• ‘They were excellent and very unlucky – we didn’t play our best’
• France coach Jacques Brunel unhappy with decisive Wales try
Warren Gatland admitted “the better team lost” after Wales narrowly avoided a France ambush to reach the World Cup semi-finals. His side will now face South Africa but only after squeezing into the last four against 14-man opponents courtesy of a 74th-minute try from the replacement back-row Ross Moriarty.Continue reading...
• Scot beat Stan Wawrinka 3-6 6-4 6-4 in Antwerp
• Murray wins first tournament since March 2017
Andy Murray arrived in China four weeks ago with the humble hope of winning one or two matches per week, gradually building his match fitness while aspiring to feel a little more like himself by the end of it all.
On Sunday afternoon, after four frantic weeks on the road across two different continents, he left Antwerp with so much more after producing one of the most stunning results of his career to defeat Stan Wawrinka 3-6 6-4 6-4 to win his first title since February 2017.Continue reading...
“I was listening on BBC World Service in France and following the MBM,” says Andrew Dobson. “Weirdly, you were always ahead of the radio. How does that happen?”
If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you in two minutes’ time.
Jordan Henderson “I delighted for Adam, because he’s worked so hard and he deserves that. He saved us today and that could be a big point come the end of the season. We could have been better – we know that – but if you can’t win, don’t lose. We were sloppy first half, not fluid enough; it was quite scrappy. Second half I thought we caused them more problems, especially towards the end of the game, but we couldn’t find a winner.Continue reading...
Brave Blossoms showed all their fight against South Africa and now need more games against the world’s best
So long then, and thank you, Japan. Bruises fade, bones heal, tears dry, and even the pain of this will give way, in time, to resounding pride at everything this team have achieved in these last few weeks, and the four consecutive victories that came before this last defeat. Because whichever of the four sides left in this tournament go on to win it, this will be remembered as Japan’s World Cup. Not just because of the job they have done of hosting it but for the way their team, representing what is, in the large part, still an amateur league, lit up the sport with their bravery, wit and creativity.Continue reading...
José Altuve, the 5ft 6in driving force of Houston, delivered a swing that will play in Astros’ highlights forever.
Altuve homered off Aroldis Chapman with two outs in the ninth inning and Houston outlasted the New York Yankees 6-4 Saturday night to advance to the World Series for the second time in three years.Continue reading...
• England and All Blacks coaches have mutual respect
• We are expanding our coverage of New Zealand. Please help us by supporting our independent journalism
Steve Hansen has revealed a deep respect his England counterpart, Eddie Jones, after the duo swapped messages as their tactical duel approaches.Continue reading...
• Borough’s game against Yeovil abandoned amid alleged racism
• I hope it makes people sit up and take notice, says Aki Achillea
Haringey Borough’s chairman, Aki Achillea, hopes the actions of his players in walking off the pitch after suffering alleged racial abuse from opposition fan will prove to be a watershed moment and prevent others from being targeted after Saturday’s FA Cup tie against Yeovil was abandoned.
Achillea said he feared for the future of football after members of the club’s coaching and playing staff were reduced to tears when the goalkeeper Valery Pajetat and defender Coby Rowe were subjected to alleged abuse five days after England’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Bulgaria was marred by racist chanting.Continue reading...
Strength in depth and a disciplined win against Australia are proof enough for Eddie Jones that his side have what it takes
A big week is looming in Japan, with the country’s new emperor set to be enthroned in the presence of dignitaries from around the world. Within the next fortnight global rugby will also be hailing new kings, although their identity remains uncertain. The highest compliment you can pay England is that even the All Blacks cannot take a place in the final for granted.Continue reading...
Michael Cheika lifted the lid on his broken relationship with Rugby Australia bosses after confirming he will quit as Wallabies coach at the end of the year.Continue reading...
Welsh refused to buckle under intense France pressure which bodes well for their semi-final with South Africa
Warren Gatland was contemplating what to say on TV. He was working out in his mind how he would explain it to the press. After 11 years and nearing the end of his 124th match in charge, he was staring down the barrel of the end to his career as the Wales coach. He was oblivious to the thousands of fans streaming out of the stadium but even they will have heard his sigh of relief when Ross Moriarty’s try was awarded with six minutes to go. It could have been heard for miles.Continue reading...
• Manchester United Women 2-0 Manchester City Women
• United surprise league cup holders to leave group wide open
Casey Stoney said her dressing-room message before a stunning 2-0 defeat of Manchester City in the Continental League Cup – the visitors first in domestic competition this season – was: “You belong at this level, you’ve got to start believing it.”
