Russia US Soccer

Highlights and context: Video of another impressive friendly for the U.S.

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By now, you’ve probably heard: The U.S. Men’s National Team got another good result on Wednesday. Yes, it was only a friendly, and as we’ve often seen when Jurgen Klinsmann’s team takes a step up in class, there were long portions of this game where the U.S. looked two steps behind their hosts.

But just as they did in Genoa and Mexico City, the U.S. got a result, and while this one won’t settle into history next to those wins, it was still an encouraging night in Krasnodar. Two goals against a defense that hasn’t conceded in World Cup qualifying may inspire some much-needed confidence in the U.S. attack.

For now, let’s do the highlights and then consider where Wendesday’s result ranks among the U.S.’s 2012 results.

If the U.S. defense hadn’t have gift wrapped two goals for the Russians, we could be talked about the U.S.’s third huge road win of the year. That the back line isn’t usually that error-prone should give the team some solace, though the leaks plugged by Tim Howard need to be aggressed before February.

But that’s 2013, and with this season-ending result against Russia, it seems a good time to look back and ask where today’s result ranks among the U.S.’s 14 games of 2012.

With the States having gone 9-2-3, here are the results that jump out:

4. 1-0 win in Panama – Fans have good reason to be nervous about the final round of World Cup qualifying, but a road win with the January camp’s roster should give followers reason to believe the U.S. can have success in Panama City.

3. 2-2 draw in Russia – Two comebacks, the second in the 94th minute, gave Russia their first blemish since Fabio Capello’s July debut.

2. 1-0 win in Italy – The Azzurri may not be the power they once were, but they’re still one of the world’s elite soccer nations. A win in Italy is something players will remember.

1. 1-0 win in Mexico – Taking a weak squad to Azteca (and starting an experimental Geoff Cameron-Maurice Edu pair in central defense), the U.S. looked destined for another loss in Mexico. Instead, Michael Orozco Fiscal’s goal gave the States their first every victory at Azteca.

EURO 2016: Ireland shock Germany, Northern Ireland qualify

Shane Long, Ireland
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A recap of Thursday’s action in 2016 European Championship qualifying:

Ireland 1-0 Germany

Southampton striker Shane Long scored the goal that knocked off the defending world champions and pushed Ireland one step closer to next summer’s European Championship in France. Long, who entered the game in the 65th minute, latched onto Darren Randolph‘s ball over the top in the 70th minute, took one touch to settle and fired for the far post, beating Manuel Neuer for the game’s only goal.

With one game still to play, Ireland (18 points) sit third in Group D, level on points with Sunday’s opponent Poland. While the winner of Sunday’s clash could leapfrog Germany (19), they will more likely finish second in the group and qualify automatically. A draw on Sunday could still see both sides qualify automatically through the ranking of third-place finishers (the top third-place finishers from group play earns an automatic berth at EURO 2016).

Northern Ireland 3-1 Greece

Norther Ireland (20 points) topped Greece (3), 3-1 on Thursday to officially book their place at EURO 2016. Steven Davis scored twice and Josh Magennis added the third for Michael O’Neill’s side.

With one game still to play (Sunday, at Finland), Northern Ireland can finish no lower than second. A draw against Finland, or any points dropped by Romania (17) would see Northern Ireland finish top of Group F.

Portugal 1-0 Denmark

Joao Moutinho scored the only goal of the game to secure Portugal’s (18 points from just seven games) place at next summer’s tournament. The defeat sees Denmark remain second in Group I, a point ahead of third-place Albania, who lost to Serbia on Thursday. Having played all eight of their group games, Denmark can go no higher than 12 points, meaning they would fail to qualify if Albania beat Armenia on Sunday. A draw between Albania and Armenia would see Denmark qualify based on tiebreakers.

Elsewhere in EURO 2016 qualifying action

Group D

Scotland 2-2 Poland
Georgia 4-0 Gibraltar

Group F

Hungary 2-1 Faroe Islands
Romania 1-1 Finland

Group I

Albania 0-2 Serbia

Jurgen Klopp announced as new Liverpool manager

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool FC
Liverpool Football Club/Getty Images
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Enough with the speculation and reports already, because it’s finally officially official: Jurgen Klopp has been appointed the newest manager of Liverpool Football Club, the Merseyside club announced on Thursday.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Klopp will be unveiled to the world at an introductory press conference at Anfield on Friday.

According to early reports, Klopp’s three-year contract could pay him as much as $10 million per season.

[ QUOTE KING: Top 10 “Klopp-isms” from his time at Dortmund ]

The 48-year-old German has been out of work since stepping down at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund following a seventh-place finish to the 2014-15 season. Klopp’s seven seasons in charge of Dortmund weren’t without success and silverware, though, as he led Der BVB to back-to-back league titles in 2011 and 2012, a German Cup triumph in 2012 and a UEFA Champions League final appearance in 2013.

PST’s Joe Prince-Wright will be at Anfield on Friday for Klopp’s unveiling, so be sure to follow JPW on Twitter and check back to PST for wall-to-wall coverage of Klopp’s first press conference as Liverpool manager.