Argentina are preparing to defend their Copa America title, but Lionel Messi is staying realistic ahead of their opening match against Canada on Thursday.

The Albiceleste beat Brazil 1-0 in the final in 2021 to win the title for the first time since 1993 before going on to lift the World Cup just over a year later.

Since their victory over France in December 2022, Argentina have remained in strong form, losing just one of their 14 matches in all competitions and winning the other 13.

Messi, who will become the Copa America's all-time record appearance-maker when he next features in the tournament, says he expects to face a tough challenge to retain the trophy.

"Argentina are always favourites," Messi said. "I think it is going to be a very eventful tournament because national teams are becoming better and better.

"Today we are the best because we won the World Cup, but the Copa America is going to be difficult.

"It will be even, and our team is aware that we are going to have to continue doing the same and more to win again.

"We are going to try to win the Copa America again but let's remember that not everything is about winning."

Meanwhile, Canada are making their first appearance at the Copa America after qualifying through the playoffs with a 2-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago.

They failed to get out of the group stage on their return to the world stage in Qatar two years ago, but now under new coach Jesse Marsch they are looking to make an impression before co-hosting the World Cup in 2026.

Canada had an encouraging 0-0 draw against France in their last warm-up match and will hope a squad containing Alphonso Davies, Stephen Eustaquio and Jonathan David can be competitive in a Group A that also contains Chile and Peru.

Tests do not come much tougher than the reigning champions, but Marsch is confident they have a plan to deal with the danger Argentina, and Messi, pose.

"We're excited for this tournament, we know it's a big challenge," said Marsch. "It won't be a shock to us when we encounter the quality and the level of play with Argentina.

"We'll be preparing heavily for everything that Argentina will do and prepare for what they present. Certainly, Messi is still a massive part of their team and who they are."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Argentina – Lionel Messi

Who else?

His next appearance in the Copa America will be his 35th, overtaking Chile great Sergio Livingstone, and he has scored 13 goals for Argentina in the competition along the way.

He has also provided nine Copa assists and has had more shots than any other player at the tournament since the start of the 2011 edition (102).

Canada – Cyle Larin

Larin is Canada's all-time top scorer, netting 29 times for his country in 68 appearances including a key strike in the win over Trinidad and Tobago.

Despite struggling for goals in LaLiga with Real Mallorca in 2023-24, netting just seven times in all competitions, Larin will be looking to further improve his international record at the tournament, with Lille's David (26) fast closing in on his tally.

MATCH PREDICTION: ARGENTINA WIN

Unsurprisingly, Argentina are the overwhelming favourites to start their title defence with a win and they go in with a 74.3% chance of finishing the game with three points.

Canada, meanwhile, are given just an 11% chance of claiming an upset in their Copa America debut, with the draw slightly more likely at 14.7%.

The Albiceleste have only lost once since the start of 2023, and in that run of 14 matches, they have conceded just four goals and impressively kept 11 clean sheets.

Canada failed to score in either of their warm-up friendlies against the Netherlands (4-0) and France (0-0) in the build-up to the tournament, last hitting the back of the net in March.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Argentina – 74.3%

Draw – 14.7%

Canada – 11%

Jamaica has officially named its team for the upcoming 36th Caribbean Amateur Junior Golf Championships (CAJGC), with Trey Williams and Mattea Issa leading the charge. The championship, scheduled to take place from July 1 to 6, will be hosted at the Caymanas Golf Course in St. Catherine, Jamaica.

Williams and Issa emerged as the top contenders in the Boys and Girls 18 & Under categories during the recent three-day trials held at the same venue. Their stellar performances have set high expectations for the team, which features a blend of seasoned players and promising newcomers.

In the Boys 18 & Under category, Williams will be joined by Aman Dhiman and Ryan Lue. This strong trio will be backed up by reserves Noah Azan and Jerone Thomas, ready to step in if needed. The Boys 15 & Under team includes Kemari Morris, Davin Hogan, and Cameron Coe, with Jamal Stewart on standby as a reserve. Representing the youngest male age group, the Boys 11-13 category, Shasa Redlefsen will be the sole competitor.

The Girls 18 & Under team will see Issa partnering with Kierra Williams, supported by reserve player Anoushka Khatri. Olivia-Marie Green will compete in the Girls 15 & Under category, while the Girls 11-13 category features Alessandra Coe and Mallaina Williams, both eager to make their mark.

