Euro 2020 Qualifiers: Czech Republic stun England, Portugal and France win

first_imgIt was a night of European soccer to forget for England, and one to remember for Andorra.England conceded a late goal against the Czech Republic on Friday and paid the price with its first defeat in a qualifying game in 10 years, while France and Portugal made progress in their bids for places at next year’s European Championship.As for Andorra, it ended a 56-match losing streak.A goal five minutes from the end halted England’s unbeaten streak in qualifying for a major competition with the Czechs beating Gareth Southgate’s team 2-1. A victory in Prague would have secured a spot for England at the finals with three games to go.Instead, England squandered a one-goal lead and lost its first match in European or World Cup qualifying since falling to Ukraine in 2009. That loss came with England already qualified for the 2010 World Cup. Its last meaningful defeat in qualifying was against Croatia in 2007.”We didn’t play well enough, simple as that,” said Southgate.Captain Harry Kane gave England the lead in the fifth minute from the penalty spot.But Jakub Brabec leveled for the Czechs four minutes later and substitute Zdenek Ondrasek completed the comeback late with his first international goal. He scored with a low right-foot shot from inside the area.”I just wanted to hit the ball right and put it in the net,” said Ondrasek, who plays for FC Dallas. “I saw tears in the eyes of my father probably for the first time in my life. It’s a great win and great feeling.”advertisementEngland had won all four of its previous games in Group A. It is tied atop the standings with the Czechs on 12 points but has one more game to play. Group strugglers Bulgaria and Montenegro drew 0-0.Top-ranked Belgium became the first team to qualify for next year’s tournament on Thursday.The top two teams of each group advance automatically. The other four qualifiers will come through four tiers of playoffs in March.PORTUGAL ROLL ONCristiano Ronaldo scored his 94th goal for Portugal to help the defending European champions brush aside Luxembourg 3-0 in Lisbon.Ronaldo pounced on a bad pass near the area and chipped the goalkeeper in the 65th.Bernardo Silva put Portugal in control from the 16th. With Portugal 2-0 ahead, substitute Goncalo Guedes added a third goal.Ukraine kept its lead of Group B after midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi scored twice in a 2-0 victory over Lithuania.Unbeaten Ukraine has 16 points. Portugal has 11, ahead of Serbia with seven. Both Portugal and Serbia have one more game to play than Ukraine.Portugal plays at Ukraine on Monday.FRANCE ON PACEWorld champion France and Turkey both took big steps in qualifying with wins which consolidated their Group H lead.Olivier Giroud scored to help France earn a hard-fought 1-0 win at Iceland, while Turkey needed a 90th-minute goal from Cenk Tosun to push it past Albania 1-0 in Istanbul.Both France and Turkey have 18 points. Iceland, the revelation of Euro 2016, is in third place with 12 points and at risk of missing the 2020 edition.France hosts Turkey at Stade de France on Monday.Giroud converted a penalty in the 66th after a foul earned by Antoine Griezmann. Giroud set up Griezmann by heading down a long ball for his fellow forward, who was then fouled by Iceland’s Ari Freyr Skulason.France midfielder N’Golo Kanté was ruled out of the match reportedly for a hamstring problem.It was game No. 200 for Didier Deschamps as player and now coach of France. He played 103 games for France and has directed 97 from the dugout.Steve Mandanda played in goal for France in place of Hugo Lloris, who is out with a broken elbow.FIRST WINAndorra made history of its own in Group H with a 1-0 win over Moldova, the first time the tiny mountainous nation had avoided defeat in 57 European qualifiers.Midfielder Marc Vales headed in the Andorran goal in the 63rd after Moldova had been reduced to 10 men.Andorra, with fewer than 80,000 residents nestled in the Pyrenees between Spain and France, had lost all 56 of its previous games in European qualifying.last_img read more

Workplace benefits the latest frontier for companies looking to attract millennials

TORONTO — During his three-year tenure as a financial analyst at one of Canada’s biggest banks, Devon Wright never once used his company health plan.[np_storybar title=”The key to getting more money when your boss won’t give you a raise” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/personal-finance/retirement/the-key-to-getting-more-money-when-your-boss-wont-give-you-a-raise”%5DThe bump in compensation is easily obtainable by claiming all of your benefits — especially a company pension plan — something millions of Canadians won’t do this year, leaving billions of dollars on the table.Continue reading. [/np_storybar]“There was just nothing there that was of any interest to me,” says Wright, 28.So, when Wright quit his job in 2012 to launch technology company Turnstyle Solutions, he decided to create a benefits package tailored to his needs.Turnstyle is one example of how Canadian companies are tweaking their health plans in order to appeal to a new generation of employees in the coming years. PwC predicts that millennials — who it defined as people born between 1980 and 2000 — will comprise 50 per cent of the global workforce by 2020.In addition to the standard drug and dental benefits, Turnstyle covers naturopathic medicine, mental health counselling and provides employees with a fitness subsidy that they can spend on anything from a gym membership to yoga classes to participation in an Ultimate Frisbee league.The Toronto-based startup also offers free, healthy meals several times a week — a major perk for 23-year-old Sam Hillman.“Some mornings we have soup, or avocados and eggs,” says Hillman, an account director with the company’s sales team.“This emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle really shows the company’s commitment to me as a holistic individual, and not just a Turnstyle employee.”Life insurance companies such as Sun Life Financial and Manulife Financial say a growing number of employers have been looking to implement corporate wellness programs in recent years, partly in response to the desires of millennial workers.Wellness programs include services such as smoking cessation, on-site flu shots and biometric screening, which measures characteristics including blood pressure, body mass index and cholesterol to track employee health.Fulfillment equals productivity for millennials at workWhat millennials really want from employersPreventative health care has become increasingly popular as employers have come to realize how it can benefit not only the individual but the company. Healthy workers are more productive, miss fewer days of work due to illness and are less likely to request costly drugs later down the road.“We’re trying to respond to what millennials are looking for, but there are also benefits to the organization for doing these things,” says Joy Sloane, a partner in the Toronto health and benefits consulting practice at human resources firm Morneau Shepell.Insurers have also started using wearable fitness trackers and incentive programs that reward customers for practising healthy behaviours, such as undergoing annual checkups or regularly hitting the gym.Manulife, which launched an incentive program south of the border last year, announced on Tuesday it will bring it to Canada this year.Flexible plans, such as health spending accounts, are also on the rise as employers look to recruit and retain young workers.“The millennial generation is looking for different things than their parents had in terms of benefits plans,” says Lori Casselman, assistant vice-president of integrated health solutions at Sun Life Financial.Millennials place a much greater priority on mental health services, such as counselling and support groups, than their predecessors did, according to insurers.“Mental health is now recognized as being one of the key factors in absenteeism and lost productivity, as well as drug claims and long-term disability,” says Lisa Callaghan, assistant vice-president of products for Manulife’s group benefits division.“Mental health not only impacts the individuals, but also impacts the team, the environment and the culture, and for those reasons it is becoming more culturally accepted to have those conversations.”While much of the change to corporate health plans is being fuelled by millennials entering the workforce, Sloane says it isn’t just young workers who reap the rewards of such changes.“Although it’s being targeted at the millennials, I think it’s really beneficial for the whole working population,” she says. read more