netherlands-3-2-ukraine:-denzel-dumfries-heads-winner-to-settle-thriller

Netherlands 3-2 Ukraine: Denzel Dumfries heads winner to settle thriller

Dates: 11 June-11 July. Venues: Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome, Seville, St Petersburg. Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC Radio, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for more details

Denzel Dumfries headed a dramatic late winner to earn the Netherlands victory after Ukraine had come back from 2-0 down in a Group C thriller in Amsterdam.

Oranje boss Frank de Boer is hoping to use Euro 2020 to prove to fans he is the right man to lead the team into a successful new era after an unconvincing start in the role.

It looked like going to plan for De Boer when Georginio Wijnaldum, who scored eight times in qualifying, pounced from inside the box before Wout Weghorst’s instinctive finish doubled the lead.

But Ukraine pulled one back through Andriy Yarmolenko’s outstanding 25-yard dipping finish and, four minutes later, Roman Yaremchuk headed the equaliser to silence the Dutch fans.

However, Dumfries’ excellent 85th minute header, after substitute Nathan Ake’s cross, earned the Netherlands victory on their return to the major tournament stage after a seven-year absence.

Fans displayed a flag urging Denmark's Christian Eriksen, who started his professional career at Ajax, to stay strong after he collapsed the previous day
Dutch fans held up a banner urging former Ajax player Christian Eriksen to stay strong after he collapsed playing for Denmark on Saturday

Will the Oranje be Euro 2020’s great entertainers?

De Boer headed into Euro 2020 on the back of 11 games in charge that have seen five wins, four draws and losses to Mexico and Turkey. Not all fans are convinced he is the right man for the role.

Yet his team of youth and experience showed grit and determination to edge the highest scoring game of the tournament so far – much to the delight of most of the 16,000 fans inside the ground.

While 19-year-old defender Jurrien Timber made just his third appearance for his country, Maarten Stekelenburg started in goal at the age of 38.

It was Stekelenburg’s opposite number, Georgi Bushchan, who looked like frustrating the hosts as he made excellent saves to keep out Memphis Depay and Wijnaldum before the latter opened the scoring, the first of five goals in 33 minutes.

Yarmolenko’s long-range finish to begin Ukraine’s comeback was the pick of the bunch but it was Dumfries’ header that lifted the roof as the Netherlands got their campaign off to a winning start.

What’s next?

Both teams are back in action on Thursday. While Ukraine take on North Macedonia in Bucharest at 14:00 BST, the Netherlands entertain Austria in Amsterdam at 20:00.

Player of the match

YarmolenkoAndriy Yarmolenko

with an average of 8.13

Netherlands

  1. Squad number8Player nameWijnaldum

  2. Squad number22Player nameDumfries

  3. Squad number21Player namede Jong

  4. Squad number19Player nameWeghorst

  5. Squad number10Player nameDepay

  6. Squad number6Player namede Vrij

  7. Squad number4Player nameAké

  8. Squad number17Player nameBlind

  9. Squad number12Player namevan Aanholt

  10. Squad number15Player namede Roon

  11. Squad number25Player nameTimber

  12. Squad number1Player nameStekelenburg

  13. Squad number5Player nameWijndal

  14. Squad number9Player namede Jong

  15. Squad number2Player nameVeltman

  16. Squad number18Player nameMalen

Ukraine

  1. Squad number7Player nameYarmolenko

  2. Squad number9Player nameYaremchuk

  3. Squad number17Player nameZinchenko

  4. Squad number8Player nameMalinovskiy

  5. Squad number5Player nameSydorchuk

  6. Squad number20Player nameZubkov

  7. Squad number10Player nameShaparenko

  8. Squad number16Player nameMykolenko

  9. Squad number22Player nameMatvienko

  10. Squad number1Player nameBushchan

  11. Squad number13Player nameZabarnyi

  12. Squad number21Player nameKaravaev

  13. Squad number11Player nameMarlos

Line-ups

Netherlands

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Stekelenburg
  • 25TimberSubstituted forVeltmanat 88′minutes
  • 6de Vrij
  • 17BlindSubstituted forAkéat 64′minutes
  • 22Dumfries
  • 15de Roon
  • 8Wijnaldum
  • 21de Jong
  • 12van AanholtSubstituted forWijndalat 64′minutes
  • 19WeghorstSubstituted forde Jongat 88′minutes
  • 10DepaySubstituted forMalenat 90+1′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Veltman
  • 4Aké
  • 5Wijndal
  • 7Berghuis
  • 9de Jong
  • 13Krul
  • 14Klaassen
  • 16Gravenberch
  • 18Malen
  • 23Bizot
  • 24Koopmeiners
  • 26Gakpo

