UEFA EURO 2016 – Day 9

Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Belgium recorded their first win at Euro 2016 and damaged the Republic of Ireland’s chances of reaching the last 16. After a goalless opening half, Lukaku scored the Belgians’ first goal at the tournament with a neat finish from the edge of the area. Axel Witsel headed in a second in the 61st minute, before Lukaku sidefooted home after a quick counter. The Republic did not force goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois into a single save. It means Martin O’Neill’s side, who are bottom of their section with one point, will probably have to beat Italy in their final Group E game on Wednesday. Belgium, meanwhile, are second on three points and next face Sweden.

It was a disappointing performance from the Republic after a promising display in their opening fixture, when they drew 1-1 with Sweden. Shane Long, operating as a sole striker, found himself isolated for long periods but may feel he should have won a penalty when he was caught by a wild Toby Alderweireld boot inside the Belgium area, just before Lukaku opened the scoring. Belgium boast a wealth of individual talent and had topped the Fifa rankings within the last year, making them one of the favourites to go far in France. However, they looked nothing like a team capable of winning the tournament against Italy, against whom they lost 2-0 on Monday. The Belgians lacked fluidity and a sense of unity. As goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois put it: Tactically, technically and organisationally, they came up short. It was a different story against the Republic.

Birkir Saevarsson’s late own goal denied Iceland a famous victory as Hungary edged towards the last 16 of the European Championship with a draw. Gyfli Sigurdsson gave Iceland the lead in the first half when he converted a penalty after a foul. Hungary dominated possession from then on but found themselves repeatedly frustrated by the Iceland defence. However, Saevarsson turned Nemanja Nikolic’s cross into his own net to hand Hungary a point. The result means the Hungarians are top of Group F with four points and can clinch first place with victory against Portugal in their final group game on Wednesday. The point for Iceland means they are second in the group and remain in the hunt for a place in the last 16, but it will feel like a defeat after they frustrated Hungary for so long.

They had won plenty of new fans by holding Portugal to a 1-1 draw in their first game on Tuesday, a result that prompted some scathing comments from Cristiano Ronaldo, who descried the Icelanders as having “a small mentality” and playing only to defend. Iceland, though, are simply playing to their strengths. They conceded only six goals in 10 games during qualifying, earning wins by making the most of limited opportunities. On Saturday, the Hungarians found themselves continually frustrated by a well-organised and disciplined backline and their task got harder six minutes before half-time. Veteran goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly fumbled a cross, Gunnarsson was sent to the ground by Kadar inside the area and Sigurdsson kept his cool to send Kiraly the wrong way from the spot. From then on, it was all Hungary but it looked as if Iceland’s defence would triumph again until Saevarsson, under pressure from Hungary substitute Daniel Bode, poked beyond his own goalkeeper. It continued a run of late drama at Euro 2016, with Saevarsson’s unfortunate goal the 13th to come after 85 minutes.

Cristiano Ronaldo missed a second-half penalty on the night he became his country’s record appearance holder as a hugely frustrating match for Portugal and their captain in Paris ended goalless to leave Group F wide open. Ronaldo struck the base of the post with his spot kick after Austria defender Martin Hinteregger had wrestled him to the ground and later headed home only to be denied by the offside flag. But huge credit for Austria’s point must go to keeper Robert Almer, who made a string of sensational saves. He stopped a crisp low strike and a header from Ronaldo as well as blocking from Nani, who struck the post with a first-half header as Portugal looked to pick up their first win of the competition.

Portugal dominated large swathes of the first competitive meeting between the sides since 1995 but were almost caught out several times, in particular when Stefan Ilsanker forced a good save with a crisp low strike shortly after the restart. The result means that Hungary top Group F with four points, Portugal and Iceland both have two and Austria one – a situation which leaves all four in with a shout of reaching the last 16. It might have been a record-breaking night for Ronaldo, who was making his 128th appearance for Portugal, but he can’t have endured few more frustrating ones since making his debut against Kazakhstan in 2003. With Luis Figo, the man whose record he eclipsed, watching in the stands the scene was set for the 31-year-old to steal the headlines with his penalty but after sending Almer the wrong way he drilled his effort into the base of the post. Ronaldo had become something of a pantomime villain after criticising Iceland’s “small mentality” following their 1-1 draw in their opening match.

UEFA EURO 2016 – Day 8

Italy are through to the last 16 of the European Championship finals after Eder struck late on to beat Sweden. The game looked to be heading towards a dull goalless draw before Eder raced onto Zaza’s knockdown to drive home from the edge of the box. Sweden failed to produce a shot on goal for the second successive game, with captain and star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic kept quiet throughout. Italy are top of Group E with six points while Sweden are third on one. Prior to the tournament, Italy boss Antonio Conte had played down his side’s chances of success in France, citing an ageing squad and a lack of upcoming talent as reasons for fans to temper their expectations.

In their opening group game at Euro 2016, they caught the eye as they outfoxed one of the tournament favourites in Belgium with patient and well-organised football. They found joy in that game by getting between Belgium’s lines, quickly turning defence into attack against a side that – while packed with individual talent – looked disjointed. Italy, though, had no such luck against a conservative Sweden side, who were content to sit deep. For 88 minutes, the tactic worked but this Italy side is built upon a foundation of being defensively solid and clinical in attack. That latter quality was illustrated when Brazilian-born striker Eder scored in the closing stages with only Italy’s second shot on target, driving brilliantly into the left corner of Andreas Isaksson’s net.

Crowd trouble and flares on the pitch marred the Euro 2016 Group D draw between Croatia and the Czech Republic. The match was halted in the 86th minute when flares from the Croatia end rained down on the Saint-Etienne pitch. A steward appeared to be hurt by a firework during a five-minute stoppage. Ivan Perisic and Ivan Rakitic had given Croatia a 2-0 lead, but the Czechs hit back through Milan Skoda’s header before Tomas Necid smashed in a penalty for handball in the 93rd minute. That late equaliser will have hurt the Croatian players, who dominated much of the match, and the team could be punished further by Uefa for the fan violence.

