The Baltimore Orioles' Cedric Mullins ended Gerrit Cole's long-awaited season debut in the fifth inning.

Five innings later, he sent the New York Yankees to a loss.

Mullins hit the go-ahead single in the 10th inning and later scored on a throwing error as the Orioles held on to beat the Yankees 7-6 on Wednesday.

The game went to extras on Giancarlo Stanton's run-scoring single off Baltimore closer Craig Kimbrel with one out in the ninth.

Two innings earlier, Stanton's three-run home run off reliever Yennier Cano pulled New York within one run at 5-4.

In the 10th, Mullins' tie-breaking single scored Anthony Santander, and he made it to second base on the throw to the plate. He then stole third and came around to score as catcher Jose Trevino overthrew third baseman DJ LeMahieu.

With the win, Baltimore (48-25) pulled within 1 1/2 games of New York for first place in the AL East.

 

The Yankees (51-25) were playing without Aaron Judge after he was hit on the left hand by a pitch in Tuesday's 4-2 win in the series opener.

While New York was without its star slugger it did get its pitching ace back.

Cole had been on the injured list since experiencing nerve inflammation and swelling in his pitching elbow during spring training and delivered an encouraging performance.

The 2023 AL Cy Young Award winner allowed two runs and three hits while striking out five and walking one in four-plus innings.

He permitted a single to Mullins to lead off the fifth inning and was promptly pulled after throwing 62 pitches.

 

Bibee, Naylor lead Guardians in rout of Mariners

Tanner Bibee struck out a career-high 12 batters and Josh Naylor homered twice as the Guardians rolled to an 8-0 win over the Seattle Mariners in a matchup of American League division leaders.

Naylor drove in four runs, and got things started with a run-scoring single in the first inning.

That would be all the offence Bibee would need, as he limited the Mariners to three hits and a walk over six innings.

Steven Kwan hit a two-run homer and singled and has hit safely in all 13 games since missing nearly four weeks with a strained left hamstring, batting .510 with nine RBIs and 13 runs scored during his hitting streak.

Jose Ramirez and Bo Naylor also each had a pair of hits for the AL Central-leading Guardians (45-26), who snapped a three-game losing streak and bounced back from Tuesday's 8-5 setback in the series opener.

The AL West-leading Mariners (44-32) lost for just the second time in 10 games and were shutout for the first time since May 30.

 

 

Rangers break up no-hitter to end Mets' seven-game winning streak

Leody Taveras came off the bench to hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to lead the Texas Rangers to a 5-3 win over the New York Mets.

The Rangers (34-40) ended a five-game losing streak and snapped the Mets' seven-game winning streak.

Texas prevailed despite being no-hit into the sixth inning.

Mets starter Sean Manaea retired the game's first two batters before issuing three consecutive walks to load the bases. He then hit Wyatt Langford with a pitch to force in a run before getting Nathaniel Lowe to ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

Manaea then retired the next 13 batters before giving up his first hit on Robbie Grossman's single with one out in the sixth inning.

Pete Alonso hit his 16th homer for the Mets (35-38), who lost for just the third time in 14 games.

 

The first female to become president of the Jamaica Golf Association (JGA) returns unopposed for her second-consecutive term of office. Jodi Munn-Barrow had no challenger for the top position of the JGA when the organization hosted its election at the Constant Golf Club recently.

“It’s a true honour to be elected as president of the Jamaica Golf Association. I look forward to working with the members of the new executive committee. The first matter of importance that we will be looking at is the hosting of the Caribbean Amateur Junior Championships in July and then we continue to focus on our Jamaica Open but grateful to have a good committee and grateful to lead this august body” said a delighted Munn-Barrow.

She was nominated by the immediate past president Peter Chin, who is an avid golfer and chairs the Jamaica Open Golf Championship committee.

Vice president Dr. Mark Newnham returned unopposed as well after being nominated by Robert Chin.

The other elected members of the committee are William Brown –Treasurer, Fred Sutherland – Honourary Secretary, Alison Reid – Junior Golf Chairperson, Rowena Coe – Ladie’s Representative, along with committee members Dave Lyn, Vikram Dhiman, Robert Chin, Teddy Alexander and Dave Cameron.

Alexander and Cameron will be serving on the JGA executive for the first time. Cameron, the former president of the West Indies Cricket Board can be seen on the golf course from time to time.

For Demarai Gray, the journey to recover from a broken collarbone in time for the Copa America has been a testament of resilience, passion, and an unwavering commitment to representing Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz.

The England-born winger, who suffered the injury earlier this year, while representing Saudi Pro League club Al-Ettifaq, recently returned to fitness, and his joy and excitement about being back in Jamaica’s setup are palpable, as he prepares to parade his skills in one of the most prestigious tournaments in international football.

“It's good to be back; I was disappointed that I missed the World Cup qualifiers, but I'm happy the boys got the six points. I am glad to be back with the boys and excited for this tournament,” Gray said in an interview with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) media.

“It was a difficult end (to the season) with the injury, I had about six weeks out, but over the last few weeks, I've been working and trying to get as fit as possible for the Copa. So, we've got a few more days for me to build, and hopefully I can get off to a good start against Mexico,” he added.

Gray going through his paces in training.

Gray's injury initially cast doubt on his availability for the Copa America, but the 27-year-old's return to a clean bill of health represents a significant boost for the Reggae Boyz, who view him as a crucial component of their attacking force.

