Raheem Sterling scored the only goal on Tuesday as England found an attacking spark to beat the Czech Republic 1-0 at Wembley Stadium in London and clinch top spot in Group D at the UEFA Euro 2020. The Manchester City forward, who kept his place alongside Harry Kane in a rejigged attack also featuring Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka, settled fans’ nerves with an early headed goal, which ultimately proved decisive. The result means manager Gareth Southgate’s side finish top of their group with seven points, while Croatia are second with four points. The Czech Republic join them in the last 16 as one of the best third-placed teams. With just two goals scored, England are the lowest-scoring side to ever finish top of a group at a European Championship, but their defense has yet to be breached. England now have the dubious privilege of a potential match-up against world champions France, holders Portugal or Germany, but have the home advantage on Tuesday next week. “We are not fluent, but we have moments where we look a good side,” Southgate told ITV. “Different sorts of tests. All of our next opponents will be different games,” he said. “There is a lot of good things we are doing. We are getting minutes for a lot of the players. Ninety minutes for Harry Maguire was important tonight. Jordan Henderson getting 45 minutes is a step forward. A lot of positives.” CROATIA V SCOTLAND AFP, GLASGOW, Scotland Scotland’s hopes of reaching the knockout stage of a major tournament for the first time were ended on Tuesday in a 3-1 defeat to a Luka Modric-inspired Croatia at Hampden Park that took the World Cup runners-up into the last 16 of the UEFA Euro 2020. After ending a 23-year wait just to qualify for a major tournament, another historic feat was beyond Manager Steve Clarke’s
Deandre Ayton on Tuesday made the go-ahead catch and dunk with one second left, and a bloodied Devin Booker scored 20 points as the Phoenix Suns shocked the Los Angeles Clippers 104-103 in Game 2 of their NBA playoff series. Booker shook off a cruel clash of heads that left him bloodied and bruised, returning to the game as the Suns took down the Clippers in a see-saw fourth quarter to win their ninth straight game and seize a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals. “It was like a Muhammad Ali fight with haymaker after haymaker going back and forth,” said Suns guard Cameron Payne, who finished with a career-high 29 points. Ayton scored the eventual game winner in a thrilling finish as the Suns perfectly executed on their final possession of the game. The play started with an inbounds pass by Suns forward Jae Crowder who lobbed it directly to the front of the basket where a leaping Ayton was waiting. He caught and then dunked the ball in one motion to give to give the Suns a 104-103 lead with 0.7 seconds left. Paul George then put up a desperation shot at the buzzer for the Clippers, but it hit the front of the rim and bounced harmlessly away to end the game in front of the crowd of 16,600 at Phoenix Suns Arena. “Jae made a great pass,” said Ayton, who finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds. “I am glad it counted. We just wanted to finish the game strong.” If Game 1 in the series was the feel-out game, then Game 2 was the knockout punch. Booker had his nose bloodied late in the third quarter when he accidentally butted heads with Pat Beverley of the Clippers. The 24-year-old Booker needed two stitches and might have broken his nose, but rather than
No alcohol, no hugs, no cheers and no autographs: Tokyo Olympic organizers yesterday unveiled tough new rules for spectators at the Games, as they marked one month until the opening ceremony. Tokyo 2020 Olympics Organizing Committee president Seiko Hashimoto said that festivities “will have to be suppressed” to keep the Games safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and conceded that organizers would need to be “creative” to stoke a party atmosphere. Games chiefs on Monday decided to allow up to 10,000 spectators into competition venues, but Hashimoto warned them not to expect the kind of festive mood being enjoyed by soccer fans at Euro 2020. “In Europe, the venues are filled with celebration,” she said. “Unfortunately, we may not be able to do the same.” Spectators would need to clear several disease prevention requirements, including temperature checks and mask-wearing, just to get into venues — with no refunds available for those who cannot. Once inside, they would be forbidden from cheering or “making direct contact with other spectators” and would