England have left "no doubt" in their reasoning for taking the knee and fans booing the team should "reflect on the message [they] are sending", the Football Association (FA) said on the eve of their Euro 2020 opener.

The Three Lions face Croatia at Wembley on Sunday, but it is anticipated that their pre-match anti-racism demonstration will again be met with opposition.

During pre-tournament friendlies against Austria and Romania in Middlesbrough, England took the knee and were booed by sections of their own supporters.

Opponents to the act have suggested it has links to political organisations, although Gareth Southgate and his team have repeatedly made clear their reasons for taking the knee.

It was a point the FA emphasised again as it prepared for the start of the campaign.

In a social media post, the FA said: "Tomorrow, our England senior men's team will begin their Euro 2020 campaign at our home, Wembley Stadium.

"Major tournaments don't come around often and, when they do, it's an opportunity to unite friends, families and the country. This collective support is what spurs our team on during challenging moments, and it gives them the best chance of succeeding.

"As the team has reiterated many times, they will collectively take the knee ahead of their fixtures during the tournament. They are doing this as a mechanism of peacefully protesting against discrimination, injustice and inequality. This is personally important to the players and the values the team collectively represents.

"This gesture of unity and fighting against inequality can be traced back as far as the 18th century. It is not new, and English football has made it very clear that it does not view this as being aligned to a political organisation or ideology. There can be no doubt as to why the players are taking the knee and what it represents in a footballing context.

"We encourage those that oppose this action to reflect on the message you are sending to the players you are supporting.

"Please respect their wishes and remember that we should all be united in the fight to tackle discrimination. Together.

"They will do their best for you. Please do your best for them."

England collapsed to 122-9 in their second innings against New Zealand at Edgbaston in the second Test – a paltry advantage of 37 that leaves Joe Root's side on the verge of a 1-0 series defeat.

Beginning their second innings 85 runs in arrears after dismissing New Zealand for 388, the hosts lost Rory Burns for nought to the second ball of the innings – the opener reaching for a Matt Henry delivery and edging to stand-in captain Tom Latham at second slip.

Henry (3-36) got one to nip back at Dom Sibley (8), who could only squirt the ball to Daryl Mitchell in the cordon, and it was 30-3 when the seamer trapped the off-colour Zak Crawley lbw for 17.

Crawley reviewed more in hope than expectation, much like Ollie Pope, whose breezy 23 off 20 balls ended when all-action left arm paceman Neil Wagner brought one back in to the right hander.

Like Burns, Dan Lawrence followed passing 80 in the first innings with a second-ball duck, Wagner (3-18) having him caught behind before Ajaz Patel again exposed the folly of England failing to pick a specialist spinner.

Patel bowled James Bracey (8) sweeping and when Root edged to keeper Tom Blundell when trying to cut the slow left-armer – concluding a painstaking 11 from 61 deliveries – the game was emphatically up for his side.

That brought Mark Wood and Olly Stone together with the score on 76-7, something of an unfair predicament for the two fast bowlers, who worked tirelessly on a fairly benign surface to briefly bring their team back into the contest.

New Zealand had progressed to 290-3, within 13 of England's first-innings total, when Stone (2-92) had Ross Taylor caught behind for 80, with Henry Nicholls (21) falling in similar fashion to Wood (2-85).

Stuart Broad (4-48) had Blundell caught by Root at slip for 34 and got Patel lbw for 20 on review to finish as the pick of the England attack.

By stumps he had been and gone with the bat, bowled by Trent Boult for one after Wagner ended Wood's fun on 29, leaving Stone (15 not out) with only last man James Anderson for company.

Raheem Sterling has been awarded an MBE for his services to racial equality in sport, with England team-mate Jordan Henderson similarly recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Manchester City winger has campaigned consistently against racism in football, most notably since a social media post in December 2018 after he was abused during a match at Chelsea.

Sterling highlighted the contrast in certain aspects of media coverage given to black and white footballers and was widely praised for making his feelings public.

He has since leant his weight to initiatives such as the United Nations #FightRacism campaign, along with launching his own charitable foundation.

“Receiving this honour is a fantastic feeling and a proud moment - not just for myself but for my family and friends," the 26-year-old said.

"I am grateful to have been recognised but my priority is to try to help to educate society and myself. If it doesn’t start from within, then there’s no way you can help others. I’m learning every day.

