England are a better side now than the one that lost to Croatia at the 2018 World Cup and have a lot more faith in overcoming Denmark in their latest semi-final, according to Harry Maguire.

The Three Lions eased to a 4-0 win over Ukraine in Saturday's Euro 2020 quarter-final in Rome – their biggest win in the knockout stages of a major tournament – to set up a showdown with Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday.

England lost their most recent semi-final appearance in the competition on penalties to Germany in 1996, while also losing at that stage to Croatia in the World Cup three years ago en route to finishing fourth.

Not since being crowned world champions on home soil in 1966 have England reached the final of a major tournament, but Maguire insists his side will use the pain of their most recent semi-final heartbreak to drive them on.

"The motivation is there," he said at a news conference on Monday. "It's the semi-final of the European Championship. Losing the semi-final at the World Cup hurt a lot.

"We need to make sure when it comes on Wednesday we get a positive feeling rather than the one we got against Croatia.

"I think we're in a lot better place than we were then. The experience of that, we've learnt from it and also the experience of the games in between as well, for example the Nations League.

"We've had a lot of big games in that period to improve and a lot of time spent together on the training pitch, friendlies and qualifiers. Every game we play we feel we improve.

"My mentality will be the same, but there is more belief going into Denmark than Croatia. We hadn't been to a semi-final in so long in 2018 so the belief wasn't there. We've just got to focus on ourselves."

 

Wednesday's match will be a special occasion for Gareth Southgate, who will become just the second manager to take charge of England in the semi-finals of both the World Cup and the European Championship after Alf Ramsey in 1966 and 1968.

"Gareth sits here and gives us all the plaudits," Maguire said. "But we appreciate the job he's doing and the way that he sets us up and his man-management skills.

"I can't speak highly enough of him and his coaching staff and the way that he's gone about his business over the last four years."

Maguire made his senior international debut under Southgate in October 2017 and has gone on to make 35 appearances for England, the most recent of those being the quarter-final win against Ukraine in which he scored his side's second goal.

England are expected to be given a far tougher test by Denmark, who are competing in the semi-finals of the competition for the first time since famously lifting the trophy against all the odds in 1992.

The Nordic nation – the first team to qualify from the group stage despite losing their first two games - have been the story of the tournament following Christian Eriksen's cardiac arrest on the pitch in their opener against Finland.

Eriksen has subsequently recovered and is in regular contact with his team-mates, who have gone from strength to strength since understandably making a slow start to the competition.

"First and foremost, our thoughts have always been with Christian and his recovery and we're all right behind that," Maguire said. "They're a good team. They've proved that for years.

"They're the highest-ranked team we will have played in this competition. They're a strong team with great leaders in their team, great experience. We know it will be a tough game, but we're really focused on ourselves."

All seven meetings between England and Denmark at Wembley have finished 1-0, with England winning five to Denmark's two, though the Danes have won their last two competitive games against the Three Lions at the stadium.

 

Columbus Blue Jackets have announced that goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks has passed away at the age of 24.

A statement on the Jackets' official website on Monday confirmed that the Latvian died after suffering a head injury in a fall on July 4.

According to reports, local emergency services were called to a residence in Novi, Michigan around 22:00 local time.

Jason Meier of the Novi Police Department told ESPN: "There appears to have been a fireworks malfunction, which caused a group of people to flee from the hot tub, including the deceased, who slipped and hit his head on the concrete."

President of hockey operations John Davidson said: "We are shocked and saddened by the loss of Matiss Kivlenieks, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his mother, Astrida, his family and friends during this devastating time.

"Kivi was an outstanding young man who greeted every day and everyone with a smile and the impact he had during his four years with our organization will not be forgotten."

Kivlenieks had played eight games since signing for Columbus as a free agent in May 2017, but was expected to challenge for more game time in the coming season.

He had also represented his native Latvia, including as they hosted the 2021 edition of the IIHF World Championships.

Rising stars Justin Burrowes and Emily Mayne have been named among a 12-member team that will represent Jamaica at the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships, scheduled for August 8-13 in Puerto Rico, where they will compete for the Hoerman Cup and George Teale Trophy, for men and women, respectively.

