Tottenham have a new head coach and managing director of football, but they insist they are not looking to make a break with the club's most high-profile player – Harry Kane.

Rumours of Kane's impending exit have swirled for months, with Spurs reportedly rejecting a £100million bid from Premier League champions Manchester City last month as the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain also circle.

But former Juventus executive Fabio Paratici – now managing director of football at Tottenham – heaped praise on Kane, saying Spurs want the England captain to remain as Nuno Espirito Santo takes over in London.

"Keeping him is not just my goal, it's our goal as a club," Paratici told Sky Sports. 

"I can't wait to watch him play live, I've been really lucky in the past years because I've watched a lot of top players and strikers, like Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez, Alvaro Morata, Gonzalo Higuain, and many more which now I forgot about.

"Right now, he's one of the best strikers in the world. He's a complete player, really special. His physique is that of a real number nine, a true poacher, but he also has an incredibly refined technique. ...

"He's a team player, but he's a finisher at the same time, so really I believe he is among the top three in the world."

All of those attributes of course make Kane among the most sought-after players in the transfer market as well. 

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy made clear in an interview posted to the team's official website last month that he believes his duty is to "protect the club," which he claims were hit harder than any other Premier League club in terms of lost revenue during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Statements like that and Kane's reported desire to leave on the heels of a seventh-placed Premier League finish have made the 27-year-old a sought-after commodity even though three years remain on his deal. 

Kane was asked about his situation during a media conference at Euro 2020 and said his entire focus was on the tournament. 

Along those lines, Paratici confirmed he has not spoken with Kane since being appointed at Tottenham last month. 

"I haven't heard from him yet because I don't want to bother the players who are busy at the Euros, it doesn't seem fair to me," he said. "They're focused on their own goals with their national teams."

Denmark and England have joined Italy and Spain in the semi-finals of Euro 2020, with the Czech Republic and Ukraine sent packing following their respective defeats.

England seemed to back up pre-tournament suggestions of them being among the favourites when they dumped Germany out in the last 16, and they picked up where they left off to make light work of Ukraine.

It was a slightly trickier occasion for Denmark in Baku earlier in the day, though ultimately the efforts of Patrik Schick weren't enough for the Czechs as they failed to emulate the 2004 vintage that reached the last four.

Following the conclusion of the quarter-finals, Stats Perform looks at the key data takeaways from Saturday's action.

 

Ukraine 0-4 England: Record-breaking Three Lions ruthless in big win

The odds were stacked against Ukraine ahead of this clash in Rome, but even the most ardent England fans probably wouldn't have predicted such a comprehensive win.

England quickly had the advantage as Raheem Sterling sliced open the defence and fed Harry Kane to open the scoring with three minutes and 32 seconds played, their earliest Euros goal since 2004 (2:25).

Ukraine may have taken some encouragement from the fact England's previous record when scoring in the first four minutes of a Euros game equated to no wins from five matches, but the game was effectively put beyond them within a four minutes of the restart – Harry Maguire and Kane nodding home Luke Shaw deliveries.

 

The Manchester United full-back reached three assists for the tournament in the process, tying an England record for a single European Championship (David Beckham, Euro 2000), while Kane's second of the game means he is level with Alan Shearer on nine major-tournament goals for the Three Lions, behind only Gary Lineker (10).

Jordan Henderson then completed the scoring off the bench with his first senior goal on his 62nd appearance, the longest ever wait by a player before breaking their duck for the Three Lions.

Ukraine's inability to breach the England defence meant the Three Lions have now kept seven successive clean sheets for the first time in their history.

But most impressively of all, this was England's biggest-ever win at the Euros and largest victory in the knockouts of any major tournament.

 

Czech Republic 1-2 Denmark: Schick ties with Ronaldo but Danes seal historic semi-final

Given their run in Euro 2020 has come against the backdrop of Christian Eriksen's health emergency on matchday one, it's little wonder Denmark have seemingly become the neutrals' favourites.

They moved a step close to emulating their remarkable Euro 92 success as they edged past the Czech Republic. Their 29-year gap between Euros semi-finals is the longest ever by a single nation in the competitions.

They prevailed despite the efforts of Patrik Schick. The striker got the Czechs back into the encounter with a tidy second-half finish that made him only the fourth player to score five goals in a single major tournament for Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia, also drawing him level with Cristiano Ronaldo in the race for the golden boot.

