Emerson Palmieri delivered positive news on his injury status after limping off in the early stages of Italy's win over Finland on Sunday.

The Chelsea left-back pulled up while chasing Teemu Pukki and had be substituted in the eighth minute of the Euro 2020 qualifying match in Tampere.

The sight of defender Emerson making way would have been worrying for Frank Lampard, who has started him in each of Chelsea's four Premier League games this term.

But the 25-year-old took to social media after the match to quell fears over the severity of the suspected muscle issue.

"Very important victory today guys," Emerson wrote on Twitter.

"Unfortunately I had a small injury, but nothing serious. Let's continue like this!"

Roberto Mancini replaced Emerson with Alessandro Florenzi and later confirmed the move was largely for precautionary reasons.

"It's nothing serious," the Azzurri boss said. "He came off to avoid making it any worse."

Italy recovered from the early setback to prevail 2-1 courtesy of second-half goals from Ciro Immobile and Jorginho, Emerson's team-mate at Stamford Bridge.

Mancini's men are now six points clear atop Group J ahead of a home meeting with Greece on October 12.

Roberto Mancini said Italy were guilty of creating their own problems as they scraped past Finland 2-1 in Euro 2020 qualifying on Sunday.

Ciro Immobile's first international goal in two years gave them a 59th-minute lead but they were pegged back by Teemu Pukki's penalty 18 minutes from time.

Jorginho secured a sixth win from six Group J games after 79 minutes, though, slotting home another spot-kick.

While happy to come through a game on the road with another three points, head coach Mancini said his side need to retain possession better.

"There was a little bit of suffering, but we created it ourselves," he told Rai Sport. "We were dominating the game and gave away the ball cheaply. The team did very well overall, although we had a few scares when it was 1-1.

"We must try to improve; these games are tough and make us stronger. It's positive to dominate away from home when making five changes from the last match, so we have a lot of talent to draw from.

"Our intention is to always attack. Naturally, that means you're going to allow a few chances. We gave away the penalty on a ball that we shouldn't have misplaced, so they put some pressure on, but we got back in front so it was a good performance."

Immobile's goal was his first for the Azzurri since his strike against Israel in September 2017.

The Lazio striker admitted the barren spell played on his mind but said remaining clam was the key to him finding the back of the net again in international football.

"It was weighing on me so much, not scoring with this jersey," he said. "So much has been said over the last two years, but I was calm and knew my moment would come.

"People always tried to cause controversy around me, including with the coach, but there was no issue there.

"It wasn't easy to get a victory here, but after the disappointment of [failing to qualify for] the World Cup, we are back on track with Italy."

Italy continued their 100 per cent record in Euro 2020 qualifying as Jorginho's late penalty secured a 2-1 win over Finland at Tammela Stadion on Sunday.

The hosts had looked like they would gain a vital point after Teemu Pukki cancelled out Ciro Immobile's header from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho had the final say, though, slotting home from 12 yards with 11 minutes remaining.

The goal means Italy have won all six of their Group J qualifiers and sit six points ahead of second-placed Finland and nine above Armenia in third.

Finland started in positive fashion and almost went ahead in the fourth minute when Joona Toivio scooped narrowly over at the back post from a corner.

The hosts kept their more illustrious opponents at arm's length in the opening 30 minutes, although they were indebted to a wonderful save from Lukas Hradecky to keep out Stefano Sensi's 18-yard volley.

Immobile then went close for the visitors, glancing a header wide of Hradecky's far post from Federico Chiesa's teasing right-wing cross.

Italy continued to crank up the pressure as half-time approached, with Sensi flashing wide from distance and Hradecky blocking Chiesa's effort from an acute angle.

Mancini's men started the second half as they finished the first but had to wait until the 59th minute to break the deadlock.

Chiesa's cross from the right found Immobile at the back post and the Lazio striker made no mistake, thumping a header in off the underside of the crossbar.

