It’s been known for years that UFC superstar Conor McGregor wants to break into the fight promotion business with his company, McGregor Sports and Entertainment.
Well, “Notorious” took to Twitter on Sunday to suggest a possible bout that his promotion could put on. The fight would be between The Ultimate Fighter season one middleweight winner Diego Sanchez and his former coach and mentor, Joshua Fabia.
Fabia and Sanchez’s relationship has been a major talking point in the MMA community since Sanchez was pulled from his retirement fight against Donald Cerrone earlier in May. “Nightmare” was also released by the UFC.
The MMA community has taken issue with Fabia and the way he coached and guided Sanchez. The list of controversies includes a leaked video of Sanchez hanging from the ceiling, closing his eyes while Fabia hits him. Watch below:
Countless fighters and MMA figures reached out to Sanchez, personally and over social media, to express their worry about Fabia. One person who tweeted about Nightmare is McGregor. After footage of Fabia’s training session with Sanchez was shared on social media, McGregor tweeted: “This is just madness. I’ll break this things nose in half. This not the move Diego, my bro. I been with ye the whole way, and still am. But this is not on. It was unfair treatment by commentary and fans on your last performances imo, for sure. But not on this guy, 0-0. Ditch.”
Last week, Sanchez announced that he had split professionally from Fabia.
And McGregor now has a suggestion, likely in jest:
“Sanchez vs Fabia,” the Irishman tweeted on Sunday. “McGregor Sports and Entertainment.”
Sanchez vs Fabia.
McGregor Sports and Entertainment.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 23, 2021
McGregor Garnered a Big Response on Twitter for the Tweet
Several Twitter users commented on McGregor’s tweet, supporting the proposed matchup.
A UFC stats page shared a mock fight poster of Sanchez vs. Fabia, writing, “Can’t wait.”
Sanchez vs Fabia.
McGregor Sports and Entertainment.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) May 23, 2021
One fan wrote, “The only fight we need.” And another tweeted, “The amount of money I’d spend for this fight.”
Even UFC color commentator Jon Anik shared his excitement, writing: “Ha. Take my money.”
McGregor Found Fabia’s Training Exercise With Sanchez “Preposterous”
In a now-deleted tweet, McGregor gave more of his thoughts on Fabia’s training video with Sanchez. Although “Notorious” is a proponent of “body hardening work,” he believes Fabia’s approach is “preposterous.”
“I’m actually on the side of body hardening work also,” McGregor tweeted. “Working the body etc. But doing it hanging upside down, and getting the dome of the head struck repeatedly, while covering vision, is preposterous! Grab this guy by the ears and head butt him at his front door first thing.”
With Sanchez’s departure from the UFC, it’s unclear if he will fight again. He has a professional MMA record of 30-13, fighting in the promotion from 2005 to 2021.
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Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori 2 headline a stacked UFC 263 card in a battle for the vacant middleweight title at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona on Saturday.
Here’s everything you need to know to buy the UFC 263 PPV:
How to Buy UFC 263 If You Don’t Have ESPN+
If you don’t have ESPN+, you can get a special bundle deal that includes a one-year subscription to ESPN+ ($59.99 value) and the UFC 263 PPV ($69.99 value) for $89.98, which works out to over 30 percent savings.
Or, if you want to purchase them separately, you can first subscribe to a month of ESPN+ right here ($5.99 for ESPN+, or $13.99 for a bundle of ESPN+, Hulu and Disney+), then follow the below directions for existing ESPN+ subscribers.
However, with the amount of UFC (and other sports) content on ESPN+, most MMA fans are probably going to keep ESPN+ long-term, meaning the value of the bundle is the better way to go if you don’t already have ESPN+.
How to Order UFC 263 If You Already Have ESPN+
Current ESPN+ subscribers can order the UFC 263 PPV by itself for just $69.99. Or, if you only have a monthly subscription (and don’t have the Disney+ bundle), you can still get the special bundle that includes a year of ESPN+ and the UFC 262 PPV. The only difference is that instead of starting a new ESPN+ subscription, you’ll just extend your current subscription by a year and get the UFC 262 PPV for a total of $89.98.