 

Earlier, though, Denmark had enjoyed a great start as Thomas Delaney headed in Denmark's second-earliest Euros goal (4:52) to level the country's all-time record for goals (10) at a single major tournament.

That record was then broken just before the break. Kasper Dolberg became Denmark's joint-top scorer in Euros history (three) with the effort that proved decisive, though Joakim Maehle's assist got most of the attention.

His outside-of-the-boot cross took him to three goal involvements (two goals, one assist) in his past three Denmark games, more than in his other 12.

Denmark certainly didn't have it all their own way, with the Czechs' 16 shots more than they managed in any other Euro 2020 game, but Kasper Hjulmand's men held firm to secure their passage to Wembley.

 

 

Harry Maguire talked up the belief in the England camp and said his side will not settle with reaching a first European Championship semi-final in 25 years.

The Three Lions eased to a 4-0 win over Ukraine in Saturday's semi-final at the Stadio Olimpico to set up a showdown with Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday.

England lost their most recent semi-final appearance in the competition on penalties to Germany in 1996, while also losing at that stage to Croatia in the 2018 World Cup.

On the back of that extra-time disappointment at the hands of Croatia three years ago, Maguire is desperate to go one better this time around with victory against Denmark.

"It's a great feeling. Back-to-back semi-finals at a major tournament is a great achievement," Maguire, who scored the second of England's four goals, told BBC Sport. 

"I don't want to be a party pooper. We have another big game coming up. We want to go further this time than at the World Cup. 

"It is a great feeling that we are here and the way we have done it shows the progress we are making. Long may the improvement continue.

"It is hard to soak it up when you have another big game coming and you know who you are playing and when. 

"There's a great atmosphere in the dressing room, but we will wake up tomorrow and be focused again. This group are not settling for a semi-final, we want to go further."

 

Harry Kane opened the scoring for England inside the first four minutes – the Three Lions' earliest European Championship goal since Michael Owen against Portugal in 2004.

England endured a difficult period at the end of the first half after Andriy Shevchenko tweaked Ukraine's system, but Maguire scored 55 seconds into the second half to settle nerves.

Kane's second of the match four minutes later put the game out of Ukraine's reach and substitute Jordan Henderson rounded off the routine win with a fourth just after the hour.

It is only the second time England have scored four goals in a major tournament knockout game, the other instance being the 1966 World Cup final against West Germany.

"We have great belief in the dressing room," Maguire added. "The first half was tough. We got the early goal we wanted but they caused us problems with their change of shape. 

"The second goal settled us down a lot and from there we controlled the game. The third and fourth were deserved on the night. It was an impressive performance. 

"We spoke about being better on attacking set-plays. We hadn't scored one before the two tonight. It's nice to chip in with a goal but the main thing is the victory."

 

Kane's double made it three for the striker at Euro 2020 and nine in major tournaments for England, moving him level with Alan Shearer and behind only Gary Lineker (10).

The Tottenham star finished as the Golden Boot winner at the 2018 World Cup, but he is hopeful of a different outcome to that semi-final heartbreak this time around.

"What a great performance in a big game," he told BBC Sport. "We were favourites, there was a lot of pressure and a lot of expectations. The performance was top-drawer. 

"We set out a vision before the tournament of what we want to achieve. We're knocking it off step by step. The World Cup was great but we fell short, and in the Nations League.

"Now it's about getting over the line, the next step that we have got to do on Wednesday."

England have kept five clean sheets in a row from the start of the tournament, something only Italy in 1990 have previously managed at a World Cup or Euros.

But Kane is not getting too carried away ahead of facing Denmark, 2-1 winners over the Czech Republic in Friday's other quarter-final, on home soil next week.

"Another clean sheet, four goals, it was a perfect night for us," he said. "We're building on [clean sheets]. 

"We have a great unit here from front to back. It's a vital part of winning games and tournaments. The job is not done yet. There's a lot more football to play."

Harry Kane scored twice as England eased to a 4-0 victory over Ukraine at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday to set up a Euro 2020 semi-final with Denmark on home soil.

England were riding the crest of a wave after beating Germany in the last 16 and, in their first game away from Wembley this tournament, took the lead inside four minutes when Raheem Sterling played in Kane.

That was England's earliest European Championship goal since Michael Owen against Portugal in 2004 and the Three Lions added two more quickfire goals to their tally in the first five minutes of the second half through Harry Maguire and Kane.

Substitute Jordan Henderson's first international goal gave Gareth Southgate further reason to cheer as his side kept their fifth clean sheet in a row from the start of the tournament, something only Italy have previously managed at a World Cup or Euros.

