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Nico Schulz enjoys dream debut to help Germany beat Peru 2-1

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SINSHEIM, Germany (AP) Nico Schulz scored late on his debut to give Germany a 2-1 win over Peru in their friendly game on Sunday.

[ MORE: France tops Holland behind late Giroud goal ]

The Hoffenheim midfielder, making his first international appearance in the club’s stadium, claimed the winner through a slightly deflected shot with five minutes remaining.

The 25-year-old Schulz, one of three new call-ups to the squad, was only playing as Germany coach Joachim Loew assesses his options following the team’s failed World Cup defense.

Loew had kept changes to a minimum when his cautious team was held to a 0-0 draw by France in their UEFA Nations League opener in Munich on Thursday.

Against Peru, Germany dominated the first half but fell behind in the 22nd minute to a strike from Luis Advincula, who beat Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen at the near post.

Julian Brandt provided the response, dinking the ball over Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese after Toni Kroos had played him in.

Peru captain Jefferson Farfan should have scored in the second half when he only had the goalkeeper to beat, but the former Schalke winger shot over the goal.

Loew brought on Paris Saint-Germain defender Thilo Kehrer with about 20 minutes remaining and Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz in the final minutes, but Schulz was the only one of the three new faces to enjoy a dream debut.

While Peru was without captain Paolo Guerrero due to a doping ban, Germany was playing without Mats Hummels because of an ankle problem and Leroy Sane due to the birth of his daughter on Friday.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Rudiger apologizes to Pavard for neck stomp

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German defender Antonio Rudiger has taken to social media to apologize to French defender Benjamin Pavard for stomping on his neck in the early stages of their 0-0 draw in the UEFA Nations League on Thursday. Rudiger was bombing down the left flank in just the third minute of the match, when Pavard slid in to successfully dispossess his opponent. After doing so, the two became tangled, and Rudiger’s boot landed straight on Pavard’s neck while he was prone on the ground.

The incident drew massive attention after Pavard came off the pitch with nasty cleat marks slashed across his neck. The Frenchman remained in the game for the rest of the match, while Rudiger mystifyingly came out of the incident without earning a yellow card.

[ MORE: USMNT on track to hire new coach soon ]

After the replay was shown, fans and analysts questioned whether the stamp was intentional, as Rudiger appeared relatively well-balanced throughout the play and quite uninhibited by the tackle, although it happened at such high speed and is certainly impossible to discern true intention. The German professed his innocence amid the apology.

Pavard came off the field and sported brutal slash marks clean across the right side of his neck, but was able to continue the match.

It’s unlikely that his immediate future with his club Stuttgart could be in jeopardy from the injury. France does not have another match scheduled this international break, while the German club doesn’t play next until September 16.

Leroy Sane leaves Germany squad for “personal reasons”

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Manchester City winger Leroy Sane has left the German national squad due to “personal reasons” after a conversation with head coach Joachim Low, the federation has announced.

The news is significant as it brings the strained relationship between Sane and both Low and his teammates back to the forefront. Sane was surprisingly left off Germany’s roster for the World Cup this past summer, despite his spectacular 2017/18 Premier League season. There were suggestions that Sane’s attitude was to blame, although Low also said his playing style did not fit the formations he wished to use.

However, it was suggested by Goal.com writer Ronan Murphy that his absence was not due to a falling out with the manager or his teammate, but instead to be with his girlfriend for the birth of a child. It’s odd, though, that the national team would fail to confirm this otherwise happy bit of personal news for Sane in its announcement of his departure given the obvious connections that could be made after his teammate’s criticism.

German teammate Toni Kroos criticized Sane’s attitude in the squad in the press conference prior to Germany’s 0-0 draw with France, saying, “He’s a player who has everything you need to be a world-class player but sometimes you have to tell him he has to perform better.” To make his point clear, he added, “sometimes you have the feeling with Leroy’s body language that it’s all the same if we win or lose.”

Kroos backtracked from there. “He could be a real weapon for us. I think Leroy is an absolute team player.”

