Kieran Tierney's participation at Euro 2024 is officially over after he was forced to leave the Scotland camp due to a hamstring injury he sustained in their draw with Switzerland.

The Arsenal full-back – who spent the 2023-24 season on loan at Real Sociedad – was carried off on a stretcher late on in Wednesday's 1-1 draw in Cologne.

Boss Steve Clarke immediately ruled Tierney out of their third Group A game, against Hungary on Sunday, and he will not be available for future games if they progress to the knockout rounds.

Writing on Instagram, Tierney said: "Heartbroken doesn't cut it. Love this team and these boys. This too shall pass."

Assistant head coach John Carver added on Friday: "He is heading home to be assessed by Arsenal and that's all I can really say at the moment.

"They will give updates as they have it, but he is obviously extremely disappointed. If we do progress and move through the tournament, I am sure he will be back to support us."

Gareth Southgate's game management came under fire once again on Thursday, as England produced another underwhelming display in a 1-1 draw with Denmark.

The Three Lions were second-best for long periods and appeared content to sit back after Harry Kane's 18th-minute opener, with Morten Hjulmand's rasping strike handing Denmark a point – the least they deserved.

Former England defender Jamie Carragher was among those to highlight the lethargic nature of the display, saying more energy was required from the bench.

Posting on X as Southgate made a triple substitution on the 70-minute mark, introducing Eberechi Eze, Jarrod Bowen and Ollie Watkins for Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka and Kane, Carragher wrote: "Pleased Southgate has made changes. By the look of England so far they are going to need real energy from the bench in every game. Disappointed Anthony Gordon wasn't one of those changes."

Southgate's reluctance to use Gordon was a hot topic on social media, with England again looking lopsided in the absence of a natural left winger or left-back.

Just 23.3% of England's attacking touches came on that flank, with 44.6% coming on the right-hand side, where Kyle Walker – not renowned for his attacking qualities – often looking like the Three Lions' best outlet.

One major criticism of Southgate at recent tournaments has been a perceived failure to change games from the bench, but does the data back up that idea?

As far as the Euros are concerned, yes. Southgate has made 33 substitutions in total at the 2020 and 2024 editions, with those players playing a total of 682 minutes.

They have just one goal and one assist between them in that time. Both came at Euro 2020, with Jordan Henderson scoring in a 4-0 quarter-final win over Ukraine and Jack Grealish assisting Kane's header against Germany in the previous round.

In 97 games under Southgate overall, England have scored 19 goals via substitutes, a paltry figure given the Three Lions have netted 207 times during his reign, playing 35 qualification matches against largely inferior opponents.

 

Those goals have come via 13 players, with nobody netting more than two (Tammy Abraham, Danny Welbeck, Marcus Rashford, Mason Mount, Grealish and Kane).

Notably, only two of those 13 players – Kane and Watkins – are in England's squad for this tournament. Rashford (32) and Grealish (21) have 53 substitute appearances between them under Southgate but were the two most high-profile omissions from his party.

Carragher also believes Southgate must recognise "football is about picking the best team, not the best players".

While Foden has appeared frustrated while stationed on the left-hand side, Trent Alexander-Arnold has struggled to aid England's ball progression in an unfamiliar midfield role – only eight of his 40 attempted passes against Denmark were into the final third.

Carragher wrote for The Telegraph: "Unfortunately, two of the best Premier League footballers – Trent Alexander-Arnold and Phil Foden – will have to be sacrificed now.  Introducing Alexander-Arnold into midfield in a major tournament was always a risk. 

 

"It is a more physically demanding position than full-back, and, on the evidence so far, Alexander-Arnold has more time and space to utilise his passing range when he is in the hybrid role.

"Nobody loves watching Foden more than me. But for England to come up with a system that works and complements everyone, he cannot operate in the starting XI with Jude Bellingham and Kane if they are all trying to occupy the same space and positions."

Foden did not have a single touch in the attacking third within the width of the six-yard box against Denmark, and when it came to making changes, Southgate preferred to stick with a below-par Bellingham rather than shift the Manchester City star infield.

Southgate's substitutions will be key if England are to grow into this tournament, and the data suggests he has improvements to make in that area.

Ukraine defeated Slovakia 2-1 thanks to Roman Yaremchuk's excellent finish to throw Euro 2024 Group E wide open.

Having been beaten 3-0 by Romania in their opening match, Ukraine looked on course for another loss when Ivan Schranz - Slovakia's matchwinner against Belgium - opened the scoring in Dusseldorf.

Yet a much-improved second-half display saw Serhii Rebrov's team turn the match on its head, with substitute Yaremchuk capping a fine comeback.

Mykola Shaparenko drilled in from Oleksandr Zinchenko's centre in the 54th minute to restore parity, and subsequently turned provider for Yaremchuk's winner 10 minutes from time.

The striker brilliantly took down Shaparenko's searching pass over the top, taking it under his spell before slotting under Martin Dubravka, who should have done better.

