HYDE PARK WORLD CUP SCREENING
London’s Hyde Park will host a huge public screening of England’s semi-final against Croatia.
The free event will only be open to ticket holders and has been organised by the Mayor of London and the Department for Digital,Culture, Media and Sport.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:
“I am sure Londoners of all ages and backgrounds will come together in their thousands at Hyde Park to cheer England on what could be an historic night.”
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock, added:
“Wednesday is a special day for our nation and I’m thrilled people will be able to come from far and wide to watch the game and cheer on England together.”
Up to 30,000 tickets will be available and ballot registration will start at 4pm.
DIER: WE ARE HUNGRY FOR SUCCESS
Check out this clip with Eric Dier who says the England players feel the job is only half done..
JACK IS A HAMMER
Well, he may not be part of the England set-up any more but it’s an exciting time for Jack Wilshere – he’s just signed a three-year deal with West Ham.
“It feels good, it feels special,” Wilshere says, as he switches to the club he supported as a boy.
“People will have seen the picture of me in a West Ham shirt and I’ve got good memories of my childhood supporting West Ham, watching them at Upton Park. It feels good and of course my family and a few of my friends are West Ham fans so everyone’s buzzing.”
DIER ON MODRIC-RAKITIC
So what does Dier make of two opponents on Wednesday, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic?
“Two fantastic players. World class players in their positions that have been playing at an extremely high level for their clubs.
“I’ve never played against Rakitic before so it’s difficult to observe as much. But I’ve played against Modric twice this year and obviously everyone knows from his time in the Premier League that he’s a fantastic player.
“He can create magical moments and he’s been one of the outstanding performers so far in this World Cup.
“Two great players, everyone knows that, but hopefully we can do our job as a team and individuals to contain them.”
‘TRIPPIER’S BEEN FANTASTIC’
Eric Dier has also been having his say on the contribution being made by Tottenham teammate Kieran Trippier:
“He’s had a fantastic tournament. I’m so, so happy for him I think it [recognition] is fully deserved. I think this season and last season but especially this season at Tottenham he has come on so much.
“Maybe that has been noticed as much as it should have been. It is not so much of a surprise [to me] but think the level he has shown throughout this tournament has been incredible.
“His consistency – everyone is trying to compare him to Beckham, which is obviously fantastic for him. His delivery, aggression both offensively and defensively,
“I think he has been fantastic, his consistency has been incredible and I think he fully deserves it [all the recognition/plaudits that is coming his way].”
TAKING IT GAME BY GAME
So does Mr Dier feel the weight of history on his shoulders?
“No not yet we are just focusing on the semi-final right now, like we said before we are just going game by game.
“We’re purely focusing on what is in front us and it will continue to be on that until Wednesday.”
That’s a view echoed by Eric Dier who’s also been talking to the world’s press this afternoon.
“It’s easy to relax in the hotel, we have fantastic facilities there that allow us to feel really comfortable.
“Back home in our day-to-day lives we would do those kind of things.
We can go out for a walk, spend some time together and see a bit of Repino and St Petersburg, we’ve been able to do both.
‘IT’S LIKE A GOOD HOLIDAY’
England players bored at the team hotel?
Far from it, says Mr Young:
“A lot has been said of being bored but it’s not felt like that.
“It’s felt like a good holiday and we are enjoying every moment. There is no boredom.
“Everyone gets on well and if you’ve got that spirit off the pitch you take it onto the pitch.”
Keeping things in perspective, Young says England are more than aware of the threat posed by Croatia.
“Croatia are a very good team. They are not in the semi-final for no reason. We have got to be prepared for them.
“Luka Modric is a fantastic player but they have players around the squad who are going to be difficult opponents.”
YOUNG: WE CAN WIN IT
Here’s a clip now from Young’s news conference and he says England have put themselves in a great position to win the World Cup.
YOUNG: TEAM SPIRIT IS FANTASTIC
Okay, the birthday boy has been speaking and Ashley Young says the England squad are focused and not getting carried away as they showed against Sweden on Saturday.
