Roy Hodgson

Roy Hodgson names 23-man England squad for World Cup

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On Monday England named their provisional squad for the 2014 World Cup, as manager Roy Hodgson picked a squad brimming with young talent.

The big news to come from the announcement was that veteran left back Ashley Cole missed out, as teenager Luke Shaw made the squad, while youngsters Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling were also called up.

Liverpool have five players in the squad with Steven Gerrard captaining the Three Lions and he is joined by Sterling, Glen Johnson, Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge. Manchester United have four players called up with Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck up top and Chris Smalling and Phil Jones in defense, while Southampton have three representatives as Shaw is joined by Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert. Hodgson revealed the 23 players who will be on the plane to Brazil, plus seven reserves who will be on standby if needed.

MORE: Youth over experience, England finally get it right with World Cup squad

England will travel to Portugal next week to prepare for the tournament and will then play Peru at Wembley on May 30 in a friendly. After that Hodgson must confirm his final 23-man squad by June 2 as the Three Lions will then jet off to Florida to train and play friendlies against Ecuador (June 4) and Honduras (June 7) in Miami.

The English national team will then travel to Brazil to play against Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica in the World Cup group stages with little pressure on their shoulders. Many are seeing this tournament as a stepping stone for the future and will welcome Hodgson’s decision to give youth a chance.

Here is the 23-man squad England will take to the World Cup, plus the seven men on standby:

Goalkeepers (3): Fraser Forster, Joe Hart, Ben Foster

Defenders (7): Glen Johnson, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Leighton Baines, Luke Shaw

Midfielders (9): Ross Barkley, Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Frank Lampard, Adam Lallana, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, Jack Wilshere

Strikers (4): Rickie Lambert, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck

Standby list: John Ruddy, Jon Flanagan, John Stones, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Andy Carroll, Jermain Defoe

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
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Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.

EURO 2016: Ireland shock Germany, Northern Ireland qualify

Shane Long, Ireland
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A recap of Thursday’s action in 2016 European Championship qualifying:

Ireland 1-0 Germany

Southampton striker Shane Long scored the goal that knocked off the defending world champions and pushed Ireland one step closer to next summer’s European Championship in France. Long, who entered the game in the 65th minute, latched onto Darren Randolph‘s ball over the top in the 70th minute, took one touch to settle and fired for the far post, beating Manuel Neuer for the game’s only goal.

With one game still to play, Ireland (18 points) sit third in Group D, level on points with Sunday’s opponent Poland. While the winner of Sunday’s clash could leapfrog Germany (19), they will more likely finish second in the group and qualify automatically. A draw on Sunday could still see both sides qualify automatically through the ranking of third-place finishers (the top third-place finishers from group play earns an automatic berth at EURO 2016).

Northern Ireland 3-1 Greece

Norther Ireland (20 points) topped Greece (3), 3-1 on Thursday to officially book their place at EURO 2016. Steven Davis scored twice and Josh Magennis added the third for Michael O’Neill’s side.

With one game still to play (Sunday, at Finland), Northern Ireland can finish no lower than second. A draw against Finland, or any points dropped by Romania (17) would see Northern Ireland finish top of Group F.

Portugal 1-0 Denmark

Joao Moutinho scored the only goal of the game to secure Portugal’s (18 points from just seven games) place at next summer’s tournament. The defeat sees Denmark remain second in Group I, a point ahead of third-place Albania, who lost to Serbia on Thursday. Having played all eight of their group games, Denmark can go no higher than 12 points, meaning they would fail to qualify if Albania beat Armenia on Sunday. A draw between Albania and Armenia would see Denmark qualify based on tiebreakers.

Elsewhere in EURO 2016 qualifying action

Group D

Scotland 2-2 Poland
Georgia 4-0 Gibraltar

Group F

Hungary 2-1 Faroe Islands
Romania 1-1 Finland

Group I

Albania 0-2 Serbia