Watford ramp up free transfer bid for River Plate striker Rafael Borre for Premier League return but Lazio also keen - Godz
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Watford ramp up free transfer bid for River Plate striker Rafael Borre for Premier League return but Lazio also keen

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WATFORD are edging closer to signing River Plate striker Rafael Borre on a free transfer, according to reports.

But the Hornets reportedly face competition from Italian giants Lazio who are also said to be keen on the Colombian.

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Watford are close to signing River Plate striker Rafael Borre on a free transfer[/caption]

Borre, 25, is leaving Argentine side River Plate — where he played in the Copa Libertadores final in 2019 — and wants to come back to Europe.

His contract expires on June 30 and despite the Buenos Aires based side wanting to extend, the forward will leave El Monumental.

The Colombia international – who scored eight goals in 13 league appearances last season – was with Atletico Madrid early in his career before heading back to South America for more regular action.

Watford boss Xisco Munoz is looking for a couple of new strikers and Borre would fit in neatly with his limited budget.

The Hornets signed Borre’s countryman Carlos Sanchez in the promotion run-in and could land the forward.

Watford’s recruitment drive comes after they finished the season second in the Championship to secure an immediate return to the Premier League.

But they will have to battle Lazio for his signature, according to TNT.

The Romans appointed Maurizio Sarri as their new boss with a hilarious cigarette tweet on Wednesday.

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The 62-year-old will take charge of the Serie A giants and they poked fun at the ex-Chelsea boss’ chain smoking habit on Twitter.

Sarri has reportedly been offered a two-year deal worth around £2.5million-a-season.

Earlier this week it emerged Sarri is planning to raid his old side Chelsea and wants to bring Marcos Alonso and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to Lazio.

Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

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Jockey in disbelief as his BMW is stolen in ‘professional’ job while he competed in race

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A JOCKEY was left shocked after finding his BMW had been stolen in a ‘professional’ job while he competed in a race.

Stunned Micheal Nolan said he was in ‘disbelief’ after returning to the car park to find another motor where he had parked his own.

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Nolan was shocked to find his car had been nicked while he was competing in a race[/caption]

The jockey lost more than £3,000 of equipment in the raid, with police still unable to locate the car after it was pinched last Friday.

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Nolan had just one ride on the card at Market Rasen.

He finished fourth, beaten by 40 lengths on trainer Philip Hobbs’ 16-1 shot Cotswold Way.

It was when walking back to the car park to drive off that Nolan noticed his car keys were missing.

Nolan, who is based more than four hours from Market Rasen racecourse in Lincolnshire, had to hitch a ride home in Hobbs’ horsebox.

There is no CCTV of the incident and there is no suspicion of a break-in.

Nolan’s missing BMW 420 has an RRP of around £38,750.

The jockey told the Racing Post: “I came out after riding, I knew exactly where I parked it and when I went back I saw a silver car in the same space.

“Straight away I was in disbelief, I doubted myself that I parked it there but I knew I did as it was by a hedge.

“Then I put my hand in my pocket to get the key and it was gone. There’s been no trace of it since.

“I have an app on my phone which shows where my car is but that [GPS] was disabled straight away.

“They knew what they were doing and police told me they’d know there was no CCTV so they were professional about it.

‘No CCTV – very professional’

“I had £3,000 worth of riding gear, racing saddles and everything else, so that’s all gone as well.

“I’d say that’s the most annoying part as I’ll have to try to replace all of that.

“I’ve had some of it since I started riding, it’s like a builder losing his tools.

“I’m not sure what my next steps are yet, I’ll need to speak to my insurance, but I’m busy racing so I’ll need to have to have another car soon.”

PA:Press Association

There were no cameras at the course’s car park to see what happened[/caption]

Market Rasen’s general manager Nadia Powell said there were no intruders into the weighing room and no suspicious activity in the car park.

She said: “It wasn’t a break-in so sadly it was not discovered by our team outside, I think it was a case of taking the keys and driving away.”

There was a small silver lining, however, as Nolan recorded a 9-1 winner at Southwell on Tuesday.

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England vs Croatia betting tips: Kane to score first in opener, Three Lions to reach semi finals – Euro 2020 predictions

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THE SUN is finally shining, the domestic season is over and that means only one thing – it’s coming home.

