Kylian Mbappe scored twice, including a stunning strike from just outside the box, as France beat the Netherlands 2-0 in Amsterdam to secure Euro 2024 qualification.

After putting Les Bleus ahead with a seventh-minute finish, Mbappe added a breathtaking second eight minutes into the second half, exchanging passes with Adrien Rabiot and sending a curling shot over Bart Verbruggen and into the top corner.

Quilindschy Hartman reduced the deficit with seven minutes of normal time remaining.

The result extended France’s perfect record in Group B to a sixth victory as they rubber-stamped their place in next summer’s finals in Germany with two fixtures to spare.

Their opponents dropped from second to third, replaced by Greece – who won 2-0 against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin.

Georgios Giakoumakis and Georgios Masouras scored in the first half as Ireland’s chances of automatic qualification officially came to an end.

Greece are now three points clear of the Netherlands, who have a game in hand.

In Group F, Belgium sealed progress to the finals with a 3-2 win away against second-placed Austria.

The visitors appeared to be cruising after Dodi Lukebakio’s double and a Romelu Lukaku effort had them three goals up before the hour mark.

Things then became less comfortable as Konrad Laimer pulled a goal back in the 72nd minute, Belgium were reduced to 10 men by a red card for Amadou Onana six minutes later, and Marcel Sabitzer scored an 84th-minute penalty – but Domenico Tedesco’s side managed to see out the win.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan registered their first win in the group as they beat Estonia 2-0 in Tallinn.

Portugal also completed the job of qualification via a 3-2 victory as they defeated Slovakia in Porto, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring twice.

Goncalo Ramos and a Ronaldo penalty had the hosts two goals up at half-time, and after David Hancko’s reply, Ronaldo made it 3-1 in the 72nd minute with his 125th international goal.

Stanislav Lobotka netted a second for Slovakia, who are second behind Portugal in Group J.

Friday’s other matches in the pool saw Iceland and Luxembourg draw 1-1 in Reykjavik and Bosnia and Herzegovina win 2-0 in Liechtenstein.

Angus Gunn insists Scotland still have eyes on topping their group after the 2-0 defeat by Spain on Thursday night delayed Euro 2024 qualification.

After winning their first five qualifiers, including a 2-0 win over the Spanish at Hampden Park in March, the Scots came up short in Seville after a controversial VAR call ruled out Scott McTominay’s terrific free-kick just before the hour mark.

Dutch referee Serdar Gozubuyuk was sent to check his pitchside monitor and he ruled an infringement by Scotland defender Jack Hendry, with some confusion as to whether it was for a foul on goalkeeper Unai Simon or offside.

Alvaro Morata headed in after 73 minutes and substitute Oihan Sancet, making his debut, added a second with four minutes or normal time remaining to leave Steve Clarke’s men three points ahead of La Roja at the top of Group A having played a game more.

Scotland face France in a friendly in Lille next Tuesday while Spain take on third-placed Norway in Oslo two days earlier and if the Norwegians drop points, Scotland’s place in Germany next summer will be secured before games away at Georgia and home to Norway in November.

Norwich keeper Gunn, 27, remains confident and he said: “We have put ourselves in an unbelievable position.

“From our point of view we have done a lot of the hard work early on in the group and we want to finish it off in the right way.

“We want to top the group as well so we have two more games and it might happen on Sunday but even if it does, we go away to Georgia and still try to win this group.

“I will probably watch it on Sunday. If it happens, it happens but we still have two more games.

“We have put ourselves in a good position and if it does happen on Sunday we deserve it.”

The Scots had put up a sturdy defensive display against this summer’s Nations League winners and it looked like they might be on their way to a smash-and-grab win when McTominay’s free-kick from near the byline flew into the net.

Gunn believes the decision to rule it out lifted the Spanish fans and gave the home side the boost to go on and clinch the three points.

He said: “We thought we went ahead and that was an unbelievable feeling at the time and it was gutting when it got chalked off.

“I thought we dealt with it quite well but I think it gave them more of a boost.

“Their crowd celebrated it like a goal and I think they got their tails up a little but which we had to deal with.

“I think we kept our emotions quite well even though there wasn’t much clarity around the decision, that was the most disappointing thing.

“But they are a top team and they went up the other end and scored and after that the momentum was with them.

“We are disappointed with the result.

“But I said, we put ourselves in the position where we are still top of the group, still looking strong and hopefully still able to qualify soon.”

