Sunday, July 14, 2024

Defending Euro champ Italy draw, Portugal win 4-2


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Milan, June 5: Italy stuttered to a 0-0 draw at home to Turkey in the first of two warmup matches before it begins the defense of its European Championship title next week.
Tuesday’s match was overshadowed by a serious-looking injury to Turkey defender Ozan Kabak, who appears more than likely to miss Euro 2024 in Germany where he plays his club football.
Kabak, who plays for Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga, was applauded by both teams and the whole of the stadium in Bologna when he was stretchered off shortly before halftime after injuring his right knee.
The 24-year-old player fell awkwardly following a challenge with Italy forward Mateo Retegui.
Turkey plays its first Euro 2024 match against Georgia on June 18 before facing Portugal and the Czech Republic.
There were few real goalscoring opportunities and Italy’s best chance of the match came with the last piece of action of the first half as Bryan Cristante headed a corner onto the near post.
Retegui wasted a good opportunity in the 59th minute when he opted for an acrobatic overhead kick that went far over the bar.
Juventus midfielder Nicolò Fagioli was brought on shortly afterward for his Italy comeback after recently returning from a seven-month ban from football for betting violations.
Bologna defender Riccardo Calafiori was warmly applauded when he came on in the 85th minute for his Italy debut at his home stadium.
Italy has another friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Sunday before kicking off its title defense against Albania on June 15. Spain and Croatia are also in Group B.
Without Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal eased to a 4-2 win over Finland.
Portugal coach Roberto Martinez had already said that Ronaldo would miss his country’s first two friendlies – against Finland and Croatia – as he was being given a rest and allowed to go on a mini-break with his family as the season only recently ended in Saudi Arabia.
He could return for the final warmup against Ireland.
Portugal dominated against Finland and Bruno Fernandes put it 3-0 up in the 55th minute following Ruben Dias’ opener and a penalty converted by Diego Jota on the stroke of halftime.
Teemu Pukki got Finland back into the match with two goals in four minutes before Fernandes doubled his tally.
Austria was in firm control from the start as it beat Serbia 2-1.
Patrick Wimmer latched onto Christoph Baumgartner’s through ball to fire Austria ahead in the 10th minute, Baumgartner got on the scoresheet himself just three minutes later in a dominant first half for the hosts.
Strahinja Pavlovic reduced the deficit with a header in the 35th.
Austria faces France, Poland and the Netherlands in Group D, while Serbia is in in Group C with England, Slovenia and Denmark.
Hungary’s 14-match unbeaten run was ended by a 2-1 loss to Ireland.
Substitute Troy Parrott broke from his own half to pounce in stoppage time to hand Ireland the surprise win.
Adam Idah had headed Ireland in front in the 36th minute but Adam Lang leveled four minutes later.
Hungary, which was the only Euro 2024-bound team other than Serbia to lose on Tuesday, will face Switzerland, Germany and Scotland in Group A.
Romania midfielder Dennis Man had a penalty saved as his team drew 0-0 against Bulgaria. Switzerland thrashed Estonia 4-0 and Slovenia beat Armenia 2-1. (AP)


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