Man City attacker Ferran Torres scored a hat-trick as Spain battered Germany 6-0, as Portugal left it late to beat 10-man Croatia 3-2.

Alvaro Morata broke the deadlock in the 17th minute with a towering back-post header from a corner – but then saw another close-range effort ruled out for a debatable offside call.

Manchester City winger Torres made it 2-0 after 33 minutes when he volleyed the ball in after Dani Olmo’s header hit the crossbar.

Germany, who had only needed a draw to win the group, fell further behind just five minutes later when City midfielder Rodri nodded in from a corner.

Spain captain Sergio Ramos – who saw two penalties against Switzerland saved – was forced off just before half-time with what appeared to be a hamstring problem.

It was 4-0 after 54 minutes when Spain left-back Jose Gaya made the most of some uncharacteristic wayward German defending to set up another for Torres.

The City winger completed his hat-trick with 18 minutes left when he curled a first-time shot past Manuel Neuer.

Substitute Mikel Oyarzabal knocked in a late sixth to complete a memorable victory for La Roja.

Relegation in the group is still to be decided after Switzerland’s clash with Ukraine in Lucerne has was called off following more positive Covid-19 tests in the visitors’ camp.

France had already made sure of their place in the last-four tournament, and finished off their A3 campaign with a 4-2 win over Sweden, who are relegated to League B.

Sweden had taken an early lead at Stade de France through a deflected shot from Viktor Claesson after just four minutes.

Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud soon equalised, before right-back Benjamin Pavard made it 2-1 in the 36th minute after Marcus Thuram’s shot was blocked.

Substitute Kylian Mbappe teed up Giroud to head home his second just before the hour.

Robin Quaison struck a late consolation for the Swedes, but Kingsley Coman had only been on for a few minutes when he scored a fourth for Les Bleus in stoppage time.

Portugal, the inaugural Nations League winners, scored a late winner from Manchester City defender Ruben Dias to sign off with a 3-2 win over Croatia, who finished with 10 men in Split.

Mateo Kovacic put the home side ahead when he tucked in a rebound after 29 minutes, but Croatia – who themselves could have been relegated if results went against them – had Marko Rog sent off for a second caution soon after the restart.

Manchester City defender Dias equalised in the 52nd minute with his first international goal, with Joao Felix adding a second for Portugal on the hour.

Kovacic hauled the World Cup runners-up level five minutes later, but Dias sealed victory for Portugal when he capitalised on a fumble from the Croatia goalkeeper.

Elsewhere on Tuesday, Montenegro secured promotion as winners of group C1 after a 4-0 victory over Cyprus, who are relegated, while Luxembourg and Azerbaijan played out a goalless draw.

Gibraltar are promoted from D2 after a 1-1 draw at home against Liechtenstein, while the Faroe Islands are also set to move up to League C after a 1-1 draw away at Malta put them top in D1.

Latvia won 5-0 at Andorra, who finished with 10 men and sit bottom of D1.

Just about all of the greatest uncapped Premier League players ever were pursued by England. And only four of them were English.

The post Nations League: Spain hammer Germany, Croatia 2-3 Portugal appeared first on Football News -.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal are “a long way” off the final product after a “challenging three or four months”.

Four Premier League defeats have left Arsenal 11th in the Premier League, with the team criticised for a lack of creativity and ideas in the final third.


FEATURE: No panic but Mikel Arteta needs an Arsenal reaction…


Arteta too has come in for criticism in recent weeks but has urged Arsenal fans to trust the “process”, which will take time.

“We’re a long way, I’m afraid,” Arteta told Arsenal.com. “It’s part of a process. The results have to be immediate, and the challenge we have with the club we are representing is that we have to win as quickly as possible every game in every competition.

“So far we have played 14 games in all competitions this season, we won 10 and lost four and the four of them have been in the Premier League, so it is a little bit imbalanced.

“There are a lot of things to do, short term and medium term, we have seen a lot of changes not only on the pitch but structurally as a club as well, it’s been difficult, it’s been a challenging time in the last three or four months, a lot of things have happened.

“We have to settle and everyone has to realise where we are now, but I see the future as really bright. I am a really positive person and I tend to learn much more when things don’t go well and we have a defeat like we had the other day that really hurt after the performance we had at Old Trafford.

“We have to understand why it happened, be really critical first of all with myself and try to understand the players better, and give them more solutions to win more football matches.”

Mark Smith and Matt Stead know all about disappointments. Join them to discover that Chelsea are the only Big Six club without representation on this week’s top ten.

