Roberto Martinez is daring to dream as Portugal prepare to open their Euro 2024 campaign, where ageing star Cristiano Ronaldo has been selected "on merit".

Portugal are the favourites to top Group F in Germany, opening their tournament against Czechia on Tuesday before facing Turkiye and Georgia.

Martinez's side were the only team to win 100 per cent of their games in the qualifying campaign (10/10), while they also scored more goals than any other team (36).

The former Belgium manager has major-tournament pedigree, too, guiding the Red Devils to third place at the 2018 World Cup and quarter-finals at Euro 2020.

Going further on this occasion remains at the forefront of the Spaniard's mind.

"We must believe, we need to dream big," the Portugal head coach said at Monday's pre-match press conference.

"If we don't dream big, then it will be tough. But we also owe it to everyone to play well.

"Tomorrow will be the right time to show that we're ready, that we can meet all the expectations. 

"I brought seven shirts, not three. But now we need to put it all out there on the pitch for these first three matches."

Portugal have the likes of Joao Felix, Diogo Jota and Goncalo Ramos to call upon in attack, though a familiar face remains in Ronaldo.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner holds the record for most games (25), most goals (14), joint-most assists on record (six – since 1972) and most editions with at least one goal (five) at the Euros.

Indeed, since 1972, Ronaldo has scored/assisted twice as many goals as any other player at this tournament: 20 in total (14 goals, six assists). Michel Platini is second on 10 (nine goals, one assist).

Ronaldo is also the European player with the most appearances at major tournaments, World Cup and Euros combined (47), therefore his inclusion is hardly a surprise.

 

"Cristiano is in the national team on merit," Martinez added. "Nobody gets into the national team just by having a name.

"Cristiano scored 51 goals in 50 games [for Al-Nassr last season].

"For us he is a goalscorer, someone who can make that final move, someone who can really stretch defenders, really open spaces.

"Obviously, over the years Cristiano has changed his way of playing slightly, but I can only say that Cristiano is in the national team on merit and the numbers are there to back that up."

Ruben Dias says Ronaldo's influence spans further than his influence on the pitch, however.

"I would say he represents inspiration, he represents that everything is possible, he represents that you can dream and you can achieve it," the Manchester City defender said.

"It's obviously a pleasure to have him with us in this moment of his career. He represents to us that he really wants to win again and he's our captain and obviously we follow him to the end."

Romelu Lukaku saw two goals disallowed and Belgium squandered a glut of golden opportunities as Slovakia claimed a surprise 1-0 win in Euro 2024 Group E.

Lukaku twice thought he had restored parity in the second half, only for both goals to be ruled out after VAR checks.

Slovakia led from the seventh minute, with Ivan Schranz having thumped the underdogs into the lead with what was his nation's fastest goal at a major tournament, finishing calmly from a tight angle after Jeremy Doku's error had put Belgium in trouble.

That opener came after Belgium had missed two brilliant chances, with Lukaku not managing to beat Martin Dubravka from close range before Leandro Trossard failed to find the striker in acres of space in the area.

The trend continued after the restart – Lukaku seemed to have levelled when he tapped home from Amadou Onana's knockdown, only for a VAR check to deem he had strayed offside.

Johan Bakayoko had an effort cleared off the line before Lukaku drilled in from Lois Openda's cutback late on, only for the latter to be penalised harshly for handball as the world's third-best side suffered a shock defeat.

Data Debrief: Red Devils run out of Luk

Lukaku missed a glut of chances in the quarter-finals against Spain at Euro 2020, and he was guilty of spurning some fantastic chances, though he was also incredibly unfortunate to see those two goals ruled out.

Belgium mustered 1.9 expected goals, with Lukaku responsible for 0.8 of that, but the Red Devils' luck was out. They sit third in Group E, with Slovakia joining Romania on three points after causing the first big upset of Euro 2024.

It is the first time Belgium have lost since 27 November 2022, against Morocco in the group stage of the World Cup, marking an end to their second-longest unbeaten run ever of 15 matches (W10 D5).

