England beats Croatia 1-0 to get Euro 2020 campaign off to a flyer thanks to Raheem Sterling’s winner



Raheem Sterling’s second-half strike has proved enough for England to see off World Cup finalist Croatia in a winning start to the Three Lions’ Euro 2020 campaign.

Sterling was put through by an exquisite Kalvin Phillips pass, who bustled his way through the midfield before sliding Sterling in to finish in the 57th minute.

More to come.

Look back at how the action unfolded in our live blog.

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Uefa Euro 2020: Respect England players’ wishes over taking a knee, says FA


The Football Association has asked fans to not boo England players when they take a knee before their Euro 2020 game against Croatia at Wembley on Sunday.

Premier League players have knelt before matches for the past year as a protest against racism.

But England players were booed when they did so in two warm-up matches in Middlesbrough earlier this month.

“They will do their best for you. Please do your best for them,” the FA said in a statement.

It said: “As the team has reiterated many times, they will collectively take the knee ahead of their fixtures during the tournament.

“They are doing this as a mechanism of peacefully protesting against discrimination, injustice and inequality. This is personally important to the players and the values the team collectively represents.

“This gesture of unity and fighting against inequality can be traced back as far as the 18th Century. It is not new, and English football does not view this as being aligned to a political organisation or ideology.

“There can be no doubt as to why the players are taking the knee and what it represents in a footballing context.

“We encourage those that oppose this action to reflect on the message you are sending to the players you are supporting.

“Please respect their wishes and remember that we should all be united in the fight to tackle discrimination. Together.”

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham has previously called the booing of England’s players for taking a knee “incredibly disappointing”.

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Italy beats Turkey 3-0 at Euro 2020 to break more records



Tenor Andrea Bocelli roused the Roman crowd ahead of kick-off with Nessun Dorma, then the Italian national side gave them what they came for — an impressive opening win at Euro 2020.

“It was important to start well and it’s satisfying for us, for the crowd and for all Italians,” coach Roberto Mancini said of the 3-0 win over Turkey. “It was a wonderful evening and I hope there will be many more.”

Mancini took over a devastated national team in 2018 after they had failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 60 years, and rebuilt it with a blend of youth and experience. After the Turkey match, his project is well and truly in the shop window.

A total of 16,000 people attended the game, which is 25 per cent of the Stadio Olimpico’s capacity, and was the biggest gathering in Italy since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Turkey came to spoil the party and defended resolutely for the first half to deny Italy. But after the break, the Italians broke them down. 

Merih Demiral became a future quiz question as he scored the tournament’s first goal — in his own net, following relentless pressure from the Italians.

From then on, the game opened up and Italy could play the gorgeous flowing football that has become their call sign under Mancini.

Ciro Immobile added a second with a poacher’s finish from a rebound, before Lorenzo Insigne rounded off the win by finishing a classy team goal.

“We played a great match and we didn’t permit Turkey to play, and they are not a weak side,” the coach said.

What should worry the rest of the Euros contenders, aside from an Italian side that is willing to play attacking football, is the numbers the Azzurri are racking up.

It’s hard not to consider them a serious contender when you look at their recent record:

Matching the big sides like Belgium or France will be another matter entirely, but if Italy can make it through to the late stages of Euro 2020, they will clearly have tremendous momentum behind them.

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Euro 2020: Fratellis’ Yes Sir I Can Boogie charity cover backed by celebs



A GLASGOW band’s Euros song backed by a number of Scottish celebrities has been officially released as a charity single.

The Fratellis covered Yes Sir, I Can Boogie for the Chris Evans Breakfast Show earlier this year, racking up 300,000 views on YouTube in the process.

The band’s version of Baccara’s 1977 disco classic came after Scotland qualified for the Euro 2020 tournament. Following the team’s historic win, they celebrated by singing the song together in their dressing room and sparked a nationwide connection to the hit.

The Fratellis are set to donate 100% of the income from their single to three children’s charities – the Tartan Army Children’s Charity, SoccerAid and The Eilidh Brown Memorial Fund.

The Tartan Army charity said it was “hugely grateful” for the cash to help disadvantaged Scots children, while Gordon Brown of the Eilidh Brown Memorial Fund said they are “so honoured to be involved” in the project.