“And that was my message at the end of the game,” the Manchester United manager added. “‘Do you believe it now?’”Continue reading...
Irish have to face up to life after Joe Schmidt and Rory Best but the incoming head coach has young talent to work with
• We are expanding our coverage of New Zealand. Please help us by supporting our independent journalism
A wit once stated, after surveying the wreckage of another forlorn Five Nations campaign, that Ireland were in a critical state but it was not serious. Nothing a few shots could not make appear better. As the swaying lines of supporters made their way to the train station more than two hours after the end of one of the most sobering defeats in the six-year reign of Joe Schmidt, their optimism had not been doused by the raging fire that burned deep within New Zealand. They scorched the hopes of a team who had never made it beyond the last eight but hope sprung infernal.Continue reading...
• Springboks into last four of Rugby World Cup
• Makazole Mapimpi scores two tries for South Africans
South Africa trampled all over a dream to leave many of Japan’s supporters in tears at the final whistle but the home side had already achieved a victory that even five weeks ago looked unlikely: acceptance that a place should be found for an inspired, innovative team who bring a refreshing vibrancy to a game that at the top level was becoming stereotyped and stale.
It is up to those running the game to ensure the interest in rugby sparked by Japan’s achievement in reaching the knockout stage for the first time is not dissipated by inaction. That Japan asked more searching questions of South Africa than Italy, who have been in the Six Nations since 2000, did in the group stage, said everything about the need to involve them in the Rugby Championship without delay.Continue reading...
A game from the top-tier of Mexican football was brought to a standstill after players protested over unpaid wages.
The tie between Veracruz and Tigres was lifeless for the first three minutes. However, after initially taking part in the protest some Tigres players took the opportunity to scores two unchallenged goals. The game finished 3-1 to Tigres.
• Hot favourite holds off Addeybb in gruelling ground
• Trainer celebrates Champions Day successes at Ascot
She may not rack up extended winning streaks like her old rival Enable – her career strike-rate, in fact, is below 50% – but Aidan O’Brien still felt able to describe Magical as “the ultimate racehorse” after a typically resolute success in the Champion Stakes gave the trainer his first success in the race here on Saturday. “Every day, she wakes up with a total clean sheet,” O’Brien said. “She accepts everything on the chin and says what do you want me to do today? It’s internally with her, it’s her mind. She never says no.”Continue reading...
Rivalry was the word of the day as fans filed into Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena for game three of the Constellation Cup. In the 151st encounter between Australia and New Zealand, the screens were full of flashbacks to previous games, dating back to 1938. It was a sign of things to come – this was to be a classic battle between the two old foes.
It was with a renewed sense of purpose the Diamonds took to the court. After a heartbreaking one-goal loss to their old rivals last week in Christchurch, and an at-times unconvincing win in Auckland, this was a team that looked fired up to be back on home soil.Continue reading...
• Aaron Smith’s double sets rampant All Blacks on way to victory
• England await reigning champions in Yokohama semi-final
The forecast rain did not turn up but a big black cloud did. New Zealand are never more menacing than when they are portrayed as vulnerable, but they left Ireland scattered all over the turf after ruthlessly battering them up front in an awesome display of power and precision to set up a semi-final against England.
The two head coaches stood on the halfway line while their teams were warming up, casually chatting for more than five minutes as if a knockabout were about to start rather than a World Cup quarter-final. New Zealand’s Steve Hansen was in a suit, like the rest of his management team, while Joe Schmidt was kitted out, like the rest of his coaches.Continue reading...
• Captain says team are fixated with poor quarter-final record
• Ulster stalwart retires after winning 124th cap in All Blacks defeat
Rory Best admitted Ireland’s fixation with their World Cup failings proved their undoing in the record 46-14 defeat to New Zealand as they lost their seventh quarter-final in nine attempts.
Best’s Ireland career is now at an end after 124 caps, the 37-year-old Ulster stalwart having retired straight after the crushing All Blacks defeat. Ireland long ago admitted experimenting in this year’s Six Nations in a bid to peak at the World Cup, but Best has now conceded that strategy backfired.Continue reading...
Seldom can a manager have greeted a last-gasp winning goal for his team so angrily. After Matt Targett struck in the fourth minute of stoppage time for Aston Villa, Dean Smith had an expression like thunder. He was still dismayed, he explained, by two things: his team’s all-round performance and what he considered to be the most outrageous intervention yet by VAR against Aston Villa, who had a goal contentiously disallowed for the third time this season.
