David Moyes has turned down two offers, is willing to coach outside England

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Like many of the stars he used to manage, getting back to Champions League now appears to be the main goal of David Moyes’ soccer career. The former Manchester United manager, fired near the end of the Premier League season after 10 months on the job, says he is willing to move to Germany, Spain, or France to return to UEFA’s marquee competition, with two offers to return to management in England having already been declined.

The long-time Everton boss, on vacation in Miami, says he’s waiting for the right opportunity to return to the sidelines, according to reporting by The Guardian. Based on the criteria he laid out, however, Moyes’s best opportunities my lie overseas.

Saying last year’s spell of Champions League soccer proved what he can do in UEFA’s top tournament, Moyes said he’s willing to embrace a new challenge, his 11 years at Everton having proved what he can do in England:

“I have had a couple of opportunities to go back in and chosen not to do anything just now,” Moyes, currently on holiday in Florida, said. “I am going to look for what I feel is the right opportunity. I would like to think I proved myself over the 11-year period at Everton and what I am capable of, and the level at which I want to manage …”

“I got my real first taste of the Champions League this year and I thought I showed I can manage at that level,” he added. “I would like somewhere that would give me a chance of being in the Champions League or a club that has ambitions of being in the Champions League.

“It could be at home or abroad. I have always liked the thought of broadening my horizons and learning a bit more and at the moment I am quite comfortable watching and learning.”

Moyes hasn’t closed the door to managing in England, but that seems unlikely any time soon. Given his failure at Manchester United and the preferences of he Premier League’s other Champions League contenders, the former Toffees boss looks like a poor fit for the rest of England’s top clubs.

Moyes has an affinity for the German Bundesliga, but given his strengths, France seems like the best fit. In terms of the league’s style, Moyes’s tactics, and the type of players he prefers, the Scot could make an instant impact in Ligue 1. 

Looking across the league’s teams, however, it’s difficult to see a logical landing spot for Moyes. Lyon and Marseille just changed managers. Christophe Galtier is entrenched at Saint-Étienne. René Girard is coming off a successful first season at Lille. While Monaco, having recently looked hired Leonardo Jardim, may not see much managerial stability under Dmitry Rybolovlev, it seems unlikely the Russian billionaire would content himself with somebody who failed so dramatically at another big club.

A similar look at Germany and Spain sees a few more jobs available, but the stylistic fit isn’t as good. Perhaps that could work in his favor, should a future employer want to redefine their club. Regardless, no matter where you go among Europe’s biggest leagues, head coaching gigs with Champions League teams are going to be highly sought-after positions.

If he’s willing to expand his preferences to include Turkey, the Netherlands, Greece, and Russia, Moyes could find himself back in Champions League even sooner, with high profile, high payroll teams in those leagues potentially in better position to give the ex-United boss a shot.

 

Wasteful Poland snatches late 2-1 win at Montenegro

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Poland was in control for much of the game, but failed to finish in front of net until Borussia Dortmund full-back Lukasz Piszczek found the winner with eight minutes to go as the visitors increased their lead at the top of World Cup qualification Group E.

Robert Lewandowski put Poland in front five minutes before halftime with a brilliant free-kick that left Montenegran goalkeeper Mladen Blozovic completely baffled, but Montenegro looked sturdy at the back for much of the game and dangerous on the counter. They’d hit just past the hour mark as Stefan Mugosa headed in to level the score.

Lewandowski had a pair of massive chances in the second half, but couldn’t get either to go down as Blozovic was there to turn him away, and Montenegran defenders cleared off the line as well. Luckily for Poland, they had Piszczek who burst down the right to beat Aleksandar Sofranac, and he produced a stunning finish looped over the closing Blozovic from a tight angle, dinked off the far post, and into the back of the net.

That would do it for Montenegro who had little attacking ability outside of their countering abilities, and with Poland happy to ease out the clock, the hosts didn’t have enough.

The win pushes Poland six points clear at the top of Group E, a sizeable lead with five matches remaining. The battle for the second-place spot is tight, with Montenegro still in command on seven points, level with Denmark but ahead on goal differential. Armenia and Romania are even with six points each.

Netherlands manager Danny Blind fired after Bulgaria loss

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The Netherlands are in real trouble, and the manager has paid the price.

The Dutch national team has parted ways with Danny Blind the day after a 2-0 loss to Bulgaria left the Dutch fourth in their World Cup qualification group halfway through.

The move garnering all the headlines from Saturday’s loss was Blind’s decision to start 17-year-old defender Matthijs de Ligt. The Ajax youth product, who has just two Eredivisie starts to his credit, made two crucial errors and yanked at halftime, but the damage had been done. Spas Delev scored twice in the opening 20 minutes for Bulgaria, and that was all the home side needed as the Dutch offered little in front of goal.

Blind was also criticized for not getting Memphis Depay on the field as they chased the game. The Netherlands held 74% possession, but could only manage 3 shots on target. Depay has been in good form since his January move to Lyon, with five goals in his 10 Ligue 1 appearances.

This decision was something Blind saw coming. He told national broadcaster NOS immediately after the Bulgaria loss, “I blame myself. It can’t go on like this. Things have to change.”

“I need to think about [my future]. I do not throw the towel in here. I’m incredibly disappointed, especially since I had a good feeling about this match. It makes sense that I put myself in front of the mirror.”

However, the problems for the Dutch go far deeper than Danny Blind. They missed out on Euro 2016 largely thanks to the failed 2nd tenure for Guus Hiddink. His assistant Blind took over, but the results have been equally as poor. The Netherlands sit fourth in UEFA World Cup qualification Group A, with losses to Bulgaria and France plus a draw with Sweden. It’s not over for them though, as they sit three points back of a second place spot with five matches to go, and three of those five at home.

With the Netherlands still yet to play their friendly against Italy this coming week, former goalkeeper Fred Grim takes over on an interim basis. Grim collected 101 caps for the Netherlands, and has served as the Netherlands U-21 manager for the last two years. Before that, he took charge of his first full managerial job as head man of Dutch 2nd-tier club Almere City.

Defoe walks out Bradley Lowery, scores in England win

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Jermain Defoe’s friendship with terminally-ill Bradley Lowery has been special to watch unfold, and the Sunderland striker brought his little buddy to Wembley today.

Then he notched a match-winner.

Lowery walked Defoe out onto the field in a replica England kit before Sunday’s World Cup qualifier against Lithuania, and then Defoe scored his 20th goal for country.

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It was his first since 2013, the last year Defoe was called up for the Three Lions.

Here’s the goal, which was followed by a second-half Jamie Vardy tally as England stayed atop Group F with a 2-0 win over Lithuania.

Two Russian soccer fans stabbed in Serbia

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BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) Two Russian fans have been hospitalized with serious injuries after being stabbed following a friendly soccer match between Red Star Belgrade and Lokomotiv Moscow.

Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said Sunday police were looking for the knife-wielding perpetrators who attacked a group of Lokomotiv fans in downtown Belgrade late Saturday.

Serbian media reports said the Russian fans were attacked by supporters of Red Star’s rival Partizan Belgrade.

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The match, which Red Star won 2-1, was meant to promote Serbia’s traditional friendship with Russia.

Stefanovic says “nobody should think they could hurt the Serbian-Russian friendship” with such attacks.

Serbia has seen a surge of fan violence inside and outside stadiums. In 2009, a French football fan was fatally beaten in Belgrade.