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Carles Gil says New England Revolution ‘don’t deserve’ to make the MLS Cup Playoffs

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New England Revolution star Carles Gil has claimed the club ‘don’t deserve’ to make this season’s MLS Cup Playoffs.

A 3-1 defeat to the Houston Dynamo on Tuesday has left the Supporters’ Shield holders ninth in the Eastern Conference, still only three points adrift of the Columbus Crew in seventh but having played a game more than most of their rivals.

What’s more, the Revs have won just one of their last seven MLS matches, taking only five points during that run. Hardly form that leaves you expecting a turnaround.

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“We lose many, many games, many chances to try to be there,” Gil told reports following Tuesday’s damaging loss in Texas. “I think maybe we don’t deserve to be in the playoffs because I think we are not now a competitive team, me the first one, of course. So yeah. Difficult, difficult moment for everyone.”

Even more worrying will have been the manner of New England’s defeat. The Revs allowed Houston 21 shots and seven big chances worth 4.54 xG. The scoreline would have been much worse had it not been for goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic, who made eight saves, including keeping out a Sebastian Ferreira penalty.

Safe to say head coach Bruce Arena wasn’t impressed with his side’s performance.

“We played poorly. There’s no excuses,” he said. “You can come up with a million of them. But we were outplayed on the evening, we looked like a tired team, but also a team that didn’t play together. And we played poorly, 1-1 for about 70 minutes is a miracle that we were in the game, to be honest with you. So we got no excuses. We deserve to lose a game. And I got to accept the responsibility for the performance of that team. It wasn’t good.”

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Though he’s not fully conceded, Arena echoed Gil’s sentiment regarding the Playoffs race and just how difficult it’ll now be for the Revs, who face high-flying CF Montreal next.

“I don’t know what the probability of us qualifying for the Playoffs would be, I don’t think it’s great,” Arena said. “We’re certainly going to try to win our last three games, but we tried to win tonight. We tried to win in New York and we’ve come up short and we had a very poor homestand as well before this. So there’s no excuses. It was all there for us and we have not performed up to I think our expectations.”

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Edson Alvarez on representing Mexicans abroad: ‘It’s very emotional’

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Edson Alvarez is quickly becoming a dominant Mexican figure abroad.

The midfielder first kicked off his professional career with Club America, working through the youth academy before securing a debut with the senior team in 2016. Alvarez quickly stood out, taking a defensive lead in the midfield while facilitating the attack.

He scored his first career goal in the 2016 Apertura final against Tigres UANL. But it wasn’t until 2018 that his efforts earned him offensive credibility.

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The midfielder was given the start in the second leg of the Apertura final against Cruz Azul, replacing an injured Mateus Uribe. Alvarez embraced the responsibilities well, scoring twice to manage the 2-0 aggregate score and inspire Club America to their 13th league title.

The victory attracted international attention. And after three years, one trophy and over 100 appearances with the Liga MX giants, the midfielder completed the daunting move abroad.

He joined Ajax on a five-year contract for a reported $17m, boasting, once again, the number four jersey he wore with the Eagles back home. The midfielder has gone on to become an integral part of the dutch side, recording 10 goals and five assists in 112 appearances to inspire two league trophies and one KNVB cup victory.

“I am very happy, everything that I am living right now is so much more than I ever dreamed of. Obviously you imagine these things, you dream about it but it’s difficult, once you actually experience it, to assimilate it,” he said exclusively to 90min.

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Despite previous success with the team, the player recalled his most recent Champions League goal against Rangers as an emotional turning point.

“You put Mexico there, let them know what Mexicans are made of. And then when they mention [Tlanelplanta], the place where I came from, it makes me very emotional. It’s very emotional for me being so far from home. Being able to remember where I came from, and that now European places are mentioned is incredible.”

His club success has propelled the player to become a prominent figure in the Mexican national team. Since his debut in 2017, the midfielder has recorded three goals in  59 appearances for El Tri. Among several international accolades, Alvarez stands as the youngest El Tri figure to score in a Concacaf Gold Cup at just 19-years-old. 

Now, he’s on track to feature in his second World Cup.

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“It’s a lot of joy, a lot of happiness to play for Mexico, but a lot of responsibility. Being a starter in your national team, and even more so in an event as important as the World Cup, means a lot.”



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Spain reach finals; Scotland promoted; Ireland win thriller

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The September UEFA Nations League internationals are now consigned to the history books after the final round of matches on Tuesday.

There was still plenty to play for with Portugal and Spain battling for a spot in next year’s finals and Scotland holding out for promotion to League A.