"My motivation for racial equality is to get people to understand the difficulties people from diverse backgrounds face and create an environment where everybody is equal."

The issue of protest in favour of racial equality has dominated the build-up to England's Euro 2020 campaign, with a section of home supporters booing their team for taking a knee in solidarity before kick-off.

Premier League teams have made the gesture - one synonymous with campaigns for racial justice going back to the days of Martin Luther King and, more recently, the Black Lives Matter movement - before all games since last year's coronavirus shutdown, with Sterling a vocal early supporter.

"I feel we are starting to make a step in the right direction, but we still have a lot of work to do. There are still a lot of things we can get better at as a society, such as social media with people taking more accountability," Sterling said.

"I think that is a major factor in achieving the ultimate goal of racial equality. We also need to support young people and give them opportunities to show what they are capable of achieving.

"I’ve launched a foundation for underprivileged kids from deprived backgrounds. It’s something that I’m really excited to work on because I can relate to it and I will give 100 per cent.

"If I can help to change one or two lives then I’ve done a massive thing there. If you want to make change then it has to start from yourself."

Liverpool captain Henderson was given an MBE for his services to football, having followed up 2018-19 Champions League success with the Premier League title in 2019-20, along with his charitable efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Henderson was a leading figure in captains from Premier League clubs establishing the #PlayersTogether initiative to support NHS Charities Together.

"There are many privileges that come from playing professional football, but having a platform to promote a charitable cause such as #PlayersTogether and NHS Charities Together is as big a privilege as any," Henderson said.

"It's important for me to state that although the honour has been issued to me personally, the credit must be shared to a far larger group of people and I accept this in the knowledge I was part of something special, rather than the reason for it.

"The other Premier League captains were the catalyst and the rest of the players, including my own teammates at Liverpool, were a driving force behind the scenes. Huge numbers of football fans, from across the country, also displayed great generosity in donating.

"But the true heroes are the NHS staff; they put themselves in harm’s way to serve and protect us. Therefore I dedicate this to all the nurses, doctors, carers, porters, admin workers, cleaners, security personnel and every single individual who devotes their career and their lives to making the NHS the part of British life we are rightly most proud of as a nation."

Scotland will join England in taking the knee when the great rivals meet at Euro 2020, as head coach Steve Clarke vowed to fight racism and tackle "ignorance".

England's players have been going down on one knee before games as a protest against racism, while Scotland have since March stood together as a group to make their own united statement.

They intend to carry on in that way but will make an exception for the England game at Wembley on June 18, having been disappointed by reactions to their own method of facing down discrimination.

A frustrated Clarke said that "some individuals and groups have sought to politicise or misrepresent the Scotland national team position".

He reiterated his squad's view that "the purpose of taking the knee ... has been diluted and undermined by the continuation of abuse towards players", but Clarke does not want Scotland's actions to be interpreted as anything but being vigorously opposed to discrimination.

The one-off policy shift is a statement of Scotland's solidarity with their English counterparts, who have faced booing from supporters of the national team after taking the knee.

"In light of divisive and inaccurate comments being perpetuated by individuals and groups, whose views we denounce in the strongest terms, we have reflected today as a group," Clarke said.

"We remain committed to our principles of taking a stand but we must also be unequivocal in condemning the opportunistic false narrative being presented by some.

"We have therefore agreed that we will show solidarity with our counterparts in England, many of whom are team-mates of our own players, and who have found themselves on the receiving end of abuse from fans in recent international matches.

"We will continue to take a stand – together, as one – for our matches at Hampden Park. For our match at Wembley, we will stand against racism and kneel against ignorance."

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon backed the move, writing on Twitter: "Good decision, Scotland – well done!"

Scotland begin their Euro 2020 campaign – their first major finals since the 1998 World Cup – with a Hampden clash against the Czech Republic on Monday.

Andy Robertson, the Scotland captain and Liverpool left-back, backed the decision to take the knee before the highly anticipated Wembley game.

Robertson said: "Our stance is that everyone, players, fans, teams, clubs, federations, governing bodies and governments must do more. Meaningful action is needed if meaningful change is to occur.

"But it is also clear, given the events around the England national team, taking the knee in this tournament matters as a symbol of solidarity.

