EPL

Man City star Foden scoops Premier League Player of the Year award

By Sports Desk May 18, 2024

Phil Foden has been named the Premier League's Player of the Year, having been sensational for Manchester City this season.

Foden has scored 17 goals and provided a further eight assists in the top flight in 2023-24.

The 23-year-old has been pivotal in City's quest to win an unprecedented fourth Premier League title.

Pep Guaridola's team head into their final game of the season, in which they face West Ham at home, needing a win to guarantee the crown.

Only six players have bettered Foden's goal tally, with the attacker enjoying his most profitable scoring season for City.

 

Foden's 17 goals have come from an expected goals figure of 10, suggesting his finishing has been way above what would have been anticipated based on the quality of chances he has had.

The England international, meanwhile, has had 99 shots, and leads City's squad for chances created (68).

"To win this award is an achievement that I am extremely proud of," Foden told Man City's official website.

"Overall, I've been very happy with the way I have played this season and really pleased that I have been able to contribute with the goals and assists throughout the season.

"I'd like to thank all of the City staff, coaches and especially my teammates because without them this wouldn’t be possible.

"And I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who voted for me as the award means a lot."

It is the fifth season in a row that a City player has won the award, with Kevin De Bruyne (2019-20, 2021-22), Ruben Dias (2020-21) and Erling Haaland (2022-23) having scooped it previously.

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    Scotland are out of Euro 2024 but must have a case for the best support at the tournament, though that will be no consolation to Steve Clarke.

    The Scots suffered a gut-wrenching late defeat to Hungary on Sunday, while Germany survived a scare to top Group A with a draw against Switzerland.

    Numerous other sides are preparing for potentially decisive clashes in their final group meetings later in the week, with one or two enjoying the support of the travelling masses.

    Others may be turning their heads away from football with a few friendly boardgames...

    Here, we unpack the best of the day's social media clips from the tournament in Germany.

    Flower of Scotland wilts in Stuttgart

    Scotland are heading for home soil after Kevin Csoboth scored the latest goal in European Championship history (99 minutes and 32 seconds) to snatch a 1-0 win for Hungary.

    The Tartan Army once again travelled in numbers, with their rendition of the Scottish national anthem hardly befitting of another disappointing performance on the pitch.

    Scotland can, at least, celebrate boasting the best support at the tournament, though they will need to find an early flight or two now.

    Poignant moment for Hungary

    Hungary's last-gasp salvaging act against Scotland was somewhat marred by Barnabas Vargas' concerning head injury, with the striker leaving the pitch on a stretcher after a collision with goalkeeper Angus Gunn.

    Vargas was in the thoughts of all his team-mates as full-time celebrations took place, with the Hungary players holding up his shirt to offer their well-wishes and a speedy recovery.

    Can't start a fire...

    The mood in the England camp may have been subdued after Thursday's disappointing draw with Denmark, but Phil Foden is certainly feeling the love from the Three Lions out in Germany.

    Speaking on England's much-loved Lions' Den coverage on their social media, Foden even managed to get host Josh Denzel to sing his own chant, to the tune of Bruce Springsteen's 'Dancing in the Dark'.

    Gareth Southgate will be hoping Foden can find the required spark when England wrap up their Group C campaign against Slovenia on Tuesday.

    Party atmosphere builds in Germany

    Julian Nagelsmann has offered the hosts a lot to celebrate as Germany continue to impress at this tournament – and their supporters were in a partying mood before kick-off against Switzerland.

    UEFA's social media for Euro 2024 shared a video of the German faithful bouncing around in unison outside Frankfurt Arena, well over two hours before their final group kick-off.

    That atmosphere will only have been somewhat muted after a 1-1 draw with Switzerland, though spare a thought for the saxophonist's lungs in the first place!

    Silky skills from Europe's best

    The European Championship brings together the best footballers from the continent – sorry, Erling Haaland and Norway – and with that comes ever-lasting memories, historic moments and dazzling skills.

    From Cristiano Ronaldo chopping one way and another, Kevin De Bruyne's quick-thinking feet or the dancing Jeremy Doku – UEFA's official account had supporters covered with a montage of the best moves.

    Oranje aiming for checkmate

    The Netherlands will be hoping to secure a top-two spot in Group D when they meet Austria on Tuesday, but that is not the only competition the Oranje players have been concentrating on.

    Fresh from impressing in Friday's goalless draw with France, Tijjani Reijnders was caught by the Netherlands' official X account gripped by a game of chess with Brentford goalkeeper Mark Flekken.

    Much like the French midfield, Reijnders navigated his way through this match-up – Ronald Koeman will be hoping there is no checkmate for the Oranje in their final group game. 

    La Roja loving life in Donaueschingen

    Spain are already through as Group B winners with a game to spare, leaving La Roja with plenty of time for reflection and to feel the love of their travelling supporters.

    Surrounded by the Spanish supporters at their training base in Donaueschingen, Alvaro Morata, Rodri and a host of familiar faces took the time to repay the efforts of their fans.

