For the first time since the 1998-99 season, no manager in Serie A has been fired after seven matches. All twenty teams have decided to stick with their coach, even the terrible ones. It’s a quirk of fate, remarkable only because of the trigger-happy tendencies of Serie A owners past. But there’s one Italian manager who should almost definitely be fired. Unfortunately, he’s the coach of the national team.
The Republic of Ireland shocked Wales 1-0 on Monday evening, securing their place in the European playoffs and ending the World Cup dream of the Welsh golden generation. The injured Gareth Bale could only watch from the stands as James McClean’s 57th minute strike hushed a previously electric Cardiff City Stadium and late forays forward proved fruitless for the Welsh.
Iceland's excellent showing at Euro 2016, the island's first major international tournament, turned out not to be a flash in the pan. Iceland beat Kosovo 2-0 Monday to ensure qualification to the 2018 World Cup in Russia by finishing at the top of UEFA Group I.
The country's transformation into a football nation to be taken seriously has been swift. Just five years ago they were ranked 131st in the world by FIFA.
Heading into Saturday’s early UEFA Group A World Cup qualifying match between Sweden and Luxembourg, the Netherlands’ only hope was that the tiny landlocked country wouldn’t get slaughtered by their Scandinavian opponents.
Spain secured automatic qualification to the 2018 World Cup on Friday by virtue of finishing top of UEFA’s tricky Group G. La Furia Roja’s 3-0 victory over Albania confirmed their position while dooming Italy to the playoff round. Rodrigo scored the opener, Isco added a sumptuous second and Thiago grabbed Spain’s third on a celebratory night in Alicante.
Speculation over the future of FC Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta was emphatically squashed Friday with the signing of a lifetime contract, keeping the Spanish international at the club for the remainder of his playing career and ostensibly into a non-playing capacity after retirement.