"For this reason, we have collectively decided to again take the knee as a team for the fixture against England at Wembley Stadium.

"The Scotland team stands against racism but we will kneel against ignorance and in solidarity on June 18th."

Jose Mourinho does not think Manchester United duo Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw should be in England's starting XI to begin Euro 2020.

The former United boss has been involved in media controversies around both players in the past.

Mourinho feels Chelsea defender Ben Chilwell is a better option than Shaw at left-back for England, who open their campaign against Croatia at Wembley on Sunday in a World Cup semi-final rematch.

That is despite Shaw having a fantastic season for United, which saw him recently named the Players' Player of the Year at the club.

"I wouldn't think twice, I'd go with Chilwell," Mourinho told talkSPORT.

"I know that he plays normally with Chelsea in a five, but he is intelligent, he covers the space and the diagonals inside very well, he's dangerous in attack, he's good in the air and good on set pieces.

"He can defend well the possible long build up from Croatia on the first phase. He is very calm under pressure. I like Chilwell a lot.

"[Shaw] had a good season and clearly an evolution in terms of emotion, professionalism. But Chilwell has something more, especially with the ball, the way he thinks." 

The new Roma boss also feels Rashford's only positional option is to play on the left of attack, where he would prefer to line up with Aston Villa star Jack Grealish.

Mourinho believes Grealish is an "untouchable" selection and compared his play to that of Real Madrid great Luis Figo.

United target Jadon Sancho was not in Mourinho's team, which does include Manchester City star Phil Foden and Harry Kane, who thrived under his management at Tottenham.

Rashford scored against Romania in the 1-0 friendly win last week but Mourinho said: "Harry Kane is untouchable, Jack Grealish is untouchable and the best position for Grealish is coming in from the left.

"For me, Marcus Rashford can only play there. When he plays on the right, he is completely lost.

"He is dynamic but on the right totally broken. He is very good on the left attacking spaces. But Grealish, for me, is tremendous.

"What he creates and his personality – 'give me the ball' – he reminds me a little bit of Luis Figo.

"I don't like making comparisons, especially with a Golden Ball winner, but Grealish reminds me of my Figo.

"Figo, I had him in different periods in my career but I had him in his last season as a player at Inter Milan and even in his last season he was like, 'Give me the ball and I will resolve the problems for you'.

"The way Grealish gets the ball and attacks people, gets fouls, gets penalties, he is very powerful, I like him very much.

"So I would say Grealish on the left, Mason Mount as the number 10 and because I like the wingers to come inside, I would play Phil Foden on the right."

One United player who would be in Mourinho's starting team, though, is goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who he would start over Jordan Pickford.

"I am a Henderson fan," said Mourinho. "When I was at United he was a kid, and I tell this story because it shows his nature.

"He came to my office asking for a loan, he went to Shrewsbury, but this kid said to me then, 'When I come back, I want to be number one'.

"We looked at each other because we had [David] de Gea and this kid never played one game, but he has had incredible development.

"The loans were all very successful. The way United organised them I think United did amazing for him and he did amazing for himself.

"He has this arrogance in him, this trust and belief which I think an England goalkeeper needs."

Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips were Mourinho's two central midfielders.

Mourinho, though, would like to see Jude Bellingham play alongside Rice as the tournament progresses, describing the Borussia Dortmund prospect as "perfect" for such a role.

Kyle Walker, Tyrone Mings and John Stones made up the rest of his back four alongisde Chilwell.

England, who are in Group D, also face Scotland on June 18 and the Czech Republic on June 22.

Jadon Sancho vowed he would not let his attention wander during England's Euro 2020 campaign as Manchester United target the Borussia Dortmund winger.

The 21-year-old cemented his status as one of Europe's most promising young players with another fine season at Dortmund in the season just ended.

He provided eight goals and 11 assists in 26 Bundesliga games, and was the division's fifth most successful chance creator, carving out 67 opportunities - remarkable numbers for a player still aged just 21.

That has led to United, who failed in their attempts to sign Sancho in the summer of 2020, reportedly reigniting their interest. The BBC said United had failed with a £67million bid and may consider going back with a further offer.

With Dortmund reported to have lowered their asking price to around £80million, expectations have grown that a deal will be struck.

