Howe taking plenty of positives despite frustrating Newcastle campaign

By Sports Desk May 19, 2024

Eddie Howe was keen to look at the positives after Newcastle United secured seventh place in the Premier League on Sunday.

Alexander Isak and Bruno Guimaraes were among the goalscorers as Newcastle won 4-2 at Brentford to finish their Premier League campaign.

The victory ensured a seventh-place finish, and a Manchester City victory over Manchester United in next Saturday's FA Cup final will confirm Newcastle's place in next season's Europa Conference League.

While this season did not quite live up to the heroics of last term, which saw the Magpies finish in the Champions League spots, Howe still feels it has been a successful campaign.

"It summed up our season," Howe told BBC Sport. "We weren't totally secure at the back, but great credit to the players. They've done their job - now we wait and see.

"We anticipated after losing against Manchester United that our control of the [European] situation had gone. It's never a nice situation, but whatever happens, happens.

"We have issues to solve defensively. If we can do that, next season could be another season of really strong performances. This was a season that could have been better, but a good season overall.

"We're a really united club. I think we're still moving forward, so there's a lot to be positive about."

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  • Euro 2024 Data Dive: Late goals and broken records tee up dramatic finish to Group A Euro 2024 Data Dive: Late goals and broken records tee up dramatic finish to Group A

    Sunday's action at Euro 2024 saw the conclusion of Group A, with late drama ensuring a last-gasp shake up to the standings.

    Germany looked sure to be on the end of a shock defeat to Switzerland until substitute Niclas Fullkrug stepped up to make it 1-1 in stoppage time and send the hosts through as group winners.

    Meanwhile, Scotland crashed out of the tournament without a win after conceding the latest goal ever scored at the Euros, with Hungary keeping their hopes of knockout football alive with their 1-0 victory.

    Here, we run through all the best Opta stats to emerge from the day's matches.

    Switzerland 1-1 Germany: Neuer makes history, but Fullkrug grabs headlines

    Having already qualified for the last 16, the hosts left it late to seal top spot in the group, needing Fullkrug to make a much-needed impact off the bench in Frankfurt.

    Dan Ndoye had given Switzerland a first-half lead with his maiden international goal to become the nation's second-youngest goalscorer at the Euros (aged 23 years 242 days), but Switzerland could not hold on.

    Manuel Neuer was left helpless against the forward's first-time finish on his 18th appearance at the European Championships, the most among goalkeepers at the tournament (overtaking Gianluigi Buffon – 17). At major tournaments, only Cristiano Ronaldo (45) has played in more games than the Bayern Munich stopper (37).

    Julian Nagelsmann named the same starting XI for three consecutive games, the first time Germany have done so in the competition's history, though it looked like tiredness was starting to take its toll as they struggled to break down their opponents.

    Toni Kroos finished the game with a passing accuracy of 92.5%, only averaging lower than that in one game for Real Madrid in 2023-24), but also equalled a record in the late drama.

    Having completed 323 passes so far at Euro 2024, Kroos has made the joint-most on record (since 1980) by a player in the group stage since himself at Euro 2016 (also 323).

    Germany eventually had 18 shots, with Fullkrug picking out the top corner with the final one; the striker has scored 13 goals in just 19 international appearances, while his four as a substitute at major tournaments are more than any other European player.

    Despite ultimately losing out on top spot, Switzerland have now gone unbeaten in their last four games against Die Mannschaft (W1 D3), with no nation currently enjoying a longer unbeaten streak against Germany (England and Spain both have ongoing runs of four).

    Scotland 0-1 Hungary: Csoboth breaks Tartan Army's hearts

    Meanwhile in Stuttgart, it was Hungary celebrating a late strike to seal a 1-0 victory that ensured an early exit for Scotland as they chased what would have been a landmark win.

    Kevin Csoboth cemented his place in European Championship history with his counter-attacking finish as he netted the latest goal ever scored in the tournament's history (excluding extra time), timed at 99 minutes and 32 seconds.

    Despite needing a win to finish third, Scotland failed to have a single shot on target in the game. In total, the Tartan Army had just 17 shots at Euro 2024 – since the group stage was introduced in 1980, it is the joint-fewest by a national team, along with Northern Ireland at Euro 2016.

    Indeed, only twice at Euro 2024 has a team failed to manage a shot on target in the first half of a match and both have been Scotland (also on MD 1 against Germany).

    Scotland pushed numbers forward for their last-minute corner with the hopes of reaching the knockout stage of the Euros for the first time, but instead will leave a major tournament group stage without a win for the sixth time (1954, 1958, 1986 and 1998 World Cups and Euro 2020 and 2024).

    While looking down and out after failing to win either of their opening games, Hungary finally ended a run of eight games in the competition without a win, registering their first victory since beating Austria 2-0 at Euro 2016 – this was also their first clean sheet since that win.

  • Hungary hoping to 'do it' for Vargas after worrying injury at Euro 2024 Hungary hoping to 'do it' for Vargas after worrying injury at Euro 2024

    Hungary are hoping to "do it" for Barnabas Vargas after the striker's concering injury marred a monumental Euro 2024 win over Scotland on Sunday.

    Kevin Csoboth proved the hero in a 1-0 triumph in Stuttgart, scoring the latest European Championship goal on record after netting a strike timed at 99 minutes and 32 seconds.

    The Group A clash was only going on so late due to Vargas' head injury after the Hungary man collided with Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn in an aerial duel and left the pitch on a stretcher.

    Hungary players crowded around Vargas to create a protective wall for his privacy during treatment, and Callum Styles says his side are hoping to make it into the last 16 in honour of their team-mate.

    "That gave us that extra bit, obviously we don't ever want to see that on a football pitch but thankfully he's conscious now," Styles said of Vargas.

    "Hopefully we do it all for him."

    As for the victory, Styles added: "It means everything, obviously we were celebrating with the fans then, my voice is a little bit gone because of all the shouting.

    "Hopefully that does the job but we've done all we can now so we'll have to wait."

    Hungary will need results to go their way if they are to progress as one of four best third-place finishers at the tournament.

    Head coach Marco Rossi was delighted nevertheless with his side's efforts.

    Rossi said: "It was unbelievable. We never achieved nothing in the past without big, big suffering. Today was no different.

    "I think that we played the match that we needed to play. We can say that we did enough well, we created many options, many situations, of course, we left something also to them.

    "But in overall, I think if I say that it was a deserved win, I'd be right."

    Defeat saw Scotland eliminated in the group stages for the 12th time at a major tournament (World Cup and Euros).

    Scotland captain Andy Robertson could only apologise after another disappointment on the international stage.

    "We gave everything," Robertson said. "We knew we had to win this game, but both teams had to win. That's how it goes, it will take a long time to get over this one.

    "Today and for a long time we have to get over this unfortunately. Tonight's devastating, the lads are absolutely gutted.

    "But it's up to us to pick them up and that will happen slowly but surely. But thank you to the country because we felt everyone behind us, and we knew the excitement back home -- sorry for letting you down."

  • Euro 2024 social round-up: Scotland roar before heartbreak, Foden loving Springsteen Euro 2024 social round-up: Scotland roar before heartbreak, Foden loving Springsteen

    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?

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