Kane: Euro 2020 final 'still hurts' but can motivate England in Qatar

By Sports Desk March 23, 2022

Harry Kane is focused on leading England to World Cup glory later this year, with "more fire in the belly" following their Euro 2020 final heartbreak.

The Three Lions, whose only major international honour came when they won the 1966 World Cup, were within touching distance of ending 55 years of hurt last July.

However, they were beaten by Italy on penalties at Wembley in the final of the delayed tournament.

Gareth Southgate's side, who also reached the semi-finals at the 2018 World Cup, are looking to go the extra step and get their hands on silverware in Qatar in December, having come through qualification for the finals unbeaten.

England step up their preparations with back-to-back friendlies over the next week against Switzerland (March 26) and the Ivory Coast (March 29) at Wembley.

Captain Kane scored seven goals across the final two qualifiers against Albania and San Marino. That took his tally to 48, moving him joint-third with Gary Lineker on his country's all-time list and just six away from breaking Wayne Rooney's record (53).

The Tottenham man is thrilled with the progress he and his England team-mates have made over the past four years and explains they have a burning desire for glory.

"From where we were pre-World Cup 2018 to where we are now, we've made massive strides, with the squad, with the team, with the connection with the fans," he said. "There's definitely an expectation on us now.

"Obviously, the final in the summer still hurts. It still has a bitter taste in the mouth, but for sure it gives you more hunger, more fire in the belly to take that one step further and try to win a major tournament.

"We're working towards that, we feel like we're improving every year. 

"Hopefully, we can take big strides to becoming one of the best teams in the history of the England national team."

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    Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham downplayed the calf injury that kept All-Star Anthony Davis out of Saturday's game against the San Antonio Spurs.

    Davis had played 16 out of the Lakers' 17 games prior to Saturday's game where the power forward was ruled out with a left calf contusion.

    He played a key role during LeBron James' recent five-game absence with a groin injury, averaging 26.3 points and 12.8 rebounds this season.

    "He was kicked at some point in the second half [on Friday] night and it's a little irritated, a little bruising," Ham told reporters pre-game. "So just trying to stay ahead of it and be a little cautious and take our time with it but he's out."

    During James' five-game absence, Davis averaged 33.4 points on 64.4 per cent shooting, 17.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks.

    "Just it being a back-to-back, the load he was carrying, specifically with [James] out, it's just the smart and right thing to do," Ham said.

    "We don't want to push him this early in the season. And when you're talking about different muscles and ligaments, it's something that can easily turn into a year-long issue. So just to avoid that, we don't want to put any additional strain on the area.

    "The medical people decided it was the right thing to do and I totally agree."

  • Shaw: England extra motivated after Wales' Euro 2016 celebrations Shaw: England extra motivated after Wales' Euro 2016 celebrations

    Luke Shaw says England are extra motivated heading into their World Cup clash with Wales after their opponents wildly celebrated the Three Lions' exit from Euro 2016.

    An infamous video circulated following England's embarrassing last-16 defeat to Iceland six and a half years ago showing Wales' players lapping up their fierce rivals' demise.

    Wales surpassed expectations by making it to the semi-finals of that competition, despite losing to England in the group stage, but they have had less success at Qatar 2022.

    The Dragons require a victory against England at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium if they are to avoid a group-stage exit and must hope the United States and Iran play out a draw elsewhere.

    A four-goal win for Wales against their neighbours on Tuesday would also be enough, but they have not so much as avoided defeated against England in their past six meetings.

    Shaw, who played a full part in England's 6-2 win over Iran and goalless draw with the USA, believes the scenes from 2016 will add more spice to an already feisty fixture.

    "I think you could say that," Shaw said. "But our motivation in itself has to be at its highest level. We are at the World Cup. We have great aims for what we want to achieve.

    "We have to have the maximum motivation at every game. I don't think there's any more motivation than what we have already. 

    "It wasn't nice. I don't want to dwell too much on that. I want to focus on what we do on the pitch. We can say things in interviews and I'd rather do our talking on the pitch."

    Asked if England's players would consider recording similar scenes of celebrating should they knock out Wales, Shaw said: "I think we are a respectful group.

