FNR DAILY NEWS
Pressure continues to grow on German coach Joachim Löw after his side drew with the Netherlands in their final Nations League fixture.
Timo Werner and Leroy Sane found the back of the net early to give the Germans a 2-0 lead.
Germany dominated the first half and could have led by more if it were not for poor finishing.
However, goals to Quincy Promes and Virgil Van Dijk in the final five minutes ensured the Dutch came away with an unlikely draw.
The result ended a disappointing Nations League campaign for Germany.
The Germans were relegated from Group A and could also miss out on being seeded for the European Championship should Poland draw with Portugal tomorrow morning.
Löw’s tenure as manager has come under question after Germany’s group stage exit at the World Cup.
Since taking charge of the national team in 2006, Low has won the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Confederations Cup in 2017.
But following poor results in Russia, Löw’s position has been questioned; with many pundits suggesting it is time for a change in the German setup.
Germany are in a midst of the rebuild after a decade of dominance.
The retirements of Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Miroslav Klose has left a hole in the German setup.
Mesut Ozil also announced his retirement from the national team, which has forced Low to blood young players.
In their 3-0 victory over Russia in a friendly last week, only Manuel Neuer (32) and Jonas Hector (28) were aged over 25 in the starting 11.
Leroy Sane, who was surprisingly left out of the German squad for the World Cup is now one of their most important players.
Business manager of the national team Oliver Bierhoff said the side has hit “rock bottom” but believes it is necessary for the future of the team.
That (relegation) capped off the bad year we had yet again,” Bierhoff said.
“Perhaps it’s necessary to hit bottom like this, so that we can really tackle the climb back up.
“We’re starting again from scratch. The relegation perhaps makes us more aware of the fact that we have to approach the qualifications for the Euro 2020 next year accordingly.”
“The relegation is definitely not the end of the world. Relegation changes nothing about how we approach this game. First of all, it’s a duel for prestige. Second, we want to continue to make progress on our development. And third, with a win, we want to give ourselves a good basis for the Euro qualifications.”
Whether the German Football Association (DFB) believes Löw is the right man to lead the national team rebuild is a question they need to resolve.
The DFB re-signed Low on a long-term contract prior to the World Cup, but in their current form, the DFB may decide it is time to reinvigorate the national team.
Löw has expressed his desire to remain in charge and oversee the rebuild.
The DFB are known for their patience and will review every aspect of the national team setup before they make a decision on Löw.
Only 16 matches remain in the group stage of the UEFA Nations League and the competition has continued to produce some wonderful football. Here’s where things stand ahead of the remaining matches.
England, Portugal and Switzerland will all be playing finals in June of next year after finishing top of their respective groups in League A.
England and Croatia played out a thrilling match – a 2-1 win in favour of the Three Lions at Wembley. Andrej Kramarić opened the scoring before Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane scored two in 10 minutes, helping England finish top of the group; the loss sends Croatia down to League B.
Switzerland beat Belgium 5-2 to top Group 2 and make the finals in what was a remarkable match. The Belgians were 2-0 up in the opening 20 minutes with the Swiss then scoring five unanswered goals including a Haris Seferović hat trick.
Portugal’s scoreless draw with Italy ensured that it would feature in June’s finals. The team still has one match to play against Poland who will be relegated to League B.
The last spot in the finals comes down to the match between the Netherlands and Germany. The 2014 World Cup champions will be relegated but the French will be hoping they can pull a win out of the bag; a German win sees France progress to the finals.
Any points for the Netherlands will see them travel to Portugal for the finals.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark and Ukraine will all be playing in League A after topping their respective groups in League B. The only group still up in the air is Group 2. Russia and Sweden will play for the final spot in League A.
Sweden need to win big to have any chance of being promoted. Russia seem the more likely to move up as there are more permutations which benefit them.
Finland are the only confirmed promoted team from League C to League B at this stage. Scotland and Israel will play off for promotion in Group 1, while Norway and Bulgaria will be looking for wins in their matches against Cyprus and Slovenia respectively.
Serbia look likely to move up and a win over Lithuania will confirm that. However, there is still a chance for Romania to be promoted, however they would need a win against Montenegro and a favour from Lithuania.
Belarus and Georgia will be playing in League C after earning promotion. The remaining League D promotion hopefuls are Kosovo and Azerbaijan who will play in a winner takes all match. Macedonia can secure promotion with a win over Gibraltar which looks likely. It is still mathematically possible for Armenia to be promoted but they would need a Macedonian loss and a win themselves over Liechtenstein.
Croatia, Germany, Iceland and Poland have all been relegated from League A. Northern Ireland, Turkey and the Republic of Ireland will all move down to League C, Czech Republic and Slovakia will battle it out to stay in League B in the final match of Group 1.