The post Arteta admits Arsenal ‘a long way’ off end of ‘process’ appeared first on Football News -.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

England’s Nations League ambitions were extinguished in Belgium as the world’s top-ranked team punished Gareth Southgate’s side in Sunday’s crunch group clash.

The penultimate match of a challenging year was always going to provide the Three Lions’ toughest test – and acted as a reminder of the work required before the rearranged European Championship.

Southgate’s absentee-hit side could not find a way past another of the favourites for next summer’s tournament, with Youri Tielemans’ deflected strike and a fine Dries Mertens free-kick seeing Belgium run out 2-0 victors.


READ MORE: Grealish great, Dier dire and more England player ratings


The defeat ends England’s hopes of reaching a second successive Nations League finals and means Wednesday’s final Group A2 match against relegated Iceland will only offer the chance to fine-tune ahead of the Euros.

Southgate was without Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford in attack and the likes of Harry Maguire, Joe Gomez and Conor Coady at the back at Den Dreef, where the Three Lions could not quite get to grips with Belgium.

The hosts ruthlessly exploited lax play when Leicester’s Tielemans scored in the 10th minute and they extended their lead after Romelu Lukaku’s goal-line clearance stopped Harry Kane capping his 50th appearance with a goal.

Declan Rice was adjudged to have fouled Kevin De Bruyne and Mertens bent home superbly as England went into half-time facing a two-goal deficit for the first time since August 2009.

Southgate’s men penned Belgium back in the second half as Jack Grealish shone on his first competitive start, but the home side held firm to win Roberto Martinez’s 50th match in charge.

England wore black armbands in Leuven following the death of Ray Clemence on Sunday at the age of 72, with the Football Association planning a larger tribute to the former goalkeeper against Iceland.

The Three Lions had hoped to be going into Wednesday’s match with a chance of reaching the Nations League finals, but they failed to heed Southgate’s pre-match demand to be switched on from the outset.

While Kane dragged wide and Grealish proved a handful in the early stages, such positive work was undone when Jan Vertonghen got ahead of Mason Mount to intercept a pass by Eric Dier.

The ball was moved on quickly and Tielemans got away a shot that the outstretched Jordan Pickford could only tip onto the inside of the post following a slight deflection off Tyrone Mings.

England responded well to Belgium’s 10th-minute opener. Grealish was thwarted when meeting a cross from Kieran Trippier, whose resulting corner was met by a Kane header bound for the net until Lukaku cleared off the line.

Grealish had a shot blocked as the visitors looked to stage another comeback against Belgium, only for their uphill battle to steepen when Rice was adjudged to have fouled De Bruyne as he attempted to take a shot.

The Belgium star stood over the tantalisingly-placed free-kick, but it was Mertens that swept in to bend a superb right-footed effort over the wall and into the top left-hand corner midway through the first half.

Mount tried his luck either side of a Kane shot denied by Thibaut Courtois towards the end of a first half that saw England’s defensive troubles worsen as Ben Chilwell limped off.

Harry Winks replaced Jordan Henderson for a second period that started with poor free-kick attempts by Mount and Trippier.

The visitors were, though, looking improved and Kane scuffed a shot after being found by a fine Mount flick, with treatment for Trippier giving Belgium a break from mounting pressure.

Jadon Sancho and Dominic Calvert-Lewin were introduced to change the dynamics, with England continuing to push forwards against a side that seemed happy to sit back.

Pickford stopped Lukaku adding gloss to the scoreline after a move involving De Bruyne and Mertens on a rare Belgium attack, while a sumptuous Grealish flick led to a Kane cross-shot that landed on the roof of the net.

The England skipper continued to lead the visitors’ attempts but there was no finishing touch, with Lukaku bending wide at the end.

 

The post Belgium 2-0 England: Never fancied the Nations League anyway appeared first on Football News -.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Wayne Rooney will help Derby prepare for their next Sky Bet Championship fixture after the international break following the departure of manager Phillip Cocu.

Dutchman Cocu took over as Rams boss during the summer of 2019, when Frank Lampard had left for Chelsea.

However, Derby have managed just six points this season, and sit bottom of the table.

Assistant manager Chris Van Der Weerden and specialist first-team coach Twan Scheepers have also left their roles.

Following confirmation of Cocu’s departure by mutual consent, former England captain Rooney revealed he had been asked to help the squad prepare for the trip to Bristol City on November 21.

Former Everton and Manchester United forward Rooney joined the Rams during the January transfer window as the 35-year-old looked to take his first steps into coaching while also continuing his playing career.

