football Sports News


A man who livestreamed himself on Facebook while racially abusing England players Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after the Euro 2020 final has been jailed for 10 weeks.

Jonathon Best, 52, a forklift driver, used the site to rant about the England trio, who are all Black, after they missed penalties in the shootout against Italy in the final on July 11.

Best was sentenced at London’s Willesden Magistrates Court on Tuesday, having pleaded guilty to sending by public communication network a grossly offensive or indecent or obscene or menacing message or matter, the Crown Prosecution Service said on Wednesday.

One of Best’s Facebook friends reported the video clip to the police and Facebook after he refused to take it down.

“While the majority of the nation took great pride in the Three Lions reaching their first international final in more than 50 years, Jonathon Best took to Facebook to livestream a barrage of racist abuse at the three players who missed penalties during the game,” Elaine Cousins from the CPS said.

“There is absolutely no room in the game, nor elsewhere, for racism.”

National Police Chiefs Council’s football revealed last week that Euro 2020 caused an “explosion” in online racist abuse, causing the police to write to all 92 professional clubs in England and Wales ahead of the 2021-22 season to offer further support.

football Sports News


Tyrone Mings has revealed he struggled with mental health problems at Euro 2020 which left him feeling like 95 per cent of the country were doubting him.

The Aston Villa defender deputised for Harry Maguire in England’s first two games against Croatia and Scotland, with the latter still recovering from an ankle injury.

Mings, quoted in the Sun, said: “I did have a tough time in the lead-up to the opening game against Croatia.

“I think I’m a lot more hardened to outside influences now, but my mental health did plummet. And I have no shame in admitting that because there was so many unknowns about me going to that game.

“I was probably the only name on the teamsheet that people thought, ‘Not sure about him’. And that was something I had to overcome. When 90-95 per cent of your country are having doubts over you, it’s very difficult to stop this intruding on your own thoughts.

“So I did a lot of work on that with my psychologist. It was hard. I didn’t really sleep very well before that first game.”

American gymnastics star Simone Biles has made headlines at the Olympics by pulling out of several events due to a mental health issue, while England all-rounder Ben Stokes is taking an indefinite break from cricket to safeguard his wellbeing.

Mings, 28, said: “It’s just great that we are playing in a time now when you can speak about mental health, and how you are feeling.

“We have seen with Simone Biles you can speak on how you are feeling and hopefully feel supported by many people.”

Former England defender Rio Ferdinand was a notable voice questioning Mings, in his role as a BBC pundit, but later contacted the Villa star to praise both his performances and his response to home secretary Priti Patel’s dismissal of England taking the knee as “gesture politics”.

When Patel tweeted her “disgust” at online abuse of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after their penalty shoot-out misses in the final, Mings wrote: “You don’t get to stoke the fire at the beginning of the tournament by labelling our anti-racism message as ‘Gesture Politics’ & then pretend to be disgusted when the very thing we’re campaigning against, happens.”

He said: “Rio DM’d me after the tournament. He’d said I was the weak link, and that Croatia should be targeting me.

“He messaged me saying something like, ‘Top-class response — matched your performances on the pitch.’ What a lovely guy.”

football Sports News


Five people have been arrested over the racist abuse suffered by England players after their Euro 2020 final loss to Italy.

Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho missed their penalties on Sunday evening and were subject to racist abuse online after the match.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has confirmed the UK Football Policing Unit is conducting a hate crime investigation and have submitted data applications to social media companies.

Chief Constable Mark Roberts, NPCC Football Policing Lead, said: “The racial abuse aimed at our own players following Sunday night’s game is utterly vile and has quite rightly shocked and appalled people across the country.

“Our England team have been true role models during the tournament, conducting themselves with professionalism and dignity. I’m disgusted there are individuals out there who think it’s acceptable to direct such abhorrent abuse at them, or at anybody else.

“The UKFPU investigation is well underway and work continues to identify those responsible. We are working very closely with social media platforms, who are providing data we need to progress enquiries.

“If we identify that you are behind this crime, we will track you down and you will face the serious consequences of your shameful actions.”

The FA and UK politicians condemned the abuse, with the Metropolitan Police saying it will investigate.

On Tuesday, Leyton Orient banned a fan for three years after reports of racist abuse online emerged following England’s defeat.