Estonia, Lithuania and Slovenia will all be playing in League D. Albania will finish third in the three-team Group 1 but will only be relegated if their record is worse than the other third placed teams in League C which appears likely.
VAR is coming to the Premier League with the 20 clubs agreeing in principle to the system’s introduction for the 2019-2020 season.
The Premier League will write to the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and FIFA to implement the system for the next season.
It comes less than a week after Charlie Austin’s post-match rant after he had a goal disallowed which replays suggest should have stood.
Throughout the season there have been various scenarios in the league where the VAR would have been helpful.
Richarlison’s red card in the Everton v Bournemouth game as well as Wolves’ goal against Manchester City in their 1-1 draw are two incidents that come to mind which happened in the same weekend earlier this year.
However, there is still some trepidation from fans regarding the system. VAR’s use in other major leagues around Europe as well as in Australia and the USA provides neither a compelling case for or against the system’s implementation.
If the system can be utilised as it was at the World Cup, with minimal fuss and few mistakes, then its existence is a no brainer and will help eradicate errors, allowing goals like Charlie Austin’s to stand.
But there is still no way to determine whether or not a league will end up with a World Cup style implementation or an A-League implementation.
The VAR debate will rage on undoubtedly. At least the Premier League has given itself plenty of time to continue to review trials and tinker with the system so that it can be integrated into matches smoothly.
Four thousand, seven hundred and forty-eight days ago, the Socceroos booked their ticket back to the World Cup.
It had been a long 32 years, with generations of players and fans unable to experience the joy of qualifying for football’s showpiece event.
The stories that came out of that night have been retold often and retold with passion. It is a night that has had books published about it and documentaries made about it. Being able to say you were in the stadium is a status only a select few fans hold.
I didn’t watch the game. I didn’t even know it was happening. But re-watching the whole shootout while writing this piece almost brought me to tears. I got goosebumps just like I have every time I watch anything about that game.
November 16, 2005 is an integral part of Australia’s football history and the story is carried by every football fan who experienced it first hand or learnt it as part of their football education.
The names, the moments, the images are vivid in the minds of all.
Marco Bresciano’s goal and celebration is iconic, Mark Schwarzer’s colossal performance during the penalties should never be undersold but it almost gets forgotten because the defining moment of that shootout is John Aloisi’s spot kick.
The shootout couldn’t have had a better soundtrack to back it, the commentary of Simon Hill and Craig Foster adding to the overall moment.
It is hard to argue that there has ever been a more perfect, more pure, more joyful and more unifying moment for Australian football.
Here’s to many more moments like it across the Australian football community, where we as a nation get to feel the ecstasy of football’s highs.
All eyes will be on AAMI Park tonight as the Melbourne derby kicks off round three of the W-League.
In an exciting move, the game is not only at a major stadium but with a 7:30pm kick off it is in primetime.
Thanks to the men’s international break there is no A-League and the focus can be placed solely on what is set to be an entertaining clash.
While Melbourne City grab the headlines thanks to their history making run of three championships and are much lauded for setting the benchmark for professionalism, the derby – as all good derbies are – is one match where anything can happen.
City won the first three derbies – 2-1, 4-0 and 3-0. The breakthrough came for Victory in early 2017 when the team in navy blue beat the team in light blue 2-0.
The most recent derbies have been evenly split: City won 1-0 at AAMI Park, Victory won 2-1 at Epping Stadium with Melina Ayres scoring one of her audacious, long range goals.
It’s only round three but the two teams are evenly placed so far this season, Jeff Hopkins’ side sits in third while Rado Vidošić’s girls are only a point behind in fifth.
City are still without the likes of Kyah Simon and Steph Catley through injury and will also lose Rebekah Stott through international duty. However, the reigning champions will be boosted by the inclusion of Tameka Butt who should make her first appearance for her new club.
Victory has a full squad to choose from and is able to select the likes of Matildas Laura Alleway and Emily Gielnik – who scored a spectacular goal in the Matildas 5-0 win over Chile – as well as captain Natasha Dowie as the team attempt to win two derbies on the trot for the first time ever.
Victory’s midfield trio of Christine Nairn, Dani Weatherholt and Grace Maher will come up against the likes of Yukari Kinga, Butt and Elise Kellond-Knight. Who can gain the ascendancy in the middle of the park will go a long way into deciding who takes the three points.
The match can be watched live on Fox Sports. Kick-off is at 7:30pm AEDT.
The first managerial change of the 2018/19 Premier League season has occurred, with Fulham sacking Slavisa Jokanovic and replacing him with former Leicester City and Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri.
Ranieri comes to the London club only a few seasons after guiding Leicester to their historic title, giving Fulham fans a send of hope.
The Cottagers currently sit on the bottom of the table, with a -20 goal difference and 31 goals conceded - the most in the league.
