Marko Arnautovic has apologised for his heated celebration after scoring in Austria's win against North Macedonia but has denied using a racist slur.

The 32-year-old was brought on at half-time in Sunday's Group C clash and rounded off the scoring in his side's 3-1 victory at the National Arena in Bucharest.

Arnautovic, who is of Serbian descent, appeared angry as he celebrated and had to be calmed down by captain David Alaba.

He was accused of yelling an alleged racist insult at North Macedonia players Egzon Bejtulai and Ezgjan Alioski, who both have Albanian roots.

Serbia does not recognise the independence of its former province Kosovo, and there is historic tension between Serbia and North Macedonia.

However, former Stoke City and West Ham man Arnautovic took to social media on Monday to deny allegations that he is racist.

"There were some heated words yesterday in the emotions of the game for which I would like to apologise - especially to my friends from North Macedonia and Albania," he posted on Instagram.

"I would like to say one thing very clearly: I am not a racist. I have friends in almost every country and I stand for diversity. Everyone who knows me is aware of that."

Austria's next Group C outing is against the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Thursday.

Tomas Soucek hailed Patrik Schick's long-range strike against Scotland as "the goal of the tournament" after the forward's double helped the Czech Republic beat Scotland 2-0 in their Euro 2020 opener.

Schick stole the show in Monday's Group D clash at Hampden Park with a towering first-half header and an incredible goal from just inside the opposition half after 52 minutes.

The second was measured at 49.7 yards, making it the longest-range goal scored at the European Championship since such data was first recorded in 1980.

Euro 2020 may still be in its early stages, but Soucek does not believe team-mate Schick's sensational strike will be bettered throughout the rest of the tournament.

"It's clear we already have the goal of the tournament. No need to try to beat it," Soucek said.

 

Schick overtakes Torsten Frings (38.6 yards) for the longest recorded strike in the competition with what was his 13th goal in 27 appearances for the Czech Republic.

The Bayer Leverkusen man lobbed the ball over David Marshall after his side turned over possession inside their own half, leaving the backpedalling Scotland keeper red faced.

And speaking after the game, Schick confirmed he had spotted Marshall off his line earlier in the contest and decided to have a go from range.

"I knew he liked to stay very high, so when the ball came, I quickly checked where he was standing, and it was a nice goal," he told BBC Sport. 

"I saw the keeper off his line. I checked already in the first half and thought maybe this situation will come."

Schick has scored eight goals in his last nine starts for the Czech Republic, with Monday's long-ranger at Hampden Park undoubtedly the pick of the pitch.

"We know he's a genius," Czech coach Jaroslav Silhavy told reporters. "He knows how to finish and that's why he's there - it was something out of this world. 

"We really haven't seen a goal like that from the middle of the field for a long time."

Scotland were backed by around 12,000 spectators on home soil in what was their first major tournament game in 23 years.

The hosts had 19 shots, four of those on target, but a lack of composure and some good goalkeeping from Tomas Vaclik kept them out.

Steve Clarke does not believe that the two-goal margin of victory for the Czech Republic paints a true reflection and is eager to bounce back for Friday's clash with bitter rivals England.

"It was quite an even game. There wasn't much in it," the Scotland boss told BBC Sport. "Obviously they were a little bit more clinical with their chances. 

"Losing the goal with a second-phase set-piece was disappointing and we went in at half-time on the backfoot, then the boy's hit a wonderful strike from just inside our half. 

"It was a shot that got blocked that fell perfect for them. So those moments went against us. When we had our chances to get back, we didn't take them. 

"At times we played some good stuff. I'll have a good think about it. We'll go back to base camp, lick our wounds for 24 hours, then get ready for the game on Friday."

Clarke is hopeful of having Kieran Tierney back from injury to face England at Wembley, with the defender proving a big loss for Scotland in their tournament opener.

Fellow defender Andy Robertson was Scotland's star performer against the Czech Republic, creating a game-high six chances, none of which his team-mates could convert.

"At the highest level, you have to take your chances," he said. "The Czech Republic did that, we didn't, and that's why we’re on the wrong end of a result.

"For the first one, we shouldn't concede. It's a good header but we've got to be a wee bit stronger and braver.