Finland improbably found a way back into the game 18 minutes from time when Pukki clipped home from the spot after he had ben tripped in the area by Sensi.

Italy responded well, though, and secured all three points when Jorginho beat Hradecky from 12 yards after Sauli Vaisanen was adjudged to have blocked Nicolo Barella's shot with his arm.

Spain put in a dominant performance against heavy hitters Serbia to set up a clash with Poland in the quarter-finals of the FIBA World Cup.

Serbia had the best offense of the tournament heading into Sunday's encounter, but Spain held firm in Wuhan to secure an 81-69 victory and top spot in Group J.

Poland finished second behind Argentina in Group I following a 91-65 defeat to the South Americans, while Russia beat Venezuela 69-60 in the same pool.

Meanwhile, Italy ended their campaign with an impressive comeback against Puerto Rico, Tunisia came out on top by just two points against Angola and South Korea got the better of Ivory Coast.

RUBIO RUNS THE SHOW AS SPAIN STALL SERBIA

Ricky Rubio was in scintillating form as he scored 19 points and added four assists to lead Spain to victory over Serbia, who suffered their first defeat since February.

Rubio was backed up admirably by Marc Gasol and Victor Claver, as Spain earned a fifth successive win.

It was the first time Serbia failed to score 70 points or more in a World Cup match, even though Bogdan Bogdanovic grabbed 26 points in a supreme individual display.

While Spain will face Poland in the last eight, Serbia must rally for a tough test against Argentina.

NIGERIA BOOK OLYMPIC SPOT

Hosts China slipped to an 86-73 defeat in Guangzhou, as Nigeria grasped a place at the 2020 Olympics.

Josh Okogie helped himself to 19 points for Nigeria, with 11 coming in the final quarter. Jianlian Yi was the start of the show with 27 points, but his performance was not enough to secure a Chinese victory.

Nigeria's NBA forward Al-Farouq Aminu said on the FIBA website: "I remember when I joined the team in 2012 we said we did not want to miss an Olympics. It's a beautiful feeling. It's amazing."

China are in danger of missing out on direct qualification for the Olympics, with Iran going above them in the race for Tokyo thanks to their 95-75 win over Philippines.

AZZURRI FIGHT BACK TO OVERCOME PUERTO RICO

Marco Belinelli and Danilo Gallinari inspired Italy to overcome a 26-point deficit as the Azzurri triumphed 94-89 in overtime against Puerto Rico to end a frustrating campaign on a positive note.

Italy had never previously won a World Cup match in which they trailed by 15 points or more at half-time, but Belinelli and Gallinari rallied their team-mates after a timeout taken when 59-33 behind midway through the third quarter.

Belinelli converted a game-high 27 points, while Gallinari became the first Italy player to accumulate more than 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in a World Cup game since 1994.

"It was a very bad game for us in the beginning. We did not show up," Gallinari said. "We knew that we had to come out with a different attitude and different intensity in the second half and I think that we did a great job."

Mako Vunipola will miss at least the first two of England's games at the Rugby World Cup, coach Eddie Jones has confirmed.

Prop Vunipola suffered a setback in his hamstring injury and was absent as England defeated Italy 37-0 at St James' Park on Friday in their final warm-up match ahead of the tournament in Japan.

Jones' men led 9-0 at half-time thanks to a trio of Owen Farrell penalties, but Ben Youngs, Joe Marchant, Ellis Genge and Anthony Watson touched down in the second half as Italy were put to the sword in Newcastle.

England next face Tonga in their opening Pool C game in Sapporo on September 22 and take on United States four days later, meaning Saracens forward Vunipola is expected to return against either Argentina or France.

"He's probably going to be right for the third or fourth game," said Jones.

"He just had a little scar tissue which was impairing his movement. But that's all been fixed. He's progressing really well now."

On whether he was worried about taking an injured Vunipola to the World Cup, Jones added: "No, not at all. He's a very important player for us.

