Kane stars as USA close on quarter-final berth

By Sports Desk May 18, 2019

The United States inched closer to a IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship quarter-final spot as Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane shone again in a 7-1 victory over Denmark.

Kane scored three points in the Group A success, as did Chicago team-mate Alex DeBrincat, with USA now virtually assured of a last-eight berth.

That would have been confirmed had hosts Slovakia not beaten Great Britain, but the hosts remain in the hunt after a convincing 7-1 triumph in which they scored three times in each of the first two periods.

With three of the top-four spots in Group A already sewn up, USA would join Finland, Canada and Germany in the quarter-finals if they beat the Germans on Sunday.

In Group B, Sweden's last-eight hopes were boosted by a thrilling 4-3 win over Switzerland in a repeat of last year's final.

Defending champions Sweden again came out on top thanks to Oliver Ekman-Larsson's game-winner in the third period.

Canada inflicted a first defeat on Germany, who went down 8-1 in Group A, while in Group B, Russia beat Latvia 3-1 and Norway overcame Italy 7-1.

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  • Neuer seeks to end tension with Germany team-mate Ter Stegen Neuer seeks to end tension with Germany team-mate Ter Stegen

    Manuel Neuer moved to end his public exchange with Marc-Andre ter Stegen as Niko Kovac gave a strong endorsement of the Bayern Munich man's form.

    Barcelona goalkeeper Ter Stegen this week described it as "inappropriate" for Neuer to criticise him for speaking out about a lack of international opportunities.

    Germany captain Neuer started ahead of Ter Stegen during the latest round of Euro 2020 qualifiers and accused his positional rival of putting himself before the team when he expressed frustration with the selection order.

    Joachim Low continues to insist the younger keeper's time will come and the experienced Neuer sought to defuse the tension on Tuesday.

    "We always talk to each other," Neuer said when asked whether he had made contact with Ter Stegen.

    "I don't really want to say anything about it anymore, it was something I said after the [Northern Ireland] game and I've been approached several times now because of that.

    "I gave a statement and now I'm going to focus on the games, on the club and on the pitch. That applies to Germany as well as Bayern Munich. You won't hear any more statements from me."

    Though under pressure to hold his place for Germany, Neuer faces no such concern at club level.

    Bayern boss Kovac has been pleased with the 33-year-old's recent performances and his handling of the Ter Stegen situation.

    "I think it was a very clear statement from Marc and then from Manuel," Kovac said.

    "I know it's all blown out of proportion. I understand it, I'm not stupid, I know why it's all blown out of proportion, but really I think we should leave these guys alone to do their jobs and they're both doing a fantastic job.

    "I said this last season and it's confirmed more and more: Manuel is in absolutely top shape.

    "He gave us a sensational performance against RB Leipzig and and he did so for Germany.

    "It's difficult and unfortunate for Marc, he's a world-class goalkeeper as well, and unfortunately there is only one goalkeeper per country."

    Neuer and Bayern are preparing to host Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League on Wednesday, their first European outing since losing to Liverpool in the round of 16 last season.

    "We were unlucky to go out against the Champions League winners," Kovac said.

    "Now it's a new season, everything is back to square one and we want to survive the group stage. I am convinced we will progress further than last season."

  • Ter Stegen hits back at Neuer for 'inappropriate' Germany comments Ter Stegen hits back at Neuer for 'inappropriate' Germany comments

    Marc-Andre ter Stegen says it was "inappropriate" for Manuel Neuer to criticise him for speaking out about a desire for more game time for Germany.

    Barcelona goalkeeper Ter Stegen described it as a "massive blow" not to feature for his country against Netherlands and Northern Ireland in the international break.

    The 27-year-old has had to serve as back-up to Neuer for most of his international career, despite increasing calls for him to be given the number one spot ahead of the Bayern Munich star.

    Neuer accused Ter Stegen of being unhelpful by expressing his frustrations in public and suggested he had shown something of a lack of respect towards Bernd Leno and Kevin Trapp, who likewise are battling for more Germany playing time.

    Ter Stegen, who has returned to his homeland for Tuesday's Champions League clash between Barca and Borussia Dortmund, thinks Neuer has been unfair but wants to draw a line under the issue.

    He told a news conference: "I would like to say something about this. You cannot say we have competition for the goalkeeper position and then expect the players to be happy with the situation if they don't play. Football is about happiness but also disappointment.

    "Manuel Neuer does not need to comment on my personal feelings and measure them, I'd say. It's my own opinion. If you think about the last few years, you realise that I always behaved well and what Neuer and other people have said is not fair.

    "His remarks were inappropriate but I don't want to say much more. I want to end this controversy."

    Ter Stegen's immediate priority is to help sure up Barca's defence, with the Catalans having conceded seven goals in their opening four LaLiga games of 2019-20.

    "We're trying to stop the goals going in but things haven't come off," he said. "It's not what we expected. We have to improve. There have been mistakes that we can easily correct. We've spoken about it."

  • Ter Stegen: Germany benching a huge blow Ter Stegen: Germany benching a huge blow

    Marc-Andre ter Stegen has expressed frustration with being overlooked by Germany head coach Joachim Low.

    Barcelona goalkeeper Ter Stegen was on the bench for both of Germany's Euro 2020 qualifiers during the international break.

    Manuel Neuer conceded four goals in a Group C defeat at home to Netherlands, but then kept a clean sheet in an away win against joint-leaders Northern Ireland.

    Ter Stegen deputised for Neuer during the 2018-19 season when the Bayern Munich captain was sidelined long-term due to injury.

    Neuer has regained the gloves since returning to full fitness, though, and Ter Stegen accepts he is in a frustrating situation.

    "It is not easy to find an explanation as I am giving the best account of myself in each game to make the decision more difficult," Ter Stegen said.

    "I am trying [to become first-choice] anyway. But this trip with the national team has been a tough blow for me."

    Ter Stegen, 27, has played 22 times for his country, who are on track to qualify for Euro 2020 after joining Northern Ireland on 12 points after five games.

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