Oriol Rosell

Sporting Kansas City’s Oriol Rosell recalled by Catalonia national team

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Sergio Busquets will be there. So will Gerard Piqué and Cesc Fábregas. When Catalonia takes the field on Monday against Cape Verde, eight Barcelona players will be in uniform as the autonomous region plays a rare international match, with one young Major League Soccer talent getting a surprise opportunity to join them.

Oriol Rosell, who just completed an MLS Cup-winning campaign with Sporting Kansas City, was called into to the 22-man squad, a team that also features Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Sergio Garcia (Espanyol) and Joan  Capdevilla (Espanyol).

The match, to be played at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys in Barcelona, is the team’s first game since a Jan. 2 draw against Nigeria, and while Catalonia (part of Spain) is not recognized by FIFA, the recall still puts Rosell in select company. Only one other player in the squad plays outside the Spanish Primera Division, with Barcelona loanee Bojan Krkic currently playing at Ajax.

“It will be an amazing experience to play with these players,” Rosell told Sporting Kansas City’s web site. “They have a lot of quality and are some of the best in the world … I always say I’m from Catalonia and now to be with the first team with those great players will be a very emotional experience for me.”

Rosell is a former Barcelona youth product, but he has no international experience. Eligible to play for Spain, he has never been recalled to a national team, be it on the youth or senior level. After this second year in Kansas City, however, the defensive midfielder has drawn the attention of the Catalonia Football Federation, with new coach Gerard López choosing to honor him with a recall.

“I am happy that Uri will have the opportunity to play alongside some of the world’s best players,” Sporting head coach Peter Vermes explained. “[T]his is a great way for Uri to cap off what’s been an excellent year for him.”

In his first full season in Major League Soccer, Rosell started 31 games and recorded a goal and two assists. Replacing Julio Cesar at the base of Sporting’s midfield, the 21-year-old was a key part of Vermes’ MLS Cup winning squad, though Rosell had to leave Dec. 7’s championship game early with an injured foot.

Now he rejoins the likes of Sergi Roberto, Christian Tello, Marc Bartra, and Martín Montoya – fellow Catalan recalls who have recently graduated from La Masia.

EURO 2016: Who’s headed to France?

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - OCTOBER 10: Volkan Sen of Turkey in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group A Qualifier match between Czech Republic and Turkey at Letna Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Prague, Czech Republic. (Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)
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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.

Group A

  1. Czech Republic
  2. Iceland
  3. Turkey (automatically qualified as best third-place side)

Group B

  1. Belgium
  2. Wales
  3. Bosnia and Herzegovina (qualified for play-off)

Group C

  1. Spain
  2. Slovakia
  3. Ukraine (qualified for play-off)

Group D

  1. Germany
  2. Poland
  3. Republic of Ireland (qualified for play-off)

Group E

  1. England
  2. Switzerland
  3. Slovenia (qualified for play-off)

Group F

  1. Northern Ireland
  2. Romania
  3. Hungary (qualified for play-off)

Group G

  1. Austria
  2. Russia
  3. Sweden (qualified for play-off)

Group H

  1. Italy
  2. Croatia
  3. Norway (qualified for play-off)

Group I

  1. Portugal
  2. Albania
  3. Denmark (qualified for play-off)

EURO 2016: Dutch disaster as Netherlands fail to qualify

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 13:  Robin van Persie of the Netherlands (19) reacts during the UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group A match between the Netherlands and the Czech Republic at Amsterdam Arena on October 13, 2015 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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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.

[ RELATED: David de Gea fighting for starting goalkeeper position with Spain ]

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

Group A

Turkey 1-0 Iceland
Latvia 0-1 Kazakhstan

Group B

Belgium 3-1 Israel
Wales 2-0 Andorra
Cyprus 2-3 Bosnia and Herzegovina

Group H

Bulgaria 2-0 Azerbaijan