Spain heading into Euro 2024 as "outsiders" instead of the pre-tournament favourites has aided La Roja, says Marc Cucurella ahead of Tuesday's semi-final against France.

Luis de la Fuente's side are looking to reach their fifth European Championship final, with only Germany playing in more (six), after remaining perfect through five games so far.

Spain needed a last-gasp Mikel Merino header for their 2-1 extra-time victory over hosts Germany in Friday's quarter-final, but Cucurella insists confidence continues to grow within the La Roja camp.

"Within football, there has long been respect for Spain, how we play and the players we have, but maybe coming in [to Euro 2024] as outsiders helped us," the Chelsea full-back said on Sunday. 

"We started with the confidence of having nothing to lose. Now that confidence has grown and we are in the key moment of the tournament.

"I knew we had a great team, which has been proven. We have fought so hard to be here, and now we need one last big effort. Two more steps."

De la Fuente's team will meet an out-of-sorts France in Munich for their last-four clash after Les Bleus scraped past Portugal on penalties in the quarter-final.

Didier Deschamps' men once again failed to find the net across 120 minutes of action in their last-eight goalless draw on Friday, with only four goals scored by either team in France's five Euro 2024 matches thus far.

Indeed, all 128 non-penalty shots have failed to be scored (86 for France, 42 for opponents), while they are the only team on record since 1980 to have more than 50 non-penalty shots at a Euros and fail to find the net with any of them.

Kylian Mbappe's form remains a concern for Deschamps, too, with the Real Madrid-bound forward scoring just one goal from 20 shots at this edition, a penalty against Poland in their final group game.

Rather than excitement around Mbappe, who has scored just once from 34 attempts at the European Championship overall, most of the focus revolves around Spanish wingers Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams.

"With the Spanish national team, danger can come from anywhere," France midfielder Youssouf Fofana said at his pre-match press conference.

"Nico Williams and Yamal have had a great season, but I expect them to lose on Tuesday. We have to stay as solid as we have been so far in defence."

As for the criticism over France's playing style, Fofana insists he has no problem, adding: "In the end, we're in the semi-finals."


Spain – Lamine Yamal

Yamal has created 14 chances at this tournament, the most by a Spaniard at a major tournament since Xavi en route to winning Euro 2012 (25).

The Barcelona winger's 14 chances created are also the most by a teenager at a major tournament that Opta has on record (since 1966 for World Cup, 1980 for Euros).

And the 16-year-old has three assists within that tally, too, with no Spanish player ever registering more at a single European Championship tournament.

France – Mike Maignan

Les Bleus have had their backs against the wall for large parts of this competition in Germany, placing a heavy burden on Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan.

The Frenchman has a save percentage of 94% at Euro 2024 the best of any goalkeeper to have played more than one game.

Indeed, it is the best by a goalkeeper at a Euros tournament since Iker Casillas for the Euro 2012 winners Spain (also 94%).


Spain appear the narrow favourites to reach the final, with La Roja winning in 90 minutes in 38.1% of pre-match simulations by the Opta supercomputer.

France are still afforded a 31.8% chance of victory, with the draw – sending the tie to extra time and possibly penalties – forecast in 30% of the same data-led simulations.

Yet Deschamps will be well aware of Spain's quality, given De la Fuente's team have won 15 of their 19 matches since the start of 2023 – their 79% win percentage is the best of any European nation in that period.

Spain are the only team to have won all five games at this tournament, though no side has ever gone six in a row in the competition's history, nor triumphed in six matches across a single edition.

If La Roja can achieve that unprecedented feat here, then a place in the final in Berlin awaits against either England or the Netherlands.


Spain – 38.2%

France – 31.8%

Draw – 30%

Abhishek Sharma hammered India's joint third-fastest T20I century as the tourists smashed Zimbabwe with a 100-run victory, levelling the five-match series at 1-1.

India's opening batter fell for a duck in his first T20I international as Zimbabwe triumphed on Saturday, but Abhishek responded with a remarkable 46-ball century a day later at Harare.

Though touring captain Shubmann Gill was dismissed for only two, Abhishek set the tone before reaching three figures with three consecutive sixes.

Ruturaj Gaikwad added an unbeaten 77 from just 47 deliveries, while Rinku Singh finished not out with 48 as India posted an imposing 234-2 – the highest score conceded by Zimbabwe in this format.

Wessly Madhevere offered brief Zimbabwe hope with 43, alongside Brian Bennett's nine-ball 26, yet the hosts never looked like chasing a hefty target after losing wickets at regular intervals.

Avesh Khan led the India bowlers with 3-15, cutting through the Zimbabwe batting line-up with help from Mukesh Kumar (3-37) and Ravi Bishnoi (2-11).

Zimbabwe will hope to respond against the T20 World Cup champions when the two sides meet again on Wednesday at the same venue.

