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England

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England have maintained their 100% record in the Euro 2016 qualifiers

After another round of international games for the 2016 European Championship Qualifiers, we take a look back at the results, and the consequential changes in the groups.

Group A

Kazakhstan were thoroughly beaten at home by Iceland, losing 0-3. Iceland jumped to second and closed the gap on group leaders Czech Republic as they were held to a disappointing 1-1 home draw with Latvia. It was Latvia’s third point out of five Euro Qualifiers. Holland missed a huge opportunity to close the gap on the Czech Republic as a late Sneijder goal salvaged a disappointing 1-1 home draw against Turkey.

Group B

Wales maintained their unbeaten status in Group B as they claimed an impressive 0-3 victory over Israel in Tel Aviv. However, Israel sit two points of the group leaders with a game in hand. An Aaron Ramsey goal put the Welsh ahead, and two second half Gareth Bale goals came either side of a red card for Israel’s Tibi. Bosnia-Herzegovina claimed their first win of the qualifying campaign as they beat the group’s bottom side Andorra 0-3. Belgium are now only three points off the top of the group with a game in hand over leaders Wales as they comfortably saw off Cyprus 5-0.

Group C

Macedonia suffered a disappointing 1-2 loss to Belarus in a game which saw an incredible 10 yellow cards. Belarus switched fifth place for fourth with the home side, but still only have four points. Slovenia continued their 100% record in Group C as they swept aside Luxembourg 3-0, the minnows propping up the group. Second place Spain kept up the pressure on Slovakia, a single strike from Morata proving enough to beat Ukraine. Spain however, are still three points off the group leaders with 12 points.

Group D

Stephen Fletcher scored Scotland’s first hattrick since 1969 as they emphatically beat Gibraltar 6-1 at Hampden Park. As well as the Fletcher hattrick, Shaun Maloney scored two penalties and Steven Naismith also grabbed a goal, and even Gibraltar scored their first ever competitive goal. The win kept the Scots firmly in the chase for automatic qualification, behind Germany by goal difference alone. The Germans however also kept up their chase, beating Georgia 0-2 after Reus and Muller scored within five minutes of each other. In the group’s other game, a 94th minute Shane Long goal secured an impressive 1-1 home draw for the Republic of Ireland against group leaders Poland, who are now only one point clear at the top.

Group E

England confidently cruised past Lithuania, winning 4-0 at Wembley. As well as an early Wayne Rooney strike, Danny Welbeck scored his sixth goal in five qualifiers, Raheem Sterling scored his first England goal, and Harry Kane scored after just 80 seconds. England have won their last seven internationals, have maintained their 100% record and have a six point lead over their nearest rivals Slovenia. They beat minnows San Marino 6-0. In the group’s other game, Switzerland had no issues overcoming Estonia 3-0.

Group F

A Kyle Lafferty brace secured a 2-1 win for Northern Ireland against Finland. This kept Michael O’Neill’s side just one point off group leaders Romania. They secured a narrow 1-0 win over the Faroe Islands. In the group’s other game, Hungary drew 0-0 with Greece. This left them five points off Romania, the draw putting a huge dent in their automatic qualification hopes.

Group G

Leaders Austria had no problems maintaining their four point lead at the top of the group, dispatching with Liechtenstein 0-5. Second place Sweden, who have nine points, managed to keep up their small amount of pressure on Austria as they beat Moldova 0-2, an Ibrahimovic double managing to seal the win despite a late red card for defender Granqvist. The other game in Group G was abandoned in bizarre circumstances. Just one minute into the game, Russian goalkeeper Akinfeev was struck by a flare from the stands. However, the game carried on despite a 30 minute delay. But, in the second half, a mass brawl involving players and staff caused the German referee to abandon the game.

Group H

Azerbaijan claimed their first win of the qualifying campaign as they beat Malta 2-1. Group leaders Croatia also returned to winning ways, beating Norway 5-1. This win was despite defender Corluka receiving two yellow cards in four minutes. Italy missed a huge chance to go level on points with leaders Croatia, as they could only draw in Bulgaria, a late Eder goal ensuring a 2-2 draw.

Group I

Group leaders Portugal kept top of the group after a 2-1 win over Serbia, despite a marvellous overhead kick goal from Serbia’s Matic. Second place Denmark didn’t play, so Albania took their chance to draw level on points with a 2-1 win over Armenia. After going 0-1 down, a red card for Albania’s Hambardzumyan with twenty minutes left prompted two goals in four minutes from the home team to snatch all three points and go third on goal difference.

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Manchester United defender Phil Jones has revealed his enjoyment in playing alongside Chelsea’s Gary Cahill for England.

The two started together against Lithuania on Friday night, a game the side went on to win 4-0 on route to qualifying for Euro 2016.

The pair have started together four times now, with Jones being picked ahead of Phil Jagielka for this fixture.

