Spurs Defender Emerson to Undergo Knee Surgery

Football - Champions League - Round of 16 - Second Leg - Tottenham Hotspur v AC Milan - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - March 8, 2023 Tottenham Hotspur's Emerson Royal talks to Cristian Romero. (Reuters)
Football - Champions League - Round of 16 - Second Leg - Tottenham Hotspur v AC Milan - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - March 8, 2023 Tottenham Hotspur's Emerson Royal talks to Cristian Romero. (Reuters)
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Spurs Defender Emerson to Undergo Knee Surgery

Football - Champions League - Round of 16 - Second Leg - Tottenham Hotspur v AC Milan - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - March 8, 2023 Tottenham Hotspur's Emerson Royal talks to Cristian Romero. (Reuters)
Football - Champions League - Round of 16 - Second Leg - Tottenham Hotspur v AC Milan - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - March 8, 2023 Tottenham Hotspur's Emerson Royal talks to Cristian Romero. (Reuters)

Tottenham Hotspur defender Emerson Royal will undergo surgery on a knee injury he sustained on international duty with Brazil, the Premier League club said on Tuesday.

Emerson, 24, picked up the injury in stoppage time during Brazil's 2-1 defeat by Morocco in a friendly on Saturday.

"We can confirm that Emerson Royal suffered a meniscus injury to his left knee while on international duty with Brazil last week," Tottenham said. "The defender will undergo surgery before beginning his rehabilitation with our medical staff."

Tottenham, seeking a new coach to replace Antonio Conte, face Liverpool, Manchester United and Newcastle United in April as they fight for a top-four finish.

They are fourth on 49 points, two points above fifth-placed Newcastle who have two games in hand.



Euro 2024: Italy Opens Title Defense Against Albania in Group B 

Italy’s head coach Luciano Spalletti attends a training session at the Hemberg Stadion Nord Halle in Iserlohn, Germany, 12 June 2024. (EPA)
Italy’s head coach Luciano Spalletti attends a training session at the Hemberg Stadion Nord Halle in Iserlohn, Germany, 12 June 2024. (EPA)
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Euro 2024: Italy Opens Title Defense Against Albania in Group B 

Italy’s head coach Luciano Spalletti attends a training session at the Hemberg Stadion Nord Halle in Iserlohn, Germany, 12 June 2024. (EPA)
Italy’s head coach Luciano Spalletti attends a training session at the Hemberg Stadion Nord Halle in Iserlohn, Germany, 12 June 2024. (EPA)

Italy begins the defense of its European Championship title against Albania on Saturday in their first Group B match. The other teams in the group are Spain and Croatia. Kickoff is at 9 p.m. local (1900 GMT) in Dortmund. Here’s what to know about the match:

Match facts:

— Italy is back at a major tournament after failing to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. That was a second straight World Cup that the Azzurri missed, though they won Euro 2020 in between.

— Italy first played at Borussia Dortmund's stadium in 2006 — and it was a classic game in the World Cup. A semifinal match against Germany went to extra time at 0-0 before goals by Fabio Grosso and Alessandro Del Piero sealed a 2-0 win.

— Albania is playing in the Euros for the second time. The first occasion was in 2016 and the team failed to get out of its group.

Team news:

— Davide Frattesi should be available for Italy after returning to training following a minor groin injury. Nicolò Barella and Nicolò Fagioli have both been training separately this week as they recover from muscle issues.

— After finishing the season well with Europa League champion Atalanta, Gianluca Scamacca seems to have won the tussle with Mateo Retegui — born in Argentina but eligible to play for Italy through his maternal grandmother — to be Italy's starting striker. Still to be determined is whether coach Luciano Spalletti goes with a four-man defense or three at the back with wing backs. It'll likely be the latter.

— Albania coach Sylvinho, the former Barcelona, Arsenal and Brazil left back who was sworn in as an Albanian citizen last month, has no reported injuries to worry about ahead of the match. Armando Broja is expected to start up front despite barely featuring for Fulham in a loan spell from Chelsea in the second half of the season.

By the numbers:

— Italy is seeking a third European Championship title — after winning the 1968 and 2020 tournaments. The Italians were also runners-up in 2000 and 2012.

— Italy has won all four of its meetings with Albania. All of them have been played since 2014.

— Albania conceded eight goals on its last appearance at Dortmund's stadium. That was in 1981, when the national team lost 8-0 to West Germany.

— Ten members of Albania's squad play in one of Italy's top two leagues.

What they’re saying “Perhaps this is a slightly younger group, with fewer years on the pitch. But this is a strong group with an equally strong coach." - Italy midfielder Bryan Cristante, comparing Spalletti's current squad with the Euro 2020 winners led by Roberto Mancini.

"If they win, I will not speak to Frattesi for days. And if we win, I think he will not speak to me!” – Albania midfielder Kristjan Asllani, who plays at Inter Milan alongside Frattesi.