Where to Watch UFC 263
Once you’re signed up for ESPN+ and you’ve purchased the PPV, you’ll be able to watch UFC 263 on your computer via ESPN.com, or you can watch on the ESPN app on any compatible connected-to-TV streaming device, such as:
Roku or Roku TV
Amazon Fire Stick or Fire TV
PlayStation 4 or 5
Xbox One or Series X/S
iPhone or iPad
Android phone or tablet
Samsung Smart TV
For all of those options, you’ll need to sign in with your ESPN+ account to watch early prelims (ESPN+), prelims (ESPN+) and the main card (ESPN+ PPV).
Two belts! Two rematches!
#UFC263 is official for June 12. pic.twitter.com/TONynCCR3X
— UFC (@ufc) April 25, 2021
UFC 263 Preview
UFC 263: Adesanya vs. Vettori 2 which is scheduled to take place on June 12, 2021, at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, United States. UFC is targeting a rematch between Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori for the Middleweight Championship fight.
Also, A UFC Flyweight Championship rematch between the current champion Deiveson Figueiredo and former title challenger Brandon Moreno is expected to take place at this event.
A light heavyweight bout between Paul Craig and Jamahal Hill is expected to take place at the event. They both were scheduled to take place at UFC on ESPN: Brunson vs. Holland. However, on March 10, Hill withdrew from that event after testing positive for COVID-19.
A welterweight bout between Leon Edwards and former UFC Lightweight Championship challenger and The Ultimate Fighter 5 lightweight winner Nate Diaz would mark the first five-round non-title co-main event in UFC history. Initially, the bout was scheduled to happen at UFC 262. However, Diaz pulled out due to a minor injury in early May and the bout was postponed to this event.
UFC 263 Main Card
UFC Middleweight Championship bout: Israel Adesanya (c) vs. Marvin Vettori
UFC Flyweight Championship bout: Deiveson Figueiredo (c) vs Brandon Moreno
UFC Welterweight Bout: Nate Diaz Vs. Leon Edwards
Light Heavyweight bout: Paul Craig vs. Jamahal Hill
Preliminary card (ESPN/ESPN+)
Lightweight: Drew Dober vs. Brad Riddell
Light Heavyweight: Eryk Anders vs. Darren Stewart
Women’s Flyweight: Lauren Murphy vs. Joanne Calderwood
Featherweight: Movsar Evloev vs. Hakeem Dawodu
Early preliminary card (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass)
Women’s Bantamweight: Pannie Kianzad vs. Alexis Davis
Lightweight: Frank Camacho vs. Matt Frevola
Women’s Bantamweight: Sijara Eubanks vs. Karol Rosa
Featherweight: Chase Hooper vs. Steven Peterson
Lightweight: Fares Ziam vs. Luigi Vendramini
Heavyweight: Carlos Felipe vs. Jake Collier
Whiplash has become a very common injury that occurs to the neck and head due to the sudden acceleration and deceleration force, especially in the vehicle. Hence, increasing number of vehicles are implementing whiplash protection system in their car models to offer better safety.
Manufacturers are developing anti-whiplash seats for the cars to minimize neck injury owing to the rapid movement. Key market players are also integrating sensing systems in the WPS to offer more protection and minimize the impact. These sensing systems are being developed in such a way that it can sense collision and severity of the impact and provide support at a very initial stage, minimizing the possibility of an injury.
According to the latest report by Fact.MR, the global automotive whiplash protection system market is expected to witness robust growth. The market is estimated to register 6.9% CAGR during the forecast period 2017-2022. Owing to the rise in accidents resulting in the injuries in the neck and head is driving the demand for whiplash protection system in the vehicle.
5 Forecast Highlights on Global Automotive Whiplash Protection System (WPS) Market
• North America is expected to remain dominant in the global automotive Whiplash Protection System (WPS) market. By the end of 2022, North America automotive WPS market is estimated to surpass US$ 700 million. Owing to the government introducing regulations and safety standards for the automotive industry, hence, majority of manufacturers are implementing safety systems in vehicles. This is driving the automotive WPS market in North America.
