Last night, Gareth Southgate’s men did it. They took their place amongst the final 16 teams remaining in Euro 2020 – and they didn’t even need to kick a ball to get there.
The structure of this year’s international tournament means that whilst the top two teams in each group automatically go through to the next round, four of the best third-placed teams also accompany them.
Monday’s results saw Ukraine surrender Group C’s second spot to Austria, whilst Finland were leapfrogged by Denmark in Group B.
This meant Ukraine and Finland finished third in their respective groups on three points apiece.
England, meanwhile, already have four points.
What this all means is that Southgate’s men can – at worst – finish third and still go through.
England will join Wales, France, Switzerland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Austria, Netherlands and Belgium in the next round of the tournament – having already amassed enough points in their own group to book a spot in the knockout stages.
But where exactly they will end up in the final group table – and who they will play in the final 16 – is not so certain.
England’s next fixture will be determined by their result against group leaders Czech Republic tonight (June 22) – who are also through.
An England win would see them top the group – meaning they would face the Group F runner-up at Wembley next week. This could be world champions France, reigning Euros champions Portugal, Germany or Hungary.
No easy games there.
If England fail to beat Czech Republic, they could finish second – meaning a fixture against the runners-up from Group E in Copenhagen.
That would be either Spain, Slovakia, Sweden or Poland.
If the Three Lions finish third, they could also end up meeting any of those same four nations. Other possible opponents include the Netherlands and Belgium.
Elsewhere in their group, England’s neighbours Scotland square off against Croatia – knowing that anything less than a win will signal the end of their Euros campaign.
Both England and Scotland are reeling from a positive COVID-19 test from Scotland midfielder Billy Gilmour, who is judged to have been in close contact with Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount during the 0-0 draw between the home nations last weekend.
All three players now have to isolate and may be unavailable for selection.
England play Czech Republic tonight at Wembley in the final Group D game. Kick-off is 8pm and the match will be broadcast on ITV.
Featured image: Wikimedia Commons
An official Guinness Fan Zone is coming to Manchester for the Six Nations
One of the biggest Guinness Fan Zones in the UK is coming to Manchester city centre for the Six Nations this February and the best part of all is, it’s absolutely free.
With the beloved rugby union tournament kicking off on Saturday, 4 February, Guinness are bringing their popular fan zone to our lovely city and just in time for the Wales vs Ireland game, not to mention England vs Scotland later the same day.
Popping up on Baring Street, Mayfield, just round the corner from Piccadilly Station, the Six Nations fan zone will be the biggest outside of London and runs all the way until Saturday 18 March.
Transformed into a dedicated space for rugby lovers to watch the match and enjoy a fresh pint of ice-cold Guinness, the fan zone festivities don’t stop there.
To keep the party rolling, they will also be hosting a series of interactive shows, activities and live performances, including bagpipes, Irish dancers and more. There’s even an interactive beer wall – the first one to be available outside of rugby union’s historic home at Twickenham.
Once again, general admissions tickets to the fan zone are absolutely free, but you can bag yourself a table reservation for £10 per person. Better still, for super fans, you can even grab an exclusive Season Pass for a limited time only, granting you access to all five games in the competition.
This includes a special edition team jersey, access to the best seats in the house and the first 150 customers will also get a Guinness Six Nations tote bag filled with beanies, cushions and foam fingers, even temporary tattoos and face paints for you to get your full colours on.
Last but not least, those who do grab a Season Pass will also be in with a chance to win one of Guinness’ exclusive ‘Money Can’t Buy Experiences‘, this year’s main prize being four tickets to a Six Nations match, a dressing room tour and being trusted with flag bearer duty before kick-off. Mint.
Russian supporters waving Putin flags and wearing ‘Z’ war symbols questioned by police at Australian Open
A number of Russian supporters attending the Australian Open were spotted waving pro-Putin flags and wearing ‘Z’ war symbols during Novak Djokovic’s match on Wednesday evening.
Spotted in the crowd whilst watching Djokovic’s quarter-final tie against Russian tennis player Andrey Rublev, the group of fans cheering on Rublev are now said to have been questioned by local police following the stunt as a further investigation is expected to be carried out.
The nine-time tournament winner might have seen off the world number six seed in straight sets to progress to the penultimate round of the major, but the controversy that the pro-war display has caused is understandably all anyone can focus on.
You can see a significant number of Russian fans chanting “Putin!” with their flags in the stands below, as well as another man clearly flaunting the ‘Z’ symbol — synonymous with the invasion of Ukraine.
According to a statement issued by Tennis Australia, four men were questioned by local authorities in Melbourne after they revealed their pro-Putin emblems and reportedly threatened security guards inside the Rod Laver Arena then they were asked to remove them.
Victoria Police have now confirmed that while charges were made, the group of supporters were quickly ejected, with Australian Open organisers reassuring that they will “continue to work closely with event security and law enforcement agencies.”
To make matters worse, Djokovic’s father, Srđan, was later seen posing with what appears to be the same group of fans and images of Vladimir Putin outside the stadium.
The Serbian has not long put his own controversy behind him after being deported from the country due to covid regulations and his anti-vax stance last year. This surely won’t help.
The Russian invasion has been an ongoing issue at the Open, with Russian and Belarusian players now having to compete under a neutral flag.
This comes after spectators had initially been allowed to bring any flag into the arena with them. However, following the incident, certain Russian flags are now prohibited and security guards have been provided with pamphlets in order for them to check for approved national emblems.
Elsewhere, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy was both surprised and relieved to find out that Germany has confirmed they will be sending Leopard 2 tanks to bolster his country’s defences, which he only learned whilst in the middle of an interview with Sky News’ Kay Burley.
We are now approaching a year since the Russian invasion began, with Putin’s campaign having run for 11 months and 3 days.