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Boothroyd happy with England Under-21s’ progress despite early Euro 2019 exit

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England Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd insists he has learned to never panic even after a troubled summer.The Young Lions wrap up their year with a friendly in Holland on Tuesday after last weeks 3-0 Euro 2021 qualifying win in Albania.It kept them top of Group Three on goal difference and extended their unbeaten run in qualifying matches to 39.But despite the under-21s record they flopped at Euro 2019 in June, failing to win a game to crash out at the group stage.It led to questions about Boothroyds position but the manager is rational.What Ive learned is really simple, sometimes when youre reflecting on things you can throw the baby out with the bathwater, he said.Because of my years now Ive got to a point where I can be a lot more objective. Sometimes its not all bad and its not all good.What we didnt do was stick our head in the sand or brush anything under the carpet.We looked at what do we need to get better at, what have we done well?The What have we done well? list was far longer than the other one.You learn from it and move on to what is a really good campaign so far.Just three of the current squad Ryan Sessgenon, Phil Foden and Reiss Nelson played in Italy and San Marino in the summer while others like Mason Mount and James Maddison have graduated to Gareth Southgates seniors.Despite Euro disappointment though, Boothroyd believes positives must be taken from 2019.Overall its been a good year, he said, ahead of the game against the Dutch in Doetinchem.Pre-Euros a lot of lessons were learned by our players. A lot of things went on behind the scenes like (Lewis) Cook and (Sean) Longstaff getting injured, the problem positions.Its timing too, sometimes everything comes together and sometimes nothing.Although I felt we played some terrific stuff at the Euros, the results werent what we wanted. Sometimes results can get to you to the point where you dont look at things objectively.Some of the performances and the players who came through, I think we are going to benefit from later on.Its a new team, a new broom and a load of new personalities with lads who are playing more than ever.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Nick Mashiter, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '442f2dba-27dc-4918-8f62-81a3b9ca2e7b'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:club-news,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Boothroyd happy with England Under-21s\u2019 progress despite early Euro 2019 exit'});

November 18th 2019, 5:17 am

Barcelona and Real Madrid go head to head for Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar

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Inter Milan's Milan Skriniar is at the centre of a transfer battle between the two Spanish heavyweights.The Slovakian is a targetfor both Barcelona and Real Madrid, who could make their move in January - but likelier June.Skriniar joined Inter from Sampdoria in 2017 for a fee in the region of £30m.The Serie A outfit reportedlyfended off interest from Manchester United and Liverpoollast season by offering the centre-back a bumper new deal.The offer was accepted by Skriniar who is now contracted to Inter until 2023, thusincreasing his market value.The new deal reportedly contains no release clause, meaning Inter can demand what they like.But, according to Corriere Dello Sport, Barcelona and Real Madrid are capable of making 'important' bids that could tempt the Italians.Last summer, both the La Liga giants were hopeful of signing Matthijs De Ligt from Ajax, but he ended up choosing to join Juventus.The failure to add steel to their defences has left Madrid and Barça vulnerable at the back.Once again, the great rivals will battle one another, this time for Skriniar, and Inter will hope for a big-money bidding war.It's reported that Inter rejected offers of up to €60m for the 24-year-old last summer, so they could demand much more at this point.It's unlikely Skriniar will be allowed to leave in January unless they can secure a suitable replacement.Antonio Conte already bemoaneda lack of squad depth following a defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League group stage recently.READ MORE...How the 'Zlatan Ibrahimovic' character came to overshadow the player's incredible talentGraham Potter claims win at Arsenal with Ostersund 'not in top three of most important games for me'

November 18th 2019, 5:17 am

Scotland’s Liam Palmer admits revenge is on his mind for Kazakhstan game

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Scotland right-back Liam Palmer admits revenge is on his mind as he prepares to face Kazakhstan on Tuesday.Palmer made his international debut in the 3-0 defeat in Nur-Sultan which opened Scotlands European Championship qualification group.They close their Group I campaign against Kazakhstan on Tuesday night at Hampden with a different manager in place after Steve Clarke replaced Alex McLeish two games in.Palmer agrees with Clarke that Scotland need to look forward to Marchs play-off campaign and beating Kazakhstan to seal third place and a hat-trick of wins would help with confidence and momentum. But after waiting seven months for his second cap, Palmer is also looking to exorcise some demons from his debut.Palmer, who made his fourth Scotland appearance in Saturdays win over Cyprus, told the PA news agency: The boys who didnt play on Saturday, if they get a chance to play on Tuesday they will be keen to show what they can do and everyone is trying to stake a claim for, hopefully, two big games in March.Everyone is pushing towards that. It would be massive, not just for me obviously, but for everyone in the country, fans, if we can get there.But its an old cliche, one game at a time, and just build from what is a winnable game and a bit of revenge for some of us who were out there at the start of the campaign.Its another element we will be looking to address.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Gavin McCafferty, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '4b576192-c908-495d-a93e-d9915880fe5e'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Scotland\u2019s Liam Palmer admits revenge is on his mind for Kazakhstan game'});

November 17th 2019, 11:46 pm

Republic captaincy won’t change me – Duffy

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Shane Duffy has promised his Republic of Ireland team-mates he will be the same Shane as he attempts to lead them to next summers Euro 2020 finals.The 27-year-old Brighton defender has been handed the captains armband for Monday nights final Group D qualifier against Denmark in the absence of the suspended Seamus Coleman, but he insists he will not change his approach as a result.Duffy said: I just think Ill sort of be myself. Its got me where I am now at the minute and the lads know me quite well, the way I am.Shane Duffy will captain the Ireland team tomorrow night for #IRLDEN#COYBIG pic.twitter.com/aG2BjlAEz6 FAIreland (@FAIreland) November 17, 2019Ill just be the same Shane, be the same me around the place, when I step over the white line, just be that same Shane that hopefully Ive done for Ireland over a couple of years now and just dont change.Hopefully it can kick me on and I can go on and just keep progressing in my career.I feel Im in a good place now, keep pushing on and try to better myself, But nothing changes. Duffy established him himself as a fixture in the Ireland team under Mick McCarthys predecessor Martin ONeill and has become an even more central figure under the current manager, who has been impressed by his leadership skills.McCarthy said: Hes one of the players in the squad everybody so looks up to. Hes one of those that, just how he plays the game, he gets respect from people and his team-mates.Without going around screaming and shouting and cajoling people, he gets people up. If were having a tough time, he rallies the troops and gets people defending. Hes the one that blocks things and gets his head on stuff. Hes one you can rely on.Mick McCarthys Republic of Ireland can secure their place at Euro 2020 against Denmark (Simon Cooper/PA)However, while Duffy is thrilled to have been chosen to deputise for Coleman, personal acclaim is secondary on a night when victory at the Aviva Stadium would seal qualification for Euro 2020.Duffy said: Its a huge honour. To even play for your country is a massive milestone in your career and to lead the boys out, hopefully Ill take it in my stride and wont let it affect me.Im excited for it, my family will be proud and Ill be proud as well. But the main objective is to go out there and just play the game and try and get the win.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Damian Spellman, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'b03ca005-0ff6-4ed2-b491-7fc4bcd271a1'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Republic captaincy won\u2019t change me \u2013 Duffy'});

November 17th 2019, 11:46 pm

Southgate says England in better shape than before last year’s World Cup

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Gareth Southgate believes England are in better shape than they were going into last years World Cup, but there remains plenty of work to do before Euro 2020 following the thumping win in Kosovo.The Three Lions secured their place among the six top seeds for the Euro 2020 draw by triumphing 4-0 in Pristina, where Harry Winks and Mason Mount opened their international accounts between Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford efforts.Englands latest emphatic Group A win took their overall tally for 2019 to 38 goals a haul only bettered by the 39 scored in 1908 as captain Kane became the countrys first player to score in every qualification match.Southgates men have averaged 3.8 goals per game and are among the favourites for Euro 2020 on the back of runs to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and this years Nations League.Englands Harry Kane scores against Kosovo (Steven Paston/PA)I mean, I would say that were definitely further ahead than we were heading into Russia, manager Southgate said. But we made massive strides in this period when we went into Russia.So, weve got to make sure that to get the level of performance next summer, were going to have to improve in the way that we did over that spell as well.And I think the team have belief, for sure, you can see the confidence.I said last night, they dont come into these matches worrying about what might go wrong, theyve got the confidence to control games with possession, and they know theyre going to score goals.So, yes, what we dont know, because we havent had those tests more recently against the top eight or 10, is exactly how were going to cope in those moments.Englands Declan Rice and Harry Winks celebrate beating Kosovo (Steven Paston/PA)And to win the European Championship is, at the moment, no easier than the World Cup.The final four were all European, and youve got to add Spain, Germany, Portugal and all the others into that, so its a really high-level tournament.England certainly have the attacking ability to hurt any team at next summers finals, where Southgates side will play all of their group games at Wembley before hoping to return there for the semis and final.Issues such as set-piece frailties and their uneven midfield dynamic need to be worked on before then given Sundays display in Kosovo, where the scoreline flattered the visitors. Kane, Rashford and Mounts goals all came from the 79th minute at Stadiumi Fadil Vokrri, where the hosts gave England a touching welcome following the United Kingdoms role in helping Kosovo during their time of need two decades ago.It was a difficult game, Southgate said.It was an amazing reception from everybody from Kosovo which was, obviously, a special night for them and it was a privilege to be part of it so we thank them for that.It was a good test for the young players and the new players coming in, as well as some of the more experienced ones.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Simon Peach, PA Chief Football Writer, Pristina'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'e83e1f14-35c0-4d94-bd56-6171b908a383'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Southgate says England in better shape than before last year\u2019s World Cup'});

November 17th 2019, 11:46 pm

Deschamps expresses pride after France mark his 100th game with victory

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Didier Deschamps spoke of his pride after his France side marked his 100th match as manager with a 2-0 win in Albania.Antoine Griezmann scored one after setting up the opener for Corentin Tolisso as the world champions secured top spot in their Euro 2020 qualifying group.Olivier Giroud also hit the woodwork in the second half as France enjoyed a comfortable evening in Tirana to finish two points ahead of Turkey in Group H.World Cup-winning boss Deschamps said in comments reported by LEquipe: Ive had a lot of testimonials from all of my staff, my president and my players, and it warms my heart.I depend a lot on the players, those who were here today and those present from the beginning who allowed the team of France to gain these very good results.Its a personal pride but Im especially proud to see what they do together with that spirit.Deschamps feels his side have had to prove themselves again because their World Cup win has made them a target for opponents.He said: We have eight wins, one draw and one loss. We are doing better than two years ago.The bar was higher with what we had last summer.France must now wait to see if they will be one of the six group winners to earn a top seeding at next summers tournament.Deschamps said: We cannot do better than first. It may have needed more points but some big nations can also find themselves in hats three or four.We did what we wanted to do. We have what we deserve.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Andy Hampson, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'c0ccda84-7a5e-4b48-b649-f9807aea289f'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Deschamps expresses pride after France mark his 100th game with victory'});

November 17th 2019, 7:13 pm

Wales striker sees benefits of having Moore substance than style

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Kieffer Moore says Wales are ready to realise their Euro 2020 dream even if their style would not win any prizes in the beauty stakes.Wigan striker Moore has made a huge impact in Wales Euro 2020 qualifying campaign as Ryan Giggs side have turned their fortunes around.Moore scored his second goal in three qualifiers as Wales beat Azerbaijan 2-0 in Baku on Saturday evening, leaving the Dragons in control of their own destiny heading into the final game.Kieffer Moore (centre) opened the scoring with a close-range header in Wales 2-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win in Azerbaijan (Bradley Collyer/PA)Wales will secure automatic qualification for next summers European Championship finals by beating Hungary at a sold-out Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday.Sometimes it is not the prettiest football, but if it is effective it is definitely worth doing, said the 6ft 5ins Moore, whose aerial ability has provided Wales with an extra dimension to their game.Defenders are maybe not used to going up for headers quite a lot in Azerbaijan v Wales UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying Group E Bakcell Arenainternational football.I believe we get a massive advantage from doing that.Confirmation of the Group E standings following today's results:AZE 0-2 WALCRO 3-1 SVK If we can beat Hungary on Tuesday at Cardiff City Stadium, automatic qualification to the finals would be confirmed. #EURO2020 | #TogetherStronger pic.twitter.com/bxtZNeisdh Wales (@Cymru) November 16, 2019I am very suited to the way this team sets up and plays.As you can see I am reaping the rewards and working hard for the team as well.Moore has joined a star-studded attacking unit which features players from Real Madrid, Juventus, Liverpool and Manchester United.But the Latics striker has shown no signs of suffering from an inferiority complex playing alongside the likes of Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Harry Wilson and Daniel James.Wales captain Gareth Bale has benefited from Kieffer Moores aerial ability (Nigel French/PA)They say some nice things, Moore said.I just need to keep going and keep bringing the ball down and supplying them with it.Obviously they are massive attacking threats. If I can keep giving the ball to them, it stands us in good stead.I will do anything for the team, put my body around. It is a lot easier for me with the better players here.REPLAY | 0-1 | #AZEWALKIEFFER MAWR!!! #TogetherStronger pic.twitter.com/hJ1Oxpt7V9 Wales (@Cymru) November 16, 2019Wales have gone five games unbeaten since losing a summer double-header to Croatia and Hungary that put their Euro 2020 qualification hopes in jeopardy.Moore had not played for Wales at that stage as he was still making a full recovery from the horrific fractured skull injury he sustained in February.The 27-year-old made his debut in the September friendly win against Belarus and has been an ever-present since. I am enjoying myself, Moore said. I am buzzing to play and the performances have been really good lately.We have that momentum on our side and we are going to use it and go again Tuesday.This will definitely rank as the biggest game of my career. It is massive.There is everything on the line, hopefully it is going to be successful and we will qualify.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Phil Blanche, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '1516dc92-878b-484d-abf8-79126218a63e'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Wales striker sees benefits of having Moore substance than style'});

November 17th 2019, 6:13 pm

Antoine Griezmann stars as France beat Albania

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Antoine Griezmann scored one and created another as France secured top spot in their Euro 2020 qualifying group with a 2-0 win in Albania.The Barcelona forward set up the opener for Corentin Tolisso after eight minutes and followed up with the second just after the half-hour in Albanias first match at the new Arena Kombetare.It was the perfect way for the world champions to celebrate Didier Deschamps 100th match as manager of France, who were already qualified, and ensured they finished two points ahead of Turkey in Group H.Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud, named in the side with Kylian Mbappe out through illness, hit the woodwork in the second half of a dominant display.France got off to a superb start as Tolisso met Griezmanns cross from the left with a superb header at the near post.Griezmann was at the heart of most of Frances good play and he doubled the lead in the 31st minute.A deep cross from Presnel Kimpembe had Albania back-pedalling and Leo Dubois cut across the area. He did get a lucky deflection off Frederic Veseli who was once on the books of Manchester City and United but his pull-back was clinically tucked away by Griezmann.Griezmann almost created a third before the break from a corner but Clement Lenglet headed over unmarked from seven yards.Albania threatened early in the second half as Elseid Hysaj slid in to shoot wide and Rei Manaj had an effort blocked by Lenglet.But France retained control and Giroud held off a defender to force a save from goalkeeper Etrit Berisha.Giroud tested Berisha again with a fierce shot from a tight angle and was then unlucky when he rattled the woodwork after 72 minutes.Albania had another couple of opportunities through Hysaj and Keidi Bare in the latter stages but France were not to be denied.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Andy Hampson, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'f300e27e-acbb-4e98-a3f6-f2c60ce2ff6f'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Antoine Griezmann stars as France beat Albania'});

November 17th 2019, 6:13 pm

Aguero to start alongside Messi as Argentina face Uruguay

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Sergio Aguero will start alongside Lionel Messi as Argentina face Uruguay in a friendly in Tel Aviv on Monday.The Manchester City striker will return to the Albiceleste side as manager Lionel Scaloni gets his final look at his team before the start of World Cup qualifying next year.Aguero, who sat out Fridays victory over Brazil in Saudi Arabia, and Barcelona playmaker Messi are the only players Scaloni has confirmed will definitely play.They could play in a front three with Inter Milans Lautaro Martinez or Paul Dybala of Juventus but Scaloni will wait before making the rest of his selection.Speaking at a press conference reported by TyC Sports, Scaloni said: Lets wait a little longer. Some players are tired after the game against Brazil, which is normal for the game we had, but nobody has problems.We will take half a day more because I would like to take a fresh team.Scaloni does not want to stray too far from his preferred side but recognises the game is a good opportunity to experiment.He said: Beyond that is not ideal to try but as we consider it is the last before the qualifiers we can dare to try some players in an important game.The game is likely to see Messi come up against his Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez.Scaloni said: We are going to play against a side that is one of the best in the world.They have a mix of youth and experience at the top level, and we know how dangerous they are.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Andy Hampson, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '09c10e35-08da-4fa7-9643-3dbd09a1f3e1'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Aguero to start alongside Messi as Argentina face Uruguay'});

November 17th 2019, 6:13 pm

Evans believes Northern Ireland can be confident ahead of play-offs

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Corry Evans believes Northern Ireland can approach next years Euro 2020 qualifying play-offs with confidence after going toe-to-toe with Holland on Saturday night.Though Steven Davis missed a penalty in a goalless draw at Windsor Park, Northern Ireland put the Dutch under pressure in the early going and were rarely threatened themselves.The result closed the door on any lingering hopes of automatic qualification before their final Group C fixture against Germany in Frankfurt on Tuesday night, but Northern Ireland will now wait for Fridays draw to discover who they will face in the play-offs next spring.Gavin Whyte impressed for Northern Ireland against Holland (Liam McBurney/PA)And Evans feels there is little to fear after they threatened to shock the Dutch in Rotterdam last month before two stoppage-time goals inflicted a 3-1 defeat in the reverse fixture.Overall we can be pleased, the Blackburn midfielder said. We have shown in the two games against Holland that we are more than a match for them and we have to take confidence from this and carry it forward.We are all frustrated but as a team I think we have shown how far we have come. We more than matched Germany and Holland in the three games we have played them and we will take that into Tuesday nights game.Gavin Whyte, entrusted in the front three as he made the biggest start of his career, impressed as Northern Ireland pegged Holland back in the early going. Steven Davis missed a penalty as Northern Ireland drew with Holland (Liam McBurney/PA)Though their threat faded after Davis missed spot-kick, they were able to frustrate the Dutch who created little at the other end.Cardiff winger Whyte said: It was so close, so unfortunate. I thought we were superb. We knew it was going to be a tough game and we werent going to get much of the ball and wed have to dig in deep at times.I think the overall performance was a testament to how far weve come as a team, I thought we were brilliant.The contest petered out towards the end, though the Northern Ireland fans did their best to create a party atmosphere as they celebrated the achievements of Michael ONeill, almost certainly taking charge for the last time at Windsor Park after accepting the job of Stoke manager.Michael ONeill is to leave the Northern Ireland post after taking the Stoke job (Liam McBurney/PA)ONeill admitted to a sense of anti-climax at the end after a missed opportunity to claim a big scalp, but it said a lot that Northern Ireland were disappointed to draw with the Dutch. Hes been magnificent for us and has taken us from where we were eight years ago to what we are doing now, Evans said. We are in contention all the time to qualify and hes been a huge help in our international careers. He has helped make dreams come true by reaching major tournaments and even like against Holland we are in games against big nations and we compete against them. A lot of that is down to Michael.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Ian Parker, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'cf5e7be7-3656-4b98-836e-6182c979aea9'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Evans believes Northern Ireland can be confident ahead of play-offs'});

November 17th 2019, 6:13 pm

Southgate: England further ahead than before World Cup but still with work to do

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Gareth Southgate believes England are in a better place heading into the Euros than they were ahead of the World Cup, but there remains plenty of work to do after ending qualification with victory in Kosovo.The Three Lions secured their place among the six top seeds for the Euro 2020 draw by triumphing 4-0 in Pristina, where Harry Winks and Mason Mount opened their international accounts between Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford efforts.Englands latest emphatic Group A win took their overall tally for 2019 to 38 goals a haul only bettered by the 39 scored in 1908 as captain Kane became the countrys first player to net in every qualification match.7 wins37 goals#EURO2020 qualifying has been fun pic.twitter.com/tj7GvaqI9X England (@England) November 17, 2019Southgates men have averaged 3.8 goals per game and are among the favourites for Euro 2020 on the back of runs to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and this years Nations League.I mean, I would say that were definitely further ahead than we were heading into Russia, manager Southgate said. But we made massive strides in this period when we went into Russia.So, weve got to make sure that to get the level of performance next summer, were going to have to improve in the way that we did over that spell as well.And I think the team have belief, for sure, you can see the confidence. I said last night, they dont come into these matches worrying about what might go wrong, theyve got the confidence to control games with possession, and they know theyre going to score goals.So, yes, what we dont know, because we havent had those tests more recently against the top eight or 10, is exactly how were going to cope in those moments.And to win the European Championship is, at the moment, no easier than the World Cup.The final four were all European, and youve got to add Spain, Germany, Portugal and all the others into that, so its a really high-level tournament.8 #EURO2020 qualifiers.12 goals.Leading by example pic.twitter.com/UB9dIYyCdI UEFA EURO 2020 (@UEFAEURO) November 17, 2019England certainly have the attacking ability to hurt any team at next summers finals, where Southgates side will play all of their group games at Wembley before hoping to return there for the semis and final.Issues like set-piece frailties and their uneven midfield dynamic need to be worked on before then given Sundays display in Kosovo, where the scoreline flattered the visitors.Kane, Rashford and Mounts goals all came from the 79th minute at Stadiumi Fadil Vokrri, where the hosts gave England a touching welcome following the United Kingdoms role in helping Kosovo during their time of need two decades ago.It was a difficult game, Southgate said.It was an amazing reception from everybody from Kosovo which was, obviously, a special night for them and it was a privilege to be part of it so we thank them for that.I think similar to some of the games weve had where the teams have pressed us high at first, it was not easy to play through their pressure but I thought (Harry) Maguire and Winks, in particular, gave us a real calmness on the ball to solve that problem.Not an easy pitch, you know, a lot of the guys were slipping around. To have control of the game that we did was good and then as the game went on, a bit more space started to open up and then our counter-attacking and forward play came into its own.I thought it was a really good test for us, we needed that. I was keen to see I was quite happy at 1-0, at 65, 70, I was quite happy for that to go 80, 85, to see how we would cope with it because we need those sorts of games.It was a good test for the young players and the new players coming in, as well as some of the more experienced ones.After the game, Kosovo boss Bernard Challandes said he considered England favourites for Euro 2020 following this latest goalfest.I cannot say we have had no discipline, he said.OK, at the end of the game we have made mistakes and we cant make such mistakes against an opponent as England.But it was also perhaps a little because some players were very, very tired at the end of the game and as a side, we must say that England are so good. So good and the efficiency. We have paid.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Simon Peach, PA Chief Football Writer, Pristina'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '30963693-3749-4f73-9e79-230e98c193e5'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Southgate: England further ahead than before World Cup but still with work to do'});

November 17th 2019, 4:37 pm

Record WSL crowd sees Arsenal beat Tottenham

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Arsenal defeated rivals Tottenham 2-0 in front of a record FA Womens Super League crowd of 38,262. After a goalless first half,Kim Little struck first in the north London derby beforeHolland striker Vivianne Miedema secured the victory in the 82nd minute.The game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium attracted a crowd seven times larger than last seasons WSL attendance record of5,265.FT: The Blues win at Anfield!Captain Lucy Graham's long-range effort in the first half is enough to hand Willie Kirk's side all three points in the first ever @BarclaysFAWSL match to be hosted at Anfield! 1-0 #COYB pic.twitter.com/YSDBTkeVzZ Everton Women (@EvertonWomen) November 17, 2019Liverpool sit last in the table after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Everton in the first-ever womens Merseyside derby.Lucy Grahams goal, scored just before half-time, was enough to secure victory forWillie Kirks Toffees at Anfield.Everton moved up to fourth in the table, whereas Liverpools poor start to the campaign continued as they are yet to secure a win.Chelsea remain at the top of the table after defeating Manchester United at Kingsmeadow. Ohhhh Maren Mjelde @MarenMjelde with the matchwinner! #CFCW pic.twitter.com/7Cl0iWaCxO Chelsea FC Women (@ChelseaFCW) November 17, 2019The only goal of the game was the result of a penalty awarded after Uniteds Millie Turner was deemed to have brought down Fran Kirby.Norway internationalMaren Mjelde duly converted the chance, keeping her side a point clear at the top of the table.Georgia Stanway scored a brace in Manchester Citys dominant 5-0 victory over West Ham, only to be shown a red card in the 72nd minute.The England midfielder netted twice in quick succession before the breakbut then received two quickfire bookings for late challenges and was consequently dismissed.Ellen White opened the scoring, claiming her first WSL goal for City in the process.Stanways double followed with Lauren Hemp making it 4-0 before half-time, after whichTessa Wullaert claimed the fifth and final goal of the match. What a strike, @Lea_LeGarrec!#BHAFC https://t.co/sNEKLusrnN Brighton Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) November 17, 2019Brighton claimed their first victory of the season in emphatic style as they dismissed Birmingham 3-0.Kayleigh Greens 15th-minute penalty handed the hosts the lead, awarded afterEllie Brazil was fouled and later withdrawn from the match.Lea Le Garrec doubled the advantage before half-time, hooking a shot off the bar before it rebounded into the goal.Green scored a second in the 70th minute, connecting withLe Garrecs corner to complete the scoring. It was a great team performance, we showed real fight to come back and get a point. Goalscorer @cwellings18 reflects on City Womens 3-3 draw with Reading. #REABRC pic.twitter.com/XQ0SywPKGx Bristol City WFC (@bristolcitywfc) November 17, 2019Bristol City drew 3-3 with Reading at theMadejski Stadium.Reading took control of proceedings early on, with Remi Allen andBrooke Chaplen both netting within a minute of each other.Citys Charlie Wellings reduced the deficit before the break, only for the Royals to strike again after the break asAngharad James headed in a third for the home side.Yana Daniels and Ebony Salmon both netted to ensure the visitors earned a share of the points.Readings Millie Farrow narrowly failed to provide a winner in the final minute when her attempt swung wide.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'd2c766a5-840e-4ff3-a803-fd9dc4643526'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Record WSL crowd sees Arsenal beat Tottenham'});

November 17th 2019, 4:07 pm

Gareth Southgate delighted to see England come through tricky game in Kosovo

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Gareth Southgate was pleased to see England given a good test in difficult playing conditions after battling their way to victory over Kosovo inPristina.The Three Lions ran out 4-0 winners to ensure they will head toEuro 2020 among the top seeds but it was not as comfortable as the final scoreline might suggest against tricky opponents.Harry Winks first-half goal put England in front but the visitors had to wait until the final 12 minutes to finish off Kosovo, with Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount adding late goals.Harry Kane was among the scorers in a 4-0 win in Kosovo (Steven Paston/PA)England boss Southgate, whose side were already assured of top spot in Group A, told ITV: I think it was a tight game. It was a good test for us really. Difficult pitch, in particular, lots of people slipping and a few passes went astray.But we needed a tighter game. It was the sort of challenge I was pleased we got.We had to withstand spells of pressure, gave them a few half-chances that on another night could be more of a problem, but in the end our counter-attacking was absolutely ruthless. England captain Kane felt it was a professional performancein their final competitive match ahead of Euro 2020.He said: It was a difficult game, difficult pitch. They were up for it.We had already won the group so the mentality is not always easy to go again but we got it right.We got 1-0 up. We went through a few spells where they had some pressure but we soaked it up and then towards the end of the game, when the spaces started to open up, we were clinical. Four-nil is a great result.Raheem Sterling returned to Englands starting line-up (Steven Paston/PA)(Steven Paston/PA)Raheem Sterling was recalled to the England starting line-up after being dropped for Thursdays 7-0 win over Montenegro following an incident involving Joe Gomez at St Georges Park.Gomez, who was left with a scratch on his face following the confrontation, was booed by fans when he came on at Wembley but the Liverpool defender did not travel to Kosovo after suffering a knee injury in training.Southgate felt the return of Manchester City forward Sterling at the Stadiumi Fadil Vokrri drew a line under last weeks incident with Gomez.He said: I think that you have to work through any difficulties you have and the whole group have done that really well. I think we come out of this stronger than we started it, frankly.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '070a0f3f-ac84-4a9e-9d0f-23eb3c798be4'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Gareth Southgate delighted to see England come through tricky game in Kosovo'});

