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    England vs Slovenia: Get £50 in free bets for Tuesday’s Euro 2024 clash with Betfred

    ENGLAND enter their crunch tie with Slovenia in Cologne as favourites to collect three points and top the group.And brand new Betfred customers can claim a terrific £50 in free bets when they sign-up and stake a tenner on the Euro 2024 encounter.Find The Sun’s betting publishing principles here
    England vs Slovenia: Get £50 free bets HERE*
    How to claim..Betfred welcome offer

    Visit the Betfred website HERE*
    Register an account using the Promo Code: SUMMER50
    Deposit £10 using a Debit Card
    Place your first bet of £10 or more on Euro 2024 football, at odds of Evens or greater
    Once that bet has settled, Betfred will credit your account with £50 in Free Bets

    England vs Slovenia: Get £50 free bets HERE*

    England vs Slovenia: Get £50 free bets HERE*
    Betfred are offering some of the very best tournament specials with free bets and special offers galore. Check them out below!
    Build your own Bet Builder (3/1+) of 4+ legs on any England match at Euro 2024 and get 100% of your stake back in Free Bets if you lose – CLAIM HERE
    New to Betfred? Then you can claim this incredible offer.Simply visit the Betfred website using this link HERE* and register a new account using the Promo Code: SUMMER50.Then you just need to deposit and stake £10 on any Euro 2024 football market at odds of Evens or greater.When that first bet has settled — win or lose — Betfred will credit your account with the following free bets;
    3 x £10 to use on any Sportsbook Markets
    2 x £10 to use on Accumulators (4+ selections)
    EURO 2024 FREE BETS AND OFFERSRemember to gamble responsiblyA responsible gambler is someone who:
    Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
    Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
    Never chase their losses
    Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
    Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
    Gamble Aware – www.gambleaware.org
    For help with a gambling problem, call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or go to www.gamstop.co.uk*New customers only. Register with SUMMER50 between 31/05/24 – 14/07/24. First bet £10+ at Evens (2.0)+ on Sports within 7 days to get 3 x £10 in Sports Free Bets & 2 x £10 in Acca Free Bets within 10 hours of settlement. 7-day expiry. Eligibility & payment exclusions apply. Full T&Cs apply. More

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    England vs Slovenia: Get £60 in football free bets and bonuses for Euro 2024 clash with William Hill

    ENGLAND will look to bounce back from their lacklustre 1-1 draw with Denmark against Slovenia at the RheinEnergieStadion in Cologne, Germany.And brand new William Hill customers who register an account and stake a tenner will be rewarded with a colossal £60 in free bets and bonuses to spend on football.Find The Sun’s betting publishing principles here
    England vs Slovenia: Claim your £60 bonus – click here*
    England vs Slovenia: Get £60 in football free bets with William HillCredit: WILLIAM HILL
    England vs Slovenia: Claim your £60 bonus – click here*
    How to claim..William Hill £60 bonus

    Visit the William Hill website on your mobile device HERE*
    Register a new account and deposit a minimum of £10 using the Promo Code: T60
    Place a bet of at least £10 from your main balance on Euro 2024 football on the William Hill Sportsbook at odds of 1/2 or greater
    After settlement – win or lose – William Hill will credit your account with £60 in free bets and bonuses

    England vs Slovenia: Claim your £60 bonus – click here*

    England vs Slovenia: Claim your £60 bonus – click here*
    William Hill £60 welcome bonusNew to William Hill? You can sign-up using the links provided on this page and then you can reap the rewards!Simply register a new account and deposit a minimum of £10 using the Promo Code: T60.EURO 2024 FREE BETS AND OFFERSAfter that, stake at least £10 from your main balance on football on the William Hill Sportsbook at odds of 1/2 or greater.After settlement — win or lose — William Hill will credit your account with £60 in free bets and bonuses to spend on football and in the casino!
    England vs Slovenia: Claim your £60 bonus – click here*
    Remember to gamble responsiblyA responsible gambler is someone who:
    Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
    Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
    Never chase their losses
    Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry, or depressed
    Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
    Gamble Aware – www.gambleaware.org
    Find our detailed guide on responsible gambling practices here.For help with a gambling problem, call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or go to www.gamstop.co.uk*18+. Play Safe. New players only, using promo code T60. Valid from 13/04/2022. Online play. Get £60 Bonus split between Vegas & Sports in the following manner – (i) Deposit £10 to unlock £20 Vegas Free Bet on Selected Games (72hr expiry, wagering reqs apply); then (ii) bet £10+ (odds 1/2+) with cash (excl. £10 deposit) or Vegas winnings (after wager reqs met). Once settled, receive £40 Sports Free Bets excluding Virtual Markets (4x £10, 7 days expiry). Payment methods & country restrictions apply. Full T&Cs apply. More

