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HomeUncategorizedFoden returns, Mainoo could start, Shaw lurking in England-Slovakia preview

Foden returns, Mainoo could start, Shaw lurking in England-Slovakia preview

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — England is set to face Slovakia in the round of 16 at Euro 2024 on Sunday, following heavy criticism for their lackluster performances during the group stage. Despite the criticism, the team, which finished as runners-up three years ago, remains unbeaten and finds themselves on the opposite side of the draw from powerhouses such as France, Spain, Germany, and Portugal.

Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. local time (12 p.m. ET) in Gelsenkirchen. Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming match:

Match facts:
– England secured their spot in the knockout phase as group winners and have yet to taste defeat in three games. However, fans expressed their frustration towards the team’s performance against Slovenia on Tuesday, with loud jeers at the end of the match and even some throwing beer cups towards manager Gareth Southgate.
– This is Southgate’s fourth major tournament as England manager, and he has always managed to guide the team to at least the quarterfinals.
– Slovakia, as an independent nation, is making their second appearance in the round of 16 at a Euros, having reached this stage in 2016. However, they have never progressed beyond the round of 16.
– Under coach Francesco Calzona, Slovakia caused one of the tournament’s biggest upsets by defeating Belgium 1-0 in their opening game.

Team news:
– Phil Foden has rejoined the England squad after returning home for the birth of his child. Luke Shaw could make his first appearance at these Euros following a hamstring injury, and there are reports suggesting that Southgate is considering starting teenager Kobbie Mainoo in midfield.

By the numbers:
– Harry Kane extended his record by scoring his 64th goal for England in the game against Denmark.
– England holds an unbeaten record of six games against Slovakia, winning five and drawing one.
– If they feature in the match, Juraj Kucka and Peter Pekarik will set a new record with their 11th appearances for Slovakia at the Euros.

What they’re saying:
– “Everything that’s happened is now pretty irrelevant. We have things that we can build on, but also, this is a different test, a different phase of the tournament, and each individual game takes place on its own merit and can also take wild directions at times.” — England manager Gareth Southgate.
– “We remember where we started. When our coach first took the job, we were playing friendly matches in front of 2,000 people in the stadium. And now, after two years of hard work, we’re among the best 16 teams in Europe. So, it’s really wonderful, and we’re happy about it.” — Slovakia captain Milan Skriniar.

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