Football fans will be treated to another heavyweight clash in the UEFA Nations League as the Netherlands take on GermanyIt’s been a while since we’ve seen the Netherlands take part in an international competition, four years – since their third-place World Cup finish in 2014.The UEFA Nations League, if nothing else, is technically an international competition, and one with qualification for the European Championships at stake. Both Germany and Netherlands have already taken on current world champions France in UEFA’s brand-new competition, with the latter losing and Germany drawing.While Germany endured pain at the World Cup in Russia, the Netherlands had the summer off having failed to qualify for the quadrennial competition. As a result, 2014 World Cup winners Germany are currently ranked 12th in the FIFA world rankings, while the Netherlands are five lower in 17th.The Netherlands are in somewhat of a transitional period, following the international retirements of two long-term stars Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, and having missed out on the World Cup and Euro 2016, starting life anew under Ronald Koeman.And Germany are in a weird spell of their own following a disastrous World Cup but have kept a large part of their squad from Russia, with the group as a whole trying to figure out the problems.However, after one game each in the Nations League, Germany are in a slightly better position having earned a point against France, while the Netherlands fell in a narrow defeat.After the meeting between the two sides today, the Netherlands face Belgium in a friendly while Germany will have another go at the defending world champions France in the Nations League.Fans of the Oranje hoping for an immediate turnaround under Ronald Koeman will have to be slightly more patient with the Netherlands still some way off from their total football highs.Given his squad selections, it appears Koeman is still trying to work out his best 25 players having given four men their first international call-ups this time around.Although those that have been included fall into the category of ‘exciting prospect’ in the main which is promising for the future.The World Cup was undeniably a disaster for Germany, with the then-defending world champions bowing out at the group stages. And it appears, with Joachim Low still in charge, Die Mannschaft have not quite worked out what is wrong.Against France and Peru, Germany showed signs of the weaknesses exposed in Russia but also glimpses of what once saw them crowned world champions. It is up to Low to find the balance, replacing the stars who are beginning to fall with younger talent hungry to impress.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
LONG BRANCH – Nearly three months after Super Storm Sandy devastated the Family & Children’s Service (FCS) Thrift Boutique is set to reopen Tuesday, Feb. 19, to the public.The Oct. 29 storm forced the store to close its doors and caused a significant revenue loss for the century-old nonprofit.The agency plans a special ticketed preview event from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, to give supporters a first look at the new store. The store has been completely restored and refurbished thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Robin Hood Relief Fund, raised during the 12.12.12 concert at Madison Square Garden, and help from dozens of area organizations and businesses.“Family & Children’s Service’s mission is to serve people at vulnerable times in their lives through education, intervention, care and counseling,” said Debbie O’ Donoghue, chair of the FCS Board of Directors. “When Sandy destroyed our thrift store, we experienced first hand what it is to be vulnerable, to need others to come to your aid. We are tremendously grateful for the support given by our friends and neighbors throughout the Jersey Shore community. Their compassion and concern, along with their valuable gifts of time, money and resources made it possible for us to reopen and reestablish this vital community service.”The FCS Thrift Boutique, located at 307 Branchport Ave., had more than 4 feet of floodwaters entered the store, destroying the interior and wiping out the entire donated inventory.The grant money is being used to purchase much-needed building supplies and essential equipment lost during the storm, including a new safe, cash register, telephone and mannequins.In addition to the Robin Hood grant, the boutique received contributions from the clothing retailer The Talbots, Inc®, which donated thousands of dollars in fixtures and shelving, and Woodhaven Lumber & Millwork, Inc., which supplied free paint, lumber and painting supplies.O’Donoghue said FCS is also grateful to members of the Ranney School Parents Association who, along with a group of Ranney students known as The Rockin Angels, conducted a schoolwide clothing drive to replenish the store’s inventory.“Since the store remained closed throughout the repairs, it was difficult for us to accept and store donations at our office,” O’Donoghue said. “The Ranney School’s clothing drive ensures a wide selection of merchandise will be available to our customers once we reopen, the proceeds of which will help fund our dozen programs and services.”Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 19, the FCS Thrift Boutique will begin accepting donations during normal business hours: noon to 5 p.m. Mondays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.FCS Thrift Boutique supporters who wish to purchase a $20 ticket to the Feb. 15 preview event are asked to RSVP to Manager of Volunteer Services Samantha White at 721-222-9111 or at [email protected] fcsmonmouth.org. Tickets also may be purchased at FCS’s offices at 191 Bath Ave. or at the FCS Thrift Boutique the afternoon of the event. The FCS Thrift Boutique is also actively seeking volunteers.For updates about the FCS Thrift Boutique, visit the agency’s website at www.fcs monmouth.org or follow the store’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/thethriftboutique.