Jermain Defoe keeps World Cup hopes alive, can Toronto’s star forward make it?

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With Jermain Defoe’s dream Major League Soccer debut for Toronto FC behind him, the clinical striker still has one huge aim on his mind: get into England’s World Cup squad.

Defoe, 31, scored twice on his TFC debut in a 2-1 away win away at Seattle over the weekend, but the former Tottenham Hotspur striker is still seen as having an outside chance of making England’s 23-man squad for the World Cup in Brazil.

Speaking to the English FA’s website, Defoe is keen to do all he can to get on the plane to Brazil. That means playing well and scoring goals for Toronto in MLS.

“I just need to play and score goals,” said Defoe.ย “To get in a World Cup squad you have to be playing. Throughout my career, people know Iโ€™ve scored a lot of goals. I think the most important thing for me is to play and score goals. I think thatโ€™s all I can do.”

(MORE: Defoe scores two goals in his first 24 Major League Soccer minutes)

And Defoe is very, very good at doing just that. Ask the Seattle Sounders defense, they found out about Defoe’s supreme poaching ability first hand on Saturday. But with MLS still looked down on by the upper echelons of English soccer and elsewhere in the world, will scoring a shed load of goals in North America be enough to get Defoe in Roy Hodgson’s squad? It should.

Being sharp, scoring goals and playing well for Toronto should definitely get Defoe in the initial 30-man squad for the Three Lions, and then the real challenge begins for the London born striker. Defoe’s competition is Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge (both dead certs) and then a group of four strikers which include Danny Welbeck, Rickie Lambert, Andy Carroll and Jay Rodriguez.

Defoe has World Cup pedigree, something Welbeck, Lambert, Carroll and Rodriguez don’t possess as Hodgson will likely take a maximum of five strikers to Brazil. TFC’s leading striker scored the winning goal for England against Slovenia in the 201o World Cup, which put the Three Lions into the last 16 in South Africa.

Can Defoe make it? Only time will tell. But the fact that he’s so fired up to get to Brazil can only be a good thing for Toronto, as Defoe’s double against Seattle in their season opener is just the start of things to come.

Ronaldo: “I always believe I am the best”

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You’ve got to appreciate the over-sized ego of Cristiano Ronaldo, even if it is deserved.

The 33-year-old Real Madrid striker was bestowed the 2017 Player of the Year award from the Portugal FA, earning 65 percent of the vote. But more than winning yet another trophy to add to his burgeoning case was what he told the media after accepting the award.

“We have to defend what is ours because there is always a Portuguese in the fight (for the top awards),” Ronaldo said, via AS. “I always believe and say that I am the best, whatever they say, and then I show it in the field. We are in the fight year after year.”

Ronaldo did score 42 goals last year for Real Madrid and has scored 18 goals in 2018 alone already for Los Blancos as the club look to go back-to-back-to-back in the UEFA Champions League.

Miazga: “We’re all ready to make an impression” with USMNT

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Last October, for reasons unknown, Matt Miazga didn’t make the U.S. Men’s National Team squad for its final two World Cup qualifiers.

Five months later, he’s risen to the top of the centerback depth chart.

[MORE: Digging into the USMNT roster]

The hulking centerback spoke on Tuesday as the USMNT started off its training camp in Cary, N.C., noting that the youth-laden squad wanted to make an impression to stay in the picture moving forward. With four years until the next World Cup and still more than a year until competitive matches, there is still plenty of shuffling and expanding of the player pool to do before then.

Have a listen to Miazga and enjoy the sights and sounds of the USMNT training camp ahead of its friendly match against Paraguay.


Banker Gaetano Micciche elected Serie A president

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MILAN (AP) Bank boss Gaetano Micciche has been elected president of Serie A.

Micciche, the president of Banca IMI, was chosen unanimously on Monday by the Italian league’s 20 clubs.

He succeeds Maurizio Beretta, who left the position nearly a year ago.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

The league has been under emergency leadership, first by former Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio then by Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago.

Malago recommended Micciche for the position.

The federation remains under emergency leadership following Tavecchio’s resignation in the wake of Italy’s failure to qualify for the World Cup.

Report: Liverpool to resist all offers for Salah

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Liverpool has a message for any club looking to sign Mohamed Salah this summer: Not gonna happen.

The Merseyside club has reportedly said it will “not sell Salah under any circumstances this summer” as the Reds look to hold off the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, according to The Telegraph. Salah’s four-goal tally against Watford on Saturday took his goal total to an incredible 28 in 32 Premier League games, with another seven goals in cup competitions.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Liverpool famously kept Barcelona – and Arsenal – off Luis Suarez after the Uruguayan striker wanted to leave in 2013, but Liverpool was only able to stop Barcelona from signing Philippe Coutinho for six months.

As things stand, Liverpool are qualified for the 2018-2019 UEFA Champions League with the club sitting in a top four Premier League place, and keeping Salah is absolutely vital if the Reds want to make a deep run in the competition and compete for a Premier League title. It remains to be seen though if Salah is happy to stay at Liverpool or if a big-money offer from Spain or France can tempt him otherwise to set himself and his family financially for life.