However, Sancho is paying the transfer talk little attention as he prepares to feature for his country at the European Championship.

"I'm cool about it," Sancho told talkSPORT. "There's always going to be speculation, especially when you do well.

"It's just how you handle that on the pitch. You've got to keep doing what you're doing; if you keep on doing that, then I'm sure that won't be a problem.

"The main thing is my football and that's what I'm focusing on at the moment."

United appear to be the clear frontrunners for Sancho, who left their local rivals Manchester City four years ago in search of first-team opportunities in Germany.

But, when asked which players he had admired growing up, Sancho revealed his childhood affiliation was actually with a different Premier League club entirely.

"I was a Chelsea fan growing up, I can't lie!" Sancho said. "Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard were my favourite players at the time."

As well as leaving a big mark on the Bundesliga last term, Sancho also top-scored in the DFB-Pokal with six goals to help Dortmund lift the trophy.

His two-goal showing in a 4-1 victory over RB Leipzig in the final came shortly after a near two-month lay-off that was caused by a muscle injury.

Dortmund soared up the Bundesliga with Sancho back in action, finishing third after at one point looking set to miss the Champions League places.

Sancho was understandably delighted to finish the season on such a high on both a personal and collective level ahead of a big summer.

He said: "I came back even stronger, getting us through. I think we were about sixth or seventh in the league and we needed to make Champions League qualification.

"So we had targets, especially to win the Pokal, I'm happy that I came back and lifted the team with some motivation and some goals and assists."

Rory Burns and Dan Lawrence provided England with a platform as an enthralling opening day of the second Test against New Zealand ended evenly poised.

Fresh from a century in the drab opening draw at Lord's, Burns made 81 in front of 18,000 raucous fans at Edgbaston who were treated to a fascinating 90 overs.

Lawrence then reached the close unbeaten on 67 after the Black Caps fought back in the afternoon session having struggled for inroads in the morning, with England closing on 258-7.

On a day when it was confirmed James Anderson – England's all-time leading wicket taker – would become the team's most-capped player with 162 appearances, the hosts made sedate progress in the opening session.

Alongside Dom Sibley (35), Burns helped England reach 67-0 by lunch, but the loss of three wickets for the addition of only 13 runs threatened to see things unravel.

Sibley was the first to fall with a feather behind off the brilliant Matt Henry (2-66), before the badly out of form Zak Crawley lasted only four balls when he slashed one off Neil Wagner (1-62) to third slip.

Captain Joe Root fell cheaply, chopping behind off Henry, as all the while Burns provided a steadying hand, bringing up a half-century in 141 balls and putting on 42 with Ollie Pope (19), who was dismissed when playing a poor shot off the left-arm spin of Ajaz Patel.

Trent Boult, back in the New Zealand side having spent time with family following the suspended IPL season, convinced Burns to go for the drive that picked out stand-in captain Tom Latham at second slip, and the same man sent James Bracey back for a golden duck.

But Lawrence gave England much-needed resistance, making a brisk half-century off just 75 balls – putting on a valuable 47 with Olly Stone (20) and seeing out the day with Mark Wood (16 not out).


CRAWLEY FALTERS AGAIN 

There was something all too familiar about the way England's batting order threatened to unravel, with the luckless Crawley emblematic of the tale of woe.

Since making 267 against Pakistan last August, he has recorded nine single-digit scores in the following 11 Test innings. He was far from the only culprit, but Crawley needs a score from somewhere.

HENRY TURNS THE TIDE

Root will have been delighted with the way England saw out the opening session with the minimum of fuss, but not so enthralled by a New Zealand comeback led by Henry.

Spells of devastating pace and swing had England rocking and had it not been for Burns and Lawrence giving the hosts some backbone, the tourists would have been in command. As it is, the hosts have 300 in their sights and the likes of Anderson, Stuart Broad and Mark Wood will have plenty to take encouragement from when they get the ball in their hands.

Harry Maguire was back in team training with England on Thursday ahead of their Euro 2020 opener against Croatia at the weekend.

All 26 members of Gareth Southgate's squad took part in the session at St George's Park as preparations for Sunday's game at Wembley continued.

Maguire has not played since May 9, when he damaged ankle ligaments during Manchester United's 3-1 Premier League win away to Aston Villa.

