Netherlands head coach Mark Parsons believes England are favourites for the Women's Euro 2022 after seeing his team well beaten by the Lionesses on Friday.

England ran out 5-1 winners at Elland Road, with goals from Lucy Bronze, Beth Mead (two), Ella Toone and Lauren Hemp sealing an emphatic victory.

England's previous meeting with the Oranje was a 3-0 reverse in the Euro 2017 semi-finals, though the Lionesses maintained their record of having never lost back-to-back games against the Netherlands.

Sarina Wiegman was managing the Dutch side that day as they went on to win their home tournament, and now has the chance to do the same with England.

Speaking after the game, Parsons expressed his admiration for England, pointing to their home advantage and resources.

"This is our third top opponent we've faced," he said. "Brazil, we felt we should have won, France, we weren't good and didn't deserve to draw or win.

"Tonight, I think England will be favourites in the Euros where they're at, the qualities of players, the home crowd, the resources that the WSL have been putting in, the work the clubs have been doing. You add all that up, it's very hard to see that they're not favourites."

Netherlands will be in Group C at Euro 2022 along with Sweden, Portugal and Switzerland, starting off against the Swedes at Bramall Lane on July 9.

"Very difficult evening. I think the one thing we wanted to avoid by taking on such a big game, big opponent early in our preparation, was this outcome" Parsons admitted, before suggesting that England's extra preparation time after the end of their season played a big part.

"If we had avoided this outcome, I think we will only be taking positives. I feel a big responsibility because I knew how big of a step this would be.

"Also, I was aware of the English league finishing May 11. They got their holiday, they got in two weeks before us that they would be in this place, but was aggressive and ambitious in having the game when it was, hoped that we'd be in a controlled position at 60 minutes because the minds probably would have carried the bodies at that point."

The contest had been relatively even in the first half, with the score still 1-1 until the 53rd minute when Mead grabbed her first of the night.

Three more goals in the last 18 minutes gave the game a scoreline that had not seemed likely at the break, and Parsons took some solace in that, while taking some of the blame himself.

He added: "Some of the great decision-making we had in the first half had gone [in the second], so it's going to feel like two games. Analysing the first 55, 60 minutes and throwing the last 30, 35 minutes in the bin very quickly because I don't think there'll be anything worth taking from that due to the level where we're at physically, which is normal, but the organisation didn't help the players at that point.

"When the [final] whistle went, I knew I was going to be analysing a shorter game... There'd be no point in looking any further because I let them down. At that point, the organisation should have been a lot safer, more defensive, because the legs had gone and England were just getting fresher and fresher with their changes.

"With the home crowd, we felt it once or twice in the first half. In the second half it was the flags and the noise coming from the home crowd, which is an experience we needed to learn. Yeah. Tough night."

Sarina Wiegman is "absolutely happy" with England's progress ahead of the Women's Euro 2022, but she did not see a stunning 5-1 defeat of the Netherlands as cause to get carried away.

England have never lost back-to-back matches against the Oranje, yet their previous meeting had been a crushing 3-0 reverse in the Euro 2017 semi-finals.

Wiegman was in the Netherlands dugout on that occasion, guiding her country to a home tournament success.

That is now her aim with the Lionesses, and Friday's victory at Elland Road surely laid down a marker, with Beth Mead scoring twice – either side of goals from Ella Toone and Lauren Hemp – after Lucy Bronze had cancelled out Lieke Martens' opener.

England are yet to lose in their 13 games under Wiegman, scoring 80 times across those matches, but the manager still saw room for improvement.

"Maybe," Wiegman told ITV Sport when asked if she had to temper expectations. "For us, it's just that when we lose, we go with our plan; when we win, we go with our plan.

"We had a good win, but we cannot think we are there. Today showed that we have still lots of things to do.

"Things went really well, but lots of things didn't go well, and we really have to improve that, too. We'll start working on that again on Monday."

That is not to say Wiegman was unhappy with what she saw, adding: "I'm absolutely happy. It was such a high-level game.

