Robert Lewandowski limped off injured as Poland finalised their Euro 2024 preparations with a 2-1 win over Turkiye on Monday.

Lewandowski – who has made more appearances (150) and scored more goals (82) for Poland than any other player – was withdrawn after 32 minutes and was later seen receiving treatment on his right thigh.

Fellow striker Karol Swiderski had already gone off after appearing to hurt his right ankle while celebrating scoring a 12th-minute opener. 

Poland have already lost another forward, Juventus' Arkadiusz Milik, for the tournament after he injured the meniscus in his left knee during a 3-1 win over Ukraine on Friday.

Turkiye equalised through Baris Alper Yilmaz with 14 minutes to play, but Roma's Nicola Zalewski danced through their backline to score Poland's winner in stoppage time.

Elsewhere, Czechia rounded off their preparations by beating North Macedonia 2-1 with a last-gasp winner of their own.

Patrick Schick's penalty put Czechia ahead on the hour mark, only for Isnik Alimi to head home a leveller within five minutes.

However, another spot-kick ensured Ivan Hasek's hosts enjoyed a winning send-off as Antonin Barak converted from 12 yards eight minutes into stoppage time. 

Czechia open their Group F campaign against Portugal on June 18 before facing Georgia and Turkiye in their remaining fixtures.

The Netherlands capped their Euro 2024 preparations with a 4-0 win over Iceland at De Kuip on Monday, with Xavi Simons, Virgil van Dijk, Donyell Malen and Wout Weghorst scoring.

Ronald Koeman's side, who thrashed Canada 4-0 in their penultimate warm-up game on Thursday, were comfortable winners again six days out from their opening Group D game against Poland.

They went ahead after 23 minutes as Denzel Dumfries headed Joey Veerman's chipped pass across goal for Simons to convert, then doubled their lead four minutes into the second half.

Nathan Ake's flick-on following a corner found Van Dijk, who beat Iceland goalkeeper Hakon Valdimarsson to head the loose ball home.

Three days on from their memorable win over England at Wembley, Iceland went close to halving the arrears when Stefan Thordarson's 30-yard drive was tipped onto the post by Bart Verbruggen, but they fell further behind when Memphis Depay played Malen in to finish into the bottom-right corner after 73 minutes.

The Netherlands got a fourth in stoppage time as substitute Wout Weghorst tapped home from close range, a VAR review confirming the goal after Malen was initially flagged offside before crossing for the former Manchester United loanee.

Data Debrief: Dumfries Oranje's secret weapon

Lacking a top-class number nine, the Netherlands will likely have to share the goals around if they wish to go deep at the Euros. Fortunately for Koeman, he can call on one of Europe's very best attacking full-backs in Dumfries.

The Inter man has now been involved in 19 goals for the Netherlands overall (six goals, 13 assists), edging ahead of Daley Blind (18) for the most goal contributions by any Oranje defender. 

Vinicius Junior has described himself as a "tormentor of racists" after three Valencia supporters were given prison sentences for abusing him in May 2023.

Three people were sentenced to eight months in prison and given two-year stadium bans on Monday after being found guilty of hurling racist abuse at Vinicius at the Mestalla last year.

Vinicius was sent off following a scuffle in second-half stoppage time as Los Blancos were beaten 1-0 in a game that was paused for several minutes due to racist chanting.

The convictions – the first issued in Spain for racist abuse inside a football stadium – were welcomed as "great news for the fight against racism" by LaLiga president Javier Tebas.

Vinicius also welcomed the judgement on Monday, thanking Madrid for their support in the aftermath of the incident and expressing hope that other offenders will be convicted. 

"Many asked me to ignore it, many others said that my fight was in vain and that I should just 'play football'," Vinicius wrote on X. 

"But, as I've always said, I'm not a victim of racism. I am a tormentor of racists. This first criminal conviction in the history of Spain is not for me. It's for all black people.