"We feel that he's going to be ready to contribute in the World Cup. We've got two looseheads with us who are in great form, one who can play tighthead, so we've got three tightheads as well.

"We're confident that he'll make a great contribution for us."

Exeter Chiefs wing Jack Nowell will also miss England's first two World Cup games after dealing with an ankle injury and appendicitis.

"Jack Nowell is probably in the same category [as Vunipola]," Jones added. "They are important players for us, so we are prepared to be patient with them."

England rounded out their preparations for the Rugby World Cup with an emphatic 37-0 win over Italy at St James' Park on Friday.

Eddie Jones' much-changed side completed their warm-up fixtures by scoring four tries without reply in Newcastle, captain Owen Farrell converting them all as he finished with a personal haul of 17 points.

However, while they stretched their winning record against Italy to 26 Tests, England produced a performance of two contrasting halves in their final outing before this year's tournament in Japan.

They led only 9-0 at the break thanks to a hat-trick of Farrell penalties and were fortunate not to concede in defence, Tommaso Benvenuti appearing to get around Jonny May only to drop the ball as he headed for the line.

Farrell failed with a penalty attempt early in the second half but England crossed for their first try not long after their skipper's miss, scrum-half Ben Youngs getting over from close range.

Joe Marchant marked his first Test start by crossing in the 53rd minute, the centre – picked by Jones for the game despite not being included in the final 31-man party for the World Cup – slicing through some flimsy tackling to score.

Replacement Ellis Genge benefited from his colleagues in the pack to get his maiden international try when finishing off a powerful maul, Farrell's successful conversion making it 30-0.

The fly-half was also on target after setting up the final try for team-mate Anthony Watson, who capitalised on a tiring Italy defence to breeze through a huge gap and slide over.

Jones will hope to receive a clean bill of health from those involved before England fly out on Sunday. Their opening Pool C fixture is against Tonga on September 22.

Spain and Serbia booked their spots in the quarter-finals of the FIBA World Cup on Friday.

Spain overcame Italy 67-60 and Serbia thrashed Puerto Rico 90-47 as they both guaranteed qualification from Group J.

The two nations will battle it out for top spot when they meet in a mouth-watering clash in Wuhan on Sunday.

Poland and Argentina also advanced with victories over Russia and Venezuela respectively.

Hosts China scored a 77-73 win over South Korea in the classification round, while there were also triumphs for Nigeria, Iran and Tunisia.

 

ITALY LOSE IT LATE

Spain were trailing 56-52 with four minutes to play against Italy, but Ricky Rubio helped lead a 10-0 run as Italy were put to the sword.

The Phoenix Suns guard finished with 15 points, two assists and two steals, though he recorded seven turnovers – a joint-high for him in a World Cup game.

Juancho Hernangomez had a game-high 16 points as Italy came up short and saw their hopes of reaching the last eight go up in smoke.

Marc Gasol had just two points and four rebounds in his 27 minutes on the floor.

 

SERBIA TOO GOOD FOR PUERTO RICO

A fourth win on the trot always looked likely for Serbia, who opened the scoring and never trailed against Puerto Rico.

Five Serbia players reached double figures in points, while the towering Boban Marjanovic went seven-of-eight from the field for 16 points.

The European side out-rebounded their opponents 48-26 and used all 12 of their players in a routine victory.

Nikola Jokic claimed a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

 

DECK DECKS VENEZUELA

Argentina had Gabriel Deck to thank for their 87-67 triumph over Venezuela; the Real Madrid forward had 25 points off nine-of-12 shooting in a comfortable win.

Poland joined them in advancing from Group I.

Adam Waczynski scored eight of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as Poland came from behind to down Russia 79-74.

Mateusz Ponitka contributed 14 points and nine rebounds, as Mikhail Kulagin's game-high 21 proved insufficient for Russia.

Like Spain and Serbia, Poland and Argentina will fight for top spot on Sunday. They go head to head in Foshan.

