Maybe it's wishful thinking, but if Denmark could pick a moment to remember from their Euro 2020 campaign, surely this would be near the top of the list.

Toe-poke, trivela, call it what you will – Joakim Maehle's outside-of-the-foot cross for the second goal against the Czech Republic was one of the finest pieces of skill seen at these finals.

With enough pace to elude defenders but not the arriving Kasper Dolberg, curling away from Czech heads and onto the striker's foot, it was impudent expertise of the highest order.

It was also entirely in keeping with Maehle's standard of performances at this tournament. This was no fluke or Hail Mary; this was calculated brilliance by a player at the top of his game.

Maehle's form has been a bit of a subplot to Denmark's amazing run to the semi-finals. The team spirit and the tactical nous of Kasper Hjulmand have been praised at almost every turn since that awful moment when Christian Eriksen's life was in danger during their opening match with Finland. But there are individual stars to shout about, too, and Maehle most of all.

After netting the fourth goal in the decisive group win over Russia, Maehle struck a superb third in the 4-0 defeat of Wales in the previous round. Before the quarter-finals, no defender had scored more goals, taken more shots (nine) or completed more dribbles (11) than the Atalanta wing-back.

Calling him a 'defender' might sound a stretch – playing his club football at Atalanta, he is certainly prized as much for his work in the opponents' half as his own. Yet defend he does, when the need arises: against Wales, no Denmark player made more tackles (two) or interceptions (three), while the Czech Republic's Lukas Masopust was hauled off at half-time of Saturday's quarter-final after touching the ball just 15 times, his playground on the right-hand side locked down by Denmark's marauding left-back.

 

By the end of their 2-1 win, a result that made Denmark the first team to reach the semi-finals of the Euros after losing twice in the group stage, Maehle had misplaced just three passes in total and completed 91 per cent in the Czech Republic half, the most of any starting player for Hjulmand's side. He should have had a second goal, too, Tomas Vaclik saving well at his near post to deny Maehle from his latest surge into the box.

Denmark can now look forward to a semi-final, their first at a major tournament since that shock trophy win in 1992. They have scored 11 times at these finals, their best return at either the World Cup or European Championship. Maehle has been directly involved in three of them, and each one has been a real moment of magic.

What happened to Eriksen has not been forgotten, and nor should it. The actions of the medical staff and the dignity of Denmark's players, coaches and fans will deserve praise long after this tournament is over.

But mostly, Euro 2020 must be about the football: about hopes and dreams, surprise results, and outstanding performances. In that regard, Maehle has delivered more than most.

Three debutants marked their British and Irish Lions bows with tries and Josh Adams added four in a dominant 56-14 win over the Lions in Johannesburg.

In their first tour match since landing in South Africa, Warren Gatland's men were comfortable from the outset thanks to the first contributions from Louis Rees-Zammit and Hamish Watson on Saturday.

Ali Price crossed for a third try before the break – the sixth first-half effort across two matches, already as many as the British and Irish Lions had in the entirety of the 2017 tour to New Zealand.

The scoring was not slowed by the interval, as a quartet of Adams finishes continued his own impressive form ahead of the South Africa Tests and Gareth Davies also got a breakthrough try from the bench.

Chris Harris, another of the four new faces in the XV, was heavily involved in a rapid start from the touring side.

His chip found Rees-Zammit, who was too quick and strong for his opponents and able to race through, and one try quickly became two as Watson barged under the posts.

The pace of the game slowed a little thereafter, but the hosts were caught dozing as Price dashed in following a long line-out throw.

A powerful run from Vincent Tshituka got the Lions on the scoresheet and they remained just about in touch at the break as a Wyn Jones try was chalked off due to foul play from Courtney Lawes.

It was only a temporary setback as Adams was through almost straight from the restart, although Francke Horn soon found space to feed Rabz Maxwane for a Lions riposte.

Finn Russell's pinpoint kick found a leaping Adams for another try and the British and Irish Lions picked off their tiring opponents.

Davies added his name to the scoresheet soon after his introduction and then Adams was twice left all alone on the left wing, completing his hat-trick and then getting a fourth.

Starting in style... again

The British and Irish Lions have now won their first game after arriving in South Africa on seven consecutive tours. The prior six victories came by an average margin of 23 points.

