Cristiano Ronaldo has not yet broken Josef Bican's all-time goalscoring record in official matches, according to the Czech FA.

Superstar Juventus forward Ronaldo scored his 760th competitive goal in the 2-0 Supercoppa Italiana victory over Napoli on Wednesday.

It was reported by some that Ronaldo had surpassed Bican's benchmark, while others stated he had equalled it and alternative sources claimed the legendary Rapid Vienna and Slavia Prague striker actually netted 805 - FIFA itself uses this number as an estimate.

Confused yet? Well, this wonderfully convoluted tale is complicated further by the fact Brazil legends Pele and Romario each claim to have scored 1,000 career goals – though both are disputed by official sources.

And to really compound the matter, the bright minds of the History and Statistics Committee of the Czech FA have been delving deep into the archives to reach the conclusion that Bican – who played internationally for Austria and Czechoslovakia – actually scored 821 goals, meaning Ronaldo would still need another 62.

Probably best we leave the explanation for this one to Jaroslav Kolar, the head of the committee…

"Who is the best goalscorer in football history? Josef Bican or Cristiano Ronaldo?" Was the question posed by Kolar on the official account for the Czech Republic national team.

"A simple question but a complicated answer." (We quite agree...)

Anyway, he added: "Mainly because from the whole amount of Bican's goals, you have to just pick up the official ones, which is complicated. 

"Our History and Statistics Committee of [the] Czech FA started to deal with this problem. We based our research on statistics from prestigious international statistical websites that state 805 goals with notice that goals scored by Bican in the Czech second division for Hradec Kralove are missing. 

"We managed to find them - by the way, it's 53 goals in 26 games and we also double checked every detail about Bican's league, cup and international matches. 

"After that, we came out with the official number of Josef Bican's scored goals. On behalf of the History and Statistics Committee of [the] Czech FA, we can proclaim Josef Bican scored 821 goals in official matches. 

"It means that Cristiano Ronaldo is not the best goalscorer in international history yet, and he has to work more to break this record."

So, that settles that argument then!

Or does it? Quite honestly... we have no idea.  

Germany head coach Joachim Low praised his fringe players after a changed side delivered a 1-0 friendly win against the Czech Republic, but warned those involved not to expect a regular place for Die Mannschaft.

Gian-Luca Waldschmidt's first-half goal proved enough to earn Germany only their second victory in six matches in 2020, and the assist came from PSV Eindhoven defender Philipp Max, who was making his debut.

Both Max and fellow debutant Ridle Baku gave strong showings, as did Florian Neuhaus in midfield and Robin Koch at centre-back, but Low indicated that his more established stars would return to the fold for Germany's Nations League meetings with Ukraine and Spain.

"We won't change a lot in those games," Low told RTL.

"This line-up will probably no longer play together. Still, you have to say that the guys got involved and played an intense game.

"We had good actions in the first half. In the second half we failed to score but were able to defend the 1-0 lead, so we can be satisfied."

Max, a former Bayern Munich youth player who represented Schalke, Karlsruher and Augsburg before joining PSV, caused the Czech Republic problems all evening in Leipzig, not least when he instinctively pounced on a parried shot to tee up Waldschmidt's goal.

He said: "I'm really proud to have made my international debut today. It is also a really special day for my family and friends."

Germany did show signs of the defensive frailties that saw them concede seven goals in their previous three outings, but Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who captained Low's men at Red Bull Arena, was quick to defend his international colleagues.

"Mistakes are common," said Gundogan. "You have to forgive young players, especially those making their debuts.

"We can be satisfied with the win."

Germany picked up only their second victory of 2020 as Gian-Luca Waldschmidt scored to help Joachim Low's men to a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic.

Benfica forward Waldschmidt netted his second goal in five international appearances  in Leipzig, where Low played a new-look team and was rewarded with a solid performance.

There were impressive debuts for wing-backs Ridle Baku and Philipp Max, while Florian Neuhaus dictated play from midfield in the absence of Joshua Kimmich as Robin Koch dealt ably with the visitors' attacking threat.

Low will hope these players can help to usher in a new era of success after a challenging period for his side, who are unbeaten in this calendar year but have too often stuttered to draws and have plenty of work to do in the Nations League.

Ashinia Miller said he enjoyed competing in the shot put at the Klando Hazi A Klandenski Memorial meeting in the Czech Republic last Thursday.

Andy Robertson and Steve Clarke felt Scotland were on a "hiding to nothing" as they scraped past a makeshift Czech Republic side 2-1 in Monday's Nations League clash.

The Czech Republic had to play the match with an entirely different squad and coaching team having seen two people within their delegation test positive for COVID-19 prior to a 3-1 win over Slovakia on Friday.

