Milan, Nov 17 (AP/UNB) — A year after its stunning elimination by Sweden in a World Cup playoff, Italy is back at the San Siro stadium for another potentially decisive match.
The Azzurri have to beat Cristiano Ronaldo-less Portugal on Saturday and then hope the European champion does not defeat Poland three days later in order to reach the UEFA Nations League finals.
"We would like to advance, and we'll try to, but the No. 1 objective remains qualifying for the European Championship," coach Roberto Mancini said on Friday.
Portugal leads Group 4 with a perfect six points, Italy has four, and Poland one.
The group winner advances to the Final Four in June. Poland is already assured of finishing last in the group and will be relegated to League B.
Mancini was hired after previous coach Gian Piero Ventura was blamed for Italy's failed World Cup qualification.
"I see a team that wants to roll its sleeves up and bring Italy back where it belongs," Mancini said. "Let's be clear, we still need some time, but we're on the right path."
Defender Giorgio Chiellini is slated to make his 100th appearance for Italy while wearing the captain's armband.
"I want to celebrate the achievement only at the end of the match," Chiellini said. "First let's focus on Portugal, try to bring home three points and provide continuity to the good work done to this point."
Chiellini retired from the national team in the aftermath of the loss to Sweden but then changed his mind.
"The real disappointment came in June when many of my club teammates left for Russia while I was preparing my suitcases for vacation," Chiellini said.
Fellow defender Alessio Romagnoli left Italy's squad on Friday with a muscular injury, and Italy is also without forward Federico Bernardeschi.
Bernardeschi was a key performer in the 1-0 win over Poland last month, lining up alongside Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Chiesa.
Unable to use the same lineup, Mancini announced that Ciro Immobile will likely start at center forward.
Italy has had trouble scoring.
The last time the Azzurri scored more than one goal was in May, a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia in a friendly , while the last time they accomplished the feat in a competitive match was in June 2017, a 5-0 victory over Liechtenstein in a World Cup qualifier.
Italy next plays the United States in a friendly in Genk, Belgium, on Tuesday.
Mancini announced Chiellini, Alessandro Florenzi, Jorginho and Insigne would be sent home after the Portugal game and Gianluca Mancini and Moise Kean would be called up from the under-21 side.
Mancini and Chiellini both expressed disappointment that Ronaldo, who is taking a break from the national team, isn't with Portugal.
"It's always great to face the best players," Mancini said. "Anyhow, Portugal remains a great squad even without Cristiano."
London, Nov 17 (AP) — Brazil extended its winning streak since the World Cup to five after Neymar scored a controversial penalty to beat Uruguay 1-0 in a friendly at Emirates Stadium on Friday.
After defender Danilo fouled Uruguay defender Diego Laxalt, Neymar calmly placed his 76th-minute spot kick to the right side of the Uruguay goal as goalkeeper Martin Campana dived the wrong way.
The Uruguay players were furious at the decision and accused Danilo of diving. Referee Craig Pawson took a while before pointing to the spot and did so only on the advice of one of his linesman.
"It's a shame that it comes down to a bit of a controversial situation," Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said. "It was the linesman that flagged for it."
Though the five-time world champion enjoyed a lot of possession, Brazil failed to create many chances after Neymar had a close-range goal disallowed as early as the 11th minute.
Uruguay, which has lost three games in a row, went closest to scoring before Neymar's winning penalty.
Striker Luis Suarez took advantage of a loose ball on the edge of the Brazil penalty area but his shot was flicked over the bar by goalkeeper Alisson.
Brazil had its goalkeeper to thank again in first-half injury time when he parried away a sharp volley from Suarez's forward partner, Edinson Cavani.
Alisson was called upon again early in the second half when he dived to his left to turn a low curling free kick from Suarez behind for a corner.
This was the first time Suarez and Cavani have played together since the World Cup round of 16, where Cavani was injured after he scored the two goals that beat Portugal 2-1. Cavani's absence was noticeable when the two-time world champion was eliminated in the quarterfinals by eventual champion France.
