BREAKING NEWS: Alun Wyn Jones to captain Lions in South Africa

By Sports Desk May 06, 2021

Alun Wyn Jones has been named captain of the British and Irish Lions for their tour of South Africa, leading a 36-man squad.

Warren Gatland announced his selection on Thursday ahead of the trip in July, which follows a warm-up against Japan next month.

Wales great Jones has been chosen as captain having featured in the past nine Lions Tests going back to 2009, the longest run in the professional era.

Jones has already skippered the side once in the absence of the injured Sam Warburton in Australia eight years ago, clinching a first series win since 1997.

Related items

  • Euro 2020 data dive: Spain stunted but set passing standard after Schick's record-breaking blast Euro 2020 data dive: Spain stunted but set passing standard after Schick's record-breaking blast

    There was more drama on day four of Euro 2020, although the pace of the tournament slowed just a little in Seville.

    The Czech Republic and Slovakia claimed precious wins before attention turned to Spain and Sweden, the two presumed favourites in Group E.

    But neither team had the imagination to forge a breakthrough, even if Spain were completely dominant.

    That stalemate features as Stats Perform reviews the action with the best Opta data.

     

    Scotland 0-2 Czech Republic: Schick shocks Scots from record-breaking range

    Patrik Schick's brilliant brace at Hampden Park gave the Czech Republic their first win over Scotland since October 2010.

    The Bayer Leverkusen striker's double was the first from a Czech player at a major tournament since Tomas Rosicky against the United States at the 2006 World Cup, while Milan Baros managed it at Euro 2004 versus Denmark.

    Schick's second was particularly special, lobbing 36-year-old David Marshall – Scotland's second-oldest player at a major tournament – from 49.7 yards, the longest distance for a goal at the Euros since records began in 1980. It surpassed Torsten Frings' 38.6-yard effort for Germany against the Netherlands in 2004.

    That strike took Schick to eight goals (and two assists) in his past nine international starts, but the headed opener alone might have been enough.

    Scotland have now failed to score in five of their seven Euros matches and five of their past six opening matches at major tournaments. They have lost five of those six, too.

     

    Poland 1-2 Slovakia: Same Lewy woes but new pain for Szczesny

    Poland's big names endured frustrating outings in a 2-1 defeat to Slovakia that means they have now won just one of their past 10 opening matches at major tournaments.

    Milan Skriniar's third goal in four appearances for Slovakia settled the Group E fixture, but Poland had been on the back foot since Wojciech Szczesny's 18th-minute own goal.

    He became the first goalkeeper to put through his own net at a European Championship, while Grzegorz Krychowiak's subsequent red card made this one of only two examples of a team at the Euros scoring an own goal and having a player sent off in the same game (also Czechoslovakia versus the Netherlands in 1976).

    Szczesny had been the most recent Poland player dismissed at a major tournament back in 2012.

    Karol Linetty did equalise for Poland 32 seconds into the second half – the second-fastest goal after half-time, behind Marcel Coras for Romania against Germany in 1984 (21 seconds) – but another off day for Robert Lewandowski harmed their hopes of victory before Skriniar's strike.

    Lewandowski has scored with just two of his 35 shots for Poland at major tournaments, failing to register a goal with any of his 17 attempts since netting against Portugal at Euro 2016.

     

    Spain 0-0 Sweden: Luis Enrique's side luckless in Seville

    Spain will wonder how they did not earn all three points against Sweden in the tournament's first goalless draw.

    La Roja dominated 85 per cent of the possession, attempted 917 passes and completed 830 of them. All three figures are records since 1980.

    Luis Enrique's side were frustratingly profligate and Spain have now won just one of their past six opening matches at major tournaments.

    The only positive was an 11th Spanish clean sheet in their past 14 games at the Euros, with this remarkably the first time Sweden – who showed little attacking ambition – have drawn a blank in a Euros opener.

    They have now failed to score in three consecutive games in the competition, though, and failed to show how they might end that run against Slovakia on Friday.

  • No need to try to beat it! – Soucek hails Schick's 'goal of the tournament' against Scotland No need to try to beat it! – Soucek hails Schick's 'goal of the tournament' against Scotland

    Tomas Soucek hailed Patrik Schick's long-range strike against Scotland as "the goal of the tournament" after the forward's double helped the Czech Republic beat Scotland 2-0 in their Euro 2020 opener.

    Schick stole the show in Monday's Group D clash at Hampden Park with a towering first-half header and an incredible goal from just inside the opposition half after 52 minutes.

    The second was measured at 49.7 yards, making it the longest-range goal scored at the European Championship since such data was first recorded in 1980.

    Euro 2020 may still be in its early stages, but Soucek does not believe team-mate Schick's sensational strike will be bettered throughout the rest of the tournament.

