Ole Gunnar Solskjaer jumped up to second in the bookmakers’ list of managers next in line to leave their job following Manchester United’s disappointing 2-2 draw with Aston Villa on Sunday evening.
But while it’s obvious that results have not been good enough this season, the problems at Old Trafford go way beyond the pitiful amount of points United are currently picking up.
The draw against Villa took them to 18 for the campaign from 14 games – their fewest since way back in 1988-89, a staggering 31 years ago. Read more... (597 words, estimated 2:23 mins reading time)
Jose Mourinho will return to Old Trafford for the first time as Tottenham manager on Wednesday night, and the former Manchester United boss could be forgiven for asking just how much has changed since he was axed a year ago this month.
United’s 2-2 draw with Aston Villa on Sunday left Mourinho’s successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with 18 points from 14 games and in ninth place in the Premier League table.
At the same stage last season, Mourinho’s side had 22 points and were in seventh after a 2-2 draw with Southampton. Even so, the Portuguese coach was two weeks away from the sack. Read more... (625 words, estimated 2:30 mins reading time)
After the draw was announced, France coach Didier Deschamps said: “It’s the most difficult group, but we have to accept it, that’s the way it is. This will require the French team to be ready immediately.”
What Deschamps was talking about was the Euro 2020 draw Group F that includes holders Portugal, and the most recent two world champions in France and Germany, all three of whom reached the semifinals in 2016. Whichever team makes up the numbers via the playoffs, it will be hard to avoid the thought they have simply won the right to finish bottom. Read more... (324 words, estimated 1:18 mins reading time)
Didier Deschamps (France) laughed, Joachim Low (Germany) looked ashen-faced and Fernando Santos (Portugal) stared into the distance. Group F, with its six European Championship titles, features holders Portugal and the most recent two world champions in France and Germany, all three of whom reached the semifinals in 2016. Whichever team makes up the numbers via the playoffs, it will be hard to avoid the thought they have simply won the right to finish bottom.
Before the draw, Low said that Germany should not be considered as one of the favorites for the Euro’s: Read more... (398 words, estimated 1:36 mins reading time)
No.1 in the FIFA rankings, Belgium had the best attack and defence in qualification and should not be worried by Russia, having beaten them 7-2 on aggregate during their journey to the finals. The Danes are an altogether different proposition and will fancy their chances. Finland, meanwhile, have nothing to lose after reaching a major tournament for the first time in their history. Teemu Pukki scored 10 goals in qualifying.
X factor: Looking beyond Belgium’s array of stars, Christian Eriksen ended qualifying as Denmark’s top scorer and the qualifying rounds’ second-best chance creator behind Antoine Griezmann. Out of contract in the summer, unless he extends with Tottenham, the playmaker could be playing to attract the calibre of interest he was unable to arouse [Real Madrid] at the end of last season. Read more... (252 words, estimated 1:00 mins reading time)
England avoided a nightmare Euro 2020 draw after being drawn with Croatia and Czech Republic in Group D but could face Germany, France or Portugal in the last-16.
The Three Lions could also face Scotland in their group, if Steve Clarke’s side win their play-off in March, with Israel, Serbia and Norway also vying it out for the final place in Group D.
Gareth Southgate’s side will face Croatia in their opening game of the tournament before they face the Playoff C winners and the finally Czech Republic.
England are also boosted by the huge advantage of hosting all of their group stage games at Wembley. Read more... (467 words, estimated 1:52 mins reading time)
One of France, Germany and Portugal may face an early exit after being drawn together in Group F for Euro 2020 in what has already been dubbed the ‘Group of Death’.
They will be joined in the so-called ‘Group of Death’ by a team from Path A/D following the tournament draw in Bucharest.
That Path A/D team could be any of Iceland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo.
While England avoided those team in the group stage, they could find themselves playing of the three in the last 16. Read more... (1043 words, estimated 4:10 mins reading time)
Italy have been drawn Turkey, Wales and Switzerland in the Euro 2020 group stage. The Azzurri previously faced Turkey at Euro 2000, beating them 2-1 with goals from Antonio Conte and Simone Inzaghi.
Italy have never before faced Switzerland or Wales at a Euros, although they have lost just nine of their 66 meetings with the two countries.
They will open the tournament against Turkey in Rome on June 12 and have the advantage of playing all their group games at the Olimpico.
Roberto Mancini’s side host Switzerland on June 17 in their second match, before welcoming Wales four days later. Read more... (466 words, estimated 1:52 mins reading time)
After missing the past two major tournaments, Netherlands’ run to the Nations League final, combined with Ajax making the final four of last season’s Champions League, is undoubtedly to the benefit of the Euros. Ukraine were so good in qualifying that they forced their way into the top seeds, dumping France into pot two. Austria are reliant on maverick striker Marko Arnautovic, but have talent elsewhere in Marcel Sabitzer, Valentin Lazaro and David Alaba. Of the playoff teams competing to complete the group, Kosovo were such a joy to watch in qualifying that it’s hard not to root for them to reach their first major tournament. Read more... (317 words, estimated 1:16 mins reading time)
Spain will face Poland and Sweden in Group E at next summer’s European Championships, following the finals draw in Bucharest today.
La Roja, who won the competition in 2008 and 2012, were ranked as top seeds for the draw, and will be guaranteed a set number of home games (in Bilbao), as one of the co-host nations.
After sealing qualification earlier this month, the Spanish national team has been mired in controversy, following the return of head coach Luis Enrique.
The former Barcelona boss stepped away from the role during the qualification campaign, due to the illness and tragic death of his young daughter, however he has now retaken his role. Read more... (302 words, estimated 1:12 mins reading time)