The UEFA region’s final round of World Cup qualifying for 2016 gets underway this weekend. The continent’s top teams will look to consolidate their positions in their respective groups before qualifying resumes next March. Here is a look ahead to some of this weekend’s key matches.
France vs. Sweden
Euro 2016 finalists France will host Sweden in World Cup qualifying on Friday. Led by attacker Antoine Griezmann and midfielder Paul Pogba, Les Bleus boast one of the most talented squads in Europe and will be favorites at home against a Sweden side still struggling for identity in the post-Zlatan Ibrahimovic era.
Marcel Deschamps’ side has won two out of three of its last three qualifiers and sits atop Group A. Deschamps is dealing with some injuries in the defense department,... Read More
The international break has drawn to a close and European club soccer mercifully resumes this weekend. But before we play it forward into the weekend’s league action, let’s take a look back at what we learned about the continent’s big guns from the latest round of UEFA World Cup qualifiers.
Costa Finally Clicking with Spain
Dropped by former manager Vicente del Bosque after his disastrous World Cup campaign, striker Diego Costa has been restored the Spanish lineup by new manager Julian Lopetegui and the Chelsea striker has been impactful. Costa stored twice last month against Lichtenstein and played 67 minutes in last week’s 1-1 draw with Italy.
But he came up big time on Monday against Albania, opening the scoring in what proved a 2-0 win that saw Spain... Read More
World Cup qualification for the UEFA region got underway this weekend with the continent’s top teams back in action vying for a place at Russia 2018. Here are some of the key takeaways from the weekend’s qualifiers.
England left it late but got it done
It took until the fifth moment of extra time for the breakthrough to come but ultimately, Sam Allardyce got his tenure as England manager underway with a win against 10-man Slovakia. In truth, the Three Lions had been dominant throughout, maintaining a majority of possession and putting up 20 shots against a defensive Slovakian side that managed just a single off-target shot.
Wayne Rooney impressed in a deeper-lying midfield role but Allardyce will likely be concerned about his team taking so long to... Read More
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