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    France vs Poland: Get £30 in free bets for Euro 2024 football with talkSPORT BET

    FRANCE could secure top spot in Group D when they face Poland on Tuesday.Brand new talkSPORT BET customers can claim a cracking £30 in free bets when they register an account and stake a tenner on football at Euro 2024 – including the game Find The Sun’s betting publishing principles hereGet £30 in free bets to spend on Euro 2024 football with talkSPORT BETCredit: talkSPORT BETEURO 2024 FREE BETS AND OFFERSHow to claim..talkSPORT BET

    Visit the talkSPORT BET website HERE*
    Create your account via mobile
    Opt-In to this promotion via the OFFERS tab
    Place your first bet of £10 or more on any sports market at odds of Evens or greater
    You must do this within 7 days of registration
    On settlement of your qualifying bet, you will receive £30 in free bets to spend on selected markets

    France vs Poland: Get £30 in free bets – Claim here*

    Brand new talkSPORT BET customers can claim a terrific welcome bonus of £30 when they register an account and stake £10 on any sports market.Simply visit the talkSPORT BET website on your mobile device and create an account. Opt in to this promotion via the OFFERS tab and then make a deposit via debit card or Apple Pay.Stake £10 or more on any sports market – including Euro 2024 football – at odds of at least Evens. Remember, you must do this within 7 days of opening your account.Once your bet has settled — win or lose — you will receive £30 in free bets to spend on the following:
    £5 Football Bet Builder Free Bet
    £5 Euro 2024 Lucky Dip Free Bet
    £5 Any Sports In-Play Free Bet
    And the following free bets, which will be credited 24 hours after the first bonus funds:
    £5 Football Bet Builder Free Bet
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    France vs Poland: Get £30 in free bets – Claim here**18+ New customers only. Opt in via mobile & bet £10+ on any sports at 2.00+ odds within 7 days. No Cash out. Get 6x £5 Free Bets on selected markets. Free bets expire in 7 days. Card payments & Apple Pay only. T&Cs apply, see below. GambleAware.org | Please gamble responsibly.Remember to gamble responsiblyA responsible gambler is someone who:
    Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
    Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
    Never chase their losses
    Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry, or depressed
    Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
    Gamble Aware – www.gambleaware.org
    Find our detailed guide on responsible gambling practices here.For help with a gambling problem, call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or go to www.gamstop.co.uk More

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    France vs Poland: Bet £10 on Euro 2024 and get £30 in free bets PLUS extra 50 free spins with Tote

    TOTE are marking France’s return to action against Poland on Tuesday with a cracking new customer offer!Brand new punters who register an account and stake a tenner will receive a £20 free bet to spend on football, a £10 bonus on horse racing plus an extra 50 free spins!Find The Sun’s betting publishing principles hereBet £10 on football and get £30 in free bets PLUS extra 50 free spins with ToteCredit: TOTEHow to claim..Tote special offer

    Visit the Tote website HERE*
    Register a brand new account using the Promo Code: B10G30PLUS50FS
    Deposit and place your first bet of at least £10 on either racing pools or football
    Once your Qualifying Bet is settled you will receive a £30 welcome bonus

    France vs Poland offer: Get £30 bonus — claim here*

    Tote have expanded their sportsbook options and are now much more than just a horse racing platform.And their belter of an offer for Tuesday’s big Group D clash shows what they’re about.Brand new customers will be rewarded with a colossal £30 welcome bonus and 50 free spins when they register HERE* and stake just £10 on football.EURO 2024 FREE BETS AND OFFERSYou may wish to stake that initial £10 – or any of your football free bets – on that game in Cologne later.It’s easy to claim. Simply visit the Tote website and register a new account using the Promo Code: B10G30PLUS50FSOnce that’s sorted, deposit and place your first bet of at least £10 on either racing pools or football.Once your Qualifying Bet is settled — win or lose — you will receive a £20 free bet to spend on football, £10 bonus on horse racing plus an extra 50 free spins!Remember to gamble responsiblyA responsible gambler is someone who:
    Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
    Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
    Never chase their losses
    Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry, or depressed
    Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
    Gamble Aware – www.gambleaware.org
    Find our detailed guide on responsible gambling practices here.For help with a gambling problem, call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or go to www.gamstop.co.uk*New customers online only. Eligibility restrictions apply. Only valid with code B10G30PLUS50FS on registration. £/€10 min qualifying bet at 1/1 (2.0) odds or greater across sports or racing (if EW then min £10 Win + £/€10 Place). Receive £/€10 Tote Credit, £/€20 Free Sports Bet and 50 Free Spins on Big Bass Bonanza within 48 hours of qualifying bet settlement. 7-day expiry on free bets More

