Lorenzo Musetti will play Tommy Paul in the final of the Queen's Championship following an exceptional day of action in West Kensington.

In the first game of the afternoon, Italian Musetti edged a three-set encounter 3-6, 6-3, 3-6 against Jordan Thompson to be the first to book his place in Sunday's final. 

Having won the opening set, Thompson fought back to take the game to a decider. Despite saving five break points in the eighth game, the Australian was eventually beaten as Musetti booked his place in his first grass final. 

Later that afternoon, Paul came through an all-American contest in straight sets, emerging a 6-4, 7-6 (7-1) victor over Sebastian Korda to set up a maiden encounter with the Italian. 

27-year-old Paul quickly found a break in the second game against his opponent and despite Korda replying with a break of his own in the seventh game, was unable to recover from his slow start. 

The second set flowed with both players trading break points, but an error-strewn display from Korda allowed Paul to see out the contest with relative ease to become the first American finalist at Queen's since 2010

Data Debrief: Musetti faces 

Musetti maintained his unbeaten record against his Australian opponent, having won their previous encounter in straight sets in Adelaide back in January. The Italian also won 45 of his 62 first-serve points, a success rate of 73%. 

After three consecutive defeats against Korda, Paul has now won two of his last three meetings with his compatriot. However, his opponent bettered him on first-serve points, winning 74% compared to Paul's 62%. 

Harry Brook says England are out to give the United States "a good battering" in Sunday's T20 World Cup contest as they bid to clinch a place in the last four.

Having beaten West Indies and lost to South Africa thus far in the Super 8s, England can all but secure a semi-final berth with a convincing win over the co-hosts in Barbados.

A good run-rate could prove pivotal in Group 2, where there is a chance of England, South Africa and West Indies all finishing on four points.

With that in mind, Brook has backed Jos Buttler's team to go on the offensive, saying: "We've got to win and then obviously see how we are on net run-rate but the main thing is to definitely get that win.

"We've played in Barbados quite a lot in the past six months so we know the conditions, we know the wind and the pitch as well so hopefully we can go out there and give them a good battering.

"I haven't actually seen them play, just a few highlights here and there of their bowlers, but we'll do our analysis and have a proper look to make sure we're ready for the game."

Net run-rate was the only thing that helped England survive the group stage, as they narrowly edged out Scotland to finish second behind Australia.

"We've been there before," Brook added. "We've got to concentrate on winning it first and then we'll have a chat and see what the run-rate says."

Patrik Schick believes Czechia's 1-1 draw with Georgia was "not enough" but has pledged the team will do everything to advance to the last 16 in their final group game at Euro 2024.

Schick's equaliser ensured Czechia avoided a second successive defeat on Saturday, cancelling out Georges Mikautadze's penalty in an entertaining affair.

Schick, who netted five times at Euro 2020 to tie Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the goalscoring charts, is now his country's all-time leading marksman at the Euros with six goals, overtaking Milan Baros outright. No player has matched his return across the last two editions of the tournament.

However, Czechia will be lamenting a host of missed chances after firing off 27 shots to Georgia's five, hitting the target 12 times – the most by any team to fail to win a Euros match on record (since 1980).

They could have been hit with a sucker punch in second-half stoppage time, but Georgia's Saba Lobjanidze fired over when played clean through on goal.

"Of course, 1-1 is not enough for us. We were better, we had more chances," the Bayer Leverkusen striker said.

"We were able to equalise, we were going at them but we were not able to score a second goal and in the end we made a stupid mistake and could have lost. 

"We have a point. We have to play for everything in the last match."

The draw leaves both teams on one point with one game remaining. Czechia face Turkiye in their final Group F match, while Georgia take on Portugal.

Czechia accumulated 3.11 expected goals (xG) to their opponents' 1.09, with Lobjanidze's late miss coming from an opportunity valued at 0.16 xG.

Georgia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili said of Lobjanidze's chance: "He was the one who wanted to score most of all, but it didn't work out. 

"He needs to continue training and playing, he's a great football player and he will definitely score a goal in the coming matches.

"Of course, it was a very important moment, but he needs to keep going. He should be proud because we earned our first point.

