Just a day after being lit up for nearly half-a-hundred at Boone Pickens Stadium, Texas coach Charlie Strong has elected to demote defensive coordinator Vance Bedford to coach the secondary. The move was first reported by Rivals’ site Orangebloods.com. Vance Bedford will coach the secondary with Clay Jennings.— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) October 3, 2016Texas has given up 47, 7, 50 and 49 in four games this season, with the past two coming against air-raid attacks in Cal and OSU.Mason Rudolph had a field day throwing across the middle on Saturday, finishing with 392 passing yards on just 19 attempts, and members of the Texas secondary looked less than impressive trying to bring down OSU receivers with poor tackling.Strong called his defensive efforts to this point “unacceptable” in a press conference on Monday. “So I’m going to run the defense. I’m going to coach the defense,” he said.Texas faces Oklahoma on Saturday in the Red River Showdown.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!
There is a lingering uncertainty sort of hovering over the last quarter of this college football season. With the announcement that Marcell Ateman will redshirt and be back next year for a senior season, the question standing between here and OSU potentially being a Big 12 title favorite is, “what if Rudolph and Washington leave?”I don’t think this will happen, and Mike Gundy addressed it on Monday at his press conference. What he said was really intriguing.“We haven’t had very many players here I felt like were ready to enter that level of football as juniors. That’s including Weeden and Blackmon and Russell Okung. Even though they were great players, I didn’t feel like they were ready for what that level can put out there or put in front of those guys. That’s my opinion.“Both of them played as freshmen so they’re still very young. Last night I watched a little bit of the end of that [NFL] game on TV. If you watched that game, that’s a completely different game. It’s not even the same. Those guys are all big, they’re all fast. The windows those quarterbacks have to throw in are so small.“I think both of those young men have great futures in this game, but in my opinion they need to grow and mature. But that’s a decision they have to make with themselves and their family.”Of course this is a reality that directly benefits Mike Gundy. Some people might be saying, “of course that’s what he’s going to say!” But Gundy also mentioned that he thought Brandon Pettigrew was ready. Gundy seems like a pretty straight shooter when it comes to kids’ futures. Maybe he’s not, but I think he’s being honest here.And I think that maybe unlike Dez and Pettigrew, both players could actually use a little more knowledge and a little more seasoning before entering the league. Their stock has been rising all year, though, and could crest as the season ends (which would be perfect). The allure of pro ball might be strong to resist. Though for the the sake of 2017 I sure hope it’s not.Mike Gundy thinks it’d be wise for both Mason Rudolph and James Washington to return to Stillwater for their senior seasons. #OKState pic.twitter.com/9pU3Teknu2— Cayden McFarland (@caydenmc) November 7, 2016 If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!
Mexico Young Mexico call-ups serve to encourage, not slam, potential El Tri players Jon Arnold Click here to see more stories from this author @ArnoldcommaJon Last updated 2 years ago 08:05 11/9/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Pedro Pardo Mexico Belgium v Mexico Belgium Friendlies World Cup While some have seen their inclusion as a slight against Elias Hernandez or others not in the squad, the Europe-based duo’s call-ups make sense They were presented as surprises, but the inclusion of relative unknowns Omar Govea and Uriel Antuna shouldn’t have been a shock to any Mexico national team fan.Both young and based in Europe, the players will be looking for their first senior caps after involvement with Mexico’s youth system. They may not get them. It’s not uncommon for managers to bring young players into national team camps not only to see how they play but also to show them what it will take to get on the level of the regulars who are carrying the team.”It’s been a dream since I was a kid to be with this caliber of players like Javier Hernandez, Carlos Vela, Hirving Lozano, all of them. I really only saw myself playing with them on the PlayStation, but now I’m really happy to be here,” Antuna said Tuesday. “I’ve followed a lot of them on television, and I admire all of them, but especially Chicharito and Hirving.” Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player While coach Juan Carlos Osorio has been criticized for leaving behind Liga MX-based players like Elias Hernandez or Erick Gutierrez, bringing in Govea and Antuna is hardly a slap in the face of those players, it just makes sense.For one, Antuna currently is based just more than a three-and-a-half hour away from Mexico’s first match in Brussels, working his way into the Groningen team after his move from Santos Laguna to the City Football Group family this summer. Govea is even closer, currently playing a key part for Royal Excel Mouscron side sitting mid-table in Belgium’s top division, the Jupiler League.For another, the smaller leagues these players are in makes it tougher to scout them and see exactly what they can provide in certain positions. Osorio knows Hernandez well from working with him during the Gold Cup and seeing many of his excellent matches with Leon this season in person. Prior to camp beginning this week, he’s seen Govea only at a distance.”I spoke with coach Juan Carlos Osorio. He welcomed me and asked me to do what I’ve been doing with my team, do it well and perform with confidence,” the 21-year-old said. “The truth is I feel really good here because he’s put his confidence in me and that makes things much more relaxed.”There also can be a level of calm from the players in understanding why they’ve been called in. Pushing into the 23-man roster for Mexico’s World Cup team or even getting a spot on the provisional squad is likely too tall a task. They may not be ready to play against Belgium on Friday or against Poland next week. But the players will see the way Mexico’s top players train and have a better understanding of what they need to do with their clubs and with their personal regimens ahead of Qatar. “I came here to show myself, to prove I’m worthy of the selection,” Govea said. “If he gives me minutes, I’m going to be happy with the chance, and if not I’m going to take this experience that is going to be worth a lot for me and I’ll keep working to have more chances. This is something I didn’t expect at this point and if I don’t take part (in the matches) of course I’m going to be happy having been part of the team.”The call-ups also are an incentive for other young Mexican players. It’s no accident that Jesus “Tecatito” Corona and Hirving Lozano have been two of Osorio’s most consistent players during the coach’s tenure at the helm. Lozano moved to Europe this summer but is still just 22 while Corona carved out a path in Europe at age 20.That’s earlier than most Mexican players make the jump, and no shortage of managers in CONCACAF have emphasized how much they’d like players to take a risk and trade in domestic riches for the potential of more competitive matches and more personal growth in Europe. Players like 17-year-old Atlas youth-prospect Jairo Torres, on trial this week with Villarreal get the message loud and clear: Find minutes in Europe and you’ll be on the national team’s radar. Bringing in these young players isn’t meant to discourage anyone not part of this squad – quite the opposite. Osorio is making sure young players know their work is not in vain and challenging those coming behind them to follow in their steps. The Colombian may not be in charge of Mexico during the next cycle, but the team will be better for his choices as he looks to lay the groundwork for a successful 2022 and beyond while keeping his focus fixed on Russia 2018.
Transfers Schalke chairman confirms interest in re-signing Ozil Nino Duit Last updated 1 year ago 06:25 11/21/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Transfers Arsenal Schalke 04 Bundesliga Premier League Mesut Özil The midfielder made his professional debut at the Bundesliga side, who are eager to bring him back to the club in the future Schalke chairman Clemens Tonnies is hoping Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil will return to the club in the future.The Germany international’s contract at the Emirates Stadium expires next summer and his future remains uncertain.Ozil 21/10 to score v Burnley Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Ozil has recently been linked with a potential January transfer to Barcelona or Manchester United, and now his former team Schalke are showing an interest, even if they accept a deal in the short term is unlikely.“I can imagine a return quite well,” Tonnies told Kicker. “If there would be a possibility we would think about it.”His return would be a nice story. But it won’t happen next summer.”Ozil arrived at Schalke in 2005 aged 16 and made his first-team debut a year later before leaving in 2008 to join Werder Bremen.After a three-year stint with Real Madrid, Arsenal signed Ozil in 2013 for £42 million.He produced an inspired display in the 2-0 derby win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday and afterwards Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger praised Ozil for his defensive effort and insisted his playmaker wants to stay in North London.“The quality of the contract has to be good, I’m convinced they love the club, they love the team,” Wenger said about Ozil and team-mate Alexis Sanchez.”I believe they want to stay but other top clubs are out there, who offer good contracts as well.”