Ukraine

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Bushchan
  • 21Karavaev
  • 13Zabarnyi
  • 22Matvienko
  • 16Mykolenko
  • 8Malinovskiy
  • 5SydorchukBooked at 90mins
  • 17Zinchenko
  • 7Yarmolenko
  • 9Yaremchuk
  • 20ZubkovSubstituted forMarlosat 13′minutesSubstituted forShaparenkoat 64′minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Sobol
  • 4Kryvtsov
  • 6Stepanenko
  • 10Shaparenko
  • 11Marlos
  • 12Pyatov
  • 14Makarenko
  • 19Besedin
  • 23Trubin
  • 24Tymchyk
  • 25Popov
  • 26Dovbyk

Referee:
Dr. Felix Brych

Attendance:
15,837

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Netherlands 3, Ukraine 2.

  2. Second Half ends, Netherlands 3, Ukraine 2.

  3. Serhiy Sydorchuk (Ukraine) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  4. Luuk de Jong (Netherlands) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  5. Foul by Serhiy Sydorchuk (Ukraine).

  6. Frenkie de Jong (Netherlands) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Foul by Serhiy Sydorchuk (Ukraine).

  8. Substitution, Netherlands. Donyell Malen replaces Memphis Depay.

  9. Substitution, Netherlands. Joël Veltman replaces Jurriën Timber.

  10. Substitution, Netherlands. Luuk de Jong replaces Wout Weghorst.

  11. Nathan Aké (Netherlands) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Foul by Ruslan Malinovskiy (Ukraine).

  13. Goal! Netherlands 3, Ukraine 2. Denzel Dumfries (Netherlands) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Nathan Aké with a cross.

  14. Frenkie de Jong (Netherlands) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  15. Foul by Roman Yaremchuk (Ukraine).

  16. Goal! Netherlands 2, Ukraine 2. Roman Yaremchuk (Ukraine) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ruslan Malinovskiy with a cross following a set piece situation.

  17. Foul by Stefan de Vrij (Netherlands).

  18. Oleksandr Zinchenko (Ukraine) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  19. Attempt blocked. Nathan Aké (Netherlands) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Marten de Roon.

  20. Foul by Owen Wijndal (Netherlands).

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the-papers:-one-last-heave-to-freedom-and-magic-boots-of-england

The Papers: One last heave to freedom and magic boots of England

By BBC News

Staff

image captionMany of the papers report that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to delay the ending of restrictions in England on 21 June. The Daily Mail says the reopening date is to be pushed back to 19 July – to the fury of business leaders and Conservative MPs. It follows a sharp rise in cases of the Delta variant.
image captionThe Daily Telegraph says the PM will urge the public to accept “one last heave” to freedom when he announces the delay. The postponement means rules ordering the wearing of face masks, limiting groups to six people indoors and 30 outdoors and keeping nightclubs shut will remain in place.
image captionThe announcement will be made at a press conference on Monday, the Times reports, as the government attempts to hit its target of offering all adults at least one vaccine dose by the end of next month. The paper quotes a government source as saying Mr Johnson sees it as the “final stretch”. While the ending of restrictions will be paused, the PM is expected to lift the 30-person limit on weddings and allow for more seated outdoor sporting and cultural events to take place with large crowds, the Times adds.
image captionThe Daily Mirror notes that the prime minister has not ruled out the possibility of the delay being even longer than four weeks. The paper says the postponement has the backing of experts, with scientist Prof Stephen Reicher quoted as saying “it makes good sense to pause”.
image captionIt comes after ministers were told that a delay to unlocking would probably prevent thousands of hospital admissions, says the Guardian. The latest modelling of the Delta variant shared with ministers suggests that even with the rapid deployment of vaccines, the UK will face a third wave of infections., mostly among younger people who have yet to receive their immunisations.
image captionThe Sun leads on England’s winning start in the Euros, noting that Raheem Sterling scored two days after being made an MBE. England’s defeated Croatia 1-0 at Wembley on Sunday.
image captionThe i reports that the UK will be able to alter current Covid vaccines “within weeks” to better combat virus variants and prevent lockdowns. The paper quotes a lead scientist on the “vaccine library” project as saying the UK will be able to move “much faster” in the future to react to harmful mutations of the virus.
image captionUS President Joe Biden challenged G7 leaders to use their financial muscle to counter China’s rising global influence, declaring western democracies were “in a contest with autocrats”, reports the Financial Times. However, European countries were more cautious about antagonising Beijing, the paper notes, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the G7 summit host, declining to mention China by name at his closing press conference.
image captionThe end of the summit in Cornwall was overshadowed by a Brexit backlash, the Metro says, after French President Emmanuel Macron was branded “offensive” and told to show “a bit of respect” in a row about Northern Ireland. Mr Macron caused a “storm” by suggesting Northern Ireland was not part of the UK.
madrid-protests:-thousands-rally-against-catalan-pardons

Madrid protests: Thousands rally against Catalan pardons

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionThousands gathered in Madrid’s Colon Square

Tens of thousands of people have joined protests in the Spanish capital Madrid against controversial plans to pardon jailed Catalan separatists.

