AFP

England

England, Germany stay on World Cup course, Dutch axe Blind

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Paris (AFP) – England and defending champions Germany remained on course for the 2018 World Cup on Sunday while Danny Blind was sacked as Dutch coach after his misfiring team faced missing a second straight major finals.

At Wembley, Jermain Defoe marked his international comeback with a goal as England toiled to a 2-0 victory over Lithuania.

England’s Dier wary of Lithuania threat

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London (AFP) – England’s Euro 2016 humiliation by Iceland means they will never again underestimate teams like Sunday’s opponents Lithuania, according to Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Eric Dier.

Dier was a member of the team stunned 2-1 by Iceland in Nice last year as England crashed to their most embarrassing defeat since a 1-0 loss to the part-timers of the United States at the 1950 World Cup.

England’s Dier wary of Lithuania threat

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London (AFP) – England’s Euro 2016 humiliation by Iceland means they will never again underestimate teams like Sunday’s opponents Lithuania, according to Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Eric Dier.

Dier was a member of the team stunned 2-1 by Iceland in Nice last year as England crashed to their most embarrassing defeat since a 1-0 loss to the part-timers of the United States at the 1950 World Cup.

Amsterdam

Blind sacked as Dutch coach after World Cup flop

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Amsterdam (AFP) – Danny Blind was sacked as Netherlands coach on Sunday after a 2-0 defeat to Bulgaria left the team’s chances of reaching the World Cup finals hanging by the slenderest of threads.

Blind, 55, had been in charge since July 2015, succeeding Guus Hiddink, but Saturday’s loss in Sofia left the Dutch in fourth place in qualifying Group A, six points behind leaders France.

Blind sacked as Dutch coach after World Cup flop

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Amsterdam (AFP) – Danny Blind was sacked as Netherlands coach on Sunday after a 2-0 defeat to Bulgaria left the team’s chances of reaching the World Cup finals hanging by the slenderest of threads.

Blind, 55, had been in charge since July 2015, succeeding Guus Hiddink, but Saturday’s loss in Sofia left the Dutch in fourth place in qualifying Group A, six points behind leaders France.

Gareth Southgate

Defoe marks comeback as England toil to World Cup qualifier win

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London (AFP) – Jermain Defoe adorned his international comeback with a goal as England toiled to a 2-0 victory over Lithuania in a forgettable World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Sunday.

Defoe, 34, was making his first England appearance since November 2013, having been recalled by manager Gareth Southgate, and he marked his return with the opening goal midway through the second half.

Defoe marks comeback as England toil to World Cup qualifier win

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London (AFP) – Jermain Defoe adorned his international comeback with a goal as England toiled to a 2-0 victory over Lithuania in a forgettable World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Sunday.

Defoe, 34, was making his first England appearance since November 2013, having been recalled by manager Gareth Southgate, and he marked his return with the opening goal midway through the second half.

Five things learned from England v Lithuania

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London (AFP) – England beat Lithuania 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Sunday. Here AFP Sport looks at five things learned as Gareth Southgate’s team moved a step closer to next year’s finals in Russia:

Deadly Defoe

Handed his first England appearance since November 2013, Jermain Defoe made up for lost time as the Sunderland striker netted the opening goal in typically ruthless fashion.

Five things learned from England v Lithuania

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London (AFP) – England beat Lithuania 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Sunday. Here AFP Sport looks at five things learned as Gareth Southgate’s team moved a step closer to next year’s finals in Russia:

Deadly Defoe

Handed his first England appearance since November 2013, Jermain Defoe made up for lost time as the Sunderland striker netted the opening goal in typically ruthless fashion.

Defoe marks comeback as England toil to win

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London (AFP) – Jermain Defoe adorned his international comeback with a goal as England toiled to a 2-0 victory over Lithuania in a forgettable World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Sunday.

Defoe, 34, was making his first England appearance since November 2013, having been recalled by manager Gareth Southgate, and he marked his return with the opening goal midway through the second half.

