Winner: The defense. As Mark Cooper noted, Texas’ offense struggled mightily against Glenn Spencer in the second half: 25 plays, 48 yards. Jerrod Heard accounted for 35 yards passing and 8 yards rushing in the second half.Loser: Texas’ special teams.MVP: Jordan Sterns. I could easily throw him in here just about every week. He’s not usually flashy, but he’s all over the field and has the best range of any safety Oklahoma State has had since I’m able to remember. Saturday, he brought the boom.Here’s Jordan Sterns being Jordan Sterns. pic.twitter.com/iF0UvqTp5h— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) September 26, 2015AdChoices广告Player who stepped up: Jarrell Owens. After Ogbah lost his helmet and was forced to the sidelines to watch as Texas went for a fourth down conversation, Owens not only held his own, but sacked Jerrod Heard on a critical defensive stop.Best play: Worst play: This wasn’t real ideal.Oops. pic.twitter.com/48wX5fbsBF— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) September 26, 2015OK, we’ll take it play: This one.Hahaha. Roughing the passer on Texas. Wow. pic.twitter.com/YyK7wbGk0k— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) September 26, 2015Hustle play of the game: Miketavious Jones has come to ball the past two games. He forced a turnover last week early in the game, and wrestled down Jerrod Heard in a huge defensive stop Saturday.What a play here from Miketavius Jones. pic.twitter.com/jsyFO8mrdF— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) September 26, 2015Quote of the game: “I loved the way it ended.” – Glenn SpencerBest catch: ATEMAN.Here’s that sick ball from Rudolph to Ateman. What a throw. What a catch. pic.twitter.com/q2gOgrOtye— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) September 26, 2015 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Real Madrid Kroos adds to Real Madrid’s growing list of absentees Peter Hanson Last updated 2 years ago 20:40 16/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Getty Images Real Madrid Primera División Real Sociedad v Real Madrid Zinédine Zidane Zinedine Zidane has another selection problem after the Germany star was ruled out of Sunday’s clash in San Sebastian Toni Kroos has added to Real Madrid’s growing list of absentees for this weekend’s La Liga clash at Real Sociedad.The Germany midfielder is absent for the tricky trip to Anoeta having not trained with the team ahead of the encounter after picking up a knock.Malaga 4/1 to beat Valencia Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina 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 Head coach Zinedine Zidane, who also stated that centre-back Jesus Vallejo is unavailable, has seen his squad beset by injuries and suspensions.Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcelo are banned for the fixture, while Karim Benzema (hamstring) and Mateo Kovacic (adductor tear) are injured.”I cannot count on them, when you do not train the day before you cannot be involved,” said Zidane regarding Kroos and Vallejo’s injuries.”We will not risk it. We hope it’s not going to be serious, so we’re not going to be silly.”#RMCityWe’re ready for tomorrow’s LaLiga match away at @RealSociedadEN!https://t.co/v8gBl0vyYI#RMLiga #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/ZrHq9WiAEO— Real Madrid C.F.🇬🇧 (@realmadriden) September 16, 2017The absence of Kroos may present an opportunity for close-season signing Dani Ceballos, who has been restricted to just two substitute appearances in all competitions this season and has not yet played in La Liga for Los Blancos.Ceballos was a star turn for Real Betis last term and was among the top performers for Spain at the European Under-21 Championship.”Dani’s going to be with us, he’ll be in the squad,” added Zidane. “All the players need to have patience. “For me it’s very important, each one of them will have their chance to play I am sure of that. “With regards Dani, I’m sure that he’s ready to play, but these things take time.”He’s training well, he’s with the squad and he’ll have the chance to play, the chance to start at some stage.”Madrid have made an unbeaten start to the campaign in all competitions, but have drawn their last two top-flight games.
Kevin De Bruyne ‘He makes absolutely everything’ – Guardiola hails De Bruyne after Chelsea winner Dom Farrell Last updated 2 years ago 03:53 1/10/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City Guardiola Chelsea v Manchester City Chelsea Premier League The Belgian attacker and stand-in left-back Fabian Delph received special praise for their display against the reigning Premier League champions Pep Guardiola has singled out match-winner Kevin De Bruyne and Fabian Delph for individual praise after his Manchester City side put in a dominant display to beat Premier League champions Chelsea 1-0. A sensational strike midway through the second half from former Chelsea man De Bruyne secured all three points for unbeaten City, who controlled proceedings throughout Saturday’s contest at Stamford Bridge.Napoli 7/2 to beat Man City Article continues below Editors’ Picks Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina 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. Delph, meanwhile, put in another superb performance at left-back – filling in for the injured Benjamin Mendy, who will be out until at least April – and Guardiola was delighted for both players.”He makes absolutely everything. Goals, assists and he is the most humble guy,” Guardiola said of De Bruyne when asked by BT Sport for his thoughts on the Belgium playmaker.“I am so happy for him, because I know how happy he is. De Bruyne and David Silva and Fabian Delph were excellent.”Fabian, again, he made an outstanding performance. He’s a guy who doesn’t lose the ball, he is so smart, so clever on the ball.”I am so happy for him. Last season was tough, because he didn’t play, but was injured a lot as well.”Chelsea’s attack was blunted 35 minutes in when Alvaro Morata hobbled off with an apparent hamstring problem, leaving City looking composed both on and off the ball.Marshalled by the excellent John Stones at the back, the visitors were never troubled, and only a goal-line clearance from Antonio Rudiger prevented Gabriel Jesus extending their advantage late on.City have now taken 19 points from their opening seven fixtures, and sit top of the table courtesy of goal difference, but Guardiola refused to get carried away so early in the season.”It’s September. There’s a lot to do. But that’s the path,” Guardiola added.9 – Kevin De Bruyne has scored nine of his last 11 @ManCity goals from outside the box, including each of the last four. Range #CHEMCI pic.twitter.com/bQLpiXQ2p6— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 30, 2017″The win is the most important thing, but the way we played, especially in the second half. In the first half we did not find the right positions.”Chelsea want to play through the middle and attack with a lot of people. But we keep the ball as well as possible and regain possession as quickly as possible.”It’s not easy to do that, especially against players like [Eden] Hazard and Willian and Pedro, because one mistake and it is a goal. But it’s the way we play and feel football. So we are happy for that.”It’s important to win. It’s three points we win and three points Chelsea didn’t win. We’ve won all the games in September and most playing really well and scoring goals.”Everybody is going to fight to keep this going.”
Harry Kane Kane and Winks join Alli in withdrawing from England duty Harry West Last updated 2 years ago 05:47 11/7/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Harry Kane England Tottenham Hotspur England v Germany England v Brazil Premier League Friendlies The Tottenham duo become the latest players to pull out of the friendly clashes against Germany and Brazil, with Jake Livermore called up Harry Kane and Harry Winks have joined Tottenham team-mate Dele Alli in pulling out of England’s squad for the upcoming friendlies against Germany and Brazil.Kane 7/4 to be PL top scorerWest Brom midfielder Jake Livermore has been called up by Gareth Southgate for the games at Wembley on November 10 and 14. 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 It was confirmed on Sunday Alli would play no part in the matches due to the hamstring injury that ruled him out of Spurs’ 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.Squad update: we’ll be without @HKane and @HarryWinks for this month’s games, while @29_JL has been called up. https://t.co/7Vbo4UZNeS — England (@England) November 6, 2017 And Alli has been joined on the sidelines by Kane and Winks as Southgate suffers a blow in his planning for next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.Kane took a knock to the leg against Palace, with Spurs keen to avoid any risks being taken with his fitness ahead of their clash with Arsenal upon the resumption of the Premier League while Winks sustained an ankle problem during the same game.Kane’s absence increases the chances of Swansea City’s on-loan Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham making his England debut.
