Sunday, June 20, 2021



Euro 2020: Robert Lewandowski scores crucial equaliser for Poland against Spain

Robert Lewandowski scores a brilliant header to equalise for Poland against Spain in their Euro 2020 group E match in Seville. FOLLOW: Euro 2020: Watch Spain 1-0 Poland - Morata opens scoring after VAR checkWatch highlights of Euro 2020 on BBC One, BBC Two, the BBC Sport app and BBC iPlayer

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Unlikely hero Robin Gosens shows Germany anything is possible | Marcus Christenson

When Robin Gosens was a young man he wanted to be a police officer, just like his grandfather. However, he was told by one regional office that his legs were too different in height to make it so he ended up pursuing plan B instead: a career as a professional footballer.The German police force’s loss has been the Nationalmannschaft’s gain. On Saturday night Gosens was instrumental as Germany rediscovered their form and beat Portugal 4-2 to make an interesting Group F even more interesting.Having stared elimination in the face, Germany go into their final game against Hungary level on points and with a head-to-head advantage over Portugal, and only a point behind France.Gosens has taken a circuitous route to the top. He played for Fortuna Elten, FC Bocholt and VfL Rhede in Germany before joining Vitesse in the Netherlands. However he never made a league appearance for the Dutch club and after spells with Dordrecht and Heracles he signed for Atalanta in 2017. There he has developed into an international player of the highest order under Gian Piero Gasperini.If you play for Gasperini you run and you fight. Of course you have to be a good footballer as well but if you are not giving 100% you are not in the team. In Munich on Saturday Gosens gave his all as always but, perhaps more unexpectedly, he put in a man‑of‑the-match performance, crowned by a thundering header to make it 4-1 after the hour.It was just reward for Joachim Löw’s side, who looked aggressive from the outset, with Kai Havertz bundling over a startled Pepe, Thomas Müller flying into tackles in central areas and Mats Hummels wiping out Cristiano Ronaldo around the halfway line all in the first 10 minutes.Then Gosens produced one of the moments of the game as he came flying through the air to score an acrobatic goal from a precise Joshua Kimmich cross.Sadly for Gosens and Germany, Serge Gnabry had strayed offside in the middle and was judged to have interfered with play as he stretched for the ball. Germany did not give up though and it was the two wing‑backs, Gosens and Kimmich, who created most of their chances.After Portugal had gone ahead against the run of play, the two of them were both involved in Germany’s equaliser after 35 minutes. Kimmich found Gosens with another crossfield ball and the Atalanta player cushioned it towards Havertz in the middle, only for Rúben Dias to steer it past his goalkeeper, Rui Patrício.And so it continued throughout the first 60 minutes, Kimmich and Gosens swapping passes to open up a baffled Portugal defence. The head coach, Fernando Santos, looked bemused, unsure what was going on, and the European champions never found a way of dealing with the galloping Gosens. His goal, the second in his ninth cap and the first at a finals, was nothing more than he deserved. Kimmich – who else? – supplied a pinpoint cross for the 26-year-old to head home. Shortly after that he was withdrawn.The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football emailPerhaps it was no coincidence that he had the game of his life against Portugal. In his book Träumen Lohnt Sich (Dreaming is Worth It) he recalled an incident when he tried to swap shirts with Ronaldo against Juventus. “After the final whistle I went to him, having not even gone public to celebrate,” he wrote. “But Ronaldo did not accept. He didn’t even look at me, he just said: ‘No!’ I was completely ashamed.”There was no shirt swapping this time either, Ronaldo probably being even less in the mood despite scoring his side’s opener. Portugal tried to salvage something from the game but despite Diogo Jota scoring and Renato Sanches hitting a post they never came close to grabbing a point.It was a huge win for Löw. He had selected the same starting XI as in the defeat against France and the same system, a 3-4-3. This time it paid off and it will be intriguing to see how Germany do from here. They did everything right on a blistering afternoon in Munich and now anything is possible. Just ask Gosens; he knows.