"From above, everything seems easier, but it is very difficult to perform in those situations because you have less time than it seems. Whatever he did, he did it right, but he didn't score."

Mamardashvili was named Man of the Match after making 11 saves, a tally that has only once been bettered in a Euros match since 1980, by Latvia's Alexanders Kolinko versus the Netherlands in 2004 (12).

Lando Norris celebrated "pretty much the perfect lap" after he claimed pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen.

McLaren's Norris set the best time of 1:11.383 in Barcelona on Saturday, which had started dismally for the team when their hospitality facilities had to be evacuated due to a fire.

Norris, who was 0.2 seconds quicker than Verstappen, showed no sign of distraction though, and with all staff having been safely ushered from any danger, it was a day to celebrate for the team, whose second driver Oscar Piastri rounded out the top 10 despite failing to set a time in Q3.

"It was pretty much a perfect lap, when you are on a good lap and getting excited but the whole thing went perfectly in the end," he said.

"It was close but super happy, it was my best pole position, I've not had many. We've been close all weekend but really this was about a perfect lap and that is what I did today.

"It's not just this weekend, we've been quick the last two months, and since Miami we've been very strong.

"We probably missed out on pole by not doing a perfect lap but today was the perfect lap."

It was also a good day for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, who qualified in third, one place ahead of team-mate George Russell.

Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz placed fifth and sixth respectively.

Top 10

1. Lando Norris (McLaren) 

2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

4. George Russell (Mercedes)

5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

6. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

7. Pierre Gasly (Alpine)

8. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

9. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

10. Oscar Piastri (McLaren)

Jannik Sinner will face Hubert Hurkacz in his first ATP Tour-level grass final after overcoming Zhang Zhizhen 6-4 7-6 (7-3) in the last four at the Halle Open.

The world number one entered Saturday's clash with Zhang, ranked 42nd in the world, on a 35-match winning streak against players outside the ATP's top 20.

There was to be no upset in North Rhine-Westphalia, though Zhang pushed him close in a match that featured just one break – Sinner doing the honours in the ninth game of the opening set.

Zhang failed to convert the lone break point generated in the second set as both players served confidently, the Chinese number one winning 79% of first-serve points to Sinner's 75%.

However, the Italian's quality shone through in the tie-break, the Australian Open champion converting his third match point to advance. 

Hurkacz will be his final opponent after he pulled off an upset of Zverev earlier on Saturday, the fifth-seeded Pole producing a big-serving display in a 7-6 (7-2) 6-2 win.

Sinner and Hurkacz played doubles together earlier this week, saving two match points in a thrilling win over Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow before going out to French duo Sadio Doumbia and Fabien Reboul the following day.

Data Debrief: Sinner matches Federer and Medvedev

Sinner will have a chance to capture his first title on grass on Sunday, which would represent the best possible preparation for a tilt at Wimbledon.

He is just the third player to reach the Halle Open final while top of the world rankings, after Roger Federer (in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2018) and Daniil Medvedev (2022).

Georgia and Czhecia will fight until the final matchday of Group F to progress to the last 16 after a 1-1 draw in Hamburg, where Saba Lobjanidze missed a golden chance late on.

Patrik Schick, who shared the Golden Boot with Cristiano Ronaldo at Euro 2020, restored parity midway through the second half on Saturday, cancelling out Georges Mikautadze's opener from the penalty spot.

Georgia's goal came on the stroke of half-time, after Robin Hranac was adjudged to have handled in Czechia's area after a VAR check.

That came after VAR had denied Adam Hlozek an opener for Czechia, with the ball having struck his arm on its way in.

Schick had no such trouble with the technology when he bundled home at the back post in the 59th minute, though.

The Bayer Leverkusen striker hobbled off through injury soon after, and Czechia looked all set to slip to a second defeat right at the end when Georgia broke, only for Lobjanidze to fire over in a one-v-one with the final kick of the game.

It would have been a stunning smash-and-grab for the tournament debutants, with their goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili having made a tournament-record 11 saves, who must now beat Portugal if they are to stand a chance of making the knockouts.

Data Debrief: Schick the Euros sharpshooter

Schick has now scored six goals across the last two Euros, ahead of Ronaldo (five) and Harry Kane (five).