This triumph came as little surprise then, with the travelling side having lost only one of their past 57 tour games in South Africa – excluding Springboks Tests.

Louis looks the part

Rees-Zammit is still only 20 but has seamlessly adapted to each step in his career so far, becoming Wales' youngest try scorer in eight years against Georgia last November.

His British and Irish Lions bow was typically assured, helped by the early link-up with Gloucester team-mate Harris.

Patrik Schick's fifth goal at Euro 2020 was not enough to inspire a comeback as Denmark beat the Czech Republic 2-1 to take their place in the semi-finals.

Schick joined Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the scoring charts with his fifth goal of the tournament early in the second half in Baku.

Yet he will have no further opportunity to add to his tally, as a fantastic first-half performance, which included goals from Thomas Delaney and Kasper Dolberg, ensured Denmark reached the last four of a Euros for the first time since they won the 1992 edition.

Kasper Hjulmand's team, whose tally of 11 goals trails only fellow semi-finalists Spain, will face either England or Ukraine on Wednesday.

 

Approximately 1,500 Danish supporters were able to make the trip to Baku, and they were celebrating within five minutes.

Jens Stryger Larsen's corner – which should not have been awarded – found Delaney unmarked, and the Borussia Dortmund midfielder made no mistake with a brilliant header.

On his 21st birthday, Mikkel Damsgaard just failed to squeeze a finish beyond Tomas Vaclik from a tight angle, before Stryger Larsen and Delaney combined for another chance – the latter scuffing wide.

Dolberg made no such mistake three minutes before half-time, however, as he cushioned home from Joakim Maehle's exquisite, outside-of-the-foot cross from the left.

Antonin Barak drew a fine save out of Kasper Schmeichel following the restart, with Simon Kjaer then getting a vital block on Schick's overhead kick.

Yet the Czech Republic's pressure told in the 49th minute – Schick placing a measured first-time finish into the bottom-left corner after being found by Vladimir Coufal.

Tomas Soucek made a brave block to deny Yussuf Poulsen just after the hour, though the Czechs were dealt a blow when Ondrej Celustka succumbed to injury.

Poulsen was let off the hook for another miss when Kjaer cleared in front of a gaping goal soon after, and with Schick going off with an apparent injury late on, Denmark held firm to book their spot at Wembley.

Roger Federer fought off spirited home hope Cameron Norrie to set up a fourth-round meeting with Lorenzo Sonego at Wimbledon.

The 39-year-old, an eight-time champion at the All England Club, overcame a third-set wobble to secure a 6-4 6-4 5-7 6-4 triumph amid the familiar surroundings of Centre Court on Saturday.

British number two Norrie, enjoying a career-best run at the grass-court grand slam, tallied four double faults in a first set decided by one break of serve in favour of the Swiss maestro.

Federer's supremacy was first challenged when he faced two break points in his opening service game of the second set, but he clicked into gear to snuff out the threat with four points on the spin.

Finding the fluency that is such a hallmark of his game, Federer looked at ease on a court where success has come so readily to him, the crowd favourite executing his game plan to leave Norrie chasing shadows at the other end.

The third set was a more keenly contested affair as Norrie threw caution to the wind, unleashing some lethal forehand strikes to finally put Federer under some strain, with the seasoned champion broken at the vital moment.

An exchange of breaks early in the fourth suggested a degree of parity in the contest, but Federer accelerated to the finish line to end British interest in the men's draw at this year's tournament.

Data Slam: Double trouble for Norrie

Federer does not need any favours from his opponents but Norrie was all too forthcoming with them on his own serve, despite an otherwise excellent display. 

Norrie, ranked 34 in the world, racked up seven double faults and you can scarcely afford to be so charitable against such formidable opposition. 

 

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Federer – 48/33
Norrie – 34/32

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Federer –7/0
Norrie – 12/7

BREAK POINTS WON

Federer – 4/11
Norrie – 2/4

Lando Norris described his "epic" second place in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix as one of the best laps he has driven in Formula One.

McLaren are back on the front row for the first time since 2012 after Norris incredibly finished just 0.048 seconds behind Max Verstappen, marginally missing out on a historic pole.

Verstappen became the first F1 driver to win three times at the Red Bull Ring as he beat Lewis Hamilton to victory last time out.

