England to be without injured Archer for New Zealand series

By Sports Desk May 16, 2021

Jofra Archer has been ruled out of England’s two-Test series against New Zealand having suffered a setback in his return from an elbow injury.

Pace bowler Archer made his comeback in domestic action for Sussex this week after undergoing surgery on his right hand at the end of March.

However, a persistent elbow issue flared up while in action against Kent, with Archer unable to bowl during the final two days of the County Championship fixture.

England confirmed on Sunday that the 26-year-old will now seek further medical advice over the next course of action, meaning he will not feature in either game against the Black Caps on home soil.

"England and Sussex seamer Jofra Archer has been ruled out of the Test series against New Zealand starting next month," an England and Wales Cricket Board statement read.

"Archer, who returned to action for Sussex in the LV= Insurance County Championship against Kent this week at Hove, only bowled five overs in Kent’s second innings. He was suffering from pain in his right elbow when bowling and was unable to bowl in the final two days of the match.

"The England and Sussex medical teams will now seek guidance, and Archer will see a medical consultant later this week to determine the next course of action on the management of his elbow."

Archer bowled 13 overs in Kent’s first innings, taking 2-29 in a rain-hit contest that finished as a draw.

He has 42 wickets at an average of 31.04 in 13 Test appearances for England, who have a home series to come against India later in the year.

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    The Netherlands edged a 3-2 thriller with Ukraine in the pick of the Euro 2020 matches to date, while England and Austria also got off the mark in their opening group games on Sunday.

    Denzel Dumfries was the late hero for the Oranje with his first international goal to sink Ukraine, who had battled back from two goals down in Amsterdam to temporarily level things.

    Austria also left it late to see off minnows North Macedonia 3-1 in Bucharest earlier in the day and England beat Croatia 1-0 at Wembley through a well-taken Raheem Sterling strike.

    Using Opta data, Stats Perform looks at some of the best facts from across Sunday's entertaining action at Euro 2020.

    England 1-0 Croatia: Three Lions make winning start at Wembley

    Sterling's first goal at a major international tournament in his 13th appearance was enough for England to overcome Croatia in a repeat of the 2018 World Cup semi-final.

    Croatia offered very little in response as England made it 11 straight victories in games in which Sterling has scored – the best-such win rate of any player in the nation's history.

    The Three Lions are now unbeaten in 12 games at Wembley in major tournaments (exluding penalty shoot-outs), winning eight and drawing four of those matches.

    The victory for Gareth Southgate's side in their Group D opener was their seventh in a row in all competitions – their best such run since March 2015 under Roy Hodgson.

    It was also the first time England have won their opening game at a European Championship finals in their 10th participation in the tournament.

    That is in contrast to Croatia, who lost their first match in the competition for the first time, having won four and drawn one of the previous five.

    The contest was also a special occasion for England substitute Jude Bellingham, who at 17 years and 349 days became the youngest ever player to feature at the Euros.

    Austria 3-1 North Macedonia: Substitutes strike late to deny tournament debutants

    North Macedonia's first ever game at a major tournament ended with a late defeat to Austria in Bucharest.

    Aged 37 years and 321 days, 120-cap Goran Pandev became the second-oldest goalscorer in the competition when cancelling out Stefan Lainer's opener.

    That was just Lainer's second goal for Austria, with his only other international strike coming against North Macedonia in qualifying.

    Michael Gregoritsch and Marko Arnautovic were introduced to snatch the three points for Austria – their first ever win at the European Championships in what was their seventh game.

    In doing so, Gregoritsch and Arnautovic became the first pair to score from the bench for the same country in the competition since Michy Batshuayi and Yannick Carrasco for Belgium (v Hungary) in 2016.

    Arnautovic's goal to make certain of the win was his 27th for Austria at senior level, with three of those coming against North Macedonia – more than he has managed against any other country.

    Netherlands 3-2 Ukraine: Oranje leave it late to edge thriller

    The Netherlands ended a run of four straight defeats at the European Championship with a dramatic victory against Ukraine in Amsterdam.

    All five goals were scored in the second half, making it the highest-scoring fixture in the competition's history after a goalless first half.

    The first half may have ended scoreless, but the tempo was set early on as there were nine shots in the opening 10 minutes – a tournament record since Opta started recording such data in 1980.

    Georginio Wijnaldum opened the scoring in the 52nd minute with his 15th goal in 26 appearances for Oranje, having scored only eight times in his first 50 games for his national side.

    Wout Weghorst added a second soon after, but Andriy Yarmolenko pulled one back with a sublime strike to end a run of 72 shots without a goal for Ukraine at the Euros.

    From the visitors' very next attempt, Roman Yaremchuk headed in an equaliser to seemingly steal a point at the Johan Cruijff ArenA.