Leaders of Spain’s right-wing parties joined the demonstration against the pardoning of 12 separatists behind a failed independence attempt in 2017.

Protesters accuse the Socialist-led Spanish government of using the plan to shore up its political support.

But the government says the pardons will help calm tensions over Catalonia.

The semi-autonomous region’s drive for independence plunged Spain into its biggest political crisis in 40 years in 2017.

Nine Catalan separatist leaders were found guilty of sedition in 2019, linked to their role in a illegal independence referendum. Another three were found guilty of disobedience but not jailed.

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionThe protesters oppose Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s plan to pardon the separatists

The demonstrators see the pardons as a threat to national unity. Many waved red and yellow national flags as they gathered in Colón Square in central Madrid.

“We should stop this now because for a pardon you must show contrition, and the separatists will not show that,” one protester, Carlos Bandecha, told the Reuters news agency.

But Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has defended the move as a way to bring Catalans and Spaniards closer together.

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionDemonstrators say the pardons are a threat to national unity

“Spanish society needs to move from a bad past to a better future – and that will require magnanimity,” Mr Sánchez said earlier this week.

Around 61% of Spaniards do not agree with the pardons, while 29.5% back them, according to a recent poll for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo has indicated that the pardons are “close”.

But the country’s Supreme Court said in a non-binding report last month that it opposes potential government pardons for the Catalan separatist leaders.

e3-2021:-microsoft-shows-off-halo-infinite,-starfield-and-forza-horizon-5

E3 2021: Microsoft shows off Halo Infinite, Starfield and Forza Horizon 5

image copyrightMicrosoft

image captionThe Master Chief will return to gamers’ screens later this year

A Christmas release date for Halo: Infinite was among dozens of announcements at Microsoft’s E3 show.

It was scheduled for release last year alongside the new Xbox, but was delayed due to the pandemic and amid outcry from players over its graphics.

A new Forza racing game and the Xbox release of Flight Simulator were also among the 30 titles revealed.

It was the first E3 since Microsoft acquired Bethesda last year for $7.5bn (£5.3bn).

Unlike other developers’ conferences, the 90-minute Microsoft show was nearly entirely back-to-back game trailers and announcements, with few speeches in-between.

Bethesda boss Todd Howard started the event with news of a November 2022 release date for the firm’s first new series in 25 years, Starfield.

The space-faring game was shown only with some in-game footage of a ship taking off from the surface of another world – revealing no new details about what its gameplay would be like.

Halo Christmas release

Halo: Infinite was officially delayed due to the pandemic.

But a preview released in July 2020 was widely criticised by fans of the game as looking unpolished, with enemy character models labelled as crude and reminiscent of older games, rather than a next-gen title. The developers pledged to work hard on improving them.

Sunday’s video showed off the series hero Master Chief meeting a new AI character, as the two discussed a mystery around the fate of Cortana, the game’s other long-running protagonist.

But it notably did not include the alien enemy models which caused so much controversy last year.

Figure captionWarning: Third party content may contain adverts

Microsoft did, however, show off the game’s multiplayer mode for the first time – the main attraction for many players.

Sticking to plans to make the multiplayer part of the game a free-to-play package, not requiring a purchase of the main product, Microsoft said it would release it alongside the game for the Christmas shopping season.

The company’s flagship racing title, Forza Horizon 5, set in Mexico, was also revealed for the first time with a 9 November release date.

image copyrightMicrosoft

image captionDevelopers said that some of Mexico’s landmarks were faithfully recreated for the new Forza

Developers said parts of Mexico’s real landscape had been faithfully recreated using photogrammetry data – the same type of 3D technique used by Microsoft’s Flight Simulator to map realistic cities. But in Forza’s case, it was used for geographic features such as the caldera of a volcano.

A new game mode would allow players to create their own challenges – such as a “bowling alley” map where players drove through bowling pins and over ramps.

Flight Sim gets Top Gun

Another impending release was the arrival of Flight Simulator for Xbox consoles on 27 July.