“I am sorry that Phillip and his staff have left the club and want to thank him personally for all his help and encouragement as part of his coaching staff,” Rooney said in a statement.

“The most important thing now is to stabilise the club and start moving up the table. I have been asked to be part of the coaching staff to help the team’s preparations for next Saturday’s vital match against Bristol City.

“The coaches and I will speak with the players on Monday.”

Derby thanked Cocu for his contribution to the club, on and off the pitch.

“Phillip and his staff helped develop and establish a considerable number of academy players in to the first-team squad and Phillip made significant financial contributions and personal efforts towards the club’s community projects during the Covid-19 pandemic, which the club are extremely grateful for,” a statement on the club’s official website read.

“Derby County wishes to thank Phillip, Chris and Twan for their hard work and dedication over the last 16 months and wish them every success in their future careers.

“The club will provide further updates when appropriate and will be making no further comment in the meantime.”


F365 SAYS: Mount’s ‘crime’ is being more Lampard than Grealish


Earlier in November, Derby confirmed a deal had been agreed “in principle” for the sale of the club to Derventio Holdings, which is owned by Sheikh Khaled Zayed Bin Saquer Zayed Al Nayhan, a member of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family.

Sheikh Khaled is the cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the deal to buy Derby is reported to be in the region of £60million.

Former PSV boss Cocu, meanwhile, said it had been agreed it was “in the best interests of all parties” for him to leave the club.

In a statement on Instagram, the former Barcelona midfielder said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at the club including the board, staff and all of the players for their fantastic support for me since arriving at Pride Park.

“Although this season has not gone as we all would have liked so far on the pitch, I believe passionately in the project that we started to build and I have no doubt that the future is bright for the club.

“I wish everyone associated with the club the very best both on and off the pitch, particularly with the ‘Stay Safe, Stay Fit, Stay Connected’ project that I am very proud of to have initiated.

“Finally, I’d like to say a huge thank you to the most important people of the club, the fans.

“Thank you for welcoming me to your club and for all of the support you’ve shown to me and the team. I wish you all the very best.”

Mark Smith and Sarah Winterburn look ahead to the international break, everyone’s favourite time of the year. Jude Bellingham, then…

The post Rooney to help coach Derby after Cocu departure appeared first on Football News -.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

The release clause of Arsenal target Nuno Mendes has been increased from £40 million to £62 million, according to reports.

The Gunners are thought to be monitoring the Sporting Lisbon player as he’s seen as a future star.

Liverpool were told back in early September that they would have to fork out  €45 million to activate Mendes’ release clause.


FEATURE: Liverpool’s imperfect God should be remembered more fondly


But according to Portuguese outlet Record (via The Sun), that release clause has now been increased to £62 million.

The report states that the player’s representatives and club officials have agreed on a new contract for Mendes.

That follows his brilliant form since breaking into the first team.

He is the latest in a long line of Sporting academy graduates, with arguably the most famous being Cristiano Ronaldo.

The action is a means of deterrence to Europe’s elite clubs.

Arsenal aren’t the only club to be interested in Mendes, but the Gunners might now be priced out of a deal.

The defender would provide competition for places at left back, which is his preferred position.

Since making his senior debut in 2019, Mendes has featured 18 times for Sporting. That includes multiple appearances during the club’s Europa League qualifying campaign.

Despite this obvious bad news for Arsenal fans, they will be pleased to know that Liverpool no longer seem interested in Mendes.

The Anfield club is diverting its attention to other European wonderkids. That includes Barcelona’s Alejandro Balde, whom they have already made contact with.

It looks set to be an interesting year for Arsenal in terms of transfers. They’re still in the hunt for Houssem Aouar from Lyon, who is thought to be Arteta’s top priority.

With the emergence of Mendes as another target, Arsenal might have a record window for transfer spending coming up.

The post Sporting bump up release clause of Arsenal target Mendes to £62m appeared first on Football News -.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Aleksandar Mitrovic missed Serbia’s all-important penalty to send Scotland through the European Championship finals.

Scotland, of course, did it the hard way as they reached their first major tournament since 1998 after a 1-1 draw.

Ryan Christie’s strike appeared to have sent Steve Clarke’s dominant side to their first major tournament since 1998 but Serbia scored with their first effort on target in the 90th minute.

However, the blow proved to be fleeting as Marshall saved from Aleksandar Mitrovic in the 10th penalty of the shoot-out.

Christie gave Scotland a deserved 52nd-minute lead with an excellent strike from outside the box and Steve Clarke’s side had chances to give themselves an extra cushion.

