Kasper Hjulmand is confident Denmark will triumph at a major tournament after they suffered a semi-final exit to England at Euro 2020.

The Danes – who were rocked by Christian Eriksen's cardiac arrest in their opening game of their campaign – have garnered plenty of support throughout the tournament, but fell short in a 2-1 defeat to Gareth Southgate's team at Wembley on Wednesday.

Harry Kane tucked away a rebound after seeing a penalty, contentiously awarded for a foul on Raheem Sterling, saved by Kasper Schmeichel in extra-time.

It proved too much for Denmark, who took the lead through Mikell Damsgaard's excellent free-kick – the first direct free-kick goal of Euro 2020 – to come back from. Simon Kjaer's own goal, the first Denmark have scored at a European Championship, had dragged England level before half-time.

Though they ultimately fell at the penultimate hurdle, Hjulmand has nothing but pride for his team, and he feels success is just around the corner.

"Obviously, it's a big disappointment that we're so close to the final, and different circumstances during the match mean that we're not taking the last step," he told a news conference.

"It has been amazing what the boys have done. There's a fantastic power within these guys. They play football in a fantastic way.

"We've been attacking, scoring goals and showed our true selves. The players just went on with everything they have – both off and on the pitch.

"We have a team that saved the life of one of our players. I am very happy for our country, we have been a good team, a lot of love and we received support.

"We were emotional, we could have made it to the final, there will be new opportunities, I look to the future with hope. We can be proud of these kids!

"Our only disappointment is not reaching the final. We can achieve great success in a big tournament again."

Wednesday's encounter was the seventh game at Euro 2020 to go to extra-time, with the 1990 and 2014 World Cups the only major tournaments to reach that figure.

Sterling's energy ultimately proved the difference in that period, with the in-form Manchester City forward, who completed 10 dribbles in the game, finding a gap in Denmark's defence before drawing a foul from Joakim Maehle, one of the standout performers of Euro 2020.

The contact appeared to be minimal, but VAR did not overturn the decision from referee Danny Makkelie to award an England penalty.

"It bothers me to know that the penalty was not right," said Hjulmand, whose frustration was evident. "The players put in a lot of effort. We didn’t want to be eliminated like that."

Raheem Sterling claimed there was contact from Denmark's Joakim Maehle before he went to ground to win the decisive penalty in England's 2-1 European Championship semi-final victory.

The decision to award England a penalty after 102 minutes of play at Wembley stood up to a VAR check and Harry Kane had the spot-kick saved before he buried the rebound past Kasper Schmeichel.

Earlier, England had fallen behind to a superb long-range free-kick from Mikkel Damsgaard before Sterling forced an equaliser that went in off Simon Kjaer.

Sterling said he felt the decision to award the penalty in extra time was correct, telling ITV: "I went into the box, he stuck his right leg out and it touched my leg so it's a clear penalty.

"As long as it goes in the back of the net, that's all that matters."

Sterling has scored three times on England's route to the final at Wembley, where they will play Italy on Sunday evening.

The Manchester City forward said the experience of bouncing back after conceding their first goal of the tournament would stand England in good stead against Roberto Mancini's Azzurri.

"It was a top performance," said the 26-year-old. "We had to dig in deep. "It was the first time we conceded but we responded well and showed good spirit.

"We knew it would be difficult. We stayed patient and we knew the legs and aggressiveness we have in the team we'd be okay.

"It's another step in the right direction. We have to focus on the weekend now. It's step-by-step. We know what football means to this country. The energy, the atmosphere...it was top.

"Now we have Italy. We will celebrate a little bit then focus on Italy."

England are through to their first European Championship final after recovering from a goal down to beat Denmark 2-1 after extra-time at Wembley on Wednesday.

Like Tuesday's semi-final between Italy and Spain, which the Azzurri won on penalties, the game in London could not be decided in the 90 minutes.