November 17th 2019, 3:25 pm

Eamonn Brophy replaces injured Lawrence Shankland in Scotland squad

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Kilmarnock striker Eamonn Brophy has been called into the Scotland squad after Lawrence Shankland pulled out with a minor injury.Shankland did not feature in Saturdays 2-1 win in Cyprus with Steven Naismith starting up front and Oli McBurnie coming on just after the hour mark.A Dundee United statement read: Lawrence Shankland has left the Scotland squad due to a slight injury picked up ahead of Saturdays match v Cyprus.Scotland squad update:IN: Eamonn Brophy.OUT: Lawrence Shankland. pic.twitter.com/7jTKFDFVY4 Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) November 17, 2019He will return to the HPC (High Performance Centre) for assessment and is expected to be available for the Morton game.Brophy, who has four caps and has scored three times for Killie this season, will come into the reckoning for Tuesdays final Euro 2020 qualifier against Kazakhstan at Hampden.A draw would seal a third-placed finish for Scotland but they are looking for a third victory in succession to build confidence ahead of their play-off campaign in March.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'd1884177-2b20-448c-9769-2948e6148899'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Eamonn Brophy replaces injured Lawrence Shankland in Scotland squad'});

November 17th 2019, 2:55 pm

A closer look at Raheem Sterling as he returns to England team

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Raheem Sterling returned to the England starting line-up for the Euro 2020 qualifier in Kosovo after being dropped for the 7-0 win over Montenegro at Wembley.The Manchester City forward was left out of a game which saw England secure qualification for the finals after a training ground bust-up with Joe Gomez which left the Liverpool defender with a scratch under his eye.Sterling had a quiet match againstKosovo on his return as England showed little against disciplined opponents but still won 4-0 with goals from Harry Winks, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount.No Joe woeJoe Gomez was not involved in Kosovo due to a knee injury (Nick Potts/PA)Sterling did not have to cope with any awkward moments as Gomez missed the trip to Kosovo because of a knee injury suffered in training.Sterling had taken to social media to criticise fans who booed Gomez at Wembley but with the Liverpool defender absent there were no worries about anything carrying over from their dispute.Sterling had taken the blame for the incident and served the one-match ban imposed by manager Gareth Southgate. There appeared to be no dissenting voices amongst England fans in Pristina.A quiet startSterling returned to the England starting line-up after being dropped for one match (Steven Paston/PA)Sterling got an early touch but was quickly harried off the ball and then failed to control a pass from Winks as one of several England players who struggled to keep their footing.England did not get off to their usual fast start and Sterling found his opportunities limited during the opening exchanges.He was involved in Englands first attack after 13 minutes but his cross was too deep for Callum Hudson-Odoi before Sterling had his sides first shot on target which forced a save from Arijanet Muric after a quarter of an hour.Doing his duty in defenceGreat finish, @MarcusRashford!#threelionspic.twitter.com/bMeFK48lQ7 England (@England) November 17, 2019With little to do in the first half Sterlings most notable contribution was tracking back to make a challenge in his own area to break up a Kosovo attack.Sterling was also on hand to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick and end another Kosovo attack as he once again proved his worth in defence.Sterlings cross was sliced by a defender and Kane netted the loose ball for Englands second goal after 79 minutes and the Manchester City forward then laid on the third for substitute Rashford four minutes later.Sure of his spotSterling was involved as England added late goals in Kosovo (Steven Paston/PARegardless of how he performed in Pristina, the returning Sterling was already guaranteed a place in the England squad for the finals.Which was just as well as he was as underwhelming as his team-mates against a side they had beaten 5-3 at Southampton in September. Three goals in the final 12 minutes put a shine on Englands below-par performance in Pristina.Sterling had scored Englands first goal in that game at St Marys but failed to find the target this time out.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '36854bb4-3ec0-4abe-8f72-c2070ef52e0a'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'A closer look at Raheem Sterling as he returns to England team'});

November 17th 2019, 2:55 pm

Police investigating alleged homophobic abuse at Tranmere-Wycombe match

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Police are investigating after Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop and referee John Busby allegedly suffered homophobic abuse during Sundays League One game at Tranmere.Merseyside Police have confirmed a 24-year-old man from Tranmere is being questioned over the incident relating to Busby and the force are also looking into a further allegation regarding Allsop.It is understood Allsop, 27, reported abuse at the interval after keeping at the Kop end of Prenton Park in the first half.A 24-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of homophobic public order @ Tranmere Rovers vs Wycombe Wanderers today. We'll work closely with both clubs to investigate. Any info? DM @MerPolCC, call 101 or @CrimestoppersUK on 0800 555 111 log #297 https://t.co/ZNSuz52veD pic.twitter.com/89vYmnSkHc Merseyside Police (@MerseyPolice) November 17, 2019The match, which Wycombe won 2-0 to move three points clear at the top of the division, was televised live by Sky Sports.Chief Inspector Jason Crellin of Merseyside Police said: Were grateful to the player, both clubs and the stewarding staff for intervening and reporting these abhorrent incidents immediately.I also want to reassure them and everyone present and watching on television that we will be working alongside both clubs and the authorities to fully investigate the allegations.Hate crime has no place in our communities, and not least at a showcase sporting event attended and watched by many people.Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop suffered allegedhomophobic abuse (Paul Harding/PA)Tranmere have vowed to take a hard line over the matter.A statement from the club read: Tranmere Rovers Football Club are very disappointed to learn of a homophobic comment made during todays match against Wycombe Wanderers.The club takes matters like this very seriously with a zero-tolerance policy.As a consequence of todays actions, one supporter has been arrested and the matter is being dealt with by the police. The Football Association is also understood to be aware of the incident and will await the referees report and seek further information from all parties involved before deciding how to proceed.Allsop is in his second spell at Wycombe after joining the club on a free transfer last year following his release by Premier League Bournemouth.Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth said of the alleged abuse: If thats the case then for me there are some stupid idiots about. Whether its racist or homophobic, whatever it is, we have to stamp this out.Club Statement https://t.co/06A9PyEe3A#TRFC #SWA pic.twitter.com/iivDphe4mh Tranmere Rovers FC (@TranmereRovers) November 17, 2019I have got to credit Ryan Allsop for being brave enough to stand up and say Im reporting this, and thats what we are and Ill stand by him.Wycombe won with a header from Adebayo Akinfenwa and a penalty from Joe Jacobson, both late in the first half, but the allegations of homophobic abuse overshadowed the outcome.Tranmere manager Micky Mellon said: What I do know is Tranmere is a club of great values. We know whats right and whats wrong. If people are proven to have done the wrong thing then they will be suitably punished as much as they can be.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Andy Hampson, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '36c8efb0-243f-45a4-9624-7c48ff8ec4e1'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:club-news,paservice:sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Police investigating alleged homophobic abuse at Tranmere-Wycombe match'});

November 17th 2019, 2:55 pm

England win final qualifier in Kosovo to ensure place among Euro 2020 top seeds

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England head to Euro 2020 among the top seeds after goals from Harry Winks, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Mason Mount saw Gareth Southgates men overcome Kosovo 4-0 on a humbling occasion in the Balkans.Already assured of top spot in Group A and their pool matches being played at Wembley, the Three Lions knew they risked dropping out of seeded sides for next summers European Championship unless they overcame tricky opposition in Pristina.England wobbled at times at the rocking Stadiumi Fadil Vokrri, but Winks and Mounts first international goals bookended a victory which also saw Kane and Rashford on target, on a night when the reception was more memorable than the match itself.The United Kingdom was part of the international coalition which forced the Serbian forces to withdraw following clashes with ethnic Albanians in the territory in the late 1990s, with Englands first match in Kosovo allowing the locals to show their gratitude.Every Kosovo fan holds up an England flag during the national anthem, while a giant 'Welcome Respect' banner is shown behind the goal pic.twitter.com/Zc06PleZfr Simon Peach (@SimonPeach) November 17, 2019Visiting fans and players have been shown unprecedented warmth in Pristina, where specially made Welcome and Respect T-shirts and banners were complemented by hundreds of St Georges crosses around the city.There were thousands more English flags on display in the ground before kick-off as the Kosovan fans displayed cards during God Save the Queen a remarkable build-up that was followed by a comparatively underwhelming encounter.Southgate has plenty to think about over the winter months after what was a disjointed display for large periods, with Kosovo threatening a shaky defence and the midfield dynamic still not looking quite right in their final competitive match ahead of Euro 2020.Winks first-half effort calmed some nerves, with Kane, Rashford and Mount adding second-half gloss to a win that sees them among the top six sides for the draw at the end of this month.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Simon Peach, PA Chief Football Writer, Pristina'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'c7e942e5-3654-4357-96c8-97f0651082e4'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'England win final qualifier in Kosovo to ensure place among Euro 2020 top seeds'});

November 17th 2019, 2:07 pm

Vicky Jepson says Liverpool will rally around Anke Preuss after costly mistake

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Liverpool manager Vicky Jepson insists she and the squad will fully support a heartbroken Anke Preuss after the goalkeepers mistake handed Everton victory in the first FA Womens Super League Merseyside derby at Anfield.The 27-year-old German allowed Lucy Grahams speculative strike to slip through her grasp in first-half added time as the visitors won 1-0 in front of a crowd of 23,500.Its going to hurt us more as we were the better team today and we gave them a goal with a mistake from our keeper, said Jepson.It was a goal we chucked in the back of our net. There was no way they were going to score today if we didnt give them that.She (Preuss) came to me and put her arms around me and apologised for the mistake and I said Well speak Tuesday and gave her a hug back.Unfortunately for a goalkeeper it is highlighted more than if a striker makes a mistake so we have to stick together and help her through those emotions because she is obviously heartbroken for the mistake she made.Defeat left Liverpool rooted to the bottom of the table with just a point but the significance of the occasion means Jepson is keen to return to the ground for another game.The good thing is we got 23,000 people at Anfield to watch a womens game and that is the celebration, she added.It was a proud moment for our club and we will push on from here, 100 per cent.There will be more opportunities to play here. Peter Moore (Liverpools chief executive) was with us in the dressing room and Im honoured to be at a club that wants to keep pushing the womens game forward.It is just a step in the right direction to add to the growth, not just for us but for the womens game, and Ill keep knocking on the door to make sure we can play here again.Everton leapfrogged Manchester United into fourth with victory and their manager Willie Kirk enjoyed the occasion.It means a lot to the club as its been a while since any Everton team has won at Anfield, said the Scot, referring to the mens teams 20-year run without a victory at the ground.I feel sorry for Anke, I feel she should probably have done better but its not for me to say.The atmosphere was fantastic. It felt like it was about 50 (thousand) and I think some of the players felt that in the closing stages.For one-off matches it is definitely moving the game in the right direction.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Carl Markham, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '91d57644-33c5-45dd-994e-6afa78911a33'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:club-news,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Vicky Jepson says Liverpool will rally around Anke Preuss after costly mistake'});

November 17th 2019, 1:55 pm

Republic of Ireland should take Danish dislike as a compliment, says Hareide

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Denmark boss Age Hareide admits that his players hate facing Ireland but insists that should be taken as a mark of respect.The two sides will meet at the Aviva Stadium on Monday night with Euro 2020 qualification at stake in the final round of Group D fixtures.It is the sixth clash between the pair in two years and several Danish players, most notably Thomas Delaney and Christian Eriksen, have appeared to be less than complimentary about their opponents in the wake of a run of games which has yielded four draws and a 5-1 World Cup play-off win for the Danes in Dublin.However, Hareide is adamant that their dislike of lining up against the Irish is a measure of how difficult they are to play against.He said: Our players have respect for Ireland, I have said it myself: the team looks good, they are well organised, they are hard to beat.You know they have a big heart. I played against them myself in the 80s and there were a lot of great players in that team.I played with them in my career at Manchester City and Norwich and they were really good team-mates. They were always there in the matches and they always gave 100 per cent.All our players say they dont like to play Ireland, and that means respect when players say that because if you said you love to play Ireland, there would be a difference.Both countries are among the host nations for next summers finals and are desperate to be involved on the pitch as well as off it, and while he knows the game in Dublin will be a tense affair, Kasper Schmeichel is confident the visitors will come out on top.The Leicester goalkeeper said: Its a massive game, qualification for a massive tournament. For me personally, it would only be my second major tournament, so its a huge game and a game that were going to win.A draw will be enough to see the Danes through, although Hareide has no intention of playing for a point on a night when there are sure to be twists and turns.Whether or not teenage starlet Troy Parrott gets a chance to make an impact remains to be seen, but Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen has seen enough of his Tottenham team-mate to know exactly what he can do if he does.Asked about his chances of first-team football at Spurs, Eriksen said with a smile: He has a tough one to beat, though. If hes going to beat Harry Kane, its going to be tough, but hes done very well.Hes trained with us for a while now and he played a few games in pre-season. Hes a good player. Its bad to say hes like Harry Kane because hes not, but he is similar. Hes good on the ball, good finishing and makes some good runs.Hes still young, so he has a lot to learn, but hes a good lad.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Damian Spellman, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '83eb8806-15da-499c-8cc7-48c2f2aa55d9'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Republic of Ireland should take Danish dislike as a compliment, says Hareide'});

November 17th 2019, 1:55 pm

Anke Preuss mistake helps Everton Women defeat Liverpool at Anfield

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A howler from Liverpool goalkeeper Anke Preuss handed Everton an historic 1-0 victory as Anfield hosted its first FA Womens Super League Merseyside derby in front of 23,500 fans.In winning on their neighbours ground, Willie Kirks side achieved in their first visit what their male counterparts have not been able to do since 1999.It was harsh on Liverpool, and Preuss in particular as she let Lucy Grahams shot slip through her grasp, that such a momentous occasion should be decided by a mishap but was a cruel lesson in taking chances when they arose.Everton did that clinically, albeit with a helping hand, as they leapfrogged Manchester United into fourth place.The hosts, visibly buoyed by the Anfield occasion, were the better side for much of the game with Kirsty Linnett and Niamh Charles particularly influential.Aside from a couple of efforts from distance and a number of driving runs down the right it was Linnetts twisting, flicked header in the 16th minute which provided the teams best moment of the first half.However, Everton goalkeeper Tinja Korfela proved more than equal to the task as she flung herself to her right to claw away the ball which was destined to drop inside the far post.Korfela then fumbled Rhiannon Roberts 25-yard drive but with no-one following in she was spared further embarrassment.The same could not be said for Preuss, a virtual spectator, seconds before the interval as she failed to get fully across to Grahams speculative shot from distance and watched in horror as the ball slipped through her arms and over the line.Such is the luck for a team bottom of the table with just one point from their opening six matches.After the break Charles had a shot blocked by the sliding Danielle Turner and also fired over as the hosts continued to press attacking the Kop.Reds substitute Rinsola Babajide injected a threat in the final 30 minutes but could not rectify a shortcoming which has been a season-long problem for her side with just one league goal so far.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Carl Markham, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '37ffe08d-71f9-44de-82ed-4bdd899b7a00'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:club-news,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Anke Preuss mistake helps Everton Women defeat Liverpool at Anfield'});

November 17th 2019, 12:51 pm

Wycombe victory marred by allegations of homophobic abuse at Tranmere

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Wycombe moved to the top of Sky Bet League One with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Tranmere at Prenton Park, but the game was marred by an alleged incident of homophobic abuse aimed at Wanderers goalkeeper Ryan Allsop.Adebayo Akinfenwa nodded home in the 43rd minute before a penalty from Joe Jacobson on the stroke of half-time secured the win for Gareth Ainsworths side.It is understood that Allsop reported homophobic abuse to the referee during the interval after the Chairboys keeper had kept goal at the Kop end in the first half.Speaking about the alleged incident, Ainsworth said: If thats the case then for me there are some stupid idiots about.Whether its racist or homophobic, whatever it is, we have to stamp this out.I have got to credit Ryan Allsop for being brave enough to stand up and say Im reporting this, and thats what we are and Ill stand by him.Moving his focus back to the football, he added: Im so proud of the boys. Inside the dressing room we keep private what we believe we can achieve and what our ambitions are.To improve on last year was always the aim. Were really proud of where we are and deservedly so.It was a tough game, not just because its Tranmere away but because weve got them three times in a week. Weve scored two more set plays at Tranmere. Theyre going to be sick of our set plays.Akinfenwa was on the bench when the two sides met in the FA Cup here last weekend but, when Jacobson found him unmarked in the Rovers penalty area, his goal was a formality.It got worse for Tranmere two minutes later when Darren Potter brought down David Wheeler in the penalty area, gifting Wanderers a spot-kick that Jacobson confidently converted on his 500th career appearance.Micky Mellon made half-time changes but, despite the efforts of Morgan Ferrier and Corey Blackett-Taylor, the 18th-placed hosts missed the opportunity to gain breathing space over the teams below them.Mellon said: We knew the threats that we were going to face Akinfenwa and free-kicks. To be undone by the things that youre absolutely 100 per cent sure youre going to have to be good at is really frustrating.Sometimes when you come up against teams and they have some good play and things that you havent seen in games that youve played against them before, you have to say thats football because football can be random, but theres nobody telling me that they came to the game today and never thought that theres going to be direct play from free-kicks.When you know that theyre coming in, it doesnt take a rocket scientist to see that youre going to have to be lively around Akinfenwa.On the allegation of homophobic abuse, Mellon added: What I do know is Tranmere is a club of great values. We know whats right and whats wrong. If people are proven to have done the wrong thing then they will be suitably punished as much as they can be.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '76d45a34-73f6-4ef9-be52-b7bd361e7519'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:club-news,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Wycombe victory marred by allegations of homophobic abuse at Tranmere'});

November 17th 2019, 12:21 pm

Aaron Ramsey hungry to relive Euros dream with Wales

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Aaron Ramsey is determined to relive his best experience in football by helping Wales reach the 2020 European Championship.Ramsey played a huge role in Wales march to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 when the Juventus playmaker was named in the official team of the tournament.But injuries had prevented Ramsey from featuring in Euro 2020 qualifying until he came on for the final half-hour of Wales 2-0 win in Azerbaijan on Saturday evening.Confirmation of the Group E standings following today's results:AZE 0-2 WALCRO 3-1 SVK If we can beat Hungary on Tuesday at Cardiff City Stadium, automatic qualification to the finals would be confirmed. #EURO2020 | #TogetherStronger pic.twitter.com/bxtZNeisdh Wales (@Cymru) November 16, 2019Wales qualification destiny is now in their own hands as victory over Hungary in Cardiff on Tuesday will secure second spot in Group E and a ticket to next summers finals across Europe.It would mean everything again (to qualify), Ramsey said.We missed out on the World Cup, which was very disappointing.We had the best time ever at the Euros and we want to experience something like that again. We have a lot of new faces that havent experienced that, so for them as well it would be massive.Wales were in a similar position two years ago in World Cup qualifying for Russia 2018.Chris Colemans side would have qualified automatically had they beaten the Republic of Ireland in Cardiff and Serbia failed to overcome Georgia.But Wales, who were without the injured Gareth Bale, lost 1-0 and even missed out on a play-off spot with the Republic leapfrogging them into second place.Wales were left heartbroken after missing out on 2018 World Cup qualification in their final game (Nick Potts/PA)We had some unfortunate injuries on that night, which I think played a part, Ramsey said.But we have come on a lot since then.I think we did the hardest part here to get the win, to come away to a place like this is always tricky.Croatia came here and drew last time, so we know how difficult that is.FULL-TIME | 0-2 | #AZEWAL The full-time whistle has been blown and it's a qualifying win in Baku with goals from @KRFMoore and @harrywilson_. Together We Are Stronger #TogetherStronger pic.twitter.com/nYVZQJndFi Wales (@Cymru) November 16, 2019Its good to be back. I felt sharp out there and I had some nice little touches.I got a bit of a cut on my head but all is good.Ramsey replaced Bale in Baku also taking the captains armband from him for the final 30 minutes afterWales talisman had returned following a month out with a calf problem.Ryan Giggs said in his post-match assessment that Bale was blowing a little bit, but the Wales manager looks set to have his two key men available for the Cardiff City Stadium sell-out clash with Hungary. It was a difficult decision, Giggs said. I thought if both started, then at least one of them wouldnt be able to play on Tuesday.Weve still got to assess it. Its a quick turnaround.Gareth was blowing a little bit which you can expect, but hopefully Ill have the option to start both on Tuesday all being well.Aberdeen forward Ryan Hedges has been called into the squad after Tom Lawrence was a late withdrawal from the Azerbaijan trip through illness.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Phil Blanche, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '311fefac-147f-4898-8994-3d554c0b8258'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Aaron Ramsey hungry to relive Euros dream with Wales'});

November 17th 2019, 12:21 pm

Moreno wants Spain to clinch seeded spot for Euro 2020 finals

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Spain coach Robert Moreno has challenged his players to deliver one final Euro 2020 qualifying effort to ensure they clinch a seeded spot in next summers finals.Following the resignation of Luis Enrique just five months ago for personal reasons his nine-year-old daughter Xanita died of bone cancer at the end of August assistant Moreno has since taken up the reins and maintained Spains march to the finals.Spain maintained their unbeaten record in Group F on Friday with a 7-0 demolition of Malta in Cadiz.The Rojo go into the final game against Romania on Monday at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid knowing a victory will ensure they are one of the six seeded nations when the finals draw is made on November 30.Our obligation is to be seeded, Moreno said, on the national team website.It is better to reach Euro 2020 with victories, the feeling of doing well than to arrive with doubts. This is what we have been looking for.After Mondays game it will be another four months before we see the players again, but experience tells me that when they will return to the national team they will remember what we have always asked of them. Great players have that ability.Although Moreno has only been in charge for eight months overall, taking over from Enrique in March, he feels he has set a good example and done well.I have always had this feeling of being a coach, although the responsibility at all times is different, added Moreno.From the first game against Malta (a 2-0 win at the end of March) I have gotten along quite well. I sleep at night.You set the goal of qualification, and when you achieve it, you can only be grateful to the players and the people who support you Morenos squad have embraced his ideas, witnessed against Malta as they produced their best performance of the group stages.Playing well and scoring is always good, against Malta or against anyone, said Moreno.The players we have are very good. We worked on many things in the build-up, and they managed to interpret things very well.Morenos squad came away from the game with Malta unscathed, so his line-up becomes a question as to whether he will make changes in order to secure the win and seeding for the finals.While automatic qualification is now beyond Romania following a 2-0 defeat to confirmed runners-up Sweden in Bucharest on Friday, they are assured of a play-off place.Reading striker George Puscas has admitted Romania will still give their all against Spain.I thought with all my heart, until the start of the game with Sweden, that we would be able to qualify (for the finals), so I am disappointed, Puscas told the national team website.But we have to get over it quickly, even if it is a match without a stake for qualifying, we will treat it with maximum seriousness and with the thought of victory. Any match for the national team is important and has its pressure.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '640a63f6-a212-424c-a283-c0f46e4d4ac8'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Moreno wants Spain to clinch seeded spot for Euro 2020 finals'});

November 17th 2019, 11:50 am

The major talking points ahead of Republic of Ireland’s showdown with Denmark

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The Republic of Ireland can clinch their place at Euro 2020 with victory over Denmark in Dublin on Monday evening.Mick McCarthys men will run out knowing a win in their final Group D fixture will secure a top-two finish and mean they avoid a tricky play-off campaign.Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the talking points surrounding a crucial game.Heavy artilleryIreland goalkeeper Darren Randolph has handed the team a boost by steeping up training ahead of Monday's match against Denmark https://t.co/D7wLPicF4b #IRLDEN#COYBIG pic.twitter.com/3kQ92hq2mc FAIreland (@FAIreland) November 16, 2019McCarthy took few risks for Thursday nights 3-1 friendly win over New Zealand when he left most of his key men sitting on the sidelines with the Danes firmly in mind. Goalkeeper Darren Randolph, just one game into his comeback from a thigh injury, and striker David McGoldrick, who missed last months double-header in Georgia and Switzerland, are fit to return to a team which is missing only suspended skipper Seamus Coleman.Surprise package?Shamrock Rovers midfielder Jack Byrne may have played himself into contention for a role against the Danes (Brian Lawless/PA)If the managers team selection against the All Whites was a tacit admission that those who played major roles would not be expected to do so again on Monday evening, Jack Byrnes withdrawal with 27 minutes remaining might have been significant. The Shamrock Rovers midfielders invention and confidence on the ball could prove useful in a tight encounter and he may just have played his way into McCarthys thoughts.Troy of the Rovers?Wins it. Gives it. Goal. @troyparrott9s first assist for @FAIreland. #THFC #COYS pic.twitter.com/gCfBcgJqKe Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 14, 2019Seventeen-year-old Tottenham striker Troy Parrott was quietly impressive on his first senior appearance for his country against New Zealand having proved his potency at Under-21 level. While it would be a push to expect him to contribute in such a high-profile fixture, he has remained with the squad and it would be in keeping with his meteoric rise if he got a chance to prove his worth and did just that.Revenge missionChristian Eriksen scored a hat-trick as Denmark beat Ireland 5-1 in Dublin two years ago (Mike Egerton/PA)A succession of Ireland players have been at pains to deny that revenge is on their minds as they prepare for the game, but for those who were involved when the Danes came to Dublin for the second leg of a World Cup play-off two years ago and left 5-1 winners, the scars remain. Righting the wrongs of that evening may not be the main focus, but victory this time around would be all the sweeter as a result.Exorcising the ghostFrances William Gallas (second right) scores against Ireland following Thierry Henrys unseen handball (Martin Rickett/PA)November 18 is a date which is engraved into the Irish sporting psyche. It was on that day in 2009 that the Republic drew 1-1 with France in Paris as their dreams of making it to the World Cup in South Africa were ripped apart on a night which will always be remembered for Thierry Henrys unpunished handball. A win this time around might just create a more positive association.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Damian Spellman, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'b28a4821-3850-4f0a-aacd-cb78aaa55810'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'The major talking points ahead of Republic of Ireland\u2019s showdown with Denmark'});

November 17th 2019, 10:51 am

O’Neill plays down impact of double role

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Michael ONeill has insisted he will have no problem juggling his new role as Stoke boss with his position as Northern Ireland manager between now and the Euro 2020 qualifying play-offs in March.An agreement between the Potters and the Irish FA allows ONeill to remain in charge of Northern Ireland for the fixtures next spring their last chance of reaching Euro 2020 after Saturdays 0-0 draw with Holland closed the door on automatic qualification.On Friday, ONeill refused to say definitively he would still be at the helm of the national team as he adjusts to the demands of the Championship, but speaking after the game he was adamant selecting a squad and scouting the opposition who will be named in Fridays draw would not pose a problem.Its dead easy, he said. Were going to turn up on a Sunday and play on a Thursday. I can pick my squad now. I could name it tomorrow. There are not 40 players out there were not picking.Ill be able to (prepare for the opposition). Thats not a problem. Our opponents dont play between now and then, theyve already played. Were not going to watch individual players play for their clubs, so the work we have on the opponents, well have that well in advance.ONeill had previously suggested common sense will prevail regarding his situation and they would find the right resolution for everyone, comments taken as meaning he may find the demands on his time too much.But that was not the position he took after Saturdays draw a game Northern Ireland might have won but for a missed penalty from captain Steven Davis in the first half. In this job, I could watch 40 games or two games and 99 per cent of the time, my squad will be pretty much the same, so people are making a lot out of this situation, which doesnt exist, he said.To be honest, theres nobody better than me to judge this because I actually do the job and the reality of the situation is to put a coach in with a play-off situation with three days preparation wouldnt be fair to the players or the association because of whats at stake. And it wouldnt be fair to the coach to go and prepare.We know our team, we know our best team. We have one or two players to come back in Conor Washington and Jordan Jones but the squad picks itself other than that.Either way, virtually every play-off permutation has Northern Ireland playing away, making Saturday almost certainly ONeills Windsor Park farewell with Tuesdays final Group C fixture away to Germany in Frankfurt. He will end his tenure having taken charge of 32 games at the National Stadium, winning 17, drawing six and losing nine, a record he is proud of.I think this stadium used to be a place where at times (our own) players and fans dreaded coming, and performances showed that, he said.Now we have a great atmosphere here, the redevelopment of the stadium has been a big factor in that but what we also have is a group of players who love playing here and a really strong bond between the supporters and the players.Its really important we hold on to that going forward, regardless of whos in charge of the team. (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Ian Parker, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '13a944e5-c1ca-443d-bf39-6a8100ab4d7d'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'O\u2019Neill plays down impact of double role'});

