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International R’s: Euros loom large

AFTER last week’s news that both Lyndon Dykes and Niko Hamalainen will be representing Scotland and Finland respectively at this summer’s European Championships, preparations for the tournament - which kicks off on Friday evening - are now well and truly afoot.

Dykes played a major role in both of the Tartan Army’s warm-up games, initially getting 61 minutes under his belt in a 2-2 draw with Holland.

The R’s number nine then played the full game in a 1-0 victory over Luxembourg, courtesy of a Che Adams strike, in what was their final clash before the start of the tournament.

Scotland kick off their campaign on Monday 14th June with a 2pm tie against Czech Republic.

Finnish full-back Hamalainen has also tasted some action, albeit very briefly. Having arrived in the 87th minute in his country's 2-0 defeat to Sweden, he then didn’t feature in their 1-0 defeat to Estonia on June 4th.

However, Niko - who has already won seven Finland caps to date - will be keen to feature in their first Euro 2020 game against Denmark on Saturday evening.

Unfortunately, George Thomas – who has already won three senior international caps for Wales - wasn’t included in their final Euro 2020 squad, despite being a part of their 28-man pre-tournament training camp in Portugal.

Ilias Chair continues to train with Morocco as he looks to be involved in this week’s friendly matches against Ghana (June 8th) and Burkina Faso (June 12th).

Goalkeeper Dillon Barnes is still looking for his senior international debut with his native Jamaica, as their June 3rd clash with Japan was postponed due to members of the Jamaica side being unable to travel to Japan after COVID complications. Today’s (Monday) clash with Serbia ended all-square, with Barnes not in the matchday squad.

Jamaica are due to be back in action on June 12th against Japan Under-23s.

Fellow shot-stopper Seny Dieng’s Senegal side overcame Zambia 3-1 on Saturday, with the R’s number one being an unused substitute. Dieng will look to make an appearance against Cape Verde tomorrow.

As will Ossie Kakay with Sierra Leone, who take on Benin in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on June 14th.

Plenty of our Under-23s have also been in international action over the past few weeks.

Stephen Duke-McKenna represented Guyana in their World Cup qualifier against St Kitts and Nevis, which ended in a 3-0 defeat. They will look to bounce back against Puerto Rico on June 8th.

Winger Dillon De Silva made his international debut for Sri Lanka after coming on in the 52nd minute in their 3-2 defeat to Lebanon. They will look to claim victory against Korea Republic when they are back in action on June 9th.

Elsewhere, Amrit Bansal-McNulty didn’t feature in either of Northern Ireland’s Under-21 friendly clashes against Scotland.

Armelindo Mema and Franklin Domi's Albania Under-21s overcame Andorra 3-0, with Mema arriving on the field as a substitute. Domi didn’t feature, however. 

They now prepare to face Bulgaria tomorrow.