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Euro 2020 LIVE! Latest England updates with one day to go

England start their campaign against Croatia at Wembley on Sunday, with Gareth Southgate admitting that the “incredibly complicated” build-up to the tournament has been his toughest test as a manager.

Elsewhere, Spain’s preparations for the Euros have been thrown into further chaos after Diego Llorente became the second player to test positive for Covid-19.

The Leeds defender’s positive test follows that of captain Sergio Busquets, with both players leaving camp and Spain’s youngsters having to step in for a friendly against Lithuania on Tuesday night.

The squad will now be vaccinated, health minister Carolina Darias said on Wednesday, though both Busquets and Llorente will miss the opening game against Sweden on Monday.

Sweden duo Dejan Kulusevski and Mattias Svanberg have also tested positive for Covid, while the likes of Donny van de Beek and Arkadiusz Milik will both miss the tournament through injury.

France also got a scare on Tuesday when Karim Benzema was injured early in their final warm-up victory over Bulgaria.

Follow all the latest Euro 2020 news and build-up with Standard Sport’s LIVE blog below!

Live updates

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Ramsey sits out training, but fine for Wales opener

Aaron Ramsey says it was a deliberate decision for him to miss training just over 48 hours before Wales’ opener against Switzerland.

Ramsey’s fitness record has been a huge source of concern for Wales, with the Juventus playmaker featuring in only 19 of the 44 games they have played since reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

The 30-year-old has been short of game-time heading into the Switzerland clash on Saturday, but insists Wales fans should not be alarmed by him sitting out the squad’s penultimate pre-game training session in Baku.

“It was planned that I stayed off my feet,” Ramsey said.

“It was a very light session for the boys. I’m all good and looking forward to Saturday.”

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Maguire back in England training

Harry Maguire is back training with the England squad as the Manchester United centre-back continues to step up his recovery from an ankle injury.

The 28-year-old’s fitness has been one of the main talking points as Sunday’s European Championship opener against Croatia comes into focus.

Maguire suffered ankle ligament damage in United’s Premier League win at Aston Villa on May 9 after Anwar El Ghazi awkwardly landed on him.

The defender sat out the rest of the season, including being an unused substitute for the Europa League final loss to Villarreal, and England boss Gareth Southgate said it would be a “bonus” for him to be involved at the Euros.

But Maguire has been making steady progress and, having worked away from the group in the gym on Wednesday, continued to ease his way back by training with the rest of the 26-man squad.

“Felt good to be back out there with the lads,” the defender wrote on Twitter alongside emojis of a flexed bicep and the England flag.

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Southgate ‘brilliant’ for England – Seaman

David Seaman believes former England team-mate Gareth Southgate has grown into “a brilliant” national team manager.

Goalkeeper Seaman, who won 75 caps during a 14-year international career, said Southgate’s open letter to the nation, published on Tuesday, showed leadership qualities beyond the norm.

Southgate promised his players would continue to take a knee before every game at Euro 2020 and urged them not to “stick to football” and speak out instead against racism and inequality.

Seaman told the PA news agency: “He’s been brilliant. He’s been brilliant on the field and now he’s showing how good he is off the field and how good his understanding is of every situation.

“Even down to making sure England take the knee. I’m totally behind that and he’s dealt with it really well.

“He’s not gone out there shouting, he sends his message in an eloquent, constructive manner. People are listening and that’s the main thing.”

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Sancho focused on England amid Man Utd links

Jadon Sancho is focused on England’s Euro 2020 preparations and ignoring talk about his future as Manchester United continue discussions with Borussia Dortmund over a potential transfer.

“I don’t really look at it,” he said. “When I’m during the season, I always focus on myself and the team because that’s the most important thing that we can do.

“You know, every time I’m on a pitch I’m always giving my all and obviously to create with what I do on a pitch and that’s with goals and assists.

“That’s why I really try to do and always work hard for the team.”

Pushed on whether the background talk is an unwanted distraction, Sancho told talkSPORT: “No, I’m cool about it.

“You know, there’s always going to be speculation, especially when you do well.

“It’s just how you handle that on the pitch and just keep doing what you’re doing.

“If you keep on doing that then I’m sure that won’t be a problem because the main thing is my football and that’s what I’m focused on at the moment.”