November 17th 2019, 8:48 am

Steve Clarke hitting his stride as Scotland boss, says Greg Taylor

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Greg Taylor feels his Scotland team-mates are beginning to fully appreciate the abilities of manager Steve Clarke.Clarke endured a difficult start to international management with four consecutive defeats in games against Belgium and Russia following his opening win over Cyprus.The former West Brom and Kilmarnock boss led Scotland another 2-1 victory over the Cypriots on Saturday following last months 6-0 win over San Marino and Celtic left-back Taylor is seeing the same positive signs of progress that Clarke achieved more immediately at Rugby Park.Steve Clarke had a difficult start to life as Scotland boss (Tim Goode/PA)The former Kilmarnock player said: I worked with the gaffer for two years before he took the job and I cant sing his praises high enough.Hes a top, top manager and I think the boys are starting to slowly but surely see that.Winning games always helps, I said that when he first came in with Kilmarnock and I will say it now. Thats two on the bounce and we will hopefully go and get three and build for the play-offs in March.These two games are important. Obviously there have been a few call-offs, which hasnt been ideal, but its up to the boys that are out there to take their chance.Hopefully we get a good crowd on Tuesday (against Kazakhstan) and build for the play-offs because what a chance we have to get to the Euros.2-1 is a familiar scoreline against Cyprus.Our last four meetings:1989: 2 1 2011: 1 2 2019: 2 1 2019: 1 2 #SCOCYP Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) November 16, 2019Taylor went into Saturdays game on the back of only one appearance in the previous three months following injury and the form of Celtic left-back Boli Bolingoli.But there were no signs of him lacking match sharpness as he set up John McGinns winner and had to be told by Clarke to curb his forward runs in the latter stages.I think I was probably just eager to impress, the 22-year-old said. At my club team certainly you are encouraged to go, go go. Maybe I got a wee bit excited later in the game rather than just managing it, but it was good to get the three points and work with the gaffer again.I keep a good base fitness, its important to do that regardless if youre playing or not. I played against St Mirren a couple of weeks back, so it wasnt all that long ago I played. Obviously its not been ideal not playing as much as I would have liked, but you have just got to be patient. Its a massive club Im at. And I enjoyed my 90 minutes.It was a tough game, a battling second half certainly. I thought first half we had a decent bit of control in the game, but certainly Cyprus grew into it in the second half.When they levelled we showed a good mentality and job done, on to Tuesday.It was frustrating to lose the goal, it was a hell of a finish from the boy. But to go on and create for John, its a great finish from John as well, and for that to be the winning goal for us was nice.Scotland captain Andy Robertson pulled out of the squad (Steve Welsh/PA)Taylors chance came after Andy Robertson pulled out of the squad on top of the ongoing absence of Kieran Tierney.I have not been in any squads with Kieran, he has unfortunately been injured, but Andy has been great with myself, always giving me pointers here and there, Taylor said. He is a good captain and a great team-mate.Im thankful I managed to get a chance on Saturday and hopefully get another on Tuesday, but I wish Kieran and Andy all the best with their fitness.In football its about taking opportunities, its probably when you least expect it you get them. Hopefully I have done enough to keep my place for Tuesday and beyond that who will know, its up to the gaffer, but I certainly enjoyed Saturday.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Gavin McCafferty, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '88d7a4f4-5b51-4d28-8ac8-4503e5973e8d'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Steve Clarke hitting his stride as Scotland boss, says Greg Taylor'});

November 17th 2019, 8:48 am

Whelan ready for ‘last big night’ with Republic

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Glenn Whelan is treating the Republic of Irelands Euro 2020 shoot-out with Denmark is if it is his last big game.The 35-year-old Hearts midfielder thought his international career had drawn to a close during the latter part of Martin ONeills reign as manager, but he has returned under Mick McCarthy to establish himself in the team once again.However, with his 36th birthday fast approaching in January, he knows he has to savour every last minute he has left wearing the green shirt of Ireland and Monday nights quest for qualification could be as big as it gets.Whelan said: This is what we want, this is why were here. This is why we rock up for friendlies when you could be on the beach having four or five days off. This is why you play for your country, to play in these games.There are kids out there who are dreaming of playing for Ireland. It could be the last big night for me and Im going to cherish it and enjoy it as much as I can, even though its a big game.For me to get a second bite at the cherry as it is it was taken away from me, I was never going to play for my country again and now Ill, please God, get picked tomorrow to play in possibly one of the biggest games that Ireland have played in.For me Im going to cherish it, take it on board. Although its nerve-wracking and itll be tight, Im going to enjoy it as much as I can.It will be a big night too for central defender Shane Duffy, who will captain the Republic in the absence of the suspended Seamus Coleman.Duffy said: Its a huge honour. To even play for your country is a massive milestone in your career and to lead the boys out, hopefully Ill take it in my stride and wont let it affect me. Im excited for it, my family will be proud and Ill be proud as well. But the main objective is to go out there and just play the game and try and get the win.That is something Ireland have not managed in their five previous encounters with the Danes over a two-year period, although four draws have been overshadowed by the 5-1 thumping in Dublin which cost Duffy and his team-mates a trip to the 2018 World Cup finals.The Brighton defender said: Obviously you dont forget about a night like that. Its a low point in our careers for most of us who played on the night, but football moves on quickly and we have another chance.Its a different team, a different manager and we are all excited for it and positive that we can get the result.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Damian Spellman, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '0988b2a6-e117-4f4b-b0ef-a6eb67e8504b'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:club-news,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Whelan ready for \u2018last big night\u2019 with Republic'});

November 17th 2019, 8:48 am

McCarthy confident Republic have what it takes to see off Denmark

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Mick McCarthy says he would go home if he did not think the Republic of Ireland could beat Denmark to reach the Euro 2020 finals.The 60-year-old Ireland boss will send his team into battle with a familiar foe at the Aviva Stadium on Monday evening knowing victory will secure a third successive trip to the European Championship.It will be the sixth time the sides have met in two years and the Republic have won none of the previous five, drawing four and losing one, although McCarthy insists that has to change some time.Republic of Ireland and Denmark have met regularly in recent years (Bradley Collyer/PA)He said: When people tell me that You havent beaten somebody for so many times, well, I always believe its about time we did and thats the mentality that I try to instil into everybody else.Just because it hasnt happened before doesnt mean its not going to happen again. Theres loads of places being flooded in England at the minute theyve never been flooded before, but they are because its been raining a lot.I just think that for us, always theres a big performance in us that can win a game. If I dont believe it, I might as well go home and Im not going home anytime soon.Asked by a Danish journalist if he accepted that Age Hareides team is technically better than his, McCarthy who as a schoolboy watched then Second Division Sunderland stun the mighty Leeds to lift the 1973 FA Cup -puffed out his chest and said: If I sat here and said I was better than everyone else, you wouldnt believe me, would you?Mick McCarthy cited Sunderlands 1973 FA Cup-winning side as an example of a team upsetting the odds (PA)It doesnt concern me, peoples opinions dont concern me, because its on the day.Ive seen a lot of cup finals. I was a big Leeds fan as a kid. I remember watching them against Sunderland. They were an absolute shoo-in, Sunderland couldnt win. And guess what? They did.All of the games Ive seen or been involved in subsequently when teams shouldnt win and the other side has a better team and better players and a better manager and everything is in their favour, and they get slapped well, thats what Im hoping will happen tomorrow.McCarthy does not believe for one minute that there is as big a gap between the two teams as there was that day at Wembley but is confident Ireland will give a better account of themselves than they did back in 2017 when, after drawing the first leg of their World Cup play-off 0-0 in Copenhagen, they returned to Dublin with high hopes only to be trounced 5-1. A man who won 57 caps for his country before guiding them to the World Cup finals in 2002 during his first spell as manager has seen much of what the game can throw at those who earn a living from it, but even he admits to feeling a few nerves on the eve of his latest big game.He said: Ive woken up this morning with the butterflies with the boots on and Im pleased about that, to be honest with you.That nice feeling getting ready for the game and you know that the big game is coming now and this is the last part of the preparation, I enjoy that feeling.I hope I am going to have a bigger one in July, bigger games playing in the European Championship. But for now, this is the biggest one.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Damian Spellman, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '140f5b81-e97c-4f11-9f1e-8f4adff9d665'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'McCarthy confident Republic have what it takes to see off Denmark'});

November 17th 2019, 8:19 am

Mancini ‘not thinking about’ new call-ups as Balotelli remains out in the cold

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Italy manager Roberto Mancini has suggested Mario Balotelli will not be part of his final Euro 2020 squad.Brescia striker Balotelli hit the headlines earlier this month when he threatened to walk off during his sides 2-1 defeat at Hellas Verona after allegedly being racially abused.Italian soccer federation president Gabriele Gravina then said that naming Balotelli in the Italy squad for the qualifying matches that were approaching at the time would send out a strong message against racism.Terminato il secondo tempo tra Hellas Verona e Brescia risultato di 2-1 #VeronaBrescia #FORZABRESCIA pic.twitter.com/4RDdCS8R3b Brescia Calcio BSFC (@BresciaOfficial) November 3, 2019Mancini, however, ignored such a comment in naming his squad. When asked in the build-up to the games against Bosnia Herzegovina that Italy won 3-0 on Friday and Armenia tomorrow as to why he had not selected the 29-year-old, he responded by saying a call-up would be based on merit, and not because of the colour of his skin.In the wake of the victory over Bosnia, Mancini appears to know the squad he will be selecting, bar any injuries over the next few months.I am not thinking about new additions to the group, said Mancini, speaking to reporters on a visit to Venice to offer support to the troubled city that has been hit by flooding.Italy manager Roberto Mancini will not be bringing new players into his squad ahead of the Euro 2020 finals (Claudio Giovannini/AP)Thats because there isnt much time to prepare, and its difficult to really settle anyone in with so few games from now until June.There really isnt enough time to think about performing experiments.Asked whether the door had closed on Balotelli, who has scored two goals in his seven appearances for Brescia but has not played for Italy for 14 months, Mancini replied: Mario knows full well that he will return to the Azzurri when he deserves it, exactly like all the other players.Italy close out their qualifying campaign at the Stadio Renzo Barbera in Palermo aiming for a perfect 10 after winning all nine of their Group J matches to date, a far cry from two years ago when they failed to qualify for last years World Cup finals.#EuropeanQualifiers A great away performance from the Azzurri to make it in a row and earn a spot as a seeded side for the #EURO2020 finals! #BOSITA 0-3 #VivoAzzurro pic.twitter.com/6Cg5d8pfqe Italy (@azzurri) November 15, 2019In defeating Bosnia, Mancinis side set a new record of 10 straight victories overall, beating the mark of double World Cup-winning manager Vittorio Pozzo across 1938-39.One striker almost certain to be involved next summer is Andrea Belotti, who scored the third against Bosnia to take his tally to nine goals for his country, the most by any member of the current squad.Explaining Mancinis influence, Torino forward Belotti said: Ten wins from 10 is good for a side that had to start again. Its nice because winning helps you to keep winning. Well take the record, but we want other records and have other dreams.Mancini has made a big impact and he has very clear ideas. Of course, it wasnt easy to go again after what had happened and he helped us to do so in a way that shouldnt be taken for granted.With it now being ten consecutive wins, @robymancio has moved ahead of the legendary Vittorio Pozzo to hold the longest winning run in Azzurri history! #BOSITA #VivoAzzurro pic.twitter.com/g9zlqRz9uY Italy (@azzurri) November 15, 2019Belotti played the full 90 minutes against Bosnia but will make way for Lazio forward Ciro Immobile in a move confirmed by Mancini prior to the games.Belotti added: More than a rival, Ciro is a friend and a really great forward and hes showing it.I dont think one forward is enough for Italy and more are needed. If we keep it up, its all for the good of the national team.Armenia, meanwhile, go into the game with nothing but pride to play for and on the back of two consecutive qualifying defeats.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '229941e5-790c-4af5-8a0b-4741e8ffd9b6'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Mancini \u2018not thinking about\u2019 new call-ups as Balotelli remains out in the cold'});

November 17th 2019, 7:17 am

No excuses from Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis over missed penalty

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Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis made no excuses for his missed penalty after Saturdays 0-0 draw with Holland ended any hopes of automatic qualification for Euro 2020.There was no dream send-off for manager Michael ONeill in what stands to be his final game in charge at Windsor Park as Davis sent his 32nd minute spot-kick well over and the match finished goalless following a poor second half, though Northern Ireland have the consolation of a play-off place.Davis had faced a long wait for take his penalty, with Holland arguing with referee Szymon Marciniak over his decision to penalise somewhat harshly a handball by Joel Veltman before goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen walked off his line to face Davis before he took it.Steven Davis sends his penalty over the crossbar (Liam McBurney/PA)ONeill was left frustrated by Hollands antics but Davis, making his 116th appearance to overtake David Beckham as the UKs most capped midfielder, said it made no difference.Thats all part of the game, the Rangers midfielder said. No excuses from me. I didnt feel in my head that any of that affected me. Unfortunately I just put too much on it.I watched clips before the game and I thought he went quite early so the idea was to hit it down the middle and I hit it a little bit too much down the middle. It was huge disappointment because it was a great opportunity to get us in front. I had to get on with the game after that happened. Its a huge disappointment because we all wanted that big result and a big scalp to take it into the final game. Unfortunately we couldnt do it.ONeill plans to take charge of Marchs play-offs alongside his new duties as Stoke boss, but with the draw likely to send Northern Ireland on the road, this was probably his Windsor Park farewell.He stepped on to the pitch to applaud the fans at full-time but quickly went over to put an arm around his forlorn-looking captain.Michael didnt say anything to me, said Davis. We didnt need any words. If this was to be Michaels last game at Windsor Park obviously we dont know where we will be playing in the play-offs I would loved to have got that big win for him but unfortunately we missed it.These two. #GAWA pic.twitter.com/LCdzmvmv0E Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) November 16, 2019Its probably the story of the games against the bigger nations us not taking our chances. It feels like a missed opportunity.Northern Ireland wrap up their Group C campaign away to Germany in Frankfurt on Tuesday night, though there is little now riding on the game with Germany assured of their place, and one eye will be on next weeks play-off draw.While we are disappointed now we will look back on this match and take a lot of positives from it, Davis added.Whatever way the Germany game ends up we will look forward to the play-offs after that and hopefully the draw will be kind to us.It will be interesting to see who we get and where we will be playing. Its a quick turnaround in the games if we do win the first one so it is something to look forward to.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Ian Parker, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '74b6a0ab-5e59-478a-b122-f01bef48f0c8'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'No excuses from Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis over missed penalty'});

November 17th 2019, 6:17 am

Kansas City scout: Manchester United and Inter Milan are interested in Gianluca Busio

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Hailing from North Carolina with Italian heritage, Gianluca Busio is Kansas City's energetic box-to-box midfielder.At just 17, Busio is still an emerging talent but played 22 games for Kansas in the MLSthis season.And, according to scout Edward Burleson, wordof his ability has crossed the Atlantic and landed upon European ears.Burleson is Kansas' director of scouting in Europe and was in attendance at the WyScout Forum in Amsterdam.He claims that Busio is built for European football and that he is capable of making the move soon."A great talent.He is a player who can play safely in Europe," Burleson told TuttoMercatoWeb."He has great technique, he is a smart player, a box to box and he works hard."For me, if it wants to be successful at high levels, it must change soon.If he wants to make a great career he has to go to Europe soon."But Burleson is not convinced Kansas will let one of their homegrown talentsgo without a fight."Then theywill decide his future and I honestly don't think he will let him go because he is a great talent, a product of our youth sector and a player of which we are proud."Burleson told of Inter Milan and Manchester United'sinterest in the player and the effect it will have on Busio in the future."Inter?Yes, I also know about Manchester United. These are things that came out," he revealed."We also had an offer, even if not from Inter.But we didn't let him go."I don't know if and when it will happen, maybe in a year or between two.But what is certain is that the pressure on Busio is will grow, given the many clubs that are coming forward."READ MORE...Louis Saha: Why I ‘needed to leave’ Manchester United after Champions League winThe breakdown between Tottenham and Danny Rose seems to make no sense. What happened?

November 17th 2019, 5:03 am

Agent of Arsenal's Lucas Torreira says 'change of role does not make him happy'

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Torreira joinedArsenalin 2018 fromSampdoriaforjust over £25m and was welcomed by Arsenal fans yearning for a combative midfielder.His impressive display at the 2018 World Cup further confirmed his promise in a defensivecapacity.Torreirainitially appeared to fit the bill for the Gunners, adding some much-needed bite in the middle of the park.However, this season head coach Unai Emery has been deploying the 23-year-old in a different role.Torreira has found himself higher up the pitch, as more of a box-to-box midfielder.The Uruguayan's agent Pablo Bentancur has told of his client's dissatisfaction with the role."Torreira is doing well at Arsenal, even if the change of role does not make him happy, but it must be said that this year the whole team is not going well," he told Radio Marteof (via Calciomercato)."I don't know how things are, but I think Arsenal wants to keep him...In the new role, he is not at easebut we respect the coach's decisions, then we'll see what happens."Bentancur also told of Torreira's desire to join Napoli and why it didn't work out before he joined Arsenal."It is true, Napoli wanted him, but there was economic distance with Arsenal's offer," he said."Ancelotti personally tried to take him to Naples and if the negotiation with Arsenal had been missed, he would have come to Naples, I had promised him, but Arsenal was also a choice for football more similar to him, Torreira together with Arsenal chose English football."Future destination? In football, everything can happen."Torreira also apparently dreams of ending his playing days in Buenos Aries with Boca Juniors."Torreira was upset when the passage to Naples jumped.Why?Because it is Uruguayan," Bentancur revealed."To tell you, he wants to end his career at Boca and Napoli is an environment very similar to that of Boca."READ MORE...Henrikh Mkhitaryan explains how Unai Emery's tactics hampered his attacking contributions at ArsenalThe breakdown between Tottenham and Danny Rose seems to make no sense. What happened?

November 17th 2019, 5:03 am

Dani Ceballos asks Real Madrid to sell him to Arsenal - report

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Ceballos was one of the star players of the Under-21 European Championships last summer as he played a starring role for winners Spain.The 23-year-old attracted interest from a number of clubs, but it was Arsenal who ended up signing him on a year-long loan.Now, according to El Desmarque, Ceballos has asked Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to sell him permanently.After a bright start at the Emirates, Ceballos has found it hardto impose himself in a struggling Arsenal side.However, he is reportedly happy in London and feels the love from the supporters and his manager.He cited a phone-call with Unai Emery as one of the main reasons for choosing to join the Gunners.The same can't be said for Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, who Ceballos is understood tohavea rocky relationship with.Zidane didn't put his faith in Ceballos when he rejoined as Los Blancos boss lastseason.The Andalusian midfielder is believed to be keen to prove himself at a club that values him, hence hisdecision to part ways with Madrid.Although Real Madrid have no obligation to sell Ceballos to Arsenal over any other club, the player himself is reported to have told Perez they are his preference.Real Madrid value Ceballos at €40m (£35m), but it's said thatArsenal will only pay up to €35m (£30m).Perez is not usually one to bargain withbut according tothe report, on this occasion,he may accept a lower fee.READ MORE...Henrikh Mkhitaryan explains how Unai Emery's tactics hampered his attacking contributions at ArsenalLouis Saha exclusive: Ruud van Nistelrooy made Cristiano Ronaldo cry at Manchester United training

November 17th 2019, 5:03 am

Real Madrid include Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi and Everton's Moise Kean on transfer shortlist - re

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Real Madrid are in the process ofshiftingtheir transfer policy in the hope that it can provide more sustainable success in years to come.The idea is believed to be one that pulls focus from established, experiencedstars and aims at integrating and developingemerging talent.According to El Desmarque, Florentino Perez and his world-renowned scouting network have drawn up a transfer shortlist of young talent.Four names appear on Madrid'slist and two of the talents play their football in thePremier League.First is Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi, who announced himself to England's top-flight last season.The 19-year-old earned a call-up tothe senior England squad and made his international debut under Gareth Southgate.Now he finds himself returning to contention in Frank Lampard's youngChelsea side after returning from an injury he suffered at the back end of last season.Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is understood to be a keen admirer of Hudson-Odoi andendorsesthe club's pursuit.However, Hudson-Odoi only recently signed a new bumper contract at Chelsea and it will take a hefty sum to prize him away.The other Premier League player on Los Blancos' list is Everton striker Moise Kean.Kean only joined Everton last summer, signing fromJuventus in adeal believed to be worth £25m.Real Madrid see the 19-year-old as having great potential, but his dip in form this season could deter the Spanish giants from making a bid anytime soon.Also reportedly on Madrid's shopping list are Red Bull Salzburg's emphatic striker Erling Haaland - who is courted by a numberof Europe's elite.Villareal's Samu Chikeweze completes the group of targets after an impressive breakthrough season in the 2018/19La Liga campaign.READ MORE...Rafa Benitez exclusive: Forget the Chelsea fans’ banners – Abramovich was “really pleased” with achievementsHenrikh Mkhitaryan explains how Unai Emery's tactics hampered his attacking contributions at Arsenal

November 17th 2019, 4:41 am

Arsenal and Manchester United send scouts to watch Turkish defender - report

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Arsenal and Manchester United are reportedly weighing up moves for Turkey defender Merih Demiral.Demiral joined Juventus in the summer from Sassuolo, having only moved from Alanyaspor six months earlier.The Turkish centre-back has struggled to getgame-time in Turin this season, having only featuredin one game so far.Juventus' signing ofMatthijs De Ligt from Ajax always suggested Demiral would be playing a supporting role in the squad.But now he's also seeminglyfallen behind Daniel Rugani in the pecking order, meaning he sits on the bench as a fourth choice.However, according to Tuttosport's print edition(via Football Italia), Demiral is still attracting interest from big clubs.Arsenal and Manchester United are reported to have sent scouts to watch the 21-year-old in action for Turkey this week.Demiral plays alongside Leicester City's Caglar Soyuncu in the heart of theTurkish defence.The young defenderimpressed as Turkey held Iceland to a 0-0 draw in Reykjavik on Thursday and subsequently qualified for Euro 2020.Arsenal are understood to be particularly keen on Demiral and are weighing up a bid of up to £34m.The Gunners were heavily linked to Demiral's Juventus teammate Rugani last summer, but the Italian champions decided on keeping him.In the end, Arsenal signed David Luiz from Chelsea for £8m, but it has done little to alleviate their defensive ailments.AC Milan arereportedly also interested in Demiral, but are thought to prefer a loan deal for the defender.READ MORE...Louis Saha: Why I ‘needed to leave’ Manchester United after Champions League winHenrikh Mkhitaryan explains how Unai Emery's tactics hampered his attacking contributions at Arsenal

November 17th 2019, 4:41 am

Sandro Tonali 'rejects' Real Madrid and Barcelona in favour of Atletico Madrid - report

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A host of Europe's top clubs have been tracking Tonali's progress as he continues to impress at Brescia.The 19-year-old midfielder has played a starring role as a deep-lying playmaker in Serie A this season.League leaders Juventus have taken a great liking to Tonali, who has been compared to legendary Italian midfielderAndrea Pirlo.It was reportedly Roma who made the first move and offered €20m for the youngster, which was turned down by the player himself as he holds out for a big move next summer.Premier League pair Manchester City and Manchester United are also understood to be interested in Tonali.Pep Guardiola is thought to see Tonali as exactly the mould of player he desires at the base of his midfield.Whilst United were reported to have sent scouts to watch Tonali in action last month.However, according to Spanish outlet Don Balon, it is La Liga contendersAtletico Madrid who Tonali has his heart set on.This is believed to come as surprise to Barcelona and Real Madrid, who are both reportedly very keen on the teenager.Barça see Tonali as a potential successor for the 31-year-oldSergio Busquets.Whilst Los Blancos believe the Italian could supplant Casemiroin the future.Atletico are themselves all but resigned to losing Thomas Partey and have identified Tonali as the ideal replacement.It's reported that Diego Simeone may have had some influence in turning Tonali's head toward the Wanda Metropolitano.NOW TRY...Quiz! Can you name every English scorer in the 2019/20 Premier League?Paulo Futre explains No.10 shirt furore at West Ham – and why he loved the Hammers

November 17th 2019, 4:41 am

Michael O’Neill left to rue missed opportunities in his Windsor Park send off

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Michael ONeill admitted to a sense of anti-climax as Northern Irelands faint hopes of automatic qualification for Euro 2020 ended in what stands to be his final home game in charge.Captain Steven Davis missed a penalty in their goalless draw with Holland at Windsor Park, a result which means ONeills sides hopes of reaching next summers tournament rest on Marchs play-offs.Northern Ireland started the game at a ferocious pace, forcing four openings in the first six minutes but it proved unsustainable and, after skipper Davis skied his spot-kick just after the half-hour mark, the game petered out into a drab 0-0.These two. #GAWA pic.twitter.com/LCdzmvmv0E Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) November 16, 2019The Windsor Park faithful belted out the name of their departing manager in the final few minutes but the man himself struggled to enjoy the moment.I was thinking, Could we get up the pitch and press, said ONeill, named Stoke boss just over a week ago. It was more important to me. It was lovely that they did that, and I totally appreciate the gesture.But it wasnt a night for salutes during the game, it was a night for trying to drive the team forward and get some reaction from the players in the last few minutesIt was missed opportunity, theres no doubt about that. It was a missed opportunity to go ahead in the first half. I thought again we started the game with great purpose, had chances but again we need that little bit of good fortune.Steven Davis penalty miss proved costly (Liam McBurney/PA)ONeill went on to the pitch after the final whistle to thank the fans, but paused only for a moment before heading over to his forlorn-looking captain who was making his 116th appearance to overtake David Beckham as the most capped midfielder in the UK to offer an arm around the shoulder.It was a big moment for him, he knows that, ONeill said of the penalty miss. You sense his disappointment. I thought he showed again what hes all about in terms of his character, how he tried to continue to drive the team on.The penalty, perhaps generously awarded as the ball brushed against the arm of Joel Veltman as he tried to prevent George Saville from getting on the end of Paddy McNairs cross, proved a turning point. The Dutch players did all they could to distract Davis, arguing at length with referee Szymon Marciniak, before Jasper Cillessen came off his line to talk to the Rangers midfielder, and it seemed to work.The circumstances around the penalty were poor, ONeill said. I thought it could have been handled better by the referee. The goalkeeper has no need to walk off the line. I dont know why he allowed him to do that.The draw leaves Northern Ireland facing a potentially tricky away trip next year while Holland advance to Euro 2020, their first major tournament since the European Championships eight years ago.It means a lot, said manager Ronald Koeman. That was the goal we talked about when we started and everybody is really happy because Holland are back at that tournament.Ronald Koeman praised Northern Ireland (Tim Goode/PA)Koeman drew criticism for calling Northern Irelands tactics outrageous and terrible to watch during the reverse fixture in Rotterdam last month a game Holland won 3-1 with two stoppage-time goals but was more generous this time around.They did it really well, they made it tough for us, and they were unlucky to miss the penalty, the ex-Everton and Southampton manager said.Overall we controlled the ball, we had a lot of ball possession. Of course we expect to create a little bit more than we did tonight, but that was down to the organisation of the Northern Ireland team.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Ian Parker, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '34f6613e-57fd-4397-a452-b21e9f3db530'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Michael O\u2019Neill left to rue missed opportunities in his Windsor Park send off'});

