The Paris Olympics and Euro 2024 will underpin next year’s sporting calendar.

Here, the PA news agency picks out 10 stars who are expected to shine.

Sky Brown

Britain’s skateboard superstar claimed an historic bronze medal at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will head to Paris as the reigning world champion in the park category. Still only 15, Brown has still not given up hope of also representing Team GB in the Olympic surfing event in Tahiti.

Simone Biles

One of the world’s greatest ever gymnasts launched a spectacular return in 2023, after an extended hiatus to prioritise mental health. With a remarkable four world golds, including in the prestigious women’s all-around, Biles once again set her stall out as the star to watch in Paris.

Noah Lyles

The US track star dazzled in 2023, winning gold in both 100m and 200m at the World Championships in Budapest. Looking to build on the 200m bronze he took in Tokyo, Lyles is intent on expanding his horizons by potentially also forming a part of the men’s 4x400m relay squad.

Jude Bellingham

England’s Bellingham has made a stunning start to his Real Madrid career, scoring 12 goals in his first 14 LaLiga appearances and also becoming the first player to score in each of his first four Champions League appearances for the club. A sensational platform at Euro 2024 in Germany awaits.

Sam Walters

The 6ft 6ins Walters was one of the more dependable figures in another testing rugby league season for Leeds Rhinos, so it came as a great surprise that he was allowed to leave to join rivals and reigning Super League champions Wigan. Walters’ speed and power can only make the champions stronger.

Jannik Sinner

Speedy baseliner Sinner has been threatening to move into serious grand slam title contention for some time and the signs are that 2024 could be his year. Sinner won two of four meetings with Novak Djokovic – including a dramatic Davis Cup rubber – and more of the same is seemingly assured for 2024.

Luca Brecel

He probably will not practice and will be one of the first to write off his chances. But enigmatic Belgian Luca Brecel will return to the Crucible in April as the defending world snooker champion – and one of the few top-level current players who can boast the stamina to get to the end of the 17 gruelling days.

Kylian Mbappe

Mbappe might not be in the best of moods in relation to his club career but his importance to France – and his ability to light up the game’s biggest stages – will be in evidence during Euro 2024. Moreover, Mbappe still harbours hopes of appearing as an over-age player at the Paris Olympics.

Keely Hodgkinson

So far it has been a career of so near yet so far for the British 800 metres ace, who has had to settle for silver medals at consecutive world championships, as well as the Tokyo Olympics and the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. All eyes will be on her bid to go one better in Paris.

Nat Sciver-Brunt

The all-rounder, who has landed a deal to play for Perth Scorchers in the next women’s Big Bash, will play a pivotal role when England are scheduled to head to Bangladesh in 2024 as one of the favourites to clinch the women’s T20 world title.

What the papers say

Real Madrid are reportedly ready to offer Kylian Mbappe a contract, but it comes with a deadline. The Daily Mail, citing AS, says the Spanish giants are committed to offering the Paris St Germain forward a deal before the expiration of his current deal next summer. However, Real are expecting a firm answer to their offer by January 15 at the latest.

The Mail, this time via Tuttosport, also says Juventus are prepared to withdraw from talks to sign Manchester United forward Jadon Sancho. According to the paper, bosses at the Italian club are concerned by the 23-year-old’s potential price tag. Sancho was signed from Borussia Dortmund for £73million, and United would be determined to receive as much as possible in any transfer.

And The Sun reports 19-year-old United States and Hajduk Split attacking midfielder Rokas Pukstas has emerged on Arsenal’s radar.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Richarlison: The Tottenham forward is attracting plenty of interest from the Saudi Pro League, according to the website 90 Min.

Hakan Calhanoglu: Calciomercato says West Ham would need to stump up more than £40m for the Inter Milan midfielder.

Kylian Mbappe inspired 10-man Paris St Germain to a 2-0 victory over Le Havre to send them four points clear of Nice at the top of Ligue 1.

PSG found themselves down to 10 men after just 10 minutes when goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was sent off for a high challenge on Josue Casimir.

The visitors went in front in the 23rd minute through Mbappe and while the hosts did their best to find an equaliser, Vitinha scored against the run of play in the 89th minute to seal three points.

Goalkeeper Lucas Chevalier saved two penalties as Lille claimed a 2-0 win at home to Metz.

The 22-year-old denied Simon Elisor before two goals in first-half stoppage time from Yusuf Yazici and Jonathan David put Lille in front.