Both Cahill and Jones have endured up and down seasons as they have come under criticism, but Jones was full of praise for his England counter-part after the game.

The 23-year-old told the the Mirror: “I enjoy playing with him. You see him at Chelsea, he’s a top-class centre-half. He’s strong, he reads the game well, and it’s nice to play alongside him.”

The victory made it five wins out of five in the qualifying campaign for France 2016.

Up next for England is a game in Turin against Italy on Tuesday as they look to avenge their World Cup defeat against Atonio Conte’s men.

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England boss Roy Hodgson may have an injury crisis

England have had their squad reduced to just 17 outfield players as another FOUR players have dropped out through injury.

Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck, Manchester City’s James Milner (both knee), Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling (toe), and Everton’s Leighton Baines have all dropped out of the squad for the Three Lions’ friendly with Italy in Turn on Tuesday. These four injuries all came during England’s European Qualifier against Lithuania on Friday night. Welbeck was replaced after 77 minutes.

This brings the total number of injury dropouts to NINE. Danny Rose, Fraser Forster, Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw had all dropped out before the game against Lithuania.

Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand and Tottenham’s Ryan Mason have been called in as replacements.

England manager Roy Hodgson said:

“We knew we were going to be losing Raheem Sterling who had an injection last night on an on-going injury and hopefully that will help him as we go forward. We have a problem with James Milner who had to leave, we decided to let Leighton Baines go home and of course we lost Danny Welbeck who unfortunately picked up a slight knee injury against Lithuania.”

“So those four players won’t be with us going forward but it means a chance for the other guys in the squad to show what they can do. We are going to bring Ryan Bertrand in because with Leighton Baines gone we are now left with only one recognised left-back which is Kieran Gibbs. We wanted two recognised left-backs for both games.”

England goalscorer Wayne Rooney

England are on track to continue their 100% European Qualifying record as they lead Lithuania 2-0 at half time at Wembley.

The Three Lions went ahead through striker Wayne Rooney after just six minutes, the Manchester United player striking the post moments earlier. Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck then dived to head in England’s second.

Manager Roy Hodgson included Chelsea defender Gary Cahill in the starting line-up, but there was no place for Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, who will have to wait for his first senior international start. Fabian Delph, Michael Carrick and Nathaniel Clyne were also included in the starting XI.

England, who sat top of the table in Group E at the start of play after five wins in five, went into the match with confidence against a Lithuania side who sat in fourth with a disappointing six points. And the difference in quality showed early on as Delph won possession in the opposition half and played in Rooney, who, one-on-one with the keeper, managed to shoot against the post.

However, Rooney didn’t have to wait long to score, grabbing the first of the night after just six minutes. Some good work by Welbeck led to his shot being saved, and the rebound kindly came to Rooney, who headed into an empty net past the despairing hand of Lithuania keeper Giedrius Arlauskis.

Despite taking an early lead, England couldn’t capitalise, although Rooney hit the crossbar. Lithuania, who worked hard and were organised in the first half, settled into the game and the home team had Phil Jones to thank after his tackle stopped Deivydas Matulevicius from turning in a pinpoint cross.

However, England soon started to retake control and after Leighton Baines missed a good opportunity, Welbeck may have scored the goal which made the game safe. Jordan Henderson collected a short corner, and his accurate low cross was met by the diving head of the Arsenal striker. His header took an unlucky deflection off the Lithuania captain Tadas Kijanskas, but Welbeck will claim his sixth goal in five European qualifiers – the best goalscoring record in the competition.

England are playing Lithuania in their seventh Euro 2016 qualifier

England 4-0 Lithuania – Full Time

England have swept aside Lithuania in their European Group E Qualifier at Wembley.  Wayne Rooney opened the scoring after six minutes. Danny Welbeck then headed in the second just before half time. Good work from Rooney set up a tap in for Raheem Sterling just before the hour, and substitute Harry Kane scored with just his second touch, the 21-year old Tottenham striker scoring the fourth goal of the match just 80 seconds after coming on. Full Time – England 4-0 Lithuania.

They are the first England team to have won seven internationals in a row since the start of a season. But, more importantly, the current Three Lions side have maintained their 100% record in the group stage.

FULL REPORT TO FOLLOW!

Lineups:

England: Hart, Clyne, Cahill, Jones, Baines; Henderson (Barkley, 70′), Carrick, Delph, Sterling (YC), Rooney (Kane, 71′), Welbeck (Walcott, 76′).

Lithuania: Arlauskis, Freidgeimas, Kijanskas, Mikuckis (Stankevicius, 66′), Zaliukas (YC), Andriuskevicius (Slavickas, 83′), Zulpa, Mikoliunas (Kazlauskas, 88′, YC), Chvedukas, Cernych, Matulevicius.