• Europe is expected to emerge as the second most lucrative market. Recent advances in the vehicle safety rating system in the region is contributing to the growth of the automotive WPS market in Europe.
• Reactive head restraints-RHR system is expected to the most preferred automotive whiplash protection system. By the end of 2022, reactive head restraints system is estimated to reach nearly US$ 600 million revenue. Meanwhile, pendulum system is also expected to show impressive growth during the forecast period.
• Sales of the automotive whiplash protection system is expected to be highest through OEM. Accounting for more than three-fourth of the revenue share by the end of 2017, OEM as a sales channel is estimated to create an incremental opportunity of more than US$ 500 million between 2017 and 2022.
The report offers detailed profile of the leading players in the global market for automotive whiplash protection system (WPS), which will be active through 2022. These include companies such as Takata Corporation, Autoliv Inc., Robert Bosch GMBHm, Continental AG, Delphi Automotive Plc, Hyundai Mobis Co., Ltd, ZF Friedrichshafen AG, Lear Corporation, Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp., and GRAMMER AG.
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LOS ANGELES — Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker said he received eight shots of a numbing agent when his broken nose was put back in place in between Games 2 and 3 of the Western Conference finals. And then, wearing a clear mask to protect his face, Booker went out and missed twice that many shots in Thursday’s 106-92 loss to the LA Clippers in Game 3.
Booker, who came into the night averaging 28.3 points in the playoffs, went just 5-for-21 from the field (1-for-7 from 3) and finished with 15 points as the Clippers snapped the Suns’ nine-game postseason winning streak to draw within 2-1 in the series.
It was just the third time in Booker’s career that he played 40 or more minutes and scored 15 points or fewer, according to research by ESPN Stats & Information.
Despite his struggles, the All-Star guard wouldn’t blame his scoring woes on his nose, which he broke in three places during a head-on collision with Clippers guard Patrick Beverley in Game 2 on Tuesday.
“The nose feels fine,” Booker said. “We just lost the game.”
The nose didn’t feel so fine just a day ago when, prior to the Suns’ team flight from Phoenix to L.A., Booker underwent a fast-tracked tune-up.
“That was probably the worst part,” he said, with some bruising under his eyes showing above his swollen cheeks. “It’s a procedure that they usually say they put you under [anesthesia] for, but we had a flight out a couple hours later, so they just numbed it up — all over the place, it felt like.
“Like eight shots to numb it up and then they go in there and put it back — they break it again. They break it back in place.”
Booker vowed the Suns’ confidence was not broken, even though just about everything that could have gone wrong for Phoenix did — from Booker’s shooting, to Chris Paul going an equally inept 5-for-19 in his return from an eight-day absence because of the league’s health and safety protocols, to Jae Crowder fouling out, to Cameron Payne playing just four minutes before spraining his left ankle.
“The spirit is high,” Booker said. “We move on to the next one. That’s what type of team we are. We’ve been like that the whole season, so we’ll stick with that. We’ll come in tomorrow, go over film, regroup and get ready for Game 4.”
Coming into Game 3, Booker said he sought the advice of another former masked shooting guard with a killer midrange game, Richard “Rip” Hamilton, who famously wore a protective faceguard for most of his career.
“He’s my favorite player of all time,” Booker said. “I’ve had short conversations with him in the past, and I thought this was the perfect time to talk to him some more and get some advice.”
Booker said Hamilton told him he wore the mask long after the broken nose he suffered during the 2003-04 season healed because it put him in character.
“He felt comfortable getting in the paint. He felt like he had extra protection, he had an extra layer,” Booker relayed. “He said, ‘Just don’t worry about it. Don’t take it off when you shoot free throws, and just don’t let it be a distraction to you.’”
