Euro 2024 social round-up: What might have been for Wimbledon, UEFA turns 70

By Sports Desk June 15, 2024

Day two of Euro 2024 picked up the excitement where it left off, with a historic round of games on Saturday.

Switzerland joined Germany level on points at the top of Group A with an impressive 3-1 win over Hungary before Spain cruised to a 3-0 victory over Croatia in their Group B opener with three first-half goals.

Italy's European Championships title defence got off to a perfect start as they bounced back from conceding the earliest goal in the tournament's history (23 seconds) by beating Albania 2-1.

While the football continued to entertain, there was also plenty of action on social media. Here's a pick of some of the best posts.

What might have been for Wimbledon

AFC Wimbledon's official X account drew plenty of attention as the admin latched onto the hype over Jamal Musiala, following the Germany international's magical display against Scotland.

Musiala grew up in England, and represented AFC Wimbledon, via the Corpus Christi Primary School, in the EFL Utilita Kids Cup.

It's clear from the highlights of that match, in which Musiala scored a hat-trick and left defenders mesmerised - a bit like he did on Friday - that he was a special talent.

Embolo back on the scene

Breel Embolo endured an injury-hit campaign for Monaco, but he is back to fitness in time to feature for Switzerland, for whom he remains a crucial player.

And after coming on as a second-half substitute, Embolo sealed the three points as the Swiss beat Hungary 3-1 in the first game of the day. 

As the official Euro 2042 X account pointed out, Embolo has now netted in successive Euros tournaments for his nation.

Birthday boy

Pascal Gross is a newcomer to Germany's squad, and came on for his major tournament debut during Friday's 5-1 thrashing of Scotland.

The Brighton midfielder then celebrated his 33rd birthday on Saturday, with Germany's official X account sharing the celebrations.

That big win over Scotland, and his Euros bow, was surely a great way to welcome in his 34th year.

UEFA turns 70

Gross was not the only one celebrating a birthday on Saturday.

Indeed, UEFA marked the 70th anniversary of its founding, which came on June 15, 1954.

"It's a story of devotion, dedication and dreams..." shared the governing bodies' official X account.

Barcelona show pride of record-breaking youngster

Spain got off to the perfect start in the so-called 'group of death' with a rampant 3-0 win over Croatia on Saturday.

But, when the team sheets came out before the game, all the headlines quickly turned to Lamine Yamal, who became the youngest-ever player to appear at the Euros at 16 years and 338 days.

After an impressive performance by the youngster, Barcelona were quick to remind fans where he came from with a post on X: "He's very good... and he's ours."

Van Dijk, Simons and De Ligt put to the test

The Netherlands are yet to open their campaign in Euro 2024, but put aside their preparation to take some time to answer questions from young fans.

Xavi Simons was quizzed on which defender scares him the most - fellow Dutchman Virgil van Dijk - while the captain and Matthijs de Ligt rated their chances of winning the tournament.

Final preparations

England open their campaign when they take on Serbia in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday, and on Saturday, Gareth Southgate's team ran through their MD-1 training session.

All 26 players were involved in the session, with England allowing their fans to watch on live via a post on X.

Only part of the session was broadcast, however, so any Serbia spies could not garner too much information about Southgate's tactics ahead of the Group C clash.

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    Bologna have signed Dutch forward Thijs Dallinga from Toulouse for a reported €15million fee, a statement confirmed on Tuesday. 

    Dallinga, who joined Toulouse from Excelsior having scored 32 goals in 37 appearances in the 2021-22 Eredivisie season, ends a two-year spell with Le Tefece. 

    The 23-year-old netted 19 times in 44 outings in all competitions for the French side last season, including two goals against Liverpool in the Europa League group stage. 

    The Dutch international helped Toulouse win their first major trophy with their Coupe de France success in 2023, scoring two goals in the final against Nantes. 

    Dallinga will serve as a replacement for Joshua Zirkzee, who completed a £36.5million switch to Manchester United last week.

    Zirkzee scored 11 times in Serie A last season, helping Bologna clinch qualification to the Champions League as they finished fifth in Italy's top flight. 

  • New beginning: T&T’s Andre Raymond at home with St Johnstone after jail-time disrupted opportunity with SC Braga New beginning: T&T’s Andre Raymond at home with St Johnstone after jail-time disrupted opportunity with SC Braga

    Trinidad and Tobago's Andre Raymond knows all too well that opportunities in football often come with their fair share of challenges and setbacks. Though those setbacks are sometimes harrowing, much like his jail-time experience in Portugal, Raymond, like the professional he is, has learned to smile in the face of adversity.

    In fact, it is Raymond's resilience and determination that ensured a bad situation took a positive turn and brought him back on track to pursue his professional dreams, as he recently signed with St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership, where he had an encouraging start in a 2-0 win over Morton on Saturday.

