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U.S. notes for tonight’s World Cup qualifier vs. Honduras


SALT LAKE CITY – The cadence of World Cup qualifiers fell a little differently this time – and U.S. players and coaches found it to their liking.

A typical U.S. camp built around qualifiers comes and goes quickly, with perhaps a couple of practice days ahead of the first match (and one of those is usually a regeneration day for players coming off club matches). Even on so-called “double-dates,” when the national team plays two matches in a FIFA international date window, there will typically be just three full days between matches.

That’s how it was, for instance, between the U.S. matches in Jamaican and then four nights later in Seattle against Panama.

But both teams had a full week between matches, and the United States players and coaches talked about the usefulness of actual practice sessions, workouts that might look more like the daily practices run routinely by the clubs.

(MORE: U.S.-Honduras match preview)

Future friendly “confirmed:” Not that it’s a big secret, but Jurgen Klinsmann more or less confirmed an August 14 friendly that has been arranged against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Eastern Europe.

Gold Cup roster announcement … : Before that, of course, is the Gold Cup. Look for the U.S. roster – a “B” team assembly, as we all know – to be released on or around June 27, the day they are due into CONCACAF. The 23-man roster must come off the 35-man preliminary list that came out May 31.

Honduras’ late arrival: While the United States spent almost a week in Utah, acclimating to the 4,200 feet altitude and adjusting to the unseasonably warm temperatures, Honduras chose to train in San Jose and then fly in Monday. The Central Americans trained just once in Salt Lake City, on Monday afternoon not long after arrival into Utah.

Yellow card situation: U.S. players carrying yellow cards (who would sit out the next qualifier with a booking tonight): Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis, Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans, Tim Howard and Fabian Johnson.

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