He said that the mask “doesn’t affect” him, but Beverley’s defense might have. Over the past two games of the series, Booker shot just 3-for-15 with the Clippers guard defending him, according to data collected by ESPN Stats & Information.
“He’s ultra aggressive,” Booker said of Beverley. “He’s denying, limiting touches. He has one objective out there, and we understand that. So I feel like other things should open up, and we have to look at the film and see what’s open and see what we can get.”
Suns coach Monty Williams said he knows Booker will “make no excuses” for his performance — whether he’s able to smell the popcorn in the stands or not — but he will get in his ear prior to Game 4.
“Go out there and hoop,” Williams said, when asked to share the message he’ll impart. “Don’t forget who you are.”
As off as Booker and Paul were — their 10-for-40 (25%) combined output was the worst field goal percentage by All-Star teammates in a playoff game since 1957, according to the Elias Sports Bureau — they were on the same page when it came to processing the loss.
“He got the mask. He’s fine,” Paul said. “We’re not one of those teams looking for excuses and all that stuff. Give [the Clippers] their credit, they played really well tonight. We’ll get ready for Game 4.”
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Six-time Stanley Cup Champion Mark Messier is joining ESPN with a multiyear agreement to contribute to the network’s NHL coverage, beginning next season.
Messier will be a studio analyst when NHL games return to ABC, ESPN, ESPN+ and Hulu for the 2021-22 season.
“The game of hockey, and the NHL, have afforded me enormous opportunity, success and experiences on the ice and in my life,” Messier said in a statement announcing the news. “My passion for the game is as strong as it has ever been and I am looking forward to sharing that passion, plus my insights and analysis with the sport’s incredible fans. The NHL is beginning a new era with ESPN and The Walt Disney Company — with an exciting, evolving game and phenomenally talented players — and I am thrilled to be a part of the team.”
Mark Messier, who won his sixth and final Stanley Cup championship with the Rangers in 1994, is joining ESPN as a studio analyst. Linda Cataffo/Getty Images
Messier was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007 after a 25-year NHL career with the Edmonton Oilers, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. He is ninth all-time with 694 goals and third all-time with 1,887 points. He was a two time Hart Trophy winner (1990, ’92) as the NHL’s MVP and won the Conn Smythe trophy as the NHL’s playoff MVP in 1984. He won five Stanley Cups (1983-84, 1984-85, 1986-87, 1987-88, 1989-90) with the Oilers and one with the Rangers, helping the franchise end a 54-year title drought in 1994.
“Mark has been one of the NHL’s biggest and most iconic stars, and we are ecstatic to have him be a large part of our upcoming hockey coverage. As a six-time Stanley Cup Champion, he will bring incredible insight, knowledge and analysis to ESPN and The Walt Disney Company that will both resonate with fans, and connect more and more of them to the game and to the league,” Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president and executive editor, production, said in the statement.
ESPN and the NHL announced a seven-year multiplatform deal in March, returning hockey to ESPN for the first time since 2004.
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MIAMI — Heat guard Tyler Herro was working out Thursday morning with assistant coaches Chris Quinn and Eric Glass, when they were told there was a more pressing need.
Before long, Herro, Quinn and Glass had left the team’s arena for the short drive north to Surfside, Florida, where a 12-story beachfront condo building collapsed around 1:30 a.m. At least one person was killed, dozens were unaccounted for and teams of rescuers were searching rubble with hope of finding anyone alive.
The Heat trio helped load a truck with water, food and other essentials.
We were devastated to hear of the catastrophic Champlain Towers building collapse in Surfside. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. We are thankful for the first responders who are working around the clock in rescue efforts.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) June 24, 2021
“This is 12 miles from our arena,” Heat vice president and charitable fund executive director Steve Stowe said. “We heard about this, and our immediate reaction was that we had to find a way to help.”
Herro also addressed the frontline workers, thanking them for their heroism and efforts.
The Heat, through some of their corporate partners like World Central Kitchen and Direct Relief, were arranging for more help to arrive. Food trucks were secured to keep rescuers and other personnel at the scene fed through hot meals and grab-and-go boxes, and the team was working to help find accommodations for the displaced by the collapse.