WTF Gattuso: I was s*** compared to Pirlo’s Nutella Ben Spratt Last updated 2 years ago 04:53 11/8/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(2) Getty/Goal WTF Italy Milan Serie A Such was Andrea Pirlo’s level of skill, Gennaro Gattuso opted to use a colourful analogy to describe his own abilities in comparison. Gennaro Gattuso has rejected suggestions he was instrumental in the success of Andrea Pirlo for AC Milan and Italy, saying “let’s not confuse Nutella with s***.”ACM 10/1 to win Europa LeaguePirlo retired following New York City FC’s MLS Eastern Conference play-off semi-final defeat to Columbus Crew, having earlier announced that the 2017 season would be his last. 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 It brings to an end a storied career in which – playing largely for Milan and Juventus – the 38-year-old won six Serie A titles, two Champions League titles and the 2006 World Cup with Italy.And Gattuso, now the Rossoneri’s Primavera coach, dismissed any notion his own efforts with club and country were important in underpinning the dominance of his fellow midfielder.”Don’t talk nonsense,” Gattuso told Radio 24 . “Let’s not confuse Nutella with s***.”When I saw him play, it made me think I had to change profession. Nobody knows that better than me, because I started playing with him at Italy Under-15 level and then all the youth teams after that.”It wasn’t only about his quality, but he was an animal covering 1000 metres, he had this athletic quality which is why he played until this age. He was someone who ran so much.”I played with him for about 20 years when you consider the national youth teams. In difficult moments, I just gave it to him. I always felt assured when I was next to him.”I understood what I had to do and he was taking care of the rest. He helped me much more in my career than I did him.”
Australia Five Australian hopefuls pushing for World Cup selection Declan Payne Last updated 1 year ago 08:25 12/16/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(1) Getty Images Australia World Cup Honduras WC Qualifying Play-Off Australia v Honduras After the Socceroos secured their place in next year’s finals in Russia, Goal takes a look at who is aiming to break into Ange Postecoglou’s squad The ageing brigade have played a huge role as Australia secured qualification to their fourth consecutive World Cup after a 3-1 aggregate win over Honduras on Wednesday night.It was the 37-year-old Tim Cahill who scored a crucial brace to help the Socceroos progress past Syria in their first qualifying play-off, and a 33-year-old Mile Jedinak who fired home a hat-trick in the second leg against Honduras to secure the penultimate World Cup spot.Mark Milligan, Nikita Rukavytsya and Danny Vukovic round out five players over the age of 30 in the squad, which boasts an average age of 27.5, that beat Honduras. 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 Coach Ange Postecoglou declared his desire to build a squad for Russia 2018 when he stepped into the role in 2013, and has done so with a mix of youth and experience.With Postecoglou’s start as Australian boss five years past, the young players which he identified at the beginning of his reign are now coming into their own – and it’s time to begin to groom the next generation.We take a look at five young Aussie players who could make an impression for the Socceroos at the 2018 World Cup, and beyond.ALEX GERSBACH | ROSENBORG Following a famous breakthrough for Sydney FC during his end-of-school exams back in 2014, the young left-back quickly established himself as a crucial part of the Sky Blue engine as they finished second in the 2014-15 season. Gersbach made a $500,000 move to current Norwegian premiers Rosenborg BK in January 2016, where he remains today.With 33 appearances for his current club under his belt, along with two titles and the 2017 PFA Harry Kewell Medal for Australia’s best young player, the 20-year-old is making all the right noises.Gersbach is one player who can challenge Aziz Behich for a spot on the left-hand side, and potentially keep the likes of Brad Smith out of the squad. The youngster has four international appearances to his name now, although his selection chances often fall victim to the unusual scheduling of the Norwegian competition, which runs from April till November.DANIEL DE SILVA | CENTRAL COAST MARINERSAfter a debut for Perth Glory at 15-years-old, a scuppered $2.5 million move to Roma, and a one-and-a-half season loan move to Dutch club Roda JC, 20-year-old attacking midfielder Daniel De Silva is reinventing himself at Central Coast Mariners.Described by Mariners coach Paul Okon as one of the ‘most exciting and talented young Australian players’ in the game at present, De Silva has started every match for the Mariners so far this season, scoring a single goal which was voted the A-League’s round two’s Goal of the Round.De Silva has made his desire to crack the Socceroos squad as soon as possible public, having been in the squad previously without making an appearance. He has two of Australia’s best in Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic to contend with, but he has the potential to shake up the status quo come June.JOSH BRILLANTE | SYDNEY FC Humble beginnings at the now-defunct Gold Coast United and some good form at Newcastle Jets earned Brillante a move to Fiorentina back in 2014. After being hooked just 35 minutes into his debut for the Italian club was followed by some ill-fated loan moves elsewhere, the 24-year-old made his way back to Australia in 2015 with Sydney FC.It was the right step to take for the holding midfielder, who, alongside fellow young Australian Brendon O’Neill, provided the bedrock for Sydney’s minor-major premiership double last season.Brillante has had some experience in the Australian set-up, appearing for the Socceroos five times in total – four of those coming under Postecoglou back in 2014, where he played as both a defensive midfielder and right-back. It will be Brillante’s mission to have his name amongst the provisional 30 selected for the World Cup – it’s there the hard work begins.TOM GLOVER | CENTRAL COAST MARINERS A loan move down under to the Central Coast Mariners in June of this year came after the 19-year-old made 15 appearances for the Tottenham Under 23s last season, and tutelage from a world-class goalkeeper in Hugo Lloris.A series of impressive performances has locked down a starting spot and are sure to have turned the right heads so far this season – but there is a huge task ahead of him to crack the World Cup side, given Mat Ryan has a mortgage on the No.1 jersey.There are those behind Ryan, however, who float around the squad – the likes of Mitch Langerak and Danny Vukovic, along with Adam Federici and Eugene Galekovic, who make up a long list of quality Aussie keepers. Glover hasn’t made an appearance for the national side yet, but taking him along to Russia may be a valuable investment for the future.JOE CALETTI | BRISBANE ROAR The diminutive youngster burst onto the scene with Brisbane Roar last season, and made 21 appearances for the club since his debut back in February. At only 162cm, Caletti has shown the ability to utilise a low centre of gravity to skip away from more physically imposing players.The 19-year-old has grown used to fighting for a spot in the line-up at Brisbane ahead of one of either Matt McKay or Thomas Kristensen – but to get a place ahead of incumbent Australian holding midfielders Jedinak and Milligan is another task entirely.Despite not cracking the senior squad yet, Caletti has made 19 appearances for the Under 17s. If he can maintain his good form and stave off the effects of ‘second year syndrome’, he may be able to force the likes of Jimmy Jeggo out of the squad and prove a useful understudy to the old guard at Russia next June.