November 16th 2019, 7:25 pm

Ginter delighted to open international account as Germany secure Euro 2020 spot

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Matthias Ginter was delighted to register his first international goal as Germany booked their place at Euro 2020.The Borussia Monchengladbach centre-back opened the scoring in the 41st minute with an exquisite backheeled flick from Serge Gnabrys low cross on his home ground.Leon Goretzka doubled Germanys advantage before a brace from Toni Kroos wrapped up a routine 4-0 victory against Belarus to move top of Group C. We're going to a record 13th consecutive @UEFAEURO finals! #DieMannschaft pic.twitter.com/EEiLUYVDQc Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) November 16, 2019Northern Irelands failure to win at home against Holland meant the three points were enough for Joachim Lows side to progress to next summers tournament, alongside their Dutch counterparts.Speaking to the German Football Associations official website, Ginter said: Our main aim was to qualify for the Euros. Were pleased to be part of such a big tournament.Im really happy about my first goal. Its great that I got it here in Monchengladbach too. They often left us a lot of space.Germany celebrates Matthias Ginters, left, opening goal (Martin Meissner/AP)Germany boss Low added: I congratulated the players on securing qualification that was our main goal. The team played really well tonight.They combined well with one another. We were slightly sloppy after our third goal and have to be more clinical.Belarus burst into life when trailing 3-0 in Monchengladbach, with Yuri Kovalev heading wide before the visitors were awarded a 75th-minute penalty for a foul by Robin Koch.However, captain Manuel Neuer preserved his clean sheet by guessing correctly to produce a brilliant save from Igor Stasevichs spot-kick.Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, left, produced a brilliant save to deny Igor Stasevichs penalty (Martin Meissner/AP)Kroos, who scored his 16th and 17th international goal, and fellow goalscorer Goretzka both agreed that there is room for further improvement ahead of Germanys 13th successive European Championship appearance.Its always difficult against teams like that until you make it 1-0. We didnt struggle too much, but we werent at our best early on, Real Madrid midfielder Kroos said.We have a lot of quality players, although sometimes you can tell we are lacking a bit of experience as a side. We are heading in the right direction.Summer 2020 booked pic.twitter.com/v2fiCbch0M Serge Gnabry (@SergeGnabry) November 16, 2019Well have to see where we are at just before the tournament begins. Both friendlies in March will be important in telling us that too.Goretzka added: We are a young group with little time left to play before the tournament. We take every opportunity to take the next development step.We have to evolve because we are far from where we want to go.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '92d9cd93-be55-4a52-b74c-9ea87d4a674c'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Ginter delighted to open international account as Germany secure Euro 2020 spot'});

November 16th 2019, 7:25 pm

Toni Kroos scores twice as Germany reach Euro 2020

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Germany secured their place at Euro 2020 with a routine 4-0 victory over Belarus at Borussia-Park.Matthias Ginter scored the opener four minutes from half-time, before midfielders Leon Goretzka and Toni Kroos who netted a brace completed the scoring to move top of Group C, two points clear of Holland.Northern Irelands failure to win at home to the Dutch meant the three points were enough for Joachim Lows side to progress to next summers tournament.#EURO2020, here we come! #DieMannschaft #GERBLR 4-0 pic.twitter.com/uAYrGZsCHv Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) November 16, 2019Germany were dominant from the outset but had to wait until the 15th minute to have their first real chance on the Belarus goal, when Ginter forced Aleksandr Gutor into a save low to his left.Kroos and Serge Gnabry fired narrowly wide as Germany pushed for the opening goal, but they survived a major scare at the other end when Manuel Neuer denied Igor Stasevich with a brilliant save in the 40th minute.The home side finally made the breakthrough a minute later and in superb style, as centre-back Ginter produced a stunning backheel finish to Gnabrys enticing low cross.Matthias Ginter, centre, scored an exquisite backheel goal to open the scoring (Martin Meissner/AP)It took only four minutes after the restart for Germany to double their lead with a well-executed set-piece, which was finished off by Bayern Munich midfielder Goretzka.Kroos took a quick corner low into the penalty area in the direction of Ginter at the near post, only for the Borussia Monchengladbach defender to step over the ball for Goretzka to fire into the bottom left corner.Kroos went from provider to goalscorer in the 55th minute with a well-taken effort from the edge of the penalty area that left Gutor rooted.Toni Kroos scored a brace for Germany (Martin Meissner/AP)Despite trailing 3-0, Belarus then burst into life, with Yuri Kovalev heading wide before the visitors were awarded a penalty for a foul by Robin Koch.However, Neuer preserved his clean sheet by guessing correctly to save Stasevichs spot-kick.Kroos netted the fourth and final goal late on as the Real Madrid midfielder produced a great turn in the Belarus penalty area before cutting onto his left foot and drilling into the bottom right corner.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'f9d56b38-638e-4df7-bff3-4aaa5a5ed85b'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Toni Kroos scores twice as Germany reach Euro 2020'});

November 16th 2019, 5:34 pm

Davis misses penalty as Northern Ireland’s automatic qualification hopes end

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Steven Davis missed a first-half penalty as Northern Irelands faint automatic qualification hopes ended with a 0-0 draw against Holland in what stands to be Michael ONeills final home game in charge.Captain Davis, making his 116th appearance to overtake David Beckham as the UKs most capped midfielder, blazed badly over the crossbar in the 32nd minute, and Northern Irelands failure to win ended any slim hopes they had of securing automatic qualification for Euro 2020.Attention will instead turn to Marchs play-offs, with Northern Irelands place secured as of Friday night thanks to Swedens win over Romania, though they will finish off their Group C fixtures away to Germany on Tuesday night. Holland, in contrast, could celebrate, with the point enough to end a wait to reach a major tournament which began with their failure to reach the 2014 World Cup. We love you Michael, we do #GAWA pic.twitter.com/UmrAEyYCeg Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) November 16, 2019After eight memorable years at the helm at Windsor Park, a 0-0 draw was hardly the way ONeill would have wanted to sign off in front of his home fans. The faithful poured into Windsor Park wearing ONeill masks and carrying banners to thank the outgoing manager, though he plans to take charge for the play-offs almost certainly away from home in March alongside his new role at Stoke. A pre-match video celebration of his achievements helped build the atmosphere, positively rocking come kick-off, and it was against that backdrop that Northern Ireland began unsettling Holland straight away.Corry Evans chased down a back-pass and almost prodded home after Jasper Cillesen mis-controlled, then Jonny Evans headed wide from McNairs corner. Steven Davis missed penalty proved costly (Liam McBurney/PA)Magennis tried to guide a deep cross from McNair into the far corner but saw it go wide and George Saville struck the ball into a crowd of players when Cillesen tried to punch a free-kick clear.All that was in the first six minutes. If Ronald Koeman felt Northern Irelands tactics in the reverse fixture last month were outrageous and terrible to watch, it is unlikely he was much keener on the attacking intent displayed early on. But it was not a pace they could sustain and drama soon shifted to the other end where Quincy Promes lifted in a cross for Steven Berghuis, whose mis-hit shot looped onto the crossbar before Northern Ireland scrambled it clear. Holland, missing Memphis Depay through injury and Georginio Wijnaldum through illness, began to exert more influence and Ryan Babel should have done much better when Daley Blind pulled the ball back, but fired straight at Bailey Peacock-Farrell instead. What a moment between captain and manager #GAWA #ThankYouMichael pic.twitter.com/hGE8yCc1wT Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) November 16, 2019With half an hour gone, Northern Ireland were gifted a penalty when Joel Veltman handled McNairs cross under Saville.They could have asked for few better men to take it than skipper Davis but, perhaps unnerved by lengthy Dutch arguments, the Rangers man blazed over from the spot.Compared to the all-action start to the first half, the second 45 minutes turned into a drab affair.Early signs were promising as Magennis headed over from Jamal Lewis dangerous cross, but instead Northern Ireland spent much of the time stuck inside their own half, pushed back as Holland hogged the ball.Northern Ireland were unable to make the breakthrough (Liam McBurney/PA)Not that the Dutch could do much with it. Bailey Peacock-Farrell comfortably held headers from Ryan Babel and Matthijs de Ligt but was otherwise untested.The fans never lost their enthusiasm, singing ONeills name as the clock ran down. But a truly big scalp is the one thing that has eluded him during his celebrated reign, and that would not change here.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Ian Parker, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'd07007af-a077-4f0a-866e-fc985ad1f150'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Davis misses penalty as Northern Ireland\u2019s automatic qualification hopes end'});

November 16th 2019, 5:20 pm

It’s the right time for Gomez to ‘clear his head’ – England boss Southgate

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Gareth Southgate admits it is the right time for Joe Gomez to go home and clear his head after insisting the Liverpool defender had suffered an injury to rule him out of Englands Euro 2020 qualifier in Kosovo.The 22-year-old was jeered by home fans as he came off the bench in Thursdays 7-0 win over Montenegro at Wembley after being involved in an altercation with Raheem Sterling.Sterling left Gomez with a scratch on his face following a fracas at St Georges Park on Monday in the aftermath of Liverpools victory over Premier League title rivals Manchester City the previous day.Joe Gomez, centre, came on as a substitute against Montenegro (Nick Potts/PA)The result of the incident saw Sterling sidelined against Montenegro as punishment but it was Gomez who was given a mixed reception with Southgate insisting in the aftermath that no England player should be booed by their own fans.Eyebrows were raised on Saturday morning when it was announced Gomez had withdrawn from the squad ahead of the trip to Pristina with a slight knee problem.Southgate clarified the situation at his pre-match press conference where he also conceded being taken out of the limelight could benefit Gomez given the week he has had.You couldnt make it up really if you tried, Southgate replied when asked about Gomezs injury.England manager Gareth Southgate hopes Raheem Sterling does not get booed by fans (Steven Paston/PA)I think now is a good moment for him just to go home for a couple of days, clear his head.Hes absolutely fine. He took a clash of knees yesterday. We scanned it just to be certain and I think hell be fine in a couple of days, but he wasnt able to train today.He was in a much better place very quickly. We actually ended up having a chuckle this morning at the ridiculousness of him having to go home in the way he has.So, I think for him its been a difficult week, as you say, but one that will make him stronger and one that hes dealt with really well.To all the @England fans, I wanted to leave things at it was but tonight I have to speak again : it was hard for me to see my team mate get booed for something that was my fault. Joe hasnt done anything wrong for me to see someone who keeps his head down and work hard.. Raheem Sterling (@sterling7) November 14, 2019Sterling, meanwhile, will be back in the Three Lions side in Pristina where the locals have made a concerted effort to welcome Englands black players to Kosovo after they suffered racial abuse last time out in Bulgaria.While Sterling will be welcomed with open arms by the home fans, Southgate was asked how strange it would be if England supporters opt to jeer the Manchester City forward in the same way the did Gomez three days earlier.That would be ironic, yes, he said.That wouldnt be the most ludicrous part of this week but that would be ironic.Kosovo head coach Bernard Challandes had earlier joked his side may have to break Sterlings leg to stop him having the same impact he did in the 5-3 victory over his team at St Marys earlier in the year.Englands Raheem Sterling, centre, will return against Kosovo (Jonathan Brady/PA)Southgate hailed Sterlings performance as incredible but said he has a wealth of attacking players to choose from as proved by the fact England have outscored every other team throughout Euro 2020 qualification.I think Raheem in Southampton, his performance was incredible, so I am sure that will be at the forefront of the minds of their manager, he said.Weve got a lot of good attacking players, thats the beauty of this team. Its difficult for defences to focus on one person to try and stop them because three, four other players can step forward and score goals, create goals.The movements are good, and then the individual ability is good. So, I think were quite difficult at the moment in those attacking areas of the pitch in particular.Sterling is expected to be recalled but Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson returned to the club with Gomez due to a virus, while James Maddison is a doubt with a calf problem.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Mark Mann-Bryans, PA, Pristina'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'e5a30b53-0b9c-4833-a06b-e072be500459'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'It\u2019s the right time for Gomez to \u2018clear his head\u2019 \u2013 England boss Southgate'});

November 16th 2019, 4:03 pm

Giggs thinks Wales have found momentum

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Ryan Giggs welcomed Wales 2-0 victory in Azerbaijan by insisting his side have found vital momentum heading into their final Euro 2020 qualifier against Hungary.Wales kept alive their automatic qualification hopes with a comfortable win in Baku, Kieffer Moore and Harry Wilson scoring first-half goals.The qualification picture was still unclear for Wales on Saturday evening ahead of the Croatia-Slovakia game.Wales players applaud the fans after the final whistle (Bradley Collyer/PA)But whatever happens in that game, Wales will still have a shot at automatic qualification in the final round of fixtures.The result was what counted, getting that was the priority, Giggs said.Some of the quality of the play was outstanding, weve improved since the Azerbaijan game (2-1 home win in September).Weve started to gain some momentum, which is not easy in international football.Azerbaijan is not an easy place to come and there was so much on the game that its up there with one of my best performances.PICTURE | 0-2 | #AZEWAL Rambo is Baku! #TogetherStronger pic.twitter.com/dWoGDlSh02 Wales (@Cymru) November 16, 2019Giggs also had the benefit of giving game-time to star players Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey after their recent injury problems.Bale had not played for over a month after suffering a thigh injury, but the Real Madrid forward got nearly an hour under his belt.Juventus playmaker Ramsey replaced Bale to make his first Wales appearance in nearly a year.Weve still got to assess it before Tuesday, Giggs said.Wales Gareth Bale, right, got some game time (Bradley Collyer/PA)Getting Gareth off pretty early and getting Aaron some minutes as well was important, When Aaron came on he showed his quality.Its a quick turnaround and Gareth was blowing a little bit, which you can expect.But hopefully Ill have the option to start both on Tuesday.We had to do our job, weve done it and tried put a little bit of pressure on Slovakia.#YWlGoch #TheRedWall #TogetherStronger pic.twitter.com/ppD6LLdg2N Wales (@Cymru) November 16, 2019On Wales upturn in form, Giggs added: I would say weve had four good performances in a row, with the Belarus friendly.Slovakia and Croatia are top opposition and we played well. Its what we needed after the two difficult games in the summer.We needed to be strong and we have been. We really dug in deep against Croatia.I was not happy with the amount of corners we kept giving away here, but in open play they never really troubled us and we could have scored a few more goals as well.Azerbaijan manager Nikola Jurcevic, right, felt Wales deserved to win (Nick Potts/PA)Azerbaijan have yet to win in Euro 2020 qualifying and have picked up only one point from seven matches.Manager Nikola Jurcevic said: Wales deserved to win this game because they were the better team.We conceded goals from set-pieces, not for the first time against very big players.We had lots of set-pieces ourselves but the big difference between us and Wales was that they were really dangerous from theirs.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Phil Blanche, PA, Baku'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '1a77c657-92c9-4053-bb0c-b3beb28c47a7'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Giggs thinks Wales have found momentum'});

November 16th 2019, 3:20 pm

Young England squad unburdened by expectations, insists Southgate

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England manager Gareth Southgate feels his young squad have not allowed the shirt to hang heavily as they look to wrap up their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign in Kosovo.The Three Lions sealed their place at next summers tournament with a 7-0 win over Montenegro at Wembley on Thursday night.At a press conference in Pristina on Saturday evening, Southgate said: Now we have qualified, we still have desire to win the game because seedings for the finals could be important.#threelions pic.twitter.com/NhEqGJysxu England (@England) November 16, 2019What has pleased me most looking back is we have qualified comfortably and played some incredible attacking football.People will obviously look at the quality of some of the opponents, but I think over the years we have had players where the shirt has hung heavy and the performances have reflected that.We put out a team the other day with an average age of 23, the youngest team for 60 years.There are young players coming in loving playing for England, really playing with freedom and expression, thinking about what is possible on the field rather than worrying about losing the game or what might happen in those sort of fixtures.For me, that is a massive shift from when I joined the FA to work with the under-21s and has been a real highlight for me over the past few days."We love you #Kosovo we do, oh Kosovo we love you" English fans singing in streets of Prishtina.#KOSENG pic.twitter.com/5vjqq8Vm67 Kosovan Football (@kosovanfooty_EN) November 16, 2019Joe Gomez and Jordan Henderson are to miss Englands final Euro 2020 qualifier on Sunday due to illness and injury respectively.The PA news agency understands Gomez was hurt when clashing knees in an accidental collision with Kieran Trippier.His Liverpool team-mate Henderson missed the 7-0 home win over Montenegro after arriving in the England camp with a viral infection and has not fully recovered.However, Englands 1,000th international was overshadowed by the boos that greeted Gomez when he came on as a second-half substitute.Gomez was left with a scratch on his face following a confrontation with Raheem Sterling this week at St Georges Park. The Manchester City star was subsequently dropped from the squad to face Montenegro.Joe Gomez has returned home from Kosovo (Nick Potts/PA)Southgate hopes Gomez will soon be back to form.You could not make it up if you tried he is absolutely fine, the England manager said.We scanned his knee and I think he will be fine in a couple of days, but he was not able to train today.Now was a good moment for him to go home for a couple of days and clear his head.The pleasing thing for me was we got him back on the pitch. The fact Raheem put out the tweet he did was the real closer on that whole incident, we will get Raheem back on the pitch tomorrow.We won the match on Thursday and we can now just look forward.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '48973e98-e27d-477d-9f0d-20526befd56a'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Young England squad unburdened by expectations, insists Southgate'});

November 16th 2019, 2:50 pm

Wales keep automatic qualification dream alive with victory in Azerbaijan

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Wales kept alive their hopes of automatic Euro 2020 qualification with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Azerbaijan in Baku.First-half goals from Kieffer Moore and Harry Wilson gave Wales a first away win in 13 months on what was a satisfying night for manager Ryan Giggs.Wigan striker Moore put Wales into a10th-minute lead his second goal in four appearances beforeWilson ended a 13-month wait to get on an international scoresheet with the simplest of headers.The Wales defence was seldom troubled and key men Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey both had game time after injury and before Tuesdays final qualifier against Hungary.Wales had been guaranteed the cushion of a play-off spot in March by Sweden winning in Romania on Friday.But Wales had their sights set on automatic qualification and almost certainly needed closing wins against Azerbaijan and Hungary to do so.Wales were boosted by the availability of Bale, the Real Madrid forward declaring himself fit after over a month out with a calf problem.But Giggs did not risk Ramsey from the start, and chose Ethan Ampadu and the inexperienced Joe Morrell who impressed in replacing the suspended Joe Allen to protect the back four.Azerbaijan had not won at home for 12 months and were without a victory in European qualifying.But the Azeri had drawn with Croatia at home in September and Giggs had highlighted the danger of underestimating opponents ranked 111th in the world 87 places below Wales.Azerbaijan goalkeeper Salahat Agayev saved from Wilson and Morrell in the opening nine minutes as Wales started at a good tempo and on the front foot.But Agayev was helpless when Wilson sent his corner to the far post and the 6ft 5ins Moore towered above two defenders on the line to head home from close range.Moore almost prospered further as Agayev sprinted from his line to save with his legs and then held a header after Bale had beaten two defenders with disdain.Azerbaijans attacking raids were rare and done without conviction, Wayne Hennessey comfortably holding efforts from Gara Garayev and Araz Abdullayev.Wales doubled their lead after 34 minutes when Daniel James was fed down the left and the Manchester United winger cut inside and on to his right foot.James stinging effort hit both crossbar and post before bouncing up for Wilson to slot the rebound, his first international goal since an October 2018 winner against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin.Azerbaijan wanted a penalty when Dmitri Nazarovs struck Tom Lockyer on the arm five minutes before the interval.But German referee Deniz Aytekin was not interested and booked Nazarov for dissent.It was a cold night in Baku and Bale came out for the start of the second half wearing a pair of gloves.The question was how long Giggs would keep his talisman on the pitch due to the close proximity of the Hungary showdown and Bale being a booking away from missing that game.Wilson went close again and Wales had the ball in the net again five minutes after the restart, but Lockyers header was disallowed for an Ethan Ampadu push on Agayev.Bale was replaced just before the hour with Ramsey making a welcome return as Wales saw the game out with ease.Wilson and substitute Rabbi Matondo picked up late yellow cards as the game became bad-tempered late on, butWales will head into the Hungary showdown full of confidence.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Phil Blanche, PA, Baku'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '0b4991c8-be03-4d4c-90da-20d52b7b8a13'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Wales keep automatic qualification dream alive with victory in Azerbaijan'});

November 16th 2019, 2:03 pm

Clarke pleased to see Scotland building momentum ahead of play-offs

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Winning was everything for Scotland manager Steve Clarke as his side beat Cyprus 2-1 in Nicosia.John McGinn swept home a 53rd-minute winner and Scotland survived a few late scares to move third in their Euro 2020 qualifying group.The visitors had an early reprieve when George Efrems shot bounced off the underside of the bar and appeared to cross the line.The goal was not given and Ryan Christie soon netted a glorious 12th-minute opener before Efrem got his goal with a well-struck volley two minutes after the break.Scotlands John McGinn celebrates scoring the winner (Tim Goode/PA).Scotland will finish third if they get a draw at home to Kazakhstan on Tuesday, but Clarke is desperate to build a winning mentality ahead of the play-offs in March after a four-match losing streak ended their automatic qualification hopes.Cyprus head coach Ran Ben Shimon claimed the better team lost but Clarke was not bothered about his counterparts assessment.It was important to build on the San Marino victory, the former Scotland defender said. We knew coming here would be a difficult game because it was a difficult game at Hampden in June, a very similar game where we got ourselves in front and I thought when we went in front we were the better team.Second half we conceded to another set play or second phase from a set play, but it was a wonderful strike, you have to give the lad Efrem credit. The reaction to that was great, getting ourselves back in front with a really good team goal. And then we showed a little bit of resilience to get the three points we wanted.Im not going to sit here and say it was a fantastic performance. It was a good performance. And sometimes when you are coming out of the run of games we are coming out of, its more important to win than the performance.The win was crucial for us because it gives us the opportunity to go home against Kazakhstan, another three points and that would set us up nicely for the play-off games in March.Clarke was delighted to see his side brush off the disappointment of conceding after they capitulated in a 4-0 reverse in Russia last month.Steve Clarke saw his side crushed 4-0 by Russia last month (Steven Paston/PA).The response was really pleasing because we spoke about it at half-time, funnily enough, he said.I pointed out to them that at 0-0 in Russia at half-time everyone felt quite good in the dressing-room and our reaction to the adversity of losing the first goal over there wasnt great.So we spoke about it and the reaction to their goal was really good. We got ourselves back in front with a great team goal.Clarke was not convinced Efrems early effort was a goal."It looks over the line to me!" HUGE let off for Scotland early on against Cyprus as the hosts look to take the lead but the referee doesn't give it! Watch live on Sky Sports Football now or follow: https://t.co/30tjzpVzQR pic.twitter.com/ZqLdaziSas Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) November 16, 2019Ive seen the stills but stills are confusing, said Clarke. I wouldnt go on the live pictures or the pictures that are in play, its very difficult to say that ball is over the line and if the officials have the same doubt then they cant give the goal.You see now with the modern game, players taking corner kicks and you are convinced the ball is outside the quadrant but it only has to overhang a little bit. So I am not sure the whole ball was over the line.Shimon felt the incident was the decisive moment in the game.He added: To lead after six minutes would have been crucial. It was half a metre inside.I never speak about referees but it was a poor performance from the referee. He added: The team that tried to play football lost this game. The ball was in the corner for six minutes in the latter stages.We prepared for long balls, but not that amount of long balls. I have respect for opponents but the better team lost.Meanwhile, Clarke allayed injury concerns over Steven Naismith after taking the striker off immediately after he went down clutching his leg.Steven is fine, Clarke said. The substitution was already going ahead.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Gavin McCafferty, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'c5440f77-e354-44f0-9551-6e48e4b0b1c6'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Clarke pleased to see Scotland building momentum ahead of play-offs'});

November 16th 2019, 1:20 pm

Fast start helps Solihull move third

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Three first-half goals helped Solihull Moors beat AFC Fylde 3-1 and move into third place in the National League.Danny Wright opened the scoring after 14 minutes, nodding the ball past an outstretched Sam Hornby.That lead was doubled four minutes later when Jamey Osborne negotiated his way into the box only to be brought down and Paul McCallum sent Hornby the wrong way from the resulting penalty.McCallum was involved again in the 25th minute, his long throw being met by captain Callum Howe.The visitors responded just before half-time when RyanCroasdale struck after being teed up by Jordan Williams.Croasdale hit the bar and Alex Whitmore had a header cleared off the line as Fylde tried to get back into the game after the break.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '2a4aba40-fb4d-4ec9-bbb8-0a292e178095'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Fast start helps Solihull move third'});

November 16th 2019, 1:20 pm

5 talking points ahead of England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Kosovo

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England face Kosovo on Sunday in their final Euro 2020 qualifier and with progression into next summers finals already secured.The Three Lions travel to Pristina for the first time looking to end the campaign on a high and win their final competitive fixture before the tournament begins in June.Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the main talking points ahead of the match at the Stadiumi Fadil Vokrri.What sort of reception for Raheem?Englands Raheem Sterling, centre, is back in the frame for Gareth Southgate (Jonathan Brady/PA)Raheem Sterling was sidelined for the 7-0 win over Montenegro as punishment for a training ground fall-out with Liverpool defender Joe Gomez.The spat was an overspill from Liverpools 3-1 victory over Premier League title rivals Manchester City and led to Gomez being jeered by a number of England fans when he came off the bench on Thursday.But with Gomez returning home injured and Sterling likely to return to the side, it remains to be seen if he will also be a target for the boo-boys when he takes to the field.England in for a warm welcomeLocal workers have put up England flags in Pristina, Kosovo (Steven Paston/PA)Given the recent history between England and Kosovo, the hosts are rolling out the red carpet for Gareth Southgate and his players.It is a far cry from recent trips which have seen issues between supporters and racist abuse aimed at Englands black players in both Montenegro and Bulgaria.Several St Georges flags adorn parts of the city, with welcomes posted at the airport and locals wearing t-shirts to show their support of the travelling England contingent.Southgate to shuffle his pack?Gareth Southgate could decide to hand Fikayo Tomori his England debut (Mike Egerton/PA)With qualification and top-spot in Group A secured, Southgate may take the chance to look at some players on the periphery of his side.The likes of Tammy Abraham, James Maddison and Tyrone Mings will be hoping for more international experience while Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori is the only outfield member of the current squad waiting to make his debut.While some alterations may take place, Southgate will also be keen to name a team close to that which he believes will resemble the starting XI he will select for the opening game at Euro 2020.Kane at it againThe perfect night. Win and qualify. 1000th @england game. And a hattrick to top it off #ThreeLions pic.twitter.com/6PHaTurgPO Harry Kane (@HKane) November 14, 2019If captain Harry Kane starts for England he will be aiming to end the qualification campaign having scored in all eight Group A games.He currently sits top of the scoring charts alongside Israels Eran Zahavi on 11 goals and has became the first England player to score back-to-back hat-tricks in the wins over Bulgaria and Montenegro.Kane is also the highest-scoring England captain of all time and sits sixth on the complete list of the countrys most potent marksmen with his eyes now trained on Michael Owen, who has nine more than the 31 goals Kane has to date.What could have been for KosovoKosovo manager Bernard Challandes does not want his players to treat the game against England like a gala match (Mark Kerton/PA)A visit from England remains the biggest fixture in Kosovos burgeoning international history but it could have had even more riding on it.Defeat in the Czech Republic on Thursday night means Kosovo can no longer defy the odds and qualify for their first-ever tournament finals.They will still play in the play-off rounds in March but coach Bernard Challandes admits the game against England will now have a completely different feel and has warned his players not to treat the occasion like a gala match.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'b3f887b4-38e0-4025-be0d-43c75a0c5726'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': '5 talking points ahead of England\u2019s Euro 2020 qualifier against Kosovo'});

November 16th 2019, 1:20 pm

Varane demands more from Mbappe and France’s forwards

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France skipper Raphael Varane insistsKylian Mbappe can do more for the national team.The World Cup champions travel toAlbaniaon Sunday having booked their spot at Euro 2020 on Thursday.Didier Deschamps side went to thetop of Group H with a laboured 2-1 win over Moldova after Varanes leveller in Paris.The team were criticised for their performance and Real MadridsVarane has urged PSGs Mbappe to up his game.He can do better, he is aware of it. He has a lot of qualities: in the field, he has to choose because he can not do everything at the same time, he told LEquipe.Offensively, we need more movement (and) play our football, which we did not manage to do in the first period.Arsenals Matteo Guendouzicould be handed a debut with Deschamps side looking to qualify as group winners.France moved above Turkey in the group following Olivier Girouds late winner against Moldova, who are bottom of the table.We come here to finish first in the group. We are world champions and we approach every game to win it, Varane, who scored his fifth international goal on Thursday, added.It will not be a simple match.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '1756a6e3-6ce7-44bd-8c04-671767e6aaa0'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Varane demands more from Mbappe and France\u2019s forwards'});