"May other racists be afraid, ashamed and hide in the shadows. Otherwise, I'll be here to collect. 

"Thank you to La Liga and Real Madrid for helping with this historic conviction. More to come…"

FIFA president Gianni Infantino also responded to the convictions on his Instagram story, writing: "Our message to people anywhere in the world who still behave in a racist way when they are dealing with football is clear: we don't want you. 

"These people have to be excluded, they are not part of our community and not part of football."

Declan Rice is confident that England can do something really special at Euro 2024 as the team set off for Germany on Monday. 

The Arsenal midfielder was part of the side that fell short in the tournament three years ago against Italy at Wembley, and has since become a mainstay in the side under Gareth Southgate. 

This will be Rice's third international tournament for the Three Lions, and he believes that the current squad have what it takes to lift the trophy in Berlin on July 14. 

“We want to make history,” the 25-year-old said on England’s departure show on YouTube. “We say it all the time, but genuinely we have a group, a manager, that really believes.

“We have a confidence that we can go there and do something really special and, of course, with that comes hard work.

"That is going to be the main thing – the hard work as a team, unity, togetherness and with everyone behind us at home. We’re going to feel that for sure, so stick with us, be positive and let’s see what happens.”

England's preparations for the tournament concluded last week and head into their Group C opener with Serbia off the back of a 1-0 defeat to Iceland at Wembley. 

But Rice says the disappointment does not detract from what was a beneficial 10-day training camp, hoping to build on his impressive debut season with Arsenal. 

“It’s obviously difficult when you finish the league. Your body completely shuts down when you have a break, because we’re made to just play all the time,” 

“When we have a rest, our body shuts down and it’s hard to get going again. But last week was really beneficial, to be honest with you, I think for everyone.

“We’ve got another full week now until the game, so we’ll be in a really good spot.”

Scotland assistant coach John Carver has confirmed that Andy Robertson will return to training on Tuesday after leaving their first training session in Germany as a precaution. 

The Liverpool full-back was escorted off the pitch at the Stadion am Groben in Bavaria as Steve Clarke's men took part in an open training session ahead of the opening game of Euro 2024 against the hosts on Friday. 

Lawrence Shankland was another player that also came off early having scored in the Scots' friendly fixture against Finland having been found by Robertson at the back post.

However, assistant coach Carver is confident both players, who have 80 international caps between them, will be ready to feature in Munich on June 14. 

"Robertson is fine. It's just a precaution really," he said. "I spoke to him. The ball just caught his ankle and he will train tomorrow. "He'll be fine. At this stage we're being extra cautious. He's okay and looking forward to tomorrow.

"It's never nice, especially with the luck we've been having lately. As soon as training finished I popped across and had a chat with him and he's in good form."

"He had a little bit of a niggle from the other night. He's in that process and he had quite a bit of game time in the two games we played (against Gibraltar and Finland) so we're just protecting him as well.

"Everyone's got their own programme coming back. He's fine, everybody's good."

Real Madrid have officially confirmed they will partake in FIFA's expanded Club World Cup after Carlo Ancelotti's comments about the competition were misinterpreted. 

A statement was released by the recently crowned Champions League winners on Monday after Ancelotti told Italian daily Il Giornale he felt that FIFA had undervalued the compensation Los Blancos should receive for playing in next year's revamped 32-team tournament.

"FIFA can forget it, footballers and clubs will not participate in that tournament," Ancelotti was quoted as saying.

However, the Italian distanced himself from those comments in a social media post on Monday.

"Nothing could be further from my interest than to reject the possibility of playing in a tournament that I consider to be a great opportunity to continue fighting for major titles with Real Madrid," Ancelotti wrote on Instagram.

Madrid were quick to release a statement of their own surrounding the issue, reading: "Real Madrid C. F. informs that at no time has its participation in the new Club World Cup to be organised by FIFA in the next 2024-2025 season been questioned.