Having also won in France, the Dutchman looks well placed to make it a treble.

He was boosted as his team-mate Sergio Perez qualified third, meaning the two Mercedes of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were left in fourth and fifth respectively.

George Russell – reportedly in the running to drive for the German team next year – took a brilliant ninth for Williams on a day of surprises.

Verstappen – unhappy with his team for the position he was put out in the running order in Q3 – could not improve in his second run, giving surprise challenger Norris the chance to come agonisingly close to pole.

But Verstappen has shown impressive form this weekend and it continued with another strong result, even if Norris was understandably attracting the attention after Saturday's session.

"I feel epic!" Norris said to Sky Sports. "It's one of the best laps I've done – I'm really happy with P2, my best qualifying in Formula One.

"One of my best laps in Formula One. It's a good feeling, so I'm looking forward to Sunday.

"It feels pretty cool. After the last race I wanted to take one more step [after qualifying fourth] – but we went two more! 

"It's nice to be in a good position for Sunday. I don't know how far I was off pole, bit gutted I didn't get pole – Sunday will be tough but we did the best job we could."

 

After a third straight pole and his fourth overall in 2021, Verstappen warned victory would not come easily as he looks to extend his 18-point lead in the drivers' standings.

"I think Q3 was pretty bad. Of course I'm happy to be first but not the way we got it," he said.

"Pole again is good. Hopefully we can finish it off on Sunday – it is never straightforward though.

"Softer compounds compared to last week, so it will be tough to manage those in the race but aside from that, we'll just try to focus on our own race and of course, we'll try to win it."

Both Ferraris and Fernando Alonso – who was angry at being held up by Sebastian Vettel in an incident that could result in a grid penalty – all missed out on progression from Q2.

It meant Yuki Tsunoda and Vettel were able to claim seventh and eighth, with Lance Stroll taking the last spot in the top 10 behind the impressive Russell.

Perez claimed third for Red Bull having initially looked poised to start further down the order after his first Q3 run.

"It's been a hard weekend up to now," the Mexican explained. "We have been chasing the balance and just exploring the car.

"It didn't come easy. It was very hard work – harder than you think.

"In the end we got a good lap and we have a good position. I believe we have got a better race car than qualifying."

Six consecutive top-five finishes have put Perez third in the championship prior to the ninth race of the campaign, with Norris fourth in the standings ahead of Bottas and Charles Leclerc.

 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 1:03.720
2. Lando Norris (McLaren) +0.048s
3. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) +0.270s
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +0.294s
5. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.329s
6. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) +0.387s
7. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) +0.553s
8. Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) +0.850s
9. George Russell (Williams) +0.871s
10. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) +0.898s

Tadej Pogacar grabbed the yellow jersey with a remarkable ride on stage eight of the Tour de France as pretenders to his crown floundered.

On the 150-kilometre stage from Oyonnax to Le Grand-Bornand, won by Belgian Dylan Teuns, last year's champion Pogacar finished fourth and roared into first place in the general classification.

The 22-year-old Slovenian had trailed Mathieu van der Poel by three minutes and 43 seconds at the start of stage eight, but he now leads by 1min 48secs from Wout van Aert.

Van der Poel fell out of contention, trailing home 44th, 21:47 behind Teuns, to slide from first to 23rd overall, as the GC standings were given a vigorous shake-up.

The race turned as Van der Poel began to fall off the pace of a chasing group in the closing 35km and Van Aert initially followed, but Pogacar only grew in strength from that point.

Canadian Michael Woods had built a big lead as he reached the summit of the Col de Romme, over a minute clear of a chasing pack of four riders and three minutes and 40 seconds ahead of Pogacar.

Pogacar drew within 30 seconds of the lead with 15km remaining, passing Ion Izaguirre Insausti to leave Woods and Teuns as the only riders ahead of him, and soon only Teuns was denying him first place.

Teuns proved too strong, and Woods and Izaguirre Insausti edged ahead of Pogacar in the closing metres, but the defending champion had inflicted a brutal blow on a host of major rivals.

Pogacar said on Eurosport: "I just decided before the last three climbs and I said to my team-mates, 'Let's try to break the race', and we did it. Once I saw everyone was suffering... I just took off and tried to pace myself to the finish line and I'm pretty happy."

