Getty Images

Van Persie called into Dutch squad

Leave a comment

David Villa isn’t the only former national team great to get a recall this international break.

Former Arsenal and Manchester United striker Robin Van Persie was called in by Netherlands manager Dick Advocaat, marking his return to international play, where he last made an appearance back in October of 2015.

The 34-year-old currently plays for Turkish club Fenerbahce, where he’s made a pair of league starts to little impact. He played 67 minutes in a 2-2 season opening draw against Goztepe, and then was yanked at halftime of Fenerbahce’s 2-2 draw with Trabzonspor, failing to register a goal or assist in both games.

[ MORE: Manchester United vs. Leicester City preview ]

Despite his struggles with form and fitness, Advocaat said Van Persie may the best the Netherlands has got.

“I still think he is one of the best strikers we have,” Advocaat said in the squad announcement. “He can make a very important contribution to the Dutch team.”

The Netherlands is in significant trouble in European qualification Group A, where they sit in an elimination position of third place with 10 points, three points back of both Sweden and France. The top team in the group automatically qualifies for the 2018 World Cup, while the second-place group must traverse a playoff game, or even risk straight elimination if enough points are not obtained.

Other forwards on the squad include Memphis Depay (Olympique Lyon), Bas Dost (Sporting Lisbon), Vincent Janssen (Tottenham Hotspur), Quincy Promes (Spartak Moscow), and Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich).

Since the 2014 World Cup, Van Persie has three goals for the Dutch national team in 10 appearances. He made his national team debut in 2005, garnering 101 appearances and 50 goals.

Burnley 1-0 Stoke City: Barnes’ late strike guides Clarets into top four

Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Don’t look now, but the Clarets have climbed into the Premier League top four.

Burnley found a way Stoke City late on Tuesday, picking up a 1-0 win at the Turf Moor behind Ashley Barnes‘ late finish.

[ MORE: Gremio reaches Club World Cup final, awaits Real Madrid or Al Jazira ]

The Clarets, who have now secured 31 points over their first 17 matches this season, leapfrogged Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham with the victory. However, all three sides will be in action on Wednesday.

Steven Defour nearly put Burnley ahead on 69 minutes, when the front man tested Stoke keeper Jack Butland — who had to make a sprawling save to his right.

While Stoke mustered up several quality chances, it was Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s blast in the first half that nearly found the top left corner.

Next up for Burnley will be a date against Brighton on Saturday, while Stoke travels to Huddersfield the same day.

Club World Cup wrap: Gremio reaches final, Urawa takes fifth place

Twitter/@FIFAcom
Leave a comment

One half of this year’s FIFA Club World Cup final was decided on Tuesday as Brazilian side Gremio topped Liga MX champions Pachuca.

Second-half substitute Everton proved to be the difference for the Brazilians, with the attacker scoring in extra time to lift Gremio.

[ MORE: LA FC selects Urena, four others in MLS Expansion Draft ]

Pachuca’s chances of completing a comeback were extinguished with 10 minutes remaining in extra time, as Víctor Guzman was sent off upon picking up his second yellow card of the semifinal.

Meanwhile, Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds captured fifth place in the tournament after narrowly topping Wydad Casablanca, 3-2.

Despite going behind early, Urawa responded almost immediately in the first half, before building its lead to 3-1 at the hour mark.

A late penalty kick from Reda Hajhouj gave Casablanca a glimmer of hope in the dying moments, however, the Moroccan-based club couldn’t find a way to equalize.

Gremio will await either La Liga giants Real Madrid or Al Jazira in the Club World Cup final, which will be played on Saturday. The loser of that match will take on Pachuca in the third-place game.

Below are the scores from Tuesday’s FIFA Club World Cup matches.

Gremio 1-0 Pachuca (after extra time)

Wydad Casablanca 2-3 Urawa Red Diamonds — Fifth-place match

LAFC selects Urena, 4 others in MLS Expansion Draft

Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Los Angeles FC selected five players in the MLS Expansion Draft, including Costa Rican national team star Marco Urena.

Whether they’ll make their way to the City of Angels is another story.

The first pick from general manager John Thorrington was goalkeeper Tyler Miller from Seattle Sounders.

[ MORE: Benitez on NUFC struggles ]

Going next was Latif Blessing from Sporting KC, an electric attacker who netted thrice with an assist last season.

Next was Urena from San Jose and the Costa Rican national team, a huge addition, and then Columbus left back Jukka Raitala before closing up the draft with Raheem Edwards from Toronto FC.

LAFC has already announced the signings or acquisitions of Carlos Vela, Walker Zimmerman, Carlos Alvarez, Monday Etim, and Guillermo Vizcarra.

The club will also loan Omar Gaber from Basel and Rodrigo Pacheco from Lanus.

WATCH LIVE: Three Premier League matches

AP Photo/Matt Dunham
Leave a comment

Chelsea visits the John Smith’s Stadium to face Huddersfield Town in one of three Premier League fixtures this chilly Tuesday in December (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Blues are now 14 points back of Manchester City, and three points clear of fifth place.

Meanwhile there are a pair of matches on NBC Sports Gold: Burnley looks to keep pace with its Top Four ambitions when it hosts struggling Stoke City, while in-form Crystal Palace seeks a home win that would move it out of the drop zone. In its way? Dangerous, attack-minded Watford.

Burnley vs. Stoke City — 2:45 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

Huddersfield Town vs. Chelsea — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]

Crystal Palace vs. Watford — 3 p.m. ET [ STREAM ]