Tournament

Gary Lineker urges Three Lions to ‘treasure’ Euro 2020 final

Gary Lineker has urged the England players to “treasure and enjoy” Sunday’s Euro 2020 final against Italy – but believes it is just the beginning and success will soon come even if they are beaten at Wembley. Gareth Southgate’s side are preparing for their first major tournament final in 55 years, something not even Lineker achieved during his time as a Three Lions player. The former Tottenham, Everton and Barcelona forward also praised the players for the showing a “shining social conscience” off the field which represents the “very best” of England. In an open letter to the England team in the Players’ Tribune, Lineker said: “I wish I was playing with you. This is the sort of occasion you dream about as a player. And honestly, it’s much less nerve-racking out on the pitch than in the sta...

Roberto Martinez to stay on as Belgium coach

Roberto Martinez will stay on as Belgium coach despite the country’s European Championship exit and attempt another tilt at a major title at next year’s World Cup, he said in an interview with Belgian newspapers on Friday. Martinez, whose contract runs until after next year’s tournament in Qatar, had not given any clarity on his plans since Belgium were beaten 2-1 by Italy in Munich in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals a week ago in a major disappointment for the team, who have spent the last three years top of the Fifa rankings. “I’m staying as coach. When I feel I no longer have anything to contribute is when I will leave,” he said. “But I don’t have that feeling now. I was a bitterly disappointed to be knocked out but now I’m looking ahead to the World Cup in Qatar. And also the Nations Leag...

UEFA invite Christian Eriksen, medics who saved him to Euro final

European football governing body UEFA have invited Denmark international Christian Eriksen and the paramedics who helped save his life during an on-field cardiac arrest to attend the EURO 2020 final at Wembley on Sunday. The brilliant Danish midfielder was resuscitated in front of shocked fans and a massive global TV audience during his nation’s first match of the tournament. Uefa said Eriksen, his wife and six medics were invited to the final, but there was no confirmation he would attend. One of the paramedics, Peder Ersgaard, said he was honoured to receive a VIP invite from Uefa boss Aleksander Ceferin. “I’m excited, like a child on Christmas Eve,” he told the Fagbladet FOA magazine. “I’m very proud of my efforts, but also of the whole team. It wasn’t a one-man effort.” Eriksen collaps...

Luke Shaw hits back at Jose Mourinho in Rome as England roll on

At Jose Mourinho’s new home, the Stadio Olimpico, Luke Shaw, chose the perfect setting for his latest riposte to his former boss with two assists in England’s 4-0 thrashing of Ukraine to reach the Euro 2020 semi-finals. Shaw suffered at the hands of Mourinho for three seasons at Manchester United, a string of public criticism not a patch on what was said behind closed doors, the 25-year-old admitted this week. Mourinho’s arrival at Old Trafford came hot on the heels of a horrible double leg fracture Shaw suffered in September 2015. The former Southampton defender revealed in 2018 there had even been fears his right leg would have to be amputated because of blood clots that required emergency surgery. His career never got back on track during Mourinho’s tempestuous time at United, where he ...

Mexico coach: Victory vs Nigeria good test ahead Concacaf Gold Cup

Gerardo Martino, Technical Director of the Mexican national team, has described the win against the home-based Eagles as a good test for his side ahead of this year’s Concacaf Gold Cup. A brace from Atletico Madrid midfielder Hector Herrera and a goal each from Jonathan Dos Santos, former Barcelona forward and Rogelio Funes Mori, earned Mexico a comfortable 4-0 win in Los Angeles, USA, in the early hours of Sunday. Speaking at a virtual press conference, the former Barcelona coach said: “It always gives peace of mind, especially since we are on the eve of a very important tournament for us. “Recovering feelings of the game and scoring goals, gives a greater margin of tranquility, this is a friendly match, it has been a good test and a good way to introduce ourselves into what is to come.” ...

Deputy governor unveils new coach for Edo Queens

The Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, has announced Wemimo Matthew as the new head coach for Edo Queens Football Club with a charge to return the team to its glory days. Shaibu who supervised the unveiling ceremony at the New Festival Hall, Government House, on Friday, charged the new coach to use her wealth of experience to transform the team. He said, “What we’ve done with Edo Queens is to make it a model for the girl child to look up to. So, we decided to unveil a new head coach because of our poor performance in the just concluded Super Six tournament. “Coach Wemimo Matthew is well-educated, highly disciplined and she has the knack for unearthing and grooming young talents. We have already felt her impact since she joined the team. “She will help us develop young talent and ...

