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Euro 2020 Why England have got the perfect platform for success39;

Euro 2020 Why England have got the perfect platform for success39;
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Euro 2020: Over 270000 people sign petition for France vs … Fri, 02 Jul 2021 16:00:00 +0100-Former England defender and BBC Sport columnist Rio Ferdinand says the Three Lions' strength as a unit at the back has become their biggest strength as a …

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‘Why England have got the perfect platform for success’

England's centre-halves couldn't have asked for a better shield than the one Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips have given them so far at Euro 2020.

They've slowed the opposition down and covered the ground really well – but they have also been methodical in their play and aggressive when needed, like they were against Germany in the last 16.

If you're a defender, that's exactly what you want in front of you. What I love about them is that those boys know their roles, and they are not bothered about being a superstar.

I know Declan very well and I've spoken to Kalvin on a couple of occasions recently and the one thing I would say about them straight away is that, in equal amounts, they are both extremely humble.

They want to do their job for the team and someone else can have the accolades – as long as we get the right result.

As well as being happy just to be a part of this England team, they have got a steely determination that means they feel they can make a difference at this tournament.

I am glad they are finally getting appreciated for what they bring to this side, but they are not the only ones who deserve credit for us keeping a clean sheet in every game we've played so far.

Euro 2020: We've always had the same gameplan – Rice

Different defenders, same result

The biggest compliment I can give to Gareth Southgate for England's flawless defensive record at Euro 2020 is that it is not down to any individual player.

That's been proven by the fact our personnel at the back has changed in each of our four games, and we've used a different shape for three of them.

Game Formation RB/RWB CB CB CB LB/LWB
Croatia 4-3-3 Walker Stones Mings Trippier
Scotland 4-3-3 James Stones Mings Shaw
Czech Republic 4-2-3-1 Walker Stones Maguire Shaw
Germany 3-4-3 Trippier Walker Stones Maguire Shaw

We've always had the same end result though – a disciplined and resolute display and zero goals conceded.

That's testament to the culture that Gareth and his coaching staff have created, the messages he has given the players about maintaining their levels and the mindset he has instilled in this squad.

First and foremost, he has set up his team to be hard to beat, which is not what the media or most fans wanted to see from them at this tournament.

They've been shouting for a more flamboyant and carefree approach, but Gareth has done it the way he has wanted. It's been extremely successful and it's given us a great foundation to work from.

Success as a unit is our biggest strength as a team

We go into Saturday's quarter-final with Ukraine as the only team in the last eight who are yet to concede and, on our way there, we have faced only eight shots on target across the four games.

In goal, Jordan Pickford has looked confident and composed when he's been needed and, in terms of our defenders, I think the perfect way to put it is that they have all been solid without doing anything truly spectacular.

They've all put in at least a 7/10 performance, whoever has played, and wherever they have been used.

Southgate has used seven of them so far, sometimes in different positions, but they haven't had to stand out.

We are not relying on anyone to hold it all together because everyone has played their part. Our success as a defensive unit has become our biggest strength as a team.

You always need a little bit of luck, of course and we probably had that when Thomas Muller missed his big chance to equalise for Germany.

Keeping things tight definitely helps, though, and we are getting that bit right at the moment.

Why Maguire can make the difference

What Southgate has done is even more impressive when you consider there were quite a few question marks over England's defence before the tournament started.

His main centre-half, Harry Maguire, wasn't ready for the first two matches, which is why using two sitting midfielders in Rice and Phillips was imperative.

Maguire came back and did well against the Czech Republic in England's final group game, and then against Germany last time out, but he still wasn't 100% fit, which is why we stuck with that extra protection in front of him.

He is getting stronger all the time, though, and if England are going to win this tournament, he will play a big part. Especially at International level, where teams are so well drilled, Harry offers us something extra that is going to be very useful.

I've really enjoyed watching Maguire since he has come back into the team and it took me back to how I felt after seeing him in Russia when we reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup.

