International football

World Cup

World Cup Play-Off Draw: Republic Of Ireland To Face Off Against Denmark, Northern Ireland To Play Switzerland

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The draw for the 2018 World Cup play-offs has just been completed in Zurich, with Fernando Hierro doing the honours and granting the Republic of Ireland a two-legger against Denmark.

A single goal from James McClean saw Ireland narrowly pipped Wales in their final qualifier to pinch the play-off spot in Group D, ensuring their quest to make it to Russia will roll on, starting with a trip to Copenhagen in early November.

Official: Gordon Strachan Leaves Role As Scotland Manager After Missing Out On Two Major Tournaments In Succession

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Not that there was ever much doubt, but Gordon Strachan has today left his post as Scotland manager with immediate effect after failing to qualify for his second major tournament in succession.

A 2-2 draw in their final qualifier against Slovenia last week was enough to see the Scots fall short of reaching Russia 2018 on goal difference, with Strachan left to rue his side's genetic deficiencies in the aftermath.

Colombia: Radamel Falcao Might Be In Trouble With FIFA For Allegedly ‘Discussing Beneficial Scorelines’ With Peru Players In Last Few Minutes Of World Cup Qualifier (Video)

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Colombia captain Radamel Falcao has admitted that he discussed scoreline permutations with opposing Peru players during the latter stages of Monday night's World Cup qualifier between the two sides.

With the score stood at 1-1 and roughly five minutes left to play, Falcao was seen nattering away with several Peruvian players individually.

Modern Football Is Rubbish: Australia Captain Tim Cahill Performed ‘Sponsored’ Goal Celebration After Scoring In World Cup Play-Off Against Syria (Photos)

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Ugh. Just when you thought you'd witnessed an untainted bit of genuine sporting drama, the ugly premeditated corporate-funded truth bubbles to the surface to spoil it.

Tim Cahill scored his 49th and 50th goals for his country as Australia squeaked past Syria in the Asian play-offs to keep their World Cup qualification aspirations alive.

‘One For The Legend Books!’ – Alvin Jones Scores Superb 30-Yard Humper As Trinidad & Tobago Quash USA World Cup Aspirations (Photos & Video)

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The USA's farcical quest to qualify for the 2018 World Cup ended with a stout fart on Tuesday evening, terminating with a 2-1 defeat against Trinidad & Tobago.

Bruce Arena's side went a goal behind early on when US defender Omar Gonzalez awkwardly shanked a cross into his own goal.

Fire Fight: Bosnia & Herzegovina Fans Respond To World Cup Elimination By Setting Estonia’s Pitch Ablaze (Video)

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Heading into the final round of fixtures, Bosnia and Hezegovina retained a fairly slim chance of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.

Basically, they needed to beat Estonia themselves and then hope that, by some miracle, teenie-weenie Gibraltar could muster a victory over Greece despite having failed to amass a single point in Group H by that juncture.

Row Zed: Heroic Panama Ball-Boy Does What Needs To Be Done To Ensure His Country Qualify For First Ever World Cup (Video)

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Since it began in 1930, every World Cup has featured at least one team appearing for the first time.

Along with fellow debutantes Iceland, Panama have kept that streak alive going into 2018 by qualifying for their first ever World Cup with a 2-1 win over Costa Rica on Tuesday night.

From The Brink: Peerless Lionel Messi Hat-Trick Drags Argentina To World Cup As Chile Miss Out On Goal Difference (Photos & Video)

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Timed for maximum dramatic impact, Lionel Messi produced an inspirational performance in Argentina's final World Cup qualifier to drag his nation from the brink of elimination and into the 2018 finals in Russia.

The Albiceleste began the day in sixth place, but a 3-1, last-gasp, Messi-powered victory over Ecuador saw them hurtle up into third, hence securing themselves an automatic qualification spot at the death.

World Cup Qualifying: Tim Cahill Scores Couple Of Trademark Headers As Australia See Off Syria In Asian Play-Off (Photos & Video)

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A 1-1 draw in the first leg in Melaka last Thursday meant that the World Cup play-off decider between Australia and Syria was poised on a knife-edge going into the second.

After battling so hard to get this far, Syria's dreams were eventually ended by a vintage captain's innings from Tim Cahill, who scored twice in a match that ended up going the full distance in Sydney.

World Cup Qualifying: Solitary James McClean Goal Sees Rep. Of Ireland Reach Play-Offs At Wales’ Expense (Photos & Video)

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Republic of Ireland went barnstorming into the World Cup play-offs by beating Wales in Cardiff on Monday evening to thereby quash their opponents' thin hopes of making it to Russia.

The evening kicked-off with a stirringa capella rendition of the Welsh national anthem, Land of Our Fathers, which the home contingent bellowed out in bristling unison.