“I couldn’t even celebrate at the end,” said Smith. Nearly everyone else supporting Villa went wild, as Targett’s first goal for the club secured three points from a match in which Brighton had been dominant until Aaron Mooy got himself sent off in the 35th minute. The visitors had been leading thanks to Adam Webster, and although the excellent Jack Grealish equalised before the break, Brighton looked good value for a point until Grealish set up Targett for the decisive breakthrough. “We probably didn’t deserve to win,” said Smith.Continue reading...
Comfy mattresses and the proper washing of hands prove no match for extra-special shoes
I don’t remember much about reading Bradley Wiggins’s last autobiography, his 16th I believe, but one detail has stayed with me. It was an incident from around 2011 or 2012 when, having shed six kilos, “Twiggo” started to be considered a serious contender for the Tour de France. When he left home to compete in the race, his preparations were so forensic that it was decided he should not lift his cases into the car taking him to the airport. Why risk an injury now after months of brutal training and near-starvation? Cath, the long‑suffering Mrs Wiggins, did the honours.
Looking back, this was perhaps the period when we fell hard for marginal gains. The theory was developed by Dave Brailsford, the wonkish head of British cycling on the track and Team Sky on the road. The core principle was that if you made 1% improvements in multiple areas, you could reap significant rewards overall.Continue reading...
For all England’s skilful touches, it was Eddie Jones’s Kamikaze Kids who dominated Australia with 36 hard-hitting tackles
Eddie Jones calls them his Kamikaze Kids, which fits – because the way Tom Curry and Sam Underhill play is right out of a comic book. You could picture it in Roy Lichtenstein prints. Pop! Pow! Whaam! Boom! They made 36 tackles between them against Australia, none better than the one Underhill put in on the strapping No 8, Isi Naisarani, early in the first half, which was one of those blows that seem to reverse the entire flow of a game. It was in the 15th minute, or thereabouts, and Australia had made a hot start, thinking that they would catch England napping after that two-week break since they beat Argentina. It worked.Continue reading...
Tom Curry produced a relentless display to be man of the match but Tolu Latu could not handle England’s intensity
Elliot Daly Knock-on led to Koroibete’s try and he was made to look foolish by the Australia winger’s finish. Joins the line so well, though. 6Continue reading...
The dangers of boxing are often justified by the direction it offers to many wayward youths. Boxing saves, but what about when it takes someone who doesn’t need saving?
Two days before fight night, Patrick Day walked to the podium for the event’s final press conference. He complimented Chicago, a city he said reminded him of New York, “just less crowded”. He then remarked that the other fighters looked fit and healthy, and promised an entertaining fight with Charles Conwell. He sounded more like the promoter than one of the participants, a point he addressed.
“People look at me, look at my demeanor, and say, ‘Oh you’re such a nice guy, well-spoken, why do you choose to box?’ It’s about what’s in your heart … I have a fighter’s soul, a fighter’s spirit, and I love this sport,” Day said. “Boxing makes me happy, that’s why I choose to do it.”Continue reading...
The 31-year-old tried retirement after winning gold in Rio but the call of the sport to which she has dedicated her life was too strong
After the Rio Olympics, Hannah Mills tried retirement out to see what it felt like. “I knew that Saskia was going to retire,” the 31-year-old says of her long-time sailing partner, Saskia Clark, whom she competed with at two Games and won first silver then gold in the 470 dinghy class, “but for me the path wasn’t clear. It was all up in the air, and I hadn’t had anything organised. I just wanted to have focus, have something else to do to look forward to and experience.”
So Mills took a room at her brother’s house and some work experience at the activity clothing company Musto. “It was a precaution”, she says. “I knew how empty I’d felt after London in terms of having such an incredible buildup, an amazing experience but then it just suddenly ends. It’s actually hard; it’s really, really hard. Like anything you’ve been building up to in life it’s really exciting and then you just feel empty and a bit lost. So win or lose in Rio I wanted to make sure I had got some things planned, regardless of whether I was sailing again.”Continue reading...
Youthful exuberance was at the heart of a new-look New Zealand’s stunning quarter-final win over their recent nemesis
Sympathy is rarely felt for a rival rugby nation yet it was impossible to suppress pangs of exactly that emotion for Ireland. The cruel, crushing nature of this seventh World Cup quarter-final exit has never been so severely inflicted. As the Ireland coach, Joe Schmidt, exclaimed, the scars of this defeat will remain for some time. There could be no more brutal way to sign off his tenure.
