Fantastic Lionel Messi hat-trick blows away Betis | football

Lionel Messi,Betis,Barcelona

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their fourth goal to complete his hat-trick(REUTERS)

Even the Real Betis fans were applauding by the end as Lionel Messi scored another spectacular hat-trick to fire Barcelona to a 4-1 victory on Sunday and leave them with one hand on the La Liga trophy.

Messi’s treble, his second in a month in Seville, fourth of the season and 51st of his career, moves Barca 10 points clear of Atletico Madrid with 10 games left to play, a gap surely too big to close.

“We had a great opportunity to increase the gap on Atletico,” Messi said. “We had to take it tonight.”

Luis Suarez, whose superb flick set up Messi’s second, scored his own brilliant goal after a scintillating solo run but it was ultimately reduced to a footnote, in what became another night all about his Argentinian partner.

The only blot was the sight of Suarez limping off late on, with what coach Ernesto Valverde suspected was a “bad sprain” to his ankle.

Messi now has 29 league goals this season, 39 in all competitions, and together with Suarez’s 18 their joint-total of 47 is more than all but two of the other teams in the division.

A simple finish from Suarez’s exquisite assist came between a free-kick perfectly planted into the top corner and a bending lob that grazed the crossbar and dropped in.

The Betis fans left at the Benito Villamarin, and most of them were, felt compelled to stand and applaud.

“I don’t remember the opposition cheering me for a goal, I am very grateful,” Messi said.

This was supposed to be one of the more awkward tests in Barcelona’s run-in, which includes Atletico Madrid at home and fifth-placed Alaves away.

All the rest of their opponents currently sit 10th or lower.

But regardless of the fixtures, Barca seem to be saving their best for the home straight, which bodes badly for Manchester United, whom they face in the Champions League quarter-finals next month.

Already in the final of the Copa del Rey, where Barca will return to this stadium to face Valencia in May, a treble is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility.

– No time to breathe –

There was barely a moment to pause for breath in the first half, both teams throwing players forward without restraint or, seemingly, regard for the spaces they left at the back.

Betis were happy to open up and almost took the lead when Joaquin volleyed first-time to the stretching Sergio Canales, but he was unable to connect.

Barca were perhaps fortunate to earn the free-kick for Messi’s opener as Canales obstructed Arthur Melo just outside the area, to the right of centre.

But there was no luck in Messi’s shot, which flew like a dart over the ducking head of Gerard Pique, past the hand of Pau Lopez, and into the top left-hand corner.

Betis came again, Arthur twice scrambling the ball away from Canales in the box, before Suarez missed a sitter after being teed up by Messi.

He made amends just before half-time. Messi fired into the feet of the Uruguayan, who took the ball one way and flicked it the other, behind his leg and into the path of Messi, who did the rest.

Betis could have been four down by the hour as Suarez missed two more, but the chances kept coming, and he finally hit the mark.

There were four defenders ahead when he began his run from the halfway line but Suarez sped past one and between two more, each of them colliding into the other before being left sprawled on the ground.

Aissa Mandi made one final lunge but Suarez skipped through to finish.

Loren Moron curled in a consolation for Betis but Messi had the final say. Ivan Rakitic rolled the ball back and he clipped a sumptuous chip over Lopez, off the crossbar and in.

Suarez limped off injured in the final minutes and Messi could have added a fifth, only for the post to rescue Betis. Four was enough.

First Published:
Mar 18, 2019 09:11 IST

tags

Betis
Lionel messi
Atletico Madrid
Barca
Luis Suarez
Barcelona
Sergio Canales
Ernesto Valverde

Inter Milan edge AC Milan in five-goal derby thriller to go third | football

Inter Milan,AC Milan,derby thriller

Inter Milan’s Matias Vecino celebrates after scoring his side’s opening goal during the Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and AC Milan at the Milan San Siro Stadium, Italy(AP)

Inter Milan moved above city rivals AC Milan into third place in Serie A with an exhilarating 3-2 derby victory at San Siro that ended a five-match winning run for Gennaro Gattuso’s hosts.

