Austria 3-1 North Macedonia: Player ratings as Das Team get off to winning start

Austria got their Euro 2020 campaign off to a winning start, recording a 3-1 victory over a spirited North Macedonia side in Bucharest.

The match was entertaining from the first whistle with Austria opening the scoring in the 18th minute. Borussia Monchengladbach’s Stefan Lainer was the scorer, volleying home Marcel Sabitzer’s cross-field pass at the back post.

Their lead did not last long, however, with the timeless Goran Pandev taking advantage of an Austrian defensive mixup to slot home an equaliser before the break.

During the second half the momentum of the game switched regularly. Austria would be the ones to score, though, with David Alaba’s cross being side-footed home by substitute Michael Gregoritsch. Another sub, this time Marko Arnautovic, would then grab a third goal at the death.

Here are your player ratings for both teams…

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David Alaba's Austria kick off their Euro 2020 campaign on SundayDavid Alaba's Austria kick off their Euro 2020 campaign on Sunday

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David AlabaDavid Alaba

Alaba pulled the strings from defence / Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Daniel Bachmann (GK) – 4/10 – Terrible error for the goal and was shaky afterwards. His selection in the first place was a bit of a surprise and he could lose his place for the next game.

Aleksandar Dragovic (CB) – 6/10 – Taken off at half-time after picking up a knock. Did fine prior to that.

David Alaba (CB) – 8/10 – Interestingly deployed as a sweeper at first. Involved in the mixup for Pandev’s goal but cannot be blamed that much. His long passes rarely missed their target and he created the winner after pushing forward in the second half.

Martin Hinteregger (CB) – 7/10 – Drove his team forward from the back. Passing was loose on occasion.


Sabitzer had a decent game / JUSTIN SETTERFIELD/Getty Images

Stefan Lainer (RM) – 8/10 – Incredible finish. Without doubt the goal of the tournament so far. He impressed in other areas as well, providing a consistent threat down the right.

Konrad Laimer (CM) – 5/10 – The game really passed him by. His lack of match sharpness really showed.

Xaver Schlager (CM) – 5/10 – Did not do anything wrong but mostly failed to catch the eye.

Marcel Sabitzer (CM) – 8/10 – Set up the opener with an incredible cross-field pass. Was always the one looking to advance Austria up the field and he dictated the tempo of Austria’s attacks.

Andreas Ulmer (LM) – 6/10 – Not as much of a threat as Lainer out wide and wasn’t massively tested by his opposite number.

Aleksandar Trajkovski, Christoph Baumgartner, Xaver SchlagerAleksandar Trajkovski, Christoph Baumgartner, Xaver Schlager

It was an intense physical battle at times / Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Christoph Baumgartner (ST) – 6/10 – Picked up some promising positions in a role he has not played too often. Often let down by his team’s insistence on going long to Kalajdzic.

Sasa Kalajdzic (ST) – 4/10 – Was always a threat because of his height but his touch was loose. Arnautovic’s chances of starting against the Netherlands are high.

Marko Arnautovic, Arijan AdemiMarko Arnautovic, Arijan Ademi

Arnautovic came on and scored / Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Philipp Lienhart – 7/10 – Did not put a foot wrong.

Marko Arnautovic – 7/10 – Made his mark on the competition with a tidy goal. Should get the nod for the next game after Kalajdzic struggled.

Michael Gregoritsch – 7/10 – Timed his run well to grab the winner.

Julian Baumgartlinger – N/A

Stefan Illsanker – N/A

Sasa Kalajdzic, Darko VelkovskiSasa Kalajdzic, Darko Velkovski

North Macedonia defended bravely / Mihai Barbu – Pool/Getty Images

Stole Dimitrievski (GK) – 7/10 – Made a huge save midway through the second half, stretching desperately to deny Gregoritsch. Little he could do to preserve his clean sheet.

Boban Nikolov (RWB) – 7/10 – Showed terrific energy to cover lots of ground down the right. So nearly scored just before he went off in the second half.

Stefan Ristovski (CB) – 7/10 – Covered the right half-space excellently for the most part. He made SIX tackles overall.

Darko Velkovski (CB) – 7/10 – A rock in the heart of defence. Made more clearances than anyone else on the pitch.

Visar Musliu (CB) – 6/10 – The least impressive of the North Macedonia back three. Might have done more to prevent the winner.

Ezgjan Alioski (LWB) – 5/10 – Caught at the back post for North Macedonia’s opener. Sometimes let his passion spill over and was sloppy in possession. However, he did cause the opposition trouble at times.