be asked to go straight home after events end. Asking athletes for autographs or “expressing verbal support” is also a no-no, as is waving a towel or “any form of cheering that could create a crowd.” “The festive mood will have to be suppressed — that has become a major challenge,” Hashimoto said. “People can feel joy in their hearts, but they can’t be loud and they have to avoid crowds,” she added. “Those are the areas where we need to be creative, and we are putting in a lot of effort to come up with a new way of celebrating.” Spectators would also have to do without alcohol, even though it is allowed at other sporting events being held in Japan. Hashimoto said that the ban was decided “to alleviate the concerns of the public as much as possible.” Japanese government
No team has been to the Stanley Cup Final more than the Montreal Canadiens. Now they stand one victory away from a 35th appearance, and their first in 28 years. Carey Price made 26 saves to lead Montreal to a 4-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night, putting the Canadiens one step closer to the Stanley Cup Final. “You know, it’s the oldest cliche in hockey, but the fourth one’s going to be the hardest, and we’re fortunate to have the opportunity at home and we’ll be ready to go in Game 6,” said Eric Staal, whose second-period goal held up as the game-winner. The Canadiens, who last won the Stanley Cup in 1993, lead Vegas 3-2 in their best-of-seven series, with Game 6 scheduled for the Bell Centre in Montreal today. Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Cole Caufield and former Golden Knight Nick Suzuki also scored for the Canadiens, whose 11th playoff victory is the franchise’s most in one post-season since the 1993 championship run, also the last time a Canadian-based team won the title. The Canadiens, who rallied from a 3-1 series deficit in the first round against Toronto and swept Winnipeg in the second round, shook off Sunday’s home loss in Game 4 to win for the second time in Las Vegas. “I think that’s what our mindset has been this whole playoff, is getting to do what we do, regardless of what happens,” Staal said. “I don’t think we change much. We do what we do every single shift, every moment we have, every opportunity we have to try and be difference makers for our team.” As Max Pacioretty was the only one to score for Vegas, the storyline remained the same with Vegas struggling to find their offense against Montreal’s suffocating tactics, in limiting space and dominating the neutral zone.
Forward Chen Jui-chieh, front left with arm outstretched, celebrates one of the two goals he scored for Tainan TSG (Taiwan Steel Group) in their 3-0 win over Athletic 220 of Mongolia in their Asian Football Confederation Cup qualifier in Hong Kong yesterday. It is the first victory for Tainan TSG, and for a Taiwanese team, in the AFC Cup qualification tournament.
JUDO Taiwanese qualify for Games Three Taiwanese judoka have qualified to compete at the Tokyo Olympics Games, a list released on Tuesday by the International Judo Federation (IJF) showed. Lien Chen-ling, who was fifth in the women’s under-57kg event at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, would be competing in the same division again in Tokyo. Yang Yung-wei would be competing in the men’s under-60kg event and Lin Chen-hao in the women’s under-48kg event. Taiwan had only two athletes qualify in the 14 Olympic judo weight classes at the 2016 Games. Qualification for the Tokyo Olympics was determined by how many points judoka earned during competitions from May 2018 to this month, with those ranking in the top 18 qualifying for the Games. Athletes could also qualify through a continental quota. Lien placed eighth and Yang 11th in their respective weight classes, thus qualifying for the Games, the IJF’s rankings showed. Lin, who ranks 42nd in her class, earned a continental quota for Asia. Lien said on Facebook that she felt honored to be able to compete at the Olympics for a second time, and that “no matter what happens, I will not waver in my goal of more than 20 years.” CRICKET Batsman smashes own car Hitting the ball out of the park for a six is the dream of every batsman, but British amateur cricketer Asif Ali’s huge heave backfired on Sunday when the ball shattered the rear windscreen of his own car. Playing for Illingworth St Mary’s Cricket Club against Sowerby St Peter’s in West Yorkshire, Ali was at the crease in the 37th over when he sent the ball soaring through the air. An “Oooooh” could be heard from the crowd as as the ball could be heard crashing through the window of his Vauxhall Zafira. SWIMMING Sun Yang banned