James Anderson took his 1,000th first-class wicket and finished with career-best figures as Lancashire dismissed sorry Kent for only 74 on Monday.

Legendary England seamer Anderson claimed a staggering 7-19 from 10 overs on day two of the County Championship match at Old Trafford.

England's record Test wicket-taker, and holder of the most caps for his country in the longest format, tore through Kent in a stunning spell from the James Anderson End.

He took seven of the first eight Kent wickets to fall, reducing them to a pitiful 34-8.

Anderson, who turns 39 this month, reached the 1,000 mark in his 262nd first-class match and bettered his previous best first in an innings of 7-42, which came in England's defeat of West Indies at Lord's in September 2017.

That was the match in which Anderson claimed his 500th Test scalp.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini is expecting a tough test from an "extraordinary" Spain side in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020.

The two teams go head to head at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday hoping to earn a place in the showpiece fixture of the tournament.

Spain have won just one of their five games en route to the last four in normal time – a group-stage victory over Slovakia that staved off the threat of an early exit.

But Italy have been altogether more convincing in winning each of their five outings without the need for extra time or penalties.

When it was put to him that many Italians believe their team is already in the final as a result of this strong form, Mancini replied: "I hope you get it right for once.

"It won't be easy. We need to put in a great performance. Spain are a top team, we are in the semi-finals, so it won't be easy.

"It will be a tough game, Spain are different from Belgium, but we will still face many difficulties.

 

"We suffered against Austria because of their aggressiveness and because it was the first game in the knockout stage.

"Spain have been extraordinary over the last few years, they have many young players and an excellent coach.

"Luis Enrique won the Champions League with Barcelona, but not only that. His Roma side played good football."

After scoring in Italy's opening two fixtures, Ciro Immobile has faced criticism for the two goalless games that have followed, particularly the quarter-final win over Belgium.

But Mancini has leapt to the defence of his striker, saying: "He is the Golden Boot, one of the best scorers of the last few years. 

"Sometimes the most criticised are the decisive ones during the Euros or the World Cup."

Leonardo Spinazzola has undergone a "perfectly successful" operation after he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon during Italy's Euro 2020 win over Belgium.

The Roma full-back had been one of the stars of the tournament, but his participation came to a painful end during a 2-1 quarter-final victory in Munich last Friday.

Spinazzola suffered cruciate ligament damage in May 2018 and has endured frequent fitness problems during his career, but the 28-year-old is ready to put in the hard yards on the road to recovery again after going under the knife.

He posted on Instagram: "Perfectly successful intervention. I thank everyone for being close to me, there were so many of you!

"Countdown started, see you soon."

 

Serie A side Roma have not put a timeframe on how long they expect Spinazzola to be out of action.

"The club can confirm that Leonardo Spinazzola underwent surgery on Monday to repair the Achilles tendon in his left leg, following the injury suffered during Italy's win over Belgium at Euro 2020 on July 2," the Giallorossi stated on their official website.

"The surgery, which was completed in Turku, Finland by Prof. Lasse Lempainen under the observation of the club's chief doctor Massimo Manara, was successfully completed.

"The player's condition and likely recovery period will continue to be assessed over the coming weeks."

Novak Djokovic cruised into the quarter-finals of Wimbledon with a routine straight-sets win over Cristian Garin.

Djokovic is bidding to tie Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with a record 20th grand slam championship by defending his 2019 title.

Since losing the opening set of the tournament to Jack Draper, Djokovic has been imperious form and he eased past Garin on Centre Court on Monday.

This was not vintage Djokovic, but his consistency on serve, strength on the return and remarkable movement skills helped him secure a 6-2 6-4 6-2 triumph to set up a last-eight meeting with Andrey Rublev or Marton Fucsovics.

Djokovic raced into a commanding position in the first set, winning the opening eight points of the match.

Indeed, Garin, aiming to reach the quarter-finals of a grand slam for the first time, appeared overmatched, winning only 10 points on serve as Djokovic took the first set with ease.