The centre-back missed United's final four league games of the season, in which they lost at home to Leicester City and Liverpool, drew with Fulham and won at Wolves.

He also sat out the Europa League final against Villarreal, which the LaLiga side won on penalties following a 0-0 draw in Gdansk.

Speaking last week, Southgate said it would be "tight" for Maguire to be considered fully fit for the match against Croatia after he also missed England's warm-up friendlies with Austria and Romania.

However, the Three Lions boss insisted it was right to include the former Leicester defender in the group, saying: "I think he's such a good player and we had the additional size of squad, the fact that that leadership which is growing in him all the time, we wanted to take that opportunity to bring him into the squad."

England, who are in Group D, also face Scotland on June 18 and the Czech Republic on June 22.

 

James Anderson's incredible career will reach a new high when he becomes England's most-capped Test player at Edgbaston on Thursday.

The indefatigable seamer will surpass his former team-mate and close friend Alastair Cook's tally of 161 appearances in the longest format when he faces New Zealand in the second and decisive final Test of the series.

Anderson, who turns 39 next month and is seventh on the list of most capped players from any country, will break the record 18 years after making his Test debut against Zimbabwe at Lord's.

Stats Perform looks at some of the astonishing numbers the evergreen Lancastrian has racked up, including a staggering 30 five-wicket hauls and at least 10 wickets in a match on three occasions.

Record-breaking seamer closing in on Kumble

Anderson surpassed the record held by Australia great Glenn McGrath for the most wickets taken by a Test seamer when he dismissed India's Mohammed Shami in 2018.

McGrath claimed 563 scalps in an outstanding career but Anderson's haul now stands at 616.

England's record Test wicket-taker is only three wickets shy of matching Anil Kumble's total and will go third on the all-time list when he betters the former India spinner's haul.

 

A menace against India

Anderson's ability to generate deadly swing and seam has caused many India batsmen problems over the years.

He has taken more Test wickets against India than any other side, with 118 from 30 matches at an average of 25.29 - including four five-wicket hauls.

Fierce rivals Australia are next on the list of teams Anderson has taken the most wickets against, with 104 in 32 Ashes contests at 34.56 apiece.

 

Lethal at Lord's

Anderson announced himself on the Test stage by taking 5-73 on debut at Lord's in Zimbabwe's first innings back in May 2003.

He has thrived on playing at the Home of Cricket, taking 105 wickets in 24 Tests at the world-famous London ground at an average of 24.64

Only Sri Lanka legend Muttiah Muralitharan has claimed more on a single venue, doing so at Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo (166), Asgiriya Stadium, Kandy (117) and Galle International Stadium (111).

 

Living on the edge

Anderson has had more batsmen caught behind than any bowler in Test history.

As many as 168 of Anderson's dismissals have been taken by the wicketkeeper, which is 27.27 per cent of his wickets.

McGrath is next on the list with 152, while team-mate Stuart Broad has got batsmen to nick off on 124 occasions.
 

Record a batsman would be proud of

Anderson is certainly not known for his ability with the bat, despite being dubbed 'The Burnley Lara'.

Yet he went 54 Tests innings before being out for a duck, finally departing without troubling with scorers against Australia in August 2009.

AB de Villiers (78), Aravinda de Silva (75), Clive Lloyd and Ross Taylor (both 58) are the only men to have had more knocks without departing for nought.

Predicting the winner of a major international tournament is a natural part of being a football fan, even if it can sometimes be something of a fool's errand – as proven by Greece and Denmark.

But considering how integral statistics are to football these days, using data could potentially give you the edge, and that's where Stats Perform comes in.

Our Artificial Intelligence team have used Opta's extensive data reserves to quantify each team's chances of winning the entire tournament.

Every match has been run through the Stats Perform Euros Prediction model to calculate the estimated probability of the outcome (win, draw or loss). This uses odds from betting markets and Stats Perform team rankings, which are based on historical and recent performances.

It takes into consideration the strength of each team's opponents as well as the difficulty of their respective paths to the final, plus the make-up of the groups and any relevant seedings heading into the knockouts.

Then, the rest of the tournament is simulated 40,000 times and analysed, providing the AI team with a percentage for each nation, showing the probability of them ultimately lifting the trophy at Wembley on July 11.