More heroics from Chevalier 10 minutes into the second half to keep out Lamine Camara’s penalty helped preserve victory for the home side.

Monaco kept pace with PSG with a 2-0 win over 10-man Montpellier, who saw Boubakar Kouyate sent off in the second half, while Brest beat Clermont 3-0 and Toulouse played out a 1-1 draw with Lorient.

In LaLiga, Hector Bellerin was shown a red card in the 27th minute of Real Betis’ goalless draw at Almeria, while Mallorca and Alaves also drew a blank.

Rasmus Kristensen scored the winner for Roma as they came from behind to beat Sassuolo 2-1 in Serie A.

Matheus Henrique fired in a first-half opener for Sassuolo, but it all came undone after the break when Daniel Boloca was dismissed and Paulo Dybala scored from the spot, before Kristensen fired home a second.

A Lucas Beltran spot-kick and further goals from Riccardo Sottil and Giacomo Bonaventura earned Fiorentina a 3-0 victory over Salernitana, while Udinese and Verona drew 3-3.

Sixth-placed Bologna looked poised for victory at Lecce but had to settle for a point after Roberto Piccoli’s penalty in the 10th minute of second-half stoppage time cancelled out Charalampos Lykogiannis’ 68th-minute opener.

In the Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund were on course to leapfrog fourth-placed Leipzig with a vital victory at leaders Bayer Leverkusen after Julian Ryerson fired the visitors ahead after five minutes.

But Victor Boniface salvaged a point when he levelled late in the second half.

Kylian Mbappe’s first-half strike helped lift 10-man Paris St Germain to a 2-0 victory at Le Havre after Gianluigi Donnarumma was sent off 10 minutes into the Ligue 1 contest.

Hosts Le Havre at times came close to an equaliser, but instead saw their five-game unbeaten streak snapped while making it five games in six without a goal.

Vitinha netted against the run of play in the 89th minute to seal the result for PSG, who have now won seven consecutive league matches for the first time since September 2021.

The result gave the league leaders a boost after Tuesday’s disappointing Champions League draw against Newcastle, with the Parisians now four points ahead of second-placed Nice.

Le Havre wasted a golden chance after the ball pinged around the 18-yard box before landing at the feet of Gautier Lloris, who would have netted an opener but for the quick reaction of Carlos Soler to clear off the line.

Then goalkeeper Donnarumma, already under scrutiny, completely misjudged a challenge on Josue Casimir and immediately saw red for a high boot.

On came Arnau Tenas to make his PSG debut, replacing forward Bradley Barcola, who boss Luis Enrique decided would be the necessary sacrifice.

The visitors would not be pinned back and Mbappe was first denied by a good save by Arthur Desmas with a left-footed effort but made no mistake with his second attempt, firing through three blue shirts from centre before the ball clipped the inside of the post and crossed in for a 23rd-minute opener.

Mbappe had the ball in the back of the net again before the break but the offside flag was raised, while Casimir could only watch agonisingly on when what should have been an equaliser sailed just wide of the post after finding himself in space inside the area.

Le Havre, desperate get something out of the man advantage, applied more pressure to begin the second half as Yassine Kechta forced Tenas to tip the ball over the crossbar, while Mohamed Bayo sent a weak effort into the arms of the replacement PSG goalkeeper.

Ousmane Dembele nearly doubled the Parisians’ advantage, his effort clipping the edge of the post before going wide, before Tenas saved Danilo Pereira from scoring an own goal after Bayo’s attempt took a deflection off the PSG defender.

Pereira would soon prevent substitute Nabil Alioui a chance at levelling, while the hosts showed off their own defensive prowess when Christopher Operi prevented a threatening Dembele from getting a decent shot away.

Alioui skied an effort then twice-tested Tenas, who was quick to react at his near post as the hosts desperately searched for an equaliser, Antoine Joujou side-footing the ball past the post before Alioui tried again.

But there was no coming back after Vitinha’s strike took a deflection off Lloris and in to cap off a disappointing ending to a once-promising afternoon for the hosts.

With Saturday's Euro 2024 group-stage draw done and dusted, Europe's elite know what awaits them in Germany next year and all eyes will turn to the opening game in Munich on June 14.

Steve Clarke's Scotland will be Germany's first opponents as they kickstart their bid to become the first sole host nation to win the tournament since France in 1984.

Elsewhere, England can be content with a somewhat kind draw as Jude Bellingham, Harry Kane and company look to bring football home, while Group B looks set to earn the title of 'group of death', with defending champions Italy pitted against Spain and Croatia.

