Euro qualifying roundup: Germany stunned by Ireland; Ronaldo saves Portugal

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In another evening of gripping action across Europe plenty of big teams struggled, once again, in EURO 2016 qualifying on Tuesday.

[RELATED: Monday’s EURO 2016 roundup]

World Cup champions Germany let in a last-minute equalizer to the Republic of Ireland in Gelsenkirchen, while Northern Ireland handed Greece a shock 2-0 defeat in Athens.

Serbia vs. Albania was abandoned after severe unrest in the stands during the game, while Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Portugal to victory late on in Denmark.

Below is a brief blurb on all nine matches, as European qualifiers are now over until November. But if the past two weeks are anything to go by, next month can’t come soon enough.

GROUP D

Germany 1-1 Republic of Ireland

Toni Kroos gave the World Champions a second half lead but the Irish dug in and battled for every ball. Their never say die attitude pay dividends late on as John O’Shea popped up in stoppage time to hand the Irish a point as Germany continue to struggle. Ireland now sit top of the group on seven points with Poland, while Germany are in fourth with four points. Not good for Joachim Low.

Gibraltar 0-3 Georgia

First half goals from Gelashvili and Okriashvili set Georgia on their way, then Kankava added some gloss to the scoreline for their first win in Group D.

Poland 2-2 Scotland

Honors even in the Polish capital in a gripping match between two much-improved teams. The home side went ahead in Warsaw after Krzysztof Maczynski struck in the 11th minute but the Scots came roaring back as Anya played in Shaun Maloney to make it 1-1 soon after, then Steven Naismith gave Scotland a 2-1 lead. However, the Poles came back and equalized through Arkadiusz Milik.

GROUP E

San Marino 0-4 Switzerland

Haris Seferovic scored twice in the first half as the Swiss rolled to victory away at minnows San Marino. Switzerland lost their opening games to England and Slovenia but bounced back with a big win as Dzemaili and Shaqiri made it 4-0. Job done.

GROUP F

Faroe Islands 0-1 Hungary

Adam Szalai scored the game-winner for the Hungarians who secured their first victory in qualifying away in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Finland 0-2 Romania

Bogdan Stancu quietened the home crowd in Helsinki as Romania jumped ahead of Suomi into second place. Alexander Ring was sent off in the second half, with his red card sandwiched in-between Stancu’s strikes.

Greece 0-2 Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland are top of Group F with three wins from three to open things up. Wonderful. Derby County’s Jamie Ward scored the opener, then Kyle Lafferty added another in Athens as Claudio Ranieri continues to struggle. No wins in three for the Greece’s new manager.

GROUP I

Denmark 0-1 Portugal

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the game-winner in injury time as Portugal secured their first qualifying win. It wasn’t pretty, but you can always count on Cristiano to come up with the goods.

Serbia A-A Albania

UEFA confirmed that the match was “abandoned due to a disturbance on the pitch” as trouble broke out shortly before half time. More news on that here.

Luis Enrique to return as Spain boss five months after resigning

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Luis Enrique will be named manager of the Spanish national team on Tuesday, five months to the day after stepping down from the same position to care for his nine-year-old daughter as she battled bone cancer.

[ MORE: Van Dijk leaves Netherlands squad for “personal reasons” ]

Robert Moreno is set to step aside to make way for Enrique. Moreno was previously an assistant on Enrique’s staff and had initially been put in charge of La Roja through the 2020 European Championship.

Enrique’s daughter, Xana, passed away in late August after a five-month battle.

[ MORE: Premier League Team of the Season so far ]

Moreno managed the team during Monday’s 5-0 thrashing of Romania to complete an unbeaten EURO 2020 qualifying campaign, but the 42-year-old was seen leaving the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in tears after the game. Neither Moreno nor any of the players spoke to the media.

He previously said that he would step aside should Enrique find himself able to return. Moreno insisted that friendship came first, above all else.

Preview: USMNT’s must-win Nations League finale v. Cuba

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The scenario is simple for the U.S. men’s national team ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Cuba (7:30 p.m.ET): Gregg Berhalter’s side will finish top of Group A with a victory, and only a victory. Period. It’s as simple as that.

[ MORE: Brazil beat Mexico to win U-17 World Cup (video) ]

Friday’s victory over Canada righted the wrongs of last month’s defeat north of the border and laid the foundation for the Americans to reach the semifinals in the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League, provided they take care of business in George Town, Cayman Islands, in what is set to be the final game of Berhalter’s first calendar year in charge. Despite trailing Canada (+6 goal differential)  by three points heading into Friday, the Yanks (+8) already have the tiebreaker in their favor.