"We started the second half well and hit the bar. The boy's in his own half and it's a one in a million shot. It knocked the stuffing out of us. Going forward, we need to be more clinical."

Scotland have now lost their opening match in five of their last six appearances at a major tournament, failing to score on five occasions in that run.

Kylian Mbappe needed clear-the-air talks with Olivier Giroud, but their argument is now in the past, according to France captain Hugo Lloris.

Les Bleus' preparations for Euro 2020 have been overshadowed by an apparent spat between two of their forwards, which stems from the friendly win over Bulgaria last week.

Giroud indicated he was unhappy with some of the service he received in the 3-0 victory, comments that were perceived to be aimed specifically at Mbappe, who exchanged passes with the Chelsea forward just three times in 43 minutes.

The Paris Saint-Germain star admitted last weekend that he had been "a little affected" by Giroud's remarks, while coach Didier Deschamps held a discussion with both players.

Lloris said Mbappe felt the need to speak his mind, but insisted the problem was overblown.

"It made more noise outside than inside," he said on Monday ahead of France's Euro 2020 opener with Germany. "The two explained things the next day.

"There were some small differences, but these things happen. It didn't affect the group. Kylian needed to speak out. It's behind us now."

Giroud is expected to start on the bench in Munich, with Deschamps more likely to keep faith with the front three of Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann, who all started against Bulgaria.

Lloris thinks the thought of facing such an attack is likely to give the Germany defenders some sleepless nights, even if France's collective performance will be more important.

"They are players of a very high level, who have been regulars for many years," he said.

"Mbappe is younger than Benzema and Griezmann, but he has already done great things.

"I understand there is some fear among our opponents, but if we want to achieve a big result, we'll need to have great collective strength and be well balanced on the pitch."

Lloris also praised the actions of Denmark and Finland players and fans during Saturday's match in Copenhagen, in which Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch and required emergency treatment before being taken to hospital.

The midfielder, a former Tottenham team-mate of Lloris, was confirmed by Denmark's doctor as having suffered cardiac arrest. He was said to be awake and stable in hospital and issued a statement on Monday to thank those who looked after him.

"We learned about him after training," Lloris said. "There was a lot of concern and stress, but we were quickly assured of his condition.

"These are pictures you don't want to see on the pitch. I want to highlight the personality of the Danish and Finnish players and the supporters. They were able to handle the incident with dignity and solidarity.

"What happened affected the world of football. The most important thing is that Christian is in good condition."

France get their Euro 2020 campaign underway against Germany on Tuesday in a game described by Didier Deschamps as a meeting of Europe's best two teams.

Les Bleus, winners of the 2018 World Cup, are bidding to win the European Championship directly after being crowned world champions for the second time, having done the same double in 1998 and 2000.

Head coach Deschamps played at each of those tournaments and is bidding to become the first person in history to win the World Cup and the Euros as both player and coach.

France were handed a devilish group, though, alongside Portugal - who beat them in the Euro 2016 final on home soil - and 2014 world champions Germany, who lost to the hosts at the semi-final stage five years ago.

France are unbeaten in their past five games in Germany, but Joachim Low's side have never lost their opening match at the Euros, last failing to win their first game against the Netherlands in 2004.

Still, Germany's preparations have not been easy. They lost 6-0 to Spain last November – a result that almost cost Low the chance to lead the team into one final major tournament – and they suffered a shock home defeat to North Macedonia in World Cup qualifying in March.

They are now in 12th position in the FIFA rankings, but Deschamps thinks there are no stronger opponents France could face at these championships.

"The quality of our opponents tomorrow makes this a fantastic encounter," he said on Monday. "It's going to be a great match for us. We're the best two teams in Europe, so it's about being focused in defence and clinical in attack.

"There is individual quality in every position, but the players can play in very different positions, be flexible.

"There are other players like [Timo] Werner, or [Leroy] Sane, who have a different kind of playing style. We'll see who will start in attack. They are important for Germany, obviously, and we have to stop them from having a lot of impact in the game."

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

France – Antoine Griezmann

Much of France's build-up has been dominated by a rumoured bust-up between Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud, who needs only five goals to match Thierry Henry's all-time scoring record for Les Bleus.

It is Griezmann, though, who will likely worry Germany the most. He scored both goals in that semi-final five years ago, taking his tally to four against them, and he has been directly involved in 14 goals over the past two major tournaments, more than any other European player.

