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Monday October 18th, 2021 9:19AM

The Latest: Ronaldo shrugs off talk of leaving Juventus

By The Associated Press
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The Latest on soccer’s European Championship:

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Cristiano Ronaldo says speculation about his future at Juventus “doesn’t faze me at all.”

The Portugal forward says he’s focused only on the European Championship “regardless of staying in Juve or being transferred.”

Ronaldo has been linked with a return to Manchester United. He left the English club in 2009 for Real Madrid. He has spent the past three seasons in Turin.

Ronaldo says “if I were 18 or 19 maybe I would have some sleepless nights. But I’m 36 years old and whatever comes will be for the best.”

Defending champion Portugal will play its opening match at Euro 2020 on Tuesday against Hungary at the Puskas Arena. The group also includes World Cup champion France and Germany.

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Bavaria health minister Klaus Holetschek has called on soccer fans to “show the coronavirus the red card” by remaining careful while Germany plays its European Championship games in Munich.

Up to 14,000 fans will be allowed into the stadium for the German team’s group games against France, Portugal and Hungary under strict hygiene conditions. A quarterfinal match will take place in Munich on July 2.

Fans attending matches will need to show a negative test result for COVID-19, proof of two vaccine shots or proof of recovery from an infection. They will also need to wear protective masks at all times.

Holetschek says “we all know the pandemic is not over. Therefore the European Championship will be different from what some may have wanted.”

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UEFA has defended itself from claims Denmark players were put under pressure to resume their European Championship game against Finland after Christian Eriksen collapsed on the field.

UEFA says it’s “sure it treated the matter with utmost respect for the sensitive situation and for the players.”

UEFA announced the game in Copenhagen on Saturday would restart after a 90-minute stoppage “following the request made by players of both teams.”

But former Denmark great Peter Schmeichel questioned that on a British TV. Schmeichel is the father of Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

Schmeichel says the players were given options to resume, come back on Sunday at noon, or forfeit the game as a 3-0 loss.

UEFA says “the players’ need for 48 hours’ rest between matches eliminated other options.”

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Patrik Schick scored his second goal from near the halfway line to give the Czech Republic a 2-0 victory over Scotland at the European Championship.

Scotland lost possession in their half and the ball fell to the Bayern Leverkusen forward. He spotted opposing goalkeeper David Marshall off his line and launched a curling shot that bounced into goal in the 52nd minute.

UEFA says it was the longest distance for a goal in the tournament at 49.7 meters. The previous record 38.6 meters came from Germany midfielder Torsten Frings at Euro 2004.

Schick earlier gave the Czechs the lead in the 42nd minute with a powerful header after he muscled himself between two Scotland defenders.

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Patrik Schick’s second goal came from way out.

The Czech Republic forward scored the goal against Scotland from near the halfway line in his team’s opening European Championship match.

UEFA says it was the longest distance for a goal in the tournament at 49.7 meters. The previous record 38.6 meters came from Germany midfielder Torsten Frings at Euro 2004.

Scotland had just lost possession in their half and Schick spotted Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall off his line. His shot squeezed inside the near post in the 52nd minute to give the Czechs a 2-0 lead.

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Belgium’s players will spend less time in St. Petersburg ahead of their third European Championship match because team management wants the squad to prepare “in a more COVID-safe environment.”

The change in Belgium’s plans comes as authorities in the Russian city say they are tightening anti-coronavirus restrictions from Thursday in an effort to curb a new spike in infections.

That includes closing food courts in the city’s shopping malls and its Euro 2020 fan zone.

Belgium’s squad was planning to fly to St. Petersburg for a three-day training camp starting the day after its second group match against Denmark in Copenhagen on Thursday. Instead it will return to its training base in Tubize near Brussels and fly to St. Petersburg the day before the game against Finland on June 21.

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Dejan Kulusevski and Mattias Svanberg will join up with the Sweden squad at the European Championship once they have finished their periods of isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The six players who were brought in to train in a reserve bubble alongside the Euro 2020 squad have been released.

Sweden team doctor Ander Valentin says Kulusevski and Svanberg “will return to us in the squad as soon as they are guaranteed infection-free.”

They returned positive tests on Tuesday.

Sweden’s first game at Euro 2020 is against Spain on Monday.

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Christian Eriksen has told his Denmark teammates to look forward to their European Championship game against Belgium on Thursday.

Three of Denmark’s players have spoken to the media for the first time since Eriksen’s collapse during Saturday’s game against Finland at Euro 2020.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg says Eriksen delivered a message via video link from the hospital that he is doing OK and that they should try to focus on playing the next game. He says seeing Eriksen smile gave him ”a form of energy” and that the team will play for the midfielder against Belgium.

Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated with a defibrillator. Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel praised Denmark’s medical staff as ”heroes” who performed ”a miracle.”

Forward Martin Braithwaite fought back tears as he described praying for Eriksen on the field as he was getting treatment.

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Robert Lewandowski will make his first appearance at this European Championship on Day 4 of the tournament.

The FIFA player of the year will be Poland’s main scoring threat when the team takes on Slovakia in St. Petersburg in the middle of three Euro 2020 matches.

Scotland will play the Czech Republic in the first match of the day in Glasgow and Spain will take on Sweden in Sevilla in the last one.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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