Euro 2024 LIVE: Latest England news and Scotland updates on eve of tournament opener vs Germany

Euro 2024 LIVE: Latest England news and Scotland updates on eve of tournament opener vs Germany

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Hosts train two days before opening Euro 2024 against Scotland

The buildup to Euro 2024 is almost complete and the tournament itself is just one day away, with Germany playing Scotland on Friday night and 22 other nations following suit in the days and weeks ahead.

For England it’s now about final preparations and ensuring Gareth Southgate’s starters are in peak form, with one notable absence in John Stones missing training on Wednesday. The centre-back is expected to be a cornerstone of the Three Lions’ hopes, with Trent Alexander-Arnold thought to be starting in midfield in the opening game.

Meanwhile, the manager himself has already suggested he could depart the job if England are not successful this summer, following a couple of near misses beforehand.

Follow below for all the latest news updates regarding England, Scotland and the rest of the tournament participants on Thursday, ahead of the eagerly anticipated start of the Euros.

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Euro 2024 power rankings

Here, The Independent assesses how every nation stacks up ahead of Euro 2024:

4. Portugal

Portugal were the only team with a perfect qualifying record, winning 10 games out of 10, and neatly Cristiano Ronaldo scored 10 goals. A surprise friendly defeat by Slovenia in March’s international break set some alarm bells ringing, and at the end Ronaldo walked off in a trademark huff. But Roberto Martinez will bring one of the best squads to Germany this summer including Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Pedro Neto, Joao Felix, Diogo Jota and Rafael Leao among a raft of attacking talent.

Mike Jones13 June 2024 16:50

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Euro 2024 power rankings

Here, The Independent assesses how every nation stacks up ahead of Euro 2024:

5. Spain

An exciting new generation of Spanish players will show itself at these Euros through the talents of Atletico’s Nico Williams and Barcelona’s Lamine Yamal – the 16-year-old Yamal is already one of Barca’s best players and was sensational for Spain against Brazil in their friendly draw at the Bernabeu. The youngsters will flit around Rodri, arguably the best midfielder in the world right now, and there is a quiet optimism that Spain can make a big impact in Germany.

Mike Jones13 June 2024 16:45

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Euro 2024 power rankings

Here, The Independent assesses how every nation stacks up ahead of Euro 2024:

8. Belgium

The golden generation has faded and there is not quite the same talent coming through to replace them, but a fully fit Kevin De Bruyne still represents one of the best players in Europe. Belgium went through qualifying unbeaten, conceding only four goals, and have not lost a match since they were stunned by Morocco at the 2022 World Cup. Romelu Lukaku top-scored in Euro 2024 qualifying with 14 goals and he will be key once more.

7. Italy

The reigning champions have been unconvincing ever since beating England in the final at Wembley three years ago. They failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup, then finished third in the Nations League, before scraping through qualifying for the Euros ahead of Ukraine with two defeats by England along the way. Like a number of the bigger nations, a significant problem for Luciano Spalletti is the lack of goals among his forward players, but Italy can never be discounted when it comes to major tournaments.

6. Netherlands

Ronald Koeman continues to bounce between wing-backs and a more typical Dutch 4-3-3 formation, and it was the latter that proved effective in March’s friendly internationals with a 4-0 thrashing of Scotland. The problem for Netherlands remains the lack of a reliable goalscorer – no Dutch player scored more than three goals during qualifying.

Mike Jones13 June 2024 16:40

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Euro 2024 power rankings

Here, The Independent assesses how every nation stacks up ahead of Euro 2024:

11. Croatia

Croatia remain reliant on a 38-year-old Luka Modric to run the midfield but then he is still producing sublime performances, so who can blame them. Their record shows they know how to go deep in major tournaments, and a 2-1 friendly win over Portugal last week will have boosted confidence. A tough Euro 2024 group with Spain and Italy will reveal more about Croatia’s chances.

10. Hungary

Marco Rossi’s free-flowing team are a joy to watch at their best and an underrated force too, having not lost a game of any kind since a Nations League defeat by Italy in September 2022. Liverpool’s Dominik Szoboszlai is the captain and outstanding player, while striker Barnabas Varga is a threat: he scored four goals in qualifying and has 26 in 30 games this season for Hungarian champions Ferencvaros. They beat Israel 3-0 in their final warm-up before the tournament.

9. Austria

Ralf Rangnick has got Austria playing some good football. They qualified comfortably after beating key rivals Sweden home and away, and then put together two impressive wins over the March international break, beating Slovakia 2-0 and Turkey 6-1. In David Alaba, Marko Arnautovic, Marcel Sabitzer, Christoph Baumgartner and Michael Gregoritsch they have some good players to call upon. They have just enough to cause an upset in a tough group with France and Netherlands.

Mike Jones13 June 2024 16:30

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Euro 2024 power rankings

Here, The Independent assesses how every nation stacks up ahead of Euro 2024:

15. Scotland

An impressive qualifying campaign was followed by a disappointing March international break in which Scotland were thumped by Netherlands and, perhaps more concerningly, beaten by Northern Ireland. Scott McTominay was inspired in qualifying with seven goals – only Romelu Lukaku, Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe scored more – but that attacking threat has been lacking in a run of seven games without a win. Scotland have two final fixtures to prepare before playing on the opening night in Munich against the hosts, Germany.

14. Czech Republic

The Czechs qualified well from a competitive pool and have a good chance of progressing at the Euros from a group with Portugal, Turkey and Georgia. Captain Tomas Soucek is their key player.