The game was first released in August 2020 on PCs, and is notorious for pushing even high-end gaming computers to their limits.

image copyrightMicrosoft

image captionAlongside an Xbox release, Flight Simulator will get Top Gun themes fighter jets

A new expansion was also shown off, tied to the Top Gun film series – which will bring official support for fighter-jet style planes for the first time. Previously, such planes have only been available through player mods or paid add-ons.

Microsoft’s surprise pandemic hit, the pirate-themed Sea of Thieves, is also getting an expansion featuring Pirates of the Caribbean characters – including Captain Jack Sparrow.

image copyrightMicrosoft

image captionA tie-in with Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean was one of the many game expansions revealed

Other titles announced included:

  • Stalker 2: Heart of Chernobyl, a next-gen sequel to the 2007 original
  • The first gameplay footage of Battlefield 2042, announced with a cinematic trailer a few days before
  • Psychonauts 2, a much-anticipated sequel to Double Fine’s beloved platformer, releasing 25 August
  • The Outer Worlds 2, a follow-up to the 2019 original
  • Redfall, a new shooter from Dishonored developer Arkane, featuring a vampire-hunting group of magically-enhanced gun-wielding characters

Of the 30 titles unveiled, 27 are included in Xbox’s subscription service, Game Pass.

‘Constant flow’

Piers Harding-Rolls, games analyst at Ampere, said that Microsoft’s strategy was to grow the service to tens of millions of users by accepting a broad range of new games from third party developers.

“It needs to have a constant flow of fresh and appealing content in the pipeline,” he said.

“Certain types of new games are particularly suited to Game Pass – generally those that benefit more from a ready-made audience compared to just competing with other premium releases in the store.”

Notably absent from Microsoft’s show was any mention from Bethesda of the Elder Scrolls 6, the sequel to Skyrim announced at E3 2018.

And in a nod to gamer jokes about the Xbox Series X’s boxy upright aesthetic, the firm closed the show with the reveal of an Xbox-shaped mini-fridge which it said it would sell near the end of the year.

Square Enix followed Microsoft, revealing its new Guardians of the Galaxy title which will be a single-player adventure game, and an expansion for The Avengers which will focus on the Black Panther character.

Monday’s conferences include Resident Evil maker Capcom.

But Microsoft’s lengthy showcase is arguably the biggest of the weekend – until Nintendo’s 40-minute presentation on Tuesday.

robertson-tells-scotland-to-believe-they-belong-after-’23-long-years-of-waiting’

Robertson tells Scotland to believe they belong after ’23 long years of waiting’

Choose Scotland. Choose going to the Euros…
Date: 14 June Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Kick off: 14:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC Radio, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for more details

Captain Andy Robertson has urged Scotland to believe they belong on the big stage as they prepare to end “23 long years of waiting”.

Scotland face the Czech Republic in front of 12,000 fans at Hampden on Monday in the men’s national team’s first major tournament since 1998.

Group D opened with England beating Croatia 1-0 at Wembley on Sunday.

“Since the manager came in he’s always said we’re a good squad but lacking a wee bit of belief,” said Robertson.

“Being able to qualify for a tournament for the first time in 23 years gives you belief you can do it again and go and perform in the big tournaments.

“I’d like us to have more belief in ourselves, more confidence, in being able to show what we can do. Hopefully we can do that on the biggest stage. If we do, we’re a right good team on our day.

“We’re all so excited. It’s been 23 long years waiting. We can feel the nation is excited for it and it’s important we try to keep a smile on their faces.”

Steve Clarke’s squad had a glimpse of the Euros fever gripping the country when they travelled north to Glasgow on Sunday from their training base in north-east England.

Robertson aims to tap into that feelgood factor and says having fans back in Hampden – where Scotland will also face Croatia – for the first time in 19 months “makes a huge difference”.

“The last time the Scotland fans were in was the Kazakhstan game and a lot has changed since then in the team and squad,” the 27-year-old Liverpool defender added.

“I’m sure we could have sold out Hampden plenty of times over for this game. There are 12,000 lucky enough to be in there but the whole nation will be watching and we’ll feel that support and that love. Hopefully we can do them proud.

“The fact a lot of kids, teenagers and people in their early 20s, have unfortunately never witnessed us in a major tournament, and the fact that’s now going to happen, I hope it inspires the nation.”

Team news

Head coach Clarke has no injury worries in his 26-man squad, but says he has already decided on his starting XI to face the Czechs.

Midfielder John Fleck will not feature in the opener, having missed several days’ training after testing positive for Covid-19 at the pre-tournament camp in Spain.

Full-back Nathan Patterson and midfielders Billy Gilmour and David Turnbull all made their debut in the warm-up friendlies and staked a claim to start, but Clarke is expected to go with the tried and tested.