But the Chilean warmed to the occasion and displayed his resilience by saving three break points to hold for a 4-3 lead in a game that lasted over 10 minutes.

Garin's resistance was broken in his next service game through some deft Djokovic touch at the net and, after serving out the second, he broke in style in the first game of the third and raced through to a 50th grand slam quarter-final.

 

Data Slam: First serve fires Djokovic to half-century

Djokovic faced two break points in a one-sided contest, with Garin rarely able to threaten his first serve.

Indeed, Garin won 13 points on return and only three of those came against the Serbian's first serve in a performance he will surely want to forget.

By contrast, Djokovic won 48 per cent of points on Garin's serve and, save for the second set, rarely had to expend much energy in bringing up his half-century.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic – 28/23
Garin – 14/26

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic – 9/1
Garin – 2/5

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic – 5/12
Garin – 0/2

Unseeded Sebastian Korda agonisingly missed out on a place in the Wimbledon quarter-finals after a crazy fifth set against Karen Khachanov.

Korda has attracted headlines with his run to the last 16 given his family's sporting success - his sister Nelly recently won the Women's PGA Championship while his father Petr is a former Australian Open champion.

The American had seen off seeds in Alex de Minaur and Dan Evans to reach this stage, almost repeating the trick on his 21st birthday against Khachanov on Monday.

However, he ultimately fell to defeat as Khachanov won 3-6 6-4 6-3 5-7 10-8 in a classic clash that lasted just short of four hours.

After Korda had forced a decider, there were 13 breaks of serve in a remarkable final set on Court 18.

Khachanov had a break advantage at 5-4, 6-5 and 7-6 but Korda – who racked up 56 winners - denied him from serving it out for victory on each occasion.

The Russian finally was able to get over the line after breaking his American opponent at 8-8 and finally holding serve.

Following his gruelling win, Khachanov will play Denis Shapovalov next after the Canadian - conqueror of Andy Murray in the previous round - saw off Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets.

Shapovalov won 6-1 6-3 7-5 to eliminate the eighth seed and reach his second grand slam quarter-final.

Elsewhere, seventh seed Matteo Berrettini continued his serene progress at Wimbledon, thrashing Ilya Ivashka 6-4 6-3 6-1.

Champion at Queen's prior to the tournament, Berrettini lost serve just once in the contest and has not dropped a set since doing so in his first-round win over Guido Pella.

He will face Alexander Zverev or Felix Auger Aliassime for a place in the semi-finals.

Top seed Ash Barty ended Barbora Krejcikova's long winning run to reach her first Wimbledon singles quarter-final.

Krejcikova had reeled off 15 consecutive singles victories but the French Open champion was beaten 7-5 6-3 in an entertaining contest on No.1 Court.

World number one Barty came from a break down to take the opening set and was pushed hard by the 14th seed in the second on 'Manic Monday', but sealed her spot in the last eight at the All England Club.

The 2019 Roland Garros champion will face either British teenager Emma Raducanu or fellow Australian Ajla Tomljanovic for a place in the semi-finals.

Krejcikova, making her main draw debut in singles at SW19, held to love in a commanding first service game and went a break up at 2-1 when Barty pushed a cross-court shot long.

There was a gasp from the crowd when Krejcikova showed great skill and agility to put away a winner at her feet, but they were back on serve at 4-4 following an error-strewn game from the Czech.

Barty missed a chance to wrap up the set when she sent a forehand long but the 25-year-old pumped her fist after breaking to love, avoiding a tie-break after making an uncertain start.

Both players stood firm when they faced early break points in the second set but Barty was scenting the quarter-finals when her opponent sprayed a forehand wide to go 4-2 down.

Krejcikova – who also won a doubles title in Paris last month – took that setback in her stride, working Barty from side to side before putting away a backhand winner in the next game as she broke back immediately.

Yet Barty ground Krejcikova down again to restore her two-game advantage and fended off a break point before serving out the match to move into new territory at the grass-court grand slam.