Mikkel Damsgaard had given Denmark the lead with a fine free-kick on the half-hour mark, but Simon Kjaer put into his own net before half-time and Harry Kane scored England's first extra-time goal since Euro 2004 to send the Three Lions through.

Following another dramatic contest in what has been an entertaining tournament, Stats Perform looks at the key data takeaways from Wednesday's action.

England's clean sheet record ended

Jordan Pickford set a record for the most minutes of any England keeper without conceding, overtaking Gordon Banks' previous best of 720 minutes between May and July 1966, but that impressive defensive streak was ended by Damsgaard soon after.

The Sampdoria winger scored the first direct free-kick of the tournament so far with an impressive effort that caught out Pickford, becoming the youngest Danish goalscorer in Euros knockout history at 21 years and four days.

 

Another own goal scored

In attempting to prevent Bukayo Saka's cross from being turned in by Raheem Sterling under the crossbar, Denmark skipper Kjaer put into his own net for the 11th own goal of Euro 2020 – two more than every other European Championship combined.

That was the first own goal England have benefitted from at the European Championships, but they could not push on and find a winner in normal time as the game went to an additional 30 minutes.

Kane the hero for England

With Denmark tiring and England turning the screw, the pressure told in the 104th minute when Sterling was brought down in the box by Joakim Maehle.

Kane's penalty was saved by Kasper Schmeichel, but the England skipper converted from the follow-up to make it 15 goals scored against the Danish keeper in his senior career – more than he has managed against any other stopper.

With that goal, Kane went level with Gary Lineker as the Three Lions' all-time leading scorer in major tournaments, six of those coming in the 2018 World Cup and the other four at this year's Euros.

 

Three Lions' long wait for a final over

Never before had England recovered from behind to win a Euros knockout match, while not since a 3-2 win over Cameroon in the 1990 World Cup quarter-finals had they done so in any major tournament.

Sunday will mark their first European Championship or World Cup final since 1966, with that 55-year gap the longest between final appearances in the history of the two competitions.

As for Denmark, they are the fifth side to both win three games and lose three games in the same edition of a Euros or World Cup after Yugoslavia (World Cup 1962), Austria (World Cup 1978), Bulgaria (World Cup 1994) and England (World Cup 2018).

 

 

The dark horses fell at the penultimate fence.

Wembley Stadium on Wednesday was one step too far for Denmark. From that awful moment when Christian Eriksen collapsed, through two group defeats, a battering of Russia and Wales and Joakim Maehle's magic against the Czech Republic, Kasper Hjulmand's men have captivated fans at Euro 2020 more than any other side.

Against England, the brutal truth of football took over. Denmark were good, but just not good enough. The standout individual performances, the critical moments, the game management – they belonged to the Three Lions.

Fans should commiserate, of course, but they should celebrate, too, for what their team have produced in these past few weeks.

England had been the most resolute of all sides at these finals. Five games, five clean sheets – their best return at a major tournament. They had not let in a goal since March. Midway through the first half against Denmark, Jordan Pickford broke Gordon Banks' record of 720 minutes without conceding.

It was likely to take something special to break that run. Barely 60 seconds later, it duly arrived.

Mikkel Damsgaard, 21 years old, unleashed a sensational, dipping free-kick from more than 30 yards out that flew past Pickford's despairing grasp. It was the first direct free-kick scored at these finals and the eighth direct goal involvement the Sampdoria man – who is sure to attract interest from across the continent – had managed in seven starts for his country.

Damsgaard served up a moment worthy of the stage, of the exceptional tournament Hjulmand's men have had.

It was unfortunate then to concede an equaliser via captain Simon Kjaer, his desperate lunge to stop Raheem Sterling scoring a tap-in only sending the ball into the unguarded net. Perhaps Schmeichel could have done more to cut out Bukayo Saka's cross, though Sterling would have scored a minute earlier but for a mighty block from the Leicester City goalkeeper.

