From Rishi Sunak to Harry Kane: England Under-21s earn plaudits after Euros win

By Sports Desk July 08, 2023

England’s victory in the European Under-21 Championship captured the nation as prominent figures took to social media to offer their congratulations.

Curtis Jones’ first-half goal, coupled with goalkeeper James Trafford’s stoppage-time penalty save, ensured the Young Lions lifted the trophy for the first time in 39 years as they edged out Spain 1-0.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the tributes as the likes of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and senior men’s captain Harry Kane joined in the celebrations.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham was among the first to applaud the Young Lions, with other governing bodies quick to followPolitical figures were also caught up in the excitementEngland stars past and present were delighted with the winWith 18 Premier League players in Young Lions squad, the tributes from clubs poured inAnd former boxer Frank Bruno loved the sound of ‘European Champions’

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    Bernardo Silva made amends for his midweek penalty miss as holders Manchester City returned to the FA Cup final with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Chelsea.

    Silva badly fluffed his lines as City were agonisingly knocked out of the Champions League on penalties by Real Madrid on Wednesday but he was the match winner as they bounced back at Wembley.

    The Portugal international turned home the only goal of a tight encounter six minutes from time to keep alive City’s hopes of retaining the domestic double.

    Chelsea were left to rue wasting a host of chances, with Nicolas Jackson particularly culpable, on what proved a bad day for the Senegal forward in front of goal. The Londoners were also frustrated not to be awarded a penalty.

    City, without the injured Erling Haaland, were not at their best – perhaps still feeling the effects of their draining encounter with Real.

    With former City midfielder Cole Palmer instrumental, Chelsea made most of the running.

    Palmer played in Jackson early on but his shot was too easy for Stefan Ortega.

    City’s first opportunity came as Kevin De Bruyne slipped in Phil Foden with an inch-perfect pass but he went too wide attempting to go round Djordje Petrovic and Chelsea escaped.

    Pep Guardiola’s side had a huge let-off when Jackson raced clear from an Enzo Fernandez long ball. Jackson only had Ortega to beat but he hesitated on the edge of the area and failed to shoot or go round the goalkeeper.

    City were caught out again when Malo Gusto escaped down the right but he could not pick out Jackson in the centre. Palmer also dug out a chance for himself with some neat footwork but did not get any power on his shot.

    At the other end, Marc Cucurella cleared off the line after Silva got on the end of a Jack Grealish cross but the flag was then raised.

    Jackson failed to deliver again early in the second half after breaking clear in the area but shooting tamely at Ortega. The ball came back to him as Palmer whipped in a cross but his header was weak and straight at Ortega.

    City had another let-off when a Palmer free-kick struck the arm of Grealish. The contact was missed by referee Michael Oliver, with Chelsea’s frustration at not getting a penalty compounded by the official awarding a goalkick.

    Jackson also wanted a spot-kick after going down following a race with Kyle Walker but nothing was given.

    Grealish suffered a heavy blow to the knee in a challenge from Felipe Caicedo and was withdrawn moments later. The England international voiced his frustration to the officials as he left the field, maybe suggesting Caicedo – already on a booking – should have been dealt with more severely.

    Grealish’s replacement Jeremy Doku made a lively entrance and immediately tested Petrovic.

    As time wore on, the game became a test of City’s resolve and the lively Doku made a notable difference.

    He was involved as the deadlock was finally broken, playing in fellow Belgian De Bruyne with a clever ball. De Bruyne pulled the ball back across goal and a deflection took it into the path of Silva, who made no mistake.

    It was a sweet moment for the Portuguese, who celebrated vigorously out of relief and joy.

    There was no way back for Chelsea as City, befitting their champion status, held out.

  • Rob Edwards confident Luton can still stay up despite Brentford battering Rob Edwards confident Luton can still stay up despite Brentford battering

    Rob Edwards backed Luton to respond after their Premier League survival hopes were dealt a devastating blow following a painful 5-1 home loss to Brentford.

    The 18th-placed Hatters knew victory would take them out of the relegation zone, but they were undone at Kenilworth Road by a slick attacking display from a Bees side without Ivan Toney due to his ongoing hip issue.

    Thomas Frank watched Brentford run riot with Yoane Wissa scoring twice in the first half before Ethan Pinnock, Keane Lewis-Potter and Kevin Schade netted after the break.