Last season, they gained promotion to the Premier League via the Championship playoffs. It has not been an easy journey in their return to England’s top division.
Fulham have some quality in their squad and Ranieri is the right man to get the best out of his players. While they have almost zero chance of nearing the top-four this season, Ranieri can steer the side to safety and build towards next season.
Players such as Aleksander Mitrovic, Andre Schurrle, Ryan Sessegnon and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa are more than capable in the Premier League and would benefit from Ranieri’s tutelage.
Ranieri famously created a strong team bond while at Leicester, with acts such as taking the squad out for pizza playing a part in their inspiring Premier League title.
In addition, the tactics he used at Leicester can successfully be utilised against any team, and combined with a great team environment, fans can have hope that all will work out.
In their next three matches, Fulham face Southampton, Chelsea and Leicester, interestingly two of Ranieri’s former sides. A rejuvenation of team spirit and confidence means that these may not necessarily be pencilled in as losses.
It is an interesting period for Fulham fans, who currently are expecting a return to the Championship. The key for Fulham is time, as only a couple of months in charge will not be enough for Ranieri to stamp his mark on the team. He is coming into a side that is destined for relegation with a poor defensive record.
If Ranieri can successfully lift Fulham from their current struggles, they are every chance of a finish in the top half of the table.
The English Football Association (FA) is planning to reduce the number of foreign players playing in the Premier League once Britain exits the European Union.
According to The Times, the FA intends to reduce the number of foreign players in Premier League squads to 12 from 17.
This season, 13 Premier League clubs have more than 12 foreign players in their squads.
The proposed rule change should force clubs to develop their own talent and improve the quality of English players.
The Premier League has long been referred to as a ‘foreign league’ due to the number of foreigners in the division.
Only one third of Premier League players this season are eligible to play for England, highlighting the lack of pathways for English players in their home league.
In 2013, former England assistant manager Gary Neville voiced his concerns about pathways being blocked for young English players.
"My gut feeling is we've maybe reached a tipping point where the pathways are now being blocked," Neville said in 2013.
"I always felt the cream would rise to the top. I've always believed that, if you are good enough, you will get the opportunities. We were always told that as kids. But I'm not quite so sure any more. I'm not sure that, if a player is good enough, they will actually have a chance of getting through because if everyone wants instant success then they haven't got time to develop.”
The lack of pathways has seen a number of young English talent move abroad to play first team football.
To suggest there would be 20 young English players playing in the four big leagues outside of the Premier League would have been unheard of 10 years ago.
However, in 2018, there are 20 young Englishman playing first team football in the top tiers of Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
The most well-known of the foreign allegiance is 18-year-old Jadon Sancho, who left Manchester City last season for Borussia Dortmund and has scored four goals and six assists in 11 matches in the Bundesliga this season.
Plying their trade abroad will benefit England in the long term as players learn different philosophies and styles.
However, a reduction in the number of foreigners in the Premier League will help Englishman play for the best teams in England and develop their games.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek is a perfect example of the Englishman who has been held back by foreign players.
Loftus-Cheek was selected in the England squad for the 2018 World Cup and has played well for the national team when given the chance.
Last season the Chelsea midfielder was loaned out to Crystal Palace and played 24 matches.
However, this season the 22-year-old stayed at Chelsea and has only played three Premier League matches.
With the likes of Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and Cesc Fabregas ahead of him, Loftus-Cheek will struggle for game time at the Blues.
It will also be interesting to see if the FA put a cap on the number of foreign coaches in the league.
This season, 14 of the 20 Premier League managers are foreigners, while the number of foreign backroom staff exceeds a century.
The number of overseas managers is making its way down the English football pyramid, which is reducing the number of the English managers.
A reduction on both foreign players and managers would give Englishman more opportunity to excel in their own league.
A new era begins for the Greek national team on Thursday night, as new manager Angelos Anastasiadis takes charge of his first match at home against Finland.
The 65-year-old replaces outgoing German Michael Skibbe, who was sacked after a series of poor results. The change in manager comes as sense of relief for many Greek fans, however the choice of Anastasiadis has raised eyebrows.
Not many outside Greece and Cyprus know of Anastasiadis, so let’s look at his career:
Anastasiadis was born in Thessaloniki in Greece and played for Panathinaikos, Korinthos and Diagoras, however it was at his hometown club PAOK where he spent most of his career. He is known to be a very religious man, which is evident in his press conferences.
His coaching career has seen him travel all around Greece, mostly notably at Panathinaikos. He has also had three separate stints in charge of PAOK. The most recent stint was in the 2014/15 season, where he was sacked in March after a period of one win in seven matches and failure to progress from their Europa League group.
His time at Panathinaikos brought some highlights, including a 3-1 victory over Juventus in the Champions League, however they were bundled out in the second group-stage round of the competition.