 

Schmeichel has enjoyed trips to Wembley this year. On May 15, Leicester lifted the FA Cup thanks to two moments of stupendous quality against Chelsea: Youri Tielemans' goal, and Schmeichel's fingertip save from Mason Mount. He repeated the trick here, flying to his right to claw away a Harry Maguire header and stopping Kane's goalbound low strike on the stretch in the second half.

You began to sense that, if penalties came, Schmeichel might prove the hero. When he finally faced one, he did indeed keep it out – but the rebound fell at Kane's feet for the easiest Wembley goal he will ever score. He still made a last-second save to deny Sterling at the end of extra time, as if to remind us of his real quality.

There is never a good way to lose a semi-final, but this 2-1 loss felt cruel on Denmark. England deserved to win the match, that's certainly true, but Schmeichel did not deserve to lose. Captain Kjaer, a hero in the truest sense when Eriksen's life was in danger, should never have been the man to score an own goal in his country's biggest game in 29 years.

When it comes to results, elite football can be a harsh place. But events like these are also about the journey, and Denmark's at these finals has been one to remember.

John Stones extended his arm and held up a palm. Stop. Breathe.

It was time for Jordan Pickford to calm down. No time for bedlam.

The Everton goalkeeper headed into Wednesday's Euro 2020 semi-final encounter with Denmark in superb form, yet to be beaten in the tournament.

In the 27th minute at Wembley, Pickford moved on to 720 minutes without conceding a goal for England, breaking a record set by the great Gordon Banks between May and July 1966. We all know how that tournament ended and how none have ended like it in the 55 years and four semi-final defeats since.

But by the time Pickford pouched that piece of history, events had already started to turn.

After Kalvin Phillips erred to allow a shot from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Pickford frantically sought to launch an attack - his distribution often such a plus for Gareth Southgate. He hurled the ball straight at Mikkel Damsgaard, who understandably seemed a little surprised by that.

A passage of gasping, pulse-quickening mistakes ended with Martin Braithwaite having a shot deflected behind for a corner. England emerged unscathed but robbed entirely of their early poise.

Damsgaard, Braithwaite and Kasper Dolberg were finding pockets of space all across the turf, with England's plan for snuffing out Denmark's lightning breaks apparently amounting to little more than Kyle Walker being terrifyingly fast. He's terrifyingly brilliant, too, but still...

Too much was passing England's defensive midfield block by. Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips did not make a tackle between them in the first half. Tottenham's Hojbjerg, patrolling central areas expertly alongside Thomas Delaney, snapped into five all by himself.

Rice was caught napping by Dolberg, who was brought down by Mason Mount. That's what friends are for.

A relatively unthreatening free-kick became a threatening one as Luke Shaw wrapped his arms around Andreas Christensen defending the initial set-piece. From 30 yards, Damsgaard creamed a delightful strike beyond Pickford, who will think he should have done better.

 

In calmer times, perhaps he would. Then there was further skittishness, prompting centre-back Stones to intervene.

Contrary to Pickford's need to slow down, England's best moments came when they dared Denmark to find a solution to Bukayo Saka's quicksilver pace and Raheem Sterling's restless, relentless, intelligent movement.

Sterling started the game tearing mercilessly after the right-hand side of the Danish defence. He should have done better after cutting inside Christensen and scuffing a shot too close to Kasper Schmeichel.

A scuff would have done the job in the 38th minute, when Sterling met Saka's low cross sweetly and Schmeichel saved improbably. But the seed was planted – more ice-cool work in behind from Saka, more scrambled brains as Sterling made a nuisance of himself, with the result an own goal for skipper Simon Kjaer.

The contest continued in that vein throughout the second half, when whichever side found themselves on the backfoot appeared to be operating in a state of anguish. The occasion simultaneously fuelled its protagonists and threatened to blow up in their faces. Pickford saved sharply from Dolberg, unaware of the offside flag

Into the final 20 minutes of normal time and the highest stakes elite football was operating under park rules: next goal wins. Southgate's team are gloriously unburdened by England's tragicomic history. But no footballer with a pulse would be unburdened by such a present.

