Austria striker Marko Arnautovic could be thrown out of Euro 2020 if found guilty of using racist language

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Marko Arnautovic shouts in the direction of North Macedonia player Ezgjan Alioski - AFP
Marko Arnautovic shouts in the direction of North Macedonia player Ezgjan Alioski - AFP

Marko Arnautovic could be banned for the rest of Euro 2020 if he is found to have used racist language after Uefa opened an investigation into the Austria forward’s alleged behaviour during his country’s win over North Macedonia.

The former Stoke City and West Ham United player is facing the prospect of a minimum 10-match ban should Uefa determine he has a case to answer following Austria’s 3-1 win in Group C on Sunday.

Uefa has appointed an ethics and disciplinary inspector to look into Arnautovic’s actions after he was accused by the Kosovan newspaper, Koha Ditore, of yelling “I’m ------- your Albanian mother” in Serbian in the direction of the North Macedonia and Leeds United player Ezgjan Alioski moments after scoring late in the game.

Arnautovic apologised on social media for the “heated words exchanged” but denied being a racist.

Uefa was initially not investigating the matter but was subsequently asked to do so by the Football Federation of North Macedonia and has now launched a probe. Under Article 14 (1) of Uefa’s disciplinary regulations, any player who “insults the human dignity of a person or group of persons on whatever grounds, including skin colour, race, religion, ethnic origin, gender or sexual orientation” is subject to a minimum 10-match ban or a suspension lasting a “specified period of time” or “any other appropriate sanction”.

The Football Federation of North Macedonia has called for Arnautovic to face punishment. “As a ‘house of football’ we are always against nationalism, discrimination and all other forms of insults and outbursts that are not in the spirit of football and values that we all stand together,” said a spokesperson. “We will always stand up and defend the interests and dignity of Macedonian national players wherever they perform.”

In a statement, Uefa said: “In accordance with the Article 31(4) of the Uefa disciplinary regulations, an ethics and disciplinary inspector has been appointed to conduct an investigation regarding the incident involving the player Marko Arnautović that occurred during the 2020 European Championship group-stage match between the national teams of Austria and North Macedonia on 13 June 2021.

Arnautovic - who left West Ham for Shanghai Port in China in 2019 - was born to a Serbian father and Austrian mother and grew up in Vienna, Austria. Alioski is of Albanian background. There are historic tensions between Serbia and Albania, who came into conflict in the Kosovo War in the late 1990s.

David Alaba, the Austria captain, rushed over to Arnautovic and grabbed his team-mate by the mouth in a bid to quieten him down.

David Alaba grabs Marko Arnautovic by the mouth in a bid to quieten him down - SHUTTERSTOCK
David Alaba grabs Marko Arnautovic by the mouth in a bid to quieten him down - SHUTTERSTOCK

Arnautovic issued an apology on Instagram but insisted he was no racist.

“There were some heated words in the emotions of the game for which I would like to APOLOGIZE - especially to my friends from North Macedonia and Albania,” Arnautovic, 32, wrote.

“I would like to say one thing very clearly: I AM NOT A RACIST! I have friends in almost every country and I stand for diversity. Everyone who knows me is aware of that.”

In 2018, Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri were fined £7,600 each after the Switzerland players, who have Albanian links, celebrated by putting their hands together to form a double-headed eagle, similar to the one on the Albanian flag during a game against Serbia.

02:34 PM

England players families get personal touch

England players’ families have been given a personal touch to help them inspire Gareth Southgate’s squad from the stands.

Wags, parents and relatives returned to Wembley for the first time in 19 months for the European Championship win against Croatia, with their individual passes carrying a picture of the player they were cheering on.

The FA had organised a suite for families and an outdoor area near the Bobby Moore statue for families to be together. Their pre-match meal at the national stadium had an English theme, with slow-cooked beef fillet with King Edward potato mash, followed by rhubarb and hibiscus trifle.

Gareth Southgate has been aware of the importance of players’ families in his preparations for the Euros. Each player had photos of their nearest and dearest hanging from a “washing line” display in their room when they arrived at their St George’s Park base. His squad were also given an individual portrait of them in their England kit.

Players greeted their families from the pitch at Wembley, with their seats just to the side of the England bench and where next to where substitutes warm up. After a lap of honour, Kyle Walker was the last off the pitch as he waved to his family.