Pogacar was surprised there was little response from those with yellow jersey aspirations, who he claimed had tried and failed to break his challenge on the seventh stage, adding: "I thought they would show more today, but in the end I guess they were affected from yesterday and from today's cold and rain."

Teuns knew where Pogacar was in the closing kilometres and said his stage victory was a tribute to his late grandfather, touching his chest by his heart and point skywards.

He said: "We had the funeral just a few days before I had to go to the Tour so it was emotional for me, this last 10k."

Any hopes that Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Primoz Roglic had of GC success were wiped out as all three finished over 30 minutes off the pace.

STAGE RESULT

1. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious) 3:54:41
2. Ion Izaguirre Insausti (Astana-Premier Tech) +0:44
3. Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) +0:47
4. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0:49
5. Wouter Poels (Bahrain Victorious) +2:33

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 29:38:25
2. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) +01:48
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) +4:38

Points Classification

1. Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 168
2. Michael Matthews (Team Bikeexchange) 113
3. Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) 103

King of the Mountains

1. Wouter Poels (Bahrain Victorious) 23
2. Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation) 16
3. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious) 12

What's next?

The 144.9-kilometre ride from Cluses to Tignes will be another stiff test for the riders, with a mountain finish ahead of Monday's first rest day. Five major climbs await, including the 'hors categorie' ascent of the Col du Pre at around halfway.

Juventus legend David Trezeguet says nobody has been able to manage Cristiano Ronaldo in the same way as former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo has spent the past three seasons at the Allianz Stadium after joining from Real Madrid in a €112million (£99.2m) deal.

The 36-year-old, who has another 12 months to run on his contract, is coming off the back of a campaign that saw him finish top of the Serie A scoring charts with 29 goals.

He has scored 81 times in 97 Serie A games since arriving in July 2018, a tally bettered only by Robert Lewandowski (93 goals in 97 Bundesliga games) and Lionel Messi (91 goals in 102 LaLiga games) in Europe's top five leagues.

That compares to 311 goals in 292 LaLiga appearances during his nine seasons with Madrid, during which time he won 15 trophies, including four Champions League crowns.

Ronaldo spent two seasons playing under Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Trezeguet does not believe Massimiliano Allegri, Maurizio Sarri and Andrea Pirlo have got the most out of the Portuguese in the same way as Zidane.

"I think nobody has been able to manage him as Zinedine Zidane. Perhaps there has been a lack of dialogue at Juventus at some point," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. 

"One coach can tell a player: 'Look at this game, you walked for 90 minutes and you must help me win the games'.

"There are players you don't want to play against because they make you win the matches. Ronaldo is one of them, [Paulo] Dybala as well. Some of the others, with all due respect, not as much."

 

Doubts remain over Ronaldo's future in Turin amid recent links with former clubs Madrid and Manchester United, as well as French giants Paris Saint-Germain.

Newly-appointed Juventus director Federico Cherubini this week insisted the superstar forward has not asked to leave the club, however, and he now looks set to remain for at least another season.

"Ronaldo was the best signing from Juventus, one that nobody expected," Trezeguet added. 

"There have been some problems with his team-mates, and you could see that, but he's scored 100 goals since joining."

Despite having Ronaldo on board, Juventus failed to win the Scudetto last season for the first time in a decade and only just finished in a Champions League qualification spot.

Allegri was reappointed last month following the departure of Pirlo, but Trezeguet would have preferred to see a different coach on the bench next season.

"The problem for me is the mentality," said Juve's fourth all-time record goalscorer. "The world of football no longer thinks Italian football is good. In Italy we defend low and ask more of the attacker.

"Abroad, everyone plays constantly at full speed. I am in favour of radical changes. If not Allegri, I would have gone for a foreign coach. But I understand greats like [Pep] Guardiola and [Jurgen] Klopp cost money."

Wimbledon crowd favourite Nick Kyrgios retired hurt in his third-round match against Felix Auger-Aliassime on Saturday, hailing his opponent as a "hell of a player".

Kyrgios made headlines in the week with complaints over the condition of the grass courts at the All England Club, though the divisive Australian had looked sharp in wins over Ugo Humbert and Gianluca Mager.