Sterling and Kane scored in England's last-16 win against Germany and the pair combined for their side's early opener in Rome, the Manchester City winger threading the ball through for his team-mate to poke past Georgi Bushchan.

England had failed to win any of the previous five European Championship games in which they had scored in the opening four minutes and they were given a warning when Jordan Pickford was tested by a Roman Yaremchuk strike.

The Three Lions continued to dominate possession but their only other on-target attempt of the first half came via a powerful Declan Rice drive that was routinely dealt with by Bushchan.

Ukraine were making just their second quarter-final appearance at a major tournament and ended the opening period on top, though they found themselves further behind 55 seconds into the second half when Maguire headed home.

Luke Shaw set up that goal and also played in the cross that Kane headed through the legs of Bushchan for England's third, effectively killing off the contest with 40 minutes to play in the Italian capital.

England continued to search for goals and Henderson, just six minutes after replacing Rice, made the most of some terrible Ukraine defending to head in a fourth for Southgate's side, who had little trouble in seeing out the win.

Lionel Messi is out of contract but tipped to re-sign with Barcelona.

However, Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly not prepared to give up on prising Messi to Paris.

Messi's future could become clearer after the Copa America.

 

TOP STORY – PSG STILL DREAMING OF MESSI

Paris Saint-Germain are trying to trump Barcelona's offer to Lionel Messi, according to Diario AS.

Messi is officially a free agent following the expiration of his Barcelona contract and the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked with PSG and Manchester City.

While Messi has been tipped to re-sign at Camp Nou, PSG are reportedly refusing to give up hope on signing the Argentina superstar.

Amid uncertainty over Real Madrid and Liverpool target Kylian Mbappe, PSG have also been eyeing Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and Tottenham's Harry Kane.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS reports Manchester United are considering a swap deal involving Paul Pogba and Madrid defender Raphael Varane. The Red Devils are interested in signing Varane to bolster their defence, while Pogba has long been linked with Madrid and Juve.

Barca are stepping up their interest in Sampdoria and Denmark star Mikkel Damsgaard, claims Mundo Deportivo.

- Ajax star Dusan Tadic has emerged as a target for Milan following the departure of Hakan Calhanoglu, says Calciomercato.

Eduardo Camavinga's Rennes departure is inevitable, according to Le Parisien. The France sensation has been linked with Madrid, PSG, United, Arsenal and Bayern Munich among others.

- The Transfer Window Podcast says free agent Sergio Ramos has been offered to Chelsea. After leaving Madrid, Ramos is reportedly poised to join PSG. At Stamford Bridge, Champions League holders Chelsea are eyeing Borussia Dortmund's in-demand forward Erling Haaland.

Are Manchester United set for a busy transfer window?

After finishing runners-up to Manchester City in the Premier League and losing in the Europa League final, United are keen to strengthen.

A trio of stars are reportedly on the club's shortlist.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT THREE MORE PLAYERS

Manchester United are targeting three more signings this off-season, according to The Guardian.

United have agreed a deal to bring Jadon Sancho to Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants more.

The Red Devils are reportedly closing in on Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, though Villarreal's Pau Torres has also been linked, with Tottenham star Harry Kane and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice also on the list.

 

ROUND-UP

- Italy and Roma full-back Leonardo Spinazzola is attracting interest from Madrid following his exploits at Euro 2020, reports Calciomercato. LaLiga rivals Barcelona have also been linked.

- After agreeing to sell Sancho, Dortmund are eyeing PSV's Donyell Malen and RB Leipzig defender Marcel Halstenberg, reports Sport Bild.

Paris Saint-Germain are planning to announce the arrivals of Sergio Ramos, Inter star Achraf Hakimi and former Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma within 15 days, according to Fabrizio Romano. Ramos has agreed to sign a two-year deal in Paris.

- Antena 2 claims James Rodriguez is in talks with Serie A runners-up Milan over a move from Everton.

United are prioritising a contract extension for star Bruno Fernandes, says Romano. Fernandes has flourished since arriving from Sporting CP.

Madrid have joined Milan in the race to sign United and Portugal full-back Diogo Dalot, claims Calciomercato.

PSG have emerged as the only likely suitor for Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo after United signed Sancho, reports Calciomercato. However, a move depends on whether Kylian Mbappe leaves PSG for Madrid or Liverpool.

Nuno Espirito Santo ended Tottenham's search for a new head coach by signing a two-year contract with the Premier League club on Wednesday.