Hajduk Split v Everton: Europa League qualifying play-off, second leg – live! Share via Email Reuse this content Read more Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Messenger Hajduk Split Everton Share on WhatsApp Topics Everton secured their place in Friday’s Europa League draw after further evidence in Croatia on Thursday night that Ronald Koeman’s rebuilding of the team is bearing fruit. If an abracadabra goal from the manager’s latest recruit, Gylfi Sigurdsson, 13 seconds into the second half was the best moment, Jordan Pickford’s penalty save on 65 minutes further deflated Hajduk Split. Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest match reports Europa League Joan Antoni Carrillo’s team, trailing 2-0 from last week’s first leg at Goodison Park, had brought Stadion Poljud to the boil two minutes before the interval when a thunderous, dipping effort from Josip Radosevic beat Pickford in the Everton goal. The Merseyside club, unbeaten this season, controlled much of the half with another measured, disciplined performance but Radosevic’s effort could easily have unnerved them.Koeman brought on Aaron Lennon at half-time for his first appearance since he suffered mental health problems in the summer. If that cheered Evertonians and neutrals in equal measure, Sigurdsson’s stunning goal on his full debut went further. The Iceland international, a £45m club record signing from Swansea, closed down a loose ball on the right and as he was falling backwards, sent a looping, angled volley over the goalkeeper Dante Stipica and into the back of the net from 50 yards.“I saw Gylfi’s goal, but I don’t think everyone on the bench did. It was incredible. I don’t have any other word for it,” Koeman said. “You need to be clever to see that possibility and after two or three weeks of the season, it could be the goal of the season [already]. It was really important to be level so quickly in the second half.”It meant Split needed three goals, a tall order against a team as well drilled as Everton, who had only conceded once, at Manchester City, before this game.Yet the hosts should have regained their lead on the night when Ashley Williams conceded a penalty for a clumsy challenge. Ahmed Said won a heated debate about who was going to take it, which did little for an eventual spot kick that was well saved by Pickford. “The penalty save was key as well because there were still 30 minutes to go at that time,” said Koeman.Everton travel to Chelsea on Sunday and Koeman revealed the Senegal midfelder Idrissa Gueye had been rested with a slight hamstring problem.
news José Mourinho Share on Twitter The Fiver: the Guardian’s take on the world of football Champions League Topics Reuse this content Read more Manchester United With Phil Jones and Eric Bailly suspended, their replacements, Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelof, will need to beware of Van Wolfswinkel. “I don’t think Bailly and Jones are better than them,” said Mourinho, whose side dropped their first Premier League points during the 2-2 draw at Stoke City on Saturday. “Even if Jones and Bailly weren’t suspended, probably I would still play Lindelof and Smalling. For me they’re the same level.”Nonetheless it appears an important night for Lindelof as the Sweden defender, signed from Benfica for £31m, starts his first game at Old Trafford. “I think it is easier for him to play Champions League,” Mourinho said. “It’s more comparable to the Portuguese style. He needs a little time to adapt to the Premier League but I’m more than confident about him. He’s a very good player with a very good potential. There are reasons for the other boys, Eric and Jones, to be worried because Victor’s a very good player.”He had similarly warm words for Marouane Fellaini who appears to be overcoming a calf problem. “He’s a very important player for me – much more important than what you can imagine,” Mourinho said. “I feel weaker without Fellaini in my squad.”Manchester United (possible 4-3-3) De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Lindelof, Blind; Fellaini, Matic, Pogba; Mata, Lukaku, Rashford.Basel (possible; 4-2-3-1): Vaclik; Lang, Suchy, Akanji, Riveros; Xhaka, Serey Die; Steffen, Zuffi, Bua; Wolfswinkel.Referee Ruddy Buquet (Fr) Basel Share on Pinterest Share on Facebook José Mourinho blames Marouane Fellaini’s absence for slip-up at Stoke Read more Share via Email Share on LinkedIn “In the Champions League there are four or five teams with an incredible level of quality, of experience, of know-how and that’s what makes the difference. But there are many other teams in the Champions League with very similar qualities to teams in the Europa League.”Accordingly Basel promise to represent a fairly gentle reintroduction to United’s favourite competition. Raphael Wicky was routinely described as “combative” during his days as a defensive midfielder for, among others, Hamburg but the 40-year-old’s new side are not yet cast in anything like a similarly formidable image.Indeed Wicky has endured a somewhat tough induction after years of working his way through the youth ranks at Basel resulted in his promotion from coaching the under-21s to managing the seniors this summer.Although the Swiss champions stand a respectable third in a Super League led by Zurich, they are 10 points worse off than this time last year and lost 2-1 at home against Lausanne last Saturday.Basel, close to the French and German borders and bisected by the Rhine, is better known for its museum-studded medieval centre complete with a handsome red standstone town hall and Gothic cathedral than the local football club. Yet even in the relatively genteel context of St Jakob-Park, there seems a sense of pressure building.Ricky van Wolfswinkel hopes to ease it. He may have been branded a Premier League flop during an underwhelming stint with Norwich City but, on the European mainland, it is a very different story for a striker averaging more than a goal a game. Share on WhatsApp José Mourinho feels Manchester United will be back in their “natural habitat” when they return to Champions League combat for the first time in 644 days against Basel at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.“To be in the Champions League is just to go back to the natural habitat, season after season, for Manchester United,” the manager said. “I look forward to tomorrow and hope Old Trafford feels it in the same way we feel it. Our motivation’s high. We’ll try to qualify and enjoy that special knockout phase with the best teams in Europe.”Although last season was only the second campaign in 22 years in which United had been absent from the competition, Mourinho was not about to dismiss the Europa League, which his team won. “I enjoyed it,” he said. Share on Messenger
Share on Twitter England’s Sarah Hunter lauds RFU match fee decision as squad to face Canada is named Share on LinkedIn Gloucester Share on Pinterest Read more The Harlequins winger Breach raced over on England’s left on three occasions as she completed a hat-trick in the opening half-hour. Rachael Burford also scored early on and Abigail Dow touched down under the posts a minute before half-time as England took a 29-0 lead at the interval.Breach added her fourth try, bursting through the middle of the visiting defence, and after Amy Cokayne crossed the line, the 20-year-old grabbed her fifth in the corner.Marlie Packer touched down before Cindy Nelles scored from close range to get Canada on the board in the 61st minute but Dow added her second soon afterwards before Breach collected a high ball and surged over for her sixth.Rochelle Clark ran in England’s 12th try before Breach set up her fellow debutante Ellie Kildunne to finish the try-scoring in the first of the three-match series.As well as Breach, there were seven uncapped players in England’s matchday squad, with Breach and Dow the two starters on each wing. Caity Mattinson, Kildunne, Zoe Harrison, Shaunagh Brown and Hannah Botterman came off the bench to make their international debuts at Saracens’ home ground.Saracens squander lead as Gloucester battle back to winIt was a less satisfying night for Saracens themselves, though, as Mark McCall’s men let slip an eight-point lead to lose 23-17 to Gloucester at Kingsholm.The visitors dominated the first half and scored the game’s opening try in the 53rd minute through Schalk Brits but Ollie Thorley and Tom Hudson crossed in the final quarter to secure victory for Gloucester, who move up to third in the table. Billy Twelvetrees converted both tries and kicked three penalties while Alex Lozowski kicked nine points and Ben Spencer landed a late penalty for Saracens.The leaders were able to include George Kruis and Lozowski after both were released from the England squad, but the No8 Jackson Wray was a late withdrawal with a neck injury.Twelvetrees put Gloucester in front with a penalty after eight minutes but this was soon nullified by one from Lozowski. The opening 15-minute period was disjointed as the referee, the former Harlequins scrum-half Karl Dickson, marked his Premiership debut