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UEFA World Cup qualifying: Pogba leads France, Portugal’s Silva bags three

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There were plenty of goals around Europe, including the fastest in UEFA World Cup qualifying history as the third match day continued on Monday.

[ WATCH: Pogba scores screamer ]

Wins from France and Sweden sank Netherlands outside Group A’s Top Two, while Belgium and surprising Greece remained perfect after the day’s results.

Netherlands 0-1 France

France picked up a road win in its toughest qualifier away from home of this World Cup cycle, as Paul Pogba swerved a long distance shot past Maarten Stekelenburg in a win in the Netherlands.

Laurent Koscielny was given a bizarre reprieve when he handled the same shot twice at close range, and Memphis Depay flashed a shot over the French frame as the home side pushed for an equalizer.

The three points gives France the top spot in Group A

Faroe Islands 0-6 Portugal

Andre Silva continues his big hello to international football, scoring a first half hat trick as Portugal handled its business on the road at Faroe Islands.

Silva scored in the 12th, 22nd, and 37th minutes to do the deed, as the 20-year-old Porto man is up to four senior goals in as many caps.

Cristiano Ronaldo added a goal in the 65th minute, while both Joao Moutinho and Joao Cancelo scored in stoppage time to complete the score line.

Gibraltar 0-6 Belgium

Christian Benteke scored in the game’s first 10 seconds, and completed a hat trick by the hour mark as Belgium cruised in Gibraltar. Axel Witsel, Eden Hazard, and Dries Mertens also scored.

Estonia 0-2 Greece

Bologna defender Vasilis Torosidis netted in the second minute, as resurgent Greece remains unbeaten in qualifying. Augsburg left back Konstantinos Stafylidis added insurance in the 61st minute.

Latvia 0-2 Hungary

Adam Gyurcsó scored his second international goal to help Hungary steady its qualifying ship, and Adam Szalai added a late goal to salt away the three points.

Andorra 1-2 Switzerland

Fabian Schar converted a 19th minute penalty in a tighter affair than many would’ve predicted between the Swiss and their minnow opposition. Admir Mehmedi provided the visitors with a deserved insurance goal in the 77th minute, but Alexandre Martinez Palau scored late to give some hope to Tricolors.

Sweden 3-0 Bulgaria

Three different scorers put their names on the sheet in an easy win for the Swedes.

Belarus 1-1 Luxembourg

A 43rd minute red card to Dirk Carlson had the visitors down a man for more than half of this one, but The Red Lions held on for a point despite conceding in the 80th minute to Pavel Sawicki. It was Aurelien Joachim who tied it up for the undermanned side with five to play.

Bosnia and Herzegovina 1-0 Cyprus

Edin Dzeko now has 23 more international goals than anyone in BNH history after his 70th and 80th minute markers gave him 49 for his career.

UEFA Champions League Wednesday preview: Man City, Spurs debut

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Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur begin their UEFA Champions League campaigns on very different results and with very different vibes.

City is coming off a stunning 3-2 loss to injury-hit Norwich City, and is set up in Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk for the third-straight season, a side which beat Pep Guardiola once in four tries between 2017/18 and 2018/19 in the UCL.

[ MORE: UCL Tues. wrap ]

But on Wednesday, Guardiola’s men are going to carry a similar feel to one of his old Barcelona teams, as Pep seemingly will have Fernandinho pull a Javier Mascherano and drop into the back line.

Yes, Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi are Manchester City’s hopes at center back, now that John Stones has joined Aymeric Laporte on the shelf.

“For me as a manager it’s an incredible challenge,” said Pep Guardiola. “But I believe a lot, people don’t know the spirit and resolve to solve this problem. The players going to come back with Dinho, Eric Garcia, Taylor Harwood-Bellis. … It’s happened, but what we are not going to do is complain. We have to have 11 players on the pitch and I like it, to find a solution. For the players as well to find an incredible step forward.”

Spurs, meanwhile, will simply be trying to build on any momentum gained by a 4-0 demolition of Crystal Palace at the weekend, a win which came after manager Mauricio Pochettino begged his side to “re-focus” after a relatively poor start to the season.

Now a bit more relaxed, Spurs head to Greece as the clear favorites against stingy Olympiacos. These are, after all, the finalists of last season’s tournament.