Without any further ado, let's check out the results, some of which may come as something of a surprise…

MOST-LIKELY WINNERS: France (20.5 per cent)

Well, this one probably isn't much of a shock. Anyone who has looked through the squad at Didier Deschamps' disposal has likely come to the conclusion that Les Bleus will have to implode a la the 2010 World Cup if they're to be beaten.

Most of the key players from their 2018 World Cup-winning squad are present, and now they can call upon the services of Karim Benzema again, which is no small thing.

 

Our model also gives France a 46.8 per cent chance of finish top of the so-called 'Group of Death', which also includes defending champions Portugal and a Germany side desperate for redemption after World Cup humiliation in Russia.

If France are successful, Deschamps will become the first man in history to win the World Cup and Euros as both a player and manager.

2. Belgium (15.7 per cent)

Could this be the last-chance saloon for Belgium's 'Golden Generation'? Our predictor model certainly suggests they're still in with a great chance of winning the title, with their 15.7 per cent the second highest.

They have the joint-oldest squad at the tournament (29.2 years) along with Sweden, so while they're certainly not a young team, several of their best players are right at the peak of their powers, with Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku coming into the tournament arguably in the form of their lives.

 

They looked sharp in qualifying – for what it's worth – with a 100 per cent win record and a 40-goal haul that wasn't matched by any other team, while they will be strong favourites to win their group ahead of Russia, Denmark and Finland.

3. Spain (11.3 per cent)

Now, one thing our model cannot take into consideration is a coronavirus outbreak. La Roja had to field their Under-21s for the senior side's final pre-Euros warm-up game against Lithuania – while it means nothing for their chances at the tournament, they did ease to a 4-0 win.

It remains to be seen if there are any further consequences of Sergio Busquets and Diego Llorente testing positive for COVID-19, but if we assume Luis Enrique is able to rely on a squad that's more or less the selection he initially picked, they will at least be strong options to reach the latter stages.

Although perhaps not blessed with the kind of 'superstar' talent they've had at other tournaments over the past 15 years or so, they do have a highly regarded coach and beat Germany 6-0 as recently as November. Nevertheless, their disrupted build-up to the tournament could be telling when their campaign starts.

4. Germany (9.8 per cent)

Joachim Low's going to have to upset the odds if he is to enjoy one last hurrah with Die Mannschaft. The World Cup-winner coach is stepping down a year early after the Euros, with Hansi Flick set to take over.

Having the likes of Thomas Muller back in the squad after a stunning couple of seasons with Bayern Munich will surely improve their chances – though our model doesn't take player data into account.

 

The predictor will see that Germany have failed to beat Denmark and North Macedonia in two of their three most recent games, while they also have a particularly hard group.

5. Portugal (9.6 per cent)

The other major footballing power from the 'Group of Death' – our predictor suggests Portugal are the least likely of themselves, France and Germany to win Euro 2020.

Nevertheless, La Selecao will surely feel good about themselves heading into the competition. Their squad is arguably significantly better than the one that won Euro 2016, while coach Fernando Santos is a shrewd operator.

They also have this chap up front called Cristiano Ronaldo, who is one away from setting a new record for the most goals (10) in European Championship history.

THE REST OF THE FIELD

According to our predictor, a resurgent Italy and Netherlands are the next most likely to win the tournament, which would represent a rather good turnaround from missing out on the 2018 World Cup – in fact, the Oranje weren't at Euro 2016 either.

At this point there are probably many of you pondering – assuming you've not just scrolled straight down to the list – about England's chances.

Well, the Three Lions' ranking here is a prime example of how a good draw can really pay. While they should – in theory, at least – have more than enough firepower to get out of a group that also contains Croatia, neighbours Scotland and Czech Republic, their route to the final would almost certainly see them come up against one – or more – of Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands. They're also probably not helped by the fact they've played more Euros games (31) without reaching the final than any other team.

England's 5.2 per cent chance of success sees them behind Denmark (5.4 per cent), whose path to the final would likely be a little kinder, though the caveat is that the Three Lions could potentially play the vast majority of their matches on home soil at Wembley.

Tournament debutants North Macedonia are, perhaps unsurprisingly, the least likely to win Euro 2020, with their chances rated at 0.02 per cent.