REPRESENTATION: Along with announcing that he is gay, Nassib donated US$100,000 to the Trevor Project, which works to prevent suicides among LGBTQ+ youth in the US
Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib on Monday announced that he is gay, making him the first active NFL player to acknowledge his homosexuality. He made his proclamation in a video posted on Instagram. “I’m at my house here in West Chester, Pennsylvania,” Nassib, 28, said. “I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I really have the best life. I’ve got the best family, friends and job a guy can ask for.” “I’m a pretty private person, so I hope you guys know that I’m really not doing this for attention,” Nassib said. “I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that like one day, videos like this and the whole coming out process are not necessary, but until then I am gonna do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate,” Nassib added. “These are personal decisions,” Raiders owner Mark Davis told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It’s 2021 and he’s a Raider. If he’s happy, I’m happy. It takes courage. I thought we got to the point where this wasn’t [a prominent news story]. It doesn’t change my opinion of him as a man or as a Raider.” “The NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. Representation matters,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “We share his hope that someday soon statements like his will no longer be newsworthy, as we march toward full equality for the LGBTQ+ community. We wish Carl the best of luck this coming season.” Penn State University coach James Franklin, who was Nassib’s coach in 2014 and 2015, wrote on social media: “I am
Serena Williams turns 40 on Sept. 26 and the arrival of that landmark birthday is to be all the sweeter if she has at last equaled Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles. The tennis legend could even hold the record outright if she wins both Wimbledon and the US Open, but despite holding her own in the top 10, there is a fear that age is affecting her powers. A fourth-round loss at the French Open to Kazakhstan’s 21st seed Elena Rybakina reflected this, although clay would be her least preferred surface despite three Roland Garros titles. However, her chances of an eighth Wimbledon crown have improved with the withdrawal of world No. 2 Naomi Osaka, who is taking time off from tournaments after revealing that she has been battling anxiety and depression. There are also fitness doubts over Australia’s world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty and third-ranked Simona Halep, who denied Williams the record-equaling Grand Slam at Wimbledon two years ago. That was one of four Grand Slam finals that Williams has played since she drew within one title of the controversial Court’s record at the 2017 Australian Open. Fellow US tennis legend Chris Evert believes that Williams is still capable of winning at Wimbledon, where she has been the losing finalist on her past two visits. “Like Roger Federer, I would give Serena a better chance at Wimbledon because the grass is perfect for her game,” the 66-year-old Evert told Eurosport prior to the French Open. “On the grass, if Serena is fit and that serve is working, then that’s half of the match right there. She has that experience and flexibility.” However, Evert said that like any great champion who appears vulnerable, all of Williams’ opponents would entertain hopes of beating her. “The players are better now than they were two years ago
Two weeks ago, Jon Rahm was playing the golf of his life at the Memorial at Muirfield Village, equaling the tournament’s 54-hole record at 18-under-par and opening a six-stroke lead over the field, only to be informed on live television while coming off the 18th green that he would need to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19. The guidelines of the PGA Tour and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention require 10 days of self-isolation after a positive test, limiting Rahm’s ability to practice before the US Open. Only because he was able to return two negative tests within 24 hours was he permitted to cut his quarantine short and arrive at Torrey Pines Golf Course for the season’s third major before Tuesday last week. It was the sort of wrinkle that once might have derailed the fiery 26-year-old Spaniard, whose temperament at times has obscured his formidable talent. However, rather than pout or complain or point fingers, Rahm said