Data Debrief: Abhishek seizes opportunity

Only Rohit Sharma's 35-ball century in 2017 and Suryakumar Yadav's 45-ball ton in 2023, both against Sri Lanka, can better Abhishek's blitz in this game as quicker tons for India.

KL Rahul also had a 46-ball hundred against the West Indies in 2016, though this showing of ridiculous hitting proved a rapid rise on the international stage for India's new white-ball opener.

Abhishek scored 65 runs against the Zimbabwe spinners, the most for India in a men's T20I, off 28 balls at a strike rate of 232.14 with six sixes and four fours.

Frank Klopas has no intentions of ever giving up on Chicago Fire's MLS playoff hopes ahead of their road trip to struggling San Jose Earthquakes.

The Fire fought back from two goals down to snatch a 4-3 thriller against Philadelphia Union last time out, climbing up to 13th in the Eastern Conference.

That win was the second time the Fire triumphed despite trailing by two goals in the last 10 minutes this season (also against CF Montreal in March), as they became the first team to achieve this multiple times in MLS history.

Chicago head coach Klopas lauded his side's battling but urged the Fire to improve and group together when they head to PayPal Park.

"It's great when it goes your way, but I'm not sure if we can keep doing this," Klopas said. "We had some really good chances to put the game away but we didn't do that.

"Everything is one game at a time, at some points it looked bleak. Never give up on this team, the character is strong and I believe in this group.

"It's all about the team, we have to reach our goals as a group, not as individuals."

San Jose are bottom of the Western Conference and unlikely to escape that position if their season is anything to go by.

The Earthquakes were defeated 2-0 by fellow strugglers St. Louis City in their last outing and are the second team in the post-shootout era (since 2000) with 16 losses in their first 21 matches of a season (Tampa Bay Mutiny in 2001).


San Jose Earthquakes – Amahl Pellegrino

San Jose have had little to celebrate throughout a challenging season, and their hopes may rely on Amahi Pellegrino once again.

The Earthquakes man leads the club scoring charts this season, albeit with only five goals in MLS in 2024.

Chicago Fire – Maren Haile-Selassie

Maren Haile-Selassie has scored in four straight regular-season matches, the second Fire player to do so this year (Hugo Cuypers).

The only players with a longer streak in club history are Robert Beric (five straight in 2020) and David Accam (also five straight in 2017).


The Earthquakes may be on torrid form in MLS this year but their strong head-to-head record in this fixture suggests the draw as the most likely result.

San Jose have won three straight matches against the Fire, equalling the longest winning streak by either team in the history of the series (all competitions).

Chicago's last win over the Earthquakes was a 2-1 home victory in June 2018, though the Fire may be quietly confident due to San Jose's struggles.

The Earthquakes have lost six consecutive matches for the fourth time in club history and the third since the start of the 2018 season.

San Jose have never lost seven league games in a row, however.


San Jose Earthquakes win – 36.3%

Draw – 26.2%

Chicago Fire win – 37.6%

The Netherlands came from behind to battle into the Euro 2024 semi-finals with a 2-1 victory over Turkiye as Mert Muldur's own goal proved the difference in Berlin.

Samet Akaydin headed home after 35 minutes at the Olympiastadion, while Arda Guler was denied by the woodwork as Turkiye threatened to cause an upset.

Yet Ronald Koeman's Oranje stood firm, levelling through a thumping Stefan de Vrij header before Muldur – under pressure from Cody Gakpo – turned into his own net after 76 minutes.

Despite a spirited effort, Vincenzo Montella's side were unable to respond at the death as the Netherlands booked a last-four meeting with England in Dortmund for Wednesday.

A tentative opening was devoid of gilt-edged opportunities, though still free flowing with half-chances at either end. Gakpo and Memphis Depay combined well before the latter blazed over with barely two minutes on the clock, while Salih Ozcan hammered adrift of the target from range shortly after.

Yet another Turkiye set-piece situation told 10 minutes before the interval, as was the case with Merih Demiral's double against Austria in the last 16.

Guler was afforded too much space to curl in after a Dutch clearance, delivering perfectly onto the head of Akaydin, who could not miss from the back post for his first Turkiye goal.

The Netherlands managed just four shots in a drab first half, their fewest in the opening 45 minutes of a Euros match since the 2004 semi-finals against Portugal (also four), and Koeman responded by sending on Wout Weghorst.

However, it was Turkiye who almost extended their lead on two occasions after the break. Guler was felled by the covering Nathan Ake and the Real Madrid teenager stepped up to the resulting free-kick, clipping Bart Verbruggen's right-hand post with a fizzing low effort.

Kenan Yildiz then launched another skimming attempt through a sea of Oranje shirts, with Verbruggen unconvincingly parrying away before Weghorst cleared in front of an incoming Kaay Ayhan.

