This one’s for you, Gareth: a bluster’s guide to how to win the Euro

<span>Kyle Walker puts his selfie on as <a class=England players are heading to Germany.Photo: Morgan Harlow/The FA/Getty Images” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/ 194033569988f” data-src= “–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/ 33569988f”/>


Well, at least Harry Kane wasn’t on the corner this time. Eight years after the humiliation in Nice, Iceland were at it again, powering their way to thunderous applause to a 1-0 win on Friday to keep the favorites – who now have one win in their last five – modest ahead of the European Championship will start in 2024. So what should England fans do here: label this as a crisis in waiting or dismiss it as an exercise in experimentation? Shiver at the pictures of Jack Grealish, the national hero of the pandemic European Championship, or fire up ‘Anthony Gordon – Crazy Dribbling Skills, Goals & Assists – 2024’ on YouTube and trust Gareth Southgate to have this? The England manager is likely to be calm, helped by his good tournament record. But it doesn’t hurt to reconsider at the last minute how to actually win the trophy.

First of all, Gareth, don’t host the damn thing. You’ll come far, but heartbreak is inevitable at the finish line. In 2004, a Portuguese XI featuring Cristiano Ronaldo, Luís Figo and Deco – who had just won the Grand Cup with Porto – appeared in Lisbon for a ticker-tape parade only for Angelos Charisteas to deliver unexpected Greek glory. Twelve years later the Portuguese were cheering in a tough match in Paris against France, and three years ago there was Wembley. So apologies, Germany, we know you’ve been doing well lately, but it’s best to get the tissues ready. A victory in the penalty shootout is also virtually mandatory; even tiki-taka Spain had to show a bull’s-eye, beating Italy and Portugal after extra time on their way to consecutive title victories in 2008 and 2012.

You don’t need the biggest names at the top either. The 2021 player of the tournament was Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, assisted by two grizzled, been-there-done-that central defenders ahead of him, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini. Portugal had Ronaldo in 2016, but he was forced off the field in the first half of the final with talent; Pepe stepped up in defense and took out the French for Rui Patrício, the pair part of a team that drew three times in the group stage and won just once during the tournament in normal time. It’s okay to do it the ugly way.

That said, a little firepower in the reserves wouldn’t go amiss. Here’s a series for your next pub quiz: Oliver Bierhoff, Sylvain Wiltord, David Trezeguet, Fernando Torres, Juan Mata and Eder. They have all come in as substitutes in the final since 1996 and scored. This isn’t how it’s done at the World Cup: look at the previous seven men’s tournaments there and you’ll only see one man who scored a goal after getting into the final: German Mario Götze in 2014. Ivan Toney and Ollie Watkins will do that. I hope their bibs provide a similar dose of magic.


10.55 am: “Players and clubs will not participate in that tournament. One Real Madrid match is worth twenty million euros and FIFA wants to give us that amount for the entire cup. Like us, other clubs will refuse the invitation” – in an interview with Il Giornale, Carlo Ancelotti estimates that club football’s most successful team will turn down next year’s exuberant Club World Cup.

2:05 p.m.: “My words about the Club World Cup were not interpreted as I intended. Nothing could be further from my interest than turning down the opportunity to play in a tournament that I think could be a great opportunity to continue fighting for major titles with Real Madrid.” – perhaps after a little push from Florentino Pérez, Ancelotti issues a classic statement on his TwiXer account to distance himself from the above.


The biggest disappointment for those of us chuckling at England’s result last Friday is that they weren’t drawn in a group with Lidl, Morrisons and Tesco” – Peter Storch.

It took longer than it should have to realize that it was a photo of Jack Grealish holding a bottle of mayonnaise and not Married With Children’s Bud Bundy” – Gavin O’Sullivan.

So, after Wales’ recent draw against Gibraltar (and this one – Football Daily Ed), do you really think there isn’t much lower to go? I beg to differ” – Dan Croft.

Send letters to The winner of today’s newsletter is… Peter Storch, who wins a copy of Euro 88: The Football Purists’ European Championship, from Pitch Publishing. Visit their bookstore here. You can view the general terms and conditions for our competitions here.