Elmas was superb throughout / DANIEL MIHAILESCU/Getty Images

Enis Bardhi (CM) – 7/10 – Caught the eye with some neat exchanges. He is just so so silky on the ball. A real joy to watch.

Arijan Ademi (CM) – 7/10 – One of his team’s best performers. He broke up play valiantly throughout, registering five tackles and two interceptions.

Eljif Elmas (CM) – 7/10 – Spritely and exciting throughout. Retained possession in tight areas very well.

Goran Pandev, Boban NikolovGoran Pandev, Boban Nikolov

Pandev’s goal with a real feel good moment / Daniel Mihailescu – Pool/Getty Images

Goran Pandev (ST) – 8/10 – Moments like his goal are what the expanded, 24-team tournament are all about. His movement was top notch.

Aleksandar Trajkovski (ST) – 6/10 – Important in the build-up to Pandev’s goal. Worked extremely hard.

Tihomir Kostadinov – 6/10 – Showed good commitment.

Egzon Bejtulai – 6/10 – Brought on to shore things up, which he could not manage.

Ivan Trichkovski – 6/10 – The veteran could not grab a late equaliser.

Milan Ristovski – N/A

Real Betis sporting director says Nabil Fekir would cost Arsenal ‘a lot of money’

Nabil Fekir will set suitors Arsenal back ‘a lot of money’ this summer, according to Real Betis sporting director Antonio Cordon.

Fekir has long been linked with a move to north London and they seem undeterred by his underwhelming production in recent times. During the 2017/2018 season the attacking midfielder was electric for Lyon, registering 18 goals and seven assists, form that attracted strong interest from Liverpool.

However, over the past two seasons he has managed just 12 La Liga goals for Betis. But while his productivity has waned, the club still consider him one of their most important players.

According to AS, Manuel Pellegrini views Fekir as someone he wants to build his attack around next season. His importance has also been espoused by Betis’ sporting director.

Asked about the interest in Fekir, Cordon said: “In no club in the world is there is a non-transferable player. For us, it is a cornerstone to have him and keep him, if someone wants to come for him, they will have to pay a lot of money.”

Nabil FekirNabil Fekir

Things haven’t quite worked out for Fekir in Spain / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Finances are not the only roadblock for a potential deal either; it is thought that Fekir has no desire to leave Betis during the upcoming transfer window.

The news is a blow to Arsenal, who have earmarked him as Martin Odegaard’s successor. The Norwegian arrived on loan from Real Madrid in January but that deal has now expired. The Gunners had wanted to make the deal permanent but the transfer seems unlikely.

The summer could be a busy one for Arsenal. Not only are they looking to strengthen following a poor season, they also want to trim the squad. Hector Bellerin and Alexandre Lacazette have both been linked with exits while Granit Xhaka’s departure to Jose Mourinho’s Roma is imminent.

Daniel Levy warns Tottenham will ‘do what is right’ for club in Harry Kane saga

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy has confessed he will protect the club in the transfer market this summer, with star striker Harry Kane’s future one of several issues to be addressed.

Kane has stressed his desire to leave the club this summer after another year of failing to compete for major silverware, but Levy is prepared to dig his heels in and will not humour any bids of less than a whopping £150m from suitors Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United.

Speaking to SpursTV, Levy admitted to being sympathetic with Kane’s concerns but, without naming any names, he stressed that he will not do any business that does not benefit the club.

“I am never going to talk about any specific player in public,” Levy said of Kane’s situation. “All I will say is his frustrations in not winning are shared by me and all the fans and players. We all want to win.

“One of the items that Fabio [Paratici] will have to deal with when he comes in is which players are going to be retained, which will be asked to look for other clubs. There is a market out there. What we want and what other clubs want is not always possible to achieve. We will do whatever is right for the club.

Harry KaneHarry Kane

Kane wants to leave the club / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

“Fortunately for us it is long-term and we are in a good financial position in that sense. We have not been getting the revenues we had hoped for from our stadium and as a consequence we have to be careful over the coming years and be prudent.

“Our duty is to protect the club even though we want to win. We will spend but we are a self-sustaining club, we have to be sensible.

“Sometimes the fans think we should be spending but there have been circumstances when the coach hasn’t wanted to spend on a player. We will make investments in the squad.”

As for Kane, he did his best to ignore the speculation about his future when quizzed by the BBC, instead focusing on the task at hand with England.

Harry KaneHarry Kane

Kane wants to focus on England / Marc Atkins/Getty Images

“I’m sure I’ll get asked about it a lot but my most important thing is trying to win a major tournament with England,” he said (via “The rest of the stuff will happen obviously when I get back from the tournament but for now that’s all I’m focused on.