He brings us a calmness in defence, but he is also not afraid to take chances because of his willingness to bring the ball out and play through the opposition lines a bit more.

That's nothing against the other defenders who have featured so far, but he definitely brings something different on the ball and he is also a big presence in both boxes because of his ability at set-pieces.

Maguire's return is another reason I'm feeling confident about us getting past Ukraine on Saturday, but we will have to be careful because it's a different proposition to what we have faced before.

While there was some doubt before the Germany game, we are expected to win this time – despite playing in Rome rather than being comfortable at Wembley and having to deal with a hotter climate and travel.

We will have to wait and see how the team reacts but, if we play well, we will win. By two goals, that's my prediction.

Rio Ferdinand was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.


... read more

'Why England have got the perfect platform for success' Fri, 02 Jul 2021 16:00:00 +0100-Over 270000 fans have signed a petition calling on Uefa to replay the Euro 2020 last-16 match between France and Switzerland because "the rules (of the …

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Euro 2020: Over 270,000 people sign petition for France vs Switzerland to be replayed

July 02, 2021

3:53PM

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand says the team is looking to Christian Eriksen as an inspiration ahead of the match against the Czech Republic in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals.

Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark's opening game of the tournament. Team-mates were left shaken after seeing him receive emergency medical treatment on the field.

Hjulmand says “we'll play with that heart of Christian Eriksen once again.”

The winner will face either England or Ukraine in the semi-finals.

AP

3:49PM

Unlike at Everton, when Pickford wears an England shirt he looks like he is sure he belongs out there, the undisputed No 1.

Jamie Carragher's latest column for Telegraph Sport.

3:38PM

Paul Ince's bloody headband, chaos in the stands – and Southgate's dark side.

England's last trip to the Italian capital, in 1997, was another game they could not contemplate losing. David Seaman looks back on that momentous night.

Paul Gascoigne (L) and a topless Paul Ince (R) Credit: GETTY IMAGES
3:20PM

… with the quarter-final against Ukraine just over 24 hours away.

Kalvin Phillips readying himself for Ukraine Credit: GETTY IMAGES
Will England and Mason Mount be skipping into the semi-finals? Credit: GETTY IMAGES
Tyrone Mings shifting some tin Credit: GETTY IMAGES
2:56PM

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday he did not plan to order a reduction in crowds attending the remaining Euro 2020 matches due to take place at Wembley.

Crowd capacity at Wembley will be increased to more than 60,000 fans for the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 under a pilot scheme announced last week.

“Of course we'll follow the scientific guidance and the advice if we receive any such suggestion,” Johnson said in response to a question at a news conference, alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said she was worried about Uefa's decision to let more people into stadiums.

“But at the moment… the position is very clear in the UK, which is that we have certain events which we can put on in a very careful and controlled manner with testing of everybody who goes there.”

2:34PM

The first pictures are beginning to filter back home…

England fans John Robinson, 29, Dan Green, 26, Nick Fox, 29, who live in Berlin, pose with their tickets for Ukraine v England ahead of the match Credit: REUTERS
1:20PM

Germany midfielder Toni Kroos has announced his retirement from international football after his team's exit from the European Championship, the 31-year-old said on Instagram.

The 2014 World Cup winner earned 106 caps for his country, contributing 17 goals and 19 assists.

Kroos said it was clear to him “for a long time” that he would not be available for the World Cup in Qatar next year.

He said his priority now would be to focus on his club career with Real Madrid and spending time with his family.

Reuters

1:16PM

From scapegoat to star man, Sterling has been the object of anger and criticism but is now England's most experienced player and one of Euro 2020's pre-eminent players.

Here, Sam Wallace runs down the eight matches that have defined his international career to date.

1:00PM

A revealed by Telegraph Sport in May, Emma Hayes, who has starred as a pundit at Euro 2020,  has signed a new deal to remain as manager of Chelsea, the Women's Super League champions have announced.

The 44-year-old has been with the club since 2012 and guided them to four WSL titles, two FA Cups and two League Cups. Hayes' side were also Champions League runners-up last season.