Brazil coach Tite was particularly impressed by his defense, which has not conceded a goal since the quarterfinal loss to Belgium in the World Cup.
He heaped praise on the Uruguay strikers, too, especially Cavani.
"Cavani does make marking hard and he gives Suarez space," he said.
Brazil plays Cameroon next in Milton Keynes, north of London, while Uruguay takes on world champion France at the Stade de France. Both matches are on Tuesday.
New York, Nov 16 (AP/UNB) -Croatia crushed England's World Cup hopes in July. By beating Spain in a thriller on Thursday, the Croats have given Gareth Southgate's squad a chance to advance to the final phase of the inaugural UEFA Nations League.
Tin Jedvaj scored his second goal three minutes into stoppage time to earn Croatia a 3-2 victory and a first win in a competitive match since beating England in the World Cup semifinals.
Spain remained atop League A, Group 4 with six points. England and Croatia have four points each ahead of their head-to-head meeting at Wembley Stadium on Sunday in the last match.
A win for either England or Croatia will assure qualifying for the Final Four in June along with the other three group winners. Spain would go through if England and Croatia draw. The bottom team will be relegated to League B.
"We wanted to win this and to have the last match at Wembley to decide the group winner," Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said. "Let's go and enjoy our football now. We are very motivated for that one."
While Croatia beat former world champion Spain, England eased to a 3-0 win over the United States in a friendly marking the farewell appearance of Wayne Rooney.
Elsewhere in the Nations League, Belgium beat Iceland 2-0 to stay on course to reach the finals. In the lower leagues, Bosnia and Herzegovina earned promotion to League A, and Finland earned promotion to League B.
In other friendlies, Germany routed Russia 3-0, the Czech Republic edged Poland 1-0, Ireland and Northern Ireland played to a 0-0 draw, and Israel thrashed Guatemala 7-0.
Croatia's win avenged a 6-0 loss, its worst ever, to Spain in September.
The World Cup finalists pressed Spain in its area late and Jedvaj pounced after goalkeeper David de Gea pushed the ball into his path. The Bayer Leverkusen defender had earlier made it 2-1 to the hosts when he was left unmarked to head in a cross by Luka Modric for his first international goal.
Spain twice rallied to equalize, first through Dani Ceballos canceling out Andrej Kramaric's opener and then via a penalty by Sergio Ramos.
Luis Enrique's lineup was pressing for a late goal when Croatia produced one last push that paid off with Jedvaj's second score.
"Croatia got that little bit of fortune when both teams were desperately trying to win this match right at the end," Luis Enrique said.
Rooney Bids Farewell
Making his 120th and last appearance for England, the 33-year-old Rooney was denied a perfect farewell by Brad Guzan when the U.S. goalkeeper dived to stop his shot in stoppage time.
Recalled after two years out of the England squad, the D.C. United forward sparked the biggest cheers of the night when he went on as a 58th-minute substitute against the country he now calls home.
England's goals came from Jesse Lingard, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Callum Wilson.
Belgians On Course
Michy Batshuayi, replacing the injured Romelu Lukaku in attack, scored twice as Belgium beat Iceland for a third victory in the Nations League.
A draw against Switzerland on Sunday would be enough for Belgium to reach the finals. It has nine points from three games in Group 2 of League A, three ahead of Switzerland. Iceland had already been relegated to League B before the match.
France and Portugal are also favored to reach the finals from their groups in League A.
Bosnia and Herzegovina will join the top 12 teams on the continent for the next Nations League after it won Group 3 of League B. The Balkan nation got the point it needed by drawing 0-0 at Austria and remaining undefeated. The result also relegated Northern Ireland.
Finland won Group 2 of League C with one match remaining despite losing 1-0 against Greece. Estonia was relegated from the same group after losing 2-0 at Hungary.
In League D, already-promoted Georgia drew 1-1 at Andorra, Latvia drew 1-1 at Kazakhstan, Belarus won 2-0 at Luxembourg and Moldova won 1-0 at San Marino.
