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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.

[ MORE: Analyzing Bob Bradley to Swansea ]

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.

FOLLOW LIVE, Gold Cup: USMNT closes out group v. Panama

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It’s a fully-changed starting XI for the U.S. Men’s National Team as it closes out the group stage against Panama at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

Omar Gonzalez and Matt Miazga start together in the backline, Jozy Altidore returns to the starting lineup up top, and Jordan Morris and Jonathan Lewis feature on the wings alongside Altidore. Ten of the 11 players now ply their trade in MLS, including the Gonzalez, who recently moved to Toronto FC.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: USMNT takes on Panama in Kansas City]

Hit the link above to follow along for the next two hours, and check back on PST for a full recap and in-depth analysis after the final whistle.

Must-See Goal: Wayne Rooney v. Orlando City

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I’m going to go out on a limb and say it. Wayne Rooney just scored the most amazing goal in Audi Field’s young history.

In the 10th minute of D.C. United’s match against Orlando City SC on Wednesday evening, Rooney noticed Orlando’s Brian Rowe straying way off his line. And so, with an audacious but accurate attempt, Rooney let fly from 65 yards and SCORED. Just check this goal out below.

[FOLLOW LIVE: USMNT v. Panama]

Rooney took advantage of a crazy bounce and with his literal first touch, unleashed a thunderbolt that Rowe couldn’t catch up to. It automatically becomes one of the top contenders for the MLS Goal of the Year, and should make it on every top ten countdown this evening and tomorrow.

Benfica: Atletico Madrid make $143 million bid for Felix

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The legend of Joao Felix appears to have reached full market value potential.

The 19-year-old Portuguese striker is coming off a breakout year for Benfica, and now the Portuguese giants have received an impressive $143 million offer from Atletico Madrid for Felix. The club confirmed the offer in a statement on its website, stating it was analyzing the deal. Felix has a $136.5 million release clause in his contract, but it appears the additional $7 million is in processing costs.

[READ: Kroos wants to retire at Real Madrid]

Felix was outstanding at Benfica last year, scoring 15 goals with seven assists in 26 league games and three goals and one assist in five Europa League game. Felix has already made his international debut for Portugal.

If confirmed, Felix would become the fifth-most expensive transfer in world history, and the second-most expensive transfer for a teenager behind Kylian Mbappe.

AFCON: Nigeria 1st team through to round of 16 at African Cup, joined by host Egypt

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CAIRO (AP) Former champion Nigeria became the first team to reach the last 16 at the African Cup of Nations after defender Kenneth Omeruo‘s second-half goal delivered a 1-0 win over Guinea on Wednesday.

The Nigerians were unimpressive in the first half in Alexandria but lifted their game in the second. Alex Iwobi‘s rasping shot was pushed away by Guinea goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone and Ahmed Musa almost set up Odion Ighalo on a counterattack.

The former Chelsea defender Omeruo did what the forwards had not been able to do when he beat Kone with a glancing header at the near post off Moses Simon’s corner in the 73rd minute.

Nigeria, which won the title in 2013, has two wins from two games in Group B. It beat Burundi 1-0 in its first match and now needs a draw from its last fixture against Madagascar to finish top and stay in Alexandria for the last 16.

There was more good news for Nigeria when Samuel Kalu came on as a substitute near the end. The midfield player collapsed at a training session the day before the first game, suffering from dehydration, and was hospitalized.

Coach Gernot Rohr rested captain John Obi Mikel against Guinea.

Elsewhere, Egypt also confirmed a place in the knockout stages with a 2-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ahmad Elmohamady and Mohamed Salah each scored in the first half to lead the Pharoahs to victory, the hosts second-straight win in the competition.

In the other match of the day, Uganda tied Zimbabwe, 1-1.