Los Angeles Galaxy Donovan controls a ball during their CONCACAF Champions League semi-final soccer match against against Monterrey in Carson

Will Donovan make Klinsmann’s USMNT roster?


Point proved Landon, you’re still pretty good.

Last night Landon Donovan fired a timely reminder to USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, as to what he can offer to the national team in upcoming qualifiers.

Klinsmann is set to announce his USMNT squad later today.

Everyone will be checking to see if Donovan has done enough to force his way back into the German’s plans.

Donovan dismantled the Philadelphia Union in a 4-1 win, with the LA Galaxy star scoring late and assisting on the two go-ahead goals. Donovan’s dazzling display piled more pressure on Klinsmann to include him in the upcoming roster for the USA’s crucial World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica, Panama and Honduras next month.

Does he deserve a call up? That question is still dividing many USMNT fans.

After a sensational second half against Philadelphia down by the banks of the Delaware River on Wednesday night, LD proved he is back to his best. He said as much. “I think aside from the plays that really made the goals, I just felt like I was more aggressive. I was running at people again,” Donovan said. “I felt back to my old self. It was a nice feeling.”

(More: Donovan, “Ill get my way back in” with USMNT)

So with Donovan putting in his best performance since returning from his self-imposed sabbatical over the early months of 2013, is now the right time for Klinsmann to introduce him back to the national team setup?

I think so.

Donovan hasn’t played for the US since their famous 1-0 victory in Mexico last August. And let’s face it, they haven’t exactly set the world alight without him. They’ve not done poorly. But as I have reflected in other blogs, if you have the chance to include Donovan in a USMNT squad, you do it. Even if it is off the bench, he has to be involved somehow. And Klinsmann must recognize this.

The US will be facing a hostile crowd in Jamaica. Donovan’s experience could be crucial there. Not even on the field but just to help the younger members of the squad stay focused on the game. Then home matches against Panama and Honduras could be extremely tricky affairs, with the Hex so closely contested after the opening three games.

(More: Donovan won’t be included in Klinsmann’s USMNT squad for World Cup qualifiers)

Panama and Honduras will sit back and soak up the pressure. It will be hard for Klinsmann’s side to break them down. Donovan is the perfect man to stay patient and either spark the Nats offense from the bench or come up clutch late on, as he has done many times in the past.

It seems as if I am championing Donovan’s case pretty hard. It’s hard not to. As Donovan said yesterday “I’ll get my way back in.” If that performance, and those assists, and that goal last night doesn’t do that, then I don’t know what more you can do, Landon.

(MORE: Donovan deserves better than a Gold Cup squeeze)

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