Matias Vecino’s goal gave the Nerazzurri a deserved halftime lead before Stefan De Vrij and Lautaro Martinez, with a penalty, struck after the break, while goals from Milan’s Tiemoue Bakayoko and Mateo Musacchio kept the Rossoneri in the game.

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti was facing increasing pressure after his side were knocked out of the Europa League in the last 16 by Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday.

However, he was left delighted as his team stretched their unbeaten Milan derby run to six games, their best spell since 1999, and moved to 53 points, two clear of fourth-placed Milan.

“We need to say well done to Lautaro for the penalty, well done to (Ivan) Perisic for the runs, well done to everyone for all you did. Bravo, bravo to everyone in that dressing room,” Spalletti told Italian broadcasters.

“I thought Milan put in a very strong performance and Gennaro Gattuso ought to be proud of his players. When it’s this open and exciting, anyone can win or lose.

“The city of Milan earned this Derby della Madonnina and were rewarded with a wonderful night of football. We both honoured the derby.”

Inter went in front within three minutes when Martinez rose at the back post to head Ivan Perisic’s cross into the six-yard box, where Vecino was on hand to smash home from close range.

They doubled their lead in the 51st with De Vrij’s superb header beyond keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma but Milan took six minutes to pull a goal back as Bakayoko headed his first goal since joining on loan from Chelsea in the close season.

Milan substitute Sami Castillejo then tripped winger Matteo Politano and Martinez converted the penalty in the 67th.

But Inter were pegged back four minutes later when Musacchio scored from the rebound after keeper Samir Handanovic parried a goal-bound deflection from team mate Danilo D’Ambrosio.

There was controversy in the final few minutes when Milan substitute Andrea Conti got a straight red card for a tackle on Martinez, only for the referee to downgrade his punishment to a booking after a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review.

Spalletti was furious and got sent off for his protests, but his side held on thanks to a late goal-line block by D’Ambrosio from Patrick Cutrone’s goal-bound effort.

First Published:
Mar 18, 2019 09:33 IST

tags

AC Milan
Inter Milan
Europa League
INTER
Eintracht Frankfurt
Lautaro Martinez
Gennaro gattuso
Mateo Musacchio

Angel Di Maria stars as PSG see off rivals Marseille | football

Angel Di Maria,PSG,Marseille

Paris St Germain’s Angel Di Maria scores their third goal from a free kick(REUTERS)

Angel Di Maria scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain eased to a 3-1 victory over Marseille on Sunday to extend their long unbeaten run against their arch rivals and move 20 points clear at the Ligue 1 summit.

Kylian Mbappe put PSG in front on the stroke of half-time with his 26th league goal of the season, but Valere Germain equalised in the first minute of the second period.

Argentine Di Maria restored the home team’s advantage, though, and Marseille ‘keeper Steve Mandanda was sent off for a clear handball 30 yards from goal.

Di Maria’s wonderful free-kick added further gloss to the scoreline, although Mbappe saw a late penalty saved by visiting substitute Yohann Pele.

The capital giants are now unbeaten in 19 matches against their rivals, winning 16 meetings and drawing three since losing 3-0 at the Stade Velodrome in November 2011.

It was a strong response from Thomas Tuchel’s men in their first real test since being dumped out of the Champions League by Manchester United.

With the Ligue 1 title effectively secured, the only competition left for PSG to play for this season is the French Cup, in which they face Nantes in the semi-finals next month.

– Balotelli goes close –

Mario Balotelli had the first shot in anger, shrugging off the PSG defence before seeing his long-range drive well held by home goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

There was a scare at the other end for Mandanda, as the French international miscontrolled a simple back-pass only narrowly past his own post.

A group of PSG ultras were boycotting the opening stages over the team’s shock Champions League defeat.

They did not miss much goalmouth action early on, but many rushed to their seats when they thought Di Maria had put the hosts in front, only to see the effort ruled out for offside by VAR.

