Wednesday's big stories

Football has a concussion reckoning coming

Benjamin Pavard was knocked out cold during France's 1-0 win against Germany at Euro 2020. Yet, he played on. There is no room for doubt here, the Bayern Munich defender confirmed it after the match.
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“I took a hell of a shock,” Pavard told BeIN Sports.
I was a little knocked out for 10 to 15 seconds. After that, it was better.
This reckless behaviour came just days after all 24 teams signed a concussion charter ahead of the tournament. The charter stated the following:
"As the General Secretary, Head Coach and Team Doctor of the national team selection, we fully support UEFA's guidance on how to recognise a concussion and how it should be managed from the time of injury through safe return to football. We confirm that if a player of our team is suspected of having suffered a concussion, he will be immediately removed from the pitch, whether in training or match play."
Pavard definitely had a suspected concussion. He was not removed from the field of play. What are the ramifications of the failure to remove him from the field of play? If there are none, the charter has been rendered redundant already.
Football does not take concussion as seriously as it should do. It will, like the NFL before it, one day have a reckoning with it. Truth be told, that reckoning can't come soon enough.
France actually looked like they were in third gear for much of the match with Germany, which is ominous for the other 23 teams vying to win the Henri Delaunay Cup. However, success at international tournaments are rendered trivial when set aside the health of its participants. Football needs to do more to protect its players and it must, must implement better concussion protocols.

Ronaldo breaks two records

Cristiano Ronaldo broke two records on Tuesday. He became the first man to play in five different European Championships and then became the competition's top scorer.
The 36-year-old was level on nine goals with Michel Platini heading into the tournament and his double against a resolute and stubborn Hungary side - in a 3-0 win - put the defending champions on the cusp of the knockout stages.
He seems to be a footballer impervious to the ageing process. A footballer seemingly impervious to nerves. Yet, he is also a footballer who knows his limitations. He can no longer dominate matches, so instead he dominates moments.
It is what makes Portugal so dangerous at tournament football. In Ronaldo they have a player who can change the complexion of a match by his sheer force of will and belief. No other team in the competition has a player with that skillset.

Bereton makes debut in Copa America

Ben Brereton made his debut for Chile against Argentina in the Copa America through the night on Monday.
The 22-year-old, who plays for Blackburn Rovers, can play anywhere across the frontline and was asked to operate at the point of the Chile attack when he was introduced with 77 minutes gone.
Here are the highlights where Lionel Messi hit one of those outrageous free-kicks that defy physics.


It is difficult to argue with Stephen A Smith here


Kylian Mbappe is some player. He showed it again in France's win against Germany. However, what is it that sets him apart? Amy Lawrence's profile of the player in The Athletic details the drive behind his brilliance.
"Wenger reflects on the two main types of motivation in sport. Intrinsic motivation is all about a player pushing himself to be the best, while extrinsic motivation is more down to external forces — being pushed by others, wanting to impress others, being affected by others. Intrinsic motivation is so rare, Wenger says.
"An anecdote told by Antoine Le Roy from Canal Plus, who created a documentary about Mbappe, underlines how his intrinsic motivation works. One day, the pair spent some time gaming together at Mbappe’s house. They started with FIFA. Mbappe noticed his friend was struggling badly so asked what game he liked to play. Le Roy’s choice was NBA 2K, which he had been playing for years so he was eager to show his expertise. He thrashed Mbappe. Bad idea, Le Roy recalled.
"He said to me: ‘Antoine, give me a week. When I’m ready I’ll let you know’. A week later he calls me, ‘Are you ready?’. We play and I don’t win a game. I’m like, ‘What the hell?’. I couldn’t get anywhere with my game. I had been playing for 10 years, but I didn’t know what to do. He’s like that in everything. He gives everything to be the best. Mbappe had spent an entire week speed learning all about it, watching internet tutorials, analysing the strengths and weaknesses of the players in the game to use to his advantage."


Ibrahim Mustapha makes his Warm-Up debut. He has the talent of Mbappe and the longevity of Ronaldo. He could be an all-time great.
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