"Of course the score says a lot: 5-1. That's really good, the game in the second half was really good, so there are very exciting things to see.

"Yes, we're in a good place, but still we have some things to improve."

The slow start was undoubtedly one area that could have concerned Wiegman, although she was enthused by England's response to only the third goal they have conceded in her tenure – this the first time they have trailed.

"It's very nice to score five goals, but for us it actually was good that we got behind for the first time and how we reacted to that," she said.

"We needed to come back from not playing well, conceding a goal, and get the game to a higher standard. That was good."

Darwin Nunez is reportedly on the brink of joining Liverpool and was left out of Uruguay's 5-0 friendly win over Panama on Saturday.

The striker's absence from the match in Montevideo was confirmed following the announcement of the teams.

A short message on Uruguay's Twitter page simply listed Nunez among four players who would play no part in the game, with no reason given.

That development came as speculation mounted around a mooted move to Liverpool, with Benfica reportedly set to receive an initial fee in the region of £68.3million (€80m).

The Reds have seemingly won the race for one of the most sought-after strikers in world football.

Nunez scored 34 goals in 41 games for Benfica in 2021-22 – including six in 10 in the Champions League, as he netted in both legs of the quarter-final against Liverpool.

The 22-year-old's signing would seemingly accommodate the sale of Sadio Mane, who has been the subject of interest from Bayern Munich ahead of his contract expiring next year.

In Nunez's absence on Saturday, Edinson Cavani struck either side of half-time for Uruguay.

The veteran front man linked up with Giorgian de Arrascaeta to net from close range six minutes before the break, then had his second within three minutes of the restart, converting from the spot after winning the penalty himself.

Further goals followed from substitutes Nicolas De La Cruz, Maxi Gomez and Diego Rossi to ensure a one-sided final scoreline.

Brazil earned a 1-0 friendly win against Japan in Tokyo on Monday thanks to a penalty from Neymar.

Tite's side dominated for large periods in the pouring rain at the New Japan National Stadium and squandered several chances before Neymar's spot-kick finally broke the deadlock in the 77th minute.

The victory means the Selecao have won five consecutive games, and have not lost since July when they were beaten by Argentina in the Copa America final.

Both teams came into the came on the back of big wins last time out, with Japan thumping Paraguay 4-1 on Thursday, while Brazil went one better in beating South Korea 5-1 the same day.

Brazil almost took the lead inside two minutes as neat play between Vinicius Junior and Neymar ended with the latter backheeling to Lucas Paqueta, who hit the post after shooting across Shuichi Gonda in the Japan goal.

Japan had a brief period in the first half where they caused some problems for Tite's side, with Takumi Minamino getting some joy between the lines, but Brazil soon established their dominance as they created more chances.

Casemiro should have put the visitors ahead in the 26th minute but could only guide a header from a Raphinha free-kick over the crossbar, before Neymar had a shot parried away by Gonda and Raphinha bent a direct free-kick just wide of the left-hand post.

Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus were introduced just after the hour and the Arsenal forward almost made an immediate impact, but could only guide his shot wide of the far post after the ball was cushioned down for him by Casemiro.

The hosts' only real chance of note came in the 72nd minute, when Junya Ito fired over with a volley at the far post.

Brazil were awarded a penalty shortly after when another substitute, Richarlison, was fouled by Wataru Endo and Neymar sent Gonda the wrong way from the spot to win it.

Lionel Messi was likened to Rafael Nadal by Lionel Scaloni after scoring all five of Argentina's goals in a 5-0 friendly rout of Estonia on Sunday.

Barcelona legend Messi moved to 86 international goals, two more than Hungary legend Ferenc Puskas, now leaving him fourth on the all-time men's list.

Messi's exploits occurred on the same day as tennis legend Rafael Nadal defeated Casper Ruud in straight sets to win a 14th French Open title and extend his record for most men's grand slam titles to 22.

For Argentina boss Scaloni, there are simply no more superlatives left for him to describe either man's seismic impact on the world of sports.

