Scotland qualify for Euro 2020: Steve Clarke, Ryan Christie, Darren Fletcher show what it means | Football News

first_imgDarren Fletcher on Sky Sports:“Unbelievable! The shoot-out was excruciating! I am buzzing! David Marshall is a hero to the whole country! But the standards of all the penalties was brilliant.“Talk about character. Those lads weren’t stepping up thinking, ‘Imagine if I’m the one to miss’. They were positive – and then Marshall was the hero.“I fancied every one of them stepping up. There was something about Mitrovic; he was saving himself for fifth. Our main striker stepped up first – bang, into the back of the net. People thinking about glory and headlines; that’s what I thought about Mitrovic.“Then Big ‘Marsh’ – what a hand.” – Advertisement – Scotland’s reward for the win in Belgrade is a place in Group D alongside England, Croatia and Czech Republic – and a mouth-watering Euro 2020 schedule that will see two of their matches – against Croatia and Czech Republic – played in Glasgow. – Advertisement – Aleksandar Mitrovic is consoled after his decisive missed penaltyImage:Aleksandar Mitrovic is consoled after his decisive missed penalty Ryan Christie was moved to tears after helping Scotland secure their place at Euro 2020 with a penalty shoot-out win against Serbia. Scotland have been turned upside down by Clarke’s influence in the dugout with a run of nine matches unbeaten and the boss couldn’t hide his emotions at full time despite claiming “he was calm” during the shootout.Clarke told Sky Sports: “It took a bit of time to get people onside, but we’ve been positive and no one can be more proud than the players on the pitch. One or two of the boys have been in tears and that shows how much it means.“When David Marshall saved the last penalty, I had a little glint in my eye. I may have a cry when I get to my room later. 4:02 Scotland manager Steve Clarke said he may shed a tear back in his hotel room after his side qualified for their first major tournament since 1998. preview image Highlights of the European Championship Qualifying Path C play-off final between Serbia and Scotland. 8:53 preview image 1:42 – Advertisement – “Normally, we fall at the final hurdle or we have the glorious failure, but I thought we were the better team in the game and deserved to be in front. We just couldn’t get the second goal to kill them off.“To concede then from a set play when they were throwing everybody into the box was a big setback, but you have to be so proud of the players, the way they responded to that.“That was a sore one as we were really close to where we wanted to be. The reaction was to dig in during extra time, and we managed to do that. We got to penalties and we’ve managed to produce again from the penalty spot. It’s a magnificent night for everyone in Scotland.“We said we’d try to put smiles back on faces and I hope they managed to enjoy the match as we did here in Belgrade. They can smile tomorrow.”Tearful Christie: An amazing night Christie thought he had netted the winning goal during normal time but a Luka Jovic injury-time equaliser forced extra time. The Celtic man linked the play between the lines with great maturity and this was on show for what looked to be his match-winning moment from 22 yards – a goal that would have graced any major tournament.He was replaced in the closing stages of normal time, so had to watch on from the touchline as the drama unfolded.“It is just an amazing night,” a tearful Christie said.“From the start, we kind of believed. Obviously, the last few camps we have picked up so much belief in each other. Even the way the game went tonight, conceding that late equaliser and still digging in. Penalties and you’re away from home but big Marshy again comes up. He’s unbelievable.“When you are on the pitch, you always feel like you can influence it. When you are off, you can’t watch. Those penalties are the worst thing I have ever been through. It’s just everything. Oh, I’m gone.“It is just for the whole nation. It has been a horrible year for everyone. We knew coming into the game that we could give a little something to this country. I hope everyone back home is having a party tonight because we deserve it.“We have been through so many years. We know it, you know it, everybody knows it. It’s a monkey off the back now. We are just going to move on from here.”Robertson: Most emotional I’ve beenScotland captain and Liverpool full-back Andy Robertson admitted it was “the most emotional he had been after a game” and praised his team-mates’ mentality.“I don’t think I can [sum it up]. There was so much emotion going into the game, and then you get so close and they end up equalising. You have to pick yourself up for extra-time, which we did. When you get to penalties, you always back Marshy and it’s just whether the lads can hold their nerve, and they managed to do it.“We’ve come so far with this squad and I back every one of them as they’ve come through a lot of criticism and a lot of negativity at times.“We’ve stuck together and battled through it. I really hope everyone back home can see the positive side to this as we’re absolutely delighted. I really hope that during a really tough time, we’ve managed to put a smile on a lot of faces.“It’s the most emotional I’ve been after a game but we can look forward to next summer now.”Analysis: Mitrovic was going for glory Ryan Christie poured his heart out while the usually reserved Steve Clarke admitted he may “go for a cry later” as emotions were on show after Scotland’s triumph in Serbia to qualify for Euro 2020.Scotland put their fans through the wringer as they qualified for their first major tournament since 1998 after David Marshall saved Aleksandar Mitrovic’s penalty in a shootout to send them to Euro 2020.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Japan Ready for Olympics Despite Coronavirus, Says PM