Since he made the switch to represent Jamaica in 2023, Gray has quickly become a fan favorite, celebrated for his electrifying speed, deft dribbling, and ability to change the course of a game. His contributions have been instrumental in the Reggae Boyz's recent successes, including crucial goals and assists that have propelled the team forward in international competitions.

Reflecting on his journey with the Jamaican national team, Gray expressed deep pride and a sense of belonging that transcends his England roots.

“Yeah, it's been good. I've seen a lot since playing for Jamaica, playing back in Jamaica and being at the Gold Cup, and now being at this (Copa America) competition. So it's been good. It's been exciting, and fans have shown me a lot of love and respect, and the boys have been good,” Gray shared.

“So, yeah, it's been a good experience and, you know, with these tournaments and the World Cup qualifiers that we've got ahead, there's a lot of exciting things to look forward to, and I'm just taking it each game at a time, trying to achieve and contribute as much as I can for the country,” the soft-spoken player declared.

In 11 appearances so far, Gray has scored five goals, and he was instrumental in Jamaica’s historic third-place finish in the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League campaign. That is an accomplishment that the nippy player prides himself on, and one he hopes is the first of many to come on the international stage.

“Throughout my career, I want to get as many medals as I can, and win as many things as I can. I think we're a nation that's slowly building, I think you can see the talent and the potential that we've got, but things don't happen overnight, so we have to be a bit patient, but there's a lot to look forward to.

“Just qualifying and making different competitions is good for us as players, the young players coming through and the fans, it's just good for the whole nation. So I think that would be the main objective, just trying to be as successful as we can in competitions and just keep building,” Gray noted.

As the Reggae Boyz gear up for the Copa America, Gray's presence adds a layer of optimism and confidence to Heimir Hallgrimsson’s squad. He is focused on making a significant impact and is determined to help Jamaica achieve new heights on the international stage.

The Boyz will kick start their Group B campaign against perennial rivals Mexico, before rubbing shoulders with Venezuela and Ecuador later in the tournament.

“I am very excited. It's one I've been looking forward to. Obviously, if you look at the history of this tournament, see how many good players have played in it, and it's a very competitive tournament and testing tournament and I want to be tested at the highest levels in the best competitions,” he said.

“I'm happy that we're in this and got an opportunity to showcase what we're about. It's going to be a tough tournament because it's very high quality, but without these tests, we're not going to push ourselves. I'm very excited. I can't wait for the first game,” Gray ended.

A festival of football is about to kick off in the United States, as the Copa America sparks into action.

Argentina, the reigning champions, get the ball rolling when they face Canada in the opening Group A match, and Lionel Messi will be the main man as ever for La Albiceleste.

Messi was the joint-leading scorer at the 2021 Copa America, netting four goals to lead the standings alongside Colombia’s Luis Diaz.

The Barcelona great is expected to be right up there again when it comes to the 2024 Copa America Golden Boot race, and here, we dive into the main candidates for that award.

Lionel Messi

Not only did Messi finish as joint-top scorer at the 2021 Copa, he was also the leading assister and then, 18 months later, he went on to lead Argentina to World Cup glory, scoring seven goals in the process, from 6.6 expected goals – only Kylian Mbappe (eight) netted more times in Qatar.

As soon as he features for Argentina at this tournament, Messi will become the Copa America’s all-time record holder for appearances – he is tied with Chile great Sergio Livingstone on 34, as it stands.

 

Messi has scored 13 Copa America goals, which puts him joint-seventh on the all-time list, alongside fellow Argentina great Gabriel Batistuta. If he is able to replicate his four goals from the 2021 edition, then Messi will join Norberto Mendez and Zizinho at the top of the all-time charts – that is unless Peru’s Paolo Guerrero and/or Chile’s Eduardo Vargas were to net at least four times each to set a new record.

Since the start of the 2011 Copa, Messi has had 102 shots – more than any other player. Surprisingly, his conversion rate stands at just 10.78 per cent, which stands as the second-lowest out of any player to have netted at least five goals in the competition in that time.

But there can be no doubting Messi’s genius, and the little magician is entering what will surely be his final Copa in fine form – he has scored 12 goals in MLS for Inter Miami this season, outperforming his 8.3 xG and averaging a goal every 86 minutes.

Argentina are the Opta supercomputer’s favourites to win the Copa, and group matches against Canada, Chile and Peru provide Messi with a favourable jumping off point to win the Golden Boot again.

Vinicius Junior

Fresh from winning the Champions League with Real Madrid (and scoring in the final – again), Vinicius heads into the Copa America as Brazil’s talisman.

With Neymar absent through injury, the onus will fall on the winger to provide the creative spark and clinical edge to drag what looks like a more dogged, workmanlike squad through to the latter stages – Brazil are, according to our model, second favourites behind Argentina, with a 23 per cent win probability.

If the Selecao are to challenge the holders, then they need Vinicius in top form.

While he played as a split-striker for Madrid this season as Carlo Ancelotti found a way to get the best out of Jude Bellingham, Vinicius is more likely to play wide left for his country, though his cutting runs from out-to-in will make him a constant threat, as long as the likes of Bruno Guimaraes and Lucas Paqueta can pick him out.

 

Vinicius netted 24 times for Los Blancos in 2023-24, and attempted 286 dribbles – 10 more than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues across all competitions. He averaged 8.4 take-on attempts per 90, a tally bettered by only Jeremy Doku, while Vinicius also boasts a dribble completion rate of 3.3 per 90.

