SUNDAY'S BIG STORIES

Southgate knows what to say and when to say it

Gareth Southgate always gets it right. The preceding statement is not about his team selection, even though Southgate has got that right all the way through Euro 2020, but about his ability to read a room and, actually, a nation.
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And he was at it again after England routed Ukraine in their Euro 2020 quarter-final match.
"The players have been fantastic and to play as well as they did in a game where there’s so much resting on it was really impressive," Southgate told BBC Sport.
"It’s a strange feeling. I’m actually at this moment just thinking about the lads we didn’t get on the pitch.
Because the likes of Conor Coady, Ben Chilwell, Sam Johnstone and Aaron Ramsdale, they are the ones that are making this team successful because the spirit of the group is phenomenal.
"It is really difficult to have to leave three out of the squad every time.
"And the squad mentality has been fantastic, so at the moment that’s sort of uppermost in my mind of looking after those guys."
It was another example of Southgate's decency, but also a window into why he is such a successful England manager. His success is built on him being a decent human being and that, in the current climate, is rare for a person in a position of - relative or otherwise - power.
It is his decency that has set the tone for this England squad, underpins its togetherness, and has repaired the broken relationship between the national team and its fans. It will be his decency that will be crucial if England can get over the line and win the Euros.
It is a refreshing counter to a country beset by the promotion of malfeasance.

'England's togetherness is key to success' - Henderson on win over Ukraine

Harry Kane goes a bit Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan, it was revealed in the Last Dance, used to manufacture instances of disrespect from all and sundry to motivate himself. It was a decent tactic to be fair because he was wildly successful.
To a lay person, such behalf can appear petty, but athletes at the top of their profession are built differently. And Harry Kane, like Jordan, is built differently.
And with his post-match comments after the Ukraine win, it is abundantly clear that Kane has been unhappy regarding some of the analysis of his performances.
It's always nice to score early in a game. It's a great feeling to help the team. There was a lot of talk about me and my performances. But I'm just ready for the next game and try to lead this team to the European final.
If Kane thinks the discourse surrounding his performances has been unfair or hyperbolic then he is living in another dimension. He had nine touches in the first half of the last-16 clash with Germany. Nine.
Anyway, he is back scoring, perhaps driven by the perceived slight on his performances, and that is only a good thing as England look to bring 55 years of hurt to an end.

Christian Eriksen spotted in public

On the day Denmark made the semi-final, Christian Eriksen was spotted out in public for the first time since his cardiac arrest during his side's first match of the tournament.
The Inter Milan player has been recuperating in Odense and took a photo with a fan at Tidvilde Strand beach.
The fan who took the photo, Bjorn Bindzus, told BT that he "looked healthy."

HAT-TIP

Now more than ever probably represents a good moment to re-live Gareth Southgate's sage words in the Players Tribune ahead of Euro 2020.
"This is a special group. Humble, proud and liberated in being their true selves," began Southgate. "Our players are role models. And, beyond the confines of the pitch, we must recognise the impact they can have on society. We must give them the confidence to stand up for their teammates and the things that matter to them as people.
I have never believed that we should just stick to football.
"I know my voice carries weight, not because of who I am but because of the position that I hold. At home, I’m below the kids and the dogs in the pecking order but publicly I am the England men’s football team manager. I have a responsibility to the wider community to use my voice, and so do the players. It’s their duty to continue to interact with the public on matters such as equality, inclusivity and racial injustice, while using the power of their voices to help put debates on the table, raise awareness and educate."

COMING UP

More reaction from the Euros with England joining Spain, Italy and Denmark in the semi-final to be played on Tuesday and Wednesday.
There will also be plenty of cycling to get stuck into with Stage 9 of the Tour de France underway.
Bringing all the football-based reaction to that on Monday is one Andi Thomas.
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