Cristiano Ronaldo hopes to earn the Euro 2020 Golden Boot courtesy of a goal he didn’t score.
The Portugal striker tops the scoring charts with five goals, level with Czech Republic’s Patrik Schick.
But the 36-year-old also has an assist to his name in the 4-2 defeat to Germany and governing body UEFA have deemed that assists will count if there is more than one top goalscorer.
Schick might feel hard done by considering that several of his efforts have been wonder goals, including one from his own half against Scotland, while three of Ronaldo’s have come from the penalty spot and the other two tap-ins.
Despite Ronaldo scoring 14 Euros Finals goals — five more on the all-time list than second-placed Michel Platini — he has never won the Golden Boot in five Finals.
But it could yet be taken from him if England’s Harry Kane on four goals, or team-mate Raheem Sterling (3), can get on the scoresheet tonight.
If Kane scores one and has an assist then Ronaldo will prevail because he will have played fewer minutes in the Finals.
ENGLAND’S LOOK OF LOVE
LOVE Island appears to be essential viewing among the England squad when there is no football.
Luke Shaw let the cat out of the bag when he confessed that “everyone is watching it”.
So the Manchester United full-back and his team-mates were glued to Love Island — The Unseen Bits as part of their pre-Final entertainment last night.
On the eve of England’s World Cup Final success in 1966, the players and staff decamped to a local cinema to watch the movie blockbuster Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines.
While just a glimpse of Harry Kane and co outside their hotel would illicit a mad scramble by paparazzi and crowds of the curious, that wasn’t the case 55 years ago.
According to hat-trick hero Geoff Hurst, it seems the England party barely caused a stir as they walked through the Hendon night just hours from their date with destiny.
Hurst recalled: “We went to Hendon, the 22-man squad plus the staff, walked all the way there, sat in the cinema, watched a long film and went all the way home.
“I can’t remember anyone asking for an autograph, getting their phone out — not that they could — or taking a picture.”
FEW SPOT PRIZES
NOTHING sends a shiver down a footballer’s neck more than the word ‘penalties’.
And it seems that this summer’s Euros are going to be no exception.
Of the 17 penalties awarded so far in the tournament, only nine have been scored.
The success rate of 52.9% compares unfavourably to the 74% at all Euros Finals games from 1960 to 2016.
Even at the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia, a healthy 22 of the 29 penalties were converted.
SOUTHGATE TAKES LEAF FROM O’NEILL’S BOOK
GARETH Southgate has gone to Michael O’Neill’s playbook to make his England side feel that bit more at home.
As if playing six of their seven matches at Wembley wasn’t enough, Southgate has eked out a few more home comforts at their FA headquarters and tournament base at St George’s Park.
Midfielder Jack Grealish revealed how humbled he felt when first entering his room and said: “There is everything in camp. They’ve done a great job, as homely as possible. I went in my room and there were photos of my family and dog there. I don’t think you can get bored. It is an important thing.”
ENGLAND appear to have Italy rattled and the bogeyman is Boris Johnson.
We have known for some time that if England were to go all the way, they would likely play six games at Wembley. Add to the mix some generous refereeing and the flames have been truly fanned.
Irate Italians claim that the breakaway European Super League is at the heart of England’s ‘favourable’ treatment.
In particular, Juventus Chairman Andrea Angelli is being punished for continuing to support the venture, while Johnson has been praised for his quick opposition that encouraged England’s ‘Big Six’ to quickly pull out.
THREE Lions might be England’s official anthem at the Euros but Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline is winning the popularity stakes.
The Seventies pop classic — which is regularly belted out at Northern Ireland matches —was not even on the UEFA-approved list of songs that could be played at Euros stadiums until Wembley’s resident DJ Tony Parry intervened.
Parry felt the atmosphere at early Wembley games was a bit flat and decided it needed a touch of the Karaoke favourite.