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Turkey have belief in upset

Turkey cruised through Euro 2020 qualification and coach Senol Gunes believes his squad, which features a number of Serie A-based players including Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu and Merih Demiral of Juventus, are capable of an upset.

Gunes said: “It is good having players who are in Serie A clubs, as they know how things work in Italy and the approach these teams take.

“We must not lose concentration, otherwise there could be real problems. The first and last games of the group are fundamental and they can change the balance of the whole situation.

“It will be hard-fought in technical, tactical and physical terms. I want to see the quality of my players on show. This is a game between two strong teams and I believe Turkey can win.”

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Mancini warns Italy over Turkey threat

Roberto Mancini has warned his buoyant Italy side to be on their guard as they prepare to kick off their Euro 2020 campaign against Turkey at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Mancini’s men go into the tournament as one of the favourites for the title after launching themselves on a 27-match unbeaten run, including winning all 10 of their qualifying games.

But Mancini, who spent a year coaching Galatasaray in the Turkish Super Lig, is all too aware of the threat posed by his opponents, and the possibility of freezing on the big occasion.

Mancini told a press conference: “The first match is always the most difficult. We must shake off the tension and not think about other things, just focus on what needs to get done.

“There will be a little more pressure with it being the opening match of the tournament, and Turkey are packed with talent, but it remains just another match and we have to focus on that.”

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Fans back taking the knee

A majority of football supporters around nine European nations support professional players taking a knee ahead of matches as an anti-racism gesture, according to a new survey.

The YouGov survey of 4,500 fans in nine countries showed support strongest in Portugal, where 79% backed the gesture, followed by Italy (73%), Spain (71%) and Germany (60%).

In England, where a small section of fans booed players taking the knee at two recent international friendlies, support was at 54%, followed by Wales (53%), France (52%), Scotland (49%). The Netherlands saw the lowest support at 44%.

In Britain, 78% of ethnically diverse fans were happy with players making the gesture, according to the survey which was carried out between February 23 and March 31.

England’s Jack Grealish and Kalvin Phillips take the knee before the international friendly against Romania

/ PA Wire

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De Ligt upbeat over injury

Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt reckons he has a 50-50 chance of overcoming a groin injury and being fit for his side’s opening game against Ukraine in Amsterdam on Sunday.

De Ligt returned to full training for the first time on Thursday since suffering the injury last Saturday at the Dutch training camp in Portugal.

“We’ll see how it feels on the day itself,” he told reporters, “but Sunday is definitely my goal.

“It’s 50-50, but I feel good. Let’s say 60 percent chance I’ll make it,” De Ligt said, quickly upping the odds.

Being inserted at the last minute would not be a concern, he added. “I have played all the last 15 games of the Serie A season with Juventus, so I have match rhythm anyway.

“It’s about the pain I feel right now. It has already decreased so much.”

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Health warning for fans

Euro 2020 fans should avoid attending games if they have any COVID-19 symptoms and wear masks in stadiums allowing around 50% capacity, a European Union agency urged on Thursday, amid concern the tournament could spread infections.

Budapest aims for full capacity while Saint Petersburg and Baku will have 50%. Amsterdam, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Rome and Seville will use between 25% and 45% of capacity, while Munich will use a minimum 22% capacity and London’s Wembley – which hosts the final – a minimum 25% for the initial games.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control estimates about half a million spectators will attend.

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Uefa rule on Ukraine kit

Ukraine have been ordered by Uefa to remove a shirt slogan “clearly political in nature” from their Euro 2020 kits.

The kit design last week sparked outrage in Russia by featuring a map of the country that includes Crimea which Russia annexed in 2014 but remains internationally recognised as part of Ukraine.

Uefa have ruled that Ukraine could keep a map showing Crimea but must remove the phrase “Glory to the heroes” due to military connotations.

A slogan at the back reads “Glory to Ukraine” while inside the shirt are the words: “Glory to the heroes” – a military greeting in Ukraine.

Uefa said the map was not a concern given it reflected UN-recognised borders, nor was the phrase “Glory to Ukraine”.

But it ordered the removal of the second phrase, given the “specific combination of the two slogans is deemed to be clearly political in nature, having historic and militaristic significance”, a Uefa statement said.

REUTERS


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