The Czechs have drafted in Tomas Koubek – who joins the squad on Tuesday – after fellow goalkeeper Jiri Pavlenka was ruled out with a back injury.

They otherwise are at full strength, with Slavia Prague defender Ondrej Kudela omitted from the squad as he serves a 10-match UEFA ban for racially abusing Rangers’ Glen Kamara in a Europa League tie.

What are they saying?

Scotland head coach Steve Clarke: “The Tartan Army can get carried away and over-excited for us. We are excited to be involved in the tournament for the first time in a long time, but we have to keep emotional control so that we play to our full potential. I believe if we do that we can get a result.”

Czech Republic head coach Jaroslav Silhavy: “We are quite nervous, but it’s normal given what we are facing, which is the peak of our careers with the national team.

“I think against the games we have played against Scotland, they are stronger now, they play more efficiently. It will be a close game decided by details.”

Familiar rivals a set-piece danger

Scotland are aiming for a third straight win over the Czechs in the space of nine months after beating them home and away in the Nations League last year.

A Covid outbreak meant the Czechs fielded a makeshift team for a 2-1 defeat in September, before Clarke’s men won 1-0 at Hampden the following month.

The Czechs are ranked 40th in the world – four places higher than Scotland – and qualified comfortably as runners-up behind England in Group A.

Jaroslav Silhavy’s team have forged a reputation as set-piece specialists, with 54% of their goals in qualifying (seven of 13) coming from dead-ball situations. It was the joint-highest ratio, alongside Hungary, of any side to qualify.

What are Scotland’s chances?

Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis, Nielsen’s Gracenote

Scotland are rated the 16th most likely team to make it to the last 16 with a 57% chance of doing so. The chance of Scotland winning the European Championship is just 0.5%.

The Czech Republic are the weakest of Scotland’s three opponents and the Scots are favourites to win with 40% chance of taking the three points and 68% chance of at least a point.

Match stats

  • Scotland have won each of their last three matches against the Czech Republic, their longest current winning run against any of the other 23 nations qualified for Euro 2020. It’s the first meeting between both sides at a major tournament.
  • This will be Scotland’s 11th appearance at major tournament (World Cup + Euros), including their first Euro participation since 1996. They have never progressed past the group stages in any of their previous 10.
  • The Czech Republic are taking part in their 10th UEFA European Championship (Czechoslovakia included), including their seventh in a row – an uninterrupted streak since 1996; only Germany (13) and France (8) are currently on longer such runs.
  • Czechoslovakia lifted the European Championship trophy in 1976, the only occasion a Euro final has been decided on penalties (2-2 a.e.t. vs West Germany, 5-3 pens). As the Czech Republic, they were also involved in the first Euro final to be decided by a golden goal (1-2 vs Germany, Euro 1996).
  • Scotland have picked up just one victory in each of their two previous appearances in the European Championships, with both wins coming in their final group stage match (3-0 vs CIS in 1992, 1-0 vs Switzerland in 1996).
why-scotland-can-surprise-everyone-at-euro-2020

Why Scotland can surprise everyone at Euro 2020

James McFadden banner

Date: 14 June Venue: Hampden Park, Glasgow Kick off: 14:00 BSTCoverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC Radio, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for more details

Sitting in a Scotland dressing room and looking around, you’d get nerves. I loved the nerves.

It wasn’t fear of making mistakes or not playing well, it was an intoxicating concoction of pure pride and unbridled excitement. No matter who it was or how many people were there… the more fans the better, the bigger the team the better.

There’s a wee flutter, it’s hard to describe but you’re just desperate for it to start. I was never calm, I always wanted to do well. Especially with Scotland.

I was living my dream, I just enjoyed playing for my country that much. I understood people expected magic or were looking for me to produce something. I relished that.

I went on to play 48 times for the country I love. But would I swap all those caps and all the goals I scored along the way to be sitting on that team bus, walking through the doors at Hampden and looking up at a dark blue strip with my name on the back on Monday?

You bet I would.

I’m jealous of the guys that are going, but they deserve to be there. I hope they enjoy it because it has been a long time coming, and I genuinely believe Scotland can create history and qualify out of the group.

We are not there to say this is great and get experience. We are there to cause an upset against teams. Steve Clarke has us set up for tournament football, we have a strong squad, we can flourish. We have already done what so many teams in the last two decades failed to do, and I should know.

Downing the Dutch & swearing in Paris

When I was doing well at Motherwell as a teenager and getting my first real run, I started scoring. I’d never played striker before but I just loved scoring goals. Then Berti Vogts came in and he wanted to find players for a futures squad, so I basically had a Scotland trial.

