The Euro 2020 Fiver: bumbling around like a badger trapped on a motorway

“Boooooooooooooooooooooo!” That’s the horrible noise that woke us this morning, reader. What a racket, we thought, before checking the wardrobe to make sure we hadn’t been visited by the spectral presence of Great Granny Fiver again. But no, it turns out a real-life human was responsible for it. Bene, quasi. You see, $exually Repressed Morris Dancing Fiver was still busy jeering at the telly downstairs three days after England’s goalless draw with Scotland, his little red and white rosette slumped forlornly on his chest as he stared at the blank screen and rocked side to side like an angry little elf. Having been unable to get his head round the idea that his proud footballing nation (no major trophies in 55 anni) had been unable to win Friday’s Euro Not 2020 group game, he needed to be yanked back into reality before he disturbed the moody neighbours.

“You’re booing your team for effectively qualifying, you daft twerp!” we roared, before giving him a clip round the ear and dragging him upstairs for a cold bath and a swig of turps. We then tucked him up in bed next to his cousin, Shortbread McFiver, who passed out on Sunday morning after doing 50 lengths of the Serpentine naked while singing “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie!” to mark his team collecting one point from two games. He’ll have some hangover when he wakes up. Especially when he digests the news that the second coming of Archie Gemmill, L’il Billy Gilmour, has been ruled out of the Croatia game after catching Covid. Gareth Southgate will hope that his England players’ inability to get anywhere near the Chelsea man means there will be no need for any of his squad to self-isolate.

In the inquest that followed ENGLAND ALL BUT QUALIFYING FOR THE LAST 16 OF A MAJOR TOURNAMENT, the manager has gone to great lengths to defend Harry Kane, who bumbled around Wembley like a badger trapped on the central reservation of a motorway before Southgate did the kind thing and rescued him after 74 minuti. “He’s our most important player, there’s no doubt about that," he soothed, while giving him a gentle pat and feeding him warm milk. “He is fundamental, not only with the goals he scores but the buildup play and everything else he brings.”

Nel frattempo, the only home nation to actually lose over the weekend was Wales – yet you’d think they’d just won it all the way our Welsh cousin Llanfair PG Fiver reacted when the whistle blew on loro 1-0 defeat by Italy. They did have 10 men for a while, mind, but owing to the fact that it’s quite hard to get knocked out of the group stage unless you’re Turkey, Wales pretty much knew they were through beforehand. They’ll face one of Russia, Denmark or Finland in the last 16 and interim boss Robert Page reckons EN 2020 should beware. “Don’t underestimate the character of a Welshman,” he roared. Even Ailsa from Home and Away smiled over the weekend. Imagine that! There’ll be no booing in the Valleys or on the streets of Merthyr Tydfil while Wales are on a roll. If only our English cousin could be so cheery.

The Euros blog is here, while … deep breath … Barry Glendenning will be on hand for hot MBM coverage of North Macedonia 0-2 Netherlands at 5pm (all times BST), plus Daniel Harris will be all over Ukraine 1-1 Austria, followed by John Ashdown on Russia 0-5 Denmark and Will Unwin with Finland 0-3 Belgium, both at 8pm.

“On the occasion of the match between Germany and Hungary, the council wishes to send a visible message of solidarity … This law represents a new nadir in the disenfranchisement of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, the latest in a series of measures over the years which constitute a systematic restriction of the rule of law and basic freedoms in Hungary” – Dieter Reiter, the mayor of Munich, asks Uefa for permission to light the Allianz Arena in rainbow colours for Wednesday’s game, in response to anti-LGBTQ+ legislation passed by the Hungarian parliament.

Football Daily at EN 2020: here’s the latest episode.

“Re: Friday’s Fiver. Is it really only 400 words? It feels much longer somehow” – Nick Livesey.

“I was impressed with Stephen O’Donnell’s crafty use of complimentary chat to take the sting out of Jack Grealish’s introduction into the Scotland match. O’Donnell clearly appreciated that it was a game of two calves” – Peter Oh [Oh, Peter – Fiver Ed].

“A doff of the cap for Big Website managing to get Nigella Lawson to write its headlines” – Noble Francis.

“It’s a shame that both Paulo Fonseca and Gennaro Gattuso have been denied the opportunity to do one from Spurs next season (Friday’s Non-Euros Business). But on the bright side, the longer the search for a new manager goes on, the more likely José Mourinho will once again be available for consideration” – Simon Mazier.

“Until I read the caption to the photograph in Big Paper, I had assumed that the huge, snaking queue outside Tottenham’s ground consisted of all the most recent candidates summoned by Daniel Levy for the vacancy. Turns out they had come not for the job but the jab, and the search continues” – Adrian Irving.

Send your letters to And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Simon Mazier.

France forward Ousmane Dembélé is out of the tournament with knee-knack.

Phil Foden says his England teammates have agreed to dye their hair blond like him if they win EN 2020. Low-risk bet, there.

Italy may look like one of the teams to beat, but the press there is losing the run of itself a tad. “We are a fairytale,” honked the Corriere dello Sport’s front page, but style icon Roberto Mancini is a little more circumspect. “We will be a test for whichever team we come up against in the last 16,” he cooed.

And Turkey coach Senol Gunes has got his big Scattergun O’ Blame out and isn’t afraid to use it. “I am responsible for this," he parped. “I do not think of resignation at the moment, the bill of failure has to be paid, but media is also responsible, the management is also responsible, the coaching team is also responsible. Players and individual mistakes are also responsible.”

Kieran Tierney has agreed a new Arsenal deal and the Croydon Cruyff, Emile Smith Rowe, is set to follow.

And despite a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser from Torquay keeper Lucas Covolan, Hartlepool are back in the English Football League after four years away, winning the National League play-off final on penalties.

The top, top, top players at EN 2020 so far. By Ed Aarons.

Don’t panic! Barney Ronay explains on what England mustn’t do.

David Hytner on what England must do.

Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. E INSTACHAT, TOO!

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