The Netherlands took advantage of that escape five minutes later when Depay worked a short corner towards the centre, where De Vrij nodded downwards past the helpless Mert Gunok.

Dutch joy turned to further elation only six minutes later as Denzel Dumfries slotted an inviting cross towards the back post, where Muldur inadvertently scuffed past Gunok with Gakpo charging in from behind.

Substitute Zeki Celik had a late chance to level but saw his back-post drive cleared off the line, while Verbruggen delivered a remarkable stop to thwart Semih Kilicsoy. Amid another chaotic finale, Turkiye's unused substitute Bertug Yildirim was sent off for a furious reaction towards the referee as the Netherlands scraped into the semi-finals.

Rare own-goal joy for the Dutch

Muldur's error was the first own goal the Netherlands had benefitted from at the European Championships since Portugal's Jorge Andrade put through his own net in 2004.

That unlikely route to their winner snatched a sixth quarter-final progression at major tournaments (World Cup/Euros) in eight attempts for the Oranje.

Yet Koeman's initial savour was an unexpected one as De Vrij equalised with his first goal for Netherlands since March 2015, nine years and 97 days ago against Spain.

This victory also saw the Netherlands progress from just a fourth knockout-stage tie in their last 10 attempts at the European Championships, with England awaiting in the last four.

Semi-final wait goes on for set-piece kings

Turkiye have scored three goals from corners at Euro 2024, the joint-most on record for a team in a single edition – level with Spain in 2020, France in 2016 and Portugal in 2004 – since records began in 1980.

That success from set-piece situations has been integral to the efforts of Montella's side, yet it was not enough to secure their first semi-final appearance at a major tournament since Euro 2008.

Turkiye will still hold their heads high, having impressed as the surprise package of this tournament.

Gareth Southgate insists Euro 2024 is not just about England "playing well" as the Three Lions manager lauded the character shown in their penalty shoot-out victory over Switzerland in the last eight.

England were once again unconvincing in Dusseldorf and fell behind to Breel Embolo's 75th-minute opener, only for Bukayo Saka to level shortly after on Saturday.

Penalties followed at Dusseldorf Arena as Jordan Pickford denied Switzerland's first spot-kick from Manuel Akanji, before Trent Alexander-Arnold coolly slotted in the winning effort to seal a last-four place.

Since Euro 1996, England have played 11 knockout matches at the European Championship and eight of those have gone to extra-time, including the last four in a row.

That may be apportioned to their battling nature, an aspect manager Southgate referenced after a nervy victory in his 100th national game in charge of the senior side.

"I thought the players were brilliant, it is the best we have played," Southgate said on BBC One. "To come from behind and show character and resilience we did... it isn't just about playing well.

"Huge performance, huge result and we are still in it. We had to be tactically spot on. We are in a third semi-final and it says a lot about the whole group. I thought we had good control."

England had lost more shoot-outs than any other nation across the World Cup and Euros (seven), but responded emphatically by converting all five attempts at this edition of UEFA's top tournament.

Saka knows all too well about spot-kick heartbreak, having missed in the Euro 2020 final against Italy, and Southgate lauded his response after firing past Yann Sommer in the shoot-out.

"It was so brave from Bukayo, he is one of our best and we were never in question he would take one. But we all knew what he went through," Southgate continued.

England scored every single one of their penalties in the shoot-out (5/5), also doing so against Spain at Euro 1996 (4/4), for just the second time in their 10th penalty shoot-out at major tournaments.

"We have done a lot of work on it. We've won three out of four shootouts now," Southgate added, in quotes published by UEFA's official website.

"In the end the players have to do it and deliver. For players to come into the game and do what they did, for someone like Bukayo having been what he's been through to go through that pressure [is great]."

Harry Kane endured another quiet outing, failing to register a shot on target before being removed in extra time, though the England captain has faith in whoever Southgate selects.

"Another tough game and first of all great resilience from the lads to turn it up again," Kane told BBC One. 

"To get the goal, a fantastic finish from Bukayo Saka. Penalties are penalties, but I felt prepared – I was on the side, but I felt comfortable in the lads. Five out of five and a save from Picks!

"We trust in whoever is on the pitch and the difference this year compared to past years is we have proven penalty takers – we have a lot more experience and we showed it out there."

Bukayo Saka revelled in banishing previous penalty demons as England edged past Switzerland with a shoot-out victory in the Euro 2024 quarter-finals.

Saka levelled just five minutes after Breel Embolo's 75th-minute opener in Dusseldorf on Saturday, though the two sides could not be separated across 120 minutes.

England had lost more shoot-outs than any other nation across the World Cup and European Championships (seven), with Saka missing in the final of the latter competition just four years ago.

Yet the Arsenal winger converted from 12 yards after Jordan Pickford had denied Manuel Akanji, before Trent Alexander-Arnold sent England into the last four at Dusseldorf Arena.