Gini Wijnaldum's agent opens up on decision to reject new Liverpool contract

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Man Utd know what they have to do to avoid Jadon Sancho Deja vu

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Euro 2020: Scotland's 'irresistible edge' stunned hosts England to justify rampant celebration

The Scotland fans are now beating a slow retreat from London. Thoughts, at this difficult time, are with bemused locals going about their daily business. Best double-up on the face masks, folks. That aroma in the air is the unmistakable fragrance of Eau de Nag's Head, a unique cologne inspired by 25 pints of Tennent's and all-day kebabs.It's hard to know what would have been more disconcerting to Londoners in particular and Englanders in general - the terrible beauty of a beery, bare-bottomed Tartan Army taking over their streets or the spectacle, later on Friday night, of a 20-year from Ardrossan, only a wet week into his international career, out-playing his exalted, eulogy-soaked midfield opponents. In the competition to find the moment that most stunned the hosts, it's a bit of a toss-up between the bloke who was huckled naked out of Hyde Park by the police - many of us have lost the place on days like these over the years, but it must take a heroic amount of gargle for a guy to lose his clothes - or Billy Gilmour lighting up Scotland's performance on his first competitive start in the country's biggest game pretty much since before he was born.Gilmour looks about 11 and, while he clearly has a boyish love of the game, he has a maturity that made you believe he's been out there for years, a personality so utterly gallus the impudent ones of the past - Hughie Gallacher, Jimmy Johnstone, Jim Baxter to name but three - would surely have been up there in football heaven saying, "Gaun yersel, wee man". A point on the board & a point provenThe rampant celebration of a 0-0 might seem a little over the top to some outside the Scotland bubble, but it was understandable. For many, the air was still heavy with the despondency that greeted the 2-0 loss to the Czech Republic. The concern about England hitting their stride and administering a walloping was real. Having waited 23 years to compete in one of these things, the fear was it was going to be over in two games with one dead rubber yet to play.The euphoria was, of course, centred on old rivalry and leaving England with a bloody nose. Keeping them scoreless was a win for the visitors. Seeing an ineffective Harry Kane - thoroughly fed-up at bouncing off the rock of Grant Hanley - withdrawn before the end was a win. Limiting Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount and Phil Foden to relative scraps were other little victories.It was only a point on the board but also a point proven. Rio Ferdinand confidently and almost dismissively predicted a 2-0 England triumph on television. That's Rio Ferdinand of England's 'golden generation'. Join the dots on that one.The old maxim of not caring how they did as long as they do well against England is a dying concept in Scotland. The older generation hang on to it like a life raft, but there's a comedic, gently mocking pantomime about it these days. Pre-tournament, if you'd offered the likes of Gilmour two wins from the group but a beating by the English, you'd put your life on him shaking your hand and accepting the deal. These young guys get the history of the fixture, but it doesn't define them. They want to progress to the knockouts, by whatever means possible. Friday put qualification back on the table. Apart from the feelgood at upsetting their neighbours on the night, that's the real significance of what happened at Wembley. Scotland are back in the fight with Croatia to come.O'Donnell delivers finest moment in his football lifeIt had been a difficult week for Scotland. In the aftermath, Steve Clarke took us back to Monday's defeat by the Czechs and mentioned what he deemed as unfair media criticism of his players. He said he wanted a "little bit of fair press" and a "little