    Italy touchdown in Leipzig

    Flying around Germany for each group stage match, Italy touched down in Leipzig for their decisive meeting against Croatia.

    The Azzurri shared a clip of their players arriving for their crucial Group B clash on Monday, though will Luciano Spalletti be jetting off for an early exit without victory?

  • Sabitzer focused on last-16 qualification after Champions League heartache Sabitzer focused on last-16 qualification after Champions League heartache

    Marcel Sabitzer insisted he will put his Champions League final defeat in the past as he prepares to help Austria reach the last-16 of Euro 2024. 

    The Borussia Dortmund midfielder played the full duration of their 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid at Wembley earlier this month. 

    Los Blancos secured their 15th success in the competition thanks to goals late in the game from Dani Carvajal and Vinicius Junior. 

    But Sabitzer played a starring role as Austria roared back from their defeat to France in their opening game of the competition, beating Poland 3-1 to bring it down to the final matchday. 

    Austria face the Netherlands in Berlin next Tuesday to conclude their Group D campaign, and know a win could see them finish top or second. 

    A draw or defeat could also leave Ralf Rangnick's side with a good chance of progressing as one of the four best third-placed teams. 

    "The possibilities then really open up," Sabitzer said.

    "I know that from the Champions League, especially this season. Once you're on a run in the knockout phase anything can happen.

    "The most important thing is to get through the group stage and into the round of 16 and then we'll see what happens next."

  • Brazil v Costa Rica: Endrick 'confident' of making Copa America impact Brazil v Costa Rica: Endrick 'confident' of making Copa America impact

    Endrick is confident he can help Brazil claim a 10th Copa America title as he prepares for his first international tournament with the Selecao Canarinho. 

    Brazil kickstart their campaign at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Monday against Costa Rica. 

    Dorival Junior's side will also face Paraguay and Colombia in Group E, hopeful of going one better this time around having lost to Argentina in the 2021 final. 

    The 17-year-old, who officially joins Real Madrid next month, has scored three goals in his last four games for Brazil but knows he will have to remain patient for his opportunity at the Copa America. 

    "Only God knows [when I will start]," Endrick said. I am very grateful to have Abel [Ferreira] as a coach, he knew when to play me.

    "Everything is up to God and Dorival Junior, the professor. He is a spectacular coach. He is doing what is best for the Brazilian team.

    "I have always been very precocious in my life and since I became a professional I have played against opponents who have always teased me, insulted me, talked about my family, my girlfriend.

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    "It's been like that since I arrived, so I've adapted, and I'm very confident that I can help the team."

    For Costa Rica Gustavo Alfaro, he has experience at the Copa America having guided Ecuador to the quarter-finals of the previous tournament in 2021.

    The 61-year-old also took them to the following year's World Cup, where they opened with a 2-0 win against hosts Qatar before drawing 1-1 with the Netherlands, but failed to reach the knockouts after losing 2-1 to Senegal in their final group game.

    However, Alfaro faces a different proposition with Los Ticos. Costa Rica have failed to make it beyond the group stages in each of the last two appearances; they last did so in 2004, but their recent form holds reason for optimism. 

    Costa Rica have won four of their previous six international fixtures, losing only once over that stretch (3-1 to Argentina). They have also not conceded in any of their last three competitive fixtures, winning 15 of their previous 16 encounters when scoring the opening goal.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Brazil - Vinicius Junior 

    Vinicius Junior played a starring role in Real Madrid's LaLiga and Champions League successes in 2023-24, and claiming a first international honour with his nation would surely put the 23-year-old in pole position to scoop the Ballon d'Or. 

    The Los Blancos star had 35 goal involvements (24 goals and 11 assists) in 39 appearances in all competitions for the Spanish side, his second-best campaign since his move to Madrid in 2021-22 (22 goals and 20 assists). 

     

    Costa Rica - Manfred Ugalde

    Having failed to score for his new side, Spartak Moscow, after his move from FC Twente in January, Ugalde rediscovered his goal-scoring touch at the opportune moment heading into the tournament. 

    The 22-year-old striker grabbed a goal and three assists in Costa Rica's CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers against Grenada and Saint Kitts and Nevis, and will be hoping to continue that form in Inglewood against Brazil. 

    MATCH PREDICTION: BRAZIL WIN

    Brazil and Costa Rica have faced each other twice in the Copa America, with both victories for the Brazilian team in 1997 (5-0) at the Estadio Ramon Tahuichi Aguilera and in 2004 (4-1) with Adriano scoring a hat-trick for Carlos Alberto Parreira's side. 

    The Selecao Canarinho have won 10 of their 11 meetings against their opponents, with their last defeat coming in the Panamerican Championship in March 1960 (3-0), with Brazil backed to continue their nine-game unbeaten run. 

    Costa Rica will look to continue their impressive record against CONMEBOL teams at the Copa America, having lost one of their last four matches against them (W2 D1).

    Gustavo Alfaro's side will seek to string together victories for the first time against CONMEBOL opponents in the competition, having defeated Colombia 3-2 in the 2016 edition.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Brazil - 71%

    Costa Rica - 16.1%

    Draw - 12.9%

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