While Ireland knew the All Blacks would respond after two defeats in their last three meetings, they were powerless to stop it. Four years ago it was a similar theme. The All Blacks arrived at the World Cup quarter-finals to meet France, their supposed World Cup nemesis. Playing at the same Cardiff venue, memories of 2007 were rolled out in the build-up. The All Blacks bottled that fury and produced one of their best performances on this stage, sweeping France aside to win 62-13.Continue reading...
• ‘The challenge is how do we get better as a team,’ says coach
• England must beat All Blacks for first time since 2012
Eddie Jones has warned New Zealand that the best is still to come from his England side after they booked a World Cup semi-final showdown against the All Blacks.
England’s 40-16 victory over Australia was their biggest ever in a World Cup knockout match and they are in their first semi-final in 12 years. The Wallabies came back to 17-16 early in the second half but tries from Kyle Sinckler and Anthony Watson, to add to Jonny May’s first-half double, sealed one of the most impressive victories in Jones’s tenure.Continue reading...
Critical errors at critical moments killed the Wallabies’ campaign as they failed to move past the quarter-final stage.
The Wallabies’ played with great attacking spirit at the World Cup in Japan, but their lofty ambition exceeded their skill-level.
Statistically, the Wallabies entered their quarter-final against England at Oita Stadium on Saturday as one of the most dominant attacking teams in the tournament in terms of tackle busts, line-breaks and metres gained. But Australia also committed the most turnovers of any team in the final eight, the Achilles heel that led to their record 40-16 defeat to England and early exit from the tournament.Continue reading...
• Jonny May’s two first-half tries give England platform for victory
• Sinckler adds third in second half to halt Wallabies comeback
• Bret Harris: Australia’s pain is self-inflicted
No typhoons this week, just a gathering English storm. Whether it will be enough to propel Eddie Jones’s side all the way to World Cup glory remains to be seen but Australia could not withstand their second-half surge in this eventful quarter-final. For the first time since 2007 England are into the last four and Saturday’s smackdown with New Zealand will be some collision.
If the final margin was slightly harsh on a spirited Wallaby side it was hard-earned reward for England’s well-organised defence and the last-quarter power lurking on their bench. It took until the final quarter to establish clear forward-control but a rampaging 46th-minute score by tight-head Kyle Sinckler had already pushed Australia towards their earliest World Cup exit for a dozen years.Continue reading...
• Abuse in Euro 2020 qualifier appalling and abysmal, says Itoje
• ‘Punishment needs to be more severe’ for racist abuse in sport
England’s Maro Itoje has slammed this week’s racist abuse in football as appalling and abysmal and warned that rugby union should not consider itself immune from similar problems. Itoje says he has teammates who have been the target of abuse and believes the time has come for more black sports people to take a public stand.Continue reading...
England went into the tournament in 1987 believing they could ‘beat anyone’. Wales dispelled that notion in the quarter-finals
England’s preparations for the inaugural Rugby World Cup began in earnest at the Five Nations in February 1987. They had an awful start to the tournament, losing 17-0 to Ireland in Dublin and then 19-15 to France at Twickenham. But the fallout from the Battle of Cardiff threw an even bigger spanner in the works. England were defeated and disgraced in Wales, losing the game 19-12 and losing four players to suspension. With just one match to play in the Five Nations – and just three months to go before Australia and New Zealand co-hosted the first World Cup – England’s plans lay in tatters.
Three-quarters of the way through their Five Nations campaign, England were still waiting for their first win and their first try. With Richard Hill banned, they were now in search of a new captain to lead the team in the Calcutta Cup and the World Cup. Step forward winger Mike Harrison, whose selection came as some surprise – especially to himself. “They must have gone through the list from one to 15. I imagine I was their 15th call after everyone else had said no. I was gobsmacked. It was not something I ever expected.”Continue reading...
Hearts have opened an investigation after reports that Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos was racially abused during Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Tynecastle.
The Edinburgh club have say they will ban any fan found guilty of racism after it was alleged that the Colombian was abused after scoring a 39th minute equaliser.Continue reading...
• City say they ‘condemn any form of abuse or racist language’
• Alleged chants come on day Haringey-Yeovil game abandoned
Bristol City are investigating reports that a small group of their supporters engaged in alleged racist chanting towards Luton Town fans during the Championship match at Kenilworth Road on Saturday.
“We naturally condemn any form of abuse or racist language,” City said in a statement. “We are a family club which celebrates its diversity and inclusivity and will take action against anyone behaving in a racist manner at a Bristol City match who has purchased their ticket or season card through the club, as well as reporting them to the relevant authorities.Continue reading...
