Euros LIVE! Wales vs Denmark and Italy build-up, latest England news
After a long two days with no live action, the European Championship kicks up a gear this weekend as the last 16 begins.
The knockout action commences in Amsterdam, where 2016 semi-finalists Wales will face Group B runners-up Denmark at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
Gareth Bale and Co find themselves in the unusual position of not being the neutrals’ favourites in this one, with plenty pulling for the inspiring and resurgent Danes after their incredible reaction to the trauma of Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest.
We then head to Wembley, where formidable Group A winners Italy will look to set a new national record of 31 matches unbeaten and improve their winning streak to 12 successive games against underdogs Austria.
After the pain of missing out on the 2018 World Cup, the Azzurri have been completely rebuilt under Roberto Mancini and are now considered among the favourites to win the Euros for the first time since 1968.
We’ll also have all the latest offerings from the England camp as preparations continue for Tuesday’s mammoth showdown with Germany in London, while the rest of the last 16 includes other cracking ties, not least tomorow night’s clash between Belgium and Portugal in Seville.
Follow all the latest Euro 2020 news in our daily live blog below!
Bale: Wales a ‘much better team’ after Denmark losses in 2018
Denmark beat Wales twice in the Uefa Nations League back in 2018, though Bale insists they will face a different, much-improved team in Amsterdam tonight.
“The last time we played them we were in more of a transition and younger players were coming in,” he said.
“With the time that’s passed we’ve got better and improved as a team.
“We’ve got more players now and we’re more comfortable with each other.
“Hopefully we can prove on the pitch that we’re a much better team.”
Here’s a brief look at the schedule for the return of the Euros today as the knockout phase begins, including details of how to watch the games in the UK…
Wales v Denmark – BBC One and BBC iPlayer, 5.00pm kick-off
Italy v Austria – BBC One and BBC iPlayer, 8.00pm kick-off
Bale: Wales are used to underdog tag
Wales take on Denmark in Amsterdam tonight as they eye another deep Euros run after their extraordinary journey to the semi-finals in France five years ago.
Robert Page’s side find themselves cast in an unfamiliar role at the Johan Cruyff Arena, with most neutrals no doubt rooting for Denmark to succeed after their incredible, inspiring reaction and resilience displayed in the wake of Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest on the pitch against Finland.
However, star man Gareth Bale says being considered underdogs is par for the course for Wales.
“That’s normal anyway,” said the Real Madrid forward.
“We’re always the underdogs and used to that tag. It doesn’t make a difference to us.
“Obviously we understand the situation that happened with them and we’ve sent all our best wishes to Christian.
“What a great job the Denmark team did with that. But it won’t have any bearing on the game.
“The players have been in situations before where teams are favourites and supported more.
“Against Turkey they had 18,000 fans in the stadium (when Wales won their group game in Baku 2-0), so it makes no difference.
“When it comes to kick-off it will be just us players on the pitch focusing on the game.”
Roberto Mancini is hoping his Italy side can put on a show as they leave home comforts and head to Wembley for their last-16 clash with Austria.
The Italians cruised through the group stage in impressive fashion, winning all three matches, but all three were played in front of a home crowd at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
“You always need to enjoy playing at Wembley, it is a pleasure because some players never get an opportunity to play in this stadium. It is a wonderful arena and the guys need to produce a big performance because that is what this stadium deserves,” Mancini told a news conference.
“You want to be involved in matches in arenas like this. The players need to be happy to be playing at Wembley. When you play in a footballing Mecca like Wembley, you need to respect it and produce a big performance and I hope they do that tomorrow – in fact, I am sure they will.”
More from the Belgium boss, who says Kevin de Bruyne is fit and ready to go against Portugal…
“We’ve got real good momentum,” Martinez said. “I feel that (Kevin) is in the perfect physical condition to go into this game. And I could say the same for Axel Witsel and Eden Hazard. These three players were the three players that were not available for the friendlies (before Euro 2020).
“It’s been really good during the group phase, we won the nine points and we got every player ready to play,” Martinez said. “And that’s how I feel that we are going to Seville, everyone is ready.”
Martinez: We can’t focus too much on Ronaldo
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez insists his side are not making specific plans to contain Cristiano Ronaldo, despite the Portugal captain’s superb Euro 2020 form.
Ronaldo’s brace in the 2-2 draw with France on Wednesday took his tally for the tournament to five and leaves him level with Iranian Ali Daei’s all-time international goalscoring record.
“Obviously we are going to have to defend really well but when you create a plan against a specific player, you can get hurt by other players,” he told a news conference.
“Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo is a player who seems to pick the right moment, that right pass and right place and you have to always be aware. We all know he is one of the best footballers in the world.