As of July 13, 897 football-related incidents and 264 arrests had been recorded across the country in the 24-hour period surrounding the final.

football Sports News


UEFA has opened a formal investigation into the storming of Wembley Stadium by supporters at Sunday’s Euro 2020 final, in addition to charging the English Football Association with four separate offences relating to the conduct of fans.

England’s first appearance in a tournament showpiece for 55 years ended in defeat on penalties to Italy and was overshadowed by scenes of violence both inside and outside the ground. British police, who said 19 of its officers were injured, have so far arrested a total of 86 people. Some 53 of the arrests were at Wembley.

It is estimated that as many as 5,000 supporters gained access to the stadium without a match ticket. Sources told ESPN that ticket readers stopped working for a period and fans either “tailgated” their way in — quickly following behind those with legitimate tickets — or broke in through entrances designed for disabled supporters.

Videos circulated on social media of fights breaking out on the concourses while stewards were overwhelmed as hundreds of people arrived with tickets only to find someone already in their seats.

Despite England manager Gareth Southgate’s prematch plea to respect the Italian national anthem, loud boos were heard throughout, a pitch invader delayed the final few minutes of normal time and objects were launched at Italy players as they celebrated their penalty shootout success.

A statement released by UEFA on Tuesday afternoon listed four charges against the FA: “Invasion of the field of play by its supporters; Throwing of objects by its supporters; Disturbance caused by its supporters during the national anthem; Lighting of a firework by its supporters.”

The FA have launched their own investigation in conjunction with Metropolitan Police, but UEFA added: “Separately, and in accordance with Article 31(4) DR, a UEFA Ethics and Disciplinary Inspector has been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation into events involving supporters which occurred inside and around the stadium.”

Fans began congregating outside Wembley around 12 hours before kick-off. The crowd steadily grew — estimated in some quarters to be as high as 250,000 people — with the mood turning increasingly violent as kick-off approached.

COVID-19 restrictions limited Wembley’s capacity from 90,000 to 65,000 and some fans sensed an opportunity to force their way in. One of the key questions to be answered moving forward will be why the outer perimeter was so close to the stadium. The outer barrier to most venues at European Championship tournaments and World Cups is often half a kilometre away or further from the venue itself. At Wembley, the outer perimeter ran tightly around the stadium, including at the base of the steps to access the outside of the upper levels.

Stewards and police were overwhelmed as hundreds broke through barriers and then ran inside. Eyewitnesses told ESPN that once inside, scores of fans were able to access the stadium without the necessary COVID-19 documentation — specifically, proof of a negative test within the last 48 hours — or a match ticket.

Families of players from both teams were affected. A group of Italy’s entourage, including the wife of midfielder Jorginho, were moved en masse, while sources told ESPN that the family members of several England players were abused by fans who had forced their way into the arena.

The stairways were visibly overflowing with supporters. Andrea Mancini, the son of Italy head coach Roberto, said: “There was a mess with ticketless fans and my seat had been taken, so I had to watch the first half sitting in the stadium’s steps. I found another place in the second half. Perhaps it brought good luck.”

Last week the FA were fined €30,000 ($35,460) after a laser pointer was shone at Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel during what proved to be the deciding moment of their Euro 2020 semifinal.

The FA were also charged for fans booing during the Danish anthem and for the setting off of fireworks during the semifinal.

football Sports News


One person died and several were injured in Italy as the country celebrated their victory over England in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.

Italy won the championship in London for the first time since 1968, with a 3-2 penalty shootout win after the match finished 1-1 in regular and extra time.

A 22-year-old man died in a car crash in Caltagirone, Sicily, as he was rushing to the town centre to join victory festivities, police said.

In Milan, 15 people were hurt, three seriously, when post-match partying became rowdy. One of them lost three fingers when a firework exploded in his hand.

In a town near the southern city of Foggia, police believe a hitman took advantage of the chaos in the streets to settle a score, shooting dead his target in the crowd before escaping on a motorbike.

The victim’s six-year-old niece was also wounded in the attack, with media reporting that she was in a “very serious” condition.

football Sports News


England’s Jack Grealish has hit back at claims that he didn’t want to take a penalty in his side’s Euro 2020 final loss to Italy on Sunday.