He is yet to score at the Copa America, however. That being said, he did not make a single start in 2021, with all four of his appearances coming as a substitute, having only one shot and completing only one of his seven dribbles. But such has been his stellar form under Ancelotti in the intervening three years, there is no doubting he is now Brazil’s main man.

Brazil face Costa Rica, Paraguay and in-form Colombia in Group D, but none of those defences should strike fear into Vinicius.

Luis Diaz

Diaz enjoyed a superb campaign three years ago, scoring two absolute screamers – one came in the group stage, an overhead kick against Brazil, while the other came in the third-place play-off as Colombia beat Peru; it was a stunner from outside the area, with the then-Porto winger lashing into the top-right corner after skipping in from the flank and taking on several defenders.

Indeed, the quality of Diaz’s finishes are shown by his xG in 2021, which was just 1.0. And Diaz’s excellent shooting at that edition is further evidenced by his expected goals on target (xGoT) figure of 2.2.

Diaz had only 10 shots, 18 fewer than Messi, yet boasted a hugely impressive 40 per cent shot conversion rate. Only Messi (57) and Neymar (77), meanwhile, attempted more dribbles than Diaz (43) at the 2021 edition, while it was just that superstar duo that completed more dribbles, too (Neymar 35, Messi 34, Diaz 26).

 

His performances at that tournament piqued the interest of Premier League sides, and Diaz subsequently moved to Liverpool in January 2022. So while he will not be quite the unknown quantity that he was three years ago, if he is at his best, he will still be hugely difficult to stop – especially with James Rodriguez pulling the strings behind him.

Darwin Nunez

Bookending this list of the top Golden Boot contenders is Uruguay’s Darwin Nunez. The Liverpool striker has been superb under Marcelo Bielsa, and looks to be El Loco’s main attacker, even with Luis Suarez in the squad.

Nunez scored 11 Premier League goals for the Reds in 2023-24, but underperformed his xG (16.4) by 5.4. While he was unfortunate in a sense – he hit the woodwork on nine occasions, four more times than any other player – he was also erratic in his finishing, with his xGoT dropping to 15.5. Nunez also missed 14 big chances, which ranked behind only Manchester City’s Erling Haaland (34).

 

The 24-year-old may never be ultra-clinical, (he had a shot conversion rate of 10.2 per cent in the Premier League in the season just gone) but his pace, tenacity and work rate make him the ideal Bielsa folly up top.

Nunez scored a hat-trick in Uruguay’s 4-0 demolition of Mexico earlier in June, while he is the leading goalscorer in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying, with five to his name.

Uruguay head into the tournament in fine fettle, and Bielsa will always be willing to risk it all in attack – meaning plenty of opportunities should come Nunez’s way.

They are in a group with the hosts USA, Panama and Bolivia – the worst-ranked team in the tournament – so Nunez should be aiming to make a dent early on.

Other contenders

Lautaro Martinez

Martinez has had an outstanding season for Inter, who he led to the Scudetto while finishing as top scorer in Serie A, scoring 24 goals in 33 appearances, and comfortably outperforming his 17.6 xG.

However, he has not netted for Argentina in 2026 World Cup qualifying, and is not a regular starter under Lionel Scaloni, so chances may not be of a premium for him. That being said, he did score twice in Argentina's 4-1 win over Guatemala on Friday.

 

Endrick

Boy wonder Endrick, who will link up with Vinicius, Bellingham and Kylian Mbappe at Real Madrid next season, has scored three goals for Brazil in his last three appearances.

He scored those in successive matches, though he was unable to become the first Selecao player since Neymar in 2021 to net in four consecutive games as Dorival Junior’s team drew 1-1 with the USA in a warm-up match. At 17, Endrick looks like a superstar in the making, and he could be an outside bet for the Golden Boot.

Luis Suarez

Uruguay’s all-time leading scorer Suarez is bang in form heading into this tournament. The veteran has 68 goals in 138 caps and has netted 12 times already for Miami in MLS this season, averaging a goal every 96 minutes.

Of players to score at least five times in MLS in 2024, Suarez has the fourth-highest shot conversion rate, too (33.33 per cent). Uruguay are ranked as the third-favourites by the Opta supercomputer, so Suarez could have plenty of matches to add to his international goals tally.

Christian Pulisic

The USA cannot find much consistency under Gregg Berhalter, though they did draw 1-1 with Brazil in a friendly on June 13. If the hosts are to make a serious run, then they will need to channel through Pulisic.

While he is more likely to act as a creator, the attacker has proved he is more than capable of putting away chances. He scored 15 goals for Milan in 2023-24, making it the best goalscoring campaign of his career.

Emma Raducanu is one of a record four former grand slam champions to get wild cards into the women's singles draw at Wimbledon.

Raducanu missed most of last year, including Wimbledon, after being forced to undergo wrist and ankle surgeries.

The 2021 US Open champion has slipped to 165th in the WTA rankings after enduring a difficult few years, and she was beaten by fellow Brit and eventual champion Katie Boulter in the Nottingham Open semi-finals on Sunday.

Raducanu is one of an unprecedented four former major champions to be handed wild cards for the women's draw by the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club.

Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber, who won the 2018 edition of Wimbledon, have all been granted entry.

All seven wild cards for the men's singles draw, meanwhile, have gone to British players, Liam Broady chief among them.

The third grand slam of 2024 gets under way on July 1, with the women's singles final being held on July 13 and the men's showpiece taking place the following day.

Luis de la Fuente sees striking similarities between Italy and his Spain side as La Roja prepare to "get muddy" against the Azzurri at Euro 2024.