"Therefore, our club will play, as planned, this official competition that we face with pride and with the utmost enthusiasm to make our millions of fans around the world dream again of a new title."

The revamped competition has been expanded to allow 32 teams to compete in the United States at the end of next season.

It will be made up of teams from six federations, with Chelsea, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Madrid already qualified due to past success on the European and global stage.

Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt has sustained a serious injury during Sunday night's Soccer Aid 2024 charity match, held at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge stadium. The world-famous sprinter was seen leaving the pitch on a stretcher after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon, a devastating blow for the athlete and his fans.

Bolt, who has previously scored in the ITV-televised game, was eager to add to his Soccer Aid tally. Leading the line for the World XI alongside former Italian pro and Juventus megastar Alessandro Del Piero, Bolt showed his characteristic enthusiasm and determination. Del Piero managed to find the net, giving the World XI a 2-1 lead in the first half. Unfortunately, Bolt didn’t manage to score, and his team ultimately lost their lead, ending up on the wrong end of a 6-3 scoreline.

The situation worsened for the 37-year-old in the second half. Bolt went to ground with an injury and had to be replaced by comedian Jason Manford. The sight of the Olympic legend being stretchered off the field caused significant concern among fans and fellow athletes alike.

Late Sunday night, Bolt took to Instagram to reveal the extent of his injury. He posted a photo of himself in a moon boot, next to a pair of crutches in the World XI dressing room at Chelsea’s ground.

 In his caption, Bolt wrote: "Ruptured Achilles but done know we a warrior." The post garnered numerous supportive comments, including one from fellow sprinter Justin Gatlin, who joked: "Bro what you out here doing?!? We retired remember," and a message from the official Olympics account, which read: "Sending positive vibes, and wishing you a speedy recovery."

Bolt's injury cast a shadow over what is usually a celebratory and charitable event. His participation in Soccer Aid has always been a highlight, drawing fans worldwide to see the track icon showcase his love for football. Despite the unfortunate incident, the event continued, with both teams and the crowd offering their support and well-wishes to Bolt.

In a statement following the incident, Bolt expressed his gratitude for the outpouring of support, saying, "Thank you to everyone for your kind messages and support. I’m in good hands and will focus on my recovery. It’s a setback, but I’ll be back stronger."

Despite Bolt's injury, Soccer Aid 2024 successfully raised significant funds for UNICEF, continuing its mission to support children in need worldwide. Bolt’s involvement, even under such difficult circumstances, once again underscored his commitment to charitable causes and his enduring impact on the world of sports.

 

 

 

 

 

Jamaican sprint legend Usain Bolt recently revealed that he considered coming out of retirement after being offered a lucrative deal by Björn Gulden, the then-CEO of Puma, two years after he hung up his spikes in 2017. The revelation came during an interview on Drive on talkSPORT ahead of the Soccer Aid 2024 charity match.

Soccer Aid 2024 took place at Chelsea FC’s Stamford Bridge stadium on Sunday, June 9, where Bolt once again captain the World XI FC team.

Speaking with talkSPORT ahead of his sixth Soccer Aid match, Bolt expressed his enthusiasm for football and the annual charity event. Despite his undeniable love for football, it was in track and field where Bolt truly made his mark. The conversation shifted to sprinting, where the eight-time Olympic gold medallist disclosed that he considered a return to the sport following his retirement in 2017.

Bolt shared that two years after retiring, he was approached with an enticing offer by Adidas CEO Björn Gulden, who was the Chief Executive of Puma at the time. Although the idea of returning to the track intrigued him, Bolt’s coach was firmly against it.

“My coach told me, he said to me, ‘Listen, if you’re gonna retire, that’s it. I’m not gonna coach you again. This is it; there’s no coming back after this.’ So when I went to him, he was like, ‘No, absolutely not,’” Bolt explained. “I would do it because when you go away from the sport then you start missing it.”