"I don't know what else to say. It's very difficult; it's like Rafa Nadal, what are you going to say?" Scaloni told TVP.

"It is preferable that the journalists speak, that they speak. You have no words left to describe it, and above all, for everything it generates."

The result saw Argentina extend their unbeaten run to 33 matches, fine form just five months out from the start of the World Cup in Qatar.

Messi had completed his hat-trick early in the second half before scoring twice more in the final 20 minutes.

Scaloni added of his talisman: "He is something unique, and it is a pleasure to have him in this group. It is a pleasure to train him, the entire coaching staff. And it's a pleasure his behaviour and how he toasts to his shirt.

"We only have words of thanks. I don't think he's just the heritage of Argentina; he's the heritage of the world, of world football. The day he doesn't play anymore, we are going to miss him."

Lionel Messi scored all five goals as Argentina made it 33 matches unbeaten with a 5-0 friendly win over Estonia on Sunday.

Coach Lionel Scaloni's side set a new national record of 32 matches unbeaten with the 3-0 Finalissima win over Italy on Wednesday, and they never looked like failing to extend that run – the longest currently intact in international football – against a limited Estonia outfit.

Messi got them on their way from the penalty spot, before doubling his tally with a sumptuous finish on the stroke of half-time.

He completed a treble early in the second half, before adding further goals inside the final 20 minutes as Argentina cruised to victory at Estadio El Sadar in Pamplona, Spain.

Argentina wasted little time in stamping their authority on the game, Messi stroking home from the spot in the eighth minute after Estonia goalkeeper Matvei Igonen wiped out German Pezzella.

Messi grabbed his second in the 45th minute, the Paris Saint-Germain forward superbly curling over Igonen from 10 yards after being played in by Alejandro Gomez.

Argentina's captain and talisman sealed a hat-trick two minutes after the interval, steering home Nahuel Molina's cross from the right wing from 10 yards.

Julian Alvarez and Rodrigo de Paul went close for La Albiceleste, before Messi netted a fourth with a cool finish past Igonen in the 71st minute after taking advantage of uncertainty in the Estonia defence.

He put the seal on a remarkable individual performance to make it 5-0 five minutes later, slotting home from 12 yards after a scramble in the opposition penalty area.

What does it mean? Argentina lay down World Cup marker

Despite not winning the World Cup since 1986, Argentina are among the favourites to triumph in Qatar later this year.

They will need to overcome significantly sterner opposition than Estonia to get their hands on the trophy, yet all the signs point to them being a side to be reckoned with, particularly if Messi plays like this.

Magical Messi

He had a subdued season with PSG, scoring just 11 goals across all competitions, but Messi was at his electric best here. The 34-year-old scored with all five of his shots on target, while he also made three key passes – a tally bettered only by team-mate Alejandro Gomez.

Wasteful Alvarez

New Manchester City signing Alvarez will hope Messi's finishing prowess rubs off on him, with the 22-year-old failing to find the back of the net with his four shots – three of which were on target.

What's next?

Argentina's attention turns towards Qatar 2022, although their warm-up games for the tournament have yet to be scheduled, while Estonia face Malta in the Nations League on Thursday.

Brazil coach Tite suggested Neymar has more influence in games for the Selecao than Paris Saint-Germain because at international level the team serves him more.

Neymar was in fine form as Brazil crushed South Korea 5-1 in a friendly on Thursday, with the PSG star scoring two penalties.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg with respect to his performance, as he pulled the strings and proved Brazil's biggest creative outlet.

His eight key passes was more than double the figure recorded by anyone else on the pitch, as South Korea failed to deal with him.

Neymar's showing in Seoul might be seen by some as a departure from his showings for PSG this term, with the Ligue 1 champions apparently willing to let him leave.

Tite thinks he can offer an explanation as to why Neymar may appear more important to Brazil.

"Neymar is a bow and an arrow, depending on the circumstances of the game," Tite told reporters. "He has that ability.

"At PSG, he often plays even a little deeper than Messi and Mbappe. Not here, he's more the arrow.