As fans across the continent begin plotting their nations' routes to the final, to be held in Berlin on July 14, Stats Perform runs through the best facts and figures from each of the six groups. 

Group A: Germany, Hungary, Scotland, Switzerland

Germany have endured a troubled build-up to their home tournament, with Julian Nagelsmann parachuted in after the dismissal of Hansi Flick in September. The last Germany boss to win a major tournament at his first attempt was Jupp Derwall, who led the team (then West Germany) to Euro 1980 glory.

They will face a familiar foe in the form of Switzerland, who they will meet for the 54th time in senior internationals – no other team has faced Germany as often, but the teams have never met at the Euros before.

Germany's matchday one opponents will be Scotland, who will be making their fourth appearance at the Euros after also qualifying in 1992, 1996 and 2020. They have never reached the knockout stages. 

However, they may fancy their chances of edging out Switzerland and Hungary in what could be a battle for second place this time around. Hungary took bronze when they first appeared at the Euros in 1964, but they have only won one of their nine games at the tournament since then (four draws, four defeats), beating Austria in the 2016 group stage.

Group B: Spain, Albania, Croatia, Italy)

All eyes will be on Group B ahead of the tournament, with three-time winners Spain drawn alongside defending champions Italy – who they beat in the 2012 final – and 2022 World Cup bronze medallists Croatia. 

Excluding penalty shoot-outs, La Roja have only lost two of their last 22 matches at the Euros, winning 13 and drawing seven. The last two teams to beat them? Croatia and Italy in 2016.

Spain are the only nation to win back-to-back editions of the Euros, doing so in 2008 and 2012. Luciano Spalletti's Italy are looking to replicate that feat, having inched past Ukraine to claim second place in their qualification group.

The Azzurri have now qualified for eight successive editions of the tournament, though this is the first time they have reached a major competition while losing two or more games in their qualifying group, having been beaten home and away by England.

While Spain and Italy will feel unfortunate to have landed in such a difficult group, the omens are good for teams that face Croatia when it matters. They have lost to the eventual winners at four of their last six major tournaments, being beaten by Spain at Euro 2012, Portugal at Euro 2016, France at the 2018 World Cup, and Argentina in Qatar last year.

GROUP C: England, Denmark, Slovenia, Serbia

Gareth Southgate may be relieved to have avoided some of the heavy hitters with England landing in Group C, where they will start against Serbia on June 16 before taking on Denmark and Slovenia.

England's rematch with Denmark – who they beat in the Euro 2020 semi-finals – could be decisive in the battle for top spot. The Three Lions are unbeaten in all three of their meetings with Denmark at Euros/World Cups (two wins, one draw), with Switzerland the only team they have faced as often at tournaments without ever losing.

With Kane thriving at Bayern Munich and Bellingham a former star at Borussia Dortmund, two of the Three Lions' star players are no strangers to German turf.

 

They also have an excellent record against Slovenia, winning five and drawing one of the teams' six all-time meetings. The only one of those games to take place at a major tournament came at the 2010 World Cup, when Jermain Defoe hit the winner in a 1-0 victory for Fabio Capello's team.

Serbia, meanwhile, will be featuring at the Euros for the first time as an independent nation. They competed as Yugoslavia or FR Yugoslavia in five editions, finishing as runners-up in 1960 and 1968.

Group D: France, Austria, Netherlands, play-off winner A

With Kylian Mbappe spearheading their star-studded team, France head to the Euros among the favourites. Boss Didier Deschamps captained his country to glory at Euro 2000, and he could become the first person to win the competition as both a player and a head coach.

Les Bleus, however, face a tough set of opponents in Group D, none more so than the Netherlands.

France have faced the Oranje more often at the Euros without ever winning than they have any other side, losing their last two such matches against them at the 2000 and 2008 tournaments.

Ronald Koeman might be pleased to see his team drawn alongside Austria, with the Netherlands winning their last seven matches against them, averaging 2.9 goals per game throughout that run (20 in total).

The final team in Group D will be decided via the play-offs in March, with Wales, Finland, Poland and Estonia vying for a ticket to Germany. France have met any of those nations at the Euros.

Group E: Belgium, Romania, Slovakia, play-off winner B

Belgium headline Group E, with Domenico Tedesco at the wheel as the last members of the Red Devils' so-called golden generation look to finally deliver on their promise.