    "We do things in the right way. That's the example Gareth [Southgate] wants to set. We are fully behind that. We are fully respectful.

    "I think their motivation is going to be extremely high. They are going to give everything to win. It's not an easy game. But we need to focus on what we do."

    England will advance to the knockout stage if they avoid a heavy loss to Wales, though Southgate's side will be targeting a victory to make certain of top spot in Group B.

    Speaking ahead of England's first ever World Cup match against a fellow British side, Southgate said: "We have got to play well. 

    "We are going to play an opponent that is wounded and, like everybody else, desperate to beat the English. We've got to play an intelligent game, play well and match their spirit.

    "I would be very disappointed if someone says their players will want it more than ours. I'd be asking questions about what we stand for and what we have been for five years."

    England have lost their third and final group-stage game in just two of their 14 participations at the World Cup (W7 D5), doing so against Spain in 1950 and Belgium in 2018.

  • Queiroz accuses Klinsmann of 'outrageous' slurs against Iran, demands German quits FIFA job Queiroz accuses Klinsmann of 'outrageous' slurs against Iran, demands German quits FIFA job

    Carlos Queiroz has demanded Jurgen Klinsmann resign from his FIFA position after making a string of accusations about Iran's World Cup team, labelling the German's comments "a disgrace".

    Iran head coach Queiroz reacted after his team were accused by Klinsmann of having "worked the referee" during the 2-0 win against Wales on Friday.

    Working as a BBC pundit, Klinsmann suggested Iran getting to the match officials and pushing the boundaries of acceptability was "part of their culture".

    In response, Queiroz suggested California-based Klinsmann's "outrageous remarks" stemmed from his "American/German" background.

    He said Klinsmann should visit Iran's training camp to learn more about the team, but must step down from FIFA's World Cup technical study group beforehand.

    Prompted about the conduct of Iran's players in the Wales game just staying on the right side of the game's laws, Klinsmann said: "That's their culture, that's their way of doing it, and that's why Carlos Queiroz, he fits really well the Iranian national team.

    "He struggled in South America and failed with Colombia to qualify, and then he failed with Egypt to qualify as well, and he went back right before the World Cup and guided Iran, where he worked already for a long, long time.

    "This is not by coincidence. This is just part of their culture, that's how they play it. They worked the referee. You saw the bench, always jumping up and always working the linesman and fourth referee on the sidelines, they are constantly in their ear.

    "This is their culture; they make you lose your focus, make you lose your concentration and what's important to you."

    Klinsmann said there could have been a "big difference with another referee" and added: "Let's say it did not play into the hands of Wales."

    Queiroz responded on Saturday with a string of withering Twitter messages aimed at Klinsmann, who was a 1990 World Cup winner as a player with West Germany and later coach of Germany and the United States.

    Queiroz began by saying: "Even not knowing me personally, you question my character with a typical prejudiced judgement of superiority.

    "No matter how much I can respect what you did inside the pitch, those remarks about Iran culture, Iran national team and my players are a disgrace to football. Nobody can hurt our integrity if it is not at our level, of course.

    "Even saying so, we would like to invite you as our guest, to come to our national team camp, socialise with Iran players and learn from them about the country, the people of Iran, the poets and art, the algebra, all the millennial Persian culture…

    "And also listen from our players how much they love and respect football. As American/German, we understand your no support. No problem. And despite your outrageous remarks on BBC trying to undermine our efforts, sacrifices and skills, we promise you that we will not produce any judgements regarding your culture, roots and background and that you will always be welcome to our family.

    "At the same time, we just want to follow with full attention what will be the decision of FIFA regarding your position as a member of Qatar 2022 technical study group.

    "Because, obviously, we expect you to resign before you visit our camp."

    This is former Manchester United assistant boss Queiroz's third consecutive World Cup as Iran boss. His short spells with Colombia and Egypt followed the 2018 tournament, with Queiroz leading Egypt to this year's Africa Cup of Nations final.

    They were defeated in that game on penalties by Senegal, and Egypt also lost by the same method to the same opposition in a World Cup play-off, with Queiroz departing and returning to the helm with Iran in September.

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