The Republic of Ireland will attempt to launch a strong finish to a disappointing Euro 2024 qualifying campaign when they welcome Greece to the Aviva Stadium on Friday evening.

Stephen Kenny’s men saw hopes of automatic qualification effectively go up in smoke last month when they were beaten by Group B rivals France in Paris and the Netherlands in Dublin, leaving them with just three points from their five games to date.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the talking points surrounding a game in which there is little more than pride at stake for the hosts.

Curtains for Kenny?

Despite inheriting an Ireland squad which had secured a Euro 2020 play-off place on which they were ultimately unable to cash in, Kenny stated from early in his reign that qualification for Euro 2024 was his target. Barring an unlikely series of results, the Republic will not make it to Germany automatically and even another ticket for the play-offs looks unlikely as a result of their poor Nations League record. A review of the manager’s tenure will take place next month, but even some of Kenny’s most staunch supporters are starting to turn.

Greek tragedy


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The Group B draw left both Ireland and Greece, who were already assured of a play-off spot, facing a difficult task to deny France and the Netherlands the top two berths and as such, the games between the two were going to be crucial. Kenny’s men travelled to Athens in June knowing victory would put them in a strong position from which to mount an attack; they left on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline and with the alarm bells already ringing after just two games.

Matt finish?

Matt Doherty in particular did not enjoy his trip to the Greek capital. With his side trailing to Anastasios Bakasetas’ and a second from Girogos Masouras after Nathan Collins had levelled, the defender was sent off after a needless clash with Liverpool’s Kostas Tsimikas. He and his team-mates were less than happy with the behaviour of some of the Greece players during the game and there is a hunger for a measure of revenge within the camp.

When Irish eyes are spying

Greece boss Gus Poyet was a satisfied man after the win at the OPAP Arena, claiming afterwards that he had anticipated what Ireland would do and had therefore been able to combat it. Ireland assistant manager Keith Andrews this week suggested the Uruguayan had enlisted the help of Irish contacts to draw up his masterplan. Time will tell if he has been able to do so once again.

Evan help us

Last month’s 2-0 defeat in Paris and the 2-1 reverse at the hands of the Dutch which followed it might have been different had Kenny been able to call upon one of his emerging stars. Eighteen-year-old Brighton striker Evan Ferguson was forced to withdraw from the squad due to a knee injury, robbing Ireland of their most potent weapon. Ferguson is back and primed and Ireland expects.

Republic of Ireland boss Stephen Kenny has told his players they must believe they can still qualify automatically for the Euro 2024 finals until it becomes a mathematical impossibility.

The chances of Ireland making it to next summer’s finals effectively evaporated last month when they were beaten by Group B rivals France and the Netherlands, and even the prospect of a back-door ticket via the play-offs looks unlikely given their Nations League ranking.

However beleaguered boss Kenny, who has come under intense pressure as a result of just a single victory in the opening five qualifiers – and that against minnows Gibraltar – remained defiant as he plotted revenge against Greece, who got the better of his side in Athens in June.

The manager said: “We want to finish the group strongly. We are still in contention for automatic qualification.

“It’s not in our own hands, we are relying on results elsewhere. We have to see if we can take it to the November window and the only way we can do that is by taking six points from this window.

“It may not be enough, but we’d be kicking ourselves if we didn’t do that and results did happen elsewhere.

“We do our side. We win the games we need to win and that starts with Greece on Friday.”

Kenny’s desperation to get the better of Greece has been fuelled in part by a perception that opposite number Gus Poyet went into the reverse fixture armed with detailed knowledge of how to combat Ireland.

Assistant Keith Andrews suggested earlier this week that Poyet, in doing his homework on the Republic, had used his contacts from Ireland to get the low-down on players and tactics.

Kenny, however, played down talk of a spying scandal, insisting the Greeks had had no help from within his camp.

Asked if he had any surprises up his sleeve for Poyet, he said with a smile: “Yes, I had Theo Zagorakis in the hotel in Castleknock earlier. He’s coming down and we’ll see how he is.”

Kenny added: “It’s all quite possible, but listen, I’m not getting hung up on that and certainly we’re just focused on preparing the team for the game on Friday.”

Ireland have been boosted by the return of Brighton striker Evan Ferguson, who missed last month’s fixtures with a knee injury, although Blackburn’s Sammie Szmodics, who wad called up to replace Aaron Connolly following his withdrawal, has left the squad for family reasons.

Just how different the Republic’s situation might have been had blossoming talent Ferguson been available against the French and the Dutch is a moot point, but Kenny is convinced the motivation of his players will be as high as ever despite the seeming futility of their position.