Germany – Thomas Muller

Back at a major tournament again after being told his international career was over in late 2019, Muller will now bid to end a peculiar barren run at the European Championship.

The Bayern Munich star has never scored at this event in 11 appearances, which is particularly odd for a man with 10 goals in 16 World Cup matches.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- This will be the sixth meeting between France and Germany at a major tournament, but their first in the group stages. So far, their head-to-head record is perfectly balanced with two wins each and a draw.
- Since – and including – World Cup 2014, France have won 14 of their 19 games at major tournaments (World Cup and European Championship), more than any other European team over that period prior to Euro 2020, ahead of Belgium (13 wins in 17 games) and Germany (10 wins in 16 games).
- Germany are taking part in their 13th European Championship, more than any other team. They have won the trophy three times, the most alongside Spain. Their next game will also be their 50th in the tournament, becoming the first team to reach that milestone.
- Only two European goalkeepers have made more appearances at major international tournaments than Germany's Manuel Neuer (27): Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon (31 each).
- This will be Low’s 18th game as coach in the Euros, a record. Low has led Germany to the semi-finals in five of his six previous tournaments, the only exception coming at World Cup 2018 (group-stage elimination).

Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo insists his sole focus is on Euro 2020 and reports of interest from rival clubs are causing him no "sleepless nights".

Ronaldo left Real Madrid for Juve in 2019, but the move has not worked out quite as planned.

Although the Bianconeri won the Serie A title for a ninth successive season in the forward's first campaign, they lost their crown to Inter this term and scraped Champions League qualification.

Success in Europe's premier club competition, which Ronaldo won five times with Manchester United and Madrid, continues to evade the Turin giants.

A frustrating season ended with Massimiliano Allegri returning to replace Andrea Pirlo, and there has been speculation Ronaldo could follow his coach out of the door.

Madrid, United and Paris Saint-Germain have been credited with an interest in a player who continues to deliver superb individual results.

Ronaldo's 29 goals in 2020-21 won the Capocannoniere, having previously also been the top scorer in the Premier League and LaLiga.

Since joining Juve, only Robert Lewandowski (103) has scored more goals in all competitions than Ronaldo's 73 among players in Europe's top five leagues.

The 36-year-old's 83 goal involvements rank fourth behind Lewandowski (121), Lionel Messi (106) and Kylian Mbappe (97).

Those returns would surely interest a host of clubs, but Ronaldo is not looking any further ahead than the Euros, with Portugal starting their title defence against Hungary on Tuesday.

"I've been playing at the highest level for many years. This doesn't faze me at all," Ronaldo said ahead of the Hungary game.

"If I were starting out, if I were 18 or 19, I'd have some sleepless nights. But I'm 36 years old and whatever comes will be for the best

"Regardless of staying in Juve or being transferred, the crucial thing is the Euros. For me, it's my fifth Euros, but it's like my first. I want to start on the right foot and we want to play a good match."

 

Ronaldo holds the record for the most games (21), most goals (nine, tied with Michel Platini) and most tournaments with at least one goal (four) at the European Championship.

With 104 international goals, he is also closing on Ali Daei's benchmark of 109.

Adding to that tally in the group stage of Euro 2020 will be tough, though, with Portugal drawn into a pool with Hungary, France and Germany. They have not won their opening game at a tournament since Euro 2008.

But Ronaldo is confident his side are ready, explaining: "If you tell me that we're going to lose tomorrow and win the Euros, that's my choice.

"But I think the team is ready, physically and emotionally. Our players are young, but that doesn't prevent us from dreaming. I'm sure we will have a great tournament and I know, for sure, all the players are ready."

Only Spain, in 2008 and 2012, have previously won back-to-back European Championships.

"We are not the same team as we were in 2016," Ronaldo added. "This is a younger team, a team with great potential and only by playing will we know if we are better or worse than 2016.

"On a personal level, I'm not the same player I was 18 years ago, 10 years ago, five years ago. We keep adjusting. The most intelligent thing about a football player is the ability to adjust.

"I'm more mature. If a player wants to play for many years, he needs to know how to adjust and adapt.

"The numbers speak for themselves; from 18 to 36, I've learned to adapt regardless of winning silverware.

