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.
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.
Luis Enrique has officially returned as Spain boss five months after stepping down for personal reasons, it has been confirmed.
Former Barcelona boss Enrique stepped down from the role in June to spend time with his terminally ill daughter, who tragically passed away earlier this year.
The 49-year-old was replaced by his assistant, Robert Moreno, who went unbeaten through his nine matches at the helm – winning seven, and they have sealed their place in next summer’s European Championships finals.
Luis Enrique made his official return as head coach of the Spain team on Wednesday morning in Madrid, admitting that he felt betrayed by his former No 2 Robert Moreno.
Moreno took over from Luis Enrique in June when he resigned to care for his nine-year-old daughter Xana before she died of bone cancer in August.
Moreno saw Spain safely into next summer’s tournament but then left the job in tears after the last qualifier without giving his final post-match press conference.
The Spanish Football Federation [RFEF] reappointed Luis Enrique the following day amid suggestions he had not wanted Moreno on his staff.
Mancini has honoured a clause in his deal to commit his future for another three years, having transformed Italy’s fortunes since taking charge in May 2018.
Italy’s latest victory, a 2-0 victory over Greece, booked their place at the tournament next summer and prompted Mancini to put pen to paper on an extension.
In front of 70,000 revellers at the Maracana, Brazil prolonged their record of having won the Copa America each time they have hosted the tournament by beating Peru 3-1 on Sunday evening.
Despite it being the Mecca of Brazilian football, this was only the host’s third game at the iconic stadium since a 2013 friendly against England and the Confederations Cup final win over Spain in the same year, which tricked Brazil into being fooled about its standing in the international power ranks after overcoming the reigning world and European champions at the time.
There was moment deep in the second half when Cristiano Ronaldo went back into his own penalty area and began to bark out orders.
Rui Patricio, the Wolves goalkeeper, was lectured; so too was Portugal left-back Raphael Guerreiro. The hosts had just taken the lead in the Nations League final and the message from the man who has carried his country’s hopes and dreams was clear: this does not slip.
Ronaldo will never forget the pain he went through in 2004, when Portugal lost at home in the final of the European Championships to Greece, and it would be wrong to say that this new tournament carried the same kind of emotion and kudos.
The talisman had made his much anticipated return to the national set-up in a friendly with Venezuela, but his comeback was dampened as Argentina fell to a 3-1 defeat.
Salomon Rondon’s strike in the sixth minute got things off to a bad start, before Jhon Murillo doubled the lead and Josef Martinez scored a third.
Lautaro Martinez pulled a goal back for Argentina but it wasn’t enough, though Messi was able to get through the full-match despite his injury concern.
The 25-year-old was playing in his eighth match for his senior national side and, despite being a lethal scorer for Inter Milan at the club level, was still searching for his first goal for the Albiceleste.
He wouldn’t have to wait long.
Inside the first two minutes Icardi had his side in front, taking down a long pass from Erik Lamela and cutting back on his left foot between two defenders before slotting home.
Holland scored twice in the last five minutes to recover from two goals down and earn a 2-2 draw against relegated Germany in the Nations League, thereby securing a spot in next year’s finals ahead of world champions France.
Virgil van Dijk struck a close-range volley in stoppage time to equalise for the visitors after Quincy Promes had cut the deficit in the 85th minute, with the Germans having led through early goals from Timo Werner and Leroy Sane.
Switzerland, England and hosts Portugal had already qualified for the four-team finals in June.