He said: “Firstly, it’s a huge honour just to put on the green shirt and to represent your country, especially in a qualifier.

“The reality is, although it’s an outside chance, mathematically we still have a chance. As long as that is the case, we must give everything of ourselves all the time.

“That’s not in question. I think they will be hugely motivated, the players, to try to fulfil their potential in this game.”

Josh Magennis is determined to keep proving his worth to Northern Ireland for as long as possible.

When manager Michael O’Neill said after last month’s defeat to Kazakhstan he needed to evaluate some of the older players in his squad and whether they could still deliver for the team, the 33-year-old Magennis recognised he was among those under the spotlight.

But a player who has 73 caps for Northern Ireland, having made his debut against Turkey in May 2010, still savours every opportunity to represent his country.

“It’s up to me to stay fit, perform at club level and when I get a chance in matches here or in training show I’m still worth having around,” Magennis told the PA news agency.

“I know I’m getting on but to me that’s just an excuse, whether people say it for you or you say it yourself. If you still play with intent, with the sports science that’s available now you can play endlessly. It’s up to you to prove you are worth your place in the squad.”

Magennis went as far as telling fans at a meet-and-greet event in Belfast this week that he would fancy playing at Euro 2028 when it is hosted by the UK and Ireland in four and a half years’ time, when he would be just shy of 37.

“Playing for your country is the biggest accolade you’ve ever had,” Magennis said. “I’m never going to retire and nor will I ever say I’ve retired.

“If Michael decides, or anyone else decides, they don’t want me to come any more that’s up to them but I can never retire on my country. That’s not how I will be going out.”

His love of playing shines through as he discusses his season so far with League One Wigan and “riding the wave” of being back after an injury lay-off.

Magennis saw his 2022-23 campaign cut short by a bad knee injury in April, forcing him to miss Northern Ireland’s June fixtures as he went through a lengthy rehabilitation process.

Although Magennis got himself back to fitness by August, the early season form of Charlie Wyke, who has scored six in 11 for Wigan, has meant all but two of his 10 club appearances have been from the bench, but one of them saw him score a hat-trick in an EFL Trophy win over Leicester Under-21s.

“Charlie has been on fire and I’ve just had to wait for my chance,” Magennis said. “At any level scoring goals is massive. The goals don’t move. I’m just feeling good to be back and ready.”

Goals would certainly not go amiss for a Northern Ireland side who have only scored four in their six Euro 2024 qualifiers to date, suffering four 1-0 defeats along the way.

Qualification is beyond them but there is a clear opportunity to end a five-game losing streak when San Marino, the only team O’Neill’s side have beaten so far, visit Windsor Park on Saturday.

But while they can change the mood with victory, Magennis said the team does not need a reset.

“It’s not about trying to change our mentality,” he said. “Michael is working towards something.

“I don’t want to say we’re rebuilding but there’s been an influx of new players, a lot of players Michael’s not been around before and a lot of players who are experiencing international football for the first time.

“It’s just about trying to keep going, keep grafting and trying to implement what Michael wants us to do. It’s been tough not winning. This is a results-based business and everyone wants to win but there’s a process and Michael has proved this process has worked before. We’ve got to trust in it.”

John McGinn insists there is more to come from Scotland as they sit on the cusp of qualifying for a second successive European Championship.

Steve Clarke’s men have won their first five Group A qualifiers, including a 2-0 victory over Thursday’s opponents Spain at Hampden Park last March.

Scotland are top of the group, six points ahead of Spain having played a game more, and Aston Villa midfielder McGinn is confident about his country’s future.

He said: “There’s plenty more to come. We’re all at a good age. We’re getting more and more experience of these games.

“The great thing for us is there’s a couple of great young players bubbling away in the background that could come and improve us.

“It’s a really exciting time to be a Scotland player. The fans are here regardless of the results, but we’re now giving them some success which we’re enjoying. Hopefully we can carry that on.

“When you come back up the road you hear about the positive impact you’re having on the whole country. Everyone is behind the team again.

“We need to be better (than the win over Spain). We’re away from home, a team is stronger at home. It wasn’t as hot in Glasgow in March.

“We need to be aggressive, it’s in our nature as a country. Hard working, determined, we’ll fight for every ball.

“We need to get the balance right. We need to be physical and aggressive, but we’ve got some great players as well. At the Spain game, we showed good moments of quality.”

McGinn was not in the mood to get into a verbal battle with Spain captain Rodri, who claimed after the defeat in Hampden that the way Scotland played was “rubbish”.