by awarding a succession of penalties. Sign up to the Breakdown for the latest rugby union news … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share via Email Reuse this content Share on WhatsApp Since you’re here… Premiership England women’s rugby union team Rugby union Topics news Saracens Lozowski could have given his side an advantage but was off-target with a 30-metre drop goal attempt, but moments later his penalty gave Saracens a 6-3 lead after 18 minutes. Saracens were in control at this stage.Resolute defending from Gloucester kept the visitors out but a minute before the interval Lozowski knocked over his third kick for a deserved 9-3 half-time lead.After the restart Gloucester raised their game to compete with the intensity levels of the visitors and were rewarded with a second penalty from Twelvetrees. The hosts then took off their captain, Will Heinz, in favour of the more attacking youngster Ben Vellacott but it did not pay immediate dividends as a burst fromBurger set up the first try of the game for Brits. Twelvetrees kept his side in contention with a third penalty to reduce the deficit to 14-9 going into the final 20 minutes.A clever inter-play from Vellacott and Andy Symons took the home side into Saracens’ 22 before a well-judged kick from Burns put in Thorley to collect and score. An excellent touchline conversion from Twelvetrees put his team ahead for the first time.They completed a remarkable turnaround when Vellacott sent Hudson in under the posts before Spencer’s last-minute penalty secured a bonus point for Saracens. Share on Messenger Women’s rugby union Share on Facebook The debutant Jessica Breach scored six tries as England’s women marked a milestone match with an emphatic victory against Canada.The Red Roses, in their first game since the Rugby Football Union confirmed the team would receive match fees for the first time, ran in 13 tries at Allianz Park. Read more Support The Guardian
Share on Messenger “We just won’t listen to it! We said that to the boys straight after: don’t get carried away. We’re only four games in. Four good wins, but we’re not getting excited. I’ve known what these players can do since the start of pre-season so I’m not surprised. Our expectation is to be competing at the top. We know our capabilities, but there’s a long way to go.”All this with a team that has already featured nine Academy products, teenage prop Rob Butler coming on for his debut on Sunday. (In years to come I may recognise him when he squeezes into his car next to mine after the game to drive his family home to Medway.) With seven others in Super League this year and another half dozen at other Championship clubs, no other area outside the traditional Three Counties is providing so many pro players.“That says a good deal about the club and how we’re viewing our development here,” says Ward, who has coached in the Academy since retiring from playing. “We want to give London kids a chance and build a club around them. They’re turning into men now and the next wave is coming through. When you add some quality from up north and overseas, we’ve got a good mix.”Foreign quotaIt has been easy to get carried away with the success of Toronto Wolfpack and for Sunday’s humbling in Ealing to be a shock. However, assess their squad and it is fair to say that on paper they are merely a top Championship team, not Super League superstars. Only Joe Westerman – anonymous on Sunday – could be described as a top flight player in mid-career, but the experience of former NRL stalwarts Josh McCrone and Ashton Sims and a dozen players used to the upper echelons of the second divisions should still see them challenge for promotion.“While others put us on a pedestal, we don’t,” insisted a stunned coach Paul Rowley. “So I don’t think that has dented anyone’s egos as such, but it’s certainly dented some pride, and so it should. We were horrendous. We got what we deserved.”Rowley admitted he couldn’t believe they were still in it at half-time, the 21-12 score-line “not reflecting the game”. It was a sink or swim moment and the Wolfpack drowned, dismally. Rowley called it a “performance which let ourselves down” in which London “exposed some frailties”. This is another test of Coach Rowley and his illustrious squad who have had a rude welcome to the Championship so far. Goal-line drop-outThis talent transfer takes some beating: former Hemel Stags full-back Jerry Rice (no, not the NFL legend) put in a hugely impressive performance in the Skeleton at the Winter Olympics. In the final, the 27-year-old from High Wycombe – who played for Hemel in the RL Conference before getting a taste for bobsleigh on the Cresta Run a mere five years ago – improved his time in all four runs down the icy death shoot, finishing with a personal best that secured him tenth overall. Despite no rugby league being played there, the working class Buckinghamshire town of Wycombe was home to two current pros: Sheffield’s Scotland internationalist Oscar Thomas and Leigh firebrand Jamie Acton.Fifth and last Spending last week in Devon’s idyllic South Hams, I felt rather distanced from rugby league. But the 2021 World Cup could be coming to the far south-west. A major player in the Stadium for Cornwall project is former Melbourne Storm CEO and shareholder Mark Evans. Primarily the stadium will be the desperately needed new home for Cornish Pirates – currently mid-table in union’s Championship – and Truro City, the county’s biggest football club, of Conference South. But it will also bid for prestige occasions knowing that sports fans in Cornwall and Devon will trek miles in their thousands to watch any elite sport that makes the effort to get down to their fabulous far corner.And finallyThis the 100th No Helmets blog – four years, almost to the day, since the first – so thank you for your support. Here’s to the next ton!Follow No Helmets Required on Twitter and Facebook Guardian Sport Network Rugby league This unpublished report suggested a brave rethink that would see a top flight of the 10 biggest and best-run clubs, and a 16-team second tier comprising of six strong standalone clubs and 10 feeder clubs. Every club outside SL1 would have the option of becoming what our American friends call “affiliates” in a “farm system” or remaining independent. So those who miss the cut for the top 10 could retain their independence, as would ambitious Championship clubs. Smaller clubs with no desire to be in the top flight – such as Batley, Dewsbury, Rochdale, perhaps – would partner one of the 10 Super League clubs, as NRL clubs do in the NSW Cup.The report also proposed strategic player development and commercial alliances. Wigan could become responsible for London; Leeds would partner with York, the major untapped RL boom town to dominate North Yorkshire (over 4,000 saw their League 1 opener against with Bradford); and St Helens may be asked to work their development magic in Cumbria. Only standalone clubs would be able to get promoted, with Super League licenses and partnerships reappraised every three years.There are merits to this plan. However, as with the 10+10 system, the major problem is what to do with the clubs locked out of the party. The lack of a pathway to the top would sound a death-knell for some of them. While many of League One’s expansion clubs would be better off back in the strong amateur Conference competition, even without New York and Boston in the top 20, there could be some major historic names cut adrift. Frightening times.Clubcall: London BroncosThis winter London Broncos lost their successful head coach, appointed a rookie coach, said goodbye to their star half-back, cut their playing budget and only signed a couple of low-profile players. Most pundits predicted they would be fighting to avoid a relegation battle. Yet after four weeks of the season they are top of the Championship with a 100% record, following a surprisingly handsome 47-16 thrashing of Toronto Wolfpack on Sunday. Head coach Danny Ward claims the Broncos will just ignore the hype heading their way. Share on LinkedIn Super League XXIII (2018) Krisnan Inu inspires Widnes to inflict first defeat of season on Leeds … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Topics Share via Email London Broncos Support The Guardian Since you’re here… The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage Super League Leeds Rhinos features Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Read more Share on Pinterest Read more Share on WhatsApp Rugby League’s obsessive belief that changing how many teams are in each division is the root to solving its problems refuses to go away. In his recent rather misguided rant to esteemed league writer Steve Mascord about “piss-poor journalists”, Leeds Rhinos chairman Gary Hetherington dismissed the talk of Super League returning to the 14 clubs it had three years ago, saying nothing like that was being debated. Ironically, given his criticism of the media resorting to speculating on such matters, he added no meat to the bones.It was believed that clubs were at loggerheads over plans for a Super League comprising of two 10-team divisions. However, they may also be considering restructuring proposals put forward in an independent report from a highly experienced and world-renowned sports administrator commissioned last year by then RFL chief commercial officer Roger Draper. Reuse this content
