Associated Press

Euro 2020 qualifying: Turkey stuns France, Finland earns upset, Croatia tops Wales

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A few landmark results have begun to shape Euro 2020 qualifying in round three of the cycle.

Here is a rundown of all the results:

Turkey 2-0 France

The shock of the day came from Konya as first-half goals by Kaan Ayhan and Cengiz Under thwarted the reigning World Cup champs and put Turkey alone atop Group H. The France lineup that featured Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, and Olivier Giroud fell completely flat, somehow held without a single shot on target on just four total efforts in a massively disappointing performance, although France remained in a solid position sitting second in the group.

Finland 2-0 Bosnia & Herzegovina

Another surprising result came in Tammerfors as Finland got a brace from Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki to pull into a solid position near the top of Group J. Bosnia will rue missed opportunities, only able to put one of its 11 shots on target, with Edin Dzeko missing a glorious opportunity with 13 minutes to go, heading over the bar on a chance he normally puts away. Bosnia & Herzegovina felt the absence of creative force Miralem Pjanic as he was suspended for a straight red card against Greece.

Croatia 2-1 Wales

The visitors put up a solid fight in Osijek, but Croatia was clinical where Wales was not as Ivan Perisic scored the decider after a Jamie Lawrence own-goal put the hosts in front. Bournemouth attacker David Brooks came off the bench to pull Wales a goal back and give them a chance, but otherwise the visitors were wasteful with six shots on target.

Belarus 0-2 Germany

Leroy Sane put Germany in front 12 minutes in and they never looked back, confirming the victory on a Marco Reus strike past the hour mark to keep pace with Northern Ireland in Group C. Sane bagged his fourth goal in his last five international appearances, while Reus finished off a beautiful ball into the box by Matthias Ginter that evaded a host of defenders on its way to the goalscorer. While the scoreline may not have reflected it, Germany dominated the game with 75% possession and a 783-214 passing advantage.

Belgium 3-0 Kazakhstan

Dries Mertens and Timothy Castagne both scored inside the opening 15 minutes, while Romelu Lukaku capped things off just after halftime as Belgium rolled in Brussels. The strong Belgian lineup was far too much at home, holding 70% possession and competing a massive 829 passes to Kazakhstan’s 311, racking up 13 corners and an enormous 12 shots on target out of 27 total efforts.

Greece 0-3 Italy

The visitors bagged a quickfire trio of goals through the middle of the first-half as Nicolo Barella, Lorenzo Insigne, and Leonardo Bonucci all found the back of the net before the break to stun Greece in Athens. Insigne’s was silky as the Napoli attacker skipped past a defender down the left flank, carrying the ball into the top corner of the box and unleashing a pinpoint curler that found the inside of the side netting.

It was a dominating performance by Italy, holding 70% possession and out-passing Greece a whopping 685-253, out-shooting the hosts 16-5 and cruising through the second half under little pressure.

Scotland 2-1 Cyprus

Scotland survived a scare in Glasgow, requiring an 89th minute Oliver Burke winner to take down island nation Cyprus. The 22-year-old scored his first international goal at the most opportune time, breaking the deadlock late to keep pace with Belgium and Russia near the top of Group I. Andy Robertson, fresh off his Champions League title, scored the opener on an absolute thunderbolt from outside the box, but he was cancelled out by Giannis Kousoulos in the 87th minute.

Iceland 1-0 Albania

Johann Berg Gudmundsson scored the game’s only goal 22 minutes in as Iceland downed a pesky Albania side in Reykjavik. Albania earned seven corners to Iceland’s 1, but couldn’t find the back of the net as they forced Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson into just two saves the whole way.

Russia 9-0 San Marino

Zenit St. Petersburg striker Artem Dyzuba scored four as Russia blasted hapless San Marino in Saransk, with two more from Fedor Smolov. The win jumps Russia past Belgium into first in Group I with two wins out of its first three qualifiers.

Estonia 1-2 Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland needed a late comeback to top Estonia on the road as Sheffield United striker Connor Washington leveled the score in the 77th minute and Josh Magennis provided the winner three minutes later. Both players came off the bench to score, with Bolton striker Magennis skillfully turning a Jordan Jones cross in under heavy pressure in front of net. Estonia was up for the task for much of the game, with Konstantin Vassiljev’s 25th minute goal providing the tally that Northern Ireland just inched around to climb atop Group C with three wins from three.

Azerbaijan 1-3 Hungary

Hungary moved to the top of Group E after a dominating performance in Baku led by a brace from RB Leipzig defender Willi Orban.

Moldova 1-0 Andorra

Moldova survived nearly half the match a man down as the hosts earned their first points of Euro 2020 qualification behind an eighth-minute goal from 31-year-old defender Igor Armas which they protected the rest of the way. Despite just 35% possession, Andorra ripped off 12 shots, but only found the target with one in the loss.

Armenia 3-0 Lichtenstein

Season restart preview: Brighton and Hove Albion

Brighton season restart
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With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they stand ahead of the final nine matches of the season.

Brighton is next.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Let’s take a closer look at all things Seagulls when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: If there’s a team whose results don’t show the way they’ve played, it’s Brighton. Graham Potter’s Seagulls have the sixth-best possession percentage in the league, are a tidy seventh in passing, and are mid-table in tackles per game, interceptions per game, and shots per game.