Jordan Morris, Gyasi Zardes (twice) and Aaron Long scored to give the USMNT its 4-1 triumph over their northern neighbors. More importantly, it was a largely dominant display after going 1-0 up inside two minutes and carrying a 3-0 led into halftime.

[ MORE: Premier League Team of the Season so far ]

The USMNT will once again be without Christian Pulisic (hip injury), leaving the attacking options on the roster quite thin. Morris, who got a goal and an assist against Canada, will likely start on the left again, with Sebastian Lletget and Paul Arriola playing centrally and on the right respectively. Zardes is the presumed starter up top, unless Berhalter opts for the youthful inexperience of Josh Sargent in a must-win game.

Berhalter appears to have settled on a pretty consistent backline, with Sergiño Dest and Aaron Long manning the right side and John Brooks and, at least on Friday, Tim Ream on the left. Weston McKennie’s place deep in midfield has been cemented for quite some time, but he’s partnered close to a half-dozen players alongside him this year alone. The 21-year-old Schalke midfielder was stellar against Canada, frequently starting counter-attacks and carrying the ball into the final third.

Projected USMNT lineup

I___________I
Guzan

Dest —— Long —— Brooks —— Ream

McKennie —— Roldan

Arriola —— Lletget —— Morris

Zardes

Man Utd debt climbs to $500m as club spends to halt decline

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United’s attempt to strengthen its underperforming squad has proved costly with debt rising more than 55 percent in a year to $498 million.

[ MORE: Premier League Team of the Season so far ]

The cost of signing Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James ahead of the new season in the first quarter of the financial year was around 140 million pounds.

Although United reported record revenue last season of $812 million, the New York Stock Exchange listed business is now expecting the 2019-20 figure to drop to between $725 million and $750 million.

That is due to United missing out on Champions League television and prize money after finishing sixth last season. United could miss out again with the side in seventh place, nine points behind fourth-placed Manchester City after 12 of the 38 games.

[ MORE: Van Dijk leaves Netherlands squad for “personal reasons” ]

“Our ultimate aim is to win trophies, play fast, fluid, attacking football, with a team that uses graduates from our academy along with world-class acquisitions,” United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said. “We know this will not be achieved overnight, however we have made investments across the club that we believe will set us on the right path.

“We know our academy is a strong competitive advantage and an area we will continue to invest in as it is at the heart of the club.”

EURO 2020: Spain, Sweden finish top; Norway, Romania reach playoffs

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MADRID — Spain finished its qualifying campaign for the 2020 European Championship with a 5-0 rout of Romania in what could have been the farewell match for coach Robert Moreno on Monday.

Moreno did not show for the post-match interview and there were widespread reports in Spanish media he would not continue at the helm of “La Roja.”

The Spanish soccer federation did not immediately say why the coach did not talk to the media. It said a news conference was scheduled for Tuesday.

Moreno took over the job after Luis Enrique resigned in March to take care of his sick daughter. Moreno had been Luis Enrique’s assistant until then.

Gerard Moreno scored twice for the hosts, who had already secured a spot in the tournament but needed the victory to be among the top-seeded teams in the draw this month.

Spain also got on the scoreboard through Fabian Ruiz, Mikel Oyarzabal, and an own-goal by Romanian defender Adrian Rus.

“It was important to finish with the three points in front of our crowd,” said Ruiz, who scored his first goal with the national team. “We need to keep this same dynamic going into the Euros next year.”

Spain ended as the Group F winner with eight wins and two draws, at Norway and Sweden. “La Roja” finished five points in front of second-placed Sweden.

Romania, which had already been eliminated, ended in fourth place with four victories and two draws in 10 matches.

Spain, coming off routing Malta 7-0 in Cadiz, outscored its opponents 31-5.

It was in control from the start on Monday, with Romania threatening only a few times in front of a crowd of 36,198 at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, including many Romanians.

Ruiz opened the scoring from close range in the eighth minute, and Moreno added his goals with a header in the 33rd and strike from the six-yard line in the 43rd.

Rus found his own net while trying to intercept a cross into the area in first-half stoppage time, and Oyarzabal closed the scoring with a left-footed shot from outside the box in second-half injury time.

It was the second Spain match at Atletico’s Metropolitano stadium, the other a 6-1 rout of Argentina ahead of last year’s World Cup.