Sherwood unfazed by speculation, as Tottenham boss impresses with passion

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LONDON, England — As the rain teamed down at White Hart Lane early in Tottenham’s 5-1 win against Sunderland, Spurs manager Tim Sherwood sat on the edge of his seat on the bench tentatively, like a cat on a hot tin roof.

Slumping back into his seat time and time again, jumping up and down, remonstrating with the referee, swearing excessively, getting involved with fans and doing it all with a smile on his face, Sherwood enjoyed his night despite all the recent pressure being piled on top of him.

Earlier on Monday it was reported that Sherwood will be let go as Tottenham manager at the end of the season, responding to questions about his future, the Spurs boss remains defiant he’s the right man for the job.

“Nothing has changed, I have had a chat about next season, players I’ve identified for next season and preseason plans. Nothing has changed,” Sherwood said.

Responding to further questions about the uncertainty around his future, Sherwood isn’t fazed by it. Not at all.

“The uncertainty has always been there, you can’t stop speculation. It has always been there from the moment I took over to where we are now,” Sherwood said. “It’s up to the football club to answer those questions. I am going to be professional and worry about the players on the pitch and getting the best out of them between now and the end of the season. I am more than capable of doing that.”

(MORE: Three things we learned from Tottenham’s win vs. Sunderland)

With manager’s such as Louis van Gaal reportedly lined up to replace Sherwood in the summer — with the former Spurs captain only handed an 18-month deal back in January — it seems like Chairman Daniel Levy isn’t 100 percent certain on what Sherwood’s no-nonsense character brings to the table. He has had a wonderful start to life in the PL, there’s no disputing that. The 45-year-old has won 10 of his 17 games in charge of Spurs since taking over from Andre Villas-Boas, and has the best winning percentage of any Spurs manager in PL history. But somehow his face doesn’t quite fit, as it’s inevitable that a new manager will be at the helm at White Hart Lane next season.

Asked whether Tottenham are entitled to look for a new manager, while he is still in charge, Sherwood had the following to say.

“I think every club are always looking for the next one,” Sherwood said. “It’s the same with players, you always look for someone to possibly come in and replace the player. I don’t know if this club has been doing that, I have no idea. All I know is that any question regarding my employment, you have to ask my employers.”

(MORE: Tottenham 5-1 Sunderland – Eriksen all-world at White Hart Lane)

Tottenham’s players put in a top performance for Sherwood, as they hammered Sunderland and had 29 efforts on goal in a completely dominant display. When Emmanuel Adebayor scored his second, he ran to Sherwood and saluted Spurs’ boss… Sherwood saluted back with a cheeky smile on his face. The players seem to love playing for Sherwood, does he get the feeling that they are backing him 100 percent?

“I think they are, I’m backing them as well,” Sherwood said defiantly. “What they get from me is honesty, they know when they don’t do it. I tell them. But when they do well, I pat them on the back. It works both ways, and that is healthy. I always wanted honesty from my managers, sometimes I never got it.”

Will Sherwood get honesty from his chairman and those who decide his future? That’s the least he deserves, as speculation around his future continues to spiral out of control.

Sweden players, coaches left fuming after last-minute loss

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SOCHI, Russia (AP) — A last-minute goal. A non-called penalty. A disrespectful celebration.

Sweden had a lot to be upset about when the final whistle blew on Saturday.

[ MORE: Low: Germany survived “a thriller full of emotion” ]

The Swedes were within seconds of holding defending champion Germany to a draw, and moving into good position to advance to the round of 16 at the World Cup, when Toni Kroos scored deep into stoppage time to give Germany a 2-1 come-from-behind victory.

“I’m sorry that we didn’t get at least one point,” Sweden coach Janne Andersson said. “But I’m not blaming anyone tactically or analyzing too much right now, there are so many emotions going around. This is probably the heaviest conclusion that I’ve experienced in my career.”

Kroos’ goal from a set piece came in the fifth and final minute of injury time. The draw would have kept Sweden ahead of Germany in Group F and needing only a draw against Mexico in the last match.

[ MORE: Germany snatches late win over Sweden to avoid elimination ]

“It was just bad luck,” Sweden forward John Guidetti said. “Now we need to try to find a way to win the last match. In a few days we play again and we have to win it. It’s simple.”

Germany, which is tied with Sweden on points and goal difference, will play against South Korea in the final round.

“We still have an excellent opportunity to qualify,” Andersson said. “Now we have to clean up, tidy up after this game. We’re going to do that.”