He said: “It doesn’t matter anymore. I’ve probably lost count of the amount of trophies he’s won since that game.

“There’s not much we can say to him. He’ll have said things in the heat of the moment, but it’s gone now.

“He’s a world-class player who we all respect as a squad, and I think the country should follow.”

Rob Page has revealed Charlie Savage will be staying with the Wales squad for the Euro 2024 qualifier with Croatia on Sunday.

Savage, the 20-year-old son of former Wales midfielder Robbie, made his full senior debut on Wednesday as the Dragons cruised to a 4-0 friendly win over Gibraltar in Wrexham.

The Reading midfielder was due to join up with the under-21 side ahead of their European Championship qualifier away to the Czech Republic on Friday.

But Savage and Wycombe central defender Joe Low – who also made his senior debut against Gibraltar – will remain with Page’s squad ahead of the vital Croatia clash in Cardiff.

“We’ll keep Savage and Joe, not just off the back of tonight,” said Wales manager Page. “They’ve done themselves the world of good.

“Sav has earned the right to be with us and I’ve got a lot of time for Joe.

“He’s earned the right to be there with injuries we’ve got.”

Savage claimed an assist for a Kieffer Moore header as Wales brushed aside Gibraltar with all four goals coming in the first half.

Bournemouth striker Moore scored twice to take his Wales goals tally to 12, the same number as Ryan Giggs and one fewer than John Toshack.

Ben Davies, who wore the armband in the absence of injured captain Aaron Ramsey, and Nathan Broadhead were also on target.

“He has taken my advice and left,” Page said of Savage’s move from Manchester United to Sky Bet League One outfit Reading in the summer.

“It must have been hard for him. I spoke to Rob who had to leave United to go to Crewe. It’s no different for Charlie.

“He did it because he’s playing week in week out in competitive football. He trains as he plays and has personality. We blocked Robbie from speaking to him all week which was a big achievement.

“Joking aside, Rob has got his back, he’ll look after him. He’s got his feet on the ground.

“Sav’s best position is an old-fashioned box to box eight. The ball for Kieffer was first class, right on his head. He showed he can do both sides of it and he’s a great talent.”

Wales’ comfortable win saw them secure back-to-back victories for the first time since November 2021.

“The results were not great in June, but it’s how you bounce back and we did that in September with class (winning 2-0 in Latvia),” Page said.

“The environment is brilliant. We won’t get carried away beating Gibraltar, but I see work in progress.

“My challenge to them was to be clinical and we were. We have to put it all together on Sunday.

“We picked a team here knowing what we’ll face on Sunday.

“From the first minute on camp we knew the team we’d pick here and we know the team on Sunday. We are ready and can’t wait for Sunday’s game.”

Wes Burns has returned to Ipswich and will be assessed by his club after the wing-back suffered an arm injury that forced him off in the early stages against Gibraltar.

Wales warmed up for Euro 2024 qualifying action by cruising to a 4-0 win over Gibraltar in Wrexham.

All the goals came in the first half as Kieffer Moore scored twice with Ben Davies and Nathan Broadhead also getting on the scoresheet.

After last month’s victory in Latvia, it was the first time Wales had achieved back-to-back wins since November 2021.

The performance, especially the opening period, will encourage Wales manager Rob Page ahead of the vital qualifier against Croatia on Sunday, even if Gibraltar’s standing in world football must be taken into account.

This was the maiden meeting between the two nations at senior level and also marked Wales’ return to the SToK Racecourse for the first time since beating Trinidad and Tobago there in 2019.

The Football Association of Wales were rewarded with a sell-out crowd of 10,008 as fans in the north showed their appetite to support the national team.

Page rested several regulars with the Croatia fixture in mind, when Wales will realistically need at least a point to keep alive hopes of automatic qualification for next summer’s European Championship finals in Germany.

Davies took over the captaincy in the absence of the injured Aaron Ramsey, the Tottenham defender winning his 81st cap as Gibraltar played the 81st match in their history.

Charlie Savage, the 20-year-old son of former Wales midfielder Robbie, Joe Low, Regan Poole and Liam Cullen were handed first caps.

Savage, in particular, could be satisfied with his night’s work as he showed composure in possession and exhibited a good range of passing.

Gibraltar came into the game 198th in the world with only nine nations below them on FIFA’s rankings table.

Preparing to play the Republic of Ireland in Euro qualification on Monday, Gibraltar had suffered six straight defeats and not scored since a 1-0 friendly win over Andorra 11 months ago.