Bolt admitted that he still misses being on the track and believes he could have performed better than some of the current athletes. Regarding his unbeaten 100m record, Bolt remains confident that it will stand for some time. He acknowledged the talent of American sprinter Noah Lyles, noting that while Lyles is improving, he is not yet at the level needed to break Bolt’s record.

English manager Will Still has been named as the new boss at Ligue 1 side Lens following his departure from Reims. 

The 31-year-old put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis until 2027, replacing Franck Haise who recently departed for Nice. 

Still, who was born in Belgium, became the youngest coach in Europe's top five leagues when he was appointed by Les rouges et blancs in October 2022, but initially arrived as an assistant to former boss, Oscar Garcia. 

The Spaniard's departure from the club saw Still initially being put in caretaker charge. However, a five-game unbeaten run in that time saw him remain at the helm for the rest of the season. 

His tenure would get off to an impressive start, becoming just the second coach to remain unbeaten in his first 17 games in the top-five European leagues in the 21st century, after Tito Vilanova during his time at Barcelona in 2012-13. 

The French club did, however, have to pay £22,000 whenever he took charge of a game because he did not hold a UEFA Pro Licence qualification. 

Still left Reims by mutual consent with two games of the 2023-24 campaign remaining, departing with a win percentage of 37.29% from his 59 games in charge. 

"We are delighted with the arrival of Will Still," said Lens sporting director Pierre Dreossi on the Englishman's arrival at the club. "He left his mark on Reims and was our top priority to take up the post. He is a promising coach, a fine tactician and is obsessed with winning." 

Prior to confirmation of his move to Lens, the 31-year-old was linked with a move to England after his departure from Reims, with Championship club Sunderland suggested as a possible destination.

Niclas Fullkrug is ready to embrace his role as Germany's second-choice striker behind Kai Havertz, and use it as motivation at Euro 2024.

Julian Nagelsmann confirmed Havertz will lead the line at the tournament for the hosts, who begin their campaign against Scotland in Group A on Friday.

Despite playing five fewer games (46), Fullkurg scored more goals (16 to 14), created more assists (11 to seven), recorded a higher xG (19.18 to 14.79) and a higher shot conversion rate (16.67 per cent to 15.22 per cent) than the Arsenal forward in 2023-24.

But the 31-year-old, who discussed the situation with Nagelsmann, fully respects his coach's decision, and welcomes the opportunity to fight for his place.

"The coach has the power and takes the decisions and that's the right way," said Fullkrug, who has scored 11 goals in 16 seniors caps. 

"Since we were young footballers, we were taught about competition. We are all ambitious to play as much as possible and carry responsibility.

"Kai has my full support and I wish him all the goals possible, because that will take us forward in this unique chance we have.

"We are going into the tournament with a good feeling. You have to identify with your role and still accept it, and see it as motivation to work in order to go beyond just this role and get more playing time.

"Basically, it is good to have two different types of strikers. Kai is a completely different striker, defined by a different game. We are both very confident. I don't think many teams will be happy to play against us."

Carlo Ancelotti insisted Real Madrid will reject FIFA's invitation to participate in the Club World Cup in 2025, citing a lack of financial incentive for the 15-time European champions.

The revamped competition has been expanded to allow 32 teams to compete in the tournament, which is set to take place in the United States at the end of next season.

It will be made up of teams from six federations, with Chelsea, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Madrid already qualified due to past success on the European and global stage.

FIFA have reportedly been discussing rights and prize money with clubs, but with concerns over player welfare due to a bulging fixture schedule, Ancelotti, who has won the competition three times with Milan and Los Blancos, believes it is not worthwhile for the LaLiga champions.

"FIFA can forget it, footballers and clubs will not participate in that tournament," Ancelotti told Italian daily Il Giornale in an interview published on Monday.

"A single Real Madrid match is worth €20million and FIFA wants to give us that amount for the whole cup. Negative. Like us, other clubs will refuse the invitation."