She said on Chelsea's official website: “Everyone knows what this club means to me.

“The work we've done together over the last nine years has been hugely rewarding, full of growth of the women's game, accompanied with winning, which is one of the club's key values. I really look forward to keep building on the successes we've already achieved and I'm delighted to have extended further.

Emma Hayes led Chelsea to the 2020/21 Women's Super League title Credit: GETTY IMAGES

“It's been a year and a half without fans, so I can't wait to welcome them back to our home and share with them the wonderful team we've built together.”

Having retained the WSL trophy and the League Cup in 2020-21, Chelsea fell short of adding the Champions League as they were beaten 4-0 by Barcelona in the final in Gothenburg.

That was a first appearance in the final for the Blues – who reached the semi-finals in 2018 and 2019 – and the first by an English club since Arsenal, who had Hayes as assistant manager at the time, won the competition in 2007.

12:24PM

Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour has joined Norwich on a season-long loan deal.

The 20-year-old impressed for Scotland in a goalless draw against England at Euro 2020 on June 18, before then having to self-isolate after returning a positive Covid-19 test.

Following his performance at Wembley it was reported that several Premier League clubs were interested in signing Gilmour on a temporary basis.

Newly-promoted Norwich have won the race for his signature and Canaries boss Daniel Farke feels Gilmour is a “perfect fit” for his Canaries team.

“We are really happy to have brought Billy in,” said Farke, who saw midfielder Emiliano Buendia leave for Aston Villa for £33million last month.

“We must say a big thank you to Chelsea and all those involved for making this deal happen. I think it helped that in the past we have shown that young players with potential are in good hands here at Norwich City.

Billy Gilmour was one of Scotland's stars at Euro 2020 Credit: GETTY IMAGES

“He will help us to achieve our targets. We still have to keep in mind that he is an unbelievably young guy and that he hasn't played regularly on this level. We have to give him some time and space to improve and find his rhythm.”

Gilmour made 11 appearances for Chelsea last season, starting three Premier League matches.

The former Rangers youth player was an unused substitute in both the FA Cup and Champions League finals as Thomas Tuchel's side lost the domestic showpiece to Leicester but beat Manchester City to become champions of Europe.

PA

12:10PM

Telegraph football writers pick their XIs – and you can too, by clicking here.

We have asked our writers to pick who they would like to see face the Ukrainians, especially bearing in mind that four of the England squad are on yellow cards.

11:50AM

What do we know about England's opponents? What are their strengths and what are the areas to exploit? Who are the players to watch out for? 

Telegraph Sport spoke to Ukranian football expert Andrew Todos and former Norther Ireland manager Michael O'Neill, who masterminded a win over Ukraine at Euro 2016. 

You can read our big match dossier by clicking here.

11:30AM

Gareth Southgate's 26-man squad all trained on the eve of England's Euro 2020 quarter-final against Ukraine.

The reward for Tuesday's 2-0 last-16 win against Germany at Wembley is Saturday's clash against Andriy Shevchenko's side in Rome.

The Three Lions fly to Italy on Friday afternoon and the full squad trained at their St George's Park base that morning.

Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell were among those in action, having left isolation on the day of the Germany match after coming into contact with Chelsea team-mate Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for Covid-19 after playing for Scotland against England.

Harry Maguire, Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips and Phil Foden are a booking away from a suspension heading into the quarter-final.

Manchester United defender Maguire, who was named man of the match on Tuesday, is set to join manager Southgate at Friday evening's press conference in Rome.

11:23AM

England train at St George's Park ahead of Saturday's quarter-final against Ukraine Credit: GETTY IMAGES
11:08AM

From our reporter, Mike McGrath. 

10:44AM

No, not the Trojan war hero, but the cat that lives in St Petersburg's Hermitage museum. He chose Spain while attempting to predict the result of tonight's quarter-final.

