Chiriches, Sandro to miss Tottenham’s U.S. tour

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Tottenham Hotspur will be in Seattle on Saturday for a friendly against the Sounders, but when Spurs take CenturyLink Field, neither midfielder Sandro nor defender Vlad Chiriches will be with Mauricio Pochettino’s team. Hampered by a virus, Sandro has been left out of the traveling squad, while a lower back problem means Chiriches may miss out on Tottenham’s North American tour.

Tottenham made the announcement on its website on Thursday, with matches at Toronto and Chicago looming after the team’s done in Seattle. The three-game, eight-day trip leaves no time for Sandro or Chiriches to rejoin the squad.

From the club’s website:

Vlad Chiriches and Sandro have been withdrawn from the travelling party for the pre-season tour of the United States and Canada.

Romania defender Vlad has been complaining of stiffness in his lower back and is continuing to be assessed to determine the extent of the problem, while Sandro is recovering from a virus and has been kept behind on medical advice to avoid the risk of spreading the infection.

The rest of the squad arrived in Seattle on Thursday, with the club releasing a series of images from Sea-Tac airport on its website.

As would be expected, a number of Spurs players are experiencing the United States for the first time. Midfielder Christian Eriksen:

“I’ve never been to America before, so I’ve a lot to see and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve always wanted to go there, maybe on a holiday, but now I’m going with the team and I’ll see what it’s all about.”

Spurs will return home for friendlies against Celtic and Schalke before starting the Premier League season Aug. 16 at Wast Ham United.

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

Jurgen Klopp announced as new Liverpool manager

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool FC
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Enough with the speculation and reports already, because it’s finally officially official: Jurgen Klopp has been appointed the newest manager of Liverpool Football Club, the Merseyside club announced on Thursday.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Klopp will be unveiled to the world at an introductory press conference at Anfield on Friday.

According to early reports, Klopp’s three-year contract could pay him as much as $10 million per season.

[ QUOTE KING: Top 10 “Klopp-isms” from his time at Dortmund ]

The 48-year-old German has been out of work since stepping down at Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund following a seventh-place finish to the 2014-15 season. Klopp’s seven seasons in charge of Dortmund weren’t without success and silverware, though, as he led Der BVB to back-to-back league titles in 2011 and 2012, a German Cup triumph in 2012 and a UEFA Champions League final appearance in 2013.

PST’s Joe Prince-Wright will be at Anfield on Friday for Klopp’s unveiling, so be sure to follow JPW on Twitter and check back to PST for wall-to-wall coverage of Klopp’s first press conference as Liverpool manager.