Since losing to West Germany in the final of Euro 1980, Belgium have never reached the semi-finals of the tournament, being knocked out in the last eight at each of the last two editions – versus Wales in 2016 and Italy at Euro 2020.

They will be content with a kind-looking draw, with Romania the team drawn into Group E from pot two. Their win ratio of just six per cent at the Euros is the worst of any nation to qualify for more than one edition, winning just once in 16 games at the tournament. 

Slovakia, meanwhile, have only won two of their seven games at Euro tournaments (one draw, four defeats), also failing to score in four of their last five games.

Ukraine, Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iceland will battle for the final spot in this group in March.

GROUP F: Portugal, Turkiye, Czech Republic, play-off winner C

Group F contains 2016 winners Portugal, the only team to reach the knockout stages of the last seven editions of the Euros, a run that stretches back to the 1996 tournament. In fact, they have always progressed from the group stages in their eight previous appearances at the Euros.

Cristiano Ronaldo seems set to be sticking around for this tournament. He will be 39 by the time it rolls around. The Al Nassr attacker holds the records for most games (25) and most goals (14) at the Euros, has also managed a joint-record six assists (since records began in 1972).

Ronaldo's 20 total goal involvements at the Euros are twice as many as any other player since assist records began, with Michel Platini second on 10 (nine goals, one assist).

Roberto Martinez's team open their campaign against the Czech Republic, who are featuring at an eighth successive edition of the Euros (including appearances as Czechoslovakia). Only Germany (14) and France (nine) are currently on longer runs of consecutive appearances.

One of Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan and Luxembourg will join Turkiye in rounding out the group. They are looking to improve on their dismal showing at Euro 2020, and have qualified for three successive editions of the Euros for the first time. However, they have lost six of their last seven matches at the tournament (one win).

Luis Enrique laughed off suggestions Paris St Germain lack a cutting edge ahead of a tricky Ligue 1 trip to stingy Le Havre.

PSG registered 31 shots during their midweek Champions League clash with Newcastle but required a controversial late penalty from Kylian Mbappe to salvage a 1-1 draw.

The reigning champions are the highest scorers in France’s top-flight, having recorded an impressive 34 goals in just 13 games.

Head coach Enrique called for perspective in the wake of a frustrating midweek meeting with the Magpies and insisted he would be more concerned if his team were not creating chances.

“This is very funny,” the Spaniard replied with a bemused expression when asked about a potential finishing problem among his squad at his pre-match press conference.

“A team that scores three goals per game (on average) and generates 10 clear chances in the Champions League against a team like Newcastle?

“If we have a finishing problem, what does that mean for everyone else?

“Football is a game of mistakes. I would be worried if we weren’t making goal-scoring chances.

“Sometimes we will score more than others, that is life. We can’t all be inspired every time. I’m not worried about that.

“Sometimes we missed good chances, that is how it is. But we need to be sensible here.”

PSG are on a run of six successive league wins following last Friday’s thumping 5-2 success over Monaco.

Meanwhile, Le Havre have registered four goalless draws in their last five outings but sit in the top half of the table following promotion last term.

Enrique believes the Newcastle game will serve as good preparation for breaking down stubborn opposition on Sunday afternoon in Normandy.

“Le Havre are a team that don’t concede many goals and don’t score many either,” he said.

“I think they’ll defend with a low block, so good movement will be necessary.

“We’ve seen, especially against Newcastle, that even when the opponent defends deep, we can still manage to create a lot of chances.

“Therefore, it will be important to be well-positioned, to move the ball well, and to get our shots on target. It’s going to be a difficult match.”

PSG remain without defender Marquinhos due to a torn hamstring.

Warren Zaire-Emery, Nuno Mendes and Presnel Kimpembe are also still sidelined, while goalkeeper Alexandre Letellier (groin) faces a fitness test.

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has warned more VAR would “ruin” football after finding himself on the wrong end of a controversial decision.

Football’s lawmakers are considering options to extend the system’s use at the same time as a debate over its effectiveness in its current form rages on.

The Magpies were denied a Champions League victory at Paris St Germain on Tuesday after Polish referee Szymon Marciniak was asked to review a decision not to award a penalty for handball against Tino Livramento by VAR official Thomas Kwiatkowski and changed his mind to allow Kylian Mbappe to level in stoppage time.

Asked if he would like to see more or less VAR, head coach Howe said: “I’d like to see less VAR.