Saka was understandably delighted to bounce back on penalties after his heartbreak against Italy at Wembley Stadium at Euro 2020.

"To comeback from something like that is really difficult, today I took the chance," the England forward said on BBC One.

"I am going to put it up there, special. How we fought back and to go to penalties. Last time we took at penalty shoot-out at the Euros we know what happened. I believed.

"I felt like we dominated the whole game and the chance would come and I took it – I am proud of myself for that."

England have won just four penalty shoot-outs in their history but two of them have come against Switzerland, in 2019 in the Nations League and in this game at Euro 2024.

A last-four meeting with either the Netherlands or Turkiye awaits on Wednesday, where Saka is still desperate for Gareth Southgate's side to improve.

"I think it shows how much we want to win this tournament," Saka added. "Hopefully, next game we can win in 90 minutes but if this is what it takes – we will do anything!"

For just the second time in their 10th shoot-out at a major tournament, England scored every single one of their penalties in the shoot-out (5/5), also doing so against Spain at Euro 1996 (4/4).

Alexander-Arnold proved the hero when curling into Yann Sommer's top corner, and the Liverpool full-back says the execution was down to Southgate's meticulous planning.

"It is what we have practised," Alexander-Arnold said on the same English outlet. "When the gaffer said I was taking one, I enjoy it and I practice it – I knew I had to just execute it.

"All five penalties from us were great.

"We knew it was going to be tight. Whatever it takes and no matter what we win – that is all that matters to us."

World number two Coco Gauff proved far too strong for qualifier Sonay Kartal as she eased into the last 16 at Wimbledon on Friday.

Kartal, the first female British qualifier to reach the third round at the All England Club since 1997, had eliminated Sorana Cirstea and Clara Burel to reach this stage.

But Gauff represented a clear step up and, after a slightly testing first set, accelerated to a 6-4 6-0 win.

The US Open champion has never been beyond the fourth round at Wimbledon but will get the opportunity to do so against Emma Navarro on Sunday.

"I've never come out with someone like Coco before," said 298th-ranked Kartal. "There's a reason why she is where she is, number two in the world.

"She played some unbelievable tennis in that second set."

Data Debrief: Gauff's glass ceiling?

Gauff's breakout main-draw run at a major came at Wimbledon in 2019 when she reached the fourth round, but she has since surpassed that performance at each of the other three grand slams, most notably triumphing at Flushing Meadows.

Crucially, however, the 20-year-old has plenty of time on her side as she seeks to make strides at the grass-court major.

Indeed, not since Agnieszka Radwanska, in 2009, has a younger women's player reached the fourth round at Wimbledon for a third time. Gauff will hope it is third time lucky.

Emiliano Martinez was Argentina's penalty shootout hero once more as they edged out Ecuador to reach the Copa America semi-finals, despite Lionel Messi's failed Panenka attempt.

The reigning champions survived a huge scare at NRG Stadium, where Kevin Rodriguez's stoppage-time equaliser cancelled out Lisandro Martinez's first-half header to take the last-eight tie the distance.

It appeared La Albiceleste's title defence was in doubt when Messi, back in the side after missing the Peru match with a hamstring injury, chipped the first penalty against the crossbar.

But Emiliano Martinez, who played starring roles from the spot during La Albiceleste's 2022 World Cup triumph, made saves to deny Angel Mena and Alan Minda, before Nicolas Otamendi struck the decisive kick for Lionel Scaloni's side.

Felix Sanchez's Ecuador had not scored in a Copa America quarter-final since 1997, but they made the brighter start in Houston.

Cristian Romero just about denied Moises Caicedo a shot on goal, before Emiliano Martinez came to Argentina's rescue as he blocked Jeremy Sarmiento's effort from a tight angle.

However, the reigning champions took the lead in the 35th minute when Alexis Mac Allister flicked Messi's corner towards the far post, where the unmarked Lisandro Martinez nodded into an empty net.

Ecuador were handed a gilt-edge opportunity to equalise from the penalty spot just after the hour mark, when Rodrigo De Paul was adjudged to have handled in the box.

However, they could not capitalise as Enner Valencia struck Emiliano Martinez's right post with his spot-kick, despite sending the Argentina goalkeeper the wrong way. 

But there was to be a dramatic late twist in stoppage time as Rodriguez glanced home John Yeboah's cross, with La Tricolor almost completing a sensational turnaround with Jordy Caicedo heading narrowly wide with the last kick of normal time.

They landed the first blow of the shootout when Messi's attempted Panenka clipped the top of the crossbar, but it proved a false dawn as Emiliano Martinez took centre stage yet again to swing the shootout back in Argentina's favour, before they scraped over the line.

Reigning champions scrape through by the skin of their teeth

Argentina are the first side through to the last four, and their title defence remains on track, but only just.

They broke the deadlock through Lisandro Martinez, who was in the right place to open his senior international account, while becoming the first Argentina defender to score in the Copa America since Victor Cuesta eight years ago.