The final finished 1-1 and went to penalties, where Harry Kane, Harry Maguire, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka stepped up to take the spot kicks, with the latter three missing theirs to hand the title to Italy.

Grealish, who was brought on as a substitute, hit back at comments from former Manchester United and Ireland player Roy Keane that he should have taken a penalty.

“I said I wanted to take one,” Grealish posted on Twitter on Monday. “The gaffer [Gareth Southgate] has made so many right decisions through this tournament and he did tonight!

“But I won’t have people say that I didn’t want to take a [penalty] when I said I will.”

Keane said teenager Saka should not have been given the task of taking England’s crucial fifth penalty.

Saka, 19, had to score to send the shootout to sudden death, but his kick was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma. The Italian goalkeeper had also saved from Sancho after Rashford had hit the post.

Keane said more experienced players should have stepped up and taken the responsibility.

“If you’re [Raheem] Sterling or Grealish, you cannot sit there and have a young kid [Saka] go up for a penalty ahead of you,” he told ITV.

“They have a lot more experience, Sterling has won trophies, they had to get in front of the young kid and stand up.”

Roma manager Jose Mourinho echoed Keane’s comments.

“For Saka to have the destiny of a country on his shoulders, I think it is too much for a kid to have everything on his shoulders in this moment,” Mourinho told talkSPORT.

“But I do not know if I have to ask that question to Gareth or not. Because many times what happens is that players who should be there, they are not there. Players who should be there, they run away from responsibility.”

Former England defender Gary Neville said the decision on who was taking the penalties would have been made well before Sunday’s final.

“They would have worked out over the last few weeks in camp, done sessions on it, looked at who’s scoring the most and got the best record,” he said. “It would be scientific, it would be data-led.”

Former England defender Rio Ferdinand said no one could “blame and point the finger” toward the players who missed the penalties, while Alan Shearer said players should be praised for stepping up.

“For the youngsters to say, ‘Yes, I’ll go on and take a penalty’ … you have to give them credit for that,” former England skipper Shearer told the BBC. “But it will be tough for them now. Hopefully, they will get over it.”

football Slides Sports News


Jose Mourinho has criticised Gareth Southgate’s decision to have Bukayo Saka taking England’s fifth penalty in the Euro 2020 final shoot-out.

The 19-year-old Arsenal forward’s penalty was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma to hand Italy victory in the Wembley final and Mourinho felt more experienced England players should have been taking a spot-kick.

The Roma manager told talkSPORT: “The decision of the penalty takers, I think it is hard to leave Saka as the last one. I think it is hard for a kid to have everything on his shoulders at that moment. I just feel very sorry for him.

“In this situation where was (Raheeem) Sterling, where was (John) Stones, where was (Luke) Shaw?

“I feel that Gareth is such an honest guy. Such a protective coach of his players. I don’t think he would ever say players were not ready (to take a penalty).”

Former England full-back Stuart Pearce disagreed with Mourinho and defended Southgate’s choice of penalty takers.

“When we won the last two penalty shoot-outs before last night nobody was complaining about the process in picking the players to take them,” Pearce told talkSPORT.

“Jadon (Sancho), Marcus (Rashford) and Bukayo look like strong characters. These three boys will spring back. Our profession is tough at times but you have got to be resilient.”

Despite the heartbreak of losing the Euro 2020 final on penalties, Mourinho believes England can take confidence into next year’s World Cup in Qatar.

“I believe that if you look forward and you know that you have a World Cup coming very soon there are only reasons to be optimistic. Move to the future with great hope. A lot of these players can be even better for the experience.

“I think people have to start looking at the England national side with different eyes and, for the next World Cup, England will be a strong contender.

“But at the same time I can imagine the frustration and sadness because it was closer than ever. To lose a final at home is very, very hard.

“I think it is a missed opportunity. When you get to a final, anything less than a win is not good. When you lose a final I don’t think you ever forget that. It stays with you forever. I don’t know when they are going to sleep properly because it is hard.

“But the reality is that they did very well. They have a very young team. Gareth and Steve (Holland) together are doing a great job.”

Pearce agreed that England have much to be positive about after reaching their first major tournament final since 1966.

“We’ve gone all the way to the last game. In the end we’ve ended up being beaten by the best side in the tournament,” he said.

