EURO qualifying

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Sterling out of England squad after Gomez bust-up

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Raheem Sterling will be left out of the England squad versus Montenegro after a bust-up with teammate Joe Gomez.

Sterling went head-to-head with the Liverpool center back on Sunday in City’s 3-1 loss to the Reds at Anfield, and couldn’t leave the tension with his club.

The Daily Mail’s Matt Hughes and Sami Mokbel report that Sterling tried to grab Gomez by the neck at St George’s Park on Monday.

[ MORE: Liverpool 3-1 Man City ]

Ex-Liverpool winger Sterling played physical on Sunday and was confrontational on plenty of occasions, too, including a heated exchange with Gomez late in the contest.

England boss Gareth Southgate said the move comes “with the agreement of the entire squad.” Man City center back John Stones is on the Three Lions roster.

From The Daily Mail:

Sterling was sat down in the canteen when Gomez arrived and leant over from behind to shake his hand, leading him to attempt to grab his team-mate by the neck. The rest of the England players initially thought Sterling was joking, but it soon became clear that he had lost control and the pair were separated. The incident was particularly surprising to the other Liverpool players present as Sterling and Gomez had made the peace following the game at Anfield with an embrace following the final whistle.

Wild stuff, and a bad look for Sterling. He’s been England’s best player for some time, and the club is on the verge of qualifying for EURO 2020 but hasn’t achieved that goal yet.

England hosts Montenegro on Thursday and visits Kosovo on Sunday.

Where does this leave Sterling in the England set-up? He’s one of the best attackers in the world, but Southgate runs a tight ship and the Three Lions will likely qualify without him (and there are plenty of English wingers who will queue up for the job). He’ll get another chance almost surely, maybe even on Sunday, but there’s a slippery slope.

WATCH: Liverpool’s Wijnaldum scores rocket on Netherlands duty

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Georginio Wijnaldum is given a bit more freedom from his club than his country, and loves every minute of it.

Netherlands beat Belarus 2-1 on Sunday at the Dinamo National Olympic Stadium in Minsk, and the Liverpool midfielder supplied both goals including a smashing effort from distance.

[ MORE: Neymar injured again ]

Wijnaldum, who turns 29 next month, gets a short pass and takes a touch to the middle of the park before unleashing this shot about 25 yards from goal.

He’s now scored in three of his last four EURO qualifiers, and has seven goals and three assists in his last 10 caps.

Wijnaldum now has 15 goals in 60 career caps.

The Dutch are three points ahead of Germany and Northern Ireland with 15 points, though the Germans can join them on 15 with a defeat of Estonia this afternoon.

Chelsea’s Kante pulled from France lineup after injury in warm-ups

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Just as N’Golo Kante’s health allowed a return to form, his frustrating season has carried over to his national team.

The dominant French midfielder was pulled from the starting lineup on Friday after suffering a muscle injury in warm-ups.

[ MORE: EURO qualifying wrap ]

Few details have been released, and Chelsea did not mention the player or his injury in their Friday recap of international action.

Kante, 28, missed four matches with a sprained ankle earlier this season with Chelsea, but has two goals in his last three matches. Both came in the Premier League against Liverpool and Southampton.

He has 38 caps and a goal for Les Bleus, as well as a World Cup title.

France faces Turkey in EURO qualifying on Monday. Chelsea has Newcastle United on Oct. 19 at Stamford Bridge before visiting Ajax in the UEFA Champions League.

EURO qualifying wrap: FC Dallas striker sinks England

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Well, well, well, England can lose a EURO qualifier.

[ MORE: Ranieri finds new job ]

For the first time in a decade, the Three Lions came up short in a qualifier, while France needed a bit of tomfoolery to win its match and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo moved closer to 700 career goals in an easy win.

No one joined Belgium as officially in the tournament, but Ukraine is very close.

Czech Republic 2-1 England

Maybe it was a bit too young, or maybe the club form was a bit too off from some his stars, but England’s long unbeaten EURO qualifying run is over at 43 matches.

Mason Mount, Declan Rice, and Jadon Sancho started for the Three Lions, who went ahead after five minutes when Harry Kane converted a Raheem Sterling-won penalty.

But the Czechs drew level within four minutes and the hosts dominated the rest of the first half. It felt like a winner was coming for Jaroslav Silhavy’s men, and it came in the somewhat unlikely form of a 30-year-old debutant from FC Dallas.

Zdenek “The Cobra” Ondrasek scored off a Lukas Masopust cut back to give the Czechs a 84th minute lead and the hosts on to go level on points with group-leading England, who has played one fewer match.

Gareth Southgate was not pleased:

“We conceded too many poor chances and we gave the ball away too many times. We knew we’d have to be at full tilt to deal with the Czech Republic but we should have been strong enough to deal with them.”

Also not pleased? A certain prince.

Portugal 3-0 Luxembourg

Cristiano Ronaldo is one goal away from 700 in his career for club and country after bagging a second half goal in Portugal’s easy-enough win over visiting Luxembourg.

Bernardo Silva and Goncalo Guedes also scored for the reigning EURO champions.

Iceland 0-1 France

You would’ve though Antoine Griezmann was dead as he limped out of the box after drawing a penalty, and you’d be fair to imagine he had a severe pain-delay problem considering how long it took him to hit the turf, but don’t worry he was fine and back in the fray moments after Olivier Giroud‘s penalty sealed a win for Les Bleus.

Elsewhere

Andorra 1-0 Moldova
Montenegro 0-0 Bulgaria
Turkey 1-0 Albania
Ukraine 2-0 Lithuania

England may leave pitch if racial abuse too much in EURO qualifying

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The England national team could take matters into its own hands if one of its players is racially abused in upcoming EURO qualifiers in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

UEFA’s new protocol starts with a PA warning, then takes the teams from the field and has another PA announcement with a second offense before a referee is given the power to abandon the match.

[ MORE: USMNT players in focus ]

Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham says that England could walk off the pitch the first time.

From Sky Sports:

“We did speak about that. Harry Kane did ask the question about instead of going through the three steps, if we decide that we want to stop the game and we want to stop the game, no matter what the score is, if we’re not happy with it, as a team we’ll decide whether or not to stay on the pitch.”

It would be a powerful statement if England left the field due to racial abuse of its players. The Three Lions have started qualifying with four-straight wins, and have a comfortable lead on the field with a match-in-hand.