Subs:

England: Butland, Smalling, Walcott, Jagielka, Milner, Townsend, Kane, Mason, Barkley, Gibbs, Walker, Green.

Lithuania: Zubas, Vicius, Vaitkunas, Sirgedas, Kazlauskas, Luksa, Beniusis, Slavickas, Panka, Stankevicius, Borovskij, Cerniauskas.

Referee: Pavel Kralovec (Czech Republic)

Man of the Match: Danny Welbeck

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Chelsea striker Didier Drogba revealed his delight over John Terry signing a new contract to extend his stay at the club.

Terry will now remain at Stamford Bridge at least until the end of the 2015/16 season.

Drogba stated the former England defender fully deserves his new contract.

He told the official Chelsea website: “When you see the way he has performed and that the manager is happy with him.”

“He has that desire to carry on playing and to be the best. It [the new contract] is deserved and I’m really happy for him.”

Just friendly love to guide Didier’s words? It does not seem to be the case: Terry has completed an average 89% pass accuracy this season and he won 68% of his duels: a higher percentage than any other Chelsea player.

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TERRY
Chelsea legend and captain John Terry © Francesca Ceciarini

John Terry will continue playing with Chelsea at least until summer 2016: he has signed a new contract just minutes ago, the Chelsea official website reports.

These are the integral words of Chelsea:

Chelsea Football Club is delighted to announce that John Terry has signed a new contract, extending his stay until the end of the 2015/16 campaign.

Since his debut in 1998, the club captain has made 661 appearances, scoring a club record 63 goals for a defender. His man-of-the-match display in the Capital One Cup final on 1 March brought his 13th major honour with the Blues, a third League Cup win added to the Champions League, Europa League and three Premier League titles, with Terry also boasting five FA Cup winner’s medals.

Terry’s first conference, exclusively with the Chelsea FC website: “I’m delighted to have signed an extension to my contract with Chelsea.”

“After adding another major trophy to my collection this month I hope myself, the players and manager can continue to bring success to our club.”

“Playing for this great club makes me so proud. And as always I would like to thank the fans who have continually supported me.”

 

Jose Mourinho also released a comment on the deal: “This new contract is not to say “thank you very much”; it is because John continues to perform. He is a top defender. I am happy that he completely deserves this new contract after a season where he has already played 40 matches.”

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Zouma-France
Zouma-France

This weekend the Premier League and all the other major European championships will stop for the last international break of the season.

Many Chelsea players are involved with their national teams, let’s see a list of all of them:

 

ENGLAND

-Cahill

SPAIN

– Fabregas

– Diego Costa was selected but he had to go back to London for hamstring injury

BRAZIL

-Oscar

-Willian

-Filipe Luis

COLOMBIA

– Cuadrado

FRANCE

– Zouma

BELGIUM

– Hazard

-Courtois

CZECH REPUBLIC

– Cech

 

 

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solanke
solanke

Chelsea starlet Dominic Solanke trained with the England senior squad on Tuesday after receiving his award for winning England Men’s Youth Player of the Year.

Solanke, 17, scored four goals in five matches as England triumphed in the European Under-17 Championship in Malta and being named Uefa’s Star of 2014, prompting observers to choose him.

Solanke made his senior debut for Chelsea as a second-half substitute in a 6-0 Champions League group stage win over Maribor and scored 15 goals in 16 games at youth level in the first half of this season.

Also Jose Mourinho has already invited the 17-year-old to train with the senior Bluessquad this season and insists he and fellow youngsters Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Lewis Baker and Izzy Brown have been ear-marked as future first-team stars.

“My conscience tells me that if, for example, Baker, Brown, and Solanke are not national team players in a few years, I should blame myself,” Mourinho told reporters last summer.

“They are part of a process the club started without me. In this moment, we have players who will be Chelsea players. And when they become Chelsea players, they will become England players, almost for sure.”

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STERLING
STERLING

Chelsea could shock Liverpool by signing Raheem Sterling this summer, according to English newspaper the Daily Star.

Sterling, 20, has become the subject of fervant speculation for some time and talk of a transfer away from Anfield has become more acute since his agent claimed that discussing a new contract with Liverpool will be put off until the end of the season at the earliest. The England international’s current contract will run out at the end of next season, and Sterling is wanted by Manchester City and Real Madrid, as well as Chelsea, if reports in England are to be believed.

Liverpool have tried to get Sterling to committ his future with Liverpool with an offer of £90,000 a week wages, but the Jamaica born winger is believed to be holding out for £120,000.

Sterling has been one of Liverpool’s most important players since he broke into the first team at the age of 18, and was pivotal to Liverpool almost winning the league last season. More recently he was perhaps Liverpool’s best player in this season’s League Cup semi-final when he scored the Mersyesider’s only goal in the tie, running with the ball from deep into Chelsea’s penalty area and finishing intelligently past Thibaus Courtoisto level the tie 1-1.

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