    "It's clear we already have the goal of the tournament. No need to try to beat it," Soucek said.

     

    Schick overtakes Torsten Frings (38.6 yards) for the longest recorded strike in the competition with what was his 13th goal in 27 appearances for the Czech Republic.

    The Bayer Leverkusen man lobbed the ball over David Marshall after his side turned over possession inside their own half, leaving the backpedalling Scotland keeper red faced.

    And speaking after the game, Schick confirmed he had spotted Marshall off his line earlier in the contest and decided to have a go from range.

    "I knew he liked to stay very high, so when the ball came, I quickly checked where he was standing, and it was a nice goal," he told BBC Sport. 

    "I saw the keeper off his line. I checked already in the first half and thought maybe this situation will come."

    Schick has scored eight goals in his last nine starts for the Czech Republic, with Monday's long-ranger at Hampden Park undoubtedly the pick of the pitch.

    "We know he's a genius," Czech coach Jaroslav Silhavy told reporters. "He knows how to finish and that's why he's there - it was something out of this world. 

    "We really haven't seen a goal like that from the middle of the field for a long time."

    Scotland were backed by around 12,000 spectators on home soil in what was their first major tournament game in 23 years.

    The hosts had 19 shots, four of those on target, but a lack of composure and some good goalkeeping from Tomas Vaclik kept them out.

    Steve Clarke does not believe that the two-goal margin of victory for the Czech Republic paints a true reflection and is eager to bounce back for Friday's clash with bitter rivals England.

    "It was quite an even game. There wasn't much in it," the Scotland boss told BBC Sport. "Obviously they were a little bit more clinical with their chances. 

    "Losing the goal with a second-phase set-piece was disappointing and we went in at half-time on the backfoot, then the boy's hit a wonderful strike from just inside our half. 

    "It was a shot that got blocked that fell perfect for them. So those moments went against us. When we had our chances to get back, we didn't take them. 

    "At times we played some good stuff. I'll have a good think about it. We'll go back to base camp, lick our wounds for 24 hours, then get ready for the game on Friday."

    Clarke is hopeful of having Kieran Tierney back from injury to face England at Wembley, with the defender proving a big loss for Scotland in their tournament opener.

    Fellow defender Andy Robertson was Scotland's star performer against the Czech Republic, creating a game-high six chances, none of which his team-mates could convert.

    "At the highest level, you have to take your chances," he said. "The Czech Republic did that, we didn't, and that's why we’re on the wrong end of a result.

    "For the first one, we shouldn't concede. It's a good header but we've got to be a wee bit stronger and braver.

    "We started the second half well and hit the bar. The boy's in his own half and it's a one in a million shot. It knocked the stuffing out of us. Going forward, we need to be more clinical."

    Scotland have now lost their opening match in five of their last six appearances at a major tournament, failing to score on five occasions in that run.

  • Scotland 0-2 Czech Republic: Schick stunner silences hosts at Hampden Park Scotland 0-2 Czech Republic: Schick stunner silences hosts at Hampden Park

    Patrik Schick scored twice, including a stunning strike from just inside the opposition half, to earn the Czech Republic a 2-0 win against Scotland in Monday's Euro 2020 clash.

    Scotland are competing in their first major tournament in 23 years and had the backing of around 12,000 spectators on home soil at Hampden Park.

    However, Schick's header late in the first half and an incredible second goal from 49.7 yards – the longest recorded at the Euros since records began in 1980 – soon dampened the spirits of the vast majority inside the venue.

    Steve Clarke's side hit the crossbar through a Jack Hendry effort in between Schick's brace, but Scotland offered little else in response as the Czech Republic joined England – 1-0 winners over Croatia on Sunday – on three points at the top of Group D.

    David Marshall's penalty heroics helped Scotland book their place in the finals and the goalkeeper was required after 16 minutes to push Schick's shot past the post.

    A rare first-half chance came and went for the hosts at the other end when Andy Robertson was played in on the overlap but denied by a Tomas Vaclik save.

    But it was the visitors who took the lead just before half-time as Schick towered above Grant Hanley to guide Vladimir Coufal's cross into the bottom-left corner.

    Marshall was called into action twice in the early stages of the second period to keep out Schick and then Vladimir Darida in the space of 24 seconds.

    Scotland responded well and hit the crossbar through Hendry's clipped effort from range, swiftly followed by a clawed safe from Vaclik to prevent a Tomas Kalas own goal.

    Any hopes Clarke's side had of taking a point from their opener were extinguished by Schick, though, as the lively forward spotted Marshall off his line and scored one of the competition's most memorable goals.

    Vaclik denied both Lyndon Dykes and then Hanley as the Czechs saw things through to snap a three-game losing run against Scotland.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.