Spain and Italy each won their Group B openers, against Croatia and Albania respectively, and a further victory for either team on Thursday will clinch top spot.

Although the pair account for three of the past four European Championship titles, neither have widely been counted among the leading contenders, but De la Fuente expects a highly competitive encounter between two young sides.

"They're very similar to us," Spain coach De la Fuente said of Italy. "They have changed coach and they have young players. They are very competitive.

"When I see them, it's almost like looking at ourselves in the mirror actually.

"We are a growing, developing team, working on cohesion and consistency, and so are they. I think it will be a very high quality match."

Italy beat Spain on penalties in the semi-finals of the last Euros, while the sides went on to meet in the 2012 final when they last played each other in the group stage.

The calibre of the fixture makes for a mouthwatering occasion, in which De la Fuente is keen to ensure Spain will be "ready for everything".

"It's a football clasico, a clash that could easily be a Euros or World Cup final," he said.

"We are prepared to get muddy, to dig deep in a quarry, for a good day at the office. We are ready for everything.

"We know what kind of football Italy play and how competitive they are, so we won't be surprised. I expect a strong, aggressive Italy who will try to control possession."

Though the 2024 NBA playoffs saw its share of surprising outcomes, in the end the best team reigned supreme.

And the Boston Celtics left no doubt of their superiority by seizing the franchise's record 18th Larry O'Brien Trophy with one of the most successful post-season stretches of the NBA's modern era, maintaining the level of dominance they displayed while winning a league-best 64 games during the regular season.

Monday's clinical 106-88 victory over the over-matched Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the Finals was the fitting conclusion to a stellar play-off run in which the Celtics went 16-3. That winning percentage of .842 is the second-best by an NBA champion since the league moved to a best-of-seven format for all four rounds in 2003, bettered only by the 2017 Golden State Warriors super-team that lost just once during that year's play-offs.

Detractors will be quick to point out Boston's relatively easy path to glory, as they didn't have to face any of the Western Conference's top four seeds in the Finals and also avoided the East's second and third-best teams, the New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks, in earlier rounds. 

The numbers suggest it may not have mattered.

Boston finished the regular season with the league's best offensive rating (120.2) and ranked third in defensive rating (109.0), and their 11.2 net rating (the difference between offensive and defensive rating) was the highest by any team since the aforementioned 2016–17 Warriors posted a 12.1 mark en route to capturing their second of three NBA titles within a four-year span.

And the Celtics cruised through the play-offs despite Kristaps Porzingis, one of the team's three 20-point-per-game scorers, missing 12 total games with a leg injury that rendered him to a reduced supporting role for much of the Finals.

So, what were the main factors behind Boston's season-long run of brilliance, one this budding dynasty appears to be fully capable of extending beyond 2024? Here's a closer look:

Three-point markmanship

Head coach Joe Mazzulla's offence is built around the 3-point shot, as the Celtics hoisted up a league-high 3,482 trey attempts during the regular season - 240 more than the next highest team -  and had a staggering 47.1 per cent of their total shots taken from beyond the arc.

If you're taking that many long-distance shots, you better have guys that can make them. And Boston certainly did.

The 2023-24 Celtics became the first team in NBA history with seven players that shot 37 per cent or better from beyond the 3-point line while having 250 or more attempts in a season, and their overall 3-point percentage of .388 ranked second in the league behind only Western Conference regular-season champion Oklahoma City's .389.

And when Boston was hitting its threes, it was virtually unbeatable. The Celtics were 36-1 in the regular season when shooting over 40 per cent from 3-point range, and 8-0 in the post-season when that number was higher than 37.5 per cent.

Disruptive defence

The Celtics also had the NBA's best net rating in 2022-23, a season which memorably ended with a stunning seven-game loss to the eighth-seeded Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. Miami pulled off the upset by beating Boston at its own game, as it shot a scorching 43.4 per cent from 3-point range for the series while the Celtics struggled to a 30.3 per cent success rate.

Dallas, which had the second-highest rate of 3-point shots attempted per total field goal attempts during the regular season at 44.1 per cent, was determined to follow the Heat's blueprint in the Finals, but this Celtics team would have none of it.

The Mavericks made good on over 40 per cent of their shots from beyond the arc in their Game 4 blowout win, but were held under 30 per cent in three of their losses and under 32 per cent overall for the series as Boston's perimeter disruptors - led by six-time All-Defensive Team member Jrue Holiday and Finals MVP Jaylen Brown - put the clamps on Dallas' sensational backcourt duo of Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving.

Doncic made just 11 of 45 (24.4 per cent) of his 3-point tries for the series, and the ex-Celtic Irving wasn't much better at 27.6 per cent. The Mavericks shot 29.7 per cent as a team from long distance when Holiday was on the court and 29.9 per cent when Brown was in the game.

Dynamic depth

Boston was able to navigate Porzingis' lengthy absence, as well as the shooting struggles of top scorer Jayson Tatum for sizeable portions of the Finals, with relative ease due to strong contribtions from a few of its role players, most notably Al Horford and Sam Hauser.

The 38-year-old Horford stepped into a starting role with Porzingis either unavailable or limited for much of the post-season and handled it with aplomb, especially on the defensive end where the Celtics were a stingier outfit with the grizzled veteran on the court.

Hauser, an undrafted 3-point specialist whose role off the bench steadily increased during the season, made his presence felt as well by going 11 of 23 (47.8 per cent) from beyond the arc for the Dallas series. The Celtics were a plus-17 with him on the court over the five games.

