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dreams of being in the World Cup, so

    • 3143 posts
    June 26, 2017 6:14 AM +0430

    ZAGREB, Croatia -- Ten-man Croatia qualified for the World Cup with a 2-0 win on Tuesday that quashed Icelands hopes of reaching footballs showpiece tournament for the first time. Zay Jones Youth Jersey . Striker Dario Mandzukic scored the opener in the 22nd minute but was given a red card nine minutes later for a reckless tackle and left Croatia with 10 men for the remainder of the match. But the home team maintained its attacking dominance and Darijo Srna made it 2-0 in the 47th. The defeat ended Icelands bid to become the smallest nation -- in terms of population -- to reach the World Cup finals. Croatia, a semifinalist in 1998, qualified for its fourth World Cup since becoming an independent state in 1991. "Croatia deserved to win," Iceland defender Ragnar Sigurdsson said. "It was the better team, especially today, and there is no doubt it deserves to go to Brazil. We felt it might go better for us after Mandzukic was sent off, but we did not get any space on the pitch." Last Friday in Reykjavik, Iceland overcame the second-half red card of Olafur Skulason to hold on for the 0-0 draw against Croatia, keeping the Nordic nation in contention for a spot at Brazil in 2014. But on Tuesday, Iceland had few chances against an inspired Croatian team. "Pressure was huge, this was not easy game to play," Croatia coach Niko Kovac said. "But at the end, it could have easily been 5-0." Croatia took the lead when Ivan Rakitic crossed from the right, Ivan Perisic deflected the ball in the heart of the penalty box, creating a clear opportunity for Mandzukic to finish with a low shot into the near corner. Bayern Munich striker Mandzukic was shown a straight red card after a tackle with his studs up against Johann Gudmundsson, and that changed Croatias tactical approach for the rest of the game. With Iceland going into an all-out attack, Croatia resorted to counter-attacks. Captain Srna doubled the lead two minutes into the second half when his shot from some 18 metres (yards) from the right bounced in front of Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldersson and ended up in the left corner of the goal. "We were focused throughout the playoffs and it was worth it," Srna said. "We had no right to disappoint our fans. Mandzukics sending off only gave us the wind in our backs." Openings in Icelands defence only created more chances for the Croats. Ivica Olic hit the crossbar with a spectacular overhead shot and Perisic failed to convert a one-on-one situation against the Iceland goalkeeper. "We are really happy to make it to the World Cup," Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric said. "Iceland was tough to play against, but we were a better team in the playoffs." Iceland was surprisingly unbeaten in its last five games on the road in these World Cup qualifications. "Croatia was a better and more experienced opponent and showed its strength," Iceland veteran striker Eidur Gudjohnsen said. "Still, we have to be proud of what we have done in this World Cup campaign." Nathan Peterman Bills Jersey . Winning more at home probably should be on the list. The Flames look to avoid a fifth defeat in six home games by winning a sixth straight meeting with the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. Dion Dawkins Youth Jersey . According to various reports, the striker is about to sign a five-and-a-half year extension with Manchester United worth a reported 300,000 pounds a week that would see him at Old Trafford until 2019. The United States will play Ghana, Portugal and Germany in what appears to be the most difficult first-round group at next years World Cup, one that will take the Americans on a 9,000-mile trip around Brazil. Making its seventh straight appearance at soccers showcase, the U.S. was drawn Friday into Group G and opens on June 16 in Natal against Ghana, which eliminated the Americans at the 2006 and 2010 tournaments. The U.S. meets Portugal and 2008 FIFA Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo six days later in the Amazon rain forest city Manaus. The Americans have just three off days to recover before closing group play on June 26 in Recife against three-time champion Germany. "I think we have the quality, if we play our best ball, to get out of the group," U.S. captain Clint Dempsey said. "You cant think about, Am I the favourite? Am I the underdog? Whats it going to be like playing in the heat? Whats it going to be like with the travel? Those are factors that come into it, but at the end of the day both teams have to deal with it." Statistically, the U.S. group has the top average FIFA world ranking. "Its definitely one of the tougher groups, if not the toughest, but at the same time, this is what the World Cups all about. You go there to play against the best," American forward Jozy Altidore said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "I think the boys will be excited, will be up for it." U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann played for Germanys 1990 World Cup championship team and coached his native country to third place in the 2006 tournament, commuting to Europe from his California home in Orange County. "Obviously its one of the most difficult groups in the whole draw, having Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo and then Ghana, who has a history with the United States. It couldnt get any more difficult or any bigger," he said at the draw in Costa do Sauipe, Brazil. "Its a real challenge. And well take it. Well take it on, and hopefully were going to surprise some people there." As the draw pot the U.S. was in was emptied, the Americans and South Korea were the last remaining teams. While the Americans were drawn into the group with an average FIFA ranking of 11.25, South Korea wound up in Group H, creating a group with the poorest average at 28.25. "I think the teams mentality is that we can go and play with anybody," American defender Matt Besler said. "Now were going to have to prove it." "I kind of had in my stomach that we were going to get Germany," Klinsmann said. Germany beat the U.S. 2-0 in in 1998 World Cup opener in Paris -- with Klinsmann setting up the first goal and scoring the second -- the edged the Americans 1-0 onn a controversial goal in the 2002 quarterfinal in South Korea. Dion Dawkins Jersey. . Die Mannschaft is coached by Klinsmanns former assistant, Joachim Loew. The Americans beat a second-tier German team 4-3 in a June exhibition at Washington. "With Jurgen Klinsmann, they have another mentality," Loew said. "I learned a lot from Jurgen, so this is special." Ranked 14th in the world, the U.S. has alternated quick exits with advancement since returning to soccers showcase in 1990. After the draw four years ago, one British paper used a headline "EASY" for England, Algeria, Slovenia and the Yanks, and The Sun called it the "best English group since the Beatles." The Americans wound up atop a group for the first time, and England advanced as the second-place nation. This time, second-ranked Germany and fifth-ranked Portugal are the favourites to advance to the second round. If the U.S. reaches the round of 16, it would face Belgium, Russia, Algeria or South Korea from Group H. "I guarantee you Jurgen knows more about Germany than Jogi Loew knows about the U.S," U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati said. The U.S. will feel pressure to open with a win against Ghana, ranked 24th. The Black Stars defeated the Americans 2-1 in the 2006 stage in Germany and by the same score in overtime in the round of 16 at the last World Cup in South Africa. "Theyre the team that beat us, kind of crushed our dreams of being in the World Cup, so I think were due a little bit of luck and were due a win against them," Dempsey said. At the 2002 tournament, the U.S. opened with a 3-2 upset of Portugal after taking a shocking three-goal lead in the first 36 minutes. The Americans will train in the U.S. from mid-May on and plan a series of exhibition games, which likely will include England as an opponent, before heading to Brazil. After having the shortest group-play travel in South Africa, the U.S. will have the longest in Brazil. The Americans will be based in Sao Paulo and face trips of 1,436 miles to Natal, 1,832 miles to Manaus and 1,321 miles to Recife. They also will play all three matches in the tropics, with the second and third matches in the afternoon. "Everybody is saying that this is the Group of Death and its such a hard challenge," former American captain John Harkes said. "I still think that the U.S. can rise to the occasion." In other groups, it is: Group A--Brazil, Cameroon, Croatia, Mexico; Group B--Australia, Chile, Netherlands, Spain; Group C--Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan; Group D--Costa Rica, England, Italy, Uruguay; Group E--Ecuador, France, Honduras, Switzerland; Group F--Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '

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    January 16, 2023 11:04 AM +0330

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