November 16th 2019, 1:20 pm

Brilliant Barrow go top

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Barrow moved top of theVanarama National League after easing to a 3-0 victory at Notts County.Early goals from Dior Angus and John Rooney were capped off by substitute Jack Hindles late strike as the hosts suffered a second home league defeat this season.Angus took the initiative after just 10 minutes, converting Josh Kays cross for his fifth goal in the last six matches.The forward then helped double Barrows lead three minutes later when he rounded keeper Sam Slocombe and crossed for Rooney to score.Wes Thomas went close for the home side after the break before Scott Quigley thought he had scored a third, only to be denied by the linesmans flag for offside.But Hindle sealed the victory with three minutes left with a superb finish from Brad Barrys cross.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'cc1427cd-e951-4f0b-acbe-6e60df7f4b72'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Brilliant Barrow go top'});

November 16th 2019, 12:47 pm

A look back at Thierry Henry’s infamous handball 10 years on

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The Republic of Ireland head into a Euro 2020 qualification battle with Denmark on Monday evening on the 10th anniversary of the infamous Thierry Henry handball which shattered their World Cup dreams.Here, the PA news agency takes a look back at a controversial night which has become part of Irelands sporting folklore.The build-upNicolas Anelka (left) scored the only goal in the first leg in Dublin (Martin Rickett/PA)Still feeling aggrieved at FIFAs decision to change its mind over seeding the play-offs, Giovanni Trapattonis men had headed into the first game of their two-legged play-off in confident mood. However, they were disappointing in Dublin and went down to Nicolas Anelkas lone strike to leave the French with the upper hand.The gameRepublic of Ireland striker Robbie Keane celebrates after scoring at the Stade de France (Martin Rickett/PA)Perhaps sensing that it was now or never, Ireland turned in perhaps their best performance under Trapattoni at the Stade de France and took a deserved 1-0 lead through skipper Robbie Keanes first-half goal. They had chances to extend their lead but did not take them and, after 90 minutes, the aggregate scores were level and extra time was required.Le main de DieuFrances William Gallas (second right) heads home Thierry Henrys cross (Martin Rickett/PA)Thirteen minutes into extra time, Florent Maloudas deep free-kick eluded defender Paul McShane and Henry controlled before turning the ball across goal for William Gallas to head home. Replays showed that the then Barcelona frontman had handled twice in bringing the ball under control, but crucially out of sight of referee Martin Hansson and his assistants and the Republics protests went unanswered.What they said Trapattoni: Everybody saw the game. You know what happened.Keane: They are all probably clapping hands, (Michel) Platini sitting up there on the phone to Sepp Blatter, probably texting each other, delighted with the result.Richard Dunne: He admitted afterwards he handled it, but it doesnt make me feel any better because we are not going to the World Cup finals.France manager Raymond Domenech: I did not see a hand. Its you people who are speaking about this.The aftermathThen Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney revealed details of a payment from FIFA (Tim Goode/PA)The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) lodged an official complaint with FIFA, although their calls for a replay and then to be included as the 33rd team at the finals both fell on deaf ears. Then chief executive John Delaney later revealed that the FAI had received a payment of five million Euros at the time around 3.6million initially in the form of an interest-free loan which ultimately did not have to be repaid in return for an agreement not to press their claim through the courts.Karma?Frances players went on strike after Nicolas Anelka was sent home following a row with manager Raymond Domenech (Julien Behal/PA)France travelled to the finals in South Africa determined to make the most of their lucky escape but did not remain there for very long. Domenechs players went on strike after Anelka was sent home following a row with the coach and the point they gained from an opening 0-0 draw with Uruguay in Cape Town was the only one they mustered, as defeats to Mexico and the hosts ended their participation at the first hurdle.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Damian Spellman, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'c08da6fc-e865-4128-9682-2ec72eb11e71'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'A look back at Thierry Henry\u2019s infamous handball 10 years on'});

November 16th 2019, 11:47 am

Five in five for John McGinn as Scotland win in Cyprus

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John McGinn continued his international goalscoring streak as Scotland won 2-1 in Cyprus.The Aston Villa midfielder netted the winner in the 53rd minute with a first-time finish to make it five goals from his last five games for his country.Scotland were ahead for the vast majority of the Euro 2020 qualifier in Nicosia after Ryan Christies superb opener.FULL TIME | Cyprus 1 2 ScotlandGoals from Ryan Christie and John McGinn give Scotland all three points in Nicosia.Up next is Kazakhstan on Tuesday at Hampden.#CYPSCO pic.twitter.com/XXZP9u8FYs Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) November 16, 2019But George Efrem might have had another goal to add to his equalising volley after an early strike appeared to bounce behind the line having struck the underside of the crossbar.Steve Clarkes side leapfrogged Cyprus into third place in Group I of the European Championship qualifiers and will seal that position if they draw at home to Kazakhstan on Tuesday. However, Clarke will be desperate for another win to build momentum for the play-offs in March.The manager handed Motherwell centre-back Declan Gallagher his first Scotland cap and gave a competitive debut to Rangers midfielder Ryan Jack, while Steven Naismith captained the team on his 50th international.Cyprus would have sealed a historic best third-place finish if they had won and they came extremely close to a fifth-minute opener.Ryan Christie with a to open the scoring for Scotland.#CYPSCO ( via @SkyFootball)pic.twitter.com/YcSA7bstGK Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) November 16, 2019Scotlands reprieve came after Christie lost a challenge in the middle of the park. Pieros Sotiriou threaded the ball through to Efrem and the former Rangers and Dundee player turned Scott McKenna before firing a shot off the underside of the bar. There were strong appeals for a goal but with no goalline technology the Austrian officials played on.Scotland scored after a good spell of possession. McGinn turned and fed Christie on the right flank and the Celtic playmaker was allowed to cut inside before curling into the top corner from 20 yards.Clarkes men were by no means in control and McGinn and Gallagher, twice, made important aerial challenges to stop the Cypriots getting headers on target, while David Marshall parried a 20-yard strike from Sotiriou.But the visitors had chances to take a bigger lead into the break. Christie saw a 20-yard effort saved after a counter and McKennas free header bounced into the goalkeepers hands off McGinn from one of a series of corners.Ryan Christie, right, celebrates scoring (Tim Goode/PA)McGinn later won the ball off goalkeeper Urko Pardo but could not find Naismith and Liam Palmer came close from 25 yards.Efrem got his goal two minutes after half-time when Grigoris Kastanos swung in a dangerous free-kick from the right, Gallagher headed the ball away and Efrem was in yards of space to volley into the top corner from 15 yards.It was the fifth set-piece goal Scotland had conceded in four matches, although Cyprus have been prolific from dead balls throughout their campaign 10 of their 14 goals have come from set-plays.Scotland regained the lead inside six minutes when McGinn got in front of his man to sweep home Greg Taylors cross from eight yards.John McGinn scores the winner (Tim Goode/PA)Naismith was replaced by Oli McBurnie just after the hour mark having appeared to strain his leg, although he ultimately walked off without too much difficulty.Cyprus pushed for an equaliser and came close when Ioannis Costi headed just wide after running on to a cross.Scotlands best chance to give themselves a cushion disappeared when McGinn over-hit a pass to McBurnie and they found themselves under pressure in the closing stages. Fotis Papoulis blasted over from 12 yards and Kastanos came close from a free-kick.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Gavin McCafferty, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'ce4e18dc-2616-4985-9e1e-b4f59e676348'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Five in five for John McGinn as Scotland win in Cyprus'});

November 16th 2019, 11:47 am

Robbie Keane reflects on Thierry Henry’s handball against Ireland 10 years on

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It is a moment which is etched firmly and painfully in the memories of a generation of Irish football supporters.Shay Givens furious sprint to the linesman, spectators at the Stade de France knowing something was wrong but not quite what it was and Thierry Henry sheepishly celebrating a great escape with his team-mates as World Cup qualification was secured in the most controversial of circumstances.On Monday evening, the Republic of Ireland will attempt to secure their place at the Euro 2020 finals 10 years to the day after they were denied to trip to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa by Henrys illegal intervention in their play-off showdown with France.Robbie Keane says he knew something was wrong despite not seeing Henry handle the ball (Simon Cooper/PA)Ten years, is it? Wow! Robbie Keane told FAI TV when the anniversary was drawn to his attention.Listen, its football. Ive played the game for a long time, certain situations happen in games and because of the magnitude of the game and who it was against and the player, of course it was going to be huge.He was one of the biggest players at the time, Henry, and to do what he did Listen, of course it was disappointing, but as a player you cant dwell too much on the past.Keanes anger may have subsided over the years he was scathing as he spoke to the media that night deep within the bowels of the stadium in the immediate aftermath of the game but the sense of what might have been remains with him.A veteran of Irelands 2002 World Cup adventure in the Far East, he had fired them into a 1-0 lead in Paris to cancel out Nicolas Anelkas strike in the first leg in Dublin, a game in which Giovanni Trapattonis men had turned in a disappointing performance.Already stung by FIFAs decision to seed the play-offs, a change of mind which guaranteed them a tough draw, the Republic turned in arguably their best display under the veteran Italian to take the tie to extra-time. But it was then that Henry took centre-stage.The Frenchman received the ball on the left side of the penalty area and fed it back across goal for defender William Gallas to level on the night and ultimately, to break Irish hearts.However, the reaction of Given and his team-mates closest to the incident indicated that there was an issue and while there were no television replays available to members of the travelling media, it soon emerged that Henry had handled when controlling the ball, sadly for Ireland, unseen by Swedish referee Martin Hansson and his assistants.Keane said: I couldnt see it because I was obviously on the halfway line, but you can always tell by players reactions and Shay Given when he ran straight to the linesman, I knew there was something wrong.I wish there was VAR then, it would have been a lot easier.But it is what it is. When you do something like that as a big player, youre going to get the consequences and Im sure he hasnt lived it down since. Im sure it gets mentioned all the time to him.Irelands protests on and off the field fell on deaf ears, and a bid to be admitted to the finals as the 33rd team was rejected, although the Football Association of Ireland, it emerged later, had received a payment of five million euros around 3.6million at the time from FIFA on the understanding that it would not pursue the matter through the courts.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Damian Spellman, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '5da71858-7f33-444b-aae6-57da3c404d9c'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Robbie Keane reflects on Thierry Henry\u2019s handball against Ireland 10 years on'});

November 16th 2019, 10:17 am

Cardiff hire Neil Harris as Neil Warnock’s replacement

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Cardiff have announced the appointment of former Millwall boss Neil Harris as their new manager.The 42-year-old has signed a deal until summer 2022 to succeed Neil Warnock, whose three-year spell in charge came to an end last week.Harris, who resigned as Millwall manager last month, will take charge of his first game on November 23 when Cardiff travel to Charlton.Harris takes over with Cardiff in 14th place in the Championship following their Premier League relegation last season.Owner Vincent Tan said: I am pleased to appoint Neil as first-team manager of the club.I have full confidence in Neil due to his principles on and off the pitch and enthusiasm to succeed. I am glad to offer him this opportunity and look forward to seeing what he is capable of achieving with Cardiff City.Former striker Harris, who spent a brief loan spell at Cardiff as a player in 2004, managed Millwall for four years, winning promotion to the Championship in 2017.Chairman Mehmet Dalman said: Neil is a passionate manager who has all of the right attributes to take the helm at Cardiff City.I know hes eager to get to work and we look forward to seeing him strive to get the best out of our tight-knit and talented group of players.David Livermore has been named as Harris assistant, with James Rowberry and Andy Dibble continuing as first-team coach and goalkeeping coach respectively.Kevin Blackwell and Ronnie Jepson have left the club.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'fd2b0911-66ea-44d1-975e-554baac1aa99'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:club-news,paservice:sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Cardiff hire Neil Harris as Neil Warnock\u2019s replacement'});

November 16th 2019, 10:17 am

Dominic Matteo receives messages of support after operation on a brain tumour

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Dominic Matteos former clubs and team-mates have shared their support for him after he had surgery on a brain tumour.Liverpool said on Saturday that the 45-year-old, who started his career at Anfield, underwent an operation on Monday and is currently being treated in hospital after coming out of intensive care.The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Dom, his family and friends and we will be offering our support to them throughout this difficult time, Liverpool said.Matteo started out at Liverpool (Paul Barker/PA)A popular member of the Liverpool side in the 1990s and a regular pundit and commentator on LFCTV in recent years, Matteo made his debut for the Reds in October 1993.We wish Dom a full and speedy recovery and will offer any support we can to his wife and family.Doms family would like to place on record their gratitude to all staff at Leeds General Infirmary and express their thanks for all of the messages of support they have received.We are sending our support to @Dominicmatteo21 after the former Reds player was taken seriously ill earlier this week Liverpool FC (@LFC) November 16, 2019Matteo started his career in red, making 155 appearances, before moving to Leeds.He became a fan favourite at Elland Road and scored one of the most famous goals in the clubs history a header against AC Milan in the San Siro which secured Leeds passage into the Champions League knockout stages.After four years he moved on to Blackburn and then finally Stoke, as well as winning six caps for Scotland.Sending my best wishes to my former teammate @Dominicmatteo21 Thinking of you the family! pic.twitter.com/P3XN3AynhG Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) November 16, 2019Wishing my mate Dominic Matteo a speedy recovery one of lifes good guys, former Liverpool and Leeds striker Robbie Fowler wrote on Twitter, with Rio Ferdinand echoing similar sentiments and sending best wishes.Leeds said: The thoughts of everyone at #LUFC are with our former captain Dominic Matteo and his family after he was taken seriously ill earlier this week, while Blackburn wished him a speedy recovery.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'bcb5d4e6-aec0-4ef5-8255-36a2314b781f'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Dominic Matteo receives messages of support after operation on a brain tumour'});

November 16th 2019, 9:42 am

Robbie Keane challenges new generation to ‘be a hero’ for Republic of Ireland

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Robbie Keane has challenged a new generation of Republic of Ireland stars to be a hero as they attempt to clinch Euro 2020 qualification.Mick McCarthys assistant manager scored a record 68 goals in an illustrious 146 senior appearances for his country, and is still remembered in particular for his last-gasp equaliser in a famous 1-1 World Cup finals draw with Germany in Ibaraki in 2002.On Monday evening, Ireland face Denmark at the Aviva Stadium knowing victory will send them to next summers finals, and Keane is well aware that any player who makes a decisive contribution will enter the pantheon of Irish footballing history.Republic of Ireland striker Robbie Keane (left) was mobbed by team-mates after his last-gasp equaliser against Germany (Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA)He told FAI TV: Go and make a name for yourself because people will always remember it. Youll get people in 20 years time who will say to you, Remember that goal that you scored against Denmark?.I still get it now, the Germany goal. People come up to you and say, I was in school watching that when you scored that goal, or I was in this pub or I was in my Grannys house.I get it all the time, and its always nice for people to come up to you and say that to you.These lads have an opportunity on Monday night against a top team, but go and be a hero. RESULTS Performance of the night was from __________ Sweden qualify for EURO 2020 Finland through to 1st EURO finals 7 different scorers for Spain Denmark breeze past Gibraltar Acerbi, Insigne Belotti on target#EURO2020 UEFA EURO 2020 (@UEFAEURO) November 15, 2019Unsurprisingly, Ireland have slipped to third place in Group D after the Danes trounced Gibraltar 6-0 on Friday evening at the same time as Switzerland beat Georgia 1-0 in St Gallen.The Swiss will clinch a top-two finish if they win in Gibraltar while Ireland would join them with victory over Denmark by virtue of the head-to-head record between the two as both would have 15 points.Anything less would leave McCarthys men needing to negotiate two play-off matches, and Keane admits he would relish the pressure that brings.He said: Of course its going to be a little bit tense because of the magnitude of the game, but put it this way, Id love to be playing. These are the game you want to be playing in, this is why we play football, for moments like this. This is not going to be just for these lads, this is going to change everyones lives in Ireland.Are we playing against a team thats technically better than us in terms of how they play? Yes, a lot of these players are with top, world-class teams.But can they out-fight us? Can they work harder than us? No, no, thats in yourself, thats in you, thats in your heart. If the players do that and stick together on Monday night, theres no reason why we cant get a result against them. View this post on Instagram One word. WowA post shared by TP (@troyparrott9) on Nov 14, 2019 at 3:09pm PSTKeane famously made his debut for Ireland as a 17-year-old, just as Tottenham striker Troy Parrott did some 21 years later in Thursday nights friendly victory over New Zealand.The teenager has been retained in the squad for the qualifier and could yet have some involvement against the Danes, and the assistant manager has been impressed with what he has seen so far.Keane said: Hes a good lad, hes confident in his own ability given a chance in front of goal. But hes 17, so we have to be careful were not putting too much pressure on him.But knowing him, I think he quite enjoys the pressure, so that makes for a good player.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Damian Spellman, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '665f779d-1554-403e-b15c-dd7ff3415fc9'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Robbie Keane challenges new generation to \u2018be a hero\u2019 for Republic of Ireland'});

November 16th 2019, 9:31 am

Manchester United plot £85m Haaland deal – but Real Madrid or Barcelona remain his preference

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Haaland has been in prolific form for Salzburg this season - announcing himself as one of Europe's next big stars.The Norwegian striker has netted 26 times in 18 games which is a staggering 1.44 goals per 90 minutes.He also entered the record books when he scored his seventh goal in his firstfour games in the Champions League - two more than any other player managed.Since joining Salzburg in January of this year, Haaland has developed at an exponential rate and he's caught the eye of football's biggest clubs in the process.Manchester United have long been admirers and are hoping to strike a deal in the winter transfer window, according to the Mirror.Erling is the son of Alfe-Inge Haaland - formerManchester City, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest player.Alfe-Inge recently stated that his son would like to play in the Premier League one day.However, Haaland junior reportedly prefers a move to either Real Madrid or Barcelona in La Liga.Real Madrid are believed to be keen on the 19-year-old despite signing Luka Jovic, 21,from Frankfurt last summer.Barcelona, on the other hand, are understood to be seeking a new number nine to succeed Luis Suarez as the main striker at Camp Nou.But it is Haaland's relationship withOle Gunnar Solskjaer that United hope will make the difference when push comes to shove.Solskjaer oversaw Haaland's move to Molde in Norway and handed the youngster his professional debut.The Red Devils are also thought to be open to loaning Haaland back to Salzburg for the remainder of the season so he can continue his development and start fresh next season.READ MORE...Louis Saha: Why I ‘needed to leave’ Manchester United after Champions League winLouis Saha exclusive: Ruud van Nistelrooy made Cristiano Ronaldo cry at Manchester United training

November 16th 2019, 9:31 am

Cristiano Ronaldo’s best international goals

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Yet another masterclass from Cristiano Ronaldo moved him ever closer to the milestone of 100 international goals.The 34-year-old Juventus forward scored his ninth hat-trick for Portugal in their 6-0 demolition of Lithuania on Thursday night, putting him just two goals away from the century.He could reach the landmark on Sunday when the reigning European champions travel to Luxembourg.Here, the PA news agency takes a look at five of Ronaldos best strikes for his country from his 98 goals so far.Denmark 2 Portugal 1, October 2011A 30-yard screamer of a free-kick proved to be nothing but a consolation goal. While Ronaldos injury time strike could not spare Portugual from a Euro 2012 qualifier defeat, he certainly left his own personal mark in Copenhagen. Armenia 2 Portugal 3, June 2015Ronaldo completed a hat-trick in fine style after 58 minutes. After a sublime first touch to control a long goal kick, he turned, moved the ball out of his feet and unleashed an unstoppable shot from 25 yards which flew into the top corner of the net. Hungary 3 Portugal 3, June 2016The five-time Ballon dOr winner is equally effective inside the box too. A deft back-heel flick from eight yards out helped Portugal advance from the group stages on Euro 2016 a competition they would go on to win. Portugal 3 Spain 3, June 2018Another free-kick. Another hat-trick. This time on the biggest stage of all at the World Cup. Portugal were staring down the barrel of defeat in their opening group game but Ronaldo saved the day by curling a superb shot over the wall and beyond David De Gea. Portugal 3 Luxembourg 0, October 2019In the most recent goal on the list, Ronaldo shows anticipation, speed, quick-thinking, calmness, skill and technique to bring up his 699th career goal.699Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored 699 goals for club and country after this sumptuous effort in Portugal's 3-0 win over LuxembourgMore: https://t.co/OxXUDBStRS pic.twitter.com/VVZwyqaV4m Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) October 12, 2019(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '997eea39-5d2e-4c76-bee4-e0adc514a62a'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Cristiano Ronaldo\u2019s best international goals'});

November 16th 2019, 7:43 am

Matteo in hospital following surgery on brain tumour

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Dominic Matteo is being treated in hospital after having surgery on a brain tumour, former club Liverpool have said.The 45-year-old underwent an operation on Monday and is currently being treated after coming out of intensive care, the European champions added in a statement.Matteo started his career with Liverpool, making 155 appearances, before moving to Leeds where became a fan favourite after scoring the goal against AC Milan which earned United a place in the Champions League knockout stages in 2000/01.Dominic Matteos most famous moment came in a Leeds shirt (John Giles/PA)The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Dom, his family and friends and we will be offering our support to them throughout this difficult time, Liverpool said.A popular member of the Liverpool side in the 1990s and a regular pundit and commentator on LFCTV in recent years, Matteo made his debut for the Reds in October 1993.We wish Dom a full and speedy recovery and will offer any support we can to his wife and family.We are sending our support to @Dominicmatteo21 after the former Reds player was taken seriously ill earlier this week Liverpool FC (@LFC) November 16, 2019Doms family would like to place on record their gratitude to all staff at Leeds General Infirmary and express their thanks for all of the messages of support they have received.Matteo won six Scotland caps in his career, which ended with spells at Blackburn and Stoke.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '1a8ae4c6-6885-4a59-b63c-7fae5674a934'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:club-news,paservice:sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Matteo in hospital following surgery on brain tumour'});

November 16th 2019, 6:13 am

Henderson and Gomez withdraw from England squad for Kosovo game

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Joe Gomez and Jordan Henderson are to miss Englands final UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier in Kosovo on Sunday due to illness and injury respectively.The PA news agency understands Gomez was hurt when clashing knees in an accidental collision with Kieran Trippier. An update from camp, as the #ThreeLions prepare to head out to Kosovo this afternoon:https://t.co/0IJInKyeRI England (@England) November 16, 2019His Liverpool team-mate Henderson missed the 7-0 home win over Montenegro after arriving in the England camp with a viral infection and has not fully recovered.A statement from the FA said: Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez will miss Englands final UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier in Kosovo on Sunday.Henderson arrived in camp with a viral infection that has not fully cleared. Meanwhile, his Liverpool team-mate Gomez sustained a knock in training on Friday and has not recovered sufficiently enough to travel.Joe Gomez was booed by England fans when he came on as a substitute against Montenegro (Nick Potts/PA)The pair now return to their club meaning the Three Lions will head to Pristina on Saturday with a 23-man squad.England sealed their qualification for next summers tournament against Montenegro on Thursday night.However, Englands 1,000th international was overshadowed by the boos that greeted Gomez when he came on as a second-half substitute.Gomez was left with a scratch on his face following a confrontation with Raheem Sterling this week at St Georges Park. The Manchester City star was subsequently dropped from the squad to face Montenegro.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'd4b4110a-6357-434d-a9cf-7d251e752068'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Henderson and Gomez withdraw from England squad for Kosovo game'});

November 16th 2019, 5:43 am

Michael O’Neill urges Northern Ireland to make life uncomfortable for Holland

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Northern Ireland manager Michael ONeill is determined to put Holland on the back foot in their Euro 2020 qualifier at Windsor Park on Saturday night but knows his side must take whatever chances they can create.Newly-appointed Stoke boss ONeill will take charge of the Green and White Army for what is likely to be the final time at Windsor Park as they play their penultimate Group C contest, looking to gain revenge for the 3-1 defeat Holland inflicted in Rotterdam last month with the help of two stoppage-time goals.A win would keep Northern Ireland in with an outside chance of achieving automatic qualification for next summers finals, and to achieve it ONeill wants his players to draw on their performance against Germany in September. O'Neill: "I hope people see we're in a better place. Support has now put us in a place where the team can get stronger."Michael O'Neill Steven Davis share ahead of our @UEFAEURO qualifier against Holland in what could be the boss's final home game #GAWA pic.twitter.com/3RiS8ajwMX Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) November 15, 2019That match may have ended in a 2-0 defeat after Serge Gnabrys late goal, but Northern Ireland enjoyed plenty of the ball and but for some more clinical finishing might have pulled off a surprise.We have to get to that level, ONeill said. In the first half there I thought we were phenomenal and I think we should have been ahead, perhaps two ahead.You cant play well against Germany for 90 minutes, there is going to be a period when they come to the fore. The biggest thing was that when we went 1-0 behind we stayed in the game.We aim to make it as uncomfortable for the Dutch as possible. They have fantastic players, we know their reputations. We need to make the game with the intensity we showed against the Germans. Even the top players in this kind of atmosphere can be tested.Northern Irelands best chance of reaching Euro 2020 is now through the play-offs in March. Though their place is not yet guaranteed it would take a number of upsets for them not to make it now.But that they go into the final two games still in with a chance of advancing automatically is an achievement after a nightmare draw paired them with two powerhouses in Germany and Holland.Weve got two pot one teams in our group, ONeill added. I look at Englands group and wonder why we couldnt be in that.Against these teams we wont create half a dozen chances. When you create them you need to take them.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Ian Parker, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '18b257e1-a5dd-4714-8e20-e38a179bf980'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Michael O\u2019Neill urges Northern Ireland to make life uncomfortable for Holland'});

November 15th 2019, 11:39 pm

Ryan Giggs urges Wales to keep their discipline in Azerbaijan

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Ryan Giggs has called for calm in Azerbaijan with star players Gareth Bale and Daniel James a booking away from missing Wales final Euro 2020 qualifier.Wales probably need to win their final two games away to Azerbaijan and Hungary at home on Tuesday to secure automatic qualification at next summers tournament.A hostile sell-out crowd awaits Wales at Bakus Bakcell Arena, and manager Giggs is aware that Real Madrid forward Bale and Manchester United winger James are walking disciplinary tightropes.Y bechgyn yn barod Final preparations at the Bakcell Arena ahead of tomorrows @UEFAEURO qualifying match #TogetherStronger #AZEWAL pic.twitter.com/jgVa58n37j Wales (@Cymru) November 15, 2019Weve seen Joe Allen miss out on this game because of suspension, Giggs said ahead of Saturdays Group E clash.Discipline is a big part of winning games. But still you want players to be competitive but with an eye of not giving away stupid fouls to get easy yellow cards.Bale has not played since scoring in Wales 1-1 draw against Croatia last month.The 30-year-old, who has not featured for Real since October 5, has been at the centre of a Spanish media storm after turning up for international duty following a calf injury.Wales winger Daniel James is walking a disciplinary tightrope in the Euro 2020 qualifier against Azerbaijan (Joe Giddens/PA)Bale has been doing individual recovery work in recent weeks, but he has trained fully with Giggs squad since joining up with Wales last weekend.Gareth hasnt played, which is not ideal, but he trained well at Real Madrid last week, Giggs said.We tried to get some volume of training into him this week. We were able to do that on Tuesday and Wednesday. He looks good and feels good. I think hell be ready for the game.Juventus midfielder Aaron Ramsey will make his first appearance in Euro 2020 qualifying after overcoming hamstring and thigh injuries. Wales could qualify by taking four points from the final two games, but the realistic scenario is that they will have to beat Azerbaijan and Hungary.Its good to have Aaron back, Giggs said.But, like Gareth, the shortage of game time is something Im going to have to look at. Obviously youre running out of games. But were just focused on winning this game. Its as simple as that.Azerbaijan had a good result at home last time, drawing against Croatia, so its not easy. But the lads are ready for it.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Phil Blanche, PA, Baku'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'e90dbdb1-903c-41d0-a531-d5c28e0919b9'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Ryan Giggs urges Wales to keep their discipline in Azerbaijan'});