An experienced, seasoned operator in elite European football, Nuno will be realistic enough to acknowledge he was not Spurs' first choice when they sacked Jose Mourinho in April.

What number was he on chairman Daniel Levy's list? Honestly, it's hard to say.

Here, Stats Perform looks back over more than two months of approaches, talks and breakdowns before Levy finally filled his vacancy in the dugout.


April 19 – Mourinho sacked

Jose Mourinho chalked up 13 defeats in 2020-21, more than any other season in his coaching career, and Spurs had dropped a joint-highest 20 points from winning positions in the Premier League by the time Levy decided to cut his losses. It was a busy time for the Spurs chief, whose club's involvement in the ill-fated European Super League had also just been announced.

April 20 – Mason steps in

Aged just 29 and without any prior senior coaching experience, former Spurs midfielder Ryan Mason was appointed as interim boss until the end of the season. His second game in charge was the small matter of an EFL Cup final against Manchester City, where Tottenham were thoroughly outplayed in a 1-0 defeat. In the Premier League, Mason won four and lost two to seal qualification for the Europa Conference League.

May 18 – Kane transfer request

Tottenham issued a hasty statement urging focus on the end of the ongoing season after multiple reports that England captain Harry Kane had made clear his desire to leave, with Manchester City presumed to be among the frontrunners for his services.

May 21 – Nuno announced Wolves departure

After gaining promotion back to the Premier League for the 2018-19 season and performing strongly in the next two campaigns, Nuno's Wolves fell away last term and a departure by mutual consent – despite his contract being due to expire in 2023 – was confirmed. In 199 games in charge of Wolves, Nuno amassed a record of W95 D49 L55.

May 27 – Pochettino return?

Surely not? It couldn't happen… could it? Only 18 months after being axed by Levy, The Athletic reported Mauricio Pochettino was in talks over a sensational return, having failed to settle at Paris Saint-Germain. Ultimately, nothing materialised, but Pochettino was not the only elite coach in Tottenham's sights.

June 2 – Conte in talks

Concurrent with the club's eventually successful pursuit of Fabio Paratici to become sporting director, The Guardian reported Tottenham were negotiating with Antonio Conte. The former Juventus and Chelsea boss added another league title to his collection with Inter Milan in 2020-21.

June 4 – Conte off

Conte has built a reputation as a notoriously difficult man to work with and, ultimately, Spurs did not even get that far. "Generally, I like the challenges and I’ve accepted many of them during my career," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Even the top clubs I coached were never the favourites when I arrived. However, if there's something that doesn't convince me I prefer not to accept regardless of the money."

June 9 – Fonseca talks

Paulo Fonseca would be neither the last Portuguese nor Jorge Mendes client involved in this story, but he came closer than anyone before Nuno to becoming Tottenham head coach. Multiple reports suggested a two-year deal had been agreed in principle with the former Roma boss.

June 17 – Fonseca off… but Gattuso on?

A tumultuous day saw an apparently iron-clad deal with Fonseca to be nothing of the sort and Spurs purportedly turning their attentions towards Gennaro Gattuso – the famously combustible ex-Milan and Napoli coach, who backed out of an agreement to join Fiorentina on July 1 and leapt straight into an improbable Premier League soap opera.

June 18 – No, Gattuso off

A sustained online backlash from fans over the prospect of Gattuso becoming Tottenham boss resulted in the club pulling the plug, ESPN reported. The protests were, in part, down to the former Italy midfielder's controversial past comments on racism, women in football and same-sex marriage, and Levy was back to square one.

June 21 – Man City bid £100m for Kane

As the well-trodden path towards a new manager appeared to go cold, The Guardian claimed Premier League champions City had lodged a £100million opening offer for Kane, with part-exchange players also up for grabs. Levy was reported to be uninterested in such a proposal and each club denied any official bid had been lodged.

June 30 – Nuno appointed

One man who will certainly be involved when City travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on the opening day of the new Premier League season is Nuno. "I've spoken already about the need to revert back to our core DNA of playing attacking, entertaining football and Fabio and I believe Nuno is the man who can take our talented group of players, embrace our young players coming through and build something special," Levy said. At last, the situation was no longer vacant at Spurs.

With France out of Euro 2020, Kylian Mbappe has time to mull over his club future.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has been linked with Real Madrid.

Liverpool have reportedly entered the frame too, while PSG are eager to re-sign him.