“I think the players knew they were so close. The only emotion I have is pride in what they have achieved. They have given the nation a massive lift. I think it is a fantastic achievement. A major step forward. We’ve beaten a decent Czech side, Croatia and the Germans on the way to the final.

“Next year I am looking at the squad of players and thinking that for a lot of players in there this experience will have done them good. Next year we can have a real tilt at the World Cup.”

Mourinho had a difficult relationship with Shaw during his spell as Manchester United manager but admitted that the full-back had enjoyed an impressive tournament.

“Because people feel I don’t like Luke Shaw I have to say amazing tournament, fantastic final, no mistakes,” he said. “For him and his career, very good Luke Shaw.”

football Slides Sports News


Gareth Southgate said he is to blame for England’s penalty failure in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final rather than the three players who missed in the shootout.

Italy won 3-2 on spot kicks at the end of a nerve-shredding night at Wembley that finished 1-1 after extra time. Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were all unable to convert their penalties as England’s 55-year wait for an international trophy goes on.

Southgate claimed he followed the same process that yielded shootout success against Colombia at the 2018 World Cup and in UEFA’s inaugural Nations League a year later, and he shouldered the burden of England’s seventh tournament exit on penalties, 25 years after missing as a player against Germany in the Euro ’96 semifinal.

“What they have to know is none of them are on their own,” the 50-year-old England boss said. “We win and lose as a team, and the penalty takers are my call. We’ve worked on them in training; that’s my decision. That’s not down to the players.

“Tonight, it hasn’t gone for us, but we know they were the best takers we had left on the pitch. We tried to get those players onto the pitch. We’d already had to take a couple off during the game itself. So, yeah, of course it is going to be heartbreaking for the boys, but they are not to blame for that; that’s my call as a coach.”

“That’s a process we’ve been through,” Southgate continued. “We’ve tracked what they’ve done with their clubs over a long period of time and then what they’ve shown in training, as well. That’s the process that worked for us in Russia and in the Nations League. Tonight, it hasn’t quite worked.”

Southgate revealed that Prince William visited the dressing room at the final whistle to praise the 26-man squad for their achievement this summer, reaching a first tournament final since 1966 and capturing the imagination of the country, with more than half the population expected to have watched the final on television in addition to the 65,000-strong crowd.

“At the moment, the players are understandably really quiet,” Southgate said. “The Duke [of Cambridge] has just been down to see them in the dressing room and has rightly thanked them for what they’ve done and being fulsome in his praise.

“I said we could have no recriminations. They’ve got to walk away from here with their heads held high. They’ve done more than any other team in the last 50 or so years. In terms of the players, they should be incredibly proud of what they’ve done. Those opportunities in your life are incredibly rare.”

“But credit to Italy; they’ve been outstanding during the whole tournament,” the manager added. “The way they used the ball tonight was a little bit better than us. I think they were strong enough in defence to stop us creating anything consistently on their goal.”

football Slides Sports News


Cristiano Ronaldo won the Golden Boot at Euro 2020 on Sunday, to continue a tournament of records for the Portugal captain.

His Golden Boot was made official after Italy beat England in a penalty shootout to win the Euro on Sunday night at Wembley.

Ronaldo, 36, ended on five goals for Portugal, the same number as Czech Republic striker Patrik Schick, with Ronaldo’s one assist at the tournament enough to crown him the Golden Boot winner due to the criteria by which UEFA ranks the contenders. UEFA uses assists as a tiebreaker, then fewest minutes played and then, finally, goals scored in qualifying if necessary to declare an outright winner.

In addition to ending as the tournament’s leading scorer, the Juventus forward claimed a string of other records. He netted twice in Portugal’s 3-0 win over Hungary to become the all-time men’s leading scorer at the European Championship, as he surpassed Michel Platini’s 11 with France before he eventually ended on 14 goals in total.

Three of Ronaldo’s five goals came from the penalty spot. His two late spot kicks put the gloss on Portugal’s opening win against Hungary, before another two sealed a 2-2 draw with France that ensured the defending champions progressed to the knockout phase. Between those was a stunning effort in the 4-2 loss against Germany in which he sprinted the length of the pitch to round off a rapid counter-attack.

Ronaldo also featured in a record fifth European Championship — no other man has managed more — while also tying the men’s record for most international goals, on 109 with Iran’s Ali Daei.