Romania head coach Edward Iordanescu believes his current generation of players have limitless potential following their triumph over Ukraine in their Euro 2024 opener.

The 46-year-old watched on as his side claim their biggest win at an international tournament, building on their impressive qualifying campaign. 

Captain Nicolae Stanciu opened the scoring with a fine effort from distance, becoming the first player ever to score at the tournament while playing for a Saudi Arabian club. 

Razvan Marin and Denis Dragus would secure the triumph in the second half, with both strikes assisted by Dennis Man, the first Romanian to provide multiple assists in a major tournament match since Gheorghe Hagi at the 1994 World Cup. 

The sound of the full-time whistle sparked emotional scenes for the travelling Romanian contingent as they confirmed just their second win at the European Championships.

Iordanescu masterminded a landmark victory for his nation, but was quick to dismiss labelling the win as a victory of a lifetime, heaping praise on the current crop of talent within his ranks. 

"I'd like to thank every Romanian everywhere in the world. I know that they were with us today. It was a fantastic effort by my team. If you had any doubts, I think you can believe me now that this is a great team. Congratulations to the lads. It's just incredible.

"Since I joined the national team I've had difficult moments. It's not always been easy. We've had other big performances. We've had golden generations with big performances, but this generation represents the soul.

"This team has put the biggest effort into everything. As big a heart as this team, nobody has ever had. This generation is limitless."

Romania travel to Cologone to face Belgium in their penultimate group fixture before facing Slovakia on June 26. 

The standard of football coaching in Jamaica looks set to increase over the next few years thanks to the formation of the Wray & Nephew School of Football Coaching.

This partnership between the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and Wray & Nephew is a part of the Wray & Nephew Football Program and will oversee the training of 500 coaches at the Preparatory and Primary School level across Jamaica at the D-license level.

This comprehensive training will certify coaches in order for them to operate at all levels including at International standard fostering a new era of football excellence in Jamaica.

This initiative will also involve the renovation of the existing school of football located at the University of the West Indies.

“I’m very happy to introduce the Wray & Nephew School of Football Coaching,” said Managing Director at J. Wray & Nephew Ltd, Jean-Philippe Beyer last Thursday announcing the partnership at the brand’s headquarters in Kingston.

JFF Technical Committee Chairman Rudolph Speid, who is also the head coach of Jamaica Premier League champions Cavalier SC, is pleased about the continued effort to develop coaches in the country.

“This is a welcome sponsorship to the program. Three years ago, we didn’t have a C-licensed coach in Jamaica. Now, we have five A-licensed coaches and another six are doing their studies. There will be an A-licensing course starting on July 9 with approximately 20 local coaches in that class,” he said.

“We now have 100 B-licensed coaches in Jamaica, 200 C-licensed coaches and over 500 D-licensed coaches but those coaches were really building from the top. We have now embarked on a very ambitious program with the help of Wray & Nephew and the SDF (Sports Development Foundation) to certify 500 coaches at the Primary and Preparatory School level across Jamaica at the D-license level and then bring them up to the C-license level by July 2025,” he added.

Speid also emphasized the importance of developing a good coaching education program.

“If you look at it, all the national teams that do well, in Europe and South America for example, have the best coaching education programs in the world. That is what we are trying to emulate here in Jamaica,” he said.

Also on hand was President of the Jamaica Football Federation, Michael Ricketts, who thanked Wray & Nephew for continuing to invest in the country's football development.

"We just want to form an alliance as we try to move the sport forward and this is no ordinary announcement. This is what we're asking corporate Jamaica to do as part of building this nation of ours," he said.

Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, the hon. Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, also played a hand in the formation of the school of coaching through her ministry.

“We continue to strengthen our sporting culture by investing in sports and this includes providing and increasing access to quality education for our coaches,” she said.

“When private sector companies and Government partner in sports, sustainable growth and improvement in all levels become the key input,” she added.