Coach Ante Cacic’s men were counting down to a deserved win before a volley of flares appeared towards the left of Czech keeper Petr Cech’s penalty area. Stewards and players went to the corner in an attempt to remove the objects and quell the trouble among the Croatia supporters. However, one of the stewards appeared to be struck by a firework as he went to remove it and had to be escorted away by his colleagues. English referee Mark Clattenburg eventually restarted the match, and in the additional time allowed the Czechs levelled after Domagoj Vida handled in the area.

Two-time defending champions Spain progressed to the last 16 of the European Championship with a masterful display against a poor Turkey in Nice. In the performance of the tournament, Spain became the first team to score more than twice in a Euro 2016 match. Alvaro Morata headed Spain ahead while Nolito doubled the lead within minutes, side-footing home from close range. The third goal was a sublime 22-pass move involving nine outfield players, ending with Morata finding the net. In the past Spain have often found it difficult to break down opponents intent on defending deeply to contain their technical brilliance, but they had no such trouble against a Turkish team who found it impossible to suppress their opponents.

On a day where crowd trouble and flares had marred Croatia’s draw with the Czech Republic, there was a series of loud bangs after the final whistle at the Stade de Nice, with fans lighting up flares. Uefa have imposed a strict ban on all flares being taken into stadiums and Turkey are expected to be the latest country to face disciplinary action. Three Spain fans were also arrested before the match trying to bring flares into the stadium.

UEFA EURO 2016 – Day 7

Daniel Sturridge scored an injury-time winner as England came from behind to beat Wales and secure their first victory at Euro 2016. England goalkeeper Joe Hart’s dreadful blunder allowed Gareth Bale’s 30-yard free-kick to creep in and put Wales ahead just before the interval in Lens. Manager Roy Hodgson’s side were jeered off at the break and with England’s campaign – and arguably his future – on the line, he gambled by introducing Jamie Vardy and Sturridge for the struggling Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane. The roll of the dice worked as Vardy scrambled in an equaliser from close range after 56 minutes before constant England pressure saw Sturridge work his way into the area and poke past keeper Wayne Hennessey at the near post. England move top of Group B and need a point against Slovakia on Monday to earn automatic qualification into the last 16, while Wales must beat Russia to guarantee a top-two finish.

When England left the pitch at half-time accompanied by abuse from their own fans, everything was on the line in this Euro 2016 campaign. England were facing a humiliating first defeat by Wales since 1984 and the pressure was on Hodgson as his own future would have been in jeopardy if he and his team had made an ignominious exit from France. He needed to be positive and inspirational, qualities his detractors have accused him of lacking in the past – but here it came off. Out went Kane and Sterling and on came Sturridge and Vardy. It was all-out attack and the momentum shifted almost instantly as the second half was a tale of almost virtual England domination. A different script might have been written had Sturridge not produced that late winner, but the bottom line is Hodgson’s ploy worked. It was not scientific – more a question of throwing everything at it and see what happens – but the desired result was achieved and England secured a win from a losing half-time position for the first time at a major tournament.

Northern Ireland beat Ukraine to earn their first win at a European Championship and remain in contention for a place in the last 16. West Brom defender Gareth McAuley headed in Oliver Norwood’s perfectly delivered free-kick before a hailstorm in Lyon forced the players off for two minutes. When they returned, Niall McGinn finished a rebound in stoppage time to give Northern Ireland their first victory at a major tournament finals in 34 years. Germany’s 0-0 draw with Poland later on Thursday eliminated Ukraine, meaning Northern Ireland will finish at least third in Group C. A win against Germany in Paris on Tuesday in their final match would guarantee their place in the last 16, while they might already have done enough to qualify as one of the best third-placed teams.

O’Neill gambled by making five changes, including relegating top scorer Kyle Lafferty to the substitutes’ bench. Lafferty’s place went to 24-year-old Conor Washington, the QPR striker who was working as a postman and playing for St Ives in the ninth tier of English football the last time the Euros were staged in 2012. But it paid off fantastically as Northern Ireland clinched their first win at a major tournament since famously beating hosts Spain at the 1982 World Cup. Washington and Jamie Ward proved a handful for a Ukraine team who had kept 21 clean sheets in their previous 39 games. Northern Ireland’s strength from set-pieces told again as McAuley, 36, brilliantly got on the end of Norwood’s well-taken free-kick for the first goal. After a hail shower that saw the players withdrawn and substitutions, six minutes of stoppage time were added on. But Northern Ireland’s nervousness disappeared when Aberdeen winger McGinn pounced to seal victory.

Germany and Poland played out the first goalless draw of Euro 2016 as both teams took a huge stride towards qualifying from the group stage. Both now have four points, and will be guaranteed a place in the last 16 if they avoid defeat in their final Group C matches on Tuesday. Poland striker Arkadiusz Milik wasted by far the best chance of the night seconds after restart, scuffing a header wide from four yards when he seemed certain to score. It was one of few clear openings from a game that failed to produce a single shot on target in the opening half. Mario Gotze and Mesut Ozil were both denied by Lukasz Fabianski, in for the injured Wojciech Szczesny, after the restart while Polish forward Milik scuffed another good opening on what was a largely frustrating night at the Stade de France.

Poland went into this tournament as one of several teams considered dark horses in a field devoid of any stand-out favourite. They were good value for their victory over Northern Ireland in their opening fixture on Sunday and the high fives at the final whistle on Thursday suggested they were satisfied with a point against a team they had beaten once in their history. And whereas Germany clearly have problems in attack, Poland do have two excellent and mobile forwards in Milik and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, who top scored in Euro 2016 qualifying with 13 goals.

UEFA EURO 2016 – Day 6

Marek Hamsik scored a stunning goal as Slovakia beat Russia to secure a first win at a European Championship. The Napoli midfielder’s measured pass set up Vladimir Weiss, who cut inside and side-footed Slovakia ahead. Hamsik then spectacularly doubled the lead, receiving a short corner out wide before firing a shot in off the post. Russia face disqualification if their fans misbehave inside stadiums and a flare was seen among their supporters when Denis Glushakov headed in late on. That appeared to be the only issue for authorities inside Lille’s Stade Pierre-Mauroy, in contrast to last week’s scenes in Marseille’s Stade Velodrome, where Russian fans charged into a section for England supporters after the final whistle in the draw between the two countries.

Russia will now almost certainly need to beat Wales on Monday if they are to stand any chance of progress, while Slovakia know victory over England will see them through. The ball to free Weiss took advantage of Russia’s early positivity. Right-back Igor Smolnikov had continuously joined attacks and his poor positioning saw Hamsik curl a pass into space from deep.