The loudest cheer in the opening minutes came when Savage evoked memories of his father with a crunching, but fair, challenge on Tjay De Barr that left the Gibraltar forward on the floor.

Broadhead was off target with a couple of efforts before Wales took the lead after 22 minutes from an unlikely source.

Skipper Davies rose highest from Broadhead’s corner and Gibraltar’s fallibility in the air was punished again when Moore met Savage’s cross to score expertly off a post.

Daniel James, on early for the injured Wes Burns, was causing havoc down the left and forced a sprawling save from Dayle Coleing.

The over-worked Gibraltar goalkeeper also denied Savage twice and Liam Walker cleared another Davies effort off the line.

Broadhead then took James’ 35th-minute pass and turned smartly to find the top corner of Coleing’s net with a sweet right-footed strike.

Cullen twice went close and the fourth arrived on the stroke of half-time as James scampered free again to deliver a perfect cross for the waiting head of Moore.

Page made a raft of substitutions at half-time and the contest lost much of its rhythm.

The changes also removed the possibility of Wales eclipsing their record 11-0 win against Ireland in 1888.

Tom Bradshaw was inches from connecting with a Josh Sheehan cross that flashed across goal, but the second half was largely a nondescript affair.

James shook the crowd from their slumber with an angled effort that rattled the woodwork, but Wales had already achieved their objectives heading into Sunday.

Steve Clarke believes Scotland’s maximum performance against Spain on Thursday night will be good enough to get them at least the point they need to qualify for Euro 2024.

The Scots have won their first five qualifiers including a morale-boosting 2-0 victory over Spain at Hampden Park in March.

Scotland are six points clear of Luis de la Fuente’s side at the top of the table and will qualify for next summer’s finals in Germany if they avoid defeat in Seville or if Norway fail to beat Cyprus on the same night.

Scotland have Georgia away and Norway at home in November to complete their campaign.

Clarke said: “Belief will be part of it, obviously we have to get the tactics right. The players have to put into practise on the pitch what we have spoken about on the training ground.

“They have to play to our maximum and belief is a part of that as well.

“We have to play our game as well as we can and I believe that will be good enough to get something from the game.

“They are a very good team. Obviously they won the Nations League in the summer.

“I think when we played them in March they were probably a little bit in transition between the previous coach and new coach.

“They had a disappointing World Cup campaign so we maybe got them at a good time in March. We know we have to be very good to get a positive result tomorrow night.

“I think we have been constantly improving over my tenure as head coach.

“We are improving all the time, we are striving to improve, trying to add little bits to our game that will make us more competitive against the top teams but we understand we still have a bit to go.”

“But we don’t come here thinking that we have to sit in and defend all night.

“We have to be as effective with the ball as we were at Hampden. We want to get the job done as quickly as possible.

“If we are good enough to get it done tomorrow night that would be great. If not we have two more chances in November and we have those chances because we started the group so well.

“We have 15 points from five games, that is a good start.

“We know we have to get more points to get over the line. Do I think this team will finish the group on 15 points? No, I think we will get more points. Whether that is tomorrow or in November.”

Clarke was diplomatic when asked about Spain captain Rodri, who claimed the way Scotland played at Hampden was “rubbish” as he accused them of wasting time, provoking his team-mates and falling over.

The former Kilmarnock boss said: “I can’t even remember what he said, to be honest. It is not something that I ever get involved in.

“That game was in March, this is October. A totally different game.”

Whether he is still playing for England or enjoying a few pints and watching from the stands, Harry Maguire cannot wait for the European Championship to return to home soil in 2028.

UEFA confirmed on Tuesday that the UK and Ireland’s bid to host the tournament had been approved, having gone into decision day unopposed following the withdrawal of Turkey.

Six of the 10 venues at the five-nation event will be in England, just seven years on from Glasgow and London hosting matches at the pan-European edition.

Gareth Southgate’s men went all the way to the Wembley final at rearranged Euro 2020 and defender Maguire cannot wait to experience another special summer in 2028.

“Hopefully, I will be in the squad but, either way, I am sure I will be at the tournament,” the 30-year-old said.

“I’ll either be in the stands with my mates having a few pints or in the squad, helping the lads. For sure, I’ll be supporting or playing, either way.

“I’m a big fan of England and to have a tournament in this country… you know how the recent tournaments have gone in this country, it brings the country united. There’s a real buzz around the place.