[ MORE: Ranking every Brighton player in 2019-20 ]

The expected goals stats show even less reward for good work, with Brighton scoring 8.35 goals less than expected in open play and 4.38 less from corner kicks.

Despite all these good things, Brighton is two points clear of the drop zone with nine matches to play and has a terribly challenging schedule especially at the Amex Stadium.


Tactical analysis: Graham Potter has put the Seagulls in myriad formations this season, though he’s been utilizing at least four at the back since the calendar turned to 2020. He’s ready to attack but pragmatic given the club’s hopes of staving off the teams below it in the fight for PL survival.

[ MORE: The 2 Robbies assess Brighton’s chances ]


Possible XI (4-2-3-1) 

—– Ryan —–

— Montoya — Webster — Dunk — Burn —

—– Propper —– Mooy —–

— Trossard — Gross — Alzate —

—– Maupay—–

Glenn Murray and Alireza Jahanbakhsh are excellent weapons to have on the bench, and Brighton’s also got a very good center back in reserve in the form of Shame Duffy and an underrated center mid in Dale Stephens who will see playing time, too. On paper, this team is too good to go down.


[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Remaining schedule
Home: Arsenal, Man City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle
Away: Leicester, Norwich, Southampton, Burnley

Predicted finish: They’ll do enough to get by, though that home fixture list is simply brutal. Safe before the final weekend.

Social media wrap: All 20 Premier League clubs, many players stand against racism

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The protests in the United States have inspired anti-racism statements from around the world, including all gestures from all 20 Premier League clubs and many players and managers.

There have been ongoing protests and horrible violence in the U.S. since the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes even after he stopped moving and pleaded for air in Minnesota.

Newcastle United’s American defender DeAndre Yedlin issued an emotional thread (below) as one of a great deal of players to express hopes for change and solidarity, while Schalke’s Weston McKennie explained his wearing a black armband reading “Justice For George” in the Bundesliga this weekend.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

From Ancelotti to Zaha, Antonio to Yedlin, Arsenal to Wolves, we’ve collected many of their sentiments below in what we hope serves as universal disdain for racial prejudice.

Some players like Leicester City’s Wes Morgan and even entire clubs (Arsenal) changed their online identity photos to reflect these troubled times.

All PL clubs issued messages of solidarity, many using the Black Lives Matter hashtag and making no bones about where they stand.

And we’ll start with a longtime PL club currently in the Championship, who blasted a season ticket holder’s rejection of their unifying Tweet.

Here are some other clubs and players worldwide to have noticed what’s happening in the United States.

 

Season restart preview: Bournemouth

Bournemouth season restart
Photo by Robin Jones - AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images
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With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they stand ahead of the final nine matches of the season.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Let’s take a closer look at all things Bournemouth when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: Tough sledding for the Cherries, who face zero of their fellow bottom-six sides (though 13th place Newcastle and 14th place Saints both visit the Vitality Stadium).

There’s been an element of bad luck to Bournemouth’s woes, with its expected goals stats showing Ryan Fraser, Joshua King, and Callum Wilson have deserved better end product and that the Cherries’ 14 goals from open play should be closer to 22. The defense has been bad and xG says it could’ve been worse, too. Injuries had hit Bournemouth’s defense corps in a big way, too. How much better will they be after the break?

[ MORE: Ranking every Cherries player in 2019-20 ]


Tactical analysis: Eddie Howe utilized a 4-4-2 with two defensive midfielders for much of the early season, but has gone between a lone striker with a packed-in midfielder and a 4-3-3 when he thinks an opponent is exploitable.

Howe started a 4-4-2 against almost all of the Cherries’ remaining opponents, choosing a 5-4-1 against Wolves and Man City. There’s no guarantee he’ll continue that, especially when some matches may dictate a draw or limited goal differential damage over wins.


Possible XI (4-3-3) 

—– Ramsdale —–

— Smith — S. Cook — Ake — Rico —

—– Lerma —– Billing — L. Cook —

— Fraser —– C. Wilson —– King —–

Howe prefers to attack when at all possible, but the points will be at a premium against some very challenging opponents. It’s a safe bet that he’ll ask a lot from his forwards while trying to deploy his three relentless midfielders together whenever possible. The question here is whether Aaron Ramsdale returns quickly from his COVID-19 positive test, or if it’ll be Artur Boruc or someone else between the sticks.


[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Remaining schedule
Home: Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Spurs, Leicester City, Southampton
Away: Wolves, Manchester United, Man City, Everton

Predicted finish: The Cherries stay up, just, as King and Callum Wilson deliver the goods in front of a determined and improved midfield.

Premier League clubs will reportedly be allowed preseason friendlies

Premier League return
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Premier League clubs will be allowed to play preseason matches ahead of the 2019-20’s restart season later this month.

There will be strict protocols due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, and the matches will likely be officiated by club coaching staffs (We have so many Jose Mourinho as ref quips to make here, but let’s keep going anyway).

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Sky Sports says clubs will be limited to opponents within 90 minutes of their venue, and that players will have to drive themselves to the stadiums and go directly to the field in uniform.

With the League One and League Two seasons still hanging in the balance, it’s likely PL sides will be limited to each other and Championship sides. Presumably clubs will not want to meet others still on their fixture list.

We assume some players will get dressed in their vehicles outside the ground, but allow yourself some levity in these challenging times and imagine a fully kitted-up Virgil van Dijk driving the roads from Liverpool to Wigan Athletic.