Marseille did well to keep their rivals at arm’s length for the opening 45 minutes, although injuries which forced the substitutions of PSG full-backs Thomas Meunier and Dani Alves contributed to the game’s scrappy nature.

But PSG forged ahead in the second minute of first-half injury time, as they broke at pace from a Marseille corner and Di Maria played in Mbappe to sweep the ball past Mandanda.

Rudi Garcia’s away side stunned the Parc des Princes just seconds after the restart, though, as Lucas Ocampos raced clear and squared for Germain to slot into the bottom corner.

Marseille grew in confidence, but that left space for PSG to exploit, and Di Maria cut inside from the right and curled a fantastic 55th-minute finish past Mandanda to score his fifth goal in six matches.

The match was all but ended as a contest just after the hour mark when Mandanda raced from his line and dived to handle yards outside of his area in a moment of madness which left his side a man down.

Di Maria ensured PSG did not wait long to take advantage, hammering a swerving strike from the resulting free-kick past Pele, who was brought on for the ineffective Balotelli, and in off the post.

Mbappe missed the chance to score a second himself in added time, as his penalty was saved by Pele after the World Cup winner was bundled over by Hiroki Sakai.

Earlier on Sunday, Lyon strengthened their grip on a top-three spot with a 3-2 victory over Montpellier.

Bruno Genesio’s men, who were thrashed 5-1 by Barcelona in the Champions League last 16 in midweek, saw off their fellow European hopefuls with goals from Martin Terrier, Moussa Dembele and Houssem Aouar.

Lyon moved six points clear of fourth-placed Marseille in the race for the final Champions League spot.

First Published:
Mar 18, 2019 09:56 IST

tags

PSG
Kylian Mbappe
Angel Di Maria
Valere Germain
Champions League
Di Maria
Mandanda
Yohann Pele

Chelsea ‘mentality’ concerns Sarri after Everton defeat | football

Maurizio Sarri,Chelsea,Everton

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri looks on (REUTERS)

Maurizio Sarri admitted he is worried about his Chelsea team’s “mentality” after they fell to a 2-0 defeat at Everton that severely damages their hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson, converting his own saved penalty, scored the second-half goals at Goodison Park on Sunday that halted Chelsea’s recent league improvements and marked Everton’s first win over ‘Big Six’ opposition in 26 games, a run dating back to January 2017.

But the goals followed a first half of utter Chelsea domination in which they somehow failed to beat Everton’s England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and the subsequent collapse has clearly concerned the London club’s manager.

“I’m worried about our mentality,” said Sarri. “I think the situation is clear. “We played probably the best 45 minutes of the season then, suddenly, at the beginning of the second half, we stopped playing. I don’t know why.” The Italian added: “We played really very well until the last minute of the first half and then suddenly very badly in the first minute of the second half.

“It’s very difficult for players to explain to me the change. Very difficult for me to explain to you the change, probably it is a mental block I think.”Richarlison struck in the 49th minute, after Sigurdsson’s right-wing corner had been met by a powerful header from Dominic Calvert-Lewin which Kepa Arrizabalaga saved well on his goal-line.

But Everton’s Brazilian forward reacted first to force the rebound over the line from close range, a goal that came largely against the run of play.

Arrizabalaga had saved a good effort from Andre Gomes seconds earlier and did likewise in keeping out Sigurdsson’s 71st-minute penalty, awarded after Marcos Alonso stood on the foot of Richarlison.

– ‘Big limit’ –

But the Iceland international kept his composure from the rebound, completing the routine task of tapping the ball into the open goal, denying Chelsea the chance to go level on points with Arsenal, who are one point behind third-placed arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

“At the moment, it is our limit,” added Sarri. “I think because if we are able to play like in the first half, with consistency, I think we are in another position in the table but we have this problem.

“It is a big limit for is because we lost a similar match in Wolverhampton, today we lost so for us at the moment it’s a big limit.

