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UEFA World Cup qualifying schedule and preview

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Hampden Park will play host to a crunch World Cup qualifying match as England heads north to face neighbors Scotland.

The two home nations, both in Group F of UEFA World Cup qualifying, are on two different trajectories. England is currently top of the group with 13 points and no defeats in five games while Scotland sit in fourth place on seven points, behind Slovakia and Slovenia.

[Transfer Rumor Roundup: Mbappe to stay at Monaco?]

A loss for Scotland likely eliminates Gordon Strachan’s side from the 2018 World Cup, meaning even more than national pride is on the line Saturday for the noon eastern time kickoff.

Young Celtic starlet Kieran Tierney will have another chance to impress the scouts for Scotland while the Tottenham trio of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Eric Dier will look to continue their strong form for the Three Lions.

Elsewhere in World Cup qualifying, the Netherlands, with Dick Advocaat back in charge, can boost itself into second place in Group A with a win over Luxembourg along with France winning on the road at Sweden. On Sunday in Group D action, Serbia and the Republic of Ireland look to put some distance from the rest of the pack at the top as Serbia takes on Wales and the Republic of Ireland faces Austria.

A couple of other matchups to watch are Iceland hosting Croatia, with Croatia having beaten Iceland last November and Poland, which are top of Group E, facing Romania.

Here’s a look at Friday through Sunday’s UEFA World Cup qualifying preview. Only the first-placed teams in the eight groups receive an automatic bid, so every game remains important from the team on top to the cellar dwellers.

Schedule


Friday

Group A

Netherlands vs. Luxembourg, 2:45 p.m.

Belarus vs. Bulgaria, 2:45 p.m.

Sweden vs. France, 2:45 p.m.

Group B

Faroe Islands vs. Switzerland, 2:45 p.m.

Andorra vs. Hungary, 2:45 p.m.

Latvia vs. Portugal, 2:45 p.m.

Group H

Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Greece, 2:45 p.m.

Estonia vs. Belgium, 2:45 p.m.

Gibraltar vs. Cyprus, 2:45 p.m.

Saturday

Group C

Azerbaijan vs. Northern Ireland, noon

Norway vs. Czech Republic, 2:45 p.m.

Germany vs. San Marino, 2:45 p.m.

Group E

Kazakhstan vs. Denmark, noon

Poland vs. Romania, 2:45 p.m.

Montenegro vs. Armenia, 2:45 p.m.

Group F

Scotland vs. England, noon

Slovenia vs. Malta, noon

Lithuania vs. Slovakia, 2:45 p.m.

Sunday

Group D

Moldova vs. Georgia, noon

Republic of Ireland vs. Austria, 1 p.m.

Serbia vs. Wales 2:45 p.m.

Group I

Finland vs. Ukraine, noon

Iceland vs. Croatia, 2;45 p.m.

Kosovo vs. Turkey, 2;45 p.m.

Group G

FYR Macedonia vs. Spain, 2:45 p.m.

Israel vs. Albania, 2:45 p.m.

Italy vs. Liechtenstein, 2:45 p.m.

Liverpool youngster Elliott scores bicycle kick goal in reserve match

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Harvey Elliott came to Liverpool via Fulham as highly rated as youngsters come. He’s got plenty of maturing still to do both on and off the field, but his talent is undoubtable.

That was on display as Liverpool’s reserve squad took on Wolverhampton Wanderers in a Premier League 2 fixture. Just after halftime, Elliott leveled the score at 2-2 with a stunning bicycle kick at the near post on a corner. The skill it took to essentially catch up to the ball as it floated parallel past him was fabulous, and his strike was true as it caught the Wolves goalkeeper off guard, unable to catch up to the pace of the shot.

The 16-year-old has been a regular for the Liverpool first-team squad in Cup matches but has then taken the field for the U-23 squad to get him some playing time, and clearly it’s done wonders.

Elliott came over from Fulham this past summer for an undisclosed fee given his age. He had already become the youngest player to appear in a Premier League game, coming on for the Whites in a game in May against Wolves with relegation looming.

Watch Live: West Ham United v. Liverpool

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After weeks of having a game in hand on Premier League title chasers Manchester City and Leicester City, the full extent of Liverpool’s lead will be revealed when the Reds visit West Ham United on Wednesday (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ]

Once the full-time whistle blows at the London Stadium, all 20 PL sides will have played 24 games. Ahead of kickoff, Jurgen Klopp‘s side leads second-place Man City by a whopping 16 points.

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West Ham, meanwhile, sit 17th in the table and are only clear of the relegation zone by way of goal differential. That’s something that could very easily change between now and 5 p.m. ET.

LIVE, League Cup semifinal: Man City v. Man United

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It’s time for leg two of the Manchester derby in the semifinals of the EFL Cup (Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET) at the Etihad Stadium.

[ LIVE: Man City v. Man United ]

Manchester City lead 3-1 following their first-leg dismantling of Manchester United at Old Trafford. In theory, it’s a mere formality to reach the final at Wembley, where they would take on Aston Villa following their late dramatics on Tuesday.

Click on the link above to follow the action live, while we will have you covered here at Pro Soccer Talk with all of the reaction and analysis.

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Transfer rumor roundup: Richarlison to Barca for $110m? Spurs’ striker search

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Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.


A roundup of all of the major transfer rumors, most notably those involving Premier League clubs, on Wednesday…

[ MORE: Spurs complete Bergwijn transfer from PSV ]

Barcelona have reportedly had a $110-million bid for Richarlison rejected by Everton. That’s a mind-blowing number for a club like Everton to receive, but the Toffees apparently didn’t have to think long before saying “thanks, but no thanks.” Luis Suarez is expected to miss four months due to a knee injury, leaving the Blaugrana somewhat for a replacement. Everton, however, have no desire to lose a key member of their squad with little to no time to sign a replacement.


After adding winger Steven Bergwijn on Wednesday, Tottenham Hotspur are heavily linked with a number of strikers as options to replace the injured Harry Kane. AC Milan’s Krzysztof Piatek is the most frequently linked (and most expensive) player coming out of the rumor mill, while Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud has come up as an emergency option (he is reportedly open to the idea). However, Jose Mourinho has reportedly been told he has just $13 million to acquire a new forward after spending a combined $108 million on Bergwijn and Gedson Fernandes.


Elsewhere in Tottenham rumors, full back Kyle Walker-Peters is expected to complete a loan move (without an option to buy) to Southampton in the very near future. The 22-year-old has been on the fringe of the first-team squad for what feels like five years now, but has never quite broken through. This could be Spurs putting into the shop window a player who they don’t believe is in their long-term plans in order to drive up his price tag come this summer.


Sheffield United look set to make a big push for a top-six finish, as the Blades are linked with moves for a pair of highly rated young players: Richairo Zivkovic, from Chinese side Changchun Yatai, and Sander Berge, from Genk. Zivkovic was one of the most highly touted youngsters in Europe before moving to China on a big-money deal; Berge has been linked with some of the biggest clubs across Europe in recent years, all the while the 21-year-old has become a fixture for the Belgian side.