“I’m not someone who listens to the noise anyway, whether it’s good or bad to be honest. I try to never get too high or too low. I’m here to give everything for my country.”

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Jude Bellingham ready to take his England chance after breaking Euro record

As far as perfect afternoons go, that one was up there for England supporters.

Fans were back in Wembley Stadium for Euro 2020, the sun was shining, the Three Lions responded with three points, a clean sheet and a goal from a man whose participation many had questioned.

The only thing could have topped off such a 90 minutes was the breaking of a record. And that’s exactly what 17 year and 349-day-year-old Jude Bellingham did, when he strode onto the hallowed turf on 82 minutes.

The teenager became the youngest player to ever feature in the European Championships for any nation, writing his name into the history books, and winning hearts all over the nation. In doing so, he also became the youngest player to play for England at a major competition.

That’s not too surprising, really.

The most surprising thing about that statistic is the fact that the 17-year-old is, when looking at the starlet, trapped in the body of a fully grown man. Bellingham is a strapping lad, rocking a 6’1 frame and wide, powerful shoulders.

His presence in the middle of the park is equal to that of any enforcer on the pitch, and he immediately showed with some early challenges that he’s not just a classy operator, but also enjoys the physical side of the game.

Bellingham had only 12 minutes to prove what he could do on the international stage at a major competition, but rather than try to stand out and make a name for himself, he did the very best thing imaginable – dig in and take a few blows for the team.

The midfielder got stuck into playmaker Luka Modric right from the off, allowing the Ballon d’Or winner no time to work any intelligent passes or bring others into play. If you’ve got to foul them and stem the flow, then foul them.

The Borussia Dortmund star slotted straight in and continued the good work that he had shown during England’s two warm-up friendlies against Austria and Romania, offering some solidity and surprising nous to see out a nervy final ten minutes.

In the end, Raheem Sterling’s goal proved to be enough for Gareth Southgate and his men, who edged out Croatia to clinch a crucial 1-0 victory, and put themselves in the driving seat to qualify from Group D.

Up next, bitter rivals Scotland await their chance to break English hearts, before the Three Lions take on Czech Republic in a game which hopefully will have little significance, on the basis that Southgate’s side may already have qualified for the next round.

Bellingham may find himself thrown further into the action as the group stages progress, where he’ll be able to showcase just what he can offer over an entire 90 minutes, rather than stepping in to become purely a history maker.

Patience is needed, too. Many would have turned their noses up at the inclusion of Kalvin Phillips over Bellingham in the middle of the park, but the Leeds United star’s man of the match performance – including the key assist – demonstrated that Southgate probably knows what he’s doing.

That’s not to say Bellingham isn’t worthy of a starting spot, either. His time will come in an England shirt, and no matter when it does arrive – be it in this tournament or the next – he’ll be ready to make an impact.

Bellingham is destined for the top, and this may not be the only record he’ll break on the international stage. Sit back, relax, and watch this boy grow into a man and superstar.

Raheem Sterling laughs off question about his selection in England win over Croatia

Raheem Sterling laughed off a question about whether he justified his selection after scoring the winner in England’s 1-0 victory over Croatia.

The Three Lions were good value for their win in what was their opening game of Euro 2020. Phil Foden rattled the post early on before Sterling grabbed the winner just after the break. Racing onto Kalvin Phillips’ through ball he just beat his opponent to slot it home.

The strike was the Manchester City forward’s first in a major tournament and he expressed his delight at breaking his duck at Wembely, a stone’s throw away from where he grew up.

“Yeah it feels good to be honest with you. I have always said that if I played at Wembley at a major tournament I’m scoring, I have to score. It’s great to finally do that,” he told BBC Sport after the game.

Sterling’s selection raised a few eyebrows before the game as he endured a disappointing 2020/2021 season for City, by his own incredibly high standards. The forward managed ten Premier League goals in 31 appearances and was increasingly left out of the team towards the end of the campaign.

Asked whether he has justified his selection, Sterling laugh and parroted the question back to the reporter. Soon after, they both agreed that he had.

Sterling added: “There’s a lot of different reasons why I haven’t scored for my club and that’s totally irrelevant now. I’m here with England now, enjoying my football and that’s the most important thing. I’m just happy to score.”

The win puts England in a strong position heading into their game against Scotland on Friday evening.

Raheem SterlingRaheem Sterling

Sterling could have added to his tally later on / Carl Recine – Pool/Getty Images

Sterling revealed that he was excited for the derby, saying: “It’s great to get off to a win, that’s the most important thing. Now we’ve got the games to look forward to. Hopefully we can win again.

“It’s been a long season for me and I couldn’t wait to get here and get started with England.”