"He gets more rewards. The team works to give him this clarity, this creativity in this respect. We have a very supportive team."

Thursday's result was an impressive one, with Brazil creating a host of chances against the home side.

One aspect that particularly impressed Tite was their intensity despite having to adjust to the time zone.

"The Brazilian team has been at a [certain] performance level in recent games of ours," he continued.

"Doing this away from home – in a different environment and situation, with our internal clock, with the time zone – is difficult.

"I had to drink a load of coffee, and if you're not in the right frame of mind, it's hard to do that at this level of performance.

"I liked not only those in the starting XI, but also those who came on, even more so with some players coming on later and bringing that level of performance.

"I speak of the 'quick legs'. The more Fabio [Mahseredjian, Brazil fitness coach] puts in, the more the opponent wears out. Brazil had a pattern of performance in recent games."

Brazil will remain in the region for Monday's friendly against Japan in Tokyo.

Neymar scored two penalties as Brazil cruised to an entertaining 5-1 friendly win over South Korea in Seoul on Thursday.

South Korea star Son Heung-min had urged his team-mates to be fearless against the top-ranked side in international football, but they were outclassed for much of the match by Tite's men.

A scrappy Richarlison opener had Brazil in charge as early as the seventh minute and, although the hosts did equalise through Hwang Ui-jo, more Brazil goals were inevitable such was their dominance.

Alex Sandro proved key to getting Brazil back in front as he won two penalties either side of half-time, with Neymar outsmarting the goalkeeper on both occasions to put the game beyond South Korea before substitutes Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus finished off the rout.

Brazil's purposeful start saw Thiago Silva have a goal disallowed for offside inside two minutes, though they did not have to wait much longer to legitimately take the lead as Richarlison deflected Fred's strike into the net.

After wasting several chances in something of an onslaught, the Selecao were pegged back just past the half-hour mark – Hwang held off Silva, spun into the box and shot into the bottom-left corner.

Dominant Brazil were back on top by half-time, though. A VAR review spotted Lee Yong catching Alex Sandro in the box and Neymar coolly converted.

A similar incident occurred 10 minutes into the second half, with Kim Young-Gwon this time culpable, and Neymar ensured the outcome was identical.

Coutinho emphatically found the top-right corner just after replacing Neymar to increase Brazil's handsome lead, before Jesus slotted home at the end of a darting run to round off an impressive day's work for the Selecao.

 

Giorgio Chiellini bowed out of international football and warned a "difficult period" awaited Italy as Roberto Mancini bids to get the Azzurri back on track.

The joy of winning last year's delayed Euro 2020 tournament has been replaced by rapid deflation after Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Having also missed out on the Russia 2018 finals, falling short of a place at Qatar 2022 represented crushing disappointment for the four-time winners.

Chiellini, the 37-year-old defensive titan who is leaving Juventus and expected to join Los Angeles FC, has called time on his Italy career.

He played the first half on Wednesday in a 3-0 defeat to Argentina at Wembley, in a match tagged as the Finalissima, a clash of the champions of Europe and South America.

"We were hoping to win the match and the trophy," Chiellini told Italian broadcaster RAI. "We knew it would be tough, but the defeat does not cancel what has gone before.

"Now I expect a difficult period. We need everyone to support this group."

Chiellini lasted just 45 minutes in his farewell game, with Italy 2-0 up by the time he departed.

This was the first staging of the CONMEBOL/UEFA 'Cup of Champions' since 1993. Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di Maria and Paulo Dybala got the goals as Lionel Messi pulled the strings

It was a sorry way for Chiellini to go out, and he said: "It's a shame because in the first half we made a lot of mistakes and we ruined the match by ourselves."

Turning his attention to Argentina, he added: "Above all, at this moment they are too strong, they have confidence and they are a team. They look like us a year ago."

Italy, without Chiellini, will switch their focus to the Nations League. They face Germany on Saturday and again on June 14 – matches against Hungary and England are sandwiched in between.

Writing on his Instagram page, Chiellini reflected on the end of a 117-cap career.