Belgium played at a major tournament without Thibaut Courtois for the first time since 2002 when they kicked off their Euro 2024 campaign against Slovakia.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Courtois was a big-name omission from Domenico Tedesco's squad.

Courtois endured an injury-hit campaign with Madrid, but returned to fitness in time to help Los Blancos win the Champions League final at Wembley on June 1.

However, that was not enough to see him make the Red Devils' squad, and it meant that when Belgium got their Group E campaign under way in Frankfurt on Monday, they played without Courtois at a major tournament for the first time since 2002.

Courtois played in every game of Belgium's campaigns at the 2014, 2018 and 2022 World Cups, while also featuring in each of their matches at Euro 2016 and 2020.

Koen Casteels, the Wolfsburg shot-stopper, deputised in Courtois' place against Slovakia.

Gary Neville believes Gareth Southgate will have major concerns about the balance of England's midfield following their Euro 2024 opener against Serbia. 

Jude Bellingham's fourth international goal was enough to kickstart ther Three Lions' campaign with a win, but the encounter in Gelsenkirchen was far from straightforward. 

England had Jordan Pickford to thank to preserve Southgate's record of winning the opening game of every major tournament he has managed at, producing a fine stop to deny Dusan Vlahovic in the second half. 

Much was made of who Southgate would deploy in central midfield ahead of the tournament, with Trent Alexander-Arnold given the nod to feature alongside Declan Rice. 

"The midfield is the major concern and the fluidity of the game that comes through there is one thing we need to try and work on in the group stage because when we play against a good team, we'll have to have it right," said Neville. 

"There are some small alarm bells around balance and having a good group of players that are very talented but are we as good a team?

"Last night, you start to think about the impact and influence of Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips. The best players don't make the best team sometimes.

"We're aware Kieran Trippier is right-footed at left-back and is playing there because of all the injuries in that position which creates a further imbalance. But in midfield, somehow we have to try and get that right. Gareth [Southgate] will be more than aware of that.

Alexander-Arnold completed 37 of his 42 passes against Serbia, averaging a pass accuracy of 88.1 percent, the joint-third lowest from those who started the game, with only Phil Foden and Harry Kane below him.  

The Liverpool full-back started brightly, showing glimpses of his wide passing range, but made one mistake late in the first half which allowed Aleksandar Mitrovic a shot on goal. 

"We know [Alexander-Arnold] can do it when he moves into midfield from right-back and then can deliver those crosses and passes. There were times when he found himself with his back to play and that is a different story," said Neville.

"I don't really want to focus on him being a problem in there. It was the balance of the entire midfield and I include Declan Rice in that as well - and what England need to have in there to be able to move forward in this tournament.

"All eyes will be on Trent Alexander-Arnold. His best position is right-back and having the ability to move forward on that side or coming inside and playing that quarter-back role. It doesn't look like we're going to do that, it looks like we're going to stick with Kyle Walker which is absolutely the right decision.

"Gareth will know he's got an issue with these talented players and how he gets them all into the team - and most importantly with the right balance."

Overcoming Cristiano Ronaldo is among the main motivations for Czechia ahead of Tuesday's Euro 2024 clash with Portugal, says head coach Ivan Hasek.

Portugal have been touted as serious contenders to lift the trophy on July 14, but they first face group-stage clashes with Czechia, Turkiye and Georgia.

They will once again be captained by Ronaldo, who enters his 11th major tournament as their undisputed first-choice striker after being surprisingly dropped at the 2022 World Cup.

Ronaldo holds the records for most games (25), most goals (14) and joint-most assists on record (six – since 1972) at the Euros, also scoring at a record five separate editions of the tournament. 

At World Cups and European Championships, the former Real Madrid and Manchester United man has made a total of 47 appearances, the most of any European player, while scoring 22 goals and assisting eight. 

Rather than playing down the significance of facing the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, Hasek used Monday's pre-match press conference to challenge his players to shut him out.

"We want to neutralise Ronaldo. Especially for our guys, they will remember this for their whole lives," Hasek said.