Emiliano Martinez looked set to earn a fourth clean sheet of this tournament, and become the second Argentina goalkeeper after Sergio Romero to reach that tally in separate editions, but Rodriguez had other ideas with his dramatic equaliser.

Nevertheless, after Messi missed in yet another Copa America shootout - famously doing so in the 2016 final defeat to Chile - the goalkeeper dug his skipper out of a hole with two smart saves eventually proving the difference.

Argentina hoodoo continues as Ecuador pay the penalty

Ecuador knew they needed to rewrite history to achieve a positive result here. La Tricolor had never beaten Argentina in the Copa America, losing 11 and drawing five of their 16 previous attempts, while they had won just five of the 40 meetings overall.

Despite conceding in the opening half for the first time in this tournament, they outshot their opponents (four to three) in the first 45 minutes, but the last of those efforts came in the 16th minute.

Though they snatched a dramatic equaliser, Valencia's earlier penalty miss was a sign of things to come, as the wait for a first semi-final appearance since 1993 goes on.

Nevertheless, Sanchez's side depart the United States having made history. Indeed, at just 17 years and 61 days old, rising star Kendry Paez became the youngest player to appear in a Copa America quarter-final. 

Hubert Hurkacz was the highest-profile casualty on day four of the Wimbledon men's singles, with the seventh seed forced to retire injured during his clash with Arthur Fils.

The Pole beat Roger Federer on the way to reaching the semi-finals in 2021, while he was runner-up to new world number one Jannik Sinner in Halle last month.

However, when trailing by two sets to one against his French opponent, Hurkacz sustained a knee injury during the tie-break in the fourth.

Despite valiantly attempting to battle on, he aggravated the problem further soon after when diving for a return, and was subsequently unable to continue with Fils advancing to round three.

There, he will play Alex de Minaur after the ninth seed enjoyed a straight-sets victory over Jaume Munar.

Fourth seed Alexander Zverev also prevailed in three sets as he continued his rich vein of form. The Italian Open champion, who was also runner-up to Carlos Alcaraz at Roland-Garros, was a commanding 6-1 6-2 6-4 winner over Marcos Giron. 

Next up for him is Cameron Norrie after the 2022 semi-finalist ousted compatriot Jack Draper in a battle of the Brits on No.1 Court.

Eastbourne champion Taylor Fritz overcame Arthur Rinderknech in four sets, as did 15th seed Holger Rune against Thiago Seyboth Wild.

Meanwhile, Grigor Dimitrov recovered from two sets down to beat Juncheng Shang in a decider. The 2014 semi-finalist will now play Gael Monfils, who completed a straight-sets victory over fellow veteran Stan Wawrinka.

Although, there was no joy for 11th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. The two-time major finalist was beaten in four sets by world number 87 Emil Ruusuvuori.

Peter Vermes urged his Sporting Kansas City players to take responsibility for their own position ahead of the upcoming MLS road trip to Colorado Rapids.

SKC ended a three-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory over Austin FC in their last encounter, just their second victory in 15 league games.

Kansas City are still bottom of the Western Conference and 11 points adrift of the playoff spots, though Vermes is desperate for fighting spirit ahead of a testing schedule.

"We can't wait, we have a lot of games that are important coming up," SKC head coach Vermes said at his pre-match media availability.

"Each game has its own importance to it, this all started last week but we need to keep going.

"We go in with a plan, we have an idea, it sometimes comes down to how the guys recover. Hopefully no one gets injured, but also just minutes – it's going to be really important.

"Each guy himself has to be ready for the responsibility of the position and knowing what we do when we have the ball, when we don't, they have to go into the game with that.

"We don't have a lot of training time in between games, so they all have to be ready for that."

The Burgundy Boys will be out to extend their home unbeaten run to five games in this clash, though they suffered a 3-0 defeat to Los Angeles FC last time out on the road.

Colorado are fourth in the West standings but nine points adrift of the top two, a gap they will hope to shorten at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.


Colorado Rapids – Rafael Navarro

Rafael Navarro has scored in each of his last five home appearances for the Rapids, and will fancy his chances of extending an impressive run this time around.

The only players with a longer streak in regular-season play in Colorado's history are Diego Rubio (six in 2022) and Mark Chung (also six in 2003).

Sporting Kansas City – William Agada

Goals have been hard to come by for the Kansas City side, with William Agada leading the way this season in MLS with five strikes.

Agada has managed that tally from 20 games, averaging a goal every four matches, but will hope to add to his scoring returns in Colorado.


The Rapids are the favourites for victory on home soil in this clash, owing to a remarkable head-to-head record in meetings between this pair.

Colorado are unbeaten in 10 straight regular-season home matches against SKC (W5 D5) and have lost only two of their 28 home league matches against them since August 2000 (W13 D13).