“These are the moments when a community has to come together, rise up and help,” Stowe said.
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LITTLE FALLS, N.J. — Yogi Berra once said, “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
Well, neither are postage stamps. They cost 55 cents for a forever stamp, and that’s the price for the Yogi Berra stamp issued Thursday by the U.S. Postal Service.
The stamp honoring the New York Yankees Hall of Famer and the man of endless philosophical musings was dedicated during a ceremony at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center in Little Falls, New Jersey. The stamp is now being sold at post offices nationwide.
“We hope this stamp will serve as a reminder of Yogi’s larger-than-life personality, both on and off the field,” said Ron Bloom, chairman of the U.S. Postal Service board of governors.
Bloom was joined at the ceremony by Berra’s sons Larry, Tim and Dale and sportscaster Bob Costas.
A family statement lauded the Postal Service for honoring a “baseball icon who demonstrated the right way to earn the respect of family, friends, competitors and people everywhere.”
Berra won three American League MVP awards, was an 18-time All-Star and played in the World Series in 14 of his 18 seasons in Yankees pinstripes.
After retiring in 1963, Berra took two teams to the World Series as a manager. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1972 and posthumously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He died in 2015 at 90.
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Billmeier, a former Pirates player, has been on coach Kevin Willard’s staff for 10 of 11 seasons, including the last six as an assistant coach. The Pirates won Big East Conference championships in 2016 and 2020 and earned four straight NCAA Tournament berths from 2016-19. A fifth straight bid in 2020 was upended by the pandemic.
Copeland, a Jersey City native who helped the Pirates reach two NCAA Tournaments, is returning to his alma mater. He spent the last four seasons as an assistant at Wagner College.
Billmeier and Copeland were teammates from 2003-06.
“Grant has been an integral member of our staff and the success we have been able to achieve here at Seton Hall,” Willard said. “The passion and energy he brings to work every single day are infectious, and he works very hard to ensure that our players get better on the court, in the classroom and in life.”
Billmeier has been instrumental in developing the Pirates’ big men, notably Angel Delgado, Romaro Gill and Sandro Mamukelashvili, who was one of three co-winner of the conference’s player of the year award this past season.
Copeland spent six seasons at Wagner, the first two as a graduate manager. Copeland played professionally both overseas and in Puerto Rico before becoming a coach.
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Timing is everything in sports. Success requires both quality and well-timed opportunity.
One might not figure that a year would make that much of a difference, but a few of the teams on display at Euro 2020 look quite a bit different than they would have had the tournament gone on as planned last summer. Certain players’ stock fell during that period of time — hello, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dayot Upamecano — but the delay created quite a bit of opportunity, both for some of the sport’s rising young stars and a few veterans who made particular use of the past 12 months.
Let’s take a look at 15 players who have especially benefited from the tournament’s odd timing.
Locatelli enjoyed a breakout year for Sassuolo in 2019-20 but didn’t make his Italian debut until September 2020. After a brilliant 2020-21 Serie A campaign — four goals, 38 chances created, 239 ball recoveries (fifth in the league) — he has quickly become a prime option for Italy manager Roberto Mancini.
The 23-year old has played 160 minutes in the Euros and made a lasting mark in Italy’s 3-0 win over Switzerland. He showed up in the box on a counterattack and poked in a cross from Domenico Berardi to make it 1-0 in the 26th minute, then boomed in a 23-yarder to put the match away in the 52nd minute. His game isn’t just about scoring, but he’s making the most of his chances.
– Euro 2020 on ESPN: Stream LIVE games and replays (U.S. only)
– European Soccer Pick ‘Em: Compete to win $10,000
– Euro 2020 bracket and fixture schedule
Half Dutch and half German, Gosens was not on his national team’s radar early in his career. He ground away at second-division Dutch club FC Dordrecht for one season, then moved to Heracles for two before attracting the attention of Serie A’s Atalanta in 2017, already aged 23.