They would regret not getting a second goal, despite looking comfortable for the vast majority of normal time.

Marshall was rarely troubled, the Scotland defence were resolute when they needed to be, the midfield composed and confident and Christie, John McGinn and Lyndon Dykes gave the home defence serious problems.

But Serbia put Scotland under some late aerial pressure and Luka Jovic headed home unchallenged following a corner 20 seconds before the 90-minute mark.

However, Scotland secured a 5-4 penalties triumph to set themselves up for two Hampden encounters against Croatia and Czech Republic and a Wembley clash with England at next summer’s delayed finals.

The signs were good coming into the clash in Red Star’s Rajko Mitic Stadium.

Scotland were eight matches unbeaten and had recorded four wins and three clean sheets on the trot.

Clarke went with the bulk of the team that had won three matches in October but Kieran Tierney and Christie returned, the latter for the injured Ryan Fraser, after the pair were instructed to self-isolate last month.

There was more encouragement from the early stages as Scotland dominated possession and territory in the opening 10 minutes, getting several crosses into the box without finding a blue shirt, before Christie drew a save from an ambitious free-kick.

Serbia were barely seen as an attacking force until coming close midway through the half. Aleksandar Mitrovic laid the ball back for Sasa Lukic who steered the ball a yard wide from the edge of the box.

Scotland came closer when Christie fed McGinn after a long ball, the latter’s shot gathered at the second attempt.

Scotland continued to threaten and skipper Andy Robertson spurned a glorious chance five minutes after the break after Lyndon Dykes had seen off three defenders to roll the ball into his path. The Liverpool player sliced his shot well over.

The Scots were ahead 90 seconds later. Callum McGregor intercepted and fed his Celtic team-mate, Christie, who swivelled and fired the ball in off the post from 22 yards.

Christie soon had a volley saved following a Dykes head-on and Scotland remained in control.

Serbia had to step up a gear and did so in the final 20 minutes. Headers from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Mitrovic were not far wide but Scotland were still creating chances.

McGregor saw a long-range effort swerve just wide and Christie came close after running on to a long ball.

The home pressure increased and Jovic headed wide from a good chance but Scotland looked to be riding it out until the substitute evaded marker Scott McTominay amid a crowd of bodies to head home unchallenged from Filip Mladenovic’s corner.

Clarke had taken off his most advanced three players in the final seven minutes of normal time with Oli McBurnie, Callum Paterson and Kenny McLean now finding themselves leading the charge after being brought on to help shore up a lead.

Stephen O’Donnell and Ryan Jack came close from long range in the opening moments but Scotland were soon under pressure again and Marshall produced a brilliant fingertips save to divert Nemanja Gudelj’s long-range effort away from the top corner.

Scotland had lost their attacking rhythm and Clarke threw on Leigh Griffiths in the 117th minute for his first cap in more than two years.

Griffiths’ first involvement was to fire home the opening penalty of the shoot-out. McGregor, McTominay, McBurnie and McLean also netted before Marshall denied Mitrovic.

Mark Smith and Sarah Winterburn look ahead to the international break, everyone’s favourite time of the year. Jude Bellingham, then…

The post Serbia 1-1 Scotland (4-5 pens): Clarke’s men are off to the Euro’s! appeared first on Football News -.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor believes the club might have to spend big if they want to sign Chelsea’s Ross Barkley permanently.

The Englishman joined on loan from the Blues during the summer after falling down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.

He’s since formed a great relationship with the likes of Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins.


FEATURE: Harry Kane tops list of one-man Premier League teams


The trio have helped Villa to thrash Liverpool and beat Arsenal in recent matches.

That form means Barkley might now cost Villa more money than beforehand, according to Agbonlahor.

The former England man said: “There’s no rush. I think at the moment they’ve got him on loan for the season, they’ll see how he does all through the season and then judge the situation at the end of the season.

“It might be something they want to make permanent at the end of the season.

“I’m sure there will be a big fee because Chelsea will value him. Let’s not forget he’s a similar age to Jack Grealish – if he can keep on producing his current form, Chelsea will definitely want a high fee.

“Chelsea might even want to bring him back into their team. I think we’ve just got to enjoy him while he’s there and try to get the best out of him.”

Agbonlahor also spoke about the reasons for Barkley’s revival. He said: “I think he sees Aston Villa as a team where he’s going to play.

“He was quiet against Southampton but he was selected against Arsenal so he’s got the support of the manager. Even if he has an off game, he’ll still play the next game.