Pochettino won’t be sleeping on the challenge, from The London Evening Standard:

“They have good players and if we are not focused and don’t take our best game we are going to suffer. But last season we played in the final of Champions League, so it’s normal people think before the game, Tottenham is one step above Olympiacos but in the end you need to show it on the pitch.”

Spurs are one of two early kickoffs on Tuesday.

Full UCL Wednesday schedule

12:55 p.m. ET
Club Brugge v. Galatasaray
Olympiacos v. Tottenham Hotspur

3 p.m. ET
Bayer Leverkusen v. Lokomotiv Moscow
Paris Saint-Germain v. Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid v. Juventus
Dinamo Zagreb v. Atalanta
Bayern Munich v. Red Star Belgrade
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Manchester City

American coach Marsch speaks after landmark Champions League day

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Jesse Marsch made his UEFA Champions League debut on Tuesday, a historic first for not just the Wisconsin native but also his country.

Marsch, 45, oversaw Red Bull Salzburg’s 6-2 demolition of Genk, becoming the first American to win a UCL match as manager.

[ MORE: Champions League Tues. wrap ]

“We knew we were going into the match full of confidence,” he said, via the Salzburg site. “We knew too that we could put in a performance of this quality. I wasn’t pleased with a few situations, such as conceding for 3-1. That shows our incredible mentality though as it prompted us to give a few more percent and immediately score two goals.”

The ex-New York Red Bulls manager and RB Leipzig assistant manager got another three goals from incredible 19-year-old striker Erling Braut Haland, who nows has 17 goals in nine matches this season.

“It is an absolute joy to work with this team. We have a lot of players who just know how to battle, and that rubs off on the others. You can see that on the pitch on nights like tonight.”

There will be tougher nights ahead for Marsch, who is in a group with Liverpool and Napoli, but Tuesday was a fine start for the tactician. And it was a banner moment for American coaches abroad, who’ve been led by past and present USMNT coaches Bob Bradley and Gregg Berhalter.

Maybe one day that’ll be Marsch’s title… but it seems like he may have some loftier ground to cover on his path through world soccer.

Klopp: Liverpool made wrong decisions; Penalty also incorrect

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is going to bat for his left back after Andrew Robertson gave away what became the decisive penalty in a 2-0 loss to Napoli in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday.

“I don’t think it’s a penalty,” Klopp said. “What can I say, for me, it is clear and obvious no penalty. He jumps before any contact, we can’t change that.”

[ RECAP: Napoli 2-0 Liverpool ]

For what it’s worth: It sure seemed like both a foul on Robertson and a comical embellishment from Callejon, but we digress.

Liverpool just didn’t have it on the day, like when Sadio Mane played a terrible pass to Mohamed Salah on what could’ve been an easy 1-0 lead.

In the moments they did have it, there was Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret making a splendid save.

“We played a lot of good football but didn’t finish it off. We controlled moments but had not enough chances in the end. We made decisions that were not right and have to accept the result. It was very often the final ball that was not right.”

Also, forgive Klopp if he has stopped enjoying the beautiful country of Italy.

Lampard, Azpilicueta back Barkley after penalty drama

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Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta claims that Willian was encouraging Ross Barkley in the run-up to the latter’s ill-fated penalty attempt in a 1-0 loss to Valencia at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League.

“Ross  is one of the best penalty takers in the team and one who takes them. He had the confidence and he was unlucky hitting the bar. They were encouraging him to have the confidence to score. There was high expectation. They were trying to get him into the best condition. Hopefully next time it goes in.”

[ MORE: Recap, 3 things ]

That is genuinely amusing from cheeky and likable “Dave.” Let’s take a look at the encouragement, shall we?

Barkley is literally, repeatedly motioning and even saying, “Nah, I got this. I’ll be fine.”

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard says Barkley was the penalty taker for the game, and doesn’t see the drama in it.

“Ross is a penalty taker and is when he starts games. He took it and missed it. It is a great story to say there is contention between players. If he scores it is not a story. But he took it and missed. That is it. The disappointment to all of us is that we didn’t get chance to win the game. There is no issue in the dressing room.”

Chelsea was the superior team over 90 minutes, but that can mean so little in a tournament where winning at home can be vital to the chances of advancement.