Ukraine are now level with Slovakia and Romania on three points, meaning Group E favourites Belgium are, as it stands, bottom of the pool. They play Romania on Saturday.

Data Debrief: The kids are alright

With an average age of 25 years and 259 days, Ukraine's starting XI was the youngest named by a side at Euro 2024 so far – and the first, in fact, with an average age below 26 years.

Yaremchuk, meanwhile, became just the second Ukrainian substitute to score at a major tournament, alongside Artem Dovbyk vs Sweden at Euro 2020. That was also his third goal at a major tournament, with only Andriy Shevchenko netting more for Ukraine (four).

Tai Baribo did not feel he could fully enjoy scoring his first league goals for the Philadelphia Union, as he set his sights on helping the team turn around their form.

The Union slipped to a second straight defeat in MLS as they went down 4-3 to FC Cincinnati in midweek, despite Baribo's double.

Indeed, Philadelphia have now gone without a win in their last five MLS games.

That run has seen the Union drop to 10th in the Eastern Conference, five places behind Charlotte FC, their opponents this weekend.

"I mean, it's hard to enjoy," Baribo said after the defeat to Cincinnati.

"Of course, I'm happy because I scored, but we lost again. The team is the most important thing, and if we lose I can't be happy.

"Thank you to the coach for giving me this opportunity and I'm happy that I took it. I felt good in the game, but in the end, we lost, so it doesn't matter."

Union coach Jum Curtin was full of praise for Baribo's display.

Curtin said: "He's worked hard to get this start, and now, he’s certainly left a really good impression with the coaches, put in a great shift, and will certainly get more playing time.

"Tai worked hard in training and we rewarded him. He stepped on the field and gave us everything and did a really good job for us.

"He earned the start and like a good professional, he took advantage of his opportunity. So, I’m happy for Tai. It was something to build on, but I know he would trade the two goals for some points as well. He did a good job finishing his plays off in the box like a good striker and hopefully there's more of that in the future."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Philadelphia Union - Kai Wagner

Wagner assisted two of the Union’s three goals on Wednesday against Cincinnati, his seventh career MLS match with multiple assists, more than any other defender since he joined the league in 2019.

Charlotte FC - Kerwin Vargas

Vargas scored Charlotte's opener in their 2-2 draw with Orlando City last time out, taking his tally to the season to four goals in MLS. He is their leading scorer.

MATCH PREDICTION: PHILADELPHIA UNION WIN

Charlotte earned a draw against Orlando on Wednesday despite Scott Arfield receiving a red card in the 38th minute. The 52 minutes playing a man down were the longest by a team that avoided defeat in an MLS match in over two years, since the Houston Dynamo against Nashville SC in May 2022 (55 minutes).

Dean Smith's team have lost only one of its last nine matches (W5 D3) dating back to the beginning of May, one of six teams with fewer than two defeats in that time (Real Salt Lake, FC Cincinnati, Inter Miami, LA Galaxy, Los Angeles FC).

Philadelphia have won only one of its last 12 matches (D5 L6) including losing the last two in a row. The Union have not lost three straight regular-season matches within a single season since May 2017.

However, they are backed to win this one by Opta's model.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Philadelphia Union - 50.7%

Charlotte - 24.3%

Draw - 25%

Reggae Girlz head coach Hubert Busby Jr has expressed strong confidence that forward Jodi Brown will develop into a world-class player following her recent signing with Portugal's SL Benfica. Brown, 22, announced her three-year deal with the prestigious club on Instagram on Thursday, marking a significant milestone in her budding soccer career.

Busby, reflecting on Brown's transition from collegiate to professional soccer, stated, "Obviously she's come from a good program, but it's a lot different when you're a pro every day and you're responsible and you're in a different environment with other pros. It's going to be a little bit of a reset for her as well, similar to when she kind of started college, where she's going to come in as a rookie and she'll have to deal with those expectations coming in as a talented freshman into Florida State."

However, Busby remains confident in Brown's potential. "But she's a quality player and more importantly, a quality human being," he said. "So I've no doubt she'll, you know, she'll be in that there'll be an adjustment period, but I have no doubt she'll go on to be a great pro."

 Brown's journey to this point is a testament to her dedication and talent. She recently graduated from Florida State University (FSU) with a Bachelor's degree in Humanities. During her time at FSU, she was instrumental in the team's success, helping them secure NCAA Division 1 Women's Soccer titles in 2021 and 2023. Additionally, Brown's contributions were pivotal in FSU's consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference titles from 2020 to 2023.

 Internationally, Brown has been a key player for Jamaica's national team since 2018. Her participation in two FIFA Women's World Cups has highlighted her skill and tenacity on the global stage. In 2023, she was part of the historic Jamaican squad that advanced to the round of 16, an unprecedented achievement for the Reggae Girlz. Brown's efforts in the group stage were particularly noteworthy as she helped secure 0-0 draws against powerhouse teams France and Brazil and contributed to Jamaica's first-ever World Cup victory with a 1-0 win over Panama.