A dynasty brewing?

Under a steady sequence of shrewd moves from former coach turned president of basketball operations Brad Stevens and predecessor Danny Ainge, the Celtics have assembled the NBA's most complete roster and one that has the capability of potentially wreaking havoc for years to come. With Horford hinting at his intentions to return for an 18th NBA season, Boston will have all of its main players back for next season with its core of Tatum, Brown and Porzingis still in their primes. 

Add in a coach in Mazzulla who's still not 36 years old with still room to further perfect his craft, and it's not hard to envision yet another banner or two hanging from the rafters of TD Garden in the near future.

 

 

 

Day six at Euro 2024 brought more thrills and spills on the pitch, with Albania sealing a last-gasp draw against Croatia and Germany booking their place in the last 16 by beating Hungary.

Scotland, meanwhile, kept their hopes of progressing from Group A alive by earning a creditable 1-1 draw with Switzerland in the late kick-off.

There was also plenty going on outside the games, from the Tartan Army painting Cologne blue to Kylian Mbappe getting out on the turf two days after breaking his nose.

Here, we run through the best of Wednesday's social media posts from around Euro 2024.

Cologne turns blue for Scotland

One noticeable theme of this tournament has been the colour and noise brought by huge contingents of travelling fans, and an estimated 100,000 Scotland supporters brought the fun to Cologne on Wednesday.

"No Scotland, no party" was ringing around Munich last week, and on Wednesday, it was Cologne's near-800-year-old cathedral that played host to the Tartan Army.

#effzeh pic.twitter.com/R0fFFUnyEs

— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) June 19, 2024

Those with tickets were then treated to a spirited performance as Steve Clarke's side went ahead through Scott McTominay, and they were arguably unfortunate not to win as they finished the game strongly after Xherdan Shaqiri's fine equaliser.

Cheesy humour from Swiss fan 

One Switzerland fan, meanwhile, took culinary inspiration for his outfit at the RheinEnergieStadion.

Fortunately for him, Murat Yakin's defence had fewer holes than the Swiss cheese he paid homage to, and they are now all-but guaranteed to make the knockout stages.

 

Hosts on the march

Germany strode into the last 16 of the tournament on Wednesday, a 2-0 victory over Hungary ensuring a top-two finish in Group A.

It's fair to say their performances have gripped the imagination of the German public, with Wednesday's fan march to the Stuttgart Arena a particularly impressive sight.

If Julian Nagelsmann's team can maintain their performance levels, they may just find themselves marching to the Olympiastadion on July 14...

Mbappe out on the grass 

It has only been two days since France captain Mbappe broke his nose in a nasty collision with Austria's Kevin Danso, but the forward is in no mood to rest.

He was out on the training pitch on Wednesday as Les Bleus prepare for Friday's clash with the Netherlands, wearing strapping across his nose.

His participation in that match remains in doubt, and a protective mask will be required for him to return to competitive action, but the sight of him going through his paces will have encouraged France's fans.

Cruyff turn celebrates big Five-O

France's next opponents also had something to celebrate on Wednesday, as it represented the 50th anniversary of Johan Cruyff first wheeling out his signature turn.

The Cruyff turn was born on this day in 1974, the Oranje legend having first performed the move on June 19, 1974, in a World Cup group-stage match against Sweden. 

Jan Olsson, the unfortunate defender on the receiving end of the move, probably remains bamboozled half a century on.

Gallagher in the hot seat

It was Conor Gallagher's turn to take part in England's diary room series on X, with the Chelsea midfielder discussing what he and his team-mates get up to on days off.

He then attempted to match a series of dogs with the Three Lions stars they belong to, posting a pretty good success rate.

The episode began, however, with Gallagher failing to prevent a Jenga set from crashing down around him. England will hope that is not a metaphor for their campaign...  

Memorable day for Gjasula

It initially looked like Wednesday would be a day to remember for all the wrong reasons for Klaus Gjasula. 

Having come off the bench with Albania 1-0 up against Croatia after 72 minutes, Gjasula saw Andrej Kramaric equalise before putting through his own net, all within just four minutes.

However, the midfielder – who plays his club football in Germany with Darmstadt – was in the right place at the right time to level five minutes into stoppage time.

His post-match Instagram post summed up how much it meant to him and his team-mates.

Matchday two in the Euro 2024 group stage began on Wednesday, with hosts Germany headlining another dramatic day of action.

Julian Nagelsmann's hosts became the first team to book their spot in the last 16, but they were pushed far closer by Hungary than they were by Scotland last Friday.

Scotland themselves stopped the rot with a 1-1 draw against Switzerland, though things could have been even better for the Tartan Army had Xherdan Shaqiri's stunning goal not cancelled out Scott McTominay's opener.

In Group B, meanwhile, Croatia and Albania served up another classic, with a 2-2 draw leaving the 2022 World Cup bronze medallists on the brink of an early exit.

But what were the standout stats to emerge from day six at the Euros? 

Croatia 2-2 Albania: Gjasula makes history at either end

The early kick-off slot at this tournament has quickly become a fan favourite, and Wednesday's edition will certainly have converted a few more viewers.

Croatia were set for a comeback win when Andrej Kramaric's strike and Klaus Gjasula's own goal flipped the match on its head, after Qazim Laci had put Albania ahead. 

There were just 147 seconds between the two Croatia goals deep into the second half, with Kramaric celebrating his 33rd birthday with a composed finish. He is the third player to score at the Euros on his birthday, after Jean-Francois Domergue in 1984 and Wesley Sneijder in 2008.