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    France vs Poland preview: Free betting tips, odds and predictions for Euro 2024 clash

    AFTER a quietish start to the competition, France are hoping to kick on now and claim top spot in Group D when they tackle Poland on Tuesday.SunSport betting experts have previewed the contest, and carefully selected our best bets, tips and exclusive sign-up bonuses from our partners for the Euros showdown.Find The Sun’s betting publishing principles hereFree bets for France vs Poland from our partners
    William Hill: Get your £60 in free bets when you stake a tenner on France vs Poland – CLAIM HERE*

    Betfred: Free bets – Get £50 in free football bets when you bet on France vs Poland – CLAIM HERE*

    BetMGM: Get £60 in free bets to spend on football, including France vs Poland – CLAIM HERE*

    talkSPORT BET: Get £30 in free bets to spend on Euro 2024 when you stake a tenner on France vs Poland – CLAIM HERE*

    Tote: Bet £10 on France vs Poland to get £30 in free bets and 50 free spins – CLAIM HERE

    Ladbrokes: Bet £5 on France vs Poland to get £20 in free bets – CLAIM HERE*
    Already have these accounts? Don’t worry, we’ve got loads more terrific deals with our partners!Offer of the day!William Hill £60 bonus
    William Hill are celebrating Euro 2024 in style with a fantastic welcome bonus for brand new customers. William Hill are offering punters a whopping £60 in free bets and bonuses when you register and stake a tenner on football!

    Get £60 in free bets and bonuses when you stake a tenner on football at Euro 2024 – CLAIM HERE*