Kalvin Phillips, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Phil Foden and Tyrone Mings were among those who had not played for England with supporters in the stands, having broken through after football closed its doors for the coronavirus pandemic.

"It was absolutely amazing," said England full-back Kieran Trippier. "Obviously we've not had fans because of the pandemic. For so many fans to be at the match, just warming up and seeing people coming off the coach is what we wanted for a long time. I hope they really enjoyed it because we sure did."

Mike McGrath

02:31 PM

We also have our wallchart predictor

Who doesn't love a wallchart? Even in a digital form...

02:23 PM

It's all gone a bit wrong for Scotland...

A stunning goal from near the half-way line by Schick has put Czech Republic 2-0 up at Hampden Park. Join Rob Bagchi for live updates here. Still a way to go in the second half yet but it does not look good.

 For editorial news reporting purposes only. Images must appear as still images and must not emulate match action video footage. Photographs published in online publications shall have an interval of at least 20 seconds between the posting.) Mandatory Credit: Photo by Petr Josek/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (12073843di) Patrik Schick of the Czech Republic celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 group D preliminary round soccer match between Scotland and the Czech Republic in Glasgow, Britain, 14 June 2021. - Petr Josek/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock 
For editorial news reporting purposes only. Images must appear as still images and must not emulate match action video footage. Photographs published in online publications shall have an interval of at least 20 seconds between the posting.) Mandatory Credit: Photo by Petr Josek/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (12073843di) Patrik Schick of the Czech Republic celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 group D preliminary round soccer match between Scotland and the Czech Republic in Glasgow, Britain, 14 June 2021. - Petr Josek/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

02:09 PM

Euro 2020 teams, player lists and rankings - our definitive guide to the 24 countries

We're only a few days into the tournament, so it is still not too late to brush up on your reading for Euro 2020. Our team of writers have compiled a comprehensive team-by-team guide which you can access by clicking below.

01:58 PM

Richard Jolly bringing the jolly

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01:46 PM

Italy coach Mancini aims to get Italian job done early against Swiss

Italy can seal their progress to the knockout stages of the European Championship with a game to spare against Switzerland in Rome on Wednesday – but it will not be easy against a coach playing back at his old ground.

There is excitement around the Italy team after their comprehensive 3-0 win over Turkey on Friday night to get Roberto Mancini's side up and running in the tournament.

Much was already known about their typically solid defence – Italy have kept a clean sheet in each of their last nine matches in all competitions – but it was their attacking flair that caught the eye.

Roberto Mancini, Head Coach of Italy gives their team instructions during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group A match between Turkey and Italy at the Stadio Olimpico on June 11, 2021 in Rome, Italy. - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)
Roberto Mancini, Head Coach of Italy gives their team instructions during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group A match between Turkey and Italy at the Stadio Olimpico on June 11, 2021 in Rome, Italy. - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Turkey were well fancied coming into the tournament having impressed in qualification. But Italy's three-pronged strikeforce swept them side in the opening match of Euro 2020 and showed they can excel in attack as well as at the back.

As a result, Mancini is struggling to play down expectations around his side, who are unbeaten in 28 matches under the 56 year-old.

"It was important to start well here in Rome and I think we satisfied everyone, for the fans and all the Italians watching. [But] there are six games to go and there are a lot of good teams," Mancini said after the Turkey win.

Victory over Switzerland would make Italy the first team to reach the knockout stages, regardless of other results in the group.

Reuters

01:27 PM

Some lovely images from the Scotland game in Glasgow

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It has been a fairly lively start at Hampden Park.

01:17 PM

A bit more from Peter Schmeichel speaking on Good Morning Britain this morning...

He was talking about the decision (or not) by the Denmark team to restart the game following Christian Eriksen's collapse towards the end of the first half.

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01:01 PM

England's performance against Croatia as pleasing as win, says Southgate

Gareth Southgate was pleased to hit the ground running as England took a big step towards qualifying from their Euro 2020 group ahead of Friday's clash against old foes Scotland.

The Three Lions are back at Wembley on Friday for a mouth-watering clash against Scotland, with Southgate looking to build on the promising, mature performance.

"They're very pleased with the performance as much as anything," the England manager said. "You come into a major tournament, you want to give a good account of yourselves and of course we know that the first objective is qualifying from the group.