“I don’t have an issue with offsides because that is as close as it can be to being right, whether you agree with the decision, the lines give you a black and white yes or no. The rest, I’m not in favour.

“I still think it’s just another person’s opinion against another person’s opinion. It’s very subjective. I’d like to see less. I definitely wouldn’t want to see more because I think it would ruin the game.”

Kwiatkowski had been due to oversee Wednesday night’s Real Sociedad versus Red Bull Salzburg game in the same competition, but was stood down, a decision which brought Howe, who revealed the club have contacted UEFA to seek clarity over the penalty award, little comfort.

He said: “That for me, with VAR is an issue – not enough power is given to the on-field decision, which in this case was correct.

“I still believe – I’m old-fashioned in this – that the on-field decision should be given a little bit more strength because the referee is there, he’s feeling the game, he’s managing the game in the middle and I think that is worth something.”

Howe’s comments came as he prepared his players for Saturday evening’s Premier League clash with Manchester United at St James’ Park still contemplating a lengthy injury list, but with no new additions after an attritional night at the Parc des Princes and with hopes high that midfielders Joe Willock and Sean Longstaff will be sidelined for weeks rather than months.

Newcastle have lost just one of their last five encounters in all competitions with the Red Devils, who also suffered Champions League disappointment 24 hours later when they squandered a 3-1 lead at Galatasaray to draw 3-3, although Erik ten Hag’s side have won five of their last six league games.

Asked if he and his players could use their burning sense of injustice from Paris as added motivation, Howe said: “I always want that sense that we are against everybody outside of Newcastle when we play. I think that helps us.

“That is a good mentality to have, that we are competing against everybody else. It’s certainly served us well to this point and if it helps any individual players, then great.”

The VAR official involved in the decision to award Paris St Germain a controversial last-gasp penalty to salvage a Champions League draw against Newcastle has been stood down from duty on Wednesday night.

The PA news agency understands Thomas Kwiatkowski will no longer be among the officials selected to oversee the Real Sociedad v Red Bull Salzburg match at the Anoeta Stadium.

Newcastle were within a few minutes of stoppage time of a famous victory at the Parc des Princes when a questionable handball decision against Tino Livramento handed Kylian Mbappe the chance to snatch a point, and it was one he took with some aplomb.

Asked if he felt a sense of injustice, Magpies boss Eddie Howe replied: “Yes, I do. It wasn’t the right decision in my opinion.

“There are so many things to take into account at that moment, the speed first. It was a ricochet that when it is slowed down, looks completely different to the live event.

“The ball hits his chest first, comes up and hits his hand. But his hand is not in an unnatural position, they (his hands) are down by his side, but he is in a running motion.

“I feel it is a poor decision and it’s hugely frustrating for us as you know how little time there is left in the game. There is nothing we can do about it now.”

The VAR official involved in the decision to award Paris St Germain a controversial last-gasp penalty to salvage a Champions League draw against Newcastle has been stood down from duty on Wednesday night.

The PA news agency understands Thomas Kwiatkowski will no longer be among the officials selected to oversee the Real Sociedad v Red Bull Salzburg match at the Anoeta Stadium.

Newcastle were within a few minutes of stoppage time of a famous victory at the Parc des Princes when a questionable handball decision against Tino Livramento handed Kylian Mbappe the chance to snatch a point, and it was one he took with some aplomb.

Asked if he felt a sense of injustice, Magpies boss Eddie Howe replied: “Yes, I do. It wasn’t the right decision in my opinion.

“There are so many things to take into account at that moment, the speed first. It was a ricochet that when it is slowed down, looks completely different to the live event.

“The ball hits his chest first, comes up and hits his hand. But his hand is not in an unnatural position, they (his hands) are down by his side, but he is in a running motion.

“I feel it is a poor decision and it’s hugely frustrating for us as you know how little time there is left in the game. There is nothing we can do about it now.”

Kieran Trippier cannot understand why the penalty which denied Newcastle a famous Champions League victory at Paris St Germain was given.

The 33-year-old England international was incredulous when Polish referee Szymon Marcimiak pointed to the spot after being asked to review an incident in which Timo Livramento blocked Ousmane Dembele’s cross deep into stoppage time and saw the ball ricochet off his chest onto the underside of his arm.

Kylian Mbappe scored from the spot with just seconds remaining to cancel out Alexander Isak’s first-half opener and snatch two priceless points from the Magpies’ grasp.

Trippier said: “It is disappointing, but we have to move on. I just try to enjoy football, but I am tired of discussing these matters, whether good or bad.