Romania picked up their first point at Euro 2016 as Switzerland moved closer to securing a spot in the last 16 with a hard-fought draw at Parc des Princes. A win would have put Switzerland through to the knockout stages but they were left with work to do to get out of Group A after failing to take several early chances. Haris Seferovic was the main culprit, missing two clear-cut opportunities before Bogdan Stancu’s second penalty of the tournament gave Romania an 18th-minute lead. Russian referee Sergei Karasev pointed to the spot after Stephan Lichsteiner grabbed a handful of Alexandru Chipciu’s shirt inside the box, and Stancu netted despite stumbling as he struck the ball.

With Romania remaining dangerous on the break, Switzerland dominated possession but had to wait until the 57th minute to equalise. A corner was only half-cleared to Admir Mehmedi and he met the bouncing ball with an unstoppable first-time strike from 12 yards. Switzerland brought on highly rated teenager Breel Embolo for the final half hour to try to win the game, but Romania were resolute and kept alive their hopes of automatic qualification with one game to go. Just as in their first group game against Albania, it was Switzerland’s finishing that let them down after some neat build-up play. Seferovic showed a lack of composure in front of goal, first to fire wide from inside the area and then to shoot straight at Romania’s goalkeeper when Xherdan Shaqiri slid him through. Blerim Dzemali was also guilty of a bad miss, somehow heading wide after running on to Lichsteiner’s looping cross. Vladimir Petkovic’s side deserved something for their enterprising forward play, however, and they got it thanks to Mehmedi’s spectacular leveller.

Late goals from Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet saw hosts France edge past Albania to become the first side to reach the Euro 2016 knockout stage. Albania struck the post shortly after half-time when Ledian Memushaj bundled a cross past France keeper Hugo Lloris. France striker Olivier Giroud also hit the upright before substitute Griezmann ended Albania’s resistance by nodding in Adil Rami’s right-wing cross. Payet stroked in with the final kick to give the scoreline a flattering look. Les Bleus scored with the game’s only two shots on target, struggling to break down a stubborn Albania side as Giroud missed three free headers at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome. Defeat was harsh on the European Championship debutants, who looked to have done enough to earn their first point. France needed a late goal from Payet to beat Romania in Friday’s opening game, and another dramatic win means they are assured of a last-16 place before their final Group A match against Switzerland.

Albania, who lost their opening game against the Swiss, must beat Romania on Sunday to stand any chance of qualifying. Almost a year ago, Didier Deschamps experienced one of his lowest points as France manager as his side lost to Albania in a friendly. It was their third defeat in four international matches, a performance the French media described as “lacklustre”, “listless” and “worrying”. For almost 90 minutes here, it looked as though another performance against Giovanni de Biasi’s side would lead to an inquest on the back pages. Les Bleus were expected to breeze past a side ranked 42nd in the world, a place above Scotland, but lacked invention and creativity until Griezmann’s intervention. The Atletico Madrid forward’s glancing header brought relief to the majority of the 64,000 crowd, sparking celebrations similar to those that followed Payet’s winner against Romania.

UEFA EURO 2016 – Day 5

Hungary produced a Euro 2016 shock with a win over 10-man Austria as both teams opened their campaigns in France. Austria almost scored the quickest ever goal at the Euros but David Alaba’s shot after 28 seconds hit the post. Hungary contained their rivals and took the lead when Adam Szalai slotted in Laszlo Kleinheiser’s pass. A disappointing Austria had Aleksandar Dragovic sent off for a second bookable offence before Zoltan Stieber sealed Hungary’s win with a composed dink. Hungary were back at a major tournament for the first time since the 1986 World Cup and triumphed by virtue of superior work-rate, organisation and quality.

They might not have had as many household names as their rivals but they had more of a team ethic and were rewarded when Szalai – having been involved in the build-up twice – put them in front. In the closing moments Stieber coolly lifted the ball over the keeper to seal the win. It was also a memorable day for Hungary keeper Gabor Kiraly, 40, who overtook Lothar Matthaus’ record to become the oldest player to appear at a European Championship finals. He defied his years when he dived low to his left to save Junuzovic’s deflected shot but, overall, he had little to do. Former West Brom and Fulham midfielder Zoltan Gera, 37, was an influential presence for Hungary in midfield as he made the most tackles of any player on the way to a famous win for his country.

Iceland earned a memorable point on their European Championship debut, holding Portugal to a draw in Group F. Gylfi Sigurdsson almost put Iceland in front early on but his angled shot and follow-up were both saved. Nani slotted in for Portugal but Iceland worked a shock equaliser when Birkir Bjarnason volleyed home. Cristiano Ronaldo had a header saved for an unconvincing Portugal, while Iceland went close late on when Alfred Finnbogason had a shot saved. Ronaldo came into the tournament fresh from scoring the winning penalty for Real Madrid in their Champions League final shootout victory over Atletico Madrid as he added another club trophy to a long list. Honours on the international stage have eluded him, however, and unless the forward can replicate his club scoring achievements for his country that is likely to continue.

Ronaldo, who won his 127th cap and equalled the Portuguese record set by Luis Figo, showed a glimpse of his quick feet to get in a precise cross for Nani, whose six-yard header was saved. But he could only kick fresh air from 10 yards out as he failed to make contact with a long Pepe pass, then sent a 20-yard half-volley wide and had his late header saved as he endured a frustrating evening in Saint-Etienne. Iceland are the smallest nation ever to reach a European Championship finals, with a population of approximately 330,000, and have no professional clubs. However, they beat the Netherlands twice on the way to qualifying for the tournament in France and added another chapter to their fairytale on their major tournament debut. Goalkeeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson had more touches than any other Iceland player in the first half (30) but his side kept Portugal within reach. Their efforts paid off when Bjarnason caught right-back Vieirinha out of position to score from Johann Gudmundsson’s cross to the far post.

