Knockout Stages

Euro 2020: Knockout games bring the best out of France – Hugo Lloris

A depleted France will draw motivation from the threat of elimination as they prepare to face Switzerland in their European Championship last-16 match, captain Hugo Lloris said on Sunday. World champions France topped Group F with one win and two draws ahead of Portugal and Germany but key players in their backline have picked up injuries to give coach Didier Deschamps a selection headache on Monday. While Ousmane Dembele and Marcus Thuram are unavailable, Deschamps confirmed full backs Jules Kounde and Lucas Digne are also ruled out against the Swiss. Left back Lucas Hernandez, who injured his knee, has a chance to feature. Speaking at a news conference, goalkeeper Lloris said France – who finished runners-up in 2016 – were accustomed to do-or-die situations and thrived under pressure. “W...

Euro 2020: France avoid major upset in draw vs Hungary

France were forced to wait to secure qualification for the knockout stages of the Euros after they were held by a resilient Hungary to a 1-1 draw in front of a capacity crowd at the Puskas Arena in Budapest. Meeting in scorching sunshine in front of more than 60,000 fans, Hungary stunned the world champions by taking a shock lead through Attila Fiola when he burst clear to finish calmly beyond Hugo Lloris in first-half injury time. France were rocked heading into the break but equalize through Antoine Griezmann in the 66th minute following some route-one football from goalkeeper Lloris and clever hold-up play by Kylian Mbappe. France pressed strongly in the closing stages but failed to get the breakthrough as a raucous crowd in Budapest celebrated as if their team had won. The result puts ...

Euro 2020: We’re prepared to face Switzerland, Italy, Turkey – Gareth Bale

Wales captain Gareth Bale says he’s optimistic the team will qualify to the knockout stages of Euro 2020 despite been pitted alongside Italy, Turkey and Switzerland. Wales are expected to kick-off their campaign against Switzerland on Saturday and Bale in a pre-match press conference stated that they are well-prepared for the tournament. Bale is one of eight survivors from the Wales squad that reached the last four in France when Chris Coleman was in charge, and the Real Madrid star is looking no further than the crunch first game against the Swiss. “I think it’s similar,” said Bale when asked at his pre-match press conference about Wales’ expectations heading into Euro 2020 compared to last time out. “Coming on the back of 2016 people will argue that maybe we should be doing things, but w...

Mikel Arteta expects difficult January transfer window

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says the club do not have much room to manoeuvre in the January transfer window and may have to offload players before they can add to the first-team squad. Arsenal are reportedly looking for a creative midfielder, with RB Salzburg’s Dominik Szoboszlai and Olympique Lyonnais’ Houssem Aouar among the options being considered, while Arteta would also like to improve his defensive options. “We are planning, talking with (technical director) Edu and with the club about the things we can do in January,” Arteta told reporters. “But at the moment it’s pretty difficult, unpredictable as well. In terms of places, we are very restricted in the moment. “We will need to do something knowing the limitations of that market in January and the limitations we have as well to si...

Manchester City ease into Champions League last 16

Manchester City booked their place in the last 16 of the Champions League but there were more concerns for Pep Guardiola over his side’s lack of ruthlessness in a 1-0 win at Olympiakos on Wednesday. Phil Foden’s low strike nine minutes before half-time ensured City deservedly kept up their 100 percent record in Europe this season. But a one-goal margin of victory was a scant reward for the visitors’ dominance even with a heavily-rotated side. Guardiola made five changes to the team beaten 2-0 at Tottenham on Saturday to see City off to their worst league start since the first few months of the club’s Abu Dhabi-backed ownership. Scoring goals has been City’s big problem in the Premier League, but they had scored three in each of their opening three Champions League wins over Porto, Marseill...