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Euro qualifiers: Germany promise goal bonanza

Last updated on: November 12, 2014 17:05 IST
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German national soccer coach Joachim Loew conducts a team training session

German national soccer coach Joachim Loew conducts a team training session. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

World Cup winners Germany are no mood to experiment against minnows Gibraltar in their Euro 2016 qualifier on Friday, promising a goal bonanza to make amends for recent poor results.

The Germans, who clinched their fourth World Cup in Brazil in July, are third in qualifying Group D after only one win in their three games.

"Gibraltar are not the opponents who can knock everyone down," team manager Oliver Bierhoff told reporters on Tuesday.

"We hope to score lots of goals and it is not often one can say that. We want to offer attractive football to excite people," he said of the game in Nuremberg which is sold out.

Gibraltar, a British overseas territory which borders the southern tip of Spain, was accepted as a UEFA member after a 14-year battle during which it faced fierce opposition from Spain. The team played their first international in September.

With Spain hosting Germany in a friendly in Vigo four days later, coach Joachim Loew had said he wanted to experiment and tinker with the team, especially after the international retirements of Miroslav Klose, Per Mertesacker and Philipp Lahm

The Germans are on four points along with fourth-placed Scotland, with Poland and Ireland top on seven.

England proud of five clean sheets in a row, says Cahill

From left, Ross Barkley, Gary Cahill and Daniel Sturridge of England warm up

From left, England's Ross Barkley, Gary Cahill and Daniel Sturridge warm-up ahead of a training session. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

England's shaky defence can be proud of tightening up after a dismal World Cup campaign, defender Gary Cahill said on Tuesday.

England ended up bottom of their group after taking just one point and conceding four goals in three games at the tournament in Brazil in June, finishing with a disappointing 0-0 draw against Costa Rica.

Roy Hodgson's men have since enjoyed four successive victories and have not conceded a goal. Three of those wins have come in Euro 2016 qualifiers, propelling them to the top of their group.

England have been criticised for a series of cautious displays but Cahill and his team mates are happy they are becoming more frugal.

"Five clean sheets now, it's something that we're really proud of," Cahill told Sky Sports. "From the third game in the World Cup onwards, (it is) something we're pleased with.

"As a group we felt that we needed to tighten up after the summer. Leading up to the World Cup we did well but the crunch games were obviously in the summer (at the tournament).”

England host Slovenia in a qualifier at Wembley on Saturday before visiting British rivals Scotland in a friendly three days later.

Fabregas out of Spain's qualifier against Belarus

Cesc Fabregas of Spain rides a bicycle

Spain's Cesc Fabregas rides a bicycle. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas is out of the holders' Euro 2016 qualifier at home to Belarus on Saturday after being diagnosed with a hamstring problem.

Fabregas, who played the whole of Chelsea's 2-1 Premier League win at Liverpool on Saturday, had tests in Madrid on Tuesday and medical staff ruled him out of the Group C clash in Huelva, the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) said on its website.

Fabregas has been in fine form for his new club this season, with two goals and 11 assists in 15 appearances, and his injury is a blow to Spain as they seek to bounce back from last month's 2-1 defeat in Slovakia.

Villarreal midfielder Bruno Soriano was called up to replace him in the squad.

Slovakia top the pool on nine points from three matches, with Spain and Ukraine on six, Macedonia on three and Belarus and Luxembourg on one point each.

Fabregas will also miss the friendly against world champions Germany in Vigo on November 18, the first meeting between the European heavyweights since a 1-0 win for Spain in the 2010 World Cup semi-finals.

Kompany out of Belgium side to face Iceland

Vincent Kompany of Belgium

Vincent Kompany of Belgium. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Injured Vincent Kompany will miss Belgium's friendly with Iceland on Wednesday after being left out of the team named by manager Marc Wilmots on Tuesday.

Kompany, Belgium's captain, is recovering from the calf injury which ruled him out of Manchester City’s 2-2 draw at Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League on Saturday.

Belgium are hopeful, though, that he will be fit to face leaders Wales in Sunday’s Euro 2016 Group B qualifier in Brussels.

Wilmots named a strong team to face Iceland, who are the unexpected leaders of Euro qualifying Group A.

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