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Sports News of Sunday, 13 June 2021

Source: Betway Ghana

Chelsea and Man City stars to lead England Euro 2020 opener against Croatia

The Three Lions have not made it further than the semi-final stage since 1960 The Three Lions have not made it further than the semi-final stage since 1960

An abundance of exciting attackers means many have identified England as possible Euro 2020 champions, even if history is not on their side.

The Three Lions have not made it further than the semi-final stage since the European Championships’ inaugural tournament in 1960.

Their most recent last-four appearance was in 1996, and just as then England will have something of a home advantage in this year’s competition. Indeed, should Gareth Southgate’s team top Group D and reach the final, they would only play one game away from Wembley.

Injuries to senior pros Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson, as well as strong English representation in the European finals, have disrupted preparations, but with the likes of Harry Kane, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho and our own Mason Mount at his disposal, Southgate will expect his team to threaten in the final third.

Croatia, Czech Republic and old foes Scotland lie in wait in Group D.
England begin their campaign against the side that beat them in the World Cup semi-finals three years ago, before Scotland and Czech Republic visit Wembley. 

It is a choice between Chilwell and Manchester United’s Luke Shaw at left-back/left wing-back, while injury to Trent Alexander-Arnold means there are now just three right-backs in the squad, with James joined by Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier, both vital to England’s success in Russia in 2018.

Southgate has repeatedly noted in the build-up that James and Walker are also capable of playing on the right side of the back three.

Croatia also known as The Blazers surprised many by making it to football’s showpiece occasion in 2018. Having eased through a group containing Argentina, Nigeria and Iceland with maximum points, they overcame Denmark and hosts Russia on penalties before beating England after extra-time.

Croatia came unstuck in the final against a star-studded France side, going down 4-2, and since then three of the mainstays of their team, Daniel Subasic, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic, have retired from international duty.

The now four-time Champions League winner Kovacic has already featured at two World Cups and one European Championships, although largely off the bench. Kovacic will be aiming to make a midfield starting berth his own this time around, although he faces stiff competition in that department.

His good friend Modric is certain to play, and Marcelo Brozovic, Nikola Vlasic, Milan Badelj and former Blue Mario Pasalic are all possible starters in the middle of the park in an expected 4-3-3 shape.

The Netherlands vs Ukraine
Kick-off: 7:00PM

The Netherlands will make a late call on the fitness of Juventus centre-back Matthis de Ligt before their Group C opener against Ukraine.

De Ligt missed his nation's friendly against Georgia last weekend with a groin injury sustained in training.

Daley Blind will also be assessed after making his return in that match from an ankle injury he picked up in March.

For Ukraine, Dynamo Kyiv winger Viktor Tsygankov, 23, is continuing his recovery from an ankle problem.

Ukraine manager Andriy Shevchenko has a few selection dilemmas, including in the wide positions for which West Ham's Andriy Yarmolenko, Oleksandr Zubkov and Marlos are competing with Tsygankov.

Austria vs North Macedonia

Kick-off: 4:00PM

Austria captain Julian Baumgartlinger and forward Marko Arnautovic may both start on the bench after only recently returning from injury.

However, new Real Madrid signing David Alaba and Watford goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann are both expected to start.

North Macedonia have no injury worries before their first major tournament.

Midfielder Enis Bardhi is available after previously testing positive for Covid-19 and forward Goran Pandev, 37, is set to win his 120th cap.

The Euro 2020 update is by kind courtesy of Betway. Bet responsibly. Not opened to persons under 18 years of age.