Here’s your roundup of Tuesday’s action.

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Nations League A, Group 2

Spain left it late to leapfrog Iberian rivals Portugal in Group 2 and book their place in next summer’s finals.

La Roja needed all three points to secure top spot in the group, and got the result they needed thanks to a late winner from Alvaro Morata.

Portugal spurned several chances to take the lead in Braga, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Diogo Jota and Bruno Fernandes all going close.

Spain were blunt for much of the game but kicked into gear in the latter stages, and eventually Nico Williams teed up Morata to give the visitors the win they needed.

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Switzerland fought off a second-half rally to relegate the Czech Republic from Nations League A.

A quick-fire double from Breel Embolo and Remo Freuler had the hosts cruising at 2-0 with half an hour on the clock.

However, Patrik Shick pulled one back for the Czech Republic on the stroke of half-time to give the visitors some hope.

Nico Elvedi gave away a penalty just after an hour, but Tomas Soucek’s spot kick was saved by Yann Sommer and Switzerland held out to secure their safety.

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Nations League B, Group 1

The Republic of Ireland had their blushes spared after throwing away a two-goal lead against Armenia, with Robbie Brady’s stoppage-time penalty saving the Boys in Green.

John Egan headed Stephen Kenny’s men into a first-half lead to settle the nerves at the Aviva Stadium, and Michael Obafemi doubled the advantage just after the interval.

However, things quickly turned sour for Ireland as Armenia – who needed a win to move ahead of Tuesday’s opponents and fight off relegation – scored twice in three minutes, with Artak Dashyan and Eduard Spertsyan firing the visitors back into the contest.

But with Armenia needing a victory, they endeavoured to hand one to Ireland instead. The hosts were awarded a penalty for a handball and Hovhannes Hambardzumyan and Dashyan were both dismissed for dissent.

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After minutes of debate, Brady stepped up to seal Ireland’s spot in Nations League B and relegate Armenia.

Scotland were promoted to Nations League A after a hard-earned 0-0 draw with Ukraine in Krakow.

Steve Clarke’s men were second-best for much of the evening, but will go into the next Nations League campaign as the highest-ranked British team following England’s relegation, while they have also secured at least a play-off spot for Euro 2024.

Che Adams had an early strike deflected behind by Taras Stepanenko, before Mykhaylo Mudryk’s cross somehow wasn’t turned in by Artem Dovbyk.

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A collision between Adams and a couple of Ukraine defenders saw the referee sent to the VAR monitor, but he stood by his initial decision and the Scots were denied a penalty.

Ryan Jack and Stepanenko both went close before the end of the first half but the two sides went into the break goalless.

In the second half, Mudryk brought a flying save out of Craig Gordon and Ukraine maintained their dominance, but ultimately could not find a way through and Scotland held on to win promotion.

Nations League B, Group 2

Nations League B, Group 3

Serbia promoted to League A.

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Sweden relegated to League C.

Nations League C, Group 2

Greece promoted to League B.

Cyprus sent to relegation play-offs.



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Player ratings as La Roja reach Nations League finals with late winner

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Spain will compete in next summer’s Nations League finals after beating Iberian rivals Portugal 1-0 late in the day on Tuesday.

The Selecao only needed a point to qualify while Luis Enrique’s Roja needed all three after their shock loss to Switzerland last week, and the visitors eventually found a way through to book their spot in the final four.

Portugal nearly gifted Spain an early opening Pablo Sarabia won the ball off of Joao Cancelo on the edge of the Selecao’s penalty area, but his effort was blocked and the hosts got away with it.

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Fernando Santos’ men created their first half-sight of goal midway through the first half, with Diogo Jota heading back for Cristiano Ronaldo to tee up William Carvalho, but Spain had enough men behind the ball to make a block.

Ronaldo was furious that he wasn’t awarded a penalty after a collision with goalkeeper Unai Simon, with the referee instead giving Portugal a corner, from which Ruben Neves stung the Athletic Club stopper’s palms from range.

Simon had to be at his best to keep Jota out soon after when he was found by a searching through ball from Bruno Fernandes, with the Liverpool forward denied at the near post.

30,000 onlookers inside the Estadio Municipal de Braga thought Fernandes had found the top corner with an incredible strike from 25 yards, but the illusion soon proved that he had in fact found the side-netting instead.

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A cross from Jose Gaya was looped up and over the bar by Ferran Torres and the two sides went into the break level.