England pay tribute to attack victims

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London (AFP) – England’s football team paid tribute to the victims of Wednesday’s London terror attack ahead of their World Cup qualifier at home to Lithuania on Sunday.

England’s players, led by captain Joe Hart, wore black armbands at Wembley and the game was preceded by the laying of wreaths in the centre circle and a minute’s silence.

Rooney still has role to play for club and country: Scholes

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London (AFP) – England’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney can still play a useful role for both his country and club Manchester United, his former team-mate Paul Scholes told the BBC on Sunday.

Rooney, who has scored 53 goals in his 119 international appearances, is not definitively out of the England picture, according to coach Gareth Southgate, although lack of first team football at United is not helping his case for inclusion.

Rooney still has role to play for club and country: Scholes

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London (AFP) – England’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney can still play a useful role for both his country and club Manchester United, his former team-mate Paul Scholes told the BBC on Sunday.

Rooney, who has scored 53 goals in his 119 international appearances, is not definitively out of the England picture, according to coach Gareth Southgate, although lack of first team football at United is not helping his case for inclusion.

Southgate gives England stars chance to seize power

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Enfield (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Gareth Southgate has revealed he is giving more responsiblity to his England players in a bid to stop them freezing in the harsh glare of the international spotlight.

Southgate is keenly aware that many of his predecessors as England manager have preferred to impose their will on the squad rather than listen to the opinions of the players.

Southgate gives England stars chance to seize power

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Enfield (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Gareth Southgate has revealed he is giving more responsiblity to his England players in a bid to stop them freezing in the harsh glare of the international spotlight.

Southgate is keenly aware that many of his predecessors as England manager have preferred to impose their will on the squad rather than listen to the opinions of the players.

Southgate leaves door open for Rooney return

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Enfield (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Gareth Southgate insists he hasn’t fallen out with Wayne Rooney as the England star battles to save his international career.

Southgate left Rooney out of England’s squad for last week’s friendly defeat in Germany and Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania due to the striker’s knee injury and lack of first team action with Manchester United.

Hart to captain England in Lithuania clash

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Enfield (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Gareth Southgate has named Torino goalkeeper Joe Hart as England captain for their World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.

Hart, on loan at Torino from Manchester City, will lead England out at Wembley on Sunday instead of Chelsea defender Gary Cahill, who skippered the team in their midweek defeat against Germany.

Hart to captain England in Lithuania clash

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Enfield (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Gareth Southgate has named Torino goalkeeper Joe Hart as England captain for their World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.

Hart, on loan at Torino from Manchester City, will lead England out at Wembley on Sunday instead of Chelsea defender Gary Cahill, who skippered the team in their midweek defeat against Germany.

goal

Schuerrle nets twice for five-star Germany

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Baku (AFP) – Germany leaked their first goal since July, but still extended their perfect record in World Cup qualifiers to five straight wins following Sunday’s 4-1 victory away to Azerbaijan with Andre Schuerrle scoring twice.

First-half goals by Schuerrle, Thomas Mueller and Mario Gomez put the world champions 3-1 up at the break, although Azerbaijan midfielder Dimitrij Nazarov, who plays in Germany, had netted an early equaliser to the delight of the home crowd.

Dutch suffer World Cup shock, Ronaldo in 70-goal landmark

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Paris (AFP) – The Netherlands’ hopes of reaching the World Cup finals suffered a major setback on Saturday when the three-time runners-up slumped to a shock 2-0 defeat to Bulgaria.

The loss left the Dutch six points behind Group A leaders France, who beat Luxembourg 3-1, and down in fourth spot, three back from Sweden and two off Bulgaria with just the group winners guaranteed a place in the 2018 finals in Russia.

Dutch suffer World Cup shock, Ronaldo in 70-goal landmark

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Paris (AFP) – The Netherlands’ hopes of reaching the World Cup finals suffered a major setback on Saturday when the three-time runners-up slumped to a shock 2-0 defeat to Bulgaria.

The loss left the Dutch six points behind Group A leaders France, who beat Luxembourg 3-1, and down in fourth spot, three back from Sweden and two off Bulgaria with just the group winners guaranteed a place in the 2018 finals in Russia.