 

TOP STORY - MBAPPE REACHES PSG DECISION

Kylian Mbappe has informed PSG he is not planning to sign a new contract, according to L'Equipe.

The 22-year-old France international does not currently want to extend his current deal which expires in mid-2022, the sports daily reported.

Mbappe will respect the final year of his contract with PSG as suitors circle for his signature.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United have agreed terms with Jadon Sancho and now have set their sights on West Ham's Declan Rice, Villarreal's Pau Torres and Tottenham's Harry Kane. The Guardian claims they are all on United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's wish list.

- Bild claims United are also interested in Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka, who has one year remaining on the his current contract.

- Son Heung-min is expected to sign an extension with Tottenham regardless of Kane's decision on his future, claims Fabrizio Romano.

- Arsenal, Milan and Roma are all interested in RB Leipzig's Austria international Marcel Sabitzer who is set to be allowed to leave on a cut-price deal according to Bild.

- The Daily Mail reports Manchester City will open talks with Raheem Sterling on a new deal following Euro 2020 where he has starred with three goals for England. Sterling, who has two years left on his current deal, fell out of favour at City late last season.

Gareth Southgate was keen to dismiss any relevance whatsoever surrounding his moment of personal despair 25 years ago, the last time England and Germany met at Wembley in a major tournament.

But his team-sheet felt like a nod towards the kit he wore as a young, accomplished defender who erred in an-era defining moment of Euro 96 penalty shoot-out heartache.

The England XI he sent out on Tuesday was grey. Very grey. Potentially and hopefully granite like, but definitely dull.

There was no great surprise. A line-up of five defenders and two sitting midfielders had been widely floated before kick-off and the approach was of a type with England's group-stage efforts of two goals scored and none conceded in three matches.

The clarity of Southgate's game plans have been a strength of his reign and account for the goodwill towards him in the England squad. Players are rarely left scratching their heads by a manager who has their back.

But as Phil Foden, Mason Mount, Jack Grealish, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, Jude Bellingham and all their considerable creative gifts shuffled into position on the substitutes' bench, it was hard to escape the sense of Southgate missing a trick.

Wing-back to the future

Either side of a raucous 4-2 win over Portugal – one that persuaded an entirely sensible switch to England's wing-back system – Germany were fortunate to only lose 1-0 to France and scraped a chaotic 2-2 draw against Hungary to squeak through to the knockout rounds. They were unquestionably vulnerable.

Southgate could rightly contest that going gung-ho against elite opponents has rarely ended well during the nation's 55 years of hurt, but the start was ominous.

Slow possession from kick-off saw Raheem Sterling, one of three attack-minded players in the XI, come deep and pass to Harry Maguire. Hoof! Then another one from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

 

Defensive numbers would be a moot point if England just kept giving the ball away to technically accomplished midfielders such as Leon Goretzka, who an overrun Declan Rice hauled down for a desperate eighth-minute foul that saw him booked.

Arm-wrestling the rippling Goretzka would probably be an awful experience, but that was effectively how England engaged Germany during a first half they gradually and painstakingly shoved into their favour.

Sterling and Bukayo Saka buzzed effervescently, too often lacking support. Kalvin Phillips burnished his ever-growing reputation as he faced down Goretzka, Toni Kroos and the roving Kai Havertz, while Kyle Walker, John Stones and the excellent Maguire encouraged their team out of a defensive shell and up the field.

Pragmatism wins prizes

Southgate's template is one that necessitates half chances taken and key moments won. Jordan Pickford did his bit with a brilliant save in each half, but Harry Kane's heavy touch towards the end of the first half showed him grasping for form. Alan Shearer branded that lost opportunity "a sitter" in his role as pundit on BBC.

It is a method that won Portugal Euro 2016 and France the 2018 World Cup, with extreme pragmatism laying a foundation for attackers flecked with magic to do the rest. But Portugal and France are already out here and Kane looked a shadow of the himself, unfit to be Southgate's Ronaldo.

Drift was an inadequate description for an unremarkable second half, given everything from the football to the tension felt so heavy. Finally, Southgate turned to his bench for some of Grealish's sparkle 69 minutes in.

Sterling had started to turn towards blind alleys rather than open spaces and relished a willing accomplice as he drove in field. Kane recycled possession to Grealish, who found Shaw. There was familiar Euro 2020 punctuation to a crisp move. England 1-0, Sterling.

 

Once again the toast of his boyhood neighbourhood after his third goal of the competition, the Manchester City forward erred horribly with pass towards his own goal in the 81st minute. Thomas Muller was through, but the inevitable didn't happen.