In her Instagram announcement, Brown shared her excitement and gratitude, stating, "I am proud and honored to sign my first professional contract for such a big institution as Benfica. I’d like to thank my family, MVA, FSU, Hue Menzies, and everyone who helped me get to this point. Becoming a professional player has been my dream since I started playing soccer as a kid in Jamaica, and I can’t wait to win many titles with this club ❤️"

 

Lionel Messi continues to amaze Canada head coach Jesse Marsch after inspiring Argentina to victory in the opening game of the Copa America.

World champions Argentina triumphed 2-0 over Canada in Atlanta, making an impressive start to their title defence in the tournament.

Messi had a hand in both goals as Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez struck in the second half on Thursday.

The Martinez goal saw Messi rack up his 17th Copa America assist. Since 2011, he has registered over three times as many goals created as any other player in the competition, with Angel Di Maria and Alexis Sanchez ranking second on five each.

Messi turns 37 on Monday, and has a stunning 20-year professional career under his belt, but that does not mean he does not continue to stun and surprise his opponents, including Marsch.

Marsch felt his team did what they could to remain compact, but Messi, who created a game-leading five chances, proved the difference on his record-breaking 35th Copa appearance.

 

The Canada boss explained the task of having to face Messi was amazing and awful in equal measure, with the forward having a massive impact even though the coach felt his gameplan to try and limit the Argentina star had been implemented reasonably well.

"Yeah, with Messi we talked a lot about our compactness and then identifying the spaces that he likes to show up in," Marsch said after the game.

"We talked about not diving in because it's hard to win tackles from him.

"What happens is if you eliminate yourself or if you start diving in for tackles, he's really good slipping and moving and getting back again and making little final plays.

"This is what I say about Messi: I have coached against him several times and I feel like we have had a good match plan and we have executed a lot of good things.

"But he is so good, he is that good that he still makes plays. The two balls he makes on the two goals I think are world class. 

"Amazing, it's awful. It's amazing."

Inter Miami star Messi had a game-leading six shots, getting three of them on target, and also led the match for touches in the opponent's box (nine) in an all-action display.

Despite the challenge of facing Messi, Canada captain Alphonso Davies felt his side should have done more to follow up on a battling first-half performance that meant the game goalless at half-time.

"We have to change our attitude towards the game," Davies said to TSN.

"The first half we played well, but in the second half we let every long ball bounce. 

"It was a disappointing result, we need to look at everything we did wrong in the game and fix it as soon as possible."

Argentina return to action against Chile on Tuesday, which is also when Canada will hope to pick up their first points of the campaign against Peru.

Argentina picked up where they left off in the Copa America, with the holders kick-starting their title defence with a strong 2-0 victory over Canada.

The world champions are expected to progress with ease from Group A, and they made an ideal start in Atlanta on Thursday.

Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez got the goals, but it was of course Lionel Messi who was the main focus.

Messi became the record appearance maker in the 108-year history of the Copa America, overtaking Chile great Sergio Livingstone by featuring in his 35th match at the tournament.

The 36-year-old's superb tournament record stands at 22 wins, 10 draws and three losses. And he has one Copa title – a total he hopes will increase with another trophy on July 14.

And while he could not get on the scoresheet, Messi, despite playing on a choppy pitch that has drawn the ire of Argentina, was as influential as ever for La Albiceleste.

He will probably lament some unusually profligate finishing - at least by his high standards - as the reason why he didn't mark his record-setting appearance with a 14th Copa America goal (he is, as it stands, four off the all-time leading goalscorers in the competition, Norberto Mendez and Zizinho).

Messi had a game-leading six shots, getting three of them on target, with those attempts accumulating an expected goals (xG) value of 0.79 - a total bettered by only his team-mate Martinez (0.8).

The Inter Miami star led the match for touches in the opponent's box (nine), and big chances (two) in an all-action display.

 

Canada's goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau, who like Messi plays in MLS, was also on form, making six saves.

But what Messi lacked in his finishing, he made up for in creativity.

His total of five chances created led the match, and was at least two clear of any other player on the pitch. He was nine ahead of next-best Rodrigo de Paul for passes in the final third, with 27, and attempted six dribbles, albeit only completing one of them.

It was Messi's pass that released Alexis Mac Allister, who was then wiped out by Crepeau only for Alvarez to tuck home Argentina's 49th-minute opener.

And it was Messi who put through substitute Martinez to round off the victory late on.

That was Messi's 17th assist at the Copa America, with his first assist in the competition coming in 2011.

Since then, he has registered over three times as many assists as any other player in the competition, with Angel Di Maria and Alexis Sanchez ranking second on five each.

It also saw Messi reach 50 direct goal involvements in official competitions for club and country on U.S. soil (30 goals + 20 assists).

His figure of seven line-breaking passes, meanwhile, was more than double that of any other player in Thursday's match.

Argentina can reasonably reflect that they should have scored more, an ominous sign for their upcoming opponents. They had nine big scoring chances (according to Opta's definition) against Canada, the most for La Albiceleste in a single game since 2013, and accumulated 2.98 xG. 