“I experienced playing in the final at Wembley against Italy, which was disappointing in the end, but it is a special place to be involved in when the team is playing well in our country.”

Maguire went to Euro 2016 as a fan before breaking into the international set-up, going onto play a key role for Southgate’s team at three major tournaments.

England can qualify for next year’s Euros over the coming week and intend to go through qualification process in 2028, when UEFA is understood to be reserving two host nation places for any team which does not make it on merit.

“Qualifying for a major tournament is tough but also you have to look at it from a positive side,” 59-cap Maguire said ahead of the friendly against Australia and Euro 2024 qualifier at home to Italy.

“If we don’t qualify for the major tournament, then we are not really there or ready to compete to win the tournament.

“This nation now has been successful now for a 10-year period so we now need to start looking at winning these tournaments.

“If we can’t get out of the qualifying group, we don’t deserve to be there.

“It would be a nightmare scenario but on the other hand we have to play with great belief and confidence that we can get out of the group and qualify.

“That’s what we will be looking to do. My eyes are not on ‘28 yet.

“We’ve got a big Euros coming up next summer and one that we’re looking forward to.”

Harry Kane is dreaming of exorcising the ghosts of England’s Euro 2020 heartbreak at Wembley by leading them to Euro 2028 glory on home soil.

The UK and Ireland’s bid to host the next-but-one European Championship was formally approved on Tuesday, meaning England will get another shot at glory in front of their own fans, seven years after they were a penalty shootout away from winning at Wembley.

Kane will be 34 by then and in the twilight of his career, but is planning on still being around and wants to make amends for that despair against Italy two years ago.

Asked whether England had unfinished business in a home tournament, he replied: “I think so, we were so close to doing something really magical in the last Euros.

“That’s football, it didn’t end the way we wanted it to but for sure there will be a bit between our teeth.

“Not just in Germany next summer but being at home, playing games at Wembley will bring back memories of the 2021 Euros.

“We will have to wait and see. To win a tournament would be special but to win it in your home country would be a dream come true.

“I am aiming to still be around by then but of course, it is still a few years away, but I am a player who, at the moment, feels as good as I have ever felt before and yes, I would like to think my career will go to my late thirties – at least.

“As we know, in football a lot of things can change quickly but at the moment, I feel really good. If you ask me now, of course I hope I am there and it means I am still performing at a high level but you never know. We will see.

“The perception in sport or football in general is you hit 30 and people start to think the end. But the way I am looking at it is that I almost have the second half of my career.

“I played in the first team at Spurs from 20 or 21 so I have had nine or 10 years at the highest level and I am hoping for another eight or nine years at the highest level again.

“It all depends. You see some players who want to have a different change or challenge so I would never be able to tell you what I will do but at the moment, I just want to keep playing.

“When you look at (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Lionel) Messi, that makes me believe and shows it is possible to play until your late thirties and that is what I am planning to do.”

England played six of their seven matches at Euro 2020 at Wembley, although Covid restrictions meant that each game was not in front of a full stadium.

But Gareth Southgate’s men still felt the support of the country and Kane believes – like the Lionesses were in 2022 – they will be pushed on even more.

“We had an amazing experience in (Euro) 2020 in terms of having six of the games at Wembley so it felt like a home tournament for us,” he said. “Although there were not all the fans in the stadium, we still got amazing support.

“Being here and seeing the atmosphere outside the grounds on the way in on the coach gave us a real special feeling and obviously we came within a couple of kicks of winning the trophy. So that definitely gave us more energy and more belief.

“That will do the same in 2028. Having full stadiums and all our fans there, the country excited about it will definitely help. I think you saw that with the Lionesses as well.

“I was there for the final and saw how much it meant to the fans. The atmosphere not just inside the stadium but outside and the Lionesses were able to get a win.

“That would be our main objective. To win any tournament with your country is difficult but to do it on your home patch would be just another notch.”

Jarrod Bowen feels like he has returned to the England set-up in the form of his life as the West Ham forward prepares to fulfil a childhood dream of playing at Wembley.

Having come through at Hereford and flourished at Hull, the 26-year-old is well on the way to club great status at the London Stadium.

Bowen fired the Hammers to Europa Conference League glory in June’s unforgettable final against Fiorentina and has shone in the early stages of this season, scoring five in nine appearances.

That form helped the forward to earn his first England call-up since September 2022, shortly before signing a new deal until 2030 at the London Stadium.

“A really special week,” Bowen said. “Obviously got the call on Thursday before our European game so had that. Won that game out there, which was nice.