 

Data Slam: Krejcikova's hot streak ends

Krejcikova had not suffered a singles defeat since May, winning a title in Strasbourg before her maiden grand slam triumph at Roland Garros.

Her magnificent winning streak came to an end in London, but the Brno native looks set to make further major strides.

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Barty – 22/24
Krejcikova – 19/22

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Barty –7/5
Krejcikova – 4/4

BREAK POINTS WON
Barty – 4/7
Krejcikova – 2/10

One could easily have forgiven then 22-year-old Guyanese boxer Michael Parris if he had been left frozen by the large crowds, cold climate, and politically charged atmosphere of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.

Sixty-six countries, including the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, and Haiti had boycotted the games entirely because of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan.  Security at the athletes' village was robust, with armed soldiers and barbed wire unfamiliar sights for the quadrennial spectacle of global goodwill.

At the time, Parris, now looking back, admits that all of that mattered very little.  After all, he was there for one thing and that was to win gold for Guyana, a country which despite its reputation for being rich in earthly minerals, had yet to mine a spec of precious metal on the Olympics stage. 

With that singular focus in mind, Parris recalls spending the majority of his time at the Games training in his hotel room, with the air conditioning stuck at its lowest setting, to help with acclimatisation.  Even so, once the moment arrived, once he stepped out onto the global stage, the gravity of the moment did not entirely escape him.

“I was nervous.  Nobody was calling for Guyana.  I lost at least a bucket of sweat from my face and arms.  The crowd was just so big, and you see maybe one little Guyana flag.  It doesn’t matter where you go in the world, someone from Guyana will always be there.  I saw a little flag somewhere in the crowd,” Parris recalled of stepping into the middle of the ring.

“But, when I was fighting, I never focused on the crowd, not even the coach.  When I was in the ring I only focused on the other fighter, his movement, my movement, to see when I had hurt him,” he added.

Parris began the bouts with a win over Nigeria’s Nureni Gbadamosi, in the round of 32, followed by another win over Syria’s Fayez Zaghloui in the round of 16.  Another solid performance saw the referee stop the contest between himself and Mexico’s Daniel Zaragoza, in the quarterfinals, before he faced Cuba’s Juan Hernández in the semi-finals.

 Unfortunately for Parris, the competition ended there, with the Cuban going on to outpoint him before defeating Venezuela’s Bernardo Piñango in the final to claim the gold medal.

Even if the mission wasn’t fully accomplished, the job had been well done.  Parris’ performances assured him of a bronze medal.  The long journey, which began in sunny Georgetown, Guyana had culminated with a spot on the podium nearly 5,000 miles away, in the chilly Russian city.  Forty years have passed since the monumental occasion, but for Parris, looking back, winning the country’s first and only Olympic medal to date still fills him with a deep sense of pride.

“I didn’t know if I was standing or sitting, or what, when the flag went up in the air.  The excitement, I don’t even remember if I was standing.  To see the flag raised, of 100s of other countries the Guyanese flag was up there.  It was just so good.  Some of our other athletes had flags waving as well, I was checking up on them and they thought they should have won medals as well and such,” Parris recalled.

“It was really exciting everything about it.  Everything, the crowd, the first time the Guyana flag was raised at a Games.  Many athletes went to the games before me.  The first time I went, thankfully, I qualified and was able to bring back the bronze,” he added.

Parris’ achievement is yet to be equalled.  Even the late Andrew ‘Six heads’ Lewis, who went to be WBA World Welterweight Champion, did not match his achievement at the Olympic level.  Lewis failed to advance past the first round at the 1990 Olympics after losing to Germany’s Andreas Otto.

Parris is convinced that the country’s lack of outright success, since then, at the Olympic level, is not due to a lack of talent but more a case of not being enough done to fully harness the potential of young Guyanese athletes.

“We need to find a way to support our athletes.  We need to look closely at these athletes, support them and you’ll get the best out of them.  Support them and expose them, they need financial programs and stuff like that.  Any sports you can think of Guyanese are good at it, whether it be running, swimming, cricket they just need the backing.”