Portugal, who won Euro 2016 in France, saw their trophy defence end in the round-of-16 stage following a 1-0 defeat to Belgium.

Meanwhile, the tournament finished with 11 own goals, which meant Euro 2020 easily surpassed the total number of own goals scored at every other European Championship combined, with just nine own goals scored across the 15 previous tournaments.

football Slides Sports News


Italy claimed a first European Championship since 1968 after goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma saved twice in a dramatic 3-2 penalty shootout victory in the Euro 2020 final against England at Wembley on Sunday.

After a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes, Donnarumma saved from Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka — Marcus Rashford also missed by hitting a post with his spot-kick — to give Roberto Mancini’s team glory in London.

Andrea Belotti and Jorginho both saw their penalties saved by England’s Jordan Pickford, but Donnarumma’s stop from Saka decided the game to hand Italy the title.

“The guys were extraordinary. I don’t have words for them, this is a magnificent group. There were no easy games and this one became very difficult, but then we dominated,” Italy boss Mancini said.

“You need a bit of luck with penalties and I’m a little sorry for England. This team has grown so much, I think it can still improve. We are so happy for all.”

England had taken the lead inside two minutes when Luke Shaw, on the eve of his 26th birthday, scored the quickest-ever European Championship final goal after one minute and 57 seconds.

But Italy, unbeaten in 33 games ahead of this final, took the game to extra-time when Leonardo Bonucci equalised on 67 minutes.

Having been outplayed early in the game, Italy grew in strength with coach Roberto Mancini making greater use of his substitutions than his England counterpart Gareth Southgate, who sprung a tactical surprise before the game.

Southgate made one change to his starting team from the semifinal win against Denmark by selecting Atletico Madrid full-back Kieran Trippier ahead of Arsenal’s Saka, enabling his side to play with a three-man defence.

That tactical switch allowed Shaw and Trippier to play as advanced wing-backs and the plan paid dividends inside the opening two minutes when Shaw opened the scoring with his first international goal.

The Manchester United defender started the move in his own half by passing to Harry Kane before sprinting towards the Italy penalty area. Kane, meanwhile, moved the ball to Trippier on the right flank and the former Tottenham full-back delayed his cross long enough for Shaw to arrive at the far post and score with a half-volley past goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

England maintained their impressive start, with Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips controlling the midfield for Southgate’s team, but Italy grew into the game in the closing stages of the first-half.

Although chances were limited, Federico Chiesa went close with a low left-foot shot from 20 yards which flew narrowly wide of the England post shortly before half-time.

Chiesa’s near miss proved a warning of what was to come in the second-half, with Italy dominating the game and creating a number of chances before Bonucci levelled the scores halfway through the second-half.

Lorenzo Insigne sent a 20-yard free kick wide on 50 minutes before England keeper Pickford was forced to dive low to his left to deny Chiesa after a mazy run and shot by the Juventus forward.

Italy’s dominance was rewarded, though, when Bonucci scrambled home from close range after England had failed to clear a corner. Bonucci struck from the rebound after Pickford had pushed Marco Verratti’s header onto the post.

Southgate attempted to stem the tide for England by replacing Trippier and Rice with Saka and Jordan Henderson, but Italy continued to dictate the play and remained the team in control for the remainder of the 90 minutes and opening period of extra-time.

Aside from a 30-yard Federico Bernardeschi free kick on 117 minutes, which was spilled by Pickford, clear chances were limited as the game drifted towards the end of extra-time and penalties.

Kane was devastated to have come so close, only to come up short in front of the home fans.

“We got off to the perfect start, maybe dropped a little bit too deep. When you score that early it’s easy to try to soak up the pressure and try to hold on to that, and that’s probably what happened,” Kane said.

“They had a lot of the ball, they had a lot of possession, but to be fair we looked fairly in control, they didn’t create too many chances, and then obviously they got their breakthrough.”

Kane was quick to commiserate with Rashford, Sancho and Saka, all of whom missed in the shootout.

He said: “You’ve got to hold your heads up high. A fantastic tournament and these things can happen, a penalty shootout, you go through your process and you put it where you want to put it, but anyone can miss a penalty — we win together and we lose together.”

England were playing in a first major final in 55 years since winning the 1966 World Cup. This was their latest heartache in shootouts at major tournaments, after defeats in 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006 and 2012.