“Then the new deal was sorted over the weekend, so a really special four days.

“I’ve always wanted to be back so to get the opportunity to be selected again is something I’m really grateful for.”

Bowen’s four England appearances to date came during the worst international camp of Gareth Southgate’s largely successful reign.

The 26-year-old featured in all four Nations League matches in June 2022, starting the 1-0 away loss to Hungary and 4-0 Molineux mauling against the same opposition.

Bowen remained in the squad that September but did not play, and his return did not come until this month’s double-header against Australia and Italy.

“The way I started this season I’m probably playing the best football that I’ve played in my career,” Bowen said.

“I’ve had those experiences of Europe. It’s a bit different to when I came (before).

“I’m a dad now, so I’m in a different kind of place, you just feel a bit more mature. I feel in a really good place and to be back here, I’m really grateful for it.”

Southgate has indicated Bowen will play in Friday’s Wembley friendly against Australia, allowing him to fulfil his ambition of stepping out under the arch.

“That would be the ultimate,” he said. “I have got four caps and I am massively grateful for them but that Wembley one…

“As a little boy you dream of playing for your country and you never think it is going to happen but now I am here I want to play at Wembley and hopefully I get the opportunity to do so.”

Bowen got the nod in a highly competitive area of the squad, with 82-cap forward Raheem Sterling among those to miss out.

Little wonder, then, that he is determined to make the most out this chance to earn a spot at next summer’s Euros, especially after the disappointment of watching the World Cup in Qatar from afar.

Asked if missing out on the squad motivates him for Germany next summer, Bowen said: “Yeah, but I think you’ve also got to look at the squad that’s here as well.

“Just being named in the squad was an honour for me. To play the games I played and to be named in another squad before the World Cup was, again, another honour.

“I was disappointed to miss out but I had to deal with it and all I could do is keep playing football to a level that I know that I can play at and everything will take care of itself.”

The UK and Ireland’s bid to host Euro 2028 has been approved by UEFA’s executive committee after Turkey pulled out of the running.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the 10 stadia across five nations which will host the matches in just under five years’ time.


England’s national stadium will host the final – and potentially both semi-finals – having also been the venue for the Euro 96 finale and the decisive England v Italy clash at Euro 2020. The Football Association will be working hard with the authorities to ensure there is no repeat of the chaotic scenes which surrounded that match. Wembley is celebrating its centenary this year, with the original stadium opening in 1923 for the British Empire Exhibition.

Etihad Stadium

Work is set to begin later this year on increasing the capacity of treble-winning Manchester City’s ground to almost 62,000 by 2025. The club left their former home ground Maine Road and moved into the stadium in 2003. It was built to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games and hosted the 2008 UEFA Cup final, while England’s football and rugby union sides have both staged fixtures there.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Spurs’ home is the largest club stadium in London, with a capacity of over 62,000. Opened in April 2019, the stadium includes a retractable pitch with a synthetic NFL surface underneath. Its 17,500-seat, single-tier South Stand is the largest in the UK and features Europe’s longest bar – The Goal Line.

Everton Stadium

The Toffees’ new home at Bramley-Moore Dock is scheduled for completion late next year. Developers are working to a capacity of 52,888.

St James’ Park

St James’ Park, home to Newcastle since the club was formed in 1892, also hosted matches at Euro 96. Newcastle are considering options to develop the stadium which might mean the capacity, currently 52,305, has increased by the time the championship begins in 2028.

Villa Park

Villa Park hosted three World Cup matches in 1966 and four matches during Euro 96. A go-to ground for FA Cup semi-finals – hosting 55 – the stadium is set to be redeveloped to increase capacity to over 50,000 ahead of the tournament.


The Dublin venue, which holds over 51,000 people and officially opened in 2010, regularly hosts Republic of Ireland football matches and those of the Ireland rugby union team, as well as high-profile Gaelic sports. The stadium, built on the site of the former Lansdowne Road Stadium, which was demolished in 2007, had been part of the original multi-country plans to host Euro 2020 but could not ultimately provide UEFA with the necessary assurances over minimum spectator levels amid the Covid-19 pandemic.


Construction on the site in the Andersonstown area of Belfast is due to get under way next year with completion by 2026. The capacity of the stadium is set to be 34,500. It was opened in 1953 to stage Gaelic games and has since been home to the Antrim Gaelic Athletic Association.