However, Gjasula went from villain to hero five minutes into stoppage time, snatching a famous draw for Albania by slotting a cool finish past Dominik Livakovic. Having come on in the 72nd minute, he is the first substitute to ever score a goal and an own goal in the same Euros match. 

He is only the second player to do so overall, after Anton Ondrus for Czechoslovakia against the Netherlands at the 1976 tournament. 

Being officially timed at 94 minutes and 23 seconds, his goal was also the latest equaliser ever recorded at the European Championships (excluding extra time).

The result leaves Croatia likely needing to defeat Italy in their final game to have any chance of progressing, meaning Luka Modric and company are facing up to the prospect of a humiliating exit just 18 months after getting on the podium in Qatar.

Modric started his 15th Euros game on Wednesday, with Andres Iniesta (16) the only midfielder to ever record more. 

At 38 years and 284 days, he became the oldest player on record (since 1980) to record 100 or more passes in a Euros match (108), while he already held the same record (since 1966) at the World Cup (105 versus Brazil in 2022, 37 years and 91 days).

Germany 2-0 Hungary: Musiala second only to Bene 

Wednesday's second game gave us our first qualifiers for the last 16, with Germany clinching a 2-0 victory over Hungary to make it two wins from two matches, courtesy of goals from Jamal Musiala and Ilkay Gundogan.

Musiala's opener – a powerful finish off the crossbar following tireless work from Gundogan – made him the youngest player to score in a nation's first two group games at a single European Championship. He is also the first player to net in Germany's first two matches at the tournament since Mario Gomez in 2012.

At the age of 21 years and 114 days, he became the second-youngest player to score on his first two European Championship starts, after Hungary legend Ferenc Bene in 1964 (19 years, 186 days).

Having assisted Musiala's goal, Gundogan later got one of his own to give Germany daylight. He both scored and assisted in the same match for his country for the first time since October 2019, when he scored two goals and registered one assist in a Euro 2020 qualifier versus Estonia. 

Things were not straightforward for Germany, though, as Hungary fired off 11 shots, with Roland Sallai and Barnabas Varga guilty of spurning particularly good opportunities.

It is the most shots Germany have faced at a Euros match since the Netherlands recorded 14 against them in 2012, but Manuel Neuer stood firm as Hungary failed to score for the first time in their last 13 matches.

Despite Hungary giving a decent account of themselves, Toni Kroos produced another metronomic performance in the middle of the park, completing 124 passes.

That is the second-most on record by a midfielder in a Euros match, after Xavi completed 127 for Spain against the Republic of Ireland in 2012. Kroos' 47 line-breaking passes were at least 30 more than any other player on the pitch. 

Scotland 1-1 Switzerland: Shaqiri out on his own

The final game of the day saw Scotland bounce back from their 5-1 defeat to Germany, and boost their hopes of reaching the last 16, with a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Switzerland. 

Steve Clarke's side had the upper hand after 13 minutes, as McTominay's shot was deflected past Yann Sommer by Fabian Schar. This is now the first edition of the Euros to feature more than one Scotland goal since the 1992 tournament (three).

They couldn't hold on, though, as Shaqiri came up with a magical long-range finish into the top-left corner just 13 minutes later, giving Angus Gunn no chance.

Including Euro 2024, the former Bayern Munich and Liverpool man is the only European player to have scored at each of the last six major tournaments, dating back to a hat-trick against Honduras at the 2014 World Cup – his first tournament goals.

He now has 10 goals at major tournaments, while this is the seventh edition of the World Cup/Euros he has appeared at, the most of any Swiss player. His 10 tournament goals are evenly split between the World Cup and the Euros, making him one of just seven players with five or more goals at each. 

He is in good company, with Michel Platini, Jurgen Klinsmann, Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku the others on that list.

Despite Shaqiri's big moment, Scotland claimed a valuable point, meaning a victory over Hungary in their final group game will almost certainly seal qualification for the last 16, even if they are unlikely to finish higher than third.

They might wish they could face the Swiss again, having avoided defeat in six of their last seven competitive games against them (two wins, four draws), also remaining unbeaten in two meetings at major tournaments (one win, one draw).

They have now taken 44 per cent of their all-time group-stage points at the Euros (four of nine) against Switzerland. 

Both the Netherlands and France made winning, if not entirely convincing, starts at Euro 2024.

On Friday, they face off in a heavyweight clash that could go some way to deciding who tops Group D.

Ronald Koeman's Oranje had Wout Weghorst to thank as they fought back to beat Poland 2-1 in their opening match, and they will hope the potential absence of Kylian Mbappe gives them the upper hand in Leipzig.

Mbappe's availability is "uncertain" after he suffered a broken nose during Les Bleus' nervy 1-0 victory over Austria, with the forward set to be fitted with a protective mask ahead of a potential return.

How will the tournament favourites cope if Mbappe does miss out? Here, we delve into the Opta data to preview Friday's game.

What's expected?

Despite the question marks over Mbappe's availability, France are favourites to make it two wins from two games.

The Opta supercomputer gives them a 52.3 per cent chance of victory to the Netherlands' 24.4 per cent, with 23.3 per cent of simulations finishing level.

This will be the fourth time the teams have faced off at the Euros. France triumphed on penalties in the 1996 quarter-finals, but the Netherlands have since won two group-stage encounters, 3-2 in 2000 and 4-1 in 2008.