"So today you want the win but to not lose is also important in those occasions, but I was really impressed with how they settled quickly into the game with and without the ball. Our pressing was good throughout the team and we used the ball with intelligence and with some quality."

In this Handout picture provided by UEFA, Gareth Southgate, Head Coach of England speaks to the media during the Croatia press conference after the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group D match between England and Croatia at Wembley Stadium on June 13, 2021 in London, England -  UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images
In this Handout picture provided by UEFA, Gareth Southgate, Head Coach of England speaks to the media during the Croatia press conference after the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group D match between England and Croatia at Wembley Stadium on June 13, 2021 in London, England - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

"I felt we probably deserved to be ahead before we got the goal, but then we also managed the game well. We didn't really invite too much pressure. There's always going to be moments like the long throw at the end but I thought we were pretty controlled throughout."

The victory was vindication for some of Southgate's highly-scrutinised selections, including giving Sterling the nod over Jack Grealish despite the Manchester City forward's underwhelming end to the campaign.

"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 (has been good)," Southgate said.

"I mean, even this year, I know people are saying he hasn't hit the heights but he's still one in three for his club and we can't have all the burden of scoring on Harry (Kane)'s shoulders.

"You've got to have players in those wide players and midfield that can chip in as well. I thought he looked a threat the whole day. Delighted for him because obviously it's quite a few tournament matches without scoring before today's game."

PA

12:40 PM

Rio Ferdinand, doing a bit of a Twitter Q&A at the moment...

Who will be player of the tournament? Well, he knows who he wants it to be...

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12:34 PM

Frank Lampard creativity allows BBC to finally linger on positives in testing times

"The BBC, the tournament and the nation needed an England performance and a TV broadcast that delivered some positive vibes, and we got them. Lineker, Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard got things off to a sober, statesmanlike start with good wishes for Eriksen, and then their enthusiasm grew throughout. Like the team and the performance, this was ultimately a comfortable, confident and enjoyable afternoon," writes Alan Tyers on the BBC's punditry/production/show/coverage for England's opener against Croatia.

Read more from Mr Tyers here.

12:09 PM

England = very popular online

We're often told that the "real world" isn't the same as online bubble, though...

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10.2 million people seems like a lot, though, eh?

12:07 PM

Scotland team news: Tierney out for Scotland

But the teams for Scotland vs Czech Republic (are we not doing Czechia yet?) are in. Follow all the build-up and live action from the Scots' first major tournament game in 23 years here, with Alan Tyers. Lyndon Dykes (below), will start for Scotland. The match kicks off in just over 50 minutes.

(BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Lyndon Dykes of Scotland gestures during the international friendly match between Luxembourg and Scotland at Josy-Barthel-Stadium on June 6, 2021 in Luxembourg-City, Luxembourg - Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images
(BILD ZEITUNG OUT) Lyndon Dykes of Scotland gestures during the international friendly match between Luxembourg and Scotland at Josy-Barthel-Stadium on June 6, 2021 in Luxembourg-City, Luxembourg - Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

12:01 PM

Denmark players speak for first time of Christian Eriksen trauma: 'It was inhuman'

Kasper Schmeichel has spoken of Denmark’s desire to do “something extraordinary” for Christian Eriksen at Euro 2020 as the players revealed for the first time the trauma of seeing their stricken team-mate fighting for his life.


Eriksen is said to remain in a stable condition at the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen after the Inter Milan playmaker collapsed to the ground following a cardiac arrest late in the first half of Denmark’s opening game against Finland at the Parken Stadium on Saturday.

Read more from James Ducker here.

11:24 AM

Magic and mayhem: Ally McCoist on what it's like to play for Scotland at a tournament

With Scotland's opening game against the Czech Republic a matter of 1h40 away from getting going, let former Rangers and Scotland striker Ally McCoist take you through what it's like to play – and watch – Scotland at a major tournament.

I watch every tournament but your heartstrings don’t get pulled, you don’t get the pressure, the enjoyment, the sick feeling in your stomach when your national team are there.

We have had our years in the wilderness when we were the butt of the jokes and that was painful. I felt for the players as they were giving their best which was sadly not good enough. I do not blame the players or even the managers because we were not good enough.

