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England eye Euro 2020 last 16 in Scotland showdown, Sweden close in on knockouts

The oldest and most played fixture in international football takes place at a major tournament for just the second time with the Scots aiming to avenge England’s 2-0 win at Euro 96.

England manager Gareth Southgate was part of that winning side 25 years ago, but does not want his players to be distracted by the acrimony that surrounds a meeting with Scotland.

“For the fans and for us it is a big occasion but it is another opportunity for three points and our objective is qualification. That is what we have got to focus on,” said Southgate.

“I want them to approach it like any other game of football and focus on playing well and (they) don’t need to emphasise the other parts too much.”

Despite having just 2,500 tickets for the 22,500 crowd limited by coronavirus restrictions, Scottish fans have descended on London in their thousands.

After a 23-year wait to reach a major finals, the Scots were stung by Patrik Schick’s double in a 2-0 loss to the Czech Republic on Monday.

Another defeat would leave Steve Clarke’s men needing to beat World Cup finalists Croatia heavily in their final game and other results to go their way to have any chance of reaching the knockout stage for the first time.

Scotland’s chances of causing an upset have received a massive boost with the return of Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney from a hamstring injury.

“We need him back. He’s a top player and an amazing character and someone we want back in the team,” said Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay.

“He’s someone we need and we rely on him a lot for what he brings to the squad.”

England also have a full complement of players to choose from with United captain Harry Maguire back in contention after recovering from ankle ligament damage.

Southgate’s men avenged their World Cup semi-final defeat by Croatia to get off to a winning start in the European Championship for the first time on Sunday.

Croatia picked up their first point in Group D with a 1-1 draw against the Czech Republic in Glasgow.

Czech striker Schick’s first-half penalty gave him the early lead in the race for the Golden Boot with his third goal of the tournament, but Perisic’s excellent 47th-minute strike earned the World Cup runners-up a draw.

Slovakia blew the chance to qualify for the last 16 with a match to spare after losing to Sweden in Saint Petersburg and conceding top spot in Group E to their opponents.

The Swedes were heavily criticised for their ultra-defensive approach in their opening match, a goalless draw with Spain, but Janne Andersson’s team were far more forward-looking on Friday.

Emil Forsberg’s penalty 13 minutes from the end earned Sweden a win which gives them four points, one more than second-placed Slovakia who had needed a win if they were to seal early passage to the next round.

Spain sit third in the group with a single point ahead of their game against Poland in Seville on Saturday, boosted by the return of captain Sergio Busquets to Luis Enrique’s squad after testing negative for Covid-19.

Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen was released from hospital following a “successful operation” six days after suffering a cardiac arrest against Finland.

Doctors had said Thursday that Eriksen, 29, would have a heart defibrillator implanted to regulate his heart rhythm, casting doubt over whether he will be able to play again.

“The operation went well, and I am doing well under the circumstances,” Eriksen said in a statement from the Danish Football Union.

“Thank you for the massive number of greetings — it has been incredible to see and feel.”

Eriksen was able to visit his team-mates at their training base in Helsingor, north of the Danish capital. He will now return home to spend time with his family.

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