“Jon Fratelli is a patron for our charity and without him Baz and Mince we would not have been able to build our respite home for children living with cancer. They are best guys and best band, we love them,” he added.

The band’s charity cover has been backed by a range of Scottish celebrities, with author Irvine Welsh declaring: “Great tune, great band, great cause.”

Meanwhile Outlander star Sam Heughan said: “Fantastic and a great cause too!”

READ MORE: Outlander: Sam Heughan says season six filming over, extended season seven on way

Other famous faces promoting the charity song online include Martin Compston, KT Tunstall, Gordon Smart, Greg Hemphill and Simon Donnelly.

The Fratellis version has also been endorsed by Mary Dostal, widow of Yes Sir, I Can Boogie lyricist Frank Dostal.

She said: “Of course I always knew this is a great song – and every time we get a request for permission to make a new version I have to ask myself if Frank (my husband) would like it! This time I know for sure he would. The Fratellis have shown what potential this song has! A great version and myself my children and grandchildren just love it – well done!”

Click here to listen to the song on streaming services.



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Russia to Welcome Foreign Football Fans Visa-Free for Euro Championships


Football fans attending this summer’s UEFA Euro 2020 championship will be able to enter Russia without a visa, according to amendments signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Thursday.

Russia’s borders have remained closed to citizens of most countries due to coronavirus restrictions imposed last spring.

Entry to Russia will be granted to all foreign citizens including stateless persons who have tickets for Euro 2020, its Organizing Committee’s press service told Interfax.

“In the current difficult conditions, the movement of people has been seriously reduced,” said Alexei Sorokin, director of the Euro 2020 Organizing Committee.

“With the federal authorities’ understanding, we’re able to open the border for those who are going to visit us in St. Petersburg for a football holiday in the summer.”

Euro 2020 had been postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Permission to enter Russia does not cancel the rules and measures that must be followed on Russian territory,” Sorokin told Interfax, including presenting a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival. 

The European Championship 2020 will take place from June 11-July 11 across 11 Russian cities. St. Petersburg will host seven of the tournament’s matches: six B and E group matches and one quarter-final. 

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Euro 2020: Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels recalled by Germany boss Joachim Low


Muller (left) and Hummels helped Germany win the 2014 World Cup

Bayern Munich striker Thomas Muller and Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels have been recalled to the Germany squad for Euro 2020.

Muller, 31, has scored 11 goals and registered 18 assists in helping Bayern win the Bundesliga this season.

Hummels, 32, has won the German Cup with Dortmund.

On social media, Muller said “back again”, while Hummels wrote he was “glad to be back” and “really up for the new chapter”.

Germany suffered their heaviest competitive defeat when they lost 6-0 to Spain in the Nations League during November 2020.

“You can interrupt an overhaul under the circumstances,” said Low, who will be leaving his post following the tournament this summer.

“In the defence we did not have the desired stability recently. Mats is a player who influences other players and brings experience.”

Bayern Munich’s 18-year-old attacking midfielder Jamal Musiala has also been picked by Low.

Stuttgart-born Musiala, who was in Chelsea’s academy prior to joining Bayern in 2019, chose to represent Germany over England or Nigeria at international level.

Germany are Group F for Euro 2020 along with France, Hungary and Portugal.

The tournament is taking place between 11 June and 11 July, having been delayed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Germany squad

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer, Kevin Trapp, Bernd Leno

Defenders: Antonio Rudiger, Mats Hummels, Matthias Ginter, Niklas Suele, Emre Can, Lukas Klostermann, Robin Gosens, Robin Koch, Christian Gunter, Marcel Halstenberg

Midfielders: Joshua Kimmich, Ilkay Gundogan, Kai Havertz, Toni Kroos, Leon Goretzka, Leroy Sane, Jonas Hofmann, Florian Neuhaus, Jamal Musiala

Forwards: Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, Timo Werner, Kevin Volland

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Euro 2020: Wales fans urged not to travel to Italy and Azerbaijan


Welsh football fans have been warned against travelling to Wales’ delayed Euro 2020 group games in Azerbaijan and Italy due to Covid restrictions.