UEFA EURO 2016 – Day 4

Spain’s attempt to win a record third European Championship in a row began with a last-gasp victory over the Czech Republic. Gerard Pique headed in a late Andres Iniesta cross, finally breaking the resistance of their stubborn opponents. Alvaro Morata, Jordi Alba and David Silva had earlier efforts saved as the holders lacked a cutting edge. Spain had also survived a scare when Cesc Fabregas hooked a Theodor Gebre Selassie header off the goalline. Vladimir Darida had a chance to equalise but Spain keeper David de Gea, who started the game after a build-up dominated by allegations against him in the Spanish press, blocked his volley from 10 yards. There might have been a few Spanish nerves after the team’s exit at the group stage of the 2014 World Cup and loss to 137th-ranked Georgia in their final warm-up game before Euro 2016.

Spain’s goalscoring threat in attack was a worry and any anxiety would not have been helped during a first half in which La Roja had 74% possession and made 378 passes but still failed to engineer a breakthrough. Morata led the Spanish attack with support from Silva and Nolito, and they were comfortably contained by a disciplined and organised defence. Spain increased their urgency after the break but it was a similar story as they failed to translate their dominance into goals. Silva’s chipped ball put Alba through on goal but the left-back’s control let him down, while Silva cut inside and sent a left-foot shot wide. When substitute Aritz Aduriz put an acrobatic overhead kick wide, it looked like being a frustrating start for Vicente del Bosque’s side – but centre-back Pique broke the deadlock in the 87th minute.

Ciaran Clark scored an agonising own goal as the Republic of Ireland were held to a frustrating draw against Sweden in their opening Euro 2016 fixture in Paris. Wes Hoolahan gave the Republic a deserved lead shortly after half-time with a crisply struck half-volley worthy of opening the scoring in any match. Martin O’Neill’s team had struck the woodwork and gone close several times prior to scoring. But, after taking the lead they found themselves under increasing pressure and conceded when Clark, chosen ahead of Richard Keogh in the centre of defence, headed a low cross from Zlatan Ibrahimovic into his own net. The equaliser came from one of the few moments of quality from the Sweden captain, who collected a neat backheel from substitute John Guidetti and raced to the byeline before drilling in a low cross.

Jeff Hendrick drew a late save from Andreas Isaksson but there was to be no winner at the end of a feisty, scrappy match the Republic shaded but could not close out. Commitment, passion and determination were much in evidence at the Stade de France, with those workmanlike qualities comfortably eclipsing any quality and finesse on show. But, in the end, neither side had quite enough to prevail and are left to ponder a result that is hardly disastrous but not exactly what either wanted. Both have remaining Group E fixtures against Italy and Belgium – the two favourites to progress – and have arguably missed out on their best chance to get a crucial victory. In a tournament with 16 qualifiers from the group stage, three points would have taken one of them a huge step towards reaching the next round.

Emanuele Giaccherini and Graziano Pelle scored as Italy began their Euro 2016 campaign with victory over much-fancied Belgium in Lyon. Sunderland’s Giaccherini slotted home in the first half after collecting Leonardo Bonucci’s superb long pass. Southampton’s Pelle sealed the win in injury time with an emphatic volley following an incisive break. Belgium were very disappointing, with Romelu Lukaku and Divock Origi wasteful in front of goal. Everton forward Lukaku curled over from the edge of the box with just the keeper to beat while Liverpool’s Origi missed two opportunities to head his side level. Before the tournament began some pundits condemned this Italy squad for a lack of quality, and even coach Antonio Conte said: “It isn’t a good time for our football.”

The soon-to-be-Chelsea boss added: “It’s important the squad has a good spirit. I work a lot at this.” On the evidence of this game, that is not the only thing he has worked at. Italy’s triumph was a result of superior organisation and discipline against 11 Belgian individuals who appear to possess, on paper at least, the greater talent. Both sides now face games against the Republic of Ireland and Sweden, who drew 1-1 in the Group E opener earlier on Monday. With 16 of 24 teams progressing from the group stage, Italy took a huge step towards advancing with victory against their likeliest challengers.

UEFA EURO 2016 – Day 3

Luka Modric scored a sensational long-range volley as Croatia deservedly opened their Euro 2016 campaign with victory over Turkey in Paris. Modric struck towards the end of the first half and his team created numerous chances to extend their lead as they dominated after the interval. Darijo Srna and Ivan Perisic struck the woodwork while Turkey keeper Volkan Babacan made several good saves as Croatia won the first match of a tough group that includes Spain and the Czech Republic. Turkey’s best chance came in the opening half, when Ozan Tufan saw his header saved – but despite being roared on by their passionate fans inside the Parc des Princes, they were second best on Sunday.

They did produce one scare for the Croatian defence right at the end but there was a timely block from Vedran Corluka, who was wearing a white bandage that evoked shades of former England defender Terry Butcher after suffering a cut to his head from a stray elbow in the first half. Veteran right-back Srna had delivered several telling crosses into the Turkey area, as did Ivan Perisic from the left side, although Marcelo Brozovic in particular was guilty of failing to make the most of the openings. That all changed shortly before the break when Modric showed superb technique to strike crisply from 25 yards after a clearance from Selcuk Inan had looped high into the cloudy Paris sky.

Northern Ireland’s first match at a European Championship finals ended in defeat as Arkadiusz Milik gave Poland a 1-0 win in Nice. Ajax star Milik slotted in after being picked out by Jakub Blaszczykowski early in the second half. Poland had dominated the first half but were thwarted by some superb defending by Michael O’Neill’s men. Northern Ireland did not manage to get a decent effort on target and must now regroup to play Ukraine on Thursday. Poland deserved the three points, the first time they have won an opening match at a Euro finals, inflicting a first defeat in 13 games on their Group C opponents.

Northern Ireland endured an anxious opening and must have been relieved to get to the break still on level terms – they have now conceded just one first-half goal in their last 21 matches. But the mood changed when Milik, scorer of 24 for his club last season, took one touch before finding the net with a left-foot shot. Northern Ireland’s best hope was a well-worked free-kick which ended with skipper Steven Davis just failing to get in his shot.

Germany did not have it all their own way but in the end the outcome was exactly the same for them as it has been in all four of Loew’s previous tournaments with the team – a victory and no goal conceded. Ukraine did threaten the 2014 World Cup-winners in the first half after Germany took the lead through Shkodrian Mustafi’s header and yet by the end Toni Kroos seemed to hold the game in the palm of his hand. Some international teams under pressure in the final moments of tournament matches give away silly equalisers, and then there are the Germans, who have the single-mindedness to absorb the pressure, go up the other end and score a second, on this occasion through an unlikely goalscorer, substitute Bastian Schweinsteiger.