Jack Grealish was on but Kasper Hjulmand used his bench more boldly, sending on Yussuf Poulsen and Christian Norgaard for the impressive Damsgaard and Dolberg. Or was it more desperately, as Rice and Phillips (95.2 and 90.2 per cent pass completion) emerged from choppy waters to gradually exert control and wrestle the opponents deeper.

Six minutes of stoppage time: would you even dare? Sterling still asked questions of defenders with no remaining appetite for such trivia. Fouls piled up, bodies were on the line. This was how England tended to conclude big knockout games but Denmark reached the sanctuary of full-time.

 

Still Southgate kept his talent-stacked bench sheathed. Harry Kane fired towards Schmeichel on the angle. No one was there for the rebound. Fresh legs might have been.

And so, they arrived. Phil Foden instantly schemed with bad intentions, briefly lifting kindred-spirit Grealish in the process.

Sterling still schemed with bad intentions and found himself lying at the feet of Jannik Vestergaard, which felt mocking because the hulking centre-back looked like the biggest, tiredest man in the whole world.

The Manchester City forward was on the floor due to some combination of contact from Joakim Maehle and Mathias Jensen. Danny Makkelie ruled it was enough for a penalty.

Stop. Breathe.

Saved? No problem. Harry Kane never needs to calm down with a loose ball and a goal in front of him.

2-1. It was time for bedlam.

Harry Kane equalled Gary Lineker as England's joint-highest goalscorer in major tournaments as he propelled the Three Lions into the Euro 2020 final.

Kane scored on the rebound after having a penalty saved by Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel in extra-time at Wembley on Wednesday.

It made it 2-1 to England, with Simon Kjaer's own goal having cancelled out Mikkel Damsgaard's opener.

Schmeichel got down to his left to keep out a relatively tame spot-kick – which was won contentiously by the excellent Raheem Sterling – yet the rebound fell kindly to Kane, who coolly tucked in his 10th goal in a major tournament.

That tally brings the England captain level with Three Lions great Lineker.

All of Kane's major-tournament goals have come with his right foot (seven) or head (three).

 

The Tottenham talisman scored six times at World Cup 2018, repeating Lineker's feat from 1986 of winning the golden boot. 

After a slow start to Euro 2020, he has netted four times in the three knockout rounds, and will aim to set the new record when England take on Italy in Sunday's showdown.

Kane and Lineker are out ahead of Alan Shearer (nine), Wayne Rooney (seven), Geoff Hurst (six) and Michael Owen (six).

Hurst's fellow World Cup winner Bobby Charlton has five, while David Platt and Steven Gerrard both netted four times.

Kane is behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrik Schick (both five) in the scoring charts at Euro 2020, with another tournament golden boot firmly in his sights.

On his penalty miss and subsequent follow-up effort, Kane told ITV Sport: "I chose the side I was going to go, it wasn't the best executed penalty I've ever had sometimes you miss and it falls your way and thankfully it did today. 

"We know it's going to be a very tough game against Italy. We've had a great tournament so far. One more game to go at home and we can't wait."

England reached their first European Championship final as an extra-time goal from Harry Kane sealed a 2-1 win over Denmark at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday. 

The Three Lions had lost their only previous two semi-finals in the competition – against Yugoslavia in 1968 and Germany in 1996 – but Kane stroked home after his initial penalty had been saved by Kasper Schmeichel in the 104th minute to ensure they will face Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday. 

Mikkel Damsgaard had put Denmark ahead on the half-hour mark with a superb free-kick before Gareth Southgate’s side pulled level before the break when Simon Kjaer bundled into his own net under pressure from Raheem Sterling. 

England were unable to find a winner inside 90 minutes, but Kane secured a memorable win at the second time of asking to set up a mouth-watering clash against Roberto Mancini's Azzurri at the weekend.

Sterling scuffed a shot straight at Schmeichel after cutting in from the left early on, while Martin Braithwaite had an effort deflected wide at the other end following a poor throw by Jordan Pickford.