France have, however, won seven of their last eight matches against the Oranje in all competitions, the exception being a 2-0 defeat in the UEFA Nations League in November 2018.

If recent history is anything to go by, we should expect to get a victor. Only four of the previous 30 matches between the teams have ended in a draw, with France posting 15 victories to the Netherlands' 11.

Excluding penalty shoot-outs, the Oranje have only lost one of their last 17 major tournament matches (World Cup/Euros), going down 2-0 to Czechia at Euro 2020 (12 wins, four draws). 

They lost four successive games before this run began – all three group-stage matches at Euro 2012 and the 2010 World Cup final versus Spain.  

France, meanwhile, could win their opening two games at a European Championships for the fourth time. On each of the previous occasions on which they accomplished that feat, they went on to reach the final (1984, 2000 and 2016).

If in doubt, get Wout out

Standing at six-foot-six and still on Burnley's books after loan spells with Besiktas, Manchester United and Hoffenheim, Weghorst may not be the personification of Johan Cruyff's 'total football' ideals.

However, he has a real knack for being in the right place at the right time for his national team.

Weghorst's winner against Poland came with his first touch after coming on as an 81st-minute substitute and was his fourth goal at a major tournament (World Cup/Euros).

Three of those strikes have come as a substitute, the most goals any Oranje player has scored off the bench at tournaments.   

 

He also has seven goals in his last 11 international appearances overall, tying Cody Gakpo and Calvin Stengs as the Netherlands' leading scorers in Euro 2024 qualifying with three. 

He ranked eighth among all players for touches in the opposition box during qualifying (47), with six of those to beat him having played more than his 517 minutes.

Memphis Depay started up front against Poland and flattered to deceive, failing to hit the target with any of his four shots. While he is likely to keep his place in Koeman's lineup on Friday, expect Weghorst to be introduced earlier if Depay produces a similar display.

Didier Deschamps took some time to settle on Arsenal's William Saliba as the ideal centre-back partner for Dayot Upamecano, and the France duo may need to be prepared for an aerial bombardment. It may not be total football, but it could be effective. 

Mbappe's absence a chance for Giroud?

France, meanwhile, are facing up to the scenario they never wished to contemplate – having to cope without Mbappe.

After colliding with the shoulder of Austria defender Kevin Danso on matchday one, Mbappe is a major doubt for Friday's game. On Wednesday, the president of the France Football Federation, Philippe Diallo, said it was "too soon to know" if he will play again at this tournament.

The Netherlands will certainly be breathing a sigh of relief, having seen Mbappe score six times in five career matches against them, including his first senior international goal in August 2017. Against no other nation has Real Madrid's newest Galactico netted more often.

However, Mbappe did attempt four shots without scoring against Austria, taking his total number of shots without scoring at the Euros to 18, the most of any Frenchman since 1980.

Mbappe started centrally against Austria but often drifted out to the left flank, with Ousmane Dembele stationed wide on the right. Randal Kolo Muani could come in to play a similar role, or Olivier Giroud could provide more of a traditional focal point.

 

Giroud's 57 international goals put him top of Les Bleus' all-time scoring charts, six clear of Thierry Henry. Just eight of those have come at major tournaments (one at the 2014 World Cup, three at Euro 2016, four at the 2022 World Cup), but the former Arsenal and Chelsea man has long been a crucial foil for his more mobile team-mates. 

France have won 71.9 per cent of their games with Giroud in the starting lineup under Deschamps (64/89), compared to 57.3 per cent without him (43/75). 

The 37-year-old, who has 16 headed goals for his country, will also have been licking his lips at the sight of the Netherlands' set-piece defending against Poland, as Adam Buksa took advantage of some lax marking to head home unopposed from a corner.

The last three goals conceded by Koeman's team have now come from corners.

PLAYERS TO WATCH 

Netherlands – Cody Gakpo

Having netted the Netherlands' equaliser in their opening match, Gakpo has scored on all four of his group-stage starts at major tournaments (World Cup/Euros).

In all competitions, the Liverpool forward has six goal involvements in his last eight appearances on the international stage (four goals, two assists). 

Only Nathan Ake, with four, bettered his three chances created against Poland, while he also completed all five of his dribbles and won 15 of his total of 18 duels contested – both team-high figures.

France – Antoine Griezmann

With Mbappe likely to miss out, France need another of their attacking stars to step up. 

Since the start of Euro 2016, Griezmann has more goal involvements at major tournaments (18 – 11 goals and seven assists) than any other European player (World Cup/Euros).

Against Austria, no player on the pitch bettered Griezmann's two chances created, while he also attempted as many crosses (six) as all of his team-mates combined.

In Mbappe's absence, he could get the freedom to roam into more advanced areas. He only managed two touches in the opposition box against Austria, though his two shots were worth a game-high 0.84 expected goals (xG).

Switzerland moved a point closer to the last 16 at Euro 2024 as Xherdan Shaqiri returned to their lineup and netted another big goal to rescue a 1-1 draw against Scotland.

Shaqiri, appearing in a Swiss-record seventh major tournament, was the only change to the team that had beaten Hungary 3-1 in their Group A opener.

The former Bayern Munich and Liverpool winger was required to come up with a trademark moment of inspiration to secure a result, even if Switzerland fell short of the three points that would have made sure of their knockout place with a game to spare.

Scotland, seeking to respond to a humbling 5-1 defeat to Germany, started brightly and led following a 13th-minute counter-attack. Callum McGregor cut the ball back for Scott McTominay, whose shot was heading straight at Yann Sommer until defender Fabian Schar stuck out a leg and inadvertently deflected it in.