“Nothing can change it. The referee had the chance to go to the monitor, which he did, so I don’t understand it. From my point of view, it has come off his chest and onto his arm.

“I don’t understand what his decision was, even after the game. We tried to ask him. But we just have to move on and take it on the chin.”

Livramento, who turned in a fine individual display, was understandably distraught at the outcome, but his team-mates swiftly rallied around him.

“Tino is fine,” Trippier said of the 21-year-old. “He is a strong kid who had an unbelievable game again.

“It is one of those where everybody knows it wasn’t a penalty. Of course it is disappointing because it was him in that moment. We said, ‘Listen it wasn’t a penalty, so get it out of your head’.”

Newcastle travelled to Paris once again without a host of key players through injury, but produced their best away performance of the competition to date.

In the cold light of day, a point represents a creditable return no matter the context, and they will host AC Milan at St James’ Park on December 13 knowing a win would take them through to the last 16 provided PSG do not beat Borussia Dortmund – who have already qualified – in Germany the same night.

“There are so many positives still to take,” Trippier said. “We didn’t make one sub so it was 11 v 16. The lads have given absolutely everything.

“We all just have to keep stepping up and giving everything for the team.”

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe will head into the Champions League showdown with AC Milan desperate to continue a journey which has captivated him.

Howe, who turned 46 on Wednesday, did so still ruminating on the controversial 1-1 draw at Paris St Germain on Tuesday evening, which left the Magpies needing to beat the Serie A giants at St James’ Park on December 13 and hope the French champions do not win at Borussia Dortmund if they are to emerge from Group F.

Newcastle had come within a few minutes of stoppage-time of a famous victory at the Parc des Princes when a questionable handball decision against Tino Livramento handed Kylian Mbappe the chance to snatch a point, and it was one he took with some aplomb.

However, asked afterwards how much he had enjoyed the competition to date and how keen he was to extend that adventure, Howe said: “I’ve loved every second of it and I’m desperate to stay in it.

“We have been thrown in at the deep end against high-class opposition, some great stadiums and brilliant atmospheres and we are desperate to stay in the competition, and to show a better version of ourselves. We’d love the opportunity to do it.”

Should the Magpies beat Milan, they would have eight points and that would mean PSG, who already have seven, would have to win in Germany against the already-qualified Bundesliga side as the Premier League club would have the better of the head-to-head if they finished level.

Howe was angry with the penalty decision, which he described as “poor”, but his sense of injustice masked a belief that there could be another twist to come.

He said: “I think we have to look that we’re still in the competition. The first thing to do is look at that because it could have been different tonight, so that game now is going to take on huge significance for lots of different reasons.

“We’re back at home and we’re excited about the game when it comes around, so they’re huge positives for us. That’s why I don’t think we should lose sight of that despite the disappointing ending.”

The Magpies travelled to Paris with a raft of key players still injured and so little experience on the bench that the team which started also finished, some of them clearly running on fumes.

However, Howe was proud of the resilience they showed as PSG piled on the pressure, with goalkeeper Nick Pope making a series of fine saves while the men in front of him defended for dear life until fate intervened.

Their manager, who now faces the task of lifting the team for Saturday’s league clash with Manchester United at St James’, paid tribute to the spirit within the camp, which was exemplified in the face of a French onslaught.

He said: “We’ve shown that despite the huge number of players – quality players – not being here, the group has stepped up and given more.

“We’ve shown that the spirit and togetherness and the willingness to fight for each other is as good as I’ve ever seen it at any football club since I’ve been involved in the game, and we’re very proud to represent Newcastle, as I’ve said many times before, but especially on the European stage.

“Hopefully we can give them a reason for everyone to be proud of us back in Newcastle.”

Eddie Howe was left fuming after Paris St Germain denied Newcastle a priceless Champions League victory with a controversial stoppage-time penalty.

The Magpies were heading for a famous 1-0 win at the Parc des Princes until Polish referee Szymon Marciniak awarded a spot-kick against Tino Livramento after a VAR review, allowing Kylian Mbappe to level in the eighth and final minute of added time.

Howe, who said in a television interview that the official had been placed under “extreme” pressure by the PSG players, labelled a decision which cost his side two precious points “poor” in his post-match press conference.

Asked if he felt a sense of injustice, the Newcastle boss said: “Yes, I do. It wasn’t the right decision in my opinion.

“There are so many things to take into account at that moment, the speed first. It was a ricochet that when it is slowed down, looks completely different to the live event.