The 28-year-old has the second-best goals per minute ratio (0.86) in Euros history, of players to play at least five times in the competition, with only Michel Platini (1.8).

For a long time, West Indies ODI skipper Shai Hope was looked at as a batsman who would struggle in the shortest form of the game because of what many described as an inability to score quickly.

Over the last couple years, however, Hope has rubbished those sentiments thanks to some destructive batting performances in the CPL as well as in leagues around the world.

His evolution as a T20 batsman was none more evident than during the West Indies’ game against the USA at the ICC T20 World Cup on Friday in his home country of Barbados.

Looking to bounce back from a loss to England in their first game of the Super 8 on Wednesday, the joint hosts dismissed their American counterparts for 128 after losing the toss at the Kensington Oval.

The West Indians then needed only 10.5 overs to reach 130-1, with Hope finishing 82* off just 39 balls. In a brilliant display of power hitting, Hope hit eight sixes and four fours on the way to his highest score in T20 Internationals.

“Clinical,” was how Hope described the team’s performance on Friday in a post-match press conference.

“Especially coming off the loss that we had a couple days ago. It's great to see the guys understood the assignment today and we played the cricket that we wanted to play. It's important for us to continue in this vein because we see what's at stake now. But yeah, very happy with the bounce back that we did today and there's a lot more cricket to play and we're looking forward to it,” he added.

On his own individual performance, Hope was happy to perform in front of his home crowd.

“Yeah, it was an amazing crowd. It's nice to see everyone came out and support us today. Something that we get in the Caribbean when we're doing well, we tend to see a lot more supporters out there. So that means we must be doing something right if you've got a solo crowd. But yeah, the crowd was rocking today,” he said.

“I thought that the support was amazing. Again, I'm from Barbados so playing in front of this lovely crowd meant a lot more to me. Scoring some runs and winning the game for the team felt even more special so I'm very happy to do that,” Hope added.

At the start of the tournament, Hope was on the outside of the XI looking in. He missed the first three games before coming into the side ahead of Roston Chase in the third game against Afghanistan where he 25 batting at number four.

The 30-year-old was then left out once again for the Super 8 opener against England. A side strain suffered by Brandon King during that game meant Hope was given an opportunity at the top of the order against the USA, an opportunity that he grabbed with both hands.

“Yeah, it's a great feeling. Again, whatever the team requires, that's me. Unfortunately, King had to leave us. Hopefully, he recovers quickly. But yeah, I had to go at the top this time around and the aim was just to get off to a good start. You see the importance of finishing the game early as well. So yeah, I had a good time in the middle, good surface and I enjoyed batting tonight,” he said.

“Just have to stay ready in a tournament like this. There's a reason why we have 15 players. All of them need to be ready whenever the time comes,” he added.

Finally, Hope issued a plea to the fans of the West Indies to continue supporting them on their journey to a third ICC T20 World Cup title.

“Keep rallying. That's our motto. We always talk about rallying around the West Indies. That's exactly what we need to keep doing. The team rallying around each other. The fans need to do the same. We're out there fighting for each and every one of us. So, you understand the importance and the magnitude of the tournament. We're playing a home World Cup, something that I'm sure a lot of cricketers over their careers may not get the opportunity to do. We understand the importance of this in particular and we know how much the fans really want us to win so we're fighting, we're doing it for them and it's great to see the support I hope that it continues for the rest of the tournament,” he said.

The West Indies will take on South Africa in their last Super 8 match on Sunday in Antigua.

Italy head coach Luciano Spalletti insists his side must improve on their display against Spain when they face Croatia in Leipzig next Monday. 

The Azzurri's 10-game unbeaten run at the Euros came to an end at the hands of Luis de la Fuente's side after Riccardo Caliafiori's own goal in the second half. 

During the defeat, Italy's lack of attacking threat was clear, registering their fewest shots in a game on record at the Euros (four).

Italy are second in Group B, with Croatia bottom, though it is all to play for, with both sides capable of progressing or even missing out on a place in the last 16.

"Maybe I needed to give them more rest, I probably need to give them more days off, we gave them a day and a half off in terms of rest and we saw that was the right decision in terms of our data," Spalletti said.