Wayne Rooney’s Major League Soccer adventure came to a sour end along with DC United’s season on Saturday as Toronto FC scored four goals in extra-time to complete a 5-1 playoff win.
Rooney has been an inspiration for much of his career at DC United but he will leave with some regrets. Although this was the second time the 33-year-old had led his team to the playoffs, they did not win a postseason game during his time in MLS.Continue reading...
Was this a point to be savoured, or another match best quickly forgotten? Spurs fans will probably spend the weekend mulling it over after a late poke from Dele Alli – one that required, and was eventually granted, the approval of VAR – hauled Mauricio Pochettino’s misfiring team back, just, from a deficit they had laboured under since the opening minutes.
For Watford this was one of those so-near-yet-so-far days, but the commitment from his players gave heart to Quique Sánchez Flores. The league’s bottom side were far from the rabble of early season here and, had they been more decisive in one of several counterattacking opportunities, they might yet have secured their first win of the season.Continue reading...
If Manchester City go on to retain the title they may look back at this game as an important step. The champions arrived here with their backs against the wall having lost to Wolves before the international break and with Liverpool sailing off in the distance. If that was not bad enough, Pep Guardiola was forced into deploying a team containing no recognised central defenders. Another slip looked possible but instead City showed their class and defiance to record a victory that puts them within five points of Jürgen Klopp’s men, who visit Old Trafford on Sunday.
It remains early days in the title race but this nevertheless felt like a notable win for Guardiola’s team given the context and the circumstances. Some sides may have stumbled; City instead dominated possession, territory and chances created. Crystal Palace mustered a period of pressure late on, having been deflated by Gabriel Jesus and David Silva’s goals in the space of two first-half minutes, but that merely gave the platform for Ederson to show why he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world.Continue reading...
• Watford manager unhappy over decisions in 1-1 draw
• Spurs’ Pochettino: ‘I think our goal was legal’
Quique Sánchez Flores branded VAR “weird” and questioned its objectivity after two controversial moments helped deny his Watford team their first league win of the season at Spurs.
Dele Alli’s late equaliser, which cancelled out an early strike from Abdoulaye Doucouré, was eventually given even though the stadium screens said it had been ruled out, while at the end of the first half VAR failed to intervene in what looked like a clear penalty for the visitors after Gerard Deulofeu was stopped by Jan Vertonghen.Continue reading...
• Barça go top after Mallorca’s surprise win over Real Madrid
• Augsburg hold Bayern, Ronaldo on target for Juventus
Real Madrid fell to a shock defeat at Real Mallorca on a day when they were leapfrogged by Barcelona at the top of La Liga. The hosts took the lead early on when Lago Junior cut inside and struck as well-placed finish into the bottom corner of Thibaut Courtois’ goal, and despite having time on their side Madrid could not muster a response. The right-back Álvaro Odriozola was sent off late on for a second booking on a night to forget for Zinedine Zidane’s side, who drop to second, one point behind their Catalan rivals and one ahead of high-flying Granada.
Barcelona’s attacking trident of Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Antoine Griezmann all got on the scoresheet for the first time together in the 3-0 win away to Eibar that took them top of the table. Griezmann put Barça ahead in the 13th minute, slotting inside the near post to cap a route-one move. The three forwards all combined for the next two goals, Suárez bringing the ball into the area for Griezmann to slide it across for Messi to score in the 58th minute, and the Frenchman turning architect of the third goal, rolling the ball from deep into the path of Messi, who then squared for Suárez to tap in.Continue reading...
Leeds, who marked their centenary on Thursday, climbed into second after a 1-0 victory over Birmingham at Elland Road. Kalvin Phillips’ 65th minute goal, set up by Jack Harrison, proved to be the winner. Marcelo Bielsa’s team sit behind only West Brom, who won 1-0 at Middlesbrough.Continue reading...
A little over an hour had passed, the rain was unrelenting and West Bromwich uninspired when a clearly agitated Slaven Bilic liberated Hal Robson-Kanu and Kyle Edwards from the bench.
Thirty minutes later the clouds were lifting, Edwards had created the decisive goal for Robson-Kanu and the visiting fans were singing “We’re top of the league.” West Brom’s first win on Teesside in 10 years had done more than just leave Bilic’s side two points clear of second-placed Leeds, though. In consigning Middlesbrough to a fourth defeat in a run of five games in which Jonathan Woodgate’s team have collected a solitary point they raised all sorts of awkward questions about the former England centre-back’s powers of defensive organisation.Continue reading...