Another defensive mishap at the other end opened the door for Shaqiri to score his 10th tournament goal, however, as he seized on Anthony Ralston's loose pass to loft a sublime first-time finish over Angus Gunn into the top-left corner.

Dan Ndoye had a quick Swiss second disallowed for offside and drew a superb save from Gunn in the second half, although Scotland came closer still to a winner when Grant Hanley headed against the post.

While Breel Embolo was also denied by an offside flag and Zeki Amdouni nodded agonisingly wide, the point will surely prove more useful to Switzerland than their opponents, who now need a huge goal swing in the final round of Group A matches to finish in the top two.

Data Debrief: Shaqiri extends streak in style

This was an historic night for Shaqiri, who marked his landmark appearance with a stunning strike to extend his streak of scoring at tournaments.

No other European player has scored at each of the past six major tournaments going back to the 2014 World Cup.

This spectacular effort was on brand, too, as Shaqiri netted from outside the box for a third time at a tournament. Lothar Matthaus and Michel Platini (both four) are the only European players with more such goals since 1966.

Julian Nagelsmann believes Germany's victory over Hungary on Wednesday showed their increasing maturity, even if Toni Kroos is far from satisfied with the Euro 2024 hosts' progress so far.

Germany became the first team to reach the last 16 of the tournament as goals either side of half-time from Jamal Musiala and Ilkay Gundogan saw off tricky opponents.

Indeed, head coach Nagelsmann suggested this was the sort of match in which his team might previously have faltered.

"That was a very unpleasant opponent," he told MagentaTV. "You have to win a game like that first.

"It shows a good maturing process. In November, we would not have won this game."

It is only the second time Germany have advanced through the group stage in four major tournaments, but there is no time to relax ahead of their third match against Switzerland.

The hosts will name a strong side as they aim to maintain their momentum.

"It is important that we have as many players from the first XI back on the pitch as possible, because we have deliberately distributed the roles," Nagelsmann added. "We believe in the players' respective strengths in their roles.

"It may of course be that we change one or two players; we have to see how everyone gets through this game. But as of now, everyone is healthy."

That will be music to the ears of retiring midfielder Kroos, who is keen for Germany to go "full throttle" against Switzerland.

He and his team-mates are perhaps wary of a repeat of the last Euros, where Germany came through the group stage but drew their third match and then had to face England in the last 16, losing at Wembley.

"There is little reason for the pressure to drop now because we have a bigger goal than just the round of 16," Kroos said.

He added to RTL: "It is also a statement to come first in the group, and it is important to maintain this run."

Gareth Southgate is now "ambivalent" towards the constant scrutiny he and England face, unsurprised his team were criticised even after making a winning start to Euro 2024.

England beat Serbia 1-0 on Sunday and have the opportunity to secure their place in the last 16 against Denmark on Thursday.

Victory would mark the first time the Three Lions have started a Euros campaign with back-to-back wins. Indeed, prior to last weekend's match, they had only once won their championship opener – also under Southgate at Euro 2020.

Those facts were relayed to Southgate on the eve of the Denmark match, with the England manager asked if too much was expected of a team whose stuttering second-half performance against Serbia was picked apart by fans and pundits.

But Southgate, in his fourth tournament in the role, has come to terms with the narrative around the England team.

"I've been in this environment for eight years, so I understand it all," he said. "It used to annoy me, but now I'm ambivalent to it. Winning matches in tournaments is incredibly hard."

Those younger members of Southgate's squad who have not previously experienced the tournament rollercoaster might have been a little more taken aback by the response to the win.

Southgate explained: "You can see a lot of them who haven't been with England – 'right, we've won our first game, and this is how it is?'

"That's a strange experience for some of the boys who haven't been with us. It's great that we've got experienced players who have lived through it who can say, 'no, no, this is what's important, this is how we stay on track'.

"Our assessment of the game is most important. We're never slow to pull things up that aren't right, that aren't good enough. So, that's the most important view, the way we dissect the game."

Southgate did acknowledge Sunday's match did not go entirely to plan, with Serbia gaining a foothold after half-time, albeit without really threatening to cancel out Jude Bellingham's early header.

"We didn't set out to sit back," insisted Southgate, with similar patterns in previous tournament matches having been a point of contention.

Both Southgate and the England supporters will hope for a more complete performance against Denmark then, although the manager confirmed left-back Luke Shaw would not return from injury in time to feature. Right-back Kieran Trippier is in line to deputise again.

Daniil Medvedev crashed out of the Halle Open in the second round on Wednesday, succumbing to a 6-3 2-6 7-6 (7-5) defeat to Chinese number one Zhang Zhizhen.

Medvedev looked to be on course for the third round at 5-3 up in the decisive tie-break, but Zhang won four successive points to reach the last eight.

Zhang had earlier dropped six straight games from 2-2 in the second set, but he responded to losing an early break in the decider with one of his own to restore parity, then came on strong in the tie-break.

He will face Christopher Eubanks in the next round after the American eliminated defending champion Alexander Bublik with a 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 6-3 victory.

Meanwhile, second seed Alexander Zverev avoided an upset as he saw off a spirited performance from Lorenzo Sonego, winning 6-4 7-6 (7-5) to tee up a meeting with Arthur Fils.

Data Debrief: Zhang breaks new ground

Zhang's victory saw him become the first Chinese player to reach the Halle Open quarter-finals, also representing his second top-five victory after he beat Casper Ruud at last year's US Open.

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