Gordon Strachan part ways with Scotland national team

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Scotland national coach Gordon Strachan has left his position by “mutual consent” four days after the team failed to qualify for the World Cup.

In a statement announcing Strachan’s exit, the Scottish Football Association (SFA) pointed towards the likelihood of a squad overhaul for the next qualifying campaign as preceded by the new Nations League tournament organized by UEFA. – Cara Mendaftar Sbobet

“Notwithstanding our unbeaten run in the [World Cup] group throughout 2017, with the emergence of a younger generation of players it was agreed that a new national coach should be recruited to provide fresh impetus,” the statement read.

“On behalf of the board I would like to thank Gordon for his excellent service to the national team,” added SFA chief executive Stewart Regan. – Cara Daftar Sbobet

The decision was made as the SFA board took the unanimous decision not to extend Strachan’s contract, which ends next month, during a meeting on Thursday. – Bandar Bola

Scotland had started brightly but was unable a play‑off place for the World Cup finals next summer despite a late run into contention, which ultimately signalled the end of Strachan’s tenure which began in January 2013.

“I said on my first day as Scotland manager that it was the proudest moment of my career and that I wanted to put a smile back on the nation’s face again,” Strachan said after his team drew 2-2 against Slovenia, which sealed their fate of missing out on the playoff spot by shortage of points. – Piala Dunia 2018

“I share the profound disappointment at missing out on the play-offs, especially having worked so hard to fight our way back into contention. The players should receive immense credit for that resilience in coming back from a difficult start and I would like to thank each and every player who has come in to represent their country.”

A full debrief from the SFA board included the key agreement that other countries would not give their manager a third qualifying campaign after, as was the case, successive failures.

In the meantime, Scotland are set to play a high-profile friendly next month — for which they will have Malky Mackay in charge — although they are unlikely to have a new manager in place before the new year.

Arsenal could sell Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in January — Wenger

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Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger has said that the Gunners might be forced to sell both Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in January if there were no significant breakthrough in their contract talks.

The pair are in the final year of their contracts with Arsenal, and although Wenger remains hopeful that negotiations with his two biggest players will reach a successful conclusion, the Frenchman had also opened the door to releasing the players for a hefty sum if the situation drags on. – Cara Mendaftar Sbobet

“Once you are in our kind of situation we have envisaged every kind of solution, yes,” he said. “It’s possible.”

“I always said the fact that we didn’t find an agreement last year doesn’t mean the player will necessarily leave. Both players look happy here and overall I hope the situation can be turned around. At the moment, we are not close enough to announce anything.” – Cara Daftar Sbobet

Wenger also added that his club had not set a deadline to conclude a deal but has been encouraged after learning that Ozil, who is after a massive pay rise before committing himself to Arsenal, wants to stay in the Premier League.

On the other hand, Wenger does not believe that Chile’s absence from the World Cup in the coming summer would prompt a drop in Sanchez’s form for Arsenal. – Bandar Bola

“He expected to go. Certainly it is a big disappointment for him,” Wenger said. “(But) I have no doubt he wants to perform. He never goes on the football pitch to lose a football game. Sánchez is a winner. You want your players to be in a positive mind and to have positive experiences. To go to the World Cup is the target of every single player who plays football.” – Piala Dunia 2018

Sanchez has flown back to London on Thursday, but Wenger is apprehensive that he will not be ready to start against Watford after a gruelling match against Brazil.

“I watched the game, what a physical game it was,” the Arsenal coach added. “The number of fouls … He played against Dani Alves, that was a real battle, believe me. It’s worse to watch.”

USA crash out of World Cup qualifiers after defeat to Trinidad & Tobago

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The US will not be going to the World Cup next summer after a shock 2-1 defeat to lowly Trinidad & Tobago saw them finish fifth in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table.

While the Americans only have themselves to blame for a catastrophic performance, it also took an unlikely combination of results for the US to miss out on the World Cup finals for the first time since 1986.

“We didn’t qualify for the World Cup,” USA national coach Bruce Arena said after the game. “That was my job. To get the team qualified for the World Cup.” – Cara Mendaftar Sbobet

“This game in my view was perfectly positioned for the US team and we failed on the day. We have no excuses. We failed today. We should have walked off this field with at least a point.” – Cara Daftar Sbobet

After going behind to the Hexagonal group’s bottom team and were unable to find an equaliser, they needed help from others in the group. – Bandar Bola

They did not get it, as Mexico lost 3-2 to Honduras, while a late goal from Panama to beat Costa Rica 2-1 pushed the US out of fourth place, which would have sent them into a two-legged playoff with Australia next month.

The US beat Panama 4-0 just last Friday but, despite playing a Trinidad & Tobago side with just three points from nine games before kick-off, never looked close to securing a place in Russia. – Piala Dunia 2018

Mexico and Costa Rica had already qualified – Mexico as group winners – while Panama take the third automatic spot courtesy of their 87th-minute winner. In the playoff for the right to join them in Russia, Honduras will face Australia, whose coach, Ange Postecoglou, will reportedly step down after the playoff games.

Portugal secures place at Russian World Cup as Netherlands crash out

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Portugal has secured a place in the Russia World Cup next summer with a solid 2-0 win over Switzerland.

Swiss defender Johan Djourou put the ball into his own net four minutes before half-time and Andre Silva sealed the victory in the 57th minute as Portugal pulled level on 27 points with Switzerland and won Group B on goal difference. – Cara Mendaftar Sbobet

While Switzerland could have secured an automatic berth with just a draw after leading the group for the past seven games, they had to concede their spot in Group B of the UEFA World Cup qualifiers to Portugal thanks to a vast goal difference. – Cara Daftar Sbobet

Portugal’s Euro 2016 final opponents France were also in the World Cup finals following a 2-1 win over Belarus in Group A, which also secured the first place automatic qualification position. – Bandar Bola

Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring and then set up Olivier Giroud before the break while Belarus reduced the deficit on the stroke of half-time through Anton Saroka. The result put France, who will take part in their sixth consecutive World Cup, on 23 points after 10 games, four ahead of second-placed Sweden. – Piala Dunia 2018

Meanwhile, although the Netherlands themselves had handed the Swedes a 2-0 beating, they fell short of the seven-goal margin required to replace their opponents in the play-offs.

Winger Arjen Robben, who announced his international retirement after the match, scored twice in the first half but it was not enough to prevent Sweden reaching the playoffs at the expense of the Dutch.

The two countries finished level on 19 points, behind Group A winners France, but Sweden secured the playoff berth by finishing second on goal difference.

The home side started brightly, with Robben converting a 16th-minute penalty and then hammering in a superb left-footed shot five minutes before half-time to raise the hopes of the home fans. The Dutch, however, lacked the necessary creativity as Sweden shut up shop in the second half and the match fizzled out.

UEFA qualified teams:

Russia (hosts), Belgium, Germany, England, Spain, Poland, Serbia, Iceland, France, Portugal


Seeded: Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Denmark


Northern Ireland, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, Greece