    Luke Berry hit a stoppage-time consolation for Luton, but they remain a point behind Nottingham Forest in 17th and two off Everton ahead of those clubs playing at Goodison Park on Sunday.

    “Yeah, I am deflated and I am hurting right now because of the manner of the performance. I have never really had to come out too many times all year and say that wasn’t us. Today it wasn’t us,” Edwards reflected.

    “How I feel is we’re in this. Today was a bad day for us as a club but the teams directly above us play each other and we will not be out of it this weekend. It’s important we all remember that.

    “What we have to try and harness now is the spirit, quality, fight and intensity we’ve shown that has kept us in and around it this season. We know we have to go and show that with four games to go.”

    A raucous reception greeted both players, but Brentford could have scored three times before Wissa rifled them ahead in the 24th minute with a superb snapshot.

    The brilliant Bryan Mbeumo had set up that chance and created the next for Wissa when his cross was scuffed home by the Bees forward in first-half stoppage-time for his 10th goal of the season.

    While Edwards introduced Berry at the break, the visitors hit Luton with a double sucker-punch when Pinnock powered home a header from a Sergio Reguilon corner after 62 minutes before Lewis-Potter nodded in Mbeumo’s centre two minutes later.

    Brentford substitute Kevin Schade slotted home a fifth after Mbeumo had set Vitaly Janelt away with four minutes left before Berry grabbed an added-time consolation, which was followed by applause at full-time from the Luton fans.

    Edwards added: “I have got to say thank you to the supporters who stuck with us. I apologise to them as well for having to live through that. A difficult day for them. We don’t want to go through that again so we’ve got to respond.

    “The players know there needs to be a response. As I say, we still have an opportunity to be in the Premier League next season and we don’t want to give that up easily. After today I am pretty confident we will respond in the right way.”

    After Brentford moved on to 35 points and 10 above Luton, Brentford boss Frank said: “Of course it was an important game but it was still one of the next five.

    “I also know it would be good to beat Luton because then that little sneaky feeling in the back of the head in this relentless league is more or less out of the question.

    “Five games unbeaten now, we need to continue playing well and doing well to end the season on a high.”

  • Russell Martin rues missed chances as Cardiff dent Southampton promotion hopes Russell Martin rues missed chances as Cardiff dent Southampton promotion hopes

    Cardiff’s second smash and grab raid at home against a top four team in the Championship in the space of six weeks sent Southampton’s hopes of automatic promotion into a tailspin.

    It was a goal from Callum O’Dowda in the 100th minute that sank Ipswich Town 2-1 on March 9 and a first league goal for teenager Cian Ashford in the 96th minute of his first full appearance sent Saints marching home after a similar 2-1 defeat at Cardiff City Stadium.

    “It’s unacceptable to lose a game like that. With the amount of chances we had we should have been out of sight by half-time,” said frustrated Southampton boss Russell Martin.

    “We started the second half well and had some more chances. We played some amazing football but it won’t matter one bit because we lost.

    “If you’re not going to have the conviction and ruthlessness, be clinical in their box, and then not defend your own properly that’s what happens.

    “Today has done us a lot of harm in terms of chasing the automatic spot, but we have to react properly now. We’ve got three games left and we can still get over 90 points.

    “I expect a big reaction from everyone on Tuesday night. If it means our season’s going to be extended, so be it, and we have to get ready for that.

    “We’ve spent a little time in the top three, but we have been outsiders for automatic promotion for a long time.”

    The Cardiff fans let the board of directors know their feelings about manager Erol Bulut, who has yet to secure an extension to his one-year contract, by chanting ‘We want you to stay’ for long periods of the second half as goals from Famara Diedhiou in the 68th minute and Ashford at the death saw their side take the points.

    “Sometimes it’s good when you’re not pushing for something or at the bottom, so the players can play freely. I said to my team before today I wanted only positive things, even if they make mistakes,” said Bulut.

    “I told them to play freely and I think they did a really good job. After 90 minutes, Cardiff had three youngsters, new players, on the field. This is important for the future of the club.

    “The academy did a really good job, so thanks to them. It’s a message to the academy that we always have an eye on them.

    “I think that is a moment Cian Ashford will never forget. I spoke about what we’ve seen in training from him, he is doing really well.

    “He played 15, 20 minutes in previous games and had some good movements. But today, for 90 minutes, he was great.”

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