Probably no need to play tonight now – the cat's called it…

10:23AM

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez will give Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard until the last minute to prove their fitness ahead of tonight's Euro 2020 quarter-final clash with Italy.

Manchester City star De Bruyne suffered an ankle injury during Sunday's 1-0 win over Portugal, during which Real Madrid's Hazard also limped off with a muscle problem, and neither was able to train with the rest of the squad on Thursday morning.

However, speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of the game in Munich, Martinez said: “We all know that we are fighting against time, but we're going to take until the last minute to make the decision.

“Every day that goes by, every time they can sleep and get three meals and get some treatment, we see an improvement, and then we'll see [today] if they can be involved or not. Unfortunately at the moment, we cannot make a decision.

“Obviously it will be difficult for [today] – a soft tissue injury in Eden's case, maybe is difficult for a game like tomorrow, and for Kevin, having a ligament problem maybe is a bit different.

“But it's more a medical decision. At the moment, it's not a football decision; [today]it will become a medical decision in the afternoon and then we'll make a football decision after that.”

De Bruyne left the pitch looking dejected in Belgium's win over Portugal Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Martinez could do with having all his most potent weapons available for a clash with an Italian side which is unbeaten in 31 matches, while both teams are bidding to become the first to win 15 consecutive European Championship matches since the start of qualification.

PA

10:06AM

Neil Diamond told The Telegraph yesterday how “thrilled” he was that England fans were singing his famous 'Sweet Caroline' song at Wembley.

“Well, I hope you can do it again – here's to England”, he told The Telegraph.

The 1969 song has featured in every England victory celebration at Euro 2020 and  was a high point of celebrations  after the team beat Germany 2 – 0 in the round of 16.

After the match, striker Harry Kane and coach Gareth Southgate both told the media how much they enjoyed hearing fans belt out the song in unison.

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9:52AM

The bookies have England now as Euro 2020 favourites – even at 2/1 in some outlets.

Then come Spain (3/1) followed by Italy (4/1), with Ukraine the outside shot with bookmakers at 33/1.

9:41AM

A look-back at the day that proved internationals reach parts that the club game cannot.

As if Spain 5 Croatia 3 wasn't enough, Switzerland and France also served up a classic on Monday night. What made it so memorable?

Read Thom Gibbs' excellent breakdown here.

9:16AM

Let us know in the comments below!

  • Switzerland vs Spain, 5pm
  • Belgium vs Italy, 8pm

 I'm going Spain and Italy to progress… just.

9:14AM

As Sam Dean writes, Alvaro Morata has scored 21 goals in 44 appearances for his country. He has won 14 major trophies in club football. He has played for four of the biggest clubs in the world and he has been transferred between them for a combined total of more than £170 million. If he finds the net against Switzerland on Friday, he will become the highest scorer in Spain’s European Championship history. Everything about his CV, and his list of accomplishments by the age of 28, suggests that Morata must be one of the continent’s elite forwards. And yet, for many people, the former Chelsea striker still seems to be regarded more as a punchline than as a top-level predator.

Read about how Morata has emerged from the darkness in a bright, dangerous Spain side.

Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal during the last-16 win over Croatia Credit: POOL GETTY
8:59AM

A reminder of how the Swiss got there in the first place.

They knocked out the world champions, France, on penalties, after fighting back from 3-1 down.

Refresh yourself on events in Bucharest by clicking here.

Kylian Mbappe missed the crucial penalty for France Credit: GETTY IMAGES
8:35AM

Topless and fully clothed, desperate and ecstatic: a Swiss football supporter has become a viral sensation after cameras zoomed in on his rollercoaster emotions watching his team beat France in the Euro 2020 tournament.

Found by Swiss media after images of him yelling and grimacing during Monday's match went round the world, Luca Loutenbach has already amended his Twitter account to describe himself as the “Nati's official meme since 28.06.2021.”

The Nati is the nickname for Switzerland's national football team.

Loutenbach, 28, told Switzerland's Blick TV that he was “just a normal fan”.