    France vs Poland previewOne of the pre-tournament favourites, more was probably expected of France in these opening games.It’s not quite been vintage for the French, with a 1-0 win followed by that goalless draw against the Dutch on Friday.And they’ll count themselves fortunate for that, too. The Netherlands disallowed goal one of the major, contentious issues of the championships so far.Didier Deschamps’s side didn’t have Kylian Mbappe after his broken nose, though he’s now back fit and raring to go. Particularly having fluffed a couple of huge chances in the opening game to get off the mark.EURO 2024 FREE BETS AND OFFERSThey’re locked together with Holland on four points, one clear of Austria who the Oranje face in their final group game.So it really is all to play for here, with top spot still a big possibility.Poland need three points to keep their hopes alive, having lost in both of their games.They’d taken the lead over Netherlands before conceding late on to lose the game, while equalising against Austria before two late goals saw them lose once more.It could prove to be an open game, which suits the man in the mask….France vs Poland oddsOdds are correct at the time of publication and are subject to change.France vs Poland betting tipsBig winSlow burners but they’ll blast into action at some stage and we can see it coming here.Mbappe back in the slide, the French should be at full strength and could well need a decent win to secure top spot.Beat the Poles 3-1 in last meeting between the teams, with Poland’s last four games seeing 14 goals being scored.
    France to win and over 3.5 goals at 19/10 with William Hill – CLAIM HERE
    DominantThere seems to be only one real winner here. So it’s about looking for value in a French win.Their speedy wingers – and full backs – hitting the byline should yield corners if the game goes to plan.
    France to score in both halves & France over 2 corners in each half at 18/5 with William Hill – CLAIM HERE
    He’s backNobody has quite caught the eye in front of goal, yet.And with Mbappe sitting out game two, it was a chance for someone else to kick ahead in the race for the top scorer award.He’s got a deficit to make up and we’re taking a bit of a longshot that he will in these 90 minutes.
    Kylian Mbappe to score a hat trick at 12/1 with William Hill – CLAIM HERE
    Remember to gamble responsiblyA responsible gambler is someone who:
    Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
    Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
    Never chase their losses
    Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
    Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
    Gamble Aware – www.gambleaware.org
    For help with a gambling problem, call the National Gambling Helpline on 0808 8020 133 or go to www.gamstop.co.uk*Ladbrokes. 18+ New UK+IRE Customers only. Certain deposit methods & bet types excl. Min first £/€5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 to get 4x £/€5 free bets. Free bets available to use on selected sportsbook markets only. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. Restrictions + T&Cs apply. Gambleaware.org*William Hill. 18+. Play Safe. New players only, using promo code T60. Valid from 13/04/2022. Online play. Get £60 Bonus split between Vegas & Sports in the following manner – (i) Deposit £10 to unlock £20 Vegas Free Bet on Selected Games (72hr expiry, wagering reqs apply); then (ii) bet £10+ (odds 1/2+) with cash (excl. £10 deposit) or Vegas winnings (after wager reqs met). Once settled, receive £40 Sports Free Bets excluding Virtual Markets (4x £10, 7 days expiry). Payment methods & country restrictions apply. Full T&Cs apply.*Betfred. New customers only. Register with SUMMER50 between 31/05/24 – 14/07/24. First bet £10+ at Evens (2.0)+ on Sports within 7 days to get 3 x £10 in Sports Free Bets & 2 x £10 in Acca Free Bets within 10 hours of settlement. 7-day expiry. Eligibility & payment exclusions apply. Full T&Cs apply.*BetMGM. New cust only. 7 days to place a qualifying bet to receive 4x Free Bets: 1 x £10 Horse racing, 1 x £10 Free Bet Builder, 1 x £10 Acca and 1 x £10 Football. 7 day expiry. Exclusions apply. Stake not returned. T&Cs apply.*TalkSPORT BET: 18+ New customers only. Opt in via mobile & bet £10+ on any sports at 2.00+ odds within 7 days. No Cash out. Get 6x £5 Free Bets on selected markets. Free bets expire in 7 days. Card payments & Apple Pay only. T&Cs apply, see below. GambleAware.org | Please gamble responsibly.*Tote. New customers online only. Eligibility restrictions apply. Only valid with code B10G30PLUS50FS on registration. £/€10 min qualifying bet at 1/1 (2.0) odds or greater across sports or racing (if EW then min £10 Win + £/€10 Place). Receive £/€10 Tote Credit, £/€20 Free Sports Bet and 50 Free Spins on Big Bass Bonanza within 48 hours of qualifying bet settlement. 7-day expiry on free bets & Tote Credit. Your first bet will be your qualifying bet. One per customer. UK & ROI customers only. 18+. Full T&Cs apply. Gambleaware.org. More

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    Ukraine vs Belgium – Euro 2024: Red Devils looking to top table in final group game – stream FREE, TV, team news

    THE finale of Group E is here Ukraine will take on Belgium in a clash that could see either side qualify for the knockouts or be sent home.All four teams head into the final match day level on three points as Slovakia and Romania play at the same time in Stuttgart.Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium celebrates scoring his team’s second goal against RomaniaCredit: GettyBoth teams were stunned by their Group E opponents in their opening games at the Euros.And heading into the match Ukraine have the worst goal difference after their 3-0 defeat to Romania.Serhiy Rebrov’s side did recover from their poor start with a 1-0 victory against Slovakia.Meanwhile, Belgium sit second in the table after a shocking 1-0 lose to Slovakia.Domenico Tedesco’s squad however bounced back with a 2-0 victory against Romania.Ukraine need a win to ensure their safety in the tournament but Belgium know a draw will be enough.The two sides have played each other just five times in their history.And to make the result even more unpredictable both sides have won twice with the other game ending in a draw which was their last encounter in 2020.Most read in Euro 2024What is the team news and any injuries to worry about?Ukraine boss Rebrov will be praying to have Everton defender Vitaliy Mykolenko fit after missing their opening two games with a foot injury.The 25-year-old’s return could see Ukraine opt for a three-man defence and put Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko’s spot in the starting line-up at risk.After scoring the winner against Slovakia Roman Yaremchuk may be recalled to the teamsheet.While Artem Dovbyk’s disappointing Euros performance could see him be dropped.For Belgium, Dodi Lukebakio is suspended for one match after receiving two yellow cards in separate games.This could see Leandro Trossard return to the starting XI.Who will be the star men?For Belgium, it is none other than Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne.The midfielder put in another stellar performance against Romania scoring the second goal for Belgium to secure his side the victory.In a cracking fixture, the City ace put in one of his performances for his country.Meanwhile, for Ukraine who were trailing according to every stat in the first half against Slovakia.But star boy Mykola Shaparenko’s early second-half goal initiated the terrific comeback that saw his side secure the much-needed victory to save their place in the tournament.The Dynamo Kyiv midfielder was involved with every aspect of the game assisting the second goal by Roman Yaremchuk.SunSport predictionUkraine 1-2 BelgiumWhen is Ukraine vs Belgium?
    Ukraine vs Belgium will take place on Wednesday, June 26.
    The game will kick off at 5pm.
    The Stuttgart Arena will host the big clash.
    What channel is it and can it be live streamed?
    Ukraine’s clash with Belgium will be shown live on BBC One in the UK.
    You can live stream the action via the BBC Sport and BBC iPlayer app, which is available for download onto your mobile or tablet device.
    Can I watch for FREE?
    Yes, you can watch the game for FREE on BBC One, so long as you have a valid TV licence.
    READ MORE SUN STORIESWhat are the odds?
    Ukraine – 4/1
    Draw – 3/1
    Belgium – 13/20
    *Odds courtesy of William Hill and correct at time of publication. More