I came on for 20 minutes in my debut against South Africa when I was 19, I was delighted. I had it in my mind that I’d worked well to get on this tour and if I only ever get one cap then I’d still have been proud of what I had achieved.

The initial ones are always the most special. I remember thinking in the early games “This is amazing, I’ve scored”. No one can take that away from you.

I was fortunate enough to go on to score another 14 for my country. Everyone talks about the goal in Paris, but the one at Hampden against the Netherlands is even more special to me.

The feeling was indescribable. I was only 20, I’d just moved to Everton, and I was playing against players I could never imagine playing against. Edwin van der Sar, Jaap Stam, Edgar Davids, Patrick Kluivert, Pierre van Hooijdonk. There were stars everywhere.

When we went in front, oh my. The feeling, the noise in Hampden, the camera shaking on TV, it was unbelievable. I couldn’t take in I’d just scored.

James McFadden celebrates
James McFadden’s goal gave Scotland a 1-0 win over the Netherlands in a Euro play-off in 2003

My recollection of the goal at the Parc des Princes is mixed, mainly because it’s shown so often on television. I can still vividly picture it like it was yesterday, though.

I can see the ball coming towards me, I can hear Barry Ferguson shouting on my left side “What the **** are you doing?” after he screamed for a pass, and then just the goalie making a meal of it.

He hit it on to the post but the nets were dark, I don’t remember seeing it going in. My first thought was “Is that a corner?”. And then you realise what’s just happened as pockets of fans erupt across the stadium and I’m rushed by the team.

We’d beaten France at home as well and that was a fantastic performance, but no one expected us to beat them away. Maybe that’s where I get my optimism from. Pulling on a jersey, the belief in your team-mates that we could go and frustrate France and do well against anyone.

Everyone speaks about my goal – and I’m delighted about that, don’t get me wrong – but it was a fantastic performance.

Scotland grasping their chance

At the same time, I look back and wish we could have won against Georgia or Italy in previous campaigns where we were within touching distance. Georgia away was poor, and Italy at home was a missed opportunity.

I would have loved to have lined up for Scotland at a major tournament but I’m not a player who looks back and says “You know what, all this and all that?”. I am extremely grateful for everything I got.

But this time its different. It hasn’t always been pretty, but Steve Clarke’s team have shown they can hold their nerve, edge out teams, carve out goals and grind out results.

As a result, they have ended all those years of near misses, false hopes and glorious failures. Our time is here. This is Scotland’s moment.

Everyone outside of the country expects us to go and mess it up. We have what it takes to prove them wrong. And I believe we will.

Just you wait and see.

James McFadden was speaking to BBC Scotland’s Scott Mullen.

g7-summit:-biden-says-america-is-back-at-the-table

G7 summit: Biden says America is back at the table

media captionBiden: US could ‘work with Russia’ over Covid, cyber crime and conflict

US President Joe Biden has declared that “America is back at the table” following the G7 summit of world leaders in the UK.

At a press conference on Sunday, Mr Biden said the summit had been “extraordinarily collaborative”.

G7 leaders agreed on action to tackle China’s human rights record and climate change after three days of talks.

Mr Biden said the organisation was in a “contest with autocracies” and welcomed its approach on China and Russia.

He also sought to distance himself from his predecessor – Donald Trump – who he said believed climate change was “not a problem”.

“We had a president, the last [one] who basically said it’s not a problem, global warming,” Mr Biden said. “It is the existential problem facing humanity and it’s being treated that way.”

image copyrightPA Media

image captionThe leaders agreed on action on China’s rights record and climate change

The world leaders attending the Cornwall summit signed a declaration calling on China to “respect human rights and fundamental freedoms”, especially in the Xinjiang region, the north-western region that is home to the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.

“We’re in a contest, not with China per se… with autocrats, autocratic governments around the world, as to whether or not democracies can compete with them in a rapidly changing 21st century,” Mr Biden said.

The G7 adopted a spending plan to support lower and middle-income countries in response to a similar Chinese scheme.

Chinese officials, meanwhile, warned G7 leaders that the days when “small” groups of countries decided the fate of the world were long gone.

The G7 also called for a transparent, expert-led study including in China, organised by the World Health Organization (WHO), amid claims Covid-19 may have leaked from a Chinese laboratory.

“We haven’t had access to the laboratories,” Mr Biden told reporters.

He said it was not yet certain whether or not “a bat interfacing with animals and the environment… caused this COVID-19, or whether it was an experiment gone awry in a laboratory”.