National coaches Jason Lopez and Jonathan Newnham have been rigorously preparing the team, aiming to capture the Hank James Country Trophy for the first time. Jamaica's past performances at the CAJGC include notable second-place finishes in 2018 and 2019.

Team manager Alison Reid expressed her optimism about the team’s prospects, especially given the advantage of competing on home soil. The players are poised to leverage this familiarity to their benefit, with strong support from their coaches and the local golfing community.

The championship is backed by an array of sponsors, including British Caribbean Insurance Company (BCIC), Digicel Group, Fleetwood Jamaica Limited, Island Car Rentals & Tours, Wisynco, and Restaurants of Jamaica. Their support underscores the significance of the event and the high hopes placed on Team Jamaica.

 

Phil Foden is confident his combination play with Jude Bellingham will improve after the Manchester City star's performance in England's Euro 2024 opener came in for criticism.

While Real Madrid talisman Bellingham scored the winning goal against Serbia with a powerful early header and produced an inspirational display, the impact of Foden was more limited.

Foden scored 27 goals and added 13 assists in a stunning club season for Premier League winners Man City, but he created just one chance in Sunday's 1-0 victory.

The 24-year-old moved out to the left flank, making way to accommodate Bellingham playing centrally behind captain Harry Kane, with Bukayo Saka out on the right.

As well as not making a creative impact, Foden also failed to register a single shot in an unusually quiet outing.

But Foden is confident he and Bellingham will get the best out of each other despite calls for him to be dropped from Gareth Southgate's starting XI ahead of Wednesday’s second match against Denmark.

"Jude is obviously an exceptional talent, he carries himself really well and I think he is turning into a leader," said Foden.

"Our link up play is good at times. I think it is improving as well and can keep getting better.

"He is an exciting talent and I enjoy playing with him."

Foden acknowledged the Serbia match had provided an early test for England, but that was something he welcomed.

He added: "The first game of a major tournament is always the most difficult – it is important to get off to a win and we did that.

"It was difficult at times. Obviously, we had to defend at times and dig deep.

"But I think that shows a different side to us and if we are going to win something I think that we have to do that."

England, who were pre-tournament favourites, will be hoping to top Group C in order to avoid a potential last-16 tie against hosts Germany, who lead Group A. The winners of Group A will face the runners-up of Group C in Dortmund on June 29.

After facing Denmark, England's group-stage campaign will conclude with a match against Slovenia on Tuesday.

Novak Djokovic is set to compete in the Olympic Games after being named in Serbia's squad for the tennis tournament.

The 24-time grand slam champion will target a gold medal for the first time, with his appearance in Paris set to be his fifth at the Olympics.

Djokovic won a 2008 bronze medal in Beijing after losing to eventual winner Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals before beating James Blake for third place.

He came fourth at London 2012 after suffering defeats to Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Porto in the final stages and lost early at Rio 2016 before narrowly missing out on a medal in Tokyo three years ago, with Alexander Zverev and Pablo Carreno Busta getting the better of him to end a historic bid for a Golden Slam.

Djokovic, 37, said in April that winning an elusive gold medal was a priority for him this year, but there was some uncertainty over his participation after he withdrew from the French Open before his quarter-final match this month through injury.

The Serbian suffered a torn meniscus in his right knee and underwent surgery but now looks to be on track to return to Roland-Garros for the Games, with Dusan Lajovic also selected for Serbia.

"Team Serbia for Paris 2024 got new representatives," the Serbian Olympic Committee announced. 

"Tennis players Novak Djokovic and Dusan Lajovic fulfilled the requirements, according to the ATP ranking, and confirmed their performance at the Olympic Games."

Djokovic's involvement in the men's tournament comes as a boost for the Paris Games after some high-profile female players like Aryna Sabalenka, Ons Jabeur and Emma Raducanu announced they would not be participating.

The Olympic tennis tournaments are scheduled to run from July 27 until August 4.

It is not yet known whether Djokovic will be able to participate at Wimbledon, which takes place before the Olympics.

Wimbledon begins on July 1 and Djokovic is a seven-time champion at the event, just one title behind the men's singles record held by Roger Federer. 

Djokovic lost an epic final to Carlos Alcaraz at last year's Wimbledon.

David Warner believes he is the only one who has taken "a lot of flak" over Australia’s ball-tampering scandal in 2018.

Warner and then-captain Steve Smith were banned from cricket for a year after being found guilty of using sandpaper to damage the ball during a Test match against South Africa.