"Ronaldo is one of the best players and they will be able to say they played against him and maybe they will even be successful. 

"I do not want us not to say after the match that we played against Ronaldo, but that we defeated him."

 

Czechia are appearing at an 11th edition of the Euros (including participations as Czechoslovakia), including their eighth in a row.

That streak began with the 1996 tournament, where they were runners-up in England. Only Germany (14) and France (nine) are currently on longer runs of consecutive European Championship appearances.

With Czechia tipped by many to compete with Turkiye for second place in Group F, Hasek says the key will not be how they start the group stage, but how they finish it. 

"The most important thing at this tournament is the last game. So, the first game doesn't really decide anything," he said.

"All our 26 nominated players are ready, they are healthy, they are fit, and we cannot wait. We are really excited about tomorrow to start everything.

"When you see the pitches, when you see the stadiums, you see this is a really great footballing event."

Gary Neville believes Gareth Southgate will have major concerns about the balance of England's midfield following their Euro 2024 opener against Serbia. 

Jude Bellingham's fourth international goal was enough to kickstart ther Three Lions' campaign with a win, but the encounter in Gelsenkirchen was far from straightforward. 

England had Jordan Pickford to thank to preserve Southgate's record of winning the opening game of every major tournament he has managed at, producing a fine stop to deny Dusan Vlahovic in the second half. 

Much was made of who Southgate would deploy in central midfield ahead of the tournament, with Trent Alexander-Arnold given the nod to feature alongside Declan Rice. 

"The midfield is the major concern and the fluidity of the game that comes through there is one thing we need to try and work on in the group stage because when we play against a good team, we'll have to have it right," said Neville. 

"There are some small alarm bells around balance and having a good group of players that are very talented but are we as good a team?

"Last night, you start to think about the impact and influence of Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips. The best players don't make the best team sometimes.

"We're aware Kieran Trippier is right-footed at left-back and is playing there because of all the injuries in that position which creates a further imbalance. But in midfield, somehow we have to try and get that right. Gareth [Southgate] will be more than aware of that.

Alexander-Arnold completed 37 of his 42 passes against Serbia, averaging a pass accuracy of 88.1 percent, the joint-third lowest from those who started the game, with only Phil Foden and Harry Kane below him.  

The Liverpool full-back started brightly, showing glimpses of his wide passing range, but made one mistake late in the first half which allowed Aleksandar Mitrovic a shot on goal. 

"We know [Alexander-Arnold] can do it when he moves into midfield from right-back and then can deliver those crosses and passes. There were times when he found himself with his back to play and that is a different story," said Neville.

"I don't really want to focus on him being a problem in there. It was the balance of the entire midfield and I include Declan Rice in that as well - and what England need to have in there to be able to move forward in this tournament.

"All eyes will be on Trent Alexander-Arnold. His best position is right-back and having the ability to move forward on that side or coming inside and playing that quarter-back role. It doesn't look like we're going to do that, it looks like we're going to stick with Kyle Walker which is absolutely the right decision.

"Gareth will know he's got an issue with these talented players and how he gets them all into the team - and most importantly with the right balance."

Romania stormed to a 3-0 win over Ukraine in their Euro 2024 opener on Monday, with Nicolae Stanciu, Razvan Marin and Denis Dragus scoring in their first victory at the European Championships for 24 years.

Ukraine dominated possession early on but a loose pass from Andriy Lunin put them in trouble after 29 minutes. Dennis Man intercepted and found Stanciu on the edge of the area, and the Romania skipper shaped a wonderful first-time effort into the top-left corner.

Sanciu later clipped the crossbar directly from a corner as Romania grew in stature, and they had their second goal seven minutes into the second half.

Marin came onto a loose ball and struck a low shot from 25 yards out, which Real Madrid goalkeeper Lunin allowed to squirm under his dive and into the bottom-right corner.

Ukraine's problems worsened within another four minutes, as Dragus stayed onside to tap Man's cross into an unguarded net following a short corner routine.