Anastasiadis has had experience as a manager of a national team before, where he led Cyprus from 2004 until 2011. He was lauded for improving the national side and bringing some memorable results. It is important to note that he understands the difficulties of managing a national team, with less matches and time for teams to gel than in club football.
Following their 2014 World Cup performance, Greece have seriously struggled in international football and they have fallen in the world rankings. With several players moving on from the national side, Anastasiadis has the chance to stamp his mark on the team and try get them back to their best. His time at Cyprus shows that he can make a difference to a national team.
Anastasiadis has named some new faces to the Greek squad for their upcoming matches, including exciting goalkeeper Odisseas Vlachodimos, who has the chance to officially be capped to Greece, with the shot-stopper also eligible for Germany.
Greece are second in their UEFA Nations League group and while they mathematically can still finish on top, they will likely finish either second or third. They host both Finland and Estonia to conclude the campaign, which can be the chance to kick-start their run to qualify for the 2020 Euros and the 2022 World Cup – two tournaments that they have failed to qualify for in recent years.
Anastasiadis will team up with former player Angelos Basinas, who was a member of the 2004 Euro winning squad and who Anastasiadis coached at Panathinaikos. He will provide experience and knowledge to the table and understands what it takes to represent the national team.
Anastasiadis also played for the Greek national team, and the duo will know of the pride that comes with wearing the blue and white.
Victories in their next two matches will give fans hope that he can turn around the Greek national team’s woes.
Harry Kewell’s tenure as Notts County manager has come to an end overnight, with the League Two side parting ways with the Socceroos legend.
Kewell’s time at Notts County was a short one, only overseeing 14 matches after joining in late August for three seasons. He won only three of these matches, with a couple of heavy losses highlighting their defensive woes.
Notts County currently sit in 22nd position on the table, one spot outside the relegation zone.
Kewell had joined the club from fellow League Two side Crawley Town, where he brought the fans hope and helped them push for promotion. His time at Notts County had been the opposite, with the side fighting for survival and fans venting their frustration.
It remains to be seen where Kewell manages next, however he has made his intentions clear that he wants to have a career in management. His tenure at Notts County was tough, however clubs can look at his work at Crawley to see that he does have what it takes to manage.
Kewell joined Notts County when they were last on the table, looking like certainties for relegation after former manager Kevin Nolan was sacked after a horrible start. Kewell walked into a club that was already struggling, and it was always going to take a lot to turn things around. Some say that he should have stayed at Crawley, however this blip in his managerial career is not all bad news for him.
Kewell can learn from his time at Notts County to help him improve as a coach. Managers cannot always deliver success to their team and in Kewell’s case, he can work on some aspects of his coaching to move forward.
Whether or not Kewell remains in England to manage another lower-league side, or returns to Australia, it will be a big next few months for him and Australian football fans to see whether he can replicate his playing success in the dugout.
The Matildas’ year will draw to a close in Newcastle with the second of two games against Chile taking place on Tuesday night.
After a stellar 2017, the Matildas haven’t reached the same heights. That being said, Australia have still qualified for a seventh consecutive World Cup, placed second at the Asian Cup and put in another round of excellent performances against top class opposition at the Tournament of Nations.
In what will be the team’s final game of the year, a win will be just as important as a good performance.
The 3-2 loss against Chile in Penrith shocked some fans; the teams’ FIFA rankings were quoted often in the aftermath.
However, it wasn’t entirely surprising considering the performance the Matildas dished up. Poor defensive errors, a clinical Chile, and an inability to translate dominance in the front third onto the scoresheet all contributed to the loss.
Ideally, Tuesday night’s match will see some changes to the line-up. The versatility and depth this Australian side is renowned for has been utilised constantly throughout this year.
For this final game it would be interesting to see that kept to a minimum or not used at all. This could manifest itself in a variety of ways.
Using Gema Simon at left back instead of Elise Kellond-Knight is one change that could be made. By extension, Kellond-Knight could then be pushed into a midfield that includes any one of Emily van Egmond, Tameka Butt, Katrina Gorry and Alex Chidiac which changes up the dynamics in the centre of the park.
This is Australia’s last hit out for the year and it is important for more than just pride.
The Matildas’ hopes of a seeding heading into the World Cup draw could be dashed with the loss and the Netherlands win over Switzerland in the first leg of the UEFA qualifying playoff creating an undesirable scenario.
The Dutch would need to lose for Australia to have any chance of holding on to that sixth ranking spot.
You can watch the game live on Fox Sports and SBS Viceland. Kick-off is 7:30pm AEDT.
Athos Sirianos, Nicholas D'Urbano, Josh Parish, Marissa Lordanic, Christopher Chrysostomou & Tim Sperliotis