November 15th 2019, 11:39 pm

Guys like Cazorla, Ramos and Albiol key to Spain’s Euro 2020 hopes – Moreno

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Spain coach Robert Moreno paid tribute to the old guard, and in particular Santi Cazorla, after the midfielder scored his first international goal in four years in the 7-0 demolition of Malta.The 34-year-old former Arsenal midfielder, who has revitalised both his club and international career back at Villarreal after horrific Achilles problems, scored the hosts second before they moved through the gears in the second half.Spain had already sealed qualification for Euro 2020, but this victory, their seventh from nine qualifiers, confirmed top spot in Group F.The contribution of people like Santi (Cazorla), Sergio (Ramos) and Raul (Albiol) the generation who have already won tournaments is incalculable, Moreno said on uefa.com.They have such quality and its hard to win tournaments without their kind of experience. Theyve accumulated things that they not only contribute in performance but transmit to others.On Cazorla, who won the European Championships with Spain in 2008 and 2012, he added: What Santis achieving, his form, after what he went through for nearly three years with his terrible injury problems, is exceptional. Without guys like him and Raul and Sergio its hard to win tournament semi-finals and finals.Moreno also praised his side for not easing up in the second half, which saw four goals in the space of 10 minutes from Pau Torres, Pablo Sarabia, Dani Olmo and Gerard Moreno before Jesus Navas completed the rout.The easiest thing in the world would have been for my players to accept 3-0 or 4-0 and drop their level, the Spain boss said. But we hit seven and could easily have scored 10 that says very good things about their mentality.The manager was delighted to see Torres and Olmo mark their debuts with goals after coming off the bench.We think its pretty historic that both Pau and Dani both came on and scored with their first touch, he said. Its been decades since two subs came on and scored on their debuts.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'c9aec67b-9cfb-4119-8e48-b2369205cae4'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Guys like Cazorla, Ramos and Albiol key to Spain\u2019s Euro 2020 hopes \u2013 Moreno'});

November 15th 2019, 7:06 pm

Roberto Mancini has eyes on more success after setting new Italy record

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Italy manager Roberto Mancini expressed humility after beating a national record that has stood for 80 years.A clinical 3-0 Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina was the Azzurris ninth in a row in the campaign, and 10th in succession overall.It means Mancini has now surpassed the mark set by World Cup winner Vittorio Pozzo between 1938 and 1939.Despite the new record, Mancini knows it counts for little given the ultimate goal is success in next summers finals.Im happy with the record, said Mancini in a post-match press conference. To go above a legend like Pozzo means a lot but the road is still long.Goals from Francesco Acerbi, Lorenzo Insigne and Andrea Belotti comfortably dispatched the hosts in Zenica to maintain Italys 100 per cent record at the top of Group J.It is all a far cry from two years ago when Italy failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.Sometimes results arrive that you dont even deserve, but you have to accept it, added Mancini. Thats football, unfortunately.Weve implemented a different way of working, in technical terms also. The guys have done very well and its paid off.Belotti, who scored a sweetly struck third seven minutes after the break to snuff out any hope of a second-half revival from Bosnia, hailed the impact of Mancini since his arrival 18 months ago.The Torino striker said:Mancini has done a great job. He has given us clear ideas in a short period of time.Lazio defender Acerbi, whose opening goal in the 21st minute was his first for his country, feels Italy can build on what they have so far achieved.Im happy with my first goal for Italy, said Acerbi.It was not easy because Bosnia had nothing to lose and they tried to attack but we controlled the game well and we deserved this victory.We have had a very good qualifying campaign, and Im sure that these victories will help us to win more.As for Bosnia, they must now rely on the backdoor route to the finals via the play-offs.Midfielder Miralem Pjanic, who plays for Juventus, feels his side have not done themselves justice this qualifying campaign.He said:Italy are a good team and deserved the victory.We should have done better in this group. We had the chance to qualify but we didnt deserve to because we havent played to our potential in all the games.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '747db9cb-13a2-4b7e-898f-275d9e98eafc'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Roberto Mancini has eyes on more success after setting new Italy record'});

November 15th 2019, 7:06 pm

Southgate believes young squad can make big impression at Euro 2020

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Gareth Southgate believes Englands callow squad can be hugely competitive at Euro 2020, even if his young players are some way off their peak.Harry Kane grabbed a hat-trick on Thursday as the Three Lions marked their 1,000th international with a 7-0 demolition of Montenegro, sealing top spot in Group A and pool matches at Wembley next summer.It was an impressive display by Southgates men, especially given star Raheem Sterling was absent following a skirmish with Joe Gomez and Englands line-up was their youngest since 1959.Twenty-two-year-old Tammy Abraham celebrates his first England goal with Jadon Sancho, 19 (Nick Potts/PA).The 57-cap former defender has consistently shown trust in young prospects since taking the helm and hopes it will reap rewards, just as it did at last years World Cup.You can never tell, because you just dont know whos going to be available, whos going to be on form, Southgate said.Weve got a fairly settled squad, but there are obviously players whove been with us in the last 18 months and are still in our thinking.We are always learning about the players more in the really big matches and the really high-pressure games. But we feel the team (against Montenegro) was extremely young, the squad is young.Weve got to get the balance right with that, but these, in most cases, are our best players we think.Although next summer is going to be before a lot of them peak, we can still be hugely competitive and our challenge is to be able to compete, as we found a way to compete in Russia, with a squad thats very exciting.Southgate is clear what Englands best team would be if he had to pick it tomorrow, but knows he has to juggle his desire to keep a settled side with adaptability.Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain impressed against Montenegro (Nick Potts/PA).The Three Lions boss used Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who capped his first start since March 2018 with a goal against Montenegro as an example after a knee injury denied him the chance to play a key role at the World Cup.The good thing is weve got really good options in every position, Southgate said.And thats key, because youll all remember plenty of tournaments where weve had a key injury on the eve of the tournament and then weve all been in meltdown about what might happen. So there is some strength in depth.Phil Foden is yet to break into the England squad (Mike Egerton/PA).Southgate is not ruling out players that are currently out of favour but have played a part before, name-checking World Cup star Dele Alli, just as he is keeping tabs on other young talent.The Three Lions boss says that its a case of when, rather than if someone like Manchester Citys Phil Foden is called up, unless something goes wildly off-track for him, but such call-ups rely on form and fitness.There is no doubt that the likes of Alli and Foden would love to be involved next summer, with the country sure to be gripped as at Euro 96, with the group games, semi-finals and final all to be played at Wembley.Its going to be an incredible experience for the players, for our fans, Southgate added.England will play their group matches at Euro 2020, bringing back memories of Euro 96 (Neil Munns/PA).We want to make Wembley somewhere that teams fear coming, thats part of the message I gave to the players. So, yes, itll be a very, very special event to be a part of.And the players deserve it. Theyve played extremely well against opponents we should beat, in a group we should win, for sure, but the quality of their play and the number of goals theyve scoredI used to look at Germany in qualification and they were racking up sixes and sevens and we used to be struggling to break down teams who played with a low block.Weve now managed to play in a way thats been able to solve that problem. Now weve got to solve the different sorts of problems that come with the higher-ranked opponents, and thats the challenge of the next few months.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Simon Peach, PA Chief Football Writer, Pristina'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'fbf92dd4-764a-4e1b-a6ff-ee419efd5a64'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Southgate believes young squad can make big impression at Euro 2020'});

November 15th 2019, 6:06 pm

Italy maintain perfect qualifying record with win in Bosnia

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Italy chalked up their ninth successive Euro 2020 qualifying victory with a clinical 3-0 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina.First-half goals from Francesco Acerbi and Lorenzo Insigne were added to by Andrea Belotti early in the second period as the Azzurri maintained their 100 per cent record in Group J.Already assured of their place in next summers finals, Roberto Mancinis side were initially second best in the opening exchanges atthe Bilino Polje Stadium in Zenica.Italy were indebted to goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma early on, notably in making a reaction stop to Ermin Bicakcics point-blank header, and then a more routine save from captain Edin Dzekos long-range drive.But the visitors forged ahead in the 21st minute. Federico Bernardeschi beat Zoran Kvrzic and hispass into the danger area was flicked on by Nicolo Barella to centre-back Acerbi, who showed a deftness of touch by sidestepping Miralem Pjanic with his left foot before delivering a sweet strike with his right from 14 yards for his first international goal.Eight minutes before the break, Italy doubled their lead. Belotti teed up Insigne, whose shot on the turn squeezed through the legs of Adnan Kovacevic before slowly evading the outstretched grasp of Ibrahim Sehic.Bosnia could have pulled one back before the break, but Donnarumma made a fine save from Gojko Cimirot before a penetrating corner saw Bicakcic swing and miss at a sitter, with the Italy goalkeeper then denying Kovacevics flick at the loose ball.Bellotti, who had seen a superb left-foot strike tipped over by Sehic five minutes before the break, made no mistake seven minutes after it, powerfully lifting a first-time effort over the goalkeeper after running on to a piercing through ball from Barella.Insigne almost added a fourth in the 64th minute with a sizzling shot from just outside the area that was tipped away by Sehic.Italy then saw out the remainder of the game, and can make it a perfect 10 out of 10 in qualifying if they beat Armenia in Palermo on Monday.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '0062b316-572b-49b2-945f-94c6b42cd6cb'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Italy maintain perfect qualifying record with win in Bosnia'});

November 15th 2019, 6:06 pm

McClean eyes qualification after difficult month

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James McClean is hoping to end another difficult November on a high note by helping the Republic of Ireland reach the Euro 2020 finals.The Stoke winger met up with his international colleagues last weekend having found himself the target of alleged sectarian chants from Barnsley fans during his clubs 4-2 Sky Bet Championship win at Oakwell, an incident which prompted a Football Association investigation.Derry-born McClean has been subjected to annual abuse over his refusal to wear a Remembrance Day poppy on his shirt during his time in English football despite his well-documented and articulately-presented reasons.However, as he prepares for Monday nights final Group D qualifier against the Danes in Dublin, the 30-year-old midfielder insists he is not ready to turn his back on the game on the other side of the Irish Sea.McClean said: No, not really. It doesnt bother me. It probably affects my wife and my ma more, but thats something I probably dont take into consideration, how they feel.For me, I just get on with it. I think over the years, Ive developed a kind of thick skin and its just water off a ducks back for me when it happens.Instead, McCleans concentration in the last week has been on ensuring the chance to play at the finals of another major tournament does not elude him after missing out on last summers World Cup finals as a result of Denmarks 5-1 play-off victory at the Aviva Stadium two years ago.He said: We had a chance of qualifying for a World Cup, and obviously it didnt happen, so it hurt.We havent been to a World Cup since 2002, and I personally have never played at a World Cup, so it was a huge opportunity missed. I have been lucky enough to play in two European Championships, so come Monday if we qualify for a third, that will probably be the ghost laid to bed.Mondays game represents the latest instalment in a two-year saga which has seen the sides also play out four boring, in McCleans opinion, draws with the Danes, who have at times been less than complimentary.Midfielder Thomas Delaney has likened playing against the Republic to opening a can of baked beans with your bare hands and described them as the most annoying opponent, while Christian Eriksen at one point accused Ireland of being scared to attack Denmark.McClean is nothing if not forthright indeed, he was involved in a terse exchange with a journalist over coverage he did not like before beginning his interview and he will be happy if Age Hareides men are annoyed once again after their latest encounter with the Irish.He said: Hopefully they are more irritated after Monday and are sick of the sight of us and never want to play us again. If thats the case, then we will have done our job.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Damian Spellman, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '16e4baed-d98d-4c60-ac98-bcc9c6547322'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:club-news,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'McClean eyes qualification after difficult month'});

November 15th 2019, 6:06 pm

Oxlade-Chamberlain looking forward to Euro 2020 after return to England fold

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is ready to make Euro 2020 a special occasion for England fans, as he enjoys a fresh start to his Three Lions career.The Liverpool midfielder marked his first international start since March 2018 with the opening goal in Thursdays 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro, a result which secured qualification to next summers European Championships.It was a special way to commemorate Englands 1,000th game, as former captains and favourites were entertained and welcomed onto the Wembley pitch at half-time.World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst was in attendance, as were a number of players who featured at Euro 96.But, with England playing their group games at Wembley and with the semi-finals and final taking place at the national stadium, Oxlade-Chamberlain wants the current crop to enjoy what is essentially a home tournament of their own.Of course it is something special for us, he said. The manager spoke about it after the game, he said we have at least three games and hopefully we will go on to have more.But it is a special occasion for any team to have home games in a big tournament, it is something we will look forward to.We will need the crowd to play their part and judging from the summer of the World Cup where I was at home and could see what it meant to everyone and how fanatical everyone was, I am sure they will play their part and make it special.Great night at @wembleystadium for the 1000th game celebrations. Good catch up with some old @england teammates and legends and well done again to the squad on qualifying for #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/00gOy3KeCG Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) November 15, 2019It is up to us to make it special for them and the whole country again but it is something we are very fortunate to have and we have got to make the most of that.Oxlade-Chamberlain missed the run to the World Cup semi-finals in Russia through injury and has spoken previously about how he watched England at Shoreditch Box Park.The 26-year-old was recalled into the international fold immediately by Gareth Southgate following his return to fitness in September but missed out on the Euro 2020 qualification double-header against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria last month.However, he showed England what they have been missing by controlling an inch-perfect Ben Chilwell pass before firing the hosts into the lead against Montenegro with just 11 minutes on the clock.After missing almost a year with a serious knee injury, Oxlade-Chamberlain is working his way back at Liverpool and feels he is ready to reignite his international career, too.In a way, yes, he replied when asked if he felt like he was getting a new start with England.Great strike, @Alex_OxChambo #threelionspic.twitter.com/rD1FKCz4F8 England (@England) November 14, 2019I have been around for a while and had a lot of injuries that have kept me out of big games and tournaments.I think that going to Liverpool people saw that as a new start, and then when I started to find my feet in midfield, it was like a new Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain that people hadnt seen at Arsenal quite as consistently.I was coming into that form when we played Holland and Italy in the March just before I got injured and I think I brought that form into England and it fitted into this team.But since the injury I guess I am trying to pick up where I left off with that in both Liverpool and with England.In that time as well there have been a lot of other boys who have come through; James Maddison is doing really well, Ross (Barkley) has been doing well especially with England and you have the likes of Jordan Henderson as well, Mason Mount has come into the fold now.There are different players and new dynamics so it is nice to slot back in and keep pushing myself to keep improving and try to find something different to help this team move forward.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Mark Mann-Bryans, PA, Pristina'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'cfce79ff-cd2d-4a1c-b98e-3677f8925f0e'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Oxlade-Chamberlain looking forward to Euro 2020 after return to England fold'});

November 15th 2019, 6:06 pm

Lionel Messi praises team effort after his goal settles Argentina v Brazil

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Lionel Messi praised Argentinas work ethic after scoring the winner on his return to international football as Brazil were beaten 1-0 in Riyadh.The 32-year-old was banned for three months by CONMEBOL after criticising the South American governing body during this summers Copa America, both after a semi-final loss to Brazil and a third-place play-off win over Chile in which he was sent off following an altercation with Gary Medel.However, the Barcelona forward made a triumphant return as he scored the only goal of the game in an international friendly in Saudi Arabia.At the beginning we tried to play, we made a few mistakes and they created some chances, Messi told the Argentinean FAs official website.In the second half we improved a lot.I think this system defensively gives us a lot. Its good that we can play in several ways.When you win, you work with peace of mind, it is very positive for what is coming.We all ran a lot its what we had to do.Gabriel Jesus hit a tame effort straight at Esteban Andrada after seven minutes, but moments later earned a penalty when he was fouled by Leandro Paredes in the area.The Manchester City striker took the spot-kick, only to fire wide from 12 yards in the 10th minute.Two minutes later Argentina were awarded a penalty of their own when Messi was tripped by Alex Sandro.Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker saved Messis spot-kick, but the Barcelona forward was left with a simple task to tap in the rebound.Messi could have doubled his tally a minute before half-time when he burst clear of the Brazil defence, but Alisson stood firm to save his low effort.Jesus and Willian both failed to work Andrada as Brazil sought an equaliser after the break, while at the other end Messis 66th-minute free-kick had to be tipped over by Alisson.Lautaro Martinez andNicolas Otamendi both wasted late chances to make the game safe for Argentina, whose win represented a first against their arch rivals for more than two years.Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni added: I liked the second half.We made changes because we wanted to prepare for the tests that are coming.The team responded and played really well.Brazil coach Tite felt the games deciding spot-kick should not have been awarded.He told Brazilian media outlet Globo Esporte: I did not see clearly, I know there were comments that it was not a penalty. For me it was not a penalty.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'b931b046-8f5f-4a9a-af94-79b702573fa1'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Lionel Messi praises team effort after his goal settles Argentina v Brazil'});

November 15th 2019, 6:06 pm

Harry Kane urges fans to get behind England players following Joe Gomez jeers

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Harry Kane has called on England fans to be united in support of the team after Joe Gomez was jeered by supporters at Wembley on Thursday.Liverpool defender Gomez,in the wake of his spatwith Raheem Sterling on Monday, was booed after being introduced as a substitute during Englands 7-0 victory over Montenegro.The victory in the Three Lions 1,000th international sealed qualification for Euro 2020 and featured a hat-trick from captain Kane, but the night was taintedsomewhat by the reaction to Gomez.Joe Gomez was booed as he came on to the pitch (Nick Potts/PA)Manchester City forward Sterling accepted all responsibility for the physical altercation and sat out the Montenegro game as punishment for his actions later defending Gomez in a Twitter post and telling supporters it was wrong to jeer the 22-year-old.Kane who had spoken with manager Gareth Southgate following the fracas and also addressed the squad after the decision to sideline Sterling was taken said supporters should all get behind the team, no matter where their club allegiances lie.I find it really confusing why he was booed, he said. I cannot quite figure it out. But I dont think any player should be booed.I know how important club football is with City and Liverpool and all clubs. But at international level, we are all England fans and the bottom line is that Joe is a great guy one of the nicest guys I have ever met.He is a top professional and for him it is about moving on, training and looking at the next game.especially after a difficult week for him to be booed when he came on tonight was wrong.Ive taken full responsibility and accepted the consequence. I felt as though I had to say this get home safe every one #Euro2020 Raheem Sterling (@sterling7) November 14, 2019I dont think any player should be booed so hopefully it wont happen to Joe or Raheem if they play on Sunday.So for me it is about moving on . We did that on the pitch and the talking point should be the 1,000th game, a 7-0 win and qualifying for next years Euros.Kane admitted it had been a strange week but felt the situation was dealt with positively and, in his role as captain, had spoken to Gomez on a number of occasions.I dont know if it was the hardest week but it was a different week to what I have been used to, he added.In life, in football, as one of the leaders, stuff happens and you have to adapt and control the situation.Harry Kane scored a hat-trick during Thursdays rout (Nick Potts/PA)I think we handled it really well. It was a situation obviously none of us wanted to happen. The gaffer spoke to me and a few of the senior players and we made the decision we wanted to make and we did as a group.I spoke to him (Gomez) in the dressing room and he seemed fine. It was confusing why it happened but we cannot control the fans or what they do but Joe has a top mentality and is fighting to play on Sunday.I was not in the room when it happened. So after it happened I asked him and a few of the players about what went on. I then spoke to Joe privately about how he was feeling.Emotions had run high just after it happened so I spoke to Raz and me and a few of the senior players spoke about what we should do.Joe and Raz then got together and had a chat and then after that, I spoke to Joe again to see how he was feeling.We had a private meeting and I wont discuss what we said. It is about understanding what went on and why, speaking to both players and trying to control it. I think we all handled it as well as we could have.Joe Gomez and Raheem Sterling clashed during Liverpools win over Manchester City on Sunday (Peter Byrne/PA)Southgate expressed his disappointment at the booing of Gomez in the immediate aftermath of the victory and later said he would continue to support the former Charlton youngster as he defended the togetherness of his squad.Youd have thought that we were a camp that was in absolute disarray and that just isnt the case, he said. I think the performance showed that.I think the reaction that Raheem has given with that statement tonight shows that theyre very, very close and were hugely disappointed for Joe he doesnt deserve that in any way, shape or form.Ill repeat what I said earlier: no England player in an England shirt should be booed.Look, its for us to pick him up. Hes a young player whos had a difficult week, and my priority is to support him.But I know all of the lads are going to get around him. I just know thats happening now and will happen over the next few days.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Mark Mann-Bryans, PA, Pristina'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '8207eefd-dcc9-49a7-a522-9d9fbc91e344'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Harry Kane urges fans to get behind England players following Joe Gomez jeers'});

November 15th 2019, 6:06 pm

Cazorla among the scorers in Spain’s rout of Malta

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Santi Cazorla scored his first international goal in four years as Spain secured top spot in Group F with a 7-0 hammering of minnows Malta in Euro 2020 qualifying.Former Arsenal midfielder Cazorla, who overcame an ankle injury that could have ended his career, scored his sides second goal in Cadiz.It was the 34-year-olds first strike for his country since scoring in a friendly against England on November 13, 2015.Three-time European champions Spain had already clinched qualification for the summers finals but had drawn their last two games against Norway and Sweden.But there were to be no slip-ups against Malta as Alvaro Morata joined Cazorla on the scoresheet in the first half before Pau Francisco Torres, Pablo Sarabia, Dani Olmo and Gerard Moreno all scored in a nine-minute second-half onslaught and Jesus Navas added a late seventh.Spain gave a full debut to Roma goalkeeper Pau Lopez, with both David De Gea and Kepa Arrizabalaga having to make do with a place on the bench.But the keeper had little to do as Spain dominated from the off and took the lead in the 23rd minute through Morata.The Malta defence could not clear a Cazorla corner and after the ball was nodded back into the danger area by Rodri, Moreno flicked on for Morata to bundle home his seventh goal in as many games for club and country.Sergio Ramos had a header saved by visiting goalkeeper Henry Bonello but Spain were not to be denied a second before the break.And it was Cazorla who provided the finish in the 41st minute after he was played in by Villarreal team-mate Morenos first-time pass and calmly slotted in off the inside of the left post.Moreno missed the chance to get his own name on the scoresheet shortly before the interval when he steered wide following a fine cross from Sarabia.Malta battled on until the floodgates opened in the 62nd minute. Villarreals Torres, who had just come on to make his debut, turned the ball in from close range after getting on the end of fellow substitutePaco Alcacers cross.A minute later, Sarabia claimed his first international goal on his full debut. He was found by Moreno on the edge of the area and the Paris St Germain forward sidefooted a first-time effort into the top corner left.Dinamo Zagreb forward Olmo another debutant found the net three minutes into his international career as he raced on to Thiagos brilliant defence-splitting pass and rounded Bonello before tapping home in the 69th minute.And just two minutes later Moreno added his first international goal as he found the net from Juan Bernats fine cross.Former Manchester City winger Navas who lined up at right-back for the game rounded off the scoring in the 85th minute with a placed finish into the top left corner from 25 yards.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '4b2f3e13-0cf5-4049-b84d-f13d718b8caa'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Cazorla among the scorers in Spain\u2019s rout of Malta'});

November 15th 2019, 6:06 pm

Macclesfield v Mansfield game expected to go ahead – EFL

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The EFL has said it expects Macclesfields Sky Bet League Two match against Mansfield to go ahead on Saturday.The Silkmen have been charged with misconduct over the non-payment of players by the EFL and referred to adisciplinary commission, which has the power to impose a full range ofsanctions if the club are found guilty.There were concerns the club may suffer the same fate as Bury, whowere expelled from the league in August after failing to provide guarantees offinancial sustainability.Further to reports earlier today, the EFL has this evening received assurances from Macclesfield Town that their fixture with Mansfield Town on Saturday will go ahead as originally scheduled. pic.twitter.com/mNbf4d3epC EFL (@EFL) November 15, 2019Macclesfield fielded six youth-team players and five loanees in their FA Cupfirst-round defeat to seventh-tier Kingstonian at Moss Rose last weekend.However, an EFL statement issued on Friday evening read: Further to reports earlier today, the EFL has this evening received assurances from Macclesfield Town that their fixture with Mansfield Town on Saturday will go ahead as originally scheduled.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '975f7901-a372-4035-a7f7-caa7db89eb6f'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:club-news,paservice:sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Macclesfield v Mansfield game expected to go ahead \u2013 EFL'});

November 15th 2019, 5:22 pm

The main talking points ahead of Scotland’s clash with Cyprus in Nicosia

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Scotland take on Cyprus in their penultimate European Championship qualifying game on Saturday.Here are the talking points ahead of the game in Nicosia.Third ClassThe GSP Stadium where Scotland face Cyprus on Saturday pic.twitter.com/PXD5GqQWpL Gavin McCafferty (@GavinMcCafferty) November 15, 2019A poor campaign has reduced Scotland to battling for third spot with Cyprus and Kazakhstan. Cyprus currently occupy the position and will clinch a historic high finish if they win at the GSP Stadium. With the Cypriots facing Belgium away on Tuesday, a draw would likely see Scotland and Kazakhstan play for third at Hampden on Tuesday but Steve Clarkes men will almost certainly need four points from somewhere.Momentum Shift Working hard on matchday minus one at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia.Tomorrow's match kicks off at 2pm you can watch it live on Sky Sports.#CYPSCO pic.twitter.com/1qJJbFFiSv Scotland National Team (@ScotlandNT) November 15, 2019Clarke started his reign with a last-gasp win over Cyprus and then four consecutive defeats in the games against Russia and Belgium. A 6-0 win over San Marino last time out was little more than what was expected so the Scotland boss needs to kick-start his reign ahead of the play-off campaign in March. A win in both of the final two qualifiers would provide some much-needed confidence ahead of a semi-final against the likes of Bulgaria, Israel or Romania.Back Four ChangesGreg Taylor has played once since his deadline-day move to Celtic (Jeff Holmes/PA)Clarke has only selected an unchanged back four once in six matches and injuries to Andy Robertson and Stuart Findlay will make that one in seven. Celtics Greg Taylor is likely to come in at left-back for only his second game in three months, while Aberdeen pair Michael Devlin and Scott McKenna can expect to feature in central defence with the uncapped Declan Gallagher and Ryan Porteous the other options.Striking ChoicesSteven Naismith has returned to action for Hearts (Jeff Holmes/PA)Lawrence Shankland will be looking to continue up front after netting on his first start against San Marino and subsequently taking his tally for the season to 20 with goals in his last four Dundee United games. Steven Naismith is back in the frame and looking for his 50th cap after missing the last 12 months for Scotland with knee and hamstring injuries, while Oliver Burke will be hoping that his winner against Cyprus in June earns him some game time. Oli McBurnie is also back in the squad after injury.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Gavin McCafferty, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'c6171093-be8f-4e8c-9f83-c1e09920c8c0'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'The main talking points ahead of Scotland\u2019s clash with Cyprus in Nicosia'});

November 15th 2019, 2:48 pm

Hearts announce £2.9million profit

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Hearts have made a post-tax profit of almost 3million as a result of donations from unnamed benefactors.The club received 1million for player costs and an exceptional donation of 2.25million to record a proft of 2.9million after tax for last season.Hearts also received 3million in donations in the previous financial year.A club statement read: From a financial perspective we have once again achieved our major objective which was to grow our revenues profitably.In particular, our turnover increased by over 20 per cent from 12.1m to 15.1m.This resulted partly from growth in our commercial income, aided by the new facilities in our main stand, and as a result of our successes in both the League and Scottish Cups.Staff costs rose from 7million to 8.2million while operating costs also increased to 6.5millionOwner Ann Budge said: During the year, we received an exceptional 1m donation towards player costs from our benefactors, which allowed us to increase our playing budget for the year.Overall, we are delighted to report an operating profit of 1.6m, well in excess of our budget.Hearts made 500,000 from the sale of players, mostly from Kyle Laffertys ill-fated move to Rangers.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Gavin McCafferty, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '518b62eb-37cf-4701-9187-c0bee0a41606'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:club-news,paservice:sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Hearts announce \xA32.9million profit'});