"On a personal level, I've always been able to win. The same on a collective level, too. I think I've adjusted throughout my career."

Patrik Schick scored twice, including a stunning strike from just inside the opposition half, to earn the Czech Republic a 2-0 win against Scotland in Monday's Euro 2020 clash.

Scotland are competing in their first major tournament in 23 years and had the backing of around 12,000 spectators on home soil at Hampden Park.

However, Schick's header late in the first half and an incredible second goal from 49.7 yards – the longest recorded at the Euros since records began in 1980 – soon dampened the spirits of the vast majority inside the venue.

Steve Clarke's side hit the crossbar through a Jack Hendry effort in between Schick's brace, but Scotland offered little else in response as the Czech Republic joined England – 1-0 winners over Croatia on Sunday – on three points at the top of Group D.

David Marshall's penalty heroics helped Scotland book their place in the finals and the goalkeeper was required after 16 minutes to push Schick's shot past the post.

A rare first-half chance came and went for the hosts at the other end when Andy Robertson was played in on the overlap but denied by a Tomas Vaclik save.

But it was the visitors who took the lead just before half-time as Schick towered above Grant Hanley to guide Vladimir Coufal's cross into the bottom-left corner.

Marshall was called into action twice in the early stages of the second period to keep out Schick and then Vladimir Darida in the space of 24 seconds.

Scotland responded well and hit the crossbar through Hendry's clipped effort from range, swiftly followed by a clawed safe from Vaclik to prevent a Tomas Kalas own goal.

Any hopes Clarke's side had of taking a point from their opener were extinguished by Schick, though, as the lively forward spotted Marshall off his line and scored one of the competition's most memorable goals.

Vaclik denied both Lyndon Dykes and then Hanley as the Czechs saw things through to snap a three-game losing run against Scotland.

Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian has signed a contract extension.

Back-up to starter Alisson, Adrian joined the club as a free agent in 2019, making 24 appearances for the Reds.

The former West Ham keeper has won the Premier League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in his time at Anfield.

He played in six games in all competitions last season, keeping three clean sheets.

"I'm delighted, I'm very happy to stay in the club," Adrian told Liverpool's official website.

"Firstly, because it's a reward from the club for the hard work that I've been doing since I signed two years ago.

"I really appreciate that confidence from the club, from the manager and from everyone involved in that situation.

"And secondly, and above all of that, it's a pleasure to stay in Liverpool – it's such a big club. But being as well a family club, it's very special for any player to stay here. I am privileged."

 

Gianluigi Buffon is considering several options as he plans to carry on playing, with the veteran goalkeeper heavily linked with a return to Parma.

Buffon announced he would be ending his second stint with Juventus following the conclusion of the 2020-21 season, though has made clear he is not ready to retire just yet.

The 43-year-old – who won 176 caps for Italy – has revealed he has offers from clubs set to compete in the Champions League, as well as the possibility of returning to his "origins".

It has been widely reported in the Italian media that Parma are close to tempting their former player back to potentially end his illustrious career where it all started.

Spanish heavyweights Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have also been linked with Buffon, who intends to reveal his future plans this week.

"On the table I have many proposals that touch different keys," he said when speaking to the Italian media on Monday.

"There are teams that make the Champions League and have offered me a leading role, others that aspire to win it but want me as a secondary option, and I only did that role for Juve.

"Then there would be the return to my origins, which produces different feelings and gives me the motivation I need to do well.

"I'm putting everything on the table and in three or four days I will decide, I have to figure out which is the best thing to be a leading protagonist."

Buffon came through Parma's academy in the early 1990s and went on to play over 200 games for them across all competitions. 

Juve made him the world's most expensive goalkeeper at the time in 2001, costing in the region of €52million. He left in 2018 to join Paris Saint-Germain, though headed back to Turin the following year.

During his time with Parma, Buffon won the the Coppa Italia, UEFA Cup and Supercoppa Italiana. However, a return would see him plying his trade in Serie B following their relegation from the top flight.

Goals from Carli Lloyd, Lindsey Horan, Margaret Purce and Alex Morgan powered the world champions, the USA, to a 4-0 drubbing of Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz at the BBVA Stadium in Houston on Sunday night.

