Roundup of the final round of group matches at Euro 2020 as Groups E and F drew to their conclusions in dramatic fashion.
Group E saw Spain and Poland battling for survival as both teams started their games sat bottom of the group, although only one of those two teams would eventually survive to fight on following a dramatic finish.
Group F meanwhile saw Germany and Portugal enter their matches looking to avoid shock cupsets on a crazy evening, in which both teams at various points stared down the exit barrel before the final group positions emerged at full time.
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Spain entered their final Group B match against Slovakia needing a win to secure a knockout place and got off to a strong start as Jakub Hromada controversially conceded a penalty, after accidentally hitting Koke behind the leg as both went to shoot the ball in synchronisation.
Alvaro Morata however missed the resulting 12th minute spot-kick as Martin Dubravka dived to his right to make a huge early save.
Pablo Sarabia and Pedri then flicked wide individual chances in the 19th minute before Morata saw a shot saved five minutes later.
Spain’s dominance eventually paid off as Sarabia found the bar on the half hour mark with Dubravka bizarrely whacking the falling ball into his own net with his right hand, as he tried to make an one handed save.
Gerard Moreno then missed two late first half chances before Aymeric Laporte nodded in from Sarabia’s chipped pullback to put Spain in control at half-time.
After the break, Spain weathered early Slovakian pressure but Sarabia’s hard work was rewarded in the 56th minute, as he fired in from Jordi Alba’s pass to confirm victory, although two further goals made sure of La Roja’s first win at Euro 2020.
Ferran Torres added a fourth goal as he flicked in Sarabia’s low 67th minute cross before Juraj Kucka knocked Pau Torres’s header into his own net four minutes later, confirming a 5-0 win for Spain as they advance to the Last 16 off the back of their biggest ever win in this competition.
Sweden meanwhile claimed a two goal lead through Emil Forsberg only for a second-half brace from Robert Lewandowski to level the scoring at 2-2 apiece, before Viktor Claesson to strike in injury time to hand Sweden top spot in Group E with a 3-2 victory.
Spain consequently finished runners-up and will now face Croatia on Monday 28 June 2021 (5pm BST), at Parken Stadium, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Poland meanwhile were eliminated as the bottom-placed team of the group whilst Slovakia also crashed out despite finishing third, as a result of their five goal thrashing in Seville ultimately costing them a place in the four best third-placed teams on goal difference.
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Group F drew to a blockbuster conclusion as reigning Euro champions, Portugal collided with world champions, France in Budapest, Hungary, with both teams knowing that victory would see them through as group winners.
Renato Sanches and Cristiano Ronaldo both nearly got Portugal off to an early flier but their chances went begging, whilst Paul Pogba’s tenth minute through ball to Kylian Mbappe for France was saved by Rui Patricio as both teams wasted chances in the opening 25 minutes.
Sanches eventually set up Portugal’s opener after drawing a foul from N’Golo Kante with Hugo Lloris punching over the free-kick over, only to collide with Danilo Pereira’s face as he made the clearance with referee – Antonio Mateu Lahoz controversially awarding a penalty.
Cristiano Ronaldo stepped up and dispatched the resulting spot-kick down the middle to become the outright record European top-scorer across all major competitions, as he put Portugal ahead.
Joao Moutinho then missed two late chances before Nelson Semedo controversially conceded a penalty after catching Mbappe with his right elbow as they chased a direct cross, with Karim Benzema equalising from the spot-kick just before half-time.
Both teams proceeded to make half-time changes as Portugal substituted Danilo for Joao Palhinha and France benched Lucas Hernandez for Lucas Digne, who then suffered an injury which forced him off just seven minutes later.
Once the game restarted, France made the better start as Paul Pogba played a 47th minute through ball for Benzema to fire in off the left post, which was initially ruled offside before VAR overturned the decision and awarded the goal.
Portugal then won a penalty 11 minutes later after Jules Kounde accidentally handballed Ronaldo’s cross after an initial block, with the Portugese firing the spot-kick into the bottom left corner to restore parity.
France missed a huge opportunity to retake the lead in the 67th minute as Pogba curled in a shot but Rui Patricio punched away to Antoine Griezmann, only to block his shot then Pogba fired his rebound effort wide.
Both teams thereafter exchanged chances throughout the closing stages but France ultimately clung on to top the group with a 2-2 draw and progress as winners, thereby setting up a Last 16 tie against Switzerland on Monday 28 June (8pm BST) at Arena Nationala, Bucharest, Romania.
Portugal meanwhile advanced as one of the four best third-placed teams after Germany secured second following a 2-2 draw against Hungary in Munich.
Germany will therefore face England in London on Tuesday 29 June 2021 (5pm BST) in the Round of 16, whereas Portugal meet Belgium in Seville, Spain, on Sunday 27 June (8pm BST).
Now here is the full fixture list for the Round of 16 which takes place from 26-29 June.
|Saturday 26 June 2021||Wales v Denmark||Johan Cruyff Arena, Amsterdam||5:00pm|
|Saturday 26 June 2021||Italy v Austria||Wembley, London||8:00pm|
|Sunday 27 June 2021||Netherlands v Czech Republic||Puskas Arena, Budapest||5:00pm|
|Sunday 27 June 2021||Belgium v Portugal||La Cartuja, Seville||8:00pm|
|Monday 28 June 2021||Croatia v Spain||Parken Stadium, Copenhagen||5:00pm|
|Monday 28 June 2021||France v Switzerland||Arena Nationala, Bucharest||8:00pm|
|Tuesday 29 June 2021||England v Germany||Wembley, London||5:00pm|
|Tuesday 29 June 2021||Sweden v Ukraine||Hampden Park, Glasgow||8:00pm|
India can pick two more teams and still win any competition in the world, states Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya has spoken highly of India’s remarkable bench strength across formats and believes that the team can end up winning any competition in the world even if they pick ‘C’ or ‘D’ string sides. India, on Tuesday, sealed a series win over Sri Lanka despite fielding a second-string team.