Mr Biden also said the Russian President Vladimir Putin – who he dubbed an “autocrat” – was right to believe relations were at their lowest point in years. The pair are meeting in Geneva on Wednesday.

But he said the US could “work together with Russia” on issues such as Covid, cyber crime and conflicts.

What is in the G7 communique?

The G7 leaders published a 25-page communique summing up their “shared agenda” in key points. They included:

  • Coronavirus: The headline pledge was to provide an extra one billion vaccine doses to poorer countries over the next year. They also committed to increasing global manufacturing capacity around the world, improving early warning systems for pandemics and supporting science to cut the time it takes to develop vaccines
  • Help economies recover: The G7 countries said they would shift from supporting smaller countries’ response to the crisis, to helping them grow and recover with jobs and investment
  • Climate change: The leaders committed to a “green revolution” that would limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C. They also promised to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, halve emissions by 2030, and to conserve or protect at least 30% of land and oceans by 2030
euro-2020:-england’s-opening-win-relieves-tension,-says-gareth-southgate

Euro 2020: England’s opening win relieves tension, says Gareth Southgate

Dates:11 June-11 July. Venues: Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London, Munich, Rome, Seville, St Petersburg. Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC Radio, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app. Click here for more details

England boss Gareth Southgate says his side’s opening European Championship win over Croatia will “relieve some tension” in his squad.

It is the first time England have won their opening game at the tournament.

Raheem Sterling scored the only goal in front of 22,500 fans at Wembley after being set up by Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips.

“You know if you don’t win the first game, the pressure ramps up,” Southgate told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“We have two really difficult games left in this group and we made a good step forward today, but [there are] important steps to go to qualify.

“I’m most pleased with the performance. Of course the win is important. It was a big occasion, a sweltering hot day and the players settled really quickly, used the ball well and we limited Croatia to very few clear chances throughout the game.”

England play all three of their group games at Wembley and the atmosphere was electric at full-time as fans in the quarter-full stadium sang Three Lions and chanted “it’s coming home”.

There was also a huge roar when Southgate came across to thank them for their support.

“It’s a lovely day for the English public,” he said. “We’ve waited a long time for the beer gardens to open.

“I’m sure they’re throwing it everywhere as well as drinking it, which is lovely!”

England, who are in Group D, will face Scotland next on Friday 18 June before taking on the Czech Republic on Tuesday 22 June.

‘Trippier playing like a warrior’

There were a few surprises in the England starting XI as Southgate opted for a back four including Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier at left-back, while Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell was not in the squad.

Manchester City’s Kyle Walker started ahead of Chelsea’s Reece James, while Sterling was given the nod in place of Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish.

Asked about Trippier, Southgate said: “We felt that his talking across the back line and his ability to get out and stop crosses quickly and his experience on a day like today – alongside Tyrone Mings, who is relatively early in his international career – would be a good stabilising element.

“He is a very underrated player. People are still looking at the player from a few years ago and not at the one who is at Atletico Madrid and playing like a warrior in the last few seasons.

“He is a big part of what we’ve done over the last few years and he gave a really good performance.”

Select your England XI to start against Scotland at Euro 2020

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G7 summit: Northern Ireland part of one great indivisible UK, says PM

media caption“Were you offended by President Macron’s comments about Northern Ireland?”, asked the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg

Boris Johnson says he “continuously” makes the point that Northern Ireland is part of “one great indivisible United Kingdom” amid a row at the G7.

Reports claim French President Emmanuel Macron said at the summit that Northern Ireland was not part of the UK.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the remark was “offensive” and that EU figures characterised Northern Ireland “as somehow a separate country”.

Mr Macron said he never questioned “the integrity of the British territory”.

Earlier, an Elysee source said the French leader was talking about “geographical territory” during the meeting, after Mr Johnson asked Mr Macron how he would feel if there were barriers to selling sausages from Toulouse in Paris.

They added: “The president wanted to stress that the situation was quite different and that it was not appropriate to make this kind of comparison.”

media captionFrench President Macron responds to the furore around his reported comments on Northern Ireland

The row comes amid ongoing problems with the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol.

The policy was designed to protect the Good Friday Agreement by ensuring a border would not be introduced on the island of Ireland. It sees Northern Ireland continue to follow many of the EU rules on trade.

But as a result, it created a regulatory border in the Irish Sea, leading to additional checks on items moved between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

So-called “grace periods” were introduced after the post-Brexit trade deal came into force, allowing goods to continue to move as normal while people adjusted to the new way of working.

But as it stands, controls will be introduced from July on chilled meat products like sausages and mince – effectively banning them from entering Northern Ireland unless the UK agrees to match EU standards on its products.