“I think that that’s quite important for players to know that you’ve got the backing of the manager.”

Mark Smith and Matt Stead know all about disappointments. Join them to discover that Chelsea are the only Big Six club without representation on this week’s top ten.

The post Agbonlahor: Barkley could cost Aston Villa ‘big fee’ due to form appeared first on Football News -.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Tottenham have a squad capable of challenging for the Premier League title this season, according to Liverpool legend John Aldridge.

Spurs have made a strong start to the season under Jose Mourinho. They sit second in the table going into the international break.

The London outfit have had a busy summer in the transfer market. Their business was headlined by the return of Gareth Bale to the club, who rejoins on loan from Real Madrid.


MEDIAWATCH: Greenwood hypocrisy and Kane ‘X-factor’ nonsense in Mediawatch


Spurs have also done some other great business though. They have signed Sergio Reguilon, Matt Doherty and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on permanent deals.

Tottenham have only lost one league game this campaign, as they have won five of their eight Premier League outings so far.

They also sit top of their Europa League group, and they are in the Quarter-Finals of the Carabao Cup.

Aldridge wrote in his Sunday World column that he considers Spurs to be genuine title contenders this season:

“My tip to challenge for the title this season are Tottenham and while they are not playing at their best right now, they are winning matches and have a squad capable of going all the way“.

“In Jose Mourinho, they have a manager who is a serial winner and will fancy his chances of winning the title with a team loaded with top-class performers and with steel we have not seen from Spurs down the years.

“Harry Kane and Son Heung-min will both score 20-plus goals this season and if they can get Gareth Bale anywhere near his best, they will have a chance.“

Mark Smith and Matt Stead know all about disappointments. Join them to discover that Chelsea are the only Big Six club without representation on this week’s top ten.

The post Tottenham tipped to compete for title by Liverpool legend appeared first on Football News -.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Everton and West Ham target Martin Braithwaite is free to leave Barcelona in January, according to reports.

The forward spent two seasons in the Championship with Middlesbrough between 2017 and 2019. He signed for them from Toulouse for around £9m, but he only netted nine times in 40 appearances for them.

After a couple of loan spells away, he joined Spanish side Leganes permanently ahead of the 2019/20 campaign. Braithwaite scored eight times in 27 appearances for them in the first half of the season.


F365 FEATURES: Five players exiled like Ozil, with varying outcomes…


This form sparked surprising interest from Barcelona. The European giants activated his £18m release clause and he officially became a Barcelona player in February 2020.

The striker has only managed to score once for them from 16 outings in all competitions. Now Spanish outlet, Mundo Deportivo, are reporting that Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman plans to let the forward leave in January.

A separate report from Mundo Deportivo revealed that both Everton and West Ham have already shown interest in the Denmark international.

Everton will be hoping to bring in competition for Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The England international has been on fire this season, but if he gets injured the Toffees do not have many options to cover for him.

Meanwhile, a move to West Ham makes sense. The player would compete for a starting place with Michail Antonio and Sebastien Haller.

The Hammers brought in Said Benrahma during the January transfer window, but he tends to operate best out wide on either flank.

Should either side make a move for Braithwaite in January, they will likely have to offer around £18m so Barcelona can recoup the amount they paid for the player less than a year ago.

The post Everton, West Ham £18m target available in January appeared first on Football News -.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder insists his players must quickly learn the “dark arts” to find their feet in their second season in the Premier League.

The Blades, who finished an impressive ninth last season after more than holding their own on returning to the top flight, are finding things far tougher second time around and are rooted to the bottom of the table and still without a win in eight games after a 4-1 defeat at Chelsea on Saturday.

David McGoldrick flicked the Blades into an early lead but Frank Lampard’s new-look Chelsea are building their resolve – and hit back in style with Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Timo Werner all on target.

“We were still in the game going up to 75 minutes, but then we got done on a block on the corner,” said Wilder.

“For my team it’s a right difficult situation. At times maybe I’m a bit naive and we’re not being good at the dark arts.

“It’s a real predicament that I’m in as a manager at the moment.

“That’s not decided the game because they were better than us, with world-class players that are playing at the top of the game.

“But there’s a block in the penalty area and then he scores with a header.

“We’re in the game at 2-1 and we’re out of it at 4-1. The players have to pick themselves up together, they’ve been shaken up a little. It’s been a tough run.

“I thought Chelsea were outstanding. What a job Frank Lampard’s done, in his second year.”

The post Wilder: Blades must master ‘dark arts’ in difficult second season appeared first on Football News -.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League