Fast forward four seasons, and he was playing the match of his life in a must-win game against Portugal. The most natural wing-back in the German pool, he produced a goal and an assist against Portugal’s disheveled defense in a 4-2 win, and he created a dangerous chance for Toni Kroos during Germany’s comeback against Hungary. Less than a year after his initial call-up, he’s become one of Joachim Low’s most important players.
Benzema took the “timing is everything” theme to a new level in France’s draw against Portugal, scoring twice … at the same time. He scored one minute and 44 seconds into first-half stoppage time, then again at 46:44 of the second half. The goals were the 33-year old’s first for France in a non-friendly since the 2014 World Cup.
Ostracised from the national team for nearly six years due to his alleged role in a blackmail scandal, he was brought back to the team by manager Didier Deschamp, and he didn’t need much time to do what he always does: score goals. He has scored 360 of them in all club competitions, and after a long wait, he’s up to 29 for his country.
After a sluggish start in a must-win match against Russia, Denmark found the spark it was looking for when the 20-year old Damsgaard scythed an arcing, 25-yard goal past keeper Matvey Safonov. It was his third goal for his country since making his debut last November. And this came after he created two dangerous chances in an unfortunate loss to Belgium.
Used mostly as a left midfielder for Sampdoria, Damsgaard scored twice and created 25 chances in his first full Serie A season this year. Danish manager Kasper Hjulmand has used him in a more central attacking role at the Euros, and it has paid off. Safe to say, Denmark wouldn’t be in the round of 16 without him.
What a story. Phillips was born in Leeds and spent most of his youth career at Leeds United. He has played only for his hometown club in seven senior seasons, and after helping to lead Leeds back to the Premier League for the first time in 15 years last summer, he made his England debut at age 24 in September.
Thanks to England manager Gareth Southgate’s defensive predilection, Phillips played every minute of the group stage alongside a second defensive midfielder, Declan Rice. Considering Phillips led the team with 17 ball recoveries and England didn’t allow a single goal, it’s safe to say he did his job remarkably. He usually does.
After steadily improving over three and a half seasons with Belgium’s Genk, Maehle has seen his career take a rapid rise in the past year. He debuted for Denmark last September, then moved to Atalanta in January, where he quickly became a stalwart for the annual Champions League club.
At the Euros, the 24-year old has done a little bit of everything. He’s made 24 ball recoveries (second on the team), attempted seven shots (second) and created five chances (second), and he put away Denmark’s 4-1 win over Russia with a poised and precise 16-yard strike on a counter.
Luke Shaw | 25 | Defender | England
The 25-year-old made his England debut in 2014, when he was just months away from a Southampton-to-Manchester United transfer, but he had played just 60 total minutes for his country in the four years between summer 2016 and summer 2020. But his stock rose considerably during his brilliant 2020-21 campaign for United, and in two group-stage matches he created four scoring chances — including a gorgeous pass that resulted in an early shot off the bar for Raheem Sterling against the Czech Republic — with 13 ball recoveries.
Luke Shaw and Kalvin Philliips have been two surprise performers for England at Euro 2020. Vincent Mignott/DeFodi Images via Getty Images
The best version of Shaw both fulfills every defensive role required of a full-back and sends a delectable pass or two into dangerous areas each half. That’s the version of Shaw we saw in England’s last two matches.
Pedri | 18 | Midfielder | Spain
A year ago, Pedri was an exciting 17-year-old prospect, a mainstay at 2019’s U17 World Cup and a recent Barcelona addition. His future was obviously bright.
Almost instantaneously, his future became his present. Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman played him in 37 La Liga matches — he scored three times and created 39 chances — and he not only made his national team debut in March, he also played every minute of Spain’s bumpy group-stage journey. He averaged more than a touch per minute and completed 90% of his nearly 79 pass attempts per game. Almost overnight he has become one of this country’s most reliable and trusted ball progressors.
After a brilliant run to the Euro semifinals in 2016, Wales have positioned themselves well again, finishing second in Group A and drawing Denmark in the round of 16.