Building a world talent pool has been integral to team India’s sustained success over the past decade, and nothing served as a testament to the same more than the tour of Australia last winter. Without their skipper Virat Kohli, and without a handful of senior players, the Indian side ended up winning 2-1 Down Under, in the process breaching Gabba for the first time this century.
But while the side that triumphed in Australia had a fair mix of first-teamers and newcomers, the contingent currently in Sri Lanka is dominated by debutants and newcomers, with only a handful of seniors present in the entire squad. And the inexperienced squad, on Tuesday, sealed a 2-0 series win to project the scary strength in depth the country possesses.
Hardik Pandya is one of the few seniors in the white-ball tour of Sri Lanka, but the all-rounder believes the team could do without him and other seniors. Speaking ahead of the third ODI, Pandya insisted that India ‘can pick two more teams and still win any competition in the world’, singing praises about the country’s talent pool.
“Our roles are very clear, even in the main team. The kind of talent which the Indian team posses right now, I think we can pick two more teams and win any competition in the world,” Pandya told the host broadcaster, reported Cricbuzz.
On a personal note, however, 2021 has been a tough year for Pandya, who has struggled to build on the promise he showed in the tour of Australia last year. So far this year, across formats, Pandya has struck a solitary fifty in Indian colours, averaging 25.62, while he also had a rough IPL, averaging 8.66 from 7 outings. Now a more mature cricketer, Pandya, however, insisted that failures a part of a cricketer’s journey, and revealed that he has learned to celebrate bad days.
“I understand that in life you have to keep growing. As a cricketer and a person you need to keep growing. My process is just growing as a human being. You tend to make mistakes, you fail, but I like to celebrate my failures. I like to celebrate my bad days, it is a part of the sport and it teaches you a lot of things. I like to remember it.”
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Byron Buxton trade: Ideal fits for Buxton before 2021 MLB Trade Deadline
Just when he was starting to become one of the best outfielders in 2021, it looks like the Minnesota Twins might be trading Byron Buxton. While he’s spent a lot of time on the IL during his breakout season, a Byron Buxton trade could be in the works if he’s unwilling to sign an extension with the Twins. At least those are what the latest Buxton trade rumors would indicate.
The Twins, after all, are in a rather precarious position. They began the season expecting to compete but fell flat on their face. It’s possible that Minnesota could hit the reset button in 2022 and try again. But as a small-market team, they could trade away some of their best chips and enter a rebuilding phase. The latter possibility has brought about the Buxton trade rumors.
Buxton trade rumors
The 27-year-old Buxton could be an interesting addition to the trade market this summer. A fractured hand sent him to the IL in June, but it won’t keep him sidelined for the rest of the season. In just 27 games this season, he’s batting .369 with an OPS of 1.176, performing like one of the best outfielders in 2021. If Buxton comes anywhere close to producing those numbers when he returns, he’ll be an impact player.
But if the Twins decide to trade him, where will he go?
The Yankees are the obvious fit for Buxton. They need at least one outfielder, although trading for two before the deadline isn’t a bad idea either.
More than anything, they need a bonafide center fielder, which is what they’ll get in Buxton. The likes of Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, and other fill-ins aren’t getting the job done and a Byron Buxton trade would be a huge upgrade for the Bronx Bombers.
Houston isn’t in dire need of a center fielder given the rest of the team’s lineup. But Buxton would represent an immediate upgrade over youngster Myles Straw.
It would be the type of move that would prove that the Astros are serious about contending for another World Series.
Even though Atlanta just traded for Joc Pederson, the Braves could still make a play for Buxton. Keep in mind they’ve lost both Marcell Ozuna and Ronald Acuna, this year, so Pederson alone isn’t going to fill those holes.
Even with Pederson on board, the likes of Guillermo Heredia and Abraham Almonte are playing regularly in the Atlanta outfield. Trading for Buxton would solve some of their problems, giving them a viable bat and an elite defender in the same package.
Much like the Braves, the Phillies have to think the Mets are vulnerable in the NL East, so a big trade for a player like Buxton could make a big difference. Outside of Bryce Harper, there’s not much to like about the Philadelphia outfield.
Andrew McCutchen is showing his age and who knows how long Travis Jankowski can keep being a viable place-holder in center field. That makes Philadelphia the ideal landing spot for Buxton.
The Brew Crew is looking better and better but they still need a little more offensively. Jackie Bradley Jr. and Lorenzo Cain aren’t getting the job done in center field. Buxton would be the perfect solution for Milwaukee, especially since Bradley and Cain are there to provide depth if Buxton gets hurt again.
While the Brewers look good to win the NL Central, they’ll need to make a meaningful improvement at the deadline if they want to make noise in October, which is why Buxton should be on their radar.
Podcast: Enter York Hall – Boxing News
In this audio documentary relive York Hall’s great nights, fights and events that are the pillars of British boxing history
YORK HALL – the spiritual home of british boxing. Join us on an atmospheric deep-dive into the magic of the old venue that’s provided fight fans of all ages with so many special memories. From its 1929 opening as public baths in which Londoners would wash, right through to the present day – via visits from the likes of Tapia and Lomachenko – this audio documentary relives the great nights, fights and events that are pillars of British boxing history.
Boxers, promoters, referees, trainers, commentators and journalists relive their own personal highs and lows as the past, present and future of York Hall are explored in detail.
Written and produced by Darren Rees. Engineered at: Untapped talent recording studios (Southampton).
Please get in contact with your York Hall memories via Twitter: @ReesBoxing89 or [email protected]
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