Jakub Pesek put the plucky hosts in front after 11 minutes in Olomouc, but Lyndon Dykes' first international goal and a Ryan Christie penalty had Scotland ahead.

There were a couple of nervy moments, including the Czech Republic twice hitting the woodwork, but Liverpool full-back Robertson said taking the points was ultimately all that mattered.

"Yeah, look we probably were [on a hiding to nothing], that's part and parcel of it," he told Sky Sports. 

"It was far from ideal for them and it wasn't ideal for us. Friday night we we're coming out of a game thinking it's cancelled and are we getting home? Then Saturday it's uncertain and Sunday we have to focus on the game. I think we did that but it's an uncertain weekend for us, not ideal at all. 

"We dealt with the cards we were given. But we're top of the group, it was a hiding to nothing, people would have found negatives in whatever we did tonight, but we're not really bothered. We got the three points, we're top of the group and five unbeaten now, let's take some positives."

Scotland manager Clarke added: "We have to pay the coach and players from the Czech Republic a big compliment, it would have been a fairy-tale night for them.

"We were always on a hiding to nothing, everyone told us we had to win the game, we won the game, so we take the points and go home."

Scotland's win followed an unconvincing draw against Israel last time out, a side they meet again next month in the play-offs for next year's rescheduled European Championship.

"We're going into a play-off where it's a one off so let's get the country behind us and let's everyone push forward to try and get us into the Euros cause that was the aim since we started this Nations League two or three years ago," Robertson added. 

"We're five unbeaten now and we look forward to a big October because it's make or break."

Scotland avoided embarrassment against a makeshift Czech Republic side but laboured to a 2-1 win in Monday's Group B2 Nations League clash in Olomouc.

The hosts had to work with an entirely different squad and backroom team after returning two positive coronavirus tests in their delegation prior to Friday's 3-1 win over Slovakia.

But Scotland were caught cold by Jakub Pesek – one of nine making a first start for his country – after 11 minutes before Lyndon Dykes levelled with his first shot in international football.

Ryan Christie scored from the penalty spot, just as he did in the 1-1 draw with Israel, but Steve Clarke's ragged visitors survived several scares en route to taking three points.

Scotland were given no time to settle by their enthusiastic opponents and fell behind when Stanislav Tecl's througball was coolly slotted home by Pesek.

David Marshall pushed another Pesek effort behind, which likely would have gone wide anyway, before Scotland finally stepped it up with Ales Mandous making a double stop from Liam Palmer and Christie.

It was Palmer's fine low centre from the right from which Dykes side-footed home to open his Scotland account, but Marshall again had to be wise to deny Adam Janos' daisy-cutting drive.

Christie clinically found the bottom right-hand corner from the spot after Andy Robertson was brought down by Tomas Malinsky six minutes into the second half, with initial contact perhaps having been made outside the area.

The goal did not settle Scotland, though, and Marek Havlik's free-kick struck the outside of the left post before Marshall came to the rescue when Pesek caught Scotland napping again, with Tecl completely fluffing his lines on the follow-up.

Substitute Callum Paterson put a one-on-one wide, but Scotland just about did enough for the win despite Antonin Rusek's looping header shaving the woodwork late on.


What does it mean? Still plenty for Clarke to ponder

Football is a results business and Scotland top the pool with four points from two games, but this was an ugly, disjointed performance against a team cobbled together at the last minute.

Palmer no Czech mate

In a first half of limited threat, Sheffield Wednesday full-back Palmer was Scotland's best weapon and had tested the home goalkeeper before providing a lovely assist for Dykes to equalise.

Hosts do Holoubek proud

Under-18s coach David Holoubek stepped in for regular incumbent Jaroslav Silhavy and a team of such little experience did him proud. At times their defending was unsurprisingly found wanting but the Czech Republic were full of invention and creativity going forward and probably deserved a point.

What's next?

Scotland host Israel in a Euro 2020 play-off semi-final on October 8, while Czech Republic have a friendly with Cyprus a day before.

The Czech Republic's new squad for their Nations League game against Scotland only includes two players with prior international experience.

Positive coronavirus tests in their camp ahead of Friday's 3-1 win over Slovakia at Tehelne pole led to the Football Association of the Czech Republic (FACR) pulling out of Monday's match with Steve Clarke's men.

However, on Saturday it announced that, in order to avoid sanctions from UEFA for failing to fulfil the fixture, an entirely new delegation would be formed to face Scotland in Olomouc, with no one present in Slovakia allowed to be involved.

Stanislav Tecl and Roman Hubnik, who will captain the side, were the only previously capped players called up by David Holoubek, the Under-18s boss standing in for Jaroslav Silhavy, while Vaclav Jemelka was called up to the senior squad in 2018 but did not make an appearance.