    “I was very happy with my debut. I needed to get some minutes in the tank and build a bond with the team and the intensity was really high—it was really good,” said Raymond, whose last competitive outing was a friendly international against Guyana in May.

    “I didn’t know the coach [Craig Levein] had asked Dan [Phillips] about me. Then, in March, I got a phone call saying he was interested. He’d done some research and liked what he saw, so things started moving then. I made my mind up straight away; I wanted to join St Johnstone because the Scottish league is a top league,” he told The Courier.

    Prior to his move to Scotland, Raymond, whose speed, defensive acumen, and ability to contribute offensively made him a sought-after player, caught the eye of scouts from various clubs, including SC Braga, one of Portugal’s top football teams.

    The opportunity to sign with Braga seemed like the perfect next step in Raymond’s burgeoning career. However, his aspirations were abruptly halted by an unexpected turn of events.

    During his trip to finalize the deal with SC Braga, Raymond was detained by Portuguese authorities for overstaying on a previous visit. This oversight resulted in him being thrown into prison for two days.

    “I was at university in America and did one semester. While I was at home, my friend was going with an academy team to Spain. I was dropping him off at the airport, and the coach of his team asked me what I was doing and why I wasn’t playing football and going with them,” Raymond recalled.

    “He wanted me to go with them, so he spoke to my dad about it, but my mom was saying, ‘No way, you have to go back to school,” he shared.

    In the end, Raymond managed to persuade his parents, and a few days later, he joined the Academy team in Spain for the tournament.

    “After that, we went to Portugal, and I ended up with Braga, but then some stuff happened—I got arrested because we’d been away from home for so long, and I ended up staying for four months instead of three. I went back home to get my documents and then back to Portugal for pre-season with Braga, but they didn’t let me in and threw me in jail,” Raymond explained.

    “I was in there for two days; it was horrible. I was allowed a 15-minute phone call and locked in a cell. I know it was only two days, but that was enough. It was a new experience, that’s for sure, and I wouldn’t want anyone to go through it,” he added.

    The detention not only affected Raymond personally but also jeopardized his professional prospects. The deal with SC Braga fell through as the club, wary of the legal complications, decided not to proceed.

    For Raymond, it was a devastating blow, as the young defender was on the brink of a significant career milestone.

    “They sent me back to Trinidad, and I had to spend three months out of Europe before I could go back. But, because of the length of time it was, Braga had moved on and signed another left-back, and that left me without a club.

    “I felt like giving up football again, to be honest, but I got the chance to sign for Vilar De Perdizes, so I decided to do that. My mom wanted me to go back to school, but my dad said I should push on and keep going,” Raymond revealed.

    Through resilience and his father’s unwavering support, the now 23-year-old continued to push and inevitably caught the attention of St Johnstone through a timely referral from his Soca Warriors teammate Dan Phillips.

    Now a part of the St Johnstone squad, Raymond is eager to leverage his skills and experiences to help the Perth-based club succeed while continuing to develop as a player.

    “I spent the last few months of the season watching the team play, looking at the players, the style of play, and the atmosphere in the stadium. All the time I was speaking to the manager and hoping they would stay in the Premiership, and I was very happy that they did,” Raymond said.

    “I wanted Dan to stay, but he has goals and aspirations of his own. We still speak a lot. He told me to come here because it’s a good club and I would fit in here. He said that my style of play would match up with Scottish football, and I’m feeling that too because I like to defend, but I also like to get forward,” he ended.

  • Morata and Rodri charged by UEFA for Gibraltar chant Morata and Rodri charged by UEFA for Gibraltar chant

    Alvaro Morata and Rodri have been charged by UEFA following their actions during Spain's trophy celebrations after winning Euro 2024. 

    The Spanish duo, who were a key part of La Roja's record fourth European Championship success, were at the centre of complaints from Gibraltar's FA over unacceptable chanting during the trophy parade in Madrid. 

    Manchester City midfielder Rodri could be seen chanting "Gibraltar is Spanish" on the stage, with Morata later encouraging the crowd to join in with the same chant.

    Last Friday, UEFA confirmed they had opened an investigation and have since come to their conclusion. 

    The pair have been charged with "violating the basic rules of decent conduct, using sporting events for manifestations of a non-sporting nature, and bringing the sport of football, and UEFA in particular, into disrepute".

    Rodri was named the player of the tournament in Germany, with Morata scoring once in their Group B opener against Croatia in Berlin. 

    In a statement, the Gibraltar FA said: "The Gibraltar FA welcomes the announcement today that UEFA has decided to open formal disciplinary proceedings against Rodri and Alvaro Morata further to the complaint filed by the Gibraltar FA with UEFA.

    "This is an important first step in order to establish the unlawfulness of the chant on the basis of the grounds put forward by the Gibraltar FA in its complaint.

    "The Gibraltar FA now awaits the decision of the UEFA Control Ethics and Disciplinary Body when the matter is heard."

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