 

6. Italy (7.6 per cent)

7. Netherlands (5.9 per cent)

8. Denmark (5.4 per cent)

9. England (5.2 per cent)

10. Switzerland (2.3 per cent)

11. Sweden (1.5 per cent)

12. Croatia (1.0 per cent)

13. Russia (1.0 per cent)

14. Poland (0.8 per cent)

15. Ukraine (0.8 per cent)

16. Wales (0.6 per cent)

17. Turkey (0.4 per cent)

18. Czech Republic (0.2 per cent)

19. Austria (0.2 per cent)

20. Finland (0.1 per cent)

21. Hungary (0.1 per cent)

22. Scotland (0.1 per cent)

23. Slovakia (0.04 per cent)

24. North Macedonia (0.02 per cent)

Joe Root is hoping England's Test team respond positively amid scrutiny of their behaviour, with the ECB currently investigating several players for historic social media posts.

Ollie Robinson's Test debut at Lord's last week was marred when offensive Twitter posts by the paceman – posted in 2012 and 2013 – were highlighted.

The 27-year-old had an impressive debut on the field in the series-opening draw with New Zealand, but is now suspended while the ECB conduct an investigation.

It has subsequently been reported that posts from several England players across the Test and one-day set-ups are also being looked into.

However, Root is now hoping for a full switch of focus back to the matter at hand, which is England attempting to clinch a series win over the Black Caps at Edgbaston.

"We want to move forward in a really positive way," Root told BBC Sport.

"We've had to face up to some ugly truths this past week or so and there will be challenges moving forward.

"But the group of players we have now is very much committed to moving the game forward, to making it a better place, making it more inclusive and educating ourselves further.

"We're going to have to front up to what has happened, but ultimately we want to move forward in a really positive way, to keep going on this journey we've started of trying to better our sport.

"We will continue to do that because that's how we all feel."

A near-capacity crowd of 17,000 will be allowed at Edgbaston as coronavirus restrictions are relaxed, and Root is aiming to put on a show for the spectators, after his team received some criticism for holding out for a draw on the final day at Lord's, rather than attempt to mount a 273-run chase.

"We're all very aware we're in the entertainment business," Root, who wants to dispel any notion of his team being negative, told reporters.

"We all want to be part of those games, those special games that provide that entertainment. They're the ones that you remember.

"The ones that stick in my mind are the World Cup final, Headingley, Cape Town – the ones that go to the wire, they're the ones you remember as a player, and want to have big contributions in.

"I look at the situation we found ourselves in and I still feel we made the right decision [at Lord's]. We've turned up here with an opportunity to win the series, albeit it is not part of the Test championship, but it is a Test match and that means a hell of a lot to the players and the group.

"We're very keen to put in five days of strong cricket this week and win the series. If the opportunities arise, we'll definitely look to be aggressive.

"I don't want us to be considered a negative team who play a boring brand of cricket.

"We have some very exciting players who are capable of some wonderful passages of cricket and hopefully that will come to light this week."

England boss Gareth Southgate has hit back at suggestions he and his players should "stick to football" amid debate over their decision to take the knee before games.

The Three Lions' squad and staff have shown their support for the global movement to eradicate racism by kneeling prior to recent fixtures.

However, boos and jeers were heard from sections of the crowd when England offered up the gesture prior to European Championship warm-up games against Romania and Austria.

That backlash has prompted a debate over whether Southgate and his squad should be supporting a movement that is considered political in some quarters.

But the England manager pushed back on that idea in a stirring pre-tournament column for the Players' Tribune.

He wrote: "Our players are role models. And, beyond the confines of the pitch, we must recognise the impact they can have on society. 

"We must give them the confidence to stand up for their teammates and the things that matter to them as people.

"I have never believed that we should just stick to football.

"I know my voice carries weight, not because of who I am but because of the position that I hold. At home, I'm below the kids and the dogs in the pecking order but publicly I am the England men's football team manager. I have a responsibility to the wider community to use my voice, and so do the players.

"It's their duty to continue to interact with the public on matters such as equality, inclusivity and racial injustice, while using the power of their voices to help put debates on the table, raise awareness and educate."

The topic of abuse on social media – particularly racial abuse – has also been widely discussed in the aftermath of a recent uptick in such incidents.

Southgate admits he does not understand why his high-profile players engage with such platforms but remains certain that those who troll them are on the "losing side" of the battle.