England struggled to get a foothold in the game for much of the opening half hour and were duly punished when Damsgaard whipped a free-kick past Pickford from 30 yards, ending a run of 691 minutes without conceding for Southgate's men. 

Sterling fired straight at Schmeichel from six yards as England belatedly woke from their slumber, before they pulled level in the 39th minute when Kjaer turned into his own net from Bukayo Saka's low cross. 

A full-stretch Schmeichel pawed away Harry Maguire's header at the start of the second period, while a Luke Shaw cross flashed wide after taking a heavy deflection off Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. 

England dominated the second half, taking nine shots to Denmark's one, but they were unable to find a goal that would have prevented extra-time. 

Kane was denied by Schmeichel from a tight angle at the start of the additional period and the Denmark goalkeeper was called into action again soon after to push away substitute Jack Grealish's powerful strike.

Schmeichel thought he had got the better of Kane again, the Leicester City man keeping out his weak spot-kick after Sterling had been brought down by Joakim Maehle, but the England captain slotted the rebound into an empty net to send Wembley into raptures.

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland insisted he is not concerned about the viability of his side's tour of South Africa, despite a coronavirus outbreak hitting his squad just hours before their 54-7 win over Sharks.

One member of Gatland's playing squad and one of his management team tested positive for Covid-19, prompting the Lions boss to make eight changes to his matchday squad.

He handed debuts to Tom Curry, Josh Navidi and Adam Beard and saw the trio contribute to a confident performance in which Josh Adams and Duhan van der Merwe scored three tries each.

Asked whether he had experienced another day like it, Gatland told reporters: "No not really. It's been surreal. A real challenge.

"Players were in rooms until 6pm. I'm proud of performance and how they adjusted.

"I came away thinking I was proud of the togetherness of the group more than the performance or result.

"My message to the players is let's use this as a positive. Nothing is going to phase us.

"We had to go with the flow. We had to adapt and then change. The players were outstanding in their approach."

The Lions' clash with Bulls was postponed before the game, and positive coronavirus tests in the Springboks and Bulls camps have cast the entire tour into doubt.

But Gatland is confident it remains viable, saying: "We've been incredibly vigilant with what we’ve been doing for the last four weeks.

"The most challenging thing was the hotel. All our tests had been negative until today.

"We'll address it as it goes. We knew there'd be certain challenges."

On the prospect of arranging a replacement fixture for the Bulls game on Saturday, Gatland added: "I need to talk to the medical team about that.

"We'll talk about the chance of a game. We'll need to wait on the close contacts and see how the players from today are.

"Josh Adams has started three games so he needs a rest. These players have fronted up."

The British and Irish Lions brushed off uncertainty threatening to engulf their tour as they made it two emphatic wins from two matches in South Africa with a 7-54 win over Sharks in Johannesburg.

After two members of the Lions staff tested positive for Covid-19 hours before kick-off, ruling eight members of the squad out of the game, Warren Gatland gave debuts to Tom Curry, Josh Navidi and Adam Beard.

Three tries each for Josh Adams and Duhan van der Merwe ensured Gatland's patchwork side made light work of a defensively frail Sharks team.

Further tries from Bundee Aki and Louis Rees-Zammit and composed kicking by Owen Farrell and Finn Russell gave the Lions a scoreline that will keep morale in the camp high despite the uncertainty shrouding the tour.

Adams made it six tries in three matches before a neat attacking move saw Van der Merwe round Thaakir Abrahams to go over, with Farrell converting both to give the Lions a 14-point lead inside seven minutes.

Farrell sent a superbly weighted grubber deep into Sharks territory where Van der Merwe beat Elliot Daly to the ball and touched down to make it 0-19.

A fine half of attacking rugby was capped with a fourth try when Luke Cowan-Dickie drove Sharks back before Aki forced his way past James Venter and made his first score for the Lions, and Farrell converted to make it 0-26 at half-time.

Sharks improved after the interval and pulled a try back through Venter, who could not be stopped down the right touchline and went over before Curwin Bosch converted.