“Obviously it was nice to get the victory, I think the celebrations were muted because we know there are still big games coming up.
“There’s a lot to play for, I’ve said all along the team spirit we’ve got here has been fantastic and I think you saw the way we celebrated after the game.
“We get ourselves back to the hotel, recover, prepare in the right way and go for the next game.”
ASHLEY YOUNG UP SOON
Standby folks, Ashley Young will be speaking at a news conference in a few minutes.
It’s a special birthday treat!
HENDERSON RESPONDING WELL
Sky Sports News understands that Jordan Henderson has recovered well from the tight hamstring that saw him substituted in the quarter-final against Sweden, and he took a full part in the private training session England held this morning.
He was treated by England’s physios during yesterday’s rest day, and has responded well to that treatment.
Barring any relapse, he should be fit for selection for the semi final.
Jamie Vardy also took some part in training today, but it is unclear to what level of intensity.
ENRIQUE NAMED SPAIN BOSS
Luis Enrique has been appointed as the new coach of Spain, the national federation has announced.
HART TURNS TO CRICKET
Spare a thought for Joe Hart who played cricket on Saturday rather than watch Jordan Pickford keep a clean sheet for England in the World Cup quarter-finals.
The 31-year-old, who played in nine of the 10 qualifiers, said he was “gutted” at not making Gareth Southgate’s squad and turned out for his hometown cricket club, Shrewsbury.
While England were beating Sweden 2-0, Hart scored six runs batting at number nine and took a catch in the Birmingham League Premier Division match against Knowle and Dorridge.
FIFA COUNT ON GEIGER
Mark Geiger, the referee whose performance in England’s last-16 victory over Colombia was widely condemned, has been retained by FIFA for the closing stages of the tournament.
The American official is one of 12 referees kept on by the governing body for the semi-final, third-place play-off and final.
Geiger was criticised for losing control in the ill-tempered knockout clash in Moscow, failing to send off Wilmar Barrios for a headbutt and seemingly allowing the game to descend into a bitter squabble.
HENDERSON AND VARDY TRAIN
Encouraging news coming out of the England camp folks.
All 23 members of the squad are training, including therefore Messrs Henderson and Vardy.
BRAZIL ARRIVE HOME
Brazil receive a warm welcome home despite the defeat to Belgium in the quarter-finals.
Ashley Young thanks Marcus Rashford for his earlier birthday wishes.
‘THIERRY IS VERY, VERY SPECIAL’
The Belgium manager also had time for a few glowing words about his trusty assistant Thierry Henry who won the World Cup with France as a player in 1998.
“Thierry is someone who lives for football.
“He’s a very, very special guy.
“He brings to the table his experience as winner of a World Cup… that’s golden for you to have.”
‘MBAPPE IS EXCEPTIONAL’
Martinez was also asked how they plan to stop Kylian Mbappe.
“That’s a very tough thing to do.
“I don’t think there’s an easy answer for that because Mbappe is an exceptional player under those circumstances.
“We will need to anticipate him and be well-positioned. We need to defend spaces more than the player himself. But we are not going to forget the others since France has a very complete attacking pattern.”
‘WE MUST PLAY WITHOUT FEAR’
Right, let’s get some quotes now from Belgium boss Roberto Martinez who is urging his players to have a fearless approach to their semi-final against France.
He told ESPN: “This group has to play with no fear at all. “If we approach this match with fear within us, we will bring ourselves down and we’d be able to do so much less than what we can actually do.
“To play without fear would probably be the one thing which would help us the most.”
HURST: KEEP GOING, RAHEEM
From one World Cup winner to another, probably.
‘WE FEAR NOBODY’
And while we’re talking about Belgium ahead of their semi against France here’s Nacer Chadli who says they are afraid of nobody after beating Brazil.
