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One hurdle remains for U.S. WNT U-17’s in World Cup qualifying quest

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With a combined score line of 18-0 from group play, the United States Under-17 Women’s National Team is within striking distance of a World Cup berth. Conventional wisdom might call it a done deal, but recent history suggests otherwise.

Albertin Montoya’s team topped Group B Monday night with a 3-0 win over Mexico. The team could make World Cup qualification official on Thursday with a win against Panama.

Forward Summer Green was on target again, netting all three of the U.S.’s goals. The Michigan native has had a downright goal-scoring bonanza in Guatemala. She collected five goals in the team’s 10-0 tonking of the Bahamas in their first group match (in which the U.S. outshot their opponents 52 to 1). Green’s first-half hat versus Mexico trick ups her total to nine goals in the group stage alone. She’s averaged a goal every 27 minutes.

A victory in the semifinals in two days will see the side secure a place in the 2012 U-17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan. It would be its first trip to the tournament since 2008. Lest we forget, the U.S. stumbled in the semifinal round of the 2010 CONCACAF Qualifying tournament. Canada edged the favorites in penalty kicks and dashed the team’s World Cup hopes.

Panama should pose less of a threat this time around, as the team reaches the semifinals by dint of a superior goal difference over Group A opponents Jamaica. Even if the stage springs another shock, the U.S. has a safety net to fall back on. Unlike previous years, three teams advance from the CONCACAF region.

You could say the U.S. are as good as in, but that’s what was said last time. Oh, who are we kidding.

Watch Summer Green do what she does below.

Ferguson still being asked about Moyes: “We chose a good football man”

David Moyes Alex Ferguson
AP Photo/Martin Rickett/PA
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In some ways absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it seems Sir Alex Ferguson‘s life after Manchester United has been filled with second guessing.

Whether the sales of Paul Pogba and Gerard Pique or the appointment of David Moyes, “Fergie” apparently can’t rest on his title-winning laurels.

[ MORE: Tax evasion charges dropped against Messi, but not his father ]

One thing that seems to bug him more than anything, though, is the idea that he hand-picked David Moyes to be his successor, and should be responsible for his failings.

In a new documentary, Ferguson both defends the appointment of Moyes and explains the process behind his choice.

From the BBC:

“I don’t think we made a mistake at all. I think we chose a good football man,” Ferguson says. “Unfortunately it didn’t work for David.

“Jose Mourinho was going back to Chelsea, Carlo Ancelotti was going to Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp had signed a contract with Dortmund, Louis Van Gaal was staying with Holland for the World Cup.”

The article also makes another key point, according to Ferguson: the manager claims he only gave United a few months notice that he’d be stepping down. That certainly didn’t provide a lot of lead time to secure a big boss.

What do you make it of it? If your answer is, “When can we stop talking about Moyes and United?” I tend to be with you, but it’s a talking point.

Tax evasion charges against Messi dropped; Case vs father continues

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2013 file photo, Barcelona F.C. star Lionel Messi, left, arrives at a court to answer questions in a tax fraud case in Gava, near Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona prosecutors are calling for the arrest of Messi's father in a tax fraud case. Prosecutors have cleared Messi of wrongdoing but are seeking an 18-month prison sentence for his father, Jorge Horacio Messi, for allegedly defrauding Spain's tax office of 4 million euros ($4.5 million) in unpaid taxes from 2007-09. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)
AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti
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Lionel Messi will not face charges that he and his father defrauded the government in millions of unpaid taxes, though his father is not so lucky.

Messi’s father, Jorge, could face 18 months in jail and an approximate $2.25 million fine despite a voluntary payment of $5.5 million in 2013 to “correct” the missed taxes.

[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]

The Barcleona star had plead ignorance to the charges, something that failed to impress prosecutors. But, it apparently worked out in his favor on Tuesday.

From the BBC:

Prosecutors allege that Jorge avoiding paying tax on his son’s earnings by using offshore companies in Belize and Uruguay between 2007 and 2009.

Messi’s lawyers argued that the player had “never devoted a minute of his life to reading, studying or analysing” the contracts, El Pais newspaper reported.