Farrell, struggling with a shoulder injury, was replaced shortly before Adams capitalised on a Marius Louw error, hacking on to score a try that Russell converted.

Adams fed Rees-Zammit, who showed his electric pace to score under the posts and Russell converted to make it 40-7 with 20 minutes left, and Van der Merwe completed his hat-trick when Daly's clever pass put him through in the corner.

Two minutes from time, Adams emulated his team-mate, scoring his third of the game after good hands in midfield from Beard and Taulupe Faletau.

Lions continue to roar, for now

Should the outbreak of coronavirus in the Lions camp spread beyond the two positives already detected, the uplift from this result may be shortlived. 

What's more, Gatland has injuries to Farrell (shoulder), Rees-Zammit (hamstring) and Navidi (shin) to contend with.

Simmonds makes his mark

Sam Simmonds went into the game determined to make a point to England head coach Eddie Jones, who has not rewarded his outstanding performances for Exeter Chiefs. 

The number eight had a superb first half, making more carries (six) than any other Lions forward, and only Josh Adams (31m) and Elliot Daly (51m) made more metres than his 30.

Roger Federer is unsure if he will make a return to Wimbledon, after the 20-time grand slam champion lost to Hubert Hurkacz in Wednesday's quarter-final.

Federer slipped to a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 defeat on Centre Court, with the 39-year-old failing to take the chance to become the oldest male to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals in the Open Era.

Having taken the majority of 2020 out to recover from knee surgery, Federer had played in four tournaments prior to this year's grass-court grand slam, but failed to progress beyond the round of 16 in any of them.

He made it a step further at Wimbledon yet fell well short against world number 18 Hurkacz.

Following Federer's defeat, another legend of the Wimbledon courts – Boris Becker – suggested the end of the road may be approaching for the world number eight, who turns 40 in August.

And asked in a post-match news conference if he would be returning to Wimbledon, Federer conceded he is uncertain.

"I don't know. I really don't know. I've got to regroup. My goal was always for the last year and more to always try to play another Wimbledon," the eight-time champion said.

"The initial goal was to play last year, but that was never going to happen, plus the pandemic hit. I was able to make it this year, which I'm really happy about.

 

"With everything that comes after Wimbledon, we were always going to sit down and talk about it because clearly now Wimbledon is over. I've got to take a few days.

"Obviously we're going to speak a little bit tonight, depending on how I feel, then the next couple of days as well. Then we go from there. Just see, okay, what do I need to do to get in better shape so I can be more competitive?

"I'm actually very happy I made it as far as I did and was able to play Wimbledon at the level that I did after everything I went through. Of course, I would like to play it again, but at my age, you're just never sure what's around the corner."

Federer's exit leaves Novak Djokovic, who faces Denis Shapovalov in the semi-finals, as the clear favourite.

The 34-year-old world number one is aiming for his third grand-slam title of 2021, after triumphing in Melbourne and at Roland Garros.

Matteo Berrettini kept his momentum going with victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime in four sets to reach the Wimbledon 2021 semi-finals.

Champion at Queen's last month, Berrettini dropped just his second set of the tournament at SW19 but saw off Auger-Aliassime 6-3 5-7 7-5 6-3 in just over three hours.

The seventh seed hit 33 winners against Auger-Aliassime to set up a showdown with Hubert Hurkacz, who ended Roger Federer's quest for a ninth title earlier on Wednesday.

Berrettini promptly moved into a double-break lead but he then squandered four set points at 5-2 and allowed Auger-Aliassime to get back into it.

The Italian put things right in the next game even if he ultimately had to wait until his seventh set point, breaking for the third time in the set to move ahead.

Auger-Aliassime hit back with a break in the third game of the second, Berrettini finding the net after a double fault had given the Canadian an opportunity.

But a double fault of Auger-Aliassime's own allowed Berrettini to level matters at 3-3 and he soon forced three break points that would have allowed him to seize full control.