"But there was too much of a gulf, we were constantly stretched, we probably didn't recover very well in terms of just how demanding and important the tournament was itself, because there was too much of a gulf in terms of sharpness and freshness."

Italy have never lost consecutive games at the European Championships, but are faced with a side they have failed to beat in their previous eight encounters. 

Spalletti believes his side can take inspiration from Spain's dominant display over them, saying: "Everyone would love to copy Spain in terms of the way they play. They've been playing the best football for the longest time now. 

"I need to try and succeed in making my players aware of how important this sort of match is, because if you sit very deep against teams like this, ultimately it becomes very difficult."

Meanwhile, Croatia are on the verge of a surprise group-stage exit after picking up just one point so far.

Head coach Zlatko Dalic has come in for criticism back home, despite having led the team to the 2018 World Cup final, 2022 World Cup semi-finals, and last year's Nations League final in an unprecedented spell of success.

"We will do everything to prepare for Italy. I have learned some things in these seven years where there have been far more successes than failures," Dalic said. 

"I'm also used to criticism. I always say it's my responsibility. I am aware that when medals are won, my role ‘means nothing’ and that I am there by accident, but that’s how it is in Croatia."

Dalic stuck with his midfield trio of Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic, and Marcelo Brozovic against Albania, but replaced Brozovic at half-time with 21-year-old Luka Sucic, who impressed.

"Those who deserve to play, play," Dalic said. "I choose with the staff what I think is best.

"Of course, some others have merit, but those who I think are the best play. Here are those who deserve to be here. This probably applies to the older players and I will be with them as long as I live, but those who deserve to play, play."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Croatia - Luka Modric

In what could be his final appearance for his nation at a major tournament, Modric continues to prove that age is just a number. The Real Madrid midfielder started his 15th game in the European Championships, with only Andres Iniesta (16) starting more often among midfielders in the history of the competition.

His 20 line-breaking passes were the most of any player against Albania, and he became the oldest player on record (since 1980) to complete 100+ passes in a match at the European Championships (108 v Albania today, 38y 284d). 

 

Italy - Gianluigi Donnarumma

With the Italians' forward line restricted to just four shots against Spain in their last encounter, Donnarumma will be key to ensure they prevent conceding against Croatia. 

The Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper is set to make his 10th Euros appearance aged 25 years and 120 days on the day of the game, becoming the youngest goalkeeper to hit this milestone in European Championship history.

MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

Even though Opta's model makes Italy marginal favourties, Croatia boast an impressive record against the Azzurri and will be looking to continue that record as they look to confirm their progression to the knockout stages. 

Since gaining independence in the early 1990s, Croatia are unbeaten in their eight meetings against Italy (W3 D5). However, their last three games have all ended 1-1. 

Dalic's side have not gone through a group stage without winning at a major tournament since the 2006 World Cup (D2 L1). They have won their final group game at three of their last four major tournaments (D1) since losing 3-1 to Mexico at the 2014 World Cup.

Croatia also boast an excellent record against the current reigning champions of the tournament. This will be their fifth against the current holders of the trophy, each coming in the group stages. 

Since the group phase was introduced in 1980, Italy have lost their final group game in only one of their nine appearances at the UEFA European Championship (W6 D2), going down 1-0 against the Republic of Ireland in 2016.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Croatia - 32.6%

Draw - 27.7%

Italy - 39.7%

Spain head coach Luis de la Fuente insists his side are yet to achieve anything at Euro 2024, despite qualifying for the knockout stages with a game to spare. 

De la Fuente watched on as his side earned their second victory of the tournament against Italy on Thursday, with Riccardo Calafiori's own goal ending the Azzurri's 10-game unbeaten run in the competition. 

The 1-0 triumph in Gelsenkirchen saw La Roja earn a third consecutive victory over Italy for the first time. Spain have also won their first two games at a Euros tournament to nil for just the second time, also doing so in 2016. 

However, De la Fuente knows his side have more to do to lift their third European Championship crown, insisting his players will show humility ahead of facing Albania in Dusseldorf next Monday. 

"We're still a long way off winning the European Championship. We haven't yet achieved anything. Okay, we've won some important matches. We have wonderful prospects," De la Fuente said.