Then a moment of salvation for Kane and his country, stooping to head home, with Grealish and Shaw again involved. Job done, demons slayed.

Perhaps we linger too much on results and let them paper over performances, but results are the strongest currency of all in tournament football. To put it in context, this was England's first win in a major knockout match over a country with a world title to their name since overcoming West Germany in the 1966 World Cup final.

Whether it's coming home or not, Southgate and his players have breached unchartered territory.

An expectation to take the game to Sweden or Ukraine in a Rome quarter-final will inevitably bring more cries against caution. But those are tomorrow's problems in Southgate's summer of Sterling.

England claimed their place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 as they beat rivals Germany 2-0 at Wembley Stadium.

Raheem Sterling grabbed his third goal of the tournament to put the Three Lions ahead from a well-worked move in the second half before Harry Kane opened his account with a late header.

Gareth Southgate's side will now face either Sweden or Ukraine in Rome as they look to match 2018's run to the World Cup semi-finals.

Germany seemed to take a partisan atmosphere at Wembley in their stride early on, making a strong start that was exemplified by Declan Rice receiving a booking for a cynical but entirely necessary challenge on a breaking Leon Goretzka.

However, the subsequent free-kick came to nothing, inviting England to improve on what they had offered up thus far and leading to something of an end-to-end half.

The hosts had two Harry Maguire headers and a Sterling strike from distance to show for their efforts, while Germany went close through Timo Werner and Robin Gosens.

But it was Kane who saw the best chance of the half, latching somewhat fortuitously onto a deflected clearance attempt but failing to get around Manuel Neuer before Mats Hummels intervened.

The half-time break seemed to benefit the Germans most, Joachim Low's side finding it far easier to prevent their opponents from playing out following the restart.

They were also creating chances, most notably in the form of a powerful Kai Havertz drive from the edge of the box that Jordan Pickford saved athletically.

But with neither side able to find the breakthrough by the 70-minute mark, both managers moved to change things with the introductions of Serge Gnabry and Jack Grealish.

And it was the latter who made the telling contribution, collecting the ball after a fine run from Sterling before teeing up Luke Shaw for a low cross that the Manchester City man side-footed home.

The goalscorer almost turned villain moments after his opener, inadvertently setting up Germany to release Thomas Muller in behind, but hit the turf in relief after the Bayern Munich man struck wide.

Grealish was on hand to make things safe soon after, swinging in a left-footed cross that Kane needed only to crouch to head home and send Wembley wild.

Gareth Southgate has urged England to grasp the opportunity to put the Three Lions' poor Euros knockout record behind them but does not feel the omens will have a negative impact on the team.

England have never won a Euros knockout match in 90 minutes, with four of those six games going to penalties – only one of those (v Spain, Euro 96) ended in a victory for the Three Lions.

It is a damning indictment of England's underachievement in the tournament throughout its history.

While Southgate believes his young team have a great chance to overcome such a poor record, he also feels the players should not feel any extra pressure because of it.

"It's an incredible record really," Southgate told reporters on Monday. "I think it's something we've talked a lot about as a team over last four years – this team has that opportunity [to buck the trend].

"In previous eras we've spoken about the past and baggage. There's no reason for these players to feel that way, as most weren't born when those games happened. It's an irrelevance for them.

"But it's a fantastic game to be involved in and great opportunity to progress to a quarter-final."

 

A key area for consideration before Tuesday's game is whether Ben Chilwell or Mason Mount will be involved.

Both have been isolating after being identified as close contacts of Scotland's Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for coronavirus, but they will be allowed to mix with their team-mates again from midnight on Monday.

Southgate accepts the situation certainly has not been ideal, but he thinks either player could cope if needed to start.

"They're having to travel separately to the team," Southgate added. "They have had individual training programmes this week. The only sessions they've been able to join in with is when there's not full team training. That's the basis on which we have got to make a decision.

"Clearly, it's really complicated because there's the physical periodisation that you would want for a game like this. Then there's the tactical training.

"The meetings we've had, they have to be in a separate room and dial in on Zoom. The whole experience for them, including travelling down tonight is very, very difficult.

"But they are young players who can get on with things pretty well. It's a decision I've got to take when we're looking at how they've been able to train and everything else. There's a lot wrapped up in that call."

Southgate will surely be hoping star striker Harry Kane can finally have an impact at Euro 2020, with the Tottenham forward struggling to make his mark in the group stage.