Cameron Bancroft, who carried out the act, was also suspended for nine months.

Warner was ruled out of any leadership positions for Australia throughout the rest of his career after it was found that he orchestrated the plan, while Smith knew about it but failed to prevent it.

The 37-year-old is set to retire from international cricket at the end of the T20 World Cup and admitted he was looking forward to not being reminded of the scandal when he does.

"One can only absorb so much," Warner told Cricket Australia. "Coming back since 2018, I've probably been the only one that's ever copped a lot of flak.

"I've always been that person who has copped it. It's great to go out knowing I'm not going to cop it anymore."

Australia are currently competing for their second T20 World Cup title, previously winning the tournament in 2021, with Warner remaining a key part of the team after returning from his ban.

While Warner admits he will probably always be associated with the ball-tampering scandal, he is hopeful his career will be viewed in a different light when he retires.

"If they're real cricket tragics, and they love cricket, they will always see me as that cricketer - someone who tried to change the game," he added.

"Someone who tried to follow in the footsteps of the openers before me, and try and score runs at a great tempo and change Test cricket."

Australia face Bangladesh in the Super 8s of the T20 World Cup on Friday.

Nestor Cortes pitched six scoreless innings and the New York Yankees overcame the loss of Aaron Judge in a 4-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a three-game series between the top teams in the American League East on Tuesday night.

Judge, the major league leader with 26 home runs and 64 RBIs, left one inning after he was hit on the left pinkie by a 94.1 mph fastball from Albert Suarez.

Judge remained in the game and scored on Giancarlo Stanton’s single. He played center field in the top of the fourth but was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom half.

Judge said X-rays and a CT scan were negative. He said there is some swelling, and he hopes not to miss any games.

Cortes allowed five hits with six strikeouts and no walks to improve to 4-2 with a 1.57 ERA at home this season.

Anthony Volpe, Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu each drove in a run for the Yankees, who extended their lead in the East over Baltimore to 2 ½ games.

Anthony Santander hit a two-run homer in the ninth off closer Clay Holmes for all the Orioles’ offence. Santander has a major league-best nine home runs this month.

Orioles third baseman Jordan Westburg left in the middle of the second inning with left hip discomfort after colliding with baserunner Juan Soto.

 

Mets rally for 7th straight win

Pete Alonso delivered a tiebreaking double in the ninth inning and the New York Mets rallied for their season-high seventh straight victory, 7-6 over the slumping Texas Rangers.

The Mets trailed 6-2 after the Rangers put up a five-run fifth, but they scored once in the sixth, once in the seventh and tied it in the eighth on Francisco Alvarez’s two-run double.

Rangers closer Kirby Yates walked Brandon Nimmo with one out in the eighth and J.D. Martinez reached on a catcher’s interference call and Alonso’s double into the left-field corner put New York on top.

Mark Vientos and Nimmo homered for the Mets (35-37), who have won 11 of 13 to get within two games of .500 for the first time since mid-May.

Defending World Series champion Texas (33-40) has lost five in a row to fall a season-worst seven games under .500.

 

Dodgers stun Rockies with 7-run 9th

Jason Heyward hit a pinch-hit grand slam and Teoscar Hernandez added a go-ahead, three-run homer as part of a seven-run ninth inning as the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied for a shocking 11-9 win over the Colorado Rockies.

Heyward’s blast came off Tyler Kinney and followed walks by Andy Pages and Miguel Vargas around a single by Miguel Rojas. That drew the Dodgers within 9-8 with one out in the ninth after they trailed 7-2 in the fifth inning.

Shohei Ohtani singled off Victor Vodnik before Will Smith struck out. After a wild pitch, Freddie Freeman was walked intentionally to bring up Hernandez. He checked his swing at a 1-2 fastball and first base umpire Lance Barksdale ruled it wasn’t a swing, as Colorado manager Bud Black argued and was ejected.

On the next pitch, Hernandez hit his 18th home run to make it 11-9. After the ball cleared the wall, Rockies right fielder Jake Cave immediately took a few steps toward Barksdale and began yelling.

Alex Vesia got the first two outs in the ninth and Evan Phillips retired the only batter he faced for his 11th save.

Connor McDavid scored two goals and set up two others and Evan Bouchard had three assists as the Edmonton Oilers held on for a 5-3 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night to force Game 6 in the Stanley Cup Final.

