Washington, Sept 8 (AP/UNB) – Midfielder Jermaine Jones announced his retirement, 11 months after his last match for Major League Soccer's LA Galaxy.
The 36-year-old midfielder, born in West Germany to an American father and West German mother, had four goals in 69 appearances for the United States from 2010-17, highlighted by a tying goal against Portugal in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup.
A member of the youth academies of Bonames, Bad Vilbel and Eintracht Frankfurt, he made his professional debut for Frankurt in 2000-01. He transferred to Bayer Leverkusen for 2004-05, returned to Frankfurt midway through the season, then was with Schalke from 2007-08 through 2013-14, interrupted by a loan to Blackburn for the second half of the 2010-11 season.
Jones spent 2013-14 with Beskitas in Turkey, then played for New England (2014-15), Colorado (2016) and the Galaxy (2017).
He tweeted Friday "after 18 years I say good bye. I have a clear vision, after I had a couple of months to concentrate on what comes next!!!"
East Rutherford, Sept 8 (AP/UNB) — Neymar and Roberto Firmino scored first-half goals, and Brazil overwhelmed the United States 2-0 on Friday night in an exhibition before a sparse crowd at MetLife Stadium.
Firmino scored in the 11th minute off a cross from Douglas Costa, who burst down a flank past 21-year-old left back Antonee Robinson. Neymar converted a penalty kick in the 44th for his 58th goal in 91 international appearances, third in Brazilian history behind Pele (77) and Ronaldo (62).
The U.S. has two wins, two losses and three ties under interim coach Dave Sarachan, who took over last October after the Americans failed to qualify for the World Cup. New general manager Earnie Stewart said this week a permanent coach will be announced later this year.
Just 32,469 attended the match at MetLife Stadium, a possible site of the 2026 World Cup final, and Brazilian supporters outnumbered Americans by about a 10-1 margin. When Brazil beat the U.S. 2-0 at Metlife Stadium in August 2010 shortly after the venue opened, the game drew 77,223.
Brazil, in its first match since a quarterfinal loss to Belgium at the World Cup, improved to 18-1 against the U.S. and has won 11 straight since a 1-0 loss in the 1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The Selecao has outscored the Americans 41-12, including 17-2 since the U.S. took a 2-0 lead in the 2009 Confederations Cup final — a game Brazil won 3-2.
Playing in New Jersey for the first time since its 2-0 loss to Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifier at Red Bull Arena last September, the U.S. did not force a save from goalkeeper Alisson until the 71st minute. All U.S. starters were 25 and under and the average of 23 years 117 days was under 24 for the fifth straight match,
The temporary grass field installed over the artificial turf had some brown patches. The section of American Outlaws behind one goal held up photos of Clint Dempsey before the match in honor of the U.S. star, who announced his retirement on Aug. 29.
Brazil went ahead when Firmino split defenders Matt Miazga and John Brooks and with his right foot directed the ball past goalkeeper Zack Steffen for his eighth goal in 26 international appearances.
The U.S. didn't threaten until a sequence of three corner kicks just past the half-hour mark.
Neymar converted a penalty kick after a debatable call by Mexican referee Fernando Guerrero, the fourth official for U.S. loss at Trinidad and Tobago last October that eliminated the Americans in World Cup.
Fabinho played a 1-2 with Firmino and cut into the penalty area. Wil Trapp appeared to give him the slightest of pushes and Fabinho tumbled past Brooks.
Neymar stutter-stepped in his run-up, Steffen dove to his right and the striker softly kicked the ball in the other way.
Steffen kicked out his left foot in the 51st minute to save Neymar's 6-yard shot off a pass from Costa, and Miazga cleared the ball off the line.
Arthur, Lucas Paqueta and Richarlison made their Brazil debuts in the second half, and Dede made his first appearance in five years.
The best U.S. chance was Weston McKennie's left-footed shot off a Kellyn Acosta pass in the 66th, which went wide.
Notes: Sarachan will run the team for Tuesday's friendly against Mexico in Nashville, Tennessee, and possibly for exhibitions on Oct. 12 against Colombia at Tampa, Florida, and versus Peru four days later at East Hartford, Connecticut. The U.S. also plays England and Italy in November.
Amsterdam, Sep 7 (AP/UNB) — Memphis Depay stole the show Thursday by scoring both Dutch goals as the Netherlands beat Peru 2-1 in a friendly billed as a farewell to record midfielder Wesley Sneijder.
The match was the 134th and final international for Sneijder, the 34-year-old former Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Ajax star. It was also an important warmup for the Netherlands' first UEFA Nations League match - on Sunday against World Cup champion France at Saint-Denis.
The Dutch were sloppy in the first half and Pedro Aquino outjumped Daley Blind for a corner to give Peru a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute.
Depay equalized on the hour after Frenkie de Jong, making his international debut as a second-half substitute, won the ball and drilled a quick pass to the Olympique Lyon striker.
Sneijder was substituted immediately after the goal, hugging all his teammates as he left the pitch to cheers of "Wesley thanks!" from the crowd at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
"It's over, it's done. My last match ... in the orange shirt," Sneijder said. "Everything comes to an end."
Depay then ensured Sneijder's finale would be a win by volleying home Quincy Promes' blocked shot in the 83rd minute.