However, the younger man showed impressive character to save them and later broke again himself at 5-5 before holding to level the match.

The third set went the way of the serve until the 12th game when Berrettini earned a crucial break to move within a set of a showdown with Federer's conqueror Hurkacz.

And the world number nine did not look back as he got off to a flying start to the fourth set by breaking his nervy opponent in the second game.

Auger-Aliassime, who at 20 was bidding to become the youngest male to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals since Djokovic in 2007, failed to hit back and big-serving Berrettini saw the job through to advance.

 

 

Data Slam: History-making Berrettini marches on

Berrettini showed more consistency than Auger-Aliassime, who was competing in his first major quarter-final, and with this victory becomes the first Italian to reach a Wimbledon semi-final in the Open Era. 

The Italian has a 23-5 tour-level record on grass and, after winning his first ATP 250-level title at Queen's last month, he will now fancy his chances of overcoming Hurkacz for a place in the final.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Berrettini – 33/45
Auger-Aliassime – 24/41

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Berrettini – 12/3
Auger-Aliassime – 13/6

BREAK POINTS WON
Berrettini – 6/14 
Auger-Aliassime – 3/12

Roger Federer may well have played his last match at Wimbledon after being dismantled at the quarter-final stage, according to Boris Becker.

Federer, seeking a ninth title at the grass-court grand slam, was comprehensively beaten in straight sets by the relatively unfancied 14th seed Hubert Hurkacz on Wednesday.

The 39-year-old was beaten 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 on Centre Court, missing out on becoming the oldest male to reach the semi-finals of the championship in the Open Era.

Three-time champion Becker thought the manner of Federer's defeat, in which he hit 31 unforced errors and suffered the ignominy of losing a set to love for the first time in his Wimbledon career, could leave him questioning whether this was his last visit.

"I don't know if we'll ever see the great man again here," he said to the BBC.

"It's normal for anybody to make mistakes, but if you're such a perfectionist as Roger Federer, some of these mistakes were way out of his league.

"It can happen in a game or a set even, but in his case it was pretty much the whole match.

"As they always say, time doesn't stand still for any man or woman."

 

Federer came into this year's tournament having played just eight matches in 2021 following a lengthy recovery from knee surgery.

The 20-time major winner battled through the first round when Adrian Mannarino retired in the fifth set but looked to have regained some sharpness in victories over Richard Gasquet, Cameron Norrie and Lorenzo Sonego.

After losing the opening set against Hurkacz, Federer let a 4-1 lead slip in the second before succumbing in the tie-break, after which he never regained a foothold in the contest.

"Maybe in the first round he was trying to find his feet, he was lucky to get through, but in the following matches, he played better and better. Did he have a perfect match? No, but he had moments of perfection," said Becker.

"On paper, he was the favourite today. For him to go out and lose potentially his last ever set six-love... oh, God.

"I hope [he comes back in 2022], I don't want to see Roger losing his last set here. But there are certain rules in professional tennis that even Roger Federer has to obey: it's matches. You don't get your match fitness in practice, you're not going to get it in rehab. You don't know how strong your knee, your thigh or your mind is unless you're put in a position [to win]. He wasn't good enough today."

Becker drew parallels between Federer's defeat and his own 1995 final loss to Pete Sampras – a match that convinced him his time on tour had come to an end.

However, the former world number one advised Federer to play the remainder of the year and see if he can start 2022 on a positive note.

"My moment came when I lost to Pete Sampras in the Wimbledon final of 1995. I thought I was playing good, and I lost in straight sets against the better player," he said.

"I always felt that, when I'm not able to win Wimbledon anymore, why bother coming? Roger won it eight times; he's not coming here to play a tough quarter-final. He's coming here to win.

"He has to take a bit of a rest, play the hard-court season, go to the US Open and play the rest of the year. Go to Australia – he won there a couple of times – and hopefully win another tournament or two. Only then [will] he realise if he's good enough still to compete at the highest level."