But those filming the game thought otherwise, zooming in on him several times during the play as he perfectly encapsulated Swiss fans' ecstasy, dejection and frenzied joy – starting off wearing the Swiss red shirt and ending up topless and screaming.

The images quickly went viral, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeting one with the comment “man of the match”.

“A star is born,” Swiss public television RTS said.

“Thanks for all your messages, what is happening to me is unreal,” he wrote Wednesday on Twitter.

“I'm actually quite discreet, even if that wasn't on show during the game. So this is fun for one or two days, but I hope it will ease off a bit after a while,” he told Swiss TV.

Such is his fame that Switzerland's airline Swiss has gifted him a free ticket to Russia to see his team play Spain in the quarter finals on Friday in Saint Petersburg.

The country's tourism agency has also contacted him via Twitter to offer a relaxing weekend away in Switzerland.

8:18AM

Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage of the build-up to quarter-finals day, with the first two last-eight games kicking off tonight. Switzerland face Spain in St Petersburg at 5pm before Belgium take on Italy in Munich at 8pm.

England midfielder Jack Grealish said captain Harry Kane is the best player he has ever played with and tipped the Tottenham Hotspur forward to break the Premier League scoring record.

Kane drew a blank in each of England's three group games at Euro 2020 but scored the second goal in Tuesday's 2-0 win over Germany which put them into a quarter-final clash with Ukraine in Rome on Saturday.

Grealish said Kane, or “H”, was a deadly finisher but also praised his work outside the box.

“No one here would ever doubt 'H',” Grealish told British media on Thursday. “He's the best player I've ever played with.

“He'll break the Premier League record and the England one but he’s not just a goalscorer. He’s unbelievable when he drops deep and finds passes and puts it through people’s legs.”

Alan Shearer is the Premier League's all-time leading scorer with 260. Kane is seventh on the list with 166.

Grealish came off the bench to play a role in both goals in the win over Germany but the 25-year-old said he was uncertain if he would start against Ukraine, given the attacking options at coach Gareth Southgate's disposal.

“It’s difficult. I’m always playing every minute at Villa. I have to be realistic about myself and the talent that we have, especially in my position,” he said.

“You've got six players that play either side of Harry that, in reality, could play for most clubs in the world — myself, Jadon (Sancho), Marcus (Rashford), Raheem (Sterling), Phil (Foden) and Bukayo (Saka),” he said.

“That’s scary how good us six are. That’s not being big-headed. That’s just the truth.”

Reuters

3:53PM

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand says the team is looking to Christian Eriksen as an inspiration ahead of the match against the Czech Republic in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals.

Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark's opening game of the tournament. Team-mates were left shaken after seeing him receive emergency medical treatment on the field.

Hjulmand says “we'll play with that heart of Christian Eriksen once again.”

The winner will face either England or Ukraine in the semi-finals.

AP

3:49PM

Unlike at Everton, when Pickford wears an England shirt he looks like he is sure he belongs out there, the undisputed No 1.

Jamie Carragher's latest column for Telegraph Sport.

3:38PM

Paul Ince's bloody headband, chaos in the stands – and Southgate's dark side.

England's last trip to the Italian capital, in 1997, was another game they could not contemplate losing. David Seaman looks back on that momentous night.

Paul Gascoigne (L) and a topless Paul Ince (R) Credit: GETTY IMAGES
3:20PM

… with the quarter-final against Ukraine just over 24 hours away.

Kalvin Phillips readying himself for Ukraine Credit: GETTY IMAGES
Will England and Mason Mount be skipping into the semi-finals? Credit: GETTY IMAGES
Tyrone Mings shifting some tin Credit: GETTY IMAGES
2:56PM

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday he did not plan to order a reduction in crowds attending the remaining Euro 2020 matches due to take place at Wembley.

Crowd capacity at Wembley will be increased to more than 60,000 fans for the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 under a pilot scheme announced last week.