that he relied on the “power of positive thinking “ to help him maintain the mindset that got him over the line for his first major title on Sunday. Rahm also credited advice he received from Padraig Harrington, a three-time major winner, and Nick Faldo, a six-time major winner, for helping him through the ordeal. “Padraig told me a story in which he was leading by five after 54 holes, signed the wrong scorecard and got disqualified,” Rahm said. “He said he got a lot more from that instance — he learned a lot more than he would ever learn from the win.” “Nick Faldo texted me the next morning and told me a story of how he was winning a tournament,” Rahm added. “He was leading by six with six holes to go and got disqualified, as well, and how he learned from that
Soccer fans today can tune in to cheer on several stars from the Taiwan men’s national team as Tainan TSG (Taiwan Steel Group) represent Taiwan at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup qualifiers in Hong Kong. Competing with their Tainan TSG teammates are five national squad members — including midfielder Wu Chun-ching, goalkeeper Pan Wen-chieh and defender Chen Wei-chuan — who arrived in Hong Kong last week after concluding Taiwan’s run in Asia’s group stage of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, where they had a narrow 2-1 defeat to hosts Kuwait. Wu — last season’s Most Valuable Player in the Taiwan Football Premier League — Pan and Chen led Tainan TSG to capture the league title and are expected to start in the Group J opener against Mongolia’s Athletic 200 FC at the Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground. The Tainan TSG players were inoculated against COVID-19 before their flight to Hong Kong, where a “competition bubble” has been set up, with each team moving as a group from hotel meals and accommodation to the training ground and back to the hotel. After today’s opener, Tainan TSG are to face Hong Kong’s Lee Man on Saturday and the territory’s Eastern Long Lions on Tuesday next week. Fans in Taiwan fans can watch broadcasts of all three matches on ELTA TV, HamiVideo or Chunghwa Telecom’s MOD Channel 202. Since their return to Taiwan last week, the rest of the Taiwan men’s national team have been in quarantine, but the Taipei Times asked manager Henry Von for his assessment of their performance in Kuwait. Team Taiwan have potential, but still face many challenges and need more international experience, Von said. “The squad as a whole lacked time playing together in matches,” he said. “This was one of the key problems. We worked extensively to build up their confidence.” Asked about the first
England’s bid to win their Euro 2020 group was thrown into chaos ahead of yesterday’s clash with the Czech Republic after Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell were forced to isolate following Scotland midfielder Billy Gilmour’s positive COVID-19 test. Mount and Chilwell embraced Gilmour, their Chelsea teammate, on the Wembley pitch after England’s 0-0 draw with Scotland on Friday. Although they have since tested negative, the England duo’s close contact with Gilmour forced them into self-isolation on Monday after Gilmour tested positive. In a hammer blow to Scotland, Gilmour must quarantine for 10 days and was ruled out of their decisive game against Croatia in Glasgow yesterday. England manager Gareth Southgate was waiting to discover whether Mount, who has started the team’s two group matches and Chilwell, yet to play in the tournament, would be available to face the Czech Republic at Wembley. England are assured of a last-16 berth, but Mount and Chilwell could also be ruled out of that tie, depending on advice from health authorities. Southgate acknowledged that the COVID-19 issue was the worst possible preparation to play the Czech Republic, who are also certain to advance to the last 16. England are behind the group-leading Czech Republic on goal difference and must win to ensure that they finish in first place. Southgate’s side, who beat Croatia 1-0 in their opener, have so far been underwhelming and were booed off following a drab stalemate against Scotland. The remaining members of the Scotland squad have passed lateral flow tests, following their negative polymerase chain reaction tests on Sunday. However, the loss of the 20-year-old Gilmour is devastating following his man-of-the-match display against England in his first Scotland start. Scotland, playing in their first major tournament since 1998, would make the knockout stage of an international competition for the first time if they beat Croatia.
