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Germany edge Australia in five-goal thriller (video)

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Reigning World Cup champions Germany beat Australia 3-2 on Monday in an end-to-end encounter at the 2017 Confederations Cup.

The Group B clash in Sochi, Russia had a fast start as Lars Stindl gave a rampant German outfit the lead but a flurry of incidents at the end of the first half first saw Tommy Rogic equalize but then Julian Draxler made it 2-1 to Germany at the break.

Leon Goretzka made it 3-1 early in the second half but to their credit Australia hung in there and pulled a controversial goal back via Tomi Juric as the Video Assistant Referees (VARs) were used.

However, despite late pressure a young Germany side held on to seal victory and they now face Chile in Kazan on Thursday, while Australia meet Cameroon in Saint Petersburg.

[ STREAM: Confederations Cup live 

Germany took the lead early on as Julian Brandt surged down the right and cut the ball back for Stindl to slot home calmly. 1-0 to Germany with just five minutes on the clock.

It should have been 2-0 soon after as Goretzka’s wonderful cross found Sandro Wagner, but the Hoffenheim forward sent a diving header inches wide of the post when he should’ve done better. Brandt then got free down the right and after slipping he recovered to strike a powerful effort towards the top corner which Mat Ryan pushed wide.

Wagner then raced clear but dragged his effort wide of the far post when one-on-one with Ryan. Another opportunity missed for Germany as Australia’s defense was all over the place and Brandt then had a long-range effort pushed away by Ryan.

Australia almost leveled things up as Trent Sainsbury got free from a free kick but headed wide under no pressure at all. A huge chance wasted by the Socceroos.

Germany then missed a big chance of there own as a cross was somehow was cleared off the line, and then Australia leveled things up with Rogic drilling home at the second attempt to make it 1-1 against the run of play. Game on. Well, for a few moments anyway…

Massimo Luongo took down Goretzka three minutes after the Socceroos had drawn level to concede a penalty kick and Draxler slotted home to make it 2-1 at half time.

In the second half it took just three minutes for Germany to make it 3-1 as Goretzka once again raced free and this time he finished calmly at the near post to make it 3-1.

Just when it seemed like Germany would run away with things, Australia were back in the game and made it 3-2. A shot was spilled by Bernd Leno and Juric finished off the loose ball. The Video Assistant Referees checked the goal for offside and the goal stood despite a questionable handball in the build-up.

Australia began to dictate the tempo of the game after reducing the deficit and substitute James Troisi curled an effort towards goal but couldn’t get enough power on his shot as Leno saved.

At the other end another substitute, Timo Werner, went close as he wriggled free but the RB Leipzig man hit the post.

Juric then teed up another sub, Robbie Kruse, but his effort was saved well down low by Leno as Australia pushed hard late on for an equalizer but couldn’t find one with even Tim Cahill jumping off the bench.

Liverpool fans warned, as Roma pledges support

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There was a terrible incident in Liverpool on Tuesday when a Reds supporter was set upon by Roma fans and left in critical condition.

Sean Cox, 53, was attacked outside a pub before Liverpool’s 5-2 UEFA Champions League semifinal first leg win over AS Roma.

[ MORE: LFC 5-2 Roma | Klopp reacts ]

Liverpool has released its plans to keep supporters safe should they be among the 5,000 with tickets in Rome on Wednesday (via LiverpoolFC.com), pledging the “most comprehensive safety and security advice.”

The club has taken the exceptional measure of requesting an extraordinary meeting in the Italian capital, which will take place on Friday April 27. … At the behest of Liverpool, club officials will join AS Roma, UEFA and the relevant Italian police and security services to discuss specific ongoing concerns.

Merseyside Police chief superintendent Dave Charnock backed up Roma’s police demand that Liverpool fans without tickets skip the trip to Italy. According to the BBC, Liverpool was asked to put fans names on their tickets to the game.

“While we understand and appreciate that many Liverpool fans will want to travel to Rome, I would encourage fans who do not have tickets to not travel,” he said.

AS Roma, for its part, posted a photo of Cox with the statement, “His recovery and the safety of all fans attending football matches, is the only thing that matters now.”

Report: Gerrard on Rangers shortlist ahead of Old Firm Derby

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Could Steven Gerrard‘s first foray into management come against his old manager and in one of the most heated derbies in the world?

The BBC is reporting that the Liverpool legend is on the shortlist for Rangers as the Glaswegian side prepares to hire a new manager in its bid to reverse Celtic domination of the Scottish Premiership and the Old Firm Derby.

[ MORE: Fulham, NFL owner to buy Wembley? ]

Brendan Rodgers has engineered a marvelous run of form for Celtic, who went unbeaten in the league last season. Rodgers is also a sought-after managerial candidate for bigger jobs in Europe, and may not be at Celtic if and when Gerrard is hired by its rivals.

Either Celtic or Rangers have won the Scottish top flight title dating back to 1984-85, when champions Aberdeen were led by some guy named Alex Ferguson.

Rangers are facing a Manchester United moment this weekend, traveling to Celtic Park for a Sunday derby against Celtic which would see their rivals clinch the Premiership with a win.

Celtic has a 10-point lead on Rangers and Aberdeen, and is extremely likely to win its seventh-straight Premiership title. The record for most consecutive Scottish titles is nine, shared by Celtic (1966-74) and Rangers (1989-97).

Sweden announces Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not return for World Cup

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s public flirtation and seeming committal to returning to the Swedish national team for the World Cup was a big tease.

Whether it’s his call or not is up for debate.

The Swedish Football Association reports that it’s spoken with Ibrahimovic and the 35-year-old LA Galaxy striker has declined the chance to return to the fold.

[ MORE: Fulham, NFL owner to buy Wembley? ]

Sweden’s sporting director Lars Richt says Ibrahimovic has not changed his mind on international retirement despite his own words.

Sweden’s current team may have a role in that.

We imagine Richt and Sweden may be cushioning the blow for Ibrahimovic, especially if national team goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson is speaking on behalf of a team vibe when he speaks of Zlatan being “an individualist” who could ruin Sweden’s team-first concept.

Report: Fulham, NFL owner Khan agrees $700m price for Wembley

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Fulham owner Shad Khan also owns a National Football League team, and could have two top-flight teams from different nations playing in England soon.

For Fulham, the Cottagers are currently very much in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League and at the least will have a chance at qualifying through the playoffs.

[ MORE: TFC loses CCL Final in PKs ]

For the Jaguars, who have rarely needed all the seats in their stadium, it could mean a move to London if Khan goes through with what’s being reported as an accepted $700 million bid to buy Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium was also built with the design to host NFL games.

Here’s how ProFootballTalk’s Michael David Smith puts a bow on it (on one of the biggest days of the NFL calendar, nonetheless):

So it’s possible that there could soon be two iconic soccer stadiums in London with strong NFL ties, one which was built with NFL games in mind, and another that is owned by an NFL owner. The league is pouring serious resources into London.

It seems unlikely Khan would move Fulham from Craven Cottage, but there are other repercussions of this move for soccer in England.

There’s the potential for the England national team to no longer utlizie a permanent home, and the FA Cup and League Cup both potentially requiring new or rotating venues for their final rounds.

A lot to monitor here, and we’ll surely have all the details as they emerge from Khan’s crew.