"Social media has been a key resource in giving our players a platform and has been a positive tool in so many ways," he added.

"In fact, I feel like this generation of England players is closer to the supporters than they have been for decades. Despite the polarisation we see in society, these lads are on the same wavelength as you on many issues.

"That said, there are times when my parental instincts kick in. I can't help it. After all, I'm old enough to be a father to most of my players!

"I see players scrolling on their phones straight after the final whistle and I think … Hmmm, is that a particularly good idea? 

"Reading abusive comments on Twitter or Instagram is never going to help performance. 

"There are genuine risks for our players online and I will always want to protect them, but I would never put rules on how or when they use their accounts while on England duty. I trust them and know they are mature enough to make their own decisions, to do what's right for their mental health and to keep being a force for good as we strive for a better society.

"The last 18 months have put added pressure on everyone, I know. Venting that might have taken place while walking out of the stadium, or in the pub has been transferred online. I get that. However, there are things I will never understand.

"Why would you tag someone in on a conversation that is abusive? 

"Why would you choose to insult somebody for something as ridiculous as the colour of their skin?

"Why?

"Unfortunately for those people that engage in that kind of behaviour, I have some bad news. You're on the losing side. It's clear to me that we are heading for a much more tolerant and understanding society, and I know our lads will be a big part of that.

"It might not feel like it at times, but it's true. The awareness around inequality and the discussions on race have gone to a different level in the last 12 months alone. 

"I am confident that young kids of today will grow up baffled by old attitudes and ways of thinking."

James Anderson says Ollie Robinson has the "full support" of the England team after he was suspended from international cricket for sending historic racist and sexist tweets.

Offensive social media posts by Robinson in 2012 and 2013 came to light while he was making his Test debut against New Zealand at Lord's last week.

Robinson made a public apology following day one of a match he ended with an impressive seven wickets, also making an important 42 with the bat.

The 27-year-old will not play in the second Test at Edgbaston as he was sent back to his county, Sussex, by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and must await the verdict of a disciplinary investigation.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, said the ECB had "gone over the top" by suspending Robinson, sentiments that were later echoed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

It emerged on Monday that a second unnamed England player is under investigation for a historical racist tweet.

Anderson, poised to become England's most-capped Test player by making his 162nd appearance for his country against the Black Caps at Edgbaston this week, says Robinson has the backing of his team-mates and has learned from his mistakes.

Asked if Robinson's apology had been accepted, the seamer said: "I think it's been accepted, he stood up in front of the group and apologised.

"You could see how sincere and upset he was. I think as a group we appreciate he is a different person now. He's done a lot of maturing and growing since then and he's got the full support of the team."

Anderson said he did feel let down by Robinson, who must now wait to discover whether further action will be taken.

"I wouldn't say let down," said England's leading Test wicket-taker. "The tweets coming 10 years ago, obviously there was initial shock with the language that was used but his remorse was sincere.

"He's definitely changed as a person, he's definitely going to improve and learn from these mistakes."

Anderson revealed the ECB and the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) had put on workshops to educate players over important issues such as racism.

He said: "It's a difficult time but as players we are trying to learn from this. We realise it's important to try and get educated around these issues, which we are continuing to do with the ECB and PCA.

"We've already been doing workshops before this series to try and help improve ourselves as people, to try and make sure this sort of thing doesn't happen."

Ben White has been named as the replacement for Trent Alexander-Arnold in the England squad for Euro 2020.

The Brighton and Hove Albion defender has been added to the 26-man group after Liverpool full-back Alexander-Arnold was forced to withdraw due to a thigh injury.

White played the full match as England beat Romania 1-0 in Middlesbrough on Sunday in their final warm-up friendly ahead of the tournament.

The 23-year-old offers versatility to Gareth Southgate's squad and is said to have impressed the man in charge by being comfortable both in defence and as a holding midfielder.

James Ward-Prowse, who caught the eye against Romania, had been tipped by some to take Alexander-Arnold's place.

The inclusion of White has prompted concerns about the fitness of Harry Maguire, who continues to recover from an ankle injury and is not expected to be available for England's Group D opener against Croatia on June 13.

White played 36 times in his first full Premier League season with Brighton in 2020-21 and was named the club's player of the year by fans.

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