They got the job done. Toni Kroos put in a mesmeric performance in the middle of the pitch. But Ukraine helped them immensely, and save for a 10 minute period at the end of the first half, never got hold of the game.

UEFA EURO 2016 – Day 2

Fabian Schär’s fifth-minute goal and some late heroics from Yann Sommer earned the Swiss victory after a first-half red card. Switzerland made a winning start to UEFA EURO 2016 but the ten men of Albania gave them an almighty scare in the teams’ first Group A outing. The match was only five minutes old when the Nati capped a bright start with the only goal, Fabian Schär rising to head in Xherdan Shaqiri’s corner. The margin of victory looked set to be greater when Lorik Cana received a second yellow card nine minutes before half-time, but Albania dug in well and by the final whistle the Swiss were hanging on. Albania will look back on several missed chances to cap their finals debut in style, most notably for Armando Sadiku.

He squandered a golden opportunity before Cana’s dismissal when a trademark Elseid Hysaj long ball sent him one-on-one with Yann Sommer. The keeper repeated the feat in the closing stages as Albania, spirited along by their noisy fans, threw everything at Switzerland. Then, with three minutes left, came the best chance of all but Shkëlzen Gashi, with time and space, could not find a way past Sommer. Switzerland got the win they so desired. They have yet to make it through the group stage in three finals appearances. After holding on here, they may not get a better opportunity. For the first time in a EURO match, brothers lined up against each other. Gianni De Biasi added more spice by starting Taulant Xhaka on the right rather than his usual central role, placing him in direct opposition to younger brother Granit. There was certainly added needle, with extra effort tangible whenever they clashed – like most siblings. But love conquered all with a firm embrace at full time: a nice end for their torn parents.

Substitute Hal Robson-Kanu applied the finishing touch after an Aaron Ramsey assist to give Wales victory against Slovakia on their UEFA EURO finals debut on Saturday. Wales had been grateful to Ben Davies for his crucial early goalline clearance after Marek Hamšík’s superb solo run. And not long afterwards Jonathan Williams, preferred up front to Robson-Kanu, was fouled on the edge of the box and Gareth Bale drilled in a dipping free-kick to give his team a tenth-minute lead. Now the pressure was on Danny Ward, winning only his third cap in the Wales goal due to Wayne Hennessey’s late back injury. For an hour Ward was kept well protected and at the other end Matúš Kozá?ik did well to scoop away a Bale header. But Slovakia went for a double attacking change either side of the hour mark by introducing Adam Nemec and Ondrej Duda, who promptly turned in Róbert Mak’s pass. However, another substitute ensured it was Wales who took the points, despite Nemec hitting the post with four minutes left.

England once again failed to start a major tournament with victory as Vasili Berezutski’s stoppage-time header gave Russia a draw they barely deserved in the Stade Velodrome. Roy Hodgson’s side were dominant and fully merited the lead given to them when Eric Dier crashed a 20-yard free-kick high past keeper Igor Akinfeev with 17 minutes left. Hodgson then removed man of the match Wayne Rooney, who had earlier seen a shot pushed superbly on to the post by Akinfeev, and replaced him with Jack Wilshere to preserve England’s advantage. It was a move that failed when Russia snatched a point – and extended England’s record of never starting a European Championship with a win – two minutes into four minutes of stoppage time, Berezutski soaring above Danny Rose at the far post to send Georgi Schennikov’s header looping over keeper Joe Hart.

The final whistle was the cue for more of the violence that has marred the build-up to this fixture, as Russian fans appeared to charge at English supporters behind the goal where Berezutski scored.

UEFA EURO 2016 – Day 1

Amid floods, strikes and terrorism concerns in France, the country’s soccer team attempted to shift the focus to matters sporting Friday as Les Bleus began their bid to win European soccer’s continental showpiece. Over 80,000 fans had arrived at the Stade de France in plenty of time to get through a number of security checks and provide an electric atmosphere for Euro 2016’s opening match after DJ David Guetta had been the headline act for the tournament’s opening ceremony.

The atmosphere got even more raucous when Dimitri Payet’s stunning 89th-minute curling shot secured a 2-1 win for France against Romania. Bidding to win the European Championship for the third time after its 1984 and 2000 triumphs, Olivier Giroud’s header had given France a second-half lead before Bogdan Stancu equalized with a penalty. The Stade de France was the stage for one of France’s greatest sporting triumphs — its 1998 World Cup final win over Brazil — but the 81,338 capacity venue was also caught up in one of the country’s most recent tragedies after it was targeted during the November terror attacks. Romania hadn’t beaten France since 1982 and gradually the Euro 2016 hosts established control of the match in the first half.

Arsenal forward Giroud might have done better with a couple of headers, while Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann twice went close for France. First he hit the post with a header after Romania’s defense failed to clear the ball and then Griezmann fizzed a shot narrowly wide. Romania began the second half just as brightly as they had the start of the match and Stancu volleyed wide when he only had Lloris to beat. Much of France’s best work was inspired by Payet and Paul Pogba and those two superbly combined just before France took the lead. Payet’s skill and vision teed up a volley for Pogba, whose shot was blocked by Romania goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu. It was a Payet cross that set up Giroud’s header to put France ahead as the Arsenal striker nabbed his eighth goal in his last six international matches. But the optimism of French fans didn’t last long. Patrice Evra tripped Nicolae Stanciu in the penalty area and Stancu calmly slotted home the spotkick. With time running out it looked as if Romania might emerge with a drew but Payet’s wonderful shot secured all three points for France and put them top of Group A.

Arsenal Close To Signing Jamie Vardy?

The Premier League champion has all but agreed his move to Arsenal as the club pencil in a medical before he travels to Euro 2016 with the England squad on Monday. Arsenal are hoping to seal the signing of Jamie Vardy within the next two days, as per several reports. The 29-year-old will travel to France with the England squad ahead of Euro 2016 on Monday and Gunners officials are desperate to complete the deal before the tournament gets underway after activating his £20 million release clause. Vardy scored 24 goals last season as Leicester City won their first ever Premier League title, finishing 10 points above the second-placed Gunners.

After rising from non-league to top flight football, Vardy was named Football Writers’ Player of the Year after his scintillating performances in attack for the Foxes which included goals against Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool. Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri has confirmed Arsenal’s bid for Vardy, telling Gazzetta dello Sport that “it’s all true” when asked about the Gunners’ interest in the forward. Vardy is represented by the same management company as Arsenal stars Theo Walcott and Gedion Zelalem, along with youth team prospects Jay Beckford and Daniel Crowley. Apparently it seems that Vardy’s England team-mate Jack Wilshere has played a huge part in persuading his compatriot to join him at Emirates Stadium and that a medical has been pencilled in for Sunday afternoon at the club’s London Colney training ground. Vardy, 29, wants a four year deal worth around £120,000-a-week which is double his current Leicester contract. But it is understood Arsene Wenger has given the go-ahead and Arsenal are looking to move quickly to stop any other clubs coming in.

Leicester are desperate to keep him, may offer bigger terms but his representatives have been hawking him round and he looks set to go. Vardy’s buyout clause is only open to Champions League clubs and no one else has made an acceptable offer. England boss Roy Hodgson has made it clear that he does not want medicals or negotiations being done while on Euros duty and Arsenal believe they can get it done quickly. Further discussions are expected this weekend but the deal is moving quickly.Arsene Wenger has identified Vardy as the top class striker Arsenal need but business will continue in a busy summer. Wenger is also keen to sign a centre-back, along with a young forward.

Xhaka Signed, Who’s Next?

Arsenal have completed a £30million deal for Granit Xhaka. The Gunners have been chasing for the midfielder for a while, and he has signed on a long-term contract. Speaking after the 23-year-old’s move, Arsene Wenger said: “Granit Xhaka is an exciting young player, already with good Champions League and Bundesliga experience. “We have been watching him for a long time now and he is a player who will add quality to our squad. “We wish Granit a good Euro 2016 with Switzerland and look forward to welcoming him to Arsenal ahead of next season.”

Jose Mourinho is desperate to pip Arsenal to the signing of Alvaro Morata, according to reports. The Portuguese is expected to be announced as Manchester United’s new manager this week. He is expected to go on a spending spree, as Express Sport understands he will be handed a £200m transfer kitty. Morata is thought to prefer a move to Arsenal, but according to the Daily Star, Mourinho has set his sights on the 23-year-old striker. The Gunners are said to have tabled a £51m bid for the Spaniard. Wenger faces competition to bring N’Golo Kante to the Emirates, according to reports. The French midfielder has attracted interest from the Gunners and United, even though the former just signed Granit Xhaka. But the Daily Mail claim that Paris Saint-Germain have expressed an interest in the £20m-rated Leicester star. Despite Kante preferring to stay in England, his request has fallen upon deaf ears with PSG aren’t giving up on him.

Wenger is keen on Napoli’s Senegal international Kalidou Koulibaly as he looks for a top-class centre-half. The Gunners have also identified Juventus forward Alvaro Morata as their No1 striker target this summer and are preparing to take their spending this close-season towards the £80m mark. Wenger has identified a midfielder, a centre-half – to be a first-choice partner to Laurent Koscielny – and goal-scorer as he looks to shake up a squad that finished second in 2015-16 but a distant 10 points behind champions Leicester.France-born Koulibaly, 24, has also been watched by Chelsea and Manchester United but would cost around £20m. Arsenal have also looked at Atletico Madrid’s French defender Lucas Hernandez as well as a raft of young players , such as Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney, Bolton defender Rob Holding and Fulham wing whizkid Ryan Sessegnon. They also want to relaunch a bid for teenage Argentine forward Maxi Romero of Velez Sarsfield.

Arsenal To Sign Granit Xhaka

Granit Xhaka to be announced as an Arsenal player within hours as he poses in kit. He leaves Borussia Monchengladbach for around £30m after four years at the Bundesliga club. Arsenal are yet to confirm the news but these pictures from inside the Gunners’ London Colney training complex appear to show Xhaka posing for photos ahead of his unveiling. The midfielder has a big reputation in Germany and at 23 is expected to have a bright future. The move has been a long time coming with Xhaka repeatedly insisting he wanted the deal done before this summer’s Euro 2016 in France. He flew to England yesterday after Arsene Wenger made a breakthrough in negotiations. The 23-year-old then would have undergone a medical before signing his contract and completing the formalities.

Xhaka, 23, flew to London on Friday to undergo a medical and agree personal terms with the Gunners, with both sides eager to get the deal done before Xhaka joins the Switzerland squad for the European Championship. Arsenal would not confirm the authenticity of the photos, which also showed the midfielder holding up an Arsenal shirt and standing outside the training facility. But a source told ESPN FC the deal was close to being finalised and that the club hoped to announce the signing as soon it was completed. Arsenal have been in talks with Gladbach for weeks after manager Arsene Wenger made powerful central midfielder Xhaka one of his top targets.

Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl confirmed earlier this week that the German club had received an offer for Xhaka, but declined to name the interested party and insisted no agreement had yet been reached. Xhaka has impressed for club and country in recent years, and revealed that he wanted to resolve his future before representing Switzerland at Euro 2016.

Arsenal 4 Aston Villa 0

Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha Tottenham Hotspurs!!!

Arsenal finished second in the Premier League for the first time since 2005 as they beat relegated Aston Villa thanks to an Olivier Giroud hat-trick. Giroud headed Arsenal ahead early on but the hosts played nervously until he struck again, sweeping home from six yards after good work by Mesut Ozil. The Frenchman was then put through by Hector Bellerin for his third. Mark Bunn’s own goal, diverting in Mikel Arteta’s ricocheted shot, added further gloss to the scoreline. The comprehensive win ensured Arsenal leapfrogged faltering Tottenham – title contenders only a few weeks ago – after their north London rivals fell apart against Newcastle.

“It’s happened again,” sang Gunners fans at the end as they celebrated finishing above Spurs for the 21st consecutive season. Victory over relegated Villa, a team which has not won an away game in any competition since the opening day of the season at Bournemouth, ought to have been a given, and it was – but it wasn’t until the final 15 minutes that the home fans could truly relax. By finishing second the Gunners have qualified for the Champions League for a 19th consecutive season, but this has been a particularly testing campaign for Arsene Wenger, whose critics point to the club’s failure to mount a title challenge despite topping the table at the beginning of the year. The Frenchman has said the club will have to “add what we missed” this season, admitting his team did not score enough goals and, for the majority of this match, the absence of a killer instinct was a familiar criticism.

One player the Gunners have clearly missed for the majority of the season is Santi Cazorla, injured since November but returning to the starting line-up against Villa. The Spaniard conducted play beautifully and, at times, his touches were something to behold. As Villa’s resistance tired Arsenal took advantage, with Giroud capitalising to score his first Premier League hat-trick and take his tally to 24 in total this season. Mikel Arteta, who has made 150 appearances since joining from Everton in 2011, winning two FA Cups during his time with the Gunners, played his final match for the club as his contract expires this summer. The Spaniard, introduced as an 88th-minute substitute, thought he had scored for a perfect finale only for the 90th-minute strike to be deemed a Bunn own goal, and once the final whistle blew, the club captain could not contain his tears. Arteta had summed up Arsenal’s season in his captain’s notes, writing that the team’s ambition this season was to win the Premier League and failing to do so was “not good enough for this club”.

It was also the final Arsenal game for Tomas Rosicky, who is also out of contract. He received a special award before the match for his decade at the club. There was no place in the matchday squad for Theo Walcott who had, said the club, a slight hamstring injury and the forward’s absence will bring his participation in this summer’s European Championships into doubt. But Roy Hodgson, watching from the stands, will have been pleased to see midfielder Jack Wilshere make his first Arsenal start since the final game of last season and play for 69 minutes before being substituted. Arsenal finished in the top two of the Premier League for the first time since the 2004/05 campaign. Olivier Giroud’s first Premier League hat-trick was the 37th scored in the competition by an Arsenal player, which is more than any other team. Giroud has scored 16 Premier League goals this season, his joint-best return in the competition (also 16 in 2013/14). Mesut Ozil created 146 chances this season, the most of any player in a single Premier League campaign since 2003/04. Ozil’s final tally of 19 assists is bettered only by Thierry Henry’s 20 in 2002/03.

Arsenal To Bid Farewell To Midfield Trio

On the final day of the English Premier League, the Gunners take on Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday in the final round of the 2015-16 Premier League season. It’s been another difficult campaign for the Gunners, whom many felt should have won the title this year. But that didn’t happen, and heading into the final round of the campaign the only real issue for the Arsenal faithful was to hope that Newcastle can beat Tottenham at St James’ Park so that Arsenal can finish second. The match against Aston Villa will be memorable as it will be the final occasion that Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini will turn out in the club’s colours.

All three midfielders are out of contract at the end of the season, and they will also move on from the club. While those players move on, reports are growing that Leicester midfielder N’Golo Kante is joining Arsenal this summer. Also it looked like Granit Xhaka said goodbye to Gladbach before his move to Arsenal on Saturday. Arsenal fans have been taking to social media in the build up to the Villa game to post their goodbye messages for Arteta, Rosicky and Flamini. Manager Arsene Wenger has been fulsome in his praise of the departing trio. “Mikel Arteta is the captain of the club and has been a great leader,” said Arsene Wenger in his pre-match press conference. “Tomas Rosicky has been with us for 10 years and I think everybody loves him as well. Mathieu Flamini has been an extremely strong leader on the pitch and off the pitch. We lose three big personalities.”

The inclusion of Flamini in that list may raise eyebrows. He’s been a divisive figure at times; a symbol of Wenger’s tendency to persist with cheap options rather than bring in top-class alternatives. However, he’s still been a loyal servant across two spells with the club that total seven seasons. His quality has occasionally been questionable, but his commitment on the field has not. Arteta and Rosicky are almost universally admired. The Spaniard arrived in 2011 at a difficult point in the club’s recent history, following an 8-2 mauling at Manchester United and the double departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. Arteta’s steady midfield presence and natural authority helped steady the ship.

Rosicky will be remembered with plenty of affection, not least for his knack of scoring against Tottenham. However, he’ll be also be reflected upon as a player who never quite fulfilled his potential in north London. Bought in 2006 as a replacement for Robert Pires, a succession of injuries has prevented him from blossoming into a pivotal figure. All three men will be hoping to get some time on the field in order to say a proper goodbye to the Emirates Stadium. That said, Sunday is no testimonial affair but a competitive fixture with three points at stake and potential repercussions for Arsenal’s Premier League position. The Gunners need a point to guarantee third place and automatic qualification for the Champions League. Against already-relegated Aston Villa that should be more than achievable. However, there is a more intriguing possibility on the table. If Arsenal win and Tottenham lose at Newcastle, the Gunners would leapfrog their local rivals and snatch second.

Arsenal 1 Norwich City 0

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had to endure calls for his departure as his side beat a Norwich team whose Premier League future looks increasingly bleak. Fans protested inside and outside Emirates Stadium, voicing frustration at their team’s failure to mount a title challenge in recent years. There was little for Arsenal to cheer until substitute Danny Welbeck put them ahead with a crisp half-volley. Norwich are two points from safety with three games left. They had chances – twice Petr Cech stopped Nathan Redmond from scoring. But for all their endeavour, Norwich left north London with nothing and with Newcastle beating Crystal Palace and Sunderland securing a draw against Stoke earlier in the day, their hopes of survival appear slim.

Wenger and his players had been warned there would be a toxic atmosphere at the Emirates, and protests calling for the end of the Frenchman’s 20-year tenure began outside the stadium. Fans from the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust, the Black Scarf Movement and Red Action handed out posters with the message ‘time for change’ and some fans held them up after 12 and 78 minutes – 12 being the number of years the club has gone without winning the league. Various banners were held up, one saying ‘Wenger – 12 years of excuses, Ranieri – 9 months, champions’ in reference to Leicester’s march towards the league title. Stoking the flames this week were Wenger’s pre-match comments – that fans had gone “overboard” with their criticisms, and that his team had played in “a very difficult climate” at home over recent months, contributing to their failure in the league. In a divided stadium, there were those who supported their manager, singing “there’s only one Arsene Wenger” in response to the 12th-minute protest. They would point to the six FA Cups, three league titles and 18 consecutive seasons of Champions League football the club have enjoyed under Wenger.

