Jurgen Klinsmann is a winner plain and simple

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The last few days before last night’s epic win over Costa Rica in Denver have felt like a referendum of sorts on coach, Jurgen Klinsmann.

Of course three points and 2nd place in the ‘Hex’ have shut the detractors up for now however I’m sure they’ll be back in force should the team lose to Mexico on Tuesday. Let’s not forget the fact that the Americans have never won a world cup qualifier at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City though but that’s beside the point.

My beef is why are critics and fans moaning about Klinsmann, he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to US Soccer hands down. The man is a born winner, who has been there, done that and worn the t-shirt all over the world.

Perhaps you haven’t seen his resume. It’s impressive!

At the club level he played in Germany, France, England and Italy winning multiple trophies. At the international level he represented his country 108 times winning the World Cup in 1990 and the European Championships in 1996 as captain. As a coach he took Germany to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2006 playing an expansive brand of football that the German national team still plays to this day. His only failure, a short spell at Bayern Munich, a club with a notoriously short fuse where many have failed before him.

What Americans have to realize is that Klinsmann has two short-term goals and neither of them have anything to do with style, making friends or being liked.

1. Qualify for the World Cup finals
2. Take the USMNT further than they’ve ever been before.

Nothing else matters in the next eighteen months. So to those of you who have got your knickers in a twist about what he is and isn’t doing with the national team, cool your jets and let him do the job he was hired to do. If he fails, then you can come out all guns blazing.

Here’s a poll that’ll make it simple for you to make a clear headed choice. I already know the winner!

Defoe walks out Bradley Lowery, scores in England win

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Jermain Defoe’s friendship with terminally-ill Bradley Lowery has been special to watch unfold, and the Sunderland striker brought his little buddy to Wembley today.

Then he notched a match-winner.

Lowery walked Defoe out onto the field in a replica England kit before Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, and then Defoe scored his 20th goal for country.

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It was his first since 2013, the last year Defoe was called up for the Three Lions.

Here’s the goal, which was followed by a second-half Jamie Vardy tally as England stayed atop Group F with a 2-0 win over Lithuania.

Two Russian soccer fans stabbed in Serbia

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BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) Two Russian fans have been hospitalized with serious injuries after being stabbed following a friendly soccer match between Red Star Belgrade and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said Sunday police were looking for the knife-wielding perpetrators who attacked a group of Lokomotiv fans in downtown Belgrade late Saturday.

Serbian media reports said the Russian fans were attacked by supporters of Red Star’s rival Partizan Belgrade.

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The match, which Red Star won 2-1, was meant to promote Serbia’s traditional friendship with Russia.

Stefanovic says “nobody should think they could hurt the Serbian-Russian friendship” with such attacks.

Serbia has seen a surge of fan violence inside and outside stadiums. In 2009, a French football fan was fatally beaten in Belgrade.

VIDEO: Gerrard’s juggle and finish leads Liverpool legends past Real Madrid

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Scoring at Anfield doesn’t get old, especially when your name is Steven Gerrard.

The English midfielder was playing in a friendly match between Liverpool and Real Madrid “legends” on Sunday, when he delivered this tasty goal (and assists to Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, and John Aldridge).

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Gerrard redirects a cross over a lunging defender and into a place where he can lash a goal home to put the Reds up 4-0. He dedicated his Man of the Match performance to club legend Ronnie Moran, who died earlier this week.

Real’s comeback came up just short in a 4-3 final, with Fernando Morientes, Ruben de la Red, and Edwin Congo scoring for the visitors.

On a Sunday waiting for the international matches to begin, Gerrard supplies a nice highlight for the rest of us (Extended highlights free on Liverpool’s site).

Ozil bristles at talk of Arsenal selling him

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Mesut Ozil is on international break, and bristling at reports that Arsenal is going to sell him.

The midfielder’s absence from the lineup last week had plenty speculating on his future, even more than usual. His contract expires in 2018, and several reports claimed he’d join Alexis Sanchez as players destined for elsewhere.

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Ozil was not called up by Germany, and has missed four of his last nine Premier League matches. Three of those were for illness, and he missed last week’s loss to West Brom with a hamstring injury.

From Metro:

“And you think Wenger tells the journalist before he tells me? Then I know him differently,” Ozil told German outlet Welt.

“I have a contract until 2018 in London and I feel very comfortable there. We’ll talk soon and then make a decision.”

Metro notes that Ozil also said he wants to win the Champions League, something that can only happen with Arsenal remaining in the Top Four. We suppose you could make snarky inferences from his “comfortable in London” phrasing, but we’ll leave it there.