Yes because of the quality of the player Jack is."

Howe's confusion would be a little easier to take at face value if Wilshere had been in the Bournemouth team recently. Instead, the Arsenal loanee was on the bench for their trip to Old Trafford at the start of March and after that creditable 1-1 draw, that was where...

 By Tim Vickery

Tite's Brazil pass another test with superb comeback win over Uruguay

Steve Nicol expresses surprise in Brazil's defensive improvement under Tite, made evident in their win at Uruguay.
Paulinho admitted his surprise after scoring a hat-trick against Uruguay in their World Cup Qualifier in Montevideo.

Brazil are not yet mathematically over the line -- it is still possible to draw up a sequence of results that would leave them in sixth place, meaning they'd miss the trip to the World Cup in Russia next year. But effectively they are home and dry after their series of consecutive wins under coach Tite stretched to seven -- and the latest was the most impressive of the lot.

There was one test that Tite's men had yet to pass -- how would they react to going a goal down? It happened Thursday against...