This will also be Colorado’s third Independence Day meeting with Sporting, having won in both 2003 and 2005, with the expectation that history will repeat itself here.

SKC are hardly in fine form either, having managed just their second win last time out in their previous 15 MLS matches (D2 L11).

However, they managed the club's first clean sheet since a scoreless draw at LAFC on March 9, and will hope to build on that performance here.


Colorado Rapids win – 48.2%

Draw – 25.9%

Sporting Kansas City win – 25.9%

Jannik Sinner battled his way into the Wimbledon third round after overcoming Matteo Berrettini in an all-Italian classic on Wednesday.

Centre Court was treated to a hard-fought spectacle between the pair as the world number one triumphed 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 7-6 (7-4).

The victory marked somewhat of a changing of the guard between the Italian duo, with Sinner rising to the top after a fine year that has also brought Australian Open glory.

Berrettini is no stranger to the SW19 stage, reaching the final of the grass-court major in 2021 and taking the first set before falling to Novak Djokovic, and proved a tough opponent for Sinner in an enthralling clash.

The 14-time ATP Tour champion struggled to assert his dominance early on, failing to snatch a set point in the first before eventually triumphing in a tie-breaker with a thumping backhand.

Sinner repeated the same dose in the second set, trading breaks to leave the clash level at 4-4 before the top seed's forehand exposed Berrettini in another tie-break decider.

Berrettini responded by breaking twice to take a 4-1 lead in the third, though, striking back to halve the arrears and offering his countryman a stark reminder of his quality on this surface.

The pair once again exchanged a break apiece in the fourth set before Sinner squandered a glorious match-point chance when 6-5 ahead.

Yet, as was the case in the first two sets, Berrettini skewed a forehand into the net as Sinner sealed victory on his third match point with another tie-break success, just before the curfew at Wimbledon.

Data Debrief: Super Sinner downs another Italian

Sinner, who reached the semi-finals at this tournament last year, is now 14-0 against fellow Italians.

The 22-year-old is just the third player in the Open Era to win his first 14 ATP matches against compatriots, after Australia's Bob Hewitt and Argentina's Guillermo Vilas.

Sinner hit 32 winners and committed 25 unforced errors en route to his 40th tour-level win of the season, teeing up a third-round meeting with Miomir Kecmanovic, who overcame Tallon Griekspoor.

Cristiano Ronaldo will bounce back from his Euro 2024 disappointment and find form due to his elite mentality, according to former Manchester United team-mate Wes Brown.

The Portugal captain is the record appearance maker (29) and goalscorer (14) at the Euros, yet has failed to find the back of the net in this edition of the competition.  

Ronaldo was reduced to tears after his penalty was saved by Jan Oblak in extra time before making amends and scoring in their last-16 penalty shoot-out win over Slovenia.

That brought questions once more over the veteran forward's ability and influence for Roberto Martinez's side, who face France in the quarter-finals on Friday.

However, Brown, who spent six years with Ronaldo at Manchester United, believes his former team-mate has the mentality to recover and prove his doubters wrong in Germany.

"Mentality [wise], there's no one better," Brown said, speaking to Stats Perform at the Home of Adidas football in Berlin. 

"He'd be disappointed he didn't score the penalty in normal time, that would have frustrated him, but there were a lot of people I was talking to, and they thought he might not even start games.

"I totally disagreed and thought he's still got it to perform. He will be disappointed he's not scored, but he's a team player, he's won the competition before, and he just wants to do well, helping the team.”

Though the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has a list of records to his name, he has added some unwanted statistics to his displays after an underwhelming Euro 2024.

Ronaldo is the biggest expected goals (xG) underperformer in the tournament (0 goals from 2.75 xG), while he has had nine shots on target, which is the joint-highest along with Germany's Kai Havertz.

No player has had as many shots as Ronaldo during UEFA's flagship international competition either. He is five clear of any other player, while only Havertz has a higher xG (3.6 to Ronaldo’s 2.75).

The Copa America is well under way, with the group stages already done and dusted.

Argentina made light work of progressing from Group A, even though Lionel Messi had to sit out their last fixture.

And key to their success has been the goalscoring form of Lautaro Martinez, who is making up for some bad misses at the 2022 World Cup.

Brazil also progressed, with Vinicius Junior their talisman as expected, while Darwin Nunez is the key attacker for Marcelo Bielsa's free-flowing Uruguay.

Ahead of the knockouts, how is the Copa America Golden Boot race shaping up?


Lautaro Martinez (four goals)

We'll start with the leader in the race, and that is Martinez.

The forward had an outstanding season for Inter, who he led to the Scudetto while finishing as top scorer in Serie A, scoring 24 goals in 33 appearances, and comfortably outperforming his 17.6 xG.

However, he came into the build-up to this tournament in poor form for his country, having not netted for Argentina in 2026 World Cup qualifying.