“But you also have to defend against the other 10 players. The way Portugal plays, theyâve got a lot of flair and a lot of pace behind. There are several Portugal players of a similar measure and weâll need to be compact and really solid and defend as a team.
“You can see why this team has been successful, why they won the Euros and the Nations League. Itâs because they have a incredible mentality and they know how to play the big games.”
Bale: We can’t be dreaming of another semi-final
Gareth Bale says his Wales teammates must be fully focused on beating Denmark on Saturday before they start dreaming of another run to the semi-final of the Euros.
The draw has opened up nicely for Wales, with the winners of their last-16 tie going on to play either Netherlands of Czech Republic for a place in the last four – which would be a repeat of their terrific performance in 2016.
“We are just thinking of the next game, we don’t need to be dreaming about anything other than playing the game tomorrow,” said Bale.
“I think we’ve had experience in the past where we know to take each game as it comes. That’s the most important thing for us.
“We are just looking forward to tomorrow’s game. We don’t need to look any further than a very good Denmark team and we will be doing all we can to try and stop them.”
Insigne warns against Italy complacency vs Austria
Lorenzo Insigne has warned his Italy team-mates they have achieved nothing yet ahead of their last-16 tie with Austria tomorrow.
Roberto Mancini’s side head to Wembley looking to break an Italian record by going 31 games unbeaten. Italy cruised out of their group, winning all three games and scoring seven goals without conceding.
“Even if we have won the group, we haven’t done anything important yet, so we keep working hard,” said Napoli forward Insigne. “We have a great defence, our forwards and midfielders help the defenders. If you don’t want to concede, the forwards must be the first line of defence. We need to keep it that way.”
Austria are constructed around the industry and craft of star man David Alaba, with the enigmatic Marko Arnautovic leading the line.
They pose a physical threat, but Insigne says Italy must stick to their way of playing and not be bullied by the underdogs.
“We have watched some of Austria’s matches and what we have seen is they are a very physical side,” he said. “We definitely won’t let ourselves be influenced by them and we’ll play our football.”
Uefa probe ‘potential discriminatory incidents’ during Germany vs Hungary
Uefa have appointed an ethics and disciplinary inspector to investigate “potential discriminatory incidents” during Wednesday night’s Euro 2020 match between Germany and Hungary in Munich.
The Group F rivals played out an eventful 2-2 draw at the Allianz Arena, with Leon Goretzka’s late goal saving Germany from early elimination and booking a last-16 showdown with England at Wembley on Tuesday as Hungary exited the tournament.
“In accordance with Article 31(4) of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, a UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation regarding potential discriminatory incidents which occurred in the Football Arena Munich, during the UEFA EURO 2020 group stage match between the national teams of Germany and Hungary (2-2) played on 23 June 2021,” Uefa said in a disciplinary update on Friday.
“Information on this matter will be made available in due course.”
Before kick-off in Munich, a protestor waving a rainbow flag invaded the pitch, while fans outside and inside the stadium carried similar banners to show their support for LGBTQ rights.
This came after Uefa refused a request from Munich’s mayor for the stadium to be lit in rainbow colours for the game in protest at an anti-LGBTQ law in Hungary.
Mayor Dieter Reiter wanted to highlight legislation in Hungary banning school materials deemed to promote homosexuality and gender change and restricting the media from showing such content in programmes accessible to minors.
Last weekend, Uefa also opened an investigation into Hungary’s matches against Portugal and France in Budapest.
During Hungary’s opening match against Portugal, images on social media showed banners with “Anti-LMBTQ” on them – the Hungarian abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer.
Ahead of Hungary’s match against France, Hungarian fans marched to the Puskas Arena displaying a banner calling on players to stop taking a knee to protest racism.
Wales cast in unfamiliar role for unique Denmark clash
Wales are used to being the underdogs, but Saturday’s match against Denmark promises to be a unique experience for the, writes Simon Collings.
At Euro 2016, Wales captured the minds and hearts of fans all over the world during their run to the semi-finals. For all intents and purposes, they essentially became people’s ‘second team’ as they continued to defy the odds.
However, Rob Page’s side know that, for once, the world is against them, given Denmark’s remarkable story at this tournament. The Danes have somehow managed to carry on playing following the traumatic scenes involving Christian Eriksen during the opening weekend, when the midfielder collapsed on the pitch following a cardiac arrest.
The spirit and unity in the Denmark squad has spread to fans around the world, who are now willing the team to turn what threatened to be a harrowing summer into a dream one.
“I think 99 per cent of the world is going to be supporting Denmark,” said Wales defender Connor Roberts.