Day 11 at the European Championship is upon us as we look ahead to Group B and C being decided.
Sunday saw in-form contenders Italy beat Wales in Rome to secure top spot to set up a last-16 tie against the runners-up in Group C – either Ukraine or Austria. Switzerland could only beat Turkey 3-1, meaning Wales finished second on goal difference.
We are treated to four games on Monday as Netherlands look to hold on to top spot by earning at least a point againt North Macedonia, while Ukraine face Austria face off in Bucharest for second place, the loser having a nervy wait to see if they are one of the best four third-place finishers.
We’ll also have all the latest news from the England and Scotland camps as the fallout continues from Friday’s stalemate at Wembley and attentions turn to Tuesday night’s Group D decider against the Czech Republic and Croatia.
Follow all the latest Euros news in our daily live blog below!
Billy Gilmour tests positive for Covid
Huge news out of the Scotland camp as after Billy Gilmour has received a positive coronavirus test ahead of their crucial clash with Croatia tomorrow.
The Chelsea midfielder was handed his first Scotland start in the 0-0 draw with England on Monday and walked away with the man of the match award following a stunning display.
Steve Clarke will now have to prepare to face a Croatia midfield which includes Luka Modric and Matteo Kovacic without his star man.
A statement this morning read: “The Scottish FA can confirm that a member of the Scotland National Team playing squad, Billy Gilmour, has tested positive for COVID-19.
“Having liaised with Public Health England since the positive test was recorded, Billy will now self-isolate for 10 days and therefore miss tomorrow’s UEFA EURO 2020 Group D match against Croatia at Hampden.”
Denmark ‘deserve’ last-16 spot
Denmark captain Simon Kjaer says they “deserve” a place in the knockout stages after their traumatic Euro 2020 experience and will give everything to progress against Russia.
The Danes are bottom of their group and without a point after having to play on following Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest on the pitch against Finland during their group opener.
Despite an impressive performance against Belgium they came away with nothing and now need to beat Russia and hope Roberto Martinez’s side take all three points against Finland in order to reach the last-16.
“We go into the game with the mentality that we have to get there (to the knockout stage), and after everything we’ve been through I think we deserve it,” said Kjaer.
“You can be sure that everything will be left out on the pitch tomorrow – with the support and the quality that this team has, I’m confident about the match.”
Scotland must improve in front of goal
Stuart Armstrong says Scotland must go to the next level in front of goal if they are to qualify for the knockout stages.
Steve Clarke’s side are yet to find the back of the net at Euro 2020, but know a win against Croatia at Hampden Park tomorrow will almost certainly have them out of the group on four points.
“It would be a problem if we weren’t creating any chances,” Armstrong said. “We have had quite a few chances, some good opportunities. It’s just those fine margins that will take us to the next level, get us a goal, which we do need on Tuesday.”
Armstrong’s Southampton teammate Adams was brought into the side against England after making a big impact off the bench in Scotland’s opener against the Czech Republic. The midfielder however found himself dropped at Wembley and the 29-year-old is now hoping to link up with his club-mate and make things happen for their national side.
“I thought he was excellent at Wembley, a really good performance, a hard performance against good quality defenders,” Armstrong said. “So it was really pleasing for me to see him perform so well, and I have obviously seen that every week at Southampton.
“To get on the pitch together would be nice, and link up. As long as the ball goes in the net, I’m not too bothered.”
Sterling: England always aim to win
Raheem Sterling says England want to finish top of their Euro 2020 group to maintain home advantage at Wembley, even if it means a tougher draw in the last-16.
England need to beat the Czech Republic in their final group game at the national stadium tomorrow to win Group D, which would keep them at home in the next round but likely set up a daunting clash against one of France, Portugal or Germany.
A draw with the Czechs would leave England as runners-up and potentially hand them a kinder route to the quarter-final against one of the Group E nations — Spain, Sweden, Slovakia or Poland.
Asked if playing at home was an extra incentive to win the group, Sterling said: “Yes, there is always an advantage being on home soil, that’s for sure. With the fans roaring and making it a hostile place to
come, I do think it can be a good advantage for us.