While the core rotation includes plenty of veterans who were part of the 2016 go-round, they have also benefited from a burgeoning group of younger players forcing their way into the lineup. Chief among them is the 23-year-old Rodon. You can’t say the 6-foot-4 central defender wouldn’t have played a role had the Euros been played a summer ago — he had already made his national team debut in 2019 — but Wales have a lot of defensive options, and his October move to Tottenham Hotspur probably didn’t hurt his stock. He has played every minute of the tournament thus far.
Dan Thomas is joined by Craig Burley, Shaka Hislop and others to bring you the latest highlights and debate the biggest storylines. Stream on ESPN+ (U.S. only).
Phil Foden | 21 | Midfielder | England
Southgate asked big things of the 21-year-old midfielder in their first two group-stage matches, commanding him with a creative role for a defence-first squad. If we’re being honest, Foden didn’t respond all that well, creating just one scoring chance with two shot attempts (neither on goal) in 134 minutes. But the fact that he was thrust into that role at all spoke volumes.
Foden hadn’t made his England debut until last November in a UEFA Nations League win over Iceland. But after his brilliant 2020-21 season with Manchester City — 12 goals and eight assists in the Premier League and Champions League — it’s safe to say he’ll be a Three Lions mainstay for quite a while.
Chelsea’s academy player of the year in 2020, Gilmour made 11 appearances in all competitions for the Blues this season. After making his Scotland debut in early June, he earned man-of-the-match honors in his very first start, a brilliant Euros performance against England. In 76 minutes, he completed 40 passes (six in the attacking third) and made eight ball recoveries. He was everywhere … and then he got sidelined by a positive COVID test and had to watch as Scotland got eliminated by Croatia.
Scotland took a pretty experienced team to its first European Championship in 24 years, but Gilmour’s rapid rise has provided a solid boost of hope for the future.
Dani Olmo | 23 | Midfielder | Spain
Like Rodon, Olmo had made his national team debut before last summer’s stoppage, scoring in his first appearance in November 2019. But the 23-year-old became a mainstay with German challengers RB Leipzig in the past year — he scored five goals with nine assists in the 2020-21 Bundesliga season and scored in a vital 4-3 Champions League win over Basaksehir last December.
Olmo hasn’t made a massive contribution for Spain in the Euros yet, but he could be due. In 135 group-stage minutes he attempted six shots and placed three on goal. Early in Spain’s draw with Sweden, he placed a dangerous header on goal but was stonewalled by a brilliant save by Robin Olsen.
Steve Nicol is adamant that Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal shouldn’t be discounted because of their moderate performances.
Everyone’s career path unfolds differently. The 28-year-old AS Roma full-back had to wait quite a while for a full-fledged opportunity. He made a handful of national team appearances while serving as part of Juventus’ loan army — he played for six different teams in seven different loans (including two to Atalanta) across seven seasons before making a permanent move to Rome in 2019 and igniting.
Spinazzola has had a lovely tournament thus far, playing in every minute of Italy’s 3-0 wins over Turkey and Switzerland, progressing the ball well and attempting three shots with two chances created. His name has been linked to Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in the transfer rumour mill. Better late than never.
Long regarded as one of the best Ajax academy products, the 6-foot-3 midfielder made his senior club debut in 2018 at the age of 16, then debuted for his national team this March in the middle of a three-goal, 37-chance Eredivisie campaign.
The Netherlands cruised through a pretty easy Euro group, with Gravenberch playing 106 minutes in two matches. He completed 84% of his 95 pass attempts and won seven of his 11 duel attempts. He’s not a key contributor yet, but it’s just a matter of time.
Reece James | 21 | Defender | England
Things have moved very quickly for the 21-year-old Chelsea defender. An academy product, he made his club debut early in the 2019-20 season, then earned his first English call-up barely a year later.
James started in Chelsea’s Champions League final win over Manchester City, and he created two of England’s more dangerous chances (while completing 80 of 81 passes) in the draw with Scotland. That was his only Euro appearance thus far, but even that’s more than would have been expected of him last summer.
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