Wales booked their place in the semi-finals after they squeezed past a 14-man French side after Sébastien Vahaamahina was dismissed for an elbow in the second-half. They will face an South Africa side that dominated Japan in their quarter-final, defeating the hosts by 26-3 in Tokyo.
Wales are through to the semi-finals of the World Cup after a 20-19 win over 14-man France. The turning point in the match came when Sebastian Vahaamahina was sent off for an elbow in the second half, helping Wales to score 10 unanswered points. Speaking after the quarter-final, Wales head coach Warren Gatland admitted that 'I think the better team lost today, but that red card was obviously significant'. Wales will face South Africa in the semi-final next Sunday.Continue reading...
England have booked a place in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals for the first time in 12 years with a thrilling and highly competitive 40-16 win against Australia in Oita.
"The good news for us is we can still improve," said England coach Eddie Jones after masterminding victory against his native Australia. "We're happy to play anyone but obviously I've got a soft spot for New Zealand," he added, looking ahead to next weekend's semi-finals before the All Blacks' demolition of Ireland.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said of the defeat by England: "I thought we actually played quite well, especially that first 50 or 60 ... they defended well, and the better team won, you've got to suck that up sometimes."Continue reading...
New Zealand's national airline has poked fun at Ireland supporters with a mock pre-match 'safety tips' video before the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup quarter-final against the Irish.
The video, which mimics a pre-flight safety briefing, advises fans of Joe Schmidt's team, who have won two of their last three matches against the All Blacks, that they can expect 'some upcoming turbulence' at Tokyo Stadium on Saturday.
Children should also be stowed away 'in the event that language becomes colourful', while fans are advised to put their heads in their hands in the crouch position if the All Blacks score an early try.Continue reading...
The Australia fly-half Matt To'omua aimed a few light-hearted barbs at some of his former Leicester teammates as he prepares to face them when the Wallabies take on England in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.
England's Ben Youngs responded to his former teammate's character assassinations of the Leicester squad, saying 'he's not far wrong with some of it'.Continue reading...
It was the first time that the teams had met in North Korea for 30 years, although the game was played out with no fans, no media and sadly no goals. The game in Pyongyang ended in a 0-0 draw. Speaking after returning to South Korea, captain and Tottenham star Son Heung-min said: 'To be honest, the game was so tough that I think we were very lucky already to be back with no one injured.'Continue reading...
It is the grandest rivalry in English football. It’s just a pity that Manchester United v Liverpool matches regularly resemble those mid-2000s Birmingham v Bolton clashes that not even Sky Sports Premier League finds airspace to replay. Each of the last three seasons has featured a 0-0 draw in a fixture that gets the loudest fanfare for the most diminished returns. By now, you know the drill for the buildup: a Jimmy Nesbitt voiceover or a local poet delivering Vogon verse atop a soft-focus glimpse of life in the north west’s two great cities, soundtracked by either Pete Wylie or the Stone Roses, depending on which is the home side.
Could Sunday’s showdown be any different? With Liverpool riding high and Ole Gunnar Solskjær, the Moyes-faced Assassin, looking increasingly befuddled, the worst is feared at Old Trafford – a humbling at the hands of the old enemy. United chief suit Ed Woodward has been getting some pre-emptive strikes in before Gary Neville, Graeme Souness and Roy Keane deliver their weekly post-match lecture on what is going wrong for Big Red. “There is a myth that we have non‑football people making football decisions, and it’s insulting to the brilliant people who work on the football side in this club,” roared Ed.
Who is in Sydney? Who is in Leicester? And who is at home?
Liverpool have started the season with eight wins in a row. Which club once began a top-flight campaign with 11 straight victories?
Which of the quarter-finals at the Rugby World Cup this weekend features two former champions?
England v Australia
New Zealand v Ireland
Wales v France
Japan v South Africa
None of them
Which two teams at the tournament flew home having lost all four of their games?
Georgia and Uruguay
Russia and USA
Tonga and Samoa
Namibia and Canada
England are playing Australia at the Rugby World Cup on Saturday. At which other World Cup – which is being held in Australia over the weekend – are England playing France, Lebanon and Wales (in the men’s event) and Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand (in the women’s event)?
Table-tennis World Cup
BBQ World Cup
Rugby League Nines World Cup
Barrecore World Cup
Pedro Pasculli managed Bangor City to a 1-1 draw against Ruthin Town in the Welsh second division this week. What did he do in June 1986?