After the interval, Jota stole possession from Dani Carvajal and set Ronaldo racing away, but Simon was quick off his line to thwart the Manchester United forward.

A Portuguese free-kick routine saw Fernandes pick out William Carvalho, who laid it off for Ruben Dias to fire, but Carvajal got an important touch on the strike to steer it over the bar.

The Selecao again won the ball back high up the pitch and Ronaldo looked ready to slot home from point-blank range, only for Gaya to make a tackle in time.

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Substitute Nico Williams nearly scored with his first touches of the ball, but his curling shot was held by Diogo Costa.

Spain upped the ante in the dying embers of the match in search of a winner and grabbed an opener through Alvaro Morata, with Carvajal’s cross for Williams nodded back into the path of the Atletico Madrid striker to tap in.

Ronaldo’s half-volley from inside the area was kept out by Simon’s legs in stoppage time and Enrique’s men held on to top the group and ensure Spain head into the World Cup on a high.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo spurned several chances / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

GK: Diogo Costa – 6/10 – Kept Spain at bay for much of the game but could do nothing about Morata’s late goal.

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RB: Joao Cancelo – 4/10 – Lacked the dynamism he so often show for Manchester City. Was fortunate that Spain didn’t attack his side more often.

CB: Ruben Dias – 5/10 – Was far more uncomfortable in defence than his partner who’s naturally a midfielder.

CB: Danilo Pereira – 6/10 – Clamped down Spain for the most part and looked a natural at centre-back.

LB: Nuno Mendes – 7/10 – Performed his duties well at both ends and brought fans off of their seats with his trickery.

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CM: William Carvalho – 6/10 – Provided necessary protection in front of the defence but also kept play ticking.

CM: Ruben Neves – 4/10 – A little more careless in possession than his midfield partner.

AM: Bruno Fernandes – 6/10 – Pressed with intensity and was the creator of Portugal’s best chances.

RW: Bernardo Silva – 4/10 – Played on the periphery and was understandably substituted.

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CF: Cristiano Ronaldo – 5/10 – Looked more dangerous than he has all season but still lacked the finishing touches.

LW: Diogo Jota – 6/10 – The liveliest player on the pitch but couldn’t find a goal for his efforts.

Manager: Fernando Santos – 5/10 – Portugal looked worthy of going toe-to-toe with another major rival, which they haven’t done for a while.

SUB: Joao Mario (73′ for Silva) – 5/10

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SUB: Rafael Leao (79′ for Jota) – 5/10

SUB: Vitinha (79′ for Carvalho) – 5/10

SUB: Joao Felix (89′ for Neves) – N/A

Koke

Koke was poor / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

GK: Unai Simon – 7/10 – Had a few hairy moments in possession but also made some crucial saves.

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RB: Dani Carvajal – 5/10 – Given a rather rough evening by Jota and Ronaldo.

CB: Hugo Guillamon – 4/10 – Looked rather ropey in his one half of football. Hooked at the break.

CB: Pau Torres – 5/10 – His long-ranging passes were often inaccurate and if anything slowed Spain down even more.

LB: Jose Gaya – 7/10 – Kept Silva quiet and made an important challenge to stop Ronaldo.

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DM: Rodri – 7/10 – Was competent in midfield and at centre-back.

CM: Carlos Soler – 4/10 – His only notable contribution was a horrendous shot from 30 yards which landed in the cliffs adjacent to the stadium. Subbed on the hour mark.

CM: Koke – 4/10 – Was also very ineffectual and too was hauled off by Enrique.

RW: Ferran Torres – 5/10 – Started brightly but faded very quickly.

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CF: Alvaro Morata – 8/10 – After a quiet opening 70 minutes, Morata burst into life and came up trumps for his country.

LW: Pablo Sarabia – 4/10 – Cancelo was offering little to the game and Sarabia failed to capitalise on this.

Manager: Luis Enrique – 6/10 – Made seven changes from Spain’s loss to Switzerland. The same flaws remained but his substitutions got the job done.

SUB: Sergio Busquets (46′ for Guillamon) – 7/10 – Brought some much-needed composure and progression to the midfield.

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SUB: Pedri (60′ for Koke) – 7/10 – Spain were much better going forward because of his introduction.

SUB: Gavi (60′ for Soler) – 7/10 – He too opened the game up and the Barcelona trio should probably have started.

SUB: Yeremy Pino (60′ for Sarabia) – 5/10

SUB: Nico Williams (73′ for F. Torres) – 8/10 – What a cameo. Was Spain’s best player after coming on.

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Player of the Match – Alvaro Morata



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