Are you worried about Clint Dempsey yet? The American captain did very little upon his heralded return to Major League Soccer last season and has struggled to find any semblance of his form at Fulham.
Think we’re exaggerating? Take a look at the stellar man-marking by Dempsey that lead to the free-headed game-winning goal, embarrassing Fulham in extra time of their FA Cup ouster against League One’s Sheffield United yesterday.
And photography can play tricks, but look at this photo of Shaun Miller heading home in the 119th minute after slipping Dempsey… who is not even in the frame.
It’s poor, and comes on the heels of eight goals conceded, none created and four-straight Premier League losses with Dempsey back at Craven Cottage. Which, of course, follows one goal in 12 appearances for the Sounders.
In fact, since scoring 3 goals and posting an assist in back-to-back matches for the States against Belgium and Germany, Dempsey has appeared 24 times in total for the Yanks, Seattle and Fulham. He scored the lone goal in a 3-1 loss to Costa Rica and recorded a goal and an assist in the last two matches of October for Seattle.
That’s it for his point production, and while there’s much to be said for how, at most, only the final two players pick up tally marks on the stat sheet, there’s plenty of reason for concern here (even for a gamer like Dempsey).
He’s been backed by Fulham teammates who say he’s out to prove a point, and our own Kyle Bonn further detailed his Fulham struggles last week. Something’s gotta give for the 30-year-old.
Cause if he’s not flying in Brazil… what’s happening to the US in Group G?
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.
[ 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
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