Share on Pinterest Willian takes centre stage as Chelsea turn on style to destroy Hull Leicester continued to dominate proceedings after the break, albeit without creating any clear chances to break the deadlock despite the best efforts of Mahrez. That changed in the 66th minute, though, when he picked up the ball on the right touchline. A twisting and turning run that left his marker, George Baldock, bamboozled eventually won him the space to deliver a deep cross to the back post which Vardy did well to loop over the helpless Blackman.The goalkeeper then made amends with a brilliant save from Gray to keep United in the tie, while his counterpart Kasper Schmeichel also had to be at his best to deny Baldock. Vardy had the ball in the net for a second time, only for the assistant to rule that Mahrez had been fractionally offside when he cushioned a header across goal. That would have sealed their progress to the next round but instead Leicester were forced to dig deep against opponents who suddenly fancied their chances of forcing a replay.The hosts stood firm however and there was not a Leicester fan in the house who did not get up to applaud when Mahrez left the pitch in injury time. “We’re disappointed but they had a strong side out,” admitted Wilder. “We tried to hit them on the counter but a lot of things have got to go right for you if you’re going to win somewhere like here.” Read more Coventry City travel to Brighton for a free hit in the FA Cup If Pep Guardiola needed any more convincing that Riyad Mahrez can add to his already star-studded Manchester City squad, then the Algerian’s performance on his first start since his failed move to the Etihad Stadium would surely have done enough.The 2015-16 PFA Player of the Year ran the show from start to finish against Sheffield United, providing the assist for Jamie Vardy’s winning goal in the second half as Leicester reached the sixth round of the FA Cup for the first time since 2011. Share on Messenger Topics On this evidence, with Mahrez and Vardy linking up in a manner that was at times reminiscent of their title-winning season, they will be a stiff test for whoever they are drawn against in the next round as Leicester attempt to win this competition for the first time in their history having been beaten in the final on four previous occasions.Claude Puel, who took Southampton to the EFL Final last season before being unceremoniously dumped, was not looking that far ahead yet, although this does represent their best opportunity to return to European competition after reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season. “It was a good feeling to see Jamie and Riyad playing together on the same pitch again,”said Puel. “Now we move on. It’s behind us. He came back with his quality and created the goal against a difficult opponent. We will see what happens but it is an objective. We need to stay ambitious and see what the draw brings.”Guardiola’s attempt to sign Mahrez on the final day of the transfer window angered the usually mild-mannered Frenchman to such an extent that he accused the Premier League leaders of showing a lack of respect earlier this week. City insist that they first approached Leicester a whole week before the end of January but it has undoubtedly been a distraction to the manager and his players.Last week’s 5-1 hammering at the Etihad Stadium in which Mahrez came on as a second-half substitute followed the home draw with Swansea and defeat at Everton, meaning Leicester had not tasted victory since thrashing Peterborough in the previous round of this competition.The announcement of the Algerian’s name before kick-off was greeted with a smattering of boos, although the response from a depleted home crowd was generally supportive. Their opponents also made six changes from their last league outing, with Chris Wilder perhaps mindful of the three crucial Championship fixtures in the space of seven days coming up next week. The Blades have lost their way in recent months following a blistering start to the season and now sit three points behind the play-off places.Setting out with a rigid five-man defence was an indication that they were here to contain their opponents for as long as possible. With Mahrez causing problems from his starting position on the right flank, they just about did enough to keep the scores level in the first half. Jamie Vardy’s effort from Wilfred Ndidi’s precise through-ball was blocked by the impressive Jack O’Connell, while another attempt from the England striker just curled wide of the far post after good work from Demarai Gray.At the other end Leicester were thankful for Harry Maguire’s alertness when a poor clearing header from Danny Simpson fell at the feet of Enda Stevens. The defender, who was a ballboy at Bramall Lane before coming through the youth system, reacted quickly to fling himself in front of the ball and save a certain goal. Vardy, who is also from Sheffield but grew up supporting Wednesday, should have given his side the lead soon after, following a slide-rule pass from Mahrez, but he could not find a way past the goalkeeper, Jamal Blackman. Share on Twitter FA Cup Share on WhatsApp Read more match reports Share via Email Share on Facebook Sheffield United Share on LinkedIn Leicester City Reuse this content
Scotland rugby union team Since you’re here… Read more For England, it was a humbling game, an exploration of their limitations. They were not just beaten, they were exposed. And while Jones insisted that this will not change their preparation for the next game, he did not sound convincing. He will use this match, you guess, as a watershed. Late last year he gave a talk on the art of coaching at the Soccerex conference. He explained that his first two years with England were the easier part of the run-up to the 2019 World Cup, because the players were so hurt by the sorry way they had played at the 2015 tournament.The hard task, Jones said, was keeping them hungry now they had won so many games. Because there was a risk all that success would start to go to their heads, and blunt their edge. “It’s in the next two years,” Jones explained, “that I’ll really earn my money”. It feels like that second stretch, when England will need to reset and then kick on again, started this Saturday night. They were shot away, especially in the first half. They looked powerful but ponderous, a labouring, lumbering beast of team.Early on, England attacked through a series of short, sharp drives down the centre and a couple of rolling mauls out wide. Neither approach made much impression on the Scots, who soaked it up and then pounced on the breakdowns, where John Barclay and Hamish Watson went digging around like starving hounds looking for scraps of meat. When they did get the ball the Scots played deft and nimble rugby, they stretched play wide either side, pulling England this way and that until they tore holes in their defensive line. Read more Scotland 25-13 England: how the players rated in the Six Nations At the beginning of the Championship, Barclay had described his team’s strategy as “organised chaos”, and here England, so well-drilled, seemed almost bewildered by Scotland’s helter-skelter style of play. The lingering images from the rush of the first half were of Anthony Watson scrabbling around to try and gather Finn Russell’s little chip while Huw Jones raced past him to score, and of Watson, alongside Mike Brown now, throwing himself desperately after Jones as he sped through again for the third try.That was the crucial score. At 15-6 down, England were fighting back hard. The match had become a test of their mettle, and they are nothing if not relentless. In the next few minutes they twice came right up into the Scottish 22. But they lost the ball both times, once after a sloppy penalty, then to a turnover. Then Huw Jones made it 22-6. Eddie Jones’s finishers, as he calls them – they might be starters after this – have dug the team out of trouble often enough in the past. But not this time; the first half left them too much to do.It felt telling that the England coach substituted all three of Mike Brown, George Ford and Dylan Hartley. But it was not just a question of the personnel on the pitch but of England’s entire approach to the game. They simply were not powerful enough to grind Scotland down nor sharp enough to cut them open. They did not commit enough men to the breakdown, they were sloppy in the defensive spacing and their high penalty count – which Jones had defended before the match – cost them plenty too. Share on Twitter If England shot ahead of everyone else in Europe during 2016, those teams have been slowly reeling them back in since. Ireland caught them last year, and Scotland have done this. Jones was quick to praise his opponents. And they were brilliant: as stubborn in the second half as they were slick in the first. England, as the song goes, were sent homeward, to think again. And the thousands of Scottish fans inside Murrayfield took a lot of pleasure in telling them exactly that, over and over again. Finn Russell masterminds historic Scotland victory over England It was a crisp, clear afternoon at Murrayfield, with just enough sun to fool you into thinking it was going to be a warm and pleasant day. It wasn’t, not for the English. The Scots’ hospitality turned with the weather and by the time the England team arrived, their welcome was anything but. You could feel the atmosphere grow tense as their bus, stuck behind the Fife Police Pipe Band, made the long, slow crawl through the gauntlet of Scottish fans at the back of the West Stand. They were hanging off the gantries there, waiting to let Eddie Jones know exactly what they think of his team up here in Edinburgh. Share on Pinterest Share via Email Read more Share on LinkedIn Sportblog Six Nations John Barclay plays down Scotland’s tunnel scuffle with England features England rugby union team Reuse this content Share on WhatsApp … 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. Six Nations 2018 Rugby union Topics Share on Facebook Share on Messenger Support The Guardian