Thousands of fans had hoped to watch their team in the Euros next month as Wales play Switzerland and Turkey in Baku before facing Italy in Rome.

But the FA of Wales has said the UK Foreign Office had “issued advice” warning Wales fans “not to travel”.

Azerbaijan and Italy are currently on the UK’s amber travel list.

Although travel is no longer illegal to countries on the amber list, UK governments have advised people not travel to amber countries.

Changes to Covid rules mean holidays abroad to some “green list” countries are now allowed, like Portugal.

However, Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford has urged people against any unnecessary foreign travel..

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) said it had been in talks about games at the European Championships with the UK government and has now confirmed fans “attending the matches will not be deemed as essential travel”.

“Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the FCDO (the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) has issued advice warning Cymru fans not to travel to Baku or Rome as Azerbaijan and Italy are on the UK Government’s Amber list,” an FAW statement said.

The FAW has asked fans who may still want to travel to see their team play in a second successive European Championships to make “an informed choice”.

“For those fans who remain determined to travel despite the warnings, the FAW strongly advises that fans check that their travel insurance is still valid and fit for purpose,” their statement added.

This summer’s European Championship, already delayed by 12 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is being staged in different countries across Europe.

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Leeds United 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Patrick Bamford helps dent Spurs’ Euro hopes


Patrick Bamford is just the fourth Englishman to score 15-plus goals for Leeds in a single Premier League campaign

Patrick Bamford scored for Leeds United in front of watching England boss Gareth Southgate to help dent Tottenham’s European chances.

In an absorbing game at Elland Road, Stuart Dallas put Leeds ahead with his eighth league goal of the season, the Northern Ireland midfielder pouncing from close range after Hugo Lloris’ terrific reaction save to prevent Sergio Reguilon putting through his own net.

The lead lasted 12 minutes, Son Heung-min equalising with a clinical finish after Dele Alli was allowed to run unchallenged before threading a clever pass into the South Korea forward’s path.

But Leeds responded through Bamford, who tapped in Ezgjan Alioski’s cross before substitute Rodrigo confirmed Spurs’ first league defeat in three games under interim manager Ryan Mason.

On a frustrating day for Spurs, Harry Kane had two goals ruled out for offside and hit the bar from a free-kick, while Illan Meslier produced an excellent save to keep out Serge Aurier’s deflected attempt.

With three matches left, sixth-placed Spurs are five points off fourth spot with both teams immediately above them – West Ham and Chelsea – having games in hand.

Leeds, who started the weekend in 11th spot, climbed above Aston Villa and Arsenal – who both play on Sunday – into ninth.

Will Bamford get a Euro 2020 call?

Southgate, who will this month name his squad for this summer’s delayed Euro 2020 Championship, was at Elland Road to see Bamford score his 15th Premier League goal of the season.

Earlier this season, Southgate said Bamford was close to being called up but opted instead for Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins.

With countries allowed to select a 26-player squad instead of the usual 23 at this summer’s tournament, Bamford could well be in contention for a first England call at the age of 27.

He has been a key figure in Leeds’ solid return to the top flight and was in the right place to score the decisive goal during a typical hard-working performance by Marcela Bielsa’s side.

Their return to the Premier League has been peppered with memorable moments. Leeds have taken four points off champions-elect Manchester City, won convincingly at third-placed Leicester and played some exciting football throughout.

This high-energy performance was another highlight as they scored three or more goals in a game for the eighth time. They could have scored more.

At 1-1, Lloris produced a one-handed save to keep out Jack Harrison and the Spurs keeper later denied Mateusz Klich at 2-1, before Moreno’s goal, after a superb run and pass by the returning Raphinha, settled it.

The result means Leeds will finish this season unbeaten at home in the league against the so-called big six.

Will Spurs make Europe?

This was Tottenham’s second defeat since sacking Jose Mourinho last month. Not only is 2020-21 their 13th season without a major trophy after they lost to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final, they are now in danger of missing out on a place in Europe.

While Mourinho has since resurfaced in Italy at Roma, Spurs’ search for a permanent manager looks set to extend into the close season.

Whoever takes over faces a huge task.

Question marks remain over the future of England captain Kane while Gareth Bale has just three games before he is due to return to Real Madrid.