“The ball hits his chest first, comes up and hits his hand. But his hand is not in an unnatural position, they [his hands] are down by his side, but he is in a running motion.

“I feel it is a poor decision and it’s hugely frustrating for us as you know how little time there is left in the game. There is nothing we can do about it now.”

The pivotal moment arrived in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Ousmane Dembele attempted to deliver the ball across the Newcastle penalty area and saw it hit Livramento’s side and rear up on to the underside of his arm.

Mr Marciniak, who had earlier seen decisions not to award spot-kicks for an Anthony Gordon challenge on Achraf Hakimi and a shout for handball against teenager midfielder Lewis Miley upheld, was advised to review the incident and this time decided to award the penalty.

The Magpies, who had taken a 24th-minute lead through Alexander Isak, defended it for grim life until the last-gasp controversy, although they needed Pope to be at his brilliant best on several occasions.

They now need to beat AC Milan at home on December 13 and hope PSG do not win away to Borussia Dortmund to progress.

Asked if that was something to cling on to, Howe, who celebrates his 46th birthday on Wednesday, said: “Yes, I think that’s absolutely right. In the next couple of days, that will become more relevant in our thoughts, I think.

 

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“When the draw came out, it was the ‘group of death’ and I don’t think many people gave us a chance of qualifying from it and sitting here now, I’m a little bit frustrated that it’s not in our hands because when I look back at the two Dortmund games, I felt we could have done better in those matches.

“I don’t think it’s the time for that, I think it’s probably a time to be positive and to say that if we can beat Milan, then good things can happen from it.”

For PSG boss Luis Enrique, there was a mixture of relief and frustration on a night when his side created a host of chances but were unable to take any of them until Mbappe’s late intervention.

Enrique said: “Without a doubt, we played a very great game. We deserved to win. We played better than Newcastle. The result does not reflect what happened on the pitch.

“It’s not basketball. We are one of the teams in Europe that scores the most. Sometimes the ball doesn’t want to go in.

“Sometimes the game looked like table tennis. I couldn’t believe we couldn’t score, but we carried on despite the frustration.”

Paris St Germain moved four points clear at the top of Ligue 1 after a display of ruthless finishing secured an entertaining 5-2 win over Monaco at the Parc des Princes.

Kylian Mbappe, who netted his 14th goal of the season from the penalty spot, was one of five different goalscorers for the home side, who have now won six games in a row in the league.

Monaco began the game just three points behind PSG and contributed fully to an end-to-end contest, but the visitors ultimately had no answer to the firepower at Luis Enrique’s disposal.

Goncalo Ramos had the first effort on target after six minutes with a curling shot from just outside the area which was straight at goalkeeper Philipp Kohn, while at the other end Takumi Minamino’s shot was deflected into the side netting.

Mbappe then brought an excellent save out of Kohn as he tried to steer a low shot into the corner from 12 yards, before Soungoutou Magassa’s free header from a corner was tipped over by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

The visitors thought they had opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Folarin Balogun’s shot was spilled by Donnarumma, who at least made amends by reacting quickly to block the follow-up effort from Vanderson.

Vanderson made no mistake at the second attempt, rounding Donnarumma before rolling the ball into the empty net, only for the flag to go up due to Balogun being offside when he received the ball from Aleksandr Golovin.

An entertaining game soon got the goal it deserved when Ousmane Dembele’s shot was spilled by Kohn to leave Ramos with a simple tap-in.

But just four minutes later another goalkeeping error allowed Monaco to equalise, Donnarumma coming under pressure from Balogun and hitting his attempted clearance straight to Minamino, who fired home left-footed.

Kohn again saved well from Mbappe before the home side reclaimed the lead in the 38th minute, Magassa bringing down Dembele in the area and Mbappe giving Kohn no chance from the penalty spot.

Minamino brought good saves from Donnarumma immediately before and after the interval but it was PSG who scored next – and twice in quick succession – to seemingly put the result beyond doubt.

Dembele raced on to a quickly-taken free-kick from Fabian Ruiz, cleverly flicked the ball forward with his left foot and then smashed a shot into the far corner with his right from a narrow angle.

Less than two minutes later it was 4-1 as Vitinha took Mbappe’s pass and curled a delightful shot from the edge of the area in off the post, but Monaco refused to throw in the towel and Balogun slotted home from Minamino’s pass for a third goal in the space of five minutes.