Messi was at the heart of it all, but it was not a case of him having to do it all on his own.

De Paul was impressive in midfield, while in Alvarez and Martinez, Messi has an excellent supporting cast for this year's competition.

At 24 years and 142 days, Alvarez is the youngest player to score in both the World Cup and the Copa America since Jose Maria Gimenez did so for Uruguay in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Martinez, meanwhile, has scored in four of the last five matches he has played in the Copa America, striking in this match against Canada to follow up goals against Bolivia, Ecuador, and Colombia in 2021. The only exception in that run was the final in 2021 against Brazil.

The Inter striker might have to settle for a back-up role at this tournament, but it's now three goals in his last two matches for his country, and he could be a contender for the Golden Boot.

Argentina should be confident of a deep run. They should really go all the way.

They are the best team in the world, after all, and Lionel Scaloni has, by some distance, the best squad in the competition at his disposal, what with Brazil missing stalwarts Casemiro, Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison, as well as their talisman Neymar, even if Vinicius Junior is an excellent alternative.

That being said, this is the first time under their coach that Argentina have won their opening match of a major tournament, having slipped to a 2-0 defeat to Colombia in the 2019 Copa America, drawing 1-1 with Chile in the same competition two years later, and then losing 2-1 to Saudi Arabia at the 2022 World Cup.

This time, they have got off on the right foot. Upcoming matches against Chile and Peru should not prove tough hurdles to navigate, especially not with Messi already clicking through the gears.

Lionel Scaloni and Emiliano Martinez criticised the state of the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium after Argentina's 2-0 Copa America win over Canada.

Goals from Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez got the job done for the reigning continental and world champions in Atlanta on Thursday, in the tournament's opener.

However, the state of the playing surface was a big issue, with the turf notably chopping up.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is used for both NFL games - it is the home of the Atlanta Falcons - and MLS, with Atlanta United playing their home matches there, but Scaloni was deeply unhappy with the preparation of the pitch, with an artificial surface having been replaced by grass on the eve of the Copa America.

"The start looked like the match with Saudi Arabia [at the 2022 World Cup], with the difference that we played on a more decent pitch that time," Scaloni told reporters.

"With all due respect, thank goodness we won. Otherwise, it would have been a cheap excuse.

"We have known for seven months that we are going to play here and they changed the turf two days ago.

"It is not good for the show. It is not an excuse, the stadium is beautiful and with synthetic turf it must be spectacular, but with today's turf it is not suitable for this kind of players."

Scaloni's sentiment was echoed by goalkeeper Martinez, who told TyC Sports: "Coming here against a strong Canada, with good forwards and on a field that is a disaster made it a little difficult for us.

"We have to improve in that aspect. Otherwise, the Copa America will always be at a lower level than the European Championship."

 

Argentina captain and talisman Lionel Messi became the record appearance maker in Copa America history, overtaking Sergio Livingstone by playing in his 35th game at the tournament.

While he could not mark the milestone appearance with a goal, Messi did tee up Martinez's effort late on, with that assist his 17th in the Copa America.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game. We knew that Canada was going to be a hard team to go against," Messi told FOX.

"They were physical, very physical. In the first half, there was little space. It was intense, physically intense and strong and then in the second half we were able to progress and get better."

Copa America holders Argentina made a winning start at the 2024 tournament as Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez scored in a 2-0 win over Canada.

The 2022 World Cup winners did not have things all their own way against Jesse Marsch's competition debutants, who missed a couple of glaring chances through Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David.

But on the day he became the Copa's outright leading appearance-maker, Lionel Messi was the catalyst for both goals, splitting the Canada defence in the build-up to Alvarez's opener then assisting Martinez's late clincher.

The Inter Miami star missed two great chances to get on the scoresheet himself, but it was of no consequence as Lionel Scaloni's men started with three points.

They take on Chile, who beat them in the 2015 and 2016 finals, in their second match on Tuesday, while Canada will look to bounce back versus Peru.

Canada refused to sit in and their approach left them open at the back early on. Leandro Paredes curled a 25-yard effort narrowly over the top, then Alvarez saw his shot smothered by Maxime Crepeau after a lightning break took him clean through on goal.

Despite Argentina dominating possession, Canada should have gone ahead on the stroke of half-time, Emiliano Martinez making a reflex save to deny Stephen Eustaquio before Davies miscued on the follow-up. 

They were made to regret that miss four minutes into the second half. Messi's pinpoint throughball found Alexis Mac Allister, and though the midfielder was wiped out by Crepeau, Alvarez was on hand to convert into an empty net.

Messi should have made it 2-0 after 65 minutes, but he saw an angled drive parried by Crepeau before Derek Cornelius made a fine block to deny him on the rebound. 

Canada continued to offer a threat at the other end, though, with David heading over after being found totally unmarked by Jacob Shaffelburg's cross.