Roman Yaremchuk hit the crossbar with a lobbed attempt in stoppage time, but that was as close as Ukraine came to a goal, as Romania recorded their first win at the Euros since a memorable 3-2 victory dumped England out of the 2000 tournament.

Data Debrief: Dennis is the Man

There were standout performances throughout the Romania lineup, with Dragus leading the line superbly and Tottenham's Radu Dragusin looking every inch the modern ball-playing centre-back. 

However, it was Man who played the starring role with two assists. He is the first Romanian player to tee up two goals in a major tournament game since the great Gheorghe Hagi against Colombia at the 1994 World Cup.

Napoli insist Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is not on the market after his agent Mamuka Jugeli claimed he is looking to leave the club. 

The Georgia international, who is preparing for his country's Euro 2024 opener against Turkiye on Tuesday, has been linked with a move to both Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona in the current transfer window. 

Kvaratskhelia scored 11 times in the league in 2023-24, as the Partenopei finished 10th in what was a disappointing defence of their third Serie A crown. 

"We want to leave Napoli, but now we're all waiting for the Euro 2024," Jugeli told Sport Imedi last week. "With [Antonio] Conte, Napoli have big plans.

"I'm sure they will qualify for the Champions League again next season and fight for the Scudetto. But that doesn't mean Kvaratskhelia wants to stay there, I don't mean it.

"I didn't talk with Khvicha about this issue, the most important thing for him is the national team. Our goal is the team that plays in the Champions League.

"The worst thing is that if he stays here, Khvicha will lose one year because of that… we are worried."

However, Napoli have hit back with a statement of their own, citing the fact Kvaratskhelia has three years remaining on his contract at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona. 

It read: "In reference to the statements of Kvaratskhelia's agent, Mamuka Jugeli, and his father Badri, Calcio Napoli reiterates that the player has a contract for another three years with the club.

"Kvaratskhelia is not on the market. It is not the agents or fathers who decide the future of a player under contract with Napoli but the club!!! End of the story."

Manuel Neuer has called on Germany to stay grounded after their flying start to Euro 2024, warning Wednesday's clash with Hungary in Stuttgart will be a step up.

Germany recorded the biggest ever win in the opening game of a European Championship last Friday, thumping Scotland 5-1 with Florian Writz, Jamal Musiala, Kai Havertz, Niclas Fullkrug and Emre Can all on target.

It was also Germany's largest victory at the Euros, as they underlined their credentials after a turbulent build-up to their home tournament.

They will be heavily favoured against a Hungary side well beaten by Switzerland in their first game, but Neuer – who is playing at his eighth major tournament – says Julian Nagelsmann's squad will not get carried away.

"The trust is what's important and the trust among us as team-mates and the coaching staff is very high," Neuer said on Monday. 

"We have started preparations for the Hungary game and the focus and concentration is increasing.

"Against Scotland we dominated from the start. We scored after 10 minutes and that did us a lot of good, but we have our feet on the ground. 

"We have some self-confidence now but Hungary will be a different level. This is a warning for us and we will not underestimate them."

If Neuer appears at another game at these Euros, he will pass Hugo Lloris outright for the appearance record among goalkeepers at World Cups and European Championships combined. The duo are currently level with 35 apiece. 

Hungary were distinctly second best in their 3-1 defeat to Switzerland on matchday one and may need a result against the hosts to have a realistic chance of progressing. 

Coach Marco Rossi knows they face a mighty task, claiming Germany are favourites to win the tournament. 

"I dare anybody to bet one Hungarian Forint on us. As of today that looks impossible," Rossi said. 

"Germany are a different team than the last Euros, they proved it against Scotland. In my opinion, they are the biggest favourites for the European Championship."

Reflecting on the Switzerland defeat, he added: "We had some shortcomings in individual performances. 

"There aren't many strategies to stop individual mistakes. It's hard to say anyone did well apart from two or three performances."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Germany – Toni Kroos

Kroos began his final tournament with a metronomic performance against Scotland, completing 101 of his 102 passes for the highest pass completion rate (99 per cent) of any player to ever attempt 100 passes at a Euros match.