 Ally McCoist of Scotland Shoots ,but the shot was saved by Marco Pascolo of Switzerland during Scotland v Switzerland, group A in the European Championship at Villa Park, Birmingham - Clive Brunskill/ALLSPORT
Ally McCoist of Scotland Shoots ,but the shot was saved by Marco Pascolo of Switzerland during Scotland v Switzerland, group A in the European Championship at Villa Park, Birmingham - Clive Brunskill/ALLSPORT

11:14 AM

Kalvin Phillips, England's breakout star: every touch, tackle and tactical foul analysed

The Leeds midfielder shone against Croatia during Euros opener at Wembley and a close reading of his game reveals even more highlights. Thom Gibbs goes through the player's performance in great detail and tells you what he learned.

Read the full piece here.

11:09 AM

More from Declan Rice

For Rice, taking on Modric was a personal validation of where he believes his game can go. He also proved more effective than Mateo Kovacic and Marcelo Brozovic, who are members of the Croatia squad that reached the World Cup final three years ago.

“We knew we had to be at the top level. I would have backed myself a few years ago to go out and perform at a high level but maybe had some doubts,” Rice said. “Fortunately, I’ve been able to do it since after the season and performances that I have had with England recently I had full confidence to go out there and perform at a high standard.”

Rice has also been close to Mount since childhood when they were both at Chelsea, making it a midfield combination where friends unite.

“It was special, very very special. We just said to each other to enjoy this moment. It might not ever come around again,” Rice said. “We worked so hard together to get to where we wanted to be. For us to get call up, it is special and amazing. You couldn’t write it and I am buzzing.”

Mike McGrath

10:29 AM

Looks quite toasty in Baku

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10:24 AM

Kane hails tournament debutants in England's win against Croatia

Harry Kane hailed England's tournament debutants as the Three Lions finally won the opening game of a European Championship with victory over Croatia on Sunday.

Raheem Sterling's second-half strike was enough to secure England a deserved 1-0 win against the team who had knocked them out of the World Cup at the semi-final stage three years ago.

Half of the outfield players selected by Gareth Southgate had never represented their country in a senior international tournament but they all stood out as England won their opening game at a European Championship for the first time in their history.

Phil Foden hit the post early on while Mason Mount, Declan Rice and Tyrone Mings also put in good showings.

But it was the performance of Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips which caught the eye, the 25-year-old capping a fine display by laying on Sterling's match-winner.

Kalvin Phillips of England during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group D match between England and Croatia on June 13, 2021 in London, United Kingdom - Marc Atkins/Getty Images
Kalvin Phillips of England during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group D match between England and Croatia on June 13, 2021 in London, United Kingdom - Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Asked about Phillips, Kane was quick to praise all of the tournament newcomers: "He has been brilliant.

"He has just come off the back of a shoulder injury as well, he has been good in training and working hard to be fit for the first game.

"Obviously he was selected and did a fantastic job and there were a few guys out there playing their first game for England in a major tournament and they did their country proud."

Southgate's selection led to plenty of raised eyebrows among supporters, with Kieran Trippier's inclusion at left-back, the omission of Jack Grealish from the starting XI and both Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho missing out on the squad being questioned.

Picking Sterling was another selection which saw Southgate criticised by some on social media but Kane backed his boss and said every player will have to play their part if England are to go far in the competition.

"That is why he is doing his job and the fans are debating - that is part of football," he told beIN Sports.

PA

10:13 AM

Fabrice Muamba exclusive: I wanted to keep on playing after I collapsed – but my family came first

All I could say when watching the television was “please, Christian, pull through”.

It was such a relief to hear Christian had woken up after a few minutes, and that he was in a stable condition.

Watching it was surreal for me. Naturally, your mind goes back. I was worried about his partner and his children and how awful it must have been.

The way his team-mates protected him was amazing and he will look back on that as being so important to him and his family.

Read Fabrice Muamba's exclusive column for Telegraph Sport here.

10:04 AM

Today's action...

Group D:
Scotland vs Czech Republic (1400)

Group E:
Poland vs Slovakia (1700)
Spain vs Sweden (2000)

Scotland's first game at a major tournament since the 1998 World Cup in France. A long time coming.

1998 World Cup Group A - Brazil v Scotland - Stade de France - 10/6/98 Pic : Stuart Franklin / Action Images Brazil & Scotland players embrace eachother at the end of the game -  Stuart Franklin / Action 
1998 World Cup Group A - Brazil v Scotland - Stade de France - 10/6/98 Pic : Stuart Franklin / Action Images Brazil & Scotland players embrace eachother at the end of the game - Stuart Franklin / Action

09:49 AM

Jamie Carragher: Harry Kane must accept that he is no longer one of England’s untouchables

Harry Kane did not feature too highly in our England ratings, either by Mike McGrath (5/10) or Telegraph Sport readers (4.68). Jamie Carragher says the "days of keeping him on the pitch so he can make the most of every minute in pursuit of the Golden Boot are over."