He carried that form into his second career meeting with Canada's Auger-Aliassime, but as he charged to a 6-2 lead in the first set, Kyrgios sustained an apparent abdominal injury.

The 26-year-old received treatment on court, yet was clearly in distress as he attempted to continue, with Auger-Aliassime capitalising to take the second set 6-1 in just 22 minutes.

It signalled the end of the road for Kyrgios, who handed the win to the world number 19.

Despite his withdrawal, Kyrgios remained in good spirits.

Explaining his decision, Kyrgios said: "I haven't played this level of tennis in a long time, and obviously playing someone as good as Felix, my main weapon – my serve – to be firing on all cylinders and I just felt my abs, definitely did something in the first set.

"That's the way it goes. He's a hell of a player, he's going to do special things in this sport. Playing out here, having this support, has made me have a second wind. I reckon I'm going to come back and play for a bit longer.

"I did all I could to get here. I beat a heck of a player in the first round, played a great second round and just to get out here again, two sets, tried to play as long as I could, sorry I couldn't give you more today. But you'll see a lot of [Auger-Aliassime] in the future, and he's better looking too!"

For his part, Auger-Aliassime was equally as frustrated not to be able to see out what promised to be an entertaining match up.

"First of all, sorry for Nick, he was playing so good in the first set. It's really unfortunate in front of a packed crowd," he said.

"I think there were big expectations for this match, we were hoping to put on a good show, entertain the crowd, so it's unfortunate he had to retire. I hope it’s nothing too serious and he’ll be back on the US swing."

Italy full-back Leonardo Spinazzola has set his sights on the quickest recovery possible after a ruptured Achilles tendon ended his Euro 2020.

Spinazzola had been one of the standout performers in the tournament and made a vital goal-line block to deny Romelu Lukaku during the Azzurri's thrilling 2-1 quarter-final win over Belgium in Munich.

But the Roma defender, who suffered cruciate ligament damage in May 2018 and has endured frequent fitness problems during his career, will miss the semi-final meeting with Spain after pulling up before full-time and needing a stretcher to leave the field.

Italy's Twitter account shared a video of Spinazzola's team-mates serenading him on their flight home and the 28-year-old tapped into that positive attitude in an Instagram post.

"Unfortunately we all know how it went but our  dream continues and with this great group nothing is impossible," he wrote.

"I can only tell you that I will be back soon!"

Italy boss Roberto Mancini began his post-match news conference by offering his sympathy to player who made himself vital to Italy's bid for glory.

"We are very disappointed and gutted for Spinazzola for that injury he didn't deserve because he was playing extraordinarily well," he said.

"He's been one of the best players at Euro 2020 and we are absolutely gutted."

 

Spinazzola recovered possession 23 times in the tournament, more than any other Italy defender.

But it was in attack where he gave Mancini's fluent side an extra dimension.

His seven chances created from open play are the joint-second best in the Azzurri squad, alongside Domenico Berardi and behind Marco Verratti (10).

Matteo Pessina and Spinazzola each average 14 metres per carry with the ball, with the latter out in front on progressive carries (9.5m) – instances of a player moving the ball vertically up the field.

Six of Spinazzola's dribbles ended in a shot, another squad best, and likely deputy Emerson will have considerable shoes to fill when Italy and Spain meet at Wembley on Tuesday.

Lewis Hamilton has ended speculation over his Formula One future after signing a new two-year contract with Mercedes.

The seven-time world champion, bidding for a record eighth crown in 2021, is now tied to the German team through the 2023 season, covering the first two campaigns of new regulations which come into force next year.

The 36-year-old has won six of his previous seven drivers' titles with Mercedes, who he joined from McLaren in 2012.

Hamilton only signed a one-year deal for 2021 in February and both he and team boss Toto Wolff had stressed agreeing an earlier deal this time around was a priority.

The Briton is embroiled in a thrilling title scrap with Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who has opened up an 18-point lead in the championship going into the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend.

 

It is still unclear who Hamilton's team-mate will be for 2022 and beyond.

Valtteri Bottas is languishing fifth in the championship, while George Russell – now with Williams – impressed when he stood in during Hamilton's coronavirus absence at last season's Sakhir Grand Prix.

Russell reacted to the news by calling it "great for Mercedes and F1".