Jacob deGrom was stopped coming off the mound after retiring the side in order in the first inning, and chuckled as he handed his glove and cap over to the umpire. The New York Mets ace then undid his belt buckle as requested, showing there was no goop there either. This was no sticky situation for the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner, only what is going to become a new norm for all professional pitchers. The search is on for unauthorized foreign substances that pitchers can use to doctor baseballs — long against the rules, but rarely enforced until now. The crackdown began on Monday when major and minor league umpires started regular checks of all pitchers for tacky substances used to get a better grip on the balls, but can also increase the spin of the balls and make hitting them more difficult. “I said: ‘What all do you guys need?’ ‘Glove, hat and belt,’ they said. I handed them that stuff and then went along my way,” said DeGrom, the first to get inspected since he was the first pitcher to take the mound on the day that baseball’s new enforcement directive went into effect. He started the first game of New York’s home doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves. The Mets and Braves were among 14 MLB teams who played on Monday, six days after a five-page memo to teams about the pending change in enforcement that followed what baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called an extensive process of repeated warnings without effect. Manfred last week said that the enforcement of foreign substances was needed “to level the playing field” after two months of comprehensive data collection, including inspections of balls used in games and testing by third-party inspectors. That came with the league batting average at a more than a half-century low, along with
LACKING HEIGHT: With Indonesia hosting a qualifying tournament for the third-placed teams before the Asia Cup begins, Taiwan have one more opportunity to get a berth
The Taiwan men’s national basketball team on Sunday lost to China 91-73, making it more difficult for the squad to qualify for the FIBA Asia Cup. The defeat at the Angeles University Foundation Gym in Pampanga Province, Philippines, followed Taiwan’s losses to China (115-66) on Thursday and Japan (98-61) on Friday. This third and final window of the qualifiers was held in a “competition bubble” to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With the loss, Taiwan (1-4) finished third in Group B, which included China, Japan and Malaysia. Third place does not automatically give them a berth in the Asia Cup, which is scheduled to take place in Jakarta in mid-August. However, Taiwan still have one chance to qualify. Indonesia are to host a qualifying tournament for the six third-placed teams in Jarkarta before the Asia Cup begins. As the hosts, Indonesia are to automatically be given a berth in the Asia Cup, but the top three teams at the qualifying tournament would also qualify. The top slot was taken by Asian powerhouse China (4-0), followed by heavyweight Japan (2-2). Malaysia finished last in the group. Despite the loss, Sunday’s game showed that Taiwan’s young squad of mostly semi-professional and collegiate players can be competitive against Asia’s better teams. China used their height advantage to lead 28-16 at the end of the first quarter, but Taiwan rallied in the second quarter, using their speed to pull off a 23-21 run against their taller opponents. Finding their rhythm, Taiwan made four of eight three-pointers and narrowed the deficit, trailing China 49-39 at halftime. China’s aggressiveness widened the lead to 76-53 in the third quarter, but Taiwan hit back with a 20-15 run in the fourth quarter by hitting the basket from the high and low posts. However, Taiwan failed to further close the gap and China took the win at the final buzzer. China
New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was yesterday selected as the first transgender Olympic athlete after local officials made a groundbreaking call on “a highly sensitive and complex issue.” New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) CEO Kereyn Smith said that the 43-year-old Hubbard — who was born male, but transitioned to female in her 30s — met all of the qualification criteria for transgender athletes. “We acknowledge that gender identity in sport is a highly sensitive and complex issue requiring a balance between human rights and fairness on the field of play,” Smith said in a statement. “As the New Zealand team, we have a strong culture of manaaki [“caring”] and inclusion and respect for all,” Smith added. Hubbard, who also competed as a male, became eligible to lift as a woman after showing testosterone levels below the threshold required by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). At the Tokyo Olympic Games, she is to compete in the women’s +87kg category, an event in which she is ranked 16th in the world. Olympic Weightlifting New Zealand president Richie Patterson said that Hubbard has worked hard to come back from a potentially career-ending elbow injury experienced at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. “Laurel has shown grit and perseverance in her return from a significant injury and overcoming the challenges in building back confidence on the competition platform,” he said. However, support for Hubbard’s selection is not unanimous, with former teammate Tracey Lambrechs saying last month that the concerns of female-born weightlifters were being ignored. “I’ve had female weightlifters come up to me and say: ‘This isn’t fair — what can we do?’” she told broadcaster TVNZ. “Unfortunately there’s nothing we can do because every time we voice it [concerns], we get told to be quiet.” IOC rules state that a transgender woman can compete provided her testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per liter, a