Alessio Romagnoli feels ready to step up for Italy in attempt to replace the injured Giorgio Chiellini.

Romagnoli featured alongside Leonardo Bonucci at the centre of Italy's defence on Thursday, as Roberto Mancini's side overcame Armenia 3-1 in a Euro 2020 qualifier.

However, the 24-year-old was caught out when Armenia took the lead through Aleksandre Karapetyan, who was later sent off.

With Chiellini set to miss the majority of the season after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury, Romagnoli seems likely to be Mancini's first choice to stand in for the Juventus stalwart.

"We always have to improve and be ready when called upon," Romagnoli told Rai Sport.

"Giorgio is a fantastic player and a great man. He helped me a great deal on international duty and I, or whoever replaces him, will give our best to make up for his absence."

Italy laboured for much of Thursday's encounter, only going ahead when Lorenzo Pellegrini headed home in the 77th minute, before Andrea Belotti's second goal sealed the points in Group J, with Mancini acknowledging his side were far from their best.

"I don't know if it was our worst performance. I said it would be difficult, because easy games no longer exist," Mancini told Rai Sport.

"We didn't start well, conceded a goal, but could've turned it around before half-time. In a way, the red card penalised us, as Armenia just focused on defending with 10 men and didn't allow any spaces.

"The truth is Armenia were physically superior and are mid-way through their seasons. We did what we needed to, we need to do more, but we're working on it."

Unbeaten Italy took another step towards the Euro 2020 finals with a 3-1 win in Armenia.

An Andrea Belotti brace and a solitary effort from substitute Lorenzo Pellegrini settled a spicy contest in Yerevan against hosts who played the full second half with 10 men.

Armenia could count themselves unlucky, losing their early goal-scorer Aleksandre Karapetyan to a controversial red card just before the break.

They matched Italy for long stretches in the second half, but two goals in three minutes scuppered their hopes of reward.

Bogdan Bogdanovic and Serbia impressed once more as one half of the second-round FIBA World Cup draw was confirmed on Wednesday.

Serbia were among a number of sides already through to the next stage but there was no let-up in their performance level as they swept aside Italy in their third Group D match.

There was far more on the line, meanwhile, in matches between China and Venezuela, and Puerto Rico and Tunisia.

The sides were bidding to join Poland, Argentina, Russia and Spain in the second round.
 

BOGDANOVIC BRILLIANT AGAIN

Serbia had already swatted aside the Philippines and Angola to secure their progress, but a tougher test was expected in their final first-round clash with Italy.

However, Bogdanovic's continued outstanding form meant his side again ran out comfortable winners, 92-77 with 31 points from the Sacramento Kings star - a Serbian World Cup record - as well as five assists and five steals.

These superb displays have meant Nikola Jokic has only been required from the bench, scoring 15 on this occasion, while Nemanja Bjelica emerged to contribute nine assists and seven rebounds.

Elsewhere in the pool, an 84-81 overtime victory over the Philippines ensured Angola did not go away empty-handed.
 

VENEZUELA TOO STRONG FOR CHINA

Hosts China saw their chances of reaching the second round ended as they failed to recover from a slow start in a 72-59 defeat to Venezuela.

It was winner takes all for the two sides, but China were outscored 18-10 in the first period and the South American side were able to see out victory with relative ease from there.

Poland finished Group A with a flawless 3-0 record, meanwhile, defeating Ivory Coast 80-63.
 

PUERTO RICO COME THROUGH ANOTHER DRAMATIC FINISH

Puerto Rico's dramatic victory over Iran in their opener saw a ludicrous final minute, with apparent match-winning interventions at either end, and they left it late again against Tunisia.

Needing another win to advance, a dismal third quarter put Puerto Rico three points behind heading into the final period, yet they rallied once again for a 67-64 triumph.