After his new deal was confirmed, Stats Perform looked at the data to summarise Hamilton's incredible F1 impact.

LEVEL WITH SCHUMACHER

Michael Schumacher won his seventh and final championship in 2004, a streak of five in a row at Ferrari that saw him surpass Juan Manuel Fangio's previous overall record of five career titles.

All but one of Hamilton's triumphs have come with Mercedes, following a dramatic initial 2008 success at McLaren.

That means he has now gone past Schumacher as the driver to have won the most F1 titles with the same team. The German's back-to-back 1994 and 1995 successes came at Benetton.

The only championship not claimed by Hamilton during his current run, 2016, was picked up by his then Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

Hamilton has won four in a row, meaning matching another Schumacher best for successive crowns while also claiming the outright record of eight are his targets this season.

WINNING RECORD

In 2020 Hamilton equalled his best single-season return of 11 wins, which he also recorded in each of 2014, 2018 and 2019.

Hamilton is an all-time F1 leader in terms of career race wins (98), poles (100), podiums (171) and points (3,916), having overtaken Schumacher to take top spot in all but the latter category.

Of those race victories, 77 have come with Mercedes, the most any driver has achieved with a single team.

He has led the most races (168) and laps (5,221) in F1 history, while he had finished a record 48 consecutive grands prix in the points until COVID-19 forced him to miss the penultimate race of 2020.

However, as he signs his deal at a time when rival Verstappen is thriving, the Briton is only one GP away from equalling his worst run (five races) without winning in a single season since 2014.

He also had two five-race runs without a win in 2016, the year Rosberg triumphed and the only campaign Hamilton did not win the title in the hybrid era.

Interestingly, Hamilton did set a record in that season as runner-up. He won 10 races and racked up 380 points, both the most ever by a driver who did not go on to win the world title.

DOMINANCE SPANNING DECADES

When he won his first championship in 2008, Hamilton was F1's youngest world title winner at 23 years, nine months and 26 days old. Sebastian Vettel later surpassed that feat in 2010 at 23, four months and 11 days.

Title number seven arrived with Hamilton 35, 10 months and eight days old.

The 12 seasons between his first and most recent titles is the longest span in F1 history, with Schumacher (1994-2004) and Niki Lauda (1975-1984) next on the list.

Lauda edged out Alain Prost in 1984 by half a point in the last of his wins, the only margin narrower than the single point Hamilton beat Felipe Massa by in 2008.

He does not deal in such slender differences nowadays. The 124-point advantage he had over Valtteri Bottas last year stands as Hamilton's biggest personal margin over the driver in second place.

Vettel still holds the most processional title win, going back to 2013 when his Red Bull was 155 points better off than runner-up Fernando Alonso's Ferrari.

FAVOURITE RACES

Hamilton has won eight times at the Hungarian Grand Prix, sharing the record for most wins at a single circuit with Schumacher, who triumphed eight times in France.

With seven wins at the British Grand Prix, Hamilton holds the F1 record for most wins at a home race.

Hamilton has also triumphed seven times in Canada, with six wins apiece in China and the United States, which are both among his favourite tracks.

His career victories have come at an astonishing 29 different circuits and 28 different grands prix, highlighting his longevity, and a win in Austria on Sunday would kickstart his pursuit of further records.

New Zealand ran in 16 tries in a 102-0 demolition of Tonga.

Will Jordan helped himself to a five-try haul, while scrum-half Brad Weber ran in a hat-trick as the All Blacks reached a century of points for the sixth time in their history.

They are the only country to have achieved the feat more than once and it was the second time Tonga have found themselves on the receiving end.

Damian McKenzie got the scoring underway with a second-minute try and the full-back went on to claim three assists as nine All Blacks crossed overall.

Dalton Papalii's first-half double, along with Jordan and Weber getting into their work meant it was 43-0 at half-time and worse was to follow for the visitors, who were without the bulk of their northern hemisphere players due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and named 13 debutants.

Luke Jacobson, Richie Mo'unga, Rieko Ioane and Patrick Tuipulotu all got in on the act in the second half, marking an emphatic start to their 2021 schedule having won only half of their six 2020 outings.

 

Mo'unga landed seven conversions before making way for Beauden Barrett, back from his sabbatical in Japan.