bit of respect". Clarke has a hilarious nippiness about him at times. The media reality is his team have been righty praised to the high heavens for the longest time now. Not only fair and respectful, the coverage has reflected the progress the set-up has been making. It's been wall-to-wall and almost overwhelmingly positive. Quite right too. Clarke's barbs referred, in the main, to the flak that went the way of David Marshall, Stephen O'Donnell and Lyndon Dykes, but people are allowed to analyse and criticise when there's cause to, as long as none of it veers into the personal, which it assuredly did on social media. That's not the press though. Social media is often a lawless war zone and Clarke's players should be nowhere near it. His comments reflected a mood in the camp though. It's not often that Clarke opens the curtains and allows a look at what is going on in the inner-sanctum, but his words post-match illustrated a hurt among some of his boys, O'Donnell in particular. He's right about a call for fairness. A fair assessment of O'Donnell against the Czechs is that he looked nervous for much of it and that, perhaps, a change should be made there. That was open to debate, but it was a football-based opinion and not a personal slight.A fair assessment of O'Donnell against the English is that he was magnificent, a contender for man of the match. If he got beaten up by some comments, you wouldn't have known it. He was assured in defence, threatening in attack. On the biggest day of his football life, he delivered possibly his greatest performance. As one who felt he probably should have lost his place, the temptation was to applaud him when the last whistle went. Such strength of character was awesome and it was that kind of steel that made Scotland such good value for their point. 'Light a candle for Tierney's calf'There was an irresistible edge about the Scots from the get-go, from the moment Dykes clattered into Luke Shaw in the opening seconds and then onwards to John McGinn ransacking Sterling and then Che Adams firing on England's goal. Next, it was McGinn going in on Kane. It could, and probably should, have cost him a yellow, but in terms of setting down markers, these moments, all in the opening seven minutes, were terrific. This was the McGinn you wanted against the Czechs - driven, aggressive, an unrelenting pest. This was Hanley proving that, in the age of centre-halves being cultured on the ball and playing out from the back, there is a still a place for defenders who are just happy to defend, to battle, to nut things away, to stick in a leg, to throw themselves in front of shots. He was ridiculously good. This was the Gilmour of Scotland's hopes and dreams, a young player with a big reputation who brought coolness and control to the most fiery occasion he'd have ever played in. This was the clever Adams who should have started against the Czechs and this too was Kieran Tierney who might have changed everything about Monday had he been fit to play.We knew of Tierney's excellence as an individual long before Friday. We now know a little more about the incredible influence he has on those around him, the calming self-belief he instils just by being there. Light a candle for his calf tonight.The performance against the Czechs was reasonable, but the result was not. Nothing else really matters, not chances made or corners won or percentage stats. The only true comfort comes in the number of points you've won.They have one and they need another three. Friday night suggests a win over a less-than-stellar Croatia is possible - if Scotland can find a goal, which they haven't done so far. Before Saturday's games, of the sides that have played two group matches, only the Scots and the Turks have yet to score. First, they must bring the same intensity to Hampden as they had at Wembley, the sight of the Croatia jersey must fire them up in the same as England's did. Barring injuries, the team will surely stay the same for this night of nights. A win and the mad revelry of London will just look like a warm-up routine.