He wrote: "Thanks to everyone, it's been a beautiful journey."

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni insisted his side can compete with any team at the World Cup, after their 3-0 win over Italy in the UEFA/CONMEBOL Finalissima at Wembley on Wednesday.

The Albiceleste were ruthless in transition, pouncing on any opportunity to counter, with first-half goals from Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria capped off by Paulo Dybala's second-half injury-time strike.

Argentina set a new national team record in the process, now moving to 32 matches unbeaten.

On the back of 2021's Copa America triumph, Scaloni said that while his team is strong as any heading into Qatar, success will only come through spirit.

"What counts is the spirit of sacrifice, struggle and team spirit shown by the group, beyond the results," he told ESPN Argentina. "What we want is a performance, to know what the team is looking for on the pitch.

"There is, perhaps, too much enthusiasm [in the public], because in football when you think everything is done, they take you down with a stroke of the pen. We do know that we are going to go to a World Cup to compete on an equal footing with any team.

"We believe that the confidence of winning frees you from many things, but we are not exempt from the fact that the team can block itself at some point and that is what worries me. We have to be prepared in case fate takes a turn."

The South American champions faced difficulty as the game compressed despite the majority of possession. Chiefly through Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria, they sprung into life whenever space opened.

Much like their struggles late in the World Cup qualification phase – which culminated in playoff elimination at the hands of North Macedonia – Italy looked lifeless without Marco Verratti on the other hand, managing only one shot in the penalty area.

Scaloni conceded the result belied certain aspects of his team's performances, but is buoyed by a similar spirit that propelled the team to success in Brazil last year.

"I don't know if it's the best game we played," he said post-match. "In the first half I think they put us in trouble, at times. We feel comfortable afterwards.

"I want that every time we get together we are in the same way, united as we are now. The World Cup is going to be something else, it has a different pressure. Now people enjoy and it is the most important thing for us."

The United States continued to sputter as they commenced their World Cup preparation, defeating Morocco 3-0 in a home friendly in Cincinnati.

It was the quintessential tale of two halves despite the scoreline, with the two sides splitting the majority of possession over the two halves and coughing up chances as a result.

The USMNT were simply more clinical, with first-half goals Brenden Aaronson and Timothy Weah handing them a 2-0 lead

It took a moment of class in transition from Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic, expertly controlling a long, high pass in behind the defence, before finding Aaronson in the 26th minute.

The Americans made it 2-0 just six minutes later when Weah got on the end of a Reggie Cannon assist, before Haji Wright completed the scoring in the 64th minute from the penalty spot.

Despite doing more with less in the second half, Morocco failed to complicate matters for the home side, particularly with Selim Amallah's penalty hitting the frame of the goal in the 75th minute.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini promised changes after a difficult few months for the Azzurri was compounded by a crushing defeat to Argentina in Wednesday's Finalissima.

Argentina were comprehensive 3-0 winners at Wembley, as the CONMEBOL/UEFA 'Cup of Champions' was revived for the first time since 1993.

Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di Maria and Paulo Dybala got the goals as Lionel Messi pulled the strings, but in truth Italy were fortunate to only lose 3-0 against a hugely impressive Albiceleste.

It was only Italy's second match since their shock World Cup qualifying defeat to North Macedonia in March, with that loss preventing them from reaching Qatar 2022.

Despite the Azzurri winning Euro 2020 less than a year ago, Mancini is already looking to instigate something of a rebuild.

But he was keen to pay tribute to those who have played a key role over the past four years.

"In the first half we made two mistakes on their two goals, then they were better at keeping the ball," Mancini is quoted as saying by Sky Italia.

"They were better than us, but I must say thanks to these guys who have played in these four years.

"There is regret for the lack of qualification for the World Cup, and tonight's match was initially balanced, then they had superior quality to us.

"After this match we had in mind to change several things and we will do it. We need to find the players, put together a team that will suffer at the beginning and that in the future will be able to give us joy."

Clearly, the attack will be Mancini's primary focus in any rebuild as he rued a lack of threat going forward.

