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France show they are Euro 2020 favorites with tactical masterclass, dominant midfield trio and some Mbappe magic



France show they are Euro 2020 favorites with tactical masterclass, dominant midfield trio and some Mbappe magic. How some things change in football. Back at the 2014 World Cup when Germany knocked out France in the quarterfinals, Mats Hummels was the game’s lone goal scorer. On that night in Rio de Janeiro, it was the German defender who broke French hearts despite Les Bleus dominating the game and creating the best possibilities.

Seven years later in Munich, the German center-back scored once more, this time in his own goal, gifting France the 1-0 success this time in the two countries’ Euro 2020 opener on Tuesday.

Notwithstanding, some things stay something similar in football, too. To start, this 2021 France side looks very much like the World Cup-winning one from 2018. And this performance against Germany was a very comparable presentation to their semifinal win against Die Mannschaft at Euro 2016 in Marseille.

While this time the scoreline was just 1-0 compared to 2-0 in Marseille, as they were in 2016 and 2018, this French side is so disciplined tactically and defensively (praise to Antoine Griezmann for practically completing this game at right-back), controls matches with a dominant midfield, and as they did in 2018, has the ultimate X factor in forward Kylian Mbappe, who consistently ripped open Joachim Low’s side on Tuesday night.

In the event that we didn’t really know what to expect from this Germany before kick-off, we understood what France would deliver. They did exactly what’s written on the tin. They suffered at times, and no doubt about it, this is a good German team, but they never broke. In fact, they never even looked like breaking. The world champions resemble a predator waiting for their prey, and as we have seen over the past couple of years, the predator knows precisely when to attack.

“This was a particularly strong performance,” said Didier Deschamps after the game. “We fought hard. We could have done better with the ball, in our buildup, but it was a very solid presentation.” Deschamps was ecstatic in the dressing room afterward, warmly congratulating his players for an impressive success, which will make France much bigger favorites to win this tournament.

Delivering performances like this are so much easier when you have a midfield like France’s. There has been much talk, and rightfully so, about France’s front three of Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Griezmann, which is undoubtedly a scary proposition for any defense. But what about the trio of Paul Pogba-N’Golo Kante-Adrien Rabiot? There has not been a better midfield so far in this competition. They are so good at everything they do, complement each other so well, and each has his impact so perfectly.

France also got a big helping hand from Germany. Deschamps was hoping that Low would play Joshua Kimmich at right wing-back and not in midfield because it would be easier then for his players to control the game as they did. The French could not believe that the best holding midfielder in the world was not playing as a holding midfielder for his country at the Euros!

So the midfield belonged to France, and that’s where they won this game. Kante was everywhere once more. Rabiot so astute and intelligent tactically, and precious under pressure. And then, you have Pogba. This was vintage Pogba, 2018 Pogba, or maybe even a better Pogba. What a performance!

“This is a particularly strong collective victory. We are so focused and so efficient. We as a whole work hard for each other. We are humble on the pitch and we suffer together,” said the Manchester United star, who complained to the referee after it appeared he was bitten in the back by defender Antonio Rudiger at the end of the first half.

Pogba was rightly so named man of the match and not just because of his exceptional involvement in the goal. We have seen fantastic moments so far in this tournament – England midfielder Kalvin Phillips’ run ahead of Raheem Sterling’s goal, Czech Republic’s Patrik Schick scoring a wonder goal from midfield against Scotland – and we have now seen the pass of the tournament so far from Pogba. An incredible moment of inspiration and genius with a half toe-jab/half outside-of-the-foot switch from right to left for Lucas Hernandez, whose subsequent cross was deflected in his own net by Hummels. It was part of a complete performance from Pogba, who made 12 ball recoveries, won 13 duels, drew four fouls, was also robbed of an assist because of an offside decision and later of a “hockey assist” ahead of the goal Benzema had ruled out for offsides.

The one goal that stood was a particularly great collective goal because it is exactly what France aimed to do. Before the game, the arrangement was to insist on Kimmich’s side, as the Bayern Munich midfielder isn’t used to playing there so much anymore. Deschamps knew there would opportunities there to exploit and there were, starting with the goal.