Sane played just seven minutes in the match against France before departing the national team. The 22-year-old has found the new Premier League season difficult as well, contributing just 30 minutes so far through four matches, and finding himself completely left out of the matchday squad for City’s most recent game, a 2-1 win over Newcastle.

Following the Newcastle match, his club manager Pep Guardiola also hinted that Sane needs to improve, but did so in a much more tactful manner, lumping him in with England youngster Raheem Sterling and saying the two must impress in training.

“They [Sane and Raheem Sterling] can do better,” Guardiola said. “I have that feeling. If I didn’t believe it I wouldn’t say, but I think they can in simple things, the dribbling, first control, how you receive the ball and take decisions. It’s training in smaller spaces and focusing on control, because that is the reality that is going to happen.”

Man City’s Sane leaves Germany camp after talk with Loew

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Leroy Sane has left Germany camp after a conversation with head coach Joachim Loew, with Germany announcing the move via Twitter.

EDIT: A previous version of this article dealt with concerns about Sane’s attitude given his presumed issues with club and country, but German publication Bild says he’s left camp to be with his pregnant partner.

[ MORE: Liverpool deny Rabiot contact ]

Sane played just seven minutes of Thursday’s 0-0 draw with France in the UEFA Nations League, and has played just 30 minutes for Man City in the Premier League after being yanked at halftime of the Community Shield win over Chelsea.

Germany teammate Toni Kroos criticized Sane earlier this week for indifferent body language, so perhaps this is strictly down to a plateau in the maturation of the wildly talented winger.

Sane, 22, scored 14 times with 19 assists for Manchester City last season and was arguably the focal point of their left-sided game plan on many occasions.

He’s been capped 11 times by Germany, but was left off the World Cup roster as the Germans crashed out in the group stage.

UEFA Nations League: France, Germany scoreless; Bale blitzes Ireland

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A roundup of all of Thursday’s action in UEFA’s new international competition, the UEFA Nations League…

[ MORE: What is the UEFA Nations League, and how does it work? ]

Germany 0-0 France

It’s a true wonder that France were able to score enough any goals en route to winning the 2018 World Cup, given how defensively Didier Deschamps set up his team in Russia, and given how defensively Les Bleus continue to be deployed after conquering the world this summer.

Three defensive midfielders is a setup that few defense in the world require to protect them, let alone a unit which features the likes of Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti. But, there we were, and here we are. Deschamps went with the familiar formula in Thursday’s Nations League-opening game against Germany, and the result was a scoreless stalemate that saw the reigning world champions hold just 40 percent of possession and fail to produce a chance that truly threatened Manuel Neuer with anything more than speculative efforts from long range.

[ MORE: Predicting the UEFA Nations League ]

Wales 4-1 Ireland

Real Madrid fans were understandably a bit fearful of life after Cristiano Ronaldo, but perhaps they shouldn’t be as the Portuguese superstar’s departure has apparently given way to the year of Gareth Bale. The Welsh dynamo already has three goals in as many games for Madrid, and on Thursday the 29-year-old ran the entire show during Wales’ 4-1 victory over Ireland.

He had a goal and an assist, but it could have been so much more with a bit more fortune in his favor. Still, Ryan Giggs‘ side was comprehensive in its dominance and should find their way to a first-place finish in League B – Group 4 (Denmark is the other nation in the three-team group). Tom Lawrence, Aaron Ramsey and Connor Roberts were the other goalscorers for the Dragons.

Czech Republic 1-2 Ukraine

Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko scored the 92nd-minute winner in Ukraine’s 2-1 victory away to the Czech Republic, completing a comeback from 1-0 down after just four minutes. Patrick Schick put the home side ahead early, but Yevhen Konoplyanka drew the visitors level immediately after the halftime intermission.

Friday’s UEFA Nations League schedule

League A – Group 3

Italy vs. Poland — 2:45 p.m. ET

League B – Group 2

Turkey vs. Russia — 2:45 p.m. ET