13. Slovenia

England should be wary of Group C rivals Slovenia and particularly giant striker Benjamin Sesko, who has 11 goals in 28 caps for his country to date and is enjoying an impressive debut season for RB Leipzig. A surprise 2-0 win over Portugal in March’s friendlies was another reminder of their threat.

12. Denmark

The Danes qualified well for these Euros and the form of Rasmus Hojlund at Manchester United provides some hope ahead of the tournament. Manager Kasper Hjulmand led the team to the semi-finals at Euro 2020 but they flopped at the World Cup, and he is still searching for the right formation after flipping between a back four and wing-backs.

Mike Jones13 June 2024 16:20

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Euro 2024 power rankings

Here, The Independent assesses how every nation stacks up ahead of Euro 2024:

20. Romania

Romania finished top of their qualifying group and unbeaten, but 16 goals scored in 10 games – four of which were against Andorra or Kosovo – tell the story of a team lacking spark in attack. Star player and captain Nicolai Stanciu has spent the past few years playing in China and Saudi Arabia.

19. Slovakia

Slovakia qualified from a tight pool to reach the Euros, and now find themselves in a competitive but open-looking group with Belgium, Romania and Ukraine. Captain Milan Skriniar is the defensive keystone and left winger Lukas Haraslin will provide attacking impetus after a stellar season for Sparta Prague, with 14 goals so far.

18. Poland

The team have rebounded under new manager Michal Probierz, following a poor qualifying campaign, and came through that dramatic play-off final with Wales in Cardiff on penalties. Robert Lewandowski is playing in quite possibly his final tournament, and Poland will need his goals to help spring a surprise in a tough group with Netherlands, France and Austria.

17. Serbia

The Serbian team remains an enigma, with more talented players than their recent tournament results would suggest. In Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, captain Dusan Tadic, Sasa Lukic and Aleksandar Mitrovic there’s some quality, but they were twice beaten by Hungary in qualifying and then learnt little from a 4-0 thumping by Russia in March’s friendly preparations. Beating Sweden 3-0 in a more recent friendly will have steadied nerves.

16. Switzerland

The Swiss made hard work of a relatively light qualifying group and don’t look to have the firepower to cause any great shocks at the Euros. Chicago Fire’s 32-year-old Xherdan Shaqiri remains among their more dynamic attacking players.

Mike Jones13 June 2024 16:10

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Euro 2024 power rankings

Here, The Independent assesses how every nation stacks up ahead of Euro 2024, starting with:

24. Georgia

There were celebrations in the streets of Tibilisi after Georgia qualified for their first major tournament in dramatic style, winning a penalty shootout after a tense play-off final with Greece. The French former Bayern Munich defender Willy Sagnol is the manager, and his main task is building a team that can get the best out of Napoli star Khvicha Kvaratskhelia. Georgia beat Montenegro 3-1 in their last friendly before the tournament.

23. Albania

Albania topped their qualifying group but a horrendous draw sees them face Spain, Italy and Croatia in the Euro 2024 group stage – progressing to the knockouts would be a remarkable achievement. Armando Broja is their great hope, while Atalanta’s Berat Djimsiti is a high-quality defender and captain of the national team.

22. Ukraine

It was heart-warming to see the celebrations as Ukraine made it through the play-offs to Euro 2024. The team has some talent most obviously seen in the boots of Mykhailo Mudryk, their hero in the play-off final, and a nation will be behind their bid to emerge from arguably the weakest group which features Belgium, Slovakia and Romania

21. Turkey

Turkey have been through a turbulent time in recent months with the sacking of manager Stefan Kuntz and the installation of Roma legend Vincenzo Montella as his replacement. Montella began by leading the team to qualification for the Euros, ahead of Wales and just behind Croatia, but the March international break was a disaster, with a 1-0 defeat by Hungary and a 6-1 thrashing from Austria. They lack a potent goalscorer and Montella has his hands full trying to get them ready to face Georgia in their opening game at the Euros.

Mike Jones13 June 2024 16:00

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The moment that convinced Gareth Southgate to stay with England for one more tournament

As Gareth Southgate watched England toil against Germany in their September Nations League match, he stood on the touchline at Wembley seriously contemplating the end of his reign. England had not won any of their past five games and were 2-0 down with 20 minutes to go. The atmosphere in the stadium flitted between boredom and mutiny, which he interpreted as a manager no longer wanted.

It is no exaggeration to say that Southgate was 30 minutes from making up his mind; once the inevitable wrath of this defeat had died down, he would announce that Qatar would be his last tournament.

Mike Jones13 June 2024 15:50

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Roberto Martinez praises Cristiano Ronaldo

“His commitment as captain is unbelievable. Today we saw two world-class goals, but I really enjoyed his work.” said the Portugal boss.

“He had already scored two goals, but his first option was to assist a team-mate. That shows solidarity and companionship, and they are important values in a dressing room when you’re going to the Euros.

“But also goals are very important and they were excellent.”

Mike Jones13 June 2024 15:40

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England have ditched their recipe for success with Euro 2024 Gareth Southgate’s biggest gamble of all

In the final few sessions before Euro 2024, Gareth Southgate has been keen to ensure England’s raft of new attackers are properly up to speed with some of the team’s rehearsed moves. He can see the full picture, but the lines are still a little blurred. This team doesn’t yet have the connections visible in Euro 2020 qualifying, say, but it’s promising. How couldn’t it be promising with Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane? Southgate is unusually excited.

Such “automatisms” – where attackers instinctively execute moves from repeated rehearsal – are one of those parts of preparation that say a lot about the whole. England have been coming close to the line in a similar way.

Euro 2024 had long been looked upon as one of the tournaments when the entire St George’s Park project should finally deliver a trophy.

Mike Jones13 June 2024 15:30

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