Memphis Depay's Man Utd transfer clause – and what happens now

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Euro 2020: Alvaro Morata scores for Spain against Poland after VAR overrules offside call

Forward Alvaro Morata's goal stands after an initial offside decision. VAR determined he was onside to give Spain a 1-0 lead over Poland in Seville, during Euro 2020.FOLLOW: Euro 2020: Watch Spain 1-0 Poland - Morata opens scoring after VAR checkWatch highlights of Euro 2020 on BBC One, BBC Two, the BBC Sport app and BBC iPlayerAvailable to UK users only.

Euro 2020: Wales travel to Italy's Roman fortress for final group game

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Sport Wales in RomeLast updated on 1 hour ago1 hour ago.From the section WalesVenue: Stadio Olimpico, Rome Date: Sunday, 20 June Kick-off: 17:00 BSTCoverage: Live on S4C, live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, the BBC Sport website and app, plus live text and score updatesWales are within touching distance of the Euro 2020 knockout stage as they visit Rome for their final group game against an Italy side in ominous form.Italy are unbeaten in 29 matches, winning their previous 10 without conceding a single goal.They are already through to the last 16 having won their first two games, while Wales have all but guaranteed their passage with four points so far."It's going to be a big challenge," said Wales captain Gareth Bale."Even if that record wasn't there, Italy are a big footballing nation and always make games difficult."It would be a great result if we could win. Our aim is to win the game - none of us ever go into a match to get a draw. We have a gameplan which we think can hurt them."Having drawn with Switzerland and beaten Turkey, if Wales draw in Rome they will finish second in Group A and play a second-round match in Amsterdam against Group B's runners-up.Even if they lose, Wales could still finish second. But if they lose and Switzerland beat Turkey - with a significant swing in goal difference in the process - Robert Page's side could finish third. However, four points would still almost certainly be enough to see them through to the last 16 as one of the tournament's four best third-placed teams.But if Wales inflict on Italy a first competitive home loss since 1999, they would win the group and play their next game Wembley against Group C's runners-up.With only hundreds of Wales fans able to attend their matches in Rome and Baku so far, a trip to Wembley could see the Red Wall return in their thousands."I think for the Welsh fans to be able to come and watch us is definitely something we would love to see," said Bale.Italy manager Roberto Mancini said: "Wales are a very difficult team to face because they've been right up there in the Fifa world rankings for a number of years. That shows they have quality players. "They are a British team and have a lot of physicality."When Mancini was asked if that physicality reminded him of playing against Stoke City when he was Manchester City manager, he laughed and said: "Stoke was a tricky place to go to. "Stoke had a very tough style of play, they were a very tough nut to crack. "But Wales have players like [Joe] Allen, Bale, [Daniel] James - skilful, quality players so it will be a difficult match from a physical perspective. Wales are not only technical, but powerful on the physical side."When Bale was asked about the comparison, he said: "I never knew Stoke were that good!"Team newsWales and Italy in particular are expected to make changes for their meeting in Rome.Page has hinted he might manage the workload of some players who were fitness concerns in the build-up to the tournament, such as midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Joe Allen.Defenders Chris Mepham and Ben Davies and striker Kieffer Moore have all received yellow cards at Euro 2020, one away from a suspension."That's the difficulty. We've been here before in the semi-finals in 2016 and missed influential players [Ramsey and Davies] and it's affected them until today," said Page."Of course that's going to be part of the thought process but, more importantly, we're playing against a very good Italian side. "We have to take that into consideration. A team will be selected that we believe can win the game."With Italy's place in the second round already guaranteed, Mancini is reportedly considering making as many as five or six changes.Captain Giorgio Chiellini is out injured, so Lazio's Francesco Acerbi is expected to take his place in central defence. Chiellini's injury is not thought to be serious and he should be fit for Italy's last 16 tie next Saturday.Paris St-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti is expected to return, while Chelsea's Emerson Palmieri could start if left-back Leonardo Spinazzola is rested.Mancini could also recall forwards Andrea Belotti and Federico Chiesa in order to give the likes of Ciro Immobile a rest.Match factsThis is the first match between Italy and Wales at a major tournament. The Azzurri have won seven of the nine meetings, with Wales winning the other two. The most recent encounter was a European Championship qualifier in Milan in 2003, which the hosts won 4-0. Robert Page started for Wales as Filippo Inzaghi scored an 11-minute hat-trick.Italy are unbeaten in their past 29 games. If they avoid defeat, they will equal their all-time longest unbeaten run of 30 games between 1935 and 1939.They have gone 965 minutes without conceding a goal.If Wales avoid defeat, they will have made it out of the group stage in all three of their appearances at a major tournament, having also done so at the 1958 World Cup and Euro 2016.Wales have lost just one of their past 15 competitive games, March's 3-1 defeat by Belgium in a World Cup qualifier.Aaron Ramsey has been involved in six of the 13 goals Wales have scored at European Championships, scoring two and assisting four.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen remain central to tyre debate at French GP