Euro 2020: UEFA name German referee for England vs Ukraine

German referee Felix Brych will take charge of England vs Ukraine – just days after the Three Lions dumped his nation out of Euro 2020. Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane grabbed the goals as Gareth Southgate’s side defeated Germany 2-0 at Wembley on Tuesday. That was enough to fire England into the quarters where they are now preparing to take on Ukraine in Rome. And the man in the middle will be someone who would have wanted England to lose two days ago. Brych is Germany’s representative at Euro 2020 and one of the best-known referees in the world. He took charge of Portugal’s last 16 exit to Belgium, a match in which he dished out five yellow cards. He’s already refereed Ukraine at this tournament, overseeing their thrilling 3-2 defeat to Holland. That match saw Ukraine boss Andriy Shevchen...

Euro 2020: Cristiano Ronaldo ‘proud’ of Portugal’s efforts after elimination

Captain Cristiano Ronaldo said on Monday he was “proud” of holders Portugal’s efforts despite bowing out of Euro 2020 after the weekend’s 1-0 last 16 loss to Belgium. “We did not get the result we wanted and we leave the competition sooner than expected,” the 36-year-old Juventus star and five-time Ballon d’or winner admitted as his side failed to match their 2016 exploits. “But we are proud of our showing. We did everything we could to retain the title of European champions and this group proved it could still give the Portuguese people much joy,” the former Manchester United and Real Madrid attacker posted on social media after Sunday’s loss. “Congratulations to Belgium and good luck to all the teams left in. As for us, we shall return stronger,” vowed the veteran who at least could cons...

Copa America: Ecuador ends Brazil’s winning run, qualify for quarterfinals

Brazil’s ten-game winning run came to an end after Ecuador earned a 1-1 draw in the final Copa America group game in Goiania. Coach Tite made ten changes from the midweek win over Colombia as Neymar, Casemiro, Thiago Silva and Richarlison were rested. The reigning champions had already booked their spot in the next round as group winners and Venezuela’s defeat to Peru, means Ecuador join Brazil in the final eight. And it was nearly the perfect start for Brazil as Renan Lodi broke clear down the left and looked to be bundled over inside the box within the opening minute. The referee and VAR disagreed. Brighton’s Moises Caicedo was then stretchered off on 17 minutes with a knee injury in a blow to Ecuador, with Angel Mena coming on. Then Ecuador skipper Enner Valencia came close to scoring t...

Gianluigi Buffon: Why I turned down Champions League for Parma

Gianluigi Buffon has said he rejected ‘two opportunities to even win the Champions League’ so that he could help Parma come back into Serie A and hasn’t lost hope of a spot at the 2022 World Cup. The 43-year-old shot-stopper signed the two-year contract and will be presented to the media this evening after leaving Juventus for the club where his career first started as a teenager. “I have many memories, above all the motivation and hope is to write a few more important pages in the history books of this club, and I know I can do it,” Buffon told Sky Sport Italia. “That is the main reason I returned here, along with the other 999 reasons! I felt such strong emotions, as an emotional reaction is the only way to keep delivering at this level at my age. “I knew Parma would give me something th...

Euro 2020: Donyell Malen adds extra dimension to potent Dutch attack

The Netherlands had every reason to step down a couple of gears but instead upped their pace thanks to a fine display by speedy forward Donyell Malen in Monday’s 3-0 win over North Macedonia, advancing their claims to be genuine Euro 2020 contenders. Frank de Boer’s side had already qualified for the knockouts as group winners but whereas Italy’s Roberto Mancini made sweeping changes for his side’s 1-0 win over Wales, the Dutchman fielded his strongest team in their final Group C game. One of the two changes he did make was to bring in 22-year-old Malen in place of Wout Weghorst, making the Netherlands even more potent in attack as they became the top scorers in the tournament with eight goals. Malen, who provided an assist less than three minutes after coming on in the 2-0 win over Austri...

Euro 2020: Swiss coach confident of last-16 spot despite tough travel

Switzerland coach Vladimir Petkovic is confident his side have done enough to reach the last 16 at Euro 2020 after a 3-1 win over Turkey on Sunday but he criticised the long distances his side have had to travel during the tournament. Xherdan Shaqiri scored two superb goals as Switzerland secured third place in Group A at Euro 2020 with the win against Turkey, but they now face an anxious wait to see if they will reach the last 16. The Swiss, who finished level on four points with Wales but behind on goal difference, will hope to secure a spot in the knockouts as one of the four best third-placed finishers from the six groups. “We scored a few goals but unfortunately we had more chances we didn’t convert,” Petkovic said. “It wasn’t a perfect game but it was a good game.” “It should be enou...

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