SCOTLANDHampden Park

Scotland’s national stadium did host matches at Euro 2020. The Scottish Football Association has also bid to stage the Champions League final in 2026 or 2027 at the stadium, which currently holds just over 50,000. However, developers have put forward proposals to upgrade the stadium and increase capacity to 65,000. A record British crowd of 149,415 saw Scotland beat England 3-1 at Hampden in 1937.

WALESPrincipality Stadium

The Cardiff venue has hosted major European football events before, having staged the 2017 Champions League final. Set to be the second-largest venue in the tournament with a capacity of 74,500.

Wales manager Rob Page has promised not to jeopardise the health of Brennan Johnson by telling him to turn up for international duty when carrying an injury.

Johnson will miss Wales’ crunch Euro 2024 qualifier against Croatia in Cardiff on October 15 after sustaining a hamstring injury on his first start for Tottenham against Arsenal in the north London derby.

Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou confirmed on Friday that Johnson will miss Tottenham’s Premier League trip to Luton this weekend but will be fit to return after the international break.

Page said: “The communication between us and Tottenham has been first-class. It’s about having mutual respect. Both managers want a talented player fit so it’s about working together.

“I’m not going to insist that he has to come away and we’re going to play him, jeopardise his safety and health. I wouldn’t do that. But they also understand the importance of our games.”

Page criticised Johnson’s former club Nottingham Forest after he missed Wales’ Euro 2024 qualifier away to Croatia in March.

Page said at the time that he should have been “stronger” to ensure Johnson arrived on camp for Wales to make their own medical assessment of the 22-year-old forward.

Johnson has since joined Tottenham for £47.5million – the second highest transfer fee paid for a Welsh player after Gareth Bale – and is considered to be a hugely influential figure as Wales move forward in the post-Bale era.

On communicating with Tottenham over Johnson’s fitness situation, Page added: “We’ve had great conversations with them, but ultimately his injury will dictate whether he can meet up or not.”

Wales realistically need to avoid defeat against World Cup semi-finalists Croatia and win both games of their November double-header to secure automatic qualification for next summer’s Euro 2024 in Germany.

Captain Aaron Ramsey was not named in the squad for the Croatia game after damaging a knee tendon and has also been ruled out of November’s games against Armenia and Turkey by his Cardiff manager Erol Bulut.

England manager Gareth Southgate says he would never risk Bukayo Saka’s long-term fitness by selecting him to play when he is not fit.

Saka was included in Southgate’s 26-man squad for forthcoming games against Australia and Italy, despite limping out of Arsenal’s last three games.

He is being assessed ahead of this Sunday’s Premier League clash with Manchester City before the squad is due to meet up early next week.

Southgate says he wants his best players available for the biggest games, with a crunch European Championship clash against Italy at Wembley on October 17, but never to the detriment of their health.

“I can only go via what Mikel (Arteta) has said about the last few games,” Southgate said regarding Saka’s fitness. “He is in contention for the weekend so we’ve obviously got a very important qualifier.

“We look after the players as well as any country. There’s always a focus on our players because they are playing their club football, in the main, in England and then we are playing here as well.

“Whereas all the other countries call the players that are playing in the Premier League and nobody looks at how they look after them and how they train them.

“When we have really good dialogue with all of their clubs, I think they pretty much all would agree that we probably give better feedback than every other nation.

“They have trust in us that we make decisions that are right for the long-term whenever we can. We only have 10 matches a year. And there’s been times when … Bukayo, for example, we haven’t always played.

“But there are certain key games where if it’s possible to have your best players then you do want to have them. So we’ve got that responsibility of qualifying for the country but … I’ve been a player … I’ve never ever taken a risk on a player’s physical wellbeing. And nor would I.”

Raheem Sterling was left out again, with Southgate explaining his side are no longer reliant on the Chelsea forward to supplement Harry Kane’s goals.

The England boss continued: “We know what Raheem is capable of and (Jarrod) Bowen has got five (goals) in seven (games), so in terms of the opportunity opened up with (Eberechi) Eze and (Callum) Wilson out, (Ollie) Watkins and Bowen are both in a hot streak of form. That’s the thinking.

“In the end, we’ve got brilliant competition for places in several areas of the pitch.

“There is a battle now, without a doubt. For a long period of time Raheem was the one that was scoring goals for us and his club.

“We now have goals from Saka, (Phil) Foden, (Marcus) Rashford. Rashford’s always been a scorer with us.

“(Jack) Grealish is a different type of wide player, so now we’re getting goals from Jude (Bellingham).

“We’re not just reliant on Harry Kane. For a long time it was Harry and Raheem that were knocking up the goals. But there’s a different competition in place.”

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