The stage is set for another head-to-head battle for victory between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton after the pair qualified alongside each other on the front row for Sunday's French Grand Prix.Verstappen will start from a pole position convincingly won in his Red Bull at Paul Ricard, having beaten Hamilton by a quarter of a second on Saturday. The Dutchman heads into the race four points ahead of the Mercedes driver and keen to make amends for the tyre failure that cost him victory in Azerbaijan two weeks ago.That collapsing left-rear tyre - and an almost identical failure earlier in the Baku race on Lance Stroll's Aston Martin - continues to cast a shadow over Formula 1, and this weekend it has even intruded into the battle between Hamilton and Verstappen.Insiders say the pair had a disagreement on Friday as the drivers discussed tyre safety and related matters with Pirelli, governing body the FIA and F1 in a 90-minute meeting.What was the meeting about?The backdrop was the tighter tyre-operating protocols imposed on all teams this weekend, after Pirelli blamed the failures suffered by Verstappen and Stroll on the "running conditions" of the tyres. And beyond that the drivers' wider concerns about the repeated pattern of occasional tyre failures over the past several years.Red Bull and Aston Martin had found a way to keep the pressures of their tyres lower in the race than the tyre company had expected, Pirelli F1 boss Mario Isola explained in a news conference on Thursday.They were still above the minimum starting pressure limit Pirelli sets to guarantee the structural integrity of the tyre, he said, but below the level they had been calculated to reach when the car was out on track. "We assume running at a certain pressure with margin will be OK for the tyre," Isola said. "In that case, we did not achieve the conditions [required], not because the teams were doing something against the regulation but because they were looking for performance and that created a different scenario. And that was the tyres were running at a lower pressure than expected. And that created the failure."What happened between Hamilton and Verstappen?In Friday's meeting, Hamilton wanted to know why teams were not being punished if they had broken the rules. He was told by the FIA that there was no evidence of any rule breaking, only of lower than expected pressures during races.Verstappen - as he did in media interviews on Thursday - pushed back at the suggestion his team had been doing anything wrong.There was some back and forth between the pair, a number of witnesses said. Was it an argument, or an indirect exchange of opposing views? It depended upon whom you spoke to.In the news conference after qualifying, the title contenders were asked whether they had any problems with anything that was said in the meeting.Hamilton said: "I don't have any problems with what was said in the meeting. I was surprised things needed clarifying [on the rules] because we thought it was clear. But clearly not, and I am grateful the FIA have clarified the steps people need to take and I am glad they are putting things in place to make sure policing is done better. That's all we can ask for."Verstappen replied: "I am happy everything is better policed but I am still not happy with the explanation of what happened in Baku because I don't think it's fully clear, at least for people outside... fans. "I know what happened. The team knows what happened. But it is very confusing what they [Pirelli] put out. But it's fine - life goes on, we just keep on going and hopefully from now on we can just be safe in the car and nothing happens."Up and down the pit lane, the difference in opinion between the two biggest names in the sport was reflected among the teams.Some felt that Red Bull and Aston Martin had been playing around in a manner which compromised driver safety, given everyone knows that Pirelli use pressure to control the integrity of the tyres.Others said that they did not believe that, because there is so little room for manoeuvre with tyre pressures, and that some of the implications in an FIA technical directive as to what was happening - such as removing water vapour from the air in the tyres to lower pressure - have been going on for years, and everyone knows about them.There is also a concern at the lack of clarity about exactly what caused the failures.McLaren chief executive officer Zak Brown said: "We need - especially when it comes to safety - total transparency from Pirelli and the FIA so we can understand exactly what happened to make sure from a safety point of view it doesn't happen again."They didn't explain in detail what happened. We are all left kind of guessing at what we think happened. We have a general idea but then Pirelli and the two teams certainly don't seem to be aligned. So we need to understand what happened."Some even suggested that the whole explanation provided was a smokescreen aimed at helping Pirelli save face.A new tyre on the way?Pirelli is sensitive to criticism - Isola became noticeably upset in the meeting, witnesses say, when Aston Martin driver and four-time champion Sebastian Vettel made pejorative comments about the quality of the tyres - but it takes the drivers' concerns seriously.It is working on addressing the issues around thermal sensitivity - which prevent drivers from pushing flat out in races and which have been a bugbear for the drivers for years - for the new, lower-profile tyres that are being introduced next season. For this year, it introduced tyres of a more robust construction aimed at avoiding the failures that were seen at the British and Tuscan races last year.Despite that, even before the Baku failures, Pirelli has also been investigating a revised design that could be introduced this year to further strengthen the tyres. This tyre, a Pirelli spokesman said, is ready to be tested, and discussions are ongoing with the FIA on that topic.This could happen as quickly as within two to three weeks, Pirelli said, if there was a collective desire to pursue it.But it is a complex decision because introducing a new design of tyre is not a simple matter. It would impact car behaviour and the teams would have to adapt their cars to that. This would increase costs. And while that is always a concern, it is an even bigger one this season. It is the first year of the new budget cap, when the top teams are already struggling to keep their budgets down to the required level, and at the same time teams are working on completely new cars for the new rules that are coming into force next season.Then again, as Hamilton put it: "Safety is so important. We are seeing more and more of these incidents and we have to make sure we work towards not having those in the future."

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