In the interim, Kimmich struggled against Mbappe all game long. The Frenchman was in top form, despite touching the ball only 35 times, the lowest tally of the 22 starters. In the event that you thought that the incident with Olivier Giroud would affect him, we saw tonight that the appropriate response was plainly no. His threatening run behind Hummels was a large reason for the own goal; he later scored a fabulous goal that was disallowed for offside, and then he was offside once more, this time by the narrowest of edges, ahead of setting up Karim Benzema for a goal ruled out by VAR. That isn’t in any event, accounting for the marvelous ball he played to put in Rabiot, who hit the post, or the fact that he could have drawn a penalty on another occasion.

In 2016 and 2018, France started their tournaments very slowly, against Romania and Australia, respectively. This time, they are already in command and impressive, yet with a couple of pinion wheels to spare.

“Tactical discipline is so important in a game like this. We were so strong tactically tonight – we showed great things,” said Rabiot. “We are happy. We were the last team to play and we had to send a message to the other teams. We had to show that we are not world champions for no reason.”

Tonight, that message was received loud and clear.


Here’s who won gold medals at the Olympics on Tuesday



It was a day to remember in the track and field events, with Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah completing a historic sprint double-double and Norway’s Karsten Warholm smashing the 400m hurdles world record on his way to gold. 26 gold medals in all were won Tuesday at the Tokyo Olympics. Here are the latest winners who are taking home gold:

Artistic Gymnastics:

Men’s Parallel Bars: Zou Jingyuan, China

Women’s Balance Beam: Guan Chenchen, China

Men’s Horizontal Bar: Daiki Hashimoto, Japan

Track and Field:

Women’s Long Jump: Malaika Mihambo, Germany

Men’s 400m Hurdles: Karsten Warholm, Norway

Men’s Pole Vault: Armand Duplantis, Sweden

Women’s Hammer Throw: Anita Wlodarczyk, Poland

Women’s 800 meters: Athing Mu, United States

Women’s 200 meters: Elaine Thompson-Herah, Jamaica


Women’s Feather: Sena Irie, Japan

Men’s Welter: Roniel Iglesias, Cuba

Canoe Sprint

Women’s Kayak Single 200m: Lisa Carrington, New Zealand

Men’s Canoe Double 1000m: Cuba

Men’s Kayak Single 1000m: Balint Kopasz, Hungary

Women’s Kayak Double 500m: New Zealand

Cycling Track

Women’s Team Pursuit: Germany

Men’s Team Sprint: Netherlands


Men’s 3 meter Springboard: Xie Siyi, China


Women’s Skiff-49er FX: Brazil

Men’s Skiff-49er: Great Britain

Men’s One Person Dinghy (Heavyweight): Giles Scott, Great Britain

Mixed Multihull-Nacra 17 Foiling: Italy


Men’s 109kg: Akbar Djuraev, Uzbekistan


Men’s Greco-Roman 77kg: Tamas Lorincz, Hungary

Men’s Greco-Roman 97kg : Musa Evloev, Russian Olympic Committee

Women’s Freestyle 68kg: Tamyra Mensah Stock, United States

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Latest from Tokyo Olympics 2020



Karsten Warholm smashes world record to win the men’s 400 meters hurdles

History was made on the track Tuesday morning in the men’s 400 meters hurdles final.

Norway’s Karsten Warholm took gold, establishing a worldwide best of 45.94 and breaking the 46-second imprint for the first run through.

American silver medalist Rai Benjamin pushed Warholm as far as possible, clocking in at 46.17 — effectively inside the previous world record of 46.70, set by the Norwegian on July 1. Before that, the 400 meters hurdles world record hadn’t been broken since 1992.

As per NBC, three of the four quickest occasions ever in the event were run in the Tokyo final.

Simone Biles is required to partake in the present equilibrium bar final

Group USA athlete Simone Biles will partake in Tuesday’s equilibrium bar final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, USA Gymnastics has affirmed.

Biles — considered probably the greatest acrobat ever — participated in the Olympic gymnastic capabilities on July 25 and afterward in the US’ vault pivot in the women’s group final on July 27 before withdrawing from cutthroat activity, citing mental health concerns.

