Nine of the 11 players who started for Germany against Azerbaijan on Sunday were part of the Confed Cup squad – the exceptions were Thomas Müller and Leroy Sané. Additionally, all the players who scored in their 5-1 victory in the Fritz Walter Stadium in Kaiserslautern were Germany's Confederations Cup stars. Some of the casual Germany fans may not know many of these players' names yet, but in 2017 they really made a name for themselves. "It's nice to be part of the team. We have a lot of great young players, great old players. We have about 40 or 50 players in the national team,” forward Julian Brandt told DW after the game. "We had a good Confederations Cup and a good qualification." But it's not just the amount of talent Germany has that got the job done, but also the way in which they got on with each other. Emre Can made just his fourth career international start in midfield, and yet he was controlling the play in front of Germany's defense. Bundesliga … [Read more...] about Germany’s Confederations Cup stars take step towards World Cup berth
Antoine Griezmann and Olivier Giroud did the damage for France against Belarus on Tuesday, each netting in a 2-1 win to claim the top spot in Group A. Back-to-back wins against Bulgaria and then Belarus ensured France would not have to endure a nail-biting playoff, as in 2010 and 2014. Portugal, meanwhile, beat Switzerland 2-0 to claim outright victory in Group B. Switzerland will have to contest a playoff to make the summer journey to Russia. An own goal from Johan Djourou set Portugal on the right track before Andre Silva put the hosts two up before the hour mark. The Netherlands, however, could not salvage their disastrous qualifying campaign against Sweden. Needing an unthinkable 7-0 win, the Dutch managed only two, both from Arjen Robben. Robben's first was perhaps the worst chipped "Panenka" penalty you're ever likely to see, but his sorry scuffed strike still found its way into the net. His second, meanwhile, was far crisper; a first-time shot from the edge of … [Read more...] about Portugal, France book World Cup tickets, Netherlands eliminated
With a promise that the two key European partners would maintain their "essential cooperation," French President Emmanuel Macron late on Sunday led the praise for German Chancellor Angela Merkel as she secured a fourth term in office in Sunday's federal election. "I called Angela Merkel to congratulate her. We will continue our essential cooperation with determination for Europe and for our countries," Macron told his followers on Twitter. Read more: Disappointing victory for Angela Merkel as CDU sinks, nationalist AfD surges Uncharted political waters for Angela Merkel Merkel remains anchor of stability for US Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Merkel's re-election would serve to promote "the European integration project." In a telegram sent to the chancellery, Rajoy congratulated Merkel on the "excellent results," after her Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) scored a projected 33 percent of the … [Read more...] about German election: World reacts to Merkel victory, AfD rise
Kemal K., who holds both German and Turkish citizenship, was arrested in Ukraine in July after Turkey issued a so-called Red Notice (more on that later) with Interpol. Ankara says he's wanted for his alleged involvement in two murders in Turkey and had requested his extradition from Germany on several occasions. So far German authorities have turned down the request. This follows a similar incident involving German-Turkish author Dogan Akhanli, who was detained during his vacation in southern Spain in August at Turkey's behest. Last week Spanish authorities said they would not extradite him to Turkey. Common to both cases is the involvement of the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) — a title that conjures up the image of a dimly-lit street, rain glistening off the cobbles and a man in a long overcoat, collar turned up, taking a furtive look and a last drag of his cigarette before melting into the shadows. Okay, so maybe I've watched too many spy … [Read more...] about Interpol: Who polices the world’s police?
He's sitting in a bar in his hometown of Girona, eating lunch, as if nothing else were going on. A group of basketball players want a photo with him. No problem. Carles Puigdemont briefly steps outside, past cameras and reporters barking questions — "Do you realize you've been deposed?" — poses for the photo, goes back inside and carries on eating. Almost simultaneously, Catalan TV is broadcasting a recorded "institutional speech" by the region's former head of government. In it, Puigdemont rejects his discharge and asks for "patience, endurance and perspective" in order to move ahead with his independence plan. Positioned alongside him in statesmanlike manner are the Catalan and EU flags. Read more: 'Puigdi's' deep political roots After the speech, he appears again on live television, just sitting with neighbors, according to the presenter. It looks like a perfectly normal day for Puigdemont. Nothing seems to perturb him, not even when, a few hours … [Read more...] about Is Carles Puigdemont living in a parallel world?