Barrett added the extra for a fourth and final time after the hooter when George Bridge compounded Tonga's misery by bringing up three figures – his try a reward for a tireless performance where the wing made seven clean breaks.

Gareth Southgate has a reputation for matter-of-fact sincerity in news conferences but it felt like even he was laying it on a little thick last October.

Luke Shaw was fit and a fixture in Manchester United's first team but had ticked past two years without an England call-up.

For Nations League matches against Belgium and Denmark and a friendly versus Wales, Ben Chilwell was unavailable. Southgate selected and split left wing-back duties between Kieran Trippier, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka – none of whom are specialists in the position.

"The door is certainly open," he replied when asked about Shaw's seemingly dwindling prospects.

"I don't think we've ever closed the door on any player - and we certainly wouldn't on Luke.

"He's more than capable of being the best left-back in the country in my opinion."

A scroll through some of the social media responses to that assertion suggests not too many agreed.

After his starring role in the stirring 2-0 Euro 2020 win over Germany, it is hard to argue against the notion that Shaw – despite everything he has endured since becoming the most expensive teenager in world football back in June 2014 – is England's premier left-sided defender.

 

Dark days at Old Trafford

"If I'd flown back, I would probably have lost my leg because of the blood clots."

It is an incredibly stark statement. A tackle by PSV's Hector Moreno during a September 2015 Champions League match left Shaw with a horrific double leg fracture that threatened to become worse than that gruesome description.

As Shaw recuperated from surgery at St Anna Ziekenhuis hospital in Geldrop and United made plans to fly him home, doctors discovered two blood clots and scheduled an emergency operation.

"I've got two scars down the side of my leg where they had to cut me open and pull them out," said the former Southampton youngster, when discussing his ordeal while on England duty three years later.

"I'd be lying if I said I hadn't sometimes thought about stopping playing football [during rehabilitation]. It went on for a long period, doing the same things every day.

"I couldn’t do anything else because of the break. It was frustrating but I came out the other side."

When he returned to action the following season, Shaw had another draining, sapping problem - Jose Mourinho was the Manchester United manager.

After starting the season as first choice, Mourinho singled out Shaw for strong criticism after a 3-1 defeat at Watford.

Things came to an unsavoury head in April 2017, when the former Chelsea boss first questioned "the way he trains, the way he commits, the focus, the ambition" ahead of a game with Everton.

 

Then, after Shaw came off the bench and impressed to help United salvage a 1-1 draw, Mourinho claimed: "He had a good performance but it was his body with my brain. He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him."

The relationship remained strained, even as Shaw was handed a five-year contract extension in October 2018 - two months before Mourinho was sacked.

"There is no hiding that we didn't get on," Shaw told reporters last week, after Mourinho – now working as a pundit after his Tottenham tenure went the same way as his United reign – criticised his "dramatically bad" corner taking during England's 1-0 group stage win over the Czech Republic.

"I think he was a brilliant manager but, you know, the past is the past. It is time to move on. I am trying to move on but, obviously, he can't. He continuously talks about me, which I find quite strange."

The long road to Wembley

The raucous din as Shaw drove forward from midfield and fed Jack Grealish on Tuesday meant he would have been unlikely to hear instructions from the touchline or anywhere else inside Wembley. Funnily enough, his football brain was in good order.

Grealish crossed and Harry Kane stooped to head England to a 2-0 win over Germany, their first knockout stage victory over any team with a world title to their name since 1966.

Southgate's Euro 2020 side have worn their pragmatism proudly. Despite an enviable array of attacking talent – Shaw described it as "absolute madness, so frightening" this week - they go forward with cautious calculation and are yet to concede a goal.

As well as being part of that watertight defensive unit, Shaw has proved invaluable to an attacking approach that values quality over quantity. His five chances created, with four from open play, are the most of any England player, as are his 18 passes into the opposition box. An expected assists (xA) figure of 1.08 also shows him to be cumulatively laying on a better quality of chances than any of his team-mates.

Those attacking gifts were a large part of what persuaded United to pay Southampton £27million for his services, with Shaw following Wayne Bridge and Gareth Bale off the St Mary's production line as a left-back with game-changing qualities.