"We have great difficulty scoring at the moment, and we have to work a lot knowing that it will not be so simple and it will take time [to overcome their issues]," he continued.

"After the European Championship we struggled to score and we have to find solutions in this sense and try to be fast, but it will not be easy to put together a team that gives us short-term satisfaction even if there are good guys. We will have to make as few mistakes as possible.

"I have optimism. I like to work and train. It's true that we lost against a great Argentina team, but we must know that there will also be these moments and we must make sure that the youngest players learn quickly."

Italy now turn their attention to the Nations League. They face Germany on Saturday and again on June 14 – matches against Hungary and England are sandwiched in between.

Argentina's impressive 3-0 Finalissima win over Italy saw La Albiceleste set a national new record of 32 matches unbeaten.

Lionel Scaloni's men were sensational at Wembley, producing a dominant and rampant performance that could have seen them claim an even more one-sided victory.

Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di Maria and Paulo Dybala got the goals, while Lionel Messi pulled the strings as Argentina made something of a statement less than six months before the World Cup.

Argentina's last defeat was a 2-0 loss to bitter rivals Brazil in the semi-finals of the 2019 Copa America, but they got their revenge in the final last year, beating the Selecao 1-0 at the Maracana to clinch their first title in 28 years.

Their 32 games unbeaten is a new record for official games, though Argentina did go 33 matches without defeat under Alfio Basile – that run included two fixtures not recognised by FIFA as they were against the Rest of America and the Rest of World in 1991.

Argentina's streak is the longest currently intact in international football and leaves them just five adrift of the all-time record set by Italy themselves last year.

Argentina made an early statement of intent ahead of the World Cup with an impressively dominant 3-0 win over Italy to win the UEFA/CONMEBOL Finalissima at Wembley.

Although Italy failed to qualify for Qatar 2022, few would have expected the European champions to be so stunningly outclassed by the Copa America 2021 winners.

Much of the pre-game focus was on Giorgio Chiellini, but the last game of his distinguished international career ended at half-time with Argentina deservedly 2-0 up thanks to goals from Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria.

Italy somehow prevented the inspired Lionel Messi and Di Maria adding more gloss to the scoreline, but Paulo Dybala finally got their third with the last kick of the game.

A brilliant intervention by Cristian Romero had earlier denied Andrea Belotti a simple finish in the 20th minute, with the striker then seeing a looping header saved by Emiliano Martinez a few moments later.

But Argentina soon took charge.

Messi wonderfully turned away from Giovanni Di Lorenzo and held him off before passing across goal for Martinez to tap home.

The Inter forward then turned provider on the stroke of half-time, spinning Leonardo Bonucci and feeding Di Maria, who lifted an audacious chip over the helpless Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Roberto Mancini made three changes at the break but if anything Argentina only became more dominant – Donnarumma desperately scurried back to stop a Bonucci back-pass going in, before importantly denying the excellent Di Maria twice.

Giovani Lo Celso then missed an open goal – albeit from a slightly tight angle – after great work by Messi, who subsequently tested Donnarumma twice.

But Donnarumma was eventually beaten again at the end, substitute Dybala finding the bottom-right corner after a solo Messi run terrified the Italy defence.

Australia prepared for their World Cup play-off with the United Arab Emirates by coming from behind to beat Jordan 2-1.

The Socceroos will face the UAE next Tuesday, with the winner progressing to an intercontinental play-off against Peru for a place at Qatar 2022.

Australia went winless in their final three games of the third round of qualifying and fell behind at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Qatar on Wednesday.

Mousa Al Tamari's long-range effort gave Jordan a 17th-minute lead, the winger finding the bottom-left corner.

However, Bailey Wright levelled matters five minutes before half-time as he headed home at the far post from Craig Goodwin's free-kick.

Aaron Mooy struck the post with a free-kick of his own and it was a set-piece that provided the decisive goal in the 68th minute, Awer Mabil netting from point-blank range after Jordan failed to clear their lines from a corner.

 

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