"But football can also be very cruel. So we need to be cautious. We need to be humble. We need to show respect."

For Albania, a last-minute equaliser by Klaus Gjasula against Croatia, making him just the second player to score a goal and an own goal in a single match at the Euros, kept their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages alive. 

The goal marked the first time Albania have scored more than once in a match at a major tournament, and their attacking talents will need to be firing as they aim to penetrate Spain's resolute defence, who in their last game, restricted Italy to just four shots – their fewest at the Euros. 

Head coach Sylvinho is hopeful of masterminding Albania's first victory against La Roja, promising supporters his side will give everything to ensure their memorable journey in Germany continues.

"What I promise to the Albanian people is that we will fight for every point," Sylvinho said.

"Against Spain it will be difficult but we must enjoy these moments."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Albania – Kristjan Asllani

In Albania's first two games against Italy and Croatia, Asllani led the way for his nation in shots attempted (four), shots on target (two), successful passes (91), and passes in the final third (20). 

The Inter midfielder has also created the joint-most chances (three) but is yet to register a goal involvement for Albania. 

Spain – Nico Williams

Williams created the most chances (four) and completed the joint-most dribbles (four) of any Spain player against Italy on matchday two. 

The last Spaniard to create as many chances and complete as many dribbles in the same game at the Euros was Andres Iniesta against Croatia in 2012 (also four for each).

MATCH PREDICTION: SPAIN WIN

La Roja boast an impressive record over their opponents coming into the encounter in Dusseldorf, having won all eight of their previous meetings (31 goals for, three against).

It’s Spain’s best 100% record against any opponent, alongside Liechtenstein and Malta, whom they’ve also faced and beaten on eight occasions.

Spain will also be looking to maintain their perfect start to the competition heading into the last 16, and a win will see them win their opening three games at the Euros for the second time after 2008, an edition where they would go on to claim their maiden title. 

However, Albania will be hoping to start well and make it count this time around. Sylvinho's side have netted the opening goal in each of their two group games but are yet to win (one draw, one loss). No nation has ever scored first in three European Championship games in a row and failed to win any of them.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Albania – 16.7%

Draw – 21.6%

Spain – 61.7%

Jamaica Cycling Federation (JCF) has distanced itself from the actions of coach Arlington Reid and cyclist Xazivor Anthony Gayle, who it says breached protocols and attended the PanAm Junior Track Championships without proper authorisation.

The Dr. Wayne Palmer-led JCF in clearing the air, revealed that they were notified by the PanAm Championship organisers on Thursday, that Gayle and Reid arrived in Lima, Peru to participate in the event, but were not accredited.

Despite receiving a request from Reid, the JCF explained that it did not authorise the accreditation of a Jamaican delegation to participate, as Gayle did not meet the qualification standard.

“On June 7, 2024, Mr. Reid made a request via email to the Board for Gayle to be considered for selection to participate in the championships based on his recent performance at the DPS event in Trinidad, despite not meeting the qualifying time standards," the JCF clarified in a release.

“In response to this request, Mr. Reid was advised by email on June 9, 2024, that Gayle was not selected. On the same day, an email appealing the non-selection was sent to the board by Mr. Reid,” it added.

The JCF pointed out that protocol of the sport’s world governing body, UCI, dictates that the national federation is the only authorising body that can accredit an individual, team, coach, or other support staff to a championship.

As such, it said Reid’s action is a clear disregard for rules, which has now brought the local governing body into disrepute, as the PanAm organisers did not take the turn of events kindly, and have since escalated the matter to UCI.

“The Jamaica Cycling Federation is disappointed in the actions and judgement of Mr. Reid, who went ahead and registered an athlete to participate in an event without proper authorization. His actions have caused embarrassment to the federation and have placed the federation in disrepute,” the statement noted.

 

With another staging of the Sandals Golf and Jerk Festival now done and dusted, Heidi Clarke, Executive Director of the Sandals Foundation and Jonathan Newnham are content to bask in the success of their hard work, having once again set the bar high.

The event, hosted at the Sandals Golf and Country Club in Upton, not only combined the love of golf with Jamaica’s renowned culinary tradition, but also reinforced the power of sports and culture to bring people together for a common cause, as it also raised funds for the St Ann's hospital urology department, as well as Sandals Foundation’s Care for Kids programme. 