Iceland Become Smallest Nation In History To Qualify For World Cup With 2-0 Win Over Kosovo (Photos & Video)

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After ascending to the top of Group I with a win over Turkey five days ago, Iceland formally booked themselves a place at Russia 2018 with a 2-0 victory over Kosovo in their final qualifier on Monday evening.

Gylfi Sigurdsson was instrumental for Iceland on the night, with the Everton midfielder opening the scoring shortly before half-time by bustling his way into the Kosovan 18-yard box and hacking a shot past the onrushing goalkeeper.

Downtown Cairo Grinds To Standstill As Egypt Fans Take To Streets To Celebrate Historic World Cup Qualification (Photos & Video)

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Having failed to reach a World Cup since Italia 1990, the euphoric relief was understandably palpable after Mohamed Salah's tension-busting 94th-minute penaltyhit the back of the Congolese net and assured The Pharaohs of a berth in Russia on Sunday evening.

The historic result in Alexandria sparked scenes of mass delirium in capital city Cairo, some 150 miles down the road, as fans took to the streets in droves to celebrate in unison.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Blames ‘Cursed Orange Juice’ For Gabon’s World Cup Qualification Failure

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Those of you playing World Cup qualification failure bingo have already seen 'inferior genetics' plucked out of the ether and now, thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, you can also go ahead and put a big inky cross through 'cursed orange juice' as well.

Gabon had their fate sealed after slumping to a 3-0 defeat against Morocco over the weekend, with Aubameyang subsequently speculating that a batch of tainted orange juice provided by their hosts before the match had left "half the team and the staff" suffering with stomach pains.

World Cup Qualifying: Leon Goretzka Scores Audacious Back-Heel As Germany Sign Off With 5-1 Trouncing Of Azerbaijan (Video)

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Having already sealed their place at the World Cup, holders Germany put the finishing touch on their flawless Group C qualification campaign by signing off with a tenth win in ten outings a 5-1 demolition job of Azerbaijan.

Leon Goretzka opened the scoring in style with just eight minutes on the clock, the Schalke midfielder demonstrating excellent technique to squeeze a back-heel up and into the top corner from close range.

‘Physically, We Have A Problem’ – Gordon Strachan Left Blaming Genetics As Scotland Fail To Qualify For Yet Another World Cup

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Scotland were left to rue lapses earlier in their qualifying campaign as a 2-2 draw against Slovenia in their final outing saw them miss out on Russia 2018 by the narrowest of margins.

A victory in Ljublana would have seen the Scotsenter into the play-offs as one of the eight best second-placed teams, but Slovakia's 3-0 win over Malta elsewhere saw them edged down into third place (and out of the running) on goal difference.

Egyptian Dad Reduced To Silent Euphoric Tears After Watching Pharaohs Qualify For World Cup In Most Dramatic Fashion Imaginable (Video)

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As you've no doubt seen, Egypt left it until the last possible moment to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, with Mohamed 'nerves of steel' Salah tucking away a 94th-minute penalty against Congo to seal the deal.

Bedlam ensued inside the stadium in Alexandria, with Egyptian fans rendered utterly ecstatic at reaching their first World Cup in almost 30 years.

World Cup Qualifying: Northern Ireland Through To Play-Offs Despite Defeat In Norway (Video)

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Northern Ireland ended their World Cup qualification campaign with a 1-0 defeat away to Norway.

However, after Scotland's Group F draw in Slovenia earlier in the day, Michael O'Neill's side were already assured of a play-off place.

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The only goal of the game came on 71 minutes, with Chris Brunt's fluffed goal-line clearance flying into his own net after 'keeper Michael McGovern got a hand to Stefan Johansen's cross.

World Cup Qualifying: Amazing Scenes As Liverpool Winger Mohamed Salah Sends Egypt To Finals For First Time In 28 Years With Injury-Time Penalty (Video)

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Mohamed Salah sent Egypt to the World Cup finals after the Liverpool winger's injury-time penalty kick secured a dramatic 2-1 win over Congo in Alexandria.

Egypt needed a victory to book their place in Russia next summer and took the lead via Salah just after the hour-mark, with the former Chelsea attacker netting after a pass from Arsenal'sMohamed Elneny.

World Cup Qualifying: Scotland’s Russia Dream Ends After Draw In Slovenia (Video)

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A disappointing 2-2 draw away to Slovenia ended Scotland's hopes of making it to Russia next summer.

Needing a victory to secure a play-off place in Group F, the Scots took the lead on 32 minutes, via a volley from Leigh Griffiths.