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    Barnabas Varga health update as his dad reveals Hungary Euro 2024 star has undergone facial surgery in hospital

    HUNGARY striker Barnabas Varga has undergone surgery after suffering a horrific facial injury against Scotland on Sunday.Varga was knocked unconscious after colliding with Angus Gunn in the second half of the Euro 2024 group stage match.Barnabas Varga suffered a horrific facial injuryCredit: GettyDominik Szoboszlai rushed over to help his team-mate and hurried the medics onto the pitchCredit: GettyA screen was put up around the 29-year-oldCredit: PAVarga was stretchered off and rushed to hospitalCredit: AFPHe required immediate medical attention, with doctors and paramedics sent straight onto the pitch.The 29-year-old’s team-mates quickly shielded him with a screen before he was carried off on a stretcher and rushed to hospital.Varga’s father, Andras, has now confirmed that his son underwent successful surgery in Stuttgart this morning.He told Hungarian Newspaper Nemzeti Sport: “Together with my wife, we are waiting for the news that Barni’s sweetheart will send us.Read More on Euro 2024″The operation has been performed, Barni’s sweetheart will provide information on our child’s condition every minute if necessary.”It is not yet known when he will be released from the hospital in Stuttgart, nor how long he will miss.”It’s no secret, the family went through difficult moments in front of the television screen, but now we can be calmer.”After the match, the Hungarian FA confirmed that Varga had broken “several bones” in his face.Most read in Euro 2024Inside Barnabas Varga’s rise from semi-pro to Euro 2024

    BARBABAS VARGA has enjoyed a meteoric rise from semi-pro leagues of Austria and Hungary to the Euro 2024 finals.
    The Hungary striker played for six seasons, between 2010 and 2016 for SV Eberau in the Bergenlandliga – the regional fourth tier of Austrian football.
    A record of over a goal every other game earned Varga a shot at the big time with with SV Mattersburg in the Austrian Bundesliga.
    However, he scored only once in just 16 games over the next three seasons before dropping down to the second tier with SV Lafnitz.
    After a mixed spell, Varga’s next step was to his homeland, again in the second tier, with Gyirnot in 2020.
    That’s where it began to click for Varga and his eye for goal saw top division Paksi FC swoop.
    Varga scored almost a goal a game in his first season with Paksi, finishing as the top scorer in the Hungarian league.
    That earned the late bloomer an international debut, at the age of 28, in a Euro 2024 qualifier against Bulgaria.
    One his third cap, away to Serbia, he netted his first Hungary goal.
    Last summer, Varga joined Hungarian giants Ferencvaros and again got the golden boot as his side won the league, the first silverware of his career.