Gary Browne sunk a three-pointer with five seconds remaining and a last-gasp Makram Ben Romdhane air ball saw Tunisia out.

Juan Hernangomez contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds as Spain defeated Iran 73-65 to top Group C.

Luis Scola (13 points, nine rebounds) and Facundo Campazzo (21 points, seven assists, six rebounds) led Argentina past Russia in a 69-61 triumph in Group B, while Nigeria thrashed Korea 108-66 in the same pool.

Joe Marchant will make his first Test start against Italy in England's final Rugby World Cup warm-up game in Newcastle, even though he is not in the squad for the tournament itself.

England named their 31-man squad on August 12 and Harlequins centre Marchant was absent from the final list, but head coach Eddie Jones has selected the 23-year-old alongside Piers Francis in the midfield to face Italy in what the head coach has termed "a mix-and-match selection policy".

Ruaridh McConnochie, who was the only uncapped player named in the World Cup squad, will make his debut on the wing for a team that will be captained by Owen Farrell and will once again feature Billy Vunipola.

Marchant's previous two appearances - against Wales last month and Ireland two weeks ago - have both come from the bench.

His inclusion raises doubts about the long-term fitness of Jonathan Joseph, who pulled out of the Ireland game with muscle soreness, and Henry Slade, who has not featured in any of the World Cup warm-up games due to a knee injury.

"We are delighted to be playing against Italy, one of our traditional Six Nations rivals and the game for us is another important step to develop our game fitness and game strategy," Jones said in quotes published on England's website.

"We have gone with a mix-and-match selection policy to develop our adaptability and the team’s ability to cope with any situation."

 

England: Anthony Watson, Ruaridh McConnochie, Joe Marchant, Piers Francis, Jonny May, Owen Farrell, Ben Youngs, Joe Marler, Jamie George, Dan Cole, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Tom Curry, Mark Wilson, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge, Kyle Sinckler, Charlie Ewels, Matt Kvesic, Willi Heinz, George Ford, Joe Cokanasiga.

Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne has been ruled out of Italy's plans for their Euro 2020 qualifiers against Armenia and Finland.

The 32-cap player scored in his last two games for the Azzurri against Greece, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

However, a muscle injury sustained in the 4-3 defeat to Juventus in Serie A on Saturday means he will be unavailable to boss Roberto Mancini for the upcoming internationals.

Italy, who have won all four of their Group J matches so far, play Armenia in Yerevan on Thursday before tackling Finland in Tampere on Sunday.

The Italian football federation (FIGC) said on its website that Insigne had returned to Napoli for treatment.

Mancini has called up Freiburg attacking midfielder Vincenzo Grifo, who has one previous cap, as a replacement.

Giorgio Chiellini, Mattia De Sciglio and Bryan Cristante had previously pulled out, replaced by Lazio's Francesco Acerbi, Inter's Danilo D'Ambrosio and Brescia's Sandro Tonali.

England winger Jadon Sancho fears players will start to fall out of love with football if instances of racism continue to blight the game.

On Sunday, Inter striker Romelu Lukaku was targeted by monkey chants before he converted a decisive penalty in his team's 2-1 win over Cagliari in Serie A.

It marked the latest flashpoint of recent weeks, where the likes of Paul Pogba, Tammy Abraham and Kurt Zouma have all suffered online abuse.

Speaking to reporters after joining up with England for their Euro 2020 qualifiers, Borussia Dortmund winger Sancho praised Lukaku's defiant response in Sardinia but expressed long-term fears over the consequences should such sickening incidents continue to occur.

"I personally think that it just has to stop," he said. "No player wants to play football and have abuse like that.

"It puts the confidence down in players and the love of the sport will go very soon if it doesn't stop.

"Everyone should be happy and do what they are doing without receiving racial abuse. I don't think it is [just] social media.

"Some fans are just really passionate and obviously they say what they want to say. I feel they need to slow it down a bit - we're still only human.