    But Dumfries found the back of the net in the 85th minute, making it the latest game-winning goal for the Netherlands at the Euros since current boss Frank de Boer scored an 89th-minute penalty against Czech Republic at Euro 2000.

  • Sterling blocks out the noise to let Three Lions roar Sterling blocks out the noise to let Three Lions roar

    Raheem Sterling felt it was important to "block the outside world off" ahead of his match-winning turn in England's 1-0 Euro 2020 victory over Croatia.

    Manchester City forward Sterling was played in for the only goal following some fabulous play by Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips after 57 minutes at Wembley.

    The 26-year-old's club future has been the subject of mounting speculation after losing his place as an automatic starter for Pep Guardiola, while there has been little progress in talks over extending his contract at the Etihad Stadium that expires in 2023.

    A solitary goal for City since the end of February, allayed with the enviable options Gareth Southgate has in attack for England, led to calls for Sterling to be ditched in favour of Jack Grealish ahead of the Group D opener.

    Additionally, Sterling had failed to score in 12 previous outings at major tournaments for his country, but now has 13 in his past 17 appearances for the Three Lions.

    "To be honest with you, I think playing football and being in major tournaments for a long time now, one of the things you learn is knowing when to block noise out," he told a post-match news conference after being named UEFA's Star of the Match.

    "That's what I've done. I've blocked the outside world off and just tried to focus on coming into this tournament with a clear head, fully focused to help my team and that's the most important thing.

    "I've haven't tried to listen to any noise outside – focus on myself, I know what I can bring to the team and it's as simple as that."

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Southgate hailed Sterling's all-round contribution on a sweltering London afternoon, with the winger's 12 duels contested more than any of his team-mates.

    "He's been a reliable performer for us for a long period of time and his goals record in the last two-and-a-half years with us and with his club… even this year, I know people are saying he hasn't hit the heights but he's still one-in-three for his club," he said, seemingly joining Sterling in the block-noise-out club.

    "We can't have all the scoring burden on Harry [Kane]. You've got to have players in those wide areas and in midfield who can chip in as well.

    "I thought he looked a threat the whole day. I have to also say his work without the ball was phenomenal, positionally and the desire to track and stop them advancing."

    Phillips was another player to catch the eye with and without the ball.

    He was second to Sterling with 11 duels contested and recovered possession more often than any other England player (seven).

    The 25-year-old completed 31 of 33 passes overall and 19 of 20 inside the opposition half, including his assist for Sterling at the end of a driving run and a wonderful piece of skill.

    "To be able to work with the coach [Marcelo Bielsa] that he has and to have a season of playing in the Premier League will have given him tremendous confidence," Southgate said.

    "All those attributes were there – the range of passing, the athleticism, the desire. He's just a very good footballer – high performance, low maintenance. We like that a lot."

    Sterling was understandably very appreciative of Phillips' performance.

    "He was good in there, he brings a lot of energy to the team. He's on the front foot, at opposition midfielders and always in their faces," he added.

    "At the same time he's great with the ball, uses the ball well. For our goal you can see the clever play, the drive with the ball, the little skill at the end and a great weight of pass.

    "He brings a lot to the team. It's a credit to him – first major tournament and he's done brilliantly today."

  • Southgate delight as Sterling ends England 'hex' Southgate delight as Sterling ends England 'hex'

    Gareth Southgate hailed Raheem Sterling after the Manchester City forward slayed personal and collective demons in England's 1-0 Euro 2020 win over Croatia.

    Sterling latched on to Kalvin Phillips' 57th-minute pass to score the only goal in the Group D opener.

    Much of the pre-match speculation had centred around whether Sterling would – or, indeed, should – retain his place in Southgate's forward line, having endured a disappointing end to the season at club level.

    He was also without a goal in 12 previous major tournament appearances for the Three Lions, but Sterling also had 12 in 16 appearances since the 2018 World Cup and picked the perfect time to continue that prolific run.

    "I'm so pleased for Raheem. He's had this hex in the tournaments not being able to get the goal," Southgate told BBC Sport, after England won their opening game of a European Championship campaign at the 10th time of asking.

    "I thought he was dangerous all day.

    "He's a good player and his goalscoring records suggests that we should have faith with him, especially over the last few years. I think he was motivated to show that."

    Phillips' assist crowned a superb showing from the Leeds United man, who more than justified his selection alongside Declan Rice and Mason Mount – England's midfield three ensuring Luka Modric and Croatia's masterful ballplayers were unable exert their influence upon the contest for any sustained period.

    "Kalvin is a player who is so understated and has had a fantastic start to his international career," Southgate said.

    "I thought he was immense throughout the game, I though they all were.

    "Croatia, I think the key is to get pressure on their midfield players and we managed to do that. That limited the supply and the players at the back dealt with the long balls and read the game well.

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