“We’ve got four points — I keep stressing we’ve got four points — we’ve got one game to go and we’re going to need our fans tomorrow to get us across the line.
“We haven’t spoken on [permutations]. The objective is to try to win the group — and that’s it.”
Belgium team news
Roberto Martinez is looking to get his dynamic duo of Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard fit and firing before storming the knockout stages.
“I never announce my team before any match, but with [Axel] Witsel, De Bruyne and Hazard it is different. They will start because they have to get rhythm in the tournament,” said Martinez.
Hazard, who has battled with injury throughout his two years at Real Madrid since leaving Chelsea but always impresses for his national team, is building back to fitness after a muscle strain.
“I don’t think I’m yet at 100 per cent,” said Hazard. “I think I’m ready to start a game, but it’s always been in the pipeline from the beginning of the tournament, it was always to have this incremental approach.
“I’m going to play a little bit more each time until I hit that 100 per cent mark. We’ll see how long I can play. That was the plan, to bring me along gradually and to make sure I am completely fit in the knockout phase.”
Hazard added: “I broke my ankle three times, it will never be the same as 10 years ago. But I know that when I am in shape, I can prove myself on the field and that’s what I’m working on now.
“I try to be a leader on the pitch regardless of who I’m playing for but you can only become a leader if you’re playing well and I play a lot more with the national team.”
Verratti thankful for injury recovery
Italy midfielder Marco Verratti has revealed that he feared he would not be able to play any part in Euro 2020.
The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder made his first start of the tournament against Wales yesterday and impressed with a dominant performance and an assist for the game’s only goal.
Verratti was not even in the squad Italy’s first two games after a knee injury sustained last month meant that the 28-year-old was a doubt for the tournament.
“It was tough, as at the start I wasn’t even sure if I could participate in the Euros,” said Verratti.
“I thank the medical staff and the coach who waited for me. It was a special day and I’m very happy.”
The win over Wales, sealed by Atalanta’s Matteo Pessina as he turned Verratti’s first half free-kick past Welsh goalkeeper Danny Ward, meant that Italy topped the group with maximum points and took their unbeaten run under Roberto Mancini to an Italian record-matching 30 games.
Day 11 schedule
5pm: North Macedonia vs Netherlands, Amsterdam
5pm: Ukraine vs Austria, Bucharest
8pm: Russia vs Denmark, Copenhagen
8pm: Finland vs Belgium, St Petersburg
Sense prevails for rainbow armband
The German soccer federation says UEFA has given the go-ahead for goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to wear a captain’s armband with the rainbow colours.
The federation says UEFA has accepted its argument that the armband is a symbol of diversity and can therefore be categorized as a “good cause.”
Neuer wore the armband in the Euro 2020 games against France and Portugal. He also wore it in Germany’s 7-1 rout of Latvia in its last game before the tournament on June 7.
The federation says Neuer wears the rainbow armband as a symbol of “the whole team’s clear commitment to diversity, openness, tolerance and against hatred and exclusion.”
Hazard has fitness concerns
Belgium captain Eden Hazard says he will struggle to last the whole game against Finland at the European Championship following his injury-hit season.
He also says his right ankle might never be the same again.
Hazard has made two substitute appearances so far at Euro 2020 and has been told by Belguim coach Roberto Martinez he will start against Finland to see how his fitness is holding up ahead of the knockout stage.
The Real Madrid winger says “I’m going to give it my all to be on the pitch as long as I can to the right level. It might be 50 minutes.”
Hazard has broken his right ankle three times and had a metal plate inserted in it in an operation in March 2020.
He says “I don’t know if my ankle will ever be the same again. It definitely won’t be the same as 10 years ago when I was just starting out but that is just life.”
Recap: Switzerland beat Turkey
Xherdan Shaqiri scored two goals to give Switzerland a 3-1 victory over Turkey last night.
The victory might be enough to give the team a spot in the round of 16 as one the best third-place teams.
Winger Steven Zuber assisted on all three of Switzerland’s goals. Haris Seferovic scored the first one.
Irfan Can Kahveci scored Turkey’s goal. It was the team’s first goal of the tournament.
Turkey lost all three of its group matches and has been eliminated.