World Sports News in Brief

Dutch delight in win over France, Germany relegated

Saturday, 2018-11-17 07:40:18
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France's Olivier Giroud in action with Netherlands' Virgil Van Dijk - UEFA Nations League - League A - Group 1 - Netherlands v France - De Kuip, Rotterdam, Netherlands - November 16, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)
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Georginio Wijnaldum blasted home from close range and Memphis Depay converted a last-gasp penalty to earn the Netherlands a 2-0 win over world champions France on Friday and condemn Germany to relegation from their Nations League group.

A draw would be enough to see Ronald Koeman’s team advance to meet other group winners next June. France, despite losing their first game since winning the World Cup, remained top of the Group One standings but have completed their campaign.

* Neymar scored a contested second-half penalty to give Brazil a 1-0 friendly win over Uruguay and bring some joy to their fans on a gloomy Friday at the Emirates Stadium in London. The forward was again the stand-out Brazil player and he coolly side-footed home his 60th international goal in the 76th minute after Diego Laxalt brought down Danilo, although Uruguay claimed there was a handball in the build-up.

* Gibraltar’s hopes of a fairytale promotion from their Nations League group ended as they slumped to a 6-2 home defeat by Armenia on Friday after a disastrous second-half performance. The result means Macedonia, who beat Liechtenstein 2-0, will be guaranteed promotion if they avoid losing to Gibraltar in Skopje on Sunday. Armenia must beat Liechtenstein and hope Gibraltar win if they are to top the group.

* Denmark strikers Nicolai Joergensen and Martin Braithwaite struck to secure a 2-1 victory over Wales and promotion from Nations League B Group 4 in a pulsating clash on Friday. The Welsh went behind to Joergensen's goal before the break and Braithwaite added a second late on before Gareth Bale almost immediately pulled one back but it was too late for the hosts.

* Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic will miss the winner-takes-all Nations League game against England at Wembley on Sunday due to injury, manager Zlatko Dalic said on Friday. Barcelona's Rakitic came off in the 67th minute of the 3-2 home win over Spain on Thursday which gave Croatia the chance to top League A Group 4 and claim a place in next year's four-team finals.

* Goalkeeper Georgi Petkov became the oldest player to represent Bulgaria after starting their Nations League match against Cyprus on Friday. Petkov, aged 42 years, eight months and two days, also became the oldest European keeper to play in an international match.

* Claudio Ranieri told Fulham to forget about miracles and fight "like pirates" to stay in the Premier League as he held his first news conference as manager of the struggling club on Friday. The 67-year-old Italian, who took rank outsiders Leicester City to a famous 2016 title, said the immediate focus had to be plugging the West Londoners' leaky defence and securing safety.

* Venezuela captain Tomas Rincon’s penalty nine minutes from fulltime rescued a 1-1 draw in a friendly against Japan in Oita on Friday after Hiroki Sakai scored his first international goal for the hosts. Japan came into the match on the back of three wins from three under new coach Hajime Moriyasu but they could not maintain their perfect record as they continue preparations for the Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates, beginning Jan. 5.

* Pressure is mounting on Spain goalkeeper David de Gea with fans and media calling for him to be dropped following a surprise 3-2 loss to Croatia in Thursday night’s Nations League meeting. De Gea has been Spain's number one since Euro 2016 but he has struggled to consistently replicate his impressive Manchester United club form and was criticised for not closing down Croatia forward Andrej Kramaric, who scored the opener in Zagreb. Kepa has conceding eight times in his first 12 Premier League appearances as Chelsea remain unbeaten in the league.

* Morocco defeated Cameroon 2-0 in Casablanca on Friday night to edge closer to 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualification. With still a game to play, Morocco could officially qualify as of tomorrow if Malawi do not win against Comoros. Cameroon automatically qualified for the Nations Cup as hosts.

* Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos has been forced to drop out of the Spain national team squad as the result of a groin strain. Ramos, who played in Spain's 3-2 UEFA Nations League defeat to Croatia on Thursday night, will not be able to travel with the rest of the squad to play Sunday's friendly game in Las Palmas against Bosnia-Herzegovina and will instead return to his club to receive treatment.

Reuters, Xinhua