Our all-singing, all-dancing Euro 2024 player interactive is live, baby! Here’s everything you need to know (and more) about all 622 team members in Germany.


Join Max Rushden and the Football Weekly pod team as they preview Groups A and B at Euro 2024.


Alan Hansen, the legendary former Liverpool and Scotland defender, is seriously ill in hospital.

Three Valencia fans have been sentenced to eight months in prison for hate crimes against Vinicius Jr., the first conviction for racist insults in a stadium in Spain.

Scotland assistant John Carver has played down injury fears surrounding Andy Robertson after the Scotland captain was escorted away from training on Monday. “He’s fine,” he roared.

Sir Big Jim Ratcliffe held exploratory talks with Thomas Tuchel last week about the possible replacement of Erik ten Hag as Manchester United boss, but the not always sensible German has ruled himself out of the job.

Elsewhere on the managerial merry-go-round, Graham Potter is Leicester’s first choice to replace Enzo Maresca, St Pauli’s only blummin’ 31-year-old Fabian Hurzeler is Brighton’s preferred candidate for their vacant job and Will Still, also 31, has been appointed as the new head coach at Lens.

And Manchester United’s Tom Heaton has been handed the soft role of goalkeeper Bez in the England camp after being invited to join Gareth Southgate’s squad as a training goalkeeper. “[I’m] incredibly honored,” he said as he shook some maracas.


The decision by North Yorkshire’s Thornaby FC committee to end a “difficult year” in the club’s history by axing all 100 female players and every female team from the age of 7 onwards only made their year even more difficult. English icon Beth Mead, from nearby Whitby, led the attack on TwiXer. “The women’s game is on the rise, but we still have committees making these terrible decisions,” she raged. “It’s not good enough, these women deserve better.” The cash-strapped club, victims of an arson attack in 2023, took the action last week, to a growing backlash. First team manager Abbey Lyle said: “We have girls who have really made progress this season, we were looking forward to the presentation night but now we don’t have a venue to host it because we are not allowed to go to the presentation night. ground.” Whose idea was this? Not club chief Gary Morris, who voted against the cull and asked the rest to “consider their position on the board as protectors and administrators of the football club”. The rest resigned gracefully. Too late? A A number of local sponsors have already withdrawn their support.


Steve Clarke braces for every European Championship final, telling Ewan Murray: “If we don’t win, I’ll be stuck.”

Barnsley loaned out Callum Styles during the phone call that led to him heading to Germany with Hungary this summer. “It’s not an easy language, but I’m doing my best.”

Quick, before someone else goes down in training and we have to change this… here’s our complete interactive guide to all 622 players for the Euros.

There are also plenty of Euros team guides to catch up on… part 11: Serbia | part 13: Slovenia | part 13: Austria | part 14: France | part 15: Netherlands | part 16: Poland

Khalida Popal gained power through football and formed the Afghan women’s team, despite violence and threats from the Taliban. Follow her extraordinary story, as told to Donald McRae and through an excerpt from her forthcoming autobiography.

“Ryan Reynolds never had to deal with this…” – the slow death and potential rebirth of Southend, in Audio Long Read format by Tim Burrows, read by Sam Swainsbury.

And as another enchanting season in La Liga comes to an end, another edition of The Sids lands. Brace yourself – our internal robots that calculate such things tell us it might take you 11 minutes to get from top to bottom.


40 years ago today John Barnes pulled off a crazy, fast Maracanã dribble to beat Brazil at their own sexy game of samba. English players are not supposed to score goals like that. Not many people have done that before or since. “I don’t remember much about the goal,” Barnes said years later when he remembered the goal. “Even when I see it again on television, it’s like having an out-of-body experience.” Just before half-time he smashed his way through the Brazilian defense, and even though this was not a vintage Brazilian team, they still had a magic for the English crowd at home who watched with amazement that was even greater when Mark Hateley scored the second got a goal. An incredible evening promised much for both Barnes and Hateley, but it didn’t really work out for either of them in an England shirt. Barnes, then of Watford and later of Liverpool, was the best player in English football for much of the late 1980s but never shone brightly for his country.


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