“Today was really, really important for us so now we have one less opportunity but I think we have to fight to defend those opportunities.”The best of Chelsea’s first-half chances saw Eden Hazard strike the post from a curling sixth minute shot, with Gonzalo Higuain missing a glorious opening moments later, under pressure from Yerry Mina.

Pickford also made a superb second-half save, from Callum Hudson-Odoi’s fierce shot although, by then, the outcome had been settled with Everton fans enjoying a bonus moment when former star Ross Barkley, who left the Liverpool club in controversial fashion, was substituted by Sarri to a chorus of boos.

“To be honest, I didn’t know those numbers before the match,” said Everton manager Marco Silva of his side’s long winless run against leading clubs in the Premier League.

“It’s not a normal thing for a club like us, not winning so many times against strong sides. But for our quality as a club how big we are as a club, it’s something that can’t happen again. It’s up to us to work together for it to be more normal for us to beat these strong sides.”

First Published:
Mar 18, 2019 10:32 IST

tags

Maurizio Sarri
Everton
Mentality
Premier league
Arsenal
Jordan Pickford
England
LONDON

We wanted to win this title badly: Sunil Chhetri | football

Sunil Chhetri,ISL

File image of Bengaluru FC Sunil Chhetri and teammates celebrate(PTI)

An elated Bengaluru FC skipper Sunil Chhetri termed his team’s maiden Indian Super League victory against FC Goa as a “sweet one” especially after his side had faltered in the summit clash last season against Chennaiyin FC.

Courtesy Rahul Bheke’s championship-winning header in the second extra time, Bengaluru defeated FC Goa 1-0 in an edge of a seat thriller last night here to win their maiden ISL title. Bengaluru had last year lost last year’s final to Chennaiyin FC “Last year after the final, I said next year we’ll come back. Right from the ball boy to Carles (Cuadrat – the coach), everyone wanted this. We wanted to win it (the title) badly. When you lose the way we did last year, it’s sweet to win this one. Asia, we are back,” Chhetri said at the post match media conference late Sunday night.

Now by winning the ISL, Bengaluru FC will play in the AFC Asian Cup next year.

Chhetri also said it was “commendable” that a player like Ferran Corominas, who bagged the Golden Boot award, did not get any chance against his team on all the three occasions when the two teams clashed.

“The message from the coach was that we should try to attack but as soon as we lose the ball, we should fall back and defend and have numbers (at the back). For players like me, Miku and Udanta (Singh), it was not easy because we are attacking minded people,” Chhetri said.

“I am happy we did it because Nishu (Kumar) and (Harmanjot) Khabra got that security when Udanta and I traced back. It is commendable that a player like Coro (Corominas) did not get open chances against us in three games,” he said. “Last year, we conceded off set pieces and we were dominant until those two goal, so we were sure on not letting it happen today,” he added.

Asked where he would rate this win, Chhetri quipped, “Top-two. Number 2.” The winning coach Carles Cuadrat said that the team was trying not to take the game to the penalties as then it can be anybody’s game.

“We were trying not to get into tie-breaker as it then becomes a lottery a lot of times. We are happy that one ball in the box gave us the victory. This is the seventh goal done by a set-piece and it shows how important set pieces are in the game,” Cuadrat said.

Meanwhile, FC Goa coach Sergio Lobera termed Ahmed Jahouh being sent off the field after earning a red card as the key moment of the match.

“The key moment was when were reduced to 10-men in the first half of extra time. It was a very tight game was going to be a matter of small details and the sending off was a big handicap for us,” Lobera said.

Despite the loss, the FC Goa head coach said he was “proud of his players”.

“Till today, we were focused today only on this game (the final). From tomorrow onwards, we will start working towards the (upcoming) Super Cup. I said to my players in the dressing room that I am proud of them and (what) they have done in the season.

“I am thankful to the players and they have been very professional. It is sad that we cannot take the trophy to Goa,” he noted.