A tweet from USA Gymnastics on Monday read: “We are so eager to affirm that you will see two U.S. competitors yet to be determined bar final tomorrow — Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!! Can hardly wait to watch you both!”

The 24-year-old Biles, who won a silver award as part of the US group’s second spot finish in the group final, then, at that point withdrew from four individual finals at the Tokyo Games — the overall individual contest, the vault, the lopsided bars and floor.

Biles won four golds in the 2016 Rio Olympics and Tuesday’s equilibrium pillar will be her last chance to contend at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Poland awards humanitarian visa to Belarusian runner Kristina Timanovskaya

Belarusian runner Kristina Timanovskaya received a humanitarian visa from Poland on Monday, hours after she refused to load onto a trip out of Japan saying she was being forced to return to her local country without wanting to and that she feared arrest.

He later revealed to Reuters that the 24-year-old Olympic competitor was anticipating traveling to Poland before long. “As indicated by her decision, that is the thing that our emissary heard in Tokyo, she’s intending to come to Poland in days to come to be here in Warsaw. What’s more, on the off chance that she might want… she is free to seek after her wearing career in Poland,” Przydacz said.

Prior Monday, Reuters reported that Timanovskaya had been seen entering the Polish embassy.

Timanovskaya was set to contend in the women’s 200 meters at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday however said representatives of the Belarus public group attempted to forcibly send her back to her home nation after she scrutinized public wearing experts for entering her into the 4×400 meter relay without her assent.

Group officials went to the Olympic Village on Sunday evening and requested that she “pack her assets as a decision had been made for her to return to Minsk,” said Anatol Kotau, of the Belarus Sports Solidarity Foundation, which represents competitors repressed by Belarusian specialists, and who is in direct contact with Timanovskaya.

The Belarus Embassy in Tokyo said in a statement on Monday that Belarusian diplomats showed up at the air terminal on Sunday to “explain the conditions” and provide “possible consular and legitimate help if important,” yet couldn’t acquire any information about Timanovskaya from Japanese representatives. The statement added that the competitor has not been in touch with the embassy.

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Sunday saw 26 gold medals awarded at the Tokyo Olympics



Italy took home two gold medals in a thrilling day of track and field, with Gianmarco Tamberi winning in men’s high jump and Lamont Marcell Jacobs edging out the competition to earn the country’s first ever men’s 100m crown.

Here is a full list of the gold medal winners from Sunday:

Artistic Gymnastics

Men’s Floor Exercise: Artem Dolgopyat, Israel

Women’s Vault: Rebeca Andrade, Brazil

Men’s Pommel Horse: Max Whitlock, Great Britain

Women’s Uneven Bars: Nina Derwael, Belgium


Women’s Shot Put: Gong Lijiao, China

Men’s High Jump: Mutaz Essa Barshim, Qatar and Gianmarco Tamberi, Italy

Women’s Triple Jump: Yulimar Rojas, Venezuela

Men’s 100m: Lamont Marcell Jacobs, Italy


Women’s Singles: Chen Yufei, China

Cycling BMX Freestyle

Women’s Park: Charlotte Worthington, Great Britain

Men’s Park: Logan Martin, Australia


Women’s 3m Springboard: Shi Tingmao, China


Men’s Foil Team: France


Men’s Individual Stroke Play: Xander Schauffele, United States


Men’s One Person Dinghy-Laser: Matt Wearn, Australia

Women’s One Person Dinghy-Laser Radial: Anne-Marie Rindom, Denmark


Men’s 50m Freestyle: Caeleb Dressel, United States

Women’s 50m Freestyle: Emma McKeon, Australia

Men’s 1500m Freestyle: Robert Finke, United States

Women’s 4 X 100m Medley Relay: Australia

Men’s 4 X 100m Medley Relay: United States


Women’s Doubles: Barbora Krejcikova/Katerina Siniakova, Czech Republic

Men’s Singles: Alexander Zverev, Germany

Mixed Doubles: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova/Andrey Rublev, Russian Olympic Committee


Women’s 76kg: Neisi Patricia Dajomes Barrera, Ecuador

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