The 1982 Tango España has what claim to fame? You got… Topics Umbro It was the first Tango matchball to appear at a World Cup The waves that crash against the west coast of France Torschnell It literally means “the quest for the stars” and 1994 marked the 25th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission The original detailing on the balls used in 1994 was a space scene of stars and planets Hambani Fevernova Beckham was a fan. He called the ball “exceptional”. Gianluigi Buffon disagreed: “It’s a ridiculous kiddy’s bouncing ball.” The Gallic cockerel, high-speed trains and the turbine It feels a bit of a stretch, though you can just about make them out if you stare at the ball long enough. Fifa say this is “the first multicoloured official match ball” Not great The ball for the 1962 tournament was so useless it was replaced by the one used in Sweden 1958 – the Top Star. The demise of the 1962 ball, made by Chilean manufacturer Zamora, is something of a shame as it had an eye-catching name. What was it? 1970 The new black and white design was apparently introduced to make the ball easier to see on black and white TVs. It’s simply Spanish for “victory” Share on Twitter Adidas held a poll to name the 2014 ball, with Brazuca getting over 70% of the votes. What were the other names on the ballot? Teamgeist The first ball to shy away from the 32-panel structure that had been de rigueur since 1970. This had just 14 1974 Mitre Winner, winner, chicken dinner Mr Spank It was the last fully leather ball used at a World Cup Four years later came the arrival of a polyurethane coating It is the heaviest ball ever used at a World Cup Share on Messenger Vuvuzela Admiral Slazenger The Slazenger Challenge was the one smacked home by Geoff Hurst in the final Share via Email Challenge your friends Tango 14 Africa Mr Crack In attempt to move ball design forward Zamora used octagonal panels rather than the traditional long ones. Not a great success, but the idea was solid – Adidas would get there a few years later Share on Pinterest Mr Whack Share on LinkedIn Samba and Copacabana Jo’bulani See what they did there? It is the name of the US city where the first football on American soil is believed to have been played Punkte Europass The Eiffel Tower 1966 Nigel De Jong crashes his boot into Xabi Alonso’s chest, presumably confused by the fact that, having played with the Jabulani for the whole tournament in 2010, a new ball was used for the final. What was it called? features Liberté, égalité and fraternité What’s the name of this ball being nodded away by the Germany head coach Jürgen Klinsmann? Below average World Cup Work to do It’s a portmanteau of the Spanish words for “quest for the gold” It was also used at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona Just outside the European places Useless Share on Facebook Share on WhatsApp These flourishes on the Tricolore, used at France 1998, are supposed to represent what? Mid-table safety Champions League level 1978 Share on Twitter The Divine Ponytail holds the Questra during USA 94. Why was it called Questra? Mr Smack The ball for the 2018 tournament is the latest iteration of the Adidas Telstar – the actually-pretty-smart-looking Telstar 18. When was the Telstar first used at a World Cup? What was the name of this underwhelming number next to David Beckham from the 2002 tournament in Japan and South Korea? Shuriken Share via Email Who made the ball at the 1966 tournament? Bossa Nova and Carnavalesca The Bossa Nova picked up just over 14%, Carnavalesca just over 7% World Cup 2018 Share on Facebook Boabola and Rapidez Starflight Europa League level Tamagoru So close! Joga ball-ito and Caxirola Submit answers Pretty poor Reuse this content
Share on Twitter Chiefs’ 10-6 interval lead was hardly imposing but in a tight, gritty contest it had real psychological value. Even with the giant Will Skelton on for Rhodes, the Chiefs duly exerted the majority of the pressure in the third quarter, with the sight of the lightly-built Steenson forcing Vunipola back in the tackle indicative of the hosts’ mindset.Even before Williams bagged another powerful try for his collection, Schalk Burger was sent to the sin-bin for illegally trying to prevent the Chiefs’ third score and Kvesic’s final flourish trumped Ben Spencer’s consolation effort, there was only one side in it.With the season due to reach its halfway point this coming weekend, it also underlined the scale of the task awaiting those hoping to nip in and deprive Chiefs of a fourth successive Twickenham final appearance. Even without the injured likes of Henry Slade, who should return for Friday’s trip to Northampton, Jack Nowell, Dave Ewers, Jonny Hill and Olly Woodburn, Exeter have scored more tries than any team in the league over the season’s first 10 games and conceded the fewest as well. “We weren’t faultless but we worked hard and we were pretty tough,” stressed Baxter, whose team have lost once to Saracens in their last five meetings. “It gives me real confidence that if we do what we do with real energy we’re a good side.” Rugby union The Observer Christmas comes around about as often as Saracens lose games of rugby nowadays but this was a seasonal stuffing in every respect. After 22 matches unbeaten in all competitions the Premiership champions were abruptly dragged back to earth by a fiercely motivated Chiefs side who, for now, sit three points above their main rivals at the top of the domestic tree.The foundations of Exeter’s best result of the season were again laid up front, with Saracens ultimately second best in areas they normally dominate. Luke Cowan-Dickie, promoted to start at the 11th hour, made a striking return at hooker opposite England’s Jamie George, Scotland’s Sam Skinner delivered another telling performance and the impact of Harry Williams and Ben Moon off the bench left Saracens with absolutely nowhere to go. Sign up to the Breakdown for the latest rugby union news Share via Email … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. Whether we are up close or further away, the Guardian brings our readers a global perspective on the most critical issues of our lifetimes – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. We believe complex stories need context in order for us to truly understand them. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Jonah Holmes helps Leicester defeat Harlequins to end losing run Saracens Since you’re here… match reports Share on WhatsApp Read more Share on Pinterest The Breakdown: sign up and get our weekly rugby union email. Share on LinkedIn Topics Share on Facebook Reuse this content Support The Guardian Premiership Exeter Read more Share on Messenger Perhaps the most telling snapshot of the day came as Chiefs’ pack rampaged over for a close-range penalty try just as a weary Mako Vunipola and George were walking slowly towards the main stand having been replaced. The two Lions did not even need to glance over their shoulders with the raucous West Country cheers already telling them everything they needed to know.A last-minute converted score from a resurgent Matt Kvesic also earned the Chiefs a bonus point and put the tin lid on Saracens’ heaviest league defeat for 19 months. Exeter were also the last team to beat them in the Premiership last March and, having lost 27-10 to Saracens in last season’s final, will view this result as a positive omen for 2019. “At times we made Saracens look a bit ragged,” said the Chiefs’ director of rugby Rob Baxter. “If we play them again there are some areas where we think we can gain some momentum against them.”Saracens’ Mark McCall freely admitted his side – “We were well beaten in most areas” – were second best after a bright start, their downturn coinciding with the departure of their skipper Brad Barritt with concussion at the start of the second quarter. With Michael Rhodes also suffering a painful shoulder knock and both Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola currently sidelined, the champions are starting to show some end-of-year signs of wear and tear.Exeter, despite two early Owen Farrell penalties, took full advantage, with Cowan-Dickie, only drafted in to start at short notice when the Chiefs’ captain Jack Yeandle withdrew because of illness, gleefully collecting the rebound after Skinner had charged down Ben Spencer’s clearance. Saracens’ early composure soon began to fray, with their wing Alex Lewington enduring a particularly torrid 40 minutes beneath the high ball, and their set-piece also started to creak. With Exeter, as ever, rejecting penalty shots in favour of kicks to the corner, however, there was no further scoring until Steenson finally slotted a penalty from in front of the posts in the final moments of the half.