The 65-year-old led Madrid to their 15th European crown following a 1-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.

Ancelotti returned to the Bernabeu in 2021 after leaving Everton, and was keen to highlight the pressures of being a coach in the modern game, revealing how he managed to stay passionate about his job.

"I see nothing particularly new, this has always been our job but the case of Jurgen Klopp is significant. The pressure continues, the burden of responsibility becomes too heavy, obsession takes over," he said.

"I keep my passion, that's how I live the match, the game, my job; I've always carried this balance with me. I've overcome moments that weren't always positive; after my experience with Everton I was off the radar, they thought I was finished, I was old."

Three Valencia supporters have been sentenced to eight months in prison for hate crimes against Vinicius Junior.

The trio, who were also banned from entering football stadiums for two years, were found guilty of hurling racial slurs towards Vinicius when Valencia welcomed Real Madrid to the Mestalla in May 2023.

The conviction - the first to be issued in Spain for racial insults inside football stadia - was welcomed by LaLiga president Javier Tebas.

"This ruling is great news for the fight against racism in Spain," he said.

"It repairs the damage suffered by Vinicius Junior and sends a clear message to those people who go to a football stadium to insult that LaLiga will identify them, report them and there will be criminal consequences for them."

LaLiga reported 16 incidents of racial abuse towards Vinicius in the last two seasons.

The Brazil forward broke down in tears during a press conference in March, when he urged Spanish authorities to take action after admitting he had lost a lot of enjoyment and motivation due to the recurring abuse.

Away teams enjoyed the run of play during Sunday's round of matches in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.

El Salvador secured a 3-1 victory over Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in Group F at the Dr. Ir. Franklin Essed Stadium in Paramaribo, Suriname.

Jairo Henriquez opened the scoring with a stunning strike from outside the box in the 10th minute. Oalex Anderson equalized for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the 43rd minute with a well-placed header from a corner.

However, Rafael Tejada restored El Salvador's lead in the 60th minute after a smooth build-up play involving Henriquez and Francis Castillo. Nelson Bonilla sealed the win in the 83rd minute, connecting on a long cross from Nelson Blanco. El Salvador now sits on four points, trailing group leaders Suriname by two points, while Saint Vincent and the Grenadines remain winless.

In Grenada, Costa Rica continued their dominant start in Group B with a 3-0 victory over the home team at the Kirani James Athletics Stadium in St. George's, Grenada.

Manfred Ugalde scored the opening goal in the ninth minute, capitalizing on a through ball from Brandon Aguilera. Alvaro Zamora doubled the lead in the 34th minute with a composed left-footed finish.

Gerald Taylor added the third in the 70th minute, finishing a short pass from Ugalde. Costa Rica's goalkeeper Patrick Sequeira secured his second clean sheet of the campaign. Costa Rica leads the group with six points, while Grenada has only one point from two matches.

Meanwhile, in Bridgetown Haiti triumphed 3-1 over Barbados in Group C at Wildey Turf.

Louicius Deedson opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a precise shot inside the right post. Markhus Lacroix extended the lead with a powerful strike into the top netting in the first-half stoppage time.

Barbados' Niall Reid-Stephen pulled one back in the 73rd minute, but Bryan Labissiere's 84th-minute goal on a counter-attack ensured Haiti's victory. Haiti now has six points, matching the pace with first-place Curaçao, while Barbados remains without a point after two defeats.

At the National Sports in Hamilton, Honduras delivered an emphatic 6-1 win over Bermuda in Group A. Kervin Arriaga started the scoring in the 15th minute, but Bermuda's Zeiko Lewis equalized from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time.

David Ruiz put Honduras back in the lead in the 49th minute, followed by goals from Edwin Rodriguez (53rd minute), Luis Vega (56th minute), Andy Najar (62nd minute), and Bryan Rochez (90+1 minute). Luis Palma played a crucial role with three assists. Honduras leads the group with six points, while Bermuda has one point from two matches.