The Swedes were leading Germany at halftime thanks to Ola Toivonen’s goal in the 32nd minute at Fisht Stadium. They felt they could have been ahead even earlier if the referee had called a penalty when Marcus Berg appeared to be fouled inside the area with a clear chance to score. There was no formal video review called for.

“If we have the (VAR) system, it’s very unfortunate that he (the referee) can feel so secure in the moment that he doesn’t go and have a look at the situation,” Andersson said.

He and the Swedish players said they also couldn’t understand why Germany decided to celebrate near their bench.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

“You shouldn’t celebrate in front of our bench the way they did, that’s disrespectful,” Guidetti said. “You can celebrate with your own fans. Don’t celebrate in front of our bench like that. That’s why they apologized, because they knew they did something wrong.”

Andersson said he was “very annoyed” by seeing the Germany team “running in our direction and rubbing it in our faces by making gestures.”

“We fought hard for 95 minutes,” he said. “And when the final whistle blows, you shake hands.”

WATCH: World Cup, Day 11 — England, Colombia back in action

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Day 11 of the 2018 World Cup is up next, on Sunday, with England back in action and in need of three points — and a resounding win — to keep pace with Belgium in Group G.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Following Belgium’s 5-2 thrashing of Tunisia — the same side that England beat in stoppage time earlier in the week — on Saturday, the Red Devils have positioned themselves perfectly to win the group with a draw against the Three Lions on Thursday. England need a five-goal victory at 6-1 or higher to the finish top of the group following a draw on the final day.

Then, it’s a pair of Group H fixtures, kicked off with Japan (1st) versus Senegal (2nd) — both of whom won their first game — followed by Poland (3rd) versus Colombia (4th).

Below is Sunday’s schedule in full.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


2018 World Cup schedule – Sunday, June 24

Group G
England vs. Panama: Nizhny Novgorod, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group H
Japan vs. Senegal: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Poland vs. Colombia: Kazan, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

FIFA opens case against Xhaka, Shaqiri for celebrations

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FIFA’s disciplinary committee opened disciplinary proceedings against Swiss players Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri for politically charged goal celebrations during their 2-1 World Cup win over Serbia in Kaliningrad.

[ MORE: The meaning behind Xhaka, Shaqiri’s eagle celebration ]

FIFA also said Saturday it has opened disciplinary proceedings against the Serbian Football Association for crowd disturbance and the display of political and offensive messages by Serbian fans. FIFA also is reviewing statements that Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic made after the match.

Xhaka and Shaqiri celebrated their goals by making a nationalist symbol of their ethnic Albanian heritage. Both of their families come from Kosovo, the former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008. Serbia doesn’t recognize Kosovo’s independence and relations between the two countries remain tense.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

The Polish Football Association was fined $10,100 and given a warning by FIFA’s disciplinary committee for a banner that the governing body deemed political and offensive. The banner was displayed during Senegal’s 2-1 win over Poland on Tuesday in Moscow.

The committee also opened disciplinary proceedings against the federations of Argentina and Croatia for crowd disturbances during Croatia’s 3-0 win Thursday at Nizhny Novgorod.

Low: Germany survived “a thriller full of emotion”

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At 1-0 down, they were headed for elimination in the group stage (with a game still to play); once level at 1-1, they faced yet a steep hill to climb on the final day of the group stage; after Toni Kroos scored his stunning 94th-minute winner, Joachim Low could finally exhale and imagine himself managing the German national team for another day.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Sweden at the 2018 World Cup was, for most intents and purposes, a worrying performance for the defending world champions. Fortunately for Low and Co., the one place in which their comeback dramatic victory was a raging success is the only one that matters: the Group F table, where Die Mannschaft currently (somehow) sit second and control their own destiny — quotes from the BBC:

“This was a thriller, full of emotion, right up until the final whistle. Brandt hit the goal post just three minutes before the end too. We took out a defensive player and brought on an attacking player because we knew had to bring on everything we had to turn it round.

“We had a couple of great chances — Mario Gomez’s header being one of them. The last couple of minutes were full of drama but those matches exist in football. We’ve had these situations in other tournaments as well. For the viewers that’s part of the attractiveness of football.”

“Something I did appreciate today was that we didn’t lose our nerve, we didn’t panic after going a goal down. We kept a level head and said we needed to make quick passes and tire the Swedes out to open up spaces.

“We didn’t score a couple of good chances but we never lost hope we could win the match and I think the goal scored in stoppage time had a bit of luck involved but it did show the belief we had in ourselves.”

There’s still plenty of work to do for one of the most popular pre-tournament favorites — there’s a little matter of needing to beat, or at the very least, best Sweden’s result against Mexico — but that can wait until tomorrow, because Saturday unexpectedly became all about survival.