Morning Ticker: N'Gog dives Liverpool to draw, Zlatan ponders Sweden retirement and more

Morning Ticker: N'Gog dives Liverpool to draw, Zlatan ponders Sweden retirement and more

MLS- D.C. United

Morning Ticker: N'Gog dives Liverpool to draw, Zlatan ponders Sweden retirement and more

David N'Gog (Getty Images)

by FRANCO PANIZO

Liverpool midfielder David N'Gog may have salvaged his club from losing against Birmingham on Monday, but he did so with one of the most highly-criticized dives in recent memory.

With Birmingham shockingly leading the hosts 2-1 in the second half, N'Gog dribbled into the penalty area before being brought down by midfielder Lee Carsley's sliding challenge. With a penalty kick awarded, Steven Gerrard calmly equalized, earning Liverpool a result for just the second time in their last five league games.

Replays, however, clearly showed Carsley never made contact, and N'Gog dove to earn the call.

The dive is currently under immense criticism, with some British newspapers labeling N'Gog a cheat.

Here are some more stories to help get your Tuesday started:

Ibrahimovic considering international retirement

Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be calling it quits on his international career.

According to new Sweden national team manager Erik Hamren, Ibrahimovic declined a call-up for the Swedish's upcoming friendly against Italy, and is doubtful to have a future with the national team. Hamren also said he will not be call up the 28-year-old, who is enjoying a strong first season with FC Barcelona, until Ibrahimovic has made up his mind.

Since making his debut in 2001, Ibrahimovic has 60 caps and 22 goals for Sweden. Sweden failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, finishing in third place of UEFA's Group one, behind Denmark and Portugal.

Cole sidelined with fractured tibia

Chelsea defender Ashley Cole has been sidelined indefinitely after being diagnosed with a fractured tibia.

Cole originally suffered the injury in Champions League action on Oct. 21, but the left back aggravated the nick before Sunday's 1-0 win over Manchester United, where he started and played 90 minutes.

James out three-four months

D.C. United has not had the kindest of offseasons thus far, but the club received some good news on the injury front.

Defender Julius James underwent successful shoulder surgery on Monday, and is expected to be out three to four months. That timeframe means James could be available when D.C. United kicks off the 2010 campaign against the Kansas City Wizards on March 27.

James played in 14 games, starting in 13 of them, and scored one goal in all competitions for D.C. United this season.

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Is N'Gog's dive a disgrace to soccer, or just another dive? Think Ibrahimovic should retire from international soccer? How will Cole's injury affect Chelsea? Expect James to be ready for D.C. United's 2010 season opener?

Share your thoughts below.

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