“Of course we'll follow the scientific guidance and the advice if we receive any such suggestion,” Johnson said in response to a question at a news conference, alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said she was worried about Uefa's decision to let more people into stadiums.

“But at the moment… the position is very clear in the UK, which is that we have certain events which we can put on in a very careful and controlled manner with testing of everybody who goes there.”

2:34PM

The first pictures are beginning to filter back home…

England fans John Robinson, 29, Dan Green, 26, Nick Fox, 29, who live in Berlin, pose with their tickets for Ukraine v England ahead of the match Credit: REUTERS
1:20PM

Germany midfielder Toni Kroos has announced his retirement from international football after his team's exit from the European Championship, the 31-year-old said on Instagram.

The 2014 World Cup winner earned 106 caps for his country, contributing 17 goals and 19 assists.

Kroos said it was clear to him “for a long time” that he would not be available for the World Cup in Qatar next year.

He said his priority now would be to focus on his club career with Real Madrid and spending time with his family.

Reuters

1:16PM

From scapegoat to star man, Sterling has been the object of anger and criticism but is now England's most experienced player and one of Euro 2020's pre-eminent players.

Here, Sam Wallace runs down the eight matches that have defined his international career to date.

1:00PM

A revealed by Telegraph Sport in May, Emma Hayes, who has starred as a pundit at Euro 2020,  has signed a new deal to remain as manager of Chelsea, the Women's Super League champions have announced.

The 44-year-old has been with the club since 2012 and guided them to four WSL titles, two FA Cups and two League Cups. Hayes' side were also Champions League runners-up last season.

She said on Chelsea's official website: “Everyone knows what this club means to me.

“The work we've done together over the last nine years has been hugely rewarding, full of growth of the women's game, accompanied with winning, which is one of the club's key values. I really look forward to keep building on the successes we've already achieved and I'm delighted to have extended further.

Emma Hayes led Chelsea to the 2020/21 Women's Super League title Credit: GETTY IMAGES

“It's been a year and a half without fans, so I can't wait to welcome them back to our home and share with them the wonderful team we've built together.”

Having retained the WSL trophy and the League Cup in 2020-21, Chelsea fell short of adding the Champions League as they were beaten 4-0 by Barcelona in the final in Gothenburg.

That was a first appearance in the final for the Blues – who reached the semi-finals in 2018 and 2019 – and the first by an English club since Arsenal, who had Hayes as assistant manager at the time, won the competition in 2007.

12:24PM

Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour has joined Norwich on a season-long loan deal.

The 20-year-old impressed for Scotland in a goalless draw against England at Euro 2020 on June 18, before then having to self-isolate after returning a positive Covid-19 test.

Following his performance at Wembley it was reported that several Premier League clubs were interested in signing Gilmour on a temporary basis.

Newly-promoted Norwich have won the race for his signature and Canaries boss Daniel Farke feels Gilmour is a “perfect fit” for his Canaries team.

“We are really happy to have brought Billy in,” said Farke, who saw midfielder Emiliano Buendia leave for Aston Villa for £33million last month.

“We must say a big thank you to Chelsea and all those involved for making this deal happen. I think it helped that in the past we have shown that young players with potential are in good hands here at Norwich City.

Billy Gilmour was one of Scotland's stars at Euro 2020 Credit: GETTY IMAGES

“He will help us to achieve our targets. We still have to keep in mind that he is an unbelievably young guy and that he hasn't played regularly on this level. We have to give him some time and space to improve and find his rhythm.”

Gilmour made 11 appearances for Chelsea last season, starting three Premier League matches.

The former Rangers youth player was an unused substitute in both the FA Cup and Champions League finals as Thomas Tuchel's side lost the domestic showpiece to Leicester but beat Manchester City to become champions of Europe.

PA

12:10PM

Telegraph football writers pick their XIs – and you can too, by clicking here.

We have asked our writers to pick who they would like to see face the Ukrainians, especially bearing in mind that four of the England squad are on yellow cards.

11:50AM

What do we know about England's opponents? What are their strengths and what are the areas to exploit? Who are the players to watch out for? 