Meanwhile, Lobera’s name has been ‘linked to’ the vacant India coach job and specifically asked about it, the Spaniard said, “(It is) always nice to be linked to national team of a great country like India, but I have one more year contract with FC Goa.”

First Published:
Mar 18, 2019 13:42 IST

tags

Sunil Chhetri
Ferran Corominas
Golden Boot Award
Carles Cuadrat
FC Goa
Indian Super League
Sunday Night
Rahul Bheke

Sunil Chhetri dubs Indian Super League win as ‘special’ | football

Sunil Chhetri,Indian Super League,Bengaluru FC

Sunil Chhetri and teammates celebrate after winning against North East United FC.(PTI)

Bengaluru FC won their first Indian Super League title on Sunday as they defeated FC Goa 1-0. Post-victory their captain Sunil Chhetri dubbed the win as extremely special for him.

“I rate this win at probably number two, right after the AFC Cup 2016 final in Doha against the team that eventually won,” goal.com quoted Chhetri as saying.

“After losing the final last year we did not speak about it but everyone knew that one day we will be presented with this chance. Everybody thought about it, everybody wanted this. You know what Asia, we are back,” he added.

READ: MS Dhoni chased around by fan, reaction of CSK skipper is hilarious – Watch

Bengaluru was not able to get over the line last season, losing the title to Chennaiyin FC. The forward felt that there are no significant changes in the squad from last year but the addition of Carles Cuadrat as manager did wonders for the team.

“The characters are the same. There is not much of a difference in the style between Albert (Roca) and Carles (Cuadrat). Just slight alterations but their mentalities are the same. Also, Gerard (Zaragoza), his assistant has been a great help,” Chhetri said.

“It has been more progressive than what we learnt under Roca and he did not win the league and Carles did, that is the difference,” he added.

With this title win, Bengaluru FC now have the chance to make it to the group stages of the 2020 AFC Cup.

First Published:
Mar 18, 2019 16:51 IST

tags

Sunil Chhetri
Bengaluru FC
AFC Cup
Indian Super League
Group stage
Doha
FC Goa
Chennaiyin FC

Luis Suarez to miss China Cup for Uruguay due to ankle sprain | football

Luis Suarez,China Cup,ankle sprain

Barcelona’s Luis Suarez celebrates scoring their third goal.(REUTERS)

Barcelona forward Luis Suarez has been ruled out of playing in the China Cup with Uruguay after spraining his ankle for his club at the weekend.

Suarez, 32, is expected to miss between 10 and 15 days after limping off late in Sunday’s 4-1 win at Real Betis in La Liga.

“He will… undertake his recovery with the FC Barcelona medical team, having been withdrawn from the Uruguayan national team squad,” the club said in a statement Monday.

Suarez’s absence adds to that of Edinson Cavani for Uruguay after the Paris Saint-Germain striker failed to shake off a thigh injury for the trip to China.

Oscar Tabarez’s squad travel to Nanning to take on take on Uzbekistan on March 21, with the winner meeting China or Thailand in the final four days later.

Suarez scored his 18th league goal of the season at Betis to draw level with Diego Forlan for the most goals scored by a Uruguayan in Spain’s top flight with 128.

First Published:
Mar 18, 2019 21:29 IST

tags

Luis Suarez
CHINA
Uruguay
China Cup
La Liga
Real Betis
Ankle sprain
Barcelona

Mario Balotelli not fit enough to play for Italy – Roberto Mancini | football

Mario Balotelli,Roberto Mancini,Italy

Marseille’s Mario Balotelli celebrates scoring their first goal with Florian Thauvin.(REUTERS)

Italy coach Roberto Mancini said Monday he overlooked Mario Balotelli for upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers because the Marseille player lacked fitness.

Italy begin their campaign to reach the European finals playing Finland on Saturday in Udine after they failed to qualify for the World Cup last year for the first time in 60 years.

Balotelli’s positive start at Marseille with five goals in seven starts has not convinced Mancini, nor has the performance of Andrea Belotti, 25, who has scored ten league goals for Torino.