first_imgTokyo Governor Yuriko Koike yesterday vowed to take thorough measures against the coronavirus outbreak for the Olympic Torch relay through Japan and reaffirmed that preparations for a “safe and secure” 2020 Games were progressing.Koike’s comments came after Greece’s Olympic Committee on Friday cancelled the remainder of the Olympic Torch relay through the country to avoid attracting crowds that could raise the risk of virus contagion.“We’re taking thorough infection measures with regards to the Olympic Torch relay domestically,” Koike said according to TV Asahi, adding that preparations for a safe and secure Games were moving forward.The Greek portion was cancelled after what organisers described as “unexpectedly large crowds” gathered when the flame visited Sparta on Friday – but organisers insist the procession will go ahead “safely” in Japan.Organisers also maintain that the handover ceremony will go ahead at the Athens Panathinaiko Stadium on Thursday (March 19) but it will be held without public attendance, with similar arrangements in place to those at the Flame lighting ceremony in Olympia.A Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC) statement said: “Despite strong recommendations to the public not to focus on the ceremony in the flame crossing cities, the HOC took the difficult but necessary decision to cancel the rest of the programme on Greek soil.“The decision was made in consultation with the ministry of health and the International Olympic Committee with a deep sense of responsibility, as public health is the ultimate good and in these difficult times a reasonable attitude is imposed by all sides.”Hollywood Actor Gerard Butler did carry the flame in Sparta before the cancellation. He had been invited by the city to do so as part of the celebrations for the anniversary of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead as planned in July, despite coronavirus concerns resulting in the postponement of sporting events. Abe however added that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) would have the final decision whether Tokyo 2020 goes ahead.“We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without problem, as planned,” Abe said. Japan has had more than 1,400 cases and 28 deaths resulting from coronavirus. The Tokyo Games is expected to cost about 1.35 trillion yen (£10.26bn), organisers said in December.The Japan section of the Olympic Torch relay is due to start in Fukushima on March 26. The recent torch-lighting ceremony in ancient Olympia was held without spectators, before the rest of the relay in Greece was suspended to avoid attracting crowds. Snow falls on the Olympic Rings near the New National Stadium in Tokyo, Saturday, March 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)last_img read more

NFL rumor roundup: Le’Veon Bell to Jets; Earl Thomas, Mark Ingram join Ravens

first_imgThe NFL’s new league year went off with a bang.The calendar officially flipped at 4 p.m. EST, and things quickly got kicked off as Eric Berry was cut from Kansas City shortly after. From there, more rumors and official signings began to pour in.Here’s a list of Wednesday’s biggest moves:— Le’Veon Bell got things started early Wednesday morning, as it was reported just after midnight that the former Steelers running back agreed to a four-year, $52.5 million deal with the Jets that includes $35 million guaranteed. Related News — DeSean Jackson is headed back to Philadelphia after the Eagles confirmed they acquired the wide receiver and a 2020 seventh-round draft choice from the Buccaneers for a 2019 sixth-round draft choice.— Antonio Brown was formally introduced by the Raiders after he hinted the blockbuster trade over the weekend, though the former Steelers wide receiver was late to his own press conference. — After sending social media into a frenzy Tuesday, the Browns confirmed their acquisition of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from the Giants. He reunites with longtime friend and former LSU teammate Jarvis Landry.— The Raiders added another playmaker by signing former Chargers wide receiver Tyrell Williams, who drew interest from the Steelers, Browns and Colts leading up to his agreement with Oakland.— The McCourty twins are staying in Foxborough, as the Patriots signed Jason McCourty to a new two-year deal after acquiring the cornerback in a trade with the Browns last offseason. His brother, Devin, has spent his entire career in New England.— Adrian Peterson, who signed with Washington last August, told ESPN’s Josina Anderson he is signing a two-year deal to return to the Redskins. It is reportedly worth $8 million.— Just minutes after it was reported that the Ravens signed Earl Thomas to a four-year deal, news broke that Baltimore also signed running back Mark Ingram to a three-year contract worth a reported $15 million. Both deals have since been confirmed by the team.— The Bills inked Frank Gore to a one-year deal worth a reported $2 million. He joins LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory to give Buffalo the oldest backfield in the league with the three most seasoned rushers.center_img NFL free agency rumors: Tevin Coleman going to 49ers NFL trade news: DeSean Jackson headed back to Eagleslast_img read more