The US Olympic swimming trials wrapped up on Sunday with Simone Manuel winning the 50m freestyle to snatch a spot in Tokyo after missing out in the 100m freestyle, which she won at the 2016 Rio Games. Also earning a Tokyo ticket in the final night of action in Omaha, Nebraska, was Bobby Finke with a win in the men’s 1,500m freestyle, while Caeleb Dressel qualified for a third individual event, blitzing to victory in the men’s 50m freestyle and equaling his US record of 21.04 seconds. No result at the entire week-long meet was more welcomed than Manuel’s after she failed to make the final in the 100m freestyle. The first black woman to claim an individual swimming gold medal, an emotional Manuel later said that she had been suffering from overtraining syndrome, which had kept her out of the pool until just weeks prior to the trials. “I’m a hard worker. I take a lot of pride in what I do,” Manuel said. “I just want to go out there and do my best.” With one last opportunity to make the Tokyo team, Manuel dug deep and got to the wall first in 24.29 seconds, just 1/100th of a second ahead of Abbey Weitzeil, who had already clinched her spot with a win in the 100m freestyle. While Manuel is on her way to Japan, there was no storybook ending for Nathan Adrian, who was attempting to earn a berth on his fourth Olympic team after overcoming testicular cancer. The winner of eight Olympic medals, including five gold, Adrian had been a top US sprinter since the 2008 Beijing Games, but at 32 years old, he came up short, finishing third in the 50m freestryle, behind Dressel and Michael Andrew. “I was really rooting for Nathan, but the point of having this meet is to pick
Ons Jabeur on Sunday became the first Arab woman to win a WTA title when the Tunisian beat Daria Kasatkina of Russia 7-5, 6-4 in an engrossing hour-and-a-half tussle in Birmingham, England. Jabeur, the second seed, gained a measure of revenge as she secured her first title at the expense of Kasatkina, one of two women to have beaten her in her previous finals appearances. “I knew I had to go for it. I had to win this title to at least breathe and give an example,” Jabeur said. “There are not a lot of Tunisian or Arabic players playing, so I hope this could inspire them, and I want to see more Arabic [players] and Tunisians playing with me on tour.” Jabeur, ranked 24th in the world, has been in fine form this season, ranking alongside former world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in terms of matches won (28). The 26-year-old held her nerve, despite Kasatkina breaking back when Jabeur served for the first set at 5-4. Jabeur broke world No. 35 Kasatkina immediately and this time, she made no mistake in serving to win the set, but Kasatkina raced into a 4-0 lead in the second set. Kasatkina, winner of two titles this season, fought her way back to 4-3 down, but the Tunisian remained focused, sealing the title on her first match point when the Russian netted. Jabeur revealed the pain of her defeat to Kasatkina in a final in Moscow in 2018, when she pleaded with her to be more generous the next time they met. “Last time we played was in Moscow. She [Kasatkina] won and I was crying. It was a great battle,” Jabeur said. “I told her: ‘Can you please share some titles with me? At least, let me win my first WTA?’”
Mercedes seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton played down the pain of his latest defeat by Formula One leader Max Verstappen in France on Sunday and said the race was a real reflection of Red Bull’s pace. The Briton had won at Le Castellet in 2018 and 2019, with no race last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but his hopes of a hat-trick ended when resurgent Red Bull out-smarted the champions on strategy. The seventh race of the season was a reversal of the Spanish Grand Prix in May, when Hamilton in the closing laps hunted down Verstappen — who at the time said that he felt like a sitting duck — for the win. This time it was the champion who was on the receiving end, as Verstappen made a second pit stop and used his fresher tires to make up the time and overhaul Hamilton on the penultimate lap. Asked how gut-wrenching the feeling had been, Hamilton — now 12 points behind his Dutch rival — said that it had not been at all gut-wrenching. “I think we did a great job today and it just didn’t work out,” Hamilton said. “I’m not massively disappointed. I think I did the best job I could today. Of course, there were things we could probably have done slightly better, but overall they have been quicker than us all weekend.” “It’s a true reflection of the pace they have,” he added. Hamilton had arrived at Le Castellet having scored just seven points from the previous two races won by Red Bull and lagging Verstappen by four. Verstappen started on pole, but went wide at the start, allowing Hamilton to take the lead, which the Mercedes driver held until the pit stops, when the Dutch driver got back in front before taking a gamble and pitting again. “Lewis’ tires were really
People take part in a yoga session at a park in Amritsar, India, yesterday to mark International Yoga Day.