Topics The Masters Read more The turmoil of recent years barely needs repeating. On three occasions in 2014 and 2015, he had operations for back problems. The spinal fusion performed on Woods in 2017 felt to all intents and purposes like a last throw of the dice but the man himself was more stark about its necessity. “I couldn’t even go out for dinner. I couldn’t sit,” he explained. “I couldn’t get from point A to point B in the house.”Another journey had caused embarrassment; after his arrest on a charge of driving under the influence, police footage of a discombobulated Woods was beamed across the world.By the time Woods held the Tour Championship trophy aloft, he had flirted with glory at last year’s Open and US PGA Championships. “He will never be the standout best player in the world again like he was back in 2000,” says Rory McIlroy. “But I’d say there is a group of 10-15 guys right now who could stake a claim for being the best in the world and he is definitely one of them.“People don’t know the half of it, they really don’t. They don’t know the half of what he has been through. I was just hoping he would be able to have a life. To go beyond that and do what he has done? It’s unbelievable.”Woods is cagey on what a 15th major win would actually mean to him. It is left to others to pontificate on where such a victory would rank in the grand table of sporting recovery. “It would be special,” is as expansive as the 43-year-old will be when asked about the possibility of donning the Green Jacket for a fifth time. Generally, the more expansive Woods that emerged last year has regressed back towards more familiar, monotone territory.Tommy Fleetwood regularly enjoyed a close-up view last season, including at Augusta National, as Woods clawed his way back to competitive prominence. “If he wasn’t Tiger Woods and you didn’t know him, say he was a guy coming off the web.com Tour, you’d say: ‘This is a guy who is gonna win at any time,’” Fleetwood says. “So I wasn’t that surprised when he did but I think it’s an amazing comeback, from not being able to swing a club or even move.“He showed at the Tour Championship that, once he gets it in play, he is the best iron player in the world. It’s sometimes easy to forget that he is the greatest golfer of all time, you just judge him as a competitor.” European Tour Reuse this content PGA Tour Tiger Woods wins at East Lake in September 2018 – one of the most evocative moments of his career. Photograph: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. “He has probably surprised everyone because he has maintained great form after career-threatening injuries,” says Denis Pugh, the renowned coach who counts the Open champion Francesco Molinari among his pupils. “Everyone in the game – myself included – thought he would make a comeback, last about three months, then as soon as he was paired with a Rory or a DJ, break his back trying to keep up with them. He came out and his ball speeds were phenomenal. He had made no apparent concession to injury.“His balance is serving whatever it needs to do, his plane is excellent and his leverage is great. The swing he has now is more worth copying than the one he came on tour with. The 23-year-old version of Tiger didn’t swing as well as the 43-year-old. He has refined it, it is more copy-able.”But where can this technical improvement take him? “If he won the Masters this year, I wouldn’t be surprised,” says Pugh. “If you told me two years ago he could win the Masters in 2019, I’d have laughed at you. He has proven a lot of people who are supposed to be knowledgeable wrong. He is going to play until he knows he can’t win.”In the eyes of the public, Woods was once a fallen idol. That gallery mood towards him softened, before the outpouring of glee at East Lake, suggesting the United States felt Woods had suffered enough. “It was different, there was so much anticipation,” says Fleetwood of last year’s Masters, where he partnered Woods over rounds one and two. “I don’t think people saw him coming back.”Come back he did. Next stop, Augusta; where fairytales are part of the fabric. Share on Pinterest For far too long, excitement about what people wanted Tiger Woods to achieve overshadowed all evidence of what he actually could. Within hours of last autumn breaking, as thousands of fans invaded an Atlanta fairway, hope met reality. At East Lake, in one of the most evocative scenes of his incredible career, Woods was the victor once more, in the Tour Championship.Even Woods, never one to particularly revel in success, took time to relive the moment after the following week’s Ryder Cup, during which he looked the epitome of exhaustion. Golf, a sport driven in respect of commerce and profile for years by Woods’s very presence, hit fast forward to the coming week; he would return to Augusta National as a genuine Masters candidate. Read more Share on Facebook The Observer Facebook Twitter Share on Messenger Since you’re here… Rory McIlroy: ‘I don’t need to fill a void in my life by winning majors’ Pinterest Share on WhatsApp Tiger Woods Share on Twitter Augusta and Sky’s disagreements over Masters coverage will not be resolved in a bubble Share on LinkedIn US sports Ewan Murray features Golf The mere sight of Woods heading for dinner in a Mexico City hotel with Jordan Spieth in February after cultivating friendships with golf’s younger generation illustrates a change of approach. In his pomp, Woods was deliberately distant from virtually all of his opponents. “Tiger kept himself to himself,” recalls Darren Clarke. “You have to remember it was very tough for him to have any semblance of a normal life. Everyone, everywhere, knew exactly who he was.”There are recurring traces of the Woods machine still being able to shut down coverage it may regard as intrusive. In the course of researching this article, it made sense to seek input from the Texas Back Institute’s Dr Richard Guyer, who performed Woods’s fusion. On the obvious basis no doctor would speak about an individual patient – let alone such a high-profile one – the aim was to ascertain precisely what was involved in this medical procedure.Initially, the institute was forthcoming about the possibility of such an interview. After two weeks, it said that no such discussion would happen. Could it, then, point me in the direction of existing material relating to back fusion? “Sorry, TBI can’t participate in this story.”Those within golf are happier to discuss what would be the most significant chapter of Woods’s career, should it culminate in another Masters win. At 41, Paul Casey is perfectly placed to compare this version of Woods to the one who dominated his sport. Casey held off Woods by a stroke to win the 2018 Valspar Championship, after which the Austrian professional Bernd Wiesberger asked the Englishman how it felt to be “the man who killed Bambi”. Six months later, Casey stood on the East Lake clubhouse terrace to watch Woods deliver his marquee moment.“I went through it for so many years, when it was kind of impossible to hold off Tiger,” Casey says. “He wouldn’t ever make a mistake. At Valspar, everybody wanted Tiger to win but they could also see that he wasn’t quite there yet, that something was building. By the Tour Championship you thought: ‘This is it again, classic Tiger.’ So he almost won at Valspar with his B or C game.“There is no other way to describe it; I feel very lucky to have played with him, against him, at his peak. It was a joke, how much better he was. I kind of wish Rory, JT, Dustin, Jordan could see what we got to see. They don’t actually fully understand, I don’t think. They didn’t get to really see it. It was amazing, stuff happened on the course you couldn’t understand. It was incredibly frustrating as he would pull things out of a hat, but so cool.”David Duval, unlike Casey, occasionally got the better of the young Woods. Unlike Woods’s, Duval’s greatness didn’t stand the test of time. “I see appreciation for health, appreciation for the ability to play and compete,” says Duval of his one-time adversary.