London, Nov 16 (AP/UNB) — Wayne Rooney's record-breaking England career ended with a first: relief not to score.
Whenever the striker touched the ball after coming on in the 58th minute, however far he was from goal in a 120th appearance, fans shouted "Shoot!"
The best chance fell to the 33-year-old Rooney in the second minute of stoppage time against the United States at Wembley Stadium. Primed in the penalty area, Rooney turned to shoot, only to be denied by U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan's low save.
There was a wry smile from Rooney, whose England career ended with 53 goals. It didn't matter for the result because a new generation of players had already provided the offense that secured a 3-0 win in the friendly against the country Rooney now calls home.
"Another yard it would have been in ... and it would have great," Rooney said. "But in some ways it's great because if I did score it would have opened another whole lot of debate whether that goal should count or not.
"In some ways it's probably better it didn't go in," he said.
Such was the debate stirred by England's most capped outfield player being recalled after two years off the team to have this ceremonial farewell, 15 years after his debut.
"The FA are celebrating players who have left their mark on international football for England — it never happened in the past, which it should have," said Rooney, a Premier League and Champions League title-winner with Manchester United.
"It hasn't taken way form what Gareth and the players are trying to do," he said. "Hopefully in a few years' time some of the players will be getting a similar night for their achievements. It was a great touch for me."
By the time Rooney entered the game as former Manchester United teammate Jesse Lingard's replacement in the 58th minute, England had done enough for the victory. Lingard and Trent Alexander-Arnold scored within 104 seconds of each other in the first half. As England's record-scorer bid farewell, Alexander-Arnold was joined by striker Callum Wilson in getting their first goals for England.
But this was Rooney's night.
England proclaimed the night "return of the king," celebrating a player who thrilled so often in the England jersey but couldn't inspire the country to a first title since 1966.
"He has been brilliant, the time he given to all of the players," England coach Gareth Southgate said. "He had some lovely touches, a couple of really exquisite throughballs and we were a yard to the left of Brad Guzan from a fairytale ending."
The start to the night was memorable enough.
In front of 68,155 fans, Rooney entered the field before the match accompanied with his four boys, carrying Cass, who was born in February.
"It's great memories for when they are older looking back," Rooney said, before going into the dressing room to deliver a final speech as an England player.
Southgate said he didn't want to rain on Rooney's parade by addressing concerns about the performance to the players.
They'll have to listen to the news conference.
"At times U.S. got through us too easily," Southgate said. "We were caught in transition and we were wide open. If we do that on Sunday we will lose."
The stakes will be more meaningful Sunday in the next game at Wembley.
After leaving the field, England learned that Croatia beat Spain 3-2 in the UEFA Nations League ahead of its trip to London. England or Croatia has a chance to advance to the Final Four tournament if either can win the match. A draw would allow Spain to advance from league A4 to the finals of Europe's new national-team competition.
"If we are going to be ruthless we have to do that right the way through the game," Southgate said.
Rooney is optimistic. When England reached its first World Cup semifinal in 28 years in July, Rooney was a spectator from afar.
"Seeing how they're working and how they're improving has been great for me," Rooney said.
Dhaka, Nov 15 (UNB) – The BKSP Women’s Football team which clinched the Subroto Mukherjee Cup U-17 International Football Tournament returned home from India on Wednesday midnight.
BKSP Director General Brigadier General Mohammad Anisur Rahman greeted the team for their success and entertained the members with sweetmeat upon their return.
The BKSP team clinched the Indian Junior Football Tournament title for the 2nd consecutive time with unbeaten record beating Saint Joseph International School team of Haryana by 1-0 goal by dint of the goal scored by Ratna in the final at the Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi recently.
Later, Ratna was adjudged the best player while Joya Chakma of BKSP named as the best coach of the tournament.
Earlier, BKSP team outplayed West Bengal 7-0 in the quarterfinal and eliminated Sports Authority of India (SAI) by 5-4 goals in tie-breaker in the semifinal.