Cavani James, 12, and his teammate Tajay Lobban, 21, were crowned overall champions of the golf tournament, which was split into three sections to add value for the over 80 participants that journeyed from near and far to contribute to the event’s success.

Elon Parkinson, Digicel’s Head of Communications and Corporate Affairs, and Karen Zacca, Operations Director at the Sandals Foundation, share a photo opportunity with (from left) Jerome Thomas, Cavani James and Tyree Smith.

For Clarke, the event was another testament of the foundation’s years of hard work and dedication to education, healthcare, and community development.

“We haven’t calculated all that came in as yet, but I think that we did great. This is the fourth year that we've been doing this tournament, all with a focus on how we're doing capacity building for hospitals in this region,” Clarke said.

“So last year, we focused on Port Maria hospital and their security system, and a year before that, it was the St Ann's Bay physio department, this year, the urology department. So we've really been able to do a lot, and I am very proud of the team and all the golfers that came out. We are very grateful to them all for the support,” she added.

Kendra Miller, a HEART/NSTA Trust Hospitality student participating in the Jerk competition.

Beyond golf, the Care for Kids programme, which engages kids between the ages of seven and 18 years old, through weekly mentorship training programme, also imparts life skills that Clarke says prepares them to navigate whatever challenges lay ahead.

For the Jerk competition, members from Sandals Dunn’s River Resort, Sandals Royal Plantation, Beaches Ocho Rios Resort and the Country Club match skills with unique chicken, shrimp and fish recipes. In an effort to continue its youth engagement commitment, all jerk teams also comprised students of the St Ann’s Chapter of the HEART/ NSTA Trust’s hospitality school.

“I think it was a fantastic success. Another big aspect of it is the jerk competition. So this year, for the jerk competition, we had the chefs out on the course, so golfers could sample jerk when they were out there. We had some HEART/ NSTA students join them for the competition, so they were mentored from the day before with all the preparations and then during the day of the event,” Clarke shared.

One of the many participants prepares to tee off.

“They all really had a fantastic time. So for us, it's always about how we work with our young people, whether they're playing golf or whether they want to learn about the hospitality industry, and how we're working to build our healthcare, and making our communities stronger. So I think, overall, it was a resounding success,” she noted.

Newnham, director of operations at the golf club, also stressed that the festival is more than just golf, as he too pointed to the lasting positive impact it has on local communities.

“It was just a very first class event and the feedback from the golfers was fantastic. It was fitting that our overall champion was actually a team of Cavani James, who won our junior qualifier a month and a half ago, and Tajay Lobban, a former, a former member of our junior golf programme. So that is very rewarding for us as a programme to showcase the talents that we nurtured,” Newnham reasoned.

“It's a testament to the work that not only we do, but also as a Jamaican golf and junior community as a whole. So very proud that all the hard work that went into it was well awarded and it was essentially a celebration of sport and all it does for us and the surrounding communities, as the proceeds are for a cause,” he ended.

 

 

France's draw with the Netherlands at Euro 2024 saw N'Golo Kante extend a record run at major tournaments.

Les Bleus drew 0-0 with the Dutch in a somewhat underwhelming encounter in Leipzig on Friday.

Kante was the star performer, picking up the Player of the Match award for the second match in a row.

And the midfielder has now registered 17 appearances at major tournaments for Les Bleus, without suffering a single defeat (not including penalty shoot-outs).

The 2018 World Cup winner is four games clear of any other European player when it comes to such a streak.

Italians Simone Perrotta (13) and Fulvio Collovati (12) are second and third on the all-time list, ahead of Andre Schurlle (11), Carlos Marchena (11) and Paul Gascoigne (11).

Kante has won 12 of his 17 matches at the Euros/World Cup, playing in five draws.

France's slatemate against the Netherlands leaves them second in Group D, though the favourites are still in a strong position to progress.

Tyler Adams believes winning a knockout match is the real measure of success for the United States at the Copa America.

The USA are the host nation of the 2024 Copa America, and they kick-start their campaign against Bolivia on Sunday.

Gregg Berhalter's team will also face Panama and Uruguay in Group C, which they are predicted to progress from in second place, according to Opta's supercomputer.