“Priorities change, life moves on. I see a person who has grown, aged and matured. We all get stuck in this thought that the person from 10 years ago is the same as now. I make the assumption that you hope you weren’t the same person as 10 years ago but we don’t allow athletes to mature and change. We want to assign them to a certain role. He is a 43-year-old man with children who has gone through a lot of stuff, been dealt some good blows; some self-inflicted.”Woods the commodity has never been fully rehabilitated from the infidelity scandal that trashed his image in 2009. It is hardly being cruel to suggest the position of Monster, the energy drink, as a key sponsor emphasises as much. Other brands ran for the hills. How much Woods’s body has been impaired by a series of surgeries remains a complete unknown: he admits an inability to practise as much as was once the case and that a hectic tournament schedule is not viable. Support The Guardian Share via Email
Premier League Roy Keane vs Patrick Vieira: The bitter rivalry behind legendary tunnel fight Ryan Kelly Last updated 1 year ago 18:30 2/1/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Getty Images Premier League Manchester United Arsenal They were the beating hearts of England’s two top teams for nearly a decade, but one defining moment sticks in the memory of football fans Boxing had Ali and Frazier, Tennis had Borg and McEnroe and football had Keane and Vieira.They have long since retired from playing, but Manchester United fans and Arsenal fans both lament the fact that they don’t have players like Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira any more.An emblematic duo, Keane and Vieira fought many battles on the fields of Highbury and Old Trafford, but their most unforgettable encounter actually came off the pitch. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Goal takes a look back at that incident and the legacy they have each left behind.Keane vs Vieira: Highbury tunnel incidentThroughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, the rivalry between Manchester United and Arsenal became one of the defining features of the Premier League and two men personified the long-running battle.They came up against each other plenty of times in many heated confrontations, but the most memorable clash between Keane and Vieira came on February 1, 2005 at Arsenal’s former home Highbury.Television cameras were perfectly placed to capture the moment, peering down the cramped Highbury tunnel as Keane took exception to something Vieira had said. The referee, Graham Poll, intervened to quell the disturbance, but Keane had not said his piece.As Vieira is led away from the incident by team-mate Pascal Cygan and Dennis Bergkamp has a quiet word in his ear, the Irishman defiantly makes his way through the sea of bodies, while angrily berating the Arsenal captain. Shouting “we’ll see out there!” at Vieira, Keane actually has to be restrained by Poll, who urges the United captain to calm down before taking to the pitch.It later emerged that Keane was incensed by the fact that Arsenal were, in his words “bullying” Gary Neville, something that Neville recently explained to Soccer AM.”I could hear these footsteps behind me and Vieira shouting, ‘Neville! Neville! You’re not going to kick our players out on this pitch today,'” Neville recalled.”Roy obviously turned back, heard him and started having a go at him. He (Vieira) sort of squirted his water bottle towards Roy, then all hell broke loose.”Gary Neville on Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira’s famous tunnel spat pic.twitter.com/e8pGo1ZcSn— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) July 26, 2017″I just felt they were bullying Gary,” Keane later reflected in his book The Second Half. “I don’t think it was intimidation; it was bullying.”He added: “I was there to do a job. ‘Win the game – get in and get out’. But it was a bit like the build-up to a boxing match – the weigh-in, the press conferences – when people forget that there’ll actually be a fight.”I think football might lack that energy now, a bit; that tension. It was great. But years later people bring up the tunnel and they don’t remember the match that came after it.”Arsenal 2-4 Man Utd: The match itselfArsenal 2-4 Manchester United (Premier League, Feb 1, 2005)As Keane observed, when people recall the infamous tunnel incident, many of them don’t actually remember the game itself. With tensions spilling over before a ball was even kicked, it was primed to be a classic in the long-running rivalry between the teams and, indeed, it certainly delivered. Just eight minutes had elapsed when Vieira headed Arsenal in front and it looked like it might just be the Gunners captain’s day. United responded 10 minutes later with a deflected Ryan Giggs goal, but Arsenal re-claimed the lead before the break thanks to a thumping Bergkamp finish.However, things swayed in the Red Devils’ favour 10 minutes into the second half as a young Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in quick succession to hand his side an unlikely lead.Alex Ferguson’s men had propelled themselves into a good position but, with 20 minutes to go, they were reduced to 10 men after Mikael Silvestre was deemed to have butted heads with Freddie Ljungberg.Despite that, they held on and the proverbial icing on the cake arrived in the final minute of the game as substitute John O’Shea produced a breathtaking chip to cap a sweeping counter-attack and make it 4-2 to the visitors.Arsenal: Almunia; Lauren (Fabregas ’83), Campbell (Hoyte ’79), Cygan, Cole; Ljungberg, Flamini (Reyes ’70), Vieira, Pires; Bergkamp, Henry.Manchester United: Carroll; G. Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Heinze; Fletcher (O’Shea ’61), Keane, Scholes; Ronaldo (Brown ’70), Giggs (Saha ’77), Rooney.Keane vs Vieira: The legacy Nowadays, Manchester United and Arsenal fans associate the rivalry between Keane and Vieira with success, given the trophies won by both teams during that era.Both players have long been retired, but they remain intimately intertwined with football, pursuing careers in coaching and punditry. Their paths have even crossed on occasion.When all was said and done, though, Keane narrowly edged Vieira when the pair faced off. They came up against each other 12 times in the Premier League, with Keane and Man United emerging victorious on four occasions, losing three times, and they could not be separated in five games.Keane vs Vieira: Head-to-head: Player P W D L Goals Roy Keane 12 4 5 3 3 Patrick Vieira 12 3 5 4 1 *Premier League encounters onlyAs part of Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering Manchester United teams, Keane won seven Premier League titles and four FA Cups. Vieira, in contrast, won three league titles and three FA Cups – the last of which, in 2005, came at the expense of Keane’s United.Keane and Vieira – Best of EnemiesIn 2013, British television company ITV aired a documentary featuring the duo called ‘Keane and Vieira – Best of Enemies’.Produced by LoveSport and directed by Tim Mackenzie-Smith, the documentary sees Keane and Vieira come face-to-face in a unique retrospective examining their careers and rivalry.The pair show respect for one another as they discuss their perspectives from their times leading their clubs and, naturally, the Highbury tunnel incident comes up.”Every time we played you thought: ‘There’s going to be fireworks,’” Vieira recalls.And indeed there were. Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.