He has managed just five shots in total and only one of those was on target, with Kane on zero goals from an xG value of 1.4.

His 11 touches in the penalty area are one fewer than Che Adams of Scotland, who finished bottom of England's group – but Kane insists his performances are the least of his worries if the Three Lions continue in the tournament.

"I've always said as a striker, you go through spells, sometimes spells don't go your way," he said. "The most important thing for me is we are winning games. The first objective was to qualify, which we've done, the second is to reach the quarter-finals.

"Whether I'm scoring, the most important thing is winning. That's all I'm focusing on at the moment. However we get it done, that's our main objective and we'll do everything in our power to get through."

Is Lionel Messi's future on the verge of being resolved at Camp Nou?

Messi's contract with LaLiga powerhouse Barcelona expires this week and the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked with a move.

But, if reports are to be believed, the superstar is poised to extend his long stay at Barca.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA READYING MESSI ANNOUNCEMENT

Barcelona are preparing to officially announce an agreement has been reached with Messi, according to Football Espana and Fabrizio Romano.

The superstar captain has been linked with Premier League champions Manchester City and Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain.

But Messi is now set to renew for a further two years at Barca, where the 34-year-old has spent his entire senior career.

 

ROUND-UP

City will renew their attempts to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham after Euro 2020, claims Romano. City are among a host of clubs interested in Kane, who is also reportedly wanted by Manchester United, Chelsea, Barca, Real Madrid and PSG. Spurs, however, are unwilling to sell the England star. City have also been linked with Inter's Romelu Lukaku and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

Brahim Diaz will join Milan from Madrid on loan with an option to buy, reports Sky Sport. The Spaniard spent the 2020-21 season on loan at San Siro. Milan are also interested in Alvaro Odriozola if they are unable to bring Diogo Dalot back from United.

- Gianluca Di Marzio says Arsenal are trying to sign Benfica full-back Nuno Tavares, who has also been linked with Napoli and Lazio.

- Serie A champions Inter are eyeing Franck Kessie amid his contract stalemate with neighbours Milan, according to Tuttosport.

- Tuttosport reports Arsenal are pressing to bring Italy forward Andrea Belotti to London from Torino. Roma have long been linked with Belotti, as well as Milan.

Juventus are ready to make a bid for Lille and Portugal star Renato Sanches, per Calciomercato. Milan are also interested as Juve look to prise Manuel Locatelli from Sassuolo.

- Mundo Deportivo says Atletico Madrid are interested in former Barca midfielder Paulinho. The Brazilian is a free agent after leaving Chinese outfit Guangzhou FC.

- There are two clubs trying to sign Luka Jovic from Madrid, claims Diario AS. Jovic, who returned to former club Eintracht Frankfurt on loan in 2020-21, has been linked with Milan.

- Gazzetta dello Sport reports Achraf Hakimi will complete his move to PSG from Inter, who are eyeing Arsenal's Hector Bellerin as a replacement.

Germany playmaker Thomas Muller hopes striker Harry Kane's England goal drought goes on a little while longer.

England renew their rivalry with Germany next Tuesday in a mouth-watering Euro 2020 last-16 tie at Wembley with misfiring Kane set to lead the line for the Three Lions.

Kane started all three of England's Group D matches, but has just a solitary shot on target to show for his efforts.

The 27-year-old came into the tournament on the back of formidable season in the Premier League with Tottenham as he topped the goals (23) and assist (14) charts but has struggled so far.

He has managed five shots in total, three of which were deemed as 'big chances' by Opta. No other England player missed more than one across those three games.

"Great strikers are the best at being patient," Muller told a news conference.

"A striker is always waiting for his chances. He usually has the least contact with the ball, but the biggest picture in the newspaper after the game. 

"I don't know why he hasn't got into the final positions that he normally comes in. For us it wouldn't be a problem at all if the discussion lasts until Wednesday and we don't concede a goal.

"We're in the round of 16. We won against England World Cup 2010. That has nothing to do with Tuesday, but it might make one or the other feel good. We're looking forward to the big game with England."

Muller claimed he will be fit to face England having struggled with a knee injury during the tournament.

He added: "If I had problems I would not have trained today. The injury does not hinder me. I am experienced enough to deal with it. I am convinced that it will not be a problem for Tuesday."

Meanwhile, Serge Gnabry has backed Leroy Sane to silence the fans who have jeered his performances for Germany at Euro 2020.