The result meant that Jamaica leaves the USWNT Summer Series with a win and a loss having defeated Nigeria 1-0 in their opening match last Thursday night.

The USA got off to a fast start and scored 24 seconds after the first whistle when a cross to the left of Jamaica’s 18-yard box found Lloyd who fired into the Jamaican goal from close range.

The USA were on the board again six minutes later when Christen Press, on a run into the box from the left, was brought down by Konya Plumber. Horan converted easily sending Jamaican keeper Sydney Schneider, the wrong way.

Purce added the USA’s third in the 22nd minute when she ghosted in behind the Jamaican defence to receive a cross slotting in unchallenged past the advancing goalkeeper.

Jamaica produced a better performance in the second half partly due to the USA taking their foot off the gas and giving the Jamaicans more room to play.

However, Morgan scored a header in the 90th minute to complete the lopsided victory.

 

 

Denmark's decision to resume their Euro 2020 clash with Finland following Christian Eriksen's cardiac arrest "was the least bad one", according to forward Martin Braithwaite.

Inter midfielder Eriksen was given CPR by medics late on in the first half of Saturday's Group B match after collapsing with no other players around him.

The fixture was suspended while Eriksen received life-saving treatment on the field, but it resumed a little under two hours later after the midfielder was confirmed to be "awake".

Tournament organisers UEFA said it agreed to restart the match "following the request made by players of both teams".

However, Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand said on Sunday that the game should never have resumed from the 41st minute, with his side going on to lose 1-0 in Copenhagen.

The Danes also had the option of coming back the following day, but Braithwaite believes the decision they made was the best on offer.

"None of the options were good. We took the least bad one," Braithwaite said at a news conference on Monday. 

"There were lots of players who were unable to play. We were in a bad place. We made the least bad decision."

Joel Pohjanpalo scored a famous winner for major tournament debutants Finland from their only attempt of the match, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg missing a penalty for Denmark 14 minutes later.

Kasper Schmeichel was also on the field at the time of the horrific incident involving Eriksen and agreed with Braithwaite that Denmark were put in a difficult spot.

"We have been put in a position where, on a personal level, I think we should not have been placed," he told reporters.

"We had two options: either come back the next day [Sunday] at noon or resume the game. 

"Someone higher up than us would have had to tell us that this was not the time to make such a decision, and that we should probably wait until the next day to decide.

"But what happened has happened, and let's hope they learn from it."

In the latest update provided by the Danish Football Union on Monday, Eriksen is said to be in a "stable and good" condition as he continues to be monitored in hospital.

Schmeichel revealed at the same news conference that Eriksen was "smiling and laughing" when he visited his team-mate in hospital on Sunday.

Denmark return to Group B action on Thursday with another home match against Belgium.

Kasper Schmeichel has revealed stricken Denmark team-mate Christian Eriksen is "smiling and laughing" in hospital after being kept alive by the "miracle" work of quick-thinking medics.

Inter midfielder Eriksen was given CPR on the pitch during the first half of Saturday's Euro 2020 clash with Finland in Copenhagen after collapsing with no other players around him.

Denmark's team doctor Morten Boesen confirmed on Sunday that the 29-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest and "was gone" before being resuscitated on the field.

In the latest update provided by the Danish Football Union on Monday, Eriksen is said to be in a "stable and good" condition as he continues to be monitored in hospital.

Eriksen also released a statement on Monday via his agent Martin Schoots, thanking those who assisted him and vowing to get to the bottom of what caused the cardiac arrest.

The former Ajax and Tottenham midfielder now appears to be on the mend, with Schmeichel allowed to visit him in hospital on Sunday.

Speaking at a news conference alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Martin Braithwaite on Monday, Schmeichel said he is "grateful" his colleague is still alive.

"It was damn nice to see him smile and laugh and be himself, and just notice that he is there," Schmeichel said.

"Visiting him was a wonderful experience and something that has helped me see that he was okay after lying there.

"We talked about nothing and everything. As long as he is well, that has to be the most important thing. He has experienced something that we have not experienced. 

"He has a completely different experience of the situation. It was great to talk to him, and now we have a lot of work to try to navigate."

Denmark skipper Simon Kjaer has been widely praised for stopping Eriksen from swallowing his tongue and placing his stricken team-mate in the recovery position.