Roger Federer's quest for a ninth Wimbledon title is over after he suffered a stunning straight-sets defeat to Hubert Hurkacz in Wednesday's quarter-final.

Federer has not reached the heights of years gone by at the All England Club, as an injury spared his blushes in the fifth set in the first round against Adrian Mannarino and he lost a set to Cameron Norrie in the third round.

And the 39-year-old was undone in style by the big-serving Hurkacz, playing at this stage of a grand slam for the first time in his career after claiming a surprise five-set win over Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round.

That match stretched into a second day but Federer was the player bereft of energy, Hurkacz emerging victorious from the biggest match of his life by a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 scoreline.

Hurkacz settled quickly despite the challenge of facing his childhood idol and had three break points at 2-2 and 40-0 in the first set, only to let that advantageous situation slip.

He did not make the same mistake two games later, emphatically dispatching a backhand volley to claim the sole break he needed to take the opener.

That looked a rare blip for Federer when he surged into a 4-1 second-set lead, only for Hurkacz to reel off the next three games en route to forcing a tie-break.

Hurkacz's prowess at the net continued to cause Federer problems and it was the Pole who eventually forged ahead in the tie-break, moving two sets up with a booming serve down the middle.

Unsurprisingly errant on the forehand side, a frustrated and flat Federer surrendered a break in his first service game of the third.

And two more came with a tame shot into the net and a wide forehand as the 20-time grand slam champion's challenge came to an end with him losing a set 6-0 at Wimbledon for the first time.

 

 

 

Wout van Aert claimed a superb victory after Wednesday's unprecedented double climb of Mont Ventoux as Tadej Pogacar came through a stern examination of his bid for back-to-back Tour de France titles on stage 11.

It was the first time in Tour history that riders climbed the imposing and iconic Giant of Provence twice in the same stage and Belgium's Van Aert showed his superb all-round capabilities after finishing second to Mark Cavendish in the Green Jersey during Tuesday's sprint finish at Valance.

The Jumbo-Visma rider crested Ventoux first the second time around and then showcased his expert descending skills to claim an unforgettable first Tour win in five hours, 17 minutes and 43 seconds, ending the day triumphantly for his team after colleague Tony Martin suffered another painful fall and withdrew.

"I'm lost for words," Van Aert said. "It's stupid to say but I wanted to win this stage before the Tour de France.

"Maybe it's my best victory ever. If you believe in it everything is possible. It's emotional."

Pogacar's advantage is now five minutes and 18 seconds, ahead of Rigoberto Uran, with Australia's Ben O'Connor dropped by the Yellow Jersey group inside the final 30 kilometres to fall from second to fifth overall, behind fourth-placed Richard Carapaz and Van Aert's team-mate Jonas Vingegaard.

Vingegaard supplied the most dramatic moment of the day when he dropped Pogacar near the end of the second ascent and opened up a 37-second gap.

Pogacar was able to claw that back in the company of Uran and INEOS Grenadiers' Carapaz to cross the line in fourth – ahead of his Danish rival Vingegaard, who was given the same time of +1:38 having exposed hitherto unseen hints of weakness within the favourite's considerable armour.

World champion Julian Alaphilippe was the first over the summit of Ventoux on the initial climb but faded from contention.

Fans lining the route at least had something to cheer as Frenchman Kenny Elissonde crossed the line in second alongside Bauke Mollema – the Trek-Segafredo duo each clocking in at +1:14 behind Van Aert.

STAGE RESULT

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 5:17:43
2. Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) +1:14
3. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) +1:14 
4. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +1:38
5. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) +1:38

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 38:25:17
2. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) +5:18
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +5:32

Points Classification

1. Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 218
2. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange) 160
3. Jasper Philipsen  (Alpecin-Fenix) 142

King of the Mountains

1. Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) 50
2. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 44
3. Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) 42

What's next?

After a day of hard toil, the sprinters can again be the main attraction on stage 12, with the 159.4km route from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Nimes expected to end in a bunched finish.

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