Telegraph Sport spoke to Ukranian football expert Andrew Todos and former Norther Ireland manager Michael O'Neill, who masterminded a win over Ukraine at Euro 2016. 

You can read our big match dossier by clicking here.

11:30AM

Gareth Southgate's 26-man squad all trained on the eve of England's Euro 2020 quarter-final against Ukraine.

The reward for Tuesday's 2-0 last-16 win against Germany at Wembley is Saturday's clash against Andriy Shevchenko's side in Rome.

The Three Lions fly to Italy on Friday afternoon and the full squad trained at their St George's Park base that morning.

Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell were among those in action, having left isolation on the day of the Germany match after coming into contact with Chelsea team-mate Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for Covid-19 after playing for Scotland against England.

Harry Maguire, Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips and Phil Foden are a booking away from a suspension heading into the quarter-final.

Manchester United defender Maguire, who was named man of the match on Tuesday, is set to join manager Southgate at Friday evening's press conference in Rome.

11:23AM

England train at St George's Park ahead of Saturday's quarter-final against Ukraine Credit: GETTY IMAGES
11:08AM

From our reporter, Mike McGrath. 

10:44AM

No, not the Trojan war hero, but the cat that lives in St Petersburg's Hermitage museum. He chose Spain while attempting to predict the result of tonight's quarter-final.

Probably no need to play tonight now – the cat's called it…

10:23AM

Belgium boss Roberto Martinez will give Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard until the last minute to prove their fitness ahead of tonight's Euro 2020 quarter-final clash with Italy.

Manchester City star De Bruyne suffered an ankle injury during Sunday's 1-0 win over Portugal, during which Real Madrid's Hazard also limped off with a muscle problem, and neither was able to train with the rest of the squad on Thursday morning.

However, speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of the game in Munich, Martinez said: “We all know that we are fighting against time, but we're going to take until the last minute to make the decision.

“Every day that goes by, every time they can sleep and get three meals and get some treatment, we see an improvement, and then we'll see [today] if they can be involved or not. Unfortunately at the moment, we cannot make a decision.

“Obviously it will be difficult for [today] – a soft tissue injury in Eden's case, maybe is difficult for a game like tomorrow, and for Kevin, having a ligament problem maybe is a bit different.

“But it's more a medical decision. At the moment, it's not a football decision; [today]it will become a medical decision in the afternoon and then we'll make a football decision after that.”

De Bruyne left the pitch looking dejected in Belgium's win over Portugal Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Martinez could do with having all his most potent weapons available for a clash with an Italian side which is unbeaten in 31 matches, while both teams are bidding to become the first to win 15 consecutive European Championship matches since the start of qualification.

PA

10:06AM

Neil Diamond told The Telegraph yesterday how “thrilled” he was that England fans were singing his famous 'Sweet Caroline' song at Wembley.

“Well, I hope you can do it again – here's to England”, he told The Telegraph.

The 1969 song has featured in every England victory celebration at Euro 2020 and  was a high point of celebrations  after the team beat Germany 2 – 0 in the round of 16.

After the match, striker Harry Kane and coach Gareth Southgate both told the media how much they enjoyed hearing fans belt out the song in unison.

image
9:52AM

The bookies have England now as Euro 2020 favourites – even at 2/1 in some outlets.

Then come Spain (3/1) followed by Italy (4/1), with Ukraine the outside shot with bookmakers at 33/1.

9:41AM

A look-back at the day that proved internationals reach parts that the club game cannot.

As if Spain 5 Croatia 3 wasn't enough, Switzerland and France also served up a classic on Monday night. What made it so memorable?

Read Thom Gibbs' excellent breakdown here.

9:16AM

Let us know in the comments below!

  • Switzerland vs Spain, 5pm
  • Belgium vs Italy, 8pm

 I'm going Spain and Italy to progress… just.