He was top of the UK albums charts with his band Super Furry Animals
He and his co-pilot Richard Branson became the first people to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a hot air balloon
He was elected as an MEP for Plaid Cymru
He played in the Argentina team that won the World Cup
Which capital city hosted a World Cup qualifier this week that had no goals, no fans, no journalists and no live broadcast on TV?
Lee Ann Walker received 58 penalty shots at a golf tournament in Indiana this week. What had she done wrong?
She was caught smoking marijuana midway through her round
She “knowingly” killed an animal (a beetle) while putting on the green
She picked up her opponent's ball and threw it into a lake
Her caddie helped her line up shots while she was on the green
Mighty Mike, Voltage, Superchin, Bully Boy, The Flying Scotsman, Snakebite, The Iceman and The Machine will be in Leicester this weekend. Which sport will they be playing?
If La Liga have their way, where will the match between Atlético Madrid and Villarreal be played in December?
As a player, he scored his country’s first (and so far only) goals at the European Championship. And now, as the team's manager, he has helped them qualify for the Euros next year. Who is he?
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the 700th goal of his career this week. For which team did he score the first goal of his career?
11 and above.
Perfection! Have a great weekend.
1 and above.
Ah well, you tried. Have a good weekend. Not great
2 and above.
Ah well, you tried. Have a good weekend.
3 and above.
Ah well, you tried. Have a good weekend.
4 and above.
Ah well, you tried. Have a good weekend.
5 and above.
You were there or thereabouts Have a good weekend.
6 and above.
You were there or thereabouts Have a good weekend.
7 and above.
You were there or thereabouts Have a good weekend.
8 and above.
You nailed it. Have a good weekend.
9 and above.
You nailed it. Have a great weekend.
0 and above.
Ah well, you tried. Have a good weekend.
10 and above.
You nailed it. Have a great weekend.Continue reading...
Today’s fluff is guessing Norway’s coverage has started already
The curious thing about Wolves’ defeat of Manchester City a fortnight ago is that it could have been much more comfortable had Patrick Cutrone not seemingly had his boots on the wrong way round. It’s not gone unnoticed by Nuno Espírito Santo that the young striker, signed from Milan in the summer for £16m, is taking his time to settle at Molineux. What he needs is a familiar face in the ranks to help him feel comfortable – surely then the goals will come. Step forward Franck Kessié.
The midfielder had a fine understanding with Cutrone at Milan last season and was close to joining Wolves in the summer window only for the transfer to fall through. But Milan’s dire financial situation means a move is back on again. The box-to-box Ivory Coast international would bring even more energy to Nuno’s side and a smile back to Cutrone’s face. The cost for all this positivity would be £26.9m but there is a sticking point. Milan want a replacement and would only be willing to let Kessié leave if they can secure Mohamed Elneny from Arsenal for £13m in January. But let’s be honest, Elneny hardly has a queue of suitors lining up to whisk him away now does he?Continue reading...
Also featuring classic Manchester United v Liverpool matches, a player running to the wrong end zone and Sergio Parisse
1) It’s the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals this weekend, and there have been some mighty last-eight clashes down the years. The 2015 match between Scotland and Australia will always be remembered for the controversial penalty that broke Scottish hearts at the death. But the Wallabies’ 35-34 win had everything, including interceptions, a rain storm and eight tries. France’s shock win over the All Blacks in 2007 was pretty special too. That win for Les Bleus in front of their home fans comes in at No 7 in this list of most memorable World Cup moments, also starring David Campese, Jonah Lomu and Nelson Mandela. Meanwhile … who could forget Jason Robinson’s electrifying run and pass to set up Will Greenwood’s try in England’s 2003 quarter-final win over Wales? That same tournament also provided one of the greatest passes the game has ever seen, from Carlos Spencer to send Joe Rococoko over to score for the All Blacks in their last-eight win against South Africa.
2) Typhoon Hagibis may have eased in time for Japan’s breathtaking win over Scotland, but the cancellation of Italy’s match against the All Blacks denied Sergio Parisse his World Cup swansong at the age of 36. No matter, let’s remember the power, the pace and the personality.Continue reading...
Max Rushden, Barry Glendenning, Lars Sivertsen and Paul MacInnes discuss England’s defeat in Prague, Welsh consistency, Scotland wading through San Marino, Euro 2020 permutations and, er, a reality Cech
We take a look back at the weekend’s football, starting with England’s shock 2-1 defeat in Prague, moving through Wales’s pair of 1-1 draws, before looking at the home nations and the rest of the qualifying groups for Euro 2020.Continue reading...