Germany aim to ‘ruthlessly’ extend record run

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Baku (AFP) – Record-breaking Germany face Azerbaijan on Sunday with head coach Joachim Loew insisting their simple goal is to “ruthlessly” secure World Cup qualification as quickly as possible.

The defending champions are currently five points clear in Group C and a fifth straight win would take them a step closer to Russia 2018.

Germany aim to ‘ruthlessly’ extend record run

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Baku (AFP) – Record-breaking Germany face Azerbaijan on Sunday with head coach Joachim Loew insisting their simple goal is to “ruthlessly” secure World Cup qualification as quickly as possible.

The defending champions are currently five points clear in Group C and a fifth straight win would take them a step closer to Russia 2018.

Sweden

Sweden cruise, unbeaten Swiss on track for Russia

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Paris (AFP) – Sweden crushed Belarus 4-0 to keep the pressure on their rivals in qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup as Switzerland remain unbeaten with a 1-0 win over Latvia.

Sweden now have ten points from five games to go provisionally top of Group A ahead of France who travel to Luxembourg later Saturday with little room for manoeuvre for group rivals the Netherlands, third with seven points, who play Bulgaria.

Sweden cruise, unbeaten Swiss on track for Russia

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Paris (AFP) – Sweden crushed Belarus 4-0 to keep the pressure on their rivals in qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup as Switzerland remain unbeaten with a 1-0 win over Latvia.

Sweden now have ten points from five games to go provisionally top of Group A ahead of France who travel to Luxembourg later Saturday with little room for manoeuvre for group rivals the Netherlands, third with seven points, who play Bulgaria.

Seamus Coleman

Ireland lament ‘big loss’ as Coleman has surgery on broken leg

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Dublin (AFP) – Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman had surgery on his broken leg Saturday following a horror tackle by Wales’s Neil Taylor in Friday’s goalless World Cup qualifying draw in Dublin.

Taylor was sent off in the 71st minute at Lansdowne Road, with Everton full-back Coleman taken off on a stretcher after his right foot was left dangling by an ugly foul.

Ireland lament ‘big loss’ as Coleman has surgery on broken leg

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Dublin (AFP) – Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman had surgery on his broken leg Saturday following a horror tackle by Wales’s Neil Taylor in Friday’s goalless World Cup qualifying draw in Dublin.

Taylor was sent off in the 71st minute at Lansdowne Road, with Everton full-back Coleman taken off on a stretcher after his right foot was left dangling by an ugly foul.

Coleman broken leg horror mars Ireland-Wales World Cup qualifying draw

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Dublin (AFP) – Wales were held to a 0-0 draw by the Republic of Ireland on Friday in a World Cup qualifier overshadowed by a sickening injury to Irish captain Seamus Coleman.

The Everton right-back was given oxygen and stretchered off in the 71st minute after his right leg was broken by a crude lunge from Wales left-back Neil Taylor, who was sent off.

Coleman broken leg horror mars Ireland-Wales World Cup qualifying draw

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Dublin (AFP) – Wales were held to a 0-0 draw by the Republic of Ireland on Friday in a World Cup qualifier overshadowed by a sickening injury to Irish captain Seamus Coleman.

The Everton right-back was given oxygen and stretchered off in the 71st minute after his right leg was broken by a crude lunge from Wales left-back Neil Taylor, who was sent off.

De Volkskrant

Former Dutch star Kluivert in betting probe

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The Hague (AFP) – Former Dutch star Patrick Kluivert, currently director of football at French club Paris Saint-German, owed up to one million euros to a criminal gang after racking up debts betting on football, a Dutch newspaper said Sunday.

De Volkskrant said the gang applied threats to pressure Kluivert in order to recoup the debt which he had repaid in part.

Former Dutch star Kluivert in betting probe

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The Hague (AFP) – Former Dutch star Patrick Kluivert, currently director of football at French club Paris Saint-German, owed up to one million euros to a criminal gang after racking up debts betting on football, a Dutch newspaper said Sunday.