Euro 2020 will conclude on July 11 at Wembley, with the winners walking the famous steps up to the Royal Box to collect their prize.

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Gareth Southgate is dreaming of taking England all the way to glory – but should you be backing them to do so?[/caption]

Three years on from Gareth Southgate’s side crashing out in the World Cup semi-finals, his exciting blend of youth and experience are hoping to end 55 years of hurt.

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The Three Lions are one of the ante-post favourites to lift the cup and SunSport is on hand to bring you the very best England bets ahead of a jam-packed month.

BoyleSports bet of the day

It’s all set for a Sunday sizzler as England begin their challenge against Croatia at Wembley this weekend.

We’re expecting a nervy match in 27c heat at the Home of Football, with Southgate’s men desperate to calm the nerves with three points.

And Harry Kane will be the man trusted with getting revenge on Croatia for that World Cup heartache.

The Tottenham man was rested in the win over Romania and should be going into this one all guns blazing.

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Kane to net first against Croatia is our bet of the day at 3/1[/caption]

The Three Lions won two penalties in that victory at Middlesbrough thanks to their quick feet in and around the box.

There’s no chance Jordan Henderson is snatching the ball away from Harry, who is the designed spot-kick taker and rarely fails.

And he’ll always be provided with two or three golden chances a game with the creative talent around him.

Kane is not only a terrific price for tournament Golden Boot, but you can get a whopping 3/1 on him scoring first against Croatia.

That’s value and not to be missed.

England top scorer

There’s plenty of attacking flair in this Southgate side, even if he’s sometimes criticised for blunting it to shield a shaky defence.

All of England’s play is garnered towards providing for their main forward.

And it’s no surprise to see Kane way out in front at odds of just 4/5.

He’s the big fancy of many to win the Golden Boot for the entire tournament – and barring injury, the man is almost guaranteed goals.

He won the Golden Boot in the 2018 World Cup while below his best and was the Premier League’s top scorer last season despite Spurs’ struggles.

If you want something a bit longer for your money, it’s worth a small punt on Marcus Rashford at 13/2.

His price has been inflated by a poor end to the season, but Southgate trusts him and Rashford is too good for this barren spell to continue.

The Man Utd star has netted 22 times this season – despite his recent issues – and loves a goal at Wembley, where the Three Lions will play the majority of their games.

After an incredible year for the campaigner off the pitch, it would be so fitting if he could inspire a new generation with some match-winning performances.

How far will England progress?

Let’s face it – we’re all going to get very giddy if England make a fast start to the tournament.

After the year we’ve all had, you’re allowed to get a little bit excited.

But the way this tournament is set up, with Wembley front and centre of the schedule, England have arguably never had a better chance.

Incredibly, the Three Lions are actually just 5/1 to end 55-years of hurt this summer.

There’s real value elsewhere though and we’re happy to take the price on England reaching the semi-finals.

That’s an excellent 6/4 and is a safer bet with the potential schedule looking favourable should the Three Lions get past the last-16.

Winning the group would put them on a collision course with the so-called Group of Death and a probable clash against Portugal, Germany or France.

Negotiate past that game and the competition really opens up – so don’t miss out on those early prices.

First game – England vs Croatia (Sunday, 2pm)

Revenge is on the menu for Southgate and Co.

It’s almost three long years since that cruel night in Moscow, where Keiran Trippier’s fifth-minute freekick had the nation going bonkers.

We all know how that ended – but this isn’t the same Croatian side as 2018.

They’ve won just two of their last eight internationals and those victories were over Malta and Cyprus.

Hardly anything for England to fear on paper then, with Croatia’s aging side 9/2 to win at Wembley.

We won’t be going near that and reckon that the Three Lions get their campaign off to a winning start – but it’s unlikely to be pretty.

Southgate’s men scored plenty in the qualification phase but are under immense pressure to deliver now on home soil.

With worries over his defence in this opener – and Harry Maguire definitely ruled out – the England manager may match Croatia’s midfield man-for-man.

We don’t expect a classic and reckon this could be decided by the odd goal.

As such, under 2.5 goals at 7/10 is a great bet while England to win 1-0 is a terrific 5/1 and can get your tournament off to a winning start – in more ways than one.