Two thoughts occurred to me as Gareth Southgate prepared to bring on Jude Bellingham in the 82nd minute of England’s encouraging opening win. The first was that he had to take off Harry Kane. The second was that it should have happened 10 minutes earlier.

Kane barely featured in the victory and looked exhausted. Brave as it seems for an England manager to substitute his captain, it was the right and obvious call.

Read his full column here.

09:33 AM

Cesc Fabregas: A humble, funny great - with a little dark side: The real 'N'Golinho' Kante

Telegraph Sport's Euro 2020 columnist Cesc Fabregas's latest is on former Chelsea team-mate Ngolo Kante.

If France, who are my favourites for the tournament, do win the Euros then there will be a very strong case for N’Golo to win the Ballon d’Or having already added the Champions League to his World Cup and Premier League titles.

Read more from him here, plus why he thinks Timo Werner will come good for Germany.

09:21 AM

Belgium change Russia travel plans over Covid fears

Belgium have changed their travel plans for the remainder of the European Championship group phase due to concerns about the Covid-19 situation in Russia, the country’s football association said on Monday.

The Belgians were due to travel from Copenhagen after Thursday’s second match in Group B against Denmark to St Petersburg and spent three days in the Russian city preparing for their last group game against Finland next Monday.

However, they have decided to go back home from Copenhagen to their base at Tubize, some 25km south of Brussels, and only travel to St Petersburg on the eve of the game against the Finns.

Belgium's forward Romelu Lukaku (L) celebrates with Belgium's defender Thomas Meunier after socring his team's first goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group B football match between Belgium and Russia at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on June 12, 2021 - ANTON VAGANOV/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Belgium's forward Romelu Lukaku (L) celebrates with Belgium's defender Thomas Meunier after socring his team's first goal during the UEFA EURO 2020 Group B football match between Belgium and Russia at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg on June 12, 2021 - ANTON VAGANOV/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

“During our recent stay in St Petersburg we experienced that being a few days abroad in a hotel in a big city during Covid times, is for the organisation of a training camp much more complex and difficult than before,” said a statement from the Belgian football association.

Belgium went to St Petersburg last Friday, beat their Russian hosts 3-0 there on Saturday in their opening game of Euro 2020 and flew back to Brussels on Sunday.

“The Belgian FA has been forced to undertake this action in order to protect its players and staff,” statement continued.

“By doing so, the players will train in Tubize, in a more Covid-safe environment and with the best possible training conditions.

“Since St Petersburg will organise three extra games, the training ground at the Petrovsky stadium will suffer more, which could play a key role in the preparation for the Finland game,” it added.

St Petersburg was given more matches to host when Dublin was removed as one of the venues in April.

Reuters

09:00 AM

Southgate looks to Scotland after England's opening-game win

Gareth Southgate was delighted to lead England to victory in their opening match at a European Championship for the first time - but quickly turned his attentions to Friday's clash with Scotland.

Three years on from the heartbreaking World Cup semi-final loss to Croatia, the Three Lions exacted some sort of revenge by giving Zlatko Dalic's men a bloody nose at the start of Euro 2020.

Raheem Sterling's first tournament goal - and England's first at Wembley in front of fans since November 2019 - was enough to secure a 1-0 win in sweltering conditions.

It was an ideal start to Group D but Southgate knows the challenges continue, with Scotland next up at Wembley on Friday night.

For editorial news reporting purposes only. Images must appear as still images and must not emulate match action video footage. Photographs published in online publications shall have an interval of at least 20 seconds between the posting.) Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andy Rain/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (12071214co) England manager Gareth Southgate applauds the fans after the UEFA EURO 2020 group D preliminary round soccer match between England and Croatia in London, Britain, 13 June 2021 - Andy Rain/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock 
For editorial news reporting purposes only. Images must appear as still images and must not emulate match action video footage. Photographs published in online publications shall have an interval of at least 20 seconds between the posting.) Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andy Rain/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (12071214co) England manager Gareth Southgate applauds the fans after the UEFA EURO 2020 group D preliminary round soccer match between England and Croatia in London, Britain, 13 June 2021 - Andy Rain/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

"This is the big challenge for us now because of course we're delighted with the win and the players are happy," the former defender said.