But he scored a double in a 4-1 win over Guatemala in a pre-tournament friendly, and even though he has started just one of Argentina's matches so far, he has netted four times.

Martinez is also the Argentina player with the most shots (nine). In fact, since his debut in the Copa America in 2019, Martinez is the tournament's top scorer with nine goals (two in 2019, three in 2021, four in 2024), four more than Messi and Luis Diaz (five each).

It remains to be seen whether Martinez will have to settle for a super-sub role once Messi returns to the fold, but with Ecuador next up, and then a potential semi-final against either Canada or Venezuela, Argentina's path to the final is opening up nicely, and Martinez should fancy his chances.

Vinicius Junior (two goals)

Fresh from winning the Champions League with Real Madrid (and scoring in the final – again), Vinicius came into the Copa America as Brazil's talisman.

With Neymar absent through injury, the onus is on the winger to provide the creative spark and clinical edge to drag what looks like a more dogged, workmanlike squad through to the latter stages.

However, he will be absent for Brazil's clash with in-form Uruguay, who are arguably the favourites going into that tie, due to picking up two yellow cards in the group stages.

Vinicius' booking tally matches his goal tally at the tournament so far, with both of those having come in the first half of a 4-1 rout of Paraguay.

But with Brazil only having a maximum of two games left, will he have time to catch Martinez?

Darwin Nunez (two goals)

One player who could end Vinicius' hopes altogether is Uruguay forward Nunez.

The Liverpool striker is an erratic finisher, but he is an integral part of Marcelo Bielsa's free-flowing attack.


The 24-year-old may never be ultra-clinical, (he had a shot conversion rate of 10.2 per cent in the Premier League in the season just gone) but his pace, tenacity and work rate make him the ideal Bielsa folly up top.

Indeed, he has converted just one of his six Opta-defined big chances so far at this Copa America, but his two goals have come from an xG of 1.8, showing he's about on track.

If Uruguay can get past Brazil, they will face Colombia or Panama in the semi-finals. Nunez should be locking in on that Golden Boot.

Salomon Rondon (two goals)

An unlikely name on this list is Venezuela veteran Rondon, but his two goals – scored in wins over Mexico and Jamaica – helped his side top Group B with nine points.

Venezuela will face Canada in the quarters, and while Jesse Marsch's team are a surprise package in the last eight, they have proved they can be wide open defensively at times.

Only three players can better Rondon's 1.98 xG across the tournament so far, while the 34-year-old has had 13 shots, which matches Martinez's total.

He is getting into good positions and having plenty of attempts. If Venezuela indeed get the better of Canada, who's to say Rondon cannot claim this prize?

Daniel Munoz, Eduard Bello, Maximiliano Araujo (two goals)

There are three other players tied on two goals, though perhaps they are a tad more unlikely to challenge Martinez.

Munoz grabbed his second goal of the tournament in Colombia's 1-1 draw with Brazil, though as a right-back, he cannot be expected to keep up the scoring run.

Bello, meanwhile, has scored his two goals from just three shots, so that does not seem particularly sustainable.

Araujo, on the other hand, has netted twice from an xG of just 0.6, so he is overperforming.

What about Messi?

Not only did Messi finish as joint-top scorer at the 2021 Copa, he was also the leading assister and then, 18 months later, he went on to lead Argentina to World Cup glory, scoring seven goals in the process, from 6.6 expected goals – only Kylian Mbappe (eight) netted more times in Qatar.


Messi has scored 13 Copa America goals, which puts him joint-seventh on the all-time list, alongside fellow Argentina great Gabriel Batistuta. 

However, he has been unable to add to that total so far.

He took on the role of creator in Argentina's opening win against Canada, and has had seven shots in total, but so far, no luck.

Brazil joined Colombia in the Copa America quarter-finals, but they were denied top spot in Group D after a nervy 1-1 draw in San Francisco.

Raphinha's stunning free-kick after just 12 minutes was cancelled out by Daniel Munoz in first-half stoppage time, as the spoils were shared at Levi's Stadium.

The draw was enough for the Selecao to secure second place in Group D – one point ahead of Costa Rica, who beat Paraguay 2-1 – though it came at a cost, with Vinicius Junior collecting a second yellow card in three games to rule him out of their last-eight clash with Uruguay.

Meanwhile, having held onto top spot with seven points from their three games, Nestor Lorenzo's Colombia will take on Group C runners-up Panama in the last eight. 

Los Cafeteros went close with a 25-yard free-kick in the eighth minute, when skipper James Rodriguez clipped the top of Alisson's crossbar. 

Raphinha went one better from a similar distance four minutes later, with goalkeeper Camilo Vargas only able to help his fierce delivery into his top-left corner.

It was the first goal Colombia had conceded in the first half of a match since their 3-2 win over Mexico last December, but they responded well. 