Adam Karabec, who played for the Under-21s last week, was also named and the 17-year-old will become the Czech Republic's youngest senior player if he features.

"I would like to thank all the clubs and coaches for allowing us to select these players," said Holoubek.

"Many of them basically had a free weekend during the international break. They came here from all over the country, but it was clear they wanted to represent their country."

The Czech Republic will use an entirely different team for their Nations League meeting with Scotland on Monday after positive coronavirus tests in their delegation.

The clash in Olomouc was called off on Friday by the Football Association of the Czech Republic (FACR) following the team's 3-1 victory over Slovakia.

The game at Tehelne pole went ahead despite two positive COVID-19 results in the Czech camp, though every player was negative, and after the final whistle the FACR decided to end its preparations for Scotland with immediate effect.

However, in order to avoid potential sanctions for failing to fulfil the fixture against Scotland, the FACR reversed its decision on Saturday.

No one present in Bratislava, including players and coach Jaroslav Silhavy, will form part of the set-up for the meeting with Steve Clarke's team.

"After a debate with UEFA, it was decided that Monday's match with Scotland will take place at the original date and time," an FACR statement read.

"The FACR is now in close communication with the clubs with which it is deciding who will play for the Czech national team."

The Czech Republic have announced they will not fulfil Monday's Nations League fixture against Scotland after a COVID-19 outbreak in the squad.

Jaroslav Silhavy's side beat Slovakia 3-1 in their opener in Group 2 of League B on Friday and were due to face Scotland in Olomouc.

With Tomas Soucek and Patrik Schick self-isolating after a staff member tested positive for coronavirus, though, and Slavia Prague requesting seven of their players withdraw from the squad, the Czechs have pulled out of the game.

A message on the Czech Republic's official Twitter page on Friday read: "The national team will not play against Scotland on Monday due to representatives' decision and the current situation with the COVID-19. 

"The national team ends current preparations with the immediate effect straight after the win against Slovakia."

Should the Czech Republic fail to turn up for Monday's game, Scotland – who drew 1-1 with Israel in their opening match – are expected to be handed a 3-0 walkover win.

Gareth Southgate is relishing renewing acquaintances with Croatia after England were drawn to face the side that beat them in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup at Euro 2020.

Mario Mandzukic's extra-time winner sent Zlatko Dalic's men through to the final in Russia at the expense of the Three Lions.

England gained a measure of revenge for that loss by edging out Croatia to reach last season's Nations League Finals.

They have since progressed to Euro 2020 courtesy of a free-scoring qualifying campaign with a youthful squad, although Southgate believes any suggestions Croatia's experienced generation led by Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic is on the slide are premature.

"I thought that maybe 12 months ago but they recovered really well in their group," he told BBC Sport after having confirmation Croatia will be England's first opponents of the competition at Wembley on June 14.

"We know the quality of their midfield players when they can leave [Mateo] Kovacic on the bench.

"That tells you a story. That's a really top-level fixture."

A draw in Bucharest that placed holders Portugal, Germany and world champions France in the same Group F fell favourable for England, who will also take on the Czech Republic and the winner of the play-off path featuring Scotland, Israel, Norway and Serbia in Group D.

"There are eight to 10 top nations. If you look at the history of European Championships, there are so many different winners," Southgate said.

"A lot of teams prepare their squads for the World Cups, they rebuild after World Cups. The margins are really, really fine."

England hammered the Czech Republic 5-0 at Wembley in qualification, with Raheem Sterling scoring a hat-trick, but they were beaten 2-1 in the return fixture.

"We were very poor in Prague," Southgate conceded. "They've definitely improved. A new coach [Jaroslav Silhavy] has had time to bed in, a couple of younger players came into their squad.

"We know we have to be on our game. It won’t be like the first game at Wembley, that's for sure.

"If you can win and be top seeds, you've got to try and take control of your own destiny. We've got to be confident of our own ability and take on whoever comes."

The multi-host format of Euro 2020 means major-tournament football returns to England's national stadium for the first time since Southgate and his team-mates reached the semi-finals of the same competition in 1996.

"I just think that's going to be a brilliant experience for our fans and our public," he added.

"Ten nations have that opportunity so it doesn't make it an advantage in terms of winning the tournament unless we can get to the semi-finals [that take place at Wembley along with the final], which is then back in our favour.

"We're really looking forward to the experience."

The last three European winners of major tournaments will play in the same pool at Euro 2020, after France, Portugal and Germany were all drawn together

Germany and France - victors at the respective 2014 and 2018 World Cups - will take on reigning European champions Portugal and a play-off winner in Group G.