Newcastle United 1 Manchester United 0: Ritchie strike keeps City 16 points clear Joe Wright Last updated 1 year ago 00:08 2/12/18 Getty Images Manchester United appear certain to have conceded defeat in the Premier League title race after a disappointing loss to Newcastle United. Matt Ritchie’s first Premier League goal since May 2016 gave Newcastle United a shock 1-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday and struck a potentially decisive blow in the title race.Jose Mourinho’s side suffered a second successive defeat on the road and only their third in 29 league meetings with the Magpies to stay 16 points behind league leaders Manchester City.Mourinho had failed to win in six previous visits to St James’ Park in England’s top flight and his players rarely looked likely to bring that run to an end in another hugely disjointed display. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Chances were scarce throughout the contest but Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez wasted clear openings, while Romelu Lukaku had a goal disallowed, before Ritchie capitalised on some slack defending in the 65th minute.The visitors offered some late pressure but could not find a way past debutant goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, meaning their chances of catching City look almost gone with 11 matches left to play.Newcastle, meanwhile, climb to 13th in the table, two points clear of the relegation zone. Debutant Martin Dúbravka is pictured making a great save from Anthony Martial during the first half. #NUFC pic.twitter.com/y9zLH30LXY— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) February 11, 2018Jonjo Shelvey brought a fine one-handed save out of David de Gea just five minutes in, as Newcastle made a bold start against a team they last beat at home in the top flight in January 2012.The visitors began to get a grip on possession but their attacking play lacked any real inspiration in the first half-hour, with Jesse Lingard producing their first shot on target 32 minutes in.Martial wasted a glorious chance before the break, though, racing through one-on-one against Dubravka after a brilliant Nemanja Matic pass, only to shoot straight at the Newcastle goalkeeper.It was a rare moment of quality from United and they were fortunate not to concede a penalty before the interval, with referee Craig Pawson unmoved after Dwight Gayle when to ground after being caught by Chris Smalling.The visitors did have the ball in the net 52 minutes in but Lukaku was penalised for a push on Florian Lejeune as he headed into the net, although Mourinho’s men were at last beginning to look a consistent threat.Sanchez came close with a good run and shot but wasted the best chance of the match 56 minutes in, rounding Dubravka after collecting Lukaku’s throughball only to see Lejeune block his goalbound effort after he paused in front of an empty net.It proved a costly miss. After Chris Smalling conceded a free-kick for diving near the halfway line, Shelvey sent a simple long ball into the box, Gayle cushioned a loose ball into Ritchie path and he swept home completely unmarked from 12 yards out.3 – Manchester United have had three players booked for dives in the Premier League this season (Valencia, Herrera, Smalling), a joint high along with Bournemouth. Splash.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 11, 2018Pogba, who looked to have struggled with an injury from the outset, was taken off along with Lingard as Mourinho threw on Michael Carrick and Juan Mata, and the latter’s corner led to Martial seeing two efforts from 12 yards blocked on the line by the covering defence.That was as good as it got for the visitors, though, who must now look for positive results against Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup and Sevilla in the Champions League to keep their trophy hopes for the season truly alive.Key Opta Stats:- Newcastle enjoyed their first win in nine Premier League home games (D3 L5), since beating Crystal Palace in October.- Manchester United have lost five games in the Premier League this season, equalling their tally for the whole of last season.- Matt Ritchie ended a run of 43 shots this season without scoring in the Premier League, which was the longest such run in the division.- Dwight Gayle has had a hand in a goal in both of Newcastle’s Premier League clashes with Manchester United this season, scoring at Old Trafford in November before assisting Matt Ritchie at St James’ Park.- The Red Devils have won only one of the nine Premier League matches this season after conceding the opening goal of the game (D3 L5), courtesy of a 4-1 win at home against Newcastle in November. read more
Cristiano Ronaldo Red-hot Ronaldo makes best start to a calendar year at Real Madrid Alberto Piñero Real Madrid correspondent Last updated 1 year ago 16:28 3/3/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(16) Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid Primera División Getafe Real Madrid v Getafe After a sluggish beginning to the season, the 33-year-old has hit his top level over the course of the last couple of months Cristiano Ronaldo has made his best start to a calendar year since arriving at Real Madrid by netting 12 times in the first two months of 2018.The form and longevity of the Portugal star was called into question at the start of the season, which he started slowly. Hampered by suspension, it took the 33-year-old until a December 9 rout of Sevilla to get his third goal of the league campaign.Since the winter break, the Ballon d’Or winner has set about making up for lost time, and has hit a particularly rich seam of form in recent weeks. Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Ronaldo has scored double or better in four of his last six La Liga outings, including a hat-trick against Real Sociedad. Only Levante have managed to keep the attacker quiet during this period, in which he has scored 10 goals.Additionally, the Portuguese attacker’s double against Paris Saint-Germain helped Madrid to a 3-1 first-leg lead over the Ligue 1 leaders in the Champions League last 16.Even a forward as prolific as Ronaldo has rarely enjoyed such a prolific period, netting 1.33 goals-per-game on average since the beginning of January.It is his hottest ever start to a year at the Bernabeu. Although he scored more goals in January and February in 2013, he also played four more fixtures and therefore only struck 1.23 goals-per-game.Twelve months earlier, he matched the 12 goals he has struck this time around but had similarly played 13 times for Los Blancos in comparison to the nine outings he has had under Zinedine Zidane so far this year.Ronaldo’s turnaround in form, if continued, could propel him in back into Ballon d’Or contention towards the end of the year, despite Lionel Messi having been considered the favourite after an excellent La Liga season.”I never dreamed of winning the Ballon d’Or five times,” Ronaldo said this week . “If I had to finish my career now, I would be super happy… [but] if I won another Ballon d’Or, two or three more times I’d be delighted with life.”Even if I don’t win, I’ve already won five… but I still have the confidence and the strength to compete for the prize… it depends on the titles we win this year. Everything I dreamed of, I achieved.”The news also bodes well for Portugal as they seek to upset the odds and win World Cup 2018.Ronaldo has consistently improved his output in World Cup years since moving to Spain, starting the year with just five goals in 2006 before netting six times and nine times in 2010 and 2014 respectively.
Manchester United Young: Man Utd haven’t conceded defeat in title race Chris Burton 06:55 3/4/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Getty Manchester United Premier League The Red Devils sit 16 points adrift of arch-rivals Manchester City, but an experienced head insists they will continue to challenge on all fronts Jose Mourinho may have conceded defeat in the Premier League title race, but Ashley Young is not giving up on Manchester United just yet.The Red Devils opened the 2017-18 promising to compete for the English top-flight crown.They have, however, been unable to sustain a challenge, with Manchester City having opened up a 16-point advantage over their arch-rivals. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player That has led Mourinho to admit that the trophy will elude him, but Young insists United will continue to compete for as long as it is mathematically possible to bridge the gap.”Until the points tally (confirms it) is over, we won’t say that we are going to give up,” the experienced England international told ESPN FC.”It’s about picking up points home and away, picking up wins.”A lot will be said about the way you pick up points, but when you come to the end of the season, that is the main thing – picking up points – and that’s exactly what we will be looking do.”We have to make sure that we keep winning.”We say before every game that it is another important game, but every game is important now leading up to this final run towards the end of the season.”United’s next outing will see them focus on Premier League matters, with a trip to Crystal Palace set to be made on Monday.After that, a grudge match against Liverpool will be staged at Old Trafford before attention shifts to knockout competition and the second leg of a Champions League last-16 encounter with Sevilla and a FA Cup quarter-final clash with Brighton.Young is hoping to help keep the Red Devils competing on multiple fronts, with there still all to play for approaching the business end of the season.The versatile 32-year-old added: “We are in a lot of competitions; there are points to play for and cups to play for.”That’s what every footballer wants to do; you want to be in the big competitions to go and have a chance to win them.”And when we come to the game on Monday, hopefully we will be saying we got the three points.”