"Just because we play football people might think we are just famous and ignorant to that but we just love the sport and just want to play.

"It is hard to see things like this because it feels like 'why should we play football?'. I felt that Romelu Lukaku handled it really well by not reacting and carrying on playing."

Italy head coach Roberto Mancini also fielded questions on the Lukaku abuse ahead of his team's matches against Armenia and Finland.

"We all hope not to hear those racist chants but it still happens here in Italy, like in England as well unfortunately," said the former Manchester City manager.

"Unfortunately, there are unintelligent people in the stadiums. Lukaku is right saying that in 2019 these kinds of things shouldn't happen. By now we should have got rid of these things."

On Monday, Lukaku issued a statement calling for footballers to unify against racism and for social media companies to do more to combat discrimination.

Mancini added: "I think that the majority of people in football are already working in this direction to do all they can to improve the situation about racism.

"We all hope that those people who make these mistakes nowadays will understand it's wrong and, with time, won't do it anymore.

"But I'm afraid that there will always be some unintelligent people repeating the same mistakes, unfortunately."

Poland progressed into the second round of the FIBA World Cup after securing a 79-76 overtime victory over tournament hosts China.

Yi Jianlian missed a three-pointer in the final seconds in Beijing, and China's hopes now hang in the balance as they head into their final group game against Venezuela, who beat Ivory Coast 87-71.

Serbia amassed a huge haul of 126 points as they demolished the Philippines in Foshan, where Italy had beaten Angola 92-61 earlier on Monday.

In Group B there were wins for Argentina and Russia, while Tunisia overcame Iran and Spain got the better of Puerto Rico.

HOSTS DOWNED IN BEIJING THRILLER

Poland clinched their progression from Group A with a dramatic triumph over China in a thrilling encounter.

Mateusz Ponitka became the first player to score 10 or more free throws in the World Cup as he and AJ Slaughter led the way for Poland, who were a point behind with 4.2 seconds remaining.

Ponitka made no mistake with one of the free throws, and after Damian Kulig nudged Poland ahead in overtime, the Zenit man converted another point, which ultimately proved decisive when Yi squandered a three-pointer at the death.

In Group A's other match, Heissler Guillent put in an inspired performance to lead Venezuela to victory over Ivory Coast.

SERBIA STORM INTO ROUND TWO

Seven players got into double figures as Serbia marched into the second round with a demolition of the Philippines.

Nemanja Bjelica missed Serbia's opener against Angola, but came off the bench to steal the show, scoring all seven of his field-goal attempts.

Bjelica sunk a hat-trick of three-pointers as he finished off with a game-high 20 points in 16 minutes.

Serbia will be joined in round two by Group D rivals Italy - who they face next - after their 92-61 victory over Angola.

ARGENTINA REACH MILESTONE VICTORY

Another side into the next round are Argentina after they claimed a 94-81 win over Nigeria.

Nigeria clawed themselves back into contention with a late rally, but an early charge from Argentina proved enough to secure their second win in Group B, and a 60th overall in the World Cup.

Luis Scola was key to the victory with 23 points and 10 rebounds, and he is now the second all-time highest scorer in World Cup history with 611 points.

Russia, meanwhile, were 87-73 winners over South Korea.

Italy have called up Danilo D'Ambrosio for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers after Mattia De Sciglio was the second Juventus defender to pull out of the squad.

The right-back limped off with an apparent muscle problem in the 15th minute of Juve's thrilling 4-3 win over Napoli on Saturday and will miss matches against Armenia and Finland.

His withdrawal further weakens Roberto Mancini's defensive stocks after Giorgio Chiellini tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a Juve training session.

The Azzurri captain faces a long spell on the sidelines and was replaced in the squad by Lazio defender Francesco Acerbi.

De Sciglio's replacement, versatile Inter full-back D'Ambrosio, won the most recent of his three caps for Italy in a 3-1 friendly defeat to France in June 2018.

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