9:14AM

As Sam Dean writes, Alvaro Morata has scored 21 goals in 44 appearances for his country. He has won 14 major trophies in club football. He has played for four of the biggest clubs in the world and he has been transferred between them for a combined total of more than £170 million. If he finds the net against Switzerland on Friday, he will become the highest scorer in Spain’s European Championship history. Everything about his CV, and his list of accomplishments by the age of 28, suggests that Morata must be one of the continent’s elite forwards. And yet, for many people, the former Chelsea striker still seems to be regarded more as a punchline than as a top-level predator.

Read about how Morata has emerged from the darkness in a bright, dangerous Spain side.

Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring his side's fourth goal during the last-16 win over Croatia Credit: POOL GETTY
8:59AM

A reminder of how the Swiss got there in the first place.

They knocked out the world champions, France, on penalties, after fighting back from 3-1 down.

Refresh yourself on events in Bucharest by clicking here.

Kylian Mbappe missed the crucial penalty for France Credit: GETTY IMAGES
8:35AM

Topless and fully clothed, desperate and ecstatic: a Swiss football supporter has become a viral sensation after cameras zoomed in on his rollercoaster emotions watching his team beat France in the Euro 2020 tournament.

Found by Swiss media after images of him yelling and grimacing during Monday's match went round the world, Luca Loutenbach has already amended his Twitter account to describe himself as the “Nati's official meme since 28.06.2021.”

The Nati is the nickname for Switzerland's national football team.

Loutenbach, 28, told Switzerland's Blick TV that he was “just a normal fan”.

But those filming the game thought otherwise, zooming in on him several times during the play as he perfectly encapsulated Swiss fans' ecstasy, dejection and frenzied joy – starting off wearing the Swiss red shirt and ending up topless and screaming.

The images quickly went viral, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeting one with the comment “man of the match”.

“A star is born,” Swiss public television RTS said.

“Thanks for all your messages, what is happening to me is unreal,” he wrote Wednesday on Twitter.

“I'm actually quite discreet, even if that wasn't on show during the game. So this is fun for one or two days, but I hope it will ease off a bit after a while,” he told Swiss TV.

Such is his fame that Switzerland's airline Swiss has gifted him a free ticket to Russia to see his team play Spain in the quarter finals on Friday in Saint Petersburg.

The country's tourism agency has also contacted him via Twitter to offer a relaxing weekend away in Switzerland.

8:18AM

Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage of the build-up to quarter-finals day, with the first two last-eight games kicking off tonight. Switzerland face Spain in St Petersburg at 5pm before Belgium take on Italy in Munich at 8pm.

England midfielder Jack Grealish said captain Harry Kane is the best player he has ever played with and tipped the Tottenham Hotspur forward to break the Premier League scoring record.

Kane drew a blank in each of England's three group games at Euro 2020 but scored the second goal in Tuesday's 2-0 win over Germany which put them into a quarter-final clash with Ukraine in Rome on Saturday.

Grealish said Kane, or “H”, was a deadly finisher but also praised his work outside the box.

“No one here would ever doubt 'H',” Grealish told British media on Thursday. “He's the best player I've ever played with.

“He'll break the Premier League record and the England one but he’s not just a goalscorer. He’s unbelievable when he drops deep and finds passes and puts it through people’s legs.”

Alan Shearer is the Premier League's all-time leading scorer with 260. Kane is seventh on the list with 166.

Grealish came off the bench to play a role in both goals in the win over Germany but the 25-year-old said he was uncertain if he would start against Ukraine, given the attacking options at coach Gareth Southgate's disposal.

“It’s difficult. I’m always playing every minute at Villa. I have to be realistic about myself and the talent that we have, especially in my position,” he said.

“You've got six players that play either side of Harry that, in reality, could play for most clubs in the world — myself, Jadon (Sancho), Marcus (Rashford), Raheem (Sterling), Phil (Foden) and Bukayo (Saka),” he said.

“That’s scary how good us six are. That’s not being big-headed. That’s just the truth.”

Reuters


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– July 2, 2021
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