Messi missed another chance when his dinked attempt rolled agonisingly wide, but he did manage an assist as Argentina made the result safe two minutes from time.

His delicate pass sent Martinez clear, and the substitute slotted a composed finish between the legs of Crepeau.

Assist for Messi on landmark appearance

Messi made a piece of Copa America history on Thursday, his 35th appearance in CONMEBOL's flagship tournament pulling him clear of Chile great Sergio Livingstone for the most games played at the competition outright.

The eight-time Ballon d'Or winner failed to mark the occasion with a goal, misfiring from a game-high six shots worth 0.69 expected goals (xG).

However, he did cap his outing with an assist for Martinez's late second, taking him to 30 goal involvements at the tournament overall (13 goals, 17 assists).

Messi still has plenty of gears to go through, and that should strike fear into Argentina's upcoming opponents. 

Encouragement for Canada, but no points

Canada became the 20th different nation to participate in the Copa America, and the eighth different CONCACAF team after Costa Rica, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama and the United States.

As was the case at the 2022 World Cup, they played some high-octane football but were not rewarded with a positive result.

At half-time, Marsch's team had matched Argentina's tally of seven shots, the most any team have attempted in a first half against the Albiceleste since Uruguay managed eight in November 2021. Their 0.73 xG, meanwhile, topped the world champions' 0.56 at that stage. 

Alvarez's opener came as a dagger blow and they were unable to sustain their high-intensity approach for the full 90 minutes, but there were positives to take.

Ahead of Thursday's opener, the Opta supercomputer gave Canada just a 27 per cent chance of escaping Group A. While the result will have done nothing to boost those hopes, their display should offer encouragement ahead of meetings with Peru and Chile.

Pat Noonan insists FC Cincinnati must improve defensively ahead of welcoming the New England Revolution to the TQL Stadium on Sunday. 

Cincinnati edged a seven-goal thriller in their latest MLS fixture against the Philadelphia Union, with Luciano Acosta scoring in the 10th minute of injury time to secure a 4-3 win. 

Noonan's side have now won nine of their last 10 league games and sit second in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Inter Miami. 

But there were some concerns at the back, with Cincinnati having now conceded eight goals in their last four games, something Noonan is keen on addressing. 

“Certainly, how we have gotten results has shifted to scoring goals and struggling defensively from an early stretch when defensively we were much stronger and didn’t need four goals to win a game,” Noonan said.

“We gave another set-piece goal which has been a little bit of a theme. Against Philadelphia, it was defending crosses.

“We will continue to look at the best combination of guys to help us from the frontline to the backline to be better defensively because I think right now, with how we are creating chances, that hasn’t been a concern. But we need to get better defensively.”

Meanwhile, New England continued their impressive recent form with a 3-2 win over Vancouver Whitecaps last Sunday and have now won three in a row. 

The Revolution have closed the gap at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and are now two points behind Orlando City and the Chicago Fire. 

Head coach Caleb Porter was pleased with his side's reaction to conceding late in their latest fixture and believes the mentality within his squad has significantly shifted. 

“We have still got to score more though,” Porter said. “But I loved that we scored three goals and I loved that we responded after conceding to take the game to 1-1.

“That shows mentality is changing. I also loved that the guys were a little ticked off at the end of the game. We have won three in a row, and they were kind of mad that they didn’t score more and they conceded.

“That’s a great mentality to have. We’re not relieved to win; we’re expecting to win now. If we play like we did against Vancouver, we can beat anybody in this league.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta

The Argentine took his assist tally to 13 in MLS this season during Cincinnati's win over Philadelphia, more than any other player in the division this season. 

Acosta has now assisted 92 goals since arriving at Cincinnati in 2021, moving up to ninth in the all-time assist charts in MLS. 

New England – Giacomo Vrioni

The Albanian scored his second goal in three games during New England's victory over Vancouver, taking his tally to 16 for the club since arriving in 2022.

Of his 10 goals scored in the MLS, Vrioni has scored against just seven sides, with Cincinnati being one of those. 

MATCH PREDICTION: CINCINNATI WIN

The Revs should enter this game in high spirits, having won three straight matches after only collecting seven points from their first 13 games in MLS this year. 

Their last four-game winning streak came in August 2021, and the fourth win in that run came against Cincinnati.

A repeat is not expected here, though, with Cincinnati winning nine of their last 10 matches (one defeat). No team in the post-shootout era has ever won 10 games in a span of 11 regular-season outings before. 

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Cincinnati – 64.6%

Draw – 18.9%

New England – 16.4%

Portland Timbers head coach Phil Neville has urged his players to raise their performance levels against the Vancouver Whitecaps in MLS on Saturday.

Portland are currently on a five-match unbeaten streak in the competition and made a winning return from their mid-season break by beating the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 on Wednesday.

They sit seventh in a tightly contested Western Conference, and Neville admits they need to improve if they want to keep their current form going.

"Even though we got the win against San Jose, the performance was nowhere near good enough," Neville said. "We had 10 days off, and I hope that kind of performance is out of the way.