Tottenham’s next manager will be the 10th permanent appointment made during Daniel Levy’s 20 years as chairman. He really needs to get the next one right.

Having beaten Southampton and relegated Sheffield United at home under Mason, this was a careless performance against Leeds.

The hosts were much more energetic and took the lead after Aurier was allowed to cross from the left, while Eric Dier’s poor headed clearance sparked the move that led to Bamford scoring Leeds’ second goal.

Fourth place looks an unlikely prospect now for Spurs, while sixth place will become seventh if Liverpool beat Southampton at Anfield in the day’s late kick-off.

What’s next?

Leeds are at Burnley next Saturday (12:30 BST), while Tottenham are at home to Wolves on Sunday, 16 May (14:05 BST).

More to follow.

Player of the match

DallasStuart Dallas

Leeds United

  1. Squad number15Player nameDallas

  2. Squad number9Player nameBamford

  3. Squad number22Player nameHarrison

  4. Squad number5Player nameKoch

  5. Squad number10Player nameAlioski

  6. Squad number20Player nameRodrigo

  7. Squad number18Player nameRaphinha

  8. Squad number1Player nameMeslier

  9. Squad number21Player nameStruijk

  10. Squad number14Player nameLlorente

  11. Squad number43Player nameKlich

  12. Squad number2Player nameAyling

  13. Squad number23Player namePhillips

  14. Squad number11Player nameRoberts

Line-ups

Leeds

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Meslier
  • 2Ayling
  • 14Llorente
  • 21Struijk
  • 10Alioski
  • 5KochBooked at 51mins
  • 15Dallas
  • 11RobertsSubstituted forRaphinhaat 58′minutes
  • 43KlichSubstituted forPhillipsat 90′minutes
  • 22Harrison
  • 9BamfordSubstituted forRodrigoat 79′minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Poveda-Ocampo
  • 13Casilla
  • 18Raphinha
  • 19Hernández
  • 20Rodrigo
  • 23Phillips
  • 24Davis
  • 28Berardi
  • 46Shackleton

Tottenham

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Lloris
  • 24Aurier
  • 4Alderweireld
  • 15Dier
  • 3ReguilónBooked at 61mins
  • 18Lo CelsoSubstituted forNdombeleat 80′minutes
  • 5Højbjerg
  • 9BaleSubstituted forLucas Mouraat 67′minutesBooked at 68mins
  • 20AlliSubstituted forLamelaat 67′minutes
  • 7Son Heung-Min
  • 10Kane

Substitutes

  • 2Doherty
  • 6D Sánchez
  • 8Winks
  • 11Lamela
  • 12Hart
  • 17Sissoko
  • 23Bergwijn
  • 27Lucas Moura
  • 28Ndombele

Live Text

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Euro zone trade surplus rises year-on-year in November despite slowdown





FILE PHOTO: Containers and cars are loaded on freight trains at the railroad shunting yard in Maschen near Hamburg September 23, 2012. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

January 15, 2021

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The euro zone’s trade surplus rose as expected in November despite a economic slowdown and falling trade turnover, mainly thanks to a better trade balance with Russia, Turkey, Norway, Japan and South Korea, data showed on Friday.

The European Union’s statistics office Eurostat said the trade surplus of the 19 countries sharing the euro with the rest of the world was 25.8 billion euros in November, up from 20.2 billion a year earlier.

Though both exports and imports fell year-on-year, imports declined 4.2% while exports only 1.0%, Eurostat said.

The biggest changes in the trade balance in the January-November period were with energy exporter Russia, where the European Union’s trade deficit narrowed to 13.8 billion euros from 52.1 billion in the same period of 2019.

With Turkey, the EU swung to a 6.2 billion euro trade surplus in the first 11 months of 2020 from a 2.4 billion euro deficit the year before. The EU also improved its trade balances with South Korea, Japan, Norway, and India.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski)




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Euro beats yen, sterling as Brexit, U.S. stimulus boost risk appetite


FILE PHOTO: Pound and U.S. dollar bills are seen in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

December 29, 2020

By Karen Brettell

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The euro was boosted on Monday as risk sentiment improved in the wake of Britain’s trade deal with the European Union and U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to approve a new fiscal stimulus package.