Share on Pinterest Alli joked afterwards that the captain’s armband was too big and some of his teammates had laughed at his pre-match team-talk. But Pochettino said the 22-year-old had presented himself in a new light and it would do him good.“Being a captain means a lot – it’s not just about wearing the armband,” Pochettino said. “Dele spoke from the heart in his team-talk and I like that. I can’t tell you what he said but he was very good.“He was back in his home town, playing at his old stadium, it was fantastic for him and so I decided to make him captain. I think he did very well. He is more mature and has more experience. When you are young, you do some crazy things, but he has grown up.“He is one of the best in England and one of the best in Europe in his position. I hope the experience of being captain for the first time will help him to improve even more.”Pochettino reported that Christian Eriksen was out of Saturday’s trip to Huddersfield with an abdominal problem and that Hugo Lloris faced a late fitness test on an injured thigh. He hoped both of them would be fit for Wednesday’s Champions League tie against Barcelona at Wembley. Michel Vorm (knee) is out of both matches and Serge Aurier is being assessed after injuring a thigh against Watford. Mauricio Pochettino has said Dele Alli is now a calmer and more mature player, as he praised the way the midfielder handled his first experience of captaining Tottenham.The manager gave Alli the responsibility for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup tie against Watford at Stadium MK, which Spurs won on penalties after a 2-2 draw. It was the first time Alli had played at the stadium since his days at MK Dons and the player believes it was written in the stars that he should score the winning penalty. He had earlier equalised from the spot for 1-1. Share on Messenger Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Dele Alli Dele Alli seals Tottenham win over Watford on perfect homecoming news Share via Email Read more Topics Tottenham Hotspur Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Reuse this content Mauricio Pochettino
When England Netball sat down with three of their closest rivals to create the Quad Series this decade, their motivation was twofold. One factor was that a regular international showpiece beyond the four-yearly World Cup would play better with sponsors and broadcasters, who had previously been offered little in the way of a consistent calendar. Another was to ensure the best could complete against one another more often. The wisdom behind that thinking will be gloriously evident in Liverpool todayon Sunday.England will begin the competition’s sixth edition with a match against New Zealand and its place in the public consciousness has never been higher. This was always intended to be netball’s equivalent of rugby union’s Six Nations, a stand-alone tournament whose kudos will grow as storylines are written and rivalries forged, and the events of last year have taken its allure to new levels. ‘They’ll be out to get us’: Australia wary of England fire in Quad Series Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. The Observer Netball … 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. Share on Twitter Winning a Quad Series for the first time would be a logical next step for England, who will be able to call on shooter Jo Harten for the first time since September. Harten’s last international appearance came against New Zealand in Auckland, where England won 52-39 before receiving a degree of payback from Australia in Newcastle, New South Wales, four days later. Her return helps ensure the core of the side will be familiar although, beyond the need to keep breaking new ground, some shadow boxing is inevitable too.“It’s the last time [these teams] will see each other before the World Cup and everyone is looking to put a stake in the ground,” says the England captain, Serena Guthrie. “Everyone is bringing a slightly different team and our selection will probably look the most consistent. It’s going to be about building relationships and feeling our way through the new-look New Zealand and Australia teams that show up.” “Everybody is coming out to beat England,” says Helen Housby, who shot to fame when she scored the winning point in the Commonwealth Games final against Australia last April.While narratives of facing revenge on their own turf will certainly help attract the punters, the talk around Tracey Neville’s England camp has centred more on this being the latest phase in a steady progression: a continuation of the development that has brought second-placed finishes in the past two Quad Series, along with that gold medal, and will carry on when Liverpool hosts the World Cup this summer.“It’s about sticking to our processes, keeping our feet on the ground and working hard,” says Housby, who has little truck with the idea – one that has particular currency Down Under – that England will be under unprecedented strain with a target attached to their back. “I disagree with that,” she says. “2018 has gone now, it’s done. Going into this I don’t think we should feel any extra pressure. We just need to continue doing what we did last year: playing how we like to play, with freedom, expressing ourselves and enjoying being out on the court.” Reuse this content Read more Topics Share on Pinterest Serena Guthrie’s stellar homecoming puts wind in sails of English netball Share via Email Share on Messenger South Africa, who England play at London’s Copper Box Arena next Saturday before a potentially decisive showdown with Australia the following day, make up the quartet although they have finished fourth in all five series. New Zealand’s Silver Ferns, who have flagged in the past two years but are still regarded by Housby as “an incredible team that will come out fighting and won’t be happy to lose any game against England” are the priority and another win would help firm up the gains made last year.“Our girls will want to keep their momentum,” says Joanna Adams, the England Netball chief executive. “That Commonwealth Games was an historic moment but it can’t be a one-off. To have this competition here, then a World Cup, is an alignment of the stars.”The long-term intention is for the Quad Series to be played once a year, scaled down from its current biannual format. Its organisers believe that would add to its sense of occasion, elevating the product once it has become a fixture in hearts and minds. For now, though, England cannot get enough. Support The Guardian Since you’re here… Share on LinkedIn features Share on WhatsApp Read more Share on Facebook
In October 2013, Harry Wilson was having a lie-in, watching television in bed in academy digs in Eccleston, round the corner from Liverpool’s academy in Kirkby, when his phone rang again. He had already missed a couple of calls from an unknown number. “I don’t usually answer them but something told me to answer it, so I answered it and it was Ian Rush,” Wilson explains, smiling. “He was like: ‘Hiya Harry, it’s Ian Rush.’ I was like: ‘What do I call him? Do I call him Ian? Do I call him Rushy?’ I didn’t really know what to call him.” FA Cup fifth round: 10 things to look out for this weekend Pinterest Hide Share on Messenger Show Derby County’s Harry Wilson celebrates scoring against Manchester United in September. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters Twitter: follow us at @guardian_sportFacebook: like our football and sport pagesInstagram: our favourite photos, films and storiesYouTube: subscribe to our football and sport channels Thank you for your feedback. “It taught me a lot and made me grow up fast. I’m a lot more confident now; I think I’m a lot wiser as well. I was in a struggling team in League One and I’ve seen how tough it is when you are trying to scrape out points at the bottom of the league. Now I’m at a team here where I feel we play really good football, at the top end of the table and you feel you can express yourself that little bit more.”Wilson has certainly done that. Lampard has emphasised how the youngster has improved his all-round play – that he has more than wonder goals to his game – but there is no getting away from the fact that Wilson is a specialist in the spectacular. His biggest weapon is those now commonplace piercing strikes from distance, having built a growing portfolio of bewitching free-kicks, none more so than his preposterous left-footed effort against United. “I didn’t realise it was as good as it was because it just happened and I was off celebrating. It was not until I was on the bus on the way back here that I watched it on Twitter and saw the movement that I had got on it.”Wilson knows the next question is coming but stresses he did not plan on raising the palm of his right hand, a nod to Liverpool’s five major European titles and United’s three. “A few Liverpool fans were messaging me and sending me pictures of Fernando Torres and I think Steven Gerrard doing it and I was like: ‘I can’t do that, I’m not in the calibre of those players.’ But when it happened, it was heat of the moment and it just came out.” FA Cup Reuse this content It was a conversation that culminated in Wilson being whisked to Cardiff the next morning after being called up to the Wales squad, before making his international debut against Belgium aged 16 years and 207 days in a World Cup qualifier almost a week later, breaking Gareth Bale’s record as the country’s youngest player. “We were 1-0 down with five or 10 minutes to go, Chris Coleman said: ‘You’re going on,’ and then it was a mixture of nerves and excitement really. It was all a bit of a blur at the time and I just wanted to go on, try and get a touch of the ball and work hard for the five minutes that I was on. We drew the game 1-1, so I’ll take a bit of credit for that.”Laughter fills the room, and not for the first time, as Wilson goes on to explain how an under-18s game against Blackburn four days after his Wales bow against Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard in front of 45,000 quickly brought him back to reality. But when Wilson mentions that De Bruyne tried and failed to obtain his shirt – now framed on the wall at his parents’ house in Corwen, near Wrexham – the interview inevitably sticks for a moment on that memorable night in Brussels.“I went over to Hazard first and he had already swapped but I thought: ‘He’s going to have a spare,’ so I was like: ‘Can I get it?’ He said: ‘Yeah, I’ll pass it to you inside,’ but because they had qualified, they went straight back out and they were doing a lap of the pitch and we were like: ‘Let’s just get out of here,’ really. I went over to De Bruyne, and he wanted mine, but I thought: ‘It’s my debut shirt, I can’t give you this.’” Share via Email Facebook Twitter interviews As the club’s academy director, Alex Inglethorpe, recently said, some players take the elevator, others the stairs, referencing Trent Alexander-Arnold and the winger. Wilson, free-scoring for the under-23s after being named captain in 2016, made his only first-team appearance against Plymouth the following year, replacing Philippe Coutinho. His next is surely only a matter of time. For Derby, Wilson has impressed centrally as well as on the right flank but, despite making a splash in four months at Hull last year (seven goals in 14 games), he acknowledges his first loan, at Crewe in 2015, was not quite so successful. Share on LinkedIn Topics Share on Pinterest Liverpool The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email. Share on Facebook Derby County Share on Twitter Championship Share on WhatsApp Quick guide Follow Guardian sport on social media Wilson’s journey with Wales helps punctuate his early career, from the shock of that debut to waiting 1,619 days to win his next cap. At Euro 2016 Wilson was among the 10,000-plus Wales fans in Bordeaux watching the Group A opener against Slovakia. These days he is 21 years old, a staple of Ryan Giggs’s squad and lighting up the Championship on loan at Derby County, who take on Brighton in the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday.He makes smashing company at the club’s Moor Farm training base. Wilson is refreshingly humble and politely knocks at the door before beginning a candid conversation that takes in how he has developed under Frank Lampard, a text from Jürgen Klopp after his exquisite free-kick at Manchester United in the Carabao Cup, the subsequent five-fingered salute and how, with the help of the club nutritionist Andreas Kasper, a fortnightly Masterchef challenge at the house in which Wilson lives with Mason Mount keeps any competition healthy. The housemates take it in turns to do the weekly shop at Tesco, play Fortnite and make use of the gym in a property that the former Derby goalkeeper Lee Grant used to call home.There has been plenty of noise around Wilson more or less ever since he signed for Liverpool’s under-nines. Others spotted his talent earlier, his grandad netting £125,000 after placing a £50 bet on Wilson playing for his country while he was a toddler. Up until the age of 16, when Wilson moved into digs with Ryan Kent, he was ferried to and from training from north Wales by his mother, Nicola, and father, Mark, as well as by both sets of grandparents. “I think it was 63 miles door to door,” he says. “Monday, Wednesday and Friday until I was 12, then four times a week and then five times a week. It was a massive commitment. Without my mum, dad and my grandparents it wouldn’t have been possible to get where I am now.” He has been associated with Liverpool since the age of eight and Wilson says the city feels like his “second home”. Read more Photograph: Chesnot/Getty Images Europe Wales Was this helpful?
Share on Messenger Millwall v Brighton: match preview Share via Email Share on Twitter To return to the original point, the problem for Millwall is that it is never going to be easy to shift their reputation. No ground has been closed down more times because of crowd trouble (the first time, in 1920, because the Newport goalkeeper had been pelted with missiles and, according to one report from the time, “flattened” by a “useful right hook”). The chanting against Everton is the subject of a Football Association disciplinary case and, if the Championship team can overcome Brighton on Sunday, perhaps you might remember the last time they reached an FA Cup semi-final, against Wigan Athletic in 2013, when all their hard work was undermined by the pictures from Wembley of dozens of fans brawling with one another.Millwall’s press department subsequently informed journalists that the club would accept the blame only “if” it was proven to be their fans. When the FA put together a statement condemning the violence, liaising with Millwall as a courtesy, the club took offence at the passage saying it was “Millwall supporters” and insisted that part was removed. The relevant line was changed to refer to trouble “in the Millwall end”. And in the following days Millwall kept up this drip-drip process of trying to shift the blame on to others. “There were people in there from both teams,” the chairman, John Berylson, claimed. Ayse Smith, of the supporters’ club committee, suggested rival fans must have had tickets for the Millwall end.Mick McCarthy tells a rather amusing story about bumping into an old friend during the early 1990s, informing him that he was now the player-manager of Millwall, and the instinctive reaction of his friend’s wife being: “How embarrassing!” The same two words could be used to describe how the club tried to rewrite the story of what happened at Wembley that day and one of those occasions when it became clear that an element of Millwall’s following were going to live up to the words of their most famous song.No one likes them, they don’t care. It’s not quite that black and white – but it will probably always be that way for as long as the relevant people, to quote that old Panorama documentary, go by the belief that “the glory comes not from the team but from the reputation of its supporters”. FA Cup Millwall If all this sounds slightly lopsided, it is not to ignore the work of the Millwall Community Trust, the number of events that are put on every day at the Lions Centre and the fact that a new generation of supporters will be more familiar with Zampa the Lion, the club’s mascot, rather than Harry the Dog, leader of F-Troop, Millwall’s old hooligan firm, as featured in a 1977 Panorama documentary.In Mel’s cafe on Ilderton Road the posters on the wall declare “Lions have Pride not Prejudice”. Millwall have positive links with groups such as Show Racism the Red Card and have embraced local projects such as the Save Lewisham hospital campaign. There are plenty of people connected to the club who will argue there is more good than bad, that the media need to change the tune and that a lot has changed since the days when BBC Radio 5 had an advertising poster for “Earthquakes, Wars and Millwall reports as they happen”. And, to a degree, it is true. Millwall are not always the sap in football’s family tree. It is just difficult sometimes to accept this sugarcoated version of events when there is also mobile‑phone footage from that Everton game of the home supporters in the Dockers stand singing: “I would rather be a Paki than a scouse.”Millwall’s chief executive, Steve Kavanagh, subsequently talked about the club being damaged by 30 to 40 people. It looks and sounds like more. “This isn’t just a Millwall thing,” Kavanagh said. “This happens across society … we can’t be responsible for educating the whole of south-east London.” Maybe, but it is difficult to imagine the same happening at, say, Charlton or Crystal Palace and Kavanagh was pushing his luck when he said it would be untrue to say this kind of chant had not been heard at other football grounds this season. A simple call to Kick It Out confirms there have been absolutely no reports of anything similar happening elsewhere. Millwall’s Jake Cooper: ‘A sold-out Den is special … it’s so intimidating’ The difficult truth for Millwall is that racism has been an issue at the Den more times than the club would probably wish to remember. In the interest of balance, they were also the first club to form an anti-racist committee and one of the first to include what would now be known as BAME players (Hussein