Croatia, runners-up at last year's World Cup, will renew acquaintances with England, the side they beat in the semi-finals.

Here is the draw in full for next year's event, with four places in the finals still to be determined by the four path-winners in March's play-offs.

 

Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland

Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia.

Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, play-off winner from Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) or Romania if they win Path A.

Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, play-off winner from Path C (Scotland, Israel, Norway or Serbia)

Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, play-off winner from Path B (Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland)

Group F: Germany, France, Portugal, play-off winner from Path A (Iceland, Bulgaria, Hungary) or winner of Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) if Romania win Path A.

Holders Portugal will face world champions France and fellow heavyweights Germany in a daunting Group F at Euro 2020.

Saturday's draw in Bucharest pitted Fernando Santos' men and their talismanic captain Cristiano Ronaldo against the winners of the two World Cups either side of their Euro 2016 triumph.

It means Didier Deschamps' Bleus will have an opportunity for revenge after Portugal beat them on home soil at the Stade de France to lift the trophy.

The nation with the dubious pleasure of joining them is still to be determined. Iceland, Bulgaria or Hungary would claim the fourth spot if they progress through their play-off route in Path A.

However, if Romania are victorious in Path A, they will go into Group C with Netherlands, Ukraine and Austria.

In permutations that underline the convoluted and criticised format, one of Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo from play-off Path B would enter Group F if Romania qualify. Otherwise, the winner of Path B goes into Group C.

Italy open the tournament, which will take place across 12 host cities, when they entertain Turkey in Rome on June 12. Wales and Switzerland are also in Group A.

England and Croatia renew acquaintances at Wembley in Group D – Gareth Southgate's men having been sunk by a Mario Mandzukic winner in the semi-finals of Russia 2018 before progressing to the Nations League Finals at the expense of Zlatko Dalic's team.

There is the possibility of an all-British encounter if Scotland prevail from their play-off path alongside Israel, Norway and Serbia, while Czech Republic will meet England again in the finals having traded victories with the Three Lions during qualification.

Group B is the second group not waiting to see how play-off cards fall, with the world's number-one ranked team Belgium lining up alongside Denmark, Finland and Russia.

Spain are aiming to make it three European titles in four attempts after securing glory in 2008 and 2012.

They head up Group C, where the winner of the play-off route including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland, Slovakia and the Republic of Ireland will round out the line-up alongside Sweden and Poland.

The Euro 2020 play-offs take place during next March's international break.

The last three European winners of major tournaments will play in the same pool at Euro 2020, after France, Portugal and Germany were all drawn together

Germany and France - victors at the respective 2014 and 2018 World Cups - will take on reigning European champions Portugal and a play-off winner in Group G.

Croatia, runners-up at last year's World Cup, will renew acquaintances with England, the side they beat in the semi-finals.

Here is the draw in full for next year's event, with four places in the finals still to be determined by the four path-winners in March's play-offs.

 

Group A: Turkey, Italy, Wales, Switzerland

Group B: Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Russia.

Group C: Netherlands, Ukraine, Austria, play-off winner from Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) or Romania if they win Path A.

Group D: England, Croatia, Czech Republic, play-off winner from Path C (Scotland, Israel, Norway or Serbia)

Group E: Spain, Sweden, Poland, play-off winner from Path B (Slovakia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland)

Group F: Germany, France, Portugal, play-off winner from Path A (Iceland, Bulgaria, Hungary) or winner of Path D (Georgia, Belarus, North Macedonia or Kosovo) if Romania win Path A.

The Czech Republic secured their qualification for Euro 2020 with a dramatic comeback win over Kosovo in Thursday's crucial Group A encounter.

Kosovo – who are guaranteed a play-off place thanks to their efforts in the UEFA Nations League – needed to avoid defeat at Doosan Arena to keep their chances of automatic qualification alive.

The visitors looked set to cause an upset when Sheffield Wednesday forward Atdhe Nuhiu put them ahead with a superb header in the 50th minute.

But the Czechs fought back, Alex Kral's stunning hit pulling them level before the midfielder provided the assist for Ondrej Celustka's winner eight minutes later as Jaroslav Silhavy's side completed the comeback to book their place at next year's tournament.

Elsewhere in Group A, leaders England wrapped up progression with a thumping 7-0 demolition of Montenegro at Wembley.

Earlier on Thursday, Turkey ensured their qualification with a 0-0 draw against Iceland – a result which also guaranteed France's spot in the finals, with the world champions coming from behind to defeat Moldova 2-1.

Despite a 6-0 win over Lithuania, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick, reigning champions Portugal must beat Luxembourg in their final match to take their place at the finals.

Spain, Belgium and Italy had already confirmed their places last month, with Ukraine, Russia and Poland having also sealed qualification.

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