Countdown to Euro 2020: Daily briefing
Welcome along to all the latest coverage ahead of Euro 2020 which gets going tomorrow in Rome. That’s come around quickly. Italy vs Turkey is the first game taking place at 8pm BST on Friday night, preceded by an opening ceremony of some kind – presumably scaled back given the pandemic. UK viewers can watch it all unfold on the BBC and online via the iPlayer.
There is a relaxed feel around the England camp, underpinned by Jack Grealish’s jovial press conference yesterday where he joked about Aston Villa’s lack of set-piece quality to take advantage of him being so regularly fouled, laughed off comparisons with Paul Gascoigne and – more bizarrely from one Italian journalist – Francesco Totti. Later Declan Rice discussed carrying “no fear” into the tournament and why he chose England over Ireland.
All the talk is about Gareth Southgate’s first selection for the opener with Croatia on Sunday with suggestions growing he could well opt for a back three with four full-backs in the line-up including Luke Shaw at centre-half. Harry Maguire trained for the first time this morning as he bids to prove his fitness for the tournament.
We will have all the latest news and updates right here ahead of the tournament finally getting under way this week, with press conferences from the Scotland, Wales and England camps all to come today.
Euro 2020 news: Harry Maguire returns to training
Some good news for England fans…
Manchester United centre-back Harry Maguire has joined up with the team in training for the first time since his injury.
Maguire suffered ankle ligament damage against Aston Villa on 7 May.
Andrew Gamble10 June 2021 11:17
Germany Euro 2020 squad guide
Following their 2014 World Cup triumph, the Germans reached the semi-finals of the Euros in 2016 – falling to hosts and eventual runners-up France – before disappointing massively in their world championship defence in Russia three years ago.
Low’s players finished bottom of a group including Sweden, Mexico and South Korea, with the aftermath entailing the enforced exiles of former national team stalwarts Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng. Following another strong season with Bayern Munich after last year’s treble win, Muller has finally been recalled by Low for this summer’s tournament – which takes place across 11 European cities in 11 European countries – as has Borussia Dortmund’s Hummels.
Andrew Gamble10 June 2021 11:13
Euro 2020 news: Officiating team for Italy vs Turkey confirmed
Dutch referee Danny Makkelie has been assigned to the opening Euro 2020 game between Italy and Turkey with Stephanie Frappart, who became the first woman to referee the European Super Cup as well as a Champions League game, as the fourth official.
Andrew Gamble10 June 2021 11:05
France Euro 2020 squad guide
As Euro 2020 approaches, France are undoubtedly the consensus favourites to go all the way and lift the trophy at Wembley Stadium on 11 July.
Having made it to the Euros final on their home turf in 2016, where they were upset by an uninspiring Portugal side, France were able to keep building over the following two years. The result was a victorious World Cup campaign in Russia in 2018, a triumph that made Didier Deschamps’ team the automatic favourites for the following Euros.
The coronavirus-enforced delay to Euro 2020, which has seen the competition pushed back by 12 months, should not have particularly harmed French chances, though the only thing more difficult than winning a major tournament is winning two in a row. That could be especially true for Blues, who will begin their summer campaign in a ‘group of death’ – Group F, in which Germany, old foes Portugal, and Hungary await.
Andrew Gamble10 June 2021 11:00
Euro 2020 news: Coady told of tournament inclusion while with squad
The Wolves captain, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, said he was told he was included in Gareth Southgate’s squad while with the team at St George’s Park.
Coady said: “We found out all together last Tuesday at England – it was was incredible I was straight on the phone to mum and dad. It was a special moment that will live with me forever”
Andrew Gamble10 June 2021 10:51
Euro 2020: Why international football is an entirely different ball game
It’s a complaint that sums up the compromises many international managers have to make. During the March World Cup qualifiers, one high-profile coach wanted one of his midfielders to press in a particular way. His preferred system was dependent on it. The manager quickly found, however, that the player could barely do it for 20 minutes. The midfielder just wasn’t physically conditioned to play that way, because his club naturally prepared him with a fitness programme that suited their own needs.
It’s one of many issues the 24 management teams have to solve for these European Championships, that have taken on a new level due to the advances in the game since even Euro 2016. The international managers can’t really condition the players in the way they’d like, since they are really only borrowing them. They are almost entirely dependent on the longer-term – and often highly varied – work done by the clubs.
It is no longer a new point to say that the international game runs along different lines to the club game, of course, but it may have already led to a new trend. It may even represent a breakpoint in football history.
Andrew Gamble10 June 2021 10:41
Euro 2020 news: Coady praises ‘incredible’ England team spirit
England defender Conor Coady spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live and immediately praised the team spirit within the camp, specifying the winning mentality and hunger unifying the group.
He said: “The team spirit is always incredible, I think it’s the most open group of players I’ve ever met in my life.
“I’m not the [young] lad category, I’m too old. Since I’ve come in I’ve just tried to help people as much as possible and share my experience.
“There are a lot of players in this squad that play at the highest of levels winning the Champions League, Premier Leagues, but we all want the same goal and to improve.”
Andrew Gamble10 June 2021 10:35
Wales Euro 2020 squad guide
Following up Dan James’ comments…
The vivid memory of the Euro 2016 fairytale contrasts with testing circumstances for Wales as they prepare for their second international tournament in five years.
After manager Ryan Giggs was charged with assault, the Welsh FA swiftly appointed Robert Page for this summer’s tournament.
And the 46-year-old has overseen an encouraging start in relief of Giggs, winning four out of six with their only loss coming against the No 1 side in the world Belgium.
Andrew Gamble10 June 2021 10:29
Euro 2020 news: Dan James excited for ‘pressure’ of major tournament
This will be the first major international competition for Wales’ Dan James and the Manchester United winger is looking forward to the pressure of tournament football.
When asked what excites him about a major tournament, James said: “The pressure, I like playing under the pressure. I don’t think there’s that much expectation on us we’ve just got to go out and believe.
“It’s a great experience. The older players have shared their experiences. We just have to enjoy it. You can’t pinch yourself too much because I think the occasion can get to you a little.
“I’m feeling great, confident as ever, been ready for a long time. Two games in Azerbaijan which is nice.”
Andrew Gamble10 June 2021 10:23
Euro 2020 news: Southgate conversation boosted Grealish’s game
A conversation with manager Gareth Southgate during his first national camp last year helped Jack Grealish break into the team and seal a spot in the squad for the European Championship, the midfielder said on Wednesday.
Grealish, who represented Ireland at youth level, switched allegiance to England in 2015 and made his Under-21 debut a year later. The 25-year-old Aston Villa playmaker was not included in the senior squad until Southgate called him up for his debut last September and he has won seven caps since.
“He’s the manager of England so he’ll obviously be a brilliant coach. He’s helped my game massively,” Grealish told a news conference.
“At the start of the season, I asked him, ‘What can I improve on?’. He gave me a few things to work on to try to force my way into the team. I think it’s worked as I’ve had seven games since.”
Andrew Gamble10 June 2021 10:10