He admits, however, that he has recently been encouraged by the approach taken by a newly elected government, which came into power last year, and the appointment of sports minister Charles Ramson Jr.

“I have been encouraged that we have a young sport’s minister, with this new government.  He looks like he is ready to push things ahead, so we may get a few more Guyanese medalling at the Olympic Games soon,” Parris said.

If there is one regret, Parris, now 63, says is that he has not been able to work with some of the country’s youth boxers, as he was never given the opportunity.  Still, he does his part to attempt to inspire the next generation.

“It’s been a great feeling, but the only thing I wish is when I came back with the medal, I would have loved to give something back to the youth.  I never got the chance because no one called upon me to say come and help us with the coaching program or whatever.  When they have summer camps now though, sometimes I drive around with the medal to show them so they can see it and feel it.  I want to inspire them. I want them to know they can do it as well.”

Colombia will look to pull off an upset and reach the Copa America final for the first time outside of their country when they take on a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina on Tuesday.

Los Cafeteros have lost their six previous semi-finals at neutral venues in the competition, with their only two final appearances – in 1975 and 2001 – seeing them play at least one game on home soil.

Reinaldo Rueda's side beat Uruguay on penalties in the quarter-finals – David Ospina saving two spot-kicks in the shoot-out – following a goalless draw after 90 minutes.

A tough match with Argentina in Brasilia awaits and Rueda, who was only reappointed by Colombia in January, is happy with the progress made by his side in that short period.

"We played a very collective game against Uruguay, with a lot of solidarity and the right balance," he said. "All this helps us believe that we can continue with our improvements.

"We will continue to demand more and more from ourselves in each session before the next game."

If Colombia are to have any hope of overcoming Argentina, they will need to do something Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile failed to do by keeping Messi quiet.

He leads the Copa America scoring charts with four goals, including a fine free-kick in the quarter-final win over Ecuador, while also providing a competition-high four assists. 

Messi has never previously won a trophy with Argentina, and that remains the superstar forward's main focus ahead of Tuesday's semi-final showdown.

"I've always said that individual prizes are secondary. We're here for something else," he said. "We have an objective and we're focused on that."

Argentina squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Colombia in their most recent meeting just last month, a game that is still fresh in Messi's memory.

"They denied us in a match that we had under control. That's why we can't take this for granted," Messi added. "We have to play our game and keep hold of the ball."

 

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Argentina - Lionel Messi

With his four goals and four assists so far, Messi has been involved in 80 per cent of Argentina's 10 goals at this edition of the Copa America.

He may not be focused on individual honours, but he is now just one short of Brazil great Pele's all-time goals record (77) for a South American country.

Colombia - Juan Cuadrado

The versatile Juventus winger missed his side's quarter-final with Uruguay after picking up two yellow cards in the group stage, but he is back in contention to face Argentina.

While Cuadrado may not have a goal or assist to his name yet this tournament, he remains one of Colombia's most dangerous players and his fresh legs could come in handy.


KEY OPTA FACTS

- Argentina and Colombia will face each other for the third time in the Copa America semi-finals. The first meeting was in 1993, when Argentina won on penalties, and the second one was in 2004 with another win for Argentina. 

- The last time these sides faced each other in the Copa America was in 2019 with a 2-0 win for Colombia.

- Argentina have failed to progress from just one of their last six Copa America semi-finals: against Brazil in 2019 (a 2-0 loss). Argentina have never played a Copa America final on Brazilian soil.

- Colombia are the team with the most recoveries (306), interceptions (74) and fouls conceded (78, alongside Paraguay) in the current Copa America.

Former French Open champion Iga Swiatek has been knocked out of Wimbledon after losing an entertaining fourth-round battle with Ons Jabeur.

Jabeur had never been past the second round at Wimbledon before the 2021 tournament but will now face second seed Aryna Sabalenka in the quarter-finals.

The Tunisian stormed back from behind on Court 2 to defeat seventh seed Swiatek 5-7 6-1 6-1 on Monday.

Jabeur sealed her victory with a ninth ace of the match and let out a passionate roar.