He also made 31 line-breaking passes in that match – more than any Scotland player completed passes in total, with Kieran Tierney leading the way with 30.

 

Hungary – Barnabas Varga 

Varga briefly got Hungary back into the game against Switzerland, and he now has seven goals in just nine starts for his country across all competitions.

Should he find the net on Wednesday, he would become just the second Hungarian to score on his first two European Championship appearances, after Ferenc Bene in 1964.

MATCH PREDICTION – GERMANY WIN

Given the rampant nature of Germany's victory over Scotland, it is difficult to look past them in their second match.

Hungary have only kept one clean sheet in their 12 total matches at the Euros, in a 2-0 win over Austria back in 2016. They have conceded the opening goal in seven of those 12 games, going on to lose on six of those seven occasions (one draw).

They are also without a win in seven European Championship games and could lose two matches at a single edition of the tournament for just the second time, after 1972.

Germany, meanwhile, had five different goalscorers last time out, more than they had in the entirety of Euro 2020 (three). Only in 1996, 2016 (both six) and 2012 (eight) have they had more at a single edition of the finals (excluding own goals).

Nagelsmann's team are strong favourites to win their first two matches at a fifth edition of the Euros, after doing so in 1972, 1980, 1996 and 2012. 

They won the trophy on three of those previous four occasions, only falling short when they exited in the semi-finals in 2012.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Germany – 71.2%

Hungary – 12.1%

Draw – 16.6%

Sergio Ramos is leaving Sevilla following a one-year return to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, the club have confirmed.

Ramos came through Sevilla's youth system before joining Real Madrid for €27million as a 19-year-old in 2005, going on to win LaLiga on five occasions and the Champions League four times with Los Blancos.

Following an injury-hit stint with Paris Saint-Germain, Ramos returned to his boyhood club as a free agent last September, 18 years on from his initial departure.

Ramos played 28 times in LaLiga last term, scoring three goals and contributing to seven clean sheets as Sevilla pulled away from the relegation zone to end a turbulent season in 14th.

In a statement released on Monday, the club confirmed Ramos was to depart and said he would speak at a farewell news conference on Tuesday.

Sevilla added: "The club wishes to thank Sergio for the commitment, leadership and dedication that he has demonstrated this season, and wishes him the best for future."

The former Spain international is not thought likely to call time on his glittering career just yet, with MLS expansion team San Diego FC having been linked with a move.

Ralf Rangnick says self-belief will be vital as his Austria side hunt a major scalp in their Euro 2024 opener against France on Monday.

France are viewed among the favourites to win the tournament, having won the 2018 World Cup and finished as runners-up at Euro 2016 and the 2022 World Cup under Didier Deschamps.

However, Les Bleus have been tasked with a tough draw, with Austria tipped as potential dark horses and the Netherlands beating Poland 2-1 in Group D's first match on Sunday.

Austria finished just one point behind Belgium in their first qualification campaign under former Manchester United boss Rangnick, who has needed little time to implement his preferred high-pressing style.

Austria allowed their opponents fewer passes per defensive action (8.3 PPDA) than any other team during qualifying, also attacking with the fastest direct speed, moving the ball upfield at a speed of 2.03 metres per second.

Rangnick plans to take the game to France in Dusseldorf, telling his players there can be no inferiority complex if they are to earn a result. 

"That is crucial, that we will be courageous, that we are convinced of our own strength," Rangnick said at his pre-match press conference.

"What's really vital is the way that we perform, not the way that France plays, or whether they are a little bit better or a little bit worse, it's only about us.

"We prepared for over two years for this day. It's finally starting for us. We're really excited. There's joy above everything else."

One of Austria's most pressing tasks will be to shut out Kylian Mbappe, who has scored 12 goals in his last three international tournaments (four at the 2018 World Cup, none at Euro 2020, eight at the 2022 World Cup).

