Lightweights aim to plant Euro qualification blows

LONDON

Northern Ireland and Iceland have punched above their weight so far and will be out to land further blows in Euro 2016 qualifying this weekend while world champions Germany seek a morale-boosting win over the amateurs from Gibraltar.
Elsewhere, England skipper Wayne Rooney earns his 100th cap against Slovenia, Scotland clash with the Republic of Ireland, and reigning European champions Spain host Belarus.
A shock 1-1 draw with the Republic in Germany last month left Joachim Loew’s men, already seen off by Poland, playing catch in fourth in Group D, three points shy of the Poles and the Irish.

Minnows Gibraltar, who have leaked 17 goals to none scored, should represent easy pickings for the continental superpower.
“We know we’re clear favourites and that is exactly how we want to step out against them,” said Loew.
Gibraltar, who only played their first international in September, have modest ambitions from the game in Nuremberg, as their goalkeeper, Jordan Perez explained.
A fireman by profession Perez told Sportbild magazine: “Anything below seven goals and I’ll be satisfied as then we can say that we’re better than Brazil (routed 7-1 by Germany at the World Cup).” Germany were stung by Sunderland defender John O’Shea’s 94th minute equaliser for Ireland.
England host second-placed Slovenia at Wembley aiming to tighten their grip on Group E, with Rooney set to become only his country’s ninth player to reach 100 caps.

And manager Roy Hodgson reckons the 29-year-old Manchester United striker can go on and become England’s most capped player of all time, an honour currently held by goalkeeping great Peter Shilton.
“If we are generous and give him another five years, which is not beyond the bounds of possibility, he should beat Peter’s record (of 126 appearances).”

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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