Initially, he appeared inhibited at Old Trafford, as then-manager Louis van Gaal questioned his fitness in an early taste of what was to come under Mourinho. Then the injury nightmare began.

It has been a long road back, but in 2020-21, United got their most sustained look at the player they hoped they were buying six years earlier.

 

Shaw's 47 appearances were his most in a single campaign and culminated in Europa League final heartache against Villarreal. It was his first United appearance in a major final, representing a personal triumph over a catalogue of fitness problems amid penalty shoot-out woe.

He claimed six assists in all competitions, the most of his career, while 90 chances created was more than double his previous best of 41 in 2018-19.

Shaw averaged 6.88 passes into the opposition box per 90 minutes, having never averaged above 3.5 before, despite some of his previous sample sizes being far smaller due to injury interrupted campaigns.

Southgate's faith repaid

If those performances made Shaw impossible to ignore last season, he was easily forgotten in March 2017.

Injuries and Mourinho's ire had combined to mean a solitary Premier League start in a five-month period, but he received a call-up from the recently installed England manager to take on Lithuania and Germany.

"Generally, we've tried to pick players who are playing regularly, and one or two have missed out because of that. Luke is probably the exception. He's a player we have a lot of belief in," said Southgate, his former England Under-21 boss.

"Having worked with him before we think he can be an important player for the future. Now would be a good time to give him that confidence boost."

The progress from that point has been far from linear. Shaw was absent when England reached the semi-finals of Russia 2018, indeed this is his first tournament since the 2014 World Cup, when everything felt possible for a prodigiously gifted teen.

 

His latest recall only came in March but, with Ukraine up in Rome on Saturday as the first in a potential three-game shot at sporting immortality, the possibilities are opening up again.

Having made his debut in March 2014, this weekend is set to mark Shaw's 14th cap. At 25, there should be plenty more to come for an easy going member of the squad, visibly a friend to everyone who fits perfectly with Southgate's team ethos.

"I remember at the [2018] World Cup seeing all these videos of the fans celebrating, going wild. And I thought: 'I want to be a part of that'," Shaw told England's YouTube channel in the aftermath of his hard-earned part in the historic win over Germany.

"I'm [feeling] brilliant, it's so good. Everything about the last day or two has been unbelievable. I've not felt this happy in a long time."

The Tampa Bay Lightning moved to the brink of a second successive Stanley Cup triumph after a fast start helped them overcome the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3.

Jan Rutta and Victor Hedman both scored to give the Lightning an early 2-0 lead, in the process making it the first game in finals history where a team has got multiple goals from defensemen within the opening five minutes.

The Canadiens managed to halve the deficit but conceded twice more at the start of the second period, leaving them with a task they were unable to scale.

Tyler Johnson grabbed a brace as Tampa Bay ran out 6-3 winners, a result that leaves them on the cusp of glory in the best-of-seven series. However, Hedman insists there is still work to do, with Game 4 in Montreal on Monday.

"We're not there yet," Hedman, who also registered an assist, said. "We put ourselves in a good position obviously, but the fourth one is the hardest one to get. 

"We're going to do whatever it takes to win the next game. We've got more work to do, and we're not satisfied until we're done."

Montreal managed more shots on goal (35-30), though the disparity was not quite the same as in Game 2. The Canadiens had 43 attempts in the previous encounter compared to Tampa Bay's total of 23, yet still lost 3-1.

Phillip Danault, Nick Suzuki and Corey Perry were on target for Montreal in a losing cause on Friday, though they left themselves with too much to do after a disastrous start to proceedings.

"We put ourselves in a hole early, and it's tough to dig yourself out of a hole against a team like that, that plays pretty stingy," Canadiens captain Shea Weber said.

However, there is still hope for the Canadiens, who were down 3-1 to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the playoffs before rallying to keep their season alive.

Dominique Ducharme is in interim charge after Claude Julien was fired during the regular season, though the former had been absent for the first two games of the finals while self-isolating following a positive COVID-19 test result.

"We didn't quit the whole year, no matter what was being said," center Danault said. "When it was 3-1 Toronto we didn't quit. And I can guarantee that nobody on the team is going to quit now."

Lewis Hamilton has signed a new two-year contract with Mercedes, running until the end of the 2023 Formula One season.

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