Hegazi, of Egyptian descent, being their first in 1912). They are also far from the only set of supporters with a prodigious history of trouble. Yet the relevant people may have to forgive me for not being entirely convinced when Rod Liddle, of all people, once appeared to be the go-to guy for arguing that people should get off Millwall’s backs.It turned out Liddle also went by the pseudonym of Monkeymfc on a messageboard, Millwall Online, where he posted, allegedly, derogatory comments about Somalis, made jokes about Auschwitz and called for the axing of black-only organisations (“Fuck them, close them down. Why do blacks need a forum of their own?”). Liddle initially claimed in the Mail on Sunday he must have been hacked, then admitted posting most of the comments, but denied being responsible for one that suggested black people were less intelligent than white people or Asians. “All of these things are twisted out of context to make me look like a cunt. I may be a cunt but I’m not a racist cunt,” he said. Of course not. It certainly hasn’t been easy for Millwall to change the way people regard the club’s role in English football. It is a reputation formed over decades and it hasn’t been dampened recently by the video footage of that Everton fan being slashed across the face, all the way from his temple to the corner of his mouth, before their FA Cup tie in January. Even the more determined football hooligans, by and large, operate to some kind of code. What this incident told us was that Millwall’s seemed to be different to the rest, nastier, and did not go by normal rules. It feeds the stereotype. It hardens the image and that, in turn, makes it even more difficult to present any kind of defence on the club’s behalf. Unless, that is, you want to risk sounding in denial.It is a curious paradox, though, when there is another argument that Millwall, approached one way, might actually be one of the safer grounds to visit in London and certainly a great deal less stressful than the days, for example, when Arsenal’s Gooner fanzine described the experience of getting in and out of Cold Blow Lane “like being on manoeuvres in some enemy-infested outpost of Vietnam”.Walk out of South Bermondsey station these days and there is a specially created turning directly outside to funnel away supporters on their own route to the new(ish) Den. On non-match days this route is just a normal pathway, favoured by dog-walkers and joggers, with the trains from London Bridge rattling by and the Shard visible in the distance. When Millwall are at home, however, it has another use entirely. The path runs parallel to the train lines and is designed strategically to keep its users away from the streets surrounding the ground. It is surrounded by a 6ft-high metal fence, as well as a series of bolted gates to prevent anyone coming the other way, and it weaves along this back route for a few hundred yards before eventually coming out directly by the away end. Facebook Read more In football, it has always been easier to get a bad reputation than to lose one. Therefore, I can probably guess the common answer, now they stand within one FA Cup victory of reaching Wembley, if this question is put to your ordinary football fan: what immediately comes to mind when you hear Millwall’s name?Unfortunately for all those who have tried to change the perception of Millwall over the years, I doubt very much that most people would reply by pointing out they were the Football League’s family club of the year in 2017 or that Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has recently acclaimed their community work.Garry Robson, the author and sociologist, sums it up in his book No One Likes Us, We Don’t Care. “It [Millwall] has become a byword for, amongst other things, violent mob thuggery, unreconstructed masculinity, dark and impenetrable urban culture and working-class ‘fascism’,” he writes. “The archetypal status of the Millwall fan is a vexed and complex one in which myth and reality have perhaps become so closely intertwined that even some of those most closely involved are unsure as to where the one might end and the other begin. It is a story of violence and mayhem both real and apocryphal, of particular and localised patterns of masculine culture and of the ways in which popular representation of that culture meet with subcultural self‑definition in dialectics of identity.” Or, to put it another way, it can be a bit rum down there. Reuse this content Read more Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. Police condemn ‘shocking’ FA Cup violence of Millwall and Everton fans Share on Pinterest Millwall celebrate during their FA Cup fourth-round win over Everton. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters Read more Share on LinkedIn Twitter It works a treat if the idea, plainly, is to keep one set of supporters away from the other. But then you stop to think about it properly and what it says about Millwall that this kind of system is even necessary. I mean, where else in English football is it necessary to segregate everyone outside the ground as well as inside?The route, incidentally, is known locally as “Cowards’ Way” and, on the last occasion I walked it, it was also a reminder about how far Millwall’s reputation stretches. The clues could be found on the stickers – Hooligans Magdeburg, Valenciennes Dragons, Südkurve München, Venezia, Auxerre, Torpedo Moscow on Tour – that have been left as calling cards on the various lampposts. Millwall’s notoriety appears to have made this patch of SE16 a tourist attraction. A potential scalp, too, for a certain kind of supporter. Unless you believe the mob of Everton that headed for Surrey Quays – or Surrey Docks, as it used to be known, before that little swathe of Rotherhithe was renamed by property developers – merely wanted to introduce themselves to the locals for a discussion about house prices. Sportblog Topics Share on Facebook Share on WhatsApp comment Pinterest
“I am not one for birthdays, I’m not one for anniversaries, I’m not one for particularly special days like this, so it is absolutely no different to any other race weekend for me,” he said. “I am here to do one job and one job only and that is to win. It doesn’t matter if it is the 1,000th, the 2,000th or the 10,000th, it is an irrelevant figure for me.”It is not an entirely unsurprising response from the 34-year-old who has always been strong in his ability to blank out distractions, if not perhaps the one Formula One might have been hoping for from their most saleable asset. However, Hamilton knows that this season the threat from Ferrari is real.The Scuderia, so strong in testing, were off the pace at the opening grand prix in Australia, where Hamilton was second to teammate Valtteri Bottas. But at the second race in Bahrain, Ferrari definitively found their pace. Hamilton knows he only inherited his win there after an injection system fault scuppered Charles Leclerc’s dominant lead for Ferrari.“They obviously have a great package,” Hamilton said. “You could say a stronger package than last year. They have definitively stepped up.”At Ferrari the question is not only can they replicate the Bahrain performance in China but whether Leclerc will again comprehensively outshine Vettel, who struggled in the last race, finishing fifth. The team have said they would favour Vettel under certain circumstances but Leclerc clearly has no intention of being sidelined. He ignored orders to pass his teammate in Bahrain. Motor sport Read more Share on Messenger Vettel said he is enjoying his relationship with the 21 year old, still in only his second season in F1. “Charles is fast, he has proven many times before F1 why he has deserved the place,” he said. “To work with he is very straightforward. I haven’t come across a driver that is a pain in the arse and I hope I never will.“I have always shown respect when other people did well and he did in Bahrain. I was not happy with my performance, that’s why I know I can do better and we have lots of races to prove that but at least when I am not at the top, it’s good that he is.”Leclerc took pole in Bahrain and the win was in his grasp until he was relegated to third but his first podium still put him only one point behind Vettel. His confidence is high and if Ferrari find the sweet spot again in Shanghai he will have every chance for a debut win.Like Hamilton he was not allowing any distractions. “Things go very quickly in F1,” he said. “After the first race nobody sees me as a title contender, after the second race everyone sees me as a title contender. I need to keep the focus on what I am doing in the car, work as hard as possible, try to do the best job in and out of the car and the rest will come. Then we will see. We are only at the third race.” Before F1’s 1000th grand prix: the greatest races of all time Mercedes GP Since you’re here… Share on Pinterest Read more Ferrari Topics Share on Twitter Lewis Hamilton is in no mood for any distractions from the defence of his title, even as Formula One prepares to celebrate the 1,000th world championship race at the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday.The five-times world champion has competed in almost a quarter of F1’s 999 races. From those 231 starts he has enjoyed remarkable success, with 74 wins, second only to Michael Schumacher, but as F1 made the preparations for its party in Shanghai, he was focused on another title with Mercedes. Sebastian Vettel Share via Email Support The Guardian Lewis Hamilton news Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Formula One Formula One 2019 Charles Leclerc’s Bahrain brilliance heralds start of a new dynamic in F1 … 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. Reuse this content