Davinson Sanchez's header was rightly ruled out for offside, before the equaliser arrived in the second additional minute of the first half. James fizzed the ball into Jhon Cordoba, who neatly threaded it through for Munoz to fire past Alisson.

Colombia continued to carry the greater attacking threat after the break and almost completed the turnaround with six minutes remaining, when substitute Rafael Borre fired over from six yards out.

At the other end, it took Vargas' smart reflex save to tip Andreas Pereira's effort over and prevent Brazil from snatching top spot with a dramatic last-gasp winner, as they joined their opponents in the last eight.

Selecao stutter into knockout stages, and must do without Vinicius

The nine-time champions have progressed beyond the Copa America group stage for the 14th time in their last 15 appearances.

And by avoiding defeat, the Selecao have also equalled their longest unbeaten streak in the opening phase at this tournament of 10 matches (also achieving the feat between 1993 and 1999).

However, Dorival will be concerned by his side's lack of sharpness in front of goal, with just three shots on target and an xG of 0.31 across the 90 minutes.

And they will head into a tricky quarter-final tie with Uruguay, who are fresh from winning all three of their Group C matches, without the suspended Vinicius.

Although, similarly to his nation’s opener against Costa Rica, the Real Madrid forward flattered to deceive here with his tallies of 28 touches and 13 passes the lowest by any player appearing for the duration of the contest.

It was his fellow winger Raphinha who took centre with his superb free-kick breaking the deadlock. Ironically, three of Brazil's last four goals from free-kicks have come against Colombia.

Stubborn Colombia's unbeaten streak continues

Colombia have finished third in two of the last three editions of the Copa America, and they will be confident of embarking on another deep run this time around.

One thing is for certain; Lorenzo's side will be difficult to beat at the business end of this tournament.

Despite seeing a 10-game winning streak come to an end today – while their wait for successive victories over Brazil goes on – Los Cafeteros are now unbeaten in each of their last 26 matches.

They had won each of their three previous games when conceding the opening goal, and that determination was evident once more as they responded yet again.

Munoz's strike was their fourth goal in the last 15 minutes of the first half at this year's Copa America; more than any other side has registered. Next up for them, Panama in Arizona.

St. Louis City will play their first MLS game without Bradley Carnell after the head coach was dismissed ahead of Thursday's meeting with San Jose Earthquakes.

Carnell's departure was confirmed this week after failing to triumph since mid-May, slipping down to 12th in the Western Conference standings after a nine-game winless run.

St. Louis were guided to a first-place finish in the West last season, their maiden campaign in MLS, yet they are preparing for a new era with technical director John Hackworth in interim charge.

"Given Bradley's many contributions to the club, this was not an easy decision,” said City's sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel.

"Unfortunately, based on our results to date, we believe a coaching change is in the best interest of the club as we regroup and look to improve, both our performance and our results."

Hackworth has almost 30 years of coaching experience, including positions within the United States men's national team and MLS rivals Philadelphia Union.

His first task will be downing an out-of-form San Jose, who sit at the bottom of the West standings with just three wins to their name all year.

The Earthquakes are also without a manager after Luchi Gonzalez's dismissal, falling to a 3-0 defeat against LA Galaxy in their first match since his dismissal.

Gonzalez's assistant coach Ian Russell took interim charge for that home humbling, and will be desperate to turn things around as San Jose remain in search of a new full-time boss.


St. Louis City – Njabulo Blom

Njabulo Blom's seventh-minute goal on Saturday was St. Louis' 10th from outside the box in regular-season play in MLS, with Blom the ninth different player to record one of those strikes.

Blom may fancy his likelihood of adding another long-range strike in this outing, considering the Earthquakes defence is far from convincing.

San Jose Earthquakes – Hernan Lopez

Hernan Lopez has contributed to a goal in each of his first four MLS road games (two goals, two assists), with the midfielder hoping to extend that impressive run here.

However, only two players have recorded a goal contribution in each of their first five MLS road games: Cucho Hernandez (six straight in 2022) and Romain Alessandrini (also six in a row in 2017).


The hosts are the heavily backed favourites for victory in this encounter, despite their woeful run of form of late.

St. Louis are winless in their last nine matches, losing six of those. Prior to this run, they had only lost as many games in 27 league matches dating back to June 2023.

Yet, the home side will fancy their chances of arresting that streak given St. Louis beat San Jose twice last season, winning 3-0 and 2-1.

The Earthquakes' form is poor, too, having lost 15 of their first 20 matches this season. Only Tampa Bay Mutiny in 2001 suffered more such losses in the post shoot-out era since 2000.

Only four teams have collected fewer points than San Jose's 11 this year at this stage of a campaign, most recently D.C. United (10) in 2013, and that drab spell could extend here.


St. Louis City win – 52%

Draw – 24.5%

San Jose Earthquakes win – 23.5%

Page 3 of 770
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.