Connor Brown, Zach Hyman and Corey Perry also scored for the Oilers, who staved off elimination again to send the series back to Edmonton for Game 6 on Friday.

The Oilers scored the game’s first three goals but had to hold off the Panthers down the stretch and could finally breathe when McDavid scored into an empty net with 19 seconds remaining.

Matthew Tkachuk and Evan Rodrigues had a goal and an assist apiece for Florida, which will see its 30-years-and-counting wait for the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title last at least three more days.

Four more points increased McDavid’s playoff total to 42, the fourth-most in a single postseason in NHL history. The only players ahead of him are Wayne Gretzky (47 in 1985), Mario Lemieux (44 in 1991) and Gretzky (43 in 1988).

This game started just as Game 4 did, with the Oilers scoring short-handed for a 1-0 lead. Brown tallied this time after assisting on Nike Mikkola’s tally on Saturday night.

Hyman doubled the advantage on the power play at 1:58 of the middle period and McDavid made it 3-0 just over three minutes later.

Tkachuk got Florida on the board 1:53 later, but Perry restored the three-goal cushion on a power play with 8:06 left in the second. Rodrigues cut the deficit to 4-2 14 seconds later.

The Panthers were unable to get the equaliser as Stuart Skinner finished with 29 saves.

Willie Mays, who was one of baseball's most colourful and exciting stars, has died at the age of 93.

The San Francisco Giants announced Tuesday that he "passed away peacefully" this afternoon.

A two-time MVP and 20-time All-Star in his 22 MLB seasons - spent almost entirely with the New York/San Francisco Giants - many considered Mays to be the greatest living baseball player. He was baseball's oldest living Hall of Famer.

Nicknamed the "Say Hey Kid," Mays made an immediate impact, winning the 1951 Rookie of the Year Award. He finished his career with 660 home runs, 3,283 hits, 1,903 RBIs and a .302 batting average.

An elite defensive centre fielder, he won 12 Gold Gloves and made one of the most famous catches in baseball history. In Game 1 of the 1954 World Series, while playing centre field, Mays tracked down a deep fly ball by running with his back to the infield toward the warning track to make a thrilling over-the shoulder catch.

 

The first matchdays of each group at Euro 2024 are now over, after the final pool got started in style on Tuesday.

First, Turkiye and Georgia served up an unlikely classic in Dortmund, before Portugal beat Czechia 2-1 in Leipzig.

Records were broken in each of those matches, with Arda Guler and Cristiano Ronaldo making history.

But what other stats standout from Group F's two opening games?

Turkiye 3-1 Georgia: Guler breaks Ronaldo record

In Kenan Yildiz (19y 45d) and Guler (19y 114d), Turkiye became just the second nation at the European Championship to start two different teenagers in a game, after Hungary against Denmark in 1964 (Zoltan Varga and Ferenc Bene).

And Guler, who was on the fringes at Real Madrid in 2023-24, showcased his immense potential with a superb all-round performance, capped off with a stunning, record-breaking strike.

He is the youngest player in the tournament's history to score on their first appearance, and just the third teenager to do so, after Ronaldo for Portugal against Greece in 2004 and Ferenc Bene for Hungary against Spain in 1964.

Indeed, Ronaldo was the previous holder of the record, having netted on his debut at Euro 2004. 

As well as scoring, Guler also became just the third teenager on record to create as many as five chances in a single game at the European Championship finals (since 1980), along with Wayne Rooney against Croatia in 2004 (18y 241d) and Pedri against Switzerland in 2021 (18y 219d).

Guler's screamer followed on from Mert Muldur's excellent volley, which was just his second international goal, and paved the way for substitute Kerem Akturkoglu to round out a 3-1 victory, but only after Georgia had hit the woodwork twice and seen an effort cleared off the line in what was a thrilling contest.

Georges Mikautadze made history with his first-half equaliser, bringing up Georgia's first goal at a major tournament, in their first such appearance.

Turkiye won a Euros opener for the first time, having lost each of their previous five such games, while they have won four of their six encounters with Georgia in all competitions (D1 L1), with this their first win in a competitive game against them since a 5-2 victory in a World Cup qualifier in March 2005.

Portugal 2-1 Czechia: Records up for Ronaldo and Pepe

Pepe (41y 113d) and Ronaldo (39y 134d) both started for Portugal, and in the process became the two oldest outfield players to ever appear at the Euros.