Our cartoonist looks back at 25 of his favourite strips from down the years, all of which are now available at our Guardian Print Shop, a link to each can be found by clicking on the title of each caption below
Plus: more former pros turning out for Sunday league sides, eponymous international goalscorers and Derek Acorah
“With Leon Clarke making his Premier League debut at the age of 34 for Sheffield United against Liverpool, who is the oldest debutant in a top division?” tweets Joe Turner.
We’ve unearthed a golden oldie who can beat the ageing Blade by two years. Now-retired Brighton defender Bruno captained the Seagulls to promotion and then made his first appearance in the English top flight at 36 and only two months shy of his 37th birthday. But Tom Aldous points us in the direction of Graham Alexander who, at the ripe age of 37, made his Premier League debut for Burnley in 2009.Continue reading...
The fifth of a new Guardian Print Shop series featuring classic sports images from the likes of Gerry Cranham, Mark Leech and Tom Jenkins – yours to own for just £55 including free delivery
Those eyes! Having just crossed the line to win 800m gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, British athlete Kelly Holmes is pictured bursting into celebration. Part shock, part jubilation, her expression spoke volumes of her remarkable journey to success. Holmes’ career had been blighted by injuries, anaemia, asthma and depression, and her undeniable talent was frequently stymied on the greatest stage of all: at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta she competed with a stress fracture in her shin, narrowly finishing fourth in the 800m; at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney she overcame a calf tear to win bronze. By 2004, aged 34 and injury-free for the first time, she targeted gold in the 800m and 1,500m. In both finals she waited until the home straight before powering to the front of the field, becoming only the third woman in history to do the middle-distance double. “I can’t believe it!” she yelled repeatedly after her 800m triumph. This image captures that feeling perfectly.Continue reading...
Uefa is historically culpable for what happened in Bulgaria’s national stadium but there are losers on all sides
The taxi driver on the morning run to Sofia airport was lugubrious, middle-aged and wearing an England football shirt. What had he made of the racist abuse of England’s footballers by sections of the Bulgaria crowd the night before. “These people,” he said, curtly, “are idiots.”
The taxi driver wondered aloud why the Sofia police did not prevent the black-clad cohort of Bulgaria ultras from entering the stadium, the same tight-knit group who would later (it seemed) offer Nazi-style salutes – as those who know them knew they would. Instead the police had escorted the ultras inside.Continue reading...
For all its help in straightening out rugby union and its recent assistance to Eliud Kipchoge, what effect will green-line technology have on the off-the-cuff spontaneity of live sport?
While the glorious phenomenon that is Simone Biles was winning a fifth all‑around world gymnastics title last week with routines that included a triple-twisting double backflip during the floor exercise and a two‑flips‑two-twists dismount from the beam, she was doing things that the human eye could barely take in. But there were no worries that what she was doing might be missed.
Her every movement, and those of her 546 rivals, was being captured by three-dimensional laser sensors hidden inside boxes placed around the floor of the Stuttgart arena. Developed by Fujitsu, the system has at its centre an artificial intelligence system. Body measurements are taken from the competitors – in the case of the few who declined in Stuttgart, a standard template was used – and their movements are then tracked for position, angle and speed, instantly processed and fed to the competition judges in graphic form as a clear real-time analysis of every performance.Continue reading...
Eight-year-old Caleb Waterhouse and Billy Taylor, 12, are our inaugural winners
A fact-filled profile of the snowboard champion Katie Ormerod and a thrilling basketball match report have been revealed as the winners of the inaugural Guardian and Football School Young Sportswriters of the Year award.
The winner of the category for writers aged seven to nine, eight-year-old Caleb Waterhouse, wrote about Ormerod, who attended his primary school in West Yorkshire. In the category for ages 10 to 12, Billy Taylor, 12, wrote about the time he saw an NBA game in Los Angeles.Continue reading...
England team-mates tell of their plans to marry after love blossomed in the wake of a historic World Cup win
It’s a familiar scene. After several years living under the same roof, one member of the shared house plucks up the courage to declare their love to another as the sun sets on a midsummer evening.
We have all been that person, or seen this movie. But when Katherine Brunt sidled up next to Nat Sciver to take her romantic plunge, there was a twist. This wasn’t going down in a beer garden or their sitting room after one too many drinks at the end of a Sunday session. Rather, this was all happening on the renowned balcony in front of the home dressing room at Lord’s. Better still, only a couple of hours earlier, the pair had won a World Cup final together in the most dramatic circumstances.Continue reading...