"Saturday's a big game against Vancouver, and we can't play to that level. We have to keep raising the level. We need to keep pushing and stay in the pack by winning games.

"We're developing a mentality of not accepting defeat, making people accountable for what they're doing, and guys are stepping up."

Meanwhile, Vancouver sit one place and one point above Portland but suffered a disappointing 3-2 defeat to the New England Revolution last weekend.

Having won back-to-back games by 2-1 scorelines before that loss, head coach Vanni Sartini is hopeful his side can make some big improvements ahead of this week's Cascadia derby.

"The challenge is to play better than we did in the last game," he said. "Offensively, we will need to do a lot of things that we normally do well, creating chances and getting men in the box.

"I didn't like the performance of last week, so this week we're focusing on the things that we can do better."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Portland Timbers – Jonathan Rodriguez

While Evanilson is a constant threat for Portland (and their joint-top scorer of the season with eight goals), Rodriguez is close to equalling his tally.

He scored the winner against San Jose on Wednesday, netting his seventh goal of the campaign.

Vancouver Whitecaps – Ryan Gauld

Gauld was a bright spark for Vancouver in their disappointing defeat to New England last weekend, scoring both goals.

He was clinical; despite amassing an xG of just 0.09, he had the joint-most shots (three), scoring with both of his attempts on target and also creating three chances.

MATCH PREDICTION: PORTLAND TIMBERS WIN

The Whitecaps are unbeaten in their last five Cascadia rivalry matches against Portland and the Seattle Sounders (three wins, two draws), their longest such run since a seven-match streak between 2013 and 2014.

They have also won their last two games against the Timbers, recording 3-2 victories both home and away in August 2023 and March 2024.

However, Portland are in great shape, going unbeaten through their last five matches (three wins, two draws), and netting multiple goals in 13 different MLS games this year. Only Inter Miami, with 14, have recorded more such matches.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Portland Timbers – 43.6%

Draw – 23.8%

Vancouver Whitecaps – 29.6%

Petar Musa scored a hat-trick in FC Dallas’ thrilling win over Minnesota United in midweek, and he is thrilled with the attacking set-up under interim coach Peter Luccin.

Dallas beat Minnesota 5-3 at home on Wednesday, making it three games unbeaten.

The club dismissed Nico Estevez on June 9, and Musa suggested Luccin has let the team off the leash from an attacking standpoint.

“I think we play more vertically towards the goal,” said Musa.

“We are more offensive now, we have a lot of players who run behind and we started playing more attacking football.

"We scored five goals at home so you can see from the build-up that we play attacking soccer. I am very happy about the new style we are implementing.”

Luccin added: “I’m thankful and grateful for the effort from the players. It’s very important for me that the effort has been fantastic. I’m very pleased with some of the sequences that we had, playing good football and very vertical.

“Overall, the goals that we conceded, sometimes we need to be a little bit smarter. All the players have been fantastic. Five goals at home, I think the fans were very happy.

“I’m sure they would’ve liked fewer goals conceded but it’s part of the game. We are making progress. It’ll be step-by-step but you can see the attitude from the players is excellent. They want to play, they understand. Now we need to adjust to find that balance. I really think we deserved to win.”

Next up for Dallas is a trip to the northwest, to face the Seattle Sounders.

Dallas are one place and two points below Seattle in the Western Conference.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Seattle Sounders – Jackson Ragen

Ragen scored his first MLS goal in Seattle's 2-2 draw with the Houston Dynamo last time out. He is the seventh different player from the United States to score for the Sounders in MLS play this season, equalling their number from all of last season.

FC Dallas – Petar Musa

Musa’s hat-trick took him onto eight MLS goals for the season, four more than any other team-mate.

He is the sixth Dallas player with a hat trick for the team since the beginning of 2017, tying them with D.C. United for most such players with a hat-trick in that time.

MATCH PREDICTION: SEATTLE WIN

The Sounders are unbeaten in 20 straight home matches across all competitions against Dallas (16 wins, four draws), in a run dating back to August 2011.

They could equal the longest ever unbeaten home run by one MLS team against another here (21, achieved twice).

With Dallas winless in 11 MLS road games dating back to last October (three draws, eight defeats), we expect the Sounders to claim a slice of history.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Seattle Sounders – 47.5%

FC Dallas – 26.4%

Draw – 26.2%

Thursday's action at Euro 2024 brought our first group winners in Spain, and plenty of frustration for England.

Before La Roja clinched top spot in Group B by overcoming Italy, the Three Lions were pegged back in a 1-1 draw with Denmark, who were arguably unfortunate not to win the game. 

Despite an underwhelming performance, Gareth Southgate's team remain in control of Group C with four points, after Slovenia and Serbia drew 1-1 earlier in the day.

Here, we round up the standout stats from Thursday's action.

Slovenia 1-1 Serbia: Jovic rescues last-gasp draw

The early kick-off delivered yet another late twist as Slovenia were denied a landmark victory at the European Championships with the last kick of the game in Munich. 