Age truly is just a number for the gnarly Pepe, though. The defender won possession more times than any other player across matchday one (11).

Ronaldo also became the first player to feature in as many as six different editions of the European Championship finals (2004, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2020 and 2024).

He could not get on the scoresheet to mark the occasion, though he did see a header rebound off the post before being tucked in by Diogo Jota. However, Ronaldo had strayed offside in the build-up and the would-be winner was ruled out.

 

Portugal went behind to Lukas Provod's blistering opener, which was the 11th goal scored from outside the box at Euro 2024. That is now just one fewer than in the whole of the group stage at Euro 2020.

That goal came after Portugal had dominated proceedings. In fact, Roberto Martinez's completed 368 passes in the first half of this match, their most in a single half of football at the European Championship finals on record (since 1980).

However, this was the first match of Euro 2024 so far to be goalless at half-time, and that dominance counted for nothing until Nuno Mendes' header forced an own goal from 
Robin Hranac.

The impressive Vitinha supplied the cross that was met by Mendes. Vitinha made 20 line-breaking passes against Czechia, with only Germany’s Toni Kroos (30 v Scotland) making more across the first round of group stage games.

Francisco Conceicao proved to be Portugal's hero. He scored just 111 seconds after coming off the bench, becoming the first Portugal player to score as a substitute at the Euros  since Eder in the 2016 final against France.

Georgia head coach Willy Sagnol believes his players will learn from their defeat to Turkiye, but was proud of his side's performance in Dortmund.

The 75th-ranked side in the world captured the hearts of many neutrals in their first game at Euro 2024, coming agonisingly close to snatching a memorable point late on.

Georges Mikautadze made history by scoring Georgia's first-ever goal at a major tournament following Mert Muldur's opener, but the minnows were undone by a piece of individual brilliance by Arda Guler before Kerem Akturkoglu sealed a 3-1 win late on. 

"I don't want to say we are happy losers today but I think we can be proud of our performance," Sagnol told reporters.

"We have given such a nice image of the Georgian footballer but of course, we had a lot of opportunities to score, probably as much as Turkey did. But that's football.

"I'm sure in the future, in the next months and years, Georgia won't lose this kind of game. We are in a learning process, but we want to learn in a good way."

For Turkiye, however, they won their opening game of a European Championship finals for the first time, having lost each of their previous five. 

And a big contributor to that was Real Madrid's Guler, whose stunning strike showcased his mercurial talent, and was something he revealed he had practised in the lead-up to the game.

"I am just thrilled, no words to describe how I feel. I was dreaming of this goal constantly," Guler said.

"I've been practising this particular shot recently at the end of training sessions. I'm so happy to have scored this way."

Turkiye head coach Vincenzo Montella celebrated the triumph on his 50th birthday, and Guler was able to deliver the boss his only wish.

"My coach had wanted a goal as a birthday present," Guler told reporters. "I hope I can continue these goals."

Montella was equally pleased with the way his birthday had panned out, labelling the result as the perfect day as preparations turn to their game against Portugal on Saturday, who beat Czechia late on in the other Group F contest. 

"We are just thrilled," Montella said. "It was a lot of coincidences coming together today, my 50th birthday, Eid at home, the Euro opener."

He told reporters: "It really was the perfect day, in terms of the spirit and in terms of the best present I could get."

Alexander Zverev avoided a first-round upset at the Halle Open after battling past fellow German Oscar Otte on Tuesday.

The second seed managed to triumph in his first match since the French Open final defeat to Carlos Alcaraz, eventually winning 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 6-4.

Zverev has twice reached the show-piece at this event, in 2016 and 2017, though acknowledged challenges remain with adapting from the clay-court surfaces at Roland-Garros.

"A week ago, I was playing on clay still basically," Zverev said in his on-court interview. "He made it very tough for me, no rhythm at all.

"That's how grass-court tennis is sometimes and I'm just happy with the win.

"He did make it extremely difficult for me, so credit to him. I'm obviously happy that I won and hopefully, it's going to be a level above in the next match."

The world number four is now 35-10 for the season and will look to extend that record when he meets Italy's Lorenzo Sonego in the next round.

Zverev has won all three head-to-head meetings with Sonego, and will fancy his chances if he delivers another heavy-hitting performance next time out.

The 27-year-old smashed 54 winners, compared to his 40 unforced errors, to triumph in just over two hours under the OWL Arena roof.