Topics Sportblog Share on WhatsApp Although John Delaney retains support from certain loyal sections of the Irish football family, he has never been more unpopular in his native land. The long-time chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland until he stood down last month to take up a newly created role as the executive vice‑president is no stranger to controversy but now the 51-year-old finds himself clinging by his fingertips to a crumbling personal fiefdom that increasingly resembles an empire of dirt.The business of sports administration is, by its very nature, staggeringly dreary but the subject of football governance in the Republic of Ireland has recently been little short of box office. In March a Sunday Times exclusive revealed Delaney had mysteriously loaned his employer €100,000 in April 2017. That was soon repaid and no record of any such transaction appeared in the FAI’s accounts. Share on Pinterest Share on Facebook Republic of Ireland Read more Share on LinkedIn Share on Twitter Share via Email comment FAI funding suspended by Sport Ireland amid concerns over Delaney loan Share on Messenger After Delaney failed to obtain a high court injunction to prevent this report of his largesse, it was promptly announced he would be stepping down to take up his new role. In Ireland, where his extremely generous annual salary of €360,000 had long been a talking point, it did not go unnoticed he would be taking a significant pay cut. He would now be forced to get by on an annual salary of €120,000, topped up by the €160,000 he earns each year from Uefa for his work on its executive committee (ExCo).When defending the size of his salary, Delaney has boasted he could walk into any number of private sector jobs and earn a lot more. Crucially, for as long as he remains with the FAI, albeit on significantly less money, he is eligible for re-election to ExCo in 2021. It is widely believed his new job was specifically created to maintain his eligibility to do so as it is with Uefa that his long-term career ambitions appear to lie.For well over a decade Delaney has occupied a very peculiar position in Irish public life. He has his admirers, most of them at grassroots level who appreciate his willingness to sanction grants and travel the length and breadth of the country to cut ribbons and glad-hand appreciative volunteers unused to seeing their efforts acknowledged from on high. Among the broader general public, however, he is a regular subject of derision and is largely despised by fans of the Republic, who regularly proclaim their contempt in banner form. He is also extremely unpopular with those who follow League of Ireland clubs in a domestic competition he once described as the FAI’s “difficult child”.Delaney revels in a weird kind of fame enjoyed by very few in his line of administrative work. He claims to have spent more than €30,000 buying drinks for supporters at away games, famously lost his shoes during some ribald post-match celebrations and once posed with models on the cover of a Sunday newspaper’s lifestyle magazine. For reasons that remain utterly baffling, he agreed to participate in a preposterous piece of accompanying self-promotion masquerading as a serious three-part documentary, in which he spoke at great length about how wonderful he is and prompted much public ridicule by name-dropping the Queen.Interest in his salary has increased during a time of austerity, when more lowly FAI staff were forced to take pay cuts of up to 15%. More recent Sunday Times revelations that the FAI has been paying his rent to the tune of €36,000 a year for the thick end of a decade while he was wielding the company credit card have done nothing to improve the national mood. A man of evidently expensive tastes, it was revealed he racked up €40,000 of credit in one six‑month period in 2016. Among the highlights: €6,000 in cash withdrawals, €4,474 on a hotel stay Dubai, €500 for two visits to what must be the world’s most overpriced dry cleaners and €563 on more than a dozen visits to his local pub.The FAI’s general lack of openness and accountability has been well documented but recently reached a farcical nadir. As recipients of government funding (which has in recent weeks been suspended and could cost grassroots football €1.4m), Delaney and his fellow blazers were hauled before a government select committee to answer questions about his famous “bridging loan” to an employer with an annual turnover of €45m. Citing “legal advice” that apparently precluded him from answering questions about anything he had done during 14 years as chief executive, Delaney spent most of the day in stubborn silence while assorted cronies apparently did all they could to obfuscate and evade. It did not appear to have crossed the mind of their former chief executive, the one man in the room with all the answers, that the legal advice he spoke of could easily have been ignored.Although he might have thought his stonewalling tactics clever, Delaney’s arrogant silence appears to have done him few favours. This week the FAI board, after its auditors revealed “proper accounting records” had not been kept, announced it would be stepping down en masse before a more forensic and independent examinations of the books. No longer on the board since his redeployment, Delaney agreed to “step aside” from – but pointedly not quit – his new role with “immediate effect”.It has been lost on no one that while others have fallen on their swords, this great survivor retains his title and will continue to receive his salary while on what is ostensibly gardening leave. Although his days with the FAI look increasingly numbered, the determination with which he is hanging in there borders on the commendably grim. Reuse this content
Transfers Dybala wants Pogba reunion at Juventus Josh Challies 00:06 6/9/18 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Transfers Juventus Manchester United Premier League Serie A Paulo Dybala Paul Pogba Amid reports that the France midfielder is unsettled at Old Trafford, Dybala admits he would love to see him back in Turin Paulo Dybala wants a reunion with Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba at Juventus.France international Pogba arrived at United from Juve for an initial €105 million in 2016 but has struggled for consistency in the Premier League.The 25-year-old was dropped by Jose Mourinho in 2017-18 as reports of a strained relationship between the pair surfaced, leading to links with a return to the Serie A champions. Article continues below Editors’ Picks 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 Arsenal would be selling their soul with Mourinho move Dybala inherited the Bianconeri’s number 10 jersey from Pogba and is keen to link up with his former team-mate again.”Hearing that he is maybe coming back, I’m very happy, even more with the relationship I have with him. Now we could stop making video calls and we would go back to training together,” the Argentina star told TyC Sports.”I felt very good on the pitch with him. There was a lot of feeling between us, and we also get on very well off the field.”We always created new greetings, new ways to celebrate a goal, like when we touched our fingers after watching Dragon Ball Z.”Pogba or Dybala ? Make your choice at https://t.co/pRpVziFcSX ! #ForzaJuve @adidasfootball pic.twitter.com/LoQofo9OmU— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) May 17, 2016Dybala could take on Pogba at the World Cup in Russia, as Argentina and France are tipped as contenders to go all the way in the tournament.
Poland 4 Lithuania 0: Lewandowski on song ahead of Russia Matt Dorman 02:07 6/13/18 Getty Images Poland’s World Cup opponents will be on red alert after Robert Lewandowski sparked a big friendly win over Lithuania. Robert Lewandowski appeared in ominous touch ahead of the World Cup as he scored twice in Poland’s accomplished 4-0 win over Lithuania on Tuesday.The Bayern Munich striker improved his tally to four goals in three international outings with a first-half brace that laid the foundation for 21-year-old David Kownacki and substitute Jakub Blaszczykowski to later put the result beyond doubt.Adam Nawalka’s men are likely to lean heavily on their star striker in Russia and Lewandowski, judging by his 45-minute effort in Warsaw, looks ready to handle the weight of expectation. Article continues below Editors’ Picks 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 Arsenal would be selling their soul with Mourinho move He notched the opener on 19 minutes by side-footing home at close range from a smart Maciej Rybus lay-off, before going it alone in the 32nd minute with a delightful free-kick that went in off the underside of the bar.Kownacki’s first international goal arrived in simpler fashion in the 71st minute, the Sampdoria forward tapping home following a classy one-touch move on the edge of the area.And the confidence-boosting result was capped off when the VAR spotted a handball against Algis Jankauskas with eight minutes remaining, Blaszczykowski converting from the spot to sew up a second win in three matches for the world’s eighth-ranked nation ahead of their opening Group H clash against Senegal next Tuesday.