Having seen efforts by Aleksandar Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic repelled by the imperious figure of Jan Oblak, Serbia found themselves behind as Zan Karnicnik's goal put Slovenia on the cusp of their first-ever win at the Euros. 

However, Luka Jovic had other ideas. The Milan striker rose the highest from another Serbia corner, heading the ball beyond Oblak to score the latest result-altering goal in a Euros match of all-time (excluding extra time), with his equaliser timed at exactly 95 minutes. 

The result keeps both side's chances of making the last 16 of the competition alive, but for Slovenia, it could have been a memorable day in Munich. 

Matjaz Kek's side remain winless at the Euros from their five matches (four draws, one loss). Karnicnik's opener was just the second time they had gone ahead in a game at the competition; the last time they did so was during a 3-3 draw with Yugoslavia at Euro 2000. 

But for all of Serbia's attacking intent, their lack of clinical edge in the final third proved costly despite their late goal. Just four of their 15 shots were on target, with talisman Mitrovic having an afternoon to forget. 

With his six shots in the match, Mitrovic had the most of any player in a single game at Euro 2024.

With the Al-Hilal striker having failed to find the back of the net, it means the last four players to have more than six shots at a European Championships have not scored - the other three coming at Euro 2020. 

Denmark 1-1 England: Scrutiny piles on Southgate

While the other game in Group C finished with the same scoreline, the encounter will not be remembered in a hurry, in particular for England fans. 

Harry Kane opened the scoring in Frankfurt. His opener was his fifth goal at the Euros, becoming the first England player and eighth player overall to score five or more goals at both the men's World Cup and European Championships.

He also became the third man to score at four different major international tournaments for England, along with Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney.

But Morten Hjulmand equalised with what was his first goal for Denmark in all competitions (in his ninth appearance). It was also Denmark's ninth goal from outside the box at the European Championship, with only three teams netting more on record (since 1980 – Germany 15, Netherlands 12, France 11).

 

Denmark's leveller was the eighth goal England have conceded from outside the box at the Euros. No side has conceded more on record in the history of the competition (since 1980, Portugal are level with the Three Lions).

There have been 13 goals scored from outside the box at Euro 2024, already more than there were in the entire group stages of Euro 2020 (12).

England have now won just two of their last eight competitive meetings with Denmark (four draws, two losses), having won each of their first four such games against them.

Spain 1-0 Italy: Pedri matches Ronaldo feat, unwanted history for Cristante

In the final game of the day, Spain produced another dominant performance to clinch top spot in Group B with a 1-0 win over defending champions Italy.

Riccardo Calafiori's second-half own goal made the difference, the defender becoming the first Azzurri player to ever put through his own net in a European Championship match.

He is also just the second Italian to score an own goal at a major tournament (World Cup/Euros) overall, after Cristian Zaccardo versus the United States at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, which Italy won on German soil.

If they are to lift more silverware in Berlin next month, they will need a dramatic improvement, having attempted just four shots in a tame performance on Thursday – their fewest on record (since 1980) in any match at the Euros.

Spain, on the other hand, look like genuine contenders after following up their 3-0 thrashing of Croatia with another deserved victory. They have won their first two games of a European Championship tournament to nil for just the second time, previously doing so in 2016 (1-0 versus Czechia, 3-0 against Turkiye).

Fabian Ruiz produced an energetic performance in the heart of La Roja's midfield, winning possession in the final third on six occasions, the most by any player in a Euros match since David Silva in a 2008 quarter-final between Spain and Italy (also six).

Team-mate Pedri, meanwhile, kept things ticking over on his 12th major tournament appearance for Spain (World Cup/Euros). 

That is the joint-most by any European player while aged 21 or younger, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, who played 12 times for Portugal at Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup.

There was a piece of unwanted history for an Italy midfielder, though, as Bryan Cristante received a yellow card just 20 seconds after coming off the bench at the start of the second half, the quickest booking for a substitute on record at the Euros (since 1980).

The second matches in each of Group B and Group C have now been completed at Euro 2024.

Spain beat Italy 1-0 in the late match on Thursday, ensuring their progression into the last 16 as Group B victors.

Both Group C matches were drawn, with Serbia scoring late on against Slovenia, while England were held 1-1 by Denmark, with Gareth Southgate's team coming in for some criticism.

Meanwhile, Kylian Mbappe has a new look.

Here, we wrap up the best social posts from Euro 2024.

Critical Carra questions Southgate

Southgate is facing plenty of scrutiny after two underwhelming England performances, even if the Three Lions are topping Group C.

Jamie Carragher was among the pundits to question England's manager, as the former Liverpool defender posted on X: "Pleased Southgate has made changes, as by the look of England so far they are going to need real energy from the bench in every game. Disappointed Anthony Gordon wasn't one of those changes."

Carragher subsequently posted that, while Euro 2024 has been a thrilling tournament so far, two of the poorer matches involved England. It's hard to argue with him, too.