Monaco continued to push forward and Denis Zakaria was guilty of a poor miss when presented with a clear header from Golovin’s corner, but Randal Kolo Muani completed the scoring for PSG in injury time after Monaco failed to clear a corner.

What the papers say

Arsenal’s attentions are again turning to Douglas Luiz, 25, as Mikel Arteta looks to strengthen his midfield options. The Daily Mirror reports Arsenal are expected to make a fresh bid for the Brazilian in January.

Brazilian Marcos Leonardo is expected to spark interest after his agent said he is keen on leaving Santos in January. The Evening Standard reports Arsenal and Manchester United are among the potential suitors for the 20=year-old forward.

Kylian Mbappe believes “there will be time to talk” about his future at Paris St-Germain, according to the Daily Mail, via Telefoot. The France forward, 24, has been the subject of increased speculation as his contract enters its final few months.

Jadon Sancho’s path out of Manchester United could be helped by Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s imminent investment in the club. The Daily Mirror reports the England winger, 23, is a target of Juventus whose former chief executive Jean-Claude Blanc now works for the Ineos boss and is tipped for a similar role at Old Trafford.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Raphael Varane: Bayern Munich are interested in a January move for the Manchester United defender, 30, according to the Daily Mirror via Sky Sport Germany.

Joao Neves: Benfica have no plans to sell the Portuguese midfielder, 19, despite interest from Manchester United, reports Fabrizio Romano.

France thrashed 10-man Gibraltar 14-0 in Nice for a record international win to close in on a top seed for Euro 2024.

Les Bleus had already qualified as winners of Group B, and showed no signs of letting up against Gibraltar – who scored an early own goal before defender Ethan Santos was shown a red card for a late tackle on 17-year-old debutant Warren Zaire-Emery.

Following the red card for Santos, who had put the ball in his own net after just three minutes, France were relentless, with Kylian Mbappe scoring a hat-trick, Kingsley Coman netting twice and substitute Olivier Giroud hitting a late brace.

Paris St Germain midfielder Zaire-Emery had set a new record as France’s youngest post-war debutant, aged 17 and 255 days.

France were soon on the offensive and raced into a 2-0 lead, both own goals, inside the first five minutes.

Jonathan Clauss got clear down the right and cut the ball back across the six-yard box where Santos stabbed it into his own net.

Before Gibraltar could regroup, they fell further behind.

As goalkeeper Dayle Coleing saved Antoine Griezmann’s shot, the rebound looked to have gone in off Aymen Mouelhi with Marcus Thuram close behind him. The Inter Milan forward was later credited with the goal.

France, aiming to seal their place as one of the five top seeds in Germany next summer, continued to press, with Mbappe firing over.

Zaire-Emery then clipped home a cross from Coman at the near post to become France’s second youngest international scorer after Maurice Gastiger in 1914.

The teenager took a blow to his ankle from Santos when tucking the ball home. English referee John Brooks was advised by VAR to take a review of the over-the-top challenge on the pitchside monitor, which resulted in a red card for the Gibraltar defender.

France were taking no risks with Zaire-Emery, who was swiftly substituted in the 20th minute and replaced by Youssouf Fofana.

On the half-hour mark, a VAR review saw France given a penalty for handball by Lee Casciaro. Mbappe knocked the spot-kick in off the post to make it 4-0.

It was relentless stuff from the hosts, who scored three more within as many minutes through Clauss’ powerful strike, then Coman knocked a loose ball in before Fofana drove a low shot under bewildered Gibraltar keeper Coleing.

Gibraltar made it to half-time without further damage and then held out through the hour mark despite soaking up plenty of pressure from France, who sensed the chance of a record win.

Adrien Rabiot shot home a loose ball in the 63rd minute, with Coman then getting his second for number nine.

Gibraltar’s heaviest loss was confirmed when substitute Ousmane Dembele added a 10th goal for France, who soon secured a record win when Mbappe knocked in an 11th from close range with 15 minutes left.

Olivier Giroud stepped off the bench to drill a low shot into the far corner – but after a lengthy VAR review and check of the monitor by the referee, the goal was ruled out for offside.

France, though, soon had a 12th when Mbappe clipped in a wonderful chip over a backpedalling Coleing from 30 yards to complete his hat-trick.

Giroud drilled the ball in after a chest down from Griezmann, which this time did count. The AC Milan forward swiftly rifled home another in stoppage time as France eclipsed Germany’s record European Championship qualifying win over San Marino in September 2006.

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