International friendly roundup: Italy, France ride impressive results into next week’s Euro 2016 qualifiers

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Italy 2, Netherlands 0 – Guus Hiddink’s return to the Netherlands’ traditional 4-3-3 setup saw terrible early returns, with a third minute goal from Ciro Immobile and a ninth minute red card to Bruno Martins Indi ending the Oranje’s chances early. When Daniele De Rossi converted from the spot (after Martins Indi’s foul), the game was practically decided, with Antonio Conte cruising in his Azzurri coaching debut.

Italy opens Euro 2016 qualifying on Tuesday against Norway, while the Netherlands visits the Czech Republic.

France 1, Spain 0 – A Spain side that saw David de Gea, Daniel Carvajal, Mikel San Jose, and Raul Garcia get starts was held without a shot on target, with Loic Remy’s 73rd goal giving Les Bleus a 1-0 win at Stade de France. Valencia’s Paco Alcaácer came on in the 67th minute for his international debut.

Spain opens its qualifying campaign on Monday against Macedonia. France plays a friendly in Serbia.

Belgium 2, Australia 0 – Tim Cahill started up top for a Socceroos side that went behind early in Liège, giving up an 18th minute goal to Napoli’s Dries Mertens. Thirteen minutes from time, a long distance shot from Axel Witsel doubled the Red Devils’ lead, capping a strong showing for a team missing Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku.

Australia faces Saudi Arablia in a friendly on Monday, while Belgium’s Euro qualifier in Israel has been postponed.

Bosnia and Herzegovina 3, Liechtenstein 0  – Returning to the field after a disappointing exit in Brazil, the home side went up in the first minute through Vedad Ibisevic. The Hoffenheim striker added his second in the 14th minute, with Edin Dzeko ending the game’s scoring 10 minutes later.

Bosnia and Herzegovina begins Euro 2016 qualifying Tuesday against Cyprus, while Liechtenstein does the same on Monday in Russia.

Croatia 2, Cyprus 0 – New Atlético striker Mario Mandzukic scored early in each half during a dominant performance by Croatia, even if that dominance failed to make its way onto the scoresheet.

Croatia starts its qualification tournament on Tuesday against Malta, while Cyprus will be in Zenica to face Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Other scores

Iraq 0, Peru 2
Slovakia 1, Malta 0
Sweden 2, Estonia 0
China 3, Kuwait 1
Belarus 6, Tajikistan 1

Follow Live – Texas Derby, Cascadia Cup headline busy night of MLS action

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Welcome to MLS Rivalry Week.

The surging Houston Dynamo could move to first place in the Western Conference with a win over rivals FC Dallas while the current first-place side, the Seattle Sounders travel north and across the border to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

The Dynamo have made an impressive turnaround under coach Wilmer Cabrera and he’ll have the trio of Ricardo Clark, Alberth Elis and star forward Erick Torres available to face Dallas after missing the Dynamo’s match at Vancouver last weekend, which ended 2-1 in favor of the Whitecaps.

FC Dallas are in its worst form of the season, winless in its last four games, but the team will be extra motivated to beat its rivals.

El Capitan is on the line after draws between FC Dallas and the Dynamo in two matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile up in Vancouver, the Whitecaps host a Sounders squad that pulled out a last-gasp victory last weekend over Minnesota United. While the team is in great form on the road recently (two wins and two draws), the top story heading into the game is the unexpected absence of Joevin Jones, who left the Sounders for his home in Trinidad and Tobago ahead of the upcoming international break.

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On the other side, Fredy Montero faces his former club and carries an interesting record into Wednesday’s match. Of his 35 MLS goals, 11 have been scored against Cascadia Cup competition.

Here’s a look at Wednesday’s action:

Full schedule

Columbus Crew vs. LA Galaxy – 7:30 p.m. ET

D.C. United vs. Atlanta United – 7:30 p.m.ET

FC Dallas vs. Houston Dynamo – 8 p.m. ET

Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union – 8 p.m. ET

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes – 10 p.m. ET

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders – 10 p.m. ET

Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids – 10:30 p.m. ET

UCL Playoff Wrap: Liverpool, Sporting CP, CSKA advance to group stage

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It was another memorable European night for Liverpool in front of the Kop at Anfield.

Lifted by three goals in the opening 21 minutes, the Reds cruised to a 4-2 win over Hoffenheim 1899 in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League playoff stage Wednesday evening. With the win, Liverpool returns to the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2014-2015 season.

[ MORE: Champions League scores ]

Sadio Mane set up Emre Can twice and both Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino chipped in with goals of their own to lead Liverpool to victory. After Can’s double and Salah’s goal gave Liverpool a three-goal lead, Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann brought Mark Uth off the bench onto the field and he promptly scored in the 28th minute to draw within two.

Firmino again put Liverpool ahead by three goals with a goal into an open net in the 63rd minute. Hoffenheim recorded a consolation goal in the 79th minute through Sandro Wagner but Liverpool was resolute and held on for victory.

Liverpool, and the rest of the winning clubs, will learn their fates for the group stage on Thursday.

Here’s a look at the rest of the Champions League playoff scores:

Slavia Prague 0-0 APOEL (APOEL advances 2-0 on aggregate)

FC Copenhagen 2-1 Qarabag FK (Qarabag advances on away goals, 2-2 on aggregate)

FCSB (Steaua București) 1-5 Sporting CP (Sporting CP advances 5-1 on aggregate)

CSKA Moscow 2-0 BSC Young Boys (CSKA advances on aggregate, 3-0)

VIDEO: A sneak peek of Everton’s Europa League journey – Part 2

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In Part 2 of Everton Unseen, European football returns to Goodison Park as Everton host MFK Ruzomberok in the qualifying round of the Europa League.

Click play on the video below to get a feel for how Goodison Park will be in the second leg of the Europa League in Part 2 of this videos series.

[ MORE: Live Europa League scores

[ WATCH: Part 1 of Everton Unseen ] 

http://www.nbcsports.com/video/everton-unseen-part-2-everton-host-mfk-ruzomberok-europa-league

FIFA to send in emergency team to run Cameroon football

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA says it is sending in an emergency management team to run the troubled Cameroon football federation.

The panel to be appointed by FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will oversee elections by next March to replace disputed polls in 2015 for the Cameroon federation board.

FIFA’s intervention comes amid speculation Cameroon could be stripped of hosting the next African Cup of Nations in June-July 2019.

CAF President Ahmad this month cast doubt on Cameroon’s ability to prepare for the expanded 24-team tournament.

FIFA says Wednesday it acted after “recent failed attempts … to reconcile the football stakeholders in Cameroon and overcome the current impasse.”