    Dominik Szoboszlai wore Varga’s shirt at full-timeCredit: GettyHe will now miss the remainder of the tournament due to the severity of his injury.Hungary players were left furious when some medics appeared to walk onto the pitch in the immediate aftermath of the incident.Captain Dominik Szoboszlai, who was one of the first players to assist Varga when he was knocked unconscious, now believes Uefa should make a change to ensure players in a similar situation receive treatment as quickly as possible.At full-time, the Liverpool star said: “It looked bad, it was bad, it felt bad.”I don’t really know the protocols or how it works, but if our doctors say we need someone immediately to help, then I don’t think they should walk.”It’s not my decision, but I think we need to change something.”Even if someone is on the ground, and you know that it was a big collision, then just go on [the pitch].”Even if the referee is saying don’t go on, just go on. And if you can see it’s nothing serious, then you can just go down and it’s finished. But seconds can help a lot.”However, in a statement UEFA insisted that all guidance was followed.The statement read: “With regards to the medical intervention following the head injury suffered by Barnabas Varga of Hungary, we would like to clarify that the intervention of the team doctor happened within 15 seconds of the incident, followed immediately by the second stadium doctor, to conduct a first assessment of the injury and provide appropriate treatment, as per customary medical procedures.”The qualified pitchside emergency team were waiting pitchside, according to their protocol, and arrived with the stretcher as soon as their intervention was requested by the medics to evacuate the player for his immediate transfer to hospital.”The coordination between all the medical staff on site was professional and everything was done in accordance with the applicable medical procedures. There was no delay in the treatment of and assistance to the player.”Discussing the horrific incident, Hungary boss Marco Rossi said: “I’m not sure if it was a collision with the goalkeeper, it was a confused situation, that’s why the VAR was checking.”The players were saying he looked unconscious so everyone was really worried about his condition and worried about the fact that the doctors arrived late, we can say, but they probably didn’t realise it was a dangerous situation.”Thankfully he is not under risk, he will be operated on here (points to cheek). He’s healthy, and that’s the most important thing. If we go through, he is no longer part of the team.”Gergely Panics, Varga’s doctor, has revealed the striker will hopefully be discharged from hospital on Wednesday.He explained: “Barni suffered a concussion during the collision and lost consciousness.’ Panics revealed.”By the time he reached the ambulance, he had already regained consciousness, after which he was taken to the clinic in Stuttgart, where, after the examination, a therapeutic plan was drawn up, according to which he would be operated on.”Our striker suffered multiple facial skull fractures, several smaller and larger bones were broken in his face, and some were even dislocated.”After the operation, he will be kept in for two days. If everything goes well, he will be released on Wednesday.”READ MORE SUN STORIESHungary won the match against Scotland 1-0 thanks to a late goal from Kevin Csoboth.They subsequently finished third in Group A while the Tartan Army crashed out of the tournament.Kevin Csoboth held up Varga’s shirt after scoring the winning goalCredit: GettyEURO 2024 LIVE: KEEP UP TO DATE WITH ALL THE LATEST NEWS FROM GERMANY More

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    Arsenal fans fume at ‘underwhelming Xhaka downgrade’ as Gunners battle Barcelona for ex-Newcastle star transfer

    ARSENAL fans have been left fuming at an “underwhelming Granit Xhaka downgrade” as they battle Barcelona for Spain ace Mikel Merino.The former Newcastle star has spent the past six years with Real Sociedad, helping them become one of LaLiga’s top sides.Arsenal are targeting a move for Spain and Real Sociedad star Mikel MerinoCredit: GettySome fans believe the Barcelona target is a downgrade on Granit XhakaCredit: GettyBut Merino’s contract expires at the end of next season.And clubs are preparing to go to war over his signature.Barcelona are thought to be leading the chase for Merino, who operates as a deep-lying playmaker.But Catalan chiefs fear Arsenal could hijack the move as Mundo Deportivo claims Mikel Arteta sees him as a Xhaka replacement.READ MORE ARSENAL NEWSThe Swiss star left for Bayer Leverkusen last summer, helping them win their first ever title.Arsenal used both Thomas Partey and Jorginho in Xhaka’s place despite signing Declan Rice for £100million.But Arteta wants a new No6 to take control of midfield and allow Rice to push forward in attack.Merino’s profile fits the bill, while his experience means he will be expected to hit the ground running.Most read in FootballEURO 2024 FREE BETS AND OFFERSHowever, some Arsenal fans are not keen on the proposed move.One said: “An underwhelming Xhaka downgrade.”Meet the Arsenal Wags behind Gunners’ successAnother declared: “Merino in the Xhaka role? I really want Ebe Eze.”One noted: “I really don’t think this is good enough for a team that wants to win the league and challenge for Europe.”But one fan believes Merino would be a good fit.They added: “Merino is a tall Xhaka and a bit faster. Hope we sign him, he is a very good player for midfield.”Arsenal have a tricky start to the season More