She was fantastic at key moments, converting all seven of the break-point opportunities she created and firing 30 winners to 23 unforced errors.

Swiatek, by contrast, racked up 15 break-point chances but could only take three of them. The Pole only had a first-serve percentage of 46 and struggled to find her rhythm.

 

Jabeur, seeded 21st, also impressively saw off Garbine Muguruza in a comeback victory in the previous round.

She has now matched her best grand slam result, achieved when she reached the last eight at the Australian Open last year.

Sabalenka, meanwhile, survived a scare but ultimately prevailed in three tough sets against Elena Rybakina.

A 6-3 4-6 6-3 win in just under two hours gave Sabalenka her first-ever appearance at a slam quarter-final.

The chief executive of the Belgian Football Association says Roberto Martinez will stay on as coach despite Belgium's Euro 2020 "failure".

A 2-1 quarter-final defeat to Italy in Munich on Friday ended the Red Devils' hopes of being crowned champions of Europe.

Belgium once again started the competition with the expectation of mounting a strong challenge to win a first major tournament as the top-ranked team in the world.

They fell short once again under Martinez, but CEO Peter Bossaert says the Spaniard has the full backing of the Belgian FA and he does not expect the 47-year-old to walk away.

Asked if Martinez will remain at the helm, he told HLN: "Yes. He has a contract until the end of the World Cup [in Qatar next year]. 

"We are already together on Monday for the international matches in September and the Nations League final. I'm not afraid he'll leave. Normally he stays.”

Bossaert can understand criticism of Belgium after their exit at the hands of the Azzurri.

"The result is disappointing, so you can call it a failure," he said. "I fully understand that. We didn't realise what we were working for. 

"That's the cruel side of top football. If you lose in the KO phase, you don't have a chance to make amends."

 

Bossaert does not feel Euro 2020 represented the last chance for a so-called 'golden generation' to win a major tournament.

He added: "I am more positive about that [their chances of glory at a big competition]. This European Championship was a missed opportunity, but the Nations League final will follow in October and the World Cup will start in 16 months. 

"Many of our top players are still quite young. [Kevin] De Bruyne and Eden Hazard are 30, [Romelu] Lukaku 28, [Yannick] Carrasco 27, [Youri] Tielemans 24, and I can name many more. 

"They can last a long time. This generation still has opportunities. Certainly in the first two challenges, the Nations League and the World Cup, we can be ambitious. 

"Then there is the European Championship in Germany. The World Cup in 2026 in the US, Mexico and Canada is still too far away. But if we regularly supplement this core with new talents, I look to the future with confidence."

Arsene Wenger has backed plans for the World Cup to be staged every two years, insisting "it is what the fans want".

The competition is held every four years and is due to be hosted by Qatar at the end of 2022.

However, world football governing body FIFA is carrying out a feasibility study into making the World Cup a biennial event.

That would appease broadcasters but has been opposed by leagues and clubs due to fears over player burnout.

But Wenger, who is now head of global football development at FIFA, has argued a revamp of the international football calendar will help players' wellbeing.

"I always had the feeling that the many shorter breaks were rather unfavourable for the players," he told German outlet Kicker. 

"Those were always moments of uncertainty. How are the players feeling mentally afterwards? Do you come back hurt?"

Wenger cited the example of Robert Lewandowski, who sustained a knee injury while on Poland duty in March and missed six games for Bayern Munich, including both legs of their Champions League quarter-final with Paris Saint-Germain.

"That ruined Bayern's entire Champions League season," Wenger said.

"The national teams can meet in October, play seven qualifying games for a month and then play the finals of a tournament in June.

"We want to reduce the number of games – that's very important because we can see the condition of the players."

Speaking in March, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he was open to any new ideas for the post-2024 football calendar, including the possibility of reducing the number of international breaks.

Wenger added: "More knockout matches, fewer qualifying games. That's what the fans want.

"Think of it this way: 2026 the World Cup in the USA, Mexico and Canada; 2027 a European Championship and the other continental tournaments; 2028 another World Cup; and so on.

"We guarantee a period of rest after every tournament."

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