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USMNT drops six more spots in latest FIFA rankings

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The United States men’s national team has dropped to No. 30 in the world ahead of the 2019 Gold Cup, though we can all admit that feels a bit generous right now.

[ MORE: Gold Cup predictions ]

The Yanks fell six spots in the latest FIFA Rankings, 12 below Mexico and nine ahead of Costa Rica. It’s the biggest drop of any nation in the Top 50, though Greece dropped nine spots to sit 52nd.

The 30 marker is six spots higher than its lowest ranking since the system began in 1993. The Yanks are 39th overall in Elo Ratings.

Belgium remains world No. 1, with France, Brazil, and England next. Portugal climbs into fifth.

Austria (26th) is up 8 spots, Czech Republic (41st) goes up 7 places, and Hungary (42nd) is up 9.

Greek Cup final to limit fans over crowd violence fears

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) The Greek Cup final between champion PAOK Thessaloniki and AEK Athens on Saturday will be played in front of a limited number of invited fans due to fears of crowd violence.

No tickets will be sold for the match at the Olympic Stadium in Athens and Sports Minister Giorgos Vassiliadis said Monday’s decision follows police information that fans of both teams – and of other teams – were planning trouble on the sidelines.

PAOK and AEK have met in the past two finals with the 2017 game marred by extensive clashes in the stands.

Violence still plagues Greek soccer, despite repeated pledges by successive governments to impose order.

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

PAOK first undefeated team in Greek league season for 55 years

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ATHENS, Greece — PAOK has become only the second team to go through an entire Greek league season without losing.

PAOK had already secured the title and ended its season with a 2-0 win at Giannena on Sunday. The Thessaloniki side won 26 of its 30 games, with four draws, to finish five points ahead of runner-up Olympiakos.

Both PAOK and Olympiakos qualify for the Champions League next season.

Last year’s champion AEK finished third, 23 points behind PAOK.

AEK, fourth-place Atromitos and Aris in fifth qualified for the Europa League.

Panathinaikos was undefeated 55 years ago in the 1963-64 season.

VIDEO: PAOK wins first Greek title in 34 years, fans celebrate accordingly

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THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) PAOK won the Greek league with a round to spare after beating Levadiakos 5-0.

Yevhen Shakhv scored twice for the hosts, along with goals from Diego Biseswar, Fernando Varela and Karol Swiderski.

With one round left, PAOK is five points ahead of second-place Olympiakos.

This is the third league championship for PAOK, after 1976 and 1985 titles.

A huge celebration at the city’s waterfront was planned later Sunday.

Four Balkan countries to make joint bid to host 2030 WC

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SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) The leaders of four Balkan countries say they will make a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

[ MORE: Barcelona taking “cautious” approach with Lionel Messi’s broken arm ]

The prime ministers of Bulgaria, Greece and Romania and the president of Serbia say their countries will make an official bid to host the soccer event in stadiums across the four countries.

The idea was announced on the sidelines of a regional meeting in the Black Sea resort of Varna.

[ VIDEO: Neymar, Kylian Mbappe toy with Lille; PSG go 11 points clear ]

Although the 2030 contest is not officially open, South American soccer leaders are already promoting a three-way centenary bid by Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, which was the original World Cup host in 1930.

Also, English soccer officials have launched a feasibility study into bidding in partnership with Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland.