Spain, Portugal stalemate | Italy thrash Czechs

Spain and Portugal played out an entertaining 0-0 draw on Friday as both sides continue their preparations for this month’s European Championship.

Ahead of the game, it was announced that both nations will make a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

A symbolic ceremony was held ahead of kick-off at Madrid’s Metropolitano Stadium, with Spain’s King Felipe VI and Portugal president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa present and an agreement to support the bid was signed by the prime ministers of the respective countries.

Both sides wore T-shirts bearing ‘Vamos 2030’ before the friendly, which marked the centenary of Portugal’s first international against Spain.

Spain's Fabian Ruiz, left, gets past Portugal's Renato Sanches during the international friendly soccer match between Spain and Portugal at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain on Friday June 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Spain’s Fabian Ruiz gets past Portugal’s Renato Sanches

“The governments of Spain and Portugal wish to express their desire and commitment to host the 2030 World Cup,” the agreement said.

In the first international game with fans in attendance in Spain since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 15,000 in attendance thought they had seen Spain fall behind when Jose Fonte’s looping header beat Unai Simon after 23 minutes, however, his looping header was ruled out for a foul on Pau Torres.

A nervy Simon then saw a clearance charged down by Cristiano Ronaldo. But the ball ricocheted straight back to the Athletic Bilbao stopper.

Jose Fonte rises to score but his effort was disallowed
Jose Fonte rises to score but his effort was disallowed

After struggling early on, the hosts were much better after the restart, with Alvaro Morata and Pablo Sarabia both missing chances.

Portugal were indebted to keeper Rui Patricio, who denied Ferran Torres from close range with two minutes remaining, before Morata hit the bar in stoppage time as Luis Enrique’s side pushed for a late winner to no avail.

Italy swept aside the Czech Republic 4-0 on Friday with a ruthless attacking display that could make them a dangerous side when Euro 2020 kicks off next week.

Italy sweep past Czech Republic

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Highlights of the international friendly between Italy and Czech Republic.

Italy swept aside the Czech Republic 4-0 on Friday with a ruthless attacking display that could make them a dangerous side when Euro 2020 kicks off next week.

Lazio forward Ciro Immobile put the hosts ahead in the 23rd minute against the run of play when he latched onto a weak clearance and swept the ball into the net after it took a slight deflection off a Czech defender.

Inter Milan midfielder Nicolo Barella doubled the lead for Italy just before the break when he dribbled toward goal and fired a shot home from just outside the penalty area.

Napoli midfielder Lorenzo Insigne marked his 30th birthday with a goal in the 66th minute when he took an Immobile pass and sent a sharp right-footed strike past the keeper. Insigne turned provider minutes later when he set up Domenico Beradi, who made it 4-0.


Kazakhstan’s Serikzhan Muzhikov was shown a straight red card for this horror challenge on North Macedonia’s Kire Ristevski.

Elsewhere, Hungary warmed up for their opening match against Portugal with a 1-0 win against Cyprus courtesy of Andras Schafer’s first-half goal, while Mikael Anderson’s strike gave Iceland a 1-0 win against Faroe Islands.

Estonia were also 1-0 winners against Finland while Latvia beat Lithuania 3-1 and Kosovo defeated Malta 2-1, with Werder Bremen’s Milot Rashica scoring both goals.

North Macedonia beat Kazakhstan 4-0 but the biggest winners of the night were Slovenia as they beat Gibraltar 6-0. Josip Ilicic and Andraz Sporar each scored twice for Slovenia.

What’s next? Euros, transfer window, 2021/22 key dates

Spain face Lithuania in their final warm-up fixture on Tuesday before the Euros kick off next Friday. Portugal host Israel on Wednesday before they start the defence of their Euro title.

Euro 2020 kicks off on Friday June 11 – just 19 days after the conclusion of the 2020/21 Premier League season – and runs until Sunday July 11.

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