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UEFA World Cup qualifying: England listless in Slovenia; Montenegro flying

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There were far fewer goals in Tuesday’s batch of UEFA World Cup qualifiers, as traditional names struggled in Europe.

[ MORE: Bradley on Serie A rumors ]

England will be left scratching their heads after a poor performance but fine point, while surprising Montenegro now leads its group after three match days.

Denmark 0-1 Montenegro

Dynamo Moscow striker Fatos Beqiraj scored his seventh international goal, and Montenegro won despite Denmark’s healthy advantage in shot attempts. Romania’s draw means Montenegro sits atop Group E.

Slovenia 0-0 England

Turns out the problem wasn’t Wayne Rooney alone.

England played another tricky qualifier, and would’ve been down 1-0 if not for a phenomenal second half save from Joe Hart.

Hart was injured on the play, but stayed in the game to bail out Three Lions on several occasions.

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England was sloppy, and Danny Rose and Daniel Sturridge misfired late on rare occasions that saw the side provide genuine threats to the Slovenian goal.

And it was Rooney’s 78th minute shot off the bench, wearing No. 18, that seemed to put England in control. And Manchester United teammate Jesse Lingard forced a terrific save out of Atletico Madrid backstop Jan Oblak.

Poland 2-1 Armenia

Despite a 30th minute red card to Marseille back Gael Andonian of the visitors, Poland only found the net via an own goal in 90 minutes. Both of those goals came just after halftime in a match that saw the hosts attempt nearly 20 more shots. One of those came from Robert Lewandowski in the fifth minute of stoppage, and Poland scraped by with a win.

Slovakia 3-0 Scotland

Zenit Saint Petersburg winger Robert Mak scored twice for the hosts, then crossed for Adam Nemec to head home in the 68th minute.

Germany 2-0 Northern Ireland

Julian Draxler and Sami Khedira scored goals in a four-minute span to give the Germans a two-goal lead well before halftime.

Norway 4-1 San Marino

If you Google the name Stefanelli, you’ll find pages of results before you get to Mattia Stefanelli. There’s a candy shop, a meteorologist, a chef, a politician, and even a Maryland running back.

But this Stefanelli provided an equalizer on San Marino’s only shot on target of the first hour of play in Norway on Tuesday, and surely his countryman care more deeply about this than how many yards the Terps get on the ground this weekend.

[ MORE: Klinsmann wants no change in WC qualifying ]

Unfortunately for the minnows, Hull City striker Adama Diomande snapped Norway back into the flow and West Ham teenage starlet Martin Samuelsen gave the hosts insurance five minutes later. Another Premier Leaguer, Bournemouth’s Joshua King, scored late to further ice the match.

Lithuania 1-0 Malta

Fiodor Černych scored in the 75th minute to help the hosts to all three points, and Arvydas Novikovas added the insurance goal.

Kazakhstan 0-0 Romania

Three total shots on target in this barnburner.

Czech Republic 0-0 Azerbaijan

Robert Prosinečki’s charges continue fine qualifying run with huge road point.

Haiti stuns Costa Rica to claim Group B at Gold Cup

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Poetic justice, put it in a Song.

Haiti’s Djimy Alexis made up for his early own goal by scoring a deserved winner as Haiti won Group B of the Gold Cup with an upset of Costa Rica on Monday.

[ ROUNDUPS: AFCON | Copa America ]

Los Ticos got everything they could handle from the upstart Gombey Warriors, who are now 3-0 on the tournament, and the World Cup mainstays tossed aside their early lead to meet Mexico in the quarterfinals.

Haiti will challenge Canada in the quarters, guaranteeing the semifinals an intriguing participant.

An early own goal had Costa Rica in control, but Duckens Nason’ 16th international goal was a part of a hard charge from the Haitians in the second half.