Stefanos Tsitsipas also began his grass season with victory, defeating home hopeful Henri Squire 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-2).

The Greek sixth seed will face Luciano Darderi or Jan-Lennard Struff in the second round.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal claimed a late win over Czechia to get their Euro 2024 campaign up and running.

Before that, there was a sensational Group F opener between Turkiye and Georgia.

But the football was not the only thing to look out for.

Here, we round up the best of Tuesday's social posts from around Euro 2024.

 

Ronaldo's rallying cry

Ahead of becoming the first player to feature at six European Championships, Ronaldo posted a motivational message on social media.

"Portuguese, today begins another chapter in our history," Ronaldo wrote in a caption that came with a video of some of his best moments in a Portugal shirt.

"I fondly remember my first day with the national team, a journey full of challenges and victories. Now, I have the honor of being alongside a team of champions, full of talent and determination. With everyone’s strength and support, we turn dreams into reality. Let's, together, fight for another triumph. United, we are unstoppable. Go Portugal!"

The rallying cry just about worked - Ronaldo didn't score, but Portugal beat Czechia 2-1 thanks to Francisco Conceicao's last-gasp winner.

Portuguese party in Leipzig

There were plenty of travelling Portuguese fans who made themselves right at home in Leipzig.

It looked like a fair old party pre kick-off!

Nose job

Mbappe will require surgery, France coach Didier Deschamps confirmed, to fix his broken nose.

However, when the superstar forward will go under the knife remains to be seen.

Deschamps revealed this in a video interview posted to the official France team X account. Could Mbappe's Euro 2024 be over, or will he make it back in time to feature?

Kante's warm welcome

It was not all doom and gloom for France.

N'Golo Kante was spectacular in his first competitive game for Les Bleus in two years, and the 33-year-old midfielder received a rapturous reception when he returned to the dressing room after the match, with the moment captured on video.

Baller

Turkiye and Georgia served up a thrilling encounter, and Arda Guler was one of the stars of the show.

The Real Madrid midfielder became the youngest player to score on his Euros debut, breaking a record set by Ronaldo way back in 2004.

He did so in stunning fashion, curling home from outside the area, and it's worth watching again and again.

Quaresma watches on

Ex-Portugal star Quaresma was no stranger to scoring great goals on the big stage, and he watched on from the stands to support his nation.

Cool as you like

Looking dapper is part and parcel of a team's travelling routine to and from match locations, especially for major tournaments.

And the German team made sure to dress with the style befitting of hosts as they left their training base and headed for Stuttgart, where they take on Hungary on Wednesday.

Derek's Cologne tour

The Tartan Army have taken over Cologne ahead of Scotland's clash with Switzerland on Wednesday.

And with the help of commentator Derek Rae, Scotland's social media team put out a handy guide to the city.

Rice grabs the lens

France's Benjamin Pavard took over camera duties for an ad hoc Olivier Giroud photo shoot earlier in the competition, and now England's Declan Rice has got in on the act.

After training on Tuesday, Rice grabbed hold of the camera to get some snaps of his team-mates. And the results were pretty good!

Roberto Martinez lauded Francisco Conceicao as Portugal's much-needed hero after the Porto forward snatched a 2-1 victory over Czechia in their Euro 2024 opener.

Portugal seemed set for a disappointing draw in their first match at the tournament after Robin Hranac's own-goal cancelled out Lukas Provod's second-half rocket on Tuesday.

Yet Conceicao scored just two minutes after being introduced from the bench, sparking wild celebrations as Martinez's men escaped their first Group E test by the skin of the teeth.

Having only introduced Conceicao in the 90th minute, Martinez hailed the impact of the 21-year-old on his first competitive appearance for his country.

The Portugal boss told reporters: "He deserves it. He always works with one eye in front of the goal, he sniffs out goals.

"He was the fireworks we needed today."

Portugal completed 368 passes in the first half of this match, their most in a single half of football at the European Championship finals on record (since 1980), without finding any reward.

That dominance turned into frustration when Provod cannoned in the opener after 62 minutes, only for Portugal to be bailed out by new hero Conceicao in Leipzig.

Yet Martinez was not overly disappointed with his team's efforts.

"There are some points to evaluate, not from a tactical or physical point of view – we had 18 shots and 13 corners," the former Belgium head coach added. 

"We won because we showed values ​​of resilience, will and belief, from a dressing room that wants to give everything for Portugal. For a coach, it's the best."

