Will Redknapp's men hold their nerve and clinch a playoff spot?

Redknapp’s QPR future hanging in the balance

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According to sources this afternoon, the future of QPR manager Harry Redknapp is becoming increasingly uncertain after the clubs relegation from the EPL on Sunday.

The former Tottenham, West Ham and Southampton manager has been locked into talks with QPR Chairman Tony Fernandes all day, with an announcement set to be made on his future within the next 48 hours.

Redknapp has won just four times since taking over at QPR in November, and after spending big in the January transfer window, the West London outfit have struggled to steer themselves away from the drop zone and were ultimately sent down after the drab 0-0 draw with Reading on Sunday afternoon.

Many expected Redknapp to help guide Rangers back to the EPL at the first attempt, with Chairman Fernandes stating that no players would have to be sold and that the financial implications of relegation from the English top flight would not hit QPR hard.

More: QPR and Reading both relegated to Championship, after dour 0-0 draw

However it seems as if Redknapp’s doomed spell in charge of the Loftus Road side may be over before the EPL season is.

Would it be a shock? Not really. The 65-year-old manager had up until recently been tabbed for the England managers job, but that went to Roy Hodgson instead, so dropping down to the Championship will not appeal to Redknapp at all. Also, he is not going any younger, so if he is to have one more crack at a top club in the UK, it seems like now or never. Big name players such as Loic Remy and Christopher Samba have failed to ignite QPR’s survival bid, and on astronomical wages it will be hard to see those two sticking around to scrap in England’s second-tier.

Just yesterday, speaking after his sides relegation was confirmed at the Madejski Stadium, Redknapp said. “We will do our best next year to try to get up, but we are going to have to work very, very, very hard in the summer. It’s a real good challenge. It’s possible but it ain’t going to be easy.”

With or without Redknapp, that remains to be seen. But the one thing that is clear for everyone, QPR are a club in a mess on and off the field. A clean sweep of coaching staff and players might be the only way forward.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
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Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.

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