November 15th 2019, 2:35 pm

Lionel Messi makes his mark on international return as Argentina beat Brazil

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Lionel Messi made a successful return to international football as Argentina gained a measure of revenge on Brazil for this summers Copa America semi-final defeat with a 1-0 win in Riyadh.The 32-year-old was banned for three months by CONMEBOL after criticising the South American governing body, both after the semi-final loss and a third-place play-off win over Chile in which he was sent off following an altercation with Gary Medel.However, the Barcelona forward made a triumphant return as he scored the only goal of the game in an international friendly in Saudi Arabia.Gabriel Jesus hit a tame effort straight at Esteban Andrada after seven minutes, but moments later earned a penalty when he was fouled by Leandro Paredes in the area.The Manchester City striker took the spot-kick, only to fire wide from 12 yards in the 10th minute.Two minutes later Argentina were awarded a penalty of their own when Messi was tripped by Alex Sandro.Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker saved Messis spot-kick, but the Barcelona forward was left with a simple task to tap in the rebound.Good work by Willian on the left flank created a chance for Lucas Paqueta, but he dragged his shot wide.Messi could have doubled his tally a minute before half-time when he burst clear of the Brazil defence, but Alisson stood firm to save his low effort.Jesus and Willian both failed to work Andrada as Brazil sought an equaliser after the break, while at the other end Messis 66th-minute free-kick had to be tipped over by Alisson.Lautaro Martinez andNicolas Otamendi both wasted late chances to make the game safe for Argentina, whose win represented a first against their arch rivals for more than two years.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'fd239177-2c8e-4bae-b2be-071034fc961c'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Lionel Messi makes his mark on international return as Argentina beat Brazil'});

November 15th 2019, 2:35 pm

O’Neill taking charge of likely Euro 2020 play-off is ‘the plan at the minute’

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Michael ONeill has stopped short of confirming he will remain in charge of Northern Ireland until March in the likely scenario that they reach the Euro 2020 qualifiers.ONeill was appointed boss of Stoke last week but the announcement from both the Potters and the Irish FA said ONeill would manager Northern Ireland for the rest of the qualifying campaign whether that journey ends against Germany in Frankfurt on Tuesday or more likely next spring.A number of players have expressed hope he would stay until the summer if Northern Ireland qualify, but ONeill is wary of the pressures of juggling both roles and did not want to give a definitive answer on the eve of Saturdays penultimate Group C qualifier against Holland.ONeill: This week has just been like any other. We have a chance of qualification and we want to take it to the final game. pic.twitter.com/UWFP6AD4N1 Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) November 15, 2019Northern Ireland are all but guaranteed a play-off place, but asked if he would be in charge, ONeill said: Thats the plan at the minute.Pressed on the matter, he repeated himself once before adding: I think I answered your question, Im sure I did.However, ONeill insisted the Stoke job which brought a 4-2 away win over Barnsley in his only match so far had been no significant distraction in the build-up to this international window. I was only a club manager for one day, he said. Ive only been there one day, which was Friday. One days training and then we played the game, so I havent had that much time to be a club manager. Im still very much an international manager, while still keeping abreast of things at the club.Good luck to Michael ONeill and @NorthernIreland over the next few days! #SCFC | #GAWA pic.twitter.com/SXh45VD5Ro Stoke City FC (@stokecity) November 15, 2019I genuinely dont think its an issue. The work which the (Stoke) players are doing which has been set by me is being handled by my staff and were pleased with whats going on there.Automatic qualification is still theoretically possible but highly unlikely since Northern Ireland conceded two stoppage-time goals to lose 3-1 to Holland in Rotterdam last month. That left them needing to record healthy victories over both the Dutch and the Germans in the coming days. The most likely play-off permutations at present would see Northern Ireland playing away from home next year so Saturday stands to be ONeills final game in charge at Windsor Park.It is sure to be an emotional night given his achievements over the last eight years, but ONeill vowed not to get caught up in it given his side still have something to play for.Michael ONeill took Northern Ireland into the knockout stages at Euro 2016 (Nick Potts/PA)The week for me has been no different from any other week, it genuinely hasnt, he said. We got the work done, the players have been very focused, more focused than theyve been in the past, maybe hoping me as a club manager may sign them! Theyve been extra attentive.This is the start of an incredibly difficult double-header and while we have an outside chance of qualification, we will do everything we can to take it to the final game.Time is running down for ONeills tenure, but the 50-year-old suggested he could one day return to the job.Maybe Im young enough that in the future I could come back? he said. The thing for me is we have gone to a major championships, missed out on a World Cup unfairly and were in the running to try and qualify again for a major championship. Thats been done with brilliant application from the players. Im very grateful for the job the IFA gave me, I didnt anticipate doing it for eight years.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Ian Parker, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '9af5e730-0a40-43b7-9e1b-ff295664772b'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'O\u2019Neill taking charge of likely Euro 2020 play-off is \u2018the plan at the minute\u2019'});

November 15th 2019, 2:35 pm

5 talking points ahead of Northern Ireland’s match against Holland

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Northern Ireland host Holland on Saturday night in what could be Michael ONeills final game in charge at Windsor Park.Here the PA media agency takes a look at five key talking points ahead of the game.A long farewell?Still memories to be made as our journey continues. For now, for everything you've done for us we say #ThankYouMichael pic.twitter.com/YETnczEnO2 Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) November 8, 2019ONeill waited a long time for the right opportunity in club football, but though Stokes offer finally tempted him away the 50-year-old said he could not just leave Northern Ireland in the lurch. The deal with the Potters will see him take charge not only for the final two qualifiers but also the play-offs in March in the likely event that Northern Ireland secure a place. The players want ONeill to lead the side into Euro 2020 should they qualify, but the man himself has sounded more circumspect, aware of the demands of juggling both roles for too long. Either way, current play-off permutations suggest Saturday will be his final game in Belfast, and the Green and White Army will surely express their thanks for the considerable achievements of the last eight years.Play-offs beckon 16 key stats and scenarios for Northern Ireland players against Netherlands #GAWA https://t.co/J6HZSqOSuQ pic.twitter.com/cXgtChD0I2 Northern Ireland (@NorthernIreland) November 15, 2019The Northern Ireland players say they want to look no further than their final two Group C games but with automatic qualification high unlikely, attention will shift soon. As things stand, they would face a trip away to play Bosnia Herzegovina, although that could change in the coming days as the final group games take place.Hot reception for Koeman?If we were so terrible why were we so hard to beat? Michael ONeill unimpressed by Ronald Koemans criticism of @NorthernIreland #GAWA https://t.co/VXf6AM0fHE Ian Parker (@iparkysport) October 13, 2019Holland manager Ronald Koeman may find himself an unpopular man with the Windsor Park faithful even before kick-off on Saturday. The former Southampton and Everton boss branded Northern Irelands style outrageous and terrible to watch last month, provoking a forthright response from ONeill, who was clear it was not his sides job to entertain their opposition. If the Northern Ireland manager is looking for a little extra motivation for his players, he might just slip it into his pre-match team talk.Confidence boostPaddy McNair scored twice in the win over the Czech Republic (Liam McBurney/PA)Northern Irelands 3-1 defeat to the Dutch in Rotterdam, which saw Koemans side equalise in the 80th minute and score twice in stoppage time, was a crushing blow for ONeills side. However, they showed strong character by going to the Czech Republic four days later and securing a 3-2 win, having gone 3-0 up in the first half against a side high off a shock win over England a few days earlier. That performance, both the dominance of the first half and the dogged resistance of the second, will have restored some confidence to ONeills men for their final Group C games.Can anyone stop Depay?Last 10 @OnsOranje games: 7 goals 9 assists Best part of Depay's game?#EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/fyTGfJUbBk UEFA EURO 2020 (@UEFAEURO) November 13, 2019Northern Ireland did a good job of keeping Memphis Depay quiet for 80 minutes at De Kuip last month, but the last 10 were enough for the Lyon man to change the game. He scored twice, the equaliser and then the largely academic third, taking him to seven goals in his last 10 internationals, and is the clear dangerman in the Dutch attack.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Ian Parker, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '78886083-717c-4b04-8c02-7bd161e1749e'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': '5 talking points ahead of Northern Ireland\u2019s match against Holland'});

November 15th 2019, 2:35 pm

Lundstram is lord of FPL value but who else gives you bang for your buck?

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Figuring out how to spread your budget around is one of the key conundrums for any FPL manager.A 4m player isnt going to score as many points as one that costs 11m, unless their name is John Lundstram, but what kind of returns can you reasonably expect?Who, besides Sheffield Uniteds Lord of Fantasy Football, is surpassing expectations and who is falling short?In an attempt to answer these questions, we have looked at how many points the 180 players who have made 10 or more appearances this season score per match, and how that relates to their price tag.From the data, we learn that the average player earns around 0.57 points per million pounds each week. So, par for the course for a 12.3m player like Mohamed Salah would be seven points, but a 5.2m player like Adama Traore is surpassing expectations if they score more than three.Salah is in fact delivering 6.5 points per game, which might explain why he has been steadily losing owners over the last few weeks.Of the five most expensive players in the game, only Sadio Mane has provided above average value, a shade above the 6.9 per match expected of his price tag.None of them are drastically under performing, but it is very much a case of you get what you pay for.Lundstram at the doubleUnless youve been hidden under a rock all season, you will be aware of Lundstrams exploits but you might not be aware of just how much value he is providing. The 25-year-old is the only player in the sample who scores more points per match (5.8) than he costs in millions of pounds (4.9). This is more than twice the amount of points than the average player at his price point would score.After his 19-point haul against Southampton, Leicesters Ben Chilwell is the best value player over 5.0m, with 5.4 points per match from his 5.7 fee.Rounding out the five best value players in the game are Lundstrams Blades team-mate George Baldock, and low-cost shot-stoppers Mat Ryan of Brighton and Aaron Ramsdale of Bournemouth.Top of the rangeIts all well and good picking up bargains, but if you only have cheap players youll have money wasting away in the bank, earning you no points at all.Jamie Vardy has scored more points per match (7.6) than any other player but, when you consider their relative price tags, Tammy Abraham is even better value, with a huge 6.8 points per match and a price tag 1.6m lower than Vardys.And, if youre looking for a pair of blue midfielders to support the two blue number nines, James Maddison and David Silva are the best value midfielders who cost more than 7m.The pair have 15 goal involvements between them so far this term will either have emerged as one of the best midfielders of the season by the time May rolls around?Big money flopsObviously there are a few modestly priced players who are doing their dwindling ownership no favours worst of all, Norwich defender Ben Godfrey, who is the only player to have played 10 or more matches who has scored less than one point per appearance. But even the 0.2% of managers who have taken the plunge on Godfrey probably werent expecting him to set the world on fire.If youre looking for somebody who has really disappointed, Tottenhams Christian Eriksen is the worst value player priced 7m or more. He has delivered just 2.6 points per match for a hefty 8.7m and is definitely a man to avoid if his current plight continues.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Pete Fabianski, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '184596cf-0340-4fed-9e5c-f87cd1cb15c2'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story-enriched'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Lundstram is lord of FPL value but who else gives you bang for your buck?'});

November 15th 2019, 1:15 pm

Low down on Germany’s Euro 2020 chances

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Germany manager Joachim Lowdoes not expect his side to be among the tournament favourites for Euro 2020 should they clinch qualification.Victory over Belarus in Monchengladbach on Saturday will secure Lows side a place at next summers finals provided fellow Group C heavyweights Holland are not beaten by third-placed Northern Ireland, who Germany host in the final round of fixtures on Tuesday.As soon as Germany officially enter the hat they will be considered serious contenders but Low, who has seen his side as both an emerging force and a conquering one during his long reign, feels others are better developed at present.I would compare it to 2010, when everything only came together in the build-up to the (World Cup). I dont see us as favourites for next year because of the number of young players in the team, but I still feel anything is possible for us, Low said in quotes carried by UEFA.com.Public expectations are always high and we have high aspirations ourselves, but at the moment we cannot dominate a match for 90 minutes. You can only do that when you have been playing together for many years.However, we have a very high level of discipline and you can tell the players are trying to improve ahead of EURO 2020.Speaking at the pre-match press conference he told reporters Germany could not match the cohesion or consistency in selection of other elite nations.France, England, they have been playing with the same players for years, he said.Theres the Dutch, Spainto play for this title is incredibly difficult.Low revealed he would once again give a game each to his two leading goalkeepers, with regular number one Manuel Neuer taking the gloves against Belarus and Barcelonas Marc-Andre Ter Stegen replacing him against Northern Ireland.The pair appeared to be at loggerheads in September, with Ter Stegen disappointed at his lack of opportunities and Neuer seemingly critical of his understudy.The October internationals saw each man given 90 minutes and Low has settled on the same formula again.We have spoken to the goalkeepers. Manuel Neuer will play against Belarus, Ter Stegen against Northern Ireland, Low added.Belarus cannot qualify through the group but can still reach Euro 2020 via the play-offs courtesy of the Nations League.Manager Mikhail Markhel approached the chance to face Germany in a positive frame of mind, stating: You remember games like this for a lifetime, players and coaches, so there is a bit of excitement and we have to deal with that.We try to win every match but we understand how strong our opponents are. What matters to me is not the result but how we play.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '178dc6b9-152b-4d56-acdd-305eae3ed5af'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:match-reports,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Low down on Germany\u2019s Euro 2020 chances'});

November 15th 2019, 12:15 pm

Luis Suarez welcomes Barcelona striker search: “It’ll boost competition”

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The Camp Nou giants have been linked with several players as they hunt for a long-term successor to the Uruguayan, who turns 33 in January.But the speculation hasn’t affected the former Liverpool striker, who believes increased competition for places can bring out the best in him."There will come a time when my age won't allow me to be at the high level that it is needed forBarcelona," he told Uruguayan publication Ovacion (via Marca)."But while I can and have the strength, it'll be much better if they bring in competition."It's not strange if they're looking for or want to bring in another striker. That's the reality of football."It will be better for me because it will place demands on me. It'll be better for the club because it'll boost competition."Suarez arrived at Barcelona from Liverpool in the summer of 2014 and has enjoyed great success, winning four La Liga titles and the Champions League among other honours.“It has been five years with the same pressure and I always try to respond in the same way," he said."It's not easy to come to play at a club like this and win your place."You have an exam every three days. There's no rest and a bad day isn't forgiven."Suarez has scored eight goals in 13 appearances across all competitions this season, including a double in the 2-1 Champions League win over Inter Milan.Now read...EXCLUSIVE:Louis Saha:Ruud van Nistelrooy made Cristiano Ronaldo cry at Manchester United trainingQUIZ!Can you name every English scorer in the 2019/20 Premier League?

November 15th 2019, 12:15 pm

Barcelona’s Gerard Pique says changing El Clasico date was wrong decision

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The fixture was originally scheduled to take place on 26 October at the Camp Nou, but the volatility of the political situation in Catalonia forced a switch.La Liga originally asked for the game to be moved to Real’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium, but the request was ruled out in favour of a postponement to 18 December.That has caused some controversy, as it gives Barcelona 29 hours extra rest than their rivals because of the scheduling of league fixtures the weekend before, when Barca face Real Sociedad on Saturday afternoon and Madrid take on Valencia on Sunday night.But Pique played down the complaints and underlined that he thinks the game should have gone ahead when it was originally planned.“They will have more for the next game then…there is always some kind of complaint and the calendar is what it is,” Pique told Cadena Cope (via Diario AS).“The game had to have been played the day it had to be played.If it had been the other way around, Barça would have complained (for having less rest).The players are used to playing games two or three days apart.At Barça-Madrid, you look at everything with a magnifying glass.“Surely if we look at other times we have had less rest than Madrid.We did not propose to postpone the game.This started with (La Liga president, Javier) Tebas who proposed to play in Madrid and from there we played on December 18.We don't complain.“What about the 26 October date? Nothing would have happened the day we had to play.At one specific point there were people who rebelled against the police, but nothing happened at the Camp Nou and I am convinced that nothing will happen.”Now read...EXCLUSIVE:Louis Saha:Ruud van Nistelrooy made Cristiano Ronaldo cry at Manchester United trainingQUIZ!Can you name every English scorer in the 2019/20 Premier League?

November 15th 2019, 11:33 am

Liverpool and Napoli “interested” in Sander Berge, claims Genk sporting director

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The 21-year-old has featured regularly for the Belgian side this season, playing every minute of their Champions League campaign in a group that features the English and Italian sides."Napoli are interested in Sander, it's a possibility a deal could be done,” De Conde toldRadio Punto Nuovo (via Goal).“We also know that Liverpool are interested and [Jurgen] Klopp, after the game at Anfield, complimented him on his performance.“There are clubs inItalywho are following Berge and Napoli could be one of them, but at this stage there are no offers on the table. From next week, things could change.“We haven't had any official contact with Napoli yet.”One thing De Conde is not expecting is that a deal is done before next summer.He said: “Berge to Napoli in January? We don’t know. We are currently fighting for our seasonal goals and we are in a complicated situation.“Our intention is to hold on to Sander until the end of the season, but we can’t make any predictions. If the big clubs come knocking at our door, we will have to start negotiations, just as the agent has to do.“These are situations we can’t predict, we’re focused on our season, hoping to keep Sander until May. Then if a top club like Napoli is serious, we will sit at the same table to negotiate, it is logical.“The current valuation of Berge? We do not talk about figures; we do not set a price at the moment. We will see when we find ourselves in a negotiation.”Berge’s performance in a 2-1 defeat for his side against the Reds at Anfield last week caught the eye of Klopp.The Liverpool boss went over to the Norway international after the match to compliment him on his display.“It is nice that such a reputable trainer comes away and says something like that," Berge said after the game.Now read...QUIZ!How many of the 60 England players with 50+ caps can you name?

November 15th 2019, 11:33 am

Manchester City eye up Leicester defensive duo in centre-back hunt

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Pep Guardiola has been forced to field Fernandinho in the role since losing Aymeric Laporte to serious injury early in the season.The form of the Foxes duo has caught the attention of the Etihad club, according to Sky Sports News.City are considering several centre-back options after failing to replace the outgoing Vincent Kompany in the summer before struggling with injuries.They have fallen nine points behind Liverpool in the title race, but Guardiola has previously insisted that the club are not looking at bringing in reinforcements during the January transfer window.Leicester have the best defensive record in the Premier League this season, conceding just eight goals in 12 matches.That form has helped them storm to second place in the standings ahead of the international break.Former Leicester defender Harry Maguire was a target for the Citizens over the summer before he joined Manchester United, but Brendan Rodgers’ side have coped admirably in his absence thanks to the form of Evans and Soyuncu.Evans came close to joining City while he was at West Brom in 2017, as the Baggies rejected several bids before he eventually joined Leicester for £3.5 million.The Northern Ireland international has played every minute of Leicester’s Premier League campaign so far alongside Soyuncu.Now read...EXCLUSIVE: Louis Saha:Ruud van Nistelrooy made Cristiano Ronaldo cry at Manchester United trainingQUIZ! Can you name every English scorer in the 2019/20 Premier League?

November 15th 2019, 11:33 am

Jack Ross sets his sights high after landing Hibernian job

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Jack Ross has vowed to help Hibernian live up to their big gun billing in Scotland after being confirmed as the clubs new head coach. The former Alloa, St Mirren and Sunderland boss emerged as the early front-runner to replace Paul Heckingbottom and has now agreed a three-and-a-half-year deal. Hibs finished third on their return to the Ladbrokes Premiership in 2017 under Neil Lennon. But last season saw them slip to fifth after Lennons reign ended amid a controversial fall-out with chief executive Leeann Dempster.| We are delighted to confirm Jack Ross as our new Head Coach! https://t.co/CE828Drpdj#WeAreAllHibs pic.twitter.com/Dph28NPjN1 Hibernian FC (@HibernianFC) November 15, 2019Heckingbottom was brought in with four months of the campaign left but while he went unbeaten in his first 10 games in charge, this term has been a wretched watch for the Leith faithful who got their wish as the former Leeds manager was axed after taking just nine points from the first 33 on offer. Hibs now sit eighth after caretaker boss Eddie May guided the side to a much-needed win over St Johnstone last week. But Ross still faces an uphill task as he looks to guide his new team who are perched just two points above the relegation play-off spot away from trouble. However, the former full-back is up for the challenge. Ross who will meet his new squad for the first time on Monday ahead of his opening game against Motherwell the following Saturday said: Im proud to have been named head coach of Hibernian Football Club. I think we all consider Hibernian to be one of the leading clubs in Scottish football in terms of the history and passion of the supporters.Its up to all of us to help the squad live up to that." pic.twitter.com/z1xfr9PJ6Z Hibernian FC (@HibernianFC) November 15, 2019I think we all consider Hibernian to be one of the leading clubs in Scottish football in terms of the history and passion of the supporters. Its up to all of us to help the squad live up to that. We have some talented players, underpinned by a successful academy, and Ill do everything I can to make sure were able to help every player fulfil his potential. The signs looked good for Heckingbottom last term but his honeymoon period quickly came to an end as a list of summer recruits failed to hit the ground running. His only league win this term came on the opening day of the campaign against St Mirren thanks to a late winner from Scott Allan and he was eventually sacked with his team sitting just two places off bottom. But Hibs executive chairman Ron Gordon believes a bright future lies ahead with Ross named PFA Scotlands manager of the year after guiding St Mirren back to the top-flight in 2018 now at the helm. Paul Heckingbottom was sacked by Hibernian (Ian Rutherford/PA)He said: We are really excited to have secured the services of Jack. Leeann and Graeme (Mathie) led a thorough recruitment process that unearthed some outstanding candidates but, in the end, the verdict was unanimous. We look forward to seeing what Jack brings to the Hibernian Training Centre and Easter Road Stadium as part of the team who will strive towards achieving our sporting goals. Dempster added: Jack made a very strong impression on us during the interview process but he is someone we have obviously been aware of for some time. We are confident that Jack will help drive this club forward and we will do everything that we can, as a board, to support that. (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Andy Newport, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'b11ccfd7-630b-4b06-9608-243b334d73b1'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:club-news,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Jack Ross sets his sights high after landing Hibernian job'});

November 15th 2019, 11:15 am

Hector Bellerin’s agent reveals interest from Italy in Arsenal defender

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The Spaniard has featured just once for the Gunners in the Premier League this season, as he makes his return from a cruciate ligament injury.Bellerin missed the second half of last season because of the injury and is only just making his comeback, but transfer speculation is already swirling about his future at the Emirates.The 24-year-old’s agent Alberto Botines admitted there has been interest in the defender from Serie A, while suggesting his future could depend on the outcome of the season ahead.“At the moment, he’s focused on the team's commitments,” he told Sky Sport Italia (via Football Italia).“He comes from a bad injury and is returning to his usual level. He likes Italy, there’s already been interest from an Italian club but I can’t reveal it.“He has a long contract and it won’t be easy to take him away from Arsenal, he’s their vice-captain.“We’ll see how the season goes.”Bellerin is under contract with the north London club until 2023, but it has been a difficult start to the season for Arsenal.Unai Emery has come under pressure after a run of four league games without a win saw them drop to sixth place, eight points outside the Champions League places.Now read...QUIZ!How many of the 60 England players with 50+ caps can you name?

November 15th 2019, 11:03 am

A statistical look at England’s 7-0 win over Montenegro

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Englands 1,000th game brought a big win as they thumped Montenegro 7-0 at Wembley.There was also a notable scoring landmark for captain Harry Kane thanks to his first-half hat-trick.Here, the PA news agency takes a statistical look at the big occasion.Kane on course for record?Harry Kane is comfortably ahead of Wayne Rooneys record at the same stage (PA graphic)Kane jumped five places to sixth on Englands all-time scoring list on Thursday, ending the night sixth on 31 goals having passed Frank Lampard, Vivian Woodward (both 29), Tom Finney, Alan Shearer and Nat Lofthouse (all 30).He has reached that mark in just 44 caps, leading to talk of him one day overhauling Wayne Rooney as Englands record scorer.Rooneys 53 goals came in 120 caps Kane, if he keeps up his rate of just over 1.4 games for every goal, is on course to reach the same mark in just his 76th appearance.The Tottenham forward also edged ahead of Woodward as Englands highest-scoring captain, with 24 goals in 23 games in the armband Woodward had 23 in 14.Shearer and Bryan Robson scored 20 goals apiece as captain, with David Beckham managing 16 and Rooney alongside David Platt on 14.Seventh heavenAlex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates against Montenegro he also scored the last time England hit seven or more (Nick Potts/PA)England scored and won by seven goals or more for the first time since 2013s 8-0 win over San Marino. As on that occasion, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was among the scorers.It was the 36th time they had scored seven or more but only the third in the last 30 years while only 27 times have they won by such a margin.Many of the bigger wins came in the early years of international football, with eight of the seven-goal-plus wins coming before 1900. England also scored seven or more goals six times in the 1960s.No threat to record winsRoger Hunt scored four the last time England reached double figures (PA)Englands all-time biggest win was 13-0, against Ireland in 1882 in just the 14th of their 1,000 games. Howard Vaughton scored five goals and Arthur Digger Brown four, Englands first hat-tricks.Ireland were on the receiving end again in 1899 in a 13-2 rout at Roker Park GO Smith scored four but missed Englands first ever penalty, while Jimmy Settle hit a hat-trick.Austria were dispatched 11-1 in 1908, Woodward scoring four and Frank Bradshaw three, while the top five is completed by a pair of 10-0 wins.Tommy Lawton scored four and Stan Mortensen three against Portugal in 1947, a feat matched by Roger Hunt and Fred Pickering against the United States in 1964.Euro 2020Raheem Sterling, second left, scores in Englands 5-3 win over Kosovo (Adam Davy/PA)Englands six wins in their current qualifying campaign have all seen them score at least four goals.Gareth Southgates side have beaten Montenegro 5-1 and 7-0 and Bulgaria 4-0 and 6-0, as well as a 5-0 win over the Czech Republic and a wild 5-3 clash against Kosovo. The Czechs won their return fixture 2-1, with Kosovo to come on Monday.That makes for 33 goals scored and six conceded in seven games, a goal difference of 27 and a total of 39.They have some way to go to match the highest-scoring qualifying campaigns, after the 2008 tournaments seven- and eight-team groups saw Slovakia score 33 and concede 23, including 7-0 and 5-0 wins over San Marino who scored two and conceded 57. Spain scored 42 and conceded five in only eight Euro 2000 qualifiers.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Tom White, PA Sport Data Journalist'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '43eff3db-8017-4ea8-8ba4-cbc95458bcb8'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'A statistical look at England\u2019s 7-0 win over Montenegro'});

November 15th 2019, 10:45 am

Injury-hit Salford to make late selection call

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Salford have injury concerns as they prepare to resume their Sky Bet League Two campaign against Swindon at The Peninsula Stadium on Saturday.Victory at Newport at the start of the month made it four wins in the last six for The Ammies, who have moved into the top half of the table, but manager Graham Alexander says they have picked up several knocks which means his team selection will be left as late as possible.Captain Liam Hogan will be a certain starter, though, after marking his eagerly-awaited comeback from injury with a goal in the midweek win over his old club Tranmere.Forward Jake Jervis returned as a substitute in that game having missed the FA Cup tie with Burton and could feature against a side where he spent a spell on loan from Birmingham earlier in his career.City face a big test against the high-flying Robins, managed by ex-Salford midfielder Richie Wellens, who are on a run of three consecutive league wins which has taken them to within a point of leaders Forest Green.Swindon will be without defender Dion Donohue after Wellens confirmed the club hit a hiccup in negotiations over a new contract.Town snapped up Donohue on a month-by-month basis in October following hissacking by Mansfield Town and hestarted in all six of Towns games since.Donohues absence could open the door for Tyler Reid, who joined Town on a two-year deal in June but has made just seven appearances so far this season.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sports Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'ec59aece-7013-4cb0-9585-bc30f640a6ec'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Injury-hit Salford to make late selection call'});

