Poor Strama, Allegri: Inter, AC Milan leave coaches in limbo

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Imagine being a soccer fan in Milan right now. In all likelihood, you either support AC Milan or Internazionale – two rivals whose fan bases currently have one thing in common. Each morning supporters wake up and go to the papers wondering if their manager’s face is going to be sprayed across them. In all likelihood, neither Inter’s Andrea Stramaccioni (pictured) nor Milan’s Max Allegri will make it through the summer.

We talked about Allegri on Monday, when hours of confusion led many to believe he’d been let go. Milan denied the story, said Silvio Berlusconi would meet with the coach on Wednesday, and here we are. It’s Thursday in Italy, and so far, Allegri not only maintains in his job but is getting support from the Milan Ultras. Though rumors persist Clarence Seedorf will be lured from Brazil to man the sidelines with Milan, Allegri has survived, even if he seems uncertain how much longer it can last.

At some point, Allegri just has to let it happen. His resume at Milan is strong enough (first, second, third place finishes), he’ll be able to get other jobs. But if her olds on to this ledge for too long, he’ll miss his opportunities. Other jobs will be taken. He should be planning his exit as much as waiting for it.

The situation’s different on the other side of the San Siro. Stramaccioni was pressed into action last year and did a reasonable job righting their ship, but over the course of a full season, he’s produced disastrous results. Inter finished an embarrassing ninth in Serie A, losing seven of their final nine games.

The 37-year-old former Primavera boss has to be replaced. There’s no circumstance in which Inter can accept those results, meaning the question isn’t so much if but when. And by who.

Walter Mazzarri is the most prominent link, with Inter president Massimo Moratti forced to deny Wednesday rumors that the former Napoli coach has already signed with Inter. Roberto Mancini has also been linked, with Morratti refusing to confirm or deny the man who’s already won three scudetti with Inter could return to the San Siro. Where Inter’s job actually officially open, you’d undoubtedly be hearing others linked with the Nerazzurri post.

At this point, it’s a gambler’s game. Who will be gone first: Allegri? Or Stramaccioni? By the time you read this, bookies may already be paying off their bets.

Podolski after golazo finale: “This is like a great movie”

AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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Lukas Podolski has won a EURO, a World Cup, and the Bundesliga with two different sides.

Only Lothar Matthaus and Miroslav Klose have been capped more than Germany’s Polish born Podolski, and he received a hero’s send-off from the home crowd at Germany’s 1-0 win over England on Wednesday.

And of course he sent himself off in style with a gorgeous goal.

[ MORE: Guardiola close to adding $43m GK? ]

Podolski said there were more than 30,000 people from Cologne at the match, where he won one of his two Bundesliga titles.

“That’s when you know where you home is, and that you’ve done a lot of good, also off the pitch,” Podolski said. “That makes me very proud.”

It was a perfect night to say goodbye, and the goal made it almost surreal (Thomas Muller called it “cheesy”).

From Goal.com:

“This is like a great movie,” he told ARD. “We win 1-0 and I score the goal.

“I know I have a left foot that was probably gifted to me by God, or someone up there, and I can always rely on it. I am proud of these last 13 years.”

Feel good hit of the Spring.

Report: Guardiola close to adding $43m Benfica goalkeeper

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Year Two of the Pep Guardiola era at Manchester City could feature another big goalkeeper purchase.

Claudio Bravo hasn’t panned out in sky blue, and Joe Hart doesn’t look likely to be coming back. Wily Caballero is getting the lion’s share of the minutes right now, playing every minute aside from a trio of FA Cup matches since February.

[ MORE: Podolski scores screamer in German finale ]

$43 million is the fee noted by Abola when it comes to the latest target for Guardiola, a neck-tattooed Brazilian by the name of Ederson.

The Benfica backstop, 23, has 20 clean sheets in 32 appearances this season. He signed a new six-year deal in late January, but money may talk here.

Podolski goes out with super goal; Germany tops England

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
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The highlight of Wednesday’s international friendly docket was Lukas Podolski‘s final match for Germany, and the former Arsenal man did not disappoint his crowd.

But first, Canada plays its first match since unveiling new coach Octavio Zambrano.

[ MORE: Zlatan still bitter with Guardiola ]

Scotland 1-1 Canada

Zambrano saw plenty to like from his new side, as Canada went ahead early with a goal from former Scottish youth Fraser Aird. Toronto-born, the ex-Rangers and current Falkirk man got his first Canadian goal against the team he represented at U-17 and U-19 levels.

Norwich City’s Steven Naismith redirected Tom Cairney‘s shot to make it 1-1 before the break, but Scotland never found its way back into Canada’s net.

Germany 1-0 England

Lukas Podolski scored his 49th international goal in his final cap for Germany, and it was spectacular.

Joe Hart didn’t stand a chance.

The match saw big stops from both ‘keepers, as Hart thwarted Leroy Sane on a second half break after Marc-Andre Ter Stegen defied Dele Alli in the opening 45.

Podolski subbed off in the 84th minute to wild applause, but it must sting slightly to know you finished an illustrious career one goal short of a nice, round 50. We guess he’ll have to rest on his millions and millions of earnings and loads of on-field honors.

Elsewhere
Vietnam 1-1 Chinese Taipei
Philippines 0-0 Malaysia
Cyprus 3-1 Kazakhstan
Yemen 0-1 Palestine
Cambodia 2-3 India

McClean to wear No. 5 in honor of deceased ex-teammate

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James McClean is a colorful personality who doesn’t shy away from strong opinions — he once called Jurgen Klopp “a bit of an idiot” — and the West Brom man is using the big stage of World Cup qualifying to proudly honor a deceased ex-teammate.

McClean has long before friends with Derry City captain Ryan McBride, who shockingly died hours after leading his side to a league win this weekend. Given his age (27), few saw it coming even after McBride admitted to feeling ill after the match.

[ MORE: Zlatan still bitter with Guardiola ]

McBride and McClean played together at Derry, and the latter was excused from Republic of Ireland training to attend funeral services this week.

He’s still expected to play a role in Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Wales on Friday, and McClean will don the No. 5 of McBride. Irish defender Richard Keogh usually wears the number and agreed to the change.