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World Cup Qualifying: England Finish Campaign Unbeaten After Trademark Turgid Display In Lithuania (Video)

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England ended their World Cup qualification campaign unbeaten after a rather turgid victory away to Lithuania.

Spurs midfielder Harry Winks and Leicester defender Harry Maguire were handed their senior debuts by Gareth Southgate as the Three Lions looked their finish the group stages in style.

‘El Mundial! El Mundial!’ – Commentator Goes Ballistic As Costa Rica Qualify For World Cup With 95th-Minute Equaliser (Video)

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Costa Rica snaffled themselves a place at the 2018 World Cup on Saturday night, taking the point they needed against Honduras too reach 'El Mundial' with a game to spare.

However, having gone 0-1 down in the 66th minute, it took until the fifth minute of stoppage time for Los Ticos to snatch a dramatic equaliser through Kendall Waston.

World Cup Qualifying: Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi Fires Nigeria To Russia After 1-0 Win Over Zambia (Video)

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Nigeria became the first African side to book their place in next summer's World Cup finals after a narrow 1-0 win in Uyo on Saturday.

Alex Iwobi was the match-winner for the Super Eagles, with the Arsenal man coming off the bench to score in the second-half.

Both sides had chances to score, with Odion Ighalo, Jon Obi Mikel, Victor Moses and Wilfred Ndidi all going close for the hosts.

World Cup Qualifying: Tom Lawrence Fires Wales To Precious Win In Georgia (Video)

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Wales remain on track for an automatic qualifying berth ahead of next summer's World Cup finals after a nervy 1-0 win over Georgia in Tbilisi.

Without the injured Gareth Bale, the onus was on Aaron Ramsey to provide the experience and creativity in the Welsh side and the Arsenal man impressed throughout.

Argentina: Drab 0-0 Draw Against Peru Leaves Lionel Messi And Co. In Serious Danger Of Missing 2018 World Cup

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Una imagen pinta 1,000 palabras.

Argentina are getting perilously close to missing out on the 2018 World Cup after a drab 0-0 draw with Peru on Thursday evening left their qualification hopes dangling by a gossamer thread.

Lionel Messi and the chaps carved out a succession of decent chances but failed to make anything stick in front of a cacophonous Bombanera crowd, as Peru 'keeper Pedro Gallese kept all and sundry at bay.

Prolific: Robert Lewandowski Becomes Poland’s All-Time Top Goalscorer With Hat-Trick Against Armenia (Photos & Video)

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Bang in form, Robert Lewandowski enjoyed a productive night of national service as Poland eviscerated Armenia to the tune of 6-1 in Yerevan.

The Bayern Munich striker helped himself to a hat-trick to leave Poland needing to take just one point against Denmark in their final qualifier to book a berth at Russia 2018.

World Cup Qualifying: Bolivia Striker Marcelo Moreno Joins Brazil’s Pre-Match Team Photo

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Eagle-eyed viewers of Brazil's World Cup qualifying match against Bolivia last night might have spotted a little unorthodox to-doing during the pre-match team photos.

This was because Bolivia striker Marcelo Martins ended up posing in Brazil's ensemble photo, a lone island of green amid a sea of yellow.

World Cup Qualifying: Defending Champions Germany Book Place In Finals After 3-1 Win Over Northern Ireland (Video)

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World champions Germany booked their place in Russia next summer after a convincing win against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.

The hosts hopes of frustrating their illustrious opponents were dashed within just two minutes of the kick-off, with midfielder Sebastian Rudy netting a stunning long-range effort.

World Cup Qualifying: Scots Keep Finals Hopes Alive After Martin Skrtel OG Hands Hosts Victory At Hampden (Video)

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Scotland's hopes of making it to next summer's World Cup finals remain well and truly alive after a dramatic late victory against Slovakia at Hampden Park.

The hosts started well and were boosted on 23 minutes, when Slovak midfielderRobert Mak picked up a second yellow after diving in the box.

World Cup Qualifying: Late Kane Winner Sends England To Russia After Turgid Display v Slovenia (Video)

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England booked their place in Russia next summer after man of the moment Harry Kane netted an injury-time winner against Slovenia at Wembley.

However, the game itself was a dismal spectacle, with the hosts turgid throughout.

Gareth Southgate started with Kane, named captain for the first time, ahead of Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in attack.

Kolo Toure: Ex-Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool And Celtic Hero Appointed Assistant Manager Of Ivory Coast National Team

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Sincerest congratumalations are most definitely due to Kolo Toure, who has been appointed as the new assistant manager of the Ivory Coast national team.

Toure is the second-most capped player (120) to have ever represented the Elephants, just three caps behind ex-Tottenham midfielder Didier Zokora.