And while taking nothing for granted ahead of facing the tournament's worst-ranked team, Adams believes a true litmus test for the USA would be progressing beyond the quarter-finals.

"For me, it's getting past the quarter-final," said Adams.

"We need to – in a pressure situation – win in a knockout. That's going to measure a lot of our success."

Defender Mark McKenzie added: "When you talk about some of the most watched games, I think aside from the World Cup, you look at the Copa America.

"You talk about countries that have won multiple World Cups, in Uruguay and Argentina and Brazil.

"You have the opportunity now to step into this tournament and go head-to-head with them. Ultimately, it's usually a South American tournament and now we have the opportunity to play against them."

Carlos Zago won the Copa America with Brazil in 1999, and the Bolivia head coach is out to cause an upset at the AT&T Stadium.

"The most important thing is for us to compete," Zago said.

"We have to try to play on an equal footing with the big teams in terms of intensity and physicality."

Bournemouth midfielder Adams also made a bullish statement in regards to his own ability.

"When I'm healthy and playing consistently, I'm one of the best midfielders at what I do in the world," he said, as reported by the Daily Mail.

"I'm not a politician, I don't need to persuade anyone."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

United States - Christian Pulisic

Pulisic, who will captain the Stars and Stripes at this tournament, is their chief playmaker and also a potent goal threat.

Indeed, he is coming off his best season in terms of goals scored at club level, having netted 15 times for Milan in 2023-24.

Bolivia - Carlos Lampe

Carlos Lampe (nine) is two matches away from equalling Arturo Lopez (11) for the third-most appearances among goalkeepers for Bolivia in the Copa America.

Only Eduardo Gutierrez (12) and Vicente Arraya (20) have played more matches in goal for Bolivia in the competition.

MATCH PREDICTION: UNITED STATES WIN

The USA and Bolivia have faced each other only once in the Copa America, and it was a victory for the South American team, 1-0 at Estadio Parque Artigas in Uruguay during the group stage of the 1995 edition, thanks to a goal by Marco Etcheverry.

However, the USA are backed to win this time, even though CONMEBOL teams have won eight of the last 10 matches against the Stars and Stripes in the Copa America, including the two most recent: Argentina 4-0 USA (semifinals in 2016) and Colombia 1-0 USA (third-place match in 2016).

Bolivia will seek a win against a CONCACAF opponent in the competition for the first time since the 1997 edition when they defeated Mexico 3-1 in the semi-finals of the tournament they hosted.

Expect Bolivia to go long more often than not. So far in the South American Qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup, Bolivia (along with Paraguay) have the highest average passing distance (20.5 meters).

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

USA - 58%

Bolivia - 21%

Draw - 21%

West Indies all-rounder Roston Chase believes it is his country's destiny to win the T20 World Cup following their nine-wicket victory over fellow co-hosts the United States.

The 32-year-old took 3-19 as the USA were bowled out for 128, with Shai Hope hitting an unbeaten 82 from 39 balls as the Windies leapfrogged England in the race for the semi-finals. 

"It is our destiny and our goal to win this World Cup," Chase said after the victory. "We want teams to know they have to beat us to win this World Cup."

Rovman Powell's side equalled the record for the West Indies' most wins in a single calendar year (W9 in 2021) in T20Is, and face South Africa in Antigua next Monday. 

The triumph continued their impressive T20 record at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, and they have now won five of their previous seven T20Is at the venue. 

The last and only previous time they won more consecutive games in Barbados was a four-game streak from May 2010 to March 2014, which has got the West Indies believing they can claim a third title. 

"It's very special," captain Powell said. "Kensington brings special memories for us. We had no better opportunity to come out and play some good cricket."

The USA still holds on to the hopes of qualifying for the competition's semi-finals but knows their hopes of progression lie elsewhere. 

Having lost their opening Super 8 fixture to South Africa, they will be hoping the Proteas can do them a favour in defeating the West Indies but would need a comprehensive victory of their own against current champions England. 

"We lost wickets in clusters," captain Aaron Jones said. "I don't think we ever truly recovered from that. It was bad in the middle.

"We'll go back to the drawing board and come back hard against England on Sunday."

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