Britain on Thursday clinched a narrow Brexit trade deal with the EU, just seven days before it exits one of the world’s biggest trading blocs in its most significant global shift since the loss of its empire.

“What we are seeing is a continuation of the pricing out of hard Brexit risk,” said Ulrich Leuchtmann, head of FX research at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

Risk sentiment also improved after Trump on Sunday signed into law a $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending package, restoring unemployment benefits to millions of Americans and averting a federal government shutdown.

The euro gained 0.43% to 126.77 yen. It reached a seven-month high of 1.0892 against the Swiss franc, before falling back to 1.0858, up 0.04% on the day.

The single currency was down 0.09% against the U.S. dollar at $1.2209.

It gained 1.00% against sterling to 0.9077.

Sterling has underperformed since the Brexit deal was reached, with traders saying the news was likely priced in.

Also “I would argue that this is markets slowly but surely acknowledging that this is not an optimal deal for the UK,” said Andreas Steno Larsen, global chief FX and rates strategist at Nordea in Copenhagen.

“This is rather a very slim deal that merely avoids the cliff edge, but there are still large gaps that will have to be dealt with in 2021, and frictionless trade is not secured,” Larsen said.

The British pound dipped 0.66% against the U.S. dollar to $1.3447, and was holding below a two-and-a-half-year high of $1.3625 reached on Dec. 17.

Bitcoin climbed 2.74% to $26,695 but was below a record high $28,378 reached on Sunday.

“There is a lot of enthusiasm among (crypto) traders who truly believe in this asset class, and they know that the rally has only begun because we were only recovering losses for the past few years,” Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade, said in a report.

The dollar gained 0.14% against a basket of currencies to 90.32.

Investors are betting the dollar will continue to decline – it fell more than 6% this year – on expectations the Federal Reserve will hold interest rates near zero and the U.S. economy will struggle to recover from coronavirus-related shutdowns.

Win Thin, global head of currency strategy at Brown Brothers Harriman, expects the dollar index to test its February 2018 low of 88.25. Then “what happens to the greenback after that will largely depend on how well the U.S. controls the virus in 2021 as well as the outlook for further fiscal stimulus,” Thin said in a report.

The dollar slipped 0.16% against the Canadian dollar to $1.2848.

========================================================

Currency bid prices at 3:05PM (2005 GMT)

Description RIC Last U.S. Close Pct Change YTD Pct High Bid Low Bid

Previous Change

Session

Dollar index 90.3210 90.2010 +0.14% +0.00% +90.3800 +89.9780

Euro/Dollar $1.2209 $1.2220 -0.09% +8.90% +$1.2253 +$1.2179

Dollar/Yen 103.8450 103.6550 +0.16% -4.41% +103.8900 +103.4200

Euro/Yen 126.77 126.23 +0.43% +3.95% +126.9500 +126.0700

Dollar/Swiss 0.8895 0.8912 +0.01% -8.07% +0.8919 +0.8877

Sterling/Dollar $1.3447 $1.3570 -0.66% +1.37% +$1.3573 +$1.3429

Dollar/Canadian 1.2848 1.2868 -0.16% -1.09% +1.2875 +1.2814

Aussie/Dollar $0.7576 $0.7588 -0.34% +7.98% +$0.7622 +$0.7559

Euro/Swiss 1.0858 1.0854 +0.04% +0.06% +1.0892 +1.0851

Euro/Sterling 0.9077 0.8987 +1.00% +7.37% +0.9091 +0.8992

NZ $0.7101 $0.7099 -0.31% +5.53% +$0.7138 +$0.7085

Dollar/Dollar

Dollar/Norway 8.6465 8.6400 +0.14% -1.36% +8.6820 +8.5985

Euro/Norway 10.5584 10.4829 +0.72% +7.32% +10.6220 +10.5102

Dollar/Sweden 8.2813 8.2318 +0.54% -11.40% +8.2952 +8.2179

Euro/Sweden 10.1147 10.0604 +0.54% -3.39% +10.1245 +10.0567

(Additional reporting by Yoruk Bahceli in Amsterdam; Editing by Susan Fenton and Paul Simao)

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