Medics were on the field within seconds and provided the playmaker with life-saving treatment, while Denmark's players formed a ring around their team-mate in an attempt to preserve his privacy.

Opening up on the horrific incident for the first time, Schmeichel added: "It's a violent experience. But he is here today, and I am very grateful for that.

"The only heroes there are the doctors who saved him. We are professional football players, but these people dedicate their lives to saving people. 

"That they could do it under that pressure... I cannot describe how much admiration I have for them. That they could bring him back is a miracle. 

"I even think about how I would have my team-mates react if I was lying there. Then we have some amazing people on this team. A captain and a coach who knows how to act.

"It characterises us as a team and country that we stand together until the very end.

"I knew Christian's wife, children, and parents were there, so at one point I tried to look for them. It is an inhuman situation for them to go through.

"I have chosen to say to myself that this has had a happy ending. It's not the end yet, but it could have been so much worse."

Hojbjerg was also on the field at the time of the incident and was left shaken by the experience of watching his close friend receive CPR.

"I saw Christian lying there and looking towards the field. His eyes were white and I thought it looked very strange," Hojbjerg said.

"I saw Simon Kjaer rush off, and then you start thinking what it is. I walked slowly across. More and more first aiders came over, and I could see Simon waving his arms.

"I stood for a long time with the coaches and talked, and I could see that there are some arms that move with the first aid. That was creepy."

Barcelona forward Braithwaite added: "We were all about to lose a friend and a team-mate. 

"I do not remember exactly what I said in the prayer. But it has strengthened my faith, that's for sure."

UEFA originally suspended the fixture, but it was agreed the match would resume from where it left off less than two hours later, with Finland winning the Group B match 1-0.

Denmark are back in action on Thursday with another home game against Belgium.

Didier Deschamps has confirmed he held talks with Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud following their recent dispute.

Giroud caused a stir after scoring a double in Les Blues' 3-0 friendly win over Bulgaria last Tuesday when appearing to suggest some irritation at a lack of service.

He did not mention any player by name, but the comments were perceived to be aimed at strike partner Mbappe, who failed to pick out the Chelsea forward on several occasions.

There were only three passes between the pair during their 43 minutes together on the field.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe had the opportunity to respond at a news conference on Sunday and admitted to being "a little affected" by Giroud's remarks.

However, Deschamps has insisted the incident was soon put to bed and France are now fully focused on their Euro 2020 opener against Germany at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.

"I spoke to them, in the same way I have spoken to other players," he told L'Equipe. 

"When I feel I have to do it for certain reasons, I do it. Dialogue is a part of management, but listening is also good. 

"These players at a very high level are easier to manage than those at a lower level. Yes, they have pride, but also ego – though I'm not sure if it's ego.

"They are competitors and a balance has to be found. We need room in the team for everyone."

Asked about the affect the exchange of words has had on the France camp, Deschamps said: "Everyone got back in the saddle on Thursday.

"We are all working in the same direction with the same objective. It is also a question of generations, with different interests. Don't forget we spend 24 hours together.

"On the pitch, they all wear the same jersey and I know they will all make the same effort as the others."

Mbappe was reportedly blocked from speaking at a news conference last week, with Paul Pogba instead put up to speak to the press, but Deschamps denied that was the case.

"To be clear, I was not opposed to that," he said. "Pogba offered to go and I validated. It's a reality, it happens.

"Honestly, internally, I cannot talk about tensions because that is not the case."

Christian Eriksen has thanked those who assisted him after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch against Finland on Saturday and now wants to "understand what happened".

Inter midfielder Eriksen collapsed in the first half of the Euro 2020 match in Copenhagen with no other player around him.

He was given CPR by medics and the fixture was originally suspended, but once Eriksen was confirmed to be "awake" the game resumed just under two hours later, Finland going on to win 1-0.

The Danish Football Union (DBU) provided an update on Sunday, confirming that he had suffered a cardiac arrest but his condition was stable pending further examinations.

Team doctor Morten Boesen detailed how he could initially feel a pulse when he arrived at Eriksen's side, but that "suddenly changed" and meant CPR was necessary.

The medical team and Denmark captain Simon Kjaer were widely praised for their respective roles, with the centre-back quickly placing Eriksen in the recovery position.