Victory over Norwich moved them to third in the table, three points above Manchester City, and a step closer to securing another season in Europe’s elite cup competition. There was little to unite the factions as the first half played out like the majority of Arsenal’s games this year: plenty of possession, but little bite. For the fourth time in their past nine home league games, Wenger’s men failed to conjure a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes. At the other end of the pitch, and despite the visitors having just 30% of possession, Cech twice stopped Redmond from scoring, while a third effort from the striker before the break bounced just wide. It was the 56th-minute introduction of Welbeck that turned the match in Arsenal’s favour. The striker gave his team much-needed spark and, within three minutes of coming on, he placed Olivier Giroud’s well-directed header into the bottom-left corner. Welbeck’s goal came from his team’s first shot on target.

The Gunners have two games to play – against fourth-placed Manchester City and relegated Villa.

Sunderland 0 Arsenal 0

Sunderland climbed out of the relegation zone with a deserved point against an uninspiring Arsenal. Both sides had penalty appeals for handball denied and Patrick van Aanholt struck Arsenal’s post with a free-kick. Sunderland keeper Vito Mannone had to be sharp to keep out Mesut Ozil’s free-kick and Alex Iwobi’s follow-up. Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere came on for a first game in 10 months, but the visitors relied on numerous Petr Cech saves to preserve a point. The failure to win could prove costly for Arsenal, who occupy the final Champions League qualifying spot, but lie just five points above fifth-placed Manchester United, having played a game more.

It was perhaps an opportunity missed against an Arsenal side whose performance was sluggish from start to finish. A 19th-consecutive season in the Champions League is by no means confirmed and after three draws in four games, and Arsene Wenger’s men are seemingly opening the door for FA Cup finalists United to make a late move into the top four. They forced the best saves from Mannone in the first half but were devoid of ideas after the break, when they could only muster two shots on target and none from their striker Olivier Giroud, who is now goalless in 17 Premier League games. The introduction of England trio Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott and Wilshere failed to spark any invention for the visitors.

Wilshere’s return will have been the greatest positive for Arsenal, 330 days since his last appearance for the club, when he played the final 13 minutes of the FA Cup final win over Aston Villa last year. He went on to feature twice for England in the summer but suffered a hairline fracture in his left leg in August and then needed an operation in September to aid his recovery. His career has been plagued with ankle problems and since 2013 he has been ruled out by 21 different injuries. The 24-year-old has less than three weeks and just three more games to prove to England boss Roy Hodgson that he is fit and sharp enough to be considered for Euro 2016 in France, with the squad to be announced on 12 May.

Arsenal 2 West Brom 0

Alexis Sanchez scored twice as Arsenal beat West Brom to strengthen their hopes of a top-four finish. The Gunners had drawn their previous two games but Sanchez settled the nerves with a neat finish on the turn from outside the area. West Brom’s Gareth McAuley hit the bar with a header but that was as close as they came to a goal. And Sanchez’s driven free-kick secured the win for Arsenal, who move up to third, five points behind Tottenham. The win helps ease concerns the Gunners could miss out on the top four – they are now four points clear of Manchester United in fifth.

Striving to stay in the top four is a far cry from how Arsenal’s fans would have imagined this season finishing considering their position on New Year’s Day, when they were top of the table. The north London club were ideally positioned to challenge for a first Premier League title in 12 years, but a run of just five wins in 2016 prior to the visit of West Brom all but ended their hopes. A disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday left the Gunners 13 points behind leaders Leicester and some fans had made their discontent clear with boos at the final whistle at the weekend. Fan apathy was evident in the number of empty seats at Emirates Stadium on Thursday, and there was an eerie atmosphere when the game got under way. An early goal was needed to ease the tension and Sanchez duly stepped up to deliver with a finish of real quality. The forward received a pass from Mesut Ozil and turned Sandro before firing beyond Ben Foster.

The Chilean was at his marauding best and he continued to torment West Brom before deservedly scoring a second, driving a free-kick through the West Brom wall. Arsenal have now won 500 Premier League games, the second team to reach the milestone in the competition (Manchester United have 584 wins).The Gunners have scored in all 20 of their Premier League games against West Brom – the best 100% record in the division. Arsenal travel to struggling Sunderland on Sunday hopefully for another 3 points.

West Ham 3 Arsenal 3

Andy Carroll’s hat-trick dealt another blow to Arsenal’s already slim Premier League title hopes, despite the Gunners fighting back to draw at West Ham. Arsenal are 10 points behind leaders Leicester with six games to play. Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez converted Alex Iwobi passes to put Arsenal 2-0 up but Carroll netted twice in 160 seconds to bring his side level by half-time. A far-post header completed Carroll’s treble, before Laurent Koscielny hooked in the equaliser from 10 yards. The hosts extended their unbeaten home run in the Premier League to 14 games but Slaven Bilic’s side remain sixth, two points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, who play West Bromwich Albion at 17:30 BST.

Striker Carroll was rarely far from the action in a pulsating London derby, being booked as early as the fourth minute for a needless late tackle on Koscielny. There appeared little way back for West Ham as clinical finishes from Ozil and Sanchez gave the visitors a two-goal cushion, but England international Carroll would turn the game in his side’s favour in the space of eight minutes either side of the interval. All three goals were typical Carroll efforts, the first a powerful far-post header from Aaron Cresswell’s left-wing cross, while he was awarded too much space by the Arsenal defence to fire in the equaliser at the second attempt during first-half stoppage time. The ex-Newcastle forward was perhaps lucky to escape further punishment when he clashed with Gabriel in the air, catching the centre-back with his arm, shortly before rising above Hector Bellerin to head past David Ospina – who had kept his place in the Arsenal goal ahead of Petr Cech.

Wins over Everton and Watford either side of the March international break kept any faint hopes of a title success alive for Arsene Wenger’s side. Having led 2-0 after 35 minutes, this result will feel like two points dropped for Arsenal, even though they responded well to Carroll’s quick hat-trick and were decent value for their draw. The Gunners have a favourable run-in, with five of their last six opponents currently in the bottom half of the table – but it will take a remarkable collapse from Leicester and Tottenham above them if they are to win an unlikely title. Saturday’s result did little to improve Arsenal’s record in London derbies this season – they have taken only six points from seven games against other clubs from the capital.

Please keep Wenger for another 10 years. The board of this club has no clue as to what to do and they have no intention to win anything. They just want to make a profit and forget about challenging for titles.