Former England manager Fabio Capello has guided Russia to its first World Cup spot in almost a dozen years.
The final score looked a little surprising as Azerbaijan equalized late Tuesday, but the ultimate outcome was more or less expected: Russia is back into the World Cup (as Group F winner, no less) after failing to qualify for Germany 2006 or South Africa 2010.
Russia needed just a single point against Azerbaijan to book its latest spot under Capello, whose World Cup reputation was a bit in tatters following England’s unimpressive 2010 appearance.
This will be Russia’s first World Cup since 2002, when the country failed to move beyond group stage. The Russians haven’t advanced past group stage in the tournament since the 1980s, in fact, when talented teams under the old Soviet Union banner advanced into the second stage in 1982 and 1986.
Russia nearly made it to South Africa three-plus years ago but fell in a playoff to Slovenia. Capello was hired two years ago to shepherd the team successfully to Brazil, and the Russians took a bit step Tuesday when Alexander Samedov’s wonderful ball cut up the Azerbaijan back line, leaving Roman Shirokov in alone to score the telling goal. A late goal from the hosts made the final 1-1, but was still enough to book Russia’s spot and to consign Portugal.
Also worth noting here is that Russia will not play another World Cup qualifier until 2020. As hosts of World Cup 2018, the Russians qualify automatically.
The updated list of teams that have now officially qualified:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Costa Rica
- South Korea
- United States
While MLS represents the majority of the remaining clubs in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, one side continues to defy the odds.
[ MORE: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson ]
Miami FC reached their first quarterfinal in club history after knocking off Atlanta United late on Wednesday, behind a goal and an assist from Kwadwo Poku. The victory for Miami sets up a date with FC Cincinnati — who pulled off an unbelievable shootout win against the Chicago Fire.
Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution both advanced on the night with wins over the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United, respectively. The Red Bulls and Revs will meet in the final eight as well.
Sporting KC kept its hope of hoisting a fourth U.S. Open Cup title alive on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The 2015 winners will take on FC Dallas — who defeated the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.
Here are all the results from tonight’s Open Cup action.
Houston Dynamo 0-2 Sporting KC
New England Revolution 2-1 D.C. United
Miami FC 3-2 Atlanta United
New York Red Bulls 1-1 (5-3 on PKs) Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati 0-0 (3-1 on PKs) Chicago Fire
Late action (10:30 p.m. ET kick off)
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Seattle Sounders
LA Galaxy vs. Sacramento Republic
City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.
[ MORE: Are Southampton’s days of selling behind the club? ]
The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.
CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.
Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.
MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.
The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.
[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]
Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.
Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.
Minnesota United has had its shares of ups and down in its debut MLS season, but the Loons are on the verge making an exciting young signing.
[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder closing in on Los Angeles FC move ]
ESPN FC is reporting that Minnesota will sign Hearts winger Sam Nicholson from the Scottish Premier League on a deal that makes him a Loon until 2019.
The young attacker is expected to join the MLS side when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.
Nicholson, 22, has played with the Edinburgh side since his youth days, and made his senior debut with the club in 2013. During his time at Hearts, Nicholson scored 16 goals in all competitions for the team.
Last season, Nicholson missed 16 matches due to a significant knee injury.
According to the report, Scottish sides Rangers and Aberdeen were also among those interested in acquiring Nicholson, while English Championship clubs Bristol City and Barnsley also reached out about the attacker.