Coming into play today, Group C was without a doubt the craziest group in Europe’s World Cup qualifying.
That didn’t change after today’s matches, but Sweden took the bull by the horns and put two teams in their dust.
Coming into play, Germany were on top by three points, but three teams below them (Sweden, Austria, Ireland) were all knotted up at 11 each, vying for that second place spot.
The top team in each group automatically qualifies, while the second place team is sent to a playoff match to get in.
Sweden defeated the Irish 2-1, despite a goal from LA Galaxy star Robbie Keane, meaning the Swedes have planted themselves into second place with a three point cushion.
Norwich City’s Johan Elmander drew level for Sweden in the 33rd minute, and Anders Svensson (pictured) gave the away side the lead after the halftime break.
The Germans also took care of Austria 3-0 to remain in control of the top spot, and leave the Austrians to regroup as they look to fight from behind. Striker Miroslav Klose scored the first goal, which drew him level with Gerd Müller atop the German all-time goalscoring list with 68 international scores. Defender Philipp Lahm also found a milestone, picking up his 100th cap for Germany.
The group now looks as follows:
Germany – 19
Sweden – 14
Austria – 11Ireland – 11
Kazakhstan – 4
Faroe Islands – 0
In some ways absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it seems Sir Alex Ferguson‘s life after Manchester United has been filled with second guessing.
Whether the sales of Paul Pogba and Gerard Pique or the appointment of David Moyes, “Fergie” apparently can’t rest on his title-winning laurels.
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One thing that seems to bug him more than anything, though, is the idea that he hand-picked David Moyes to be his successor, and should be responsible for his failings.
In a new documentary, Ferguson both defends the appointment of Moyes and explains the process behind his choice.
From the BBC:
“I don’t think we made a mistake at all. I think we chose a good football man,” Ferguson says. “Unfortunately it didn’t work for David.
“Jose Mourinho was going back to Chelsea, Carlo Ancelotti was going to Real Madrid, Jurgen Klopp had signed a contract with Dortmund, Louis Van Gaal was staying with Holland for the World Cup.”
The article also makes another key point, according to Ferguson: the manager claims he only gave United a few months notice that he’d be stepping down. That certainly didn’t provide a lot of lead time to secure a big boss.
What do you make it of it? If your answer is, “When can we stop talking about Moyes and United?” I tend to be with you, but it’s a talking point.
Lionel Messi will not face charges that he and his father defrauded the government in millions of unpaid taxes, though his father is not so lucky.
Messi’s father, Jorge, could face 18 months in jail and an approximate $2.25 million fine despite a voluntary payment of $5.5 million in 2013 to “correct” the missed taxes.
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The Barcleona star had plead ignorance to the charges, something that failed to impress prosecutors. But, it apparently worked out in his favor on Tuesday.
From the BBC:
Prosecutors allege that Jorge avoiding paying tax on his son’s earnings by using offshore companies in Belize and Uruguay between 2007 and 2009.
Messi’s lawyers argued that the player had “never devoted a minute of his life to reading, studying or analysing” the contracts, El Pais newspaper reported.