The nightmare summer continues for Liverpool as Daniel Sturridge has been ruled out for up to four months after suffering an ankle injury in England’s 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland last week.
Sturridge suffered the injury during the first half of the match and was replaced in the 33rd minute by Jermain Defoe. Sturridge has since undergone scans that revealed ankle ligament damage, an injury that typically takes anywhere from three to four months to overcome.
Since arriving at Anfield from Chelsea in the January transfer window, Sturridge provided Liverpool with a goal scoring option to compliment Luis Suarez. Sturridge managed an impressive 11 goals in 16 appearances following his $18.4 million (£12m) move, prompting many to believe that the England striker could provide cover for Suarez this fall when he serves the remaining six matches of his ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic.
The loss of Sturridge and Suarez – who has announced his intent to leave Liverpool in favor of a move to Real Madrid – leaves Brendan Rodgers’ team incredibly thin up top. Looking ahead to the start of the season only the oft-injured Fabio Borini and new-boy Iago Aspas, who signed from Celta Vigo on a $11.8 million (£7.7m) deal last week, are available for selection.
Normally, Liverpool could include Andy Carroll in that group but the big man went down with a heel injury during his final match of the season while on loan at West Ham and he too faces four months on the trainer’s table.
. Liverpool have not yet placed a time frame on Sturridge’s recovery but there are concerns he will be out for between three and four months, meaning it could be September before the England international is available.
Rodgers expects to add to his striking options this week by completing a €9m (£7.7m) deal for Iago Aspas, who helped Celta Vigo earn a final-day reprieve from relegation from La Liga with victory over Espanyol on Saturday, but the news on Sturridge and Suárez’s discontent represent a serious setback for the Liverpool manager.
The group stage of qualification is complete, as 20 teams have clinched a berth at EURO 2016, which kicks off next summer in France.
The top-two finishers in each group automatically qualified, as did the best third-place side out of all the groups (Turkey). France qualified automatically as the host nation.
[ MORE: EURO 2016 roundup ]
That leaves eight third-place teams to battle for the final four spots through a play-off. The draw for the matchups will take place on October 18, and those matches will be held from November 12-17 as a home-and-home play-off.
- Czech Republic
- Turkey (automatically qualified as best third-place side)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (qualified for play-off)
- Ukraine (qualified for play-off)
- Republic of Ireland (qualified for play-off)
- Slovenia (qualified for play-off)
- Northern Ireland
- Hungary (qualified for play-off)
- Sweden (qualified for play-off)
- Norway (qualified for play-off)
- Denmark (qualified for play-off)
The group stage of qualifying for the 2016 European Championship has come to a close, and one of the top teams in the world will not be playing in France next summer.
Netherlands 2-3 Czech Republic
The Netherlands finished second at the 2010 World Cup and third at the 2014 World Cup, but have failed to qualify for EURO 2016. Playing in front of a home crowd in a must-win match against the Czech Republic, the Dutch got off to a dreadful start, falling behind 2-0 as manager Danny Blind was forced to make a substitution within the opening 40 minutes. The Czech Republic was sent to ten men before the break, but an own-goal from Robin Van Persie made it 3-0 as the Dutch couldn’t recover. A disastrous result for the Netherlands, as big changes will surely come from the top down.
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Italy 2-1 Norway
Italy finishes atop Group H without a loss after defeating Norway 2-1 today. Norway took the lead through Norwich City’s Alexander Tettey, but late goals from Alessandro Florenzi and Southampton’s Graziano Pelle gave the Italians all three points.
Malta 0-1 Croatia
With Norway’s loss, Croatia jumped into second place in Group H and secured qualification to EURO 2016 with a 1-0 win away at Malta. Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic scored the game’s only goal, as Croatia advances despite having one point deducted due to inappropriate actions from their fans.
Elsewhere in EURO qualifying
Turkey 1-0 Iceland
Latvia 0-1 Kazakhstan
Belgium 3-1 Israel
Wales 2-0 Andorra
Cyprus 2-3 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bulgaria 2-0 Azerbaijan