Harry Kane is the only European player to match that figure, and the England man was also the only player from Europe's top five leagues to equal Mbappe's 44 goals in 2023-24. 

However, Rangnick says Austria cannot afford to focus entirely on any one player, such is the strength of the France squad.

"With our style of playing we have to counter him and the whole French team, we have to make sure that he doesn't receive as many balls as he likes," he said.

"We know from our own strengths that we can win this match."

 

Marcus Rashford's poor form for Manchester United meant he could have no complaints about being left out of England's Euro 2024 squad, believes his club boss Erik ten Hag.

Along with Manchester City's Jack Grealish, Rashford was a surprise omission from Gareth Southgate's party for the tournament in Germany.

Anthony Gordon, Eberechi Eze and Jarrod Bowen were among the wide players preferred to Rashford, who had been a mainstay in the Three Lions' squad since making his first tournament appearance at Euro 2016.

Rashford scored just seven goals in 33 Premier League appearances in 2023-24 as the Red Devils limped to an eighth-place finish – their lowest in the competition's history.

Only in 2015-16, 2016-17 (both five) and 2021-22 (four) has Rashford scored fewer goals in a top-flight campaign. 

 

Speaking in his role as a pundit for NOS on Sunday, Rashford's club manager said the forward had not done enough to be considered for his country.

"Grealish and Rashford were both lacking this season. And when you are lacking, you risk not getting picked for your country," Ten Hag said.

Ten Hag's job was thought to be under threat as United enter their first full season under the Jim Ratcliffe regime, but it was confirmed last week he will stay at the helm.

He was asked on Sunday whether he had any desire to manage the Netherlands in the future, but he maintains he is content at Old Trafford.

"I've never been chasing anything," Ten Hag said. "I'm very happy with where I am now. And I want to make the most of it."

Harry Kane offers more to England than simply goals, says Kieran Trippier, who is not concerned about the striker's lack of touches in Sunday's 1-0 win over Serbia.

Jude Bellingham's goal was the difference as England recorded a hard-fought victory to open their Group C campaign, meaning they have started all four of their major tournaments under Gareth Southgate with a win. 

However, their performance attracted criticism from some quarters as England managed just five shots to Serbia's six, accumulating a total of 0.52 expected goals (xG).

Kane was a victim of the cagey nature of the contest, recording fewer touches (24) and successful passes (nine) than any other England starter. 

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford at least doubled both of those tallies, having 48 touches and completing 25 passes.

Kane did go close to giving England a two-goal cushion in the second half as he saw a header tipped onto the crossbar by Predrag Rajkovic, but Trippier says he should not be judged purely on goals.

"Obviously it was difficult because they played five at the back, but what people don't realise is what Harry does off the ball," Trippier told reporters in the mixed zone.

"Of course, he scores goals but what he did for the team today was incredible, holding the ball up and bringing other players into play. 

"People just focus on goals with Harry but internally, as team-mates, we appreciate what he does off the ball."

England have, however, kept five successive clean sheets in group-stage matches at the Euros, the longest such run in the competition's history.

 

"I would say it's about managing the game," Trippier continued. "There will always be moments in games where the opposition will have a spell of 10 or 15 minutes of possession. 

"It's about being nice and compact and not conceding. We have got experienced players in the group like [Kyle] Walker, Harry, myself, players that can help the younger players manage the games. I thought we did that tonight."

Fans were hoping to see a free-flowing England display after watching Germany and Spain kick off with resounding wins, but their figure of 0.52 xG is the fourth-lowest of any team to have played at Euro 2024 thus far, after Scotland (0.02), Serbia (0.18) and Albania (0.51).

However, Jarrod Bowen – who teed up Kane's big second-half chance – is not worried about the performances of other nations.

"We are so focused on ourselves and what we can do, other teams are irrelevant. They are their countries and we are England," he said.

"We focus on ourselves and our focus was to win the game not because other teams won, but because it was a statement for us to win the first game going into Thursday.

"That was our mindset coming into this game and that will be it, full focus on us."

Page 1 of 1591
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.