Barcelona Barcelona unveil new home kit for 2018-19 season Goal Last updated 1 year ago 18:32 5/19/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(3) FC Barcelona Barcelona Primera División The Liga champions have released the first images of their new strip, which features the traditional blue and garnet-coloured stripes Barcelona have unveiled their new kit for the 2018-19 season.The Liga champions, who have already wrapped up the title ahead of their final game of the season against Real Sociedad on Sunday, released details of the new strip at an event held at the Olympic swimming pools on Montjuic hill.The jersey features the iconic blue and garnet-coloured stripes, with the shirt designed to unite the 10 districts of the city of Barcelona. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Goalkeeper crisis! Walker to the rescue but City sweating on Ederson injury ahead of Liverpool clash Out of his depth! Emery on borrowed time after another abysmal Arsenal display Diving, tactical fouls & the emerging war of words between Guardiola & Klopp Sorry, Cristiano! Pjanic is Juventus’ most important player right now FC Barcelona’s 2018/19 home kit unites the city’s 10 districts#TheBallMakesUsMore🔵🔴 pic.twitter.com/qkVpYz3BfI— FC Barcelona 🏆🏆 (@FCBarcelona) May 19, 2018Barca decided to do something different with their unveiling of the shirt, with a freestyle footballer, high diver and synchronised swimmers, as well as a drone carrying a large replica of the jersey, involved.The event lasted around 15 minutes in total, with midfielder Philippe Coutinho also present.Ernesto Valverde’s side will wear the kit for the first time in Sunday’s Liga finale against Sociedad, which will also mark Andres Iniesta’s last ever game as a Barca player.It remains to be seen where Iniesta will end up next, however, with the 34-year-old having previously admitted that he is choosing between a switch to Japan or China.Barca are guaranteed to finish at least nine points in front of second place in La Liga this season, with both Atletico Madrid and Real able to finish as the runner-up ahead of their final games of the campaign on Saturday.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said that, for the first time, a Women’s Premiership will be held in 2018, featuring up to six teams aligned with NRL Clubs.Why is this a good thing for NRL Touch Football? It provides our female athletes with yet another pathway. Touch Football’s origins are in rugby league, and now, female Touch Footy players not only have the opportunity to play Touch Football at the top level – through the Elite 8, State of Origin, Trans Tasman, World Cup, etc – but also opportunities to play rugby league at the highest level if they wish.The NRL and Touch Football Australia formed a partnership back in 2013, and NRL Touch Football CEO Steve Mitchell is excited about the ever increasing opportunities for female Touch players with our partner sport.“We know that a lot of our Touchies have an interest in both our game and rugby league. Many of them follow both, some of them play both..We also know that some girls start out in Touch Football, eventually start playing rugby league, then return to Touch Football, since Touch is a lifetime sport that some play into their sixties and beyond.”There are so many former Touch Football players that play in the men’s NRL comp. And many World Cup-winning Jillaroos superstars – including Caitlin Moran, Maddie Studdon, Ali Brigginshaw, Nakia Davis-Welsh, Isabelle Kelly and Sam Bremner – either still participate in Touch Football or came through that pathway.Let’s hope we see plenty of Touch Footy athletes make it into the brand new NRL women’s program.In case you missed it, Mr Greenberg said the new NRL women’s program will feature:The Premiership, scheduled to be played as ‘double-headers’ in the lead up to and during NRL Finals matches;A stand-alone State of Origin match (formerly known as the Interstate Challenge) between New South Wales and Queensland, played during the NRL’s representative weekend in mid-June;State League competitions, with Grand Finals to be played as double-headers prior to Women In League Round matches;A National Championships Carnival and Talent Combine, congregating the best state talent on a national stage and providing a sequential pathway for female players to progress to the elite level;The Harvey Norman Jillaroos playing international matches in the Pacific and New Zealand;The Jillaroos competing in the Commonwealth Games Championship in Redcliffe, ahead of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games;In addition, Mr Greenberg said an initial 40 players would receive Jillaroos contracts, which would include payments for matches and participating in a series of high performance camps, as well as access to high performance staff and elite athlete training programs year-round. This month the NRL unveiled a new era in rugby league for women – a program of events covering everything from an NRL Women’s Premiership to a stand-alone State of Origin match and Jillaroos international matches.
Ashley has provided continued involvement to Ipswich Touch as a Junior Vice President, Level 2 Referee, groundsman/cleaner and fundraising committee member. Ashley has continued to help the sport of Touch Football grow within the area of Ipswich by dedicating his time three nights a week. He is the first to show up and the last to leave helping to make a significant difference to the experience provided to participants.
(Update: Due to a change in circumstances, TFA will now be looking to field an additional team – Women’s 35s.)Touch Football Australia (TFA) and its national representative teams are about to enter the final year and the most important period of the current World Cup cycle. Our aim as always is for the best possible teams and athletes to represent Australia at the 2019 World Cup.TFA has a proud record in international Touch and Australia currently holds the Open and Masters World Cups and we are extremely motivated to maintain this status at the 2019 event.The Masters World Cup will be held, in conjunction with the Open World Cup, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from the 28th April – 4th May 2019.At this stage TFA is looking to enter teams in the following divisions:Men: Over 30s, 35s, 40s, 45s, 50sWomen: Over 27s, 35sMixed: Senior MixedThere is no guarantee that all these divisions will go ahead as viability is based on sufficient team entries being received by FIT. There are currently several divisions offered at the event which are not viable therefore TFA will not be seeking nominations for those divisions.The following document outlines the nomination process for the selection of the Australian Masters Teams for the 2019 Masters World Cup.More detailed information on the overall tour will become available in the next few months, however indicative costs for a player levy, based on previous overseas international events, would be in the area of $2500.TFA will implement a selection process whereby players are initially required to nominate for selection. All players who nominate will be considered for an invitation to the Selection Camp to be held in January 2019. Teams will be selected following this selection camp. Once selected, World Cup Teams will then attend team training camps in the lead up to the event.Please note: ALL interested players must nominate through the official link to be considered. For further information on this process or any queries please contact the TFA High Performance Manager, Wayne Grant, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0411 270 306Find out more here: Masters Nominations – 2019 World CupNew Memo containing info including addition of Women’s 35s division: 2019 World Cup – 35 Women’s Nomination Information
Nuno insists Wolves focused on Bragaby Freddie Taylora month agoSend to a friendShare the loveNuno Espirito Santo insists that everyone at the club is focused on their next game – a Europa League tie against Braga.Wolves are suffering a dip in form, after suffering two successive defeats against Everton and Chelsea.They are in the bottom three in the Premier League, which is an unusual position considering their form last season.But Nuno thinks they must take things one game at a time in order to find their groove.”It’s the third season for us. We started in the Championship, Thursday we play Europa League, we are the same,” said Nuno to reporters.”We have to work hard, but we don’t stay too much time in the past, we just look at Thursday.”This is my job. It’s not when we win everything is OK, when we lose everything is bad.”That’s why I say we have to realise what happened.” About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say