Mainz continue streak
FSV Mainz 05 chalked up their fourth successive home victory on Friday, beating lowly Nuremberg 2-1 to climb to fifth in the Bundesliga. Mainz, beaten in only one of their last six games, have 17 points from 11 matches and are one point ahead of champions Borussia Dortmund. Nicolai Mueller fired them into a 12th-minute lead and Austrian Andreas Ivanschitz doubled the lead nine minutes later after completing a quickfire one-touch passing move. The hosts were in complete control at that point, but they eased off and Nuremberg pulled a goal back when Per Nilsson headed in at the far post five minutes before the break.
Sloppy Betis lose at home
In-form Real Betis Balompie missed out on a chance to go third in La Liga when they were beaten 2-1 at home by Andalucian rivals Granada on Friday. Pepe Mel’s side dominated with their high-tempo attacking soccer, but were sloppy in defense and gifted struggling Granada a victory that dragged them out of the bottom three and up to 15th. The visitors led after eight minutes when Betis failed to deal with a low center and Gabriel Torje pounced on a loose ball to score. Betis struggled to carve out clear openings until Alex Martinez crossed for unmarked striker Ruben Castro to volley the equalizer in the 62nd minute. The hosts looked favorites to go on and triumph, but with 16 minutes to go Mikel Rico picked up another loose ball in the area, spun away from his marker and lashed the winner high into the net.
Wilshere recall ‘too soon’
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere believes his recall to the England squad has come “a bit too soon” after only three club appearances following a 17-month injury layoff. The creative 20-year-old, who England fans have long pinned their hopes on as a missing piece of the puzzle, was named in Roy Hodgson’s squad for Wednesday’s friendly in Sweden. “Maybe it is a bit too soon to be called up,” he told the BBC on Friday. Wilshere picked up the last of his five caps against Switzerland in June last year.
Del Bosque calls up Mata
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque announced a weakened squad for Wednesday’s friendly against Panama as the world and European champions make the trip without key stars Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres. Del Bosque did recall Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata, who has been in sparkling club form and was overlooked for the recent 2014 World Cup qualifiers when Spain won 4-0 in Belarus, before being held 1-1 by France. Mata was English Premier League player of the month last month and has been rewarded with a recall, although the former Valencia man played at Euro 2012 where his only appearance was a late cameo during the 4-0 win over Italy in the final.
Roxburgh to join Red Bulls
Andy Roxburgh, a former Scotland manager and UEFA’s technical director from 1994 until earlier this year, was hired on Friday as sporting director of the New York Red Bulls. One day after the squad was ousted from the Major League Soccer playoffs by DC United, it hired the 69-year-old from Glasgow to take charge of all soccer-related activities with the club starting immediately. “I am excited and honored to be given the opportunity by [Austrian club owner] Dietrich Mateschitz to contribute to the development of such an outstanding soccer organization,” Roxburgh said in a statement.