WEDNESDAY'S TOP STORIES
Kane is not in good form
The Warm-Up can't work out whether Harry Kane sounded defiant or desperate after being hooked with 15 minutes to go of England's disappointing 1-1 draw against Hungary on Tuesday night.
Nuno happy with Tottenham's 'amazing job' in win over Newcastle
With the clock ticking and the Three Lions needing a goal, Gareth Southgate withdrew Kane. The England boss, it appears, felt he could not rely on his, well, usually reliable marksman to make the breakthrough.
His travails this season were brought up in a post-match interview. Kane, though, insists he is in good shape.
“I'm in a good place. Obviously I know there's been a lot of talk about me,” began Kane.
He then went on to outline - defiantly or perhaps desperately - the fact that he has scored goals this season. Nine of them.
At the end of the day I've still got nine goals this season and I'm working as hard as I can for the team.
Sounds impressive enough nine goals. However, a little scrutiny of the calibre of opposition does Kane no favours. For Spurs he has scored three against NŠ Mura, two against Paços de Ferreira - in the group stage of the Europa Conference League and in qualifying for UEFA’s tertiary competition respectively - and one against Wolves in the League Cup. Zip in the Premier League, by the way. For England he has scored one each against Hungary, Poland and Andorra. Exalted these teams are not.
He continued again defiantly or perhaps desperately:
When the chances come, I'm confident I'll put them away. At the end of the day, I’m my own biggest critic. I put the most pressure on myself to deliver and perform and play well. Obviously, [there has been] a lot of noise about me but every time I step on the field I give 110%.
He would, in the fairest analysis of his situation, add:
"[The] performances for club and country maybe just haven't been there the last few weeks but as I said there is no need to panic. I'm confident in myself.”
He is struggling. And the above quotes are hardly a surgical self-analysis of where things have gone wrong. His struggles at domestic level have now clearly infiltrated his international form too. Something needs to change. However, if Kane's career has been marked by one characteristic, it is remarkable resilience. Empirical evidence would suggest he will emerge from this slump.
Denmark qualify for World Cup with perfect record
Denmark’s record in qualifying for the World Cup reads:
|Goals conceded||0 (!)|
Their latest win – a 1-0 success against Austria – saw them become the third team, after Qatar and Germany, to qualify for the World Cup. They top a Group F that also contains Scotland, Israel, Austria, Faroe Islands and Moldova. It is hardly a group of death but that is some record.
However, to have emerged from the trauma of seeing Christian Eriksen collapse on the pitch during their first Euro 2020 group game against Finland to reach the semi-final of that competition and then qualify for the World Cup with a perfect record is remarkable.
Kasper Hjulmand has constructed a side built around attacking verve – see Mikkel Damsgaard and Andreas Skov Olsen – that is underpinned by defensive solidity – see Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen and Kasper Schmeichel. Put simply, Denmark are a very good team.
Here is what captain and Ballon d’Or nominee Simon Kjaer said after the win:
“We built up a crew and a mentality that is incredibly healthy and we have been eager to improve all the time,” he told Kanal 5 after the match.
We share the best with each other and adding that to the quality we have, we can go a long way. We have come a long way already but we have only become hungrier.
One week preparation time for the World Cup
The World Cup in Qatar is problematic for a number of reasons.
The impacts it has had on the European calendar is at the lower end of said problematic reasons.
However, if a World Cup is going to sit slap bang in the middle of the European season, though, it may as well be done right. And releasing European players ONE WEEK before the start of the tournament is not right.
A document seen by L’Équipe that was sent out to its member associations by UEFA stated that players would only be available from November 14. The tournament runs from November 21 to December 18. Thus, there will potentially be domestic fixtures the weekend before the start of the World Cup.
If a World Cup is going to be plonked in the middle of the calendar then governing bodies should probably commit to it fully. The situation is far from ideal for a litany of reasons, but players and coaches should at least be afforded the requisite preparation time for a tournament that currently comes around once every four years.
This is a shambles.
IN THE CHANNELS
Literally in every channel. All over the pitch.
Spain U21s produced this all-pitch masterclass in their 3-0 success against Northern Ireland on Tuesday night.
There are differing degrees of retro-ness in today’s retro corner as Barcelona have tweeted out the top 10 goals in the club's history.
Chelsea – fresh from a late win against Leicester in WSL last weekend – take on Juventus in the Champions League. They drew their first match against Wolfsburg 3-3, and, of course, made the final of last year's competition.
Andi Thomas will be here to take you through that and more tomorrow.
Newcastle v Tottenham paused due to medical emergency
Kane on target as Tottenham spoil Newcastle party