ShareEmailPrint To learn more, read: Posted on October 18, 2010November 13, 2014Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Last week, Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika lifted a ban on traditional birth attendants (TBAs) that had been in place since 2007, saying:We need to train traditional birth attendants in safer delivery methods. We should not completely stop them because their work is very important. We should train them to assist us in addressing the health challenges that we are facing.Expanding opportunities for non-physicians to act as skilled birth attendants may help to stem the tide of maternal deaths in countries where doctors, midwives and nurses may not exist in the needed numbers. Evidence suggests that having a skilled birth attendant present at birth leads to fewer incidences maternal and child mortality and morbidity. If TBAs are properly trained as Mutharika suggests, they may be able to play a major role in reducing Malawi’s high maternal mortality ratio.In January 2010, with the support of MHTF and UNFPA, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars hosted a Maternal Health Policy Dialogue on “Human Resources for Maternal Health: Midwives, TBAs and Task-Shifting.” To view the webcast and read the event summary, click here. For other events in the Policy Dialogue Series, click here.Share this:
By BEN HARRISMen’s Elite EightThe question on everybody’s lips is: “Will it be NSW Mets’ year?”The Mets have lost two matches in the two-year history of the Elite Eight series at the X-Blades National Touch League – the two grand finals.In 2011, the inaugural Elite Eight tournament, Mets were beaten 7-6 by NSW Scorpions in the grand final in the last few seconds of the match.The Mets were unbeaten in the tournament before losing the final.Last year, Mets were unbeaten when they reached the grand final against NSW Country Mavericks.Mets went down in the final few seconds of the match 5-4.Mets have a team full of big match international experience with Steve Roberts, Anthony Ziade, Nicholas Good, Ben Moylan, Scott Buckley, Robert Nakhla and Trent Touma lining up, so there should be no excuse this time.However, it won’t be an easy run as all the Elite Eight sides will be at their best with selection for the 2015 Touch World Cup up for grabs at this tournament.Scorpions have two-time Elite Eight Most Valuable Player in Sam Brisby.Brisby and Simon Lang are the leading touchdown scorers in Elite Eight with 16 and 17 touchdowns respectively.The Mavericks look strong on paper and the defending champions will be led by the likes of Dylan Hennessey and Dylan Thompson.Not to be forgotten, NSW Rebles, Queensland South Stingrays, Queensland Chiefs, Queensland Country Outlaws and The Alliance have all strong line-ups this year.Women’s Elite Eight While the men’s NSW Mets team have fallen short when it comes to winning the big game at the X-Blades National Touch League, the Mets’ women’s side is the exact opposite.The Mets are two from two when it comes to Elite Eight, defeating NSW Country Mavericks 9-4 in 2011 and Queensland Chiefs 5-4 last year.They could make it a hat-trick this week especially with Paul Sfeir at the helm.The current Australian Men’s Open assistant coach brings plenty of knowledge and experience to the team.However, Australian Women’s Open captain Lousie Winchester won’t be playing this week, which does leave the door ajar for the other teams.Chiefs should have won last year but were swept away by Mets in the final.The Queensland side will be without 2013 Most Valuable player Emily Hennessey but they do have experienced campaigner Peta Rogerson.She will be backed up by plenty of other Australian representatives.In the race for the title will also be NSW Mavericks and NSW Scorpions, both reached the semi-finals in 2011 and 2013.Queensland Country Outlaws, Queensland South Stingrays, The Alliance and NSW Rebels should not be taken lightly.Related LinksWho will be the Elite?
Australian Menâ€™s Open player, Stuart Brierty and Australian Womenâ€™s Open representative, Marikki Watego have been named the Ron Hanson Medallists for the 2016 Trans Tasman Series. Brierty and Watego were named as Flag Bearers for the event in front of their Australian teammates at the contingentâ€™s Jersey Presentation on Tuesday night. Brierty is a stalwart of the Australian Menâ€™s Open team, first representing at the 2009 Trans Tasman Series and hasnâ€™t missed a series since, competing in two World Cups (2011 and 2015) and five Trans Tasman Series events (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014). Brierty said despite feeling â€˜slightly oldâ€™ he was blown away to be named as one of the Flag Bearers for the event. â€œItâ€™s a great privilege and honour to receive that medal. To carry the flag representing our country, I canâ€™t wait and really look forward to it. â€œWhen they started rattling off the years and the games, I knew it was probably either myself, Dylan (Hennessey) or Prowsey (Matt Prowse), as we are the only three that still remain from 2009. It did make me feel slightly old.â€Watego is the most capped Australian Womenâ€™s Open player, having debuted at the 2012 Trans Tasman Series and hasnâ€™t missed a series since, including playing in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 Trans Tasman Series events and 2015 Touch World Cup. Watego said she was thrilled to be given the honour. â€œItâ€™s incredible, I definitely wasnâ€™t expecting it and to look back on past Ron Hanson Medallists and to be named alongside them now, itâ€™s just a real big honour and Iâ€™m really thrilled to be given the opportunity,â€ Watego said. Weâ€™ll be keeping you up-to-date with all of the latest news, information and results from the 2016 Trans Tasman series on our website and social media channels, so you wonâ€™t miss any of the action: Be sure to use the hashtags #transtasman2016, #oneteam and #teamaustralia across all of our social media platforms and send in your messages of support for the teams on our social media channels.Related LinksRon Hanson Medallists Facebook: www.facebook.com/touchfootballaustraliaTwitter: www.twitter.com/touchfootyausInstagram: www.instagram.com/touchfootballaustraliaYouTube: www.youtube.com/touchfootballausSnapchat â€“ search for â€˜TFAofficialâ€™
Crystal Palace boss Hodgson can’t fault players for Watford defeatby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveCrystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson couldn’t fault his players after defeat to Watford.The Eagles were winning 1-0 at the break thanks to Craig Cathcart’s own goal, but would see that quickly turned around thanks to two goals in seven minutes as Cathcart gained some retribution before a fine volley from Tom Cleverley settled matters in south London.Hodgson said, “It’s tough to lose any game, especially at home and it’s made tougher that we’ve been doing quite well lately. I was hoping that this would be the chance for us to get that elusive third victory that would have lifted us to a much more comfortable place in the table.“We were unable to get it, and when that happens there is no other emotion that I can display other than the obvious one of feeling very sad that we couldn’t do it.”He added: “If you want to win games, then you have to take the chances that come your way. Watford must be comfortable in that respect because they hit the post twice and had one cleared off the line and chances to score their two goals. We perhaps weren’t as effective and only scored one goal, but that’s what football is.“There aren’t many games this year where I have thought we were outplayed or didn’t deserve to win, but there have been games like this where the game could so easily have gone either way and you get questions about regrets or frustrations. I don’t think I could have asked for a lot more from the players; we certainly didn’t lose the game because there wasn’t the desire to win it.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say