“Mario is not yet in optimal condition to play for the national team,” Mancini.

“He has improved physically compared to September but can still improve. From him I expect a lot, he’s nearly 29 years-old, he’s at his peak, and for the national team he must give the maximum.”

Italy also play Liechtenstein in Parma on March 26.

“The beauty of the national team is that everyone can express their opinion,” said former Manchester City coach of his decision to overlook the two forwards.

“I make my choices, Belotti is like the others who have stayed at home this time, he can do much better and return to the national team. He is young, he is improving in the league, he will surely be able to come back “

Veteran striker Fabio Quagliarella was recalled at 36 years as he leads the Serie A goal scorers chart with 21 efforts in 28 games.

The group also includes promising youngsters Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo and Juventus striker Moise Kean, both aged 19.

“I called up a few more players because I didn’t really know everyone’s condition and wanted to get to know them and evaluate them better,” continued Mancini.

“We called up a few more strikers because we have to work in this sense. I’m sorry for those who were left out.

“We have young players who are improving. We thank (Under-21 coach Luigi) Di Biagio because we took several of his players for the European Championship away from him.

“Zaniolo can surely debut for us. Kean? Moise has won so much for his age. Let’s hope he starts like Balotelli did, which is very good.

“I’m confident. Our games coming up project us towards the European Championship, so we must do well in them.

“We have lots of good players, now the bar needs raising. Jorginho is playing well.

“Chelsea are having problems, but he’s missed hardly any matches. The same goes for (Marco) Verratti.”

Italy have won the European championship just once in 1968 and were runners-up in 2000 and 2012.

First Published:
Mar 18, 2019 22:52 IST

tags

Mario Balotelli
Roberto Mancini
World Cup
Finland
Marseille
Andrea Belotti
Manchester city
Parma

Gambling Germany boss Loew goes all-in ahead of Serbia friendly | football

Joachim Loew,Serbia,Germany

File image of Joachim Loew (REUTERS)

Germany coach Joachim Loew hopes to prove his critics wrong and open 2019 with a win when his new-look team host Serbia in a friendly in Wolfsburg on Wednesday.

Loew, who arrived in Wolfsburg later than expected due to a dental operation this week, is hoping to bounce back from a painful 2018, in which Germany suffered an early World Cup exit and were relegated from the top tier of the UEFA Nations League.

The friendly against Serbia is a warm-up for Sunday’s prestigious opening Euro 2020 qualifier away to the Netherlands with the Germans hunting revenge after a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of the Oranje last October at the Amsterdam Arena.

Amid fears that German football is in decline, the 59-year-old Loew is under pressure to show that he can build a new era of success around a younger generation of players.

Yet he has also faced fierce criticism for his decision to strike veteran World Cup winners Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Mueller from the national team set-up, falling offside with their club Bayern Munich in the process.

The controversial call has been seen as a gamble, which has heightened the pressure ahead of Wednesday’s game.

“Loew is going all-in in a high-stakes game of poker,” wrote German football magazine Kicker on Monday.

Yet the Germany boss has insisted that the right conclusions have been drawn from the failures of last year.

“We have had a think since the World Cup,” he admitted on Friday. “We need to be quicker, more ambitious and more dynamic. We lost all that at the World Cup and our game became quite predictable.”

– New guard –

Loew has given three young players their first international call-up.

Hertha Berlin defender Niklas Stark, 23, Werder Bremen midfielder Maximilian Eggestein and RB Leipzig full-back Lukas Klostermann, both 22, join the squad, which now contains just two survivors from the World-Cup-winning class of 2014 in Manuel Neuer and Toni Kroos.

Loew confirmed on Friday that Neuer remains his first-choice goalkeeper, despite calls for him to promote Barcelona stopper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to the number one role.

Yet he also called upon younger players such as Niklas Suele, 23, Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich, both 24, to step up into leadership roles.

“Some players need to take the next step,” he said. “Goretzka and Kimmich are guys with clear ideas, ambition and opinions.”