And, speaking through his agent to Gazzetta dello Sport, Eriksen relayed a brief message of thanks as he now sets about learning why it happened.

He said: "Thank you, I won't give up. I feel better now, but I want to understand what happened. I want to say thank you all for what you did for me."

Denmark are next due to be in action on Thursday against Belgium.

Could Matthijs de Ligt leave Juventus?

De Ligt joined Juve from Ajax in 2019 but his future has been a topic of discussion.

Barcelona were strongly linked with him before he left the Eredivisie and are reportedly still keen admirers.

 

TOP STORY – DE LIGT A BARCA TARGET

Barcelona are keen on signing Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt, according to Le10 Sport.

LaLiga giants Barca have already brought in Manchester City duo Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia, while they are also said to be interested in Memphis Depay of Lyon and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

But it is claimed they are particularly eager to further bolster their defence in addition to Garcia's arrival, though they could face competition for De Ligt – Manchester United have long been linked with the Netherlands international.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo reports Leicester City are considering a move for Barca outcast Philippe Coutinho. It would be a reunion for Brendan Rodgers and Coutinho after working together at Liverpool.

Atletico Madrid are eyeing Hakan Calhanoglu as an alternative to Udinese star Rodrigo de Paul. LaLiga champions Atletico want De Paul, who has also been linked with JuveInter and Leeds United. Should they miss out on the Argentina international, Calhanoglu is an option – the Milan star's contract expires at the end of June.

United have held further talks with Borussia Dortmund in their pursuit of Jadon Sancho, says Fabrizio Romano. Dortmund reportedly want £81million (€95m), though United are currently unwilling to pay more than £60m (€70m). Liverpool and Chelsea have also been linked previously.

- Romano also reports Gianluigi Donnarumma's contract with Paris Saint-Germain until 2026 has been agreed. The Italy international goalkeeper is set to join PSG on a free transfer following the end of his Milan deal.

- According to Corriere dello Sport, Milan are in talks to sign Real Madrid pair Brahim Diaz and Alvaro Odriozola on loan. The Rossoneri have also been linked with Luka Jovic and are seemingly poised to secure the permanent signing of Fikayo Tomori from Chelsea as well.

Lionel Messi admitted he is concerned about the coronavirus situation as the superstar captain targets a long-awaited title with Argentina at the Copa America.

Messi's Argentina will open their Copa America campaign against rivals Chile in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Monday.

Brazil is hosting the Copa after CONMEBOL controversially removed Argentina and Colombia as co-hosts due to respective political and COVID-19 issues.

Despite being one of the country's worst hit by the coronavirus health crisis, Brazil was awarded hosting duties for this year's showpiece event, which was already pushed back a year because of COVID-19.

Defending champions Brazil won 3-0 on Sunday against a Venezuela side that had reported 12 positive coronavirus tests amongst their ranks earlier in the week.

Speaking on the eve of Argentina's first match, Messi told reporters: "We are concerned about the situation because it is a risk for all of us to catch COVID-19.

"Although we try to take care of ourselves and do everything they tell us is not easy, because then these things happen and we face other national teams where there is a risk of contagion.

"We will try to do our best so that it does not happen to us, but this does not depend only on us and anything can happen."

Despite his remarkable Barcelona success, Messi is yet to win a senior trophy with Argentina following back-to-back runners-up performances at the Copa America 2015 and 2016, having also fallen short in the 2007 final against Brazil.

La Albiceleste and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi also lost in the 2014 World Cup decider – beaten by Germany.

"I always said that I am available to try to be with the national team and give my best," the 33-year-old Messi said.

"My biggest dream is to achieve something with the Argentina, I was close many times and unfortunately it was not given to me, but I will try to keep looking for it until it is given to me.

"If the coach who is there thinks that I can continue contributing to the team, I will always want to be there and fight for that dream. I was lucky to win everything with my club and individually, and it would be very nice to win something with the national team."

Messi was directly involved in 50 goals (38 scored, 12 assisted) in 47 games for Barca in 2020-21. Only three players in Europe's top-five leagues managed more.

He has now recorded 25-plus goals in each his past 12 league seasons, while the veteran scored 11 LaLiga goals direct following a ball carry last season – the most of any player in Europe's top-five leagues.

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