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Southgate says Kane can be as good as Messi or Ronaldo

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England head coach Gareth Southgate says Harry Kane continually compares himself to Lionel Messi’s and Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal tallies, and believes he can reach those heights.

The Tottenham striker scored twice in the 4-0 England win over Malta on Friday, and he has five goals in his last three international matches. That gives him eight goals in just 19 caps, a furious pace should he keep it up through the next few years.

“He’s in top form,” Southgate said of Kane ahead of England’s next qualifier against Slovakia, “but he’s also got the mentality to want to be the best. He knew this morning how many goals in games he had, and also how many Ronaldo and Messi had at this point. He’s driven to be one of the world’s best. Why can’t that happen moving forward?”

Obviously there’s a long way to go, but Kane’s current pace is just behind Ronaldo’s 78 goals in 144 caps, and nearly even with Messi’s 58 goals in 118 caps. The Telegraph points out that Kane’s total career goals are just slightly behind Ronaldo at the same age, and a good distance behind Messi at that stage. According to Southgate, Kane knows all the numbers, international and overall, and at his young age, he could have a long, productive career ahead.

“We’re still talking about a 24-year-old, so there’s still much more to come from him. Alan [Shearer] was 25/26 when he was top scorer in [Euro] 96. Harry is still in the early stages of his career, but was top-scorer in the league two years running and is in a really good place.”

Kane will also only go as far as his team will take him. In Shearer’s days, England was at the top of the world rankings and reaching the latter stages of tournaments, allowing him more games to reach milestones. In Euro 1996, Shearer was able to be top scorer because England reached the semifinals. Kane and England, meanwhile, were knocked out of Euro 2016 in the Round of 16, while Ronaldo and Portugal won the tournament, allowing Cristiano to reach 5 goals, one off Antoine Griezmann’s lead.

“You’ve got to have that drive and belief, and that’s what he’s got,” Southgate said of Kane. “He had that when we weren’t picking him in the Under-21s. He’d come and say: ‘Hold on a minute, why? What’s the rationale?’ I never minded that self-belief. He’s doing that for Spurs, and now in the biggest matches.”

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

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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

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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

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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

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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 ]