November 15th 2019, 10:45 am

Republic of Ireland defender Derrick Williams ruled out of Denmark qualifier

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Derrick Williams has been ruled out of the Republic of Irelands final Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark through injury.The Blackburn defender, who scored his first senior international goal in Thursday nights 3-1 friendly victory over New Zealand, has returned to his club for treatment on a calf problem sustained during the game.Ireland boss Mick McCarthy said: Derrick felt his calf in the second half of the game and our medical team have assessed him today.SQUAD UPDATE | Derrick Williams ruled out of #IRLDEN due to injuryLee O'Connor will link back up with #IRLU21 #COYBIG pic.twitter.com/yRhjXsqedj FAIreland (@FAIreland) November 15, 2019He will go back to his club now and we wish him well. He was one of our best players on Thursday night and deserved his goal.Nineteen-year-old Celtic full-back Lee OConnor, who made his senior debut for Ireland against the All Whites, has also left the squad, in his case to rejoin Stephen Kennys under-21s.OConnor was suspended for Thursdays 1-0 European Championship qualifying win in Armenia, but is available once again for Tuesdays clash with Sweden at Tallaght Stadium. View this post on Instagram Dream come true to make my senior international debut for my country. Absolutely buzzing with the win and assist. A post shared by Lee O'Connor (@loc_8) on Nov 14, 2019 at 3:56pm PSTMcCarthy said: Lee had a really good debut. I was impressed with him and Ive told him to be very proud of how he played.The manager has no plans to add to a squad which now comprises 25 men ahead of Monday nights concluding Group D fixture.Those players who were not involved against New Zealand trained at Abbotstown on Friday afternoon, while those who were underwent a recovery session.The players and management team are due to watch Denmarks penultimate qualifier against Gibraltar on television at the team hotel on Friday evening.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Damian Spellman, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'c185dfab-c7c2-4f25-b97b-6a2c1d6c784e'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Republic of Ireland defender Derrick Williams ruled out of Denmark qualifier'});

November 15th 2019, 9:45 am

Steve Clarke urges Scotland’s players to take their opportunities

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Scotland manager Steve Clarke has told his squad in Cyprus to seize their chance to feature in the Euro 2020 play-offs.Clarke has lost a number of players to injury and international retirement before and after picking his squad for the final two group games, against Cyprus and Kazakhstan.Andy Robertson, Scott McTominay, Liam Cooper and Ryan Fraser pulled out at the start of the week while the likes of Charlie Mulgrew, Kieran Tierney, John Souttar, Stuart Findlay and Leigh Griffiths were missing from the initial squad because of fitness and injury issues.Robert Snodgrass quit Scotland after playing in the 4-0 defeat in Russia last month to join the likes of James McArthur, Matt Ritchie and Steven Fletcher to have departed the international scene in recent times.Clarke called up Derby midfielder Graeme Shinnie, Celtic winger Lewis Morgan and Hibernian defender Ryan Porteous to supplement his squad and he insists the players who have travelled for Saturdays game in Nicosia are in pole position to nail down places for the qualifying deciders in March.On the withdrawals, Clarke said: They were frustrating at the start. Obviously when you name the squad and get call-offs its frustrating. But Im learning quickly in this job, you have to move on.Ive got 23 players in this squad who want to be here and all want to be part of what we want to do. They are all here, they have all trained well this week, and I concentrate on those 23.They have got two games before the March play-offs, so anybody who is here in camp has got a great chance to catch my attention and make sure they are in the squad in March because they have the opportunity to make themselves pick-able.If they do well for the team now in these two games then theres every chance they will be involved in March.Clarke will need to make at least two changes to his back four following injuries to Robertson and Findlay to continue a trend he has only named an unchanged back four once in six matches and has fielded nine defenders.What we are trying to do is put a structure and a way of playing that no matter who the personnel is, they understand whats expected of them in the context of the team performance, Clarke said.Hopefully you saw that in the last couple of games and hopefully you will see that in the games going forward.Celtics Greg Taylor looks set to feature at left-back with Tierney and Robertson out and Clarke is unconcerned that his former Kilmarnock player has only played once in three months.All professional players now, if they train well and work hard for their club they have certainly got 90 minutes in their legs and, if Greg is selected to play, Im sure he will be fine, he said.Clarke started his reign with a last-gasp win over Cyprus before suffering four consecutive defeats with the loss of 13 goals against Belgium and Russia.But he is looking to build momentum after last months 6-0 win over San Marino and leapfrog Cyprus before the final group game against Kazakhstan at Hampden on Tuesday.Obviously the big games in the group are the games we wanted to produce a big win and we didnt manage to do that, he said.But we have still got the chance to finish third which is what we have spoken about quite often recently. If we finish third in the group we play to our seeding.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Gavin McCafferty, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '23e00b04-3851-402c-a3c7-ceec545c4f70'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Steve Clarke urges Scotland\u2019s players to take their opportunities'});

November 15th 2019, 9:45 am

Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke banned from driving for speeding

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Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke has been criticised by a magistrate after he was banned from driving for a series of speeding offences.The Belgium international, who already had nine points on his licence for previous offences, was handed a 12-month road ban at Londons Lavender Hill Magistrates Court on Friday.Chair of the bench Pamela Stokes said the 28-year-old, who did not attend the hearing, had fallen far short of being a role model to fans.She said: I note that Benteke is someone who has offended before, and I also noted the very high speeds recorded for these matters before us today.Benteke is a well-known footballer who has many fans, and he should be seen as a role model to those fans his offending has fallen far short of being a role model.The court heard Benteke, of Kingston Hill, Surrey, was caught driving his Bentley at 80mph in a 50mph zone on the A3 in Richmond, south-west London, on January 20.He was later clocked at 89mph in a 40mph zone on a stretch of the same road in Putney on March 11. He admitted both offences.He was also found guilty of driving the vehicle at 64mph in a 30mph zone in Streatham Place, south-west London, on July 22.Benteke was also ordered to pay 2,780 in fines, costs and surcharges.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Helen William, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '27f2cb29-0d32-4846-99b6-ea14912377b7'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke banned from driving for speeding'});

November 15th 2019, 9:45 am

Borussia Dortmund to challenge Inter Milan for signature of Olivier Giroud

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The France international appears set for a Stamford Bridge exit after making just six appearances for the Blues under Frank Lampard this season.Dortmund have revived their interest in the striker after being rejected by him in the summer of 2018, according to the Mirror.With Inter also expressing interest, the Blues have set a price tag of £5 million for the 33-year-old.Giroud’s Chelsea contract is due to expire at the end of the season, but he is keen to seal a move away mid-season so that his place in France’s Euro 2020 squad isn’t put in jeopardy.The former Arsenal front man rescued the world champions on Thursday night by scoring the winner from the penalty spot to earn a 2-1 win over minnows Moldova in Paris.Giroud’s struggle for game time in London is largely due to the superb form of Tammy Abraham, who already has 10 goals to his name this season.Lampard has been encouraged by France boss Didier Decshamps to give the striker more opportunities, but he refused to give way to the demands of international football."It is difficult for me and it is difficult for them – we both have our jobs so it doesn’t feature in my thinking,” he said. “I have care for all the players. I have to pick the squad as I see it for the best of Chelsea as they do for their countries.“I have got three strikers to pick from and I have to make the choices. Again I can’t complain about any of their attitudes.“Things will look different and that is where you need professionalism. Between those three I have had it from all of them.”Now read...PERMUTATIONSWho's already qualified for Euro 2020? And what do other countries need to do to get there?QUIZ!How many of the 60 England players with 50+ caps can you name?

November 15th 2019, 9:45 am

Ivan Rakitic set for Atletico Madrid move as Barcelona’s demands are met

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The 31-year-old has struggled for game time at the Camp Nou this season and has been heavily linked with a departure.A move to Italy appeared possible with Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan all showing interest, but reports in Spain suggest that he will remain in La Liga.Movistar+ claims that the Croatia international could leave Catalonia in January, as Atleti are willing to meet Barcelona’s €40m demands.Rakitic offers enormous experience, having helped Barca win three league titles, four Copa del Reys and the Champions League over five years at the club.But he has fallen down the midfield pecking order under Ernesto Valverde this season, starting just one start.The Croatian, who helped his country reach the World Cup final last summer, has a contract with the Spanish champions until 2021.But Barca could be willing to let him go for the right price.Rakitic joined the Catalan club from Sevilla in 2014 and has scored 34 goals in 278 appearances since then. Valverde’s side are currently top of the table with 25 points, one point ahead of Atletico Madrid in third but with a game in hand yet to play.Now read...PERMUTATIONSWho's already qualified for Euro 2020? And what do other countries need to do to get there?QUIZ!How many of the 60 England players with 50+ caps can you name?

November 15th 2019, 9:45 am

Orient chairman would “recommend” sacked Carl Fletcher

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Leyton Orient chairman Nigel Travis says he would he recommend Carl Fletcher as a manager, despite sacking him after just 29 days.Fletcher was dismissed after failing to win any of his five matches, with the brevity of his tenure raising eyebrows.Travis, the businessman who wrote a book called The Challenge Culture on the subject of leadership, took to talkSPORT to explain the ruthless decision and said Fletchers technical expertise was not in question.The cultural fit wasnt right. We dont blame Carl, we kind of blame ourselves, he told the radio station.Its kind of embarrassing for me having written a book on culture, having failed to see it. Wed recommend Carl, he did some terrific things on the training field, it just didnt fit.Whether the former Plymouth boss includes Travis as a reference on his next CV remains to be seen, but may be unlikely given the rest of his assessment.Its gone spectacularly wrong and we recognise that, said Travis.The thing that didnt work was the engagement with the community, with the players, with the club, the fans. We could see people werent enjoying themselves, we decided rather than let this go on to be fair to Carl and fair to us we had to make a change.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'f9c178ff-4e3d-4da1-8968-8ce83749c79d'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:club-news,paservice:sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Orient chairman would \u201Crecommend\u201D sacked Carl Fletcher'});

November 15th 2019, 9:29 am

5 talking points ahead of Wales’ crunch Euro 2020 qualifier against Azerbaijan

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Wales meet Azerbaijan in a crucial Euro 2020 qualifier in Baku on Saturday.Ryan Giggs side are aiming to keep their automatic qualification hopes alive ahead of their final game against Hungary in Cardiff on Tuesday.Here, the PA news agency looks at the main talking points around the game.Bale fitnessGareth Bale has declared himself fit for Wales Euro 2020 qualifier despite not having played for Real Madrid for six weeks (Nigel French/PA)Gareth Bales fitness has been the subject of almost daily bulletins since Wales 1-1 draw against Croatia last month. Bale was limping in the final stages of that Euro 2020 qualifier, with manager Ryan Giggs describing it straight after the game as a bout of cramp. It was later discovered to be a calf injury and Bale has not played for Real Madrid since. But Bale has trained fully this week and seems certain to start in Baku. The question is can he play two 90-minute games in the space of four days?Ramsey returnNin gwybod beth ni angen neud a gobeithio bydd rhywbeth i ddathlu dydd Mawrth @aaronramsey is looking forward to our crucial final @UEFAEURO qualifying matches #TogetherStronger #AZEWAL pic.twitter.com/OlRwnjhzX0 Wales (@Cymru) November 15, 2019It is almost exactly 12 months since Aaron Ramsey last pulled on a Wales shirt. During that time the midfielder has swapped Arsenal for Juventus and now counts Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala as team-mates. Ramseys injury problems have prevented him from playing a single minute of Wales Euro 2020 qualifying campaign and how the Dragons have missed his creative influence. Ramseys return could not be more timely and his passing ability could be the difference in Wales securing a top-two spot or having to settle for the play-offs in March.Defensive dilemmaSkipper Ashley Williams is hoping for a Wales recall in Azerbaijan on Saturday (Mike Egerton/PA)Finding an established centre-back pairing has eluded Giggs throughout Euro 2020 qualification with injuries weakening his hand. Chris Mepham and Joe Rodon gave notice against Azerbaijan in September that they are probably the future. But Mepham was injured last month, leaving Rodon and Charltons Tom Lockyer to impress against Slovakia and Croatia. Swansea centre-back Joe Rodon is unavailable this time after ankle surgery. Lockyer is likely to start in Baku. But does Giggs recall veteran captain Ashley Williams, in form at Bristol City, or Mepham, currently out of favour at Bournemouth? It is a big call.Plugging Allen gapWales are without the suspended Joe Allen in Azerbaijan (Adam Davy/PA)Losing Joe Allen to suspension after the Stoke man picked up his third booking in qualifying against Croatia is a huge blow to Wales. Allen is a huge influence in that crucial midfield department, so adept at breaking up opposition attacks and getting Wales on the front foot. Ethan Ampadu must take on more responsibility in front of the back four in Allens absence. But who joins him? Giggs options seem to be playing the inexperienced Joe Morrell or dropping Ramsey into a deeper role, which is not the Juventus mans natural game.Tight finish Croatia Pld 7 Pts 14Hungary Pld 7 Pts 12Slovakia Pld 6 Pts 10Wales Pld 6 Pts 8Azerbaijan Pld 6 Pts 1 Wales probably need to win their final two games in a complicated picture to secure automatic qualification for the 2020 European Championship finals. Four points would be enough if results elsewhere were to go their way. Beating Azerbaijan and Hungary would be enough, as long as Slovakia do not win their final two games. Slovakia finish away to group leaders Croatia and at home to Azerbaijan. Wales would still finish second by drawing in Azerbaijan and beating Hungary by at least two goals if Slovakia did not pick up more than two points in the last round of fixtures. Wales would have to settle for a likely play-off spot were they to lose in Azerbaijan or fail to beat Hungary.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Phil Blanche, PA, Baku'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'c39960c6-9ac9-4f9f-8187-5c29375e8336'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': '5 talking points ahead of Wales\u2019 crunch Euro 2020 qualifier against Azerbaijan'});

November 15th 2019, 9:29 am

Newcastle to offer Granit Xhaka Arsenal escape route with loan bid

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The Switzerland international’s time at the Emirates appears to be up, after he was stripped of the captaincy for swearing at fans during a 2-2 home draw with Crystal Palace two weeks ago.Xhaka hasn’t featured for Arsenal since the incident, and his future at the club is in doubt.The Telegraph reports that Newcastle are interested in sealing a short-term deal in January if the player wants to remain in the Premier League.The 27-year-old wants to continue playing regularly, to ensure he doesn’t miss out on a place in the Swiss squad for next summer’s European Championship.His compatriot Fabian Schar is said to have encouraged him to make the move by saying good things about the club and the city.But a move overseas has also been touted, with Serie A side AC Milan also showing interest.Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has prioritised bolstering his central midfield options in the mid-season window.He believes Xhaka would have a lot to offer his side, but alternative targets are also being looked at in case the competition is too fierce.Another priority for the Magpies will be to sell Henri Saivet and Jack Colback, who were left out of the club’s Premier League squad at the start of the season.This could prove tricky, as both players earn around £50,000 per week and neither has featured in a top flight match this season.Now read...PERMUTATIONSWho's already qualified for Euro 2020? And what do other countries need to do to get there?QUIZ!How many of the 60 England players with 50+ caps can you name?

November 15th 2019, 9:29 am

James Fowler back at Kilmarnock as head of football operations

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James Fowler has returned to Kilmarnock after being appointed as their new head of football operations.The former Rugby Park favourite has been recruited by owner Billy Bowie to head up the Ayrshire sides recruitment and scouting departments.The 39-year-old who made over 460 appearances for Killie and was a member of the clubs 2012 League Cup-winning side turned to management after retiring, taking charge of Queen of the South before joining Jack Ross back-room staff at St Mirren and Kilmarnock.Fowler will now take us his new role on Monday, overseeing Kilmarnocks entire football department with his remit to help uncover fresh talent for both Angelo Alessios first team and the clubs youth set-up.Fowler said: I am thrilled to be coming back to the club as Head of Football Operations, he said.With the experience Ive gained in the last five years in various roles within the industry, I feel that this is the right opportunity for me to implement my ideas.The club and supporters have always been so welcoming to me and I am looking forward to working with the board, Angelo Alessio and his staff, and the fans to continue to build the strongest team we can at Kilmarnock Football Club.Bowie added: Were delighted to welcome James back to Killie.James experience for the role is second to none and were all looking forward to working with him going forward.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '8eca7b68-c321-4d49-88bd-374c1d8f8f4e'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:club-news,paservice:sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'James Fowler back at Kilmarnock as head of football operations'});

November 15th 2019, 9:29 am

Mario Mandzukic wants to start Manchester United training ASAP - but David Beckham could tempt him a

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The Croatia international has been frozen out by the Italian champions since the arrival of Maurizio Sarri as coach over the summer.He was left out of the Italian club’s Champions League squad and is yet to feature in any competitions for Juve this season.United has long been touted as his most likely destination and Tuttosport reports that the 33-year-old wants to make the move as soon as possible.Mandzukic is keen to begin training with the Red Devils next month to give him time to adjust to his new surroundings before a transfer s made official in January.This would only be possible if the two clubs reached an informal agreement and the Turin club agreed to let hm leave early.The striker is no longer training with the Juve first team, instead following an individual routine at different times from the squad.However, Calciomercato reports that a move to Old Trafford is by no means certain as Mandzukic has also attracted the interest of several Major League Soccer sides.Sources have told the outlet that he could be featuring in MLS soon, with the strongest interest coming from David Beckham’s Inter Miami.Mandzukic played a key role for Juventus under Massimiliano Allegri last season, scoring 10 goals in 33 games across all competitions.Several of those came in big games, as he netted a brace against Napoli as well as scoring in Serie A games against Inter, AC Milan, Lazio, Roma and Atalanta.Now read...PERMUTATIONSWho's already qualified for Euro 2020? And what do other countries need to do to get there?QUIZ!How many of the 60 England players with 50+ caps can you name?

November 15th 2019, 9:29 am

Lampard expresses his desire to keep Willian at Chelsea as Barcelona and Juventus circle

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BarcelonaandJuventusare understood to be weighing upa pre-contract agreement in January, according to the Mirror.Willian has been heavily linked with Barcelona before, with the Catalanclub reportedly sounding out a move before they signed Malcolm in 2018.In a new-look Chelsea side layered with youth, Willian finds himself being one of the more experienced heads at Stamford Bridge.The Brazilian has played a key role in helping guide Lampard's young squad to an impressive third in the Premier League.Willian has started 11 of the 12 league games for Chelsea so far this season, scoring two goals and providing three assists.Lampard has been full of praise for the 31-year-old whose contract runs out next summer."The word isn’t 'no brainer' because I can’t get involved in the money. That’s up to the club to do," Lampard said."But everyone sees how much I’m relying on him, and picking him and in what he is producing, I love him at this football club. So there’s my answer."Willian is exactly what Lampard needsin terms of the tactical style he's implementing at Chelsea."When I looked at him at the start of the season, I saw him being huge for me and the way we want to play" he added."The off-the-ball work he's done is an absolutely outstanding example for Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and other young wingers who think the only part of the game is going past people and crossing or shooting."He does the other side brilliantly, with absolute humility, so he's been a joy and one of the experienced players that's really helping the young boys."Whilst his role appears to be crucial this season, there is reportedly doubt that the situation will be the same after Chelsea's transfer ban is lifted next summer.NOW TRY...Quiz! How many of the 60 England players with 50+ caps can you name?Quiz! How many of the 73 England goalscorers since 2000 can you name?

November 15th 2019, 9:29 am

What can England expect at Euro 2020?

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England secured their place at Euro 2020 with a 7-0 thrashing of Montenegro at Wembley on Thursday night.Here, the PA news agency takes a look at what lies ahead for the Three Lions next summer.Where will England play? Wembley Stadium will host 7 EURO 2020 games, including the final pic.twitter.com/gPzZTdr8lc UEFA EURO 2020 (@UEFAEURO) December 1, 2018Gareth Southgates side have qualified top of Group A, which means England will return to Wembley for each of their opening three pool matches at Euro 2020.Although the full draw does not take place until the end of November, England are set to be in Group D.For the first time in the competitions history, the finals are being held across Europe.Wembley will also host a game in the round-of-16, as well as both semi-finals and the final.England, though, face at least some matches away from London, should they make it to the knock-out stage.If Southgates men progress as group winners, they could play in Dublin and then on to a quarter-final trip to Rome.Should they end runners-up, then plot a course for Copenhagen and St Petersburg, while a best third-place finish could see England head to Glasgow or perhaps Budapest in the last 16.So who could England face?Portugal won the Euro 2016 final in Paris, but are not guaranteed to be among the top seeds next summer (PA Wire)The Euro 2020 finals draw will take place on November 30 in Bucharest, Romania, with the play-offs for the remaining four slots set for late March 2020.England will be expecting to be in the pot for the top seeds, which is determined by performance during the qualification campaign.The best six nations will be ranked on points although not against the lowest team in the groups and goal difference, so another win in Englands final qualifying match away to Kosovo would provide a welcome boost.There could, though, be some heavyweights in the second pot, including Euro 2016 winners Portugal, who are behind Ukraine in their qualifying group, and possibly France if the world champions fail to finish ahead of Turkey.Sounds great how do I get a ticket?England fans will be hoping to get their hands on some tickets for Euro 2020 games at Wembley (Steven Paston/PA)Some 2.5million tickets have been set aside by UEFA for fans, with the first batch of initial online applications having already gone through earlier in 2019.The next window to apply for tickets will be in December following the finals draw but these will only be made available to supporters through the national associations.As ever, demand especially for England games at Wembley is expected to exceed supply.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA Sport Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '39f6f888-63d6-4e13-9286-ae24f0e0eaa5'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'What can England expect at Euro 2020?'});

November 15th 2019, 9:29 am

5 things to look out for as Euro 2020 qualifying concludes

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The final week of Euro 2020 qualifying is already under way, with plenty still up for grabs. Places at next summers festival of football can be won or lost, while there are personal challenges ahead too.Here, the PA news agency assesses what awaits the home nations.Parting gift for ONeill? Michael ONeills eight-year stint as Northern Ireland boss has been nothing short of a revelation but is entering its final lap after he accepted the chance to take over at Stoke. With a more inviting group he would probably be sending his country to the European Championship for the second time in a row, but instead they face a monstrous double header against Holland and Germany and probably need to beat both to seal automatic qualification. Saturdays home match against the Dutch, who came from behind to win the reverse fixture, is a chance to keep the dream alive for a little longer, tighten the grip on a play-off place at the least and for Windsor Park to show their manager the appreciation he has earned.A big day in DublinShane Duffys late goal against Denmark could prove decisive for the Republic of Ireland (Bradley Collyer/PA)Barring an unexpected sequence of results that would leave a three-way tie at the top of the group in which Switzerland would need to drop points against Georgia or Gibraltar the equation facing the Republic of Ireland is simple: beat Denmark on Monday and head to the tournament. The task at hand might be slightly trickier, with the Danes thrashing the Irish 5-1 in the 2018 World Cup play-offs, but confidence will be boosted by the 1-1 draw in Copenhagen earlier in the campaign. Shane Duffys late equaliser means victory would hand Mick McCarthys men the head-to-head advantage even if the teams finished level on 15 points.Raheems reintegrationTo all the @England fans, I wanted to leave things at it was but tonight I have to speak again : it was hard for me to see my team mate get booed for something that was my fault. Joe hasnt done anything wrong for me to see someone who keeps his head down and work hard.. Raheem Sterling (@sterling7) November 14, 2019What should have been an unequivocally celebratory week for England marking their 1,000th mens international and sealing top spot in Group A with a 7-0 mauling of Montenegro has been complicated by the bust-up between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez. Gareth Southgates decision to ban Sterling from the occasion at Wembley dominated the build-up and the wholly unwarranted smattering of boos when Gomez came off the bench added further complication. Drawing a line under the matter in Kosovo on Sunday, with Sterling successfully returning to the XI and perhaps sharing the pitch with Gomez, would go a long way to closing the chapter.Crunch time for Giggs and WalesGareth Bale, left, and Aaron Ramsey are back together for Wales (Owen Humphreys/PA)Wales go into their final double header sitting fourth in Group E but still harbour legitimate hopes of reaching the automatic places. They will need to win away in Azerbaijan on Saturday then double down when Hungary visit Cardiff but with star men Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey seemingly ready to reunite for the first time in the campaign, things are looking up. The next few days could settle the open question of Ryan Giggs up-and-down tenure.Under-strength Scotland looking for leadersCaptain Andy Robertson is among a trio of withdrawals ahead of @ScotlandNT's Euro 2020 qualifying double-header against Cyprus and Kazakhstan by @RonnieEsplinhttps://t.co/mL53aEFRYm PA Dugout (@PAdugout) November 12, 2019Scotlands hopes of emerging from Group I have long since expired, with nine points from eight games leaving them well short of competitive. The Nations League has guaranteed a play-off place regardless, meaning Saturdays trip to Cyprus offers a chance to build on the 6-0 win over San Marino last time out. Sadly for Steve Clarke he will be going in without the injured trio of captain Andy Robertson, Scott McTominay and Ryan Fraser, as well as Kieran Tierney. All are key players who Clarke will be leaning on in March but in their absence he will be desperate so see others take on the challenge.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By PA sport staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'f28cf201-f2fd-4b06-8108-84f033f765e5'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': '5 things to look out for as Euro 2020 qualifying concludes'});

November 15th 2019, 7:44 am

Gareth Bale gets more enjoyment out of playing for Wales than Real Madrid

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Gareth Bale heads into Wales decisive Euro 2020 qualifiers admitting he is more excited to play for his country than Real Madrid.Bale has been at the centre of a Spanish media storm by turning up for international duty despite having not played for Real Madrid since October 5.The 30-year-old has not featured since scoring in Wales 1-1 draw against Croatia on October 13, with a calf injury since preventing him from even training with the Real first-team squad.But Bale has joined up with Wales ahead of their games against Azerbaijan and Hungary. View this post on Instagram Unbelievable support! On to the next one #TheRedWall #TogetherStronger A post shared by Gareth Bale (@garethbale11) on Oct 13, 2019 at 2:24pm PDTI definitely have more excitement playing for Wales, Bale said ahead of the Group E qualifier with Azerbaijan in Baku on Saturday.Ive been with most of the older players since we were in the Under-17s. Its like playing with your mates down the park on a Sunday. Its normal.With Wales, Im speaking my own language and feel more comfortable. But it doesnt change what I do on the pitch. I always give 100 per cent on the pitch wherever I am, thats what I always strive to do.Real team-mate Toni Kroos criticised Bale for joining up with Wales having missed club games, with the German midfielder saying maybe this is not the best time.Gweithion galed Teamwork makes the dream work #TogetherStronger pic.twitter.com/FELytymQwR Wales (@Cymru) November 13, 2019Predrag Mijatovic, the former Real striker, also turned the heat up on Bale by saying his priorities are Wales, golf, and after that Real Madrid.That phrase has been taken up as a badge of honour by Wales fans on social media, and prompted one supporter to put those words on a Welsh flag.Asked about the Spanish medias relentless criticism of him, keen golfer Bale said: I find it hilarious to be honest, especially some of the pictures and stuff my friends send me.On one it said triple bogey and Ive never had a triple bogey! At least give me an albatross! Its funny.Gareth Bale has not played for Real Madrid since October 5 (Nick Potts/PA)Some of the things I have seen, people dont understand and dont know what theyre on about. So I just find it quite funny.Wales probably need to win their final two games to secure automatic qualification for Euro 2020.Bale expects to play in both matches, although he qualified that by saying he is not sure if Ill play the two whole 90 minutes.Ive done my rehab, four weeks training, he said.Obviously there are two big games and Im not sure if Ill play the two whole 90 minutes. But Ill do my best to play as much as I can. I fully understand the position Im in. Ive done as much as I can in terms of trying to get back as quick as I can. Weve done 11 v 11 to try and get some match fitness in me.If there had been a Real Madrid game this week, I wouldve been fit and training to play. Maybe to them it doesnt look great, but its just a kind of coincidence that the national team comes around this week.Everyone knows how passionate I am about Wales. We always look to not just qualify for one, we want to qualify for multiple tournaments.Its important not just for the here and now, but for the future of Welsh football. It will inspire kids again and hopefully make more kids play football and make our national team better for the future.(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Phil Blanche, PA'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '7d26d4f4-0592-4755-b365-e9980285ece3'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:sport,paservice:sport:football,paservice:sport:uk,paservice:sport:world'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', 'sport:football'); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Gareth Bale gets more enjoyment out of playing for Wales than Real Madrid'});

November 15th 2019, 7:44 am
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