At a ceremony after the match, fans slapped their heads, mimicking Sneijder's celebration when he scored a header winner against Brazil in the World Cup quarterfinal in South Africa.
Faro, Sep 7 (AP/UNB) — With Cristiano Ronaldo absent and Luka Modric in action, Portugal and Croatia drew 1-1 in a friendly Thursday.
In its first game since reaching the World Cup final, Croatia got on the board with forward Ivan Perisic's goal and defender Pepe equalized before halftime.
The Portuguese had most of the scoring chances but could not break through the Croatian defense at Algarve Stadium in southern Portugal.
Coach Fernando Santos did not call up Ronaldo saying the player needed more rest following a busy summer that included a transfer from Real Madrid to Juventus.
Modric, a finalist with Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah for the FIFA player of the year award, was substituted in the second half.
Portugal was eliminated by Uruguay in the round of 16 of the World Cup. Croatia lost the final to France.
Defending European champion Portugal will make its UEFA Nations League debut against Italy on Monday. Croatia will open at Spain on Tuesday.
Europe's newest international soccer tournament started Thursday with a whimper rather than a bang.
Germany and France headlined the opening night of the UEFA Nations League — the 2014 world champion against this year's winner — but the upshot was a 0-0 draw most memorable for France goalkeeper Alphonse Areola's saves.
Germany coach Joachim Loew said the Nations League wasn't a big enough stage for his team to redeem itself after crashing out of the World Cup in the group stage.
"It would be naive to think that we could put a World Cup like that behind us with one game," he said. "In the end, we can only rehabilitate ourselves at a major tournament."
France took a relaxed approach compared to the high-intensity style of its victorious World Cup campaign, though Germany showed more of a competitive edge to put debutant Areola's goal under siege in the final half-hour.
Germany forward Leroy Sane, controversially omitted from the World Cup squad, was back in the team but limited to a role as an 83rd-minute substitute.
On a mixed opening night for the new competition, the Wales team coached by Ryan Giggs swept past Ireland 4-1, while Ukraine beat the Czech Republic 2-1 after a delay for a floodlight failure.
The Nations League was meant to replace friendlies with more meaningful games, but Croatia and Portugal showed that the friendly format still has some mileage.
In its first game since losing the World Cup final to France, Croatia drew 1-1 with European champion Portugal in a game scheduled head-to-head with Germany and France's Nations League opener.
Ivan Perisic put Croatia ahead with a fierce shot in the 18th minute before Portugal defender Pepe responded with a header in the 32nd.
After missing out on a World Cup spot, the Netherlands showed grit in Thursday's friendly against Peru, coming back from a goal down to win 2-1 as veteran midfielder Wesley Sneijder marked his 134th and last international game.
WALES ON FORM
In the second tier of the Nations League, Wales needed just six minutes to score in its first competitive game under Giggs, who was appointed in January to succeed Chris Coleman.
Tom Lawrence blasted the ball past goalkeeper Darren Randolph to get Wales started, before Gareth Bale made it 2-0 with a curling shot. Aaron Ramsey and Connor Roberts added further goals as the Welsh gained a measure of revenge over Ireland, whose 1-0 win last year ended their World Cup qualifying hopes.
In Thursday's other League B fixture, Oleksandr Zinchenko's stoppage-time goal gave Ukraine the win over the Czechs. The 21-year-old Manchester City midfielder is a key figure in Ukraine's attempt to rebuild its squad after missing out on the World Cup.
HOW DOES THE NATIONS LEAGUE WORK?
UEFA has had a tough time explaining why Europe needed its new competition, or how it works.
It's a hybrid between a traditional tournament — stretched out over a whole season — and a European Championship qualifier.
There's a group stage, after which the top-tier winners will play a "final four"-style playoff to be overall Nations League champion. Group winners from all four divisions can earn places in qualifying playoffs in 2020, with a European Championship spot on the line.
There will still be a traditional qualifying competition for the European Championship, starting next year. FIFA hopes there will eventually be Nations Leagues worldwide feeding into a global competition.
OUTSIDERS AIM FOR 2020
For many of Europe's lower-ranked countries, the Nations League is likely to be their best shot of qualifying for the European Championship, since at least one team from each tier is guaranteed a place.
League C's early front-runners include Norway, which hasn't reached a major tournament since 2000 and beat Cyprus 2-0. Bulgaria, last seen at the European Championship in 2004, won 2-1 against Slovenia.
In the lowest level, League D, Georgia started strongly Thursday with a 2-0 win over Kazakhstan. The 19-year-old Georgian midfielder Giorgi Chakvetadze scored the first-ever goal in the Nations League with a powerful shot from the edge of the box.
Andorra earned a rare point in a competitive game by drawing 0-0 away to Latvia, the only one of League D's 16 teams ever to have played a major tournament.
GIBRALTAR AT HOME
Gibraltar, the smallest member of UEFA, played its first-ever competitive game on home soil, losing 2-0 to Macedonia in League D.
Gibraltar joined UEFA in 2013 but had to play all its home qualifying games for the 2016 European Championship and 2018 World Cup at a venue in Portugal because its own stadium wasn't considered up to the required standard.
After some upgrades, Gibraltar is now playing at its 2,000-capacity Victoria Stadium for the Nations League. Local media reported the game against Macedonia was sold out.