‘Very problematic’

The UK has already unilaterally extended some grace periods, leading to legal action from the EU.

But Ireland’s Taoiseach (Irish PM) Micheál Martin warned it would be “very problematic” if the UK did the same again, telling Sky News it would strain relations.

He added: “It’s not about sausages per se, it really is about the fact that an agreement had been entered into not too long ago and if there’s consistent, unilateral deviation from that agreement, that clearly undermines the broader relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom, which is in nobody’s interest.”

media captionEarlier, Dominic Raab said alleged comments by Emmanuel Macron on Northern Ireland were “offensive”

Asked by the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg whether the PM was offended by the alleged comments from the French president, Mr Johnson did not answer – instead saying it was “the job of the government of the United Kingdom to uphold the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom”.

He also said Brexit had accounted for a “vanishingly small proportion of our deliberations” at the G7 summit.

But pushed further by reporters about the French president’s alleged remarks, Mr Johnson said he and the rest of the government “make the point continuously that we are all part of one great indivisible United Kingdom”.

‘Damage to business’

Earlier, Mr Raab said the sentiment about Northern Ireland being separate from the rest of the UK had been expressed by EU figures for “years” and “that is wrong”.

He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme: “It is a failure to understand the facts, it is a failure to appreciate what speaking around Northern Ireland in those terms and approaching the issue of the Northern Ireland Protocol in those terms does.

“It causes damage to businesses from both communities in Northern Ireland, creates deep consternation, and we wouldn’t talk about Catalonia and Barcelona or Corsica in France in those ways.”

But President Macron later appealed for “calm”, saying: “France has never allowed itself to question British sovereignty, the integrity of the British territory and the respect of the sovereignty.”And it’s also true that Brexit… is the child of British sovereignty and has [created] thousands of hours of work for European leaders so we know very well what British sovereignty is.”

He added: “For a number of years after Brexit we established rules, a protocol agreement and also a commercial treaty for future relations. We just want them to be respected – seriously, calmly, professionally – that’s all.”

At international summits, it is generally a good rule to keep discussions about sausages confined to the barbecue on the beach.

That the UK allowed its row with the EU – over post-Brexit trade across the Irish Sea – to overshadow the G7 raised eyebrows among diplomats.

“We can’t understand why Boris is putting more petrol on the fire,” one official told me.

At his news conference, the prime minister sought to dampen the flames, refusing to echo Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who said President Macron’s suggestion that Northern Ireland was not part of the UK was “offensive”.

But the damage had already been done. Yes, the trade row was not part of the main G7 negotiations, but it was central to discussions in the margins.

Even Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said that he had raised the issue in his bilateral meeting with Mr Johnson, emphasising Canada’s role in forging the Good Friday Agreement.

So instead of using the congenial confines of a highly secure beach in south-west England to engender a bit of trust, both sides seem to have come away from Cornwall with hackles raised.

This summit was supposed to be about showing how democracies around the world could co-operate better. That proved something of a challenge closer to home.

Ahead of meetings at the G7 – attended by leaders of the EU, France, Germany and Italy – top EU official Maros Sefcovic said the bloc’s patience was “wearing thin” with the UK, insisting it needed to follow the rules it agreed on the Northern Ireland Protocol.

But during the summit, Mr Johnson said he would do “whatever it takes” to protect the territorial integrity of the UK.

He told the BBC there was “quite a lot of misunderstanding around the EU about the situation in Northern Ireland [and] the balance of the Good Friday Agreement” and he hoped the two sides would find “pragmatic solutions”.

Labour’s shadow international trade secretary, Emily Thornberry, told Andrew Marr that the two sides needed to “stop bickering” and “actually find a practical solution”.

media captionLabour’s Emily Thornberry urges the UK government and the EU to “stop bickering and find a practical solution”

Edwin Poots, the new leader of the DUP – Northern Ireland’s largest unionist party – also called the remark by President Macron offensive, saying the French leader “doesn’t understand the basics, let alone the finer details”.

Mr Poots, who wants the protocol to be removed, added: “This also exposes the ignorance which lies at the heart of the EU. They seem blind to the destruction the protocol has caused to the Belfast Agreement.”

But a source from the Elysee Palace said Mr Macron had “recalled that the UK’s exit from the EU had been a British decision and that they must now keep their word” on implementing the protocol.

Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said he was “not going to get drawn into the discussions the prime minister had with President Macron”.

euro-2020-england-1-0-croatia:-raheem-sterling-goal-seals-opening-game-win-for-england

Euro 2020 England 1-0 Croatia: Raheem Sterling goal seals opening-game win for England

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MATCH REPORT: Sterling goal seals opening win for England

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