‘HENRY EXPERIENCE IMPORTANT’
Thomas Vermaelen believes Thierry Henry’s experience of winning major tournaments is a massive help to the Belgium squad.
LINGARD LOVES A BIT OF DRAKE
Jesse Lingard has clearly been enjoying Drake’s new album ‘Scorpion’, he’s been tweeting lyrics to the Canadian rapper’s song Sandra’s Rose.
NEXT SPAIN BOSS ANNOUNCED TODAY?
Luis Rubiales, president of Spain’s football federation, confirms that their next boss could be confirmed today.
“In a while there is a board meeting and it is possible that when it finishes we will communicate the name of the new coach,” said Rubiales.
JUST NOT CRICKET!
Yorkshire have postponed Wednesday’s Vitality Blast fixture with Derbyshire to avoid a clash with England’s World Cup semi-final against Croatia.
The Twenty20 match at Headingley was due to begin at 6.30pm – 30 minutes before the football – but Yorkshire have announced it has now been rescheduled for July 30.
A statement read: “Following England’s progression to the semi-final of the FIFA World Cup, Yorkshire County Cricket Club believe that it is in the best interests of the spectators to reschedule the fixture.
“The decision has taken into consideration travel advice for the Headingley area on Wednesday night.”
‘IT’S COMING HOME’
Now, as you would probably expect ‘Three Lions’ has become the soundtrack to the summer and 22 years after it was first released it has gone back to number one in the music charts.
So in case you need a reminder of how it goes..here you are.
Baddiel, Skinner & Lightning Seeds Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home)
‘HENRY AGAINST FRANCE WILL BE WEIRD’
Olivier Giroud is looking forward to lining up against Belgium and showing Thierry Henry he was wrong not to pick France.
VERSTERGAARD JOINING SAINTS
Remember Jannik Vestergaard who was at the heart of Denmark’s defence?
Well, Sky understands Southampton have agreed an £18m fee with Borussia Monchengladbach for him.
He’ll have a medical this week and personal terms are not expected to be a problem.
YOUNG FRONTING UP TODAY
Word coming out of Repino is that Ashley Young will take centre stage at a news conference today.
It’s at 1.30pm and, of course, we’ll have all the key lines right here!
NEYMAR: SADDEST MOMENT OF CAREER
Neymar reflects on Brazil’s exit from the World Cup:
“I can say that it is the saddest moment of my career, the pain is very great because we knew we could get there, we knew we had the conditions to go further, to make history .. but it was not this time.
“Difficult to find the strength to want to play football again, but I’m sure God will give me enough strength to face anything, so I’ll never stop thanking God, even in defeat … because I know that your way is much better than mine ❤️
“Very happy to be part of this team, I am proud of all, interrupted our dream but they did not get out of our head and neither of our hearts ❤️”
‘NO EGOS IN ENGLAND DRESSING ROOM’
England’s World Cup success has been down to a lack of egos in the squad, according to the nation’s most capped player – Peter Shilton.
Have a listen!
HENDERSON INJURY DOUBT
Right, here’s news of a potentially major blow for England.
Sky Sports News understands Jordan Henderson is a concern for the semi-final against Croatia with a tight hamstring.
We’ll have much on that throughout the day.
ENRIQUE TO BE NAMED SPAIN COACH
Expect big developments in Spain today – former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique is to be named as the new Spain coach, according to widespread reports in the Spanish media.
Leading newspaper Marca say on their front cover the 48-year-old has been chosen by Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales as the successor to Julen Lopetegui, who was sacked the day before the World Cup.
The story is echoed by radio station Onda Cero and the website of daily AS. The Federation have scheduled a media conference on Monday to announce changes to the organisation’s structure after Fernando Hierro, who took charge of the team during the World Cup, left his role as sporting director.
‘BIGGER THAN 66’
So, a very good morning to you all.
Has it sunk in yet?
England in a World Cup semi-final for only the third time ever!
No reason why we can’t dream a little bit now and it seems Gareth Southgate is doing a little dreaming himself and who can blame him?