Panama secured a 3-1 victory over Montserrat in Group D at the National Football Stadium in Managua, Nicaragua. Jovani Welch gave Panama the lead with a long-distance strike in the 40th minute. Montserrat's Kaleem Strawbridge-Simon equalized with a similar effort in the 48th minute. However, Panama regained control with a header from Jose Fajardo in the 61st minute, assisted by Jose Luis Rodriguez, who then scored Panama's third with a header in the 70th minute. Panama now has six points, keeping pace with group leaders Nicaragua, while Montserrat remains winless.

Angel Di Maria's first-half finish secured an easy 1-0 win for Argentina in a Copa America warm-up match against Ecuador.

Di Maria scored five minutes before the break in Chicago on Sunday, capping off a fine team move, with Lionel Messi sitting out as Lionel Scaloni aims to manage his minutes before the tournament.

Argentina, the reigning Copa America champions, were rarely threatened in defence, though without Messi, struggled to add to their lead.

La Albiceleste face Guatemala in a final warm-up match ahead of their title defence.

"It was a deserved win. We have to keep working as we always do and stay as united," Di Maria said.

"Ecuador are an opponent we could meet in the Copa. We know it's going to be a very difficult tournament. Today was a good game to show what we can do."

Data Debrief: Easy ride

It may have only finished 1-0, but Argentina were largely in control. They finished with 11 shots to Ecuador's five, but did not face a single shot on target.

Argentina ended the match with 1.02 xG to Ecuador's 0.11. 

Ecuador are fancied to impress at the Copa, but they will have to show more potency in attack than they did on Sunday.

Jamaica's assistant coach, John Wall, voiced strong criticism following the Reggae Boyz's 3-2 win over Dominica in their CONCACAF World Cup qualifier on Sunday. Despite securing three points, Wall expressed disappointment with Jamaica's performance and the substandard condition of the pitch at Windsor Park.

"The result was better than the performance," Wall stated bluntly. "We should have killed this game a lot earlier based on the chances that we had. The conversion rate was low. The best of it was the result—we got away with three points."

The state of the pitch was another sore point for Wall, who didn't mince words about its impact on the game. "It was more based on the pitch," he said regarding the slow tempo of Jamaica’s play. "There was a lot more to ask for. It was a 120m in depth and 72/75m wide; that’s a cricket pitch. For me, it’s not up to standard."

Reflecting on the match, Wall acknowledged Dominica's commendable performance and their effective counter-attacks. "Overall, Dominica performed well, and counter-attacked with the two, three players that they had up front. But overall we should have contained the game much better and just finished it off with the chances that we had," he added.

Jamaica entered the match on a high note following their 1-0 victory against the Dominican Republic in Kingston on June 6. However, despite creating numerous scoring opportunities, the Reggae Boyz struggled to find the net until the 31st minute when Shamar Nicholson broke the deadlock.

Kaheim Dixon doubled Jamaica’s lead just before halftime, scoring from close range to send the team into the break with a 2-0 advantage. The second half mirrored the first, with Jamaica continuing to squander opportunities. Dixon missed a glaring chance by hitting the upright from inside the box, while Nicholson also failed to convert several chances, often thwarted by goalkeeper Glenson Prince.

With 10 minutes remaining, Nicholson finally added a third goal from the penalty spot after a Dominica defender handled the ball inside the box. This goal proved crucial as Dominica mounted a late comeback.

Javid George capitalized on a counter-attack, beating an advancing Jahmali Waite and scoring into an empty net. Moments later, Troy Jules fired in a stunning free kick from just outside the 18-yard box, making it 3-2.

Nicholson had a chance to secure the win but lobbed the ball over the advancing Prince and the crossbar, leaving Jamaica to hold on for a nervy finish.

 

 

 

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