SunSport’s best bets

  • Under 2.5 goals at Wembley @ 7/10
  • England to win @ 5/6
  • Three Lions to triumph 1-0 in tight game @ 5/1

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Ronaldo will be Portugal’s star man again but it’s all about teamwork if they want more Euros glory

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PORTUGAL is full of massive individual talents – but let’s hope that the team’s ability is even greater than the sum of its parts.

Cristiano Ronaldo will once again be the big star, even at 36, with his enormous quality meaning that the team revolves around him.

Rex

Cristiano Ronaldo will spearhead Portugal’s Euros campaign once again[/caption]

Getty

Carlos Carvalhal is in charge at Braga and used to coach at Swansea and Sheffield Wednesday[/caption]

His team-mates have to accept that it is worth foregoing some teamwork from Ronaldo because they know that he is capable of making the difference at any moment.

That has been the case in the past – such as that amazing hat-trick against Spain at the 2018 World Cup – and will be once again at this tournament.

Ronaldo will offer little on the defensive side but contribute everything in the final third, so he is a luxury worth having.

But beyond the Juventus striker and the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva, there are some emerging stars in Portuguese football too.

The latest example is Pote, a young midfielder who played in behind the striker for title-winning Sporting Lisbon and finished top-scorer in the Primeira Liga.

Let’s see if he’s given the opportunity to demonstrate his great talent. He’s a rebellious and bold young player who’s not afraid of any opponent or atmosphere.

I know three members of the squad really well because they played for me in the past. I had Rui Patrício and João Moutinho at Sporting and Renato Sanches at Swansea.

Rui Patrício holds the all-time record for international caps won by a Portuguese goalkeeper so is very experienced and assured.

He rarely makes big mistakes and there’s no question that he’s a big asset to the national team.

Getty

Portugal are in Group F with France, Germany and Hungary this summer[/caption]

AP

Ronaldo will hope to lead them to more glory after Euro 2016 success[/caption]

His excellent performances at Wolves have confirmed just how reliable the best goalkeeper of the decade really is.

João Moutinho is a machine! I was once asked to give my thoughts about him and I remember saying, “He plays with an antenna on his head”.

He understands the game, he plays and gets others playing, he covers for players who are out of position and is a tireless worker for the team.

He’s already in second place in the all-time appearance records for the national team, ahead of Luís Figo and second only to Ronaldo.

Having played at three European Championships and two World Cups, this will likely be his last major tournament.

Renato Sanches is an explosive box-to-box midfielder who regained his best form in France with surprise Ligue 1 champions Lille.

A player who plays with great intensity at both ends of the pitch, the French league has proved the ideal platform for him to prove his ability.

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When there are a lot of transitions in the game is when we will see the best of Renato.

Portugal are in Group F with Hungary, Germany and France. It’s going to be very difficult and very tight.

In theory, Hungary will be the team that gets left behind and the other three sides will battle for the top two spots.

Portugal have historically struggled against what, on paper, are weaker teams and excel against stronger opponents.

This is why the first game, against Hungary on Tuesday, is so important and the team simply cannot afford to drop any points.

I think that in this match the coach Fernando Santos will take risks to win the game and go with three attacking players up top who have an eye for goal.

He will set up with a four-man defence and three midfielders, two of whom are more attacking players.

He will also go with two attacking wing-backs who will have the flanks to themselves with the wingers playing more on the inside.

In the other two games, against France and Germany, I expect to see Portugal try to control the game from midfield with two holding midfielders, a more attack-minded midfielder (possibly Bruno Fernandes) and a winger who is a good all-round midfielder, such as Bernardo Silva.

This will allow Santos’s men to dominate the play in the middle third and create good attacking play to provide Ronaldo with the best supply, whilst not giving the opposition the time to launch counter-attacks.

We attack together, and we are a unit when we lose the ball.

Portugal are the defending Euro champions. The team has some really talented players, a very able and experienced coach as well as huge desire and belief to successfully defend their crown.

Everything in the group will come down to beating the big boys, France and Germany, and not slipping up against Hungary, as sometimes can happen.

We hope to see Portugal produce some great football. We want to see technical, creative football but good discipline at the same time.

That is what they showed five years ago and it took them all the way.

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