Category: AFP

Spain coach Moreno’s future in doubt ahead of Euro 2020

Madrid (AFP) – Spain are set for another change of coach ahead of Euro 2020 after Robert Moreno’s position was thrown into doubt on Monday, despite his team closing their qualifying campaign with a 5-0 thrashing of Romania. Moreno chose to skip all his press duties following the victory at the Wanda Metropolitano, after reports had emerged before kick-off that he will not lead the team at next year’s finals. The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) would not clarify Moreno’s position on Monday but announced a press conference for Tuesday afternoon, where it is expected his removal will be confirmed. Luis ... Read more

Danes, Swiss through to Euro 2020 as rampant Italy hit nine

Paris (AFP) – Denmark and Switzerland secured spots at Euro 2020 at the expense of the Republic of Ireland on Monday as Roberto Mancini’s Italy completed a perfect qualifying campaign by scoring nine. Ireland needed to beat Denmark in Dublin to clinch qualification for next year’s 24-team European Championship finals, but Matt Doherty’s late header was only enough to earn Mick McCarthy’s men a 1-1 draw at the Aviva Stadium. A closely-fought contest, low on technical quality, swung the visitors’ way when the unmarked Martin Braithwaite stuck out a boot to divert a Henrik Dalsgaard cross into the net on ... Read more

Italy crush Armenia 9-1 in finale to perfect Euro 2020 qualifying

Palermo (Italy) (AFP) – Ciro Immobile and Nicolo Zaniolo scored a brace each as Italy wrapped up their perfect Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a crushing 9-1 win over Armenia in Palermo on Monday. Already-qualified Italy registered an 11th straight win under coach Roberto Mancini, as the four-time world champions showed they were back on track after failing to qualify for last year’s World Cup for the first time since 1958. Mancini’s side have won all 10 of their Group J matches and are assured of a seeding in the Euro 2020 draw on November 30. Immobile started the goal-spree ... Read more

Belaili scores direct from corner as Algeria win in ‘car park’

Johannesburg (AFP) – Youcef Belaili scored direct from a corner to give defending champions Algeria a 1-0 away win over Botswana Monday during matchday two of 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying. The Saudi Arabia-based winger took advantage of a strong wind in Gaborone to curve the ball over goalkeeper Kabelo Dambe into the far corner of the net on 14 minutes. It proved the only goal of a foul-riddled match that ended with the home side down to 10 men after Gape Gaogangwe was sent off six minutes from time. Fluid football was scarce on a hard, bumpy National ... Read more

Israel sees Messi visit as victory, even as Argentina and Uruguay draw

Tel Aviv (AFP) – Lionel Messi scored a late penalty as Argentina drew 2-2 with Uruguay in a friendly held in Israel Monday, with the Jewish state considering the match a victory. The game pitted Messi against his Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez, and it looked as though the Uruguayan had gotten the better of him as he scored one goal and set up another to give his team a 2-1 lead going into injury time. But a ball into the box was handled by a Uruguayan defender, and Messi calmly slotted the resulting penalty home to ensure an engaging friendly ... Read more

Denmark thwart Ireland again to join Switzerland at Euro 2020

Dublin (AFP) – The Republic of Ireland missed out on automatic qualification for Euro 2020 as a 1-1 draw with Denmark in Dublin on Monday secured the visitors’ place at next summer’s showpiece. Switzerland also booked their place at Euro 2020 with a 6-1 win over Gibraltar to claim top spot in Group A. Ireland still have a chance to play in the Euros on home soil with Dublin one of 12 host cities, but now need to come through two playoff matches in March as Matt Doherty’s equaliser to cancel out Martin Braithwaite’s opener for Denmark was too little, ... Read more

Spain put on five-star finish by thrashing ragged Romania

Madrid (AFP) – Spain finished their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a bang as they thrashed Romania 5-0 on Monday to secure a top seeding in the draw for the finals later this month.  With automatic qualification sealed and first place guaranteed after their 7-0 demolition of Malta on Saturday, Spain indulged in another goal-fest at the Wanda Metropolitano, where Villarreal striker Gerard Moreno scored twice.  Yet despite 10 games unbeaten in Group F, including eight wins and 31 goals scored, Robert Moreno’s position as coach is in doubt, with reports in Spain emerging before kick-off that Luis Enrique could ... Read more

Henry ready for Montreal challenge after Monaco nightmare

Montreal (AFP) – Newly-appointed Montreal Impact boss Thierry Henry vowed to learn from the mistakes of his disastrous reign at Monaco on Monday but called for patience as he attempts to revive the fortunes of the struggling Major League Soccer outfit. Speaking at his first press conference since his appointment by Montreal last week, the 42-year-old former France and Arsenal superstar insisted he was ready for the challenge despite his troubled tenure with Ligue 1 side Monaco. Henry was sacked by Monaco in January after only 100 days in charge as the team nosedived into the relegation zone following his ... Read more