The Serbian shuffle

Serbia kept their hopes alive by snatching a point late on against Slovenia.

And beforehand, their fans were enjoying the atmosphere - and a little dance - in Munich.

Kane catching up

England's performance left a lot to be desired in their 1-1 draw with Denmark, though Harry Kane did get on the scoresheet.

He has now scored five Euros goals, behind only Alan Shearer (seven) and Wayne Rooney (six) for the Three Lions.

"We know we can be better"

Kane held his hands up after full-time, acknowledging in an Instagram post that England's players know they can improve.

But the captain was quick to point out their result against Denmark, adding it was "a tough point earned against a good side."

He concluded: "Let’s keep improving from here!"

When sports collide

Denmark have plenty of support in Germany, given the Scandinavian nation shares a border with the host country of Euro 2024.

And one of those in the crowd cheering on Kasper Hjulmand's team in Frankfurt against England was former world number one tennis star, Caroline Wozniacki.

Plenty of passion, but no points

Luciano Spalletti and Gianluigi Buffon belted out the Italian national anthem ahead of the Azzurri's clash with Spain.

Unfortunately for them, their passion did not equate to a positive result. 

Hats off

There's always plenty of fancy dress at major tournaments.

And a Spanish fan and a Italian fan took their hardware to a different level ahead of Thursday's contest in Gelsenkirchen...

Masked Mbappe

It looks as though Mbappe will indeed be fit to feature for France against the Netherlands on Friday, despite breaking his nose against Austria.

Didier Deschamps confirmed that, if the superstar forward does play, it will be with a mask, and Mbappe gave us a sneak peak of what that will look like when he stepped out to train in Leipzig.

It looks to be a personalised mask in the colours of the French flag.

Spain clinched top spot in Group B at Euro 2024 with Riccardo Calafiori's own goal handing them a thoroughly deserved 1-0 win over defending champions Italy.

Four days on from their statement 3-0 victory over Croatia, Luis de la Fuente's team produced another dominant display and should have won by a far greater margin in Gelsenkirchen.

Some excellent goalkeeping from Gianluigi Donnarumma and wasteful finishing from Pedri kept Italy level until early in the second half, when Calafiori put through his own net.

Luciano Spalletti's side hardly laid a glove on their opponents after that, and they now need to avoid defeat against Croatia on Monday to be certain of their place in the last 16.

Spain, meanwhile, have the luxury of being able to rotate against Albania on matchday three, ahead of facing a third-place finisher in the last 16.

Nico Williams teed up Pedri for an early shot that was brilliantly saved by Donnarumma before somehow heading wide when picked out unmarked by Alvaro Morata.

La Roja kept the pressure on, but they found Donnarumma in inspired form. 

The goalkeeper stood firm to keep out Morata's near-post strike before getting a fingertip to Fabian Ruiz's rasping drive to turn it over the crossbar. 

Seven minutes into the second half, Spain created their best chance yet as Marc Cucurella got forward on the underlap to square for Pedri, who failed to sort his feet out and side-footed wide from eight yards out. 

They finally made the breakthrough three minutes later, but it came via an Azzurri player as Donnarumma tipped Morata's header against the unfortunate Calafiori.

Lamine Yamal went close with a curling effort from outside the area, then Williams almost scored one of the goals of the tournament, a mazy run down the left ending with a thunderous strike that left the crossbar shaking.

Spain held Italy at arm's length in the closing stages and should have added a second goal in stoppage time, only for Donnarumma to deny Ayoze Perez with a fine one-on-one save. 

Azzurri fall well short

Many expected to see Italy go toe-to-toe with Spain in a battle of two high-pressing, possession-focused sides. Instead, La Roja made it one of the most one-sided games of the tournament to date.

Italy's first shot of any kind came via Federico Chiesa in first-half stoppage time, with their only attempt on target arriving when Bryan Cristante headed straight at Unai Simon four minutes from full-time.

Overall, they attempted just four shots worth 0.22 expected goals (xG), with Spain registering 1.9 xG from 20 attempts.

Italy's woes were compounded when Calafiori put through his own net, becoming the first Italian to score an own goal at the Euros and just the second to do so at a major tournament, after Cristian Zaccardo against the United States in the 2006 World Cup.

The Azzurri, of course, won that tournament on German soil 18 years ago, but they looked a long way off Spain, who have now benefitted from four own goals from opposition players at the Euros, the joint most in the competition's history, alongside France. 

Williams the catalyst for Spain

It was Yamal who took the headlines for Spain in their win over Croatia, the 16-year-old becoming the youngest player to feature in a Euros match and marking the occasion with an assist.

On Wednesday, it was his opposite winger Williams who did the damage. 

When the in-demand 21-year-old was substituted in the 78th minute, he led all players on the pitch for chances created (four), dribbles attempted (11) and completed (four, alongside Yamal) and touches in the opposition area (eight).

Williams was also heavily involved in the build-up to the goal and was desperately unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself when he rattled the woodwork.

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