‘A LITTLE EUPHORIA’: Germany managed to turn things around before halftime, to stave off a defeat that would have left them at the brink of elimination in Group F
Germany on Saturday breathed life into their Euro 2020 campaign with a stunning 4-2 win over holders Portugal in Munich, despite Cristiano Ronaldo moving closer to the all-time international goals record, after world champions France were forced to settle for a draw with Hungary. Saturday also saw Spain stumble to a 1-1 draw with Poland in Seville, as the second round of group games at the tournament drew to a close. Germany knew a defeat against Portugal at the Allianz Arena would leave them on the brink of being eliminated from Group F, following their failure to make it beyond the group phase at the 2018 World Cup. Portugal would have been through to the last 16 with a win and Ronaldo put them in front. It was the 36-year-old’s record-extending 12th goal at the European Championship finals, and also his 107th international goal on his 177th appearance for his country. That leaves him just two away from the all-time international record, set by Ali Daei who scored 109 times for Iran. However, Germany turned things around before halftime, as Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro both scored own goals. Robin Gosens set up Kai Havertz to make it 3-1 just after halftime, and then headed in the fourth goal himself. Jota pulled another one back for Portugal, but the defeat jeopardizes their chances of making it to the last 16 just as Germany have the knockout stage in sight. “We are allowed to feel a little euphoria,” Germany’s Thomas Mueller said. France, the pretournament favorites, were thwarted by Hungary in the intense heat and before a hostile crowd of almost 56,000 in Budapest, having to come from behind to draw 1-1. In the only Euro 2020 venue without restrictions on capacity due to COVID-19, Attila Fiola gave the hosts a shock lead in first-half stoppage time. Antoine Griezmann, the Golden Boot winner
Giannis Antetokounmpo on Saturday had 40 points and 13 rebounds, as the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Brooklyn Nets 115-111 in a thrilling Game 7 overtime to advance to the Eastern Conference finals. The best-of-seven series has featured almost everything, including epic scoring performances, aggressive fouls, rim-rattling dunks, series-ending injuries and of course, Saturday’s winner-take-all Game 7, which turned into a see-saw affair with dozens of lead changes throughout. The only thing missing was an overtime, which Kevin Durant set the stage for in Game 7, when he drained a turnaround jump shot at the buzzer in regulation to level the score at 109 in front of a crowd of 16,200 at the Barclays Center in New York. Two-time league MVP Antetokounmpo shot 15-of-24 and had five assists in 50 minutes of playing time in the head-to-head match-up with Durant. “I want to be great,” Antetokounmpo said. “We had to give everything.” Durant finished with 48 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but missed two jumpers in the final minute of overtime that could have tied the score and possibly forced a second extra session. “We got looks, we just didn’t knock them down,” Durant said. The Bucks advance to the Eastern Conference finals, where they are to play either the Atlanta Hawks or the Philadelphia 76ers, who were to face off in another Game 7 yesterday. “At the end of the day, I try not to get too high, not to get too low, but I almost got emotional a little bit out there because the team really tried their best,” Antetokounmpo said. “We kept our composure. We were down 2-0. A lot of people didn’t believe we could make it.” Khris Middleton tallied 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Bucks, who became the first road team to win a game in the series. Brook Lopez chipped in