England’s serene progress towards Euro 2020 continued as skipper Harry Kane grabbed a hat-trick in a 4-0 demolition of Bulgaria in Group A at Wembley on Saturday.
Kane opened the scoring after 24 minutes and struck home two penalties after the break as well as providing the assist for Raheem Sterling to get on the scoresheet.
Gareth Southgate’s side have now scored 14 goals in their opening three Group A games and lead the table with nine points while Kosovo who earlier beat the Czech Republic 2-1, have eight points.
England host Kosovo for the first time on Tuesday when another victory will leave them looking virtually assured of reaching next year’s tournament that culminates on home soil.
It was not a perfect display by England with Bulgaria having three good chances, one when the score was 0-0.
However, England proved far too strong as they left the visitors languishing at the bottom of the group with two points from five games.
Kane’s second hat-trick for England, following the one he scored against Panama at last year’s World Cup finals, took his tally to 25 goals in 40 appearances.
Eight of of the goals were from the penalty spot. (Reuters/NAN)
Edited by Maharazu Ahmed
Record daily rise in COVID-19 deaths reported in Bulgaria
The Bulgarian Health Ministry on Thursday reported a record high of 13 new COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking its nationwide tally to 368.
According to the ministry, the number of confirmed infections has reached 11,155, an increase of 284 over Wednesday.
Meanwhile, 205 people have recovered from the disease in Bulgaria over the past 24 hours, raising the total number of recoveries to 5,971, the ministry said.
Currently 722 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized with 37 in intensive care units, it also said.
Bulgaria reported its first COVID-19 death on March 11.
Russia holds drills in Black Sea following NATO exercises
Russian warships have begun large-scale drills in the Black Sea, the country’s defense ministry said Wednesday on the heels of United States-led exercises in the same region.
Accompanied by warplanes and helicopters, over 20 ships from the Russian Black Sea Fleet, including a frigate, small missile ships and large landing vessels, are participating in the drills, the ministry said.
The troops will undergo training in naval combat, as well as anti-aircraft and anti-sabotage defense.
The Russian drills come shortly after the Ukrainian-United States naval exercises Sea Breeze 2020 ended on Monday in the Black Sea.
The week-long exercises involved some 2,000 servicemen and over 20 ships and aircraft from eight countries, namely Ukraine, the United States, Bulgaria, Georgia, Spain, Norway, Romania and Turkey.
The annual exercises have been held in Ukraine since 1997 as part of the Partnership for Peace program of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Bulgaria extends epidemic emergency until end of August
The Bulgarian government on Tuesday approved the extension of the nationwide epidemic emergency until Aug. 31 in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19, the cabinet said in a statement.
The epidemic emergency was initially declared on May 14 with a duration of one month, replacing the state of emergency implemented on March 13. It has already been extended by the end of June, mid-July, and end of July, respectively.
“The prolongation of the epidemic emergency will make it possible to strengthen the implementation of temporary anti-epidemic measures in order to limit the spread of the disease and protect the lives and health of citizens,” the statement said.
From June 9 until now, there has been a significant increase in the number of daily registered COVID-19 cases in the country, the statement said.
A total of 10,621 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Bulgaria so far, and 347 people have died. On June 8, the figures stood at 2,727 and 160, respectively.
Greece, Bulgaria discuss COVID-19 pandemic, bilateral, regional affairs
Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zakharieva paid a one-day working visit to Greece to discuss with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and other Greek officials issues concerning bilateral relations and European affairs, according to the Greek foreign ministry.
The visit coincided with the 140th anniversary of the establishment of Greek-Bulgarian diplomatic relations.
Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, Zakharieva stressed the need to open a second border checkpoint to avoid the long queues of cars formed at the land borders.
So far, the Promachonas-Kulata border with Bulgaria is the only crossing that has been open for non-essential travel after lockdown measures were eased.
“Prime Minister promised to address the issue and examine opening the Nymphaea border crossing,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said during joint statements to media with Zakharieva after their meeting.
Dendias also said he is optimistic that the implemented health protocols will contribute to the full restoration of the cross-border traveling.