Sane has no goals, assists and just one attempt on goal so far in the tournament.

"With the talent and skill level that Leroy has, he will always prevail," Gnabry said.

"It hasn't been so smooth yet. But if he gets his chance, he has to take it. I don't notice anything in the game. He gave Hungary the run-around, worked defensively. He can build on that. 

"We never need whistles. I can't understand why people whistle."

Harry Kane believes he is ready to "peak" for England's blockbuster Euro 2020 last-16 clash with Germany at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday. 

Kane topped the goalscoring and assist charts in the Premier League this past season but has been unable to replicate that level of influence at the European Championship so far.

The 27-year-old started all three of England's Group D matches, yet he managed just a solitary shot on target. 

He had five shots in total, three of which were deemed as 'big chances' by Opta. No other England player missed more than one across those three games. 

Kane won the Golden Boot at the 2018 World Cup, with five of his six goals coming in the Three Lions' group games, and the Tottenham man is confident of doing the opposite at Euro 2020. 

"People are quick to change their mind, it wasn't too long ago when I won the Golden Boot and I was the best thing in the world," he said. 

"People were raving about me, and that's why I've always said, as a footballer, you can't get too high or too low, you just have to have that neutral mode. Self belief is a huge thing.

"I've always believed in myself. I could go 10, 15 games without scoring but give me a chance and I'd back myself to score it. I'm in a good place. Going into Tuesday night, physically, I'm in the best shape of the tournament so far, and that's what I kind of wanted going into this. 

"I felt maybe in Russia [at the 2018 World Cup] I started on fire, scored loads of goals, then maybe didn't have my best performances in the most important games, the quarters and the semi-finals.

"So, coming into this, physically, I wanted to make sure I was peaking at the right time and obviously we won't know until Tuesday night if that's the case, but that's the way I feel it's going."

Kane admitted last month he feels at a "crossroads" in his career following another trophyless campaign with Tottenham, where he has spent the past 17 years.

The striker has subsequently been linked with a host of European giants, although Premier League champions Manchester City appear to be leading the race for his signature. 

However, Kane – linked to Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United – insisted speculation over his future has had no impact on his performances in the tournament so far. 

"I feel like when I come away with England I'm just fully focused on England," he said. "My brother is my agent, but the only time I've spoken to my brother really over the last few weeks is 'good luck, let's get a win, and let's take England all the way'.

"So, it doesn't really bother me about the outside noise. When I'm here I'm with the boys, I try to help the boys, and be a leader in the team. I need to get to know the boys, see what makes certain players tick, and the younger lads, helping them, so I feel like I've got enough on my plate to worry about anything outside of England.

"That's where I'm at and, of course, I feel like it's one of them where if you're not scoring as a striker, people look for every little angle why you're not scoring and that's probably the case in this tournament so far.

"But, like I said, as long as I'm focused, I've got the self belief I have, I'm not worried about anyone else."

Is Lionel Messi's future close to being resolved?

Messi is out of contract at Barcelona and the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked with a move away.

But, if reports are to be believed, the superstar is on the verge of extending his Barca contract.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI SET TO RENEW AT CAMP NOU

Lionel Messi will renew his contract with Barcelona until 2023, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Messi is out of contract at Camp Nou and the superstar captain has been linked with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

But Messi is poised to re-sign, with an official deal reportedly only a matter of time.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are edging closer to signing long-time transfer target and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, reports Bild.

- Diario AS claims Real Madrid are set to rival Arsenal for Real Sociedad star Alexander Isak. The Sweden international appeals as a more affordable option compared to Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and PSG forward Kylian Mbappe.

- Inter star Achraf Hakimi is expected to join PSG, says Romano. Personal terms have reportedly been agreed until 2026. He has also been linked with Chelsea.

- Premier League champions City are willing to wait a year to sign a striker if they are unable to prise Harry Kane from Tottenham, according to ESPN. Kane has been linked with City, United, Chelsea, Madrid and Barca amid reports he wants to leave Spurs. With Tottenham unwilling to sell Kane, City are prepared to wait in the transfer market as they also eye Haaland.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Inter want to sign Barca full-back Jordi Alba, with the Serie A holders willing to offer three players – Milan Skriniar, Lautaro Martinez and Marcelo Brozovic.

- Maurizio Sarri's Lazio are close to signing Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, reports Sky Sport Italia.

West Ham have made a bid to sign Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic, says Sky Sport Italia. The Serbia international has previously been linked with Tottenham, United and Milan.

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