“Suele has to take on responsibility, we expect more from him now,” said Loew. “He needs to organise and direct proceedings at the back.”

As the direct heir to rejected defensive duo Hummels and Boateng, Suele will be under particular scrutiny against Serbia.

– Klinsmann criticism –

Many have questioned Loew’s decision to get rid of two such experienced defenders, including his predecessor and former colleague Jurgen Klinsmann, who coached Germany to third at the 2006 World Cup with Loew as his assistant.

“My personal hope is that the door remains open for Hummels, Boateng and Mueller,” Klinsmann told AFP subsidiary SID this week.

“They are top players, and it’s important to have them at your disposal if you need them.”

“It obviously increases the pressure on the team a bit when you make a decision like that.”

Yet Klinsmann also warned that German football was in bad shape, and that big decisions were needed to stop the rot.

“The results have been very disappointing in recent years,” he said.

“The fact that we have no teams left in the Champions League is a fiasco. I can only hope that there is a reaction, a change in approach which will get us back on top.”

First Published:
Mar 19, 2019 09:06 IST

tags

Joachim Loew
Serbia
GERMANY
Netherlands
World Cup
Thomas Mueller
Jerome Boateng
Wolfsburg

Switzerland’s injured Shaqiri out of Euro qualifiers | football

Xherdan Shaqiri,Switzerland,Euro qualifiers

File image of Xherdan Shaqiri (REUTERS)

Switzerland midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri will miss this month’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Georgia and Denmark due to a groin injury, the Swiss FA said on Monday.

“The attacking midfielder is suffering from a painful inflammation in the groin,” the FA announced on its website https://www.football.ch/SFV/Nationalteams/A-Team/News/xherdan-shaqiri-faellt-verletzt-aus.aspx.

The 27-year-old Liverpool player missed training on Monday and was instead examined in a Zurich hospital.

Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic will name a replacement on Tuesday for their opening Euro qualifiers away to Georgia on Saturday and at home to Denmark three days later.

First Published:
Mar 19, 2019 09:12 IST

tags

Switzerland
Xherdan Shaqiri
Liverpool
Zurich
Denmark
GEORGIA
Vladimir Petkovic
Shaqiri out of Euro qualifier

England call up Hudson-Odoi, Ward-Prowse for Euro qualifiers | football

England,James Ward-Prowse,Hudson-Odoi

File image of James Ward-Prowse (Action Images via Reuters)

Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi have been called into England’s squad for this month’s European Championship qualifiers after four players withdrew due to injury.

England manager Gareth Southgate announced a 25-man squad last week but Manchester City’s John Stones and Fabian Delph, Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Manchester United’s Luke Shaw pulled out.

The 18-year-old Hudson-Odoi was set to join the Under-21 squad in Bristol when he was told he had received his first senior call-up.

“It’s been a crazy day but getting my first (senior) international call-up is an amazing feeling,” Hudson-Odoi was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.

“I’m delighted to get the call… I thought the (Under-21) manager (Aidy Boothroyd) was joking. I was shocked and then when I heard that I actually had to go over, I couldn’t believe it.”

Ward-Prowse was also added to the squad.

“James Ward-Prowse has been called up to the England squad ahead of the UEFA EURO 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro,” the FA said in a statement.

Ward-Prowse, 24, claimed one senior cap two years ago when England lost 1-0 to Germany in a friendly. He has scored six league goals for Southampton this season, including two free kicks against Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur in his last two Premier League games.

England play Czech Republic on Friday at Wembley Stadium and face Montenegro away on March 25.

England 23-man squad

Goalkeepers: Tom Heaton, Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Michael Keane, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, James Tarkowski

Midfielders: Ross Barkley, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Declan Rice, James Ward-Prowse

Forwards: Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling, Callum Wilson, Callum Hudson-Odoi

First Published:
Mar 19, 2019 09:20 IST

tags

England
Callum Hudson-Odoi
Manchester city
Manchester united
John Stones
Fabian Delph
Luke Shaw
Gareth Southgate