Videos

Cyprus Swill: Matt Derbyshire Makes Extreme Hash Of Open-Goal Sitter For AC Omonoia (Video)

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AC Omonoia suffered a shock 2-1 defeat against little old Ermis Aradippou in theCypriot 1. Division on Sunday evening to further derail what is proving to be a slap-dash start to the season for the former.

After falling behind in the 14th minute, Omonoia pulled a goal back just before half-time when Hedwiges Maduro (formerly of the Dutch national side) stuck one away.

KNVB Cup: Dutch Teams Forced To Replay Penalty Shootout Three Weeks After Original Match (Photos)

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A refereeing error meant that two Dutch teams were forced to reconvene on Wednesday night to settle a penalty shootout that originally took place three weeks prior.

Third-division outfit FC Lisse beat fifth-tier HSV Hoek 5-4 on penalties in the KNVB Cup last month to squeeze through to the next round.

Russian Commentator Quits Live On Air After Seeing Team Denied Two Blatant Penalties In Space Of 60 Seconds (Video)

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Handball in the area? No dice...

Russian commentatorVladimir Nikolsky became so enraged at seeing his team denied not one, but two blatant penalties in quick succession that he was left with no other option but to abandon his post live on air.

Nikolsky was covering the recent second-tier match betweenTekstilshchik Ivanovo andTorpedo Vladimir, the team who employ him as an in-house commentator as part of Russian league broadcasting rules.

Turkey Crowned Amputee Champions Of Europe After Beating England In Emotional Final At Besiktas’ Vodaphone Arena (Photos & Video)

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A doff of the proverbial cap is most definitely due to the Turkish national amputee team, the new champions of Europe.

The Turks registered a 2-1 win over England in the European AmputeeFootball Federation Championship final in front of tens of thousands of fans at Besiktas' Vodafone Arena in Istanbul.

Tempting Fate: Cocky Goalkeeper Gets His Comeuppance In Tanzanian Local League Match (Video)

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With his side leading 1-0 and 20 minutes left to play, one Tanzanian goalkeeper decided that a bit of cocky time-wasting was in order.

After parrying a powerful freekick, the stopper began toying with the opposing striker by waiting until the last moment to pick the ball up.

Alas, the striker's reactions were just that split-second faster.

Spain Training Session Lasts 23 Minutes Before Gerard Pique Forced To Leave With Security Escort (Photos & Video)

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The tension was palpable during Spain's open training session in Madrid on Monday, the very day after the Catalan independence referendum in Barcelona was mired by scenes of police brutality and politically-fuelled violence.

Of course, after he was seen voting in the referendum, it was Barca defender Gerard Pique who bore the brunt of the ire from the dissenting spectators in attendance, emerging from the tunnel at the beginning of the session to a chorus of boos and hisses.

Belgian Pro League: Mechelen ‘Keeper Colin Coosemans Provides Outstanding Assist For 93rd-Minute Equaliser (Video)

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The photograph you see before you is of KV Mechelen goalkeeper Colin Coosemans very much occupying his natural habitat: getting down to make a save within the comfortable, familiar environs of his own 18-yard box.

However, with Mechelen trailing 2-1 against Royal Excel Mouscron in the Belgian top flight on Saturday evening, Coosemans went rogue.

The Rest

Irish Premier League: Cork City Stadium Roof Collapses After Being Ravaged By Hurricane Ophelia (Photos)

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The Republic of Ireland bore the full brunt of Hurricane Ophelia when she/it swept in on Monday, with the lashing winds causing damage and even fatalities right across the country.

While thankfully nobody was hurt, the good folk of Cork City awoke on Monday morning to find that Ophelia had had her wicked way with their Turner's Cross stadium, with half of the roof across the Derrynane Stand collapsing in on itself.

‘It Wasn’t Pretty, But It Worked’ – Valerenga Coach Ronny Delia Stripped Naked To Help Inspire Team To Victory In Vital Derby Match

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In a very literal sense, it's been revealed that Valerenga coach Ronny Delia resorted to a drastic state of undress in order to motivate his players ahead of a recent crucial Norwegian top-flight clash.

Delia's side were teetering just above the Eliteserien relegation zone going into the Bergen-Oslo derby against SK Brann, so the former Celtic boss decided that stripping down to the cobblers during his pre-match team meeting was the only sensible course of action.

Sit Tight, Pies Are Going To Try And Explain The UEFA Nations League Format To You…

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Honestly, Pies had completely forgotten about the imminent implementation of the UEFA Nations League, which is basically UEFA's attempt to address the dwindling appetite for the surfeit of meaningless friendlies that currently clog up the international calendar.

Initially announced several months ago, UEFA have confirmed that the inaugural Nations League will take place in 2018, with the official seedings revealed today and the draw scheduled for January (because you can never have too many draw ceremonies).