"It's a positive step in terms of qualification, but one of the hardest things in sport is to come back to that point you were at before the kick-off for the next game.

"You can get a bit of a glow of the win and a bit soft, a bit puddingy when you poke your finger in the belly.

"We've got to make sure that we're ready for what is going to be an incredible game against Scotland and a huge challenge.

"We should enjoy tonight because I think you have to enjoy your wins, especially in tournaments, but focus now.

"Our first objective is qualification. We haven't done that yet and we have a very important game for us and our fans on Friday night."

Sterling's goal was enough for England to get their campaign started with a victory and Southgate was pleased to send the fans home happy.

"It feels great to have been able to send the fans home happy and to have fans up and down the country happy," the England manager said. "That's very special.

"In terms of the game, I was really pleased with the way we settled so quickly.

"Some young players, some inexperienced international players, a big occasion - not only a tough opponent but a big occasion, a sweltering hot day.

"Every reason to potentially look nervous at the start but they didn't.

"With and without the ball they were composed, carried out what we wanted to do in terms of pressing brilliantly."

PA

08:48 AM

England unveil new trick against Croatia: the inventive 'inside' throw-in

A creative approach to throw-ins against Croatia was typical of Gareth Southgate's attention to detail at dead-ball situations. Read Daniel Zeqiri's piece on what, exactly, England were trying to do and what they achieved with it here.

08:34 AM

England vs Croatia player ratings, plus the Telegraph readers' verdict

It was a decent start to England's Euro 2020 campaign on Sunday, but how did we rate each of Gareth Southgate's picks? Click here for Mike McGrath's England player ratings as England won their opening European Championship game for the first time ever. Plus: see how Telegraph readers thought they did.

Raheem Sterling of England celebrates after scoring their side's first goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group D match between England and Croatia at Wembley Stadium on June 13, 2021 in London, England - Shaun Botterill - UEFA 
Raheem Sterling of England celebrates after scoring their side's first goal during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group D match between England and Croatia at Wembley Stadium on June 13, 2021 in London, England - Shaun Botterill - UEFA

08:11 AM

Christian Eriksen speaks for the first time following collapse

Denmark's Christian Eriksen, who collapsed on the pitch in Saturday's Euro 2020 game against Finland, has spoken for the first time since the incident.

"Thank you, I won't give up. I feel better now – but I want to understand what's happened. I want to say thank you all for what you did for me," were Eriksen's words, reported by his agent Martin Schoots to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Schoots also told Gazzetta dello Sport that Eriksen will remain under observation in hospital, possibly for the next couple of days. He also wants to cheer on his team-mates against Belgium, Schoots said.

Meanwhile Peter Schmeichel, former Denmark and Manchester United goalkeeper – and father of current Denmark goalkeeper Kasper – claims Denmark's players did not want to restart their Euro 2020 game against Finland after Christian Eriksen's cardiac arrest.

His thoughts echo those of Denmark's coach Kasper Hjulmand, who on Sunday said he had reservations about restarting the match.

“But looking back, I think it was a wrong thing – to make the decision between the two scenarios to the players – in this case,” he added.

“Players were in a shock condition, players who don’t really know yet if they lost their best friend, and they have to decide between these two things.

“I have a sense that we shouldn’t have played, but I know it’s difficult. It’s just a feeling I have. Maybe we should have just got on the bus and gone home... but that’s just my feeling now. I think it was a very, very tough decision – a tough message that the players had to try to make a decision.”

The Denmark-Finland game, which had kicked off at 5pm, was stopped after 41 minutes. It restarted at 7.30pm, with the Danish Football Union saying Denmark’s players chose to play on after speaking to Eriksen.

Eriksen spoke again to his Denmark team-mates from hospital on Sunday as he continued to recover.

Reliving the horror, Hjulmand, who had been in tears, admitted it was “very, very hard to move on”.

“Of course it was a very positive thing to see Christian today, but everyone needs to think about the pictures they have in their head,” he added. “They will be given the time needed. For some it will take a longer time but all of them have something to think about and deal with. We will try to help the best we can. It is not something you shake off like this and move on. There is something to be dealt with.”

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