Conceicao's winning strike came just 111 seconds after being introduced and marks the fastest such goal at the tournament since Ferran Torres, for Spain against Slovakia in June 2021 (41 seconds).

The Porto youngster admitted nerves played a part before his heroics took over.

"Of course there are, I suffer a lot inside and I try not to show it," Conceicao said.

"I have to be calm, that's what I tried to do and I knew the time could come to enter."

Vitinha also impressed in a controlled midfield showing for Portugal, though acknowledged his side must improve.

"Fortunately, we equalised and we believed until the end we could turn the match around," the Paris Saint-Germain player said.

"We need to do better but this was the first game. Everybody was enthusiastic but sometimes we were a bit hasty."

Francisco Conceicao proved the hero on his first competitive start for Portugal after his stoppage-time winner snatched a 2-1 victory over Czechia in their Euro 2024 opener.

Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player in the European Championship's 64-year history to appear in six editions, but his landmark moment was overshadowed by a glimpse into Portugal's future.

Conceicao was introduced after 90 minutes and scored just two minutes later, capitalising on a rebound to send Portugal level on points with leaders Turkiye, who beat Georgia 3-1 earlier on Tuesday in Group F.

Robin Hranac's unavoidable own-goal had earlier cancelled out Lukas Provod's rocketed second-half opener before Conceicao announced himself on the international stage at the Leipzig Stadium.

Roberto Martinez's team were the only side to win every qualifying game for this tournament, with a perfect 10 wins from as many matches, and dominated the first half of their opener without reward.

Ronaldo almost marked his landmark appearance with a goal just eight minutes in but rushed an unmarked header in uncharacteristic fashion from Rafael Leao's whipped cross.

Bruno Fernandes angled a deflected long-range effort narrowly over as the one-way traffic persisted, before the Manchester United midfielder's teasing ball just evaded the lunging Leao.

Fernandes was again the architect when his delicate throughball found Ronaldo, who was denied by Jindrich Stanek's fantastic stop from point-blank range.

The Czechia goalkeeper was on hand once more before the interval, parrying away another fizzing Ronaldo strike as these two sides were the first to be goalless at half-time at Euro 2024.

Portugal completed 368 passes in that first-half onslaught, their most on record in a single half at the European Championships since records began in 1980, and little changed after the break.

Ronaldo tested the hands of Stanek with a dipping free-kick just before the hour, though Portugal were stunned soon after when Provod cannoned into the top-left corner from the perimeter of Diogo Costa's area.

Yet a response swiftly followed as Stanek parried Leao's downwards back-post header against Hranac, who could only deflect into his own net to level proceedings.

Diogo Jota had a late finish ruled out by VAR after Ronaldo was adjudged offside before his rebounded finish, though Conceicao pounced from Pedro Neto's left-wing cross to snatch all three points.

Substitute heroics save Ronaldo's landmark appearance

Ronaldo already holds the record for the most appearances in European Championship history (26), though this outing marked another historic moment for the 39-year-old.

Having featured at every Euros since his 2004 debut, Ronaldo is the first to go to six editions of the tournament, where his 14 goals make him the leading scorer in history.

The former Manchester United attacker could not add to his tally here, and it was a familiar tale at the Euros for Ronaldo, who missed the 2016 final victory over France after his gut-wrenching injury.

Eder stepped up as the extra-time hero on that occasion, and he was the last Portugal substitute to score at the Euros before Conceicao did so here.

Conceicao's goal came just 111 seconds after being introduced and marks the fastest such goal since Ferran Torres for Spain against Slovakia in June 2021 (41 seconds) – what an introduction for the Porto man.

Czech need more from Schick

Patrik Schick scored five of Czechia's six goals at Euro 2020, becoming only the second Czech player to be the sole or joint-top scorer at a European Championship tournament – after Milan Baros at the 2004 edition (five goals).

The forward has since lifted the Bundesliga title with Bayer Leverkusen last term, helping Xabi Alonso's side to an unbeaten league season with seven top-flight goals.

Considering his record at the Euros and the 2023-24 trophy-winning campaign, Czechia may want more from their star striker – who was withdrawn on the hour after being cautioned and failing to manage a single shot.

Yet with or without Schick, Czechia could have never prepared for Conceicao's late intervention. Ivan Hasek's side have now lost five straight games against Portugal and must bounce back when they face Georgia on Saturday.

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