The other match saw Bermuda earn a 2-0 win over Nicaragua via goals from Lejuan Simmons and QPR’s Nakhi Wells. That gives the Gombey Warriors a 1-2 record while dropping Nicaragua to 0-3.

Bermuda was ranked 174th by FIFA to Nicaragua’s 129, but that will certainly change next month.

AFCON wrap: Diaby’s sensational rip highlights trio of matches

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The Africa Cup of Nations said hello to six more competitors on Monday, with a thrilling goal amongst the eight tallied across the competitions in Egypt.

[ MORE: Copa America roundup ]


Mali 4-1 Mauritania

Two different men named Adama Traore — neither of them the Wolves winger — joined Moussa Marega on the score sheet but it’s difficult to describe the class and small margins that defined the tournament’s goal of the day.

Sporting Lisbon’s Abdoulay Diaby somehow got this shot off through two defenders and into the upper reaches of the goal to open the scoring in the three-goal win for Mali, which is having some summer when you take into account the U-20 World Cup.

Ivory Coast 1-0 South Africa

There were only 13 total attempts in the game, and Aston Villa’s Jonathan Kodija scored the lone goal of a tournament opening win for Les Elephants.

Tunisia 1-1 Angola

A draw was probably fair, as Youssef Msakni’s first half penalty was met by Djalma Campos’ late goal to split the spoils in Group E.

Copa America roundup: Uruguay tops Chile; Full knockout bracket

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Ecuador and Japan drew to allow Paraguay to sew up the final knockout round spot, sending Miguel Almiron and Co. into a match-up with Brazil.

[ MORE: Johannsson to MLS? ]

And Uruguay rode Edinson Cavani’s goal into the other side of the bracket, moving ahead of Chile in a tight match.

Ecuador 1-1 Japan

There was a lot to like in a match with 30-plus shots and the ultimate prize of a match-up with Brazil on Thursday in Porto Alegre.

Shoya Nakajima put the Asian side ahead a quarter-hour into the match, but Angel Mena provided an equalizer before halftime to put both sides in danger of failure to reach the knockout rounds.

Chile 0-1 Uruguay

Cavani scored for the second time this tournament as Uruguay claimed first place in Group A and a knockout round meeting with Peru.

Cavani’s deftly flicked header of a Jonathan Rodriguez pass pushed Uruguay above Chile, which had won both of its group matches and now meets Colombia on Friday.

Knockout round schedule

June 27
Brazil v. Paraguay

June 28
Venezuela v. Argentina
Colombia v. Chile

June 29
Uruguay v. Peru

July 2
Brazil/Paraguay v. Venezuela/Argentina
Colombia/Chile v. Uruguay/Peru

July 6
Third place playoff

July 7
Final

Norwich City adds Switzerland international Drmic on free transfer

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Norwich City has added a new star striker to a unit which produced 93 goals in the Championship last season.

Josip Drmic will join Swiss national teammate Timm Klose with the Canaries for the next three seasons, hoping to bring his Bundesliga and international experience to a Premier League safety campaign.

[ MORE: Johannsson to MLS? ]

Drmic turns 27 next month, and scored two goals in five appearances for Borussia Monchengladbach last season. He has 31 goals and seven assists in 107 Bundesliga appearances between Gladbach, Hamburger SV, Bayer Leverkusen, and Nurnberg.

Coach Daniel Farke got 30 goals from target forward Teemu Pukki, who plays a similar role to Drmic and has plenty of top flight experience with Celtic and Schalke amongst others.

Drmic can also operate on the wing, usually left over right, and has featured in both the 2014 and 2018 World Cup. From Canaries.co.uk:

“I’m going to do everything and give 100% on the pitch. I will be ready to give everything for the club. My job is scoring but I also want to help my team and help us be successful.

“When I first came to Norwich, the first thing I noticed was how kind everybody was. It’s given me a lot of positive energy and I’m excited to see what happens.”

Between Pukki and Drmic, Norwich can have faith that its well-prepared to have an answer up top.