De Volkskrant said the gang applied threats to pressure Kluivert in order to recoup the debt which he had repaid in part.

Clint Dempsey

Dempsey hat-trick, Pulisic shines as USA thrash Honduras

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San Francisco (AFP) – Clint Dempsey made a fairytale return to international duty with a hat-trick as the United States reignited their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with a 6-0 thrashing of Honduras.

Dempsey, playing his first international since recovering from a heart problem that forced a six-month layoff, scored goals in each half as the Americans romped to a crucial victory at San Jose’s Avaya Stadium.

Dempsey hat-trick, Pulisic shines as USA thrash Honduras

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San Francisco (AFP) – Clint Dempsey made a fairytale return to international duty with a hat-trick as the United States reignited their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with a 6-0 thrashing of Honduras.

Dempsey, playing his first international since recovering from a heart problem that forced a six-month layoff, scored goals in each half as the Americans romped to a crucial victory at San Jose’s Avaya Stadium.

Italy

Flares can’t halt Italy as Immobile helps down Albania in World Cup qualifier

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Milan (AFP) – Lazio striker Ciro Immobile headed a superb second goal for Italy as the Azzurri maintained their 2018 World Cup qualifying bid with a controversial, interrupted 2-0 win over Albania on Friday.

Italy’s fourth win in five games leaves Gian Piero Ventura’s men second in Group G, on the same points as leaders Spain, who beat Israel 4-1.

Flares can’t halt Italy as Immobile helps down Albania in World Cup qualifier

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Milan (AFP) – Lazio striker Ciro Immobile headed a superb second goal for Italy as the Azzurri maintained their 2018 World Cup qualifying bid with a controversial, interrupted 2-0 win over Albania on Friday.

Italy’s fourth win in five games leaves Gian Piero Ventura’s men second in Group G, on the same points as leaders Spain, who beat Israel 4-1.

Flares can’t halt Italy as Immobile helps down Albania in qualifier

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Milan (AFP) – Lazio striker Ciro Immobile headed a superb second goal for Italy as the Azzurri maintained their 2018 World Cup qualifying bid with a controversial, interrupted 2-0 win over Albania on Friday.

Italy’s fourth win in five games leaves Gian Piero Ventura’s men second in Group G, on the same points as leaders Spain, who beat Israel 4-1.

Flares can’t halt Italy as Immobile helps down Albania in qualifier

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Milan (AFP) – Lazio striker Ciro Immobile headed a superb second goal for Italy as the Azzurri maintained their 2018 World Cup qualifying bid with a controversial, interrupted 2-0 win over Albania on Friday.

Italy’s fourth win in five games leaves Gian Piero Ventura’s men second in Group G, on the same points as leaders Spain, who beat Israel 4-1.

Buffon reaches 1,000 as Italy and Spain cruise in World Cup qualifiers

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Paris (AFP) – Italy kept pace with Spain in European World Cup qualifying as goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon played his 1,000th professional match in a 2-0 victory over Albania on Friday.

A first-half Daniele De Rossi penalty and late second from Ciro Immobile was enough to earn the Azzurri three points but they remain behind Spain on goal difference at the top of Group G after La Rioja downed Israel 4-1.

The Rest

Silva leads stylish Spain’s upturn in Israel win

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Madrid (AFP) – Spain remained well on course to book their place at the World Cup in Russia as David Silva conducted another clinical win over Israel, cementing the 2010 world champions’ upturn in fortunes under Julien Lopetegui.

After the routine 4-1 win in Gijon on Friday the former goalkeeper is unbeaten in his seven games as national boss since replacing veteran Vicente del Bosque.

Barca plan stadium, statue homage to Cruyff

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Barcelona (AFP) – Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed on Saturday that a new stadium for the Barca B team will be named after Johan Cruyff and a statue of the Dutch great constructed at the club’s Camp Nou stadium.

Speaking a day after the first anniversary of Cruyff’s death, his son Jordi said the family were “very happy” with the agreement reached with Barcelona.